Friday, December 09, 2011
"Too Dumb to Live"
Mitt Romney is the son of a successful politician.
He knows how to campaign for the White House.
Marquis of Queensbury Rules all the way, right?
PRESIDENTIAL OCTAGON 2. I had to chuckle at this National Review Corner entry by Michael Walsh:
The Stupid Party
I took some grief on the recent NR cruise by telling the group that I thought Mitt Romney would lose to Barack Obama rather handily. That for some mysterious reason Obama continues to have relatively strong personal-approval numbers and a substantial, reliable base, which Romney doesn’t. As a typical standard-issue Republican, Romney wouldn’t have the heart or the courage to take the fight to the president, but instead would debate around the edges, and lose.
If this is to be believed, that’s the actual strategy:
Republicans on a private Republican National Committee conference call with allies warned Tuesday that party surrogates should refrain from personal attacks against President Barack Obama, because such a strategy is too hazardous for the GOP.
“We’re hesitant to jump on board with heavy attacks” personally against President Obama, Nicholas Thompson, the vice president of Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm, said on the call. “There’s a lot of people who feel sorry for him.”
Recent polling data indicates that while the president still suffers significantly low job approval ratings, voters still give “high approval” to Obama personally, Thompson said.
Voters “don’t think he’s an evil man who’s out to change the United States” for the worse — even though many of the same survey respondents agree that his policies have harmed the country, Thompson said. The upshot, Thompson stressed, is that Republicans should “exercise some caution” when talking about the president personally.
Gee, if Obama’s personal-approval numbers are still high, why would you want to take them down? Let them stay there, lest the Democrat-Media Complex accuse you of being a blue meanie.
Remember, GOP: principles, not policies. Principles, not policies. Principles, not policies.
It’s not Obama’s policies that are the problem, it’s Obama and everything he represents and stands for. Engage the president on the deepest, most potent level, or join John McCain and Bob Dole on the ash heap of history.
Really, this party is too dumb to live.
Which brings me back to my own recent post on the candidacy of Newt Gingrich, his growing popularity in the polls, and the opposition that's being expressed inside the Beltway. The few comments were mostly interesting, although the last and longest one is typical of the muddled thinking I was talking about, long on know-it-all condescension and short on comprehension. (It's never a good sign when a comment is longer than the post it's commenting on and still seems not to have understood that post.) A sample:
Your characterization of who the Republican "insiders" are is very interesting. And I would say, flat out wrong. Gingrich is the quintessential Republican insider. It's difficult to imagine being more of an insider than Newt. Who made how much money from Fannie Mae and the other GSEs right before the home mortgage collapse? Who sat next to whom and said we need to spend how to buy indulgences against the dishonest ravings of an insane junk science industry?
Mark Steyn is an insider? Mr. End-of-the-World? Do you seriously think the Republican insiders listen to a word Steyn says? Come back to the real world, my friend, where the Republican insiders want to keep pouring ethanol subsidies into the gravy train so they can suck at the government tit like everyone else in politics. Don Imus? Ann Coulter? These people may be conservative cultural opinion trend-setters, but they are not "insiders". The insiders don't give a crap what your opinion is. The insiders are proud examples of the combination of the iron law of bureaucracy and the symmetric property of the golden rule. They are dedicated to expanding the organization of government rather than achieving its goals; they expand the organization because it expands their personal power to make the rules - and he who makes the rules gets the gold.
The insiders don't care about the difference between Gingrich and Romney. The insiders are fine either way.
Sigh. I never said or intimated that Gingrich wasn't an insider. Of course he is. That's why I said I was smelling a rat. As to my definition of insiders being "flat out wrong," not so fast, kemo sabe. I wasn't in this case referring to the official Republican Party power brokers but to the incestuous inside the Beltway community of those who spend most of their time in the DC community, talking with others in the DC community, and forming their sense of the politically possible via the view from DC. Why I said: "I get it. Gingrich has enemies. He isn't a nice guy. He's stepped on a lot of tender Beltway toes." [boldface added]
The people I cited, with the exception of Imus (who I excepted in the post), do speak -- more openly than professional politicians can -- for a variety of viewpoints within the official Republican powerbase, from the intellectual elite, like Krauthammer, to the Tea Party rebels, like Steyn and Ingraham.
That's what was so interesting to me and the basis of my principal point, that this is going to be an exceptionally nasty, dirty, and repellent presidential election campaign. Obama is going to start in the gutter and plunge lower from there. Why, therefore, are mouthpieces from every part of the conservative Beltway crowd ganging up on Gingrich in a transparent attempt to give us Romney as the nominee instead?
A point just reinforced by the Corner piece above.
I was hoping for some useful inferences from the data, not supercilious lectures. (Yeah, I know "insiders don't give a crap what [my] opinion is." What's your assessment of the sum of 2 + 2? I'm sure it will be equally educational.) You see, I'm thinking that a lot of the voters in the crazed right-wing flyover population are seeing something the insiders -- however you define them -- don't see: that if what we're looking at is a bare-kuckle brawl, then we want the best bare-knuckle brawler we can find on our side.
Us crazed flyover types nobody listens to don't get invited to debate politely on TV, we're not asked to the cocktail parties where our mortal political enemies fill our wine glasses and offer us exquisite canapes, and there's a point at which we stop parsing the distinctions between social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, paleo conservatives, and even (dammit) quasi-RINOs. We just want Obama OUT.
We survived Johnson, Carter, and Clinton. And, yeah, they were bad, more than one of them corrupt as hell. But we don't think we can survive four more years of Obama. He's in a category all by himself.
My bet is that people who are now flocking to Gingrich aren't at all ignorant about his flaws, faults, and liabilities. After flirtations with Bachmann, Perry, and Cain, they're done with well meaning amateurs. They're ready to hire themselves a professional gunfighter. They don't want to take a chance on Will Cain from High Noon. They want the Man with No Name. Even if, and perhaps especially if, he's considered too ruthless and quick on the trigger for the civilized tree-huggers of government and media. What ordinary people can see that the illuminated ones apparently can't see is that Gingrich has come from the nowhere of "no chance in hell" to a lead in the polls, and he's done it all alone, with a very well publicized absence of media cheerleaders and professional campaign staff, all of whom also wrote him off months ago. But they've seen him draw... and they know he's fast. Fast with a gun. (Speaking metaphorically, of course, for the benefit of you politically correct mavens of diction who think Anglo-Saxon words are vile and Latin words are equality-inducing, just like the ancient Romans.) Bang! They want a Bang! moment or a hundred in the presidential debates, because nobody anywhere has ever taken this phony on and peeled away his layers of lies. Face to face. In the arena. What they absolutely, positively can't wait for. Simple as that.
I suppose it's too simple a point for someone who calls himself "Chevalier de Johnstone," or even "Reince Priebus," to stoop to comprehend. Far better to nitpick and posture... and then lose amicably, like gentlemen, in the end because a weak but genteel dauphin is the enemy of a slutty Joan of Arc. (I know I won't have to explain the unstated first half of the analogy to a "Chevalier.")
The opening bell isn't that far away, folks. Do you really have no strong opinions you wish to share about the ring? Or shall we go on pretending that this political war for our lives is an academic debating society?