Or maybe there’s substance, I just simply don’t believe these people. At all. Even a little bit.
Ron Paul, resident curmudgeon and Fief to a little hamlet in a corner of Texas, sat at last night’s debate like Ebenezer Scrooge:
Ebenezer: [Giggling] No. Mrs. Dilber – I’m not mad.
[He ruffles his hair so that it looks wild]
Ebenezer: Even if I look it!
When I’m nodding along with Ebenezer and chortling at the candidates making all sorts of small government promises and not believing them, I’m pretty sure all is lost.
I just want them all to shut up, already. Even when I agree with them: Please, just SHUT UP.
This is precisely the goal for the media, I’m guessing. Elevate Republicans so insufferable even the snoozer Obama sounds reasonable and interesting in comparison.
No. I still don’t like Mitt.
Rick Santorum pointed out that RomneyCare was the basis for ObamaCare. This is simply fact. Romney’s response?
And let me — let me — let me mention one more — the reason we have Obama Care — the reason we have Obama Care is because the Senator you supported over Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, the pro- choice Senator of Pennsylvania that you supported and endorsed in a race over Pat Toomey, he voted for Obama Care. If you had not supported him, if we had said, no to Arlen Specter, we would not have Obama Care. So don’t look at me. Take a look in the mirror.
Wait, what? How about we blame Specter’s parents. I mean, if they hadn’t had him, he wouldn’t have grown up to be a lousy Senator.
Heh. I suggest we blame Satan. Without Satan, Arlen Specter wouldn’t have had evil impulses.
Republican money, leadership, important people, how come you can’t see the obvious weakness?
And the fact that ANY candidate looks weak in the face of Obama just demonstrates how idiotic it is to play along with the media and these stupid debates.
Shooting ourselves in the foot over and over.
Being a Republican is like being a Lions fan. Except less hopeful.
More bad news. Even Ace’s … oh never mind.
A debate cometh. Gird yer loins.
Who will win tonight?
The better question is: who won’t lose?
Right now, big government Republicans are winning and therefore, America loses.
The only solace? Obama is destroying America and killing the country faster. Will being less bad be good enough?
Ah, hope springs eternal, which is why I write about politics.
Join me on Twitter and/or Sulia. See you then!
The GOP primaries have been awful. I don’t know that they’re more awful than 2008, necessarily. The stakes are the same as they were..or worse. It’s just that people now seem more acutely aware that much is at stake, so there’s more urgency.
The economy feels unstable. That is, the current awful environment feels like it might not be the worst it could be. It could get a lot worse.
Even with the press putting a shiny bow on the Obama administration, the general consensus is that things are going the wrong direction.
And yet, President Obama’s numbers aren’t as low as one would expect. Why?
The answer may be in the GOP field and not all that obvious. The current front runners– Mitt Romney and Ron Paul– have both succeeded the same way Barack Obama succeeded in his difficult primary with Hillary Clinton: by stoking fears and manipulating the unease people feel.
The success of Mitt Romney’s strident and insincere demogoguing over illegal immigration and Ron Paul’s own nativist rhetoric reflect a society in crisis. When it’s too tough to look inward, blame the “other”.
Ron Paul’s hysterics are nothing new. As the success of his newsletters demonstrate, there’s always been a patch on the American quilt possessed of isolationism and paranoia. This year, his message has finally found a bigger home. Everyone is out to get you. It’s not you. It’s them.
Likewise Romney’s forked tongue has worked much the same as Obama’s. He’s subtly divided and nursed insecurity. His big government Republicanism won’t be as bad as Obama’s, but the government will still protect you, from them.
In 2008, Obama won with code words like “fairness” and “enough” and “tax the rich”. You, are being taken advantage of by them.
Fear makes people do stupid things, but it is primal and it is effective as a motivator–for a short time.
Unfortunately, the success of these messages blot out the tough and true message. Things are bad right now. True. Americans have the power to make things better.
That is, each individual can, for his own life, make this better if the government stays out of the way.
The government fixing things hasn’t fixed things. Clearly, this approach has failed.
Still, because of the other fears out there like the looming world crises and the sense that America has yet to hit rock bottom, a stern, solid, and common sense message just hasn’t taken hold.
I do believe people want to hear it. It also seems like they need some serious, solid encouragement.
Are the American people plagued with self-doubt? Maybe. And so many citizens are so busy just making life work that they have little time to consider positive possibilities. From where they sit, one small trouble could tip their balance negatively and has for so many.
Somewhere between, “There, there, little children, we’ll make it all better” (Mitt) and “Get yer guns, they’re comin’ fer ya” there’s a positive message of self-reliance and American exceptionalism.
Mitt’s message is one Obama does better. And Ron Paul’s message is downright frightening.
A note on the latter. I do believe that Ron Paul is resonating with people who fear the government as oppressive and invasive in their lives. His promises of a smaller government are compelling.
Herein lies the schizophrenia of the GOP, and of the nation generally. The American citizenry seems to be like a teenager: wanting to be able to do whatever they want with no government interference but spared consequences when they do something completely stupid.
A truly independent individual cannot have it both ways. Just like a parent gets bossy when it’s their money being spent, the Federal Government likes to manage behavior by monetary manipulation. There are rules, and one must follow them to have favor.
People have to decide: More independence (which will require self-reliance which is the only way to be truly free) or dependence (which will require more rules, more redistribution and less freedom).
It’s agreed that no one wants to bail out big corporations any more, right? Right, GM workers who are surviving, this minute, on the generosity of fellow taxpayers?
Are people willing to be cut off from the strangling hand of the government? That’s not clear at all.
And that’s why this GOP primary feels like being stuck at an empty resort with a psychotic writer. Everyone fears impending doom, the stakes feel so incredibly high, and rather than sensible messages, the leading GOP candidates are stoking real fears and irrational ones.
While Obama’s made nearly every single thing worse, rather than give straight, truthful talk and leadership, Romney and Paul employ similar rhetorical methods.
America could use a calm, thoughtful, optimistic message. It’s certainly not coming from Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.
Is this the entirety of the explanation about the GOP primary? No, this is a complex race in complex times.
Fear, and the stoking of it, is at least part of the explanation for what we’re seeing, though. And while it’s understandable, it’s tremendously destructive.
America needs sound leadership not fear mongering.
Conservative bloggers outside of the Beltway have been hopping mad at Jennifer Rubin, ostensible conservative journalist (née blogger), for what they perceive as shameless bias against conservatives and conservatism.
Politico wrote a story about her obsessive anti-Rick Perry writing (60 columns!) and apparent coziness with the Romney team.
When Redstate blogger and CNN commentator Erick Erickson noted that he didn’t think Rubin was conservative and likened her political bent to being a member of Likud, the Israeli political party, Rubinfired back:
“You want a Washington Post journalist to comment on an anti-Semitic screed by some blogger?” Rubin asked. “My arms are not long enough to punch down that far.”
This response was giggle-worthy —for a couple of reasons. The smug self-importance while throwing the victim card while, um, punching down, reinforced criticisms rather than countering them.
Erickson went on to apologize for insensitivity, saying he intended the Likud comparison as political shorthand for Rubin’s positions (meaning that she’s good on national security and terror but not much else), not as loyalty to Israel over America.
Jeff Duntz, conservative Jewish blogger at Yid With A Lid would have none of it, “Erick is not the most subtle person around. If he were to make a charge of dual loyalty, the reader would be hit over the head with it.”
He goes further, “..maybe to the readers of the very liberal Washington Post she is a conservative, but to the rest of us conservatives she is nothing more than an arrogant ‘not conservative blogger’ who is not a big fan of either conservatives or bloggers.”
And yet, many of her beltway conservative media friends closed ranks. The defense? They know her. She’s nice.
And while it’s probably true that she’s a nice person, it doesn’t quite address the central criticism: that she’s biased against the conservative cause.
But more on that in a minute.
Last night, a fuming friend presented me a hastily torn out Letter from the Editor from G.Q. Magazine. The editor, Jim Nelson, a former CNN news producer and failed screenwriter vented his overworked spleen against…you guessed it, Rick Perry.
His paragraphs were long and convoluted–the kind of writing you’d expect from someone who has trouble finding the keyboard keys because the anger-induced adrenalin surge would be better suited to outrunning a bear. In this case, Jim Nelson was afraid he couldn’t outrun alpha-male Rick Perry. He’s the bogeyman and he’s coming to get meeee! Here’s a sample:
But I imagine that, come primary time, a lot of GOP voters, hoping to extend a middle finger to Washington, will find that fat little finger in Perry’s hand. Is he crazy? Who isn’t these days? Those throw-the-bums-outers will love Perry’s brand of craziness. He’s like Ron Paul without the diapers.
There’s more where that came from. Michele Bachmann isn’t spared, nor is nearly every mainstream American, forget conservative, idea: Boy Scouting is good, repealing Obamacare is wanted, the Commerce Clause is abused, etc.
Nelson edits a male fashion and lifestyle magazine, and has decided to go down the Graydon Carter road of mistaking his audience for people who care about his leftist opinion about the Republican primary contenders. Here’s the demographics:
TOTAL AUDIENCE: 6,612,000
Median Age: 34.3
Age 18-49: 82%
Median HHI: $72,738
HHI $100,000+: 31%
Gender: Male 73%/Female 27%
Education: Attended/Graduated College+ 70%
Employment Status: Professional 50%
Marital Status: Single 63%/Married 37%
Source: MRI Spring 2011
PROFILE OF AFFLUENT AUDIENCE:
Median Age: 39.9
Median HHI: $157,606
Gender: Male 82%/Female 18%
Education: Attended/Graduated College+ 83%
Employment Status: Professional 70%
Marital Status: Single 38%/Married 62%
Source: MMR 2011
Any guess how this demographic votes? Yeah. It’s no wonder print media of all sorts is losing readership. If the fury I witnessed is any indication, the magazine has lost another subscriber.
Jennifer Rubin writes for the Washington Post. She replaced Dave Weigel, the self-admitted non-conservative who voted for Nader, Kerry, and Obama, in that order. Before going to the WaPo, Jennifer wrote many places but found one of her homes at Pajamas Media, where I also wrote, and sometimes write. Her writing there was fair, and more importantly, balanced.
Conservatives who read her work now wonder why a conservative writer at the WaPo is needed at all—at least a conservative like this one. Far from being a haven of conservative thought, Rubin’s columns are informed by the same fundamental worldview as her liberal compatriots at the newspaper, like Greg Sargent and Ezra Klein—the same worldview which permeates the pages of the Post every day. Call it the “big city mayor” approach to government—or even the Big Brother approach.
To summarize: Government is a benevolent force, lead by intelligent people who will find solutions for the folks who don’t know better.
Unabashedly conservative politicians—particularly those who come from rural, southern, or western backgrounds—provoke panic for people with this worldview.
Whenever pundits like Jim Nelson or Jennifer Rubin start to lose it over the rugged individualistic, common sense, rather straight-forward, red-white-and-blue American ethic espoused by someone like Rick Perry, the movie Talladega Nights comes to my mind. Nearly every stereotype of the middle American bumpkin was thrown into that movie. And yet, the movie was a smash hit. Middle Americans, as it turns out, have a sense of humor about themselves.
What Hollywood meant as scorn, the viewers embraced. The jokes on them, smirk those in the know. If numbers mean anything, and in electoral politics and movie theaters, they do, the exact opposite is true.
Unlike the media consumers, members of the Smartypants Set™ most certainly do not have a sense of humor–unless you consider unironic allusions to being the 1% like New York University professor Jay Rosen made while being taped during his journalism class humor. Well. He thought he was funny.
Sensibility saviors and cultural vanguards take their role as gatekeepers for the ignorant masses deadly seriously. And a guy like Rick Perry and all the state-college-educated, gun-toting, Air Force-flying, Bible-loving, NASCAR watching, baseness sticks in the craw of the Smartypants Set™.
They are, as candidate Obama noted, “bitter clingers.” They just won’t let go of their cherished American traditions.
The common people, “provincial” as Jennifer Rubin described Perry, embarrass them. In the end, it’s all about how they feel. And being lead by a commoner, even a highly successful one, does not suit.
So, Jim Nelson has Barack Obama—suave, urbane and best of all, he knows how to wear a suit. And Jennifer Rubin has Mitt Romney—suave, urbane, and best of all, he knows how to wear a suit.
It doesn’t matter if the suit is empty or the suit isn’t conservative. The point is, these people don’t make the cultural elites uncomfortable. They are their people. They speak a language that resonates with news editors and commentators and even Washington Post
Increasingly, and regretfully, it’s a language not spoken anywhere but in the cloisters of Higher Ed and newsrooms and Hollywood and worst of all, Congress. It’s uniform, uninformed and anything but inclusive. There’s little diversity of thought, if any, and the unifying theme is “We know better than you.”
The tenor of the language is getting increasingly shrill and hysterical.
Jim Nelson’s screed was ill-thought out and tinged with paranoia.
Jennifer Rubin’s repeated bashing has become strangely personal. In her case, the willingness to print every spurious rumor as fact as long as it maligns Rick Perry (while ignoring nearly every other Republican candidate) is neither very objective nor very journalistic–well, not in the romantic journalist-as-objective-reporter nonsense she ascribes to.
Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky New York University journalism professors, and in Shirky’s case, a consultant to the New York Times spoke of how the New York Times created Barack Obama. Together they gloated and spoke of Chardonnay and shaping the news to diminish conservatives and elevate liberals.
Here’s the real takeaway: The media is neither objective nor in touch with the culture they seek to shape. They, like Obama, believe America, and especially conservative America, is fundamentally flawed. They don’t see a distinction between your average evangelical churchgoer and a snake-handler. They seek to poison the well for any politician or person espousing conservative ideology even in the face of the abject failure of their own.
This worldview is detached, egotistic and condescending. And as long as people who ascribe to it are allowed to dictate who is an acceptable leader and who isn’t, we’ll always end up with empty suits.
Mitt Romney’s connections to the Obama administration extend beyond setting the framework for Obamacare. Turns out that one of the directors of the EPA choking the life out of business right now, was Mitt Romney’s “Green Quarterback.” National Journal has more:
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has taken most of the fire from Republicans as her agency rolls out a slew of controversial new climate and clean air rules. But McCarthy, the EPA assistant administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation, has taken on much of the heavy lifting of writing, structuring, and implementing the rules.
“Lisa’s the coach and Gina’s the quarterback” in the work of rolling out new clean air regulations, said Daniel Weiss, an energy and climate policy expert at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the Obama administration. “She’s running the plays, improvising on the line.”
McCarthy is meeting behind the scenes with coal CEOs, lawmakers, and state and federal officials to lay the groundwork for the new rules and make sure they’re put in place. She’s making sure the clean air legal language is written in a way that’s robust and airtight, in order to have the biggest impact on cutting pollution, with no loopholes. She’s testifying to Congress, making the case as to why the rules should be implemented, despite a fusillade of political attacks.
The environmentalists love her job-killing policies. Former
Democrat Massachusetts liberal Governor Mitt Romney loved her, too. And yet, here’s what she’s doing right now, according to AmericasPower.org :
As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on the TRAIN Act, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, today, released a comprehensive analysis conducted by National Economic Research Associates (NERA) showing that several of EPA’s new and proposed regulations would lead to 183,000 lost jobs per year and significant increases in the price of electricity and natural gas.
“America’s coal-fueled electric industry has invested nearly $100 billion, so far, to achieve impressive reductions in air pollution. Now is the wrong time for EPA to blindly push ahead without even pausing long enough to understand how all of these rules could hurt American jobs and consumers,” said Steve Miller, president and CEO of ACCCE.
The analysis, done on behalf of ACCCE by NERA, relies on state-of-the-art modeling tools, as well as government data for almost all of its assumptions. NERA’s analysis projects that EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology, coal combustion residuals, and cooling water intake requirements for power plants would, over the 2012-2020 period:
• Cost the power industry $21 billion per year;
• Cause an average loss of 183,000 jobs per year;
• Increase electricity costs by double digits in many regions of the U.S.;
• Cost consumers over $50 billion more for natural gas; and
• Reduce the disposable income of the average American family by $270 a year.
Does Lisa McCarthy care about jobs? Does the Obama administration? Does Mitt Romney? Evidently not:
Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said the Obama administration has faced “a backlog of rulemakings” that weren’t implemented on time or were overturned by the courts.
The agency recently finalized its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to replace a George W. Bush-era rule that a federal court struck down in 2008. And the Utility MACT rule for reducing toxic emissions from power plants has been in the works for 20 years, she said.
Ever the bureaucrat, she’s going to press on with job-killing regulations.
Here’s the thing: We expect this kind of destructive behavior from Democrats. There isn’t a regulation that they’ve met that they don’t like (oh wait, I take that back, they don’t like regulations making abortion clinics comply with minimal doctor’s office standards).
It’s disgraceful, though, how seamlessly bureaucrats from Mitt Romney’s administration mesh into Barack Obama’s administration. Barack Obama. Think about that. The most liberal, big government Democrat since Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney’s advisors work for him.
I’ve disagreed with voters, both GOP, Dem, and Independent a lot recently. There’s kind of an axiom that the voter, like the consumer, is always right. Give him what he wants. What the voter wanted was John McCain and then, Barack Obama. We can see how that worked out. Can we admit those voters were wrong?
Right now, a chunk of the GOP primary voters want Mitt Romney. Like John McCain, nobody really wants wants Mitt Romney, they just fear that the media is right and that he would be electable.
In 2008, I felt that John McCain was wholly unelectable, that it would be a laborious, futile, uphill slog. Many of my DC friends vehemently disagreed with me. I feel the same about Mitt Romney. Yes, even against the Carteresque Obama, Romney would be weak.
At the GOP Fox/Google debate, I had an eerily reminiscent discussion with another DC GOP friend about Mitt Romney. What’s wrong with him? Well, nothing, if you’re a DC, big-government Republican. Mitt Romney is awesome if you secretly buy all the media’s premises about Republicans: That they’re heartless, gun-crazy, Bible-thumping, science-hating, economically stupid cretins who can barely find their way out of their sad middle-class existence to get to their sad middle-class jobs doing sad middle-class tasks. Ew. I mean, like, really.
The Meghan McCain incoherent diatribes about her fellow Republicans are really repackaged versions of what Peggy Noonan, and often, Charles Krauthammer think. Those conservatives! So gauche! (Except Meghan McCain doesn’t know what the word gauche means.)
These are also the same people who couldn’t find a bad words to say about Barack Obama. The media, the left, the independents and the big government Republicans loved Barack Obama. Meanwhile, conservatives saw an incompetent. But he was clean and articulate!
So now, the people who were wrong all ways in the last election are trying to push the GOP cart in the Mitt Romney direction.
Mitt Romney neutralizes every Obama criticism. TARP? Both for it. Gun control? Both for it. Stimulus? Both for it. Obamacare? Romney’s staff helped Obama’s staff to craft the legislation based on the Massachusetts model. How, pray tell, is Mitt Romney, silver-tongued as he is, going to debate Barack Obama and not sound completely inauthentic. Remember the flaccid McCain responses to Obama? Expect those.
Ironically, I felt that Romney would have had more of a chance in 2008 than now. He would have been a better candidate against the untested Obama. Not now. The Republican party has changed. America has changed. Massachusetts and the country struggles under the weight of big government “solutions” that have done nothing so much as added debt to the next generation. When looking back and forth between Obama and Romney, it’s a matter of worse and worser.
Here’s something I find distressing, too, while we’re on the subject. Commentators on the left are clearly riding on the Obama bandwagon. They chose him over Hillary. They enthused about him. On the right, commentators try to be value neutral, as though any candidate would be great. Some seem to just want to be able to say when the Republican fails (and since they’re human they all will), “I told you so.”
We’re not in “I told you so” territory here. We’re in “America is about to go off a cliff” territory. This is no time to enjoying the sport of politics. Or is cynicism called for? Do some on my side believe we’re so far gone that it won’t matter who gets elected? They’re all so bad that the best we can do is criticize the descent?
Well, I’m not to that point which is why I won’t concede to Mitt Romney. Someone told me that Rudy Giuliani was way ahead at this point in 2008. There is still time. And that gives me hope. Because Mitt Romney is a flawed, weak candidate. The GOP can do better.
The country needs better.
Matt Lewis wrote a thoughtful piece about the Republican party and what the two leaders mean for the future of the party:
The most often repeated template is for Republicans to select the person whose “turn” it is to run for president. That’s how the Grand Old Party opted for Richard Nixon, John McCain, Bob Dole — and even George H.W. Bush. The other, less frequently employed model, says: “If you’re going to send up a long shot candidate anyway –perhaps a ‘sacrificial lamb’ — why not go with your heart?” That’s how the GOP chose conservative firebrand Barry Goldwater as its standard-bearer in 1964, a decision that guaranteed a landslide victory for Democrats.
Today, the perfunctory, “next in line” theory suggests that the most likely GOP nominee will be former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. While Romney dropped-out of the 2008 campaign earlier than Mike Huckabee, most conservatives concede that Romney finished in secondplace – and that is certainly the view held by the McCainiacs. So, by the logic that led to the nominations of McCain and Dole, it’s Romney’s turn. Even if rank-and-file conservatives find him less than perfect concede that he’s paid his dues.
But what about the other model? Who is this year’s Goldwater – and, just maybe, our Reagan? Who is the person movement conservatives really want? It sure ain’t Mike Huckabee. And it might be Sarah Palin.
Further, he says this [and yes, I'm heavily quoting, go read the whole thing]:
With three years to go, predictions are a risky business. Palin may not even run. And perhaps someone such as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will emerge as the conservatives’ darling. If recent elections are any guide, the Republicans’ heads will tell them to choose Mitt Romney. Their hearts whisper something else. Is “Sarah” the name of this siren song?
There is an implication in this analysis that nominating Romney would be a “smart” thing. I would suggest, that is false. Mitt Romney, it should be remembered, lost to John McCain. Anyone who lost to John McCain should be discounted, in my opinion. John McCain was a weak and flawed candidate and everyone knew it. The Republican primary voters felt that the other candidates were weaker and/or more flawed.
Voting for Mitt Romney in 2012 would not only be not using one’s head, it would be outright stupid. Sure, he’s got the economic turnaround thing going, but he has the look and feel of someone a person just can’t trust. He is, dare I say it, unelectable. And everyone, but the most devoted Romney-ites knows it.
As for Sarah Palin being the luring conservative temptress, bidding the GOP to crash into the shoals of death, pain and panic…now, that is wrong, too. While the verdict is still out on Sarah Palin, she could be a very good or a very bad choice. How can anyone know that yet?
Sarah Palin has to delineate herself from not only McCain’s policies, she has to define herself as a Republican. Or is she going really rogue and starting her own party? We’ll find out soon enough.
Right now, I don’t think Romney makes sense on any level. Really, I can’t think of one Republican candidate for president who would be a good choice. But it is early yet. Strange times can lead to stranger candidates. These are strange times.