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.
What a weird conference. There. I said it. The Tea Party received the biggest cheers. The Republicans bashed their own party. Attendees were optimistic and cheerful. Politicians were purposeful and focused on 2010–a marked shift from the usual perspectives at SRLC which has been a conference that gives voters a first look at potential Presidential candidates. Ron Paul’s groupies were suitably worshipful and idealistic. Mitt Romney’s posse were mission-focuses as always. But something was off.
It wasn’t the city or weather. New Orleans was more beautiful than I have ever seen it and the weather was perfect. Food? A+. Gambling? I wouldn’t know, but people had fun. A shooting did clear a friend’s restaurant, though–so it’s the same old New Orleans we know and love.
It wasn’t the venue or organization which was okay–although the scheduling was unorthodox. The speakers didn’t get going until the afternoon every day while the delegates had various brunches. It made for an excellent blogging schedule.
What simmered below the surface of the event, though, made me uneasy. And it was who didn’t attend the event that concerned me.
Eventually, Mitt Romney is going to have to show up at an conference with other political contenders. Will he get more cheers than Newt or Sarah or Mike Pence or Rick Perry? I know he’s hoping to wait them all out, gather to himself a gagilliion dollars and be the presumptive nominee. That method worked in the past, will it work now?
Haley Barbour endorsed Charlie Crist who is miles behind Marco Rubio. Barbour was RNC chair during the 1994 revolution. Many of these old dogs are still around and enjoying power. They remember sweeping in and they don’t want to be swept out.
The recent arm wrestling being done by the NRSC and NRCC against the RNC might actually be wasted effort. If donors are by-passing all of them and funding the Rubios of the world, the party bosses might matter less even as the give full-throated endorsements to establishment candidates who have zero chance of getting elected.
One Republican said to me, “It’s like the Republicans are ten years behind the times. They’re looking for women candidates, when the voters are beyond that.”
What he meant was, the voters now, men and women, want a good candidate who follows, as Rick Perry mentioned, first principles. Gender matters little anymore. Beliefs matter most.
But first principles are inconvenient when an old-guard politician is trying to keep power and money. And so beneath a placid, optimist surface, there is struggling. The struggle would seem to be philosophical: big government Republicans against tax-assailing and small government conservatives with some Tea Party help.
Unfortunately, the struggle seems to be more base than that: who is going to man the ship when Republicans get power back in November? There are lots of Republicans angling for chairmanships and sweet deals and that seems to be a more important fight to them than fighting Democrats and a President who are trying to do to dismantle freedom and the American way.
Politics, like business, has many aging boomers who love their jobs. They don’t want to give them up. Terrified of becoming relics and irrelevant, they fight like badgers to hold on to personal power while not paying attention to what they’ll even be owning after they “win.” If the establishment Republicans rip the party apart, they may have power in a party that no longer matters. Do they recognize this reality?
Many of the old guard are suspicious of the Tea Partiers and conservatives in general. Cozying up with small government types, makes keeping a big government difficult.
Bottom line, the leadership of the party isn’t at the top anymore. The grassroots are leading, amoeba-like, toward a philosophical goal of smaller government, less taxation and more freedom. So far, no presumptive presidential candidate has taken on that mantal.
After the November mid-term elections, I expect a very wild presidential campaign. And while Mitt stuffed the ballot boxes at the Southern Republican Leadership Council, I don’t think his place as the new face of the GOP is anywhere near certain.
The Republican party will change, people will give them one last chance, because voters burned themselves with Ross Perot going third party. But if the party isn’t responsive to the base’s concern after the last two years, I’m afraid there will be a new party building and the old guard will be manning an empty ivory tower.
Tabitha Hale has more. She has a controversial take on the opening speaker who decided that the most important issue facing the nation is gay marriage.
Here are some interviews I conducted at SRLC:
Ted Cruz, former Texas Solicitor General who has argued many cases before the Supreme Court (and won) discusses the possible legal approaches to get rid of Obamacare. Also here.
A great Republican running against Deborah Wasserman-Schultz: Learn about Brian Reilly here.
I also got to spend 10 minutes with Herman Cain. That video is still loading, but I’ll add it to the cue.
Liza over at Culture Kitchen gives me a back handed compliment and then dismisses a Rick Perry run for President because of his secession hyperbole while extolling Mitt Romney.
One word: Jobs
Texas has them. No other state comes close.
One phrase: It’s the economy stupid.
Rick Perry gets that, the Democrats don’t.
Now, Perry may have no chance to get elected, I don’t know. But please let’s not pretend that Romney doesn’t have baggage.
Can you say RomneyCare? And much as it pains me, his religion will still be a stopper for many people.
The press likes Romney way too much. Remember how they loved McCain? Yeah.