Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NO, FRANK, IT'S NOT THE SYSTEM'S FAULT. IT'S THE REPUBLICANS' FAULT.

Frank Bruni thinks Mitt Romney's ineptitude is the system's fault:
How did someone so politically maladroit -- a cardboard cutout crossed with an Etch A Sketch -- get this far?

We need to remind ourselves that the alternatives were Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann. And we need to ask whether we now have an electoral process so vacuous, vicious and just plain silly that most people in their right minds wouldn't go anywhere near it.

It chews up candidates and their families, spits them out and cackles with hyperpartisan glee all the while. Yes, those candidates volunteer for it, but still. The process doesn't necessarily serve some wondrous purpose of culling the herd and toughening the survivors, as the people invested in it -- including those of us in the news media -- often like to argue. Maybe it just sours them, befouls the atmosphere in which they operate and encourages voters to tune out.
Really, Frank?

Well, first of all, how much has the process really changed since 2008? And recall that that system attracted both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as flawed but serious candidates such as Joe Biden and Bill Richardson.

Beyond that, what's so new about a system that's "vacuous, vicious, and just plain silly," that "chews up" politicians, "spits them out and cackles"? How long have Democrats lived in such a system? Since the Swift-boating of John Kerry in 2004? Since the trashing of Al Gore's reputation in 2000? Since the very beginning of Clinton presidency? And yet, after those events, the Democratic Party hasn't presented America with a motley crew of clowns incessantly trying to out-demagogue and out-extreme one another.

No, sorry -- the system sucks, but it doesn't prevent people of some virtue, competence, and maturity from emerging -- the ridiculousness of the Republican Party is what does that. Four years from now, I predict the Democrats won't nominate a clown -- and I predict the Republicans will, even if the nominee isn't a clown now. He or she will have to become a clown to be chosen.

8 comments:

Victor said...

Right now, they have a choice of two kinds of candidates to run for President:
1. The mouthbreathing knuckledragger who'll appeal to the base, but not the country.
2. The semi-mouthbreathing knuckledragger who's trying to be appealing to the country, in which case, he/she isn't all that appealing to the base.

And Frank Bruni needs to go back to reviewing restaurants. He was pretty good at that.

Danp said...

The media in general deserves a lot of the blame for this. Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan would never be described as "serious" or "intellectual" if they were Dems. But Republicans are selling snake oil policies based on nonsense logic. Their candidates are not separated by their policies so much as their sales skills.

That said, it is a system largely created and paid for by Republicans.

Philo Vaihinger said...

The tea party favors trailer trash and the tea party is in charge.

Steve M. said...

Mitt Romney is McMansion trash.

White Hat said...

"I predict the Republicans will, even if the nominee isn't a clown now. He or she will have to become a clown to be chosen."

Maybe, maybe not. This election should prove to mainstream Republicans that they can't win a nationwide election with their current platform, only regional contests, in not enough locations. Of course the last presidential election should have proven that too, but the evidence grows more compelling with more losses - and the current elections nationwide are shaping up to be a blowout in congress as well as at the presidential level.

More evidence can be found in Boehner's (lack of) control of House Republicans. The Tea Party-created fiscal crisis cost the US government billions in interest payments - not a good result for the "fiscally responsible" party. Congressional approval ratings have hit new lows. An anti-government agenda is simply NOT what the majority of voters want to hear from politicians they're hiring to run a government.

So while it's possible that the GOP will continue its death march toward the extreme right, it's also possible that they'll listen to their marketing people and start moderating their message, cut down on lying, and make an effort to appear to act responsibly. It wouldn't change the unspeakable agenda of the GOP, but it would sell better. And that is the bottom line.

Steve M. said...

This election should prove to mainstream Republicans that they can't win a nationwide election with their current platform, only regional contests, in not enough locations.

Maybe. But I think they're much more likely to conclude that their only problem was that Romney was too incompetent a campaigner, and too moderate.

ajay said...

great post
...........

GonenUSMC said...

The democrats WILL TOO nominate a clown in 2016!

Al Franken will win the 2016 Democratic nomination and win in a rout over Republican Allen West.

The eight years of the Franken Presidency will be remembered as an American Golden Age. Paul Krugman will be chairman of the Fed.