Joe Scarborough got grumpy on Twitter over the weekend because it looks as if Mitt Romney's losing the presidential race and it's really, really not conservatives' fault:
"Romney will lose if he doesn't dramatically change his strategy," he said. "Negative ads won't substitute for conservative ideas."Scarborough is apparently moonlighting as a writer for Rush Limbaugh -- Limbaugh also thinks Romney's problem is that he's just not showing voters how glorious the conservative vision is. As he said on the radio today:
The 'Morning Joe' host continued: "The Romney campaign is not conservative. It is just as cynical and risk-averse as Team Obama. A real conservative would be winning now."
... Scarborough also on Saturday criticized Romney for his vague policies.
"Romney has been clear he will avoid specifics on balancing the budget and shrinking government. Not the Reagan and Thatcher way," he said. "The truth is that Thatcher would have lost in 1979 and Reagan would have lost in 1980 if they had run as timid a campaign ad [sic] Mitt Romney."
"If Obama wins, the Republican Party will try to maneuver things so conservatives get blamed. The only problem is right now, Romney is not running a conservative campaign...."And meanwhile, Peter Beinart thinks that Romney, despite being a lousy candidate, would be winning if it weren't for ... George Bush:
Mitt Romney is not a great candidate; Barack Obama is a better one. But without the Bush legacy, Romney would be leading this race. His problem is that except among staunch conservatives, Bush has so hurt the GOP's brand that Romney doesn’t look like the fresh economic fix-it man that Republicans want to portray him as. Instead, it's all too easy for Democrats to paint him as George W. Bush the 3rd, just as they painted John McCain as George W. Bush the 2nd.Not quite what Scarborough and Limbaugh are saying, but the conclusion is similar: Voters aren't rejecting what Republicans actually stand for -- they're rejecting ... er, something else. Because what Republicans actually stand for can't possibly be the real problem!
Look, here's the thing: If Barack Obama wins in November, that will mean that Republicans will have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. And they will have done so to three of the most vilified people in politics: Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Barack Obama.
Is it possible that, at least in high-turnout elections, we discover that the public really doesn't like the Republican agenda? Is it possible that voters aren't rejecting Romney, or McCain four years ago, because they inadequately represent the GOP agenda, but because they represent it all too well? Is it possible that it's not George W. Bush the voters seem to be rejecting this year, it's Romney ... and Ryan ... and Gingrich and Santorum and Bachmann and Trump and Pat Robertson and Todd Akin and Rush Limbaugh, and Bush and Cheney and Rove? Is it possible that the whole damn lot of them are being rejected?
It's not a resounding rejection -- Republicans are never rejected resoundingly enough. And Republicans do tend to slip back into power in low-turnout midterms (1994, 2010).
But if Obama wins this year, that's five out of six. That's a pattern. Maybe America's trying to tell the GOP something.