Thursday, May 14, 2009


I see from Dan Balz of The Washington Post that there's more than one Republican who's deeply unpopular with the general public but is not allowed to be criticized (at least for attribution) by anyone who wants to remain a Republican in good standing:

[Dick Cheney's] high-profile defense of controversial Bush administration policies has caused queasiness among Republican political strategists. But Cheney remains powerful enough that most of his GOP critics are not willing to take him on in public. "The fact that most people want to talk [without attribution] shows what a problem it continues to be," said one Republican strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid. "Cheney continues to be a force among many members of our base, and while he is entirely unhelpful, no one has the standing to show him the door."

...Another GOP strategist, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, pointed out the conundrum for Republicans over the former vice president's current role. "Even if he's right, he's absolutely the wrong messenger," this strategist said. His main worry, he added, is that Cheney keeps the public focused on the past, rather than the future. "We want Bush to be a very distant memory in the next election. The more Cheney is on the front burner, the more difficult it's going to be."

I still think Cheney's picked an issue on which the public is still susceptible Republican talking points -- maybe that's part of the reason Cheney's focusing on torture and detention as the central subject of his Nixonian After-the-Fact Self-Defense Tour -- but generally speaking, yeah, I suppose Cheney's not the ideal GOP messenger.

But hey, Republican leaders, if you're afraid to cross the guy, or Rush Limbaugh, that's just chickens coming home to roost. You allowed your party to become a crazy-base, McCarthyite, fearmongering party. Now you're stuck with the crazy fearmongering McCarthyites as your base's sacrosanct folk heroes.

In related news, I see that you guys are trying to recruit electable moderates for 2010 -- which seems like a smart move except for the fact that your base and the base's media heroes (Beck, Malkin, Erickson) hate your moderate Florida Senate candidate.

That link goes to a post by Blue Texan at Firedoglake, who thinks Crist is going to win that battle. Given the fact that Florida is a closed primary state, I'm not sure I agree. Maybe the GOP's non-crazies should beg Dick Cheney to make some campaign appearances for Crist.

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