Sunday, January 22, 2012


Here's an interesting point made by mistermix after he watch Newt Gingrich's victory speech -- interesting, but I don't quite buy it:

...if Newt is the candidate, he's going to drive the discussion into all the nooks and crannies of noise and diversion that have occupied Fox News viewers since Obama's victory. In other words, Newt is the candidate of the 2009 media cycle, where the Tea Party dominated media coverage. If Romney is the candidate, a big part of the discussion will be how he managed to pay 15% tax on the millions he made. He's the candidate of the 2011 media cycle, dominated by Occupy Wall Street and issues of jobs and equity.

Even though it would appear that Newt's candidacy is better for the establishment, establishment Republicans are going to try to snuff out his campaign ... what's so bad for the establishment about having a shit-slinger like Newt take attention away from the unfairness of eternal tax cuts? He guarantees that the issues of the election will all be sideshow trivia: Obama will be explaining why he isn't like Saul Alinsky, the media will be explaining why they aren't traitors, and Paul Krugman will be explaining what "fiat currency" means.

Yeah, but what the tea party, the Kochs, and Muroch/Ailes did in 2009-2010 was appropriate for winning a midterm election, not a presidential election. In a midterm election -- and this applies to Gingrich's own big win in 1994 -- you fire up the base and count on an especially diminished turnout by the other side (after all, lots of people just don't vote in midterms anyway). Anger works.

In a presidential election, you have to make voters in the middle think you're reasonable and the other guy is off base and extreme. Obama did that in '08. Clinton did it in '96. Obama can do it again -- though Romney is positioning himself so he can (gently) marginalize Obama. And the result is that people don't like Romney, but he still polls much better against Obama than Gingrich does (in fact, of the four remaining Republicans Romney polls best against Obama and Gingrichy polls worst.)

And presidential elections are personality-driven. Reagan was a red-meat partisan who made his backers hate liberals and Democrats, but he came off to a lot of people in the middle as a folksy grandpa. George W. Bush was a pretty nasty partisan himself, but he concealed his leanings to some extent in 2000 and wrapped his ideology in the flag in '04 to win over swing voters such as the "security moms," who thought he was just a patriotic Boy Scout selflessly protecting us from the evildoers. Hard to imagine Gingrich pulling anything like that off. I don't even think he can fake a message of "Bring Us Together" the way Nixon did in '68.

And as for Romney as plutocrat, well, I still say the American people are far less class-conscious than they ought to be. Even the people who are paying very little attention right now probably know that Romney is an ex-businessman, and if America were in sync with Occupy Wall Street, that alone would be killing him. But it isn't. We still love CEOs. We still think "job creators" might save us.


Davis X. Machina said...

Angela Merkel, not Newt, not Mitt, not anyone with an R after their name, will decide whether Obama gets a second term.

c u n d gulag said...

Actually, Davis is probably right.

We need to hope the bottom doesn't fall out of Europe until after November.

Of course, with their Austrian austerity policies, that may not happen.


In which case, get ready for American Dominionist Christian Corporate Fascism.

Ten Bears said...

Get ready for it? It's already here.

Like it or not, we are Fascist. We are Nazi.

BH said...

Hm, I thought we were Devo.

Ah, it's balm to see The Newt unleashed. May he grow & prosper & (dare one hope?) be the R nominee.