Wednesday, February 08, 2012

THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT AND THE OTHER GOP ESTABLISHMENT

So Rick Santorum swept the contests yesterday, winning the Minnesota primary and the Missouri and Colorado caucuses. I suppose I should have seen that the fix was in a couple of days ago, when right-wing pollster/propagandist Scott Rasmussen made the startling "discovery" that Rick Santorum is the GOP's strongest general-election candidate:

In Rasmussen's latest general election poll, Mr. Santorum is the only GOP candidate who leads President Obama. The former Pennsylvania senator edges out Mr. Obama by a point, while Mr. Romney trails the president by four and Mr. Gingrich trails him by eight. Just a week ago, Mr. Santorum lagged by eight. The key to Mr. Santorum's bounce appears to be his 10 point lead among independents.

Rasmussen's poll result was, to put it mildly, an outlier -- the last six non-Rasmussen polls have found that Obama beats Santorum by anywhere from 8 to 15 points. Are Rasmussen's numbers phony, or is the firm just wildly oversampling right-wingers? And if the numbers are phony, why would the GOP's house pollster want to push Santorum? Alternately, if the numbers come from oversampling of wingnuts, why are wingnuts drifting to Santorum?

Well, the right-wing noise machine has been in "war on Christianity" mode in the past few days, hammering away at the Obama administration's contraceptive-coverage ruling (lead stories at Fox Nation over the past couple of days included "Fear of Civil Disobedience: Army Chaplains Asked Not to Read Disapproval of Contraception Mandate" and "Catholic Church Ups Ante Against Obama...Threatens Fighting in the Streets"). Never mind the fact that a solid majority of Americans, and an even larger majority of Catholics, favor the contraceptive coverage mandate, according to a Public Religion Research Institute poll -- the right wing considers Job #1 to be dividing the country in the hopes of conquering it, and that takes precedence even over rallying around the party's presidential front-runner. (It takes precedence over everything, at all times.) So this issue, which seems on paper to offer a golden opportunity to generate anti-Obama among swing-state Catholics, is being pushed relentlessly (more, it seems, than even the Prop 8 or Susan Komen stories).

So the message going out via the tribal drum to the GOP voter base is a Santorum-friendly message -- it plays to his key issues. Thus, I guess it's no surprise that Rick did so well. Part of the GOP establishment wants to close ranks around Romney, but part of it has other priorities -- or maybe you could say that the same people have conflicting priorities.

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I suspect Santorum isn't going to get traction, but if he does, it's going to be interesting watching Mitt Romney's people try to launch a character-assassination campaign against him. Attacking Gingrich that way seems sort of appropriate, and suited to his angry-baby personality. Santorum? He's the whiny wounded warrior who was felled by evil Pennsylvania liberals in 2006 for Taking A Stand. To wingnuts, he's a Boy Scout. If Romney attacks him, are they going to see it as cruel? Or is it that they find him as unlikable as we do (an unlikable Boy Scout), but they're voting for him now because they're sick of Gingrich and don't see any other not-Mitt choice?


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AND: Headline of the day, from Gawker:

Shocker: Rick Santorum Goes Three For Three In Tuesday’s Elections Despite Being Rick Santorum

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UPDATE: Second link fixed.

12 comments:

c u n d gulag said...

The entertainment just keeps on coming.

Is it fair to ask after this, whether Santorum, suddenly and forcefully surging from behind, has left the Republican Presidential field a mess?

Oh, goody!
This means more TV debates!
And Americans can watch them debate one another on whose economic policies which will further sink the economy and drastically increase unemployment

Hmmm…
We should come up with a catchy name for these upcoming TV shows:
How about “America’s Idle”?

Oh, and just wait until the Independents find out that Icky Sticky Ricky wants to ban contraceptives, and make sure nothing but the missionary position is ever used - and then, only to have more mouths to feed.
NO RECREATIONAL SEX FOR YOU!!!

WAY OT - BUT WOW!
David Frum's takedown of Charles Murray's new book, "Only White People Count." Ooops! Sorry, books actual title is "Coming Apart."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/06/charles-murray-book-review.html

Steve and Tom, read it. There are several great posts in it for you guys.

And it's funny to listen as David Frum sounds like a bleeding heart Liberal.

I wonder if the Conservatives now regret ex-communicating David Frum?

It seems like Frum’s now vying for “The William F. Buckley Chair Of Semi-reasonableness – When Compared To His Conservative Whack-a-doodle Reactionary Contemporaries.”

c u n d gulag said...

Oh, and the reason I love Frum's review, is that be blames Murray far whining about things "coming apart" from 1960 to 2010, without considering how what's 'coming apart' was built up in the first place.

Murray's a typical Conservative: Concentrate on what you want to, and leave out any evidence that might contradict your conclusion.

Ten Bears said...

Read my lips: Brokered Convention, Jeb Bush.

c u n d gulag said...

Sorry that I misquoted you at G&T, Steve.
Oooops!

That's my 2nd "Oooops!" in two days here.

I'm kind of distracted with my Dad's illness.

Steve M. said...

Sorry about your dad.

And I appreciate the citation....

BH said...

TB - for my money: "brokered convention, Jeb Bush" = O wins.

I just think that it's a term too early, even here, for a 3rd Bush to successfully bamboozle/swindle enough of the people for a long enough time to win in the general, especially as a brokered candidate. Maybe in '16, but the name still resonates too negatively IMO & creates a huge opening for the D's to run against W again.

Steve M. said...

What about brokered convention and Chris Christie? Or Mitch Daniels? I could definitely see the former -- the elites and the knuckledragging Fox audience love Christie.

BH said...

I could see it happening for Christie, all right; but seems to me he'd bring his own liabilities with him into the general, the most prominent being a basic: actual physical ability to tolerate the stress of the job. And he does have that history of being a paid professional lobbyist, with an otherwise rather slim resume. I'd guess that if he were nominated, it'd be analogous to the Palin nomination: initial starburst thrillarama on the right, followed fairly soon by a katzenjammer.

c u n d gulag said...

Steve,
Thanks.
Yeah, it's tough to watch someone you love, revere, and respect, start to whither right in front of your eyes.

I'm just thankful he's lived to be 86, and for me and my sister and Mom, and the rest of the family, to have spent so many good times with him.

Kathy said...

Thinking of you, gulag.

Barry said...

"He's the whiny wounded warrior who was felled by evil Pennsylvania liberals in 2006 for Taking A Stand. "

Remember, 'Wounded Warriors' are to be shat upon the second it's convenient (they're gay, they're Democrats, etc.).

Barry said...

Steve M. said...

"What about brokered convention and Chris Christie? Or Mitch Daniels? I could definitely see the former -- the elites and the knuckledragging Fox audience love Christie."

The problems are
(1) A brokered convention assumes a real knife-edge balance, all the way through Aug (IIRC, a lot of delegates will have flexibility, and all will after the first ballot). This is hard to maintain - remember, the various non-Mitt's have extremely limited lifespan, once they get the spotlight upon them.

(2) The continuing primary struggle is very bad for the GOP, since it repeatedly puts their ugly in front of Americans. Since the Democratic primary season will be as boring as watching paint dry, the media will focus on the GOP's fun and games. The people running the GOP have a strong incentive to wrap things up in March, and to start the general campaign.

(3) All of these proposed candidates are people who've stayed well out of the race. That's why they look so good. Christie, for example, is a big right-wing d-bag, who is happy to screw over his state (e.g., refusing fed funds for a desperately needed tunnel to NYC). Daniels is the 'non culture warrior' who is actually a huge culture warrior. He's a 'economic reformer' who screwed his state over with GOPnomics. They simply look good *because* we haven't gotten the look at them that we have at the others.

(4) And after all of the above, *if* a brokered campaign came up with one of these alleged saviors, the guy would pretty much have to start his national campaign from scratch, ~10 weeks before the election. He'd also have all of those initial screw-ups occur both too late to fix, and under the scrutiny that Sep-Nov of an election year gives. The various revelations about the dirty sh*t that they've done would come out late, and still be fresh come November.

In the end, it's Mitt.