Monday, September 10, 2012


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."

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."
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:
"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.


M. Bouffant said...

Uh, five of six what? Presidential elections? I get four of the last six presidential if Obama wins, three of six in Congressional elections if you count 2002 as Democratic.

(Of course, I was reading something today & was reminded that there was an L.A. Mayor between Riordan & Villraigosa, some guy named James Hahn [Seriously, I had to look it up.] so I may be talking through my ball cap.)

M. Bouffant said...

Oh. Missed the italicized part in the earlier paragraph, & wasn't thinking "popular vote."

Never mind.

Philo Vaihinger said...

The chief worry of the conservative movement is that Republican voters and contributors might get tired of being led off the cliff by them.

Their grip on the party might start to loosen.

The pendulum might swing and the party might begin to move left for a few decades, pushing the Democrats and the whole country that way.

So electoral disaster cannot be their fault.

It cannot be that America did hear their wonderful conservative ideas and blanched with shock and terror.

And said "Hell, no!"

Victor said...

GOP POV (with hands over ears and eyes):

Lalalalalalala, we can't hear or see you!

Maybe, after spending tens and/or hundreds of millions of dollars on Republican campaigns this year, the handful of rich @$$holes will get tired of throwing good money after bad, and go back to sending it to be close to Mitt's money in Swiss and Cayman banks.

And right now, if I were a SMART business person, I'd tell the Romney campaign that I wasn't spending another dime on a loser.

Unknown said...

Shorter Peter Beinart: Dammit, Romney would be winning if we hadn't already tried everything he's suggesting and proven it all to be complete and utter failure!


BH said...

Even shorter Beinart: Dammit, Romney would be winning if Bush II had been St. Reagan!

(Which, regrettably, might even be so... but them's the breaks, Beinart.)