Thursday, August 13, 2015


I suppose I should write a detailed analysis of the don't-panic memo written by Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, but I can't get past the second paragraph:
While we fully anticipate a competitive primary and general election, the reality is that the GOP brand continues to erode by the day. Last week’s GOP debate put a spotlight on the problem, leading The Washington Post to conclude that “much of the Republican field has now taken positions that are at odds with mainstream American opinion.” Poll after poll shows that the positions they hold are out-of-date and out-of-step with everyday families - and the nature of the GOP primary will only exacerbate the divide between the candidates and the general public, particularly key swing voters. Furthermore, many of the leading GOP candidates are relying heavily on their Super PACs rather than building a campaign field organization they control.
No, it is not true that "the GOP brand continues to erode by the day" -- and if it were true, the conventional wisdom mongers in the mainstream press would just shore up the GOP, as they always do.

The Republican Party should be embarrassing itself now, but what's happening instead is that Donald Trump -- a pure product of the GOP's media wing, otherwise known as Fox News -- is embarrassing himself, while the GOP is successfully conveying the impression that his words and deeds have nothing to do with the party. Also, Trump is braying at such a high decibel level that the extreme positions of other candidates -- Scott Walker and Marco Rubio rejecting a rape-and-incest exception to a ban on abortion, for instance, or current Iowa 2nd-place challenger Ben Carson saying that Planned Parenthood sets up shop in black neighborhoods to in order to practice eugenics -- aren't being noticed by the vast majority of voters. Trump's cranked-to-11 style is preventing these statements from getting scrutiny. In that way, he's helping to minimize the erosion of the GOP brand.

But it wouldn't matter if Trump weren't there, because the chattering class always gives do-overs to the GOP after any moment of embarrassment, arguing that the embarrassing Republicans aren't the real GOP. The same should be expected after this Republican primary season. If you doubt my limitless-do-over theory, recall the government shutdown of 2013 -- by 2014, we were being told that that Tea Party wing of the GOP had been thoroughly tamed by the Republican Establishment. Before that, in 2010 we were told that the earnest grassroots populists of the Tea Party were the breath of fresh air rejuvenating the GOP, and thus dispelling the stench of Bushism. And before that, in 2000, the recently departed Newt Gingrich was flushed down the memory hole as we were encouraged to embrace the jovial, backslapping, earnest new leader of the GOP, George W. Bush.

It's always like this -- the public may not agree with the GOP on issues, and may have been repulsed by the recent words and deeds of prominent Republicans, but the brand always gets refreshed, and the political mainstream always tells us that there's no rot under the new coat of paint. Next year, after our successful mainstream-media brainwashing, we won't associate the eventual GOP nominee with Trump any more than we associated the 2010 Republican congressional victors with Christine O'Donnell, or the 2014 winners with the villain of the 2013 shutdown, Ted Cruz.

(Oh, and those "independent" Republican super PACs? Is Mook seriously arguing that they don't coordinate carefully with the campaigns?)

If Hillary Clinton can win under these circumstances, fine -- Obama found ways to win in 2008 and 2012. But if Mook thinks Democrats are going to win in large part because Republicans are weakened by the current primary campaign, he needs to learn a lot more about American politics.


Marcus said...

The rot is in the media itself…they are just hired help in advertising products….be careful with Trump he is a competent messenger…no one in the republican field can match him at the political level he knows how to feed them and blow the competition… its now obvious that the republican field is very weak….if the billionaire republican sugar daddies, GE and Disney line up against him that can prove his downfall. He would have no oxygen to fight back and he is not dumb enough to use his own money…so far hate radio is protecting him…can’t wait to see a sign that he has bagged one of the sugar daddies…then you know he will win… poor JEB it was obvious from the start that he is not a very good politician…all that money and can’t message…the media will have to help him

Feud Turgidson said...

I disagree with calling the media support for the GOP brand as "rot". It's simply a function of ownership.

All the major network, cable, AM, FM and print media are own by corporations who to some significant extent identify with the Republican establishment and the goals of its leadership. Some minority of media outlets have a branding strategy that includes appearing to reach out to some minority groups, like women, non-whites and liberals, but it's almost entirely motivated by business analysis, not idealism, philosophy or ideology. It's the hypocrisy within those media outlets faking outreach that give off the whiff of rot.

Steve M. said...

"Rot" was meant as a reference to the GOP and its failures, though I may not have been clear about that.

Marcus said...

I agree Unknown,
The media profit structure thing is not going away...what I don't understand is that corporations are wealthier than ever and people running them have benefited more than in the past. Most republicans of the past would be democrats today. Why this aversion to redistribution to maintain the middle class??…it’s now being artificially maintained through cheap debt…why not replace that debt with wealth redistribution like in the past.
In a nutshell…it’s the corporate leadership tied to republicanism philosophy of today which does not resemble the past which shows too much the incompetence when they speak which is scary…

Luigi said...

I should know better than to argue with someone from "The City", but I am just a yokel from the Midwest, so what do I know. What I know is that because I live near Cleveland, Ohio, a bell weather state, more people watched the Fox debate than I ever thought that would. And I am here to tell you, the Would be Republican voters all came away depressed. "There's no one to vote for," they all said. Apparently most people here in the great unwashed part of the country feel that none of these candidates stood for anything they could believe in. The local Cleveland Pain Feeler, the obedient dog of the uber-rich, crowed that they were all remarkable. But 30 minutes south in Akron, the old BJ (try.naming your publication that!) said the equivalent of "Oy vey!" Us poor folks of no great consequence can see that these emperors have no clothes. The Mook is right to crow. If this keeps up, we are looking at an electoral landslide not seen since Grandpa Ronnie titty twisted Mondale. Only, it will be the Dems that will be smiling.

Of course, what do I know. Just a dirt farmer with a PhD. Not as smart as you city slickers.

With much appreciation,
Luigid, Pemerton, Dixie, Shed & the Silkster

petrilli said...

I honestly don't see why Clinton should be anything but pleased with what's going on with Trump and the GOP now. It's a good thing that he's sucking up so much oxygen, that Carson and Rubio can't get their noxious antiabortion messages out, and that Bush can't catapult his bogus claims of economic miracles in Florida, and Walker can't spew his anti labor teacher bashing garbage. The GOP IS rotten at it's core right now. Rick Perry who should have dropped out by now, will crawl on, due to his PAC stepping in to keep the lights on. If this indicates a trend for weak candidates with sugardaddy money, the crowded GOP dais will stay that way for a much longer time than usual, allowing these rodents (including the Donald)to chew each other to stumps before super Tuesday.