Monday, November 16, 2015


One GOP strategist is asked by Politico about the effects of the Paris attacks on the presidential race. Whether he realizes it or not, he's partway to an explanation of why Donald Trump and Ben Carson have been leading the race for months:
Steve Schmidt, a veteran GOP strategist and senior adviser to John McCain's 2008 campaign, predicted the current dynamic [in the race] would remain unchanged so long as no one in the race -- experienced or unexperienced -- was leveling with the American people about the true costs to quell the threats abroad.

"Simply asserting 'I will destroy ISIS' absent any honesty with the American people of what is required to do that is platitudes," Schmidt said. For voters, he said, "There's no difference between an experienced politician offering platitudes and an inexperienced outsider offering platitudes."
That's closer to the truth than most Republicans get. On foreign policy and terrorism, nearly every Republican -- Establishment or outsider -- talks in Fox-ready (and in many cases Fox-crafted) simplistic soundbites. America must lead! Obama believes in "leading from behind"! Obama called ISIS the "JV team"! The president and the rest of the "Democrat" Party won't say "radical Islam" or "Islamic terrorism" or "Islamic extremism"!

But that's not just the way Republicans talk about terrorism. It's how they talk about everything. And that's been true for many years: Obama wants to take all your guns! Obama hates capitalism! Obama is deliberately trying to create a dependency culture in which everyone is hooked on "free stuff"! Black Lives Matter wants to kill cops! Climate change scientists are bought-and-paid-for hoaxsters with a sinister big-government agenda! America is being destroyed by political correctness!

And that's the real reason Trump and Carson are leading the Republican race. If, for years, the vast majority of your party's utterances have been finger-pointing bumper-sticker slogans, then of course your voters are going to be ready to embrace a wealthy rabble-rouser or a beloved holy fool who's incapable of anything beyond simple-minded that sort of demagoguery. Of course your voters aren't going to demand detailed, well-thought-out proposals based on expertise and experience. You've raise your electorate on a diet of nothing but red meat -- you can't expect them at election time to suddenly develop a taste for vegetables. Especially when even the members of your party who know how to prepare vegetables have long since stopped serving up anything but the meat.

But then Schmidt adds:
“The American people have been communicated to like children -- by both parties -- and with extreme dishonestly by the administration,” Schmidt said.
So even he can't help himself. Yeah, the voters are being infantilized, but you know what else? Obama sucks!

This is your problem, Republicans. And you're getting the leaders you deserve.


Ten Bears said...

I've no problem saying "radical Islam" or "Islamic terrorism" or "Islamic extremism", but of course I have no problem saying "radical Christianity" or "Christian terrorism" or "Christian extremism", or " radical Judism", "Jewish extremism", or "Israeli terrorism". They all bow down to the same damned dog.

Victor said...

"And you're getting the leaders you deserve."

Yeah, but they may end up being POTUS - with a GOP Congress - and then what will we rational people be able to do to stop the madness?
It didn't work in 2002-2003. Logic and ration went out the right Overton window.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Steve Schmidt doesn't know what a platitude is.

Feud Turgidson said...

Philo, of course he does. It's just that his circumstances, including his role as a contract pundit to centrist media, requires that every criticism he makes of those he consulted to in the past (and still does, to some extent) requires this sort of elliptical qualification. It's a variation on the old saw about a person's candor in the marketplace always being ultimately subject to that on which his job depends.

If Schmidt were ever to leave out one of these criticisms, that'd be it for any more lunches in the dining rooms of the AEI and Heritage, Prience Reibus and Charlie Black would cease acknowledging his text messages, and PFFFTTTT he'd be kissing his current gigs g'bye & start having to survive by diving in out of political dumpsters.