Friday, November 23, 2012

The saga of Mitt and Ann

by Daniel Greenfield:
Back when the establishment turned Romney into its choice, I said that they should have their shot, but that they should pay a political price for their failure if it blows up in their face. Ann Coulter isn't willing to pay that price. Instead she's gone back to her old routine. And Coulter's routine is a simple one.

1. Take a shot at an easy liberal target

2. Say something shocking about the left or minorities

3. Push liberal Republican apologetics

Items 1 and 2 establish Coulter's street cred for item 3 which is the real agenda. Using that same 1, 2 and 3 routine, Coulter has been able to sell anything, including RomneyCare as a conservative principle.

Now after taking a shot at Maxine Waters, a hard target if there ever was one, Coulter goes straight to selling Romney as more conservative than Reagan. Or more libertarian which is at least an easier sell.

But first Coulter throws out one of her specialties. Misleading facts.

The only Republican to defeat a sitting president in the last century was Ronald Reagan in 1980, when he beat Jimmy Carter, the second-worst president in U.S. history

Now this looks impressive. It makes it seem as if many Republicans tried to unseat Democratic presidents and failed.

One problem. Clinton was the only two-term Democratic president since FDR and his presidency unto death. The modern Republican Party, since its transformation into a conservative populist party, had only tried to unseat two Democratic presidents. It got one and utterly blew its attempt to unseat the other by running Bob Dole.

Now Obama was not an easy target, but neither is there some sort of track record of it being impossible for a Republican candidate to unseat a Democrat in the White House. But it helps to be a populist candidate, which Reagan was and Romney wasn't.

Reagan picked a pro-choice, anti-supply side Republican as his running mate. He lavishly praised FDR in his acceptance speech at the national convention, leading The New York Times to title an editorial about him “Franklin Delano Reagan.”

Meanwhile, Romney promised to institute major reforms to Medicare, repeal Obamacare and impose a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. He said he’d issue a 50-state waiver to Obamacare on his first day in office. He chose a pro-life, fiscal conservative as his running mate and never praised FDR.

The only way Coulter can make Romney seem ultra-conservative is to tear down Reagan. But attempting to judge Reagan by 2012 standards doesn't work.

But let's look at why Reagan had to run the way he did and Romney had to run the way he did.

Reagan could run more liberal than he was, because he had established credibility on conservative ideas. No one doubted his bona fides after all these years. He could make compromises while people would still believe that he had the right agenda at heart.

Romney had to run more conservative than he was because he had no such credibility. And this is a major problem for politicians in general. It's how we ended up with our own version of John Kerry.

A Republican candidate may need to be able to run to the center in a national election while having right of center policies. Just the way that Obama runs a little to the right while holding a far left wing agenda. But candidates with no ideological cred cannot do this. People assume that they're selling out, rather than utilizing a strategy, and they're generally right.

The good news for masochists is that you can look forward to Ann Coulter doing this same full-court press for Chris Christie in a year or two as Mr. Conservative.

"The idea that Romney failed to present a clear contrast with Obama or was too “nice” is also nonsense." 
 Now Coulter almost has a point here. That is if you don't count foreign policy, where Romney spent an entire debate agreeing with Obama, or social policy which he avoided talking about.

But on business, Romney established a clear line of difference with Obama. It was so effective that many Democratic businessmen became the Romney Democrats. Unfortunately Romney failed to extend this difference into any other area and all his Romney Democrats were mostly small and big businessmen. The Reagan Democrats either stayed home or voted for Obama.

The problem wasn't that Romney was too nice. The problem was that Romney did not know anything outside his narrow sphere of business. He failed to challenge Obama on Benghazi because he really did not understand the issues. That was why he also favored a more aggressive policy in Syria. Or why he couldn't set himself apart from Obama on foreign policy.

The same went for any issue outside business and the economy. And that seems palatable enough because the economy was the big issue. But that just highlights the differences between Reagan and Romney.

Reagan could extend conservative philosophy across a range of areas. Romney could only champion free enterprise and it wasn't enough.

Conservatives love Reagan less because of policy than because of the way he was able to advocate conservative ideas as mainstream ones. Romney had trouble doing this.

To the extent Republicans have a problem with their candidates, it’s not that they’re not conservative enough. Where are today’s Nelson Rockefellers, Arlen Specters or George H.W. Bushes? Happily, they have gone the way of leprosy.

Having vanquished liberal Republicans, the party’s problem now runs more along the lines of moron showoffs, trying to impress tea partiers

Really? Liberal Republicans no longer exist?

Has Jeb Bush gone the way of leprosy? Has Lindsey Graham? Have Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain all vanished?

In CoulterWorld, the Republican Party's elected officials are now all conservatives and the only problem is that obnoxious Tea Party morons insist on asking them to be conservatives, even though they totally are. Like Mitt Romney and Chris Christie.
Friday Afternoon Roundup: Rumors of Ceasefires

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