It’s The Electability and Inevitability, Stupid

We don’t know about anyone else, but we’re a little tired of having our intelligence insulted.

Fox News earned #1 ratings in Super Tuesday coverage and featured a parade of nattering nabobs

We started writing this article on Monday, well before the votes were in from “Super Tuesday”. When family matters interrupted our task, we hoped we’d be proven wrong and just have to scratch this article. But, alas, as the results came in, intellectual injury was added to insult.

Who’s behaving badly?  Answer:  A majority of the Republican Party’s ruling class[1. We've referred many times in the past year and a half to an article in The American Spectator by Angelo M. Codevilla, entitled "America's Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution", which the GiN leadership team believes best articulates the political landscape in America today. America has a ruling class, which cannot be defined by political party affiliation, and that ruling class has clients, beneficiaries and "wanna-bes"; and then, there is the rest of us.] / establishment elite, which includes Republicans in elective office, GOP party officials, and a large number of the talking-head brigade.  As a shorthand way to refer to them throughout the remainder of this article, we’re going to borrow a phrase from William Safire and call them “nattering nabobs.”

Here are the two primary insults…

We’re told that Mitt Romney’s nomination is inevitable.

TRANSLATION for those of us who live in fly over country…

Inevitable = it’s Romney’s turn

We’re told that Mitt Romney is the only electable candidate in the GOP race.

TRANSLATION for those of us who don’t live (or wish we lived) inside the Beltway…

Electability =

  • Everyone who matters believes he’s the inevitable candidate[2. Wikipedia has a partial list for all of the candidates, one site supportive of Romney has many kinds of listsof Romney's endorsements] (see above)
  • Believes himself that his nomination is inevitable
  • Won Iowa!!! (wait…no, take that back…well, it doesn’t matter, he grabbed the headlines…)
  • Can raise a lot of money (as a bonus also HAS a lot of his own money, which he will spend on an election)
  • Has been perpetually campaigning since 2007, so he’s reeeeeally good at campaigning
  • Only candidate running a real campaign, so of course he’s the only one the nabobs will take seriously[3. Super Tuesday Fox News Channel coverage was full of such information - former anchor Brit Hume, for instance, practically sniffed in disdain regarding how long Romney had been campaigning, how organized the Romney machine is, and how the other candidates just do not measure up.].
  • Is “Presidential” (We dunno…does that mean he resembles a game show host or that he looks like an aging Ken doll — i.e., as if he’s made out of plastic so you can bounce nickels off his hair?)
  • Knows how to reinvent the perception of himself (this requires sub-translation…means he will change positions on a dime, based on latitude and longitude)
  • Appeals to moderates (well, really conservative people don’t like him, so…hey…moderates must!  Except any Democrats, of course.  It’s evil to make any sort of effort to appeal to them, ya know.)
  • Had a MAJOR victory in Ohio, the “crown jewel of Super Tuesday”. (ok, so he barely pulled it out…that doesn’t mean anything, it’s still a BIG win!!!)
  • Is the only candidate who can….{drum roll, please}…beat Obama!

What a load of baloney!  Clearly, we’re not the ones with the intelligence deficit or learning impairment.

The whole electability thing seems really strange to us. For someone who is so gosh darn electable, before Super Tuesday, there had been higher percentages of people NOT voting for Mitt Romney than percentages of people that HAD in each and every caucus and primary, save ONE.

Percentages for "Not Romney" derived by adding vote percentages for the three other candidates in the GOP contest

Yes, really.

So how about Super Tuesday?

Percentages for Romney versus percentages for other three candidates, including Super Tuesday results

YAWN. . . .Anyone else underwhelmed?[4. The numbers for the "Romney / Not Romney" chart image were obtained from an Associated Press chart showing the percentages of votes for each of the four candidates remaining in the race as of this writing. The chart doesn't have an independent link, but can be seen by scrolling down THIS Google search page for pre-Super Tuesday races, and THIS Google search page, for Super Tuesday. Note that Wyoming is listed in the AP results, but the Wyoming state GOP has rules which provide for county parties to determine when to convene their delegate selection, which are by caucusing. Caucuses are scheduled throughout the state over the next week, so final results aren't expected until March 10. The Wyoming GOP structure is a rare example today of local control.]

But our point here is not about Mitt Romney or his worthiness as a candidate.  It’s about a bunch of nattering nabobs who are insulting voters by lining up to tell us what is inevitable and who is electable.  In the 1992 Presidential election season, political wizard James Carville, as the legend goes, posted a list of three core ideas to “keep himself and the team focused”. Among them was the now-famous mantra “The economy, stupid”, which has entered the American lexicon as “It’s the economy, stupid”.  The list and the mantra were all part of the “inside baseball” of the campaign. (After all, insulting voters’ intelligence by addressing them directly as stupid is not considered a winning strategy. . . . At least, it never used to be.)

Note the title of this article, which is really a sort of double entendre. We think it’s what the nattering nabobs are saying to voters – get on board the train, you silly voters!  In reality, that admonition is more properly directed at the nabobs themselves.  We, the “little people”, are not the stupid ones here.  The nabobs’ peddling of the electability and inevitability messages only proves there’s a profound and increasing learning disability among the peddlers.  After all, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Anyone remember 2008…?

John McCain, anyone?

Poor Republican voter turnout?

There is a lot of analysis out there about voting demographics in 2008 – see footnotes[6. America University's Curtis Gans has a very comprehensive and frequently cited analysis of the 2008 race, which includes explanations of his methodology and the data tables, entitled "Much-hyped Turnout Record Fails to Materialize Convenience Voting Fails to Boost Balloting", Hot Air's Ed Morrisey gives his take in "Notes From The Collapse" on November 5, 2008, CNN's Political Ticker gives a bit more insight, and Rhodes Cooke's November 13, 2008, editorial, which is referenced specifically in this article, is worth a full read. For an irritating affirmation that Democrats get the picture about the turn out, even if Republicans don't, scroll to the bottom of this article and read the paragraph about what Clinton guru James Carville thinks about the 2008 GOP turnout. The guy may get on your last nerve, but, hey, he's been right before.] for a lot of links. Republican losses and Democratic wins were due to a number of factors which are not related to the points we’re making here. But there are a couple of factors which ARE very important and have decidedly not been part of the “right wing” narrative for the past four years. What was revealed by studies of data and exit polling, etc., was general disillusionment with Republicans and disappointment with available candidates, especially with John McCain as the GOP nominee for President. Among particular segments of Republican voters, including many who typically turn out to vote at higher rates than average, discontent was very high, and turnout more dramatically suppressed. Nebraska’s turnout, for instance, was down 15%.

But let’s not forget 2006.

In the 2006 mid-term election, Republicans were handed their hats. But good luck finding any recognizable media sources with comprehensive, accurate explanations for why Republicans were drubbed. The fact that such an analysis is difficult to find, even going ten pages deep into a Google search with multiple variations of “2006 Republican loss” and “2006 Why Republicans lost”, is very telling[7. A May 2008 Politico article provides no insight to the underlying causes, but does provide a great example of how it's always all about strategy and finger pointing. What else is interesting about that article is the recognition that things were going to get ugly in November.].

Ramesh Ponnuru’s article on Bloomberg in November, 2011, entitled, “Republicans Lose Way by Misreading Bush History” is an excellent example of the sorts of analyses one can find. Ponnuru’s article actually addresses both elections – 2006 and 2008.

And Ponnuru’s analysis is no HuffPo or DailyKos hit piece. In addition to writing for Bloomberg, Ponnuru apparently regularly writes for The Corner, a blog on the website of National Review, a publication considered a conservative fortress by many. The bullet-point version of Ponnuru’s analysis asserts that Republicans are continuing to make the following mistakes:

  • Expunging impurity: Republicans have attempted to oust liberals and moderates
  • Cutting spending and government (see quote below for some articulation)
  • Adopting a belief that there should be no compromise, proposing unpopular ideas that can’t go anywhere (i.e. abolishing the EPA)

Perhaps our favorite passage from Ponnuru’s analysis of Republican losses:

“Republicans were more popular in Bush’s first term, when they were expanding entitlements, than in his second term, when they were trying to reform one (Social Security). For most of the second term, they exercised more spending restraint than they had done in the first term — and again, there was no evidence it helped them politically.”

The only thing that Ponnuru’s analysis leaves out, which some others include, are Republicans’ two other allegedly fatal errors:

  • Taking on the “social issues”
  • Hard-line positions on immigration

Unfortunately, election 2010 fits right in. Election 2010 was not really the blow out it could’ve been nor was a huge increase in voter turnout the driver. As Rhodes Cooke described it in the Wall Street Journal , “A pro-Democratic electorate in 2006 turned into a pro-Republican one this time.”  According to Cooke, turnout overall was not up by much and, in fact, supported year-long polls showing an “enthusiasm gap” for Republicans.

So, the bottom line about 2010?  It wasn’t that voters were so jazzed up about Republicans that they turned out in record numbers. Republicans won because many people who regularly or frequently vote were so freaked out about what was going on and because Democrats failed to motivate their own base to turn out. Finally, Republican wins were not by margins as large as some had projected and, in a number of instances, defeat actually was snatched from the jaws of what had appeared to be certain victory, regardless of whether seats in Congress or state offices further down the ballot were involved (Governors, state legislatures).

That brings us to 2012 so far…

. . . And to a third insult to our intelligence. According to the nattering nabobs…

ABOVE ALL, ELECTION 2012 IS ABOUT “ANYONE BUT OBAMA”

According to this logic, voters should be energetic and motivated.  After all, Obama’s policies are so unpopular with the Republican base, no matter who the party nominates those voters will flock to support him in order to avoid four more years of Obama.  So, all the party needs to WIN is a nominee that will not alienate those vital independent voters.  Wash, spin, rinse, spin, repeat.

But the facts run contrary to the official party line.  Turnout at caucuses and primaries is LOW.   Moreover, analyses like those coming from Ponnuru, above, and the beating of drums about “inevitability” and “electability” only reinforce growing sentiments among voters that election 2012 is proving to be a reprise of the last several election cycles.  In other words, it’s deja vu all over again.

EARTH TO THE NATTERING NABOBS…

VOTERS ARE NOT MOTIVATED, NOT TURNING OUT BECAUSE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ESTABLISHMENT IS BLIND TO THE MESSAGES VOTERS HAVE REPEATEDLY SENT.

Republicans did not lose in 2006 or 2008 because they were “too conservative”, ousting liberals and moderates, cutting spending or size of government (are you kidding?!), taking on “the social issues”, adopting hard-line stances on immigration, or taking no-compromise positions.  Republicans lost then and are failing to motivate voters now because…They haven’t stood for anything different from their Democratic counterparts for a long time!  In other words, Ponnuru and all those like him get it almost entirely wrong.

ONE of the many ways today’s Republicans are too much like Democrats:

They adopt the language of the Left (progressivism) and, very often, proceed to put that language into practice.

*FAIR WARNING NOTICE* We’ve chosen GOP Presidential candidates to illustrate this point. We’ll probably end up “goring everyone’s ox” before we’re through; if you have supported one of the candidates at any point, or do now, your candidate is likely to be mentioned.

Class warfare…

  • Newt Gingrich’s attacks against Mitt Romney about his tenure at Bain Capital
  • Ron Paul’s articulations about banking and the Federal Reserve often focus overly much on banks
  • Mitt Romney’s tax plan discusses how “the 1%” will be treated differently

Too often, these arguments sound like they came straight from an Occupy Wall Street talking points memo

Welfare…

Climate Change / Global Warming / “Cap and Trade”…

Taxation…

For most of the candidates, it’s just a shake and shuffle of the current system…

Corruption…

Some media DID cite one of the reasons for suppressed turnout in 2006 - an increasing number of corruption scandals within Republican circles. Most notorious at the time was the wide circle of corruption surrounding “super-lobbyist” Jack Abramoff.

Existence of the Tom Delay, Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed – “K Street Project” – has become more widely known and only added to the perception of corrupt D.C. politics, especially since one of its key engineers, Delay, was forced in 2005 to resign as House Majority Leader when he was indicted for criminal conspiracy associated with illegal campaign contributions[8. Following several lengthy investigations and legal processes, Delay was ultimately sentenced to a three year prison term in January 2011; the case is currently under appeal.]. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Delay didn’t run for re-election in 2006.

The Delay, Norquist, Reed scheme to solidify Republican power in D.C. by dominating lobbying firms, generally institutionalize lobbying, and create a political career mill for Republicans seemed very much like the mantra, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. But if they join Democrats in “the swamp”, how does that make Republicans any different? In such a climate, it’s no wonder a lot of voters have been turned off.

Character…

Whether it’s corruption within the political realm, or corrupt personal conduct, both are character issues. Despite what the natterers might say, CHARACTER MATTERS. And, of all the mistakes Republicans have made in allowing the left to frame the issues, we truly believe it is on the issue of character – of principles and ethics – where Republicans have raised a white flag, and waved it with abandon.

It’s no small irony that we can end almost where we started – the title of this article, again, note, harkens back to the Clinton era. Not only did political whiz kid Carville help firmly entrench a concept that Republicans now embrace – it’s ALL about the economy – Carville’s candidate ultimately helped America dismantle the idea that character counts.

Remember the whole Lewinsky scandal? It wasn’t important that the President of the United States engaged in infidelity adjacent to the Oval Office OR that he lied about it under oath. That was just about sex, right? C’mon now, we all know that’s just what guys do…and don’tcha know, they always lie about those things. Move along, America, there’s nothing to see here – and Republicans, apparently finding this whole new narrative useful, decided to go along for the ride.

Isn’t it ironic that one of the four remaining candidates in the race – Newt Gingrich – engaged, repeatedly, in the same conduct at the very same time, while publicly attacking the President? Gingrich’s repentance rings hollow; creepishly Clintonian. Just WHEN did that “come to Jesus” moment occur for Mr. Gingrich?

Click to view full color version online

The whole sorry narrative has rendered our standards schizophrenic; Newt Gingrich engaged in multiple infidelities, even married one of his paramours, but because it happened a while back, because he says he’s changed, he’s fit to remain in the race. Herman Cain, on the other hand, a target of unproven allegations, and married to the same woman for 43 years, under fire and dropping like a rock in the polls, pulled out of the race.

Throughout the GOP nomination process, involving a dozen candidates, one after another have risen and fallen. As we’ve already asserted and we think we’ve shown in more than one way, voters are not happy with their choices.

The table, below, shows Romney’s percentages compared to Rick Santorum’s.

Romney v. Santorum in GOP Presidential Primaries through Super Tuesday

Why does this chart look this way?

For all the efforts by the nattering nabobs to segregate MORALITY, PRINCIPLES, and CHARACTER and assign them to a category called “SOCIAL ISSUES”, the positions politicians take on things like abortion, the family, homosexual marriage, etc., send a more general message:  A MESSAGE ABOUT THE STATE AND NATURE OF A CANDIDATE’S PERSONAL CHARACTER.

Whether it is wholly true and accurate OR NOT, regardless of some flaws, a good many voters who could work up the energy to go to the polls so far obviously perceive something in Rick Santorum that is attractive to them. Could it possibly be that his support for traditional values is sending a signal to the voters? Yikes! Might it be that “social conservatism” the nabobs thought they’d quarantined?

Hmmmmmmm.

A final word to those nattering nabobs…

It’s NOT the ECONOMY, STUPID.

It’s NOT the “JOBS CREATION”, STUPID.

It’s NOT the 57 POINT ECONOMIC PLAN, STUPID.

It’s NOT the INEVITABILITY, STUPID.

It **may** very well be the CHARACTER that makes a candidate ELECTABLE.

(But go ahead, nabobs…dare to be stupid, it’s only the future of the country…)

[jbox color="white" shadow="3" width="550" content_css="font-size: 24px; color:#575757; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;" icon="http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/camera.ico"]Image Credit & Copyright Notice[/jbox]

“Fox News Super Tuesday Collage” created by Shelli Dawdy with images found on FoxNews.com. Fox News‘ coverage was chosen as representing media coverage because it has become the default news network for such coverage, as evidenced by rating trends reported on March 8, 2012, in The Hollywood Reporter. FNC’s ratings for prime time Super Tuesday coverage were equal to ratings for MSNBC and CNN combined, and beat out the only broadcast network to provide election night coverage, NBC.

Pearls Before Swine, March 7, 2012, by Stephan Pastis, scan of editorial cartoon which appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star print edition, March 7, 2012. Full color version of strip can be viewed HERE.

[jbox color="white" shadow="3" width="600" content_css="font-size: 24px; color:#575757; font-variant: small-caps; letter-spacing: 3px;" icon="http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/book.ico"]Footnotes, References & Citations[/jbox]

Shellinda

About Shellinda

4 Responses to “It’s The Electability and Inevitability, Stupid”

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  1. Gregg says:

    Well-written, well-researched, and I agree with you 100%!!

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  1. [...] behaving badly?  Answer:  A majority of the Republican Party’s ruling class1 / establishment elite, which includes Republicans in elective office, GOP party officials, and a [...]



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