Feed on Posts or Comments 22 January 2018

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 07 Sep 2012 08:23 pm

UPDATED! Dump the Karl Rove Strategy And Win for America!

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 8! “Speak Up, Mitt!”  Urges Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard). – – “Mitt Romney in particular will have to speak up. Barack Obama went into the conventions a bit ahead in the race. We suspect he leaves the conventions still ahead—perhaps a little further ahead. Romney gained some ground when he chose Paul Ryan. But now he seems to be back to a pre-Ryan sort of campaign. When a challenger merely appeals to disappointment with the incumbent and tries to reassure voters he’s not too bad an alternative, that isn’t generally a formula for victory. Mike Dukakis lost. As the examples of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Bill Clinton in 1992 suggest, successful challengers don’t just jab lightly, parry punches, and circle the ring. They go for at least a few knockdowns. It’s not enough to float like a butterfly. You have to sting like a bee. No sting, no victory.”  (Underscoring Forum’s.)
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 “The Republicans have to stop falling for all these deflection tricks and go after the record. They’re afraid that if they go after Obama they’ll tick off the independents and they’ll be seen as racist or whatever. Get rid of that! These are real people’s lives that are being affected here”. . . . “His policies are disastrous. There’s a record that demonstrates it, and it needs to be exposed. If I was a Republican, my mindset would be: ‘Win this in a landslide.’ If I were the Republicans, my attitude would be, ‘Go for everything. Win this as big as possible and give myself as big a mandate as possible after I win.’ I’d shoot everything we’ve got!”  . . .  “We’re talking about saving the United States of America here as it was founded.” — Rush Limbaugh

Thanks to enterprising Bloomberg Business Week journalist Sheelah Kolhatkar, last week we got an inside view of the GOP Establishment’s high-risk low-common-sense strategy for governor Mitt Romney winning the presidency in 2012.

“Rove explained that Crossroads had conducted extensive focus groups and shared polling and focus group data with ‘all the major groups that are playing’ in the election. ‘As many of you know, one of the most important things about Crossroads is: We don’t try and do this alone. We have partners,’ he said. ‘The Kochs—you name it.’

What had emerged from that data is an ‘acute understanding of the nature of those undecided, persuadable’ voters. ‘If you say he’s a socialist, they’ll go to defend him. If you call him a ‘far out left-winger,’ they’ll say, ‘no, no, he’s not.’ The proper strategy, Rove declared, was criticizing Obama without really criticizing him—by reminding voters of what the president said that he was going to do and comparing it to what he’s actually done. ‘If you keep it focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone, then they’re gonna agree with you.’”

“Are Republicans Fooling Themselves?”

Today scholar and analyst Stanley Kurtz gently raised some grave questions (NRO) about GOP complacency and the irenic Rove strategy.

Excerpts follow —

  • The Convention: “Overall, the Democrats put on an effective show. With the possible exception of the McGovern convention, this was the most left-leaning Democratic gathering in memory. Some of that may have been counterproductive, particularly on social issues. To the extent that Republicans dismiss this convention as either a failure or relatively meaningless, however, I think we’re fooling ourselves.”
  • The Media: “Conservatives can puncture these arguments all we like, but we can’t cut through the media filter. More than that, the conservative case can’t break through the left-controlled education system that has profoundly shaped the Millennials.”
  • The Campaign: “Only the Romney campaign can cut through the cultural, educational, and media filters and force a debate over the Obama Democrats’ bogus redefinition of the American dream. The media can ignore what conservatives say, but they still have to cover the candidate.
  • The Nice-Guy-But-Over-His-Head-Attack:As the Romney campaign sees it, the tiny sliver of remaining undecided voters consists of mildly disillusioned former Obama supporters, or at least voters who personally like Obama. Coaxing these folks to ‘break up’  with their erstwhile beau means not making them feel like they were fools to buy into Obama’s vision to begin with. That cuts against any effort to unmask the president’s overweening leftist ambitions. Let’s just say that the president’s a nice guy who’s in over his head instead. Okay, but Michelle Obama did a very effective job of pressing undecideds to give her nice-guy another try. And the convention as a whole did a better job of redefining government as nice-guyism writ large than Republicans would like to admit.”
  • Republicans Hold Back! “Republicans won big in 2010 by defining Obama as an overweening ideologue. Yet that was the Tea Party’s doing, not the Republican establishment. In those days, Romney even jumped on the tea-party bandwagon with some surprisingly cutting observations about Obama’s leftism. Obama may not have pivoted after the 2010 election, but Republicans did. They toned down their attacks on the president’s ideology, and to some extent helped to build up the very wall of ‘likeability’ they now fear to scale, even as the president rejected the Clintonian way and stayed to the left. Were Republicans smart to hold their fire? Romney did try out the argument that Obama is moving us toward European-style social democracy during the primaries, but he’s dropped that now in favor of the kinder and gentler ‘break up’ approach. Republican reticence on these issues has been going on for a while. Beginning with John McCain in 2008, the party establishment has done a weak job of challenging the core Democratic narrative of the causes of the financial crisis.”
  • The Kurtz Concern: “Yet I worry that the Romneyites are fooling themselves. Technocrats and fixers from a state where liberals dominate, they are neither inclined or prepared to show how the Obama Democrats are slowly redefining American exceptionalism into the European social democratic dream. Romney may squeak by on bad unemployment numbers and gentle coaxing of undecideds, but patriotic veneer the Democrats have managed to slap on their leftism is worrisome. If Obama wins, it will be because we allowed him to get away with it.”  (Underscoring and highlighting throughout are Forum’s.)

Read today’s entire Stanley Kurtz post here.

Our Take: This is no political game, no sporting contest. As Rush Limbaugh points out, “these are real people’s lives that are being affected here.” The Republican candidate (and perhaps even the Rove crowd) likely have resources enough to ride out the next four years of Obama and several terms of his successors, and to shield themselves from the growing intrusions of government power.  Most Americans do not.

We suspect that the McCain and Romney handlers also drew back, and now draw back from a full bore attack on Mr. Obama as a socialist because they might create an environment unsympathetic even to their own vanilla brand of governmentalism.  

A nationwide mandate for rightsizing government would be much more complicating for this crowd than a nationwide mandate purely for administrative competence.

Republicans of all flavors should insist that governor Mitt Romney expose the president’s flawed actions across the board and tell the nation who Barack Obama is — and has been — in terms of ideology and vision.  

Again, as  Rush Limbaugh says, “We’re talking about saving the United States of America here as it was founded.”

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