Wednesday, February 1

Florida: Not America's Only Talking Doodle

Ross Douthat, "Gingrich 2012? Going, Going, Gone". February 1

OKAY, Mitt Romney may be inevitable--I don't particularly care; Republicans do lots of stupid shit, too much to worry about it unless it threatens to become law--but can we drop the pretense that Florida voters, or Republican voters generally, are making what in normal humans is known as a "decision"?

Florida voters, if pollsters are even remotely connected to the Earth's gravity, chose Romney, switched to Gingrich, then fled back to Romney when they discovered, last Thursday night, that Gingrich was a lunatic. None of which makes anything approaching sense.

How is the Republican horde still given the credibility inherent in the concept of decision-making? Do we really need to reiterate the last six months of their presidential choices?

If there's anything to be said for the Republican rank-and-file, as illuminated by three-and-a-half states so far, it's that it has looked surprisingly intelligent in dumping Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, and to've cooled to Herman Cain before he dumped himself. This, however, doesn't stand up to scrutiny; somebody had to drop out of the race, and the odds were that it would be some loon. In fact, there weren't any odds. It was a sure thing.

Speaking of which:
Last week, New York magazine’s John Heilemann pointed out a deep truth about Newt Gingrich’s peculiar presidential campaign: The very media elite that Gingrich delights in hammering has actually been in his corner all along. The press likes a horse race; the press likes outsize personalities; the press favors an underdog; and the press even takes a strange sort of delight in being ruthlessly attacked.

With luck, next week Mark Halperin will explain to Ross that the sun is hot.

Which, of course, says nothing about that segment of the Press which has tried to boost Romney out of sheer embarrassment with the rest of the Republican field. Right, Ross?
Tuesday night’s Floridian drubbing won’t change those incentives, so we can expect a last burst of media chatter about how Gingrich could still recover, ride a wilderness campaign to a Super Tuesday comeback and fight Romney tooth and nail all the way to the convention.

Media chatter=what other punditasters are saying.
But Florida’s primary was closed to independents, Florida’s electorate was as conservative and Tea Party-friendly (though not as evangelical-heavy) as South Carolina’s and Florida’s large senior population once looked like it would give Gingrich an edge. If the former speaker couldn’t even come close to beating Romney in such relatively favorable terrain, it’s hard to see how he can hope to compete with him anywhere outside the Deep South.

AKA the Republican rank-and-file. Listen, I'm not touting Gingrich, or Santorum. I'm just saying that maybe voters are looking at, you should pardon the expression, electability. Which is another way of saying that the rank-and-file is beginning to recognize that "conservatism" is a form of national poison. Maybe John Heileman can explain why that analysis never finds the light of day.

Republican voters have had a veritable ethanol-flavored beer tasting of "conservative" candidates. None got the boot for being "not conservative enough". They're gone (or going, going) because "real" "conservatives" are too nutty for the "conservative" party. And if a pure conservative is not superior to a Massachusetts Moderate, then "conservatism" no longer has any argument at all.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

...then "conservatism" no longer has any argument at all.

Thank goodness. Someone pass the memo on to our President, please.

Ben said...

"punditasters" is awesome

Pontiac said...

Well, wait a second. There are lots of reasons why Huntsman failed but I thought the main reason was that he 'wasn't conservative enough'.

I mean, everybody hates Romney and it kinda has to say something that not one time did any constituency ever break to the sane of him.

LP Steve said...

What Ben said. I'm totally stealing that.