Monday, March 12

When Do They Announce Pulitzers?

Ross Douthat, "Not-So-Crazy Republicans". March 10

I KNOW that Republican discombobulation is supposed to cheer me up, but, eh. Perhaps if we had a second major political party, one poised to roll back the three decades of lunacy of which "brought us" to "this point".

Some people are never satisfied.

I'd like to skip ahead--frankly, I'd like to skip the whole thing--but first let us ask a question that goes unasked far too often: Isn't three fucking years enough time for Ross Douthat to have demonstrated--however briefly--what he's doing at the Times? It's like the third year of Iraq War II: the scope of the mistake has to be obvious, even to people who originally believed in it, but there's no way the administration is going to admit to making that big a mistake.

Why does a Shorter Ross Douthat always sound like a twelve-year-old?

Shorter Ross Douthat: People say that the Republican party is insane, but it's not insane, because it was smart enough to choose the guy who only pretends to be an insane Republican.

or a petulant twelve-year-old?

Shorter Ross Douthat: The Grownups are back in charge.

I'm willing to admit that there may be a column here, but it's not 800 words on how the Republican voter has managed, heroically, to overcome the sort of candidate who appeals to the Republican voter.
From early 2011 onward, the media have overinterpreted this sifting process, treating every polling surge for a not-Romney candidate almost as seriously as an actual primary result. They might nominate Herman Cain! They might nominate Michele Bachmann! Why — they might nominate Donald Trump!

How remarkably short-sighted of the Media to suggest that the person leading national preference polls among Republicans might win the nomination.
Not so much. Instead, despite an understandable desire to vote for a candidate other than Mitt Romney, Republicans have been slowly but surely delivering him the nomination — consistently, if reluctantly, choosing the safe option over the bomb-throwers and ideologues.

Now, correct me if I've missed something, because even for the professional layabout it's tough to keep up with Ross' frantic one-column-per-week pace (except when he was taking six weeks off to reexamine his life, or get a secret appendectomy at the Jenna Bush Clinic). But when exactly did he call the Republican Presidential Associate Clowns "bomb throwers"? Before now? Not while any of 'em was leading the polls. In fact, which GOPer George Metesky is he referring to? Were the positions of Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry that much different from Douthat's own? Or notably outside the Republican mainstream, or different from what Mitt Romney will admit to? Douthat recently anointed Rick Santorum as the Brains of that outfit (as he does again here, the better to excuse those Responsible Republican voters); isn't Santorum the biggest bomb thrower of the bunch? Y'know, at least with Brooks you imagine he'd have no personal objection to gay marriage equality, or the status quo on reproductive rights, and is probably a little melancholy that they're such a sure-fire voting gimmick for his side. Douthat's only objection seems to be that, as the snake handler who's been up North and et in hotels, his unlettered brethren back in the holler are screwin' up the opportunity to install a stealth theocracy.
A crazy party might have chosen Cain or Bachmann as its standard-bearer. The Republican electorate dismissed them long before the first ballots were even cast.

A crazy party wouldn’t have cared how Rick Perry debated so long as he promised to visit Texas justice on the Democratic Party. The Republican electorate did care, and delivered him less than one vote for every $1,000 dollars his campaign spent.
First of all, Ross, Cain removed himself, Perry removed Bachmann, and his own performance was so laughable inept that even a party which pretended George W. Bush was Churchillian couldn't ignore it. Second, it's the money people who put those clowns on the dais, and the money people who removed 'em, and when someone over your way starts complaining about them I'll take notice. Finally, while the voters never nominated nor removed any of 'em, they sure put each one atop the polls at some point, and no amount of Romney hatred explains that.
Even the elevation of Rick Santorum as the last not-Romney standing testifies to the Republican electorate’s relative sobriety. For all his follies and failings, Santorum is a more plausible presidential candidate than most of this season’s alternatives — more experienced than Cain and Bachmann,
Who isn't?
more substantive and eloquent than Perry,
Who isn't? Hell, what isn't?
more principled than Gingrich.
Could someone call 9-1-1? I think I'm bleeding internally.
As a two-term senator from a swing state with a record of legislative accomplishments, he’s far closer to a right-wing Howard Dean than a right-wing Jesse Jackson.
You mean his record of voting with his Team? By the way, whatever happened to No Executive Experience?
What we’re really seeing from the Republican campaign, over all, is less a party gone mad than a party caught between generations. The disasters of the George W. Bush era depleted the party’s bench of officeholders and tarnished the (last) name of its most successful big-state governor. The elections of 2009-10 delivered a promising crop of future stars, but the current presidential campaign arrived too soon for them to be entirely seasoned.

Y'know, Ross, if you think Jindal, Rubio, and Christie constitute an exciting benchful of major league prospects your problems are longer-term than you imagine.
If the current race pitted Jeb Bush against, say, Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels, nobody would be talking about how the party has gone off the rails.

Yo. Look, Ross-O, I'm sure someone somewhere told you to count your blessings.
But those three men all found reasons not to run.

Yeah, curse the luck. Bush, as you mention, has a poisoned last name, in some quarters because he shares it with the Worst President in the history of the Republic, in others because he didn't strangle his brother in his crib when he had the chance. Huckabee is an entertaining huckster who made the right--and Republican--decision to enrich himself above his bleeding concern for the direction of the nation. Recall that Huckabee was too liberal four years ago for having once signed a tax increase, so imagine what would have happened to him this time, driven even farther rightward and toward more of the blatant religious pandering he adopted when all else failed last time. Of My Man Mitch, well, let's just say he married the perfect woman. You guys can pretend all you want, but Daniels' record is awful, and not just at OMB; he was really vulnerable if he stepped outside the Hoosier cocoon and faced big league pitching. Not that being full of shit has stopped every candidate, but his prospects are a lot rosier for having not run.
So the primary electorate was left to choose from a roster of retreads, mediocrities and cable-news candidates. And given their options, Republican voters have acquitted themselves about as sensibly, responsibly and even patriotically as anyone could reasonably expect.

Well, they've showed they'll swallow anything if it'll get rid of the black guy. Neither of those things being particularly surprising.


TM said...

Is he pitching that to us or himself?

heydave said...

Ross embarrasses even the most casual reader.

heydave said...

Ross embarrasses even the most casual reader.

Anonymous said...

I greatly appreciate the George Metesky reference.

tony in san diego said...

It is so sad, watching these guys who want to be Republicans, looking at the freakshow that has hijacked their party. They certainly did it to themselves, but Ross is a young'un, and doesn't remember anything before 2001.

prairie curmudgeon said...

Republicans congratulate themselves for serving up the option of plain shit sandwich without the slivers of broken glass.

Oscar said...

As long as the conversation is about whether they are crazy or not, I'm happy. . .