May 21, 2013 | 46 comments
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April 23, 2013 | 81 comments
Staged face-offs will mean little next fall.
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All of those other factors — TV ads, grassroots organizing, wedge issues, the economy, and especially a candidate’s long-term likeability — make a much bigger difference in campaigns than do debate performances. Nobody is going to slay Obama face to face: He’s too cool. He may be bested on points, but he won’t show his distress. He may lose at the margins, but nobody — especially nobody with a history of extravagant and self-defeating utterances, such as Gingrich — will destroy him in a glorious duel. If he is to be beaten, the defeat will spring from the public’s ultimate wisdom in overcoming an $800 million campaign, not from a manufactured gladiator ring.
The key thing is, can a candidate against Obama, throughout the long course of a campaign, build and carry out the right narrative against him? Experience shows that Newt Gingrich cannot. The truth is that Bob Dole didn’t so much lose the 1996 race to Bill Clinton — an outcome almost unimaginable even 13 months earlier — as that Newt Gingrich lost it. From behind the scenes (in terms of public attention — remember that only a tiny percentage of the public had even heard of Gingrich the day before the 1994 congressional elections) Newt Gingrich could help others in 435 House races frame a narrative against 40 years of Democratic rule; but once he was in charge of things, front and center, all he did was step all over his team’s narrative again and again. Framed by the Gingrich image of Republican meanness, Dole never had a chance.
And then Gingrich did it to Republicans yet again in 1998, so badly that he resigned in embarrassment.
And, as was shown by his recent-year stumbles in dealing with Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Al Sharpton, Scozzafava, ethanol, cap and trade, and the Ryan budget, Gingrich has not matured one bit.
A leopard can’t change its spots. A grand wizard Kluxer under his sheets (à la David Duke) can’t hide his wizardry. And no debate can help Newt alter his lizardry.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?