When does the electability kick in? Could America really want four more years of Obama?
TAMPA — When Republicans, particularly of the Washington establishment variety, start talking about “electability,” it’s time to activate our nonsense filters.
Recall 1999 when establishment Republican types started whooping up a vote-getting machine named George W. Bush. Never mind that this guy was the son of a noblesse oblige, patrician of a president who, after eight years of tutelage under the Gipper, reverted to non-conservative form in office, in the process piddling away the largest favorability ratings in presidential history.
Pay no attention, the pooh-bahs crooned, to the fact that young W had no visible conservative bona-fides, and that his “compassionate conservatism” (as opposed to the mean old un-hyphenated variety) sounded a lot like liberalism. No, the little men behind the Republican establishment curtain insisted, just focus on the happy fact that this guy is a dead-bang winner, a vote-magnet of the first water.
So how did that work out? In 2000, Mr. Electability got more than a half million fewer votes than Al Gore, who needed Naomi Wolf to teach him how to dress in the morning, and who some of his own supporters described as a man-like creature. (Then in ‘04 the vote-getting machine barely beat Jean-François Kennedy Heinz Fonda Kerry, who resembles E.T., and is even more foreign.) Only the peculiarities of our Electoral College system and Ralph Nader’s ego (remember the Florida 2000 results) put Mr. Electability in office.
W’s vote-getting prowess proved an illusion. But once in office, he did prove that he was better at spending tax-payers’ money than even Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter in a wind storm.
Now, some of the same gang are enjoying some success pinning the electability tag on Mitt Romney, with as little to back it up as in W’s case. All through this year’s primaries, Republican voters were urged to stop worrying and support Mitt because he was, you guessed it, electable. It was never clear on what Mitt’s electability was based. After all, while Republicans were running the congressional table in 1994, a sweep of historical proportions, Romney was losing a Senate seat in Massachusetts to Ted Kennedy by 17 points. In the 2008 presidential primaries, Romney lost to John McCain. (John McCain!) In the 2012 primary cycle, Romney took eons to outlast a series of flawed opponents. With electability like this….
Now that it’s Romney vs. Obama, how is Mr. Electability 2.0 doing? So far, nothing to write home about. Controversies about current polling practices notwithstanding, the race is almost certainly something close to a dead heat now. And it shouldn’t be.
The economy is in a parlous state, with unemployment stuck north of eight percent, and will stay there as long as the command and control policies of our statist president remain in place. The country has an operatic, unsustainable debt. We’re broker than a sailor on the day before payday, and the president and his gang are still spending like we just won the lotto. Our rookie president apologizes to Islamist fanatics who murder Americans (and plan to murder more of us) and is in denial about the fact that America has very real and very determined enemies who need to be defeated, not sucked up to. Thanks to an executive branch on regulatory steroids, our freedoms are receding faster than a snow-cone in Tampa in August.
None of this should be congenial to the American electorate, where self-described conservatives outnumber liberals by two to one. For those who doubt that America is still a center-right country (despite the worst efforts of academe, the media, Hollywood, the education industry, and much of the clergy), jut take a look at some of the issue results Rasmussen Polls has come up with over the past few weeks:
• 66 percent of likely voters believe we have too much government power and too little individual freedom (7/16).
• 83 percent favor work requirements for welfare recipients (7/18).
• 57 percent say venture capital firms are better for job creation than government programs (7/18).
• 62 percent put economic growth ahead of economic fairness (7/19).
• 68 percent believe there are too many unnecessary laws in the USA today (8/13).
• 87 percent oppose letting government officials play politics in the marketplace (8/9).
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?