George Will: I never said the White House wasn’t winnable

posted at 6:00 pm on March 18, 2012 by Tina Korbe

When George Will wrote in his March 2 column that conservatives might want to consider “Plan B” for stopping Obama, it almost sounded like he thought the White House wasn’t winnable. That’s certainly how Rush Limbaugh interpreted it, for example. Today, on ABC’s “This Week,” Will clarified that his call to focus on winning majorities in the House and Senate was not meant to imply he thought conservatives should give up on the White House.

“My position then, as now, was there may come a point, I said, when political assets being finite — enthusiasm, time and money — you might want to concentrate on getting all of the gavels of the committees of Congress in the Republican hands because Obama can’t be beaten by these people,” Will said. “It’s not yet time to do that.”

Will said that there were reasons for Republicans to keep fighting for the White House. In particular, the fact that Obama’s poll numbers were so closely impacted by fluctuations in gas prices, Will said, should give Republicans hope.

“What Haley [Barbour] said a moment ago is right,” Will continued. “I mean, things are going badly for Republicans. Things are going reasonably well in the economy, at least by the normal metrics. The president’s job approval is going down, driven by gas for Pete’s sake, which tells you how fragile and brittle his support is there. So, at this point, I would say no, keep fighting, but prepare to retrench.”

This topic is tricky. Where should conservatives focus their resources? Their legislative priorities likely can’t or won’t be fully accomplished if Republicans don’t achieve majorities in both chambers of Congress in addition to the White House. We can’t ignore congressional races. But risking the presidency for the sake of the House or Senate seems even more foolish. Consider Obamacare, for example. More than likely, no Democratic chamber would ever vote to repeal it, but Obama will certainly never sign a repeal bill. Nor does Obama much care if he crosses constitutional boundaries to legislate from the executive branch. Yes, Obama has got to go. Any of the remaining GOP candidates would be better. If, in concentrating resources on the presidential election, conservatives are unable to take back the Senate or retain the House, then they regroup.

At that point, it would make sense for conservatives to pour the majority of their resources into issue advocacy, into convincing Democrats one by one to vote for conservative solutions. Paul Ryan’s practically-one-man mission to reform Medicare and his success at acquiring at least some Democratic supporters proves that it’s possible to sell well-thought-out solutions even to those who are initially resistant. With a Republican in the White House, Democrats would feel even freer to cross the aisle. Right now, Democrats have to worry not only about their own reelections, but about how their votes affect the president’s reelection bid. At times, they might even cross their constituents so as not to cross the president and the party. The temptation to do that would lessen with a Republican president, which means that, if conservatives can convince their neighbors to adopt conservative ideas and to put pressure on legislators to adopt them as well, they might be able to accomplish wonders with a Republican president and divided Congress.


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The GOP needs a better class of pundit.

Basilsbest on March 18, 2012 at 10:41 PM

The GOP needs me, if I may be so bold. I’ll do it for free when I get home from my day job.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:43 PM

The issue that the GOP needs to get back to is tax cuts. I don’t think they understand how important that issue is. It is the glue that holds the party together.

McCain lost the tax cut issue to Obama! in 2008. That doesn’t happen if I’m running the show at the GOP.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:50 PM

So if the GOP wants us to vote for Stalin, we vote for Stalin?
This is pretty stupid stuff, no offense to AB.
Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM

If you believe our candidates (any of them)are Stalin, then you’re an idiot.

Robb on March 18, 2012 at 10:51 PM

AB said he didn’t care who our candidate is. I just followed that out to a logical conclusion with the Stalin analogy.

I don’t think any of our candidates are Stalin either but I do think Stalin would like RomneyCare type of government control if he had to operate within our type of government. :)

RomneyCare is a form of statism, no way around that logically.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM

I think it does matter who your candidate is, both from an electability standpoint and a what will they do if president standpoint. The problem with ROmney is he’s never been conservative ever while in political office and that’s the concern. Will he go for a full repeal of ObamaCare if he’s president when he implemented the ssame idea at the state level? I don’t understand people who don’t see this as a valid concern.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:58 PM

AB said he didn’t care who our candidate is. I just followed that out to a logical conclusion with the Stalin analogy.
I don’t think any of our candidates are Stalin either but I do think Stalin would like RomneyCare type of government control if he had to operate within our type of government. :)
RomneyCare is a form of statism, no way around that logically.
Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM

I retract my previous criticism of you. I’ll stay home and allow Obama to put another ginsburg in the supreme court. I’ll wait for the resurrection of Reagan.

Robb on March 18, 2012 at 10:59 PM

So if the GOP wants us to vote for Stalin, we vote for Stalin?
This is pretty stupid stuff, no offense to AB.
Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Come now Dr. T…Really? Do you really believe anyone in the Party wants to put up anyone that bad? Or lets be fair, as bad as the current President?

We *have* to be careful when using comparisons like this: it can run away from the user and more often that not, hit that person that used it in the face.

McCain lost the tax cut issue to Obama! in 2008. That doesn’t happen if I’m running the show at the GOP.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:50 PM

No. McCain lost the election in 2008 because A- Tried to be too nice a guy & walk across the aisle nonsense, and B- Didn’t fight for the office as hard as he should or could have.

MMQB’ing aside: Taxes, the Economy, Gas Prices, etc…they’re all good topics, and if the current Captain at the helm isn’t doing it right, you can always make the case on *why* they’re not good for the job without going into full blow BDS mode.

BlaxPac on March 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM

RomneyCare is a form of statism, no way around that logically.
Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM

He said he would issue 50 state waivers for OboobaCare.

That would include Massachusetts.

Akzed on March 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Robb,

It’s not just about getting rid of Obama, it’s about rolling back ObamaCare and the other stuff he’s done.

ALl I’m saying is we are basically hoping Romney is 180 degrees different as president than he was as governor. I’m not saying don’t vote for Romney. A half liberal at this point is still going to be a disaster, b/c we do need a conservative president right now. Maybe Romney has completely shifted from liberal to conservative since his was gov. of Mass, but is that the choice you’d want to make if you could make a better choice? You act like there’s no valid reasons to be concerned about Romney and I’m some foaming at the mouth “purist”.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I think saying you don’t care who the candidate is and you haven’t from the beginning is just kind of stupid. I do care who the candidate is. I think most people are with me.

I’m not saying I won’t vote for Romney, I’m responding to a pretty brain dead statement there by AB.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:38 PM

AB was not into politics, per se. He was a movement kind of guy. He believed that the problem was in the bigger picture…in the culture.

You will notice that he made the statement in February when he knew who the finals candidates were. There isn’t a Stalin in the bunch.

If you are interested in the wards and precincts of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, then Karl Rove’s your kind of guy. AB wasn’t into that kind of minutiae.

Resist We Much on March 18, 2012 at 11:04 PM

There’s not a lot of difference b/t Romney and Obama if you look at their records in political office. Romney’s not an anti-business liberal ideologue but he did seem content to implement a lot of horrible liberal things as gov. of Mass.

I’m not saying he’s as bad as Obama but I think you guys want this to be easier than it is.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Well, my view of AB is he really wan’t all that relevant. How many voters care about ACORN, OWS, Anthony Weiner’s weiner in a tweet? That’s the stuff he was all obsesssed with, I’m voting on things that impact my life like taxes and Obamacare.

Is pop culture more conservative now b/c of AB? I don’t see that.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM

The GOP needs me, if I may be so bold. I’ll do it for free when I get home from my day job.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Newtopia,

I take it back. There IS a way that Obama could win Alabama. Just let Tes pontificate about his intelligence, looks, sports accomplishments, and physical maladies. After that, they’ll vote for anyone.

Waterboarding, you say?

Meh.

Resist We Much on March 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM

I live in Alabama now and pretty sure they are going to vote for your hero Romney, brother.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Well, my view of AB is he really wan’t all that relevant. How many voters care about ACORN, OWS, Anthony Weiner’s weiner in a tweet? That’s the stuff he was all obsesssed with, I’m voting on things that impact my life like taxes and Obamacare.

Is pop culture more conservative now b/c of AB? I don’t see that.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM

See, that’s how little you know. AB was one of the driving forces behind the way that news was repackaged, marketed, and consumed in the internet age. Hot Air wouldn’t likely be here today without people like AB. And, you had better start caring about things like ACORN and OWS. You think that they are unconnected and meaningless. You fail to understand that they are all part of a global movement. My group has been on the inside. We know what is going on and what they are trying to do. Trust me, you do not want it to happen.

Gotta go.

Resist We Much on March 18, 2012 at 11:12 PM

The reality is everybody is not-Obama. That’s not a case for Romney. Just one against Obama. :)

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 11:13 PM

I think ACORN and OWS are fun to poke fun of but I think it’s a mistake to make it a big issue…people aren’t going to get down in the weeds on these organizations and connect all these dots that guys like Beck say need connecting. I say stick to the issues and we can win. There’s no need to get into little wars on trivial stuff.

Just my 2 cents.

Dr. Tesla on March 18, 2012 at 11:15 PM

It’s a shame when someone stays on well beyond his prime – whether it’s in Will’s favorite sport – baseball – or as a political pundit.

Will’s statements have become as silly as his stupid toupee.

bw222 on March 18, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Christians will have an issue with a Mormon president. Aint Happening

liberal4life on March 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Many Hot Aireans are so anti-Romney they will vote for Obama.

andy85719 on March 18, 2012 at 6:04 PM

When push comes to shove, most “Hot Aireans” (trolls excluded) will vote for the GOP nominee whoever that is.

The simple fact is that most of the first class jerks at HA are big-time Romney supporters, which tends to make the “Not-Mitt” section angry.

bw222 on March 18, 2012 at 11:51 PM

When push comes to shove, most “Hot Aireans” (trolls excluded) will vote for the GOP nominee whoever that is.

The simple fact is that most of the first class jerks at HA are big-time Romney supporters, which tends to make the “Not-Mitt” section angry.

bw222 on March 18, 2012 at 11:51 PM

I’m with you on the first sentence, not so much on the second.

Don’t let the 1% of Romney supporters (bluegill, etc) ruin it for the rest of us. Of course, the ABR crowd can be just as jerkish (angreyed, etc).

SauerKraut537 on March 19, 2012 at 12:13 AM

Christians will have an issue with a Mormon president. Aint Happening

liberal4life on March 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Sure, L4L, whatever you say. Reverend Wright is just soooooo mainline Christianity.

**eyeroll**

Besides, didn’t you see the polls in the South that MSNBC was talking about where majorities thought that Obama was a Muslim?

Mormon beats Muslim.

LOL

Resist We Much on March 19, 2012 at 1:00 AM

Christians will have an issue with a Mormon president. Aint Happening

liberal4life on March 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM

…drooled the bigot!…again

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2012 at 1:02 AM

bw222 on March 18, 2012 at 11:51 PM

That’s simply not true. The anti Romney’s have been very rude for a long time now. I could name names, but I wish we could all just figure out it’s Obama that is the problem, not each other, and not the candidates.

scotash on March 19, 2012 at 3:13 AM

Christians will have an issue with a Mormon president. Aint Happening

liberal4life on March 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM

If Christians can endure a Marxist President, a Mormon should be no problem.

It’s you atheists whose heads will explode. Don’t get any on ya.

Adjoran on March 19, 2012 at 4:10 AM

This man was the first of the sickening lineup of GOP pundit/hacks to backstab Sarah Palin -the only non-GOP owned almost-candidate.
We can thank George and his complicit pundit crowd for giving us the one candidate that has absolutly no credentials to attack Obama -he is Obama button-up previously neutered clone, and clear evidence that the GOP has no intent whatsoever of removing Oromneycare, or providing opposition to the socialist juggernaut that they by the actions enable.

Once again the ruling party that pretends to be the socialist opposition offers we fools another “bad cop, worse cop” delemia, while we commit suicide -caught in their myth that we can’t ever go third partyot the bad guy will win.

Perhaps it is time for the social cons and tea party folks to find a place where they are not loathed and back-stabbed by their own?

Don L on March 19, 2012 at 6:02 AM

Christians will have an issue with a Mormon president. Aint Happening

liberal4life on March 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM

From what I’ve seen, the people most likely to express concern about evangelicals supposedly not voting for a Mormon are Obama supporters. So far this primary season, it seems that Romney’s so-called “Mormon problem” hasn’t been much of a problem at all. Romney has virtually locked up the nomination with way more support from voters than all the other candidates.

The most anti-Mormon people out there are usually liberals, who detest Mormon’s traditional values.

But the thing about Romney is that he has made cystal clear his intent to separate religious doctrines from his job as president.

bluegill on March 19, 2012 at 7:05 AM

That’s simply not true. The anti Romney’s have been very rude for a long time now. I could name names, but I wish we could all just figure out it’s Obama that is the problem, not each other, and not the candidates.

scotash on March 19, 2012 at 3:13 AM

This is true. Before I had a HotAir account, I read the comments in disgust and watched how the ABR crowd liked to gang up on Romney supporters. It was pretty embarrassing. I made the choice on HotAir to be very assertive in my support for my candidate and to make it clear what I thought of some of these cliquish, bullying regulars. I’m not running for Miss Congeniality of HotAir, and hopefully once or twice I’ve been able to get my point across regarding my feelings about the candidates.

bluegill on March 19, 2012 at 7:12 AM

It’s a shame when someone stays on well beyond his prime – whether it’s in Will’s favorite sport – baseball – or as a political pundit.

Will’s statements have become as silly as his stupid toupee.

bw222 on March 18, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Yep, agreed.

George Will lost me completely a few years back when I read his priggish, serious column about the supposed disgrace of wearing blue jeans.

bluegill on March 19, 2012 at 7:19 AM

I find most political commentators are just clueless. No matter how high their IQ. That includes Will, Rush, Hannity, Coulter etc. They’re just flawed human beings and their flaws are painfully obvious throughout this insane political cycle. They just don’t get it. DD

Darvin Dowdy on March 19, 2012 at 8:46 AM

George Will: Things are going reasonably well in the economy, at least by the normal metrics.

Why do these guys keep accepting the White House/Re-elect media’s premise on everything?

If he would have said, ‘the economy is doing reasonably well considering what the Obama administration has done to destroy it’, Will would have more credibility. As it is, he is just talking to hear himself sound ‘reasonable’.

Sporty1946 on March 19, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Rombots talk about how “rude” the ABR’s are. Well how are we supposed to sack it up and be good little Rombots when Romney takes our vote for granted? And before you say he’s not doing that, let me remind you that on this very site, Romney was quoted as saying something to the effect that of course we’ll vote for him in the general. It’s bad to insult the people on whose votes you’ll depend.

gryphon202 on March 19, 2012 at 9:31 AM

APPLYING ALINSKY RULE 4: MAKE THE ENEMY LIVE UP TO ITS OWN RULES. — A “tea party leech” is deemed a “tea party leader” in our local press after he is arrested for rape. This belies that fact that there have been 75 rapes in the Occupy camps, so examples of alternative headlines to suggest in the “Comments” sections of offending sites is offered. “Occupy” is a subsidiary of the “War in Women”: A Tea Party is one of the safest place for women in the world.

Mutnodjmet on March 19, 2012 at 10:07 AM

“This topic is tricky. Where should conservatives focus their resources? Their legislative priorities likely can’t or won’t be fully accomplished if Republicans don’t achieve majorities in both chambers of Congress in addition to the White House. We can’t ignore congressional races. But risking the presidency for the sake of the House or Senate seems even more foolish“. – T.K.

What’s even more foolish is rallying behind a GOP candidate who can’t beat Barry.
Focus on the SENATE at this point, it’s our (conservatives) only hope.
Gingrich / Perry 2012
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on March 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM

“Retrench” with the Alaskan true conservatie wench?

Yeah! Freedom, life and the economy(energy)behind the one consistent anti-Obama, anti-establishment, anti-RINO GOP, the one with a clean moral and fiscal slate -without the Obamacare, “I was once a liberal” baggage of the others.

Don L on March 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Walk it back a-hole.

Tim_CA on March 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

“Retrench” with the Alaskan true conservatie wench?

Yeah! Freedom, life and the economy(energy)behind the one consistent anti-Obama, anti-establishment, anti-RINO GOP, the one with a clean moral and fiscal slate -without the Obamacare, “I was once a liberal” baggage of the others.

Don L on March 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

As much as I find the thought appealing, it’s not happening. She’s not running. Period.

gryphon202 on March 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM

George Will: desperately seeking relevancy.

landlines on March 19, 2012 at 11:43 AM

George Will is a Fop. He has broken my heart over the past five years and I simply do not listen to the man any more. I remember a piece he wrote in Time Magazine when I was in College regarding the shooting down of the KAL plane by the Soviet Union. He reasoned that people kept saying they were “shocked” over the incident and then he did the math on how many people the evil empire has killed since it’s inception and pointed out that the KAL massacre represented an off day of killing for the USSR…Great Writing!!!

Now he loves to go after the Republicans (bashed McCain along with Kathy Parker 4 years ago and now is playing Chicken Little. I hope he reads this site from time to time…George you have fallen so far Just Go Away!!!!! Obama really does not need the support you give him.

Natebo on March 19, 2012 at 11:53 AM

The problem is that neither the leaders in the GOP presidential contest would have any coattails to drag down ticket candidates to victories. In fact, insofar as can be seen up to this point, these guys don’t even have coats and neither can win — certainly not the saint — without a major re-collapse of the economy. So put your cash on the House and Senate candidates and hope for the best.

Annar on March 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM

APPLYING ALINSKY RULE 4: MAKE THE ENEMY LIVE UP TO ITS OWN RULES. — A “tea party leech” is deemed a “tea party leader” in our local press after he is arrested for rape. This belies that fact that there have been 75 rapes in the Occupy camps, so examples of alternative headlines to suggest in the “Comments” sections of offending sites is offered. “Occupy” is a subsidiary of the “War in Women”: A Tea Party is one of the safest place for women in the world.

Mutnodjmet on March 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Will is grating on the nerves. He’s been part of the MSM for so long he is lost. Once on awhile he makes sense but mostly he just tries to be agreeable which makes him irritating.

FireBlogger on March 19, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Aside from being a RINO defeatist — the kind that pushes the GOP to adopt one candidate and then has to be George Will is simply wrong.

The House and Senate make good buffers for further damage, but assuming Repulicans don’t lose seats, they’re irrelevant without the Presidency. The Presidency, meanwhile, will be sufficient to repeal Obamacare. (The Senate passed O-Care through reconciliation, and even if they hadn’t, the Dems are not going to filibuster for a bill they hate that’s destroying them in elections.)

HitNRun on March 19, 2012 at 4:23 PM

I really dislike people who are ready to concede the victory before the real campaign has begun.

Will is an Establishment Republican and is only reflecting what the defeatists in charge of the GOP truly believe. The only force for freedom in this country, as Mark Levin says, is us. We’re not going to get any help from the GOP leadership. They’re much more interested in who gets the committee chairmanships and the power to spend money. I don’t think they have a clue about how mainstream America feels, nor do they care, except for the part about getting elected. The only time we matter to them is on election day.

hachiban on March 19, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Mr. Will and his two finger kabuki! I guess his other digits have atrophied by now….

Sherman1864 on March 20, 2012 at 6:12 AM

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