Green Room

The GOP field’s big weakness

posted at 10:50 am on February 16, 2012 by

Allahpundit is probably not the only righty nervous over the current election polling, even though it is still too early in the cycle for deep concern. The polling is likely the product of a media environment hyping good economic news and the GOP intra-party fighting. However, folks right of center should not get into a mode of blaming a left-leaning media. The establishment will probably spend much more time on dropping unemployment claims than rising foreclosures or the combo of rising gas prices, falling gas consumption and retail sales. (A recovery led by declining unemployment figures seems odd, given that unemployment is generally considered a lagging indicator, but I digress.) But most forecasters were predicting some economic growth this year, and the right should never be rooting for bad economic news.

James Pethokoukis offers Republicans advice for how to win if the economy keeps improving. Some of it — the JFK-esque “we can do better” approach is alright, some of it (the economy is built on debt, Obama did not really fix our structural problems) is true, but unlikely to resonate with the mushy middle in a decently improving economy. As the out-party, the GOP may need another issue to mitigate an improving economy.

Finding such an issue is sometimes not easy. In this cycle, two possibilities spring immediately to mind. The debt bomb might be an exploitable issue,as Americans (including the Obama administration, rhetorically) recognize the current path is unsustainable. However, as just suggested, the issue may lose some potency with the mushy middle if the economy grows decently. Moreover, the Democrats and their media would likely do their best to reframe any discussion of the debt into a Mediscare campaign.

The other obvious issue is Obamacare, the president’s still-unpopular signature legislation. Mitt Romney would be a poor candidate to exploit this issue, given his stubborn refusal to abandon Romneycare. In contrast, Rick Santorum has had a cogent critique the Obamacare/ Romneycare paradigm of government-controlled healthcare. On the other hand, if Santorum became the GOP nominee, the Democrats and their media would do their best to steer any discussion of healthcare into a discussion of Santorum’s aversion to contraception. And for whatever reason, Santorum seems to relish debating a question which likely alienates the mushy middle, instead of assuring them his focus would be on the issues important to them.

Anyone who reads me regularly knows I harp on the fundamentals. If the economy does improve significantly, any Republican would have difficulty winning. Accordingly, I do not fault Republicans for focusing on the economy. However, the GOP field’s biggest weakness may be how ill-suited they seem to be in talking about anything else.

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“Allahpundit is probably not the only righty nervous over the current election polling,”

Allahpundit is a righty????? When did that happen???


Eph on February 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Yes, a pissing contest with about the same result.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Just spitballing here, but does anyone but me think it may be possible for the eventual GOP nominee to publicize Fast & Furious, the greatest political scandal and coverup since Watergate? Think about it: 300+ dead and counting, all in an attempt to promote anti-gun sentiment and give proof to the lie that the US furnishes Mexican drug cartels with the bulk of their armaments.

How about some TV spots showing Detroit or the Central Valley in California, both once symbols of American progress and prosperity now reduced to poverty-stricken wastelands like something out of Grapes of Wrath as a direct result of liberal policies? How about explaining to the people that the real unemployment rate is at or around 15%? Am I the only one who knows unemployment figures are being gamed, or what?

What about Obama’s Keystone decision, along with all of his other job-destroying, energy production-stifling moves to satisfy a radical environmentalist lobby? And what’s up with those Chevy Volt subsidies, anyway?

And then, of course, there is the the unsustainability of current entitlements and the prospect of a Greek-style meltdown coming our way.

And finally, ObamaCare. And no, RomneyCare does not negate Romney’s candidacy since RomneyCare was never designed or intended as a Trojan Horse for stealth socialist takeover of the federal government.

We should be winning this thing. If we had politicians with courage, conviction, and foresight, we would be winning this thing. As it is, GOP politicians are afraid to touch entitlement reform, afraid to go negative by pounding home the scandals, afraid to attack for fear of being branded as racists.

No more nice. We need to get personal because it is personal. The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been, and if we’re going to lose anyway–and it looks like we will–we might as well go out swinging.

troyriser_gopftw on February 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM

It certainly would help if there were an actual small government conservative presidential candidate somewhere in there. All I see are shills for bigger, better, controlling government left in the field aside from the Paulian wierdness.

As it stands, none of the above would be the best choice and any of the remaining choices will drive the country into the ditch.

Good luck all, but I am not holding my breath.

BioBob on February 16, 2012 at 2:17 PM

No more nice. We need to get personal because it is personal. The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been, and if we’re going to lose anyway–and it looks like we will–we might as well go out swinging.

troyriser_gopftw on February 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM

The only people getting personal right now are the Santorum critics. Sad.

gryphon202 on February 16, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Crony capitalism and the BHO administration. Billions for friends of Obama heading up green projects. Which are already unsustainable and tanking.

All the while BHO was talking down Wall Street.

If we could harp on this there are many Americans that would get uncomfortable with the facts.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 17, 2012 at 9:31 AM