Laying the blame before anything is lost

There have been some disturbing trends popping up among prominent (and normally cheerful) conservatives lately, with a couple of notable examples cropping up right in the middle of CPAC. I noted the following piece by William Jacobson, titled laying the blame. In it, he appears to take exception with an equally dismal outlook coming from Powerline. First, Hinderaker.

Nevertheless, if you are a Republican, the vibes are very bad. The presidential primary season has turned into a disaster, in my view. Mitt Romney has shown a discouraging inability to appeal to the party’s base, while the race has damaged both Romney and the party. Newt Gingrich, in particular, sacrificed the party to his own ego by launching left-wing attacks against Romney. Gingrich is gone as a Republican contender, but we will see more of him in the fall, in Obama ads. What a swan song for someone who once led the conservative movement!

And then, Jacobson.

None of the people engaged in Romney’s strategy of crazy cared a bit about how the attacks would hurt Newt if Newt became the nominee. Now they complain that Newt hurt the party by attacking Romney’s Bain record; and by so doing they have conflated capitalism, free markets, and the Party with the Bain model, which will do far more damage than anything Newt ever did.

Even Peggy Noonan gets it:

The Romney campaign is better at dismantling than mantling. They’re better at taking opponents apart than building a compelling candidate of their own.

I’m not ready to write off the general election, regardless of who the nominee is.

But if you are looking for blame, look straight at the Romney campaign.

On the plus side, he does allow that he’s not writing the election off. I’ve said on any number of occasions that this election isn’t going to be a walk in the park, and yes, the reality is that Obama may wind up winning. This will depend on many factors, some of which are simply beyond anyone’s control. The economy, employment numbers and how much money the President’s team is able to raise will all play a part, as well as the GOP’s ability to field the best ticket possible. But his record is absolutely nothing to brag about, and if his approval numbers don’t reliably climb back above fifty and stay there through the summer, Obama’s prospects are anything but certain.

So, hey… buck up soldiers! Let’s take a moment and get some inspiration from Brother Bluto. (NSFW language warning)