Skip to comments.Is It Incompetence or Ideology?
Posted on 06/10/2011 5:52:43 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross
The Republicans swept Novembers midterm election by making it highly ideological, a referendum on two years of hyper-liberalism of arrogant, overreaching, intrusive government drowning in debt and running deficits of $1.5 trillion annually. Its not complicated. To govern from the left in a center-right country where four out of five citizens are non-liberal is a prescription for electoral defeat.
Which suggested an obvious Republican strategy for 2012: Recapitulate 2010. Keep it ideological. Choose a presidential nominee who can best make the case.
But in the last few weeks, the landscape has changed. For two reasons: NY-26 and the May economic numbers.
Last month, Democrats turned the race for the 26th congressional district of New York into a referendum on Medicare, and more specifically on the Paul Ryan plan for reforming it. The Republicans lost the seat after having held it for more than four decades.
Problem was, their candidate was weak, defensive, unschooled, and unskilled in dealing with the issue. Republicans have a year to cure that. If they can train their candidates to be just half as fluent as Ryan in defending their Medicare plan, they would be able to neutralize the issue.
But that in and of itself is a tactical victory for Democrats. Republicans are on the defensive. Democratic cynicism has worked. By deciding to do nothing about debt and entitlements, and instead to simply accuse Republicans of tossing granny off a cliff, they have given themselves an issue.
And more than just an issue. It gives President Obama the perfect opportunity to reposition himself to the center. After his midterm shellacking, he began the (ostensible) move: appointing moderates such as William Daley to high White House positions; making pro-business, anti-regulatory noises; even offering last month a token relaxation of his hard line against oil drilling.
Ostentatious but not very convincing. Now, however, the Obama pitch is stronger: Leftist? On the contrary, I bestride the center like a colossus, protecting Medicare from Republican right-wing social engineering.
Its not that the ideological case against Obama cannot be made. Obamacare with its individual mandate remains unpopular. The near-trillion-dollar stimulus remains an albatross. Even the failed attempt at cap-and-trade government control of energy pricing shows Obamas determination to fundamentally transform America. And he is sure to try again to complete his coveted European-style social-democratic project if you give him four more years.
Medicare has nonetheless partially blunted that line of ideological attack. Yet, just as the Democrats were rejoicing in the fruits of their cynicism, in came the latest economic numbers. They were awful. Housing-price declines were the worst since the 1930s. Unemployment rising again. Underemployment disastrously high. And as for chronic unemployment, the average time for finding a new job is now 40 weeks, the highest ever recorded. These numbers gravely undermine Obamas story line that were in a recovery, just a bit slow and bumpy.
Suddenly, the election theme has changed. The Republican line in 2010 was: Hes a leftist. Now it is: Hes a failure. The issue is shifting from ideology to stewardship.
As in 1992, its the economy, with everything else a distant second. The economic numbers explain why Obamas job approval has fallen, why the bin Laden bump disappeared so quickly, and why Mitt Romney is running even with the president. Romney is the candidate least able to carry the ideological attack against Obama exhibit A of Obamas hyper-liberalism is Obamacare, and Romney cannot rid himself of the similar plan he gave Massachusetts. But when it comes to being solid on economics, competent in business, and highly experienced in governance, Romney is the prohibitive front-runner.
The changing nature of the campaign is also a boost for Tim Pawlenty, the successful two-term governor of a very liberal state, and possibly for another ex-governor, Jon Huntsman, depending on who he decides to run as.
Nonetheless, despite the changed conditions, I would still prefer to see the Republican challenger make 2012 a decisive choice between two distinct visions of government. We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation debate about the nature of the welfare state (entitlement versus safety net) and, indeed, of the social contract between citizen and state (e.g., whether Congress can mandate compel you to purchase whatever it wills). Lets finish that debate. Start with Obamas abysmal stewardship, root it in his out-of-touch social-democratic ideology, and win. That would create the strongest mandate for conservative governance since the Reagan era.
Lets finish that debate. Start with Obamas abysmal stewardship, root it in his out-of-touch social-democratic ideology, and win. That would create the strongest mandate for conservative governance since the Reagan era.
Wonder what the Democrats personal finances look like... eeks!
If it was a referendum then Medicare lost.
My impression is that it was a situation where the TEAParty folks failed to properly control their faction's organization with the result that a Democrat insurgent ran on their label. Plus, it was against a background of a young Republican Congressman pretending he was a stud muffin and displaying his pecs to strange women.
I think we are over that now ~ we have Tony Weiner to run against. He displayed more than his bare chest.
It is Obama’s ideology that is the problem. Obama is very competent in ramming his socialistic anti American policies down our throats. His purpose is to destroy America and fundamentally transform it. He is very effectively doing just that.
The question is, so often, with the left -
are they idiots or evil? It’s not a “false dillema”. The results of their policies are invariably disastrous.
If they can’t see that, they’re idiots.
If they do see that and keep doing it, they’re evil.
IIRC, there was very light turnout, no?.....................
Nice try, Charles, but as much as you try and sound like a "Conservative," your Ruling Class Elitism shines thru as evidenced by the only 3 candidates you identified with: Mittens, Paw-Lenty and Huntsman, ALL gen-u-whine, RINO's!
The Hammer has nailed it once again. The focus must be the Liberal view of America AND Obama’s failure in leadership. With this the GOP can win with almost anyone as their standard bearer. BUT, if they win they will be expected to do more than talk.
Then there was the spectre of the barechested Congresscritter in the background. Oh, the humanity!
Krauthammer is mesmerized with all of this.
Now this Huntsman ~ call him "Romney Lite". You get all the BS with none of the thought. (Bwahahahahaha!)
The real problem here is Charles is getting stuck in the mid-1990s, just like Gingrich. He still thinks WE have to "move left" and "moderate" to pick up the all important "independents" and "moderates".
With Obama and his running dog lackeys whipping those people economically and socially I'm not sure we need to attract them. Where they gonna' go?
No doubt Medi-scare played a part in the NY-26 special, but the faux Tea Party candidate played a role and the fact that only 45,000 or so GOP voters came out for that election compared to 150,000 last November drove the nail in the coffin. That’s an astounding drop off in GOP support.
The GOP voters were disgusted with Lee and just stayed home.
I have read various artices claiming that a New York Rino’s loss happened because the Tea Party is extreme. It is more than likely enough Republicans did not vote for the “lesser of two evils.” Rinos are not getting that vote anymore.
The Tea Party came together mainly to end Obamacare. They also raised concerns about stopping the Democrats’ take over of private industry and bailouts and stopping the erosion of constitutional rights (homeland inSecurity).
They did not beg for the Rinos to cut social security and medicare. That was what the Rinos did instead of repealing and defunding Obamacare and reigning in Homeland inSecurity. They lie when they claim the tea party wanted them to attack medicare. I never saw a sign at the Tea Party demanding the GOP cut Social Security and Medicare.
We are at the Perot phase of history repeating itself in the US. If the GOP does not get smart fast, they will be re-electing the Kenyan just like they re-elected Clintoon. But it is my contention that the limo-socialist GOP would rather have Obama than an American-American Republican.
Another review of the same book:
Thanks for linking your thread, No One Special. Now I don’t have to do it. Comments on it say that its author, Walter Russell Mead, is a registered democrat. If he is, then he writes like another registered democrat who writes with common sense, Victor Davis Hanson.
That will work as well as Clinton's impeachment didn't work. Gore won the popular vote 2000. Poll shows that majority of voters in Weiner's district want him to stay
"Is It Incompetence or Ideology?"
We need to make the argument that he is incompetent because he is a hard left ideologue pushing Keynesian economics for a recession caused by excess credit. He's doing a repeat of FDR which was useless. Unemployment in the late 1930s was almost 20%!
Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high.Cheap energy would help the economy. Obama wants expensive energy - he said so - and he wants to raise taxes in this God awful economy!