Charge ahead to defeat with Mitt Romney. Let’s do it again with another moderate.

I just read a truly ignorant column by Victor Davis Hanson posted on about Mitt Romney as the castor oil candidate. We don’t like how he tastes, but he is good medicine for us.

Now I’ve been around long enough to understand the power of wishful thinking and how it can distort judgment, but I must confess that I am amazed at how much traction this squishy moderate Republican thinking gets after it has led the Republican party to defeat time after time. I’m having a strong case of deja vu here, remembering 1996. We had a Democrat president who was weakened by serious scandal. Many Republicans were salivating at the upcoming election and the chance to boot him out. Many of them, again, felt like the best chance of beating him was with a mild-mannered moderate. And so we got Bob Dole leading us on the charge, and he crashed and burned. But what should we have expected? Didn’t Gerald Ford flub his campaign against one of the worst presidents in American history, Jimmy Carter. But wait, there is more. In 2008, another moderate, John McCain, who should have wiped the floor with the fringe leftist Barack Obama, screwed up that campaign and got us into our present mess. But the pinnacle of ridiculousness is all these people like Victor Davis Hanson who haven’t learned that Reagan was right. For a successful conservative campaign, you need bold colors, not pale pastels. The problem with the popularity of Republicans on the national scene is not their conservatism. Conservatives outnumber liberals two to one. It’s their moderation, their wimpiness, their timidity.

So this piece by Mr. Hanson represents a serious case of wishful thinking. The seriousness of his wishful-thinking affliction is revealed in his factual error about Michele Bachmann’s campaign. I will elaborate on this in another post. Please see my follow-up post, Michele Bachmann has not stumbled.

About mesasmiles

By Dr. David Hall. Dr. Hall runs Infinity Dental Web, a small company that does Internet marketing for dentists. He has had a long-standing interest in politics and as a college student toyed with the idea of a political career.
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3 Responses to Charge ahead to defeat with Mitt Romney. Let’s do it again with another moderate.

  1. Jay says:

    “Dole also had the endorsements from the political bigwigs in New Hampshire. Dole also stood for next to nothing. But this did not stop Dole from becoming the Republican nominee for President, only to lose against a less-than-honorable incumbent —Bill Clinton. Assuming the presumptive GOP standard-bearer for 2012 becomes the actual standard-bearer, Romney will very likely do the same against Obama.

    “But Romney brings back memories of another Republican who was nominated for President, not because he stood for anything, but because he looked good, sounded good and people thought he could defeat the incumbent. … Romney is a taller Tom Dewey. He has Dewey written all over him.

    “And Mitt Romney will defeat Barack Obama when Tom Dewey comes back from the dead and finally defeats Harry Truman. And not before.” (Author: Jack Kenny)

    Response by David Hall:
    Thank you for pointing that out. You are quoting from Jack Kenny on To give proper credit, I like to mention the link: Mitt Romney Tom Dewey All Over Again. And the comparison of Romney to Dewey is particularly interesting given that Obama plans to follow Truman’s strategy of campaigning against Congress.

  2. eolsen says:

    So just who would you have us nominate? Everyone of the other nominees have fatal flaws. If one does not see that they are blind or drink too much cool aid. Cain would be eaten alive. What other surprises lurk out there. Perry? Can you imagine him in debate? Gingrich has enough baggage to sink the Titanic. He would energize the opposition. Bachman no thanks. She has plummeted in the polls for a reason. All legitimate polling shows Romney stacks up best against Obama. And anyone thinking this election is a slam dunk is out of his mind. Romney is the most articulate candidate since Reagan. He is no Bob Dole and shocked he could be compared to Dole. I suspect there are lot of reasons Romney has not caught on, closet bigotry, being a Republican governor of a very liberal state. Yes he has changed his position on issues like virtually every other candidate. My gosh Perry was Gore’s campaign head in Texas!
    Romney appeals to the moderates. He is not offensive. He has been vetted completely.

    Comment from David Hall:
    I didn’t hear you give a reason about passing over Michele Bachmann. Why did you just skip over her? She is a fantastic candidate with views that resonate with most people. Remember the TARP Bailout? Romney was for it, so was Gingrich, so was Bush and many of the Republicans in Congress. Bachmann was against it. 70% of the American people were against it. What is it about that you can’t see? She is extremely bright, she is absolutely principled, and has the courage of her convictions that are called for at this critical juncture of our history.

    Same with raising the debt ceiling. She had the courage to oppose her colleagues in the Congress, and again, we have about a 70% margin of the people in this country who were opposing that.

    The reason she fell in the polls was that Rick Perry announced his candidacy the day after Michele’s impressive victory in the Iowa straw poll, and he sucked all the oxygen out of the entire race for two weeks. He immediately rose to the top, and she sank. But there was no scandal, no gaffe.

    Why nominate a candidate with baggage? Wait until Obama’s attack ads come out tying Romney to Wall Street, mocking his hypocrisy over what he says about Obamacare when it was copied from Romneycare. There is a reason he can’t get over 25%. And it doesn’t sound like you’re that excited about him either.

  3. Jax says:

    I think you should read the WSJ piece that dismantles the notion McCain lost in 2008 because he was a moderate. Oh, like many of the article’s commenters, you’ll probably ignore the conclusions because you don’t like them, in effect sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “la-la-la-can’t-hear-you”, but the data the author cites is irrefutable. McCain lost because he was nominated as the post-Bush REPUBLICAN in a year Democrats could’ve won with a potted plant at the top of the ticket.

    Personally, prospective head-to-head polls tell me everything I need to know about 2008 and 2012. In 2008, poll after poll showed McCain as the only Republican even somewhat competitive with Obama whereas Obama thrashed the other potential nominees by double-digits. And what do you know– McCain managed to hold the margin of victory to 53 – 47 thus limiting the coattail effect; yes, McCain, who earns scorn for 2008 is in truth at least partially responsible for making the 2010 House recovery possible. On the other hand, what did the “conservative” faction of the party do? Nominate Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell for the Senate thus ruining what should have been the party’s moment to recapture the Senate also.

    Now in 2012, poll after poll shows Romney as the only candidate within the margin of error on either side of Obama in a one-on-one matchup. Gingrich and everyone else lose by nearly 10 pts.

    Republicans like yourself are truly afflicted with Romney Derangement Syndrome. It’s hilarious that this fundamentalist-dominated party would rather nominate a rampant adulterer who left his wife when she was in a wheelchair then a man who at least in his private-life has lived almost as pure a life as possible. But, then again, before that, they wanted Herman Cain who is suspected of serial sexual harassment. But, that’s not the end of it. Anti-Romney zealots would also rather nominate Gingrich or Perry whose positions on immigration are presumably well to the left of their own and whose more hardline positions are most forcefully advocated by, guess who, Romney.

    Obama should be toast in 2012, but he’s not because Republicans can’t reconcile themselves to their one candidate who should be able to clean the president’s clock in an election dominated by the economy. But, thanks to the necessity of pandering to the right-wing, even Romney may be unelectable now. With his stance on immigration, I don’t know how the campaign plans to have any outreach to Latino voters. With his support of the marriage-amendment, I don’t know how they plan to attract any gay voters (Bush got over 20% in 2000– in a close election, any voting bloc can make a difference).

    These are positions that fuel the “flip-flop” narrative about Romney, but in reality they reflect views he has been forced to adopt by conservative hardliners who still neverthelss aren’t receptive to him, because just fixing the economy– which is all mainstream Americans care that he does– isn’t enough for them. He has to hew to ideological orthodoxy on every right-wing issue too. And then they still don’t want him.

    But, if the Republican candidate loses what should be a can’t-lose election, whether it’s Romney in a close contest or an Obama landslide over anyone else, conservative purists like yourself will be squarely to blame. It will either be because you failed to adequately support by far the party’s most electable nominee or because your rigid ideology pushed him into taking positions that are unacceptable to the broader electorate OR because in your Anyone-But-Romney zeal you manged to prevent him from getting the nomination and thus led to the nomination of one of the several candidates in the field who frighten small children.

    But, hey, who cares about winning? It’s much more important to cling to your principles. Well, clutch them tight. After four more years of Obama, they will be the only you have left to hold on to.

    Reply by David Hall:
    One topic that fascinates me is the motivations for people’s beliefs. And you, while you accuse conservatives of closing their ears to the truth, yet you select, in your attempt to develop the premise that “conservatism can’t win”, you pick out of the dramatic conservative victories of 2010, two of the cases where the conservative candidate lost in the general election. If you were fair and even-handed, you would also factor into your conclusions dramatic conservative victories, like Pat Twomey in Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio in Florida, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and others where liberal incumbent Republicans were challenged.

    And I find your pining about how Romney has been forced to alter his positions to appease conservatives – I find that quite amusing, actually. So how is it you can figure out where he honestly stands? But that’s how moderates think – “Let’s hear the debate and find out what everyone else thinks, and then let’s chart a course somewhere in the middle, and hopefully, neither side will be too mad at us. And as far as my own core principles. I haven’t figured that out yet.” You know, Jax, there are some of us who have trouble relating to that kind of thinking, and there are a great many of us who are tired of that approach and are hungry for someone with core principles. And if those conservative core principles of liberty, hard work, and love of country are articulated well by a candidate whose character matches the message, the candidate that does that will sweep the country, regardless of what the pre-election polls say.

    And I know that the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is pro-establishment Republican, so I expect them to make excuses for McCain. But you fall for this fallacy of measuring candidates by pre-election polls. By your thinking, we should move straight from the nomination to the election with no campaigns, because campaigns are meaningless – we can take care of every election by the pre-election polls. That’s ignorant. But you say that’s all you need to know. Learn a little history. In 1980, Ronald Reagan started with a huge deficit in the polls. In 2010, Marco Rubio started out barely making a blip in the polls, but he went on to beat both the incumbent governor and the Democrat challenger. When people respond to polls, they often reflect what they are hearing about people in the establishment media. Then we have the campaign where everyone starts paying attention to the message and the character of the actual candidate, and that’s what decides the outcome.

    Here are four things McCain did that helped bring on his defeat, all of which are related to one degree or another to his being a moderate:
    1. McCain made a purposeful effort to NOT go after Obama on his radicalism. It was a fully articulated, formal policy of his campaign, and he would not even allow his surrogates to go after Obama.
    2. McCain, by supporting the TARP bailout, conceded an issue that would have resonated with 70% of the people.
    3. McCain’s people tried to muzzle Sarah Palin, put her in embarrassing situations, and helped promote negative stories about Palin. (For more information about this, please see her autobiography, Going Rogue.)
    4. By his reputation for moderation, he failed to inspire the 40% of Americans who call themselves conservatives, which depressed turnout.

    Yes, Obama won, and a book could be written about how he won. But the book about how McCain lost I believe would be just as long.

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