Weak fields

Amidst the hundreds of pre-post-mortems going for Romney's campaign, Washington Post's Richard "Liberal" Cohen --sniff-- misses Ron:

In 1980 Ronald Reagan won the Republican nomination. He beat a future president, George H.W. Bush; two future Senate majority leaders, Howard Baker and Bob Dole; and two lesser-known congressmen. This year Mitt Romney won the GOP nomination. He beat a radio host, a disgraced former House speaker, a defeated Senate candidate, a former appointee of the Obama administration, a tongue-tied Texas governor, a prevaricating religious zealot who happens to serve in the House of Representatives and a cranky libertarian doctor. Where did all the talent go?

Cohen longs for the intellectual heavy-weights of yore (George W. Bush and Reagan?) and concludes that the only solution, as is all things, infinity is more moderates voting for more trickle-down Republicans, more NeoCon foreign policy Republicans and more top-end tax cut Republicans.  In short, more of everything Romney is running on, but spoken moderately?  Or something. 

Pretending the trend this cycle is a full rejection of GOP ideas (just like the opposite in 2010) is a miss, but even further off the mark is pretending Obama is winning this election merely because the Republican field was weak.  It was weak.  So weak it was fun


  • Agree with Cohen, George W. Bush and Reagan did, indeed, win their elections.  But neither were particularly strong candidates on the trail. 
  • The overall not-sucking-enough economy kept a few Republicans stronger than, say, Herman Cain out of the race, sure, but even with them in Romney would've probably been the favorite. 
  • Romney was never that electable to begin with.
  • House Republicans tarnished the brand.  Extreme ideas like redefining rape scare many voters.  Probably more than one independent voter out there still wondering how the hell Planned Parenthood fits into the GOP recovery plan, for sure.
  • The Romney campaign has been a disaster, and campaigns matter some.

All true, but none are a good way to understand Obama's lead.  Jonathan Bernstein:

[...]the easiest interpretation of what’s going on right now is that, if Obama leads by 3 to 4 points, only a point or two needs to be explained beyond the fundamentals. At best, we’re talking about maybe 5 or 6 percent who would otherwise be voting for Romney but currently appear to be supporting the president.  That’s still worth studying, of course — but it’s a relatively small effect overall.

The basic story here is that, after all, it is the economy.

The economy, and incumbency.  Romney's campaign follies, GOP vs. Pollsters, and the (inevitable) Fox News meltdown are just the icing on the cake.


Did the Washington Post's Richard Cohen Scare the "*#*!#!" out of you?

Have you heard of Ishmael? He is the bogeyman of Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen.

In his column today, Cohen says that Ishmael, a fictionalized "terrorist or a suicide bomber or anything you want" who the U.S. will capture one day, won't talk because the Obama administration has outlawed the use of waterboarding and other abusive "enhanced" interrogation techniques.

There's more...

Richard Cohen Trys to Keep The Racial Flames Burning

At a moment when it looks like the Clinton and Obama camps are agreeing to pull back from the increasingly racialized fight between the two candidates, Richard Cohen at the Washington Post decides to dump a big gallon of gasoline on the fading fire.

Barack Obama is a member of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama's spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness." That man is Louis Farrakhan.

Uh-oh. Being this is Cohen's lede, one would think he is acccusing Obama of being big Farrakhan supporter too, right?

There's more...

Richard Cohen's Angry Elitism

Digby nailes Richard Cohen, Op-Ed writer for the Washington Post who has written two columns this week on how he hates the negative feedback he's getting.

Richard Cohen has been upset by the angry mob for some time. And when that happens he inevitably turns to the Republicans to set things right. They are, after all, the "conciliators." But far be it for me to say he has a political agenda. I frankly don't think he does. He is just easily upset by human beings who object to being treated like imbeciles by sniffing sycophants like Richard Cohen and don't feel like taking his condescending shit anymore.

I'm not quite as old as Cohen but I lived through the same era. How pathetic now to see liberals of my generation get so exercised over a few hostile emails. It's obviously been a while since they felt anything more strongly than irritation at too much foam on their cappucino. They sound exactly like the older generation sounded when we were young --- afraid of change and seeing political passion as being "hateful" and dangerous. Baby boomer elites are now that creepy old guy muttering at the kids to stop walking on his lawn or he'll call the cops.

That's exactly right.  There's a hatred of democracy and popular participation that has crept into our punditocracy, political class, and political bloodstream.  I feel myself tempted that way on occasion, but it's deeply wrong.  Cohen has abandoned moral consistency or introspective ability, and that is why he's not well-liked.  It has nothing to do with his lapdog-like treatment of George W. Bush.  That's more of a symptom.

And Peter Daou has more on this general problem.

There's more...


Advertise Blogads