Thursday, December 15, 2011

Daffy National Review: We Don't Like the Candidates 52% of Republicans Like

UPDATE: Can Andrew McCarthy save National Review's brand? As an admirer of Bill Buckley, I hope so. McCarthy's conclusion:
"There is no avoiding the fact that we live in a practical, tactical world. Personality has its place and electability matters. But National Review has endured as a beacon of our movement for over a half-century because the power of conservative ideas can trump personality and dramatically alter voters’ notions about who is electable. If we lose that conviction — if we convince ourselves that conservative candidates, effectively arguing conservative ideas, cannot persuade a center-right country to reject the most radical Leftist ever to occupy the Oval Office — we are nowhere."
Read the whole column. He's on target with every single argument.

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for original NR cover see below
National Review only likes three presidential candidates, and one of them is NOT Newt Gingrich. Publishing at National Review Online, the editors assert:
"We fear that to nominate former Speaker Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in the polls, would be to blow this opportunity [to win the White House and a majority in both houses of Congress]. We say that mindful of his opponents’ imperfections — and of his own virtues, which have been on display during his amazing comeback. Very few people with a personal history like his — two divorces, two marriages to former mistresses — have ever tried running for president."
Even worse, as their cover proclaims (see below), Newt is, well, somewhat looney. My take (expressed in the Photoshopped cover to the left) is that National Review editors are the ones with reality problems. Actually, National Review editors are not even up to the Marvin the Martian bar. At least Marvin knew whose side he was fighting on.

National Review editors seem to think that arguing against four top tier Republican candidates, all of whom have garnered good numbers in the polls at one time or another, none of whose main positions are not conservative (except Ron Paul on foreign policy), is a winning strategy. Maybe. Sure goes against Reagan's 11th commandment.

Not to worry, it's only a horrible strategy if one of the bashed gets the nomination. Additionally, in one fell swoop National Review has alienated the supporters of Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann and Paul (adding up to 52% of Republican or Republican-leaning voters in the latest Gallup Poll). Even worse, the candidates they choose win a meager 28%.

It's one thing to boost a preferred candidate. It's quite another to tear down other candidates--especially those who garner over half the voting preference and buy in to the "conservative consensus". Would you take advice on any important issue from people who think it smart to alienate 52% of their base while appealing to only 28%? Especially since, as they argue, there isn't much difference in the candidates' conservative bona fides.
"A hard-fought presidential primary campaign is obscuring the uncharacteristic degree of unity within the Republican party. It has reached a conservative consensus on most of the pressing issues of the day. All of the leading candidates, and almost all of the lagging ones, support the right to life. All of them favor the repeal of Obamacare. Most of them support reforms to restrain the growth of entitlement spending. All of them favor reducing the corporate tax rate to levels that will make the U.S. a competitive location for investment. Almost all of them seem to understand the dangers of a precipitate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and of a defense policy driven by the need to protect social spending rather than the national interest. Conservatives may disagree among themselves about which candidate most deserves support, but all of us should take heart in this development — and none of us should exaggerate the programmatic differences within the field.
National Review even takes mild swipes at the three they like. Huntsman and Romney have trouble with voters, and Santorum has no executive experience.
"Three other candidates deserve serious consideration. Governor Huntsman has a solid record, notwithstanding his sometimes glib foreign-policy pronouncements; his main weakness is his apparent inability, so far, to forge a connection with conservative voters outside Utah. Governor Romney won our endorsement last time, in part because some of the other leading candidates were openly hostile to important elements of conservatism. He is highly intelligent and disciplined, and he takes conservative positions on all the key issues. We still think he would make a fine president, but time and ceaseless effort have not yet overcome conservative voters’ skepticism about the liberal aspects of his record and his managerial disposition. Senator Santorum was an effective legislator. He deserves credit for highlighting, more than any other candidate, the need for public policies that topple barriers to middle-class aspirations. Weighing against him is a lack of executive experience."
There's nothing to like about this editorial no matter who you are for. No man-the-barricades call to action. No bold colors. Only pastels and sniping. Looney Tunes? Well, maybe Daffy rather than Marvin.

original cover


James Nicholas said...

All that dialogue, and a front cover cartoon, just to get to this:

"At the moment we think it important to urge Republicans to have the good sense to reject a hasty marriage to Gingrich, which would risk dissolving in acrimony."

Yeah, no kidding. Why did you not give us a cartoon cover and a windy speech on the pitfalls of a flawed candidate when Romney was riding the wave of the party machine and sitting as front runner? Guess it wasn't as important to avoid a hasty decision a few months ago.

If you are placing Jon Huntsman on your short list of people that will lead a conservative wave of reform you cannot possibly be serious in your efforts. All the candidates are "flawed" in some way. Reagan was. I am. Mark Steyn is, for heaven's sake. Tell me something I don't already know.

Do us a favor, save us the anonymous editorial hit piece. It's a cowardly way to try to marginalize the Republican who engineered reclaiming the House of Representatives, something that had not been done in forty years and was a feat thought impossible when he first arrived in Washington.

Good post.

T. D. said...

It was a hit piece and was cowardly. I'm not even a Newt supporter. I'm still evaluating. But, this sort of below the belt punching drives me away from NR and toward the guy they're so anxious to crush.

Thanks for weighing in, JN! Have a Merry Christmas!