Monday, February 06, 2012

Pathetic Conservative Leaders

No, I am not talking about Ann Coulter, though I do expect an upcoming column on "Three Cheers for State Cap and Trade and Gun Control Legislation" and crowing that not only did Governor Romney fool Massachusetts liberals* into voting for him, but has added conservative Republican primary voters to the list.

I am talking about serious conservatives at National Review who write articles advising Mitt Romney how to attack Obamacare without attacking mandates requiring individuals to purchase government approved healthcare plans (like in Romneycare). Perhaps it will be the first in an NR series on how to make failed liberal policies palatable to voters tired of government failures. Next installment: How to Defend an Indexed Minimum Wage.

Or how about brilliant, insightful conservatives like Mark Steyn and Jonah Goldberg making the case that voters should vote for Romney and HOPE for the best. Huh?

Goldberg argues that Romney, upon being elected, must honor his promises.
"If elected, Romney must follow through for conservatives and honor his vows to repeal Obamacare, implement Representative Paul Ryan’s agenda, and stay true to his pro-life commitments."
This is just a bizarre statement. Since when has any politician been required to "honor his vows" and "commitments"? Jim Geraghty has a running joke pointing out how many promises Candidate Obama made that President Obama has broken. The "we made you and you owe us" mantra rarely works in politics because there is a general election in which voters of different political stripes have weight.

Then there is Mark Steyn who really, really, really does hope that Romney will be a conservative. He "hopes" three times in the following two minute segment of a C-SPAN BookTV interview yesterday.

That's what conservative thinkers are reduced to. No robust defense of conservative principles and policies. No rallying cry about conservative candidates overturning establishment road blocks and foot dragging that have demoralized the 2010 victors. The one hope now is that Mitt Romney will honor his promises. Pathetic.

Then the always thoughtful Victor Davis Hanson holds out hope today that if the media goes after Romney's Mormonism they will have to go after Obama's un-vetted past.
"And with this new emphasis on transparency, are we to expect that the media will demand this summer that both candidates disclose to press adjudicators their complete medical records in John McCain fashion, as well as their college transcripts? I think that’s where we are headed, given that the media is protective of one candidate for reelection and is simultaneously demanding an intimate level of inquiry about his possible opponent. Is the logic that an un-vetted Obama is now vetted because he has been president for three years and undisclosed information supposedly did not play a role in the manner of his governance? Are we to take that assumption as gospel, and accept that such thinking cannot apply to other candidates (as in, 'Don’t vet me, and then when I am in office, I am de facto vetted')?"
The answer is "yes" the press will say Obama has already been vetted. After all he has been the president for almost four years. What else do people need to know about him? Actually, it's a good argument. We have Obama's record as president. We don't have Governor Romney's record as president.

Dr. Hanson, I have the misfortune to inform you that going after Governor Romney does not mean the press will go after President Obama anymore than sending a small army to Alaska to uncover everything possible about Governor Palin (the vice-presidential candidate) in 2008 meant also sending a small army to Chicago to uncover everything possible about then Senator Obama (the presidential candidate). It's as though Hanson has never lived through a presidential election.

Even though Mark Steyn got it right in the clip above about unfairness being part of the system, he and Victor Davis Hanson will in the general election rightly follow Newt Gingrich's example of complaining about the unfairness and bias (not to mention corruption) in the electoral process. There will be easy voting for the dead and Mickey Mouse in Chicago, unfair mainstream media coverage and huge funding and governmental advantage for Barack Obama.

It's not wrong to complain about those things. That's the only way the voters will be allowed a say on the power of the establishment, big money, false charges, and media bias playing a significant part in who gets elected. It's not whining to point out things that are wrong even if fixing them is impossible. The voters can at least vote against them in principle by voting for this candidate over that candidate.

Mark Steyn's complaint against Gingrich is short-sighted. He shoots himself in the foot for any complaint he will have about unfairness in the 2012 presidential election.

Victor Davis Hanson's hope that if the media unfairly go after one candidate they will be forced to go after their favorite candidate as well is a nice dream, but sadly only a dream.

Some, like Mark Levin and Dr. Thomas Sowell, have not lost their head. But, their number is dwindling.

UPDATE: Thomas Sowell again shows how a conservative intellectual leader is supposed to act:
"But Romney’s statement about not worrying about the poor — because they 'have a very ample safety net' — was followed by a statement that was not just a slip of the tongue, and should be a defining moment in telling us about this man’s qualifications as a conservative and, what is more important, as a potential president of the United States.

"Mitt Romney has come out in support of indexing the minimum-wage law, to have it rise automatically to keep pace with inflation. To many people, that would seem like a small thing that can be left for economists or statisticians to deal with.

"But to people who call themselves conservatives, and aspire to public office, there is no excuse for not being aware of what a major social disaster the minimum-wage law has been for the young, the poor, and especially for young and poor blacks."
[emphasis added]
*Coulter boasts: “I say [Romney] tricked liberals into voting for him.” [about the 14:05 mark]


MAX Redline said...

This is one excellent piece of work, T D - pulling disparate pieces together into an articulate analysis of where conservativism is, at this point.

Unlike the pundits, I have no illusion regarding Romney; I regard him as Obama-Lite. It slays me that the people I could really get behind chose to opt out.

T. D. said...

Thanks, Max. Very depressing that I seem to know a lot more than some of the people I have been reading over the years to gain insight. Pathetic is the best word I could come up with.