The Premature Coronation of Romney
For the legacy media, Romney's nomination becomes a greater certainty every day, if indeed it was ever in doubt to them, and their drumbeat and trumpet flourishes for the politically androgynous former Massachusetts governor grow ever louder and more difficult to ignore.
It's probably time to take another serious look at what's going on.
First, some outtakes from media's fawning attempted anointment, all from persons who even now are sharpening the knives they will use on their current favorite Republicrat after his nomination is secure:
Last Sunday's Face the Nation (10/23/11) is a prime recent example, for both substance and quality:
Excerpts from the discussion:
Julianna Goldman (White House Chief Correspondent, Bloomberg News, born, Bethesda, MD, AB, Barnard 2003, one of the "Obama Originals" (bus tour groupies for The Great One, 2008), father, name partner in Washington DC law firm, mother, Board member of National Jewish Democratic Council), speaking of the most recent debate:
And then Mitt Romney, he really did seem to be the most confident and comfortable on matters of the economy at the debate.
Picking right up on Goldman's theme, show host Bob Schieffer (CBS's 74-year-old dean of political commentary, rumored, perhaps falsely, not to despise all conservatives, and the sole alleged voice of moderation on the Sunday show) replied with this unexplained gem of wisdom from on high:
There seems to me, John, to be a kind of consensus in the political community that whether Republicans are excited about him or not, it looks like Mitt Romney is headed to the nomination.
Not to be outdone, panelist John Dickerson (chief political correspondent for Slate, regular guest on Al Franken's doomed Air America Radio For Radicals show, born in Washington, D.C. and schooled at the Sidwell Friends School [can't lefties show some educational imagination?]) chimed in with the following panegyric for his kind of Republican:
Well, that's right. I mean he has stayed at a consistent level in the polls. He's gotten so much better as a candidate compared to the last time he ran. He's knowing when to - to stay out of the fight and then when to engage. And at these debates, he's a competent person and he continues to win those questions about, can you beat Barack Obama?
And finally, responding to Shieffer's question about whom the White House expects to run against, Norah O'Donnell (CBS News chief White House correspondent, born in Washington, D.C., BA and MA from Georgetown, noted savager and libeler of a young female supporter of Sarah Palin and asserter of false claims of racism against Newt Gingrich) got in the last good riff for Romney:
I think there was a growing sense this week that Mitt Romney is likely going to be the Republican nominee...
But this member of the CBS panel couldn't stop there, and she proceeded to give the Verdi aria rendition of how Obama's campaign will trash Romney once he's nominated: " ... to paint Mitt Romney as Wall Street's best friend. I heard from David Plouffe, the President's senior advisor, that there is, of course, growing anger at Wall Street amongst independents, Republicans, and, of course, Democrats. They're going to paint Mitt Romney as a Wall Street sympathizer, someone who wants to roll back Wall Street reforms, who in the debate with Julianna this past week said that he is against a payroll tax, calling it a band-aid." And on and on.
Norah seems to have forgotten the plan. First get him nominated. Then savage him.
So there you have the kind of discussion that passes for disinterested, high-quality political analysis by CBS News, undisputed king of the MSM. Their panel's conclusion: Mitt Romney -- nary a primary vote having been cast nor a delegate selected, mired at 21% in the polls after a campaign of antediluvian vintage (and actually trailing Herman Cain's 25%) -- is a virtual lock for the GOP nomination.
And note: This conclusion comes from CBS's uncommonly balanced group of four panelists -- only three of whom are demonstrably left-wing Democrats who would rather take poison than vote Republican, while the fourth actually, on occasion, may be as far right as the ghost of Nelson Rockefeller.
Another recent example of Extremely Premature Romney Coronitis appeared October 23, 2011 in the Christian Science Monitor in the form of an article by Brad Knickerbocker, whose dislike for conservatism is a bit more subtly masked than the CBS panelists' but still plainly evident (see, e.g., Knickerbocker's article of March 5, 2011, not-so-subtly trashing Wisconsin governor Walker's until now successful battle against the republic-destroying public employee unions, and Knickerbocker's at least equally unsympathetic portrayal of anti-illegal immigration activists in an article of January 23, 2006).
Knickerbocker opines that all of Romney's rivals have taken a run at him and then "stumbled." He's especially hard on Rick Perry, repeating the cavil that Perry "stumbled' on immigration, and then parroting the slander about Perry's "family's hunting camp with its racist name." As if that were the whole story.
The Knickerbocker piece relies heavily on the unconvincing thoughts of thirtyish Harvard grad and New York Times pet conservative (sort of), Ross Douthat, whom Knickerbocker quotes extensively. Knickerbocker relays Douthat's unsupported view that "Romney's path to the nomination is more wide open than for any incumbent in decades." When you're elevated to New York Times conservative house guest, no matter how few elections you've experienced, I suppose your political pronouncements can be cited by a fellow columnist, and the latter's column considered done. After quoting the politically callow and analytically empty Douthat, Knickerbocker winds up with the stirring "But at the moment the race for the GOP nomination seems like Romney's to lose."
There's really not much to the CBS panel's conclusion or the Knickerbocker piece, but in propaganda, it's not the analysis -- it's the repetition that counts.
I could go on with the list, but suffice to say that we are going to see a lot more of this kind of ludicrous coronational stuff from the MSM and the Republican establishment, especially as Romney's interminable campaign continues to exhibit its signal trait: failure to engender a shred of enthusiasm among the Republican voter base -- or, for that matter, among Romney's own alleged supporters.
Aside to those of you who think, deep down, that Romney may have some conservative instincts: given an opportunity to support Ohio Governor John Kasich's modest, brave, and sensible curbs on the obviously ruinous power of the public employee unions, Romney refused.
Now for a bit of reality, with the varnish of agenda-driven MSM/Republican establishment wishful thinking scraped away:
The latest Fox News poll out Wednesday, October 26, 2011 has the Republican field as follows:
Undecided/Don't know: 16%
In other words, among all Republican primary voters, strongly conservative-identified candidates who are above the deminimus support level (Cain, Gingrich, Paul, and Perry) receive a total of 49% of the vote to Romney's 21%, with 14% undecided and the remainder (4%) divided between two conservatives (with a total of 3%) and a Romney clone (1%).
Among those who identify with the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, whose energy and commitment disproportionately drove the 2010 electoral victory, the numbers are even more disturbing for the MSM/Party establishment-designated sure thing:
Undecided/Don't know: 8%
Here the result is even more lopsided: conservatives with serious levels of support (Cain, Gingrich, Paul, and Perry) get a total of 63% of the vote to Romney's 18%, with 8% undecided and the candidates with minimal support (a total of 4%) divided essentially as among "All Republicans."
Some frontrunner. Especially considering that Romney has been trying for two years to get the Party rank and file, if not to love him, then at least to stay in the room when he takes the podium.
In fact, there is absolutely no frontrunner now, and the race for the Republican nomination is wide open. It will be the primary voters, not the MSM commentators or the Party establishment, who select the nominee. Every word the latter utter, every sentence they write, containing the word "frontrunner" needs to be ignored.
What about motive? What could be moving the MSM and Party elite to the singularly ridiculous anointment of the one candidate in the Republican field who produces the widest instantaneous gag reflex among the party's voters, a response nearly universal among its most committed voters?
The Party establishment is not hard to figure out: it has placed the undeserved frontrunner crown on Romney because it never -- ever -- wants a self-identified conservative to lead the Party. It is itself not conservative, and does not want its Party to be -- and, contrary to all the evidence, can't believe that the nation is.
With the exception of Ronald Reagan (and the [incorrect] perceived exception of George W. Bush), the Party establishment has been dismissing conservative presidential candidates with perfect consistency since the end of World War II. And it has produced only one arguably successful president during those 60 years: Dwight Eisenhower ('52-'60). Every other candidate of its selection either lost the election (Dewey, '48; Nixon, '60; Ford, '76; Bush I, '92; Dole, '96; and McCain, '08) or served and failed in office (Nixon [resigned,'74], Ford [beaten, '76], Bush I [beaten by Clinton who got 43% of the vote, '92], and, arguably, Bush II ['00-'08, whose two terms ended in disaster because of his domestic governance and personal passivity]).
But the MSM's motive in designating Romney as a sure thing is even more nefarious (and fraught with meaning for those Republicans who actually want to win). At least the Republican establishment can plead a kind of inbred intellectual defect, combined with its own ideological dislike, that's been passed down over three generations. It consistently refuses to perceive that since at least 1964, clarity and conservatism have been a winning combination in American presidential politics.
The MSM, on the other hand, is orders of magnitude smarter than the Republican establishment, and rightly recognizes that a Romney nomination, at a stroke, would suck all the energy out of the Party and create the best possible scenario for an Obama victory. This article is already way too long -- the subject of why Romney would be a disastrous candidate is for another day -- but the MSM conclusion that Romney's nomination is the key to an Obama victory is both clear and correct.
Continue looking carefully, and positively, at Cain, Gingrich, and Perry. All three are very much alive, and each is a highly credible and qualified conservative candidate behind whom the overwhelmingly conservative Republican Party could enthusiastically unite and whom those same voters could carry to victory.