Two Bad Days for the GOP
The Democrats and the Obama re-election machine have sat by and watched the Republican Follies over the past 48 hours, and by doing nothing they have gathered manna from heaven for the upcoming campaign.
First, Gingrich is carpet-bombed in Florida, reacts petulantly is taken off his game and forgets what won South Carolina for him as pointed out by C. Edmund Wright at the American Thinker. Now he is all but written off by the Establishment and the mainstream media.
Then Romney is seized by foot-in-mouth disease. By claiming he doesn't care about the really poor and would fix any holes in the safety-net he has reinforced the image of a greedy Wall Street banker out to make money at any cost. It is obvious that he did not mean to say he cared nothing for the poor as he repeated twice that he would fix any holes in the social safety net. Yet this is another in the line of dumb statements he has made that reinforces the idle rich image.
However, and more importantly, he has completely discredited the age-old conservative mantra that everyone should care for the poor by making certain they have the opportunity to rise into the middle-class. The safety net is not the answer -- jobs through economic growth and education is the solution. It is obvious if one were a true conservative that would be ingrained in their thinking. Instead Mitt hands a quote to be played over and over again by the Obama machine while further increasing the doubt in the Republican base that he is a true conservative.
Mitt Romney then digs the hole deeper and thoroughly alienates conservatives by stating that he would index the minimum wage to inflation and thus raise it every year. This is said in an effort to mitigate the damage from his earlier faux pas. It is common knowledge that the mandatory minimum wage is a disaster for those entering the work force. The unemployment rate for those in the 16-20 age group exceeds 21% and is far worse for minorities in the same category. It has been a rock-ribbed tenet of conservatism that the minimum wage is anti-business and more importantly kills job creation so necessary for upward mobility. Why, if Romney is a true conservative, doesn't he understand?
George H.W. Bush or Bob Dole or even John McCain, all the epitome of Republican moderates, were not this obtuse and devoid of basic conservative values.
However the pinnacle of all this foolishness is the image of a super-rich out-of-touch mogul (Donald Trump) endorsing a really rich out-of touch front-runner (Mitt Romney) for the Republican nomination. Has there ever been a better picture from central casting to reinforce the Democrat and socialist mantra that the Republican Party is the Party of the rich?
Had Trump endorsed Gingrich it would have been basically meaningless, but a way of stating he, Trump, is at his core a conservative; had he endorsed Santorum then that would have been news and a way for Trump to show he is in touch with the working folks. But to endorse Romney just plays into the hands of the mainstream media and the Democrat spin machine. Why doesn't this occur to someone either in the Romney campaign or the Republican Establishment? For Trump it is merely a way to call more attention to himself.
Modern politics is in many ways image over substance. Rarely in a 48 hour period have so many useful images been handed to the opposition.
The Republican nominating process has come down to:
1) Romney: someone generously categorized as a moderate, who has a tin ear and is incapable of exhibiting genuine empathy for the common folk. He is the perfect foil for the Democrats and Obama, who will begin the process of casting him as the Wall Street villain in television ads and in the media as soon as he has the nomination in hand, assuming he gets to that point. He has single-handedly destroyed the mantra and image that he is the most electable of all the candidates.
2) Gingrich: a man who based on his past accomplishments should be the darling of the Republican base, but who continues to be side-tracked and easily gotten off message while at times showing absolute brilliance interspersed with petulance.
3) Santorum: a man who, while a fine family man and a true conservative, is terribly lacking in charisma and often comes across as Jesuit priest about to lecture his unruly students. Traits that are deadly in today's media-driven political environment.
And 4) Ron Paul, who is spot on with many of his domestic economic pronouncements but who in the field of foreign affairs appears to be living in the 1930's. He could have been a proud member of the America First movement in 1939; unfortunately this is 2012 and there is this quaint invention that wasn't available in those days: the nuclear bomb and its WMD cousin, biological weapons.
This is where the Party is in the early days of February. It is now up to Newt Gingrich to get back on his game and speak from the heart, and for Rick Santorum to become a viable candidate or in the extreme keep the nominating process in limbo until the Republican Convention. If none of the above happens then the election season starting in August will be brutal to watch with the very real possibility that the worst could happen: Barack Obama wins a second term.