Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Republican Submarine Campaign

In World War II, U boats would send up wreckage to the surface to make pursuers think they had been sunk. The GOP presidential campaign is at that stage now.

Huckabee, Trump, Barbour, (gulp) Gingrich...the flotsam and jetsam keep coming, but down below in the engine room, are real missiles being loaded? (Apologies to Sarah Palin for the war image.)

A Gallup poll shows name recognition is still the game with only Romney reaching 20 percent as the preferred candidate. Most GOP voters seem to want something, but they won’t know what it is until they see it.

“Top Republicans,” reports Politico, “are increasingly convinced that President Barack Obama will be easily reelected if stronger GOP contenders do not emerge, and some are virtually begging Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to add some excitement...

“It’s a sign of the GOP’s straits that the party is depending on the bland, wonkish Daniels for an adrenaline boost.”

There is talk of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has declined, as well as any other Republican governor or senator untainted by scandal or blatant stupidity.

Is John M. Huntsman Jr. the man? Who? A former Utah governor who has been serving as Ambassador to China is opening campaign headquarters in Florida and heading to New Hampshire.

Compared to him, Barack Obama was a celebrity at this stage in 2007, but who knows how far a moderate billionaire can go in this climate of desperation?

The way things are, Republican pros are working and praying for their apparatus to surface next year with someone who can hold on to Tea Party marauders and get enough Independents on board to win.

Maybe they can find a modern-day pilot for the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and conquer the Blue Meanies, but time is passing without any distant sound of real music.

Update: Voices for party sanity are being heard as Ross Douthat warns that "Gingrich’s more enthusiastic critics are...behaving as if the Ryan budget represents some kind of sacred right-wing writ. Unless American politics changes beyond recognition, Ryan’s plan cannot and will not become the law of the land in its current form.

"And while it has many virtues, it has many flaws as well. Its example should call Republican presidential candidates to a greater seriousness about Medicare reform than most conservative politicians have manifested to date. But it cannot, and must not, become a rigid litmus test: That way lies intellectual sclerosis, and political disaster."

And groupthink for those who represent half of American voters.

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