16 July 2010, Wolf Howling, Looking Ahead: Obama, 2012 & The Biggest Republican Weakness
. . . for years now, I have been screaming that the failure to communicate and respond to these endless [leftwing] attacks was the greatest failing of the Bush Administration - and Republicans generally in all situations. I am convinced that McCain lost the election because of his failure to aggressively attack Obama in the debates and the failure of the entire Republican Party as a whole to respond to the left's outrageous charge that the right was responsible for our financial nightmare. . . .
Having watched the current crop of Congressional Republicans for years now, I am under no illusion that, come 2012, they will be able to effectively communicate. The backlash we see against Obama's policies and vast overreach today has come from the bottom up, with the Tea Parties and social networking. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Congressional Republicans. That does not bode well for the right come 2012.
That said, as I look out at the field of potential candidates who could possibly communicate effectively - those with the necessary intelligence and aggressiveness to actually call the left on their falsehoods and change our national paradigm - the only one I see today who foots that bill is Newt Gingrich. . . .
Gingrich won South Carolina by 12 points and, going into Florida, he now leads the polling by 9 points. Hysterical dysentery has now afflicted those many Republican elites suffering full blown cases of GDS (Gingrich Derangement Syndrome). The disdain they feel for the voters - i.e., the rank and file Republicans and independents who voted in the S.C. primary - and the grass roots Tea Party movement literally drips from their mouths. It appears that before the Conservative rank and file can take back our nation from Obama, we will first have to take back our party from the Republican elites.
As so many people are today pointing out - Gingrich roars. And when he unapologetically does so with passion and eloquence in defense of conservative values, when he does so in shredding an ill thrown race card, when he does so in calling the media out for their bias, that is what the base of the party wants above all else. It is clear that the base understands that it is precisely what the party has been lacking. And it is clear that the base also understands that progressives - who have, over the past century, changed our nation in so many ways - will continue making fundamental changes to our nation until we can get someone who roars in defense of conservative values.
This is not a sudden catharsis, at least for me. I have been pointing it out as the single greatest failing of Republicans almost from the first day I started this blog. For but a few examples, see:
- Advice On How To Lose The 2012 Election
- Looking Ahead: Obama, 2012 & The Biggest Republican Weakness
- A New Cold War In America
- Losing the Message Wars
- Republicans Ponder The Abyss
For the past eight decades, Republicans in government, with the exceptions of Ronald Reagan and then Newt Gingrich, have been fighting a rear guard action, accomplishing little more than minimizing the ever continuing advance of socialism / progressivism in our government and in our society. As to Reagan as President and Gingrich as Speaker, they actually pushed back against the advance and managed conservative victories. They did so because they vocally, passionately and eloquently were able to challenge the falsehoods of the left while promoting conservative ideals.
We can see much the same happening today in some of the states. Take New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for example. He is a darling of the right today - despite the fact that he is a RINO's RINO on so many conservative issues. But on the two intertwined issues most effecting NJ, the economy and the power of unions, Christie is firmly on the conservative side of the fence. And he has been just a shining success in bluest of blue NJ on those issues. Why? Because he is an incredibly effective communicator who is vocal, passionate and eloquent in the effort to promote fiscal sanity and an end to the power of NJ's massive public sector unions.
But today, the many Republican elites suffering GDS are telling us that the ability to communicate does not matter and that the voters in S.C. were just dumb. They now are trying to frighten the base into voting for Romeny by saying that a Gingich nomination will mean that we lose not just the Presidency, but the House and the Senate down ticket. Let's take a look:
The voters in their infinite wisdom have just given a huge boost to perhaps the only GOP candidate who could shift the spotlight from President Obama to himself, alienate virtually all independent voters, lose more than 40 states and put the House majority in jeopardy.
Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post
. . . with Newt Gingrich you get the name calling for the president — very popular with the tea party crowd in South Carolina, not so popular with independents. He won’t put a fence on the border and wants amnesty for illegals. He took $1.6 million from Freddie Mac. But you know, he attacked Paul Ryan’s plan on Social Security. So with Newt Gingrich, you throw out the baby and keep the bath water… I think South Carolina is going back to their Democratic roots.”
Ann Coulter, Fox and Friends (via Gateway Pundit)
. . . Let’s just pray that Barack Obama’s second term didn’t start today. If Gingrich does get the nomination, this may turn out to be a year in which Republicans more or less ignore the presidential race, ceding Obama his second term, and focus instead on trying to hold the House and, if possible, picking up a seat or two in the Senate, along with doing the best we can in state races where the wipeout at the presidential level doesn’t swamp all efforts to elect Republicans.
John Hinderaker, Powerline
On the heels of Newt Gingrich’s trouncing of Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary, Republican Party brass are privately expressing deep concerns that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s high unfavorable rating in national polls could prove catastrophic to the so-called “down ballot”–the House and Senate races under the presidential race–and may even threaten the Republican Party’s control of the House of Representatives.
GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, who previously served as Sen. John McCain’s senior campaign strategist, told MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow that if Mr. Gingrich wins next week’s Florida GOP primary, there will be “a panic and a meltdown of the Republican establishment that is beyond my ability to articulate in the English language. People will go crazy.”
Wynton Hall reporting at Big Government
What these GDS-afflicted prophets of Armageddon are relying upon are polls showing that, at the moment, Gingrich has a lot of negative name recognition. Wow, no kidding? It's not like Gingrich suffers from two liabilities - the MSM of the past two decades and now the GDS afflicted right.
Does anyone reading this remember Gingrich's speakership in the mid - 90's, the balanced budgets, the welfare reform, the Contract With America, the good economy, the low jobless rate? I do. And I vividly remember a few other things. The left of the era hated Gingrich with a passion that would not be seen in America again until Sarah Palin came onto the national scene. The MSM of the time was not just as left wing as today, but they had a near complete monopoly on the news. There was no alternative media. They demonized and demagogued Gingrich unmercifully. Indeed, I kid you not when I say I remember the day I looked up the definition of the word "demagoguery" in the dictionary. I had heard the word used by Rush Limbaugh in an interview with the Speaker in response to how the left and the entire MSM was portraying one of his acts.
Update: It appears that my memory of that time - the intense partisan war against Gingrich, the bull shit ethics complaint, and the total war of the MSM declared on Gingrich is accurate. Byron York of the Washington Examiner takes us on a walk back through that time here.
As to when Republican members in the House led a coup against Gingrich, I have no inside knowledge. I do know this. What we got after Gingrich left was a disaster. We got a House that was, for the next decade, nothing more or less than Democrat-lite. There were zero conservative accomplishments, there were zero balanced budgets, but there were huge increases in spending. So was the problem Gingrich's leadership, or the fact that Gingrich took Republicans out of their comfort zone and brought a lot of bad press at the time? I have always believed it was the latter based on what I saw at the time and afterwards.
And now when it comes to negative press, it has been the GDS Republican elites who have picked up where the far left MSM dropped off near a decade ago. As I wrote in Decemeber:
The last two months of flame throwing against Gingrich [by the GDS-afflicted Republican elites] has left me wondering whether we can yet pull defeat from the jaws of victory. Precious little of what is coming from the right leaning pundits has been reasoned criticism. To the contrary, its largely been overheated hyperbole of the ilk used by the left to demonize and delegitimize Sarah Palin.
So when the GDS afflicted right now tells us that a Gingrich nomination would be catastrophe because he doesn't have positive name recognition, that is like the boy who murders his parents then asks the Court for mercy because he is an orphan.
So how are we to evaluate Gingrich's negative name recognition from some earlier national polls when matched up with the most recent polls and with the results of the SC election? First this from Gallup:
The latest Gallup polling shows Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney each trailing President Obama by exactly the same tally — 50 to 48 percent. . . .
. . . Gingrich, in particular, improved versus Obama in the swing states: While he trailed Obama by 6 points overall at that time, he led Obama by 3 points in states that are likely to be hotly contested — a swing of 9 points.
The Gallup poll is not limited Republicans, and it certainly seems that Gingrich is at least as popular as Romney. And then there was the S.C. open primary, where Gingrich not only won running away, but also took the independents. I am just not feeling the hate . . .
In sum, all of prophecies of total Republican annihilation coming from Republican elites who hold the actual voters in utter disdain is nothing more than fearmongering. Their total immersion in GDS suggests that their problems with Gingrich run far deeper than merely wanting to see the Republican party - or conservativism, for that matter - succeed, and their total disdain for the Republican base shows arrogance unbound. Indeed, it leaves me speechless, though still with a desire to communicate clearly with the GDS-afflicted Republican elites. That said, let's cue the non-verbal response.
Update: Doug Ross has also addressed the down-ticket argument with a rather amazing historical fact from Rasmussen. You literally have to go back in time to 1860 to see a scenario play out where an incumbent president loses the White House but his party wins "control of either house of Congress from the other party."
Update: Linked at Larwyn's Linx.