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November 28, 2012

Opinion: Why, Damn These RINOs For Ruining Everything

I've avoided this topic because we've had it sixty three thousand times before and, especially right after the election, I thought it would be nice to decompress.

But at some point I guess we're going to have to have this argument.

Here's one guy making the case that RINOs once again didn't listen to TrueCons and destroyed everything.

I just have so little patience for or interest in this argument. To me it boils down to 1, "If Only They Had Listened To Me," a political evergreen, and 2, a gorilla-like dominance/aggression display that I've seen before -- a lot.

The article talks up about how wrong it was to nominate Romney without ever -- and this is the part of these arguments I find so childish -- without ever actually saying which of the other candidates would have been better.

See, this is that Pie Chart situation I talked about in politics. When you announce a specific policy -- or support a specific candidate -- you're defending a rather narrow wedge of the pie. The pie represents the Sum Total of All Possible Policy Responses (or Possible Candidates), so anytime someone criticizes your tiny slice of the pie without placing his flag on his own tiny slice of the pie, he's engaging in an easy political maneuver -- you have to defend a tiny bit of pie whereas his argument appeals to anyone who wanted any other slice of pie. That is, his vagueness on who we actually should have nominated allows the partisans of every other possibility -- Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, Cain, Huntsman (!), Johnson (!), Perry, and who-all else -- to say "Yes, I agree with that. Rather than that one piece of pie, we should have selected one of the seven or ten others."

But which one? If this guy came forward and said "and that's why we should have picked Santorum," he'd have a tougher case to make.

But it makes the easy one -- we shouldn't have picked Romney, but instead one of the thousand other Republican office-holders or opinion-leaders who are Not Romney -- and anyone who likes any of those thousand other options can agree.

It's a silly bit of positioning which invites opponents to defend a flawed man, or a flawed position, while one nobly argues for The Hypothetical Ideal, and the Ideal is undefined so it can be one thing to one person and another thing to someone else.

Romney was a major disappointment to me. I feel responsible for this loss, as I was one of the people who got on the Romney train midway -- not at the beginning, but earlier than most, too. I feel that certain representations I made (and I believed) turned out to be false. I thought, for example, that this intelligence and ability and past successes would count in his favor; I thought people might like that in a candidate. (Actually, I earlier supported Pawlenty, and then Perry, precisely because I thought that a more blue-collar standard-bearer was better. But they lost, and Santorum, while having a certain blue-collar appeal I thought was attractive, seemed otherwise too flawed to nominate, so I wound up convincing myself that the public could embrace an aspirational, success-story figure, rather than grousing about how Rich That Guy Is.)

I thought that his "moderate New England tone" on social issues would make him more appealing to swing voters, particularly women.

I thought his prior ability to organize large sprawling concerns would wind up giving us a big advantage in get out the vote and such -- and it didn't. In fact, his campaign seems to have been much more poorly organized than most.

For these things, I'm sorry. I was wrong. I thought he would be a better candidate. I thought he would win. He wasn't and he didn't.

On the other hand, I'm still not seeing any good arguments for the notion that another candidate would have won. Now, no one could do worse than Romney -- he lost, after all. You can't do worse than losing. So there would not be any particular bad outcome attached had we nominated, let's say, Herman Cain.

But I'm still finding it rather incredible that the more flamboyant and/or limited-niche candidates would somehow have won, just because, supposedly, they would have been pushing Conservative Principles more effectively.

I think Romney pushed a fairly strong conservative economic policy -- mind you, without a very good conservative economic argument.

I just haven't seen the case made that we should have nominated this specific candidate, say Gingrich, and he would have won, as opposed to the kind of empty and vague statement that we should have nominated someone better.

I would have loved to have nominated someone better.

But who?

Anyway, it's unavoidable that we have just this "My Segment of the Party Is Quite Clearly the Most Popular and Victory-Producing Part of It So Let's All Gather Under My Flag" argument at some point. Unfortunately, after a loss, that's what people do. They have to do this. It's not even something I can really say "Hey let's not do this" to. It's something that has to happen. It's part of the process.

So let the knives be drawn and let the blood be spilled.


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posted by Ace at 05:12 PM

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