Feeding the cable news beast during the dud GOP primaries
How do you create drama from blowouts? How do you gin up intrigue where the outcome is so evident? Mitt Romney handily won New Hampshire Tuesday. The networks declared it the moment polls closed. He is the first non-incumbent Republican to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Now it’s on to South Carolina and Florida and the media is afraid this race is over before it starts.
Every four years the primaries bring out the rabid right or left base, those so-called ‘likely’ voters. But this year the GOP are so disgusted with the quality of their field, they are staying home in large numbers, casting protest votes for candidates no longer in the field or justifying their hold-thei- nose vote for Mitt by saying he is the most “electable.” The media gin up the daily controversy and the incumbent sits and bemusedly watches the party eat its young.
Not only does the GOP have a likely nominee who is uninspiring and stiff, but his reputation for flip-flopping on every position (sometimes even within the same interview) and being a corporate raider in a time when the voting public is angered with job losses from them, outsourcing and economic inequality, means an already difficult road to the White House just became a Mission Impossible sequel.
His stunning simple explanation he trotted out to assembld media Wednesday was: those who feel there is inequality in the world? It is just an example of their envy… And that decisions on tax code should be taken in quiet rooms where deep thought can occur. That any working person would embrace that is dangerous and laughable yet it is almost like watching a brainwashed cult when working people allow this to occur with their tacit support.
The media, in desperate need for a story line are already talking November in January with only two states having voted and one poll today said Romney was only(!) five percentage points behind the President. We’ve essentially just had the opening tipoff of what will be a four quarters game and they want to call it vs. report it?
Factor in Romney’s tone deaf statements and that he is running WITH an obstructionist Republican controlled House up for re-election while President Obama runs against their 5% approval rating looking presidential at every turn, a Tea Party fringe that brought 84 new members in 2010 yet were last seen on the side of a missing children’s milk carton panel, and you have a perfect storm aligning against the GOP. Thinking Independent voters will look at the record in November and break for Obama as the sane alternative to allowing Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida GOP takeovers occur at a national level.
And all that is before the empty America’s Elect slot on most state’s ballots (tailor made for a Ron Paul, Donald Trump or Sarah Palin independent 3rd party run) is factored in. While small government Tea Party conservatives flock to Ron Paul and the religious right fundamentalist wing of the party adores Rick Santorum, both wings hate Mitt Romney and a key to November is whether or not they will turn out to support him, stay home or cast a protest vote for a 3rd party candidate.
The GOP elephant is wounded and many question whether it is a case of the pain signal from its extremities not yet reaching the brain or whether the party will continue to so spectacularly self-destruct.
A third possibility is it recovers to fight back in cornered rage. So far they seem content to just turn their fire on one another. It’s normal in the primaries to play to the extreme wing of your base for seven months, then, once you become the nominee, drift back to the reasonable centre.
You know your party is in trouble when FOX’s Sean Hannity accuses Rick Perry of being so anti-capitalist talking about Mitt, he sounds like he’s from Occupy Wall Street. What’s worse their Dark Arts Lord, wordsmith strategist Frank Luntz, keeps warning against defending capitalism?
We have fallen through the looking glass Alice. And there are still 10 months left to this campaign.
This post appears courtesy of Denis G. Campbell and UK Progressive.