Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Off Message

There was much twitterpation when Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former President Bill Clinton went “off-message” for the Obama campaign; oh, dear, oh dear, can’t they control the message? The campaign is doomed!

So what happens when Jeb Bush goes on TV and tells the world that the GOP of today wouldn’t have elected Ronald Reagan or his father, George H.W. Bush?

Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad — they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground,” Bush said, adding that he views the hyper-partisan moment as “temporary.”

“Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time — they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support,” he said. Reagan “would be criticized for doing the things that he did.


Oh, wait; Grover Norquist (which sounds so much like a Muppet name) stopped rubbing his legs together to respond:

“That’s foolish,” Grover Norquist, the architect of the bedrock never-raise-taxes pledge that nearly every Republican has signed, told TPM in an interview. “It’s stup—it’s bizarre.”

“There’s a guy who watched his father throw away his presidency on a 2:1 [ratio of spending cuts to tax increases] promise,” Norquist said of Bush. “And he thinks he’s sophisticated by saying that he’d take a 10:1 promise. He doesn’t understand — he’s just agreed to walk down the same alley his dad did with the same gang. And he thinks he’s smart. You walk down that alley, you don’t come out. You certainly don’t come out with 2:1 or 10:1.”

Way to miss the point there, Copernicus. It’s not just that both Reagan and Bush raised taxes — eleven times for St. Ronald — it’s that both men were capable and willing to work with Democrats and come up with solutions. That fact seems to evade Mr. Norquist, and it is entirely the point of what Mr. Bush was saying.

By the way, is Jeb Bush positioning himself for a run in 2016, assuming Mitt Romney loses? (I think he can count himself out of the VP slot this time around.) He’s trying to sound like a moderate (kinda sorta endorsing same-sex marriage), but in today’s GOP, anyone who isn’t waving a pitchfork is considered to be a moderate. But if Romney loses, the hardliners in the will say, “See? We nominated another RINO and we lost again. To the barricades!” Steve M:

If you think the GOP will go mellow in 2016, you must believe that Jim DeMint, Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Dick Armey, Charles Koch, David Koch, Sheldon Adelson, and Joe Ricketts (that’s a partial list) are all going to die in the same plane crash between now and then. You also have to believe that the mainstream press is finally going to define extremism and intransigent partisanship as overwhelmingly Republican phenomena, and stop saying “Both sides do it!” Not gonna happen.

So, really, Jeb, just stop it. Demonization will continue to be in fashion in your party for the foreseeable future.

And if Jeb had run this time around, he would have been out by last September.