As anyone who looks at politics all the time will tell you, the Republican presidential primary is a brutal thing. It is a contest of who can slap their chest the hardest, rail against those evil liberals and stoke fear of the other and change in the hearts of all those red blooded Republican voters. Which is just fine, for their party, you should do what it takes to actually win the votes of your base, even if they are bat-shit crazy.
The problem, for Republicans that actually want to win the White House is that the things which excite their base are things that are not very popular with voters at large in the nation. It might excite the Teahadists and other Conservatives in the Republican Party to hear Ron Paul declaim “I think we should vote for the right to drink raw milk!” at a debate and get a round of cheering, it is quite another to have anyone support that as a platform plank to run on in the general election.
Establishment Republicans get understand this, which is why we are see things like Michael Gerson’s column in today’s Washington Post. He is already tying to put a corral around the wild horses of conservatism that are off and running in the nominating race.
Gerson knows that to have any chance of winning the White House who ever the Republican nominee is will have to be able to disavow some of the silly season things that will be required to win the nomination, so he is giving them pre-emptive cover.
This being little Mikey Gerson, he of course, has to take a few swipes at the Democrats before he can get down to the serious business of making space for the eventual nominee to back off the edge of the crazy cliff. He says:
Every candidate in the current field accepts the goal of reversing the Obama era. In 2008, the federal government spent $3 trillion; in 2011, it will spend $3.8 trillion. Federal spending has jumped from 20.7 percent of gross domestic product to 25.3 percent. Federal debt held by the public is twice what it was in 2008. This path is unsustainable.
I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to pick apart how many things are wrong or missing the needed context in that small paragraph (hint, the number of misstatements is higher than four).
Read the rest of this entry →