I’m not in the habit of reading Andrew Sullivan. Many people are, and that’s fine. When I come across a post like this old one, it makes me less inclined to read him in the future. This new post, however, is spot on.
The Republican Establishment is Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, and their mainfold products, from Hannity to Levin. They rule on the talk radio airwaves and on the GOP’s own “news” channel, Fox. They have never quite reconciled themselves to Romney since he represents a gray blur in a stark Manichean universe they have created for more than a decade now. In this universe, there is only black and white. There is only them and us. Anyone who diverges an iota from this schematic is speaking without a microphone in front of a revving airplane engine.
Manichean is the word, and Sullivan’s right to use it. Politics to them is all fiery light and utter darkness, and the conservatives choose light. Those who won’t gravitate to Limbaugh and Rove’s sunshine are anti-American, anti-Jeffersonian and anti-Christian evil. Talk and act like Sean Hannity, or they’ll stomp you into the ground.
The government getting involved in healthcare isn’t a little socialist, it’s the Euro-cultist plague destroying the Western world. The media speaking of income inequality isn’t class consciousness, it’s exactly the class warfare Marx fashioned to destroy the United States. There’s little more that traditional intellectuals and historians can take before they pick up their rifles. Read their Constitution, ferchrissakes.
How’s a ‘moderate’ like Romney supposed to survive in this atmosphere?
This now is the party of Palin and Gingrich, animated primarily by hatred of elites, angry at the new shape and color of America, befuddled by a suddenly more complicated world, and dedicated primarily to emotion rather than reason. That party is simply not one that can rally behind a Mitt Romney. He too knows what he has to say – hence his ludicrous invocation of Obama as some kind of alien being. But it doesn’t work. He believes it – since he seems capable of genuinely believing in anything that will win him votes and power. But he doesn’t have the rage to make it work.
While Sullivan’s overall analysis is excellent, he misses the opportunity to nail Romney for what’s been an extraordinary display of his anger. Just because it’s been ineffectual in rallying the base to his cause doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. This is what passes for vote-winning ‘rage’ in the world of milquetoasts: lying. Absurd, silly in-your-face fictions. Teenage passive-aggression.
Mitt has prosecuted a campaign so notable for lying thoroughly and inartfully, it’s become historic. Steve Benen does the heavy lifting in this area, the bullshit river of Romney. Each Friday, Steve ranks the top ten fabrications of the candidate over the last week. Here’s part of the post from 11 days ago:
Let’s get started:
1. Romney told voters in New Hampshire, “I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re gonna get fired. There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.”
2. Romney argued in a debate, “[W]hat unfortunately happens is with all the multiplicity of federal programs, you have massive overhead, with government bureaucrats in Washington administering all these programs, very little of the money that’s actually needed by those that really need help, those that can’t care for themselves, actually reaches them.”
This is the exact opposite of the truth.
3. After winning the New Hampshire primary, Romney said of the president, “He lost our AAA credit rating.”
In reality, it was congressional Republicans who were responsible for the downgrade.
4. In the same speech, Romney said of Obama, “He apologizes for America”
This was last Friday:
1. “The president is planning on cutting $1 trillion out of military spending.”
That’s a Romney favorite, but it’s not at all accurate.
2. “This president has opened up no new markets for American goods around the world in his three years, even as European nations and China have opened up 44.”
That’s not even close to being true.
3. “We’ve got a president in office three years, and he does not have a jobs plan yet. I’ve got one out there already and I’m not even president, yet.”
This one actually includes multiple lies . .
Under great pressure to wreak murderous havoc upon the enemy, a decent man can falter. Mitt wants to be heroic, but he can’t manage the blind rage that attends Johnny Republican. This is the anger that piles up as your beliefs get mocked by intelligent, racism- and war-averse folks on the left. Mitt happens to be pretty intelligent and violence-avoiding himself. It’s a problem.
So this is his best rebellious response: reflexive lying. It amounts to barely propaganda dropped on the trenches. That’s not carrying war to the enemy, that’s just being lame. Gingrich will continue to kick his ass until he either starts the bloodletting or quits the race.
But, as you can see, Mitt is comfortable with desperation. That’s the mindset of someone who’d like to chop down a tree by hacking it with a spoon. The irony regarding liars is how quickly they can lie to themselves, so he’ll likely continue on as he’s done. He’ll tell himself he’s making progress, somehow. Don’t bet on him quitting the race until the very latest, probably at the convention.