Politics

07.05.12

The Right Discovers That Romney Lacks Specifics!?

This is too hilarious. Reading Andrew I see this Bill Kristol quote:

"The economy is of course important. But voters want to hear what Romney is going todo about the economy. He can "speak about" how bad the economy is all he wants—though Americans are already well aware of the economy's problems—but doesn't the content of what Romney has to say matter? What is his economic growth agenda? His deficit reform agenda? His health care reform agenda? His tax reform agenda? His replacement for Dodd-Frank? No need for any of that, I suppose the Romney campaign believes. Just need to keep on "speaking about the economy."

Please. Bill, you promoted Sarah Palin, for Chrissakes. The emptiest candidate on a national ticket of the last 50 years, maybe 80. And you want facts out of Romney? It's the same with the Journal editorial I discuss below.

Suddenly conservatives are demanding that Romney tout specific plans. Gimme a break. Romney doesn't tout specific plans because he's not had to. All these same people--the Journal, Kristol--have created a frothing base that cares nothing about specifics; that indeed despises specifics and wants to hear only about shallow and falsely (and stupidly) opposed symbols: Kenyans v. Americans, taxpayers v. moochers, private enterprise v. socialism and so on. That's all these people want to hear. They don't need no steenkeen plans.

Romney doesn't talk specifics for a very obvious reason, writes Jonathan Bernstein on his blog:

How exactly can Romney give more specificity on "government-run health care"? On "punitive regulation"? They might as well have asked for the Mittster to be more specific on Obama's apology tour and, I don't know, Kenyan birth.

Precisely. Republican issues are all made-up issues anyway. There's no policy seriousness in the party at all. Paul Ryan? Please. Least of all Paul Ryan! True, he has bothered to learn some things about the budget, but nothing he's learned has diverted him from the path of making massive tax cuts for the rich priority number one, so in a way he's even worse than the rest of them.

When Republicans candidate did trumpet plans, they were insane. Herman Cain's 9-9-9. It was designed just to sound good and appeal to some notion of gut-level common sense: Nine percent for everybody. Sounds fair to me! Romney actually does have similar plans, and they're just about as bad or perhaps worse.

If or when Romney loses, it will be in no small part because of the Republican primary process. A primary campaign is supposed to be where you sharpen your arguments. In reality world, that means you learn to make them more fact-based, as the Democrats did in 2008, when very policy-smart second-tier contenders (Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson) made the frontline candidates better. And as Republicans did as recenty as, say, 1988. But In wingnut world, it means you learn to make them less fact-based and more red meat sound-bitey, and that's precisely what--and precisely all--the primaries taught Romney.