Political Strategy Notes
David Corn has some perceptive observations in his Mother Jones article, "With Ryan Speech, Romney Campaign Goes Full Tea Party" including "They're in a mania," one former Bush adviser said about the Romney campaign. They think America is ready for a grand reconfiguration of its social insurance system"...With such language--which was vetted by Romney Central Command--Ryan was not pressing the obvious case that Romney is a pragmatic Mr. Fixit who could be a competent steward of the still-struggling American economy. He was announcing that he and Romney aim to remake American society. He was essentially issuing a declaration of ideological warfare: Government is the enemy of freedom and the cause of the nation's economic woes; it must be crushed. And, yes, taxes must be slashed for all, which would include those on the highest rungs..."
I have mixed feelings about this notion. Certainly, the number of boring speeches should be reduced, as well as the over-hyped "suspense" in conventions when the big issues and choices are already decided, especially since veep selections are nowadays rubber-stamped. The two major political conventions also drain too much media attention and resources, which could be better spent on more in-depth issue reportage. Still, a real political party has to gather and hammer out principles sometime, not that today's party platforms are all that consequential. Might this be done better in the years between presidential elections?
Lest you remain unaware of how trifling, paranoid and bizarre the Republican platform is, read Adam Serwer's "The 5 Weirdest Bits in the 2012 GOP Platform" at MoJo.
Ed Kilgore has a revealing post "Affirmative Action baby" about the GOP's race card strategy, in which he nails the Rovian subtext in Republican attacks on Obama: "...The "affirmative action" meme implicitly endorsed by the likes of Karl Rove has such a nasty undertone: You, white Americans, tried to give those people a chance, but you know what? They turned out to be exactly what you always suspected, even in that half-black, cleaned-up, over-educated version named Barack Obama! So screw 'em!" Kilgore adds, "...it infuriates people like Rove that their conservative-majority-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see was derailed in 2008 by this Ivy League black dude from Hawaii. They can't believe he beat them fair and square, so they'll say he's predictably failed in hopes that they can get the course of history back on track. "
In addition to impressive Latino GOTV preparation in Arizona, Republicans have another development to worry about. At the Hill Cameron Joseph quotes Sen John Kyl: "Ron Paul has totally taken our [state] party over...His folks have taken over half of our party, as a result of which we are split down the middle, totally ineffective, screwed up."
Juan Cole writes at his Informed Comment blog about Romney's sabre-rattling towards Iran, concluding that " Military action in the Gulf would certainly send gasoline/ petrol prices sky high and possibly further derail world recovery from the deep global recession." Could be the premise for a compelling campaign ad.
This can't be legal.
Nick McClellan and Chris Kirk have a fun graphic up at Slate.com answering the question: "What Are the Most Republican States?" There are no shockers, but the rankings are interesting nonetheless.
And while at Slate, check out Dave Weigel's "The Last Gasps of the Ron Paul Movement" which addresses "how the GOP's new rules are meant to make sure no one rises to replace him." The interesting question is whether or not Paul can be muzzled by the GOP giving his son, Rand Paul, some sort of bribe.
You couldn't ask for a better capsule description of Romney's business legacy than the title of David Moberg's In These Times article "How To Succeed in Business Without Adding Value." Moberg concludes his argument with what could be a useful soundbite: "...Even when a private equity firm "succeeds" (usually after buying an above-average business), much of their gains are reaped simply by transferring large amounts of wealth to themselves. The losers are usually the companies they acquire, their investor partners, taxpayers, government agencies and workers-ultimately, the entire economy."