Bit too late now, guys.
The semiotic search for the racism beneath Newtâ€™s food-stamp line. The dismissal of â€œthe Constitutionâ€ in haughty air quotes. The wasting of primetime minutes pondering which wife would make the best first lady. The obsessive deposing of Romney on the legality of condoms. The condescending identity politics of carting out a token Latino to ask an immigration question. The dings. The bells. The buzzers. The Google Chat notification tones. The frightful specter of Donald Trumpâ€™s coiffure lurking around the next corner.
These are just some of the lowlights of the umpteen Republican debates thus far. And with the exception of The Donaldâ€™s ill-fated quest to moderate, they were all brought to us by the mainstream media. Thatâ€™s the same media that daily carry water for the Obama administration, approach the tea parties as anthropological curiosities, and persistently skew the public discourse leftward in ways large and small, conscious and unconscious. So why on earth should conservatives trust them to play any substantial role in the selection of our presidential standard-bearer?
The answer, of course, is that we should not. Not again.
That’s all well and good, of course, and perfectly true and correct. But then we get this:
Watching Gingrich savagely skewer moderators has been, at times, richly satisfying. But it is satisfying in the same way that having ice cream instead of eating your vegetables is satisfying: Neither is salutary in the long run. While dismantling the presuppositions of the political media is surely a skill a conservative president would do well to acquire, it does not rank with the ability to clearly and persuasively articulate a conservative policy vision for solving Americaâ€™s most pressing problems, or with the ability to display fiscal sobriety, strategic acumen, and strong instincts toward liberty when presented with new challenges, foreign and domestic. These abilities â€” and not the ability to cleverly parry liberal inanities â€” are what the primary debates are meant to test.
But by all accounts (the ones I’ve seen so far, anyway), Newt demonstrated those abilities last night too, and has repeatedly, all along. And I’d say having not only the skill but the guts and general obstreperousness to “dismantle the suppositions” of the liberal media is a lot more important than just being something nice to have in the toolbox; I’d say it’s damned near essential. Particularly when we all know that the GOP establishment will never have the spine to turn their backs on the hostile media and go their own way.
Meanwhile, Romney remainsâ€¦Romney. No, I do not mean that as a compliment.
Romney, at his most hypocritical, labored hard to present himself as more socially conservative than Santorum, noting that Rick had voted for Planned Parenthood funding. Astonishingly, Santorum missed his chance at a return upper cut. Why didn’t he mention that Romney once gave money to Planned Parenthood from his own pocket? Why didn’t he mention that Romneycare dollars go to Planned Parenthood?
Romney’s sudden social conservatism invites an obvious question: How stupid does he think primary voters are? Romney’s con job here depends upon the amnesia of his audience. Here’s a politician who pled fealty to Roe v. Wade, voted for Democrat Paul Tsongas, and competed with Ted Kennedy as a champion of “gay rights.” By the way, Romney’s social conservatism didn’t even last for the whole debate. In the second hour of it, he indicated his support for women in combat.
Meanwhile, an unmolested Newt Gingrich, freed from the pressures of “frontrunner status,” resumed his role as the commanding, Olympian overseer at GOP debates. He told CNN’s John King off again, demanding to know why he was peppering Republican candidates with gotcha questions about “birth control” when he and his pals in the press had never asked Barack Obama about his support for the killing of infants as a state senator in Illinois. After that scolding, a rebuffed King didn’t even bother to recapitulate the dumb question that he had initially teed up to the candidates.
Newt’s tack here is exactly right. Why let a media of secularist bigots and the ghoulish party of Planned Parenthood dictate the terms of this race? Go on offense in the culture war, GOP. Remind Americans that the Democrats are the party of killing the unborn, some infants, the annoyingly disabled, and the inconvenient elderly. Remind Americans that Obama wanted elementary school students subjected to the sick sex ed propaganda of Planned Parenthood. Remind Americans that Obama is not at war with radical Islam but with orthodox Christianity.
Isn’t it telling that the only time the Maureen Dowds speak of “mullahs” pejoratively is when they affix that label to Christians like Santorum? They speak darkly of conscientious Christians as “dangerous fanatics.” Never mind that most of the violence in America is coming from the abortion mills liberals champion and finance. Feminists on their second or third abortion are a lot scarier to me than homeschooling Christians.
Now, you guys know I’m very far from anybody’s idea of a social conservative, but I really can’t disagree with that at all. Well, except in that I think it’s a damned good thing that said feminists won’t be reproducing.
All in all, though, I gotta say that it sure is a lucky thing Newt is so personally unlikeable. Otherwise, there might be a hope in hell of electing someone who might actually attempt to change the course we’re on or something.