The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Krauthammer Caucus

Posted on | December 2, 2011 | 29 Comments

One cause of this year’s up-and-down cycles in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination has been the powerful influence Fox News exercises over conservative opinion. While I am capable of filtering Fox in the same way I filter any other information stream — and am naturally resistant to peddlers of Conventional Wisdom — it cannot be denied that, for some Republican voters, What Is True on any given day bears a strong resemblance to What Fox News Said the night before.

Understand that I have made a career in recent years as someone who knows what goes on behind the scenes in Media World and occasionally reveals it (usually through sly sarcasm) to readers who have never worked in a newsroom. And I have sometimes talked about what I call “The Water Cooler Consensus” that emerges among a group of newsroom co-workers discussing politics. The opinions that solidify in those informal conversations among colleagues have a way of expressing themselves in decisions about what is and is not news.

From this understanding, then, I approach this Washington Post column by Charles Krauthammer:

It’s Iowa minus 32 days, and barring yet another resurrection (or event of similar improbability), it’s Mitt Romney vs. Newt Gingrich. . . .
My own view is that Republicans would have been better served by the candidacies of Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan or Chris Christie. Unfortunately, none is running. You play the hand you’re dealt. This is a weak Republican field with two significantly flawed front-runners contesting an immensely important election. If Obama wins, he will take the country to a place from which it will not be able to return (which is precisely his own objective for a second term).
Every conservative has thus to ask himself two questions: Who is more likely to prevent that second term? And who, if elected, is less likely to unpleasantly surprise?

(Via Memeorandum.) That’s the beginning and the end of his column, and everthing in between must be considered in light of a premise that Krauthammer implies without actually saying:

 If you are a supporter of any candidate other
than Newt or Mitt, you’re wasting your time

This is a belief that has been repeatedly telegraphed to Fox News viewers for the past two weeks. And the people who are communicating that message may be entirely sincere. But no one should discount the possibility that they are also sincerely wrong.

Charles Krauthammer is a brilliant man, but he is not the only brilliant man in the world, and not all of the brilliant men in this world are nationally syndicated columnists employed by Fox News. Ergo, I’m no more likely to outsource my political thinking to Krauthammer than I am to let Chris Matthews, Peggy Noonan, Paul Krugman or Meghan McCain dictate my opinions.

Will Fox News pick the next president? Or do ordinary people in Iowa still have more influence than the Krauthammer Caucus?

UPDATE: Richard McEnroe is not one of The People Who Matter. Neither are the voters of Iowa. Nor, for that matter, are you or I.

* * * * *

What You Can Do
If you agree with the logic of the foregoing argument, why don’t you copy it in an e-mail and send it to your Republican representative, senator, governor or state GOP chairman? You can also e-mail it to your favorite local or national talk radio host. Also, by using the “share” button at the bottom of the post, you can share it via Twitter or post it to Facebook. Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word.


29 Responses to “The Krauthammer Caucus”

  1. AngelaTC
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 11:36 am

    My money is on Fox. 

  2. daisy
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    Last time everyone said they hated John McCain but low and behold he got the nomination. Someone is pulling the strings. I’m depressed and feel like the fix is already in.

  3. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 11:57 am

    We’re all depressed, Daisy. But the soldiers who spent the winter at Valley Forge had more cause to be depressed, didn’t they?

  4. Steve in TN
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    They had George Washington.

  5. elaine
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    Krauthammer spent months dissing the Tea Party as a passing fancy of no consequence until even he couldn’t fail to notice the impact they had on last fall’s election.  So as far as I’m concerned, his opinion isn’t worth shit.  But maybe that’s just me…

    People like him spend way too much time talking about the election horse race and not enough time demanding answers for the bad behavior of our political class.  Which is why we end up with a campaign cycle which lasts nearly two years before the big event in November, while nothing gets reported outside rightwing blogs on stuff like Fast and Furious and the entire Green Industry scam.

    People DIED as a result of F&F… and all Krauthammer can talk about is a stinking horse race?  This is the biggest scandal in our nation’s history, and people are acting as if it’s no big deal.

    Is it any wonder, then, that our country is in the mess it’s in?

    Where’s the outrage over this?  Where’s the congress and the media demanding answers on behalf of the people they allegedly work for?  Where’s the teeth of prosecution?  What happened with F&F is literally treasonous, yet there’s no outcry.  But we could all certainly spend months wringing our hands over Sarah Palin’s target on a political map and decry the lack of civility in our nation’s discourse and how that led to a tragic shooting.

    Everybody’s so f*ing worried about our team versus their team that nobody gives a tinker’s damn about princicpled stands of right and wrong.  It’s just cover our team’s butt when they do something bad while hypocritically attacking the other team for the same sins.

    I’m done.

    Hubby and I turned off Fox more than a month ago and haven’t missed it AT ALL.  He was married to Brett Bair’s show, and Krauthammer was a particular favorite.  But when that smug SOB couldn’t help but smirk over Palin’s public statement about not running, that was really the very last straw.  For a man who’s wrong as often as the K-man is, he doesn’t get to gloat when he — like a stopped clock — happens to occasionally be right.

    Until our political class takes seriously the need to cut spending, I’m done caring about who the parties nominate.  Oh, sure… they *say* they want to cut spending, but these people can’t even find the political will to cut the waste of federal buildings which keep their lights on all night.  If they can’t even be bothered to address that tiny bit of waste, why should I trust them to do anything about the serious fraud and abuse in Medicare or Social Security?  Or the obscene pensions federal workers make, compared to the rest of us?  If they routinely exempt themselves from the laws they make the rest of us abide by, why should I care which of them is in charge?  They’re all pigs feeding at the taxpayers’ trough.

    We’re spending too much money.  How hard is this for any potential nominee to grasp?  Yet, when they take office, suddenly they get right on the spending train with their democrat brethren.

    I’m sick of having these turncoats running for office who say one thing and do the opposite once elected.  You think Romney will repeal Obamacare when he can’t even bring himself to admit that Romneycare was an abject failure which cost the citizens of Massachusetts untold millions?  You think Newt will cut spending when he caved to the democrats at every turn back when he was Speaker?

    We get the elected officials we deserve.  The American people have let this happen to us by not demanding better from our political class.  It’s time we stopped.  Better to spend the next convention drafting a random person out of the phone book than be stuck with the current field of candidates.  Not a one is worthy of our support, much less votes.

  6. Steve in TN
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

    Until a candidate breaks through and sustains double digits, what’s the point?  What candidate not named Mitt or Newt has a decent chance to do that?

  7. t-dahlgren
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

    It is entirely possible that CK is correct about the direction the primaries are heading.  If so my only wish is that the primaries play out in such a manner that, be it either Newt or Mitt, whoever wins the nod is left scared witless of the right sided electorate.

    They need to be left with the firm conviction that they are on a very short leash.

  8. richard mcenroe
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    A Raucous Ostentation of Ravens There’s still someone they forgot to ask…

  9. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    Give up GI Joe!
    That’s all I hear when a talking head tells me “how it is”. Just stop listening to them and they will become irrelevant.

  10. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 12:42 pm


     This is a weak Republican field with two significantly flawed front-runners contesting an immensely important election.

    Hey,  someone finally noticed!

    If Obama wins, he will take the country to a place from which it will not be able to return

    Yawn. Every major party says that about the opposing party’s nominee in every election.

    THIS election — like NO ELECTION BEFORE — is the one on which EVERYTHING DEPENDS.

    The real stakes are somewhat more boring. Who wins the presidency next year  may exert some small effect on whether America’s decline merely proceeds apace or accelerates, and in which particular directions it expresses.

    And predicting which winner indicates which paces and directions is like a straight-up bet at the roulette table — you may be right, but if so it’s random luck.

    None of these whistledicks are even half-serious about turning things around. It’s just a beauty contest, folks.

  11. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    Well, I’m sure the Party is getting nervous… esp considering how the prospects of their preferred nominee get worse by the minute.

    And the rap on Fox News from both Right and Left has been ‘mouthpiece of the party’.  I dunno to what degree that is true, but they sure have been in Romney’s corner from the start, haven’t they… like when Chris Wallace asked MB if she’s a ‘flake’ right out of the clear blue sky

  12. Charles
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    The simple Krauthammer corrective is to encourage voting for Ron Paul in the early contests. If Ron Paul were to win decisively in Iowa and New Hampshire, that would stand the Romney/Gingrich establishment on its head.

  13. Adjoran
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

    Guys like Krauthammer and Rove are paid for their analysis and observations.  But when their opinions disagree with some people’s, many of those people immediately cast the analysts as the enemies of conservatism and even of freedom itself.

  14. elaine
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

    He’s paid handsomely while still being wrong most of the time.   As I stated above, he went on and on about how pointless the Tea Party was for all of 2009 and most of 2010 before he FINALLY realized it wasn’t some passing fancy.  How often does one have to be wrong and by how much before the bossman fires you for incompetence?

    Last time I checked, this was America, and we all have a right to cast our vote for whomever we choose.  So who the heck does Krauthammer (or anyone else, for that matter) think he is to insist on how we should be voting?  If I’m not allowed to vote my conscience, there’s really no point in voting at all…

  15. Donald Douglas
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    More here: ‘Mitt Romney vs. Newt Gingrich’. I don’t like either of ’em, but if one ends up the nominee, I’ll be down whole hog. 

  16. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    “some people’s”?

    Really?  To quote Google,

    Did You Mean: “A huge number of  conservatives?”

  17. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

    I’m not depressed.  I’m not even gloomy.

    But I’ve noticed, …it sure is awfully drunk around here lately.

    Stacy may have to double up on Rule 5 days, just so we can make it through the primary.

  18. Rosalie
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

    Totally agree. 

  19. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

    This word “pundit”, I do not think it means what they think it means.

    Supposedly it’s a “scholar” or “expert.”  Well, Michael Barone is an actual “expert” at political analysis.  Next to him, most pundits appear about as “expert” as us Sluffers here in the comments.  But that doesn’t stop the rest of the so-called pundits from making some of the silliest declarations you’ll ever hear.

    And then there’s the NRO folks, who supposedly are carrying the legacy of Buckley.  Where?  Right down the basement steps, evidently.  …Where they can hide it next to their collection of “Goldwater is right!” buttons and their complete collection of never -been-read volumes of the Cato Journal.

    The pundit game isn’t about being wise.  It’s about staying relevant.

    That’s because they can’t use Rule 5.

  20. dad29
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

    K’hammer Olympized BEFORE Sarah tweeted Santorum-love.  This should be fun to watch.

  21. dad29
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

    A four-year long leash.  Every Pubbie elected in the last 20 years has pissed all over the Conservatives within 6 months of getting into the office.

    You think that’ll change?

  22. The Wondering Jew
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    Krauthammer is a Canadian psychiatrist who was a speechwriter for Walter Mondale.  When guys like that are deciding who gets to lead the allegedly conservative political party, God help us all.

  23. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    “…The American people have let this happen to us by not demanding better from our political class.”

    And, to tie your righteous rant together, by giving weight to chatterboxes on our idiot boxes.

  24. Bob Belvedere
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

    We’ve got Sarah.

  25. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

    Barone might be the only political scientist – keyword scientist – I respect.
    Most everyone else with a name (and remember, it’s the media industry
    itself appointing “those who matter”) is just another someone with an
    opinion or a hack wherein entertainment value is as important as his advocacy.

  26. rosalie
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 7:21 pm


  27. t-dahlgren
    December 2nd, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

    I don’t disagree, but then ask what is it we must do to change this status quo? 

    Because it would appear far too many are willing to swallow the RINO koolaid.

  28. rosalie
    December 3rd, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    I think we lost the chance to change things when Palin decided not to run.  She’s saying good things about Santorum, but does he stand a chance?    Who knows?

  29. rosalie
    December 4th, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    I wish I felt the same way.