Posted on | January 11, 2012 | 34 Comments
With a three-hour layover in Philly, I logged on here at the Riverbend Bar & Grill at the airport Marriot, and the first thing I find atop the Memeorandum aggregation is my buddy Dave Weigel’s thoughts on the campaign to date:
I’m thinking of a Republican primary. It starts with a candidate (John McCain/Mitt Romney) who ran once before, came in second place, and won over the party’s elite class without winning over its base. Other candidates, understandably unwilling to accept this, line up: An under-funded social conservative (Mike Huckabee/Rick Santorum), an elder statesman who’s walked to the altar three times (Rudy Giuliani/Newt Gingrich), a libertarian who wants to bring back the gold standard (Ron Paul/Ron Paul).
The conservative base is displeased. In the year before the primary, it pines for a perfect candidate. At the end of summer, on (September 5/August 13), it gets him: (Fred Thompson/Rick Perry). The dream candidate immediately rises to the top of national polls, but collapses after lazy, distaff debate performances. When the primaries arrive, he’s in single digits and reduced to attacking the front-runners. But in Iowa, he does just well enough to justify staying in the race. . . .
Read the whole thing. The basic problem is this: The sincere idealists suffer from disastrous incompetence, while the selfish cynics are rewarded for their utter lack of ethics or principles. Decent and honest people, recognizing the GOP’s systemic incentives toward moral and political corruption, are repulsed by the shabby lies and vicious compromises necessary to “success” as a Republican, leaving the party to be controlled by a ruthless gang of dishonest jackals.
How else to explain the sadistic venality of those consultants and strategists who publicly backstabbed Newt in May and then hopped the next flight to Austin, where they have spent the past six months collecting fat paychecks in the service of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose formerly excellent reputation his campaign staff has done everything possible to destroy. If he had quit after his humiliating fifth-place finish in Iowa, as any intelligent and honest person would have advised Perry to do, he might have preserved some shred of dignity. Instead, his consultants and strategists — knowing that Perry’s still got a few million bucks left in his campaign account — told him, “No, no, Boss! Don’t quit now! You can win this thing. Trust us.”
And so they’ll spend it all in South Carolina, continuing to pay fees, salaries and commissions to the cronies they’ve hired, and when all is said and done, they will have accomplished nothing but to turn Perry into one of the biggest laughingstocks in American political history, rivaled only by Jon Huntsman. Any politician who hires John Weaver to run their campaign deserves whatever catastrophic embarrassment subsequently befalls them.
The quality of hired help in the GOP has never been really good, and the people who donate money to Republicans ought to start making lists of operatives who hire on to disasters like the Perry and Huntsman campaigns. If any future camapign starts putting those incompetent clowns on its payroll, you’ll know not to give them a dime.
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