The Other McCain

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

Think Happy Thoughts!

Posted on | April 1, 2012 | 85 Comments

Today’s headlines perhaps explain why feelings of foreboding have recently overwhelmed my otherwise nearly infinite capacity for hope. In a private e-mail exchange today, I found myself explaining that what may appear to some a transient problem is, in fact, a predictable consequence of long-term trends. It occurred to me that, because I have always considered it foolish to talk strategy in public (the enemy can read our blogs, y’know), few of my readers had ever seen me in deep analytical mode, so I decided to share this excerpt:

For many years, going back to at least 2006, I have considered the problems of the conservative movement not episodic and random, but rather systemic and structural. The way the movement is organized, the incentives built into that organizational pattern, and the types of personalities that exercise influence within the system, are in some sense haphazard, reflecting the gradual accretion of institutional habit. At the same time, however, there is the factor of conscious human action involved, and thus the potential for change, if the people involved would attempt to look beneath the surface of day-to-day events and recognize how the incentives built into the system generate ineffective or counter-productive results. . . .
[T]he movement lacks a conscious, rational and critical understanding of itself from the standpoint of organizational dynamics. . . .
The system resists reform because those who benefit (or expect in the future to benefit) from the status quo are unwilling to admit that the system is flawed. Only when the outcome is clearly a failure — as it was in 2008 — is it possible to get leaders to take seriously the need for reform. Yet on such occasions the tendency is always to make ad-hoc patchwork changes, rather than to look at the deeper structural flaws of the movement in terms of organizational dynamics, and attempt to incentivize genuine success.
A major problem is the difficulty of locating the blame for failure in a system where many of the participants are experts at blame-shifting and only too eager to make unpopular scapegoats bear the responsibility of failure. This was what happened to Sarah Palin in 2008, and I claim no special prescience in saying I saw that coming and tried to warn against it. The Steve Schmidts and Nicolle Wallaces, however, had acquired influence which enabled them to manipulate perceptions in such a way that the crucial failure of the 2008 campaign — John McCain’s panicked reaction to the financial crisis — was forgotten, while Palin was unjustly blamed.
Now we come to 2012 and, if the pundits are to be believed, Mitt Romney is now the “inevitable” GOP nominee, despite the fact that he has to date received less than 40 percent of the vote in Republican primaries and caucuses. If Romney is nominated, therefore, it will be despite the opposition of GOP voters and the conservative movement. Many believe that Romney is doomed to repeat the Republican failures of 1996 and 2008 and, if those prophecies are accurate, there will be a reckoning after the November election, in which the leadership of the conservative movement will have an opportunity to examine the causes of its failures.
God forbid that it should take Mitt’s nomination and Obama’s re-election to force such a long-overdue re-evaluation, as one wonders what would be left for conservatives to conserve in the event of such unprecedented catastrophes. (“Sweet Meteor of Death 2012!”) Maybe the ancient Mayan calendar was right about this year being the end of the world. Nevertheless, if the world endures and we survive the electoral cataclysm, I will be interested in discussing exactly how we got to such a disastrous result as all the omens now portend.
On the other hand, let’s hope that the pundits and pollsters are wrong, that Rick Santorum is on the verge of a world-shocking triumph in Wisconsin, and that this “Roll Over for Romney” bandwagon can be halted before the GOP Establishment once more succeeds in saddling us with a doomed loser who will utterly demoralize whatever remnant of grassroots conservatism survives the looming debacle.

We haven’t yet scheduled “DoomCon 2012,” but if anyone is interested in sponsoring, attending or participating in such an event, holler back.

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Comments

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     Speaking for myself, I’m trying to focus on Romney’s good qualities, of which he has many, as opposed to dwelling on his negatives, which every candidate has. Not my first choice, but then again, he’s damn sure my choice over Obama, and like it or not-that’s our choice.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

     Certainly neither was embraced as thoroughly as McCain or Romney.

  • CPAguy

     How much do you get paid $$$?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

     Well, the current GOP system is the most democratic nomination process in the entire world, more of our delegates are selected by voters and caucus participants than any other.  I don’t like the calendar or states jumping ahead, I’d favor allowing NH-IA-SC-NV to go first, and the rest rotate.

    But a national primary kills the underdogs before it starts.

  • CPAguy

     “Speaking for myself, I’m trying to focus on Romney’s non-existent good qualities, of
    which he has many, as opposed to dwelling on his inability to beat Obama, which every other GOPer in the world could do.   He is a retarded choice, but then again, he’s damn sure exactly like Obama, and like it or not I don’t have to vote for President.”

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

     I have nothing against party leaders choosing, but after the Democrats went for the McGovern Commission reforms after 1968, we were stuck either doing the same or being labeled “undemocratic” and “controlled by bosses” and no one had the stomach for that.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

     No problem in principle.  A good cigar and a properly aged dram against the elements brings a certain clarity of mind.

    Not so much as the proximity of the gallows, but some.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

     You forgot the Paulbots – shout out to all those libertarian assholes, too!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

     Obama appreciates your support.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    I am no stranger to the distaste in the voting booth when faced with choices I wished were better.

    But I long ago realized the only alternative to supporting what I considered the “lesser of two evils” was the greater evil.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

     My bikini days left me behind with the advent of my second child, but I’ll dress cutely and wear a hat (if the tip jar covers travel). We have beaches in New York, too, ya know.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

    Shit, we can’t even get Conservatives to spend TEN SECONDS to follow a link & give a thumbs up to their fellow conservatives so that a far left radical blogger, who disparages Moms & Traditional families as “dangerous” and even trashes the site for mothers which is sponsoring the contest, will be the winner and given the mantle of spokesperson for mainstream American moms. If Conservatives won’t take TEN SECONDS to click a link and support their own, how in the hell will they manage to get off their asses and go to the polls in November to beat another far left radical who hates Americans?
    http://www.circleofmoms.com/top25/Top-25-Political-Moms-2012?trk=t25_Top-25-Political-Moms-2012#_
    We’re doomed because apparently our own side is apathetic and lazy. I DARE you all to prove me wrong by clicking the effing link and showing some support for CONSERVATIVE bloggers! If you fail to do it, you will prove you don’t even care enough for Conservative values to spend ten seconds to support them and you damned sure cannot be counted on to help take our country back from the commies who are running it into the ground!

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

     Who are you calling “assholes”, you asshole? Go to hell and take your fiction with you, troll.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Damn well put.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Nothing wrong with a one-piece!

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    True.  But isn’t that part of the problem: these times call for stronger stomachs.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    But it would be easier to stage a coup against those doing the smoking.  That’s what happened in 1860.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    But clearly it ranks Number Two.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Exactly.

    Enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Sorry, but one of the requirements for being a true conservative is to believe that life is tragic.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I will probably vote for him in the General, but I will not do any promoting of his candidacy, except to point out that he is the lesser of evils.  I will not give him One Red Cent.

    Instead [and this could be the one somewhat good thing to come out of this disaster], I will promote and send monies to worthy Congressional candidates.  And work to encourage people like Michele Bachmann and Allen West and Jim DeMint to stage a set of coups against the GOP Leadership.

    If that doesn’t work out, then it’s time to launch OPERATION: WHIG.

  • http://regularthoughts.blogspot.com/ RegularGuyPaul

    DoomCon 2012?  Count me in!

  • Adobe_Walls

    You might as well start scheduling them now.

  • Adobe_Walls

    With Romney as the nominee I doubt we shall win the election.

  • Adobe_Walls

    I concur.

  • Adobe_Walls

    The problem is that an obvious squish like Romney could get any consideration at all. His nomination proves that the GOP is utterly irredeemable and will be the death of it. I fear the Republic is already lost.

  • Adobe_Walls

    So the reforms didn’t go far enough as they merely entrenched the bosses in less obvious ways.
    The GOP is largely controlled by people who think only moderates can win. This is it’s greatest weakness and will be it’s ultimate undoing.

  • Adobe_Walls

    That’s one of the problems conservatives have, the mistaken believe that the Romneys, Christies and GWBs are the RINOs, they epitomize the GOP and all it stands for.

  • Adobe_Walls

    Concur.

  • Adobe_Walls

    Some people think that morality no longer has a place in our governance and fear it’s a threat to sex toys.

  • Adobe_Walls

    Much later.

  • Adobe_Walls

    It won’t work out the ground work for the coup should have been started years ago while it’s probably too late the should be launched Nov 7 2012 no matter who wins.

  • PaulLemmen

     But they are not within minutes of the venue for the Republican Convention this summer … else I wouldn’t have offered free housing for RSM when he travels here to blog at the convention.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     I understand your reservations, but I’m hoping Romney will win, and if he does, I’m hoping he will surprise a lot of people. But it is of the paramount important to elect good people like Bachmann and others, because then I think it will be easier to keep Romney on the right path in those situations where he might be wont to stray.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     If every other GOPer in the world can beat Obama, but Romney can’t, why is Obama and the Democrats spending so much time attacking Romney and all but ignoring Santorum ahead of the Wisconsin primary? I guess they’re just being clever and stuff, huh?