The Other McCain

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

George Will Plays the Dukakis Card on an Unsuspecting Romney

Posted on | October 24, 2011 | 39 Comments

by Smitty

“It has a lot to do with Romney. He is rising as more and more Republicans come to the conclusion that the Republican Party has found its Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor running on competence, not ideology.”

I’m looking at the National Debt Clock and wondering just What. The. Flippy-flop. George Will means by ‘competence’. I guess the Will/Brooks/Krauthammer Axis of Pant-crease thinks that ‘competence’ means destroying the country at a medium pace.

This is why an outsider of the Perot/Palin/Cain tradition finds traction in the American electorate. We sort of know that ‘competence’ means ‘compromised’, and figure that ObamaCare will be to Romney what Gitmo is to BHO: the big campaign promise that proved a bridge too far after about the second briefing from the shadowy dudes who make the calls.

Santorum called it cleanly at the CNN debate in Las Vegas: no one has confidence in Romney. Who can reasonably expect him to do anything other than be a blue state governor, given the White House promotion. Should the Tea Party frog really offer a lift to the GOP scorpion?

doesn't get more timeless

via The Blaze

Update: linked by Da Tech Guy.


39 Responses to “George Will Plays the Dukakis Card on an Unsuspecting Romney”

  1. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    Personally, I wouldn’t lump Will/Brooks/Krauthammer together (and definitely not under the banner of Pants Crease).  I suppose there’s a spectrum there, from Brooks, to Will to Krauthammer.  The gap between Brooks and Will is definitely a lot bigger than the gap between Will and Krauthammer.

  2. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    After being put through the hell of these Republican leaders promoting guys like Chris Christie, and now back to Romney, they’ve got me in a sour enough mood to just stay the hell home on election day.

  3. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    Competent at what? Social engineering? Devising ever new and more creative socioeconomic policy “fixes” that impress the technocratic elites but always end up causing more harm than good?

    Competent by whose standards? Obama said, “I think I’m a better speech writer than my speech writers . . . I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m . . . a better political director than my political director.”

    Obviously, we want a president to be as competent as possible in carrying out his tasks and responsibilities. However, a president will be more or less “competent” to the extent that his or her tasks and responsibilties are consistent with the proper role of government.

    In general, govenment is good at some jobs and bad others. A president (like Obama) who believes that his brilliance can overcome all obstacles will end up being the least competent of all. Even if we did have a president, though, who was actually (in reality) as brilliant as Obama thinks he is (in narcistic fantasy land), that genius president would necessarily lack the competencies to make “progressivism” work.      

  4. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    [oops . . . this is supposed to be a reply to scarymatt above] I agree. I like both Will and Krauthammer – I just take them for who they are and what they’re worth.

  5. Joe
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:33 am

    What the heck did Mitt Romney do to George Will to deserve being called Michael Dukakis?  I am not sure which is worse, that or Romney being endorsed by Jimmy Carter. 

  6. Joe
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:36 am

    Krauthammer and Will are at least nominally conservative.  Brooks is not conservative at all.  The problem with Krauthammer and Will are they are ever the pragmatists. 

  7. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    It sounds to me like Will is just telling it like he thinks  it is. These guys that are promoting Romney are trying to sell us on the notion that he’s the only electable candidate. Where he’s full of shit is where he’s basing that on “competence”. Competence my ass, its based on Romney being the only one who can “reach out” to moderates and independents. Never mind that before he “reaches out” he has to drop his Magic Mormon Underwear and bend over frontwards.

    The really bad thing is, Republican leaders are treating Republican voters like they’re prison officials and we’re all inmates having to bend down and pick up the soap they toss at us. I guess its their idea of rehabilitation. Myself, I think its time for a prison riot.

  8. McGehee
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    If people are worried now, just imagine how everything we already know and don’t want about Mitzi Romneycare will be served up to the low-information voter next fall.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: letting Romney get the nomination is tantamount to handing Obama a second term. What conservative voters like me say about it now isn’t a threat, it’s a prediction.

  9. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    No, I think the “competence” argument comes from his private sector experience and his success with the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.  I think that feeds into his technocrat reputation.  And as a technocrat, he’s probably not too bad.

    But we need to get rid of technocrats.  I don’t think technocrat necessarily equals progressive, but there are a lot of similarities, and the boundaries are often fuzzy.

  10. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:43 am

    I’m not sure, but I think technocrats are almost always crony capitalists, if not outright progressives, because they see the proper role of government as subsidizing big business and wink wink taxing and regulating their rivals out of existence, in addition to increasingly growing government involvement in ever expanding areas of the economy, like health care.

    DuKakis wanted to make the  trains run on time. Romney wants us all to have solar panels courtesy of Bain Capital. The fact that people aren’t jumping all over that makes me seriously question how devoted they are to defeating the guy. But then again, how are you going to reach out to the mushy middle if you hate mother nature?

  11. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:53 am

    Like it or not (I don’t) but there is a portion of the Republican electorate that aligns closer to Romney than other candidates.  It’s hard to imagine those folks supporting someone else in this primary.

    I can easily see Romney leading early, but losing as the field thins out and coalesces around whoever survives.

  12. Datechguy's Blog » Blog Archive » “I would rather be the GOP’s Dukakis than the Democrats Obama”
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:57 am

    […] That BTW is in answer to this Share this:PrintRedditDiggStumbleUponEmailFacebook opinions powered by […]

  13. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    Not all technocrats are “progressives,” but most of the transnational progressive elites believe in the transformative power of technocracy. In that sense, most of the powerful progressives are technocrats.

    Many of the antinomian (hard) leftists ostensibly reject the technocratic order, but they’re not in positions of power (although they do sometimes have influence over the leftist elites who are in power).

    I’m not sure that we need to get rid of technocrats – I doubt that’s even possible. We need to shift the political culture so that faith in technocratic “solutions” ebbs.       

  14. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    We ought to pursue this critique of crony capitalism/progresive “conservatism”/progressive corporatism/technocracy without questioning the motives of people who are somewhat on our side.

    Five years ago, the Romney-types believed (and many of them still do) that the world was headed toward environmental catastrophe.

    To a certain extent, progressive corporatism was an inevitable byproduct of “post”-industrialization and Cold War-era military-industrial complex. We shouldn’t spend too much time playing Monday morning QB.  

  15. Elize Nayden
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:25 am

    Im quite sure that Romney implemented his destructive agenda competently, but to concede that is not much of a compliment. At least they are no longer talking about ol’Mittens in terms of “electability”, which is simply ridiculous considering he never even once won a majority in any of the few elections he actually participated in. 

  16. Bob Belvedere
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:26 am


    Technocrats, bureaucrats, autocrats, democrats, Democrats, aristocrat, plutocrat, uranuscrats, etc….

  17. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    No, technocrats and progressives overlap by about 100%, because they both have the firm conviction that they can run my life better than I can. A progressive gets there by feeling; a technocrat by deductive logic (which is always able to be wrong with confidence); they both end up in the same place.

  18. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:39 am

    McGehee, I’d only add one thing to that: Romney will be Obama’s second term even if he wins. The only difference is the “bipartisan” cover ORomney will give the socialists in the crash. 

  19. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    I agree with this sentiment, but the mathematician in me hesitates to make such a broad and general assertion.  I think that a progressive may or may not be a technocrat himself, but supports a technocratic approach.

    Either way, there’s no denying the progressive streak in Romney.

  20. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    Bob, in that case . . .

    Down with meritocrats, ochlocrats, plutocrats, slavocrats, mobocrats, monocrats, theocrats, gerontocrats, and thalassocrats!

    But, most of all, down with SCOAMFcrats!

  21. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    Considering that Republicans have at least as good probably a much better shot at taking the Senate as the WH one wonders why other than as a sop to the mushy middle why a GOP candidate would feel the need to run on bipartisanship.

  22. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    Hey but he’s a rich successful businessman and he looks like a President. He even acts like how one is supposed to act. Plus he knows all the right people and goes to all the right cocktail parties and donates money to all the right charities, and says all the right things. What could possibly go wrong?

  23. Quartermaster
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    If Romney is the man, you might as well stay home. This is not saying there is no difference between Mittens and the SCOAMF, just that there’s not enough of a difference to matter. Both are out and out progressives.

  24. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    If Obama has taught me anything, it is just how wrong this is.  I had similar thoughts about McCain, and that Obama might be better since the Republicans in Congress wouldn’t fight McCain, but would be able to temper the worst of Obama.

    In retrospect, I think McCain would have been like hitting your thumb with a hammer.  Obama has been smashing your skull in.  There is a difference.

  25. Michael Wiley
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    No purer example of wonkishness exists to describe Romney than his 57 or some plan for the economy. Better known as ‘death by PowerPoint”

  26. Daily Pundit » Pretty Wicked Strick, Actually
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    […] George Will Plays the Dukakis Card on an Unsuspecting Romney : The Other McCain I’m looking at the National Debt Clock and wondering just What. The. Flippy-flop. George Will means by ‘competence’. I guess the Will/Brooks/Krauthammer Axis of Pant-crease thinks that ‘competence’ means destroying the country at a medium pace. […]

  27. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

    And Romney will be like slamming the car door shut on your thumb. It’s not as bad as getting your skull smashed in either, but it will still hurt like hell until you get it out.

  28. Adjoran
    October 24th, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

    Those dumb enough to believe there is “no difference” between Obama and ANY Republican candidate should take another look at Sotomayor and Kagan, and realize the next President will appoint another two Justices and 200-300 other federal judges to life terms.

    Frustration is understandable, but it doesn’t justify being stupid.

  29. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

    Lifetime Supreme Court appointments have always seemed problematic.  An 18 year single term is the best proposal I’ve heard.  Each Presidential term would get 2 appointments (plus possibly filling vacancies).  It would sure add to the predictability of who got to appoint whom, and would add some extra fun into Presidential elections, especially when the balance of the Court was in play.

  30. McGehee
    October 24th, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    Romney would be better than Obama if he won. Since he won’t win, talking about it is kind of silly.

  31. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    Agreed. If Romney gets the nomination, he’s going to get the exact same treatment that Sarah Palin would have gotten, only he won’t respond to it nearly as forcefully or as effectively as Palin would have. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Cain won’t be much better than Romney. Maybe a little bit, but not enough to matter. In fact, I predict that Obama will treat Cain like a kindly old Uncle who has a lot of wisdom, but whose ideas are just outmoded and outdated. He means well, he’s just “wrong for this day and age”. And in the meantime Obama’s surrogates will rip into him and call him everything but a, well, you know. And every time Cain stumbles or makes the slightest misstatement, they pounce like a starving mountain lion on a crippled deer.

    And Cain’s most memorable response will probably be “I’m tired”.

  32. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    I want them to keep the lifetime appointments, I just want them to reign their asses in and make sure they understand they are one of three CO-EQUAL branches of government, not the lords and masters of the universe they like to pretend they are.

    Another thing they should do is have an even number of justices. Ten would be a good number. That way, there can’t be any more of this 5-4 bullshit. Any definitive decisions made will have to be decided by a majority of two, at least.

  33. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    I’m not sure I agree with Palin necessarily being more effective as Romney in terms of fighting back in the general election.  While I (or pretty much any regular around here) would almost certainly agree more with Palin, the response of a general election voter isn’t going to be the same.

    I’m not saying you’re definitely wrong, but I think you’re way to certain about that.  One thing that has impressed me (not to mention frustrated me!) is how teflon-like and smooth Romney has been.

  34. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

    While Romney might be more teflon-like and smooth at responding to an attack in his defense, that wasn’t what I was meaning. I’m talking about the will and the ability to go on offense. To hit back, and hit back hard, and let the chips fall where they may. That’s where these establishment guys come up short. Hell, they don’t even deny it, to them its a positive.

  35. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

    This is true; however, that was in 2008. After a term of Obama, debt problems of the misty future, when many of the voters hoped to be dead, have suddenly become imminent. Now, holding the status quo is manifestly NOT better than making things worse, because we’re already over the edge and in free fall.

    The difference between McCain or Romney and Obama in 2008 would have been huge, because capital would not have gone on strike, the economy would have therefore recovered, new spending and healthcare would have been incremental, and most stimulus would have simply been tax cuts. The difference in 2012 between Bad Romney and Obama, however, is nil – the Republic still ceases to exist by the end of the decade. A President who is not willing to *unmake the Obama Presidency entirely* and much of Bush’s as well might as well not show up at all. Bad Romney buys us maybe a year over Obama.

    The only defense of Romney I can give is that he has no principles, and thus will be a happy champion of conservative policies if they’re politically popular.

  36. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

    I would make the argument that, in the 2012 election, any Republican is capable of beating Obama, any Republican.  Now, will it happen?  Who knows?  The point is that Obama has already proven to the voters he’s in over his head and, aside from the press lying and ginning up stories against the Republicans, with what little credibility they have left, there’s not much that will convince the voters he’s worthy of re-election.  That’s why I believe this may be the only election Newt could win because, first of all we need him around because of his ability to get legislation passed, Congres is completely disfunctional and, if we get the Senate and the House, we need someone who knows how to herd cats.  Secondly, his ideas are sound and based on groups he’s formed to actually study problems, rather than those ideas thought up in the faculty lounge at Harvard.

  37. Mike_ste
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

    SDN, that makes no sense. At the very least the Republicans will control the House, making Obama Part 2 impossible.

  38. Anonymous
    October 25th, 2011 @ 12:23 am

    Y’all need to take a chill pill. Stop inhaling your own vapors. And repeat after me the Instapundit’s oath:

    “I will vote for a syphilitic camel, if it will stop Hussein from having a second term. ”

    You must remember that the President is a top executive. He does not run the government. He appoints a couple of thousand people who do.

    Obama has appointed the insane clown posse. Have you ever seen a worse cabinet? And the White House is even worse. Van Jones is the one we know about, the rest of them are just as wacky, they just haven’t said it on camera.

    Any Republican will be choosing from a completely different pool. Instead of closet communists, we will get closet libertarians. The White House will be full of patriots. Isn’t that better.

    Now breath out.

  39. ThePaganTemple
    October 25th, 2011 @ 8:30 am

    You would get no argument from me there, I’ve been saying for a while now I’d have zero problem voting for Newt, or working to get him elected. I’d rather see him as a VP choice for Bachmann, because I think she’s more passionate and would take more of a federalist and conservative approach than he would about certain matters, but as long as he gets off the AGCC Crazy Train and stays off, I’d be fine with him at the top of the ticket as well.