Mar
19
2013

It’s the time to decide your attitude for 2016.

Not your candidate.  Your attitude. Do you want to win*?

Gotta admit, I agree with Jazz Shaw here, on the reaction to the RNC-commissioned autopsy of the 2012 election (particularly the part about getting rid of caucuses**):

In the end, you can say all you want about the “low information” or “low motivation” or brain dead voters who won’t stand in nine groups in the church basement for six hours after dinner for a caucus. Insult them all you like, and point out how they aren’t “strong” enough to fight for their cause in a caucus. But they DO show up in a primary. And they show up in the general election. And that’s who you’ve got to convince on election day. If the message of these caucus powered candidates is truly viable they will thrive in a fair outing where all of the voters who show up in the general take part. Criticizing Priebus for pointing out some basic, if unpleasant, mathematical realities isn’t going to take back the White House any time soon.

Like it or not, we had too many people on those debate stages.  And, frankly, the Republican primary debate system is not supposed to be a platform where you can express your inner Dennis Kuchinich and promulgate your policy positions for free.  It’s supposed to be a system where you convince the rest of the party that you’re the best person to win the dang election. And I know that people are going to be touchy on this subject, but here goes: we have a bit of an entitlement issue going on in the Republican party grassroots.  Yes, I know: the media hates us, and wants us all to die in a grease fire. Just like they did yesterday, and just like they will tomorrow.  Suck it up, and walk it off.  And think about whether it’s smart to support the candidate or candidates more interested in enabling your attitude than in actually winning the election.

If any of this not-really-blunt talk bugs you, put that resentment to good use by going and volunteering for something.  We need that.  Besides, how the heck do you think that the Establishment GOP took over the leadership positions in the first place?  They did it the way that you always take over a volunteer organization: they showed up.  Do that long enough and people end up deciding that you should be the one who holds on to the keys…

Moe Lane

*This is not a trick question.  Do you want to win?

**Which is a) smart and b) threatens to start a low-grade civil war in the GOP.

12 Comments

  • Skip says:

    Well, Moe, the problem is not that the media hates us and wants us to die in a grease fire, it’s that the RNC, etc., want us to shut up and vote for who we’re told for, because they don’t particularly like us either.

    I’m agnostic on getting rid of caucuses, can see both sides there, but if the “reforms” don’t include either rotating the early states, or at least, you know, weighting the early primaries towards states who will actually vote Republican in the general, then they’re not actually interested in fixing the problems.

    • DemosthenesVW says:

      I don’t know if I would agree with much of that, Skip. Except for the part about early-state rotation…that I agree with. But remember — what we need is a process that can produce a candidate who both people in the squishy middle and people on the radical right can vote for, even if they have to hold their breath a bit to do it. You know, hit that sweet spot of “solid but not totally base-compliant conservative.” Give the people a real choice, and don’t give them more ammunition than we have to. For that reason, I would like to see a mix of early states, some more conservative and some more center, some large and some small — rather than just more reliably Republican states. We want to find someone who can be acceptable to people from all over the spectrum and all over the country.
      .
      And I would certainly like to see the caucuses done away with…just as I would like to see all the primaries CLOSED, which is the flip side of the same coin. I don’t want a small group of organized people to have a disproportionate influence. That’s how we got our current loser. But by the same token, if you’re not at least willing to register Republican, I don’t want you having any say in my candidate’s selection. Independents will have to make a choice in the general; they might as well get used to it at the start. And Democrats? Fuhgeddaboudit. We can’t do anything about the primaries except on a state-by-state basis (and thank goodness my state’s primaries are sensibly closed), but we can effectively get rid of the caucuses by RNC mandate — “No primary, no delegates.” And we should.

  • Herp McDerp says:

    Feh. If Republicans want to win, they’ll have to change the way they select candidates. But that doesn’t mean eliminating one of two flawed systems in favor of the other flawed system.
     
    Yes, eliminate the caucuses. But the vote-for-one primaries are harmful, too. By forcing voters to declare a single choice, they destroy valuable information about the acceptability of other candidates. Worse, open vote-for-one primaries are vulnerable to sabotage by the other side, when Democrats tip the scales in favor of the candidate that they’d like to run against. (*cough* Todd Akin *cough*) Worst of all, vote-for-one primaries encourage fratricide, when candidates violate Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment by disparaging and attacking the other candidates — come on, that’s the job of the Democrats and their Accomplice Media.
     
    If Republicans really want to win, they’ll switch to primaries with approval voting rather than winner-take-all voting.
     
    Do Republicans want to win?

    • acat says:

      I submit that the gutless D.C. wing of the GOP does not want to win *unless they can pick the candidates*.
      .
      I suggest the rest of them ignore (or, better, vote out) the gutless D.C. wing and get on with winning instead.
      .
      Mew

      • tnfriendofcoal101368 says:

        I’ll also contend that the glut of candidates helped Mitt Romney. One need only look at the finances of some of the candidates to know they were no hopers or vanity candidates running a book tour. Conservatives running back and forth to different candidates like Bob Menendez in a brothel allowed Romney to go without a serious challenge.

        • DemosthenesVW says:

          Obviously. And it didn’t help that the few serious candidates had serious problems of their own. I started out by backing Pawlenty, and then he…kind of did nothing. I was thrilled when Perry came into the race, because I thought he could finally be the Romney alternative. Then he gaffed himself to death.
          .
          That the two last-standing serious alternatives to Mitt Romney were 1) a too-far-right social conservative who couldn’t hold down his own Senate seat in a not-bad Republican year, and 2) a verbally-aggressive former Speaker who’s had more skeletons dug out of his closet than Dracula, speaks volumes about why it was that Romney won out.
          .
          [And for the record, I voted for that former Speaker in the primary. Wasn’t too pleased about it, though.]

          • Moe_Lane says:

            Well, I voted for the death-by-gaffe guy because he was still on the primary ballot.

          • DemosthenesVW says:

            He was on mine, too, and I really thought about voting for him. But in the end, I found I couldn’t spend my vote on Perry (who had dropped out by that point) as long as there was a candidate in the race I held to be preferable to Santorum…who wasn’t Romney.

          • Herp McDerp says:

            Obviously. And it didn’t help that the few serious candidates had serious problems of their own.

            And that’s why approval voting is a Good Thing. You could have voted for all of them who weren’t utter disasters. The Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) just love Republicans who tear down other Republicans.

            We need an environment in which candidates will say of their opponents, “They’re good, but I’m better” rather than “I’m the only one who’s any good.”

  • acat says:

    A couple quibbles, Moe.
    .
    Not just “too many candidates on the stage”, but also “the wrong candidates”. (how was Huntsman valid but Johnson not valid under the stated rules again?)
    .
    Worse was having the wrong *moderators* on the stage in every single event. If these moderators were agreed to by the campaigns, then the campaigns truly are run by idiots who shouldn’t be allowed out without minders.
    .
    I’d *like* to see – and now is the time to figure out if it could work – a “Bloggers’ Debate”. How hard is it to get a hall, and get some good bloggers – Moe Lane, Ace of Spades, one of the PowerLineBlog guys, Allahpundit, the guy behind ProteinWisdom, Malkin… agree on the questions ahead of time, sit down with the candidates, and talk. For hours.
    .
    Do this before Ames, when everyone wants to get traction, stream moderate quality, and record the whole thing in high quality, each of the campaigns that participate get the video of the whole thing, and the news organizations can either license clips or the whole thing.
    .
    Hell, maybe The Blaze would want to distribute it…
    .
    The *point* is, get some questions the base want answered *asked* .. if the candidates dodge, then we know.
    .
    Mew

    • tnfriendofcoal101368 says:

      I like Neal Stevens’ idea that campaigns should pay for the debates themselves. This would have gotten the pretenders and book tour candidates off the stage if they had to pay to play. If you can’t contend for votes in Florida as a Republican – you have no business pretending like you are running for President. The upshot of this is we would have had Governor Perry & Mitt Romney on the stage and conservatives wouldn’t have had the book tour guys and no hopers to bounce to.

  • Freddie Sykes says:

    There should be a rule that you must register as a Republican if you want to vote in a Republican primary. If state law doesn’t allow that, run your own primaries. Also, require runoffs if no one gets 40%.

    Finally, only use Republican moderators in Republican debates. Who cares how Republicans feel about Democrat issues?

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