Monday, November 19, 2012

NRO's Jim Geraghty: Romney lost - tis all for the best

I'm not familiar with the thinking of NRO's Jim Geraghty. But this bit of self-contradicting self-consolation, from the NRO "Morning Jolt" email*, struck me as curious:
One other thought, and before I go further, I want to emphasize I wish Romney had won. But I felt a strange sense of relief upon hearing our nominee's post-election remarks:

Obama, Romney argued, had been "very generous" to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. He cited as motivating factors to young voters the administration's plan for partial forgiveness of college loan interest and the extension of health coverage for students on their parents' insurance plans well into their 20s. Free contraception coverage under Obama's healthcare plan, he added, gave an extra incentive to college-age women to back the president.

"The president's campaign," he said, "focused on giving targeted groups a big gift -- so he made a big effort on small things. Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars."
Reading that, we can only conclude that Romney's "47 percent" comments were not a gaffe or slip of the tongue but actually represent his genuine assessment of the nature of the American people right now. A president with that worldview wouldn't keep it under wraps for a four-year term, and it is a good thing for the Republican party and the conservative movement to not have to defend a president who effectively writes off nearly half the country as lazy and selfish, and even more important, unpersuadable, unreformable, and unchangeable.
That whole "free stuff" complaint simply lays bare the underlying Randian ideology that Paul Ryan has been actualizing in rhetoric and proposed policy for years -- dividing the world into makers and takers, lamenting that government safety net programs create a hammock rather than a trampoline, lambasting the coddling of the 30%, or 47%, or whatever by government handouts such as subsidized student loans or insurance premiums or food stamps.  Does Geraghty reject that ideology? Doubt it -- for him, Ryan at the RNC was bathed in Reaganesque glory:
If Paul Ryan didn’t top Rice’s masterpiece, he at least equaled it. This speech, and his warmth and sense of connection when delivering it, almost unnerved me. I started worrying that I was seeing what I wanted to see, that I was hyping a pretty good speech delivered pretty well in my own mind. Except my Twitter feed was exploding. The delegates were going nuts. And it just seemed to be getting better and better as it went on. Conversational, direct, funny, detailed . . . this was Reaganesque, guys. I was a kid when Reagan was president, so I got lulled into a false sense of what American presidents were — I thought they were all that good. This felt like that.
 What he objects to, I reckon, is not Ryan-Randianism -- just its naked postmortem expression.

UPDATE: In today's Morning Plum, Greg Sargent asks whether the broad GOP condemnation of Romney's postmortem remarks will lead them to retool their approach to the safety net -- and specficially, whether it will affect their position in fiscal cliff negotiations. Will "compassionate conservatism" make a comeback?

* I reckon this "Morning Jolt" is posted somewhere on the NRO website. But sorry, I couldn't find it.

1 comment:

  1. Geraghty only criticizes Romney's comments insofar as it would be hard to "have to defend" them. Needless to say, had it been necessary, he would have have found the will and the way!

    Just like everyone at National Review heaped praise on Pres. Bush, despite turning surpluses into deficits, botching the war in Afghanistan and leading us into Iraq, pushing the deficit-spending-financed Medicare Part D, the federal standards in No Child Left Behind, etc.

    The actual rationale and results of Romney's policies appear to be irrelevant to Geraghty. His paycheck depends on setting aside those kinds of concerns to cheer on "his" side-- which just so happens to consist mostly of Dixiecrats using the rhetoric of Lee Atwater and Pat Buchanan's Southern Strategy.