Thursday, October 30, 2014

The "Election About Nothing"

The chaps at the Weekly Standard have caught the Democratic operatives with bylines up to their old tricks. They've all decided, all on their little lonesomes, that the 2014 midterms are "the election about nothing." Stephen Hayes:
The Washington Post may have been first in declaring the coming midterms “kind of—and apologies to Seinfeld here—an election about nothing.” But the Daily Beast chimed in: “America seems resigned to a Seinfeld election in 2014—a campaign about nothing.” And New York magazine noted (and embraced) the clich√©: The midterm election “has managed to earn a nickname from the political press: the ‘Seinfeld Election,’ an election about nothing.”

Soon enough this description was popping up everywhere—the New Republic, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, Politico, and many others. The 2014 Midterms, the Seinfeld Election.
On top of that, the network newscasts have barely mentioned the midterms. I wonder why?

Of course, the MSM have a point. It seems that the GOP establishment has chosen not to "nationalize" the midterm election. Probably that's because last time they tried it, by impeaching President Clinton in 1998, it boomeranged on them, ending up mobilizing the Democrats to get out to vote rather than the Republicans.

And there's one other tiny little point. If the Republicans ran against President Obama the whole corps of Democratic operatives with bylines would be crying "Raacism."

It's easy for Democrats to "run on something" because the MSM automatically falls in line and echoes their talking points. But when Republicans say anything you get the "but critics say" graf to neutralize their talking points.  The MSM blows smoke and confuses the issue. Sharyl Attkisson tells it like it is about agenda-driven journalism:
“We do stories on food stamps, but only to the extent that we prove the cast that they’re needed, without also examining well-established fraud and abuse. We look at unemployment but only to the extent that we present sympathetic characters showing that benefits should be extended rather than examining, also, the escalating cost and instances of fraud. We cover minimum wage but only to the extent that we help make the case for raising it, without giving much due to the other side, which argued it will have the opposite effect than intended.”
The only time that the GOP gets to tell its story is in a presidential campaign, and even then it's not easy. Ronald Reagan did it, and everybody said he was a fool.

Now it looks like Ted Cruz is planning to run a presidential campaign that will try to change the narrative. Here he is speaking to the Values Voter Summit. A couple of days ago he wrote an op-ed commemorating Ronald Reagan's "Time for Choosing" speech in 1964. Can he do it? Can he blast through the liberal counterblast that is already teaching Americans to think of him as a loose cannon? Can he frame a new conservative narrative that will win a presidential election?

That's the conservative challenge. It's not whether the midterm is about something or nothing. It's whether the next GOP presidential nominee can articulate a conservative narrative that will create a mandate for change.

And I don't mean change as in more government programs, but change as in pruning government back.

And don't forget, even the great Ronald Reagan didn't do much pruning back, and what he did was done under the radar in the intricacies of the budget process.

I'd say that the job of the next Republican Congress, if we get one next week, is to "work with" the president to help the American people. And, as difficult as the president may be, the Republican leaders should never get angry.

They should merely shake their heads, more in sorrow than in anger, and wonder aloud just what it is that the president wants for this country.

While they lay the groundwork for real reform in 2017.

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