Today I start a new category of posts: "Election 2012." Although this is not a political blog, part of its leavening consists of commentary on the contemporary scene -- and that certainly includes politics. And since this will be a decisive election year for our country, I will do my small part to illuminate the various forces which are at work even now, eleven months ahead of the election, to shape our future.
Some disclosures at the outset: I am registered with neither major political party, but vote as an Independent. That being said, I am very much against allowing Barack Obama another four years in which to wreak his particular brand of havoc more than he has already.
As for the current crop of Republican candidates, I have to say I am not yet enthusiastic about any of them. At the same time, one of my most strongly held beliefs is that January or February is way too early to settle upon a candidate who will oppose Obama in November.
To do so simply plays into the media's hands. For make no mistake, the media is desperate to control the outcome of the forthcoming election. And the sooner the Republicans pick a candidate, the sooner the media can send out their legions to pry into every nook and cranny of his or her life -- in a manner they have never inflicted upon Barack Obama -- and never will. That is the scandal of the present-day hacks who populate the "media" in this country.
Thankfully, to counter such blatant partisanship, we have the Internet as an equalizer. On the Internet, the media's gross partisanship is exposed every day, for all to see. Anyone can dissect a so-called "story" or column by E. J. Dionne, or David Brooks, or Paul Krugman -- only those already fully indoctrinated, and who still pay to read those folks in their printed versions, are incapable of perceiving their bias.
And it's not really their bias that I am attacking. Bias I can easily deal with -- as an attorney, I am trained in techniques to expose it, and thereby to neutralize it. All of us, frankly, are biased in some sense -- because it is impossible to make any choices without exercising some bias. So bias, per se, is not the problem.
Instead, the problem is the products of their bias: their opinions, their criticisms, their recommendations as to what should be done. Paul Krugman, for example, is mentally incapable of conceiving a government subsidy which he would actively oppose. And E.J. Dionne is mentally incapable of evaluating objectively anyone who bears the label "Republican" -- just as is Maureen Dowd, or Eleanor Clift, or Jonathan Alter.
I read copiously from a wide spectrum of opinion every day. And given my own bias, I of course prefer those writers with whose opinions or criticisms I most agree. "Even a dog, however, knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked," said Oliver Wendell Holmes. And while I see a good deal of stumbling on both the right and the left, it is in the media --mostly populated by the left -- that I am struck by the continual kicking that goes on.
Where but on the left, for example, did we see the criticisms of the Santorums' treatment of their short-lived infant son as "ghoulish"? And where but on the left have we seen the smear pieces proliferate, from Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas all the way down to Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain? No, the left specializes in kicking; it even kicks those who dare to publish hard facts about their own. Rep. Darrell Issa, for example, has done a yeoman's job of exposing the hard facts about Attorney General Eric Holder's "Fast and Furious" gun-running operation, but the only ones who have accused him of "racism", and who otherwise have tried to smear him, have been the left's attack dogs. The rest of us can tell the difference between exposing inconvenient facts for evaluation on their own, and slanting the facts to produce a smear -- just as a dog can tell when he's been kicked.
So I come back to the 2012 Republican primaries. It is not, I humbly suggest, in any Republican's interest to have a clear choice of nominee settled upon before this summer's convention. The sooner a nominee emerges from the pack, the sooner will the attacks, or what I call "the kicking", commence on the left. To be sure, there is a lot of that going on already, but it has been diffused among the eight primary candidates, and has yet to gather any force, or achieve any lasting effect.
And look at how Mitt Romney has largely escaped most of the kicking from the left to date. Herman Cain was sunk after a few outings; Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and now Rick Santorum have each suffered in the voting from smears directed their way as each seemed to surge momentarily ahead. But Mitt Romney, who has been at the top of most of the polls from the outset, has largely been immune from the left's attacks -- why is that?
The answer is patent: the left wants to see Republicans select Romney as their candidate, and wants to see it happen as early as possible. They see Romney, with his Mormonism, his backing of universal healthcare as governor of Massachusetts, and his Wall Street ties, as the ideal opponent for Barack Obama to defeat. In the liberal media, the fix is in for Romney in 2012, just as it was in for John McCain in 2008. Better the mincemeat they know they can make from what they are given, than the unknown ingredients of an upstart, or black horse. So fear not -- once Romney (or whoever) becomes the Republican nominee, the gloves will be taken off.
As the coming weeks of the Republican primaries unfold, therefore, I am all for every candidate placing first or second at least once, and preferably several times. That is the only guarantee that Republicans will be able to make a free and unhurried choice at their convention in August. Everyone talks of a "brokered" convention, but that nineteenth-century phenomenon is a dinosaur in these days of the Internet. There will be no smoke-filled back rooms where destines are settled, so long as everyone at the convention has access to the Internet and can report what is going on for instant assessment and reaction.
Therefore I say: bring it on, and let everyone have their day in the sun! A convention with no clear winner at the outset will be a far more effective means of solidifying the opposition to President Obama than will someone who makes it into August so battered and bruised by the kicks they have received in the media that the overall perception they can generate by that point is little better than one of damaged goods.
Meanwhile, back on the hustings -- is anyone for directing a few kicks Obama's way -- without hesitating for fear of being called a racist? (I know, I know -- there will be those who will readily jump on any combination of "kick" and "Obama" in the same sentence as being racist per se. But we have to live with what we have, and Obama is what he is. So get over it, and focus on his policies that need to be attacked for the disasters that they are.)
Whatever criticisms of President Obama are made from the right, no matter how factually based or objective they may be, will never be viewed as anything but "kicking" on the left. So the candidates should not let that reaction deter them. And for heavens' sake, cease letting the media set the goal posts! Today's "debate" in New Hampshire should be the very last one which the media is allowed to stage just so they can try to embarrass the candidates with questions they would never dream of directing at President Obama. Enough already -- nothing productive is gained on either the right or the left by such mismatched spectacles. The gulf between the two sides just gets wider and wider.
Whatever positions and priorities can usefully be staked out in the 2012 campaign at this point will most likely have to be reshaped once we know what the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare will be. That will not be announced until the end of June, after most of the primaries are over; the Republican convention will begin on August 27. Republicans have more than enough time to choose a candidate wisely and deliberately, without being rushed into it by the media's manipulations. Here's a toast, therefore, to a wide-open field come August!