Friday, January 18, 2008

Not learning anything

Someone writes to Rich Lowry of NRO's The Corner:

Rudy’s state prioritization strategy was probably the best choice, but it seems he made an epic strategic failure in his campaign’s message. Having correctly diagnosed that he’d have difficulties with one leg of the GOP stool (Social Cons), he doubled down on the economic and national defense legs. Oddly enough, his posture on economics (“nothing wrong with the economy that tax cuts can’t fix”) and defense (“you thought Bush was hawkish?”) were well received by a lot of pundits but were in the exact opposite direction of where the GOP primary voters are.

The conservative pundits are completely out of touch with the GOP base. The fact that Rudy was ever considered electable was always dubious--at best. The pundits might not care about gun rights, border defense, abortion, and gay marriage, but the people who vote in the primaries certainly do. Cutting taxes and killing American "enemies" doesn't make you a conservative; it's not as if JFK was a Republican.

The idea that tax cuts can solve anything is no longer cutting it with the American people. Most people don't have a very firm grasp on economics, but they know a pinch when they feel it. To a large extent, inflation is tangible, as is unemployment. No one is going to speak badly of tax cuts, but even the staunchest Republican wants something in the way of spending reductions, and reassurance that the cuts are going to help him and his family.

According to the conventional wisdom, Rudy is Tough on Terror. Maybe so, but Americans aren't keen on fighting more wars. We're still much too afraid of the terrorists for our own good, but without another attack, selling the Americans on another war on another country is going to be difficult. The pundits insist that "the surge is working", but Americans want the Iraqi people to step up to the plate so that we can bring our men and women home.

Americans have fought too many wars, but we're easily war-wearied, thank goodness, even as we're often fearful. We'll end up with a warmongering president no matter what, but we should be able to avoid the Mayor, the biggest one of them all.

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