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Gaming the Party of No

Republicans have made it clear that they will be opposed to anything and anyone supported by Obama and the Democrats, even if they were previously in favor of that thing. But the New York Times has an interesting report on how the Democrats are causing this to backfire. The strategy is simple — heap praise upon moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels, and Jon Huntsman, and thank them for their former support for policies supported by the Democrats.

Such praise sounds friendly, bipartisan, and adult, but it makes those moderate candidates toxic to hardline knee-jerk Republican primary voters. And it is difficult for those candidates who are on the receiving end of this praise to fight back without sounding either petty or like they are flip-flopping on their previously held beliefs.

Delicious irony.



  1. Sammy wrote:

    I’m actually finding myself feeling a bit sorry for these semi-moderate Republicans, because they end up sounding like wishy-washy flip-floppers out of necessity to appeal to the rabid right-wing teabag base. Anyone who doesn’t swing hard right is now a RINO to these folks.

    Friday, May 20, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink
  2. starluna wrote:

    I agree with Sammy. It’s rather sad. It’s also problematic considering that the Democrats haven’t actually developed the cajones to do anything more with their power than make the Republicans look like fools. If they would only use that creativity to do something productive, like immigration reform or tax reform.

    Friday, May 20, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I 3rd Sammy’s thoughts and I agree with Starluna on Dem creativity. Politics as usual. I’d really love to see some attempt at tax reform, even mostly doing away with the IRS and certainly 80% of the loopholes, I mean tax code. When you have to use a software program to figure out your taxes, somethings terribly wrong. How are new citizens supposed to take advantage of all those loopholes that have taken their predecessors decades to fully exploit.

    Friday, May 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  4. Falkelord wrote:

    And they say Democrats are soft on terror.

    Friday, May 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
  5. Jason Ray wrote:

    Look at what happened to Gingrich. He says on the air that right wing social engineering is no better than left wing social engineering, and that the Ryan Medicare plan was too radical to be enacted. This is 100% TRUE and is the kind of opinion that makes independents and blue dogs willing to vote for someone as clearly right wing as Gingrich, and within 24 hours his “candidacy is dead” and he’s issuing retractions that say “if you quote me verbatim, and in context, than you may be misrepresenting my beliefs”.

    The extreme right, even more so than the extreme left, has declared a civil war and now we have to figure out how to stop it – or fight it.

    Friday, May 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  6. drew wrote:

    I do wonder how much of the backlash against Gingrich was anger at the message vs. anger at the messenger. If Mitch Daniels had said the same thing, do you think he would have gotten quite as fierce a response? IMO at least part of the backlash was based out of a desire to drive a candidate they disliked out of the field. I do wonder, though, whether they didn’t realize that they were giving the Democrats such a huge talking point in the process, or if they are hoping that six months from now this will have been forgotten along with Gingrich’s candidacy.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Drew, except that there was almost as bad a backlash against Jon Huntsman, when he said we should listen to scientists who say we should do something about climate change. See

    I think Gingrich got a more visible reaction because he is better known and more newsworthy, so the media played it up more.

    Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink
  8. drew wrote:

    Huntsman did receive criticism for his statement, but nowhere near as much as Newt. And he is still regularly mentioned as a top candidate for the nomination, even though he hasn’t backed away from what he said (not that I’ve heard, anyway). Meanwhile Gingrich was immediately assigned the status of non-contender for his remarks despite his immediate and dramatic reversal. By the way, have you seen the illustrated version of Newt’s press release?

    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    Drew, thanks for the link. That’s fantastic.

    I also like the fact that he uses “Dancing Queen” as his ringtone.

    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink