Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Catch of the Day

Steve Benen is unimpressed with Mitt Romney's new attack line against Rick Perry, which is that Perry (well, actually, I guess, unnamed politicians) are "career politicians." And we don't need any of those right now. But Benen continues:
[T]he “career politician” line seems especially odd given Romney’s background. Isn’t this the guy who ran for the Senate in 1994, ran for governor in 2002, ran for president in 2008, and is running for president again in 2012? Indeed, by most measures, he’s been running for the White House continuously for more than four years.
In other words, wouldn’t Mitt Romney be a career politician, too, if only voters liked him a little more?
Nice catch!

Of course, as regular readers know I'm 100% in favor of career politicians holding political office. Especially the presidency; it takes real political skills to handle the position. I have nothing at all against a system which allows new people to jump ahead a few rungs on the ladder; there's no reason for everyone to have to work their way up from city council or school board or whatever. But, yes, I do believe that there really are specific political skills, both campaigning and governing, and that I'd like to see a candidate demonstrate mastery of them before thinking about the top job.


  1. Agreed. Do you think in hindsight that President Obama had enough of those skills or would he have been a better President if he waited to run in, say, 2016?

  2. Yeah, "career politician" is stupid. Abraham Lincoln first ran for office at 23, Winston Churchill at 25. How clearly disqualifying.

    But I think what the lameness of this line reveals is that Romney can't get to Perry's right and isn't willing to attack him from the left. I'm not sure where that leaves him, other than that he sure as heck better win New Hampshire this time.

  3. Remember, though, that "career politician" means something different in GOP circles in 2012 than it means in Democratic circles, or in GOP circles 10 years ago.

    With the Tea Party claiming a significant "pox on both their houses" attitude (after all, Bush and the GOP of 2000-2006 gave them all this spending, and TARP, and bunch of stuff they claim to hate), it's actually catering to a strand of thought in the current GOP. Plus, Romney is basing his run off of "successful CEO" not "former governor of Taxachussetts."

    So, I think Romney doing this is both perfectly rational and acceptable as the kind of stupid bromides candidates spew because voters are stupid. Honestly, I don't think it merits a CotD.

  4. I don't think a successful senate term would have helped Obama. He won his senate seat in a very easy election because the opposition blew up. Wasn't tested, and no evidence he wanted to do the hard work in the senate to make a name for himself.

    actually, I'd like some more focus on why Obama's opponents keep blowing up. At some point, it isn't luck -- look at Edwards.

  5. I don't think that career politicians necessarily are the best policymakers. A novice can do quite well in the office provided he/she has 1) a capable support staff, which is made up of veteran policy wonks; and 2) possesses superior leadership and organizational skills. It would also be a bonus if this person had a high I.Q.

    In fact, a political newcomer might have more success as President of the U.S. in the current political environment than a 30 year veteran who has served at various levels of government.


  6. DDE,

    Sorry for the late response, but: you're actually a strong case for the need for government experience and the political skills you get from it in the presidency. It's true you didn't have any experience in electoral politics, but you made up for it with perhaps the best exec branch experience of any 20th century president.


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