Thursday, May 12, 2011

Crazy in the GOP Nomination Process

Jonathan Chait yesterday speculated that perhaps Michele Bachmann would benefit most from the "Trump meltdown." Putting aside that I wouldn't look at it that way (the Trump distraction is apparently gone, but you can't get a meltdown of something that was never real to begin with), I think Chait has a fair point that there's an opening for a Candidate of the Crazy in the GOP race, but I'm pretty confident that Bachmann's ceiling is limited. The same goes for the entire group of Candidate of the Crazy entrants: Cain, Santorum, and I suppose that's Newt's place in the field, too, although he has a bit more flexibility. None of them are real, influential leaders of the various groups and causes from that side of the party. It's certainly possible (but in my view, hardly certain) that one or more of this group will make some noise, but winning the nomination? Hard to see.

The one candidate who I believed might be able to make a go of it was Jim DeMint, but for whatever reason he backed out.

On the other's not as if there's going to be a major issue gap between Bachmann (Gingrich, Cain, Santorum) on the one hand and Romney and Pawlenty on the other. It's pretty clear that whenever any space opens up between them, Romney and Pawlenty are going to scurry as fast as possible to close it up. Nor are Romney and Pawlenty averse to aping the language of the's possible that birth certificate jokes are going to fade now, but that still leaves plenty of fertile ground, from telepromters to book authorship to apologies, all available to signal sympathy for the Crazy.

No, with DeMint out, as I've said before, the chances of a Candidate of the Crazy getting nominated are very low, but the chances of a nominee feeling obliged to say lots of crazy things is quite high.

[Restored after the Great Blogger Glitch of May 11-12]


  1. >the chances of a Candidate of the Crazy getting nominated are very low, but the chances of a nominee feeling obliged to say lots of crazy things is quite high.

    Agreed. And as soon as the non-crazy candidate gets the nomination, the media will say, "Whew! Dodged a bullet! Now we have a serious, reasonable, candidate!" ignoring the fact that the candidate proposed to defund Planned Parenthood or re-de-gay-if-y the military or some other such notion that in any previous election cycle would have been dismissed as freakish extremism.

  2. It amuses me when someone on the left talks about these little signals as if they were strictly the domain of conservatives. Trying to appeal to people you don't agree with without actually supporting every far-out thing they believe (though I find it telling that the previous commenter thinks defunding Planned Parenthood is "freakish extremism" -- I suspect this tells us as much about his beliefs as everyone elses) is otherwise known as "being a politician." Liberals are fooling themselves if they think this doesn't happen all the time, all over the place. It just happens to be their turn to make hay over it in this upcoming cycle, is all.

  3. Chris, feel free to read into things however you see fit. However, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many people on the left NOT making fun of Dennis "may the goddess of peace encircle the earth in her arms" Kucinich or Mike "just plain nuts" Gravel in 2008.

    But is there a crazy gap? While I'm on the left and biased, I have to think there is. In the last few weeks alone we have: "over 90% of planned parenthood's business is abortion", "you wouldn't believe what my investigators in Hawaii are finding," "you can't invite a rapper who actually is making points about being peaceful to the White House when we can take his raps/poems out of context and interpret them as him being a Scary Black Man!," "it doesn't matter what the unemployment rate will be in the future or how we get to that number, what matters is that more tax cuts will balance the budget," and "we need to roll back gays in the military, ignoring the supermajorities (75%ish) that favor it and the clear direction in public opinion over the last two decades." Words to these effects have been seriously uttered in the last few weeks by either candidates for 2012, for 2008, or as a staple on Fox News.

  4. @Chris, the knock against Daniels is going to be about how he de-funded thousands of breast exams and pap smears. There will also be talk of his terminating pregnancy prevention services that would prevent abortion.

    This is what independent voters will see as extreme, especially women.

    I was truly amazed that Daniels had so little influence in his own state party that this issue reached his desk.

  5. The big picture appears that the GOP is becoming the party of the Crazy and whenever anyone says "the Emperor has no clothes," like Gingrich, they get castigated and the crazy talking points prevail.

  6. vote anything but democrat or republican


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