Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Planet Are NRO's Editor's On? "Debates Rarely Matter" In Their Gingrich Attack.



In a pompous editorial "The Hour of Newt"  ("Eye of Newt" geddit?) from "the editors" at
"The National Review Online" the current GOP field is surveyed and found wanting.

 Using a quaint colloquialism, Romney got "a thumpin "to soften the pomposity of the editorial, which at the end of the day, like all elitist screeds, passes over the key point that it is the mass of the common folks who determine what candidate they want. They do this out of their own free will not at the direction or behest of their "betters."

The editors castigate their preferred candidate Romney by chiding him for running a campaign of " lifeless platitudes" and "having done little to persuade conservatives he will fight for our priorities."

They make it clear that Gingrich is not their choice, and go on to spend most of the editorial reviewing his faults and explaining why he would not be the best candidate to take on President Obama.

His one apparent attribute, his debating skills as seen in to such advantage South Carolina, are airily dismissed.

They might make for a spectacle for the rank and file, but when it comes to the general election they are, apparently, of little value "it is unlikely that the debates will be as numerous or will matter as much; they rarely do."

One wonders what qualifications one needs to be an editor at NRO, certainly having been a student of political history, or simply to have lived a while, would seem to be a basic requirement.

Lets just look at whether presidential debates "hardlyy matte" from the vantage of having lived through every election since, admittedly as a very young viewer then, 1956.  I can still hear John Daly at ABC reviewing the results coming in and saying "Senator Kennedy in Massachusetts has won an overwhelming victory in his
re-election bid."

The first Nixon/Kennedy debate in 1960 was historic on every level. It was the first televised debate that made a dramatic impact on a campaign.

Kennedy was at that time still an unknown quantity to vast swathes of the American public and his suave relaxed appearance, contrasted to Nixon's unkempt appearance, and debating skills "the missile gap" gave his campaign an enormous impetus, and there can be no doubt whatsoever that  it was a major reason Kennedy went on to win.

The Carter/Ford debate of 1976 again pitted a relatively unknown candidate, Jimmy carter against, this time, a sitting president. When President Ford said that he didn't think that Eastern Europe was under Communist control that statement, and Carter's withering glance at Ford whilst he was making it, made a huge contribution Carter's narrow win.

Four years later Carter was on the receiving end of Reagan's "ask yourself are you and America  better off'" which statement and the debate it came from made Reagan the next president.

When G.W. Bush didn't dribble down his tie in the first Gore/Bush debate, and Gore treated him with clear condescencion, that gave Bush a platform to go on and win the narrowest of victories.

Debates underpin whether or not a candidate has the, sometimes indefinable, qualities that give the voter confidence in their ability to handle the job, or do it better than their opponent. JFK/Carter/Reagan/Bush all received that vote of confidence without which they mayn ot have gone on to win, sometimes by a tiny margin.

the NRO editors do themselves no favors and their readers an injustice, in fact they insult them, by writing such obvious nonsense, which directly contradicts history, in order to tear down someone who may well be, inspite of their best efforts, their candidate and president.

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