Number Fifty-One

Tealiberasophoterianistic Perspectives

Posts Tagged ‘Romney

The anti-Fight Club: An Endorsement of the Establishment

with 8 comments

By Joey Phillips

 I am endorsing Mitt Romney.

I will now go light myself on fire.[1] I will keep this brief, so I don’t have time to talk myself out of it. Here is why I am endorsing Mitt Romney.

  1. He’s the best politician in the republican field. He’s smart and well spoken and knows how to run a campaign. He is going to end up raising the most money and probably win the nomination. Might as well start getting used to the idea of voting for him now.
  2. He has the best chance to beat Obama. We could argue whether being moderate will help or hurt him in the general election, but either way I think for the reasons listed above he has a shot at beating Obama, which I am not convinced any of the other candidates have.
  3. I mostly like him on economics.

I am not excited about this endorsement for a number of reasons, the main one being that Romney isn’t really conservative in a lot of ways. Dionne (writer for the Washington Post, and liberal) says that Romney’s best asset is his ideological flexibility. Great. “Vote for me, I’ll change my core beliefs anytime!” On healthcare he is eerily similar to Obama. I wish we could elect him as the economics President and Herman Cain for everything else. On abortion you can either say (a) he doesn’t have a belief so he just adopts whatever position is politically expedient at the time or (b) he is very confused. Neither answer is comforting.  In fact, nothing about Romney makes me comfortable voting for him. I am trying to justify it because I am resigned to him winning the nomination. Is this the worst endorsement ever? Yes.

Forget it, I endorse Tim Pawlenty.  

[1] Bill Simmons™


Written by Jake Phillips

June 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

The Obsession With Palin: How the Media is Helping Republicans

with 5 comments

By Jake Phillips


 The media’s obsession[1] with Sarah Palin has been an interesting, historical event (for lack of a better word) since her catapult to popular politics in 2008, from both leftleaning and rightleaning sources.  However, with the recent incident with the mainstream media’s over-the-top interest in her emails, it has sparked, for me, a question[2].  Since Palin is relatively unimportant, the important question is, “does this obsession with Palin help or hurt perceptions of the viable, Republican nominees for President?”


(Quick bridge: I don’t think that the mainstream media should have necessarily ignored the emails.  However, the level of interest, the amount of time and resources spent on sifting through them, the enlisting of people to help with the project etc., was unarguably over-the-top.)


It certainly does not hurt Palin as a political candidate, since she is not a serious candidate in any sense of the word.  As Joe Scarborough writes, Palin is simply not going to be elected president, and she probably won’t run anyways.  “That reality makes the media’s treatment of the former GOP vice presidential candidate disproportionate to her sway over national events.”[3] The fact of the matter is, it helps Palin.  It helps her the same way releasing a sex tape helps Paris Hilton, or Michael Jackson dying helped Michael Jackson’s CD sales.  Brands depend on publicity, not praise.  Kevin James probably doesn’t care that Mall Cop was a terrible movie.


In that sense, then, the obsession is unimportant, unless you really like Sarah Palin as a person, and are thus offended/happy for her, depending on your level of cynicism.  The important thing, politically, is whether it will help or hurt the other Republican nominees.  So, then, is there a historical precedent for this? Conservative pundits like the mainstream media’s reaction to Sarah Palin to their reaction to Ronald Reagan.  This is pure, revisionist’s history, however.  For one thing, Reagan wasn’t actually all that hated.  For another thing, he was at all times a serious, Presidential candidate. 


That, of course, brings up another problem, which is that any actual comparison won’t work, simply because of the nature of the media today.  As an example, let’s pretend that in 500 years a historian seeks to analyze who the most hated NBA of the first 75ish years of the league was.  Unless they are skilled researcher, they will probably begin and end their analysis with Lebron James, circa 2010-2012.  This isn’t because he was actually more hated than, say, Bill Lambeer; it will simply be a reflection of today’s media.  The comparison with the obsession with Palin, then, is only in undue attention being given to a presidential candidate, and if that attention helped or hurt his/her ideologically similar rivals.


I still don’t know that we have any historical help, even given those narrow parameters.  The attention given Theodore Roosevelt during the 1912 presidential election was probably undue, but at least he was a real candidate who took real votes away from Taft[4].  If Palin runs, and the publicity she’s gotten leads to garnering votes that can’t possibly help her win, then the media attention, in a backwards way, will hurt the other Presidential nominees.


Otherwise, my opinion is that the undue media attention helps the other Republican nominees.  None of the other Republican nominees have very much of a thoughtful, self-conscious platform.  Partly because it’s Primary Season, their platforms are basically all the same.  They may govern differently (Romney almost certainly will) but they won’t be elected or not elected because of their ideas.  They will be elected, if they are, for two reasons.  First, they aren’t Obama.  Second, they don’t have any major black marks.  The longer the media obsesses with Palin, the more likely the other candidates can skate by without any major controversies.  For Palin, any attention is a good thing.  For the other nominees, in an election where voters will be voting for or against Obama, non-attention is a good thing.

[1][1] I do not particularly like this word, and I don’t think it accurately sums up the relationship between the media and Sarah Palin.  However, I use it because it has entered public consciousness that the media is in fact obsessive, in some fashion, with Palin.

[4] James Chace, 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs-the Election That Changed the Country, 2004.  An excellent book that shows why no one should vote for a candidate that cannot win (Primaries notwithstanding.)

Written by Jake Phillips

June 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm

A Smorgasbord of Candidates: the Republican Nominees

with 4 comments

By Joey Phillips


Are there always this many candidates? It seems like everybody and their mother is running this year. I figure it will be fun to run through the list and rank them based on the chances they have of beating Obama.  This is also a preamble to coming posts analyzing, in a more in-depth manner, all of the actual candidates one by one.


Newt Gingrich – 0% chance – Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Newt. I think he is great on TV, and occasionally very insightful. But he has no chance to beat Obama in an election. He’s too old, too established, too much history to defend etc.

Tim Pawlenty – 2% chance – I honestly don’t know much about this guy, but after making a comment about “Obamneycare”…which is a funny dig…to then follow it up in the debate last night with what was, by all accounts (that I have read), a timid performance on that issue tells me that he is not going to be able to win the nomination. And if you can’t win the nomination you aren’t gonna beat Obama.

Rick Santorum – 5% chance – Seems to be a good conservative, wants to cut taxes, hates Obamacare, thinks the government is the problem, not the solution most of the time etc…But he hasn’t done anything to differentiate himself from anyone else (other than Romney by virtue of the healthcare issue) so I also don’t see him winning the nomination.

Herman Cain – 10% chance – I would actually like to see him get some momentum. I don’t know if he can win, since he’s new to this sort of spotlight we’ll know a lot more soon.

Ron Paul – 0% chance – I also love me some Ron Paul. But let’s be honest. I would have a better chance of winning then him, and I am not 35.

Michele Bachmann –  25% chance – This might be generous, but she seems to be the consensus winner from last night, and is the Tea Party favorite, which counts for a lot right now. Obviously she has to be very careful to not allow herself to be painted as a right wing nut (if she is a right wing nut this will be difficult). I am curious to see if the fact that she is actually involved in Washington politics will help her avoid some of the problems Palin ran into.

Mitt Romney – 45% chance – The frontrunner (cautious last night) is the one that scares me. Any time Eugene Robinson from the Washington Post speaks favorably of a Republican candidate that scares me. Especially when he says Romney’s chief asset is his ideological flexibility…well that’s not exactly comforting. The fact is that Romney is the best politician in the republican field, which is good and bad. He probably has the best chance of running a good enough campaign to compete with Obama, which would be a good thing. Can he get the nomination? He has as good a chance as any. I just can’t bring myself to be excited about any of these candidates. When I am defaulting to hoping that a not really all that conservative Romney wins the nomination because he is the only one I think may possibly beat Obama…well, then I know its weak field. Maybe I will join. It couldn’t hurt.

Written by Jake Phillips

June 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm