Don’t take this as a jab at historians, but perhaps Timothy Stanley should stick to history, because his political analysis misses the mark, to put it mildly.
From his column on CNN:
“The votes that Romney and Santorum drew matched their public personas. In the last two weeks, Mitt has been branded as a “Massachusetts moderate” — who thinks it’s perfectly normal for a patriotic woman to own “a couple of Cadillacs.” In contrast Santorum presents as a “working class” conservative who “almost threw up” at the thought of separating church and state and who implies that college is for snobs. Together, they are the rational brain and the rumbling gut of the Republican Party.”
Considering that Romney’s Cadillac gaffe was a gaffe because it demonstrated his class privilege, a huge no-no in the current economic climate, where does “patriotism” enter the picture? Buying American-made cars is considered a good thing, patriotic even, yet it seems Stanley is framing this as a bad thing. Substitute “patriotic” in that sentence for “working class” and it makes sense, but in its present state, it makes none.
Stanley does the same thing in the next sentence, linking “working class” with the idea that separation of church and state is a bad thing. What does one have to do with the other? Nothing. Why would one’s membership in the “working class,” even the “conservative working class,” be indicative of one’s views on the separation of church and state? This has not been adequately established–he’s making assumptions here.
Also, rumbling gut? What is this supposed to imply? Indigestion? Impending diarrhea? Or is it a reference to one’s instinctual feelings? If so, on what? What an awful metaphor.
Now, consider this:
“There will be a lot of debate in the next few days about why Democrats and independents were so drawn to Santorum. The consensus is that they were spoilers out to deny Romney the nomination. Aside from some individual testimony to that effect, I’m not sure this can be proven. After all, Santorum has been pitching himself at blue-collar workers for some time and it’s notable that he won union members 45-26 percent. These are the famous “Reagan Democrats,” the unionized auto workers living in suburban Detroit who flipped from Democrat to Republican in 1980 because they were so attracted to Ronald Reagan’s stance on God, guns, and taxes.
Santorum enjoys the confidence of significant numbers of non-Republican populists precisely because of his reputation as an antediluvian conservative. In an age when politicians seem manufactured and packaged to appeal to a shrinking center-ground, Santorum has stood out this season as a man of his word. That word might well by lifted from a particularly angry passage in Leviticus — but it sounds so much better than the bland platitudes that fall from Mitt’s mouth. It’s telling that Santorum performed well in Michigan among people looking for “strong moral character.” That’s what he’s selling on the campaign trail.”
Okay, I’m going to take off the political scientist and writing critic hats for a moment here.
Republicans have been divided the entire primary season: they can’t decide which candidate they hate the least. Why on earth would Democrats be “drawn” to any of these Republican candidates, much less Santorum? While Republicans may be thinking “anyone but Obama,” Democrats are thinking “holy shit why would anyone want these guys near the White House?”
While I can pretty confidently say that there was no organized effort on the part of Democrats to shake up the primaries for the Republicans–one thing is certain. The longer it takes for Republicans to choose a candidate, the better chance Obama will have at re-taking the White House, and by a larger percentage. You don’t have to be a snob with a university degree to figure that out.
Putting my hats on now.
Honestly, the Republican Party doesn’t have a viable candidate. Neither Romney nor Santorum, and certainly not Gringrich or Paul, could defeat Obama in November. The GOP erred considerably in their chosen strategy of “making Obama a one-term President.” Pure sabotage doesn’t work in politics–it didn’t even work for Democrats in the 2004 election season–I’m not sure why Republicans chose it as their strategy from 2008 until now. It wouldn’t have worked even had they confined it to the election season–again, it didn’t work for the Democrats in 2004.
President Obama has the incumbent’s advantage–and the GOP needed a considerable track record, in addition to a very good candidate, to reclaim the White House. They have neither. Ensuring a divided GOP, and a contentious convention will hand a larger margin of victory to President Obama.
A larger margin of victory for President Obama will save a large portion of the citizenry from suffering from high blood pressure.
If you asked, I’d say this is fairly obvious–certainly political science 101. Dr. Stanley should definitely stick to his field.