EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for February 29, 2012
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When you have a candidate few people really like, whose support is a mile wide and an inch deep, whose raison d’etre (a 4am fancy word) is fixing an economy that is fixing itself without him, and who only wins his actual, factual home state by three percentage points against a guy no one took seriously only two months ago, there really is little reason for independent voters in the general election to choose him if the economy keeps improving.
Seriously, putting it bluntly, conservatives may not like Barack Obama, but most other people do. And when faced with a guy you like and a guy you don’t like who says he can fix an economy that no longer needs fixing, you’re going to go with the guy you like.
If Republicans in Washington are not panicked and trying desperately to pull Bobby Jindal in the race tomorrow, or someone like him, the party leaders must have a death wish.
Mitt Romney continues to run an uninspiring campaign only able to win by massively outspending his opponents to tell voters how much worse the other guys are. That may work in the primary, but it will not work in a general election where the President of the United States won’t be outspent 5 to 1.
Three percentage points. In his home state. In his wife’s home state. In the state his father served as Governor. Three percentage points against a guy few took seriously two months ago and who just three weeks ago no one expected to give Romney a run for his money.
On Thursday, the Senate will consider Senator Roy Blunt’s amendment to the Senate version of the highway bill. It is the only amendment the Senate GOP will offer up.
On its surface, it is a good amendment. It will allow religious employers to opt out of the new Obamacare mandate on contraception and abortifacient drugs. But strategically, it is another lame effort by Senator Mitch McConnell to let Senate Democrats in swing states absolve themselves of any blame for what Barack Obama has done.
See, the highway bill probably is not going to pass. So Senator Blunt’s amendment won’t actually pass. But Senate Democrats can vote for it and then claim in their 2012 election that they too oppose the President, but alas their measure failed. At the same time, no outside groups want a vote right now. If there is a vote this week and the bill ultimately dies, the issue goes away in the press and Christian groups are only now whipping up opposition to the HHS regulation. Roy Blunt’s amendment comes too soon and takes off the table an issue social conservatives care about just as Republican leaders are whispering that the issue hurts them (coincidence?).
Consider the alternative. There is another amendment Senator McConnell expressly refuses to bring up this week as an alternative — an amendment by Senator Jim DeMint for full repeal of Obamacare.
David Brooks seems to forget it was the tea party movement that handed the Republicans control of the House in 2010. Today he laments the rise, again, of conservatives and views his ideological drift to the left as standing still with conservatism moving away from him. He really does lack serious self-awareness.
If you’re looking for a single picture that captures the salient points of President Barack Obama’s oil policy, here it is. Courtesy of the Republican Study Committee.