Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Republican slogans may go soft:

Gone are the muskets and the battle cries. Euphemisms are starting to come back.
Yesterday Politico’s Jake Sherman and Seung Min Kim supplied an amazing bouquet of Republican happy talk in an update on negotiations in the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.   
“Obviously, it’s important to show that we have a balanced, reasonable plan that actually deals with the drivers of our debt — entitlements — and includes revenue from economic growth associated with tax reform, not job-killing tax hikes,” a House GOP leadership aide said.

Read more:
Why would they concoct such a convoluted vision statement, something only John Kerry and Michael Dukakis would have tried to use on bumper stickers?
Why grease the skids for compromise and cooperation? With two weeks to go, are Republicans already putting country first, or is partisan calculation finally shifting in favor of the peace-makers?  
Michael Tomasky offers a clue from the wilds of Florida. 
“The most important and interesting poll question asked in recent memory is the one Suffolk University finally thought to ask last week, surveying Floridians about various matters in their state. People were asked if they thought the Republicans were “intentionally stalling efforts to jumpstart the economy to insure that Barack Obama is not re-elected.” In response, 49 percent said yes, and just 39 percent said no. Among liberals, 75 percent said yes, and among moderates, fully 59 percent said yes (to 31 percent saying no). Interestingly, even a third of conservatives said yes (many of whom presumably thought it was a grand idea to do so). Forty-nine isn’t a majority, but it’s close, and Florida isn’t the country, but, if anything, it leans a little to the country’s right, so this is a shockingly large number considering that we Americans are supposed to believe that no one in our great and celebrated system of government would ever do such a thing. But people are starting to believe it, and it will be the GOP’s worst nightmare if it gets to the point that 58 percent or so of the country agrees. Given that majorities of conservatives and Republicans will never agree with this, a number like 58 (or even 55) will mean that a substantial majority of independents think it’s true.”
Tomasky suggests that continuing partisan gridlock in Washington could be fatal for the Republican nominee. The label of obstructionist could, he imagines, “hang like the stink of garlic around the nominee’s neck.”
It will be interesting to know what, if anything, Mitt Romney will be suggesting to his supporters in Washington as these deficit-reduction talks approach their end-of-November deadline.

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