Thursday, January 17, 2008

Whistling past the graveyard

John O'Sullivan has a new piece out on NRO today, wherein he asserts that things aren't so bad for the GOP and its Presidential candidates.

I have no particular beef against O'Sullivan, but I don't think this particular stance does anybody any favors. On this score, I am definitely a glass-half-empty kinda guy.

Take a look at two recent pieces from the other team, taken more or less at random, here and here. The former is probably the only thing that Jack Balkin has written that I agree with. As for Obama, the thing to notice there is that his message of hope is not so much intended to transcend racial bitterness in America (my anecdotal observation is that's gotten quite a bit better over the last 15 years or so) as much as _partisan_ bitterness.

The fact that our candidates are men of real substance and accomplishment whereas theirs are a big joke just highlights the fact that strategically they are in a much stronger position than we are. Here's one particular ominous fact to come out of the Michigan primary, counterintuitive to some. McCain won a substantial majority of those opposed to the war. Why would such people vote for McCain, a stalwart supporter of the war since the beginning? They want to twist the knife into George W. Bush, and that was the only way to do it. There's no way the GOP will recover those voters until they've had the chance to vent their spleen at the party, and a fair number of their gripes are legit so we've got to listen and talk turkey with them. There may not be that many of them, but frankly the GOP majority didn't have that many votes to spare in the first place.

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