I have to say that in many ways I don't care about Jack Kelly's column today. Kelly has written columns in the past lecturing us about how much more intelligent Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are smarter than smug liberals think. Now he is sorting out in his own mind but aloud to all of us how Romney could win Florida and cinch the nomination.
Actually, it is not at all clear to me whether Kelly really wants Romney or would be willing to accept Newt Gingrich despite his having "more baggage than Amtrak". Kelly mentions "They know Mr. Gingrich is bombastic, stretches the truth, been a jerk to his ex-wives, and been known to modify his principles when his palm was crossed with enough silver.". Yet Kelly also talks about how Gingrich stands up to "Wall Street-Washington elite" and "Mr. Gingrich stands up to biased, condescending journalists who slant questions and play gotcha.". Apparently it's OK when Kelly describes Gingrich's faults, but when a journalist who is not a self-described conservative does the same, he/she is biased and condescending.
By the way, "Wall Street-Washington elite"? I mean, he's got a point, a lot of Obama's economic advisors are from Wall Street, but as Bill Maher put it "Hank Paulson". But then I guess Jack Kelly has thrown George W Bush under the bus. Or maybe not, we don't know, he ignores the inconvenient.
Kelly finishes by quoting extensively from Andrew McCarthy of the National Review. Romney can't win by attacking the competition, and Romney needs to convince us that he is the most conservative candidate who can win. Why didn't the PG just print Andrew McCarthy's piece from the NRO, since apparently Jack Kelly has no original thoughts of his own.
But more than that, the primary is about selecting a candidate for the general election. So, fine, the Republicans can select a conservative to run against Obama's supposed liberalism, but what ever happened to having ideas? After all, Romney was not a public servant when he worked at Bain Capital, and it shows. They created few, if any, jobs, and for every company they "turned" around, there is at least one and maybe more that they simply carved up and disposed of. And in any event, Republicans keep saying the government can't create jobs, yet they want to present Romney as a jobs creator?
Kelly says Romney will do better if he "clearly, concisely, constantly on jobs, spending and debt, corruption, crony capitalism, national defense". But when Kelly says that, he doesn't mean present the facts, he means present the lies.
Obama could be vulnerable on Civil Liberties, and to some extent on the way Obama chose to try to accommodate Republicans rather than to push his own agenda. But to attack Obama on those points would be to risk Democrats bringing up George Bush's record on civil liberties, and to risk admitting Republicans did not even try to compromise just to help struggling American citizens. It doesn't work for Republicans to say to voters ‘We couldn't let you have that temporary highway construction job because government can't create jobs; you will get a much better job eventually when the government no longer protects worker safety and the air we breathe and the water we drink’. Well, Republicans can’t say that to voters, although they may well be saying something like that to (wealthy) donors.
And maybe that is the point. Republicans need to find the candidate most acceptable to the Koch Brothers, and then let Frank Luntz use a couple of billion dollars to find the right lies about Obama to make the Republican candidate slightly less distasteful.
And Jack Kelly’s seemingly beloved Tea Party are simply the “R” button pushers, kind of the same way Republicans complain about unions. Except that unions were born out of a desire of workers to help each other, while I would argue that the Tea Party was born of anger and resentment, partially at wealthy elites and also the urban poor. Republican elites will focus that anger at the poor, and deflect the anger at the rich. And Jack Kelly will be part of that.