I was chatting with a GOP consultant yesterday about the Thompson response to Michael Moore. This consultant noted that we’re seeing GOP candidates confront their far-left critics directly in this case and when Mitt Romney mixed it up with Al Sharpton. He wondered if it was wise, as tradition suggests that a candidate who wants to look above the fray should “outsource” the attack stuff to surrogates.
Rich noted that the “sunny optimism” vibe of some candidates might be out of step with the current mood of the GOP electorate. A lot of Republicans are irritable and even angry. This might be why McCain’s initial pugnacious attitude (“TO THE GATES OF HELL!”) is getting applause.
I’m feeling a bit of this myself. Michael Moore ought to be a national punchline, and the Democrats ought to be still paying for having him in Carter’s box at the convention. Rosie O’Donnell’s talking 9/11 conspiracy theories, and the networks are falling all over themselves to sign her up long-term. Nancy Pelosi’s refusing to meet with President Bush after practically snuggling Bashir Assad. The Daily Kos moonbat crap has infected the culture at large, and the Democrats’ ambition vastly outweighs their sense of decency. They’ll ride the self-hatred, paranoia, and bile of “Loose Change” all the way to control of the White House and Congress.
The GOP base is a bit like the Dem base in 2003; we want a fighter. “Michael Moore, go **** yourself” isn’t exactly the inspiring rhetoric we’d like to leave in the history books, but I think it accurately represents the attitudes of the GOP base right now. I mean, really, Al Sharpton is bellowing that Mormons [or Republicans] don’t believe in God? Sharpton’s demagoguery got somebody burned to death! Why is this man taken seriously?
Which leads me to this thought on Rudy’s smackdown of Ron Paul: Paul’s defenders are saying that he didn’t say America invited the 9/11 attacks. But there’s a fine line between “the attacks were a response to our bad policies of the past” and “the attacks were our fault because they wouldn’t have happened if we had better policies.” After the Loose Change crap, the poll showing a third of Democrats think Bush was in on 9/11, I think Republicans have had it up to here with any argument that carries a whiff of America-bashing. We go into Kosovo to save Muslims, and nobody remembers. We go into Afghanistan and free a people from the Taliban’s barbarism, and nobody gives America credit. We go into Iraq to topple a dictator, and the world thinks we’re worse than he was. We’re the first one on the scene when a tsunami levels the other half of the world and everybody still thinks we’re the bad guys. There might have been a time when the Republican base was willing to hear out someone’s thoughtful criticism of American policy, but right now, they’re sick of it.