The Corner

From the Dog to Polygamy Wars

What is interesting about all the recent wars of Team Obama and its supporters — the Romney dog caper, the Sandra Fluke/war on women episode, the punditry and commentary hinting about Romney’s ancestors’ polygamy — is not just that they are distractions designed to turn attention from vast new debt, record deficits, high unemployment, sluggish growth, and spiraling gas prices, but that Romney’s team — and his defenders and supporters — did not feel it was too big to respond to these trivialities, and instead hit back hard and quick. Putting a dog on the roof years ago was juxtaposed with eating a dog years ago; Rush Limbaugh’s crude outburst was trumped by million-dollar Obama donor Bill Maher’s unapologetic and greater repertoire of misogyny; that Romney had a great-grandfather in Mexico who had multiple wives was matched by Barack Obama’s Kenyan father’s more recent polygamy. In other words, just as Bill “war room” Clinton decided that he was not going to rerun a Dukakis-like 1988 punching-bag campaign, so too Romney apparently has decided that McCain was too above the fray in 2008. Of course, things are different, and McCain had innate problems with dealing with the unknown and landmark candidacy of Obama, but, like it or not, 2012 is going to be a tit-for-tat slugfest.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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