The Campaign Spot

Wanted: A Running Mate Who Will Fight Back, With Passion!

Whomever Mitt Romney picks as his running mate, I hope that person understands the need to come out of the gate as a fighter. The language of the first appearance and convention address doesn’t need to be snarling or angry, but right now, millions of Republicans and independents feel like the world has gone crazy, and no one seems intent upon setting it right.

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is basically making things up, claiming that “a number of people” have told him about felony-level tax evasion by Mitt Romney. (Technically, zero is a number.)

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declares, “it is a fact” in response to Reid’s charges and his unnamed sources, and labeling the opposition party, “the E. Coli club.”

  • A new ad from President Obama’s SuperPAC declares, “Mitt Romney killed my wife.” (The man’s wife died seven years after Romney left Bain Capital.)

  • The Obama “Truth Team” distributes a charge that Romney’s ad hitting Obama for changing the work requirements for welfare “has racial overtones.”

  • The attacks on Romney have gotten so insane that Joe Biden looks relatively normal lately.

If, God forbid, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, or Joe Biden were to be struck by genuine neurological dementia, how would we be able to tell?

For whatever reason, Mitt Romney has chosen to not respond in kind; it is left to RNC Chair Reince Priebus to declare Reid a “dirty liar.” But Reid, Pelosi, the president, his campaign, and his allies continue to throw out weapons-grade nonsense into the media environment with absolutely no consequence whatsoever.

There was a time, not long ago, when if the Senate Majority Leader was going to accuse his opponents of a crime, he had to at least point to some evidence, lest he be derided as a McCarthyite, a demagogue, a liar and a toxic influence to public discourse. There was a time when presidential campaigns did not casually accuse their opponent of murder. There was a time when not every criticism of an opponent’s policy triggered a knee-jerk accusation of “racism!”

No one wonders why our political class is so disappointing. It’s because no sane person would want to step into the BS maelstrom that is modern politics. No one wants to deal with a world where people believe that having the right view entitles you to berate restaurant drive-through attendants. Why participate in public debate, if you’re guaranteed to be demonized and denounced as among the worst of humanity?

Our political culture has gone insane. Millions of us want something better, and perhaps Romney thinks he can embody this by taking the high road. Perhaps he is correct that it’s impossible to argue that you’ll be something better if you’re “punching back twice as hard,” as the president’s top strategist once pledged. But somebody has to call out this nonsense for what it is – and I think many, many Republicans are waiting, with growing impatience, for someone to do that.

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