THE NATURE OF THE CAMPAIGN - QUOTE OF THE DAY - AT 112:41 P.M. ET: Michael Gerson, formally President Bush's (43) chief speechwriter, offers what I think is a valuable and accurate assessment of the tone of the two presidential campaigns, as we enter the final 10 days. From the Washington Post:
The last days of the 2012 presidential election are a study in contrasts. Barack Obama has chosen to end his final campaign with an appeal both sour and small — Big Bird, binders and Romnesia. It is little wonder that Mitt Romney’s personal favorability rating now exceeds the president’s. Obama’s closing message is remarkable for its aggression, mocking tone and sheer triviality.
The Romney campaign is ending larger than it has been. Romney has used his final weeks to position himself — his critics would say reposition himself — as a moderate conservative, dedicated to bipartisan progress. Obama attacks Romney as a chameleon for refusing to be a caricature. Romney — admittedly a bit late — sets out a centrist governing philosophy. Both candidates, revealingly, are mainly talking about Romney.
Paul Ryan’s recent speech at Cleveland State University was an important part of the Romney campaign’s “go large” strategy — a presentation on political philosophy amid the normal stump speeches. Following a Republican primary season heavy on tea-party rhetoric and a GOP convention light on substance, Ryan outlined a conservative vision of the common good.
Those who expect Ryan to sound like Ayn Rand — an embarrassing past flirtation — got something very different. Ryan quoted Abraham Lincoln on social mobility — “an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.” Ryan identified with his mentor Jack Kemp: “When he spoke of progress, he meant progress for everyone.” And without quoting him, Ryan embraced Pope John Paul II’s emphasis on the importance of healthy civic and religious institutions. It is a combination — Lincoln, Kemp and Catholic social thought — that must have set Rand a-spinning.
COMMENT: A good statement of the case. And yes, Obama has become trivial, small, and bitter. A little man in a big job.
And yes, Ryan's speech indicates the truth of something we've repeatedly seen: In the last 40 years the intellectual vigor has been on the right. The left, which fancies itself as "progressive," is actually regressive, a replay, based on nostalgia, of the worst of the 1960s. The left is out of ideas and, we think here, out of time. Obama has tested America's patience, and failed the test.
Ironically, it might be good for the Democratic Party for Obama to lose. Then someone might arise to bring some sanity and maturity back to that once-great party.
October 27, 2012