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Why the Republicans just lost the election, big.

So Mitt Romney just selected Paul Ryan as his running mate. In so doing, he just killed any chance he might have had of winning the election. I’m not the first person to say that, of course, but other people are focusing on Ryan’s policies. And sure, they’re horrific.

But the real problem is not that his policies are toxic. The real problem is that Ryan *has* policies.

What, you say? Let me explain:

Ronald Reagan. Dan Quayle. George W. Bush. Sarah Palin. They were all totally clueless when it came to policy. Hell, of the four of them, only Reagan could make a coherent sentence. And they didn’t really try to hide it; they waved their ignorance proudly, like a flag.

And one of them was on the GOP ticket every year, starting 1980.

The only exception was 1996. Say what you will about Bob Dole and Jack Kemp, but neither is an idiot. And remember the 1996 election? It seemed like the Republicans weren’t even trying. They went through the motions, but the fire wasn’t there. The Republican base, which is reliably passionate (not to say rabid), just didn’t seem to get excited.

Why not? It wasn’t like the Republican base liked Clinton—they hated him with the fire of a thousand suns. I think it was because the crazies who make up the Republican base want to vote for someone just like them, someone who doesn’t understand policy and doesn’t care. They need to see a moron on the ticket. (Call it identity politics with a vengeance.) The base may have agreed with Dole and Kemp’s policies, but the fact that the election was even *about* policies–that both Republican candidates went on and on about them–turned them off.

So while the crazies may agree with Ryan’s policies (which are certainly crazy enough), that’s not the point. They don’t want to vote for some intellectual who keeps talking about policy, they want to vote for a cretin who doesn’t give a flying fuck about policy and doesn’t care who knows it. They won’t get excited for Romney/Ryan, as much as they hate Obama. And if they don’t come out to vote for Romney, they won’t be around for the Senate, House, and local races.

Which is why I titled this “Why the Republicans just lost,” not “Why Romney just lost.”

So: Not only did Romney disgrace himself by playing to the right-wing lunatics; he managed to screw it up. Yes, this will please his right-wing funders. But they were already his funders, already basically giving him blank checks; how much more funding will they give? If Romney was going to go down this path, he should have gone all the way and picked Bachmann or Ronald Reagan’s skeleton or Dan Quayle again. Instead, he pulled down his pants and bent over, but he won’t even get the reach-around he wants.

Try to get that image out of your head.

1 comment to Why the Republicans just lost the election, big.

  • Frantz

    “I think it was because the crazies who make up the Republican base want to vote for someone just like them, someone who doesn’t understand policy and doesn’t care. They need to see a moron on the ticket. (Call it identity politics with a vengeance.)”

    This really hits in 2020.

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