Quote of the Day: Melissa Clouthier on pundits worried about political “form” – plus commentary

Posted by: ST on August 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Rove and NoonanHere lately pundits and other political commentators from Peggy Noonan to Karl Rove to Jonah Goldberg have been weighing in on the “form” of GOP candidates for President (and potential ones) - in particular those who have accents and plainspeaking ways about them, like Sarah Palin and Rick Perry.   These pundits worry that these types of high profile  politicians, though patriotic, well-meaning, good-hearted,  and popular amongst certain segments of the GOP base, come across all wrong to the general public and thus present problems when it comes to the ability for Republicans to win elections, in particular the Presidency.  To that, Dr. Melissa Clouthier responds:

But you know what? I’ll take cringe-inducing speaking over smooth talking all day long. I’m beyond the leftists and their pointing and laughing. I can go another couple years, or decades, of good governance if I don’t have to endure bad ideas and smooth talk. Would I like good ideas and smooth talk? That would be nice, but the smooth talk is a helpful bonus.

The fact is, conservatism is coming in all sorts of forms these days. We don’t have an identity-politics problem. Look at our governors, Jonah. Rick Scott, John Kasich, Nikki Haley, Mitch Daniels, Sam Brownback, Rick Snyder, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Susana Martinez. Every single one of them, no matter how they speak, would be painted as a stupid rube by the left and media were he or she running for President. Need proof? Just look at the press coverage of them now, in their states.

We have a leftist and press problem. And we have big name Republicans like Noonan and Rove who end up aiding and abetting these folks with their focus on things that don’t matter.

The time for being swayed by the superficial is gone. I would vote for a bald, motorcycle riding Indiana governor. I would vote for an overweight, brash talking Jersey boy. I would vote for just about anyone willing to cut the government and take our economic woes and jobs despair seriously.

Get over the form. The next President better have substance. We’ve had three years of Barack Obama. That should inoculate anyone from the worries of being picked on for eight years by moronic Keynsians who sent America deeper into the morass.

It is the dawn of a new political day and I’m not sure many have caught up, yet.

Results matter. Go look to the states and look at the results of the policies of the states where the Governors supposedly lacking “gravitas” preside. Now look at what we have in the White House. Who has gravitas again?

This all relates to the “electability” argument that some conservatives hate.  I personally see nothing wrong with worrying about a candidate’s electability based on where they stand on the issues and their character, but I DO see something wrong with worrying about someone’s electability solely due to superficial issues like accents, mannerisms, looks, etc, which is what the Roves and the Noonans of the world, on the other hand, see as problematic.  Frankly, I’m sick of this line of argument as it implies that symbolism combined with style over substance are all that matters when electing someone to public office, no matter how small or large the office is.  And as Melissa noted above, we’ve had nearly 3 years of exactly that in the White House, and where has it gotten us?

As a side note,  it’s especially interesting for Rove to take this view, considering he was key to getting George W. Bush aka “the stupid cowboy” elected President.  But I digress.

Let’s take a look at Rep. Ron Paul, for example:  The guy is simply not electable as President of the United States.  His Congressional district may elect him every two years to serve in the US House but that doesn’t mean he’s automatically qualified to be electable Presidential material.   The guy has views that are so far out of the mainstream – especially as it relates to isolationism and Israel - that there’s no way  he’d win even close to enough states to become POTUS.   If he, by some bizarre chance, were to become the GOP nominee, you’d see a landslide by Barack Obama a la Reagan vs. Mondale., except Paul probably wouldn’t even win his own state (his Congressional district, yes).

Sarah PalinSarah Palin, as much as I like her, is not someone I view as “electable” – because the mainstream media, in concert with staunch left wing Democrats and phony “feminists” – have crucified her to the point where I’m not sure if she could overcome the damage done not only by their obsession with the superficial, but also with their constant mischaracterization of her stance on the issues, and their calculated painting of her as an empty suit in attractive packaging.  Not only that, but she herself has made critical mistakes along the way, chief among them leaving the Governor’s office in Alaska midway through her first term, which leaves people with the impression that she’ is a “cut and runner” – when she is anything but, in my view.  I buy the argument that she left the Governor’s chair because she had to deal with so many bogus “investigations” and attacks by liberal haters and establishment Republicans with axes to grind that she probably felt she was of no use as Governor and was more or less a distraction to the office. 

But the same time, a compelling argument can be made by the political opposition – including some on our side –  that “when the going got tough, Sarah bailed, which is not what we need in a President.”   This speaks to the character argument, which I believe is a valid factor in determining who the eventual nominee is.  That being said, should she jump in the race and eventually become our nominee, I would work day and night to do whatever I could to help her get elected, to help her overcome the false MSM/liberal image of her as a ditzy, opportunistic quitter.  My view is that she is right on most of the issues, and there’s no question she loves her country and would be stridently unapologetic for it should she get elected President.  As to the electability, though I believe that she is “unelectable” now that doesn’t mean that would be the case in a general election season.  Somone who looks “unelectable” now could look very electable depending on the political climate of the election year.  A guy by the name of Ronald Reagan comes to mind.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney is “electable” -  unfortunately a lot of his big government views are not so far out of the mainstream in America. Some people believe that bigger government is better.  Just because he is “electable”, however, doesn’t automatically mean “he should be our nominee.”  I won’t even go down the list of issues conservatives have with him in terms of policy positions, flip flops, etc, but you get the point, which is:

Mitt RomneyJust because is someone is “electable” doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the person we should nominate to represent us in the fall elections, because while we want someone who is electable, we also want someone who shares with us an unquestionable belief in the fundamental principles of smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, respect for the unborn and the traditional two parent family,  speaking softly but carrying a big stick on the world stage, and a strong belief in American exceptionalism – without apology.  We want someone of sound mind and character who, while not perfect, embodies the core ideals we believe have made this country great and that could make it even greater once the Socialist in Chief is booted out of the White House.

Another reason I loathe the  political “form” arguments made by established and respected pundits is that it’s insulting to conservatives in general because most of us, when deciding which potential nominee to pick and which not to, look for a candidate with who we can more often than not identify with on some level.  Chances are, if a candidate walks like me and talks like me, and shares my values and core ideals about America, that candidate is going to get a second and third look by me – and will probably end up with my vote.   If that candidate with the swagger and the accent presents an “image” problem to these pundits, what does that suggest those pundits think about me?  It’s elitism at its worst.

The GOP’s “image” problem is not really one of their own making.  It’s primarily one of the left’s making.  For years, liberal Democrats have been allowed – via their like-minded friends in the mainstream press – to define who conservatives are and what we’re about.    While the GOP should work to overcome the misconceptions about conservatives with the facts, the onus is more on the left than anyone else to explain to the public what makes the conservative opinion on affirmative action “racist”, what makes the conservative opinion on smaller government “selfish”, what makes the conservative view on being unapologetic about their love of their country “arrogant.”  Most importantly, these liberals should be dragged kicking and screaming into a public debate as to what makes their political opposition “extremist” – as they have frequently called us, especially over the last several years.  This is an argument I made a couple of weeks ago:

Not that it was a profound thought or anything, but it hit me during Thursday night’s GOP debates, when I was reading Tweets from the official Democrat party Tweet page about how the debate line-up was the most “extreme” in history – or something to that effect – that it’s high time the GOP demand Democrat party rank and file politicians and “leaders” to define what exactly it is about the conservative agenda today that is “extreme.”

Ask them why they think lowering taxes so businesses will be more likely to create jobs in a sagging economy is “extreme.” Ask them why they think giving more healthcare choices back to the individual by way of repealing ObamaCare is “extreme.” Ask them why Republican Governors are “extreme” when they seek to curtail union excesses yet when Democrat Governors do it, they are just “misguided”? Ask them why, in an era where the term “extremist” is almost always used to describe ideological terrorists, that they are using that same term to describe their political opposition. Ask the President himself whether or not he, who called for a “New Tone” in politics after the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords in January, approves of leaders of his party – including his right-hand man David Axelrod – characterizing his/their political opposition as “extreme.”

As Washington, DC grows more divided on ideological grounds, it’s time we had this debate. For years, we’ve all watched as Democrats have – with the help of the mainstream media – gotten to define the parameters of the debate, and if we allow them to, they’ll get away with it again as they ratchet up the accusations of “right wing extremism.” Make no mistake about it: This is a calculated move by Democrats, espeically in light of the horrific murders in Norway a few weeks ago by a “right wing extremist”, to paint their opposition as “extremist” in their own right – which gets people who don’t follow politics closely to wonder just “how extreme” … when in reality the conservative agenda of low taxes and individual responsibility should not be considered the “extreme” – it should be considered essential for the survival of our Republic.

I’m sick of Democrats getting away with labeling people they disagree with as “racists” and “extremists” and “terrorists” etc when I know darned well I’m not, and the party I support is not. I’m also sick of the Democrats being trotted out as the “party of the compassionate” – sorry, but they lost any claim to “compassionate” the day they made the legalization of the termination of unborn children their top no-compromise issue. They also lost that claim when they started making excuses for murderers and rapists and other violent criminals by pushing the idea that “society” was partly to blame for the despicable acts of the guilty, and therefore as a result we should be softer on criminals than they deserve.

This isn’t just an ideological war. It’s a war of words. Democrats have been redefining words for decades to suit their agenda, almost to the point that those words don’t mean anything universal anymore. For example, you’re a racist if you hate black people – that’s universal, but if you don’t support this President’s radical left-wing agenda, to Democrats that makes you a racist, too. It’s time for the GOP, conservatives, and other like-minded individual to take this war of words right back to them by demanding they define the words they use – sans the stupid spin games. Then let the American public decide whether or not it’s extreme.

That’s the debate that needs to be had in this country.  Yet here some people on our side are worrying about accents and swaggers and stumbling over words.  I don’t know whether to laugh or scream.

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25 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Melissa Clouthier on pundits worried about political “form” – plus commentary”

Comments

  1. Terrie says:

    Right on, Sister, I totally agree! Why, oh why, won’t the conservatives define themselves? Do they think it’s a losing battle? After all these years,it does seem so. Look at the effect that silence is having on our great country. Sometimes it’s very hard to stay positive.

  2. Phineas says:

    Quality rant there, ST. Couldn’t agree more. It’s a form of elitist bigotry against anyone who isn’t, as the British would say, “posh,” or from the right schools. Or who speaks with an accent disdained by the elites. I’ll take someone who sounds like a rube but delivers results any day over someone who speak like Pericles but governs like the Keystone Cops.

    I do have a nit to pick, though (and I suspect you suspected this as you wrote it ;) ). Where you write:

    Not only that, but [Palin] herself has made critical mistakes along the way, chief among them leaving the Governor’s office in Alaska midway through her first term, which leaves people with the impression that she’ is a “cut and runner” – when she is anything but, in my view. I buy the argument that she left the Governor’s chair because she had to deal with so many bogus “investigations” and attacks by liberal haters and establishment Republicans with axes to grind that she probably felt she was of no use as Governor and was more or less a distraction to the office.

    It’s hard for me to call leaving the governor’s office a “critical mistake” when she and her family were being bankrupted by the legal expenses incurred defending her against charge after charge. ($700K and counting at the time of her resignation, as I recall) Bear in mind that, under Alaska’s ethics law at the time, which, ironically, she herself signed to keep her good-government pledge, all charges had to be investigated, no matter how frivolous. And the state was not allowed to pay for the accused’s legal expenses, even though she was a state employee. Had she done what some had suggested and set up a legal defense fund, *that* would have been the subject of ethics complaints, too. I guarantee it. Faced with financial ruin and the paralyzation of her administration, it’s hard for me to call doing the right thing a mistake.

    That said, the resignation is a fair question to raise in a campaign, and she should be expected to defend it. I for one think she can and that the negative impression created by the MSM smear can be overcome. Not easily, but it can.

    That was kind of long-winded for nitpicking, now that I look at it. :">

  3. ST says:

    From a personal standpoint, I can understand why she stepped down as Governor for the reasons both you and I cited. But from a political standpoint, it was a critical error, hindsight being 20/20, of course. She might have had no ambitions at the time of running for President and thus didn’t worry about the political ramifications, but the issue is out there now that she’s considering a run and we both agree that it’s a legitimate one to bring up.

  4. arcman46 says:

    Sister, you are right about it becoming an issue, but, as I recall, a legal defense fund was set up and an ethical complaint was filed over it. The ankle biters saw her as a threat, and were determined to do everything they could to destroy her. By stepping down, she was able to fight them on a playing ground that gave her the upper hand. I am not sure it was a strategic mistake. I am still firmly convinced that she is our best chance for unseating Obama.

  5. Carlos says:

    Well, I certainly understood at the time why she quit and wrote about it. However, that has nothing to do with the political reality that the left, fearing her, made hay of it and it became an albatross for her, at least at the time.

    She has had other issues, too, and they will all be resurrected in a campaign (probably by Mitt, whom I consider a Demo-lite) and driven into everyone’s psyche as being HER no matter what the facts.

    But she is strong, and I believe if she holds out for another month or so before announcing she will have enough time to get past most of it before the convention. I would love to see her run.

    But can you imagine what a Palin-Jindal ticket would do to places like the NYT or San Fran Chronicle? Or a Palin-Perry ticket? Or a Palin-Cain? There would be brains stuck on the walls all over from exploding heads!

  6. jann says:

    I can’t believe we’re talking about her stepping down, good Lord do some reading or watch the movie The Undefeated, it will tell you all about who was trying to destroy this woman. Being a geek and following her since day one, I can tell you that if you and others had done the same, you would be a year or more ahead of everyone! I can’t believe she is the only one that gets hammered for so called “quitting”. What about all the others that have “quit”? Bachmann didn’t vote for several bills, not a word, Obama “quit”, all the others that have “quit”, not a word, but Palin gets hammered? Why? She knew what this SOB was going to do to the country, she tried to warn everyone, but I guess people thought it was ok that the media totally HAMMERED her with vile, disgusting rhetoric, huh? I don’t get why ppl thought that was ok???? I didn’t, it broke my heart and disgusted me and I vowed to defend and watch this woman because the more I saw the left and the control they have with the media and the Republicans are just as bad, it scared the crap out of me. The establishment MACHINES don’t want anything to change, they will almost do anything to stop this woman. Why do you think Rove is cracking up? He knows she has the power in her hands, you see, Sarah is the real deal, she is AUTHENTIC, she answers to no one except Todd. She could take it or leave it, but she loves the country, she cares about us. I know it sounds trite, it’s the truth. When people meet her they know it too. That’s what she has over them, plus 20 yrs of executive experience and she took down the oil companies, got rid of the corruption in both of the parties in AK, she did it all with a smile and working with both sides, with decent people in both parties that wanted the best for AK. By doing that it pissed off the people that loved to play the game, plus Obama sent a team of lawyers up there to destroy her. He didn’t do that to anyone else because most agree with what he is doing, not Sarah. They read her emails, have we read anyone else’s emails?? When do we get to read all of the other’s emails????? Not going to happen. So this silly crap about her quitting is just that, SILLY. I believe, when she stepped down in 2009, that’s when she started running for president. She knew that she was the only one that would call Obama out on all the damage he’s doing, they even accused the woman of MURDER for God’s sake. Look, all you have to do is read about the woman or watch the movie, you can buy it at Walmart if you want. If you think I sound like I would defend her no matter what, you’re wrong, I wouldn’t, if I caught her in a lie the whole country would see it too, I’m not the only one that has followed her this closely, there’s an army out there…..waiting. There’s another thing that people don’t know is that army, will not let the Republicans and Dems get away with smearing her this time, they are out there, they’re silent, and they’re working to clean up this mess.

  7. Marshall Art says:

    I could not agree more with your post. GOP self-defense has been awful for years and worse than that, there is a distinct lack of “prove it” from them toward the Dems and Dem supporters who throw around all sorts of wild charges regarding right-wing motives. Just as important as being able to defend our positions is to put their feet to the fire until they can defend theirs. We know their positions are shakey at best and so very often proven failures and they should be forced to explain why those policies continue to fail. Then, prove their explanations wrong as well, because they generally fall far short of including all the facts.

  8. Bill G says:

    Redefining words? Oh, yeah. They cannot even hold on to their own definition for themselves for more long. Just now they are “progressives”. What will they be next year? Who knows? Will they remember that at one time “progressive” was the standard term used by the Communist Party, officially, for themselves?
    But they are never “liberal”, far less are they “extremists”.

  9. PE says:

    We need a president who is willing and able to address the problematical areas of government with the surgical precision of a chain saw. Smooth talking wusses be damned, Sarah can make every day in office Friday the 13th for progressives and their bed wetting minions.

  10. Susan says:

    “Every single one of them, no matter how they speak, would be painted as a stupid rube by the left and media were he or she running for President. Need proof? Just look at the press coverage of them now, in their states.”

    “Sarah Palin, as much as I like her, is not someone I view as “electable” – because the mainstream media, in concert with staunch left wing Democrats and phony “feminists” – have crucified her to the point where I’m not sure if she could overcome the damage done not only by their obsession with the superficial, but also with their constant mischaracterization of her stance on the issues, and their calculated painting of her as an empty suit in attractive packaging. ”

    We know the tactic of the Left yet we will subjugate nevertheless?

  11. Susan says:

    If you understand the one successful tactic in the Left’s playbook ie indict, indict, indict the political opponent into bankuptcy death then you’ll understand why Palin’s resignation was a brilliant political manevuer. She athwarted the Progressive Left.

    “The Left is viscious and Conservatives are too gentile to fight” David Horowitz (The Freedom Center)

    It is a pity that 50 years of promising to ‘stand athwart history yelling stop’ those icons who championed themselves Conservative warriors failed in every way to athwart anything because it was easier to give up.

    The difference between a Sarah Palin and a Jonah Goldberg is that she has the courage, integrity, stamina and foresight which he lacks.

  12. NVA Patriot says:

    Agree with all that you said. Save the issue about Sarah & quitting Alaska. I am quite confident that there is going to be quite a bit of Political Judo on that issue. As Admiral Akbar said self-evidently in Star Wars “It’s a trap!”

    You can claim she’s a quitter for political office and to lovers of government – that’s a cardinal sin to give up power. However to lovers of small government – sacrificing the office to carry the fight directly to Obama and help elect a Republican, Tea Party friendly congress – it’s a God send – watch for the Judo – and break out the popcorn when she jumps in…

  13. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    Susan,

    Your points are well taken. However, on Palin, I think that you are throwing her under the bus too soon. The fact that she is still standing and attracting such a huge following, in spite of everything the MSM can throw at her, says volumes. She has been so thoroughly vetted, that there are no surprises to be had. You also might note that some liberals are coming around (albeit reluctantly) to the fact the she is good.

    But even more of import, is her ground game. It is being totally missed or ignored by the MSM and establishment politicians, but her troops are already in place and highly motivated. The day she announces, she will have an grass-roots organization that exceeds anyone else in the game.

    As I say, you may be right, but the dems found out the hard way that the grass roots can’t be counterfeited nor ignored.

  14. George Robinson says:

    I reckon we need to run on “Purdy” As in Is Sarah purdier than Michele? Is Rick purdier than Mitt and, is Mitt too purdy? I firmly believe this is the main problem the commies have, they are butt ugly. How would you like to meet Janet Napolitano in a dark alley?

    Heading for a likely politically incorrect joke I started making a list, ALL the good looking Punditrixes are Conservative unless you want to count that little blond Kirsten. Norah would be OK too, except for the blank clueless stare characteristic of all Commiatrixes.

  15. Susan says:

    on Palin, I think that you are throwing her under the bus too soon. The fact that she is still standing and attracting such a huge following, in spite of everything the MSM can throw at her, says volumes.

    I may not have communicated clearly, I attempted to point out exactly your point that despite all the stuff thrown at Palin she is still standing and is stronger than ever.

    It is we who give up too easily by subjegating to the Left’s tactics.

    If we accept the ‘unelectable’ claims which are based based false perceptions created by a Progressive Left biased media then we are held responsible for giving up the fight.

    I do not subjegate to the false perceptions.

    I know Sarah Palin will be the GOP nominee, that she’ll defeat Obama, she’ll further enhance Congressional Conservative seats and will govern with a servant’s heart guided by integrity, humility, honestly and courage.

    And I know this because she has a 20 year record which supports my claims.

  16. TexasDoc says:

    Why is the Republican eastern establishment such a pack of snobs?

    The country club Republicans did not bother voting in the last election for the candidate, and instead they went with the incompetent elephant-eared clown in the White House.