11 Jan 2012

How Candidates Are Innoculated

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James Taranto, astutely explains that, when Newt Gingrich unlimbers the anti-capitalist “You liquidated companies and killed jobs!” arguments against Mitt Romney, Gingrich is not just being cynical and opportunistic. He is as well (possibly even a bit intentionally) inoculating Romney and developing his immunity to the same kinds of attacks when they are delivered again later by Barack Obama during the actual campaign.

It’s shameful for Romney’s rivals–especially Gingrich, who should know better–to be engaging in this sort of class-warfare idiocy. As Charles Murray asked in an ironically nocturnal tweet: “How can a conservative attack Romney for Bain and sleep at night?”

Yet all that said, assuming that Romney is the eventual nominee, Gingrich is doing him a huge favor. …

If Gingrich didn’t attack Romney over Bain now, Barack Obama would do so in the fall. In fact, Obama will do so in the fall anyway, assuming Romney is the nominee. Others on the left, such as some guy at the Puffington Host, are already doing it:

    Romney’s statement [about firing people], and in fact his entire career at Bain Capital, shows that this whole Republican job creator mantra is, to steal a line from Newt Gingrich, pious baloney. The word pious fits because Republicans really do worship the top 1 percent and the Wall Street tycoons like Romney who manipulate money but don’t actually build anything or create net new jobs. In fact, not only do they not create them, they actually destroy them.

By attacking now, Gingrich ensures that it won’t be the first voters hear about the matter, which will take some of the sting out of the Obama attacks. He’s also acting as a proxy for the president–call him Barack Hussein Gingrich–giving Romney the chance to practice and improve his defense, something he unquestionably needs to do.

Contrariwise, if Romney is incapable of learning to defend himself effectively, Republicans are better off learning that now, while there’s still time to nominate someone else.

We’ve all seen this happen before.

Barack Obama’s intimate associations with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and former Weatherman Bill Ayers were major issues during the nomination fight and caused his candidacy to reel a bit, but Obama survived, and later in the real campaign his former radical associations had magically become transformed into old news, not significantly relevant anymore.

One Feedback on "How Candidates Are Innoculated"


The reason Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers became “old news” is because the media wanted to ignore them. The same thing will not happen to Romney. It will be “new old news” virtually every day until November. Romney simply has to become more aggressive in turning this into a positive: Yes, I fired people. People who drag down an organization’s performance SHOULD be fired. If you work in government, you may not be familiar with term, but if we ever hope to get spending under control we are going to have to fire more people. We need to elect someone who knows HOW to fire people and isn’t afraid to.


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