GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE!

Posted in Election 2012 on August 20th, 2012 by Ed

(Foreword: If you didn't read the title like this, you did it wrong.)

Bill Kristol is the most accurate prognosticator in the media by far; when he predicts something, it is 100% guaranteed not to happen. Take it to the bank. Nothing he has predicted has ever happened. At social functions, when he says "Excuse me, I'm going to use the restroom" he actually ends up outside working on his car. When he says "I think I'm coming down with a cold," it turns out that he's just horny. He is spectacularly wrong, and with the kind of consistency that makes an atomic clock look erratic. Here is just a partial list of highlights from his long career as the Amazing Kreskin's bipolar opposite, and it omits perhaps his most brilliant bit of prescience so far: his hand-selection of Sarah Palin as the next superstar of the GOP and as John McCain's savior in 2008.

But here's the good part: Kristol heartily approves of the choice of Paul Ryan, who he is certain will energize the race and make the moribund Romney campaign compelling to voters. I've tried to help you out by editing it, but read as much of this detritus as you can tolerate:

(M)aybe Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan won’t end up making much difference. But we think it will. The selection has changed the nature of the 2012 presidential contest. It means we now have a big campaign, about big issues and big choices. During the summer months, the Romney campaign was fighting and losing a trench warfare battle. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket has a good chance to win a large-scale electoral war of maneuver.

Just want to pop in quickly to point out that the last sentence is never explained, nor is the "large-scale war" metaphor carried forward. Nothing. No explanation of how this will be accomplished or why we should expect it.

Furthermore, Ryan will help in the Midwest—as Gephardt would have in 2004. The addition of a bold reforming conservative gives the GOP ticket a new character, even more than Clinton’s addition of Gore helped confirm a changed Democratic image in 1992. And the selection of Ryan is a strong, self-confident pick, reflecting well on Romney, as the pick of Bush in 1980 spoke well in a somewhat different way of Reagan.

But perhaps the most important effect of the Ryan pick is this: It turns the GOP effort from a campaign into a movement. It transforms a mere electoral effort into a political cause. The Romney 2012 campaign no longer brings to mind its Republican predecessor, the McCain campaign of 2008. Instead, Romney-Ryan could end up more closely resembling Obama 2008.

In 2008, Obama was the young forward-looking reformer, running on a big (if gauzy) message. He was able to capitalize on opposition to the Bush administration without seeming merely oppositional. He was able to enliven his campaign by his own presence and skills. Now it’s the Republicans who are running on a newly bold conservative message, presenting a hopeful choice for change rather than mere opposition to the status quo, and on a ticket enlivened by Ryan’s presence and skills.

Until last week, the Romney campaign was a few hundred operatives working hard in Boston trying to win a presidential election. Now Romney-Ryan is a groundswell of citizens spontaneously writing, volunteering, and proselytizing on behalf of a cause. The first was going to be a grueling uphill climb. The second could be more like running downhill with the wind at your back. Even in the second instance, of course, the candidate still has to jump the hurdles and avoid the obstacles. But it's a lot easier to prevail when you stand for a cause citizens are eager to join than when you're engaged in a campaign voters may diffidently support.

And there you have it, straight from the horse's ass. If anything expressed in this piece existed in any reality outside of Bill Kristol's febrile imagination I would be panicking. As is stands, though, the Kristol stamp of approval on the arranged marriage between Ryan and Romney is an unqualified positive for Obama.