Friday, April 20, 2012

Romney Team Comes to Play

The name of the game in politics is defining what people are allowed to say.  You can talk all you like about the First Amendment, but the truth is that there are a lot of things that you aren't allowed to say, not if you want to keep out of trouble.  We all understand this instinctively; it's part of who we are as social animals.

What is going on here?  It is simple.  If government is force, politics is intimidation.  The whole point of politics is to intimidate the other side into silence or meaningless babbling.  You want to be able to laugh off their proposals as so far out of the mainstream that they have left America; you want to be able to cast them as unpatriotic--liberals hate being on the receiving end of this.  And you want to be able to cast the other side as racist, sexist homophobes--conservatives hate being on the receiving end of this.

In normal times, in between elections, conservatives are at a disadvantage in the intimidation wars, because the mainstream media, from which most Americans get their news, tends to parrot Democratic talking points.  It's true that Fox News provides some push-back, but not a lot.  Put it this way.  The charge of racism sticks to conservatives and can be a career-ender.  But nobody dares to read the racist Reverend Al Sharpton out of polite society.

Everyone knew, during the Republican primaries, that as soon as the party had chosen a nominee the Obama campaign would launch a monster campaign of intimidation, and Republicans feared that Mitt Romney wouldn't be up to the challenge.

Well, forget that one.  The last couple of weeks, with the "never did a day's work in her life" flap and the Dog issue, demonstrate that the Romney campaign is ready to play rapid-reaction politics.  The campaign jumped on the Ann Romney attack with Twitter, and demolished the "war on women" meme.  Now with the discovery that Barack Obama claims to have eaten dog meat, according to the first of his autobiographies, the "dog-on-the-roof" meme is neutralized.

That's important.  My liberal friends love to bring up the story of the Romney dog on the car roof.  But hey, what about dogs in the back of pickup trucks?

Oh, and by the way, if you are worried about Mormon polygamy, what about Obama's dad?

All these side issues are, of course, "distractions."  But they are part of a campaign because they are attempts to intimidate the opposition, or counter attempts to intimidate.  It's good that the Romney campaign seems to be ready to play the intimidation game and win.

The question is: Can the Obamis take it?  The Obama people are from the one-party city of Chicago, where intimidation rules, and anyone that isn't a Democrat knows that you have to pay to play, and lay your tribute at the feet of the politicians.  But can they deal with their own dust being kicked up into their eyes?

Stay tuned.

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