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Iowa Republicans: They Never Fail To Pick A Loser

Memo Pad

Iowa Republicans: They Never Fail To Pick A Loser


Pardon me if I fail to join the crowd handicapping next week’s Iowa GOP caucuses like race track touts peddling betting tips on the Kentucky Derby.

To begin with, I have no clue. Except on the sports page, I normally skip articles speculating about what might happen tomorrow. Damned if I’m going to start writing them.

Gene Lyons

Gene Lyons is a political columnist and author. Lyons writes a column for the Arkansas Times that is nationally syndicated by United Media. He was previously a general editor at Newsweek as wells an associate editor at Texas Monthly where he won a National Magazine Award in 1980. He contributes to Salon.com and has written for such magazines as Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Monthly, The Nation, Esquire, and Slate.

A graduate of Rutgers University with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, Lyons taught at the Universities of Massachusetts, Arkansas and Texas before becoming a full-time writer in 1976. A native of New Jersey, Lyons has lived in Arkansas with his wife Diane since 1972. The Lyons live on a cattle farm near Houston, Ark., with a half-dozen dogs, several cats, three horses, and a growing herd of Fleckvieh Simmental cows.

Lyons has written several books including The Higher Illiteracy (University of Arkansas, 1988), Widow's Web (Simon & Schuster, 1993), Fools for Scandal (Franklin Square, 1996) as well as The Hunting Of The President: The 10 Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, which he co-authored with National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason.

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  1. Common Sense Patriot December 28, 2011

    The reason there is such a dearth of good candidates in the Republican Presidential race this year is the same reason there has been such a poor crop of candidates in every election for the last 20 years – extremists have taken over the Democratic and Republican Parties – left wing ideologues and fanatics in the Democratic Party and right wing neo-Nazi, knee jerk ideologues and fanatics in the Republican Party.

    The reality of political elections is that you can’t get nominated if you don’t appeal to the extremists who control both party’s machinery. The Republican base doesn’t like Romney because he is a moderate. The Republican base has been taken over by right wing extremists, composed of a loose network of tea party reactionaries, religious fundamentalists, one issue voters (abortion, immigration, etc.)and people so far to the right they make Nazi’s look like liberals.

    This is not just my opinion. Search the internet and you will find a clear plan by those right wing activists, especially when the Tea Party was organizing for the 2010 elections, that advises like minded nuts to become precinct chairs and delegates to the county, state, and national conventions. They quite correctly state that this is the way to power. And they succeeded, at least enough so that they have significant control of the party machinery which raises money, gets out the vote, distributes literature, and holds neighborhood meetings. Most importantly, they are the ones who select the candidates that will run in the primary.

    It works this way in both parties. I know. I was a political activist in the 70s who helped turn Texas into a solidly Republican state, wrenching control from the Democrats. I was a paid consultant and one thing I learned is that the average voter has no idea how politics really works. They complain about the candidates in the primaries and even more so when the general election comes about. They end up voting for the “lesser evil”. They feel they have done their duty by voting, but it is not enough. It’s like starting a race when the other runners have already completed the first lap.

    The same thing has happened in the Democratic Party, only it is controlled by left wing extremist radicals with virtually socialist agendas who despise capitalism and believe in big brother government handing out a never ending cornucopia of money to every hand that’s out to be filled with no thought about where the money comes from or that it will eventually, and nearly has, bankrupted the government (look at what’s happened to the socialist democratic governments of Europe and their financial crisis that is now forcing extreme austerity measures and causing riots).

    The right wing Republicans are just as bad, believing in no government regulation, unfettered capitalistic greed, extremist religious positions (a theocracy), destroying the environment in the name of profits and easy money, and most of all, the preservation and dominance of a politically corrupt uber rich upper class that controls the country. They are crafty idiots. All of them. On both sides.

    Things will not change with all the talk, opinions, protests, editorials, blogs, etc. They will only change when moderates get involved at the precinct level of politics and take back control of their respective parties.

    McCain was a moderate, frequently “crossing the aisle” to partner with Democrats on some legislation, including liberals like Ted Kennedy. That made him hated by the Republican base. He only won the Republican nomination because he started taking more right wing stances and slavishly courted the right wing Republican base. But even after the nomination, his support was lukewarm and he knew he couldn’t get out the party machinery in the general election, so he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, which at least gained him the support of the Republican base. But in the general election, independents and moderates blanched at the idea of Sarah Palin being one heartbeat away from the Presidency, so he lost the election.

    Romney is now in the same position, flip flopping previously moderate and even some liberal views to gain support from the right wing party base. No candidate can win the Republican nomination without it. But once he gets in the general election, he will face the same problems as McCain.

    Obama may be unpopular, even with many in his own party, but he’s an astute politician and comes across well in public appearances and debates. Many Democrats will support him because they don’t like what the Tea Party conservatives have done in Congress.

    But the race is about more than the Presidency. Since radical extremists control both party’s machinery, they will also seek to nominate candidates in line with their respective extremist philosophies. Moderates and independents will again have only a choice of the “lesser of two evils.” No matter who wins what race, they are almost sure to be an extremist right or left winger. Today, there is not a single moderate member of Congress, so we deadlock and get nothing done.
    Wake up, America! Wake up moderates! Wake up independents! Take back the party machinery. Get off your duffs and save the country from the control of the extremist fanatics!

  2. Jane Licht December 28, 2011

    There was a lot of truth to what Common Sense Patriot had to say except that President Obama is definitely NOT an extreme left winger. His only major domestic accomplishment was his hard won health care plan that is still controlled by private business with no public option – something every other industrialized nation in the world has. He is an always has been a moderate who tried too long to work cooperatively with the Congressional Republicans controlled by the tea party activists who have no clue how to actually govern. Hillary Clinton would have been a stronger president but I supported Obama because his views on Iraq were closer to mine and Hillary was too hawkish. I do agree that grass roots level political activity by many people is necessary to get good candidates elected. You must do more than just show up at the polls.

    Regarding the financial problems in other countries – they only strengthen the notion that ours is a global economy and a US recession affects other nations. According to friends living in Italy, if they had a strong IRS and wealthy people actually paid their income taxes, they would not be so vulnerable to global recession.

  3. SueCopening December 28, 2011

    Common Sense Patriot – THANK YOU for the best, most honest, and “common sense” comment of the year! Sadly, you are correct.. the majority of American’s don’t know, or frankly care, how politics really work. Worse than that, many don’t want to know. Anything that requires more thought than a 30 second sound bite takes too much time away from seriously important pursuits… like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Then there are those that DO care.. but they are busy working 60 hour a week jobs just trying to keep the bills paid and honestly don’t have the time to make a difference.

    It used to be that our young people cared about politics, but they are now too uneducated, or cynical, to come out in any great numbers. It’s a sad state of affairs… and while there is still hope… I fear it will have to get even worse before people get fed up enough to want to help to make it better.

  4. Clark_Kent December 28, 2011

    Common Sense Patriot is half-right. The Republican party has been taken over by radical extremists. Barry Goldwater warned against the religious fanatics that have so much influence today. He said that compromise and negotiation was absolutely necessary to effective government, but that it was impossible to deal with people who “know” the will of God.

    But calling Barack Obama a capitalist-hating radical leftist is simply absurd. He occupies a place on the political spectrum just about the same as Dwight Eisenhower, and not much to the left of Richard Nixon. Four decades of a propanda barrages by filty-rich, right-wing extremists have jerked the country so far to the right that the only place for “common sense” and “moderation” is pretty far to today’s left.

    Liberals have nothing against capitalism. They just want it to work for everybody like it used to. This is pretty much in line with the ideas of Adam Smith, the “father of market capitalism.”

    The more that “trickle-down, supply-side” economics fails, the louder its extremist supporters scream “OH MY GOD, COMMUNISM!!!” at the least criticism of it. Common Sense Patriot needs a little more common sense. And maybe a little more Patriotism, like paying taxes for the blessings of liberty and the welfare of all might not be an insufferable burden on the most blessed and fortunate of the rest of us.


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