When it comes to climbing up on a soap box and waving his arms and hollerin’ like a banshee there’s hardly anyone who can hold a candle to Newt Gingrich. But there’s a peculiar trait about people who talk a lot about their ‘bold ideas’— when you boil away their highfalutin rhetoric a lot of times what they’re doing is more like swatting flies than pondering the mysteries of the Universe.
Newt fired off a “tough memo” (as he put it) to the Republican Political Mandarins in Washington saying he was so badly shaken by how wrong he was about Romney winning that he’d been doing some hard thinking – then he launched his latest ‘bold idea’: To catch up with the Democrats, he said, the Republicans ought to (as quickly as possible) copy Obama’s playbook on Coalition Building, micro-targeting, Internet savvy, and connecting with Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and African Americans through ‘infotainment.’
That had a nice ring to it, especially since no one but political consultants and computer nerds have a clue what ‘micro-targeting’ and ‘infotainment’ mean.
But did ‘infotainment’ really whip Mitt Romney last fall?
Last summer after the primaries the Republican Mandarins Karl Rove-types were sitting around rooms talking to one another and telling one another, Obama’s a failed President and voters know it and we’ve got the election in the bag.
They said it over and over like a mantra and Fox News repeated it so often it got to sounding like cold hard fact.
What they missed was that Obama wasn’t about to sit still as a lamb waiting for the axe to fall – instead he figured on getting out of the axe’s way. Obama rolled out his heavy artillery and commenced to pounding on Mitt Romney, calling him a polecat in seven different languages, and, then, the Mandarins sitting in rooms were watching Obama ads, shaking their heads and telling themselves, ‘None of that matters. Obama’s a failed President and we’ve got the election in the bag.’
It was a fatal case of miscalculation.
Because by September Obama’s pounding had suburban women in Virginia and autoworkers in Ohio thinking, Well, Obama’s done his best even if it’s not as good as I’d hoped – but that darn Mitt Romney’s a gazillionaire who doesn’t care a toot about my problems.
Newt fixing the Republican Party’s ‘micro-targeting’ or ‘infotainment’ is a fine thing. But the real big question is: Why did our Republican Mandarins figure Obama calling Romney a skunk didn’t matter?