The Last White Hope?

Mittens, Republican Party

white-romneySometimes when righties have a new obsession I fail to make connections to where the obsession came from. Yesterday I saw that a number of righties were calling Mittens the “new James Knox Polk.” To which I thought, They want to invade Mexico? WTF? Not that I’d put it past them.

It turns out that operatives like Karl Rove are circulating the idea that Mittens expects to be a one-term president who will enact a bunch of significant stuff and then retire, as Polk did. And Romney’s staff seems to be the source of this notion. Some of them are telling reporters that Romney plans to “fix things” even if it means enacting unpopular policies and taking the political hit.

John Ward writes,

Multiple senior Romney advisers assured me that they had had conversations with the candidate in which he conveyed a depth of conviction about the need to try to enact something like Ryan’s controversial budget and entitlement reforms. Romney, they said, was willing to count the cost politically in order to achieve it.

The idea that Whiplash Willard would fall on his sword for anything — well, unless there’s a tax write-off involved — strikes me as preposterous, but let’s go with this for a moment. Jonathan Chait writes that Republicans see Romney as the last hope for imposing their vision of America on the rest of us before they are swamped by changing demographics —

A Republican strategist said something interesting and revealing on Friday, though it largely escaped attention in the howling gusts of punditry over Mitt Romney’s birth certificate crack and a potential convention-altering hurricane. The subject was a Ron Brownstein story outlining the demographic hit rates each party requires to win in November. To squeak out a majority, Mitt Romney probably needs to win at least 61 percent of the white vote — a figure exceeding what George H.W. Bush commanded over Michael Dukakis in 1988. The Republican strategist told Brownstein, “This is the last time anyone will try to do this” — “this” being a near total reliance on white votes to win a presidential election.

I wrote a long story last February arguing that the Republican Party had grown intensely conscious of both the inescapable gravity of the long-term relative decline of the white population, and the short-term window of opportunity opened for the party by the economic crisis. I think we’re continuing to see the GOP operate under an integrated political and policy strategy constructed on this premise. This is their last, best chance to win an election in the party’s current demographic and ideological form. Future generations of GOP politicians will have to appeal to nonwhite voters who hold far more liberal views about the role of government than does the party’s current base. …

… Blowing up the welfare state and affecting the largest upward redistribution of wealth in American history is a politically tricky project (hence Romney’s belief that he may need to forego a second term). Hence the Romney campaign’s clear plan to suture off its slowly declining but still potent base.

Mittens literally is selling himself to the Republican Party as the Last White Hope.

See also Thomas Schaller, “Republican National Convention: Heart of Whiteness.”

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 28, 2012 @12:11 pm

    Too bad, at a time when they need another kindl ygrandfatherly old dolt like Ronnie to stick the shiv in the middle class, while smiling and telling jokes, they got an animatronic cyborg who’s about as likeable as an STD.
    And the blood on Eddie Munster’s fangs is starting to show, too.

    This is why this election is the most important one in our lifetimes.

    They want to finish the demolition of representative democracy that Reagan started, and then more than ably assisted by W.

    The demographics are starting to drift away from “The Most Fortunate Generation” – the ones too young for WWII and Korea, and too old for Vietnam.

    They’ve gotten a nice ride from themselve and everyone else, and now are willing to drive that safety net car off a cliff – as long as it affects anyone else but them.

    Maybe, “The Greediest Generation,” is a more apt description.

  2. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Aug 28, 2012 @12:50 pm

    If this is true – that this is their last hurrah – then we should probably consider that good news, strategically speaking. People will take racist dog whistles, and a few nasty jabs, but once hate shows, most people get horrified.

    What I keep thinking about is how we have to hold on this one election, and we’ll finally join the 20th century in health care delivery (yes, I said *20th* – that’s where sensible developed nations found a way to get universal delivery of health care). And once that reality sinks in, we can start thinking about bigger issues.

  3. Stephen Stralka  •  Aug 28, 2012 @12:52 pm

    It’s already too late for a crypto-racist campaign to work, unless they can disenfranchise enough non-white people. Even then, when you start blowing the dog whistles, it’s never long before people who are openly and proudly racist start crawling out from under their rocks. We’ve already seen Michele Bachmann descend into unapologetic bigotry. Are 61% of white people so preoccupied with whiteness that they’re willing to associate themselves with neo-Nazis? I don’t think so.

    Or I should say extremist rather than racist, because the Todd Akin situation is another example. Even as Romney is trying to distance himself from Akin’s particularly odious expression of an odious position that he himself supports (and that his running mate has said he’s proud to support), others are rushing to Akin’s defense. And yes, it will be harder to win 61% of the white vote given that about half of white people are women.

  4. joanr16  •  Aug 28, 2012 @1:15 pm

    I keep thinking back to 1996 and how Bob Dole ended up pitching an ED drug on teevee, and hoping with all my heart that history really can repeat itself.

  5. idlemind  •  Aug 28, 2012 @1:50 pm

    It wouldn’t be surprising if Mitt planned to be a one-termer. He certainly seemed to be losing interest as Governor of MA by the end of his term.

  6. Philo Vaihinger  •  Aug 28, 2012 @2:06 pm

    So the “moderate,” Romneycare Romney is the fake and the conservative, Ryan Romney is the real guy?

  7. Tom_B  •  Aug 28, 2012 @2:47 pm

    As Yoda might say: “There is another….”

    Oh, but they hate white people (Huntsman) with actual COMMON SENSE.

    Besides, not only is Mitt white, but he is totally will to get down on his haunches and roll over and lick the feet of his Masters. No danger of him “going rogue”.

  8. moonbat  •  Aug 28, 2012 @7:17 pm

    All of this may be true, but never underestimate the Borg’s ability to reconfigure itself. Come 2016 it will be Ryan’s Generation X (with Cristie, and Rubio, and..) that will be waging all out generational war against the aging Baby Boomers, their entitlements, and the very last, tattered vestiges of the whole notion of “freedom from want” championed by FDR. This generation, raised on Ronnie Reagan has never held government in a positive light, and they are determined to destroy it. This younger generation isn’t going to care so much about the social conservative concerns that preoccupied their elders. By 2016, it will be about survival, and they’ll be perfectly fine with sacrificing the elderly for the sake of the young, ie themselves and their children. The barbarians will have arrived in force, and there won’t be much stopping them, this time, from kicking down the door.

  9. Swami  •  Aug 28, 2012 @8:07 pm

    joanr16..Talk about Dole having a hard landing? Charlie Crist ended up in the stable of the biggest ambulance chaser in Florida.