Need To Know with Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger
Episode 11: Ponies and Rainbows

Guest: Jennifer Rubin
Dec 1, 2012
Direct Link to MP3 File

This week on Need To Know, The Washington Post’s (and Left Coast/Right Coast Podcast co-host) Jennifer Rubin joins Jay and Mona to discuss the the fiscal cliff negotiations, how the Republican party should unite to make the case tot he American people, and a perhaps bleak prediction for the future. Cheer up!

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  1. Thom Williams

    Mona and Jay, you gotta start lighting a candle in these podcasts. They are unrelentingly dreary and whiney. Please stop complaining about how we’re doomed and the electorate is lost. And Jay, I know you admire Romney and didn’t mind the way he ran his campaign. But you are being too generous. He was a mediocre candidate at best, and his campaign was tentative and afraid of championing a full-throated conservatism. He was allergic to making actual arguments and thought he could be coy and anodyne and milquetoast so as not to scare away the middle. Well he won the middle but didn’t inspire the base enough, nor pin Obama’s failures on him well enough. His campaign was unimaginative and conventional, and he didn’t serve the interests of his donors and supporters with the way his campaign ran. 

  2. David Williamson
    Cheer up!

    I’m about as gloomy as Jay, and nowhere near as eloquent.

    With the majority of Americans in favor of taxing the rich, and drinking the Obama cool-aid, what could possibly go wrong?

  3. Allan Trojan

    Thom:

    Why shouldn’t Mona and Jay be gloomy if the stituation calls for it (and it sure as heck does).  Even Reagan, had he been around, could not have won the last election.

    Get real!

  4. Astonishing

    With sincere apologies to Jay, whom I admire greatly, the more time passes, the more of this defeat I lay at the feet of Mitt Romney.

    Yes, Romney is a decent man, an exceptional man, but in important ways a mediocre man. “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” is not an inspiring message; it is a middling message.  A middling message for desperate times inspires middling poetry:

    “Jobs guy” did not do the job.

    Romney ran as Dukakis, calm, reasonable, techno-cratic or busi-cratic, saying, “I’m a better manager.” (47 was his tank.)

    Romney tried to play it safe. It is his nature always to underplay his hand, to try to avoid losing his stake entirely, so as to avoid any fatal mistake. But when the stakes are high, you cannot win playing safe. (Indeed, the biggest mistake is to try to avoid every little mistake: Little mistakes happen. Nicias in Sicily.)

    So Romney ended up the way most do when they play it too safe when the stakes are high.

    His was a loss of nerve, or a lack of nerve, indicating a lack of deep principle, and that is a character flaw. (The third debate was shameful.)

  5. Britanicus
    Thom Williams: He was allergic to making actual arguments and thought he could be coy and anodyne and milquetoast so as not to scare away the middle. Well he won the middle but didn’t inspire the base enough, nor pin Obama’s failures on him well enough.

    I’d say that’s the base’s fault.

  6. Thom Williams
    Allan Trojan: Thom:

    Why shouldn’t Mona and Jay be gloomy if the stituation calls for it (and it sure as heck does).  Even Reagan, had he been around, could not have won the last election.

    Get real!

    I don’t need to tune in to listen to people cry in their beer and throw up their hands. I can do that all on my own. Listening to people whine is never informative, nor healthy.

  7. Thom Williams
    Britanicus

    I’d say that’s the base’s fault. 

    Someone who aspires to lead does not blame the followers.

  8. Crow
    Astonishing: “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” is not an inspiring message; it is a middling message.  A middling message for desperate times inspires middling poetry:

    “Jobs guy” did not do the job.

    Jobs. Sing, O Muse, of the Jobs of Achilles/

    Which hurled many brave Achaians into the private sector…..

    Doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it….

  9. SMatthewStolte

    I share the sentiment that these podcasts are too gloomy, lately. 

    But I’ve also noticed that they spend a lot of time speculating about what the Left thinks. At a certain point, this kind of talk starts to make me uncomfortable. It’s not nice when the Left treats the Right as a specimen to be observed and theorized about. And it’s not nice when the Right does that to the Left either. It seems to me that, if this is a topic worth spending much time to, then it would only be polite to ask someone who really is on the Left to weigh in on what the Left thinks. It’s better to speak to someone than to speak about him. 

  10. Astonishing
    Thom Williams Someone who aspires to lead does not blame the followers.

    Exactly!

    Romney deserves more much more criticism than he’s received. He styled himself as a New and Better Michael Dukakis, a businessman’s Dukakis. (Loser!)

    For some reason, he wouldn’t, or couldn’t explain to the American people exactly what a venture capitalist does for a living.

    The planets were aligned for him to win, yet he blew it . . . mostly because of lack of nerve, which was at core a lack of principle.

    When the stakes were highest, Romney tried to play it safe.

    He tried to play it safe when nothing was safe.

    He was too cautious to fight even when he was being attacked, which is political cowardice.

    He was too afraid of making little mistakes, so instead he made big ones.

    He cared too much about how things might look, instead of talking about how things are.

    Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. He was going to put the country back to work, but he couldn’t make his own campaign work.

    Remember back when Romney was “electable.”

    Electable!

    Don’t let me ever hear that word again!

    Every conservative should be laughing hysterically.

  11. Astonishing
    Crow’s Nest

    Astonishing: “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” is not an inspiring message; it is a middling message.  A middling message for desperate times inspires middling poetry:

    “Jobs guy” did not do the job.

    Jobs. Sing, O Muse, of the Jobs of Achilles/

    Which hurled many brave Achaians into the private sector…..

    Doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it….

    Thanks for the laugh.  I needed it.

    But you are actually quite right. Thumos was the thing missing: The willingness to make a manly and spirited defense of one’s own.

    Romney was the biggest wimp the GOP has nominated in my lifetime, maybe the biggest wimp of a GOP presidential candidate in living memory.

    I think the voters sensed that.

    Has anyone considered the possibility that part of the reason Romney did so poorly among women, Hispanics, and yes, gays, was because they all sensed he was, dare I say it, unmanly?

    Exhibit A: This pinup photo. When I first received it from the campaign, I screamed out loud, “Mitt, take your hands out of your back pockets, right now!”

    It’s okay for a man to scratch his butt in public; however, you must not cuddle it.

  12. Al Kennedy

    Mona and Jay, thanks very much for another enjoyable and enlightening podcast.  Your podcast is one of my favorites here on Ricochet.  I thought that the one page summary of the two “plans” and the conservative expert summit were both good ideas.  Jennifer Rubin was an engaging and thoughtful guest.  Jay, stay your occasionally curmudgeonly self.  Along with your unfailing memory, it’s part of your Charm.

    It wasn’t a joyful podcast, but these are not joyful times.

    I too am occasionally tempted to subscribe to Ed Koch’s losing statement to the effect that “The people have spoken, and now they must be punished.”  However, I think we must put that feeling aside, analyze why our message is not making converts and put a positive plan in place to begin successful conversions.  We have got to find the new Bill Buckleys and Bill Rushers within our midst.  Our current message just didn’t sell, and our salesmen are not effective.

  13. Allan Trojan

    Mona’s one page screed won’t work.

    40% of the population doesn’t read and another 40% has difficulty with words with more than 2 syllables.

  14. Allan Trojan

    Sorry, not Mona, I meant Jennifer.

  15. Indaba

    Always terrific to get Ms. Ruben’s energetic analysis and to hear her asking fir Jay’s views. I agree with Jay on Romney’s campaign but I was an entrepreneur running a payroll and Romney’s message spoke to me. There are not enough business owners though to maje a voting block. Now I have a salary and think the lower taxes message woukd get a wider voting block. Mona, as always, you bring up the best questions and offer the idea of meringue too. Thank you. Such a pleasure to spend time with you all. Keep on being morose because this fiscal cliff situation is absurd, as you described.

  16. billy

    These are pretty gloomy times. Let’s not sugar-coat things. The American people did not choose wisely this November.

  17. Leslie Watkins

    I think the gloom, so-called, is completely warranted, especially since it comes also with ideas and suggestions for plowing on through. So, count me in with those who do not think the hosts need to change their approach to this podcast. I’m with Jay completely that  it’s the folks, not the message. The conservative message does not get across to liberals because liberals do not like the message, culturally or politically. It’s a mind thing—an attachment—so forget nuance. We’re on an out-of-control locomotive with passengers smoking calmly in the dining car as they sip sherry and play a serious game of trivial pursuit. What I feel, more than gloom, is wide-eyed amazement that such a thing can be happening in front of our eyes while so many in the culture are claiming there’s nothing to see, much less be worried about. Meanwhile, posters of the smiling guy fly by out the car window. What I fear is that too many of us on the train feel the urge to salute.

  18. Sabrdance

    1.) Well, if we can all get invites to Mona’s house, I’m game, having been a longtime reader, but isn’t that the purpose of Ricochet?  By the way, you should all go to the member feed and dig up my workshopping on the Foreign Policy Leg from last week!  The Fiscal leg should come out later today or tomorrow.

    2.) We’re conservatives, gloom comes with the territory, but that’s because every cause is a hopless cause, and Achilles-like, we consider “live well, grow old, die, and be remembered fondly only by your grandchildren” vs “die young and glorious, and be remembered forever” to be a difficult choice.

    3.) Many conservatives, I think, are like me and believe the system is rigged too.  Our response should be to unrig the system, not rig it better for ourselves.  I at least like to hope that this would be a winning message in the US today.

  19. Frank Monaldo

    Jen Rubin takes heart from Henry V’s Saint Crispin’s Day Speech when facing long odds.  For the record, here is the speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-yZNMWFqvM

  20. Indaba

    Jay, your choice of music at the end was clever.

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