Do Republicans Care About Winning?

 

DebateThe question dogs any woman who writes about politics: “Don’t you want to see the first woman elected president of the United States?” The unstated premise, always obvious, is that you are some sort of traitor to your sex if your hand isn’t itching to pull the lever for someone with the correct chromosomes. My answer has always been, “That depends upon what she believes.”

Hillary Clinton banked on the First Woman President effect from the start — an understandable gambit for someone with no substantive accomplishments and many flaws. Her sex may be the only thing she hasn’t lied about. She doubtless lulls herself to sleep at night by lovingly eyeing the cross tabs of election data showing that women are an ever increasing share of the total electorate (53 percent in 2012); that single women in particular lean hard to the Democrats (67 percent voted for Obama in 2012); and that marriage is on the decline among younger voters.

Two things will disturb her reverie. One: In the past two months, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, Mrs. Clinton’s support among Democratic women voters has dropped by 29 points, from 71 percent to 42 percent. Two: Carly Fiorina demonstrates what a true leader looks like.

Clinton has played the woman card until it’s dog-eared and faded. Fiorina knows it’s useful to be the lone female in the Republican race, but like Margaret Thatcher, the figure she most resembles, her sex is the least interesting fact about her. Like Thatcher, Fiorina is self-made. She did not ride to success on a man’s coattails. Her rise from secretary to CEO would already be the stuff of legend if she were a Democrat.

Also unlike Mrs. Clinton, Carly Fiorina seems to have actual beliefs, not poll-tested positions.

How long have Republicans yearned to see a candidate frame the abortion question as Mrs. Fiorina did at the CNN debate – daring Obama and Clinton to watch the video in which a former clinic worker described how a fully formed fetus, his heart beating, was killed by a technician who cut open his face to harvest his brain? That is the ground on which this battle must be fought. The press and the Democrats would prefer to blow smoke about “women’s health” and, if pressed, to focus on rape and incest cases. It’s up to steely candidates to present the reality of abortion. Fiorina didn’t flinch from doing so.

She described defunding Planned Parenthood as a challenge to the “character of this nation.” There’s another challenge that deserves mention.

Most of the candidates on stage at the Reagan Library have done their homework. Senator Marco Rubio was the standout, in my judgment, particularly on foreign policy (with Fiorina a close second), showing the fruits of careful analysis and long study of the strategic situation. Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee, have all, to varying degrees, immersed themselves in policy and now offer the American people their considered views on the difficult (even dire) state of the nation.

The people have a job to do as well, and so far this year, they have been shirking it. Their role is to take politics seriously – to reward merit and to shun mere flimflam men.

The two top-polling candidates are unfit. As much as Dr. Ben Carson is a winsome, admirable American (I’ve read his autobiography and seen the movie based upon it) and an ornament to the Republican Party, he is clearly not sufficiently schooled in public policy to be a credible president.

Mr. Trump, a balloon held aloft by hot air, was asked how he would handle foreign policy. He declared that if he were elected, he’d study up. “I’ll know more about the problems of this world when I sit” in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, his instinct is to “get along with Putin.” If that sounds familiar, it should. In 2008, Barack Obama promised to sit down with all of our adversaries. He did. The reset with Putin has led to Russian troops in Ukraine, Crimea, and now Syria. The détente with Iran threatens mushroom clouds from Tel Aviv to New York.

A Marco Rubio/Carly Fiorina ticket (or Fiorina/Rubio) could win in 2016. So could some other combinations. Democrats have not had this much to fear in more than a decade. Nor has their own slate been so vulnerable. One of the real estate scion’s favorite insults is “loser” – an apt description of the Republican Party if it fails to wake from the Trump coma.

There are 60 comments.

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  1. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall Candidate Obama ever actually outright saying, “Vote for the black man.” His supporters certainly did, and it’s obvious that white guilt and/or black solidarity accounted for a good chunk of his support, but I don’t recall the man himself saying it.

    If I’m right (and, again, I’m open to being proven wrong) that makes Clinton’s campaign worse than Obama’s on this front.

    • #1
  2. Jo Ann Rogers Inactive
    Jo Ann Rogers
    @JoAnnRogers

    Carly Fiorina has every presidential quality we can hope for AND she would beat any Democrat on the opposite side. I vote for winning!

    • #2
  3. Jennykins Inactive
    Jennykins
    @Jennykins

    As much as Dr. Ben Carson is a winsome, admirable American (I’ve read his autobiography and seen the movie based upon it) and an ornament to the Republican Party, he is clearly not sufficiently schooled in public policy to be a credible president.

    I agree.  I like and admire Dr. Carson, but I fear that he would be much like Jimmy Carter in 1976:  a good, decent, intelligent, accomplished man who is hopelessly out of his depth as President.  Because of his conservative principles, one might hope that Dr. Carson’s presidency would be more successful than Mr. Carter’s, but I just don’t think he’s well-suited to the job.  Bring on Carly!  She’s smart, strong, determined, quick on her feet, conservative, and can take a metaphorical punch.

    • #3
  4. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Great post. Not much I can argue with as the Fiorina/Rubio (he needs more marinating) ticket is both exceptional and electorally strategic. Second to the most important fact that they are both the best candidates for the job, it will neuter the Dems identity politics.

    • #4
  5. Solon JF Inactive
    Solon JF
    @Solon

    I just want Trump to confront Bill Maher before he’s out of the race.  Those two seem to be at about the same level of discourse, so let them have at it!

    • #5
  6. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Look, my hope and prayer is that whatever this most recent debate did, it exposed Carly to the voters in a way she has yet to be exposed.  She is smart, she is articulate, she is not shrill, she seems to hold it together under intense and inappropriate criticism.  She paints a picture forward in a way none of the other candidates save Marco Rubio have done.  And she has my vote.

    • #6
  7. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    I hate identity politics. I like the idea of choosing a candidate based only upon policy positions and leadership ability, without regard to physical characteristics.

    However, I believe that the Republican party’s best chance – perhaps only chance – of defeating the Clinton machine is to nominate a woman.

    Happily, we have a woman who happens to be a standout among the field of candidates, demonstrating eloquence, toughness, and mastery of the issues. At this point, she may be most impressive of the lot. So it’s a win-win.

    Let’s nominate Carly, preferably with Rubio as a running mate, and send the lying, corrupt Clintons packing once and for all.

    • #7
  8. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    Jennykins,

    Please read the linked article and then tell me if you still think Jimmy Carter is a “good, decent” man:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/339502/carterpalooza-jay-nordlinger

    • #8
  9. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    A Marco Rubio/Carly Fiorina ticket (or Fiorina/Rubio) could win in 2016. 

    Agree and this Republican cares only about winning.

    • #9
  10. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    I too am liking a Fiorina/Rubio ticket a lot.

    Fiorina represents what’s true and good in feminism.

    No one should be voted for just because of her sex or skin color. I hate identity politics as much as the next person.

    On the other hand, I don’t think sex is irrelevant. To me, Carly’s appeal as a candidate isn’t just that she’s got good ideas and policies, plus stunning rhetorical powers; it’s the perspective she brings as a woman with a particular set of experiences, including the experience of having had to make her way in a male-dominated business culture.

    You can tell she’s had to learn how to not let herself be talked over or talked past, for instance. And she’s gotten really good at it.

    And I thought her answers on Planned Parenthood and drugs were notably from a woman’s perspective, and their very unusualness that way made them especially fresh and compelling.

    That’s a huge plus in a campaign season when the electorate is more than usually sick of the same old same old from politicians. And I for one look forward to seeing what a really smart, tough, compassionate and capable woman can bring to the US presidency.

    • #10
  11. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Dav

    David Sussman:Great post. Not much I can argue with as the Fiorina/Rubio (he needs more marinating) ticket is both exceptional and electorally strategic. Second to the most important fact that they are both the best candidates for the job, it will neuter the Dems identity politics.

    Good critique, Carly/Marco looks like a winner.

    • #11
  12. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    This style of argument always amuses me. “My favored candidate is ‘the only one who can win’ and if you don’t support my chosen candidate (or criticize my chosen candidate in any way) then you don’t care about winning.”

    There should be a name for this. Maybe the “Don’t you want to win” fallacy.

    • #12
  13. Robert E. Lee Member
    Robert E. Lee
    @RobertELee

    While I’m not generally favorably impressed by the professional politicians on the stage, I was pleasantly surprised by Ms. Fiorina.  The candidates have the rhetoric down pat, but recent experience has been the Republicans talk a good game and fold like an accordion at the drop of a lobbyist.  Frankly, I find most of the candidates to be disgusting.

    Mr. Trump would, in my opinion, make a poor president, but I think he has done more to stir interest in the electoral process in this country than anyone else I can think of, God bless him.  I hope he sticks around and keeps things stirred up.

    I don’t think Ms. Clinton will be around for the election.  Between real interest in Mr. Bernie Sanders and her basically including Russia and China in US foreign policy, I believe she will eventually either drop or be kicked out of the race.

    • #13
  14. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    You mention the top two, both of  whom aren’t going to be around in the end anyway yet ignore the person who will be around and will likely buy the nomination.  Why is this?  Jeb can’t win the general but he will likely win the nomination over the will of most of the base.

    • #14
  15. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    It doesn’t matter what a candidate’s positions are if they can’t win.  Rather than constantly running these candidates through the policy purity wringer we need to figure out who can win with the whacked out electorate we have.

    Many will point out that I thought Romney was the most electable in 2012.  Of course he lost, which is why I am not supporting another rich white guy this time.  I don’t think our fellow citizens will vote for a rich white Republican male – I think a self-made woman and a middle class hispanic give us our best chance of winning

    Rubio/Fiorina give us our best chance (If Fiorina rises to the top then fine, put her at the top of the ticket).  Identity politics?  You betcha!  We need to play whatever identity politics we need to play to win because any of these folks (except Trump) would be far better on every single issue than the Democrat nominee.

    • #15
  16. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    I gotta say, Mona, I listen to every one of yours and Jays podcasts. It is not unusual for me to take exception to one or more of your positions. That doesn’t matter, though, because listening to you is like meditating in its calming effect. However, there is no exception taken here and now with this post. I stated a little earlier on this site that for at least three months I have been supporting a Rubio/Fiorina ticket. The only change I have made of late is the order. I am now convinced that Fiorina/Rubio is looking more and more like a slam dunk winner. From the reaction here and elsewhere, we are not voices in the wilderness.

    • #16
  17. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    DocJay:You mention the top two, both of whom aren’t going to be around in the end anyway yet ignore the person who will be around and will likely but the nomination. Why is this? Jeb can’t win the general but he will likely win the nomination over the will of most of the base.

    Doc, calmes-toi. Although I actually harbor respect for Bush, I believe he can’t win it; the country club establishment Republicans I know here in Florida aren’t even interested. :)

    • #17
  18. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    I too have been impressed with Fiorina — Mr. Carson as well.  But is President an entry level position?

    • #18
  19. Roadrunner Inactive
    Roadrunner
    @Roadrunner

    If you want to win then immigration should be at the top of your list.  If it is not you will live in a country much like California.  Conservatism will be irrelevant.  Carly, Jeb! and Marco have already shot themselves in the foot.  I don’t think they can recover.  The Republican Party is in jeopardy of going on the ash heap of history.  Large amounts of labor and citizens freely moving across borders is not a recipe for a country, it is a recipe for civil war.

    • #19
  20. Jo Ann Rogers Inactive
    Jo Ann Rogers
    @JoAnnRogers

    Do you mean like starting out at McDonald’s? No one on that stage is entry-level anything.

    • #20
  21. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    CuriousKevmo: way yet ignore the p

    It is since the last president.  Mind you, he didn’t just start with the company, he worked in the mail room prior to getting the corner office.

    • #21
  22. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Jo Ann Rogers:Do you mean like starting out at McDonald’s? No one on that stage is entry-level anything.

    I think you are underestimating the job.  Neither of them has held political office.  They have not had to deal with a legislature, let alone a hostile one.  I would feel much more comfortable if either had won and held an elective office and served with distinction as is generally the case with those running for President.  (The current occupant not withstanding)

    That said, they have both run large organizations and Ms. Fiorina has likely had to deal with many a political animal so that does give me some optimism.

    Mr. Carson seems like such a decent human being that I’m not sure he’d even see the political machinations coming.

    • #22
  23. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I don’t mean to be obtuse, but I’m having trouble understanding the title of this post, Mona. Is the implication we should run Rubio and Fiorina if we want to win? Or, is it another smack-down of Trump supporters? Or maybe it’s dual purpose?

    In any case, it does seem insulting to suggest there are Republicans who don’t care about winning, or can only really care if they see it your way.

    We need to be in the business of persuasion, not shaming and insults. We seem to have an opportunity with some of these candidates. Let’s not blow it.

    • #23
  24. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Spin:

    CuriousKevmo: way yet ignore the p

    It is since the last president. Mind you, he didn’t just start with the company, he worked in the mail room prior to getting the corner office.

    Indeed.  And I don’t think he is doing a very good job.

    [Odd quote there, I don’t think I wrote that]

    • #24
  25. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Fiorina/Rubio would be a great ticket, for sure.

    Fiorina/Walker might be a better one, as Walker has the public executive experience that both Fiorina and Rubio lack.

    It would be a trade-off of electability for success once in office.

    • #25
  26. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    I agreed with and liked everything katievs said at #10 but I am growing weary with all the emphasis put upon women, white rich men, dynasties, special interest groups.

    Surely wish the noun competency could be the focal point of a national conversation.

    • #26
  27. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    How about Fiorina/Rubio

    Walker or Bush as Chief of Staff

    Carson as Surgeon General in charge of repealing and replacing ObummerCare.

    • #27
  28. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Planning to negotiate politely with Putin isn’t necessarily a sign of ignorance. President Bush treated Putin like a pal, too.

    Knowledge is significant. But let’s not fall for the liberal fantasy that education can force particular judgments or ensure wisdom.

    • #28
  29. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Aaron Miller:Planning to negotiate politely with Putin isn’t necessarily a sign of ignorance. President Bush treated Putin like a pal, too.

    Knowledge is significant. But let’s not fall for the liberal fantasy that education can force particular judgments or ensure wisdom.

    Knowledge is not leadership.

    • #29
  30. GirlWithAPearl Inactive
    GirlWithAPearl
    @GirlWithAPearl

    Thank you for “trump coma” Mona. Although, after a phone conversation with family member this morning, I discovered there is a severe, extended stage 4 trump delirium right before the coma sets in. And actually, that conversation convinced me that some serious damage to Trump, Inc. occurred last night, which was my hunch.

    • #30
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