Yesterday’s House committee vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress has some commentators worried that the whole thing might lead to blowback against Republicans on Election Day. Better perhaps to stay focused on President Obama’s lousy performance on the economy. Bill Bennett is worried that Darrell Issa comes off as Oscar the Grouch.
My feeling right now is that, if America’s vacillating voter is so fragile, uninformed, and illogical that his only reaction to all of this is to be offended and vote for President Obama from spite, then we don’t need to bother with an election: we’ve grown too stupid to cohere any longer as a republic. For my money, I don’t think we need to be afraid of taking it to Obama with everything we’ve got. Lord knows we’ve got plenty.
The political analysts tell us it’s all down to independent voters, who apparently are a species as jumpy and hard to befriend as chipmunks. Any loud partisan words or edgy speculations about where the president was born will send them scurrying the safety of the Democratic ballot.
Our 2008 candidate ran under the smiley-face banner, and we all know how that turned out. John McCain, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and plenty of others, had their minds made up in 2008 that if they were seen by the public as embracing Obama’s genial and benign façade in good faith as the genuine Obama, then, even if Republicans lost the election, they’d enjoy a cooperative and mutually beneficial few years under a benign Obama presidency. Thence followed three-and-a-half years of serial backstabbing. The insistence by moderates that Republicans dare not step off the high road resulted in the current situation of the whole nation at the bottom of a very low ditch.
My definition of an independent voter is one who still hasn’t managed to figure out what side he’s on, requiring him to make up his mind every voting day based on whatever unpredictable criterion matters to him at the time. If he already needs to make a choice, I say we do all we can to make the distinctions between us and them crystal clear.
The difference on this issue can clarify that choice just as well as any other for a voter whose criteria are changing and ultimately unknowable.
Obama’s side knows this. That’s why his media friends have tried so hard to keep independents from finding out about it.