Preaching to the Choir*

image*from the right

by Mark Fishbein – Honorable Friend

The Democratic presidential candidates recently fielded debate questions from former Democratic operative Chuck Todd and honest progressive Rachel Maddow, who literally greeted them with hugs.  The questions were on themes central to the Democratic primary.  This weekend the Republican candidates also debated.  As usual, they too took questions from the Democrat perspective.

ABC World News Tonight Anchor David Muir started the party.  “Dr. Carson, last fall my friends and I reduced you to single digit rubble by vilifying your personal rise from poverty to brilliant neurosurgeon.  But never mind that.  Please share with America the tragic ways in which these horrible people up on stage are now trying to destroy you and your campaign.”

Next up was co-moderator Martha Raddatz, whose supply of air sickness bags was tucked conveniently beneath her desk.  Yet she gathered her poise.  “Senator Cruz, I hate you.  Please give the American public one good reason why they should not hate you?”  The senator began tapping his podium, “Well, Martha …”  [Ringing bell].  “I’m sorry Senator, your time is up.  Please stop speaking, forever.”

For a few moments, substance was allowed to prevail with questioning by Mary Katherine Ham.  In her, viewers were touched by a true profile of courage juxtaposed with pop culture lectures about heroes defined in the grocery store line by images of a decathlete turned reality-tv fascination.

In the end, GOP voters pondered again why Reince Priebus is not an unemployment statistic.

As primary season now heats up things are getting rather nasty inside each family, but unification tends to find its way as distant as it now seems.  Let us begin.

Senator Paul, your coherence and consistency will be missed.  Your criticisms were sharp but substantive and there was no greater champion of individual liberties.  You soberly assessed our economic predicament and interventionist overreach.  You never sacrificed moral clarity in support of our allies or standing firm against enemies, despite accusations against you to the contrary.  But in a time of ISIS and a nuclear Iran, it may not be your moment.  The same may be true for Dr. Carson, whose kindness, brilliance and morality is exemplary.

Governors Bush and Christie have been solid conservative executives.  News cycles may be short but voters’ memories aren’t.  Both of you engaged in nakedly ambitious acts of love showered on liberals and their policies, going much further than you needed to.  No romantic stroll with Obama was necessary on the Jersey Shore just before the 2012 election.  Nor was a year-long premature triangulation where Jeb trashed conservatives to anyone who would listen just to have PBS call you the “adult in the room”.  As for once relevant nice guy Gov. Kasich, he’s so far gone as to have fully metastasized Huntsman Disease.  You reap what you sow.   There’s a price that comes with chasing the approval of people who will never vote Republican and by bad mouthing the people who do.

Senator Rubio.  Personable, bright, and once seeming to possess real vision.  But the influx of consultants and donors has obscured it to such a degree that it’s no longer discernable and not even clear you know what you believe or should say from day to day, or minute to minute.  So much promise and potential but you don’t seem ripe yet.

For decades, a 90% Democrat media has dictated the rules of conversation.  Then came Trump.  The media is not fond of you but lusts for your ratings bonanza.  So now you alone decide the narrative.  Game change.  It’s vulgar yet so gloriously democratic and capitalistic. The Donald is equally charming and off-putting, but victory depends on the former.  At least 65% of your own party is not with you.  You’ll rabidly spurn Fox today and cozy up to CNN.  But come summer, the Clinton News Network will likely give you the cold shoulder.  You and your supporters will want and need the backers and viewers of Fox, Megyn, Cruz, Carly, Carson, Jeb, etc..  You know, the ones now being treated like mortal enemies.  So start making nice or get ready to start groveling to Macys and Univision anew.

Senator Cruz, your understanding of government, history, and geopolitics is unmatched.  You are the undisputed champion of limited government and social conservatism.  You’re more pragmatic and shrewd than most realize.  “Conservatism can’t win” is a myth perpetuated by those who fear its success.  The GOP only tried it twice since Goldwater and won.  It’s the “electable” moderates who habitually lose.  Your true weakness is that nobody will mistake your self-aggrandizing sanctimony for Reagan’s warmth.  Your good fortune, however, is that Hillary Clinton might be the only person on earth who can make you seem cuddly.

On to New Hampshire.

2 thoughts on “Preaching to the Choir*

  1. I know that Mark would love to see a Democratic debate moderated by a panel chosen by the National Review. Guess what – so would I. The difference is that I think that the candidates would fare better than some might think – and I know the country would fare better for such an adversarial event – provided the affair were conducted with civility – remember: Civil Discourse Matters. That’s our tag line!


    1. It matters not who moderates a debate. Wolf Blitzer, nobody’s idea of a Republican, actually did a fantastic job. What matters is bringing out the issues of importance to the voters so they can make meaningful distinctions between the candidates. Dem moderators and voters might have climate change on their minds, but it’s not a priority in the GOP primary. It makes about as much sense as focusing on questions about tax cuts and building a border wall in a Dem debate. Moderators with the mindset of the other party do no favors for the primary voters trying to decide amongst their own candidates.


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