A Lowest Common Denominator Campaign

Newt Gingrich action figure - photo by Stacey Shintani

Apparently to win the GOP nomination candidates must appeal to the lowest common denominator. Instead of showing true leadership they reverse previous positions and use increasingly mean-spirited rhetoric to win support of a Republican base which has – at least debate audiences – put on display some of the worst human characteristics.  Who applauds the taking of life, even if it is the death penalty? Who boos a soldier because he is gay? In Republican politics this apparently is par for the course. None of the candidates condemned these outbursts when they happened because they are all catering to the “most basic, least sophisticated level of taste, sensibility or opinion among a group of people.” – Lowest Common Denominator – The Free Dictionary

Reverse Previous Positions

Mitt Romney has famously flip-flopped on many issues like abortion and universal health care. Why? You can’t win the GOP nomination supporting a woman’s right to choose and health care coverage for all. There is no problem changing your mind about an issue if it’s a result of gathering more facts and learning more about the issue. There is a big problem with changing your mind when it’s done simply to cater to the base to win an election.

Newt Gingrich has supported the health care individual mandate at least as recently as 2003. Now he condemns it as government overreach. Why? Again, to win the nomination.

Mean-spirited Rhetoric

Newt has the market cornered on mean-spirited rhetoric. For example, his recent comments – at Family Forum –  on Occupy Wall Street:

The Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything,

They take over a public park they didn’t pay for,  they use nearby bathrooms they didn’t pay for to obstruct those who are going to work to pay for the taxes to sustain the bathroom to sustain the park so they can self righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything,

That is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, ‘go get a job right after you take a bath.’

I say we cannot ‘reassert’ enough how much of an asshole Newt Gingrich is. First, he finds it necessary to conflate things that may or may not have anything to do with each other. In Newt’s mind each issue must be about a bigger societal ill and it’s cause is always “the left”. Second, his first sentence shows he has no idea what ‘Occupy’ is about. All the rhetoric that follows only serves to greater amplify his mean-spirited nature.

So that is the game when it comes to Republican presidential politics. Actually, that’s the Republican game period. When campaigning within the party, candidates must cater to the lowest common denominator which means telling the base what it wants to hear using mean-spirited rhetoric directed towards a perceived enemy. Nevermind that we are all Americans.

Election 2012Politics

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