Oh, there they go again. Republican reactions to President Barack Obama's jaunty tour of late night television have largely been sour grapes. Suddenly, Obama's maturity is being questioned - yet again - with the usual GOP snideness. In one column, conservative Kathleen Parker evoked the term "grownup" to describe Mitt Romney as opposed to the president of the United States.
Grownup - that is an interesting way of describing Romney who quit as one-term Massachusetts governor after a solid, but not stellar stewardship. Romney spent most of his career looking after himself and his investor cronies. Not a surprise that the libertarian "moderate" wing would think like that given that they worship the writings and teachings of Ayn Rand, that high priestess of self-indulgence. Obama has after all made tough decisions, without looking at public opinion polls as his guide. But I suppose artful dodging and flip flopping is cool. If that's the case, Romney is the master of maturity.
But it also uses up the last reserves of Republican gall to pretend that they have advanced much in the way of policies. They scrambled on the student loan bandwagon, but only after they deeply cut medical aid for women's health. No wonder Paul Ryan was scolded for evoking Christian beliefs for Randin ends at Georgetown University. I suspect what should have been obvious from 2009 is that the top establishment of the Republican party has been objectivist all along. Arrant materialist whose use of religion is solely tactical. No wonder Rick Santorum got better at campaign's end.
As well the GOP reached new levels of disingenousness when it pointed out that first quarter growth of 2.2 percent for gross domestic product proved that Omamanomics did not work. The slowdown occurred because of the slowdown in public spending. Perhaps Mitch McConnell's boast that Obama's defeat was his top priority has been embraced by the House of Representatives. Certainly the return of purient name calling and snide remarks signal that Republicans have nothing of power left to effectively deride Obama.
Franklin Roosevelt in 1944 described how Republicans concocted a story about how he left his Scottish terrier, Fala, on an Aleutian island and sent a destroyer to retrieve the dog. He mentioned how GOP "fiction writers" in "Congress and out" had always attacked his "wife and his sons." But they had until that time spared Fala from abuse. However Roosevelt said, "Well, you know Fala is a Scotty and when he heard about it, his little Scottish soul was furious and he hasn't been the same dog since." Now that is entertainment - or was it not subdued enough for Republican sappers who require meanness in campaigns. Romney, of course, who prefers to be neat and pressed, prefers his mud to be thrown by someone else. No doubt this passes for character in the present day GOP.
So I guess Reagan when he showed great flashes of humor was not being a grownup. Of course he was simply allowing some levity into an increasingly dull game. If Parker is right when she claims referring to Romney that "as the cool know too well, nerds usually win in the end," then Reagan would have never stood a chance. Walter Mondale, if that standard applied, would have been a sure winner.
But at a deeper level, it is the legitimacy issue all over again. If he was not born in another country, he lacks the intestinal fortitude to be president. Not being able to attack him on his record, Republicans resort to the old techniques of seal and smear. They try to rob Obama of his role in arranging the elimination of Osama bin Laden. I wouldn't be surprised that, if they won, Republicans would attempt to expunge his name form the presidential list.
Bitterness has so consumed the Republican Party that it simply can't think straight. Not since 1984 have they run a clean, up-beat campaign.
With Lee Atwater's disgraceful gambit in 1988 up to the demagoguery of John McCain, the GOP hasn't run on anything approaching a record.