David Brooks is now doing some serious hand-wringing in response to reports that Hillary Clinton isn't going to rerun the 2006 Lieberman for Senate campaign in her presidential race. Ron Fournier is also fretful. Charlie Pierce, Erik Loomis, and Nancy LeTourneau have all treated this nonsense with the contempt it deserves; I don't have a lot to add to what they've written. But when Brooks laments that Clinton seems disinclined to run "a broad persuasion campaign," preferring instead to be "just another unimaginative base-mobilizing politician," I find myself looking across the aisle at the Republican field.
Where I see the likes of this at Marco Rubio's campaign site:
Now, granted, Rubio's been the subject of a couple of New York Times stories that perhaps make mountains out of molehills. Perhaps the minor driving infractions he and his wife have committed over the years aren't a big stain on his character, and perhaps his struggles with personal financial management aren't a big deal either.
But why, oh why, isn't Rubio addressing this in a way that appeals to a broad range of voters? Why this narrow base-targeting, with its championing of "strong conservatives" and multiple invocations of the "liberal media"?
If Rubio is being (in Fournier's words) "a polarizing, opportunistic candidate," how on earth can he possibly take on the presidency with any "standing to convert campaign promises into results"? How can he unify? How can he lead?
And Brooks says that, unlike Scott Walker (who's "trying to mobilize existing conservative voters"), Jeb Bush "is trying to expand his party’s reach." So why is this the first thing I see when I go to the home page of Jeb's Right to Rise PAC?
It's Jeb at Jerry Falwell's place. Here's the clip:
Here's what Jeb says:
I was really honored to be here to talk about religious conscience and religious freedom and how important it is for our country to protect it.
Excerpt from speech: "I don't know about you, but I'm betting that when it comes to doing the right and good thing, the Little Sisters of the Poor know better than the regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services...."
That's an allusion to a lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters challenging the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, a cause celebre for the right.
Is Jeb putting that literally front and center on his PAC's website as a means of doing outreach to voters in the middle? David? Ron? Your thoughts? And if not, why is base-targeting OK for him and not for Hillary Clinton?
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog