Republicans are already complaining about their poor chances of a 2012 victory.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
Though no Republican presidential hopeful has flat-out admitted defeating Barack Obama in 2012 is impossible, their linguistic implications towards such an end are deafening.
Anyone who’s picked up a book on nueroliniguistic programming, or had at least one professional conversation in their life, knows that projection is everything.
In 1999, The Yankees crushed the Atlanta Braves in four short World Series matches. Before Game Four at Yankee Stadium, Greg Maddux said, “How can we be expected to win in such a hostile environment?” Republicans are sounding a lot like the Braves these days, with an avalanche of undecided sentences accompanied by a sheer lack of what’s referred to as modal operators. (MOs are too nerdy to explain here, but the most successful modal operator of all time is “Yes we can.”)
Here are some outstandingly weak statements from the GOP, whose power crested in November then fell precipitously in the wake of Obama’s successful handling of the Arizona shootings and the revolutions of the Middle East.
Karl Rove: “Republicans underestimate President Obama at their own peril.”
Mike Huckabee: “The people that are sitting around saying, ‘He’s definitely going to be a one-term president’… they’re obviously political illiterates—political idiots, let’s be blunt.”
Chris Christie: “[Obama] proved he could win once, so that’s one more time than anybody else who has run.”
Tom Cole: “The electorate is going to be younger, browner, and more to the left [in 2012].”
Haley Barbour: “Incumbent presidents don’t lose very often, particularly if it’s a president who has taken over from the other party.”
Way to inspire confidence in the Grand Ole Party, guys. Your declarations of future victory are truly riveting. Here’s a piece of advice to all of you: Never coach a middle-school athletic team, and I’m not just saying that because the majority of you are fat. Also, it’s not like these quotes were culled from the web—they’re taken from a single Politico article.
From Donald Trump to Sarah Palin, the Republicans have thrown a hodgepodge of semi-maniacal characters at the American people. The cartoonish-ness of the whole enterprise projects failure against their cool, calm, smart-as-hell incumbent opponent. The only statement that’s stuck about the GOP presidential selection process? “Unfathomable,” made by Obama political strategist, David Axelrod.
You have to give it to George W. Bush—he would make some of the most inane statements on earth, but he made them with the unbridled confidence of a movie star, or, depending on your outlook, an outgoing Muslim dictator.
The GOP hopefuls are going to need Bush to sprinkle some fairy dust on them. If not, it’s a good thing these folks are so religious—they’re going to need a miracle in 2012.