"Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech was simply magnificent, and anyone who denies it is not to be trusted as an analyst"
Look no further than the above title for evidence of how far the once venerable niche conservative opinion site Townhall.com has fallen, due almost entirely to their editor-in-chief's inability to stop his constant crawl up a certain GOP presidential candidate's fourth point of contact.
If you need more, here it is (try not to gag too hard):
On every level it was a masterpiece. The staging and Romney's delivery, the eclipse of all other candidates it caused, the domination of the news cycle just prior to the start of absentee voting in New Hampshire on Monday --for all these reasons and more it will be long discussed as a masterpiece of political maneuver.Seriously? Look, I read the speech (which, by the way, I'd wager big bucks that Romney, like any other politician, didn't write, but had a speechwriter cook up for him). It was well written -- and was, overall, pretty weak, full of platitudes and gestures toward some elusive "faith" which guides the (in the case of Romney) still more elusive "convictions." Further, the speech was given at Texas A&M University in College Station -- not exactly a bastion of Evangelical Christianity, which is where he needed to take his "please don't vote against me because I'm Mormon!" message. Further, far from "dominat[ing] the news cycle" or being "long discussed as a masterpiece of political maneuver," I sincerely believe that it will be forgotten within a week. Romney might get a few days' worth of a bounce out of it in the polls (hopefully, for him, enough to make up the ground he has lost to Huckabee in Iowa), but I don't see it even being remembered by the end of this month -- and I certainly don't see it being "long discussed" in any capacity, let alone as a "masterpiece of political maneuver." Come on.
Far more important than all of that, however, was the content of the address, which was a brilliant explication of the American political theory of faith and freedom.
It wasn't a poorly written speech by any means and, like I said, I didn't see the delivery. However, I have seen a good deal from Romney to this point, and as I've said before:
[Romney] strikes me (without having to think about it at all) as a simple, shallow, cardboard cut-out caricature of a dime-a-dozen politician, with not one single redeeming value, quality, presence, or tangible attribute that sets him apart in the least from any other simple, shallow, cardboard cut-out caricature of a dime-a-dozen politician who has run for any office round these parts at any time in recent history.
I see nothing whatsoever that would get me motivated, excited, supportive, or even cause the thought to enter my head that he is even one iota different from any other politician, at any time, at any place, ever -- no spark, no original idea, no strength of conviction, nothing beyond the blandness of the same-old, same-old stereotypical office-seeking American.
To go one further, it's as if the powers that be simply reached into the fridge, grabbed a can of "generic candidate, one each, no sugar or flavor added" and popped the top.
As I've also said before, I'm still waiting for the day when my first reaction to any speech, statement, quip, quote, joke, laugh, or chuckle on the stage or the stump is not "Wow, I wonder how many times he rehearsed that one."
I'm extremely doubtful that Romney suddenly became this generation's Great Communicator during the course of a rather milquetoast speech which he was forced into giving by the rise of the Southern Baptist preacher in the polls -- not that a certain aforementioned ever-objective radio host wouldn't do his utmost to have you believe that has happened:
Rarely does American politics have such clear, positive breakthroughs --though political history is littered with the remains of many campaigns that blew up in a single day. But this was one such day. Romney's GOP opponents are shaking their heads, and at Team Clinton, they are very worried indeed, imagining a closing night acceptance speech in Minnesota that does again what Romney did today...Look, for months now a certain commentator has been using his platforms on talk radio and on the web to pimp Romney as the virtual second coming of Christ, to blow sunshine up the candidate himself's backside, and to denounce any and all who would dare consider not voting for Romney as anti-Mormon bigots. Does Mitt Romney have so few merits that such a vicious backer is necessary? I don't think that that's the case at all; however, such rabid support from one media fanatic serves, in my opinion, to hurt the candidate much more than it helps him, as potential supporters, catching wind of the bile being spewed and the ridiculous fawning being uttered by such a high-profile commentator, are quickly sickened and turn away to find a different candidate to support.
They are worried about the return of a Reagan-like communicator to the GOP ticket, and they are right to be alarmed.
It is, of course, completely understandable; after all, who wouldn't be beyond turned off by being told (by somebody who is paid to give their opinion) that their own opinion, or the opinion of any other person they might respect or listen to, should be rendered invalid (or, to quote the statement, the person "should not be trusted as an analyst) should that person dare to say anything other than a direct parroting of this commentator's hyperbolic line.
Almost off topic here is the subject of Townhall.com, which was once the premiere site on the web for conservative opinion -- and which has been driven into the ground since being taken over by this same commentator. I will always love Townhall; my start in national writing was there, I used to edit many of the columns that were published there, and I was one of a tiny number of hand-selected contributors to the site's first-ever weblog, the "C-Log." This, though, was all at the old Townhall -- the one that was worth reading; the one that was worth writing for free for; the one where any conservative could go and could feel at home, like part of a community, where just they and a million of their closest friends could enjoy the best in conservative commentary and opinion. (You'll note that, in the gaggle of publication logos included in the right sidebar of this site, the Townhall logo is the old version -- not the new. That was done quite purposefully.)
That site is long gone, replaced by a kaleidoscope of columns, blogs, video, news, etc. that gives me fits of ADD just looking at it. In terms of content alone, all it takes is the briefest of looks at this absolute B.S. posted by the site's new boss about today's Romney speech to see just how far into the abyss this site, which was once a paragon of honesty and conservative thought, has fallen.
What a waste.
- At 11:34 PM, said...
while we're discussing the crawling up of other people's arses, what crawled up yours, Jeff?
- At 3:50 AM, said...
Agree: Hugh's mancrush is getting old.
Disagree: Romney has no redeaming qualities.
Disagree: Conservatives of all ilk can and do go to new Townhall (and still feel comfortable).
Agree: Romney didn't write his speech but who does and who cares?
Agree: Probably won't be long remembered.