Friday, August 29, 2008

The Republican Party Has Developed A Bad Habit

...of nominating the guy who has paid his dues and whose turn it seems to be. And typically that kind of person is a career pol, an organization man, and not necessarily a very exciting candidate. That was how George W. Bush got nominated in 1992. Riding on Reagan's coattails, a record-breaking economic expansion, and a weak opponent, he got himself elected once, but was weak against Bill Clinton. Dole in 1996 was an even more stark example of the habit. Bob Dole was a good man, a dedicated and dutiful politician, but clearly a terrible campaigner for national office. He got destroyed by Clinton, it wasn't even close. Even Reagan was, to some extent, awarded the nomination after waiting his turn (I didn't say the habit always produces lackluster candidates!).

John McCain is yet another example. That wouldn't have been the case in 2000, but it is now. Waaaayy too old and establishment for the present mood of the country.

The one time the Republicans deviated from this recent pattern? Well in 2000, they did the exact opposite, nominated a guy who hadn't paid any dues at all, and that got us Dubya. Which I think explains this year's strong reversion to form.

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