The gaffe that broke the camel’s back?
Michael Shear at The New York Times reports today that the GOP establishment is finally tiring of its gaffe-ridden presidential line-up and is getting concerned all the ‘oops’ moments could inflict long-term damage on the party.
But the embarrassing moments are piling up, and some veteran Republicans are beginning to wonder whether the cumulative effect weakens the party brand, especially in foreign policy and national security, where Republicans have typically dominated Democrats.
“It is an ‘Animal House.’ It’s a food fight,” said Kenneth Duberstein, a chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan. “Honestly, the Republican debates have become a reality show. People have to be perceived as being capable of governing this country, of being the leader of the free world.”
“No one expects a person who hasn’t been commander in chief before to know everything about every topic. But Libya? Iran?” [Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina] said. “I think it’s fair to ask our candidates to articulate a position that makes us safe.”
Emphasis mine, though I would argue that the debates have become less a reality show than a cable TV show, which, by the way, is the logical outcome to allowing Fox News to become the most powerful arm of the GOP political operation.
The article later notes that Romney, Huntsman and Gingrich had not been prone to gaffes (and Ron Paul is simply, always, just Ron Paul). But the larger question here is why is it taking so long for members of the GOP to speak up?
The answer I suspect is that the GOP establishment is no longer in charge. No matter how many times Karl Rove and his whiteboard appear on Fox News to bemoan Herman Cain and Rick Perry they continue to charge ahead, leaving back room GOP members to observe from the sidelines, mouths agape.
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