“DUBUQUE, Iowa — At a gathering of the Iowa Christian Alliance here last night, James Bopp Jr., a leading social conservative activist and supporter of Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, said that a vote for any candidate other than Romney in next month’s Iowa caucuses was a de facto vote for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani,” writes Chris Cillizza in a post titled Romney Surrogate Pushes Anti-Rudy, Anti-Huckabee Messages for Wapo’s The Fix.

The last we heard from James Bopp he had come unglued because Sen. Brownback held talks with Mayor Giuliani. See:

Back to Cillizza, which rhymes with pizza.

“Either a conservative is going to emerge” with the financial and organizational power to take on Giuliani, predicted Bopp, or “Giuliani is going to be the nominee.”

Remarks:

(1) Bopp’s argument strikes us at first as deliberation—the loci of the preferable, this is preferable to that.

(2) Bopp’s argument, however, is not so much deliberation as it is ground and consequent, cause and effect, either x happens or y occurs; if not x, then y. Hence: a vote for anyone but “a conservative with financial and organizational power” is a vote for Mayor Giuliani.

(3) Herein lies the mystery:

(a) once again Romney or a Romney surrogate confronts us with a dissociation between the real and the apparent—your apparent vote for e.g. Gov. Huckabee is really a vote for Mayor Giuliani. Nothing in Romney’s world is as it appears. We explore Romney’s use of dissociation here:

Romney’s inflection point—the strange rhetoric of a troubled campaign

(b) Romney exists in this argument only in the negative. Bopp argues not for Romney (in a positive sense), but against Mayor Giuliani.

(4) About Bopp’s qualifiers, “a conservative with financial and organizational power”—this is laboratory pure expression of what we call Romneyism. Does Romney have money and has he built an organization? Clearly, yes. But: is Romney’s funding and organization a reliable index of Romney’s political fitness, of the breadth or depth of his following, of the clarity or power of his message? Absolutely not. Precisely not. In fact, given the appallingly low ROI that Romney gets for his every campaign dollar, precisely the opposite is the case—in other words, Romney’s bloated organization and frantic spending are an index of Romney’s peril and paralysis, not of his strength.

Romney has self-financed from his personal fortune at historic, unprecedented levels. So what Bopp is saying reduces to this: only a super-rich candidate can overturn Mayor Giuliani. For more on Romneyism see:

Romneyism: when a corrupt and disconnected party establishment recruits the rich and the super-rich to subsidize its non-performance

Back to Cillizza.

Bopp’s rhetoric was aimed not just at Giuliani but also at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who has made up considerable ground on Romney in recent week here in the Hawkeye State. “I love Mike Huckabee,” Bopp said, quickly adding: “Something I know for sure [is] he does not have the resources to compete.” Boiled down, Bopp’s argument is simple: You might like Huckabee best but he can’t win. So, vote for the guy—Romney—you like second best.

Translation: Hold your nose and vote Romney!

The call to practical thinking represents a major break with the past approach of social conservatives when it comes to picking a candidate. In cycles past many social conservatives threw their support behind candidates like Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer and even Rev. Pat Robertson — none of whom were seen as top tier contenders or were able to compete with those “A” list candidates financially.

Practical thinking? What Jimmy Bopp proposes is the antithesis of practical thinking. Yes, Bopp argues on pragmatic grounds for a compromise solution, i.e. to vote for Romney. But why? Only because Romney can win—not because of who Romney is or what he can offer, but because he can win. Bopp is appealing to our partisan zeal, not to any notion of precedent, presumption, or practical reason.

Back to Cillizza:

Bopp’s argument seems to suggest that times are changing. Romney’s past positions on abortion and gay rights are clearly not in keeping with the base of the party but he has now brought himself into line with those views as he pursues the presidency. Giuliani has not — making the strategic calculation that being seen as a flip-flopper is more detrimental to his chances at the nomination than being pro-abortion rights. (He’s also managed to win the support of some leading social conservatives including Robertson himself.)

In his own remarks at the event last evening, Romney shied away from mentioning either Huckabee or Giuliani by name, choosing instead to deliver his standard stump speech with a special focus on the importance of preserving America’s culture. “Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said, adding that he was “pro-life and pro-family” — an assertion that was interrupted by applause from the assembled attendees … etc.

Say what? Is Romney pro-life again? See:

Kornacki: Not the first time Romney has changed public position on abortion

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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  1. representativepress

    Here is a question that should have been asked but wasn’t: YouTube Question for Giuliani

  1. 1 The Political News You Need to Know » Bopp’s argument according to Cillizza: “You might like Huckabee best but he can’t win. So, vote for the guy-Romney-you like second best”

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. 2 The Political News You Need to Know » Bopp’s argument according to Cillizza: “You might like Huckabee …

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  3. 3 Repulicans Presidential Election 2008 » Bopp’s argument according to Cillizza: “You might like Huckabee …

    […] dotan put an intriguing blog post on Boppâs argument according to Cillizza: âYou might like Huckabee …Here’s a quick excerpt […]

  4. 4 2008 Presidential Election » Bopp’s argument according to Cillizza: “You might like Huckabee best but he can’t win. So, vote for the guy—Romney—you like second best”

    […] who is willard milton romney? put an intriguing blog post on Boppâs argument according to Cillizza: âYou might like Huckabee best but he canât win. So, vote for the guyâRomneyâyou like second bestâHere’s a quick excerpt […]

  5. 5 Paul of Power Line: “I’m thinking that a majority of conservatives as a whole are going to bite the bullet and go with Romney”—but if they don’t, a bitter, angry Romney promises to take the GOP down with him « who is wi

    […] Note Paul’s tenor of dark despair. Yet even shrieking-Romney-partisans like Jimmy Bopp issue the same ambivalent, compromising, hold-your-nose-and-vote-Romney line of argument: Bopp’s argument according to Cillizza: “You might like Huckabee best but he can’t win. So, vot… […]

  6. 6 Paul of Power Line: “I’m thinking that a majority of conservatives as a whole are going to bite the bullet and go with Romney”—but if they don’t, a bitter, angry Romney promises to take the GOP down with him « who is wi

    […] Note Paul’s tenor of dark despair. Yet even shrieking-Romney-partisans like Jimmy Bopp issue the same ambivalent, compromising, hold-your-nose-and-vote-Romney line of argument: Bopp’s argument according to Cillizza: “You might like Huckabee best but he can’t win. So, vot… […]




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