Whatever happened to Reagan’s 11th commandment?

Ronald Reagan once said:

The personal attacks against me during the primary finally became so heavy that the state Republican chairman, Gaylord Parkinson, postulated what he called the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It’s a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since.

Whatever happened to Reagan’s 11th commandment? The reason I ask is laid out here in this post at Legal Insurrection:

It’s not always framed using the word “crazy,” but that’s the theme — he’s erratic, can’t be trusted, has a personality defect which makes him dangerous.  TPM sums up the Romney theme:

Launching an aggressive attack on rival Newt Gingrich, the Romney campaign is engaging a character-assassination strategy, painting the former speaker as unfit for a position of leadership.

We hear it every day from David Frum (“A Gingrich presidency, if such a thing can even be imagined, would be a chaotic catastrophe”); Jennifer Rubin (“Gingrich’s mind  is an attic of  throwaway, unusable and downright goofy ideas, piled high like newspapers in the room of a troubled subject on “Hoarders”), Ramesh Ponnuru (“he is temperamentally unsuited for the presidency”); Peggy Noonan (“He’s a trouble magnet”); Ann Coulter (“Not only were they completely crazy, but Newt’s grand schemes didn’t quite fit the Republican model of a small, unintrusive federal  government); and other pro-Romney media types.

We’re also hearing it from Romney campaign surrogates like John Sununu (“He all but called Gingrich crazy”) and Peter King (“doesn’t have the discipline and doesn’t have the capacity to control himself”).

This strategy is the same as the Democrats’ “strategy of crazy” launched against the Tea Party movement in 2009 and crystallized as policy after Scott Brown’s election in January 2010.  Your opponent isn’t simply wrong, or not the best choice, or a flip-flopper, he’s nuts.

At Slate, one prominent left-leaning blogger comes right out and says what his “conservative” compatriots have been saying implicitly, Is Newt Nuts?

I really don’t see how the Romney supporters using the strategy of crazy have left themselves an exit strategy if and when their candidate loses to Gingrich.  If they have convinced themselves that Newt really is crazy, then there is no way they could support him even over Obama.

And frankly, I don’t expect them to.

Update:  Add David Brooks (h/t Ben Smith) to the team (“He has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ’60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance”).

Ol’ Smilin’ Mitt has cruised through the past few months without breaking a sweat or getting his hands dirty. Now his campaign is stirred up like a bunch of scared chihuahuas.

All’s fair in love and war and politics ain’t beanbag. I’m not gonna shed a tear if Naughty Newty gets torn limb from limb by the media lapdogs. But I’ve never seen the GOPers air their laundry in public like this before. It’s like they would rather see Obama win then face the prospect of President Gingrich.

Personally I think Bush – Obama – Gingrich is the trifecta of bad. Maybe the Mayans were right about 2012.

This entry was posted in 2012 Elections, 2012 GOP Primary, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Whatever happened to Reagan’s 11th commandment?

  1. DeniseVB says:

    How would Romney hold up v. Obama? That is the question, and why the Dems and media want him more than his own party 😀


  2. DandyTiger says:

    All I know is I’ve got my popcorn and I’m enjoying the show.

  3. yttik says:

    I guess the Republicans broke all ten of the other commandments so they needed to invent a new one.

  4. yttik says:

    Naturally this is all a great diversion. Nobody is focusing on the guy we currently have in office. He doesn’t have to run on his record right now because the media has us all stirred up over dirty laundry from 20-30yrs ago that really doesn’t have anything to do with the current state of the country. There’s plenty to criticize Newt, Cain, Romney for, but sex scandals are more interesting. I bet two thirds of the country can name the woman Herman Cain allegedly had an affair with but few realize Obama authorized the execution of two US citizens without due process.

    True, Newt’s a sleezeball, but while everybody is focused on that, Obama has fast and furious, Solandrya, MF, potential war with Iran, banning the birth control requirement in obamacare, etc, etc, all happening right now. I don’t care for Newt, but it kind of makes me crazy that people are focused on him while we’re all perched on the edge of financial armageddon and WW3.

    • votermom says:

      It is a great diversion. My objection to Newt has to do with his post-Speakership lobbying, but funny how the media isn’t talking about that…

  5. votermom says:

    I posted this comment at C4P:

    Just the other day a yahoo reporter was accidentally invited to an RNC telephone conference and found out that the strategy is not to attack Obama because it is “too risky.”

    Now the GOP candidates have obviously been told not to go to Trump’s debate (with Newt & Santorum too late to back out) – probably for the same reason – Trump is known to attack Obama no holds barred and is probably planning on goading the candidates to do the same.

    Imagine that – they go meekly onto debates hosted by Obama-loving CNBC, NBC, Politi-flipping-co, but they won’t go to a Trump debate?

    Are they planning to lose this election or what?

  6. 1539days says:

    The Republican establishment is thinking something along the lines of “Dammit, we just got Sarah Palin out of this race, and now the stupid primary voters are supporting Gingrich.” I’m writing a post about why the Republicans actually think they’re winning right now when they are doing everything to lose.

    Not a lot of people paid attention to 2008 on the Republican side because of Hillary vs. the Democratic Party, but some bad stuff was happening in the GOP. Romney, who was what these pundits then considered a conservative, went after Huckabee right away because he was a social conservative taking votes away from him. Giuliani was the mainstream candidate. When he tanked, John McCain started to gain traction. Romney went after him, too. Rumor has it that Huckabee stayed in the race even when he had no chance of winning just to split the anti-McCain vote.

    Romney had a chance to beat Obama in 2008 because they were both nasty empty suits. But now Obama has presidential experience.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      his golf game is better too. 😆 😆

    • DeniseVB says:

      Yeah, incumbents are hard to beat at any level of government, but some guys with bad experience do get fired now and then 😀

      Don’t CEOs get fired everyday for running the corporation into the ground? It’s my hope the American people won’t rehire Teh Won.

  7. votermom says:

    Check this out: Pro-OWS propaganda straight to grade-schoolers courtesy of multimillion company Scholastic:


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