George Will is one of the more cogent observers of what passes for politics these days: besides his intelligence, native wit, and command of rhetoric, he – like me – has a degree in Political Science (well, all right, his is a PhD from Princeton). The key news of the past couple of days has been the choice of Mitt Romney to put Paul Ryan on the ticket as his vice presidential pick, and Will responds as usual with his clarity about what the story is really about – in this case, that Romney has gone for the bold, in a number of ways. The money shot:
George Will channels Barry Goldwater: " 'Extremism' in defense of liberty ..."
Romney embraced Ryan after the sociopathic – indifferent to the truth – ad for Barack Obama that is meretricious about every important particular of the death from cancer of the wife of steelworker Joe Soptic. Obama’s desperate flailing about to justify four more years has sunk into such unhinged smarminess that Romney may have concluded: There is nothing Obama won’t say about me, because he has nothing to say for himself, so I will chose a running mate whose seriousness about large problems and ideas underscores what the president has become – silly and small.
Allow me to drift a bit – the particular background of the ‘Romney killed my wife’ gambit has been revealed to be a descent into a foolish ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’ subterfuge, or to more accurately put it – how can I say this in a genteel manner … yes, that’s it – a lie. Not only was the story essentially false in several allegations, in contrast to my line above about academic credentials (which is true, but not accurate), the Obama campaign and Jay Carney, Obama’s Press Secretary, superciliously demurred about it by stating that they have no responsibility for the ad since it comes from the Priorities USA Super PAC, which by law cannot coordinate with a campaign. But Breitbart.com broke the news that Stephanie Cutter of the Obama campaign – the same Cutter who floated the ‘Romney is a felon’ canard – spoke with Soptic and coordinated his story, and the Democrats had even used him in a previous ad. Cutter was quickly yanked from the Sunday ‘This Week’ slot in favor of David Axelrod who desperately danced around Stepanopoulos’ softball questions.
But to return to the original topic, I recommend Will’s article, as always, for his deft use of Occam’s Razor as well as his entertaining writing style.