February 1, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Novak on Luntz & GOP "denial"

Conservative pundit Robert Novak is back to bashing the Republican establishment for being "in denial" about the reasons for their recent losses. He cites the frustrating experience of GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who has been disinvited to party conferences after upsetting some of the leaders with his frank talk. According to Novak,

Luntz sees a disconnect between Republicans and voters that projects a grim future for the party. That contradicts what House and Senate Republicans are saying to each other in closed party conferences. While Luntz views 2006 election defeats as ominous portents, the party's congressional leaders see only transitory setbacks and now dwell on bashing Democrats.

Like those of Cassandra of ancient Troy, Luntz's prophecies of impending disaster have been both accurate and disregarded. Republicans have never been very comfortable hearing critics in closed conferences. He is not invited to such meetings today. "They do not want to hear the truth," Luntz told me. While truth-telling is celebrated by Republican reformers such as presidential front-runner John McCain, it is a decidedly minority view in the GOP.

That seems to be the case here in Virginia as well. Novak cites other GOP advisers and concludes, "The question is whether the party will heed warnings or follow the route of its leaders, who mainly want to trash Nancy Pelosi." (A lot of good that will do.) For the record, I have expressed strong misgivings about the Republican Party's direction on more than one occasion. For what it's worth -- which ain't much, given the epidemic of deafness suffered by GOP leaders -- here is a compilation of my in-depth criticisms of the party since the 2004 elections:

To which the typical party functionary would probably reply, "why don't you just quit?" Well, because I would like to help stave off socialism, terrorism, and mass depravity.

Biden: hat in ring, foot in mouth

Sen. Joe Biden got off on the wrong foot in the race to the White House, making an awkward comment about Sen. Barack Obama's good looks and charm. Jesse Jackson and other black leaders quickly expressed resentment. See the Washington Post. The uproar may be a sign that any criticism of Obama may backfire, as his Democratic rivals fear alienating people of color. I am of two minds on Biden. Sometimes he makes very eloquent, thoughtful statements on foreign policy, and sometimes he will say the most fatuous, absurd things you can imagine. From one day to the next, it's a coin toss.

Molly Ivins has died

Texas-based liberal columnist Molly Ivins has died of cancer at the age of 62. The Washington Post has an obituary. She was one of those rambunctious, high-spirited commentators whom some people loved and others hated -- much like Rush Limbaugh. I hardly ever agreed with what she wrote, but one must acknowledge, at least, that she was being sincere and true to her populist principles.