Political Animal


December 05, 2012 3:09 PM Don’t Love You, Man!

By Ed Kilgore

The evening before Paul Ryan rolled out the new compassionate rhetoric of a GOP that cares about poor people and just wants to give them wings to fly, a very different message was being retailed by three former governors of New Hampshire at a conservative fundraiser and grouse-fest in the Granite State.

The headliner, of course, was former Chief Spokesman for the Mitt Romney campaign, the ever-genial John Sununu, who offered this assessment of why Mitt lost:

“They aggressively got out the base of their base, the base of their base that’s dependent, to a great extent economically, on government policy and government programs,” Sununu said during a forum with two other Republican former governors, Steve Merrill and Craig Benson, at Concord’s Grappone Conference Center.

Benson was a bit more explicit:

Benson said the GOP could have better connected with voters by making clear the stark differences between Democrats, who “believe in a nanny state,” and Republicans, who believe in the power of the individual to achieve prosperity.
“For those people that believe that the government can do a better job, here’s what they do a better job of: They get people addicted, in some cases, to the fact that maybe they don’t need to go out and make their own future. They get people addicted to the idea that maybe they can’t do something on their own.

Guess it’s just a matter of bad timing.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • T2 on December 05, 2012 3:29 PM:

    Bad timing, indeed. Actually, it's the Mitt Romney 47%er Method of saying what you actually believe when you think that no one except crazy people are listening to you. Someone should tell the Republican National Committee what Youtube is, and that cell phones have microphones and cameras in them. These idiots are still living in 1953.

  • Tired Liberal on December 05, 2012 3:32 PM:

    Who knew that all those defense contractors, Wall Street bankers, and corporate farmers were responsible for President Obama's reelection! Thanks for letting us know, Mr. Sununu.

  • Rathskeller on December 05, 2012 3:35 PM:

    They won the elections in 2010 in part by scaring seniors with talk of Medicare cuts. They did their level best to do the same in 2012.

    They just don't want to think that they are giving money to brown people (whatever the reality of who is receiving the money). It's against their principles.

  • c u n d gulag on December 05, 2012 3:44 PM:

    Well Benson, if there's any truth to people becoming addicted to government, it's only because your corporate and business friends hardly give people a "taste," let alone enough to get addicted to and work.

    It's hard to get addicted to jobs that ain't there. And if they're there, they don't pay sh*t, and offer little or no benefits.

    You know when the "takers" will be in their glory?
    When we finally make you "makers" grovel for your miserable, entitled lives.

    Keep yapping.
    The more you yap, the faster we'll finally come to make you beg.

    And then, we'll quote one of your sainted Reagans, Nancy, and "We'll just say, NO!"

  • beejeez on December 05, 2012 4:14 PM:

    For whatever these spoiled nepotists are paying a bunch of hideous old weasels like Sununu to stroke their eh, egos, they could probably get half a dozen hookers to do cheaper and with less damage to the rest of us.

  • Peter C on December 05, 2012 4:31 PM:

    They only say 'nanny state' because Frank Luntz focus-grouped that phrase and it made people angry. What they mean is 'Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid', but they don't say those words because those programs are widely popular.

    You can always spot an illegitimate political institution; it will speak in code phrases and dog whistles. Never trust someone who speaks to your base instincts and not the better angels of your nature.

  • N.Wells on December 05, 2012 5:14 PM:

    Any modern teapublican wishing to drive across the country should be forced to build his own damn road.

    That's how the founding fathers would have envisioned it, after all.

  • beb on December 05, 2012 7:16 PM:

    Someone needs to graph the intersection between people who vote republican and people who get government money. That would help a lot to clarify the question of who's a maker and who's a taken. I guess is that more Republicans are takers then they are makers.

  • Kathryn on December 05, 2012 7:23 PM:

    How would these clueless buffoons characterize the many, many people who work full time or almost full time at companies like Walmart who pay low wages that stay low and who earn so little that they qualify for and need food stamps and other government aid just to survive? Over the past thirty years, government has become a lifeline to keep people above water while the vaulted private sector ships jobs overseas, pays as little as possible to the remaining employees and enriches themselves to the gluttonous levels of the 1930's. Sununu is as arrogant as Norquist and that's saying something, Benson too, whoever he is.

  • cwolf on December 05, 2012 9:12 PM:

    To me, Paul Ryan will always be the
    Zombie Eyed Granny Killer.

  • ninjanurse on December 06, 2012 7:59 AM:

    The Republican Party lost this election because they nominated a candidate who was born into inherited wealth, son of a politician, member of a religion that believes they are specially favored. So Mitt Romney ran a faith-based campaign and lost to his own over-estimation. I wish more of these rugged individualists had some life experience of making it on their own before they congratulate themselves and denigrate others.