Republicans Are in Disarray; So Why Are Liberals Playing Defense?

Today brings more evidence of cracks in the Republican coalition. In its lead story, Politico serves up a rap on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s lack of vision. But if you read the subtext, the people making the claim are a group of right-wing Republicans.

Add that to the spate of defections and insurgencies roiling the right, you have to wonder about the strategic prowess of those Democrats who have expressed concern about President Obama’s offensive against the Romney camp based on the Republican’s record at Bain Capital. After all, the blueprint for the offensive was written by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during the Florida primary campaign. (Gingrich was dispatched to Meet the Press this morning to defend Romney’s Bain record, which he did not so effectively.) In fact, what we may be seeing with the Obama campaign’s Bain offensive is a rare instance of a Democratic campaign actual using a wedge strategy — one of the right’s tested weapons.

From Politico’s Reid J. Epstein and Ginger Gibson, in a piece titled, “Mitt Romney not Into ‘vision thing‘”:

“I don’t know what he’ll do on anything,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola told POLITICO. “And that’s, that’s the concern that people have always had is, you don’t truly understand what Mitt Romney is going to do.”

[…]

“At the end of the day, you can’t just be all, you know, anti-Obama,” said former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, whose state is key to Romney’s chances. “It has to be, I think, two parts that and one part here’s the antidote, here’s the vision, here’s the path that I would like to lead America down.”

Politico failed to note that Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, a politically important group.

But wait, there’s more:

And GOP strategist Mark McKinnon — who advised former two-term Republican president George W. Bush — said it’s time for Romney to outline his agenda.

This follows news of several freshmen members of Congress going on record about why they won’t sign the anti-tax pledge demanded by Grover Norquist in exchange for a once-crucial nod by Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform. Among them is Allen West, the military veteran and uber-Tea Partier from Florida.

From Kate Nocera’s piece earlier this month in Politico:

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) scoffed at the idea the pledge was some sort of blood oath. A number of other offices of freshman members told POLITICO their bosses had sworn oaths to do what was best for their districts, not Americans for Tax Reform.

“I signed that thing in the desert of Afghanistan,” West said in an interview. “I got home and they wanted me to sign again during my campaign, and I wouldn’t, and Grover started yelling at my campaign manager….I don’t care if he has my name on his website, it’s meaningless,” West added. “I think my voting record speaks for itself.”

Then there was Michael Fumento’s piece in Salon, noted here by Political Animal’s Ryan Cooper, in which the former member of Reagan administration outlined the many reasons why he has left the G.O.P., not least of them the recently mounted billboard by the Heartland Institute that compared people who accept the science on global warming to the Unabomber.

And, of course, the Ron Paul followers who wrested delegate slates from the hands of Romney supporters at state conventions will make things interesting for Romney at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August.

With Republicans in this much of a pickle, you’d think that Democrats would jump at the chance to exploit the chaos. But you might be wrong.

Liberals, IMHO, have grown too used to reiterating loony right-wing claims as a means of refuting them. That’s a defensive stance that only serves to reinforce the right-wing claim. You know what they say the best defense is? (I knew you’d get it, Animals.)