On NPR, Eleanor Clift Can't Find Obama 'Brilliance' Now, But Predicts Romney Will Be Too Far Right to Win
In an appearance on NPR's Diane Rehm Show on Tuesday, longtime Newsweek correspondent Eleanor Clift offered one surprising bit of understatement: "Obama and his people ran a brilliant campaign and yet it's hard to look at the last three years, four years in the White House, and think that they governed with equal brilliance."
Other than that, it was a constant drumbeat of predicting Mitt Romney is going to be sunk for going too far to the right:
Taft was in the Congress and had a conservative agenda, much like today's Republican Congress has a conservative agenda, and Mitt Romney, an urban northeastern governor, has got to run away from that agenda or else it could sink him....
It's hard to look at the Republican primary process and think that that was really character shaping. What it forced Mitt Romney to do was take a lot of positions to the right of everybody else, positions that he may or may not be able to move away from.
And on immigration, he got to the right of Governor Perry even on reproductive rights. He's pledged to "get rid of Planned Parenthood." And these are positions that -- he's pledged also to never raise taxes so how does he make -- if he wins, how does he make the compromises necessary, I think, to set this country on the correct path?
A caller wondered if the Republicans didn’t hatch some master plan to have all the non-Romney presidential contenders lock up their voters to motivate them to vote for Romney in the fall. Clift dissed the whole field: “Is the caller referring to the rest of the Republican candidates as the surrogates? Because I don't think any of them are particularly strong, but the fact that Romney did have to campaign in a number of states does allow him to put down an organization.”
The other guest, former CBS News pollster Samuel Popkin, insisted we have a Jon Stewart Primary of sorts:
I was very intrigued the other day when I read an interview with Ross Douthat, the very, very smart conservative columnist at the New York Times, who he was talking about the media and he said, basically you're not ready to be president if you can't defend yourself on "The Daily Show." And when the New York Times says it's not enough that we like you, you have to be good enough to -- he didn't say you have to agree with Jon Stewart, but if you can't go on Jon Stewart and defend yourself with smart intellectuals, you're not ready. That impressed me.
This was the actual statement from Douthat in New York magazine:
But as Douthat knows well, the defenders of cultural conservatism have to speak across that divide. “There’s an unhealthy elitism, but there’s also a healthy elitism: If you can’t defend your ideas on The Daily Show, then you’re not ready. The apostle Paul was able to go to Athens and preach to the sophisticated Greeks.”