The Week: Most Recent from Robert Shrum recent posts.en-usTue, 29 May 2012 17:30:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent from Robert Shrum from THE WEEKTue, 29 May 2012 17:30:00 -0400The unnecessarily frenzied handwringing over Barack, Biden, and Bain<img src="" /></P><p>We are in the season of political skywriting &mdash; of stories that capture attention, but not the decisive realities of the presidential contest. For all but tabloid purposes, why pay attention to the ravings of Donald Trump &mdash; except to score a minor point against Mitt Romney for taint by association with a comb-over in a clown suit?</p><p>The fundamentals of 2012 are set now and should be entirely visible even if they don't dominate a 24-hour information cycle ravenous for the latest titillation or speculation. That is all but inevitable as we cross from the pyrotechnics of the primaries, which...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Tue, 29 May 2012 17:30:00 -0400Bain is just chapter one in the Book of Romney<img src="" /></P><p>The real Mitt Romney is finally running for president &mdash; but not in his own first television spot, a superficial checklist of issues which provides no insight into who he is or what makes him tick. It's the Obama commercial on Bain and the destruction of GST Steel that starkly reveals the real Romney as a vulture capitalist. And this is just the beginning of what we will hear about Bain, and of a narrative arc that will position Romney as the candidate of the few, by the few, and for the few.</p><p>The Obama ad is so powerful because, like the Ted Kennedy ads in Romney's losing 1994 Senate race...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Mon, 21 May 2012 12:00:00 -0400Obama's gay-marriage endorsement is a moral and political win<img src="" /></P><p>Forty-nine years ago this spring, as he proposed the landmark civil rights reforms of the 1960s, John F. Kennedy became the first president to declare that ending racial discrimination was a moral issue &mdash; that "this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free." Now Barack Obama has taken the next step in the unfinished journey toward that ideal: He cut through a cacophony of political advice, the calculus of pre-election caution, to become the first president to endorse marriage equality &mdash; and thus to affirm that gay rights are...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Thu, 10 May 2012 21:40:00 -0400The GOP lost the European elections<img src="" /></P><p>Maybe Republicans are right in the wrong way: Europe is a political model &mdash; an unhappy one for them.&nbsp;</p><p>The easy consolation they can take from the past week's elections there is that Nicolas Sarkozy has just become the latest incumbent leader in the advanced nations, the eleventh in Europe, to lose office since the onset of the financial crisis. Doesn't Obama have to follow Sarkozy and the rest as night follows day?</p><p>The lessons actually point in the opposite direction.&nbsp;</p><p>Sarkozy is only the second president of the Fifth Republic to be denied a second term &mdash; because voters...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Mon, 07 May 2012 12:15:00 -0400Mitt Romney is the Dorian Gray of 2012<img src="" /></P><p>As he finally claims the nomination that was his all along, but which was so reluctantly yielded to him, Mitt Romney enters his Etch A Sketch period. He may twist the knobs to try and shift his professed beliefs as easily as the aluminum granules on the screen of one of the last century's most famous toys. But it's hard for the epic flip-flopper to reframe himself again &mdash; or it should be.&nbsp;</p><p>Romney is only doing what comes naturally to a man who once said he was "better" on gay rights than Ted Kennedy, but then later donated $25,000 to the homophobic National Organization For Marriage...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Thu, 19 Apr 2012 06:35:00 -0400Mitt Romney won. And now he's going to lose<img src="" /></P><p>So the hollow man has finally firmed his fragile hold on the GOP nomination, in another of T.S. Eliot's phrases, "not with a bang, but with a whimper." In the Wisconsin primary, the whimper was Mitt Romney's margin &mdash; a derisory 4 percent for someone to whom Republicans should rally overwhelmingly since they know he will be their standard-bearer in November.</p><p>But as I've written before, Romney's will be a grudging nomination, requiring Herculean exertion and Midas-like spending to overcome a clutch of rivals who resemble the cast of <em>Monty Python's Flying Circus</em>. Wisconsin, like the rest of...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Fri, 06 Apr 2012 06:15:00 -0400Will a Tea Party Supreme Court guarantee Obama a second term?<img src="" /></P><p>Recall the scorn toward health reform dripping from the lips of Injustice Antonin Scalia. Or think of the tight-lipped Clarence Thomas, who could send a mannequin to sit in his place at the court's oral arguments for all the difference his brooding presence makes. Along with the more plausibly judicious Samuel Alito, he too had more than likely made his decision. And so on the nation's highest court, satire replaced <em>stare decisis</em> in a slightly altered version of the Red Queen's jurisprudence in <em>Alice in Wonderland</em>: First the verdict, then the trial.&nbsp;</p><p>Some observers, and administration officials...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Fri, 30 Mar 2012 09:45:00 -0400Mitt Romney has the GOP strapped to the roof of his car<img src="" /></P><p>Republican voters are now the political equivalent of Mitt Romney's famously abused dog Seamus. Mitt has put voters on the roof of his car, and he's driving for the nomination whether they like it or not. More accurately, he's sputtering toward the nomination as the roof-bound electorate periodically poops on his parade.</p><p>His message is inevitability; the voters don't have any effective say left. He's racked up 53 percent of the delegates with just 38 percent of the popular vote. Rick Santorum has to capture 65 percent&nbsp;of the remaining delegates to reach a majority &mdash; an almost impossible...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Thu, 15 Mar 2012 18:20:00 -0400It was a Super Tuesday for Democrats<img src="" /></P><p>The Republican non-romance with Mitt Romney reminds me of Henry VIII's uncharacteristically reluctant marriage to Anne of Cleves &mdash; the king's fourth wife. She was a minor German princess who, to the king's advisers, looked like the ideal political match. A dubious Henry resisted &mdash; and insisted that the great portrait artist Hans Holbein be sent to paint her picture. The work flattered Anne by framing (and overwhelming) her with a bejeweled gold headdress and gown.</p><p>Henry acceded to the marriage, but snuck down to Rochester to check out Anne on her progress toward London. He was not...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Wed, 07 Mar 2012 18:35:00 -0500Mini-Mitt's massive Super Tuesday challenge<img src="" /></P><p>After Mini-Mitt's diminutive three-point Michigan "triumph," which was a little like a Roman general being hailed for a near defeat, how important is Ohio? To put it in Santorian terms, it could be apocalypse two; once more, as in Michigan, Mitt will have to avert the sun darkening and the sky falling on his presidential campaign.&nbsp;</p><p>Despite the conventional consensus, Romney could still face a near-end of days. And the auguries weren't good as he arrived in the Buckeye State to what should have been the hosannas of excited supporters. Supporters he does have there, but they didn't seem very...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Thu, 01 Mar 2012 18:02:00 -0500The increasingly worthless GOP nomination<img src="" /></P><p>By all accounts, Mitt Romney won what may be the last Republican presidential debate. Little good it will do him&nbsp;if in the process he suffers the loss of the general election.</p><p>Romney's performance on Wednesday in Arizona was both adequate and alienating. Spraying out a fusillade of negative research, he oppo-bombed a flummoxed Rick Santorum. Mitt even had the nerve to attack Rick for endorsing Arlen Specter, his pro-abortion-rights GOP Senate colleague from Pennsylvania, for re-election in 2004. Santorum lacked the minimal deftness to respond that Romney himself was in favor of abortion rights...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Thu, 23 Feb 2012 18:05:00 -0500The unholy alliance between Catholic bishops and the GOP<img src="" /></P><p>The Episcopal Church used to be described as the Republican Party at prayer. Today's GOP has moved far right, and suddenly the Catholic bishops are now the Republican Party in the pulpit.&nbsp;</p><p>For many Catholics &mdash; and I intermittently try to be part of the church I was raised in &mdash; this is a betrayal of their beliefs about the place of faith in public life. For Republicans, the turn toward social issues, manifest in their misalliance with the bishops in a war on birth control, further radicalizes their presidential primary process and their congressional politics &mdash; and further...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Fri, 17 Feb 2012 07:05:00 -0500Romney on the precipice<img src="" /></P><p>Mitt Romney now has some breathing space vouchsafed by the right-wingers who reluctantly picked him in the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, not to mention the Republicans who bothered to show up at the semi-real polling places of the sparsely attended and barely contested Maine caucuses. That breathing space stretches to primaries in Arizona and Michigan on February 28. Lord knows what will come out of Romney's mouth between now and then.&nbsp;</p><p>At CPAC, Mitt eked out a narrow margin over Rick Santorum after the Romney campaign bought registrations to pad his total and the organization...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Mon, 13 Feb 2012 13:54:00 -0500Nominating Mitt Malaprop<img src="" /></P><p>The Donald has spoken. He knows a done deal when he sees one.</p><p>After Florida, Mitt is the Republican nominee. And the morning after, to the relief of Democrats and the distress of the conservative commentariat, he proved again that he is the gaffe machine that keeps on giving.</p><p>First, the state of the race: Romney is ahead of Barack Obama's pace in 2008. It was Super Tuesday then, still a month from now, when I argued that the Democratic contest was all over except for the noise, the ritual combat, and the counting, given that party rules made it impossible in fact if not in theory for Hillary...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Fri, 03 Feb 2012 10:22:00 -0500Obama is the Reagan of 2012<img src="" /></P><p>Newt, who was defenestrated in the Florida debates, is marching to the beat of his own manic drummer toward defeat in the Sunshine State and into an unfriendly February schedule with no surcease of setbacks. Meanwhile, Mitt, riding the overwhelming throw-weight of his negative ads, moves a little less stiffly and a lot more aggressively toward a begrudged nomination.</p><p>Along the way, they're quarreling bitterly over who's truer to Ronald Reagan. The charge that Gingrich isn't or wasn't is as far-fetched as a near-term colony on the moon. But no matter: Romney, who will say anything or shift any...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Mon, 30 Jan 2012 12:45:00 -0500Mitt Romney's taxing baggage<img src="" /></P><p>If Mitt Romney wins South Carolina after Monday's debate performance, then he really is unstoppable. And that's the probable outcome unless, after Rick Perry's departure from the race Thursday, there's an unlikely last-days coalescence of the religious right around the pyrotechnic Newt Gingrich, who as a nominee would prove to be a pyromaniac, reducing the GOP's White House hopes &mdash; and perhaps its House majority &mdash; to a handful of ashes. Certainly, Rick Santorum seems less likely than Newt to be the ordinand of the religious right in Gingrich's native South.</p><p>So the parade of primogeniture...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/robert-shrum" ><span class="byline">Robert Shrum</span></a>Thu, 19 Jan 2012 13:06:00 -0500