Wednesday 25 April 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Obama's best hope lies in a savage media

Negative coverage is the main reason why the Republican candidates are so poor, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Unless you're reading this indecently early, you'll now know the result of the South Carolina primary. Not being enough of a mug to do any predictions, I'll just offer a few thoughts about the latest episodes in the Republican Party reality show that last week evicted two more contenders.

Ex Utah Governor Jon Huntsman dropped out. He probably could have attracted enough independent voters to give Obama a real run for his money, but he realised that since he couldn't enthuse the Tea Partiers, he couldn't win the nomination. Being smart, he decided to pack it in. He's only 51, and might well do much better in four years' time. Endorsing Romney half-heartedly, he reserved his passion for a comment on his party which will resonate with many. "This race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative attacks not worthy of the American people and not worthy of this critical time. At its core, the Republican Party is a party of ideas, but the current toxic form of our political discourse does not help our cause."

Texas Governor Rick Perry quit next. Explaining that he no longer had a "viable path" forward, he threw himself enthusiastically behind Newt Gingrich: "I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country." Conscious of all the dirt that's been thrown at Gingrich, he added: "Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?... I believe in the power of redemption."

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