Like clockwork, every Republican primary season will deliver some variant on the theme of Richard Cohen’s Washington Post column today:
Pawlenty should become Mr. Republican, a term once reserved for Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio. He personifies the near-total lack of leadership among leading contenders for the GOP nomination. Not only will they not confront Bachmann and the nonsense she spews, but they diligently turn their backs on their obligation to educate their own constituencies.
It is always on the Republicans to sacrifice tact and strategy for the sake of drumming someone the Left doesn’t like out of the party. It’s the responsible thing to do. Palin inspired this ridiculous condescension, as does anyone else who offends the delicate sensibilities of our nation’s columnists.
What’s Cohen’s real problem with Bachmann? That she “is an ignoramus” and “a bigot.”
The funny thing is, columnists like Cohen forget about this very important function of primary candidates when the contest is taking place within the other party. I seem to remember a certain Democratic candidate having offered the following explanation for why test scores are higher in Iowa schools than in Washington, D.C.: “There’s less than 1 percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5 percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you’re dealing with.”
And that same candidate’s nuanced approach to the multicultural nature of his state’s convenience stores: “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
What happened to that candidate? Oh yes, he’s now our vice president. Perhaps Richard Cohen should ask his party to lead by example. But it seems what’s really bothering Cohen is that Republicans are pandering to the residents of the state of Iowa, which he describes as “a bucolic landscape peopled by political, religious and social trolls.” But don’t worry, Cohen will let you know when he spots bigotry.