Romney “graceful”? WTF?

How can a speech that accuses Democrats of wanting to “surrender to terror” be called “graceful”?

I admire Marc Ambinder’s political reporting, so when Ambinder says something that strikes me as completely off the wall I get puzzled. How could any sensible person describe as “graceful” a speech in which Mitt Romney describes both the Democratic Presidential candidates as planning “a surrender to terror”? Didn’t John Edwards get saddled with the “angry” label for much, much less than that?

It’s not just liberals who were outraged by this and other appalling lines in Romney’s speech. Actual conservatives such as Orin Kerr and Eugene Volokh were grossed out: Kerr calls it “pathetic” and Volokh “over the top.”

I think we’re still suffering the aftereffects of the conservative counter-revolution that started in 1968 and began to end (I hope) in 2006. For too long, what ought to be regarded as lunatic-fringe rantings have passed for reasonable discourse.

It’s time to call the meeting to order, and to distinguish clearly between conservatives on the one hand and the supporters of plutocracy, imperial adventure, and unlimited executive power who now dominate the Republican Party, the right-wing media, and Red Blogistan on the other. (For example: Bruce Fein and Steven Bainbridge, two other actual conservatives with views far divergent from Kerr and Volokh, are appalled by the Bush Administration’s latest power-grab: the proclamation that it can spend appropriated funds for purposes the Congress forbids. But theirs are lonely voices: to my knowledge, no Republican Senator or Representative and no major conservative outlet or media institution has raised any complaint about what Fein correctly describes as an utter subversion of the Constitution.)

Footnote Was Ambinder’s headline just a typo? Was it supposed to read “Romney’s Disgraceful Exit”?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: