Michigan Republicans selected the best liar as their choice for Republican presidential nominee, with Mitt "I'll tell you anything you want to hear" Romney coming out on top in today's primary.
Mitt Romney's victory in Michigan was a defeat for authenticity in politics.
The former Massachusetts governor pandered to voters, distorted his opponents' record and continued to show why he's the most malleable -- and least credible -- major presidential candidate.
And it worked.
McCain told the truth, and was realistic about what could and couldn't be done, but that isn't what Republicans wanted to hear -- they wanted to hear the lies that'll make them feel snug and comfortable -- which is clear evidence that the fantasy world of the red-staters hasn't changed a bit.
The man who spoke hard truths to Michigan lost. Of all the reasons John McCain deserved a better result Tuesday night, his gamble on the economy stands out. The Arizona senator had the temerity to tell voters that a candidate who says traditional auto manufacturing jobs "are coming back is either naive or is not talking straight with the people of Michigan and America."
Instead of pandering, McCain said political leaders must "embrace green technologies," adding: "That's the future. That's what we want."
Romney jumped all over McCain, playing to the fears of voters in a state with the nation's highest unemployment rate. "I've heard people say that the auto jobs are gone and they're never coming back," Romney told his audiences. "Well, baloney, I'm going to fight for every single good job."
Of course, he'd fight for every job. So would McCain, or any future president. But how?
McCain had answers, while Romney just plain lied.
Judging by the brief campaign in Michigan, one candidate would flail away at the problem with empty rhetoric while the other would ask Americans to come to grips with the harsh realities of global competition, a tech-based economy and the urgent need to retrain a generation of workers.
Those aren't easy things for a politicians to say, but the truth is, the days are gone in Michigan and elsewhere when a high school graduate could land a factory job and look forward to a comfortable, stable middle-class life: a nice home, two cars, college tuition, health insurance and a pension.
Romney didn't talk about any of that.
Instead, he told voters what he thought they wanted to hear.
"I'm not open to a bailout, but I am open to a workout," Romney said of the auto industry, even as he vowed to spend $20 billion over five years for research on energy, fuels, automotive technology and material sciences. How many Michigan voters mistook that that for a multibillion-dollar bailout pledge?
Romney also said he wanted to modify a recently passed measure calling for U.S. vehicle fleets to average 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Well, baloney. Less than three years ago, Romney seemed to champion higher automobile standards. "Almost everything in America has gotten more efficient in the last decade, except the fuel economy of the vehicles we drive," he said in September 2005.
As is often the case with Romney, he has changed his tone, if not his mind.
There are important lessons here in Michigan. As the Iraq War takes a back seat to the economic woes of a nation slipping into a recession (and Michigan is one of the states leading that slide) we're seeing that hopeful, and hope-inspiring answers seem to work better than hard and truthful answers -- suggesting Obama may have an edge over Clinton in an "economy-focused" primary season.
Nevada is certainly a state where voters are highly-focused on economic issues, and Obama's performance there will provide strong clues to his success in the February primaries.
People vote from their emotional center, not from their logical center. Obama needs to cool off the message and get the hothead Obamatrons in line, then start "Woo'ing to his right," slowly broadening the message to include more Americans into the fold.
Moving up the age-demographic in women, and just raising the level of discourse in the 30-40 year-old age range of female single-parents, for example, will pick up a point or two from Clinton. Subtract two from Hillary's count and add it to Obama's, and you've got a four-point advantage for Obama.
Simple, selected and focused targets in areas where the health of the economy is increasing in importance are key.
And let's not forget... giving single-parent Moms some much-needed hope for a better life, in itself, increases the happiness of her children. They do love to see Mom smile. I suggest its time for Barack to make single-parent Moms a "special interest" group and woo them over. I don't think Hillary is as strong as she might think within this particular demographic.
Making children smile more - that's just the Democratic way!
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!