Stuart Stevens is the former chief strategist for the Romney campaign. He has just joined Tina Brown’s stable of reasonably presentable conservatives as a columnist at Ms. Brown’s The Daily Beast. I wish Stevens well—he’s a gifted writer and hails from my native state.
But I am afraid I must be beastly about Stuart’s recent column on guns and gays. To read it is to understand why the Romney campaign’s strategy did not survive first contact with the enemy. If you read this column, you will recall anew that, when accused of giving a woman cancer, Mitt Romney professed himself “disappointed” that anybody would make such a dastardly charge.
Stuart actually makes some good points about the issues at hand, guns and gays. “One might argue that [the issues of guns and gays] are wildly different discussions, though mandatory background checks and waiting periods for marriage, straight or gay, might be worth considering,” Stuart writes. I quite agree that we’d all benefit if we could slow down these rushing trains. But I also wish I could come up with a response more encouraging than, “Fat chance, Stu.”
What is so poignant (and infuriating) is that, after being bloodied and run circles around by the ruthless and determined Obama campaign, Stevens persists in believing that, golly, if we calm down and aren’t rude to one another, we can solve these danged problems. Stuart is dismayed that what should have been a Socratic dialogue has degenerated into “desperate anger” with manifestations of an “almost willful contempt.”
It is that “almost” that tugs at my heart. Stuart must have missed some of the ruder protests in front of the Supreme Court as that venerable body began to address the issue of gays and marriage. But I am being too kind. Let's face it--it takes willful blindness to ignore the fullness of the contempt the left showers on those who dare to disagree with them. There’s no “almost” about it, Stuart.
For somebody who has been at the top of more than one failed Republican presidential campaign, Stevens is frighteningly naïve. “With these deeply emotional issues,” he writes, “it is in the quiet moments that each of us will look into our hearts and make choices based as much on what we feel as we think. It’s my bet that the calm voices of persuasion will carry the day.”
Quiet moments--like the moments Mitt Romney must surely be enjoying now.