In an appearance on “The Michael Berry Show” on KTRH in Houston on Tuesday, a disappointed Mark Steyn, the author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” declared the 2012 Republican nominating process a failure and chalked up the proliferation of cable debates as a substitute for campaigning in the early primary states as the reason.
“I think the nomination process failed last time around when John McCain wound up as the nominee and I think it is heading for failure this time around,” Steyn said. “I’m speaking to you from my home in New Hampshire … but in my state of New Hampshire, one reason we like the primaries is its all supposed to be about swinging by local diners and county fairs, and the annual pancake breakfast and all this kind of thing. And we know the clichés — the woman who tells the Washington Post, the New York Times every four years, you know, ‘I won’t vote for any candidate I haven’t danced with at least three times.’”
“None of that happened this time around,” he continued. “Instead, we had some new TV debate every 48 hours —sometimes on cable channels none of us ever heard of until they hosted a debate — and the result is there has been no retail politics. And Newt Gingrich, brilliantly in my view — who would have been terrible at the whole shaking hands at the diner and all that kind of stuff — through the debates has emerged as the front-runner.”
But there are consequences for this change, he said. With Gingrich, Steyn argued you get the worst of Republican candidates — a “big government” compromiser branded as a right-wing extremist.
“I think this is the worst of all worlds for Republicans,” he said. “He is someone whose inclination — he’s got this progressive big government streak. He’s sort of like Teddy Roosevelt mixed with some sort of novelty-crazed futurologist. He has a big government progressivism sort of inside him, yet combined with the reputation of some sort of ruthless right-wing extremist.”