Governor Bob Ehrlich Commentaries

The Disastrous Practice of 'Too Cute by Half' Led to the 2021 Election GOP Knockout

My most recent column identified the millions of Americans who have been walking around in a daze, the “mutterers” who daily talk to themselves concerning America’s present state of disrepair.

But off-year elections can change political moods in a hurry. Suddenly, a GOP win in blue Virginia and a near knockout in New Jersey (of all places) has the pundit class scratching their heads, the woke world doubling down on race, and the GOP newly energized about its midterm prospects.

So what got us to this place so quickly? Answer: no single policy or event, but the cumulative impact of that old and typically disastrous practice of “too cute by half,” as in doing and saying things that you should know your audience is simply not going to buy.

For context, think about the following recently floated narratives:

1. We’re going to “turn the page” on Afghanistan.

The message from the president was clear: There would be no further comment on our catastrophe in Afghanistan.

Left unstated was the administration’s expectation that the legacy media would simply stop reporting messy consequences such as Americans still left behind in that godforsaken country or the bleak future of Afghan women. The general public was also supposed to abide the notion that all the Americans who really wanted to get out did get out, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

2. Post-Afghanistan, there has been “no question of our credibility from our allies around the world.”

The president had to know this one missed the mark on cute and was certainly not accurate. In the U.K., post-Afghanistan condemnation from right and left was immediate and harsh as Mr. Biden reportedly ignored Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pleas to reverse course.

In response, Johnson has reportedly revived the “Sleepy Joe” moniker first coined by former President Donald Trump. Even former Labour PM Tony Blair, liberal but never a fool, condemned the president’s “obedience to an imbecilic political slogan.”

Further, the French, Germans and Australians expressed similar concerns while signaling their newfound willingness to piece together a new European defense initiative sans America.

I’ll leave the Taiwanese takeaway of our Afghanistan debacle to your imagination.

3. Record high inflation and supply chain crisis are “high-class problems.”

Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain’s nonsensical comment had everyone shaking their heads in the leadup to Virginia and New Jersey, as it has long been a bipartisan Washington notion that inflation is the most destructive and meanest tax on the poor, robbing marginal earners on their already weak buying power.
To boot, today’s empty grocery store shelves and energy cost spikes disproportionately affect those on fixed incomes. To pretend otherwise is simply too cute … you know the rest. I just can’t figure out what the goal was here other than a weak attempt to soften the now weekly reports of our rapidly spiking cost of living.

4. The situation at the southern border “is not a crisis.”

Under no known definition of “peaceful” is this close to accurate. Despite deliberate downplaying by legacy media outlets, our southern border has been in a continual state of chaos from the moment the president overturned the Trump administration’s successful “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Indeed, the numbers are truly stunning: The U.S. Border Patrol detained (at least temporarily) more than 1.6 million migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border between October 2020 and September 2021, while 125,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border since Mr. Biden’s first day in office.

Per media reports, additional caravans are forming weekly, including the “mother of all caravans” now (slowly and painfully) making its way through Mexico.

5. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

This instantly infamous quote from losing Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is interesting in that it was too cute by half and represented how he (and so many other progressives) truly view the relationship between state-funded schools, teachers and parents.

The problem here, of course, was that parents simply wanted to be heard (what we used to call exercising First Amendment rights) on tendentious course materials being force-fed to their kids.

In any event, the comment served as kerosene poured on the hot mess that was and is the Loudoun County School Board, especially in the context of the National School Boards Association’s wildly inappropriate and bogus letter inviting the Department of Justice into local school board politics.

One can only hope that more progressive-minded candidates in close races will follow Mr. McAuliffe’s lead in telling the voters exactly how far afield their views on education have become.

I’m not sure such is the stuff of a realigning midterm, but it surely is the stuff of regular ol’ parents who have had enough of the woke crowd for now — and perhaps going forward.

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