Bob Moser

Bob Moser is senior editor at National Journal and author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority (Times Books). He is the former editor of The Texas Observer, senior editor/writer at The Nation, and executive editor of The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Mittinator 2

Rick Santorum is known for many things, but none of them involves a sense of humor. His new ad, “Rombo,” is funny, though—and smart. In case you have somehow missed it, a Mitt Romney lookalike brandishes a serious-looking weapon and fires rounds of mud at a Santorum cutout figure. “Romney and his super PAC have spent a staggering $20 million … attacking fellow Republicans,” the announcer says. “And in the end, Mitt Romney’s attacks are going to backfire.” We’ll see about that. Now that Romney’s on the ropes, trailing Santorum nationally and in his home state of Michigan, one of his advisers yesterday promised that the coming assault would make the former Pennsylvania senator “whine like crazy.” How, exactly? First, they’ll compare Santorum to President Obama, because “he’s never run anything,” and then they’ll really go in for the kill : “hit him very hard on earmarks, lobbying, voting to raise the federal debt limit five times.” Which raises an obvious question: Is that all you got?...

Who's Really Electable?

The presidential campaign has given Republicans quite the reputation for fickleness. What’s with these people, flitting like moths from one conservative flame—Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, Santorum—to the next? Why don’t they just settle on their one “electable” candidate and give us all a breather until the fall campaign? Perhaps it’s because they’re not fickle, but doggedly unconvinced that Mitt Romney has what it takes to win. This is a party, after all, that has suffered in recent election cycles with past-sale-date versions of Bob Dole and John McCain as its standard-bearers. Both were “electable” on paper, moderately conservative and presentable, but they stirred no hearts or minds among the rank-and-file of their party (or among independents). The truth that Republican voters seem to understand better than media pundits who crowned Romney “inevitable” is that presentability doesn’t win elections; inspiration does. Like Dole and McCain, Romney has given conservatives...

I'm One of You—Really!

You have to imagine that Mitt Romney gave himself quite the pep talk this morning before his big Conservative Political Action Conference speech in Washington. Where his address at the 2008 CPAC signaled the end of his campaign, this afternoon he needed to jumpstart his 2012 run, especially since the people in the audience have been the hardest for him to woo. But, true to form, he did far more resume-waving than rabble-rousing. Romney paid lip service to social conservatives more than usual, emphasizing that his “will be a pro-life presidency” and that he “will fight for a federal amendment defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.” But the appeals sounded a tad desperate. As Commentary ’s Alana Goodman noted , “The speech said, without actually saying it: “I promise I’m a conservative just like all of you!’” Romney even stepped on one of his strongest selling points—that he’s the most electable Republican—by exclaiming, “Of course we can defeat Barack Obama...

To the Ramparts!

Today's Ringside Seat: the GOP field takes an intermission from the state ground game at CPAC.

When January’s jobs report was released, the unexpectedly large spike in employment was welcome news to just about everybody except Mitt Romney and the Republicans. If the “Obama economy” keeps getting better, what the heck will the GOP run on? How to fire up the folk with the kind of indignation that propels conservative voters to the polls en masse? Now we have an answer: another culture war. The Obama administration’s decision to require religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to provide birth-control coverage has put some meat (however scant) on the bones of the president’s supposed “war on religion.” Romney denounced it as “a rule that tramples on religious freedom.” Gingrich called for a government that “respects our religion” (gee, wonder which one that would be?). But no candidate is better suited to such a moment than Rick Santorum, as he demonstrated yesterday at a big-barn rally in Plano, Texas. The former Pennsylvania senator cast the contraception mandate as a...

What Santorum Means

With Rick Santorum’s Tuesday sweep in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, the number of non-Romney “surges” in the GOP presidential contest now threatens to eclipse the number of debates. Pundits respond every time in competing choruses: the “It’s Not Over Yet!” song of jubilation, and the “Sorry, Mitt Is Still Inevitable” retort. It can be as tiresome as hearing Romney recite snatches of “America the Beautiful”—and it presents the campaign as a largely substance-free succession of stats and fundraising numbers and demographics. But the candidate who surprised everyone in the non-binding contests on Tuesday has, unlike the front-running Romney, based his campaign on big ideas —a bold plan to bring back manufacturing jobs and an ardent desire to rekindle the culture wars. As he showed again last night in Missouri, where he delivered one of the angriest and least-celebratory victory speeches in memory, Santorum is not competing on the basis of charisma and charm; his best moment was...

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