The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is affronted – Eric Greitens, one of the four Republicans vying to become the gubernatorial candidate of the Party of tRump, has refused to participate in the traditional sit-down where the editorial board quizzes candidates in order to determine whom to endorse in the upcoming primaries. As the board has it, they use this forum “to separate the candidates from the rehearsed phrases and performance pressures of a broadcast debate and dig deeper into where each stands on major issues.” The Post-Dispatch editorial notes that Greitens is a smart guy and wonders what he’s afraid of.
I would suggest that what’s scaring Greitens away from such full-disclosure is just the fact that he really is a smart-guy, and has figured out that to be separated from “rehearsed phrases” and clarify where he “stands on major issues” is not a smart strategy. Smart-guy Greitens seems to have figured out that Missouri Republicans’ political intelligence only goes slogan-deep, and has, accordingly, “dumbed down his message.” The less he commits to actual policy decisions, treating “depth and substance like Kryptonite,” and relies purely on angrily emotive, Pavolvian symbology, the greater impact he’ll have now and the greater wiggle room he’ll have later when it’s politic to shift direction.
And guess what, high-minded Post-Dispatch? Gun-wielding (at least in ads) Rambo Greitens seems to have his finger right on the pulse of Missouri’s GOP gimme-guns, tough-guy zeitgeist. The proof? He’s ahead in the polls (see also here). In the party of tRump that means he’s doing it the right way.