NPR on Campaign 2012: Obama Brilliant, Republicans 'Very Strange,' 'So Peculiar,' 'Very Conservative'

Have you ever noticed that the liberal media elite never recalls when the Democrats have strange, erratic candidates who run for president? Like Al Sharpton in 2004, or Dennis Kucinich in '04 and '08? But in an examination of Washington Post reporter Dan Balz's new book on the 2012 campaign, Collision, NPR anchor Linda Wertheimer said the Republicans had "very strange choices," they were "so peculiar" and "very colorful." Balz added "very conservative."

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign wasn't dangerously liberal -- it wasn't liberal at all. It stood out only for its technological prowess:

LINDA WERTHEIMER: Now, the Republican primaries and the earlier prelims in 2011 was a process which seemed to weed out, for various reasons, most of the candidates who might have traditionally been considered presidential prospects, except for Mr. Romney. Governors just went by the wayside and suddenly there we were with some very strange choices that the American people seemed unlikely to make, and Mitt Romney.

DAN BALZ: There were a number of people who, had they run for the nomination, might have given Governor Romney a stronger race than the people who ultimately did run. Mitch Daniels...

WERTHEIMER: Governor Chris Christie, Governor Mitch Daniels...

BALZ: Governor Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour. But yes, and in the end he was left with a relatively weak field. In fact, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, joked long after his campaign had collapsed, he said I ran against the weakest field that the Republicans had ever run and they kicked my behind.

WERTHEIMER: Well, Mr. Romney, obviously he had great qualifications, you know, barring a tendency to every once in a while say something which got him into trouble. Why do you think that the selection of candidates was so peculiar in that election?

BALZ: I don't think anybody doubted that Governor Romney was at least a nominal frontrunner, but he was not a dominant frontrunner as we've seen in some past campaigns. And as he said, he wasn't sure that he was a perfect fit for the party that came out of 2010. He said Stuart Stevens, his chief strategist, often said to him, this is a Southern-based party, you're a Northerner. This is an evangelical based party, you're a Mormon. This is a very conservative party, particularly the electorate in the primaries, and you're a more moderate conservative, and so....

WERTHEIMER: And the former governor of Massachusetts.

BALZ: And a former governor of Massachusetts. So that it was always going to be a struggle for him to get there.

From there, the Republicans were outmatched by the "enormous" labors of Team Obama:

WERTHEIMER: Well, now, while this very colorful campaign was going on with their zillions of debates and just sort of one extraordinary event after the next, the Obama campaign was, behind the scenes, building an enormous get out the vote campaign of a sort which had never been seen before in American politics. I mean we have seen campaigns that were computerized, but this went way beyond.

BALZ: It did. Their 2008 campaign went beyond what we had experienced prior to that. But I think the gap between 2008 and 2012 was even bigger in terms of the advances they were able to make. I mean they had this advantage. They had an enormous amount of money and they had an enormous amount time to do this. In essence they did it over a four-year period.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis