Archive for the ‘GOP Candidates’ Category

The Conservative Savior-Trap

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Who?

It’s time for some blunt talk among conservatives.  The fact is that we’re losing the country, and in one election after another, we continue to seek out a conservative savior who will put things right.  The problems with this approach are extensive, inasmuch as we assume we can find one person who will so perfectly embody conservatism that we can stop worrying about the direction of the country.  It may be understandable, given the dire condition of our economy, the wreckage of our culture, and the endless parade of disappointments to which we conservatives have been witness, but I’ve begun to think it’s largely our own fault.  We want to go on about our lives and mostly leave the running of the country to some honorable man or woman who will do what is right without further involvement from us, but that’s simply not going to happen.   The truth is that we conservatives have become too obsessed with a savior and too impatient to build the kind of movement that would make one possible but ultimately unnecessary.  If you think I’m overstating the attachment among conservatives to this notion, I offer into evidence the GOP’s own 2012 savior trap.

Consider Michelle Bachmann’s entry into the 2011 primary scene.  Popular with some of the Tea Party wing, for a time, she did well, but then she made a few verbal missteps just as Rick Perry entered the scene.  In a matter of days, Bachmann plummeted in the polls, and Perry’s elevator began rising toward the top.  While she stuck around quite a long while, she never recovered from that point forward.  It didn’t take long, perhaps the span of a month or so, and Perry stumbled badly in a couple of debates, and his numbers tanked badly.  Sensing the end, and realizing Perry was not their savior after all, conservatives held a clearance sale and abandoned him, leaving him to spend the next couple of months in a sliding finale ending with his return to Texas and his endorsement of Newt Gingrich.  Rick Perry would not be the conservatives’ savior any more than Bachmann had been.

At about this time, both Chris Christie(who broke Ann Coulter’s heart) and Sarah Palin(who broke many more, mine included) announced in rapid succession that they would not join the fray.  Two more potential conservative saviors (although calling Christie a “conservative” is admittedly a stretch) went by the wayside as Perry’s meteoric rise was matched only by his apocalyptic fall from polling grace.  The Texan didn’t fulfill conservatives’ search for a savior, so the quest moved on to its next failure.

Enter Herman Cain.  Remember him and his “9-9-9?”  Who could possibly forget?  I enjoyed Cain’s plain-spoken rhetoric, and his ability to speak in sensible albeit general terms to a set of issues that were important to conservatives across the board.  Then something happened, and some allegations were brought forward by all the usual suspects, and before he could shout “9-9-9″ one more time, Herman Cain was gone, knocked out from a rapidly rising lead by the false hope that he could be the next conservative savior. He was not.

Then came the circumstance of Newt Gingrich’s double rise and double-dip.  He came forward and began to create momentum the first time as Herman Cain began to falter.  The two shared a stage at the Woodlands near Houston for a one-on-one debate, and the one thing it made plain was that Cain was out of his depth, nice man though he seemed to be.  Gingrich owned the stage in terms of thoughtful policy ideas, and his command of the issues outgunned Mr. Cain substantially. Suddenly, conservatives who had dismissed him earlier on in the season began to take note.  He was making the case, and he was making it well, and many people dreamed happily of Gingrich facing Obama in debates.  Gingrich came under hammering attacks in early December.

Then there was the first brief double love-affair with Rick Santorum, who seemed to attract social conservatives who felt put-off by some things in the former Speaker’s personal history, and the two dueled back and forth, but Gingrich managed to come back on top.  By the middle of January of 2012, with the South Carolina primary victory, Gingrich had debate performances that put him clearly atop the heap.  Then came the accusations about him, and one flat debate performance, and though he battled back and forth with Mitt Romney, Florida’s primary was won by the former Massachusetts Governor. Santorum also managed to capitalize on Gingrich’s fall,  but it was going to be a two-horse race, and neither of them would be Newt Gingrich. Conservatives dismounted and went on to find their next ride.

After Gingrich, Santorum made a valiant effort, trying all he could to upset the Romney apple-cart, but by then, too many conservatives had hopped from one horse to the next, and Santorum just wasn’t going to do. Conservatives were simply too deeply divided, and thus conquered, so that in the end, Santorum too went down when the money wouldn’t come and the Romney machine gathered steam.  The last conservative savior then faltered and went by the wayside, or so we thought.

At long last came Mitt Romney, and while some hoped for something dramatic at the convention, most had by now accepted the fate of the GOP: The Republican party would put Mitt Romney forward to face Barack Obama and pretend to themselves that he had been a conservative all along.  We all know how that came out, and there’s no point in re-hashing it, save to say that we conservatives permitted ourselves to go off in search of a savior who never arrived.  By the morning of November 7th, we all knew the miserable failure, but we weren’t finished quite yet.

Three months later, we have now the spectacle of Sean Hannity posing the question to Dr. Benjamin Carson about the possibility of his presidential ambitions.  As ever, and hot on the trail of anybody who might save us, somehow, a number of conservatives departed on the path toward seeking a Carson candidacy.  As I detailed earlier, there are any number of reasons to be a bit more cautious about how we will throw our political support around.  Dr. Carson may be a skilled physician, and he may run an excellent foundation, but that’s hardly a reason to consider him for the presidency, particularly in lieu of more thorough examination.

So it is that conservatives left 2012 behind, and with it, an understanding of the causes of their recent disappointments. Already, there is a slate of possible or potential candidates for 2016, but while conservatives run headlong into another round of the savior trap, Obama and his cronies are doing real damage to the country.  Conservatives seem fixated on the notion that they can somehow elevate one person to the presidency who will undo all of Obama’s damage, but I must insist that this is not the case.  Absent a conservative majority in the House and Senate, Obama’s will be done, come Hell or high water.  As one examines the array of Republicans already being batted around as potential presidential candidates in 2016, one can see the same scenario arising, and it ought to jog some conservative memories of 2011-12, and with them, some caution.

I’m not suggesting that conservatives should ignore 2016, but the truth is that we have a good deal of work to do before we get on to that campaign.  Besides, if conservatives are to find such a leader, it will likely come in the heat of the battle of the next two years, when we will begin to form a sense of who is able and willing to lead a conservative movement.  In 2010, one conservative voice lent to the national discourse in a significant way, a voice that had a strong influence over the outcome, helping conservatives send many new members to the House.  She stayed out of the nomination fight in 2012, but without her leadership in 2010, making the campaign stops, and pressing the issues with voters, I doubt we would have had the beltway-blasting success of taking back the House.

As conservatives begin again to seek out another savior, I wonder how many of them are paying attention to the lady who had been in front of them all along. Let us be clear about how important Sarah Palin’s influence had been in that election season, particularly before we go off in search of another would-be savior.  Whether she will seek the presidency at some point in the future is anybody’s guess, but I would keep an eye on Wasilla, if not for a candidacy, then at least for a bold leader who helped us to retake the House in 2010.  In 2012, voters agreed with her endorsements in nearly seventy percent of those races in which she offered one, suggesting that if somebody in the greater universe that is conservatism understands the electorate, it may well be Governor Palin. More importantly, however, she has exhibited the ability to lead on issues and rouse the base while making a strong stand in defense of the republic.

Whomever we may choose to carry our banner in 2016, I hope we are a good deal more persistent than we had been in 2011-2012, a season in which conservatives leaped from one horse to the next with little hesitation.  It’s more important than ever to identify a candidate who can lead, but leadership will be about more than great speeches or rousing debate performances.  A goodly portion of our attention must be aimed at identifying those who will step up to lead now, as we embark on four more years of the Obama agenda.  Who will rise to oppose him?  Who will push hard in the midterms of 2014?  Who will rally conservatives?  Who will be able to put a shattered party together again, if it can be put together again at all?  With whom will conservatives stand in unwavering support?  These questions may well be answered in the next two or three years if we have the discernment to recognize it.

It is time that conservatives re-think this entire savior mentality.  No fruit was borne by that tree in 2012, and I doubt the outcome will be different in 2016 if that is our sole focus.  We must build conservatism not by electing a President first, and then hoping wistfully to achieve success, but instead by building a movement that is positioned to elect a President.  Short-cutting our way to electoral victory cannot and will not work, as evidenced by the miserable results of 2012.  When one places the question in this context, it is true that it exposes the daunting enormity of the task before us, but at least it offers an honest view of the fight we have ahead if we are to salvage the republic.  Wild-eyed but temporary enthusiasm for one candidate or another will not rescue the country, but building a movement can.  At long last, we must stop seeking the one person who alone can save the country, recognizing instead that an able leader can only arise when by our own tireless efforts, we’ve laid the groundwork and made the country capable of salvation.

Sarah Steelman Takes on the Cornyn’s NRSC

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Steel Resolve

Sarah Steelman, the candidate for Senate in Missouri who was defeated in a multi-candidate election in the primaries had some a few words to say about the NRSC(National Republican Senatorial Committee) and the failures in recapturing the Senate in 2012. She points out accurately that the the only Senate pick-up by Republicans was Deb Fischer, a candidate backed and endorsed by Sarah Palin.  Steelman herself a candidate for Senate in 2012, had Palin’s backing in the primary, finishing behind Todd Akin who went on to blow any chance of winning by making a widely reported remark about “legitimate rape.” Akin should have exited the race at that point, because whatever his meaning, he was going to be shouted down by the left and propagandized to the hilt.  Steelman chose to focus on John Cornyn and the NRSC in this segment because of the tendency by the NRSC to back people who are a good fit for the Republican country club sort that populates the Senate.  She also had an aside for Governor Romney.  View the video below, H/T Sarahnettoo:

Delegate Drama: Brokered Convention Still Feasible

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Brokered Convention Still Possible?

I just received this video via email, and I thought I should share this with readers because it provides an interesting report on the matter of delegate counts, and whether this primary is really over after all.  More, it provides some interesting tidbits on the activities of the RNC.  As you know, Ron Paul is still in the race, as is Mitt Romney, and the reason that’s important is because RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has directed staff to “open up channels of communications” between Romney’s campaign and the RNC. That would most definitely seem to violate the RNC’s rules while there are more than one contestant in the race.  We’ve known the RNC was in the tank for Romney for some time, but once again, this serves as further evidence of how they will do anything to advance their chosen candidate.  Here’s the video report from Ben Swann on Cincinnati’s WXIX News:

As you can see from this report, if the “unit rule” isn’t applied, then Mitt Romney may be looking at an open convention after all.  Look out!  “It ain’t over ’til it’s over…”

Swann also provided the link to thereal2012delegatecount.com in the course of his report.  At present, the count shows 697 delegates for Romney, but he needs 1144.  It would provide the irony of ironies if Ron Paul actually wound up forcing a brokered convention.

If You Can’t Beat ‘em, Join ‘em?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Conservatism Rides On Roof...

Signaling what may be the beginning of a new round of endorsements of Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann(R-MN,) endorsed Romney on Thursday, but one wonders how she squares this endorsement with her position prior to exiting the race that Romney “cannot beat Obama.”  This may be the beginning of the big push to get everybody to rally around Romney, with Newt Gingrich having suspended his campaign officially this past Wednesday, and it may leave some number of conservatives in the lurch, including me, because I’m really not interested in endorsing Governor Romney.  On the basis of the adage “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” I find I’m in the position that I have no choice.  I’m not the sort to tell people how to vote, as I would rather make my arguments and leave people to decide on their own, so I’m rarely inclined to “endorse” anybody.  Naturally, as you might expect, any sort of “endorsement” I might offer will be fully justified in the context of my arguments, unconventional though it may be.  In order to explain myself, I need to catalog my reasoning:

Mitt Romney is a spineless wonder when it comes to confronting not only the left, but also the media.  He stays away from interviews he thinks might go poorly for him, considering the particular outlet, and this makes him positively disgusting in my view.  I have no problem with a candidate avoiding a liberal outlet on which it is believed a fair shake will not be offered, but to avoid interviews on conservative shows is another matter.  In virtually every issue over which there exists controversy, Willard remains aloof until the dust settles, never staking out a firm position until the outcome is already settled.  Remember the Debt Ceiling debate?  He had nothing of merit to say until it was over.  Remember the issue of Eric Holder and “Operation Fast and Furious?”  While others called for Holder to step down, and still others called upon President Obama to fire the Attorney General, Mitt remained quiet about it until the evidence was completely damning, and Holder had been criticized broadly.  That’s Mitt Romney’s leadership style, and if you’re going to replace Obama, you might just as well get somebody who joins President Obama in “leading from behind.”

Mitt is the father of Romneycare, and Romneycare begot Obamacare.  If you’re a fan of socialized medicine, this is your guy!  If you like health insurance mandates, and if you really love the notion of death panels, you have found the guy who brought this system to America.  He won’t repeal Obamacare, although he may tinker with it a bit, and if you’re into big government programs, the Republicans couldn’t have picked a better nominee.  Mitt Romney is the son of a liberal Republican archetype, so none of this is really a surprise.

Mitt Romney is a loser.  That’s what Republicans do when they nominate liberals only barely disguised as conservatives, and if you liked the Bob Dole campaign of 1996, you will absolutely love Mitt Romney’s.  He’s been endorsed by a whole slate of Bush-clan members, minus the most recent President Bush, and he’s the establishment’s chosen son.  If you liked the communitarian policy preferences of George W. Bush, or for that matter, his father, you’re going to love Mitt Romney.  If you want somebody who will carry on the Bush dynasty, throwing occasional bones to conservatives while holding court with a bunch of liberals, there has been no finer example of the type seeking the GOP nomination in 2012.

Mitt Romney is not a conservative, despite the pretense, and while the media will do its best to portray him as such in order to attack conservatives, the simple truth is that he’s more inclined to be one of theirs than one of ours.  He will be hammered by the press as a member of the elite, and a rich Wall Street guy, who is out of touch with mainstream America, working-class America, and so on.  He fits the template of the candidate against whom Barack Obama most wishes to run.  He relies upon his own version of Alinskyite tactics, since his father George Romney thought Alinsky was a peach.  We don’t need to worry about Mitt Romney dredging up Saul Alinsky in this campaign, and raise any issues that might be uncomfortable for Obama.  Isn’t that swell?

Of course, if you like failed campaign tactics, consider what Mitt Romney has employed throughout the primaries.  He and his supporting cast of super-PACs have absolutely demolished every opponent, by running dishonest attack ads to a degree I believe is unprecedented in Republican primary campaigns.  He has managed to demoralize conservatives to a degree that some will simply never vote for him, and that means he’s placed his own election chances in serious jeopardy.  His strategy rested upon ad buys that outspent his opponents by as much as twenty to one.  Of course, nobody in the media is asking how this strategy will translate to a general election campaign, when he will not have such an advantage over Barack Obama, and besides, he won’t want to offend any moderates or liberals.  Offending conservatives is fine where Mitt is concerned, but one simply mustn’t offend the left.

Considering all these reasons, I therefore believe it is nigh on inevitable that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee and candidate for President, and he will almost certainly, inevitably lose the contest to Barack Obama, barring some completely unknown factor.  Of all the Republicans the party could have chosen to best and most thoroughly lose the coming presidential election, I believe Willard “Mitt” Romney is absolutely the most thoroughly qualified.  It’s clear that the party establishment intends to lose this election, so that they can put up another insider, perhaps another Bush, and Mitt Romney makes the perfect place-holder.  He’s safe.  He stands little or no chance of victory, and that will clear the path for Barack Obama’s second term, and an incumbent-free oval office in 2016.

Since it’s fairly clear to me that the GOP establishment wants to lose this election, as is clear by its “inevitable” nominee who at last seems to fill that role, I believe I will support the Republican party in its goals.  They didn’t want conservative support, and they tried to close off conservative participation, and I am in the mood to grant them their wish.  Many conservatives aren’t excited about a Romney candidacy, because they know even if he were to win, they will spend the entirety of a Romney administration not battling liberals, but instead in a constant battle to prevent Romney from going along with the left.   Even if Mitt Romney manages to beat Barack Obama by some cosmic comedy of errors on the part of the Obama team, he will have done so without my help.  It is with this in mind that I do hereby heartily “endorse” Mitt Romney as the next liberal Republican presidential loser in a long string of them.   Those who have more recently joined the Romney camp may find my “endorsement” somewhat lackluster, but after all, as a conservative, I believe in accepting responsibility and doing things right, so if we’re going to lose, we might just as well lose big.  It’s the least I can do.

Conservatives may eventually hop aboard the Romney bus, but if and when we do, we will be riding on the roof, and we know it.

 

Note to Readers: My apologies for the lack of posts lately. Between the recent death of my father-in-law, the Spring work on the farm, and a difficult and lengthy project at work that is consuming between twelve and fifteen hours daily, seven days per week, I’ve been unable to post so much as normal.  I expect that by the end of May, the bulk of the farm-related efforts will be complete for the season, and by mid-June, the project at work should be complete.   There will undoubtedly be occasions upon which I am able to post more in that period, but it obviously hasn’t been this week.

This Primary Race Isn’t Over

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Time to Stand

I wish to address this to discouraged conservatives, because I am among your number, and because I don’t think we’re done quite yet, and I don’t think we must settle for Mitt Romney.  Some of you will have rationalized this already on the basis that his alleged “inevitability” seems to be on the brink of becoming true, but let’s not set aside our beliefs in favor of going along to get along.  If Mitt Romney is nominated and loses in the fall, I don’t want it to be for lack of effort to get a better candidate to stand for the general election.  The GOP establishment and nearly the entirety of the media is telling us this is a fait accompli, but I must tell you that I don’t believe there’s yet any reason to accept that this race is over.

Part of the approach of the establishment has been to convince we conservatives that it’s all done, and that but for the formalities involved in the last three months of voting, we have nothing to gain and no chance to win for any candidate but Mitt Romney.  Let me state it bluntly:  This is a lie and its purveyors know it, but they’re hoping you’ll go along with the script.  Nearly seventy percent of self-described Republicans do not believe Mitt Romney can win, and further would like to see some other candidate.

It is for this reason that I believe the real fight against Barack Obama must be now, in the primary season when we choose our candidate.  Look at the turn-out.  Do you know why it’s down?  I can tell you, and it’s simple:  The conservative base of the party has bought the sorry notion that Romney will be our nominee because the fix is in and there’s nothing we can do about it.  The fix certainly seems to be in, but in the end, for it to succeed still requires your silence.  If you’ve supported any of the other three remaining candidates, get off your duff on your state’s primary or caucus day, and go support your candidate.

The establishment always wants you to believe your vote doesn’t matter in this process.  That’s how they manage to dominate the process in election seasons one after the next.  We conservatives seem to find our voices in off-year Congressional elections, if at all, because while the establishment has their favorites too, they campaign is much more diffuse, making it harder for them in many respects to dominate the process. What we conservatives need now to do is to remain standing firm on our principles, and show up and motivate others to show up in the name of the values we hold dear.

Nobody ever promised it would be easy to overcome the Republican establishment, and nobody should suspect they will ever  move aside.  Some have talked about third-party candidacies as a way to get around the “inevitable candidate,” but I would suggest to you that the only way for conservatives to prevail is either to reclaim the Republican party, or make it moot.  The latter holds no short-run promise, but neither does the former.  The fact is that it’s been more than 150 years since we’ve seen one party abandoned entirely to make room for another.  That was the birth of the Republican party, and it displaced the Whigs.  The Whigs had become the establishment party of its day, the functional equivalent of today’s GOP, and like today’s GOP, they didn’t go quietly or easily until the base of the party walked away.

That’s not a process that can occur in six months, and maybe not four years, but it is something we must soon consider, or find ourselves back in this same position again, four years hence, with untold damage having been done to our country if Obama remains and with four years of uncorrected damage if the establishment’s candidate somehow manages to win this November.  Our best path still remains to take the GOP over and to do that, we’ll need to stop Romney, either by defeating him outright, or by denying him a pre-convention victory. In a numerical sense, the brokered convention is still a very real possibility and offers us our best chance.

We won’t attain either if we permit the establishment’s talking points to go unchallenged, both in the media, and at the polls.  We need to stand up now more than ever and be counted or admit we entered a game unprepared for the severity of the battle.  I would hate to think that this had been true, given all the efforts of so many fine conservatives, who have given it their all despite the odds against them.  The truth is they’ve been outnumbered because we’ve not rallied our base, having let the establishment poison the well from which we must draw forth more conservatives to stand on the line beside us.

This should be the primary season in which we conservatives make a stand against the GOP establishment.  They still believe they own the party, but the truth is that when we’re motivated, we outnumber them by a wide margin.  Their tactic of discouraging conservatives will succeed only if we happen to permit it.  I’m asking you to take that stand now, because the situation finally demands it.  We won’t know what the Supreme Court has decided about Obama-care for another three months, but we must behave as though they will uphold it in order to remember why we must fight this issue on the floor of Congress, but also in our nominating convention in August.  Let’s no surrender just yet.  Too many states have yet to voice their preference, and there is nothing that says we can’t force the issue.  It’s time for conservatives to stand, because this race isn’t over unless we surrender.

NOW Politico Notices Rove’s Apparent Leanings?

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Rove? Biased? Get Out!

Permit me a moment’s chuckle as I consider the brilliant “journalism” of Politico.com.  Here is an on-line “political news site” that brought to light claims by various parties against Herman Cain, along with other Pulitzer-Quality journalism that indicates just how spiffy they really are over at Politico.  Now they’ve posted a story by Kenneth Vogel and Keach Hagey speculating on the possibility that Karl Rove is assisting Mitt Romney.  Now that’s journalism!  Heck, that may qualify as outright rocket science.  I find the article laughable, but for the fact that they seem to be quite serious in their approach, a fact that makes the article all the more excruciatingly gut-busting.  Let’s be honest, shall we?  That they’ve only now arrived at the conclusion that Karl Rove might be pushing for one particular candidate is embarrassing.  Where have these guys been?

As their opening argument, they offered this:

“But it’s hard to miss, among all of Rove’s Fox commentary and Wall Street Journal columns, that he seems to favor one candidate over the others.”

No way!  Shocking!  Karl Rove favors one candidate over the others?  Is it possible?

“Over the last year, Rove has used these powerful media platforms to systematically undercut every rising Romney challenger in succession while lauding Romney’s victories as “historic.” The pattern has gotten under the skin of the supporters of Romney’s challengers, who argue that Rove has more ties to Romney and his super PAC than he is disclosing to his media audiences, and thus has no business assessing the Republican primary race as a purportedly independent analyst.”

I’d like to know what this pair of investigative gurus have been doing these last eight months.  In fairness, I will say they have done an excellent job of laying out some pertinent facts about Rove’s connections to Romney via his SuperPac, American Crossroads GPS.  What I couldn’t quite understand was why they suddenly felt the need to tell us what has been painfully obvious for some time, but they managed to tell us why they’re really concerned about Karl Rove’s machinations at this late date anyway:

“Santorum and Gingrich are both former Fox News contributors, and have been beating Romney handily, in terms of airtime, on the so-called “Fox News primary” throughout the campaign. But they are not winning the all-important Karl Rove Primary – significant both for his media prominence and his association with the super PAC American Crossroads and a sister group that together plan to spend as much as $300 million attacking President Barack Obama and other Democrats in the general election.”

That makes more sense.  It’s not that the writers are so concerned for the unfairness they document in Rove’s treatment of other candidates so much as the fact that Rove will certainly be turning his powerful machine against Barack Obama. Nevertheless, they did manage to put up a list of Rove’s dirty deeds, and it seems to match with what I have seen:

 

  • When Romney was being ridiculed for offering to bet Rick Perry $10,000 in last December’s debate, Rove told Hannity he “didn’t think it was a big mistake,” and then pivoted to attacking Gingrich for his talk of a lunar base.
  • Later that month, when Gingrich complained about being carpet-bombed by negative ads paid for by Romney’s super PAC in Iowa, Rove called him a “whiner.”
  • When Gingrich was leading the polls in January, Rove dinged Gingrich for calling Romney “a liberal” and suggesting that poor children should work as janitors in schools.
  • In mid-February, as Santorum was coming off a batch of wins, Rove said Santorum’s views on contraception, particularly within the bounds of marriage, “appears to be judgmental,” before going on to call Gingrich a “whiner” once again.
  • As things were looking close between Romney and Santorum in Michigan, Rove accused the press of “rooting for Santorum to win even though they are hammering him with a lot of social things” because “the media is rooting for Obama to win.”
  • On the night of the Michigan and Arizona primaries, he echoed the Romney campaign’s complaints about Santorum’s robocalls to Democrats and called out Santorum for labeling Obama a “snob” for wanting everyone to have a college education. That, Rove said, “hurt more than what you might think” because “most of us believe that higher education is a means for prosperity.”
  • In his Wall Street Journal column following those primaries, he declared the primary “solidly in Mitt Romney’s direction” and proceeded to reiterate Santorum’s “unforced errors,” from the college comment to his dismissal of John F. Kennedy’s speech about the separation between church and state.
  • Even when Rove is critical of Romney, as he was in a Feb. 1 Journal column declaring the “Romney campaign is tilted too heavily toward biography and not nearly enough toward ideas,” he acts like a supportive adviser doling out constructive criticism, tossing in lines boosting Romney and chiding Gingrich for their respective handling of Paul Ryan’s budget.

That’s a pretty decent laundry list of recent Rove doings, but as they point out, there are more complete lists including Tommy Christopher’s at Mediaite, penned back in December, noting that Rove was doing a number on Gingrich at the time, but he listed many others.

Of course, it’s difficult to say with any precision what may be lingering between Karl Rove’s ears.  I’ve never had any particular problem expressing my own concerns about his whiteboard antics on FoxNews, including some of the garbage he was heaving in the direction of Sarah Palin late last summer.  As The Politico piece concludes, Rove is part of the GOP establishment now, and his antics merely prove the point that if he’s involved, it’s because he has a dog in this hunt, as I asserted all those months ago.  As I said then, Karl Rove is a master manipulator and this is how he operates.  None of this is surprising to me, and I’m stunned that it’s taken Politico this long to notice.

Move to the Back, Sit Down, Shut Up, and Vote Like We Tell You

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Do They Only Want Our Votes?

The message of the GOP establishment is clear even if they soften it slightly behind flowery language.  If you’re a conservative, the only way to get a seat at their table is to surrender your principles in exchange.  Join up, and they will throw you a bone or two, and if the Republican establishment sees you as a candidate who could be elevated, they’re apt to offer to help “bring you along” as an up-and-comer.  They don’t view themselves as “RINOs,” because it’s their belief that they are the core of the Republican party.  Now they’re telling conservatives that this race is over, and they’re now in a full-court-press mode, asserting that now is the time to unite behind Mitt Romney.  They fear a brokered convention, and all of this talk about “uniting behind Romney” is aimed and shutting this down before a floor fight at the convention becomes a reality.

I’ve asked the question before, but let me ask it again:  Are conservatives prepared to sit down, shut up, and do as they are told?

The problem rank-and-file conservatives face is simple:  They don’t have the monetary resources to back a candidate like the establishment can.  Instead, they express their support by showing up, voting, working as volunteers, and doing what they can by means of their efforts.  They don’t make thousands of dollars in donations, and they’re not able put up a flurry of cash in support of a campaign, so what frequently happens is that they field a candidate or two who are underfunded and unable to make their way into the fight.  Worse, since the establishment of the GOP will always have at least one well-funded, supported candidate, what they are able to do is dominate the process despite the fact that their candidate is not particularly popular with the majority of the party.   This is our situation now, and all too often, it’s the situation in which conservatives find themselves by the time the convention comes along.

The party establishment may deny their own existence, but it’s undeniable that they have the ability to push a candidate that suits their aims, and all too frequently, that candidate is like Mitt Romney, who is not a conservative, and not widely accepted as such.  Instead, the establishment must cajole and convince conservatives into supporting their guy, because the truth is that the one thing their money can’t buy is the votes of conservatives.  Votes are the commodity they need, and it is the only bit of leverage the conservatives in the Republican party possess, but the frightening truth is that they are often placed in the position that they must choose between voting for whomever the party establishment chooses, or withholding their votes altogether.  Many view the latter as unconscionable, and so they dutifully troop down to the polls to surrender to the establishment on election day.  This tactic is effective to a certain degree, but it hardly solves the problem because too many conservatives simply will not be goaded that way.

The GOP establishment’s answer is ever the same:  “If you don’t vote for our guy, you’re the problem.  You call us RINOs?  Where were you on election day?  It’s your fault we lost the election because you didn’t show up.“   I reject this argument in its totality, because what it asserts is no different than the argument sorry competitors in any market will make to excuse their own failures.   Imagine you’re the head of General Motors, and you’re trying to get customers for your latest product, the Chevy Volt.  If consumers don’t buy it because the car has made a bad first impression, is heavily subsidized by government, is ultra-expensive even with the subsidies, and worst of all, has practical problems that make it worthless for 90% of American drivers from the outset, you might well blame the customer, but that won’t bring you success, and it won’t help your bottom line.  Your only option is to destroy your competition so that consumers have no choice but to buy your product since there is no alternative.

This is the problem the Republican party suffers when it insists on nominating candidates who are in many ways incompatible with the views of most conservatives.  Mitt Romney is a liberal Republican, and there’s really no disguising this, and while those in the establishment hate cultural conservatives, they also know they need their votes to win.  You would think that at some point, the establishment would catch on, but I submit to you that they have on occasion.  George W. Bush maintained an image of having moral views more compatible with cultural conservatives, and that’s why they helped elect him.  In stark contrast, however, we have Mitt Romney, who in substance is no worse than George W. Bush, but for the fact that he is not palatable to cultural conservatives.  If he were, Rick Santorum would have long ago been put away, but the problem for Romney is that he’s not even capable of convincingly faking it.

The other problem conservatives face is that the establishment would just as soon lose as nominate a conservative of any description to the top of the ticket.  They’re not happy with conservatives generally, and the reason is that they favor a progressive polity that is more in line with FDR’s than Ronald Reagan’s.  For those in the Republican establishment, Barack Obama may be bad, but Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain would be infinitely worse.  The very idea that these should have any chance is more a matter of the establishment humoring the conservative base in order to permit them to believe they’ve actually had some say. The idea laid upon the table by the establishment is that at some point, conservatives must become more ‘practical’ when those choices disappear.

In the last few days, the establishment has begun to push the narrative that “it’s all over, and it’s time to begin to focus on Barack Obama,” but I don’t see why we cannot do both.  I do not accept the notion that we must cast off our alternatives to Mitt Romney simply on the say-so of the Republican establishment, and I’m not even slightly influenced by their insistence that it’s now time.  Americans don’t really begin to pay strong attention until the conventions anyway, so I don’t understand the rush to close off debate, except that they fear a floor fight in which the establishment candidate might not prevail.   For me, that’s all the more reason to continue to have the fight within the party, because at the end of this trail, however it ends, it’s we who will have to live with it, but also with ourselves.  The establishment will say that it had been our fault if their candidate gets the nomination, but fails to win in November, either because we had forced a brokered convention, or having had the establishment candidate shoved down our throats, instead simply walked away.  If they give us the Chevy Volt of candidates as our only choice, I don’t see how they can dare to complain if we aren’t willing to be electrified. Whose fault is that?  Ours?  Or theirs?

Santorum Wins Louisiana Plus New Santorum Video: Obamaville

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Something to Celebrate

With very nearly half of the vote, Rick Santorum easily defeated his Republican opponents in the Louisiana GOP Primary.  Mitt Romney finished second, more than 20% behind Santorum, with Gingrich back in third, and Paul finishing out of sight in last.  This sets the stage for a continuing primary fight, and it’s one that may go all the way to the convention.  At this point, it may take a brokered convention to keep Romney out, although the math becomes muddled once you consider all the possible permutations.  What’s clear at this stage is that while Romney remains the front-runner in the delegate count, he’s in for a hard road ahead.  My thought is: Good!  I would prefer a brokered convention at this point, since it seems that it will be the only available method by which we get a nominee who stands a chance of defeating Barack Obama.

Santorum’s campaign released a new ad on Saturday, presenting a dramatic portrayal of the future should Barack Obama be re-elected, but then again, much of it is already true.  The ad runs just more than a minute, and it makes the point perfectly clear: Barack Obama must go.  The alternative is Obamaville:

 

Whoa Whoa Whoa… Santorum’s Remark and the Misplaced Over-Reaction to It

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

How Many Secretly Agree?

Let me make this plain for those of you who are  hopping all over Santorum for his remark, doing Romney’s dirt-work for him.  For Newt Gingrich supporters, I need you to follow along with me closely on this.   You’re not helping yourself but you are helping Romney by spreading this meme of the day.  Why? Simply put, not all of Santorum’s supporters are apt to switch to Gingrich, and there is some evidence more of them will switch to Romney if they abandon Santorum.  I want you to stop long enough to think about the implications as you pile-on Santorum over something  with which many have secretly agreed.    You can tell yourself that Romney is better than Obama, but what the Etch-a-Sketch remark by his Communications Director Eric Fehrnstrom reveals is that he very well may not be much better.  What  Santorum said is true, and you had better grasp it:  If Mitt Romney wins the nomination, he’s going to switch his position and “Etch-a-Sketch” his repeal promise right out of the picture.  Bank  on it.

I knew when I saw the transcripts of Santorum’s remarks, it was going to be pushed hard by the Romney camp as a way to change the subject from Etch-a-Sketch, and I knew some number of conservatives would take the bait.  If you have somehow missed the allegedly controversial remark by Santorum, here it is:

You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there,” said Santorum. “If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the etch a sketch candidate of the future.”

You might ask how it is that I could support Santorum’s remark, and I will tell you that it’s Romney’s record, and the slip-up by Fehrnstrom that supports Santorum’s remark.  There’s something else that supports his remark too, and I want you to understand it clearly:  We have had other establishment candidates who wound up as the GOP nominee, and in these cases, when they managed to get elected, we saw many conservatives spend the entirety of their terms defending them against their liberal acts, that they would have opposed had they been carried out by Democrats.  Example?  George W. Bush on education, prescription drugs, and a number of lesser issues.  Conservatives defended Bush in what were liberal policies they would have otherwise opposed, had they been proposed by Clinton or Obama.  In this sense, I can understand Santorum’s thinking, as he’s been guilty of it himself(“take one for the team,” etc,) because conservatives will forgive things from Republican presidents they would oppose from liberals.  In other words, were Mitt Romney to be elected, you might be inclined to overlook his liberal policies, and if it were Obama, you’d fight for every inch of ground.  Obama may drive us left, but you will fight against it.  When Mitt does, will you fight so hard?

It’s with this in mind that I consider carefully all these attacks on Rick Santorum.  Friday morning’s deluge of attacks are merely helping Mitt Romney, first by diverting our attention by from the real story which is the Etch-a-Sketch remark, and second by ignoring the more important point: This will not help Newt Gingrich prevail.  At this point, the only way anybody except Romney wins this nomination is by having a brokered convention, and the path to that outcome will require that rather than attacking one another, that Gingrich and Santorum focus on Mitt Romney.  He’s the real weakness, and he’s the real trouble for conservatives, and while these two camps beat one another up, the “inevitable guy” is slinking away quietly, and not being held to account for his adviser’s “Etch-a-Sketch” remarks, or the other evidence that now abounds that Romney is no conservative, and will not run as one come the fall, never mind govern as such on the extraordinarily slim chance he actually defeats Barack Obama.

I’ve been open about it: I don’t  see a substantial difference between Romney and Obama, other than the party label, and other superficial differences, and both are part of the real adversary we face in restoring our constitutional republic.  While some people are turning flips over this so-called “gaffe” by Rick Santorum, and while Fox and Drudge can’t wait to blast headlines mis-characterizing Santorum’s remarks as expressing a “preference” for Obama, the people giving this situation the biggest standing ovation are over at Romney headquarters, because they’re not even getting their hands particularly dirty, instead relying upon conservatives to destroy one another.

Wake up! You’re watching the left hand while the right hand is about to pop you in the jaw.  Seriously, ladies and gentlemen, we mustn’t miss the central truth in all of this, and while Santorum may have given it voice in a clumsy fashion, you know damned-well he has a valid point: The actual differences between Barack Obama’s record, and Mitt Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts are undeniably thin.  Don’t tell me about Bain Capital.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s not really relevant.  The  United States Federal government is not an investment firm.  By way of contrast, however, a Governor of a state is like a President, and if you wish to examine the similarities shared by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, it is upon his gubernatorial record that you must focus.

In the light of any such examination, you cannot contend that Mitt Romney’s record is substantially different from Barack Obama’s.  Rick Santorum’s point is that if you “etch-a-sketch” Romney’s primary campaign, so that he can “start over” and “begin anew,” what will we get?  The answer is that we will get what Mitt Romney was as governor of Massachusetts, and if you think that record can beat Barack Obama, you’re seriously out-of-touch.  The Republican nominee will have to draw sharp and distinct contrasts between the two parties, and once he captures the nomination, Mitt Romney will begin to focus instead on their similarities to “ease the minds of independents and moderates.” That’s what Fehrnstrom as much as stated, and if you’re being sidetracked by Santorum’s remarks, you’re missing the point to your own detriment, and to the detriment of both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

One more time, ladies and gentlemen, I feel as though I’m playing Brian Dennehy in First Blood, settling a squabble between two of his deputies, and re-directing their focus: “The fight is out there!”  It’s true.  The fight is not between Gingrich and Santorum, at least not yet.  We might have that fight, but to have it, they’re going to need to sink Romney, and the only way that happens is if rather than squabbling with one another, they instead focus on Mitt Romney’s deplorable record of governance, and his tendency to “Etch-a-Sketch” the record.  After all, when he used state funds to replace all the hard-drives in order to thoroughly destroy the contents of the originals, that was an example of Romney’s “Etch-a-Sketch.”  When Mitt Romney denied having a line in his book about spreading Romneycare as a national solution, and had it removed in subsequent printings, that was “Etch-a-Sketch.”  When Mitt Romney pretends he’s been a friend to the Second Amendment, that’s “Etch-a-Sketch.”  When Mitt Romney pretends that Romneycare is nothing like Obama-care, that’s “Etch-a-Sketch,” and the Obama is already calling him out on it.

Doesn’t that effectively validate Santorum’s point?  Yes, I believe it does, ladies and gentlemen, so if you’re going to say this Santorum statement is somehow abominable, I’d ask that you at least realize what you’re doing:  You’re going to drive some away from Santorum to be sure, but less than half will land in the Gingrich camp, and you should have no trouble with the math as to who will make the larger gain.  How does that help Gingrich?  How?  Gingrich really has only the notion of a brokered convention in numerical terms at this point, so who does it help? You want to win?  Numerically, it is nigh on impossible for Newt Gingrich to win the nomination before the convention, and not a great deal better for Santorum, so the answer must be that to have a shot at somebody, anybody other than Romney, we must have a brokered convention, and this nit-picking of Santorum will not help you obtain that result.  Besides, in a factual sense, Santorum really wasn’t far off the mark, was he?  Don’t fall into the trap of doing Romney’s dirty-work for him.  Fox and Drudge are doing that plenty, and if the two camps of Gingrich and Santorum haven’t yet discovered that those two institutions have no intention of helping your candidate, well, all I can say is that you’re permitting yourselves to be played.  If you’re to have any hope of stopping Romney, stop picking at one another, and don’t let Romney slip away untouched.

Sarah Palin Talks to Fox News Weekend Live

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Governor Sarah Palin appeared on FoxNews on Weekend Live.  She discussed the field of contenders, and whether she would get out and campaign for the GOP nominee if that happened to be Mitt Romney.  They talked briefly about the HBO fiction called Game Change, and her PAC’s response to it with a video.   Then she was asked about whether she would accept a GOP nominee’s offer of the Vice Presidential spot on the ticket, and she threw a name into the hat for consideration as the GOP’s Vice Presidential nominee that many of you will find quite interesting.

Watch the video:

Gingrich May Be Staging a Comeback

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Up in the Polls

Wednesday evening, Hot-Air reported the results of a poll that seemed to suggest that while he has a long way to go, Newt Gingrich may be seeing something of a resurgence in support.  It’s minor, but he jumped two points in his Gallup Support Rating.  Part of this may be due to Rick Santorum’s failure to best Romney in Michigan.  Some of his comments during the Michigan campaign swing may have hurt him, and this may cause him some serious problems. If he can’t grab Ohio next Tuesday, it may well spell the decline of Santorum’s hopes.  Gingrich is predictably strong in Georgia, but the interesting fact of Super Tuesday may be that we could have three different winners among the ten states.

Santorum is leading in Ohio at the moment, with Romney behind by eight points in second.  Gingrich is back in third, but well ahead of Ron Paul. In Georgia, it’s the reverse order, except for Paul, who is still fourth.  In other states, it’s a mixed bag, with Gingrich doing well in Tennessee, and Romney is doing well in Idaho.  What all of this suggests is that the race isn’t over, and until the non-Romneys reduce by one, he may go on to win.  Neither Santorum nor Gingrich are likely to quit, but much of that will hinge on Super Tuesday’s outcome.  If something incredible happens, and Gingrich loses his home state, as he himself mentioned, there’s probably not a way forward for somebody who cannot secure his home state.  That would be a blow to Gingrich, but for the moment, he looks strong in Georgia.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Super Tuesday being split up three ways, because that would certainly keep this thing alive. Among these three, I still prefer Gingrich, but I’d vote for my dog before I’ll vote for Romney in the Texas primary.  Speaking of Texas, our primary was supposed to be on Super Tuesday, but it’s been bumped back due to a redistricting court case.  Now, Texas is tentatively scheduled to hold its primary on May 29th, making it not quite irrelevant, but surely reducing its importance.  I don’t think this has been accidental either, as Texas probably wouldn’t support Romney unless he is the only one left standing, and by the end of May, he may well be.

Drudge Thought He Took Care of Newt

Whether Newt Gingrich can actually launch another comeback off of Santorum’s relatively poor performance in Arizona and Michigan is another question, but Gingrich has exhibited resilience throughout this campaign.  It’s also true to say that he’s probably the best-suited to contend with Barack Obama in a debate, but he’s also the only one among these candidates who stands a chance of reforming Washington DC, excepting Ron Paul, but he’s got a different agenda, and I don’t believe he’s all that serious about winning.  The funniest part of this story is seeing that Drudge has run with the same Hot Air story as his headline.  If Newt does rise again, I wonder what Drudge will do to him next.

I hope we get to find out.

 

Barack Obama IS NOT Incompetent

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

It's No Accident

I have listened to Republicans discussing Barack Obama’s various policy failures, and I have noticed a trend.  Among Republican moderates, there is a tendency to say that Barack Obama is clueless, and that “he just doesn’t get it.”  This willingness to permit him to claim “good intentions” is a farce.  Genuine conservatives examine the policies of Barack Obama, and will subsequently conclude the ugly truth, and it isn’t that Obama is incompetent. Instead, they see in his action a clear and unambiguous malevolence that should not be hidden behind a facade of mere incapacity for the job.  Barack Obama’s policies are designed to damage and diminish the United States, and pretending he’s merely a bumbling dolt doesn’t address the gravity of our national situation.  I understand well why the RINO set does this, but it’s time for somebody to speak up in candid opposition.  Among the remaining candidates, only two show any willingness to do so, and from my point of view, this disqualifies any who won’t.

Mitt Romney says “Obama is in over his head.”  That’s pure nonsense.  Barack Obama hasn’t issued executive orders and regulations of the sort we have seen from his administration because he’s “in over his head.”  The ban on drilling had nothing to do with his intelligence or capacity to govern, just as the Keystone XL pipeline decision was not born of simple incompetence.  These were carefully calculated decisions that are intended to reduce the amount of oil available to the market, with at least two goals, both designed to weaken our country and burden its people, thus wrecking their lives.

Barack Obama wasn’t acting out of incompetence when he imposed a healthcare system and attending regulations that will force Catholics to buy insurance that will include contraception coverage to which  they are opposed as a matter of conscience.  He wasn’t acting out of a lack of knowledge when he was handing out cash from the public trough to purveyors of the “Green jobs” scam typified by Solyndra.  These were things undertaken not as a matter of his inability to “get it,” or because he was “in over his head,” but because he intended to punish people of faith and reward his slimy friends, respectively.

The President didn’t mistakenly negotiate a deal that provided for dramatic cuts of our national defense.  He knew this would be the ultimate outcome, and he tasked his party in both Houses of Congress to help him make sure this would indeed happen.  He wasn’t acting out of a naive indifference to our strategic defense capabilities when he agreed to provide the Russians with our missile defense secrets, and he wasn’t incapable of seeing the danger involved in fomenting the so-called “Arab Spring” that now stands on the verge of becoming and Islamic winter.  He wasn’t unaware of the Green Revolution in Iran that stood in opposition to Ahmedinejad, but he did nothing to even offer those people a bit of hope until almost three years after it was all over.  He wasn’t acting from a state of professional ignorance when he pulled our troops out of Iraq, because he had been told what would eventuate as a result.  None of these things were done because Obama had been incompetent, but because he is too competent in damaging our country.

His willingness to give away a number of oil-rich Alaskan islands to the Russians isn’t a matter of incompetence either, and as former Senate candidate Joe Miller made clear, there’s nothing we’re getting out of this deal except a kick in the behind.  It wasn’t mere lack of experience that leads him to disarm the United States of its strategic nuclear weapons.  It’s not a matter of being in over his head that makes him respond to the demands of Soros while ignoring the will of the American people in his legislative agenda.  It’s not his “good intentions” that are at work in any of this, because in point of fact, it cannot be demonstrated that he has any intentions but the malevolent.

Gingrich and Santorum both managed to point this out in varying ways in the debate on CNN on Wednesday night, but the problem is that Romney is still playing patty-cakes with Obama, and offers Obama the cover of “good intentions,” and “incompetence.”  Barack Obama is not incompetent.  The policies he’s pursued have but one over-arching goal, and it’s perfectly honest to anybody who rejects blinders in the matter: He is damaging and diminishing the United States by every method available, from defense to debt; from energy to liberty; in law and regulation.  This man who occupies the office of the President is methodically deconstructing the United States, its historical prosperity and vitality, and leaving in its place shrinking, dying industries and rotting cities, along with a people nearly unable to fend for themselves.

This isn’t accidental.  This isn’t because he’s hapless.  Republicans should stop pretending that Obama is anything but a malevolent creature if they want my support.  I cannot accept the useless oratory of Mitt Romney who will not speak of that which is obvious in the nation all around us.  That sort of timid, tepid, morally rudderless and non-judgmental rhetoric does nothing to fix the problem because it hides from the eyes of the American people how awful Barack Obama’s willfully, purposefully chosen courses of action have been.   I have no more patience for candidates who will not state the obvious:  Barack Obama is openly harming the country, and he’s not incompetent at all.  Instead, he’s damnably good at it, and any candidate who cannot say this will not get my support.  It’s time for them to find the courage to speak the truth about our President, and all the awful implications of his actions.

Many Notice the Paul-Romney Tag-Team

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Santorum Sandwich

It’s not surprising to me that while the Washington Post inadvertently proves my point about the Santorum double team carried out by Paul and Romney in Wednesday night’s debate, they fail to understand that Santorum represents one leg of the conservative stool, as the media celebrates Paul and Romney attacking a leg on which Santorum is not really resting.  First of all, let us be clear that Ron Paul is not conservative.  He’s libertarian.  Second, let us be likewise clear that Romney is a liberal masquerading as a moderate.  For Paul to attack Santorum from the right is no surprise, at least on economic and liberty grounds, but for Romney to join in is a bit like being attacked by Barack Obama for being too liberal.  There’s something annoying about an attack from Romney on earmarks, as he’s lobbied for them in his own gubernatorial career.  It’s an inconsistent attack demonstrating Romney’s desperation that shows how willing he is to recalibrate himself to situational demands.

More, the double-team(and this gives that term new meaning) clearly demonstrates that Santorum was the victim of a set-up Wednesday night.  The questions were scripted, the audience was stacked, and Paul and Romney carried out their hit.  The thing many people are missing, including the Washington Post, is that in truth, Santorum actually managed to bear up well.

One of t he things people claim is that they want politicians to tell them the truth.  I think that’s a bunch of aimless happy talk, because when they do, they are frequently crucified for it. Whether you like it or not, or agree with it or not, what Santorum said on Wednesday night about politics being a “team sport” is true: You simply can’t get legislation through if you’re a perfect purist.  Witness Ron Paul.  His legislative agenda witnesses few actual successes, but it’s easy to be uncompromising in this context if all one is really doing is making a political statement with no actual intention of implementing one’s ideas.

Of course, some compromises aren’t really that at all, but are instead complete surrenders. Knowing the difference between real compromise and surrender is important to succeed in a legislative branch that consists of 536 voting members(when the Vice President presides over the Senate.)   When Santorum admitted that while serving as Senate Republican Conference Chair, he had to push bills he didn’t necessarily like, that’s true, I’m certain.  The problem is, most Americans don’t know that position exists, or what its holder does, if they’re familiar with the term at all.

This is a year when such nuances may not matter to voters.  Instead, many seem caught up in the huff-and-puff of the media memes of the day, as they come and go. Details don’t matter, and I think this is what Romney’s banking on. As I concluded some time ago, this whole primary season seems to be a scripted affair, as one after another of the alternatives to Romney have been pushed hard, obtained front-runner status briefly, and been ditched with a clearly coordinated effort to keep Romney out front.  Go back to the beginning, and look at the charts.

Bachmann went up, won the straw poll, and was chopped up by Perry’s entrance as she was portrayed as a wide-eyed loon with simple picture selection in the media. Combined with a few gaffes on her part, she was quickly eclipsed.  Perry rose, and became front-runner, and stayed there until an “oops” moment in a debate that added to his previous weak debate performances, and soon he too was on his way down.  Then we had the rise of Herman Cain, and right on cue, as he had attained the top of the polls, here came the stories claiming he was guilty of this, that, and the other. Down he went, and then along came Gingrich.

In Iowa, Paul, Santorum and Romney all hammered on Gingrich, and this sent him downward, but the problem is that Newt wouldn’t stay down, so they hammered on him a bit more, Drudge going nuclear, and Rick Santorum wound up the beneficiary.  Today, Santorum should realize what has been done as they are now doing to him what they did to Gingrich, and Cain, and Perry, and Bachmann, and anybody else who rises to challenge Romney.  The most disappointing part to me is how willing conservative voters have been to be driven along in this way.

It’s bad enough that it’s been plain for some time how this is being managed, but when I see Santorum and Gingrich getting sucked into this, I think they’re both missing the point.  They’re both being picked off, one at a time, but rather than put their heads together to cut off the head of the snake, they spent too much time going after one another.  Finally, I think the two of them are beginning to realize it, and if Santorum didn’t see this last night, he never will. If he’s smart, he will try to form a strategic alliance with Gingrich much as Paul has done with Romney.  This is what Gingrich began to do before he was ambushed in late January, when he brought along Cain and Perry in support of his candidacy.

If Romney and Paul can get together for their own nefarious reasons, it might be time for Gingrich and Santorum to consider the same. I think it’s fair to suggest that a strategic alliance aiming at the elimination of Romney is a good idea, but the only way they’re going to do that is to begin exposing Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.  Romney likes to talk about his time in the private sector, and his management of the Olympics, but he avoids talking about his record as governor, except to tell us he managed to balance his state’s budget four years in a row.  What he doesn’t advertise is the fact that it is required under law.  Santorum made that point in Wednesday night’s debate, but I think the significance is lost on some people.

Will Romney ever face the sort of examination the others have undergone?  It’s looking unlikely, as the media is saving all its best dirt for the general election.  Bank on it. I Paul and Romney succeed in making this a two man show, Romney will win the nomination, and Paul will be able to exact some sort of promise for his role.  I think it’s fair to say that if Gingrich and Santorum don’t wake up to this reality, they’re in big trouble. While most clear-thinking Americans have noted the apparent Paul-Romney tag-team, the two people who most need to notice it and work against it have not: Gingrich and Santorum must start to think about how to coordinate a bit. Knock out Romney, and it’s a new ball-game.

Ron Paul Won’t Touch Romney in Debate – Now We Know Why

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Like Father Like Son?

It’s all coming down to this:  Ron Paul is staying in this race in order to assist Romney, because he wants his son to be on the Presidential ticket with Mitt Romney.  As he travels around stumping on the basis of his limited government position, all he’s really angling for his to get his son on the ticket with the most liberal candidate in this race.   I wonder if the people who are supporting Ron Paul know this, because if not, they’re in for a big surprise.  I’ve never seen such a thing.  Talk about opposites:  Ron Paul wants Mitt Romney because he’s considering his son for the VP slot, but the problem is that the only way he can do that is to defeat Rick Santorum, and in tonight’s debate on CNN, the elder Paul had every chance to criticize Romney, but he didn’t, and instead spent his time hammering Santorum.  This is not a coincidence, as the article linked about makes plain.

I like many of the things Ron Paul stands for in the domestic arena, but the problem is that I now know he’s a shill candidate, and it’s been increasingly clear for some time.  This is a sell-out of the first order because irrespective of whether the younger Paul is on the ticket, the problem remains:  Romney can’t win, but even if he did, Rand Paul will be nearly powerless to effect policy changes, and virtually none of Ron Paul’s positions will be adopted.  If Ron Paul’s supporters are willing to stand for that, frankly, I don’t know what to make of them any longer.  Romney’s presidency would be the antithesis of everything Ron Paul has advocated.

At the conclusion of the debate on CNN, Anderson Cooper came on as the stage emptied of the candidates, and I watched with interest as Mitt Romney got up and directly went to shake Ron Paul’s hand and exchange a few words with him.  He should have kissed his backside instead, as Paul never failed to attack Rick Santorum throughout.

Now that I better understand Ron Paul’s actual agenda, it’s easier to walk away from him. He may be willing to settle for a campaign that ends with getting his Senator son on the Mitt Romney ticket, but I certainly am not.  This is why people become so frustrated with politics:  Politicians sell them out while soliciting their donations, and broker behind-the-scenes deals for the sake of personal expedience.  Unreal.

Governor Palin on Hannity: “A Boiled Egg is Hard to Beat” – Video

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Sarah Palin: Steal Sharpening Steal

Governor Palin appeared on Hannity on FoxNews on Tuesday evening, explaining why she thinks this process of vetting is far from over.  Hannity asked her a number of pointed questions, on a variety of topic revolving around the primary season, including whether the process should end soon, since it seems they’re damaging one another more than the President.  She answered with a play on words:

“A boiled egg is hard to beat.”

Asked about the possibility of a brokered convention, she made it perfectly clear as to whether she thought she would have any role in it when Hannity asked about her willingness to step forward:

 

“The establishment will never come to me, I know that for a fact.”

They discussed the attacks coming at Rick Santorum, and went on to explain that people should stand with Santorum on the question of good and evil in this world.  More, she stressed the very topic she’s discussed before, and I have explained at length in these pages about the direct link between our economy and the availability of energy resources, and how the lack of the latter throttles the former.  You can watch the video here:

 

Re-Run Romney

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Plateau: This High But No Higher

It seems as though everybody but Mitt Romney and maybe Karl Rove have noticed that Romney is now simply an obstruction to this process.  Here’s the dynamic, and it’s the thing you must understand about this nomination race:  It’s Mitt Romney versus a coalition of people who think he’s awful.  The majority of the party has been leaping from front-runner to front-runner to avoid Mitt Romney, and there’s good reason for it:  He’s not a conservative.  Conservatives  know what the GOP insiders seem not to have noticed:  We won’t defeat Barack Obama in 2012 with a warmed over 2008 re-run who will be unable to contrast himself with Barack Obama in any credible way.  Let me put it another way:  I know there is an element in the Republican party who thinks this guy can win, but the truth is that he can’t, and I can give you several very conclusive, take-it-to-the-bank reasons he will never be the President of the United States.

He has a history of governing as a liberal.  You need only examine his record in Massachusetts to understand that Mitt Romney is not going to motivate voters in battleground states.  Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will go for Obama in a big way because Mitt doesn’t do anything to get out the critical vote of the conservative base in those states, and without them, he’s toast.  He can’t win because he’s rightly seen as a squish, and a malleable Massachusetts liberal, and when people look at him, they think: “John Kerry.”  He’s a wealthy white liberal from a liberal state, and that’s an appeal that simply won’t fly with mainstream conservatives.  Sure, he’ll pull in the desperate anti-Obama vote, but he won’t pull hard enough at the margins, and when those about the middle compare him with Obama, and having voted for Obama once, they aren’t apt to change their loyalties at this late date for somebody they will see as Obama, but without the personality.

He will not do well in the South.  He may pull a large number of votes from those who detest Barack Obama, but he will not energize the conservative Christian base of the so-called “Bible Belt” to ensure victory.  If he can’t win in the South, he may well not win anywhere save Utah, where his religious affiliation will play an undeniable role with the overwhelming power of the Mormon Church in that state.  Basically, you can replay McCain in 2008, and strip away some of the states in the South that will under-perform for Romney in a way that will make McCain’s loss look like a near victory.  There is a certain element of distrust among some Christians about his Mormon religion, but that’s really secondary to their concerns about his long record of flip-flopping on issues of cultural import.  Most Christians in the South will go vote for him out of  a sense of patriotic duty, but the margins by which they will remain home is likely to promise not only a Romney loss, but a potential to lose the House as well if too many stay home.

Mitt Romney has no color or personality.  He’s flat in his delivery, and plastic in his verbiage.  He avoids “red meat” that is the stuff of firing up one’s base, and it is this critical problem that makes it inevitable that the base that already doubts his ability will tend to say to themselves come November 6th: “Why bother?”  He’s going to be dependent upon others on the down-ballot to get people to the polls, because his dispassionate manner sells like ice-cubes in Anchorage in January.  It’s also not likely that he will be able to gather much steam from his VP selection.  He may well make the cynical play by trying get Marco Rubio to join his ticket, but honestly, I don’t see that coming out well, in the long run, for Marco Rubio.

Romney is too cautious.  It’s part of the reason he comes across as bland, but one doesn’t need to take giant risks to stoke one’s electorate at least a little.  If this guy couldn’t bus in people to support him at events, as he has done a few times already, he’d be talking to mostly empty rooms.  He has the star power of a candle in a thick fog, and he has no imagination, at least none I can discern, and listening to one of his presentations is like going to the annually required equal opportunity briefing most companies hold in some form.  You’ve heard it all before.  You heard it last year.  And the year before.  And four years ago. And before that.  He’s like a bad television re-run that goes on an on, over and over, like the ten thousandth airing of Star Trek, the Next Generation.  You don’t hate it.  It’s better than everything else on at the moment, since you’re stuck here, but you know all the lines, and you know already how the story comes out.

Mitt Romney is a re-run, and to the extent that he is, he’s old hat, and there’s no chance whatsoever that the American people are going to replace a cultural icon, Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, with this boring, straight-laced, risk-averse man.  I think it was Tammy Bruce who I first heard put this in context, and at the time, it was part of the reason she saw Sarah Palin as the answer to the riddle on how to defeat a cultural icon.  You need another cultural icon, but unless you liken Romney to Gordon Gecko, which is exactly what the Democrats will do, there’s not one chance in a billion that Romney will ever attain that status.  Without that, and with no personality, he’s doomed, and with him, perhaps our entire nation, as Barack Obama’s wrecking crew only accelerates after a re-election.

Embrace it, and understand that what Gingrich has said on the subject is true:  Mitt Romney should consider getting out, particularly if he cannot win in Michigan.  It’s close, of course, but in truth, it should be a Romney blow-out, and that’s the one thing that it will not be.  Now, it turns out that one of his co-chairs in that state is caught in a scandal involving an  FBI probe.  This won’t help after one of his supporters in Arizona has been caught in an unrelated scandal, and with all this piling up, it’s not looking so inevitable for the Mittster just now.  Mitt won’t win in November, which is why we should make every effort to avoid nominating him.  He’s not up to the task, and frankly, we don’t need another re-run to know how this will come out.

“Re-Run Romney.”  He’s no better the second time around.

Santorum Day on Drudge?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

His Turn!

Is this the beginning of the Drudge offensive against Santorum? It seems this may be Drudge’s first serious drive to hit Rick Santorum, while he mostly avoids Mitt’s continuing problems.  I realize some of you think that Drudge is an innocent here, and that’s all well and good if you believe it, but let me say plainly that I won’t believe that until he has a Mitt Romney day.  You see, while he’s placed a few mildly critical articles about Mitt Romney, but in the main, what he links about Romney is neutral or positive.  This has led some conservatives to look for alternatives, but I expect before this week is out, we’ll get the flashing alarm light and some red text too.

Santorum is closing in Arizona, and leading in Michigan.  I see it as only a matter of time before Drudge goes full-bore against Santorum, but maybe Drudge will be a little more careful this time, avoiding the the appearance of an obvious parade of smears of the sort he launched against Gingrich.

I suppose I’ll wait here for “Mitt Romney Day” on Drudge, but I suspect I’ll be waiting a long time…

Limbaugh: Establishment Republicans Scared to Death

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Cultural Conservative v. Moderate

Romney is looking weak in Michigan.  Rush Limbaugh opened his show on President’s Day with a monologue on the GOP panic over the rise of Rick Santorum and the diminution of the “inevitable nominee” Mitt Romney.  What Limbaugh has identified is a trend we’ve been watching for some time, whereby the GOP insiders are doing everything they can to put Romney over the top.  It’s true to say that Romney is in trouble, but he’s clawing his way back a bit in Michigan, as the media continues to hammer on Rick Santorum, suggesting that he’s too conservative.  It’s not clear that Rick Santorum is really so conservative as they pretend, and it shows the problem the establishment has with its man Mitt:  While they try to convince us that Romney is conservative, they detest cultural conservatism.

The juxtaposition is laughable.  On the one hand, the GOP establishment tells us Mitt is a conservative, Romney himself saying he was “severely conservative,” but the conservative wing of the Republican electorate knows better, simply by examining his record. Romneycare is merely the most egregious example of Romney’s flat-out liberalism, but it’s far from the only one. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum is too conservative on social issues, although the fact that he is really doesn’t make him a well-rounded conservative because he stood with a number of big-spending plans, like the Medicare prescription drug program implemented by President Bush.  If nothing else, what this should provide to you is a template for which leg of the conservative stool the GOP establishment would like to be sawed-off.

Abortion? They don’t want to talk about it.  Matters of faith or conscience?  They’re simply not interested.  Questions of moral concern?  They won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.  They run shrieking into the night rather than confront such issues, and the reason is simple:  When it comes to these issues, important to a vast swath of the GOP electorate, they only pay lip-service but never deliver.  These are the people who know they cannot nominate a pro-abortion candidate, so they trot out candidates who will claim they are personally pro-life, while their voting or governing history indicates something different.  I will never forget how at the end of their respective presidencies, the two former Bush first ladies each in their turn came out to speak their minds on abortion, parting company from their respective husbands.

This is significant, because what it should demonstrate to you is how these RINOs are culturally distinct from the conservatives whose votes they know they need.  This is particularly true with respect to Christian conservatives who live out their professed faith as best they can.  The GOP establishment considers them rubes and bumpkins, and pawns in their struggle to maintain power.  This is the deadly secret of the GOP establishment, and it’s the basis of their secret fear: They hope you will not notice that theirs is a philosophy that avoids the discussion of cultural conservatism because they see it as divisive.  They’re right:  These issues are divisive, but what they divide is the establishment from the greater body politic that is conservatism.

This is the meaning of their view of a “big tent.”  They think the big tent should take anybody, and accommodate its rules, traditions, and values to any who wish to join in, but the problem with that is the mush that is made of those things by this procedure.  More, as cultural conservatives begin to realize that their views are no longer respected, they begin to slip away out under the tent flaps, unwilling to be associated with the amoral circus to which they are then witnesses.  As Rush Limbaugh said today, to the establishment Republicans, a guy like Santorum, a devout Catholic, is some kind of “three-eyed monster.” This is undeniably true, and it’s why you shouldn’t be surprised, if you’re a conservative Christian, that they view you in much the same way.

To them, your faith and your adherence to it are evidence that you’re faulty, and that you should be ignored, but they’ll pander to you just enough that you’ll vote for them if it comes to it.  This is what they’re hoping is true with Mitt Romney, and that in the end, they can scare you away from real conservatives.  To them, religious convictions should be abandoned at the exits of your church.  They want Christian votes, but that’s as close to them as they’re willing to stand. Their push for Romney is more evidence of this bias, because Romney’s record on cultural issues has been flaky at best.  If Romney fails to close the deal in Michigan, they may look to somebody altogether new, who has a somewhat more “acceptable” view to Christian conservatives.  If so, it’s likely to be another Bush family friend, if not Jeb Bush himself, as they hope to freeze out cultural conservatives.  Their approach is basically in opposition to mainstream conservatism, the goal of which is and ought to be to get the most conservative nominee possible who can win.  The GOP establishment wishes to get the least conservative nominee they can make to pass muster with Christian and cultural conservatives in the GOP, because they wrongly surmise that this is the path to electoral victory in the general election.  They’re wrong.

 

 

Brokered Convention Talk and Sarah Palin Create a Stir

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

So It Began

Eric Bolling’s hand was stretching across to Governor Palin to thank her for the interview at its conclusion, when my phone rang.  I answered, and the first words I heard were: “How do we have a brokered convention?” I explained it in broad terms to my friend, who was ready now to go to war with the GOP, Democrats, or anybody who might stand in his way. I heard the call-waiting beep, and I excused myself, and fielded the next call. “Did you see that?  How do we make sure that if there is a brokered convention, she’s picked, and not somebody else like Jeb?” I asked only: “Who’s speaking?”  My hearing is failing as I get older, and sometimes I can’t differentiate particular voices over the phone. Nevertheless, once I knew to whom I was speaking, we discussed the matter at hand. Everybody who called wanted to know how a brokered convention could be forced, or how it would work, and if it could really work at all.

This went on from the moment of the conclusion of the Bolling-Palin interview until late into the night.  Friends, associates, activists, and many others called me, and all of them wanted to know how to go about making sure of two things, and precisely two things:  How can we make sure there is a brokered convention, and how can we make certain that Sarah Palin is the choice?

I will tell you now what I told them in simplified terms, as I’m sure over the next twenty-four hours, we’ll see people with more facts on the specifics: It still all comes down to delegates, but not merely numbers of them, but instead also who will be those delegates.  To accomplish the reality of a brokered convention isn’t all that difficult in terms of the mechanics.  Simply put, you just need to deny 1144 delegates to any of the candidates, and the best way for that to happen is to spread them around.  If Santorum wins one, and then Romney wins one, and Gingrich wins one, and maybe eventually Ron Paul wins one, and this cycles around long enough to deny any that magic number of delegates, what you will have is a brokered convention.  That’s a fact.

The infinitely more difficult part is seeing to the outcome of a brokered convention.  If any of them are too strong, they will be in a position to wheel and deal for the support of another candidate’s delegates, but more than this, the GOP establishment will have a strong hand with at-large delegates and also because the number of at-large delegates will swell this year due to the early states holding their contests earlier than the rules permit.  Those states  automatically have yielded half of their delegates to the party, to be made at-large delegates.

There is also the question of who the delegates will be.  Having a bunch of Santorum delegates who would lean toward Mitt Romney in Santorum’s absence would be bad.  Of course, this is where we get into the weeds of process, because delegates are selected differently in the various states.  I would therefore refer you to those within your state who can explain it to you in the context in which your state’s rules apply.   The point is that a brokered convention becomes difficult in several ways, including the manner in which a nominee is eventually selected.

The real messy part is the inevitable floor fight, that is one of the reasons the parties try to avoid this spectacle before television cameras at all costs.  Here’s an article from the Washington Post that discusses some of the possibilities.  I point all of this out not to dampen anybody’s spirits, but instead to make sure you understand what the pursuit of this will entail.  For those of you motivated enough to carry it out, there will be pitfalls, and dangers, and no shortage of potential heartbreaks.  Is it possible? Yes. Will it be a snap?  Not a chance.

Of course, all of those who phoned me on Wednesday evening don’t seem to be the sort who will be easily deterred.  They have a goal in mind, and have had this one in mind for some time as one possible way to see their preferred candidate lead the party into the general election.  I can’t fault them, as I have harbored that same hope ever since Governor Palin made her announcement of October 5th.  Of course, in all of this, we should recognize we are a long way from a brokered convention, and while I would like to see it, as would many others, there’s no certainty that we will get one, or that even having gotten one, it will have the outcome we envision.  There hasn’t been a brokered convention in the GOP since 1948, and Dewey was the result.  It came close to happening in 1976, when Ronald Reagan almost upset Gerald Ford.  What you must know is that such an avenue is tricky at best, and dangerous at its worst, because much of it will come down to the delegates, and the character they possess.  If they’re interested in currying favor with party bosses, it could be trouble, but if they’re ordinary Americans interested in victory as the path to restoring the country, it just might work out.

Sarah Palin Talks “Conservative Quotient” on Fox and Friends

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Governor Palin appeared on Fox and Friends on Wednesday morning to discuss a variety of issues, including the Republican nominating process.  In this segment, she discussed the question of whether Mitt Romney was “conservative enough” for the party, and also explained why she thinks it is important for the candidates in the race to contrast themselves against Barack Obama. It’s an interesting segment, during which she also explains what she means by “the establishment.”

Video courtesy of FoxNews:

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Sarah Palin in the Belly of the Beast with Chris Wallace – Video

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

In the Belly of the Beast

On Sunday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin appeared in studio with Chris Wallace to discuss her speech, and also the primary race in the Republican party.  Wallace asked her to identify the establishment, and she did, but I found it delightful when she described being there in Washington DC as being “in the belly of the beast.”  While I am certain the Govenor probably wasn’t including FoxNews in her characterization of Washington DC, given the direction of Fox News lately, I really couldn’t agree more, even if she had.  As usual, she was not going to be pigeon-holed by media, and she turned each question back around on Wallace, who was clearly digging for the answers he wanted, rather than the ones she might give.

Here’s the interview, courtesy of FoxNews:

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An excellent interview, in my estimation.  There’s a reason that she remains the grass-roots choice.  Wallace two minutes of the interview by trying to ambush her with HBO’s movie, but he finished by talking about her article about Trig.

Pining For Palin: What Most Conservatives Noticed

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Still the One

My bride wasn’t home when Sarah Palin spoke at CPAC, so she wasn’t able to view the event live.  When she arrived home, we relaxed in front of the television, and I played the event on the DVR. After watching the event, I asked my wife for her impression.  It matched most of the comments here on my little blog site, and it was comprised of a single question:  “Why in the hell isn’t she our candidate?”  Here we had the person many consider to be the most eminently qualified to lead us out of our national quagmire, and she isn’t a candidate in this race.  Here was the most thoroughly engaging and compelling speech of this entire campaign season, and it was delivered by a non-candidate who some in the GOP establishment tell us is “unelectable.”  By what standard?  For my part, I have lost all patience for this faulty argument.  After attending her speech in Indianola, Iowa last September, and having viewed this speech from afar, if Governor Palin isn’t electable, I have no idea which Republicans can fulfill that definition.

I have read a few criticisms of the speech Palin delivered on Saturday and they all seem focused on superficial nitpicking.  The most frequent of these has been that it was filled with “red meat,” but what of it?  I believe in a balanced diet, and red meat is an important component of any conservative menu.  To criticize this is to suggest what too many Republicans of a more moderate leaning have accepted for far too long: We must never openly and harshly criticize our adversaries lest we be seen as being every bit as unrefined and undisciplined as they.  I reject this too.  The willingness to explicitly and unrepentantly castigate our opponents does not speak to a lack of “refinement” as if the idea of a political campaign is purely to demonstrate one’s social graces, but it is instead to incite a little energetic and vigorous candor into an issue to which the electorate will respond.  If this is the worst of the criticisms, then let those who propose them be damned, because I see no merit in such an argument. In point of fact, I would contend that electability rides on the shoulders of the candidate’s willingness to speak in such language to those whose votes they would solicit.

Still, the reality is that Governor Palin is not now a candidate, and more is the shame of the loss implied for conservatives. When announcing her decision in October last year, she cited her need to observe her values of God, family, and country, in that precise order.  With this as her final answer, despite our desires to the contrary, there is nothing to do but accept it.  This leaves us where we’ve been, and with nothing to do but forge ahead with the remaining candidates.  On the other hand, what this will remind many conservatives is what we had missed.  At some point, as a movement that is a subset of a party, we will need to address this problem we seem to have, where for whatever reason, our best and our most able candidates, dynamic and appealing, get left on the sidelines in the most important contests of our time.

Buck up conservatives, because while it’s apparent that we’re going to be forced to settle, we still have time to decide among those remaining, in order to work out who in this bunch is the best prospect to lead our nation philosophically, and also to win.  It’s my firm conclusion that the former begets the latter.  I don’t believe candidates with alleged “electability” creates a winning philosophy, or George W. Bush wouldn’t have left office with approval in the high twenties.   I believe a candidate with firm and principled beliefs is best suited to election, and is therefore by definition most electable.  The problem in our current race is that the best-suited will not necessarily rise like cream to the top.  Money doesn’t make great candidates either, because as we all know, whomever the Republican nominee, no matter who among those remaining is selected, despite any financial advantage at present, there will be no such advantage when we arrive in the general campaign season, with Obama’s purported war-chest to exceed one billion dollars.

I think we should begin to consider which among these has made the most of the least.  After all, if we follow Governor Palin’s example, we should take note of the fact that she clearly knows how to win while having nothing like the funds of an opponent, as she demonstrated in her political career in Alaska.  Perhaps this is something we ought to consider when looking more closely at the rest because it is fairly certain that none of them will have the sort of cash on hand that will be at the disposal of the Obama campaign.  As this race goes on, we might want to reference Sarah Palin’s successes, because while she may not be running, I think there is much to be learned from her both in terms of selecting our eventual nominee, but also in combating Obama this Fall.

I think almost every conservative who viewed Saturday’s CPAC keynote will have noticed that she stands head and shoulders above our actual candidates, but as I said, that wistful, wishful thinking.  The fact that Governor Palin is not in this race doesn’t preclude victory in November, but it surely will make it a good deal more difficult, as so many viewers concluded on Saturday.  There are those who think if this drags on into summer, and we wind up with a brokered convention, it will spell doom, but I think it also presents a possible opportunity, not merely for an outcome aimed at stopping the establishment, but one more moment of pause to reconsider who all of our alternatives might include.

Romney’s Failing Strategy of Attack

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Where Will He Point Now?

For quite some time, Mitt Romney’s strategy has been to attack his opponents through surrogates, media shills, and advertising, but with few exceptions, while he has made a case against his opponents, sometimes less than honestly, he has failed to make a case for his own candidacy.  Conservative voters are not herded by fear in most instances, and while you can occasionally turn them off from supporting a candidate if you can create enough of a negative buzz, what will not usually happen in such cases is to drive them into your own arms.  This tactic works well when it’s a two-candidate primary, particularly with a mind-numbed lefty electorate, but in a four-way race with conservative voters, what can happen is what we have seen in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri: Mitt Romney has so thoroughly bashed Gingrich that he succeeded only in driving voters in those states to somebody else.  Gingrich lost.  Romney lost.  Santorum won.

I think part of this grows out of Romney’s reliance on tactics that might have been valid in a more liberal state like the one he governed, where he could not gain victory without at least enticing some of a liberal mindset.  In Massachusetts, there are certainly Republicans, but the conservative wing of the party is small and mostly ineffective.  On a national scale, this is not true, and Romney will not be able to beat one conservative down without another rising in his place.  Romney’s strategy may still get him the nomination by slow, steady attrition, but that will not win the general election in November when he will need the entirety of the nation’s conservative base out pulling his wagon if he is to have any hope of overcoming Obama.  You cannot repeatedly offend conservatives and expect them to energize on your behalf, and this is what McCain had done over many years, and his best move was to nominate Sarah Palin, which was almost enough to overcome the ineptitude of his own campaign.

Mitt Romney is not likely to get such a bump from any of those he might choose to be his running mate.  He may be stuck on a flat-line of a grudging support from some conservatives, while a fair number simply turn away in disgust.  I think the latter has already begun, and the fact that in Colorado’s loss to Santorum, where in 2008, he won by a huge margin, what you’re seeing is the beginnings of the tell-tale signs of this collapse in his support.  His lack of a clear message and a positive campaign don’t remind people of Reagan, and it doesn’t set him much apart from liberals.  To many conservative voters, it appears as though Romney is simply playing the slash-and-burn politics of the left, and most conservatives don’t really want any part of that.

Mitt Romney started this campaign season with every advantage: High name recognition, good financing, well-oiled organization, and the happy support of the establishment wing of the GOP.  Now his name recognition no longer matters so much, and it’s clear that he can be beaten even when he spends overwhelming sums of money, and the establishment is not so happy this morning as they view what could be the reason to yank the rug from beneath Romney, and either try to buy influence with one of the others, or simply bring in a ringer.  Just looking at the tone on FoxNews last night and this morning, it’s like people at a funeral trying to convince themselves that it’s really a birthday party.

Romney’s arguments about electability and consistency seem now to fade, as the electorate realizes that all of this “inevitability” talk had been the fanciful expressions of one who had been a legend in his own mind.  Romney’s not invincible, and hasn’t been, but the GOP establishment wanted you to believe this so they could put their guy out front.  Now that Romney’s been taken down a few pegs, it remains to be seen whether he will continue his strategy of slash-and-burn against his opponents, or instead re-engineer his campaign to accentuate his positives.  If I were a betting man, I’d wager on the former, if only because there’s so damnably little of the latter.

It’s Wednesday, Romney Lost Tuesday, Santorum Is “Target”

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Plenty to Smile About

You can bet in the Romney war-room, they’re furious.  They have spent the entire period since South Carolina pounding Gingrich with millions of dollars in negative advertising, and while they did this, Rick Santorum crept quietly past Team Mitt, and delivered him a stunning blow in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.  While it is true that these contests won’t award any delegates, it’s pretty clear that Tuesday’s Santorum Romp put the lie to this whole “inevitable Mitt” business.  I don’t think the establishment is very happy, as I think I saw a quick shot of Rove beating his head on his whiteboard as FoxNews cut to a commercial break. Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part, but one thing is sure: A certain very thin blond is at this very moment clacking out a hit-piece as long as her arm, aimed at Rick Santorum.  I congratulate Senator Santorum, but I also urge him to duck, because the fire he will now draw from the Romney camp will be withering.

The problem Romney faces is the same thing that’s beset him since day one on this campaign: He is in no way a conservative. He’s not even really a free-marketeer.  He can’t honestly claim to be a cultural conservative, given his flips and flops on cultural issues, but his biggest flop of all, and the one that damns him with conservative voters is Romneycare.  I have some advice for Mitt Romney, because we conservatives are forgiving sorts:  Go run for re-election in Massachusetts and lead the repeal of Romneycare, and we’ll begin to believe you when you say you’re a conservative.  Then we will know you had been serious.  Check back with us in 2020.  This is lkely to be the only sort of rehabilitation conservatives will accept.

Gingrich is another matter, because I expect that between Newt and Rick, you could at least expect an honest if somewhat scrappy debate, but Romney’s reliance on Alinskyite tactics means he’s merely a pollutant in this race.  Romney really adds nothing but negatives, from one end to the other, and there’s no doubt but that we should be looking to see more of the same from Mitt Romney.  He will go negative with piles of cash in an all-out assault on Rick Santorum as we sprint toward Super Tuesday that will now be less super as Texas will no longer be in play on that date.

Santorum should continue to focus on his own ideas, but also where Romney is concerned, he should focus all his attention on the things Romney did as governor.  That’s a virtual wrecking yard of bad ideas, liberal policies, and a non-stop litany of warmed-over statism.  If I were Santorum, I would also continue to drive home the point that money plus moderate Republican does not equal victory over Obama in November, and no amount of negative advertising by Romney can possibly change that fact.  Conservatives might well be able to get enthusiastic about Rick Santorum, or even Newt Gingrich, but Mitt Romney will not mobilize the base, and this is the fact of which Santorum should relentlessly remind voters.

Is Santorum perfect?  Nobody is.  The fact remains, however, that he is substantially more conservative than Mitt Romney, which isn’t saying much by itself, but the fact is that now Santorum can expect to be hit on the matter of earmarks, as Romney scrambles to position himself to the right of Santorum on that issue.  Rather than fall for that nonsense, I hope Santorum will instead focus on Romneycare, and what Romney inflicted on the people of Massachusetts, particularly on the matter of the lack of conscience opt-outs for religious institutions.  He should focus on this, and hang onto it like a dog with a bone, and not be diverted from it as the media will attempt to do.

The guns will be blazing before the sun fully rises today, Wednesday, but Rick Santorum shouldn’t permit that to change his messaging, and he should focus on the facts: Romney can’t beat Obama.  Romney is a liberal.  The fact that Santorum is significantly more conservative than Romney should be the remainder of his case, and he should speak to the concrete things he would do in a Santorum administration to chase down the repeal of Obamacare, lock, stock, and barrel, and otherwise reverse the course of the nation.  I wish Santorum well, because I think he’s overcome a big hump in the false argument about his electability, and this is something Romney simply hasn’t yet proven. That said, the negative ads will be forthcoming soon, and Santorum should be prepared to bear up graciously under it while responding through his campaign, rather than personally.