Archive for the ‘GOP Candidates’ Category

Clear Message in Santorum’s Tuesday Romp: Romney Should Drop Out

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Santorum Wins Big!

I think the results in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri speak for themselves: Romney is damaged goods, and he’s not conservative enough to defeat Obama, and yes, most of all, big money doesn’t necessarily equate to electoral success if that’s all you have, and clearly, in the case of Mitt, that’s true.  It’s time that Romney withdraw from this race before his tendency to mostly negative campaigning further damages the party’s unity. I expect that tomorrow, Mitt and his SuperPACs will train their fire on Rick Santorum, who we should congratulate in any case on a great success in these states.

Where is Ann Coulter? Is this not the moment for her to leap from the Romney Bus to the Santorum Bandwagon? Or will Coulter double down on Mitt, and come out telling us how terrible Rick Santorum really is?  I am open to considering your predictions, as I expect Coulter to be apoplectic but I’m sure that won’t last too long.  In any event, I think it’s time for Mitt Romney to pack up and go home, and leave this contest to actual conservatives.

What Obama Did to the Catholics? Romney Did It Too!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Telling You How It's Going To Be

As it now turns out, back in 2005 when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he forced religious institutions including Catholic hospitals to dispense the so-called “morning after pill.”  This is another bit of evidence as to how Mitt really isn’t a conservative, and how he really doesn’t care about religious liberties.  I am exhausted with his posturing as a saintly man who abides his faith, but to put his stamp of approval on a law that deprives others of their recourse to conscience is a disgusting breach of the the Constitution.  I don’t care to hear his pathetic states’ rights arguments, as they don’t apply in this situation, irrespective of his nonsense to the contrary.  There’s something fundamentally wrong with a politician who thinks it’s his role to shove such provisions down our throats, irrespective of our wishes, and irrespective of the matters of conscience that collide in these issues.  He’s only too happy to command you.

This bit of information merely confirms the worst of my fears about Romney: He’s not merely Obama-Lite.  He’s Obama with an “R” next to his name instead of a “D.”  This sort of state interference with the rights of religious practice and conscience is precisely the sort of monstrosity people of faith have suffered endlessly under the  Obama regime.  We shouldn’t be in the business of nominating a candidate who is substantially more like Obama than unlike him. I hope my fellow conservatives and Tea Party folk will understand that this isn’t merely about abortion, or morning-after pills, or anything else of the sort.  This is entirely about the ability of people of faith and the organizations they create around their shared faith to determine for themselves in which activities they will participate.

This is precisely the same thing Obama is now doing with respect to the coercion of religious organizations, including the Catholic church, to provide insurance to employees that includes contraception.  Once again, government is interfering in the relationship between employers and employees, and their insurers.  This is a scandalously tyrannical abuse of authority, and the fact that Mitt Romney participated in much the same thing disqualify him in my view. Whatever your views on the divisive issues, there can be no ignoring that even if it is not your faith under attack in this case, your turn will come eventually.

I cannot now and will not ever vote for Mitt Romney under any circumstances I can now imagine, and I can imagine plenty.  Feel free to make of that what you will.  In fact, make the most of it, but I will not be bullied on the matter.  That he actually imposed such a thing on the people of Massachusetts is simply unforgivable in my book.  I will have no part in merely replacing Barack Obama with another who shares his despotic reflexes.

 

Are Conservatives Satisfied With the Field?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Is There A Better Choice?

I’ve written enough about this subject to paper the bottom of an industrial size aviary, but I’m intrigued by the question, and I wonder how the readers at this site feel about the question.  It’s clear that there is significant dissatisfaction among Republicans in general, conservatives in particular, and no small measure of discomfort among Tea Party folk.  Today, I read a blog post by a friend who assesses the situation, and simply concluded that we’re in trouble if we don’t come up with another solution to the problem.  He rightly points out that Romney surely cannot win, but that there’s not a great deal more hope for any of the others. My friend isn’t long on words, but he’s generally spot-on, and you might wish to take a look at his article here.  His contention is simple: Get another candidate or prepare to inaugurate Barack Obama for a second term in January, 2013.

I certainly don’t like to seem pessimistic, but I think given all we’ve discussed here over the last week, we’d be foolish to ignore the matter and pretend it isn’t a problem. There are those who would broom this entire field, and there are those who would sweep all but one away, but in fact, it’s my contention that there’s such significant dissatisfaction that the GOP will have a hard time rousing the base this fall, if the nominee comes from among this group. While I find Newt Gingrich most able of these, that isn’t to say the electorate will agree, but I maintain that Mitt Romney simply cannot get it done because his strategy relies far too heavily on a cash advantage he will not have over Barack Obama, and he spends a good deal of his time avoiding his relevant history and record when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

Whatever you may think of this field, I’d like to survey your opinion.  Feel free to leave comments in this thread in further explanation of  your responses,  and if you would support another candidate if they were to enter soon, who would that candidate be?  (Please place in the comments section below.)  Here’s the question:

Loser 2.0: One Question for GOP Establishment Types

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Version 2.0 Can't Win Either

In a recent article, I mentioned it briefly, but I don’t think that I have made the point explicitly enough. The GOP establishment, and all its myriad shills in the media along with their numerous allies on the left tell us that Mitt is inevitable by virtue of his wins in New Hampshire, Florida, and Nevada, and his second-place finishes in Iowa and South Carolina.  I’m now faced with a question born of two problems I see with his victories, and I wonder if the GOP establishment would be willing to explain them.  At present, Romney has a vast financial advantage over even the best of his competitors, and the support he’s been getting from SuperPACs is a big part of that advantage. In a general election, Romney won’t enjoy such an advantage over President Obama. Those states in which he now exploits a home turf advantage over fellow Republicans because he is the more liberal won’t necessarily be an advantage in the general election.

I think his win in Florida and second-place in Iowa owe entirely to the money, when you look at the how asymmetrical the spending had been in those states.  New Hampshire was home turf, and arguably, so was Nevada. South Carolina could be said to be home turf for Gingrich, but remember Romney had a large lead there for weeks.  The problem is that Romney’s advertising advantage was not so huge, and Gingrich’s good week in the debates helped seal Mitt Romney’s fate.  I still don’t understand how he or other establishment types can contend that he’s the most electable, however, because I can do the math too.

Let’s take a state for examination that has not yet held its primary:  Massachusetts.  One would expect that since he was governor there, he might have a significant advantage, at least in the primary.  It’s his home turf after all, and besides, Massachusetts is a liberal state.  As the most liberal Republican in this race by a clear margin, one would expect that he’d have an easy win there, and he probably will – in the primary.  Once we clear the nomination process, who in the GOP establishment believes Mitt can beat Obama in the Bay State? What amount of money will he spend there on advertising?  He shouldn’t need to spend much, as name recognition should be his friend there, if nowhere else.  Yet in the primary, he may need to spend a goodly sum in advertising there to attack his rivals, and tamp them down.

This simply doesn’t add up to victory in November, despite the countless stories proclaiming Romney’s inevitability.  In all those states, particularly in the South, where he will need to spend tremendous sums to capture the primary victory, or like in South Carolina, finish second, he will not motivate the base of the party this fall.  You know it.  I know it.  Mitt Romney knows it.  Romney is so uninspiring that in fact he might manage to lose states like Texas in the general election.  In the Northeast, where his policy positions are more palatable to voters, they are such deeply blue states that Obama can win them by simply running a competent campaign while show-casing Romney’s flip-flops.  Romney will not carry New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and may be sorely challenged to win in Maine and New Hampshire.  He will not capture California, Oregon, or Washington on the West Coast.  He will not capture Minnesota or Illinois, and probably not Ohio or Michigan. Even with his good showing there, he may not pull Florida over in a general election.

This leaves you with just the Southern states, and the states of the Great Plains and the Rockies, along with the Southwest.  These will be contests in which the base matters, but Mitt Romney does not appeal to the base.  He will surely carry a number of these in close races, but he will not carry enough, and with the weight of the northeast hammering him, and the West Coast anchoring Obama, there is no way I can see Mitt Romney winning without being able to saturate the airwaves with  negative ads as he’s currently doing, state-by-state, with Gingrich.  He won’t be able to do this against Obama.  Obama will rule the airwaves with his ads, as his war-chest far exceeds whatever Romney will muster.

The takeaway here is that having a distinct money advantage over his more conservative rivals does not and will not translate into victory over Obama in November, because he will have no such advantage, and in fact may be on the receiving end of a similar disparity in campaign cash.  If you believe that some Republican voters are too easily swayed by such ads, don’t ponder too long how so-called “independents” or “moderates” can be pushed by such campaigns, never mind the liberal voters. In such a race, Mitt Romney cannot win, and he won’t.  To win, the Republicans must nominate a candidate whose sole advantage is something other than money over his Republican rivals.  That candidate must have a clear and understandable agenda, and an ability to convey it with an unremitting passion that transcends money, and if you’re waiting for Romney to break out with that, you’re in for a very long wait, indeed.

Realizing this, Republicans who have any hope of defeating Obama must hop off the Romney train now.  We haven’t another four years to wait in the wake of another presidential loser.  If we hope to win, and to undo Obamacare, and to capture the Senate and strengthen our numbers in both houses of Congress, we must nominate somebody else, like Gingrich, or maybe even Santorum.  The problem is that we’ve been here before, and by now we should all have the t-shirts.  Winning in 2012 will be impossible with Mitt Romney, and our desire to unite the party should not obscure our vision of this fact.

Why Mitt Is Desperate to Force Newt Out

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Reason to Worry

First, he called Adelson to convince him to stop adding financial support of Gingrich via his SuperPAC.  When that didn’t work, he piled on some more of his own money, and those who fund the SuperPacs advocating on his behalf or at least slamming his competitors.  When that didn’t work, some shills in the press dropped the conspicuous rumor that Newt’s “…hold a press conference after the Nevada Caucus on Saturday, raising new speculation about his future in the race,” implying he would get out Saturday evening.  This was solely to try to undermine the vote in Nevada in Romney’s favor by creating the impression among Caucus-goers that Gingrich would be out of the race by night-fall anyway.  You might wonder why Romney who is the putative front-runner, and his army of establishment hacks, would go through all this trouble if he’s got this “all sewn up,” as the “inevitable” meme pretends.  The answer is as simple as this:  It isn’t over, and Mitt knows it, because he can read a calendar.

One of the things weighing in Mitt’s favor is the postponement of the Texas primary.  Texas is a state likely to favor Gingrich, but its primary that should have happened on Super Tuesday has been postponed to April 3rd, and may yet be kicked further back on the schedule over judicial tinkering with the redistricting. Texans are starting to speculate that perhaps this is intentional, and is being used to reduce the importance and relevance of Texas in selecting the nominee.  There is good reason for that speculation, but I think it won’t matter unless the Texas Republican party gets smart and makes it a winner-take-all affair, which sine it is after April 1st, by national party rules it could be.

Romney doesn’t want this primary dragging on and on through the convention, because at the rate he’s spending money, he’ll soon look at the general campaign with emptied coffers and no ability to do in any measure to Barack Obama what he’s been trying to do to Gingrich, with some success.  As it is, he will be at a huge financial disadvantage come the onset of the general campaign.  This is why for Mitt’s sake, he must push this to a speedy conclusion, and it’s the reason why since Iowa, he’s been relentlessly hammering Gingrich.

As Governor Palin recently pointed out, we all love a rough-n-tumble debate, and a strongly contested primary, but I think Mitt’s reliance on these under-handed tactics and back-room deal-making will eventually take a political toll.  Even as he rides high on the expected wide margin victory in Nevada, people around the country are beginning to take notice of the fact that he is outspending all opponents by a phenomenal amount but when it’s closer to par, he can lose, and lose big.

Voters in the GOP must ask themselves now, because it will be much too late in the fall, whether we want to rely upon a candidate who can only seem to win where he either has a distinct home-field advantage, such as in New Hampshire and Nevada, or a gigantic financial advantage such as in Iowa and Florida.  He’s not likely to have many of those advantages, particularly in money, when it comes to the general election, so we must begin to ask of Mitt Romney: How will you outspend Barack Obama’s expected $1billion war-chest?

He can’t.  If this is so, my friends, we have a problem beyond his lack of conservatism.  If at the end of the day all he has is money, but no good arguments to elect him other than he’s not Barack Obama, we’ll lose, and lose big.  The Democrats know this, and this is why they want Romney so badly they can taste it.  It’s time to rethink this a bit and realize that if money is everything in 2012, then the GOP is going to get beaten badly. Only a candidate who can take the fight to Obama with a small relative budget is capable of beating him, and right now, by any guess available, that candidate is still Newt Gingrich.

Political Deal-Making: Does It Matter to You?

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

It's a Deal! Or Is It?

The old lament about the legislative process contends that it’s like making sausage, in that while the final product may taste great, the process of making it can be downright ugly.  In politics, that’s frequently the case too, as people make back-room deals for support and endorsements and future patronage jobs, and for conservatives, it all begins to take on a stench that has nothing in common with sausage.  We see the deals after they’re made by the politicians we once admired, and they seem to be speaking on behalf of us, but at no time do they seem ever to ask our opinions, and there’s a presumption about our continuing support when they change directions.  The recent story about Ron Paul is an example of this sort of thing, wherein what he may be angling for with his current campaign may not be the presidency, but something much less important.  If that’s the case, it makes one wonder what other sort of deals may have yet to be brokered or revealed as we race on toward the nomination.

We all like our politicians to be pure in this regard, and whatever our political stripe or whomever our particular candidates, we want to know that they will stand staunchly and mostly implacable against political tides and trends rather than rushing out to meet them, in seeming surrender to what may turn out to be a political fad.  This has been one of the knocks against Newt Gingrich, for example, as he sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi to talk about “global warming” just a year before the ClimateGate scandal poked the theory full of ethical and logical holes over rigged science and nasty backroom politics.  Of course, Gingrich is hardly alone on this score, and there are some who still claim to be aboard on the issue.  For instance, Mitt Romney still insists Global Warming is real despite the mounting evidence of pseudo-science with a political agenda, but now he allows that perhaps it’s not man-caused after all.  These sorts of shifts really drive conservatives crazy, because we see this as revelatory of a lack of clear principles, or worse, the tendency to become suckers for fads.

One friend asked me if it wasn’t true that they all make deals, and I told him that most do as a matter of practicality.  For instance, Ronald Reagan accepted George HW Bush as his VP nominee after a bitterly fought campaign.  You and I might have had some trouble doing that, because we’d have seen the elder Bush as part of the trouble the party faces, and it is true that by the end of the second term, the Bush clan’s influence was on the rise, and frequently caused trouble for Reagan.  Nevertheless, he did so in an attempt to unite what had been a very divided party in another fractious primary campaign season.  It helped bring the establishment a little way back into the fold, which helped to get their money for the campaign, but did not give them all the power they wanted.  Would you say of Reagan that he had been too compromising, or would you contend like so many others that he had the wisdom of a statesman in choosing George Bush?  The fact that he won doesn’t prove anything, except that his decision was at least as valid in electoral results as any alternative we might now imagine.

As we push forward into the campaign season of 2012, we’re beginning to see alliances form and take shape.  We’ve seen a number of significant endorsements, and a few voter “recommendations,” but the season is young and I expect we will yet see many more.  There are those who are scrambling to leap into bed with Mitt Romney, and while they may see it as an expediency they cannot avoid, voters will watch with great interest, particularly conservatives, to see who ultimately sides with whom. The irony in these situations always happens later, when it something happens along the way to upset the conventional wisdom now in force.  For instance, at present, many see Romney as “inevitable,” but a few weeks like the last one, filled with gaffes and reversals will be enough to perhaps cause him to crash and burn.  In that case, you must then wonder if we arrive at the convention with somebody other than Romney as the front-runner, what will happen to those who had earlier supported him?  They will change to support the nominee in most cases, but they’ll be left to explain why they picked the loser first in such a scenario, calling into question the value of their support.

Conservatives at once hope the rare politicians they admire will choose wisely, and keep their powder dry until there’s no alternative but to speak up or go down to defeat, and we may soon approach that moment when a whole parade of endorsements either fall on Mitt Romney or go elsewhere.  When that happens, it will be either a sign of an open war within the GOP or a sign that the battle has entered a nervous internal cease-fire in order to first defeat Barack Obama.  In honesty, I hope for the former, because I’m not satisfied yet that we have a candidate who can withstand what Obama will heap on him, and I don’t think we’ve yet seen more than a small sample of what Obama will be willing to do.  For now, Obama is focusing on Romney, and expending a lot of time, effort and money tackling him.  If Romney turns out not to be our nominee, Obama will have chased along the wrong trail and that by itself will have given us something about which to laugh.

I think we shall see deals, promises, and all sorts of things happen before this primary season concludes, and while this is a sore spot for many conservatives who can smell a compromise of our principles from a mile away, at the same time we must at least consider the long view, and measure them each on the basis of their merits.  We will ultimately be happy with some, and disappointed by some more, but it won’t matter if we win.  On the other hand, if our nominee loses, today’s deal-making will cause no shortage of political blood-letting later, as the blame-game begins.  Win, lose or draw, I believe that on the day after the election, we may see whatever war was paused within the party re-ignite with new fervor, and I must say that I am keen for that fight.  Like most conservatives, I think there has been far too much compromising of principles along the way, and that has landed us in our current national predicament.   Our movement needs to begin to reassert itself not only at the polls, but in elected office.  We need to develop an under-card of newcomers who we can promote and move in, and those that warrant it will eventually move up, but along the way, there will be deals made.  Make no mistake about it.  The question for conservatives must be:  What are the terms, and at what point does the palate-pleasing become something we can no longer stomach?

Ron Paul Sold His Soul to Mitt Romney?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Working Together?

I don’t know if this is true, but some of the facts are well-known, and if it’s true in any measure, the people who are supporting Ron Paul will be asked to shuffle across the convention floor to support Mitt Romney, not in exchange for the Vice Presidency, and not even for a cabinet posting, but for a speech for Paul and his Senator son in prime-time during the Republican National convention.  Ron Paul supporters should know that this is the extent of the goal of this entire campaign, and that Mitt Romney has designs on their support.  This is the reason that throughout these debates, and throughout the campaigns, Ron Paul hasn’t run one negative ad against Romney, and hasn’t even ruffled Mitt’s feathers in any of the debates.  He has a strategic alliance, and he’s willing to carry out this charade in order to get a speaking platform for he and his son.

This leads me to several questions I have long suspected I would have to ask of the folks who have with such vigor and diligence supported Ron Paul, through thick and thin, and against the taunts of most of the other campaigns or candidates.  Is that what you Paul supporters have been angling to achieve?  Will you put down your Paul signs and pick up Romney placards instead?  Is this the ultimate meaning of your money bombs, your poll-slamming, and all the other activities in which you have participated in support of Ron Paul’s agenda?  How much influence do you now think Paul will wield in a Mitt Romney administration?  Do you think Romney will legalize drugs?  What about the military and foreign aid budgets?  What of the commitment to the Constitution?  What becomes of eliminating the Federal Reserve?  What will you do when you discover that not only has your candidate undercut you, but that all he managed for your trouble were twenty-four dollars worth of costume conservatism?

I know the diehards will be unable to believe this, much as we who support Sarah Palin couldn’t grasp for some time her announcement of the 5th of October.  Knowing at least a little of what they will ultimately feel, I am angry for them, not because of the alliance, but that it’s been so well-hidden from them in plain sight.  I agree with much of Ron Paul’s spending cut agenda, and I agree with his stance on the Federal Reserve, but if all this has been in pursuit of a speaking platform, I must ask them if this entire exercise will have been worth it for a few minutes of prime-time exposure of your issues.  To my friends in the Ron Paul legions, and you are my friends in many important ways despite our disagreements, because I know you love liberty, I must confront you with this not in order to say “I told you so,” but instead to commiserate with you. You may remember that some time ago, I decided myself that if Paul could only make himself a little more palatable on foreign policy, I could potentially support him.  I told voters in Virginia that to vote for Paul as their only alternative to Mitt Romney was a vote in the name of restoring the party.  Now, you see, I advised those Virginians to what appears to have been no more than a ploy.

In truth, this sickens me, and I am tired of the manipulations this entire primary season has revealed.  As time goes on, it may yet get worse, and if it does, I’m going to say so without apologies.  Some things are simply “a bridge too far,” and the idea that a politician would use their influence with supporters in such a way is frankly unforgivable in any context.  I realize that there will be attempts to gain some promises from a potential future Romney administration, but for the love of all things good in the world, that seems a tiny prize to exact for all the laborious efforts Paul’s supporters have poured into this.

Some of you will remember when I said of Paul that I love his domestic spending agenda, and his general temperament toward government growth, but you and I know that Mitt Romney will not follow that plan, as he already offers glimpses of “strengthening the safety net.”  My friends, I would not blame a one of you if you took one look at this and simply walked away.  Really.  I feel for you.  I do.  This abandonment of principle in the name of  such pathetic rewards makes me steam.  Surely for withholding his fire against Romney in the early primary states, he should have gotten more than this dry bone to toss to his supporters. If it is true, I expect the backlash may be ferocious, and it would be deserved, but there’s one person I really wouldn’t want to be, and his name is Ron Paul.  Maybe they’ll take some of their inevitable anger out on the GOP establishment that deserves no small measure of the blame.

GOP Scandal: Florida Violated Another Rule?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Another Victory Lost?

Most of you will remember that Florida, by moving its primary up to January, waived half of its delegates to the national convention.  As it now turns out, they may have violated another rule, and it stands to benefit Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, all to the detriment of Mitt Romney.  It seems that there is another rule that forbids “winner-take-all” primaries and caucuses prior to 1 April.  This is being covered by a variety of outlets, but Burns and Haberman at Politico have given in-depth coverage.

They have outlined the problem, and actually quoted the GOP rules:

“Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis. (Rule No. 15(b)(2))” (emphasis mine)

Uh-oh Mitt. You see, if we are to accept that the Virginia GOP mustn’t change its rules to permit others who just missed qualification for the ballot access in that state, we must also conclude since the GOP is a party that follows its own rules, it must follow this one.  I have read accounts that the Gingrich camp is already pursuing this, as they should because as the Romney camp  hurries to remind us about Virginia, “rules are rules.”

Myself, I think this is perfect justice.  The Florida GOP hurried up its primary to help Mitt Romney sew up the nomination early, and waived half of its ninety-nine delegates, but now it seems that if this turns out the way the rule is written, the Florida party will have no choice but to apportion the delegates by percentage of vote, and if so, Romney will get twenty-four delegates rather than fifty. Gingrich would come away with fifteen or sixteen.  Instead of handing Romney the ninety-nine delegates they might have handed him later, they may now hand him one-fourth of that number, and I think this is a perfect answer to the entire fiasco of the accelerated schedule.

Florida Votes

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

In Florida? Go Vote!

Ladies and gentlemen, “the fix really has been in,” in Florida.  The polls over the last six days have been so unreliably diverse and skewed as to make it impossible to sort out, but this much is clear: They used last week’s Drudge extravaganza combined with ceaseless reporting of a Romney double-digit lead to build an impression that Gingrich will lose big, but as I warned you, don’t be surprised if this race is well within the margin of error of the best polls available, which actually isn’t saying much this week. The NYTimes, hardly a conservative publication, takes the time to point out how the polls are all over the place. This kind of thing isn’t normal, and it’s not predictive either. While these polls all seem to indicate a Romney victory, from the smallest margins to something in the twenty percent range, what all of this tells you is that it’s going to be a good bit more volatile than expected, and it may tell us something else: There’s still a chance.

If Gingrich can get good turn-out and support from the Tea Party, he has a very good chance of pulling this out, but the point of all this polling is to depress turn-out. If this ploy works, and it frequently does, what can happen is that voters, hearing, reading or watching the news will simply shrug and figure they can’t win, and simply not bother.  This is one of the reasons I’m against early voting, because what can happen is that people may change their mind having made their selection, so they’re locked in.  My own state has early voting, and if it were up to me, we’d get rid of it, and make election day what it is supposed to be.  I think if you can’t be bothered to go vote on election day, we didn’t need your vote anyway. I want people motivated enough to take time away from work, or whatever else they may do, and make their way to the polling places like we had done for two hundred years. Nevertheless, the laws are what they are, and there’s no point in arguing the matter at this juncture. Just be advised that early voting was created to give the terminally lazy one more inducement to vote.

(Note: I am not suggesting that every person who has availed themselves of early voting is lazy, because not everyone who avails themselves had a poor record of voting previously. I am aiming my remarks specifically at those who can only be troubled to register and vote when it’s made falling-off-a-log easy.)

Tuesday morning will tell the tale. I think strong turn-out actually favors Gingrich. If all of these wacky polls have merely concealed a late surge, Tuesday may even yield a surprise. Those who like surprises may wish to wait this one out. If it’s substantially closer than the median of current polls tell us, here’s what you can gather:  This entire thing has been a propaganda job.  On this basis alone, none should sit this out.  Tuesday doesn’t decide anything, but it will provide us a glimpse into how effective the establishment has been in driving the vote their own direction.

As of this writing, my poll from yesterday is clearly skewed toward Gingrich, but if the responses are reliable, 14% or so were Floridians.

Florida Poll – Election Eve

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I have two questions for you in this evening’s poll.

Please answer them both.

No double voting!

I will be comparing this data with South Carolina data, and I will report to you any shifts in the support of the candidates.

Thank you for participating!

Florida: It Isn’t Over

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Florida Primary Looms

Most media outlets are reporting an advantage for Romney in the double-digits, but in looking at most of these polls as I reported Sunday, most have samples that are far too small and margins of error that are much too high.  I’ve seen a concerted effort to raise the sample sizes, and lower the margins of error, but they’re still diddling around with the numbers.  They’re hoping the net propaganda effect will leverage in favor of Romney getting more votes from those who are undecided.  This isn’t surprising, because the GOP establishment is getting a good deal of help from their friends in the media. It’s for this reason I am convinced that the Florida primary will be much closer than is being reported, and it’s also why I suspect there’s still a chance for Gingrich.

The whole purpose of the media massacre that was inflicted on Gingrich last week and through the weekend was to soften his support.  At the same time, I saw a media and establishment theme emerge in which the question of Romney’s Mormon faith was the issue, but not by people opposing him.  Instead, it was from his own camp, alleging that the people of South Carolina just hate Mormons.  You know, that “Christian Right” who have some sort of alleged problem with Romney’s religion.  In this entire campaign season, the only people I have ever heard raise this question were either media shills for Romney, or campaign shills for Romney. I’m located firmly in the midst of the Bible Belt, and I haven’t heard a single person say one word about Romney’s faith.  What I have heard them say, often and loudly, is that Romney’s problem is his liberal record.

I am not inclined to believe this election in Florida is “all over,” or that even were it, that this primary race is “all over.”  It’s simply not true.  Wednesday morning, we will have conducted exactly four states’ worth of caucusing and voting, with forty-six to follow.  I don’t know whose calculus indicates that this somehow wraps things up for Romney, even assuming he wins in Florida, but I suspect Florida is going to be a good deal closer than the media pretends.  My evidence is admittedly second-hand, apart from the manipulated polls, but there’s also the sense on the ground that Gingrich is drawing larger crowds in similar venues, and Gingrich is getting Tea Party support, and this combined with the story NewsMax is carrying about an ongoing Gingrich surge suggest to me the “it’s all over” meme is just that, and nothing more. My advice to Floridians remains the same:  Tomorrow morning, if you have yet to vote, go to the polls and defeat Mitt Romney, even if it means holding your nose. Nothing will deliver a more important message to the establishment, that still doesn’t take you seriously even after the whip-saw turnaround in South Carolina. It’s not over, not now, and not even tomorrow.

Will The Establishment Follow It’s Own Urgings?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Will the Establishment Back Our Candidate?

I’ve heard it said at least one-thousand times in the last six months from various sources, day in, and day out, that we must support the Republican nominee whomever it is.  I’ve expressed to you my general misgivings about this thesis, but were I to accept it, and follow along, having watched the behavior of the GOP establishment over the last two weeks, I am now beginning to wonder:  If a non-establishment candidate were to prevail and win the nomination, how would the establishment behave?  I realize they would make a show of supporting the nominee, but remembering what was done by Romney’s crowd in 2008, I have no confidence that they would reciprocate in earnest.  So my question for the GOP insiders, and for you my readers is this: If somebody other than Mitt Romney wins the nomination, will you fight for that nominee as diligently as you would fight for Mitt?

I realize there are those in media who hate this entire line of discussion, but when I think about what has been done to Allen West by the machine in Florida through aggressive redistricting, I can’t help but wonder how serious the commitment is among establishment Republicans to do as they say we should do in supporting the nominee of the party.  I know there exists an element within the GOP establishment that doesn’t mind losing, and won’t mind if we go down to defeat, for various reasons of their own nefarious intentions.  There’s substantial evidence that they’ve sabotaged us before.

We are told we should support the GOP nominee, those of us who are of the grass-roots, either as part of the conservative base, or the Tea Party crowd, and we’re told we shouldn’t hold a grudge or seek to punish the establishment as they circle their own wagons and seek to close us out.  I don’t know if I can agree with this thinking, because I know as with any wayward child who thinks he’s in charge, you must occasionally deliver the punishment or your threat to do so loses all credibility.  I realize that there is a great force against this sort of thinking, and I hope not to have need to consider it, but I’m one who will not take this off the table.

With the ridiculous behavior of the establishment in this campaign season, particularly over the last two week, I think we should always bear this option in mind even if we would rather not exercise it.  With all due respect to those who think this is the topic we must not mention, I believe if we are to ever take back our party, we must consider it in earnest.  I’ve heard commentaries in which there is a frantic insistence that the willingness to withhold one’s vote in the general election over the ascension of another GOP establishment nominee would merely constitute a vote for Obama, and yes, I’ve been castigated here for mentioning the idea, but I must tell you that this is not the case. One of the things I’ve heard repeatedly is that we shouldn’t withhold our votes out of some sense of our own moral consistency, but that too is nonsense.

Where is the morality consistency of those who say Obama must go, but would put up another GOP establishment flunky?  Where is it? If they know the base may abandon them, why do they insist on shafting us with Romney anyway?  Those of you who believe you will be able to motivate the base to support Romney with sufficient diligence and vigor to defeat Barack Obama are every bit as mistaken as those who believed the same about McCain in 2008.  Meanwhile, we must ask the establishment: “Will you support the nominee even if it’s not your guy for a change?”  The media loves to ask conservatives and Tea Party folk this question, but you won’t see them ask it of Norm Coleman, or Ann Coulter, or Chris Christie.  They won’t.  You have every right to wonder why.

Call to Action: Conservatives, Tea Party Must Make Stand in Florida

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Conservative Stand?

The media is so completely in the tank for Romney in Florida that I must admit I have never seen anything like this in a GOP primary.  Certainly, we have seen it in a general election, as we need go no further than 2008 to see these tactics being used, but this time, the Republican establishment is pulling out all the stops while rank and file conservatives and Tea Party folk are fighting for their survival.  Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, as more is at stake in Florida than the Republican nomination. If the establishment is able to push or drag their boy Mitt over the finish line, they will claim “it’s all over” and that the Tea Party and the conservative base of the party is irrelevant.  If you haven’t noticed already, all of this is being pushed by insiders who want to retain the control of the party, and to wrest it from you.

I realize that as Sarah Palin pointed out recently, Newt Gingrich is a “flawed vessel” like any of them, but the truth is that at the moment, he is the only hope for staving off a Romney victory, and while I don’t usually make a vote with a negative end in mind, this may be one of those exceptional cases when the alternative is worse.  For that reason, and that reason alone, I am asking Floridians to consider what will become of their Tea Party and their conservative values if Mitt Romney prevails. How will you have a seat at the table if the establishment can claim you hadn’t been relevant in victory or defeat.  You scared the living daylights out of them in South Carolina, because in the space of four days, your brethren to the North rose up and told the establishment to pound sand.

In Florida, where sand is in plentiful supply, Floridian conservatives and Tea Party folk shouldn’t hesitate to tell Romney and his dirty-tricksters to pound it.  Mark Levin pointed out the problematic revelations this week has raised about Mitt Romney’s character. You deserve a seat at the table, and the fact that Romney has been actively and purposefully ignoring you should say everything about his intentions that needs to be said.  I know some of you are leaning toward Santorum or Paul, and I understand your basic objections to what I’m proposing, because in fact I share similar reservations, but unless you want a Romney victory in your state to be used to justify the contention that conservatives and Tea Party folk no longer matter, I don’t see a choice.  You must make a stand, if not for Gingrich, then at the very least against the establishment in this winner-take-all primary in which your voice as conservatives is truly at stake.

The Curious Approach of Newt Gingrich

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Newt's Got a Plan

Few things have been clearer than what this past week has made apparent:  The GOP establishment doesn’t want to win an honest fight, and those who comprise it don’t believe we should have any say whatsoever.  Whether you’re a staunch conservative, or a Tea Party patriot, there can be no way to miss the point demonstrated by a week-long attack-fest aimed at Newt Gingrich.  We’re not part of their party, and they will choose the nominee, and if we don’t like it, we can just shut up and go away.  Well, we’re not going away, and we won’t be shut up, and we’re going to call them on their twisted, half-truth ridden distortions in media, and we’re going to turn off their networks, and avoid their favorite in-the-tank websites, and we’re going to forge ahead without them if necessary.  The simple truth is that the GOP establishment needs our support much more than we need theirs, and with the direction this is going, I can’t see a single reason to support them or their chosen candidate.  Meanwhile, something else is brewing, and I take note, because watching Gingrich speak, I realized there was a change, and it manifested Saturday night.

Watching Herman Cain endorse Newt Gingrich on Saturday night, I think I glimpsed a bit of the future, because I think what Gingrich has been saying from the outset of this race is correct:  We must all set aside our petty differences and find a way to engineer victory as a team.  So far, among the candidates who entered the race, and have subsequently departed it, Cain and Perry, each once a front-runner, have endorsed Newt Gingrich. Now while it’s the undisputed truth that conservatives are a generally independent-minded lot, I don’t think we should fail to notice this.  I’ve told you before that a candidate who was an aggregate of the best parts of all of these would be great for the country, but alas, no such candidate stepped forward.  What we’re watching now, as Gingrich integrates these former competitors into his team is the result of having treated both of these men with due respect to their positions and experiences and accomplishments over their lives.  Gingrich has a big idea, all right, but it’s not about some mission to the moon.  Instead, I believe he’s focusing on building a team that can win in November and take the country back from Barack Obama.

This represents a serious departure from previous campaigns, as when the vanquished left the scene, frequently never to be seen again.   Think about what this will mean to the strength of the GOP team come November if Gingrich is the nominee.  He’s building a governing majority now, with the party as his first target.  Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is tooling around trying to further divisions in the party.  Are we now witnessing what is effectively the updated version of the Reagan coalition?  That would be a stunning achievement, and while he’s a long way from having accomplished it, that he’s seeing that far down the road is a hopeful sign.  Nothing is more prone to failure than an ad hoc campaign without direct and vision guiding it forward.  Whatever else you may think of Gingrich, it’s now clear to me that he has a plan, and if just a little luck breaks his way, he might not only capture the nomination, but also the presidency.

It’s always been true that the most effective presidents were those who could put together a governing coalition that permitted the best people to lead with their strengths and their passions.  If Gingrich is figuring out the way to do this effectively, then we as conservatives should be thankful, whether we intend to support him in the primaries or not.  We need somebody at the head of this movement who can focus and direct its energies not only to electoral victory, but to a concrete plan of restoring our nation.  Could Gingrich be that leader, after all?  I’ve certainly had my misgivings, and as Sarah Palin reminds us, he is a “flawed vessel,” but as she also points out, nobody is perfect and without troubles.  Can Gingrich be a true reformer?  He’s done it before, certainly, because his accomplishments in leading the Republicans to sweeping victory in 1994 was a marvel  in modern American history.   Could he do it again?

Time will tell, but for now at least, we know with certainty one thing:  Newt has a plan.

Flash: Florida Tea Party Coalition Goes Newt

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Meeting Tea Party Patriots in Florida

In another setback in relations between Mitt Romney and Tea Party folk, news now comes from Florida that a coalition of Tea Partiers has endorsed Newt Gingrich, first to beat Mitt Romney, and then to beat Barack Obama in November.  This is another repudiation of Mitt Romney among Tea Party patriots, and it’s important to note that Mitt has largely brought this on himself.  A candidate seeking the GOP nomination simply cannot afford to belittle, disparage, or ignore the Tea  Party.  They are a bold and refreshing, rejuvenating segment of the conservative electorate, and it’s been clear all along that Romney has been ignoring them at his own electoral peril.  On Tuesday, we’ll get some indication of their relative electoral strength in Florida, but indications are that Tea Party folk are tending to break in Gingrich’s favor, much as was the case in South Carolina one week ago.  It’s tight, but we’ll know for sure Tuesday evening.

Mama Grizzly Roars!

Friday, January 27th, 2012

In a scathing admonishment aimed at the GOP establishment, moments ago, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took the Party’s elite to task for their dishonest, and leftist-like attacks on Gingrich.  Her concern for the future of the party dominated by an establishment that is willing to destroy anybody and everybody who might get in their way is the focus of her remarks.  She’s right: If the GOP establishment and all its little shills will do this to us, then we have some serious questions to answer.

Among other things, she wrote:

“But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 that didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.”

I encourage all of you to read Governor Palin’s excellent remarks, because her concluding question needs to be answered before we go any farther down this primary path.

Scathing New Ad Reveals Romney

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

There’s been a new ad campaign started in Florida by the SuperPAC, Winning Our Future, that is backing Newt Gingrich.  It takes a close look at Mitt Romney’s record on Romney-care while Governor of Massachusetts.  The PAC has reportedly spent $6 million on pushing this ad all over the state of Florida, in a bid to show voters this side of Romney’s record.

Here is their latest ad:

The Expectation Game

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

With almost perfect precision, what I had warned in a post early Monday came to pass: The expectations for Gingrich to dominate the debate was so unreasonably high that some were disappointed, but what’s more important to notice is how the media couldn’t wait to push this new theme. “Gingrich off his game,” they lament, and “No standing ovations,” they scream, but what made Gingrich’s performances last week so remarkable was precisely the fact that standing ovations in such events are a rarity, and far from the rule.

In fact, in Monday night’s debate, the moderator, Brian Williams, instructed the crowd to hold applause.  This took away the dynamic interplay between Gingrich and the crowd, but what it largely accomplished was to make it a boring affair in which the crowd itself was no longer any factor, and for the TV audience, it seemed Gingrich had faded some.

I cannot report to you anything specific about the Monday night debate except what I have gathered from other sources, because I was not able to view it.  My apologies to those of you who wanted to read my take.  I will leave it to those of you who watched it to form your own opinions, of course, but in the after-coverage, the developing theme is that Gingrich “underperformed” but only in comparison to last week’s events.  From those with whom I’ve subsequently spoken, he did as well as anybody on the stage, but he didn’t have that “magic moment” as in the two previous debates.  As I pointed out early Monday, nobody can be atop their game every time, and nobody can score the big play in in every game.  Based on what I’ve read, Romney was apparently somewhat defensive, and seemed edgy and desperate, but I’ve also read that Gingrich had a few pregnant pauses.  I will endeavor to watch the video when I find it posted on-line, but it’s really not so shocking that Gingrich might not have lived up to the unreasonably high expectation the media and his most recent performances have created.

Meanwhile, Romney could have managed to stammer out a few sentences and be pronounced a success, because the expectations for his performance were so low following last week’s debacle.  I don’t really consider those sort of false expectations on either side, and neither should the electorate, but unfortunately, the TV audience tuned in to see the guy who created a stir last week in South Carolina, but with a different set of ground-rules, and a different kind of crowd, one could hardly expect similar results.

You can expect the media to use these expectations, or more correctly, the fact that Gingrich didn’t live up to them one night in three as evidence he’s “off his game” or other such nonsense, but you should understand by now that the media builds people up with the notion of later knocking them down again, particularly when it comes to this expectations game. In this case, Gingrich’s prior performances became the standard against which he would be measured, and this resulted in his more average performance being seen as less than spectacular.

The Truth About Newt Gingrich and His Ethics “Fines”(Updated)

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...On Tax-Payers' Dime

Governor Chris “Krispy Kreme” Christie repeated the dishonest line about former House Speaker Newt Gingrich being chased out of office due to ethics violations, and that he had been forced to pay a fine, in his Meet The Press interview Sunday.  Let me state this unambiguously to any who may have been fooled by this line:  Chris Christie is lying.  Period.  The truth of the matter that Chris Christie won’t tell you is that David Bonior, once the Democrat Whip in the House, filed charge after charge as a matter of creating a nuisance.  The Democrats knew that Gingrich was not particularly wealthy compared to many members, and that they could bankrupt him in legal expenses.  This was their way of hounding him from the Speakership, but it was ultimately his own party that did him dirty out of fears they couldn’t explain this to voters. As Christie sits there gulping air and spewing garbage, you might want to consider his ethical lapses, flitting around as he does at tax-payers’ expense to attend his son’s ballgames.

I’m not going to suggest to you that Newt Gingrich is a perfect human being, or anything approaching it, but just as when I defended Governor Romney on the matter of capitalism and Bain Capital, I am going to tell you the truth.  The facts are clear: Bonior and the Democrats conducted a campaign of phony ethics claims against Gingrich in order to tie him up legislatively, undermine his moral authority as Speaker, and to drive him deeply into debt.  The ‘settlement’ reached was essentially aimed at putting it to bed so he could get on with his life.  This should sound particularly familiar to those of you who have followed the attacks on Sarah Palin near the end of her term as Governor.  Gingrich was almost a prototype for what was later done to Palin.

Chris Christie sits there pompously talking about this information as if there is more to the story he’s suppressing by way of doing you a favor, and there is more, but his concealing it wasn’t intended to do you any favors.  The fact is that the sole charge that wasn’t tossed by the ethics committee was investigated by the IRS and in 1999, they concluded there had been no wrong-doing on Gingrich’s part. Of course, that story got little or no play in most media outlets, and the humpty-dumpty donut-horker in New Jersey wouldn’t want to “regale” you with that.

Of course, there are a number of things ‘Krispy Kreme’ hasn’t told you, including what Palin revealed on Monday night’s Hannity show, where she mentioned an episode in which the New Jersey governor used a state helicopter to attend his son’s ballgame.  The point is that while this man goes on about Gingrich, but omits all the important facts, he’s out there doing things that I consider entirely unethical.  I suppose he simply forgot those things.  This line of attack by Romney’s New Jersey surrogate is dishonest, and they know it, but then again, they’re now desperate. Nobody should be surprised.

Mark Levin covered this story on his show Monday evening, and you should hear his take on it.  He gets it exactly right:


(Note: You can check out more of Levin’s show archives at MarkLevinShow.com)

Update: Byron York carried the same facts about Gingrich on Wednesday.

The GOP Establishment’s Willingness to Lose

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

How They see Us

Watching the post-South Carolina reaction of the GOP establishment and all of its various and sundry shills in media, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that there is a disease greater than Obama’s radical leftism that makes us vulnerable to him.  The Republican establishment is committed to destroying Gingrich because he’s not one of them, but I also think because they may not want to win.  If you listen to what they say, and compare it to what they do, it’s clear to me that staving off a candidate who Tea Party folk would prefer is more important to them than the possibility of losing the election. You shouldn’t be shocked that the establishment would prefer to lose to Obama, because in truth, they’re more interested in keeping their gravy train running than fixing the country, and there are at least three reasons this is true.

Culturally, the elite is more amenable to the ideas for which Obama stands.  Obama is a big government statist, and so are most of the people in the GOP establishment.  Their first response to any issue, much like Obama’s, is to imagine a government solution that will involve kickbacks and patronage jobs to their well-connected friends.  These people are all friends, left or right, and they tend to prefer the company of their establishment opposites to the “barbarians” and “riffraff” who constitute the base of their respective parties.  These are the people who descend from on high to participate with you in more humble fare when it suits their political ends. Otherwise, you’re the residents of flyover country, and your job is to shut up and do what you’re told.  They will not be hurt in the least by Obama-care, or any of the other plots and programs and government schemes concocted in Washington DC.  New health-care plan with death panels?  Not for them.  New regulations that make it impossible to start a small business?  Not with their friends.  An economic crisis that would make Herbert Hoover shudder?  It might make a small dent in their accounts, but the difference will generally be negligible.  The simple point is that Barack Obama offers no real threat to them, and besides, they’d prefer to drink cocktails with him than oppose him.  To this jet-set, you and I are unimportant, and our individual goals in life are so pedestrian.  They view us as they view the gardeners and mechanics and all the others they hire:  Important, but interchangeable cogs in support of their lifestyles.  Understand that I’m not talking about “class envy” here, because I surely do not begrudge them their relative wealth.  It’s their attitude that strikes me as fundamentally bankrupt, and it’s encapsulated in the sentiment: “I’ve got mine,” as they ignore the fact that you would like a similar opportunity to pursue your own.

The party insiders wants a safe nominee, who will neither cause them the loss of the House, nor even risk it.  They need to maintain control of at least one house of Congress in order to have the bargaining power necessary to shove provisions into legislation that will allow them to personally profit from the resulting market blow-back, and from insider information.  It’s what they do, and if the control of Congress is at least split, they will maintain that bargaining position. A “safe” candidate like Romney probably wouldn’t risk costing them the House, but such a candidacy might well not gain the Senate, or much of anything at all.  That’s fine with the establishment, so long as there are no losses.  The point is that Congress frequently functions as an extortionist’s protection racket, or plays favorites, and those who control the leadership are able to work out their own deals.  Worst of all, Gingrich is a guy who knows where some of the bodies are buried, and he’s exposed a few of them before.  Whether Gingrich would use that knowledge for reform is another question, but the establishment doesn’t wish to take any chances.

The party elite would just as soon lose because they hope the Tea Party will go away, and they see the re-election of Obama as a political repudiation of the Tea Party.  This is because the Tea Party has come awfully close to discovering how deeply the establishment’s profiteering runs, and the legislation the Tea Party-inclined Americans would like to see would upset too many profitable apple-carts.  More, the Tea Party is not under their control, and what they dislike even more than the party followers of their opponents is the somewhat less predictable nature of the Tea Party.  Tea Party folks don’t necessarily toe the party line, and it was mainly a number of their forerunners who in 2006 sat out the elections giving the House back to Democrats because of Republican over-spending.  These are Americans who don’t care so much about party, but instead are concerned with the general direction of the country, and the implications of gigantic deficits and debt.  These are the people whose wrath will be known in November 2012, and it is their energy that propelled Gingrich to victory in South Carolina.  One thing the party insiders hate is a segment of the electorate that can so easily overturn their plans, which is why when the Tea Party has come under attack from the left, they have generally sat by in silence,  saying little or nothing in defense of the Tea Party.  They are hopeful that the left will make some hay and beat down the Tea Party, because it’s a threat to the GOP establishment every bit as much as the left.  Re-electing Obama increases the chances that Tea Party will fizzle and go away.

These are the three most important reasons that the GOP establishment does not want a candidate with real Tea Party connections, and may be willing to lose in order to stave one off.  I’m not suggesting to you that Gingrich is necessarily a strong Tea Party candidate, but the fact that he is in search of a constituency while the Tea Party seeks a candidate may have made for a marriage of convenience, as South Carolina demonstrated.  What you ought to know and recognize is that the GOP’s elite are not very happy with the state of things, with Gingrich as the apparent front-runner at the moment, but they’re not done just yet, and if they can’t swing a candidate they want, many of them would just as soon lose as permit anything to bring their gravy train to a screeching halt.  It’s not merely direct and thorough reformers who they fear, but anybody who is not under establishment control.  The question for you may not be Romney vs. a purported non-Romney, but instead establishment vs. non-establishment, although for the moment, it seems the two are the same.

Romney Bashes Gingrich as “Disgrace”

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Bashing Newt

As expected, the battle for Florida has turned particularly nasty as Mitt Romney and his numerous surrogates escalate their war on Newt Gingrich. Politico is reporting that Mitt Romney is mudslinging all over the campaign trail, heaping harsh words on Newt Gingrich.  The word that Romney and his surrogates seem to like most is “disgrace” or “embarrassment.”  I don’t know what is more disgraceful or embarrassing than a desperate candidate running around making such attacks.  Romney’s shift into ultra-negative territory is a clear attempt to try to move undecided voters away from Gingrich, but I think it’s clear that the net effect will tend to hurt Romney in the broader audience.  On Sunday, the country watched Romney’s shills run out into the media to deliver scathing attacks on Gingrich, but I doubt it’s very effective. Traveling in Florida, in Ormond Beach, Romney said of Gingrich:

“Speaker Gingrich has also been a leader,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “He was a leader for four years as speaker of the House. And at the end of four years, it was proven that he was a failed leader and he had to resign in disgrace. I don’t know whether you knew that, he actually resigned after four years, in disgrace.”

That’s a scathing attack, but the trouble is it’s not reflective of what really happened.  As a matter of fact, Gingrich was ousted by his own party, who feared that he had been the source of some losses in the 1998 election cycle. Romney went on:

“He was investigated over an ethics panel and had to make a payment associated with that and then his fellow Republicans, 88 percent of his Republicans voted to reprimand Speaker Gingrich. He has not had a record of successful leadership.”

Let it be said that Romney is skating on thin ice on a factual basis here.  He was “investigated.” Yes, he was.  Was he found guilty?  No, he was not.  The “payment associated” was to defray legal expenses but notice that Romney was at least smart enough not to use the word “fines” as is the template elsewhere in the media, and from his own surrogates.  Romney knows that narrative is false, but he still wants to make mileage from it.

As you may remember, on Sunday, Romney surrogates Ann Coulter and Chris Christie took their respective on-camera shots at Gingrich, with Coulter actually suggesting the people of South Carolina were emotionally-drive and stupid.  Meanwhile, the Governor of New Jersey appeared on another network to say Gingrich had embarrassed the party.  In a state with a strong Tea Party contingent, I don’t think Coulter’s approach will make many friends for Romney, and insofar as Christie is concerned, well, you can be the judge of the term “embarrassment” and to whom it is rightly applied.

This run-up to the Florida primary is going to be a barn-burner. You can expect Romney and his surrogates, as well as the SuperPACs who support him to continue their scorched-earth campaign against Gingrich, but it’s beginning to look desperate. Rather than explaining why voters should support Mitt, they’re doing their best to say why voters shouldn’t support Gingrich, but that’s far from a positive campaign of the sort Romney once promised.  It also doesn’t motivate voters to support him. Romney is in real trouble, and he knows it.  The media is only too willing to help him, but whether they can effectively sling mud after last week’s obvious last-minute smear is another matter. Voters may have had quite enough of that, this season.

Brace Yourselves for the War on Gingrich

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Monster?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s going to be Hell on Earth if the people of Florida choose Newt Gingrich.  The GOP insiders hate him, because they consider him a loose canon, and a man who frequently leaves their reservation. The whiff I’m getting seems to waft in from beneath the shrubs, if you know what I mean.  It’s going to be a bloodbath because the party elites simply cannot tolerate a person they do not firmly hold in control, particularly when that person has never been one of their own.  After all, you must remember who it was that engineered the ouster of Gingrich, and it wasn’t Democrats.  The Democrats were only too happy to go along, and play their role, but the people who engineered his ouster were Republicans.

The party establishment will regale you with the tale of Republican electoral woe that is Newt Gingrich, because, they will tell you, he’s got all these “goofy big ideas,” and “you never know what Newt will say next,” but even more than this, there is something else: Gingrich has not so many friends in media.  There are many burned bridges, and the entire media establishment, left and right, is gunning for him. They know that they will have difficulty finding an inside track into a Gingrich administration, and that there will be a restriction of access to insider information.  This is a serious threat to the media, because it will put Gingrich in the position of deciding which media outlets he will deal with.

Of course, you’re going to hear that Newt is a big government guy, and it is true and honest to say he has had his flirtations with the statist reflexes I abhor, but he also has a record that is at least plausibly anti-establishment, and it’s important to note that he did push hard for government spending cuts that led to a political defeat at the hands of media-connected and favored Bill Clinton.  It’s true that he previously supported some bad ideas, but at least he has reformed and admitted that he’s learned.

The other big issue will be the matter of “electability,” and you will be told Gingrich cannot be elected despite the fact that he just managed a landslide across all but five South Carolina counties.  That’s one hell of a win for a guy you will be told is “unelectable.”  This is such a silly claim, but that won’t stop them from advancing it.  It will be repeated that Romney, the man who could not beat the man who could not beat Obama in 2008, is the most electable candidate, and that there’s every reason under the sun to vote for him if only to not have Gingrich.

Florida is going to be tight, but the national polls are reflecting the fact that Romney is collapsing, and Newt is surging.  The clue that this may be the case is the fact that Jeb Bush has decided that rather than endorse Romney, as it had been reported previously that the former Florida governor would do, instead it is being reported that Bush is now going to remain neutral. That indicates that Bush may be reading the Florida tea leaves, and protecting the brand of his endorsement by withholding it where he sees it might go down with a loser. Of course, there could be other reasons.

In any case, I suspect Romney will spend money in Florida that will make it tough for Gingrich to compete in media buys, as he has more cash available than any, but Gingrich may see an influx of cash now that he’s won, and in convincing fashion.  You can count on Romney trying to overpower Gingrich in Florida, but as we have seen in South Carolina, money alone does not always win, and even an effectively organized campaign is no guarantee of success.

This is going to be brutal, and there’s no limit to the things that will be said about Gingrich.  Don’t be surprised when it turns out that he’s a Martian with antennae concealed behind his ears, or as a blood-sucking vampire who will torment your family whenever the sun goes down.  They have no choice but to make this case, because in their view, Gingrich simply isn’t acceptable.  Romney will not be denied easily, but if he is denied in Florida, expect the GOP establishment to effectively bench him, and replace him with somebody else altogether.

New Establishment Media Themes Emerge

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Making Newt into the Devil

In light of Newt Gingrich’s victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, two new themes have emerged that I am certain we will hear and read in the news throughout the the remainder of the week, and they’re both constructed to diminish Gingrich.  The first is that his personal favorability is low, and that people generally don’t have a positive impression of Gingrich, but the second is important only to those who are inside the Washington DC cloakrooms, who are not happy that Gingrich might win the primaries, and possibly win the Republican nomination. Plans have begun to hatch all over Washington DC on how to derail Gingrich, particularly if he does well in Florida, and you can count on the GOP’s establishment types to be hustled before the cameras with fresh endorsements of Mitt Romney. The insiders just don’t like Newt, and they don’t think he can defeat Obama, but more, they don’t like the fact that he may undo some of their favorite things if he were to win not only the nomination, but also the general election.  The hew and cry will go out as the establishment will say “Newt must now be stopped!”

It’s bad enough that they have concocted a theme regarding Newt’s “unreliability” and “zany” behavior, a charge often made of his public expressions of ideas that may be off-key, novel, or simply outside the conventional wisdom.  Now they are going to press forward with the idea that because people don’t like him, on a personal level, that prevents him from rising to electoral viability.  These are the same people who can’t wait to tell you how well-liked President Obama has been throughout his presidency. I can imagine the Gingrich retort, and it should be simply this: “People like to point out that my personal favorability is low, and that Barack Obama’s is high, but these same people fail to mention that the well-liked President is leading us off a cliff.  Does the elite media want the American people to believe that they should choose well-liked but incompetent over competent but not so well-liked?  This is typical of how out of touch Washington DC’s elites are with the real world Americans face.” Or something like that.

On the matter of the Washington elite not liking Gingrich, it’s very nearly the best selling point about Gingrich that you could raise in this election. In a similar fashion, I expect this theme to be destroyed as quickly as it is set up, but that won’t change the fact that behind the scenes, the elite in the GOP will continue to work to undermine him as best they can. The insiders took a bit of a drubbing in South Carolina when you consider the other scorecard, so now they will focus on the notion of Gingrich “electability.”

In the South Carolina primary, there were some winners and losers not tallied on the screen, but you should know them just the same. Among the not-so-obvious losers were Governors Chris Christie and Nikki Haley, whose endorsements seemed not to have made much difference to voters.  The biggest unlisted winner was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, whose push to vote for Gingrich probably made the turnaround happen earlier this week. The other big winner from the Gingrich victory was Governor Rick Perry, whose endorsement of Newt came at just the right time to sustain him through dark hours. The last of the unlisted big winners was the Tea Party, which rallied for Newt, and this accounted for the boots on the ground that pushed him over the top.  Clearly, the Tea Party’s loyalties run more deeply to Sarah Palin and Newt Gingirch, than to Nikki Haley and Mitt Romney.  It’s a force with which the establishment has yet to effectively reckon.

Of course, as I reported on Friday, there is other blow-back for which we have yet to account, and it may yet show up in the form of some chicanery if Romney continues to falter in Florida.  It now seems that after some pressure was applied, Romney is back on for both of the debates scheduled next week in Florida, but if Gingrich should prevail in Florida as in South Carolina, you can expect the stuff to hit the fan among the establishment wing of the Republican party.  They might fetch out somebody else altogether, and you might see all sorts of infighting erupt.  Gingrich was never well-liked among DC insiders primarily because he had a tendency to foment real passion, a sort of a “loose cannon,” because they see him as an obstacle to business as usual.

Now, it’s not entirely fair to consider Gingrich an outsider, but he was never part of Washington’s “in crowd,” so if he manages to pull off a win in Florida, there will be bedlam in the party.  A Gingrich victory in Florida just might be the catalyst for a catastrophic boil-over within the party that has only been on simmer for the last several months.  It may just be the medicine we need to shake their endless grip loose from things, and possibly bring true reform to the party.  Myself, if it shakes up the party, I am prepared to endure it, and if a Gingrich win in Florida will make that happen, I will be only too happy if the voters there instigate this battle.  It’s something the party has needed for a generation, really since the exit of Reagan, and the word has gone out that Jeb Bush may not endorse Romney now after all, instead deciding to remain neutral.  That may be the best indicator yet that things are going to get nasty in the GOP, because it means the Bush clan may be preparing to dump a new ringer into the fight.

All things taken together, Saturday’s events in South Carolina have re-shaped this race, and that’s a good thing for the Republican party.  A little revolution is good now and then, but the prospect of a Gingrich presidency is more than the establishment GOP can stomach, so the long knives will now come out from every corner.  It’s also true that the left lives in terror of a debate stage with Gingrich facing Obama, and they will now push any theme at all to convince you to choose another direction.  They and the GOP establishment will become allies because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” in their usual expedient manner.  Bank on it.

Newt Gingrich: ‘We Want to Run an American Campaign’ Video

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Courtesy of FoxNews.com.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.1010778&w=425&h=350&fv=location%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fv%2F1406802910001%2F%26core_ads_enabled%3Dtrue%26core_omniture_player_name%3Dfullpage%26core_omniture_account%3Dfoxnewsmaven%26core_player_name%3Dfullpage%26core_yume_ad_library_url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fassets%2Fakamai%2Fyume_ad_library.swf%26core_yume_player_url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fassets%2Fakamai%2Fyume_player_4x3.swf%26auto_play%3Dtrue%26video_id%3D1406802910001%26settings_url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fassets%2Fakamai%2Fresources%2Fconf%2Fconfig.xml%3Fc%26show_autoplay_overlay%3Dtrue%26auto_play_list%3Dtrue%26show%3DNA%26cache_bust_key%3D1327207995%26autoplay%3Dfalse%26data_feed_url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fv%2Ffeed%2Fvideo%2F1406802910001.js%3Ftemplate%3Dfox]