Archive for the ‘Newt Gingrich’ Category

Will the Establishment Ever Learn? Will We?

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

The Best We Can Do?

I’ve watched with some interest as the media has all but coronated Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee, and it’s fascinating to see all of the RINO-types emerge briefly from the shadows long enough to tell us to jump on the Romney bandwagon, but frankly, I don’t give a damn about the establishment except inasmuch as they are another faction of anti-American sentiment that must be defeated.  I really wonder if the Republican establishment thinks conservatives are aboard for all of this, and to watch a news outlet like Fox News, you might have formed that impression, but for my part, I’m not interested in Romney, and I don’t believe this race is over.  My state, Texas, has yet to hold its primary, scheduled for the last Tuesday in May, and I’m not voting for Romney in that primary.  Bank on it.

When May 29th comes around, I will be voting for Newt Gingrich as the only alternative we conservatives now have, but also because Mitt Romney remains unpalatable to me.  His latter-day conversion to something approximating conservative views simply is not convincing, and I refuse to support the Massachusetts liberal.  What the establishment of the Republican party should begin to ask itself is if it gets its preferred candidate, what will have been the cost?

How many conservatives will now abandon them? It’s not fair to say I am unenthusiastic about Mitt Romney.  The notion of a lack of “enthusiasm” does the concept no justice.  I am stridently opposed to Mitt Romney, and I would like to help my conservative friends understand my reasoning.  For decades, I have watched the establishment of the GOP act as a fifth column for the Marxists on the left, always undermining conservatism, and always cutting deals with the left.  For a time, I believed they were merely misguided people who foolishly believed in a Chamberlain-like appeasement policy, but as time has gone on, I’ve realized they are much worse than that.  It’s not a matter of incompetence, but instead, a matter of malevolence.  The GOP Establishment doesn’t like conservatives, and if the truth is told, they prefer the company of their leftist friends.  In too many instances, even during the short lifetime of this blog, we have seen a number of sell-outs by the establishment of the Republican party, particularly in the legislative temperament of Speaker Boehner, who has undercut the conservatives in his own party with deals on critical issues imperiling the nation’s future.

All of us on the conservative end of the spectrum knew what would happen if Boehner cut a deal on the Debt Ceiling increase last summer, and despite our warnings, and in spite of our attempts to get them to reconsider, they went along with the insane lunacy that provided Obama trillions more in borrowed money, a piggy-bank he is already breaking in order to help his own re-election.   We knew it.  We urged Boehner and the House Republicans to stand strong.  Boehner made a deal with Reid even before the ink was dry on Cut, Cap & Balance, leaving us dangling in the breeze.  This form of surrender, whereby we find that we have no support for the most critically important items on our agenda is simply a continuance of the same old thing:  Conservatives fight for a conservative agenda, and the establishment, that gives lip service to conservatism, walks it all back at the first opportunity.  The problem with Mitt Romney is that he is a perfect example of this kind of Republican, and to date, everything he has said that claims a conservative inclination, I fully expect him to walk back.

I don’t need another president like that.  Moderate establishment types assure us that Mitt Romney is at least somebody we can hope to control, but I don’t want a President who needs to be led or controlled by conservatives in order to govern in a conservative fashion.  What’s the point in that?  If we need to spend four years of a Romney administration preventing him from surrendering to the left on a whole range of issues, I’d just as soon not have a Romney presidency.  Try, if you will, to see it from my point of view:  I’m one of those guys who pays attention to what lame-duck sessions of Congress may be doing.  Most people go back to their daily lives, post-election, hoping things will work out.  What I know is that they seldom do work out.  Instead, the permanent DC political class continues its agenda full-time, and when most Americans stop paying attention, they’re working their worst at our expense.  If Mitt Romney is President, you will do what?  How closely will you pay attention once the election is over?  Most Americans go back to their ordinary daily grind, and their usual diversions.  It’s the nature of things that the greater body of the electorate pays attention for roughly ten weeks before an election, and roughly one week afterwards, the rest of the time ignoring it unless something big happens that cannot be dismissed.  It is this that gives me pause about the notion of another President with an “R” next to his name that we conservatives would be forced to battle in order to prevent Chamberlain-like appeasements of the left.

Many like to point to the US Supreme Court as one reason that we should accept any Republican over Barack Obama, and while at first blush, this seems true, the fact is that we suffered with David Souter as a result of the presidency of George HW Bush, and had conservatives not lashed out in vigor, George W. Bush might well have appointed Harriet Miers to the court.  You see, I don’t want a Republican president who we will need to fight on judicial appointments.  Even the record of Ronald Reagan on this matter was a bit spotty, at least on the high court.   If we’re going to have a Republican president, I’d just as soon have the sense that conservatism was the default philosophy used in making decisions, rather than having to worry that it’s not going to be observed as a guiding anchor in a new administration.  The simple fact is that with another moderate, or even liberal Republican in the oval office, too many people will again assume that the policies issuing from such an administration will be conservative, but as we have seen repeatedly since the elder Bush, that’s not the case.

Conservatives simply won’t fight a Republican president, no matter how liberal, as strongly as they would a leftist demagogue like Obama.  This is not an endorsement of Obama, but what I’m waiting to see is what conservatives will explain as the method by which they will exercise control of any sort over a Romney administration, the campaign for which has done everything conceivable to ignore conservatives and win the nomination in blue states without them.  Exactly why would Mitt answer to we conservatives?  I can’t think of a single reason.  It’s for this reason that I will continue to fight for Gingrich, and hold out for a brokered convention.  I don’t blame any conservative who evaluates the record of Mitt Romney and finds it sorely lacking.   In short, I’m right there with you.  Romney simply isn’t a conservative, and he knows it.  So does the GOP establishment, that hopes to win the nomination for him, with or without conservative support. I don’t have any interest in supporting another moderate Republican in the primaries, so when the Texas primary comes around, I’ll be voting for Newt Gingrich.  He understands conservatism, even if he has not always been its most perfect practitioner.  Romney is still unpalatable to me.

Will the GOP establishment ever learn?  I suppose the answer to that question lies in the evidence.  After all, maybe they have learned.  Maybe the real lesson for the establishment is that if we conservatives have no remaining options, we’ll ultimately surrender, and go along to get along, that we conservatives will ultimately accept their leadership if only to prevent worse under leftists like Obama.  Maybe the question shouldn’t be whether the establishment of the GOP will ever learn, but whether we conservatives will ever exhibit the determination to defeat the establishment.   After all, come mid-November, as we go back to our football and our plans for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, who will be minding the store?  Us?  Or the GOP establishment?  I see this as the real problem.  It’s not a matter of Mitt Romney, so much as it is a question of our diligence.  The establishment we fight knows we will shut up, most of us, and go on quietly about our business while they run the country.  It’s not their fault.  It’s ours.

 

 

 

I Don’t Believe Conservatives Are Finished Just Yet…

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Credibility Problem Solved?

While tending to things in the aftermath of my father-in-law’s passing, word came to me that Rick Santorum had dropped out.  Conservatives have an opportunity, just one, to get this thing right.  Mitt Romney is a set-up candidate, and the fact that he’s now warning conservatives about Obama’s anti-gun agenda merely disguises his own.  I also heard a little about the Hilary Rosen flap, and I must tell you that conservatives fell for that one, hook, line and sinker.  The story was nothing if not a political set-up, and both Romney and Obama were happy for it.  For Obama, it gave him a chance to put Michelle Antoinette Obama “off limits,” and for Mitt Romney, it gave him a chance to rally the troops.  The speed of the Romney campaign response, along with the speed at which Obama and company threw Rosen under the bus was the dead giveaway.  Obama wanted a chance to put his wife’s conduct and any criticism of her “off limits,” but that’s not going to work any more than the Romney camp’s attempt to make some political hay out of it is going to help him here. I’m calling “BS” on all of it.

The throw-away remark by Rosen was just that, and another bit of political snark of the sort the Democrats will not restrain themselves from employing later.  If you’ve deluded yourself into the belief that the Obama campaign won’t go after Ann Romney in the general election campaign, let me assure you: They will be merciless.  What will happen is that nobody in the Romney campaign will go after Michelle Obama for her lavish vacations, her incessant meddling in nutrition policy, and otherwise interjecting her hypocritical views into the lives of we and our children.  Bank on the fact that a Romney campaign, as dirty as it is willing to fight against other Republicans, will show no such fervor against Barack Obama or his spouse.  What the Obamas hoped to purchase by throwing Rosen under the bus so quickly was a sort of temporary truce against spouses. They don’t want us looking too closely at Michelle’s expenditures and so on.  Why not?  Simply put, it’s scandalous how the current “first lady” has spent our money.  One need only examine how the Obamas have used their daughters as tax shelters by distributing income to them to understand why they don’t want to talk about the Obama family.  It’s a great racket they can make work so long as they have all the benefits attached to the presidency.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney needed the flap even more badly than Obama did, because he needed something to swing conservatives over in line behind him as a matter of defending his side of an argument.  Frankly, while Rosen’s remarks may well be offensive to some, to others, the ability to stay home to raise children in this day and age does smack of a certain “luxury” (the term Obama used to describe it multiple times) that most women do not enjoy.  Some women are bound to say “good for Mrs. Romney,” but there are many more for whom this plays directly into the notion of privilege and an inability to relate that has heretofore characterized Romney himself.  Fair?  Absolutely not.  Will it play a role?  Bet on it.  The emerging Obama campaign is one in which Romney will be painted as a born-to-wealth son of privilege who never served in the military, and whose five sons likewise never served.  The fact that Obama never served is immaterial to the argument they will make, and will largely succeed in advancing about the Romneys as out-of-touch and too wealthy to understand the concerns of ordinary Americans.

The “rally ’round Romney” strategy employed in response to Rosen’s remarks was not entirely unsuccessful, but it was also hardly earth-shaking.   The problem is that conservatives are more than a bit put off by the fact that one by one, they have watched the Romney machine destroy their favored candidates, only to now be thrust into the position of defending Ann Romney against the Obama machine.  Too many conservatives simply aren’t ready, but I expect there will be a number of such opportunistic appeals to rally ’round Romney in the weeks and months ahead.  Romney’s scorched Earth campaign against Gingrich and others prohibits me from feeling any sympathy, and I haven’t given up on Gingrich completely either.  Santorum’s withdrawal makes it harder if not impossible to stave off a Romney nomination, but it’s not impossible.

For my part, I have watched this from a place of detachment, caught up in my own personal issues of the moment, and it’s been easy to remain detached: I don’t like Mitt Romney’s negative attacks on Santorum, Gingrich, and the whole host of others inasmuch as they were dishonest attacks, and that’s part of why I don’t see much effective difference between he and Obama except the color of their respective jerseys, one red emblazoned with a big “R”, and the other blue and sporting a capital “D.”  If this is the best we conservatives can must in 2012, we will lose either way.  Romney isn’t likely to win, but even if he does manage victory, we’ll be confronted with an administration every bit as much composed of virulent statism as the Obama administration.  It’s hard to be enthusiastic about that, particularly as a conservative.  There’s still hope, slim and slimming as time goes on, but for now, and until further notice, I am on the Newt 2012 train.  Given the conduct of his campaign these last six-eight months, I’m not sure I can support the liberal governor from Massachusetts.  I think many other conservatives share my reservations, and that’s why some number of Santorum supporters are now shifting to Newt Gingrich.

Yes, I Still Support Newt Gingrich

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Still with Newt...

Periodically, I get a number of emails from people from various camps asking me why I don’t abandon Newt Gingrich and go along with one of the others, and surprisingly, it’s not usually the Rick Santorum supporters who do this, as I suspect they get much of that from others themselves.  What makes it interesting to me is that it always takes the form of a question usually along the lines of “Are you still sticking with Newt?” This is followed by a string of talking points that broadcast the Romney narrative of the day.  I love the people who take the time to e-mail me, but the copy-and-paste pollution in my inbox really needs to cease, so I’m going to explain to you in detail why it is that I support Newt Gingrich, and why I’ve remained unconvinced by any of the arguments lodged with me against him.  As I’ve noted many times, my preferred candidate announced she would stay out of the nomination chase in October, and that left me with a difficult chore in looking through the many candidates who were still in this race at that time.  I began to take on the process of measuring twice, or thrice, in the hope of cutting just once, so I patiently waited to see what would happen as I weighed their records in detail.

If you’ve been a reader here for any length of time, you will know that I don’t think much of the Republican establishment, because too often, their reflexes are to big government, and this makes me cringe as a conservative.  I started going back and looking at speeches that various candidates had made throughout their careers, and I noticed that one of them had said some things at times that seemed to clash with the conventional wisdom at the time, but later turned out to be almost precisely correct.  One of these was Newt Gingrich’s claim as early as 1993(that I found) that the Democrats were going to be in real trouble, and that he saw the very real possibility that Congress could turn over to Republican control.  The media scoffed.  The establishment chortled endlessly.  In 1994, following the lead of his “Contract with America,” the Republicans indeed took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in my lifetime, and the lifetimes of many who were more than a decade my senior.  The Republican party in Congress had moved from what seemed the permanent back bench to the front row, and I was ecstatic to see it.  The vision to attack the problem and see it through was the product of the work of many people, but none more than Newt Gingrich.

The “Contract with America” by itself was a unique prospect in American politics.  This bill of particulars offered real and dramatic reforms in the way Congress would function.  Gingrich couldn’t promise passage on all of the items, because some would require the signature of the President, and others would require super majorities, but he promised to bring them all up for a vote, and at least give us a chance to see these items debated, and voted on the record.  Not everything passed, but that was fine with most voters who recognized the effort entailed in getting all of this even into consideration.  There’s a reason it’s called the “Republican Revolution of 1994,” and that revolution’s general had been none other than Newt Gingrich.  While Mitt Romney was running away from the legacy of Ronald Reagan in his losing Senate fight with Ted Kennedy, Newt was busy leading his party to the largest victory and swing in party control in history, reaching all the way down into State and local elections, with whole legions of lower-level politicians abandoning the Democrat party to join the Republicans.

I also remember that in 1993, when Bill Clinton had made his first lady the lead on pushing his health-reform plans, it was Newt Gingrich who rallied what was still a dismally weak minority party to stop the advance of socialism in the form of what was then known widely as “Hillary-care.”  He coined several phrases, and radio talk-show hosts ran with them, and the people became angry and burned up the phone lines to Washington DC in protest, and the whole sorry affair terminated with a stunning rebuke of an ambitious health-care overhaul that may have been in many ways even more obnoxious than Obama-care.  Without the tireless efforts in opposition laid down by Gingrich, there might have been a pretty good chance that we’d have been shafted nearly two decades earlier by the socialistic ambitions of the Democrat party.

I also remember that when the government shut-down occurred in 1995, Bill Clinton began running against Congress for his upcoming re-election campaign, but that until Bob Dole wavered, then a candidate for the GOP nomination, there might have been a good chance that the “Gingrich who Stole Christmas” might well have prevailed.  Instead, the Senate Republicans began to waver, and it fell apart, and Clinton rode that opening.  What few people note, but I have not forgotten, is who had been left bleeding (politically) on the field of battle that day, and it was Newt Gingrich.  He took the hits, and he took the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but still he managed to push a welfare reform bill through that at least began the process of rolling back big government.

People like too point out that Mitt Romney had balanced budgets as governor of Massachusetts, but like any reasonable person will notice, under the laws of that state, there’s no choice but to do so.  That’s not the case with the Federal Government, as they have such deficit spending authority as they can enact.  Still, Gingrich pushed the United States to a condition approximating a balance budget for the first time since I was a toddler, not because he had a legal requirement to do so, but because he thought that the ethics involved in restraining the debt we pass to our children demands it.  As you have seen with subsequent Congresses, that’s hardly been any real restraint upon their big-spending ways.  For the terms Gingrich led the House, it had been a matter critical to the notion of responsible governance, and while they failed to pass a balanced budget amendment, they made the determination that they needed no law commanding them to do what is right by the American people.

There are those who have been critical of some of the positions taken by Speaker Gingrich in the interim, and admittedly, at times I have been among their number.  As he’s admitted, the episode with Nancy Pelosi talking up Global Warming was one of those instances in which he had it wrong, but he’s since recanted and amended his position, and he’s accepted that it was a mistake for which he will rightly take a bit of a black eye.  While this is politics, and such bruises seem to live forever, I remember that while he may have made an advocacy commercial, when he was in power he never imposed policies in pursuit of such thinking, unlike Governor Romney, who actually implemented his own regulatory scheme as Governor that were for all intents and purposes the forerunner of a rudimentary cap-and-trade system.

One of the other things that’s been a matter of focus of the negative attacks against Gingrich has been the complaint that at one time, he advocated what sounded like a health insurance mandate.  Since I’ve been paying attention to politics for a long while, I know that when Speaker Gingrich says now that it had been a mistaken position then, born of a desire to reduce free riders in the system but something from which he and others moved away, I know he’s telling the truth because I remember those discussions.  (And I was one of those people loudly yelling to ditch the idea.)  That notion had been the growing conventional wisdom through the mid 1990s, and Gingrich explored it before ultimately rejecting it.  That differs from Mitt Romney, for instance, who actually imposed a health insurance mandate on the people of Massachusetts, and who now makes the sorry claim that it’s different because it’s the state acting despotically rather than the Federal government.

Of course, these days one of the big reasons to support Newt Gingrich is that he’s the one candidate who is putting the focus on the cost of fuels, and energy generally, and how the lack of new development is killing our economy.  This should be evident to any first year college student who has taken the most rudimentary course in macroeconomics, but for some reason, neither Obama nor the other Republican challengers seem quite able to grasp how important this is to families, and to the economy at large.  Romney seemed unconcerned about it recently, and Obama’s movement on the issue in symbolism on the matter, though not in substance, indicates that Obama may actually get it as well as Romney, which is to say: Not much.   Newt’s $2.50 pledge is likely to be realized if he gets into the White House, because he’s pledged to remove regulatory burdens and obstacles to enable our energy industry to tap our own vast resources.  Many people, Obama included, don’t seem to realize how even small movement at the margins of supply can have a dramatic effect on prices, but Gingrich understands that even tiny surpluses or shortages can change the underlying dynamic in a market.

Gingrich is also much more realistic about the scope of the task before us.  Others seem to concentrate on “finding efficiencies” and “tapping into synergies among departments,” and all of the other buzzword-bingo terminology that translates into only one thing:  Taking the current bloated government, stripping it of no authorities or responsibilities, and simply stream-lining it to make it more cost-effective.   While I am sure Speaker Gingrich would be the first to tell you that’s an important part of the reforms we need, still it fails to address the underlying trouble of having a government that is in all things and at all times, to the extent that it’s choking off the life of our economy.   There is no possibility that the economy can grow and flourish so long as the Federal government is spending 25% of our nation’s gross domestic product, so that reducing government’s reach and scope becomes even more critical to the nation’s economic health than all the tinkering, adjusting, and “perfecting” of the machine could ever hope to create.  Romney starts from the position that the government is doing what it should, whereas Gingrich starts from a different point of reference, first asking whether the government should do a thing at all.  It is this distinction among the mindsets of the candidates that led me to my conclusion.

I recognize that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has a few warts.  In politics, there are none who escape without a few of some note, but when I look at the totality of their respective records, I can’t help but notice that the one candidate who has ever led any substantial movement of change is the same person who took an unfairly bad rap in the 1990s for leading such change.  I still remain committed to this principle, while others hop from one campaign to another, and yes, it true that Gingrich has a hard road to the nomination, but he’s not only the first to admit it, but also to point out that this is a reason we conservatives mustn’t fear an open(or “brokered”) convention: Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

I remember watching Gingrich’s “Renewing American Civilization” lecture series in the 1990s, on Paul Weyrich’s satellite network, then dubbed “National Empowerment Television.”  In one of the lectures in the series, he talked about the history of our country, particularly our founders, and how those people came to terms with doing what is “hard.”  His matter-of-fact expression of this difficulty so many face when confronted with large and abiding problems sticks with me because it was inspiring.  At some point, you must simply confront the matter at hand and ask yourself: “Okay, it’s hard… Now what?”  The question lays out the choice, and the very first choice is one we all face in ways large and small each day:  Do I stay immobilized for fear of the difficulties, or do I begin the process of pursuing this goal?   Do I wait for somebody else to act?  Do I hope things will somehow come out my way?   I am inclined now to ask  the same question, albeit in a different context: If getting to a brokered convention is the only way we can begin to restore our country, and we acknowledge the fact that such a road is difficult, my question to conservatives is: “Okay, it’s hard.  Now what?”

The question lingers in empty space, waiting for you to answer.

 

 

 

Why a Brokered Convention Offers Conservatives Real Hope

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Should We Fear It?

At this point, it doesn’t much matter if you favor Newt Gingrich, as I do, or whether you like Rick Santorum, but if you’ve come to see Mitt Romney as being nearly as bad in some respects as the President we all hope to replace, you might wish to consider getting excited about a “brokered” or “open” convention.  The mathematical realities are hard to ignore.  Of all the Republican candidates, Mitt Romney has a substantial delegate lead, but he still needs to get to 1144, and for the rest of us, the question isn’t merely how to get our own preferred candidate into the top slot, but how to prevent Romney from managing to steal away with it.  The key to doing so will be to get out the vote in favor of Gingrich or Santorum, but how do we do that?  Many conservatives have given up, and in the face of the endless waves of well-funded Romney attack campaigns against the other two, many voters are turned off.  This is Romney’s plan:  Disparage, divide, depress and conquer.  When you consider what he faces, it’s easy to understand why he must follow this approach:  If conservative turn-out swelled at the polls, he’d be done and gone quickly.

Members of the GOP establishment like to say that a brokered convention is too disorderly, and that it puts the party into chaos, but what they really fear is that on the floor of the convention, conservatives might well find their voice and unite behind a non-establishment candidate.  As some have pointed out, in 1920, Warren G. Harding came from single-digit obscurity to capture the nomination in a brokered convention.  In 1860, on the third vote, we got Abraham Lincoln in a brokered convention.  In 1976, we came within a whisker of a true brokered convention and nearly got Ronald Reagan four years earlier.  Imagine all the pain the country would have avoided, but then again, had we not gotten Carter, we’d have absolutely nobody to whom we could compare Barack Obama’s miserable record as president.  The fact is that brokered conventions often serve to set things right in the Republican party, and I don’t think there’s any reason to fear it.  Instead, I believe conservatives should view a brokered convention as the last chance for a “do-over” when it’s clear the party establishment is pushing a flawed, uninspiring candidate like Mitt Romney.

For the rest of us to have a shot, whether you  like Newt or Rick, the answer must be that we should rise in both camps to do battle against the establishment.  I realize that we’ve been trained to compete with one another as rivals, and I understand why the Gingrich camp wants the Santorum camp to give over, and why the inverse is also true.  It makes sense.  We’re Americans.  We naturally seek the advantage in order to win.  We’re good at competition, but I think this year that our competitive tendencies are being used against us.  Every time something comes over the transom that is devastating to Mitt Romney, suddenly we’re faced with a story of lesser import aimed at one of the others, and what always gets lost in the shuffle is Romney.  You don’t need special insight to observe it in action.  After the disaster of “Etch-a-Sketch,” the Romney camp had to find some way to blunt it, so they cooked up narratives about Santorum’s remarks twice in four days, and packaged them so as to give an impression that was a misrepresentation of what Santorum said, even if  we admit he said it clumsily, or with a lack of precision.

It’s not like the Gingrich camp hasn’t experienced this several times before.  If any should be able to see when the mud-slinging is about to commence in earnest, it should be the Gingrich supporters because they’ve had more dirt shoveled in their direction than any Republican candidate for any office since Sarah Palin was the VP pick in 2008.  The phony narrative about Newt’s ex-wife, and the whole week of ginned-up nonsense leading up to Florida should remind Gingrich supporters how conveniently the dirt is heaped in our direction in order to help Romney escape his own latest troubles.  This has happened so often and with such predictable regularity that when I see Romney has managed to step in “it,” I begin immediately to watch instead for where the attack against one of the others will originate.

Don’t be fooled by this, and don’t let yourselves become discouraged. As Speaker Gingrich has pointed out, if we get through the last primaries in June without a clear nominee, this really does become something of an etch-a-sketch in terms of the race.  We’ll have two months of an intense pre-convention run-up during which there will finally be a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.  My view is that any of these candidates would be more effective against Barack Obama than Mitt Romney, and while reasonable people may disagree on which particular candidate, let’s be honest:  Mitt Romney doesn’t represent we conservatives in  any measure, and his Romney-care program(among lesser indignities) makes him every bit as objectionable as Barack Obama.

I think it’s time both the camps of Gingrich and Santorum consider that for either to prevail, Mitt Romney must be stopped.  We’ll never stop fighting with one another completely, because it would be contrary to the nature of the competitive spirit that is inherent in our conservative beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be smarter about it.  At this point in the campaign, it’s all over if we let Romney obtain 1144 delegates, or anything close to that number.  We can’t stop him from outspending Newt and Rick 10:1, 20:1, or even 50:1 as has been the case thus far in Wisconsin, but we can debunk it all, whomever it’s aimed at.

My thought is that what we need to change our focus: Mitt’s the problem.  Mitt’s the obstruction.  Mitt’s the guy throwing millions upon millions at his more conservative rivals, but most astonishingly, he does so while claiming he is the real conservative.  It’s a laughable claim, but while we laugh, he’s managing to get away with it.  You might join me in preferring Gingrich, or you might be like my sibling who prefers Santorum, but we’re brothers, after all, and one thing we can agree upon is that Mitt Romney is not the guy we want to see go up against Obama this Fall.  My brother and I have made a bit of a truce on the matter.  We’ve agreed, one to the other, that we’ll not spend our time hammering back and forth, but we will focus instead on the guy who will sneak away with it all if we spend too much time fighting between us.

My brother and I talked about this at length, and what we decided is that for the good of the party, but more importantly, for the good of the country, we need a brokered convention as our only means by which to reset all of it.  Growing up as we did, we often found ourselves in situations in which one of us needed to have the other’s back.  It wasn’t that we didn’t squabble and fight between us, because in truth, few fight like brothers against one another.  The thing we always tried to remember is that that while our fights were fine and dandy when the struggles were among and between us, you didn’t let somebody else step in and divide us to his own advantage, ultimately defeating us both.  Instead, we’d team up against the interloper and deal with our own differences later.

I think that at this point, whatever our differences, they pale in comparison to our similarities.  I’m not suggesting to you that we circle ’round and sing Kumbaya, and that this will cure all differences between us, but I think we ought to deal with the interloper first.  Mitt’s not a conservative, and the truth is that a fair number of the people now voting for him will not be there for him in November, and I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of DNC mischief picking our candidates.  I’ve heard a few rumors about DNC operations trying to help Santorum, but it’s hard to find evidence, since the counties in which Santorum lost in Michigan and Ohio were really fairly strong Democrat areas.  In Florida, Newt lost in the South end of the state, but in the panhandle, Newt won.  In fact, if you look at these election maps, what you will notice very quickly is that they appear much as if  the conservative had been running against Obama:  The more urban counties went heavily for Romney.  This trend has been repeated in battle-ground states, one after the next.  You’ll remember that analysts loved to say it was about education, smearing either Newt or Rick on the basis that only dumb, hick, rednecks were supporting them.  My question has been:  Who’s supporting Romney in all of those heavily Democrat counties and districts?  Conservatives?  Hardly.

Make of it what you will, but I’m telling you what I see, and it looks something like this:  If conservatives permit Mitt Romney to be the nominee, I can see four more years of Obama, which may be an eternity for all intents and purposes.  Even if Romney were to some how pull off the win, I don’t see where that would advance our cause much.  He’s already got Pam Bondi working on a task force of some sort for the “replacement” of Obamacare, which is to say that we’ll get some form of Romney-care that will still run our country into the ground, and destroy the private insurance market.  In other words, I don’t see much hope for the country even if Romney wins.  He won’t fix it, and chances are that while he won’t break it quite as much, or quite as quickly, the destruction will continue.  If we’re going to prevent that, we must do so now by dragging our conservative friends to the polls to vote for Newt or Rick.  Either way, it’s a vote against Mitt, and we need all those we can get.  After we stop him, we can refocus on beating one another in a more honest competition.  After all, it’s the brotherly thing to do.

 

 

 

Gingrich is Right: Romney Is the Weakest Front-Runner

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Holding Out for Overtime

Newt Gingrich is right: Mitt Romney is the weakest front-runner we’ve had since Gerald Ford in 1976.  I think it’s one of those situations where we really need to reconsider the entire narrative about the “inevitability” of Mitt Romney’s nomination.  I believe that were we to have a brokered convention, Mitt Romney would not emerge as the nominee, and I think Romney is well aware of that fact, which is why  the establishment is working so hard to kill this process now.  We can’t afford to put up another moderate, middle-of-the-road candidate who is just waiting to be roadkill in the midst of speeding traffic.  What we need is a candidate with a record of fighting for real reforms, and who knows how to get government out of the way.  Mitt Romney is not that candidate.

Here’s Newt Gingrich from CNN with Wolf Blitzed:

This is undeniably true.  The best way for us to avoid a Romney nomination at this point is through a brokered convention, and all conservatives ought to support one of the non-Romney candidates for this reason.  When the Texas primary is held in late May, I will be polling for Gingrich. I know many who will stand with either Gingrich or Santorum because it’s the one way remaining to stave off Romney.

Ron Paul Doesn’t Like “Etch-a-Sketch:” Why Not?

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Will Paul Send Romney the Bill?

It’s hard to understand why a politician would run an ad that seeks to minimize the story that is doing the most political damage to one’s chief rival.  In my view, to hit Gingrich and Santorum while leaving Romney untouched hints at another motive.  Ron Paul’s camp is running an ad slamming the two non-Romneys for their focus on Romney Communications Direct Eric Fehrnstrom’s “Etch-a-Sketch” remark.  He apparently thinks it’s ridiculous to be focused on what he considers a sideshow, but I wonder if that’s his real objective.   After all, he’s been rather friendly with Mitt Romney, and at times it has seemed he was working on coordinating his attacks on the others with the former Massachusetts governor, who one would think would receive the most scrutiny from the Paul camp, since Romney is clearly the most liberal of the four.

Here’s the ad:

Not once in this ad are viewers informed about the nature of the controversy, although you do get a clip of Fehrnstrom’s remark,  but what viewers receive is a series of repeated iterations of Gingrich, Santorum, and media saying “Etch-a-Sketch,”  portrayed in such a way as to mock the subject.  Romney’s been playing damage control ever since his Communications Director’s remarks, and they’ve tried several approaches to change the subject.  I suppose if all else fails, you let Ron Paul’s campaign do your dirty-work, and try to downplay the meaning and impact of the “Etch-a-Sketch” remark.  Of course, this could be Paul’s way of trying to get a little attention, but whatever his motive, I think it’s dishonest to downplay the significance.  After all, if the Romney campaign will bear a resemblance to an etch-a-sketch if he secures the nomination, one would think this is information all of the other candidates would want voters to possess.  To me, this looks like an attempt to minimize the damage to Romney.  Is this part of a collusion between Paul and Romney?  Nobody’s certain but it’s odd that Paul’s campaign would posit a thesis that reduces the damage to an opponent.

 

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.

Newt Knocks It Out of the Park on the Etch-a-Sketch Candidate

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Re-Drawing Romney

I wasn’t surprised to see Newt Gingrich pick up this theme, but that he did it so effectively and on such short notice is really just another testament to his mental horsepower.  The former House Speaker appeared at a campaign stop just an hour or so after Eric Fehrnstrom made his remarks to CNN, in which he likened Mitt Romney to an Etch-a-Sketch.  Call it the gaffe of the day, or the confession of the year, but either way, Gingrich was quick to seize upon the moment and throw it in Romney’s face.  After a day-long media mocking, Romney came out Wednesday evening in a tepid response designed to blunt the criticisms, but Newt Gingrich captured the moment in explaining what this episode should strike a cautious note for conservatives.  Here’s the video:

Fehrnstrom really threw his boss into a shark tank with this one.  He’s been a Romney adviser since Romney took office as Governor of Massachusetts.  What this episode demonstrates clearly is that Romney is no conservative, and once he secures the Republican nomination, he is going to move to the left dramatically.  Gingrich is right to make sport of Romney over this issue, because in fact, Romney has campaigned against both Gingrich and Santorum as though he was the more conservative of the three.  I think this episode permits us to firmly dispense with that line of nonsense.  Kudos to Newt Gingrich for not dropping the issue so easily.

Why Newt Won’t (and Shouldn’t) Get Out

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The 'Cheerful One'

Jonathan Karl has an enlightening piece up on ABCNews.com covering Newt Gingrich and his reasoning for staying in this Republican nomination fight.  It’s a reason that makes a great deal of sense once you understand the former House Speaker’s rationale:  He wants to prevent a Romney coronation, with the GOP establishment riding herd over the rank-and-file.  There’s good reason for conservatives to want this too, because if there is an brokered convention, we’re far more likely to have a more thoroughly prepared candidate once the general election season begins.  The GOP convention is our last chance as conservatives to hold any candidate’s feet to the fire, and if we’re smart, we’ll make full use of the opportunity it presents.   It is not only true that Newt Gingrich won’t get out, but also true that he shouldn’t.

The establishment line has been that “a brokered convention will hurt the party,” or that “Mitt Romney will win anyway,” or that “conservatives should shut up and get in line.”  None of these are true, and for now, Newt Gingrich is carrying that banner.  Also, as I observed last week, there is no guarantee that if Newt gets out, that it won’t bolster Romney rather than Santorum, as some have contended, notably GOP establishment operatives who would love to see Gingrich out so they can focus all of their venom and negative campaigning on a single target.  Gingrich seemed to confirm this, according to Karl:

1) His vote gets divided between Santorum and Romney. A larger percentage would go to Santorum, but at least some goes to Romney, allowing him to accumulate more delegates; and,

2) Romney is then able to aim all of his considerable firepower at Santorum, destroying him with negative ads the way he twice destroyed Gingrich (in Iowa and Florida).

This may sound familiar to my regular readers, although we should note that Gingrich has done the math too, and while his road to the nomination is formidable, the way to defeat Mitt Romney for either Gingrich or Santorum is in a floor fight at the convention.  Some establishment Republicans fear the spectacle, but they shouldn’t unless they’re selling a pig in a poke to conservative Republicans. On the anxiety in the party, carried forth and broadcast by the press, Gingrich told Karl:

“This thing is going to go on. You guys need to relax and cover the most interesting nominating process in your lifetime,” Gingrich told me. “Be not anxiety-ridden, this is going to be good for America. This is a good conversation to have.”

He’s absolutely right.  Nothing is supposed to be smooth or easy about this process.  This is where we’re supposed to settle the differences in the party.  This is the time for conservatives to find their voices in the battle with the party establishment.  The establishment would rather the grass-roots and conservative base of the GOP simply shut up and play along, but that’s not we’ll defeat Barack Obama. We’re conservatives, and we shouldn’t expect it to be easy, or even bloodless in a political sense. If we have the strength of our convictions, we must fight this battle too, and unflinchingly.  Newt Gingrich is right: It’s a battle worth fighting. As the Daily Caller further details, while messy, a brokered convention is an important part of the process.  We came within a whisker of getting Reagan in 1976, as the Daily Caller details, and it’s something to consider when we look at what’s going on in this primary season, and how the GOP establishment is pulling out all the stops to prevent a similar scene.

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Santorum’s Southern Knock-Out

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Knock-Out in Deep South

I watched a little bit of the election coverage as the results came in from Alabama and Mississippi.  This has turned out to be a big night for Rick Santorum, winning both Southern contests, and showing his viability in the South.  Newt Gingrich finished a close second in both states, while Mitt Romney was a point or two behind Gingrich in both of the primaries. What’s important to note about the contest is that Gingrich has demonstrated that he can still beat Romney in the South, but for Santorum, he’s delivered a one-two punch because he beat both the former speaker, who represented Georgia, and Mitt Romney, who still doesn’t seem to find any traction in the South, or in heavily conservative states.  Mitt Romney is the alleged “front-runner,” but as Gingrich pointed out cheerfully in post election remarks, it’s not much of a “front-runner who keeps finishing third.”

To finish in third is a real defeat for Romney, because what it demonstrates is that he’s not getting it done with conservatives. More than seventy-five percent of the Republican electorate in either state considers themselves ‘conservative,’ but with Romney capturing no more than 30%, it’s clear that Romney has some real work to do in the South.  Put another way, in the South, it was Non-Romney 70% to Romney’s 30%.  This late in the game, that’s a pretty stark beating.  While the delegates gained will be split three ways with Ron Paul capturing none(barely breaking 5% in Alabama,) what you really have here is an indication that Romney isn’t the inevitable nominee after all.  He certainly remains in the lead in delegates, but let’s keep this in context.  Taking Mississippi as an example, Non-Romney captured 24 delegates to Romney’s 12.   If it continues at this pace, he will never attain the 1144 mark, and we will have a brokered convention unless one of the other two can pick up significant momentum and finally push Romney down.

I don’t know if that’s possible, but Romney’s camp is clearly worried.  They’re out-spending all competitors at a rate of 20-to-1 in most of these contests, meaning that his return on contributors’ investments in his campaign is pretty low.  Meanwhile, the much more frugal Gingrich and Santorum campaigns are getting much more bang for their bucks.  If Santorum keeps edging out Romney like this, it won’t be long before some money starts moving his way, as the aura of “invincibility” that the media has projected around Mitt Romney begins to fade.

This also means that from now until the convention will become a much more expensive road for Mitt Romney, and rather than sewing this up early as had been his plan, the big money spent in Florida might have given him some momentum, but with narrow victories in Michigan and Ohio, and losses in Colorado, Tennessee and Kansas, but now also these two Southern contests, suddenly, it’s not over, and not nearly so.  It also offers him some serious trouble in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, although he’ll probably fare better in New York and New Jersey among remaining Northeastern States.

If this is any indication of what lies ahead, Rick Santorum may get another bump in momentum, and even Gingrich, though finishing in second in both contests, because it was so close, and because he effectively scored as many delegates as either of the other remains alive.  Romney probably takes the biggest black eye out of Tuesday’s Southern contests.  The other thing this indicates is that in the South, money isn’t everything.  If it were, Romney would have cleaned up, having the huge money advantage he has exploited to great advantage throughout this campaign.

The question remains: What will run out first?  Romney’s money, or the pure passion of Non-Romney voters?  After tonight, it looks like it will be a test of cash versus passion, and conservatives are known to have large reserves of the latter.  If Romney can’t start winning in the South, he may find himself in serious jeopardy even if he ultimately wins the nomination.  Conservative voters simply aren’t motivated in the same way Democrats are, and they aren’t driven by fear.  The desire to defeat Obama may not be enough to get them all to the polls in November, and if it doesn’t, Romney has no chance of winning.

I also think this points out the flaw in many Republican strategists’ view of the South, or of the election altogether:  They want to nominate a guy who may win the nomination mostly on the strength of wins in states where that same candidate will have difficulty against Obama in the Fall, if he can win in them at all, meanwhile, he can’t motivate Southern voters.  I would love for one of these well-compensated professional political consultants to explain to we conservatives how that is a winning strategy against Barack Obama.  It’s predicated on winning without us in the primaries, and taking us for granted in the general.

 

Newt Tuesday?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Will This Be His Day?

In the hours before voting is set to start in Alabama and Mississippi, one can almost feel the tension.  Many believe the primaries in these two Southern states is the ultimate test for Newt Gingrich.  In fact, this could be seen as a serious test for any of the three leading contenders.  Rick Santorum would break new ground by winning in the South, perhaps consolidating his position as the anti-Romney.  Meanwhile, Mitt hopes to break new ground, because he’s had significant trouble in the South to date.  Meanwhile, the viability of Newt Gingrich’s candidacy is on the line in these two Southern states.  If he were to lose in both, it could be said that he is all but finished.  If he wins in one, but not the other, it will depend on who the winner is in order to sort out the meaning.  If it’s Santorum, it slams the door in Romney’s face.  If it’s Romney, it signals he’s picking up steam. This is going down to the wire, and Alabama and Mississippi may turn out to be the battleground around which this entire primary season turns.

I expect Mississippi to be the real point of contention, because Romney has support there in the form of Governor Haley Barbour.  Barbour served as Chairman of the RNC back when Newt was Speaker of the House, for context, so these two are well acquainted with one another, but Barbour has sided with Romney throughout the primary season.  Barbour recently ran afoul of Mississippians by pardoning some convicted murderers, and this didn’t sit well with many victims’ groups, and indeed families of the victims.  In the end, the State’s high court upheld the pardons after they were challenged, but sometimes, it’s not about whether a thing may be done, but whether it should be done.

Newt is leading in Mississippi in the polls, although only by the slimmest of margins.  Santorum is talking down expectations, apparently because polls show him shading toward third in both states.  Still, it looks like a virtual three-way tie, with all three men within the margin of error.  This will offer another nail-biter, particularly for the Gingrich camp that must get every voter they can to the polls, needing two wins more desperately than either of the other two.  If Gingrich does prevail in both states, this will change the character of the race somewhat.  Seeing a Gingrich ascendancy from what has been thought to be a doomed candidacy at least three times would be quite a feat, and it would speak to the resiliency of Gingrich as a campaigner.

These will be tight contests, and you can imagine that whomever prevails, it’s going to generate some sort of change in the race.  If Romney wins in either, it will be seen as a breakthrough for him, and if Newt loses both, it will be seen as the end.  If Gingrich can win one, he will be seen as still in but still the man on the bubble.  Santorum is the only one of the three who doesn’t get a terrible beating if he loses in both states.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that among these three, I’d pick Newt, and Rick, in that order.  That’s based on my view of who is more able to articulate conservatism, and who is better able to make the kind of dramatic changes we need in the way things are done in Washington.

I’ll say this much:  If Gingrich does manage to pull off wins in both states Tuesday, he will be seen as having gained momentum in the South, and if he can sustain it through the end of May, Texas will be a big prize that will move within reach.  If Santorum can pick up either state, he can legitimately claim a breakthrough in the South, but the same is true for Mitt Romney.  This is a real three-way race and that’s going to make the outcome all the more exciting in terms of the ‘horse-race’ aspects.  It’s Newt’s best chance to recapture the momentum, and if he does, this race will move from “all but over” to “it ain’t over yet.”

 

Why The Establishment Wants Gingrich Gone

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Out of My Way, Pal!

The GOP establishment wants Gingrich gone, and this explains why we’re now seeing a push in that direction. Naturally, Rick Santorum wants Gingrich gone, because he thinks that he will be the beneficiary.  This may be a mistaken notion, being pushed by the establishment because they know the truth of the matter: If Gingrich gets out, Santorum will be locked into a one-on-one fight with Romney that he almost certainly will not win. Voters shouldn’t be misled into the belief that what Santorum needs is a one-on-one contest.  Placed in that position, a large number of Gingrich supporters will migrate not to Santorum’s campaign, as the media establishment pretends, but choosing instead to migrate to the Romney camp, although perhaps grudgingly.

If you only watch the headline coverage, you might think the polls indicate that the anti-Romney vote is somehow uniform in its opposition to Romney, but apart from the fact that there are multiple non-Romney candidates, the divide is a bit more meaningful than the difference in preferences between chocolate and vanilla.  Many of the people who support Gingrich are of a mind to avoid candidates who seem “too religious,” as has been the knock on Santorum.  It’s not that they don’t have deep faith, or are somehow anti-religion, but that these are voters who believe that faith is a deeply personal matter that shouldn’t be continuously aired in public as the basis of governance.  They prefer a strong separation of church and state, at least in terms of policy, although they do not agree with policies and rulings that prohibit “in God we trust” on the currency, or a generalized, acute hostility to faith.

Santorum has been positioned as a candidate who wears his faith on his sleeve.  That’s not entirely fair, but in politics, perceptions are driven by images and soundbites, and the media has effectively portrayed him that way whether he deserves it or not.  For some fair portion of Gingrich support, this is not palatable, and if left to choose between Santorum, who they view as somewhat theocratic, and Romney who doesn’t talk so frequently about his faith, the withdrawal of Gingrich would likely provide just enough new grudging Romney support to permit Romney to defeat Santorum in short order.

The Romney campaign is well aware of this, and it’s why they focused so much attention on knocking off Gingrich in Florida. It also shows in its approach since Super Tuesday. Romney is not spending much effort on Kansas, but they are spending time in the South, where Alabama and Mississippi will hold their primaries Tuesday. It’s not Santorum that they’re worried about, because they know that if they can push Gingrich out, they will pick up more of the former Speaker’s support than will Santorum.  Too many Newt supporters view Santorum as more unpalatable even than Romney.

The GOP and media establishment knows this to be the case, and this is why one after another, they are coming along to tell us now is the time for the party to coalesce around Romney, by ditching Gingrich.  Notice that they do not urge Santorum to get out, or even mention him in this context.  Instead, they’re focused on Gingrich.  If they want Romney, you would think they would focus on his current top opponent, but that’s not the case in the media flurry of “Newt needs to go” pronouncements.

Rather than focus on Santorum, they are pushing for Gingrich to get out, and that should provide you all the insight you need to understand their real motive.  If Gingrich gets out, this contest will be as good as over.  The inevitable candidate will be the nominee after all, and the GOP establishment knows it. That’s why they’re even willing to see Santorum win in Alabama and Mississippi.  If Gingrich wins these two on Tuesday, he will remain a contestant.  If he doesn’t, it will likely spell the end for the former speaker. Whether Romney himself can win in the South, or Santorum makes no difference except in the short run.

I think Santorum is catching on to this aspect of his vulnerability, and by now he should realize that if Gingrich gets out, his own time on the stage won’t last much longer.  Too many conservatives will decide to jump aboard the Romney express, being wary of Rick Santorum and the impression the establishment media has cultivated about Santorum.  Some of it is deserved, and some of it isn’t, but that won’t matter if Gingrich exits any time soon, before Santorum will have had a chance to try to correct that record to the degree he is able. It will be a quick one-two blow and both Santorum and Gingrich should realize this and focus on Romney’s negatives, rather than pummeling one another.

 

S.E. Cupp Criticizes Sarah Palin’s Voting Rationale

Friday, March 9th, 2012

It's What You Don't Know...

S.E. Cupp, the columnist and Glenn Beck associate who appears on his Internet-based TV network, GBTV, wrote an article published on CNNs site that ought to be debunked.  Cupp isn’t happy with Sarah Palin’s support of Newt Gingrich, but then again, I’m not so sure that she’s happy about much of anything.  She seems to think that Governor Palin ought to choose either Romney or Santorum, but abandon Gingrich since Cupp thinks there is no way Gingrich can win.  She goes as far as to suggest that Sarah Palin’s motives might be suspect, and that given her own career, the former Alaska governor ought to support anybody but Newt Gingrich.  I confess not knowing Governor Palin, but merely observing her at a distance, despite a few hand-shakes as just one more face in very large and frantic crowds in each case.  Still, what I know of her record, and Newt’s, suggests many good reasons for her vote in the Alaska primary.

Governor Palin has long been an advocate of “sudden and relentless reform.”  For S.E. Cupp, I suppose it’s hard to imagine Newt Gingrich in that light, but a few things of note come to mind when I remember that Governor Palin embarked on her own political career at approximately the time Newt Gingrich began in his own rise to prominence.  Watching from faraway Alaska, I’m sure the future governor must have been struck by the fact that Gingrich faced a media onslaught probably not replicated against any Republican since Goldwater or Reagan, that is, until she entered the national spotlight in 2008.

Of course, back in those days, S.E. Cupp was another of those who was a teenager in High School, so I don’t expect her to remember much of Newt Gingrich in the period except the media impressions she absorbed along with the history she has more recently learned.  Born in 1979, Cupp would have been only fifteen years old when Newt Gingrich led the Republican takeover of the Congress in 1994.  In her span of political awareness, Republicans in control of Congress has been a mixed affair, but for people of my generation, and the Governor’s, who had never seen a Republican Congress in their entire lives,  although we saw Republican briefly control the Senate for a few years in the 1980s, the House of Representatives had been so institutionally Democrat for so long that many wondered if that could ever change.

Newt Gingrich brought a plan to the task, and he set out to carry it into reality, and whatever else you might say about him, what he accomplished in the period of the mid 1990s is nothing short of unprecedented.  For those of my generation, or older, most will remember how Gingrich absolutely floored the media, and how he was able to stir up Washington DC into a hornet’s nest like we’ve seldom seen.  He went with specific promises, calling it the “Contract With America,” that Democrats mocked as the “Contract On America.”  While ultimately, not all of the items passed through the Congress, in the House, each measure promised was at least brought to a vote.  In this sense, what Gingrich tried to bring to Washington DC was most definitely an instance of “sudden and relentless reform.”

Cupp may be forgiven for not remembering that, young as she was at the time, but what she may not be forgiven is the failure to consider it in her prodding CNN op-ed questioning the former Alaska Governor’s motives.  She could have researched it, or reached outside her own knowledge, but instead, she offered nonsense like this:

“Instead, she doubled down Tuesday, telling Fox Business Network that she voted for Gingrich in the Alaska caucuses, where he finished dead last. And why? “I have appreciated what he has stood for,” she said. “He has been the underdog in many of these primary races and these caucuses.”

“Again, Palin’s free to like any candidate she wants, and those would be valid arguments, if they were true.”

Here, Cupp questions not only Governor Palin’s motive, but also the veracity of her claim that she “appreciated what [Gingrich] has stood for,” and that “he has been an underdog in many of these primary races and these caucuses.”

Is S.E. Cupp now a mind reader, able to detect that perhaps Sarah Palin had not “appreciated what [Gingrich] stood for?”  Cupp writes: “if they were true.”  How can Cupp pretend to know what Governor Palin has appreciated?  Of course, the dead giveaway comes in the next paragraph, as she explains why this cannot be true:

“What Newt has stood for, both during his political career and during this campaign, sits in total contradiction to what Palin has stood for since becoming a public figure. She’s for small government; he’s shown a disturbing penchant for big government solutions. She champions Washington outsiders and rails against the establishment; he’s the epitome of establishment, and has been firmly encamped inside the Beltway for decades. The very people who appreciate Palin should be the same people who despise Gingrich.”

Cupp doesn’t get it, but more, it’s clear to me that she’s toting somebody’s barge, or lifting somebody’s bale, and my guess is that his name is Mitt Romney.  Gingrich was an outsider even when he was in Washington.  He was never accepted by the establishment class there, and he’s still not, and back in 1998, after the loss of a few House seats, it was his own party that threw him overboard as Speaker in early 1999.  He resigned because of that, and not due to scandals, as some have dishonestly alleged, including the former Massachusetts governor.  The truth of the matter is that Gingrich was run out of town on a rail at the first opportunity.  The establishment never really liked the college professor from Georgia very much, anyway.

It’s also true to say that Gingrich was a reformer, at least in 1994, and he certainly did more to upset Bill Clinton’s applecart than anybody else at the time.  If not for Bob Dole’s surrender over the FY 1996 budget, because he was seeking the Presidency, Gingrich might have accomplished a good deal more, but the DC establishment crowd undercut him.  While Cupp may not remember all of this, those of us engaged or at least attentive to politics at the time could not have failed to notice what really happened.  Of course, not satisfied with that she goes on to explain why Gingrich hasn’t been the underdog:

“And he’s hardly been an “underdog.” With the backing of billionaire financier Sheldon Adelson and the benefit of serious name recognition, he’s enjoyed the money, media attention and opportunity that other GOP candidates didn’t. If Newt’s been an underdog, I’m sure Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann would have been happy to switch places.”

Apparently, Cupp didn’t notice that what Adelson has contributed over the last few months to the Gingrich effort is a pittance compared to the money spent against him by Mitt Romney.  The difference is staggering, and in South Carolina, where Gingrich had a stunning turnaround, it was despite the fact that Romney outspent him by more than two-to-one.  In Florida, where Romney prevailed, he did so spending more than five-to-one.  I don’t know where Cupp learned math, but in my view, that’s an underdog.  She mentions name recognition, but that isn’t always that large an advantage.  Just ask Dr. Samuel Mudd.  Of course, Cupp may not have heard of him, either.  Cupp came of age in an era when Gingrich had been portrayed as the “Grinch,” and that probably made something of an impression on her.  She turned twenty as Gingrich’s own party had just pushed him under the proverbial bus.

For Cupp to question Governor Palin’s motives or veracity is pathetic, particularly in light of all Cupp doesn’t know, apparently, but to finish with this flourish is a study in conceit:

“Maybe Palin’s got a master plan in which she makes a late run at the presidency and puts Newt on her ticket. Still, it seems like an incongruous pick and waste of her considerable influence among far-right conservatives.”

“But I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.”

For a woman who professes to know who is or isn’t “establishment,” Cupp certainly speaks their language like a veteran. I also notice that she manages to specify “far-right conservatives,” as though that is the entire core of Governor Palin’s support, but the truth is that her support is a little more wide-ranging from the center to the “far-right.”  Of course, all of this seems all the more incompatible with reality, as Governor Palin has frequently said she didn’t think endorsements were that important.  The last line is simply a parting shot at the Governor, and if Cupp’s nasty tone hadn’t been evident before, it shines through here.

S.E. Cupp probably has a long career ahead of her, but I’d ask her not to imagine that she knows so much as she seems to think.  History didn’t start when she became politically aware, and whatever her preconceived notions about Gingrich, she ought to be careful not to project them onto reality or into the consciousness of others whose knowledge of the period may be somewhat more complete and more detailed.  Part of the problem lies in the fact that what Cupp knows about Gingrich, she probably has learned from others, rather than having observed it first-hand, and in that sense it may be colored by the lenses of others but she should also know that before one remarks on the beliefs or motives of others, one ought to at least endeavor to see things from the subject’s perspective, or even read what the subject has written.  In this respect, Cupp failed miserably.

“But I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.”

 

Sarah Palin: I Voted for Newt

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

On Super Tuesday, Fox News talked to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  She was asked who she voted for in the GOP Primary in Alaska, and she was blunt: She voted for Newt Gingrich.  She explained her thinking, and she explained why she thought the Republican primary contest should go on.  She also referenced the behavior of the media, and its focus on other irrelevant issues, or distractions.  She pointed to the focus Newt Gingrich has placed on the energy question, and she made it clear that Barack Obama must be replaced if we are going to turn this country around.

Here’s the video:



Super Tuesday Round-up

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Bigg Winner?

The key to Tuesday’s primary elections was Ohio.  RINO  Romney was the winner as he squeaked by Santorum by virtue of the urban vote.  Of  course, Ohio isn’t everything, but RINO Romney also wrapped up Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia.  Gingrich captured Georgia, and Santorum won in Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Tennessee.   Some are saying this means it is all but over, but the way to look at this is not what the media will tell you, but what you should be able to discern is what the media is doing its best to disguise.

Consider the following:

  • Romney won in Virginia with only one opponent – Ron Paul – and by less than a 20% margin.
  • Romney won in Vermont, a state that elected Bernie Sanders, a pure socialist.
  • Romney won in Massachusetts, another deep blue state, that he calls home, and in which he was governor.
  • Romney won in Idaho where Mormons make up a goodly proportion of the electorate.
  • Romney won in Alaska with the support of Murkowski.
  • Romney won in Ohio by a slim margin that will mean that if Santorum had simply been eligible for more of the delegates, it would have been a tie for all intents and purposes.

What this should tell you is what has been apparent all along:  Romney can win the Republican primaries in blue states because they are blue states, but in Southern states, he’s mostly a no-go, and in the Midwest, it’s a toss-up.  Let me explain how this helps translate to a Romney victory in a general election against Barack Obama:

It doesn’t.

Mitt Romney can squeak by against a divided conservative vote, and in the South, he’s in trouble, but he hopes it won’t matter since once he’s the nominee, the Republicans there will support him.  Don’t count on it. He may lose several close races simply because too much of the base sees no qualitative difference between he and Barack Obama.

I also noticed during the coverage that Fox and some of its commentators couldn’t let the analysis of Ohio pass without mentioning that the rural counties were poorly educated by comparison to the counties that went for RINO Romney.  That’s right, you folks outside the urban and suburban counties are just hicks and rubes who are too stupid to vote for Mitt, at least according to some Fox analysts.

Here’s the matter in a nut-shell.  When this nomination fight is over, if it goes more or less like it has, with Santorum and Gingrich battling for the Southern states, and Romney and Santorum battling in the Midwest, with Romney romping in deep blue or purple states, Romney will get the nomination.  However, as soon as he faces Barack Obama, he will lose all of those blue and purple states, and some of the traditionally red Midwest states will go purple, and maybe one or more of the Southern red states as well.

This translates into a Romney loss to Obama roughly equal to McCain’s. Romney will carry the same states, give or take a couple, that John McCain captured in 2008.  That’s the truth of it.  I think the GOP establishment knows it too, which is why they’re supporting Romney.  He’s their favorite alternative to Obama, should the President fumble, but I believe the GOP establishment wants four more years of Obama, and I believe they’re well on their way to successfully engineering that outcome.

Too many conservatives are telling me they will not support Romney in November, choosing instead to sit it out.  They just don’t see why they should bother.  They look at Romney and see another John McCain, but without even the benefit of Sarah Palin to back him up.  There’s a certain sense of fatalism among many conservatives, and I can’t blame them.  Let it never be said that the GOP establishment hadn’t been warned, but then again, maybe it’s what they want.

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Gingrich Speaks to the NRA – He Gets It

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Newt on the 2nd Amendment

If you missed Newt Gingrich when he addressed the National Rifle Association in mid-February, you missed a great speech.  He referenced history extensively, and explained the real meaning of the Second Amendment and its critical importance as a political right.  Gingrich did not mince words about the reason for the right to keep and bear arms, its origin, and its continuing relevance and application in our modern world.  It was encouraging to hear a politician say that he understands the new direction of the attacks on the Second Amendment being levied by the Obama administration and the institutional right.

This speech is a classic:

The idea that the Second Amendment is about hunting and target practice ignores the fact that the first purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is a political right, meant to keep government in check.  Yes, that’s right.  The idea of the founders is that by the guarantee of the Second Amendment, the American people ultimately retain the right to throw off a tyrant.  This is why every socialist on the planet, or in the history of the planet, eventually gets around to banning firearms: It’s easy to rule over disarmed peasants.  I am gratified to see that Gingrich has a thorough understanding of this aspect of our constitutional system of government.  His knowledge of history helps explain why this context is not lost on Gingrich, and it’s one of the many particulars of his candidacy that exhibits his qualifications for the job he’s seeking.

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Newt Gingrich Demolishes David Gregory on Meet the Press

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Beat the Press

On Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC, David Gregory jumped directly into his interview with former Speaker Newt Gingrich and began by asking him about the  controversy involving radio talkshow host Rush Limbaugh and his use of the terms “prostitute” and “slut” to describe Sandra Fluke, the 30yo law-school student at Georgetown University who is also an activist for radical feminist views, and who supports the Obama administration’s mandate that religious institutions be compelled to cover contraception, contrary to their religious views.  He couched his question in terms of whether the episode had done damage, but he left open where the damage may have occurred.   Gingrich did not fall for the trap Gregory laid, and it should serve as an example on how to handle the press.

It is typical of the mainstream media to demand that one conservative answer for another conservative’s statements and troubles, but they also like to create a narrative that suits their own ideological ends.  Gregory attempted this same tactic with Gingrich, but as is made plain in this video, Gingrich doesn’t fall into the trap.  He presses through Gregory’s attempt, and states his own case, and in answering the question by restating the premise, he demolishes Gregory.  Here’s the video:

As you can see from this video, Newt Gingrich knows full well how to contend with the false narratives advanced by the media. I think that as is often the case, Gingrich succeeded in making Gregory look foolish for pressing the line of questioning.  If the Republicans are going to win in 2012, this is the way they will need to do it, and frankly, I see none more capable on the Republican side at the moment than Newt Gingrich.  In this exchange, it’s clear that Gregory was sent packing with his lame attempt to drag Gingrich into the controversy, or at least to use the opportunity to advance the leftist talking point.

I was also interested to hear the substance of the way Gingrich answered it, because he stuck to his own agenda in pointing out that Barack Obama is carrying on a war against the Catholic Church, and indeed all religious institutions.  In fact, many of the things he said are in close accord with the positions I’ve taken over the last several days on the contraception controversy, particularly with respect to the war on the Church.  He also mentioned Cardinal George, and that means Gingrich is doing his homework.  He’s studying the available information, and that he’s arriving at conclusions that are fundamentally in accord with conservative values is important, because it suggests that his growth as a candidate has been genuinely positive. Can Gingrich come back?  If this interview is any indication, it seems likely.

 

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.

 

Will Inexpensive Gasoline Ever Return?

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Can Gingrich Deliver?

This is a question leftists are now asking in response to the fact that Barack Obama’s policies have resulted in the most expensive February gasoline prices we’ve ever known. Rather than treating it as an economic question, they tend to discuss it as a matter of politics, and mostly as a matter of damage control. Newt Gingrich is promising that if he is elected, he will work to reduce the price of gasoline to less than $2.50 per gallon, but what the liberals contend is that such a reduction isn’t possible, but more importantly, even if it were feasible, it’s not desirable. Let me make it perfectly clear for those of you who have questions about this issue, because it’s something we should examine in looking at the potential nominees: Newt Gingrich’s intention to reduce fuel prices to sustainably lower levels is an important national initiative in which government can play a role, and it offers a chance to boost the US economy in a way that nothing Obama has done will ever accomplish.

In previous articles, I’ve discussed with readers the important relationship between economic growth and the price of energy. By taking note of this fact, and addressing the issue in his campaign, Gingrich has signaled that he’s more in touch with the economic problem with which our nation is now confronted. Over the last dozen years, nothing has had a greater influence on economic prospects than the cost of fuels. Not financial market collapses. Not terrorist attacks. Not government spending. If you want to view the track of economic growth, all of those things have had short-run effects, but nothing undermines the economy more thoroughly than increases in the cost of energy. The reasons should be obvious under even superficial examination.

Everything humans do requires energy. Recognizing this fact is critical to economics, because as energy costs increase, there is a direct effect on the cost of all other commodities, and all other services.  There are no exceptions to this fundamental, structural fact of life.  More, since some items require much more energy to produce, and consume more energy along the entire chain from raw material to distribution, any increase in energy costs quickly ripples through the market.  As such, this creates a drag on production, but also consumption, since energy needs tend to come first in one’s priorities. If you’re an employee, you must travel to and from work.  This is something most employees share as an expense from which there are few option in relief.

For that employee, his or her pay is not likely to react to his or her costs.  This fact means that at energy prices increase, the people who will feel it hardest are those who must engage in commerce, but whose compensation is least elastic with respect to the costs they must absorb.  Most businesses can react by adjusting prices, although the competition they face places pressure on them to  delay passing along costs to customers as long as possible.  This was evident in the trucking industry and more broadly throughout the transportation sector when fuel prices first exceeded the three dollar mark a few years ago.  This gave rise to a new phenomenon called the “fuel surcharge,” and it was intended to show that they weren’t simply jacking up prices without justification, but instead that their costs had dramatically increased. The point of all this is that there is no way to avoid the fact that for most people, and most businesses, you can’t easily augment your income simply because your costs have risen.

This being the case, there will be choices to be made, and all of those involved will need to decide which of their ordinary expenditures may have to be curtailed.  New projects and investments are delayed, and necessary repairs or upgrades are put off indefinitely.  What this means is that economic activity is curtailed, and therefore, fewer jobs are created, and thus unemployment rises.  As this happens, it feeds back on itself because  when unemployment is high, the average employee’s negotiating power on wages diminishes, and this makes the average person even less able to spend money on all of those things that create increased economic growth.

After a time, if this continues, the quantity of fuels demanded will begin to contract, and this will lead to the prices falling again, but there is a lag until economic activity recovers.  Clearly, if this is the cycle, then what we should see is precisely what we have seen over the last few years: An economy that fails to launch because just as it begins to heat up, the corresponding increase in energy prices causes a clear diminution of the economic growth.  The only way to combat this is to increase our energy resources, and to make safe such resources as we already enjoy.

Back in the 1990s, one of the things from which the American economy benefited was the reliability of OPEC members to undercut one another on production quotas.  The quotas were intended to maintain a higher price point, but as prices went upward, one or more member nations would get greedy and cheat on the quotas.  This increased the supply in the market, and the prices would inevitably fall.  This was in an era when China’s demand in the market was relatively negligible, but since then, their bite out of the production pie has done nothing but increase proportionally to all others.  It was also an era when OPEC was more fractious, and most of their members couldn’t coordinate on much of anything for long.

What Gingrich recognizes is that our economy cannot function properly, and in a healthy way without the energy we need at a price we can afford while still building economic activity, buttressing the points made by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  His stated goal of seeing a reduction in gasoline prices is the right thing to do, and he recognizes that it’s not just a matter of reducing the price to that point for a day or a week, but in making that the effective ceiling even as the economy roars back to health.  That will require that we develop new sources of energy, and not just empty promises of “green energy.”  President Obama can mock “Drill baby, drill” if he likes, but the truth is that developing domestic oil resources is critical to getting this economy moving in a sustained way.  In short, we can’t merely increase the temporary supply on a short term basis, but must increase it in a structural sense: We need more wells, we need more oil-fields in production, and we need to develop other alternatives simultaneously.

This flies in the face of what leftists want and believe.  They believe the ultimate goal should be to reduce consumption, but the only way to do this without eliminating people is to substantially reduce their standard of living.  In short, their plans demand we return to a pre-industrial state where most people do not consume much energy.  Wave goodbye to your electronics, your hobbies, and your lifestyles if these lunatics get their way.  There’s no way to have what they seem to promise, and they know it. There is no rational way to grow or even sustain an economy while cutting the use of energy in any dramatic fashion.  Can efficiencies be found?  Absolutely!  Can they be created by dictate or order?  Absolutely not!

This is the difference in the position between Barack Obama and somebody like Newt Gingrich who actually recognizes that wishes are not the same as facts, and that nature is not to be cheated.  You cannot build a modern, technologically advanced culture with prosperous people and a growth-based ethos when governmental policies are mandating a reduction of energy consumption.  Nature doesn’t respond to arbitrary wishes, and yet that is the stance of the leftist, who thinks a government mandate can overwhelm the forces of nature and the rules of physics.  The disparity in the two positions demonstrates their relative fitness to the presidency, and by no measure is Obama suitable to his office.  Whether Gingrich is qualified remains a question to be answered, but on the matter of his understanding of the critical importance of energy, it’s clear he passes the test. We can have inexpensive fuel again, but it will require a comprehensive effort by the President and Congress to remove obstructions to the growth of the energy sector that is so vital to our future.

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.

What Sarah Palin Said Is True: We Need a Hard-Nosed Fighter

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Governor Palin on Power and Money

It was an interview on FBN’s Power and Money in which David Asman asked Governor Palin about the kind of candidate the GOP needs, and she wasn’t bashful in suggesting that we need a strong fighter.  In her view, at least for the moment, that seems to be Newt Gingrich, and I think his combative side is what makes him do so well in speeches and debates.  He’s one who doesn’t shrink easily from a fight, and this is what conservatism needs, even if Gingrich isn’t the most conservative guy to happen along in the last thirty years. Nevertheless, he is the most apt of those in the race to combat the media, and also fight for a popular conservative agenda.

For me, however, I’ve looked at two things in particular, and what I notice is that for all his so-called “grandiose ideas,” that’s theory, but in practice, Gingrich led solid policy debates that were decidedly conservative in nature and implementation.  In short, it’s not just what the candidates say, but much more importantly, what their records show they have done, and considering Gingrich, Romney and Santorum, it’s true to say that Gingrich probably has the more effective record as a conservative by governing, particularly in contrast to Romney.

I think Governor Palins’ argument about Gingrich here is solid:

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I think it’s also worthwhile to note what she said about whether she’d see the movie “Game Change” when it comes out next month, and I’m inclined to agree with that too.  Having read Stacy Drake’s excellent and revealing article about how the movie-makers got their source information, well, it’s sure to be garbage.

National Review Goes After Gingrich Again

Monday, February 13th, 2012

NRO's Editors Dump on Newt

I think it’s pretty clear that there is only so much room in the market for conservative media outlets, and since it’s likewise clear that the National Review has slowly transformed into the Establishment publication of record, I am calling on the editors at the National Review to set aside its claims to conservatism.  Since they’re so interested in cleaning up this race, I think they should step aside as the conservative journal of record.   You may think I’m nuts, but you see, according to the National Review, Newt Gingrich should withdraw from this race for the sake of Rick Santorum.  Newt Gingrich is simply an obstruction, they say.  He doesn’t have the temperament or the popularity to govern or even win the election, they say.  He must go, they say.  To all of this, I say “Nuts!”  Gingrich should respond similarly.  While the Review plays its silly games, pretending to favor Santorum,  I know what it is that they’re really after.

Don’t get me wrong: If Rick Santorum is able to make good on his recent victories, and becomes the eventual Republican nominee, vanquishing Romney, it will be better than Romney winning, but the trouble is that such an outcome isn’t set in stone, and more than this, I believe the call for Gingrich to withdraw is a head-fake.  The National Review doesn’t want Santorum either, but what they would like to do is reduce this contest to just two candidates(other than Ron Paul.)  You see, if this is reduced to a Romney v. Santorum race, Romney and the National Review suspect that with all of the cash at his disposal, Mitt Romney will be able to power through to the nomination.  If Gingrich withdraws, the National Review will likely have been correct, as Romney will grind him down with negative attack ads until the electorate’s eyes bleed.

The problem is that the editors of the National Review are positing a notion intended to give them what they want, but not necessarily what the country needs.  We need a hard fight all the way to the convention, and if it’s a brokered convention in the end, what of it?  That’s our process, and to be blunt, I have more faith in the outcome of that alternative than I do in trusting this process to the judgments of the National Review and the GOP establishment it represents. Make no mistake about it: The National Review is pushing here not for Santorum, but to set Santorum up for elimination. By reducing the number of targets for Romney’s negative campaign, they hope he will finally wrap this up.

Naturally, I disagree with the National Review’s board of editors on this call for Gingrich to withdraw.  Instead, I am calling on National Review to withdraw from the realm of conservative publishing, because if they were actual conservatives, they would be in favor of letting this process work itself out as designed. They would understand that this struggle  is important to the long-run health of the party, and if they really want to issue demands for somebody to  withdraw, perhaps they should focus their calls on the least conservative candidate of them all: Mitt Romney.  No, while the editors claim they think Romney isn’t up to it, they call instead for the withdrawal of a man who  is more conservative by leaps and bounds.  I have no interest in what they have to tell us because at this point, they’ve become the mouthpiece for establishment manipulations in this process.

The National Review has fallen a long way in my estimation, and it seems to have begun as Mr. Buckley’s influence has been on the wane subsequent to his death.  I didn’t always agree with Buckley, but at least I knew he was a sincere conservative.  I no longer get that sense from the National Review, and this call for the withdrawal of Newt Gingrich is just one more bit of evidence that the editors there are interested in short-changing this process.  Conservatives everywhere should recoil at the notion.

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.

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.