Once again, at issue is Romneycare, and this time, it’s a piece of video that asks the question: “Is Mitt Romney a Liar?”
This one is going to be problematic for Romney, on the facts, and the idea that he claimed Romneycare is not like Obamacare given the interview with one of his advisers on the legislation, who also worked on Obamacare, is going to make this stick. What is clear is that Romneycare is substantially the model for Obamacare, which raises all sorts of questions about Romney’s integrity on the issue.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_In6nyauwsY]
Archive for the ‘Newt Gingrich’ Category
In a recent article, I mentioned it briefly, but I don’t think that I have made the point explicitly enough. The GOP establishment, and all its myriad shills in the media along with their numerous allies on the left tell us that Mitt is inevitable by virtue of his wins in New Hampshire, Florida, and Nevada, and his second-place finishes in Iowa and South Carolina. I’m now faced with a question born of two problems I see with his victories, and I wonder if the GOP establishment would be willing to explain them. At present, Romney has a vast financial advantage over even the best of his competitors, and the support he’s been getting from SuperPACs is a big part of that advantage. In a general election, Romney won’t enjoy such an advantage over President Obama. Those states in which he now exploits a home turf advantage over fellow Republicans because he is the more liberal won’t necessarily be an advantage in the general election.
I think his win in Florida and second-place in Iowa owe entirely to the money, when you look at the how asymmetrical the spending had been in those states. New Hampshire was home turf, and arguably, so was Nevada. South Carolina could be said to be home turf for Gingrich, but remember Romney had a large lead there for weeks. The problem is that Romney’s advertising advantage was not so huge, and Gingrich’s good week in the debates helped seal Mitt Romney’s fate. I still don’t understand how he or other establishment types can contend that he’s the most electable, however, because I can do the math too.
Let’s take a state for examination that has not yet held its primary: Massachusetts. One would expect that since he was governor there, he might have a significant advantage, at least in the primary. It’s his home turf after all, and besides, Massachusetts is a liberal state. As the most liberal Republican in this race by a clear margin, one would expect that he’d have an easy win there, and he probably will – in the primary. Once we clear the nomination process, who in the GOP establishment believes Mitt can beat Obama in the Bay State? What amount of money will he spend there on advertising? He shouldn’t need to spend much, as name recognition should be his friend there, if nowhere else. Yet in the primary, he may need to spend a goodly sum in advertising there to attack his rivals, and tamp them down.
This simply doesn’t add up to victory in November, despite the countless stories proclaiming Romney’s inevitability. In all those states, particularly in the South, where he will need to spend tremendous sums to capture the primary victory, or like in South Carolina, finish second, he will not motivate the base of the party this fall. You know it. I know it. Mitt Romney knows it. Romney is so uninspiring that in fact he might manage to lose states like Texas in the general election. In the Northeast, where his policy positions are more palatable to voters, they are such deeply blue states that Obama can win them by simply running a competent campaign while show-casing Romney’s flip-flops. Romney will not carry New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and may be sorely challenged to win in Maine and New Hampshire. He will not capture California, Oregon, or Washington on the West Coast. He will not capture Minnesota or Illinois, and probably not Ohio or Michigan. Even with his good showing there, he may not pull Florida over in a general election.
This leaves you with just the Southern states, and the states of the Great Plains and the Rockies, along with the Southwest. These will be contests in which the base matters, but Mitt Romney does not appeal to the base. He will surely carry a number of these in close races, but he will not carry enough, and with the weight of the northeast hammering him, and the West Coast anchoring Obama, there is no way I can see Mitt Romney winning without being able to saturate the airwaves with negative ads as he’s currently doing, state-by-state, with Gingrich. He won’t be able to do this against Obama. Obama will rule the airwaves with his ads, as his war-chest far exceeds whatever Romney will muster.
The takeaway here is that having a distinct money advantage over his more conservative rivals does not and will not translate into victory over Obama in November, because he will have no such advantage, and in fact may be on the receiving end of a similar disparity in campaign cash. If you believe that some Republican voters are too easily swayed by such ads, don’t ponder too long how so-called “independents” or “moderates” can be pushed by such campaigns, never mind the liberal voters. In such a race, Mitt Romney cannot win, and he won’t. To win, the Republicans must nominate a candidate whose sole advantage is something other than money over his Republican rivals. That candidate must have a clear and understandable agenda, and an ability to convey it with an unremitting passion that transcends money, and if you’re waiting for Romney to break out with that, you’re in for a very long wait, indeed.
Realizing this, Republicans who have any hope of defeating Obama must hop off the Romney train now. We haven’t another four years to wait in the wake of another presidential loser. If we hope to win, and to undo Obamacare, and to capture the Senate and strengthen our numbers in both houses of Congress, we must nominate somebody else, like Gingrich, or maybe even Santorum. The problem is that we’ve been here before, and by now we should all have the t-shirts. Winning in 2012 will be impossible with Mitt Romney, and our desire to unite the party should not obscure our vision of this fact.
First, he called Adelson to convince him to stop adding financial support of Gingrich via his SuperPAC. When that didn’t work, he piled on some more of his own money, and those who fund the SuperPacs advocating on his behalf or at least slamming his competitors. When that didn’t work, some shills in the press dropped the conspicuous rumor that Newt’s “…hold a press conference after the Nevada Caucus on Saturday, raising new speculation about his future in the race,” implying he would get out Saturday evening. This was solely to try to undermine the vote in Nevada in Romney’s favor by creating the impression among Caucus-goers that Gingrich would be out of the race by night-fall anyway. You might wonder why Romney who is the putative front-runner, and his army of establishment hacks, would go through all this trouble if he’s got this “all sewn up,” as the “inevitable” meme pretends. The answer is as simple as this: It isn’t over, and Mitt knows it, because he can read a calendar.
One of the things weighing in Mitt’s favor is the postponement of the Texas primary. Texas is a state likely to favor Gingrich, but its primary that should have happened on Super Tuesday has been postponed to April 3rd, and may yet be kicked further back on the schedule over judicial tinkering with the redistricting. Texans are starting to speculate that perhaps this is intentional, and is being used to reduce the importance and relevance of Texas in selecting the nominee. There is good reason for that speculation, but I think it won’t matter unless the Texas Republican party gets smart and makes it a winner-take-all affair, which sine it is after April 1st, by national party rules it could be.
Romney doesn’t want this primary dragging on and on through the convention, because at the rate he’s spending money, he’ll soon look at the general campaign with emptied coffers and no ability to do in any measure to Barack Obama what he’s been trying to do to Gingrich, with some success. As it is, he will be at a huge financial disadvantage come the onset of the general campaign. This is why for Mitt’s sake, he must push this to a speedy conclusion, and it’s the reason why since Iowa, he’s been relentlessly hammering Gingrich.
As Governor Palin recently pointed out, we all love a rough-n-tumble debate, and a strongly contested primary, but I think Mitt’s reliance on these under-handed tactics and back-room deal-making will eventually take a political toll. Even as he rides high on the expected wide margin victory in Nevada, people around the country are beginning to take notice of the fact that he is outspending all opponents by a phenomenal amount but when it’s closer to par, he can lose, and lose big.
Voters in the GOP must ask themselves now, because it will be much too late in the fall, whether we want to rely upon a candidate who can only seem to win where he either has a distinct home-field advantage, such as in New Hampshire and Nevada, or a gigantic financial advantage such as in Iowa and Florida. He’s not likely to have many of those advantages, particularly in money, when it comes to the general election, so we must begin to ask of Mitt Romney: How will you outspend Barack Obama’s expected $1billion war-chest?
He can’t. If this is so, my friends, we have a problem beyond his lack of conservatism. If at the end of the day all he has is money, but no good arguments to elect him other than he’s not Barack Obama, we’ll lose, and lose big. The Democrats know this, and this is why they want Romney so badly they can taste it. It’s time to rethink this a bit and realize that if money is everything in 2012, then the GOP is going to get beaten badly. Only a candidate who can take the fight to Obama with a small relative budget is capable of beating him, and right now, by any guess available, that candidate is still Newt Gingrich.
The old lament about the legislative process contends that it’s like making sausage, in that while the final product may taste great, the process of making it can be downright ugly. In politics, that’s frequently the case too, as people make back-room deals for support and endorsements and future patronage jobs, and for conservatives, it all begins to take on a stench that has nothing in common with sausage. We see the deals after they’re made by the politicians we once admired, and they seem to be speaking on behalf of us, but at no time do they seem ever to ask our opinions, and there’s a presumption about our continuing support when they change directions. The recent story about Ron Paul is an example of this sort of thing, wherein what he may be angling for with his current campaign may not be the presidency, but something much less important. If that’s the case, it makes one wonder what other sort of deals may have yet to be brokered or revealed as we race on toward the nomination.
We all like our politicians to be pure in this regard, and whatever our political stripe or whomever our particular candidates, we want to know that they will stand staunchly and mostly implacable against political tides and trends rather than rushing out to meet them, in seeming surrender to what may turn out to be a political fad. This has been one of the knocks against Newt Gingrich, for example, as he sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi to talk about “global warming” just a year before the ClimateGate scandal poked the theory full of ethical and logical holes over rigged science and nasty backroom politics. Of course, Gingrich is hardly alone on this score, and there are some who still claim to be aboard on the issue. For instance, Mitt Romney still insists Global Warming is real despite the mounting evidence of pseudo-science with a political agenda, but now he allows that perhaps it’s not man-caused after all. These sorts of shifts really drive conservatives crazy, because we see this as revelatory of a lack of clear principles, or worse, the tendency to become suckers for fads.
One friend asked me if it wasn’t true that they all make deals, and I told him that most do as a matter of practicality. For instance, Ronald Reagan accepted George HW Bush as his VP nominee after a bitterly fought campaign. You and I might have had some trouble doing that, because we’d have seen the elder Bush as part of the trouble the party faces, and it is true that by the end of the second term, the Bush clan’s influence was on the rise, and frequently caused trouble for Reagan. Nevertheless, he did so in an attempt to unite what had been a very divided party in another fractious primary campaign season. It helped bring the establishment a little way back into the fold, which helped to get their money for the campaign, but did not give them all the power they wanted. Would you say of Reagan that he had been too compromising, or would you contend like so many others that he had the wisdom of a statesman in choosing George Bush? The fact that he won doesn’t prove anything, except that his decision was at least as valid in electoral results as any alternative we might now imagine.
As we push forward into the campaign season of 2012, we’re beginning to see alliances form and take shape. We’ve seen a number of significant endorsements, and a few voter “recommendations,” but the season is young and I expect we will yet see many more. There are those who are scrambling to leap into bed with Mitt Romney, and while they may see it as an expediency they cannot avoid, voters will watch with great interest, particularly conservatives, to see who ultimately sides with whom. The irony in these situations always happens later, when it something happens along the way to upset the conventional wisdom now in force. For instance, at present, many see Romney as “inevitable,” but a few weeks like the last one, filled with gaffes and reversals will be enough to perhaps cause him to crash and burn. In that case, you must then wonder if we arrive at the convention with somebody other than Romney as the front-runner, what will happen to those who had earlier supported him? They will change to support the nominee in most cases, but they’ll be left to explain why they picked the loser first in such a scenario, calling into question the value of their support.
Conservatives at once hope the rare politicians they admire will choose wisely, and keep their powder dry until there’s no alternative but to speak up or go down to defeat, and we may soon approach that moment when a whole parade of endorsements either fall on Mitt Romney or go elsewhere. When that happens, it will be either a sign of an open war within the GOP or a sign that the battle has entered a nervous internal cease-fire in order to first defeat Barack Obama. In honesty, I hope for the former, because I’m not satisfied yet that we have a candidate who can withstand what Obama will heap on him, and I don’t think we’ve yet seen more than a small sample of what Obama will be willing to do. For now, Obama is focusing on Romney, and expending a lot of time, effort and money tackling him. If Romney turns out not to be our nominee, Obama will have chased along the wrong trail and that by itself will have given us something about which to laugh.
I think we shall see deals, promises, and all sorts of things happen before this primary season concludes, and while this is a sore spot for many conservatives who can smell a compromise of our principles from a mile away, at the same time we must at least consider the long view, and measure them each on the basis of their merits. We will ultimately be happy with some, and disappointed by some more, but it won’t matter if we win. On the other hand, if our nominee loses, today’s deal-making will cause no shortage of political blood-letting later, as the blame-game begins. Win, lose or draw, I believe that on the day after the election, we may see whatever war was paused within the party re-ignite with new fervor, and I must say that I am keen for that fight. Like most conservatives, I think there has been far too much compromising of principles along the way, and that has landed us in our current national predicament. Our movement needs to begin to reassert itself not only at the polls, but in elected office. We need to develop an under-card of newcomers who we can promote and move in, and those that warrant it will eventually move up, but along the way, there will be deals made. Make no mistake about it. The question for conservatives must be: What are the terms, and at what point does the palate-pleasing become something we can no longer stomach?
Most of you will remember that Florida, by moving its primary up to January, waived half of its delegates to the national convention. As it now turns out, they may have violated another rule, and it stands to benefit Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, all to the detriment of Mitt Romney. It seems that there is another rule that forbids “winner-take-all” primaries and caucuses prior to 1 April. This is being covered by a variety of outlets, but Burns and Haberman at Politico have given in-depth coverage.
They have outlined the problem, and actually quoted the GOP rules:
“Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis. (Rule No. 15(b)(2))” (emphasis mine)
Uh-oh Mitt. You see, if we are to accept that the Virginia GOP mustn’t change its rules to permit others who just missed qualification for the ballot access in that state, we must also conclude since the GOP is a party that follows its own rules, it must follow this one. I have read accounts that the Gingrich camp is already pursuing this, as they should because as the Romney camp hurries to remind us about Virginia, “rules are rules.”
Myself, I think this is perfect justice. The Florida GOP hurried up its primary to help Mitt Romney sew up the nomination early, and waived half of its ninety-nine delegates, but now it seems that if this turns out the way the rule is written, the Florida party will have no choice but to apportion the delegates by percentage of vote, and if so, Romney will get twenty-four delegates rather than fifty. Gingrich would come away with fifteen or sixteen. Instead of handing Romney the ninety-nine delegates they might have handed him later, they may now hand him one-fourth of that number, and I think this is a perfect answer to the entire fiasco of the accelerated schedule.
AdWeek is reporting that in South Carolina, Mitt Romney outspent Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum combined. This clearly wasn’t enough, but Romney isn’t making the same “error” in Florida, as current reports suggest Romney has outspent Gingrich in Florida by a margin of five-to-one. That’s a significant spending advantage, and what we may learn is that while a two-to-one advantage may not make a big enough difference, if Romney pulls off the victory in Florida, five-to-one may be the magic number for a Massachusetts liberal. I am not opposed to money in politics, because I think in many ways, the Supreme Court ruled properly in saying that money equates to free speech, but I also think it’s up to we voters to be somewhat discerning when when we see such a disparity.
After all, money has always been the mother’s milk of politics, and any understanding of reality must include a recognition of this fact. Does it mean we should attempt to contrive laws that freeze out money? Elections in cycle after cycle demonstrate the fact that those who wish to donate to some candidate or cause are always able to engineer some way around such laws, and the reason is simple: It’s their money. Legislators have attempted to place hard limits on campaign contributions for years, but the problem is that who it winds up hampering is rank-and-file voters, while those with the money to burn are able to avail themselves of the various loopholes in the various laws. Worse, these laws are frequently written in such a way to run to the advantage of one group or political party, so that somebody is always disadvantaged, but most frequently it’s you and I.
Given this, voters are right to wonder about what is the real solution, but I think the answer is very clear: We need more citizens who actually follow this information more closely, and we need very broad disclosure laws that merely require contributors and donors to identify themselves. I realize we have some laws to this end now, but the real problem is that few people actually bother to avail themselves of the information that exists within easy reach at such sites as OpenSecrets.org. No law can protect us from the lack of curiosity or diligence most voters demonstrate.
For many voters, they want to be spoon-fed the issues a few weeks before the elections by the establishment media. They aren’t to be bothered from their other diversions throughout the intervening period between elections unless an issue arises that affects them in that immediate time-frame. While one can excuse some of that, as I too become weary with politics from time to time, the fact is that most people devote less than one hour per week to hard news, or significant information gathering about politics, or the condition of the country.
Some have likened the pop-culture to “cakes and circuses,” referencing a period in Roman decline when the ruling elite offered their people food and entertainment to keep them from paying attention to the fact that their culture was dying. I tend to agree with this assessment, but I also know a large number of the people most thoroughly engulfed by the pop-culture don’t even really bother to vote. If you want to minimize the role of money in elections, the truth is that nothing nullifies its importance and influence more than an informed and determined electorate that already knows the issues and knows its own mind.
Most media outlets are reporting an advantage for Romney in the double-digits, but in looking at most of these polls as I reported Sunday, most have samples that are far too small and margins of error that are much too high. I’ve seen a concerted effort to raise the sample sizes, and lower the margins of error, but they’re still diddling around with the numbers. They’re hoping the net propaganda effect will leverage in favor of Romney getting more votes from those who are undecided. This isn’t surprising, because the GOP establishment is getting a good deal of help from their friends in the media. It’s for this reason I am convinced that the Florida primary will be much closer than is being reported, and it’s also why I suspect there’s still a chance for Gingrich.
The whole purpose of the media massacre that was inflicted on Gingrich last week and through the weekend was to soften his support. At the same time, I saw a media and establishment theme emerge in which the question of Romney’s Mormon faith was the issue, but not by people opposing him. Instead, it was from his own camp, alleging that the people of South Carolina just hate Mormons. You know, that “Christian Right” who have some sort of alleged problem with Romney’s religion. In this entire campaign season, the only people I have ever heard raise this question were either media shills for Romney, or campaign shills for Romney. I’m located firmly in the midst of the Bible Belt, and I haven’t heard a single person say one word about Romney’s faith. What I have heard them say, often and loudly, is that Romney’s problem is his liberal record.
I am not inclined to believe this election in Florida is “all over,” or that even were it, that this primary race is “all over.” It’s simply not true. Wednesday morning, we will have conducted exactly four states’ worth of caucusing and voting, with forty-six to follow. I don’t know whose calculus indicates that this somehow wraps things up for Romney, even assuming he wins in Florida, but I suspect Florida is going to be a good deal closer than the media pretends. My evidence is admittedly second-hand, apart from the manipulated polls, but there’s also the sense on the ground that Gingrich is drawing larger crowds in similar venues, and Gingrich is getting Tea Party support, and this combined with the story NewsMax is carrying about an ongoing Gingrich surge suggest to me the “it’s all over” meme is just that, and nothing more. My advice to Floridians remains the same: Tomorrow morning, if you have yet to vote, go to the polls and defeat Mitt Romney, even if it means holding your nose. Nothing will deliver a more important message to the establishment, that still doesn’t take you seriously even after the whip-saw turnaround in South Carolina. It’s not over, not now, and not even tomorrow.
I’m a middle-aged man, and so while I’ve not yet seen all the world has to offer, I’ve learned a little. Back when I was a very young man, raised in a liberal Democrat household(at least by the balloting,) I entered adulthood with some pretty liberal ideas. Service in the Army started me out on my path to philosophical reconstruction, and subsequent marriage and fatherhood helped speed along the process, along with a healthy dose of life’s realities to teach me the hard way. When I joined the service, I went in thinking that Ronald Reagan was the devil, but by the time I had seen the real world on the border between East and West, and witnessed his speech at Brandenburg Gate, I had changed. We’ve all heard the saying that “a young conservative has no heart, and an old liberal has no brain,” meant to describe the transition many make as they age from the liberal leanings of youth(if for no other reason than rebellion,) to the wiser thinking of somebody who has learned a few lessons. In considering this mid-life transformation that so many people go through, one of the things you note is that there are those who never make the transition. More, there are those who change parties, because life’s realities show the way, but they never fully reconcile the two contradictory positions in their thinking.
As an example, I have one friend who is by all estimates conservative now, but when we talk about the political history of the last two decades, a strange thing happens: The further back along the time-line we go, the more liberal my friend sounds, because she begins to almost slide back into her earlier thinking when she was a rabid liberal. In her youth, given her politics of the day, Newt Gingrich was the devil. For this reason, she has great difficulty looking at him now, some fifteen years later, and seeing him as anything but the devil her college professors, friends and family had described him as being. It’s not even that she can say why he was the devil, so much as it is a sense about him, or an image, rather than any concretes. At one point some months ago, she had made a remark about never being able to support him, and I asked why that was. She hesitated, and started to make an argument from her politics of old against him, but tapered off as she realized it was no longer what she had once believed.
This presented her with a problem, and she finally said to me: “I may need to re-think Newt, not that I’d necessarily support him, but because my view of him was built…a long time ago.” To a thirty-five year old, fifteen or twenty years is a long time in their past, indeed. The important thing to notice, and the thing I tried to point out to her is that when people go through political and philosophical transformations in their twenties and thirties, or any time, really, what they frequently fail to do is to go back and re-evaluate the past in light of their current views. This makes for a significant break, a sort of philosophical and historical discontinuity that leads to difficulties in one’s judgments. I find this to be most common among people in their thirties, and I also think this is what begets many of our “independents” and “moderates,” because they never reconciled fully between their younger, liberal views, and their elder conservative realizations.
The fact may be that you probably know some number of people who fit this description, or may in fact be one yourself, although based on comments and emails I receive from readers here, I think most are somewhat more settled into a consistent view of the world. You may want to keep this in mind when you’re listening to such people, and the way to “help” them through it is to reach back to historical touchstones and ask them what they think about some issue or person or event from the political past. If I’m talking to a thirty-five year old, I know the reference points will be in 1990s, because that would have been when they first started formulating views and making judgments. Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal, and Newt Gingrich and the Republican takeover of the Congress are two of the touchstone events, together with personalities that shape the thinking of many such people still. Gently pointing them to reconsider those people and events in light of what they now know often helps make the difference between somebody of the squishy middle and a true conservative.
After all, when we evaluate these persons and political or social events, we do so with the lenses with which we were equipped at the time. Often, we change lenses along the way, but we seldom go back to re-examine them with our better, well-focused glasses. This explains in part why a character like Newt Gingrich still has such high negatives in the twenty-five to thirty-five year old group, because their views of Gingrich were formed when they held different views altogether. If in 1995, you viewed Gingrich as a political demon, you would likely have problems some seventeen years later viewing him as anything else. The mainstream media knows this too well, which is why they work so hard to demonize conservatives, and champion liberals. It’s not simply a matter of your political choices of today they wish to influence, but those of your distant future as well.
As people who have seen it all and firmed up our thinking, upon reaching middle age, we ought to cast a long glance back at the history we have known, and how it’s viewed by others, if only because sometimes, we need to go back and correct the record. Nothing is harder for people to do than to point back to a time when they now believe they had been wrong, and this natural resistance to such an admission plays a role in shaping one’s views, but also one’s political choices. I think it’s important for those of us who have obtained a little more wisdom by virtue of our own lengthy struggles to reach out to our younger brethren and help them realize where they may be stuck. Of course, that’s always a touchy situation, but there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, and letting people draw their own conclusions. In fact, that’s a larger part of what this site is all about.
The media is so completely in the tank for Romney in Florida that I must admit I have never seen anything like this in a GOP primary. Certainly, we have seen it in a general election, as we need go no further than 2008 to see these tactics being used, but this time, the Republican establishment is pulling out all the stops while rank and file conservatives and Tea Party folk are fighting for their survival. Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, as more is at stake in Florida than the Republican nomination. If the establishment is able to push or drag their boy Mitt over the finish line, they will claim “it’s all over” and that the Tea Party and the conservative base of the party is irrelevant. If you haven’t noticed already, all of this is being pushed by insiders who want to retain the control of the party, and to wrest it from you.
I realize that as Sarah Palin pointed out recently, Newt Gingrich is a “flawed vessel” like any of them, but the truth is that at the moment, he is the only hope for staving off a Romney victory, and while I don’t usually make a vote with a negative end in mind, this may be one of those exceptional cases when the alternative is worse. For that reason, and that reason alone, I am asking Floridians to consider what will become of their Tea Party and their conservative values if Mitt Romney prevails. How will you have a seat at the table if the establishment can claim you hadn’t been relevant in victory or defeat. You scared the living daylights out of them in South Carolina, because in the space of four days, your brethren to the North rose up and told the establishment to pound sand.
In Florida, where sand is in plentiful supply, Floridian conservatives and Tea Party folk shouldn’t hesitate to tell Romney and his dirty-tricksters to pound it. Mark Levin pointed out the problematic revelations this week has raised about Mitt Romney’s character. You deserve a seat at the table, and the fact that Romney has been actively and purposefully ignoring you should say everything about his intentions that needs to be said. I know some of you are leaning toward Santorum or Paul, and I understand your basic objections to what I’m proposing, because in fact I share similar reservations, but unless you want a Romney victory in your state to be used to justify the contention that conservatives and Tea Party folk no longer matter, I don’t see a choice. You must make a stand, if not for Gingrich, then at the very least against the establishment in this winner-take-all primary in which your voice as conservatives is truly at stake.
I’ve heard from a few people really concerned about the polling in Florida, showing Gingrich down, and Romney up, which seems at least in part to be contradicted by the sense of things on the ground. I am going to show you how a poll can be twisted, and how you can’t trust them, and if you allow them to form your opinion, you can actually be manipulated. Let’s start with a very popular poll, the PPP(Public Policy Polling) outfit that currenty shows Romney leading 40% to 32%.
In this poll, when you read to the bottom of the page and examine the data, you discover the following:
“The PPP poll surveyed 387 likely Florida Republican primary voters on January 28th with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.”(emphasis mine)
Ladies and gentlemen, when you see ANY poll with such a small sample size, it’s GARBAGE. When you see any poll with a margin of error of more than 3%, it’s likely garbage, particularly if it has a small sample size. For a state as large and diverse as Florida, any poll that doesn’t survey at least 1500 people, with a margin of error well below 4% is a poll intended to generate a headline and drive you.
Now, here’s their insurance: With a margin of error of 5%, if you add that to Gingrich, and subtract it from Romney, this poll may actually tell you nothing, because Gingrich could in fact be leading. This kind of poll is GARBAGE as any serious analyst will tell you, and worse, when you see so-called analysts on television referencing such polls, you know they are LYING to you because as trained professionals, THEY ABSOLUTELY KNOW BETTER.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to “shout” at you, but I am disgusted with the media manipulation, as they try to create some false momentum in Romney’s direction. You should let others know this too. 387 people? Really? A margin of error of 5%??? That’s a potential 10-point swing in either direction, which gives them cover if their pushing doesn’t work out, but also helps them create a theme.
Don’t believe such polls. They are intended to mislead you. I have rejected four such polls from publication on this site in the last month because they were this egregious.
LegalInsurrection.com is reporting that Congresman Allen West’s seat will come under severe challenge because of the way it will likely be redistricted by this the Florida legislature, and the person leading that effort is a Romney spokesperson Representative Will Weatherford. Legal Insurrection‘s conclusion is that while they’re using the excuse of complying with law, what they’ve done is draw a district in which Allen West will no longer be able to win because they’ve given some of his areas of greatest support to other districts in redrawing the boundaries of his. Indeed, the district could have been drawn differently, and what LI is inferring from all of this is that West’s failure to endorse Romney is going to have significant consequences: Allen West will likely lose his next race there, and it’s being seen by some as punishment by the GOP Establishment for his failure to support Romney.
Is this possible? It is the kind of political garbage that frequently occurs, and it is the preferred methodology for the establishment to rid the party of somebody who doesn’t toe the line. That the politician responsible for leading the effort in Florida to draw the boundaries for the redistricting in Florida happens to be a Romney spokesperson certainly does raise eyebrows. As LegalInsurrection reports, there was a website set up, SaveAllenWest, but as they point out, it may be too late. The point to be understood in all this is important, and it is that this is the dirty methodology by which people are punished by the establishment, and you can bet if Romney gets the nomination, such tactics may yet visit a redistricting near you.
Congressman Allen West, freshman superstar, and retired Army Lt. Col, gave a speech on Saturday night at an event that culminated with Herman Cain endorsing Newt Gingrich, who then made some remarks. Newt Gingrich is in an all-out battle with Mitt Romney for the Florida Primary on Tuesday.
For me, the question is: Why would the Florida legislature sabotage the district of a popular freshman conservative republican in Congress? Ordinarily, they would seek to tweak the lines in other ways, but the fact that they’ve settled on this approach suggests to me that there could well be a political vendetta at work here.
Few things have been clearer than what this past week has made apparent: The GOP establishment doesn’t want to win an honest fight, and those who comprise it don’t believe we should have any say whatsoever. Whether you’re a staunch conservative, or a Tea Party patriot, there can be no way to miss the point demonstrated by a week-long attack-fest aimed at Newt Gingrich. We’re not part of their party, and they will choose the nominee, and if we don’t like it, we can just shut up and go away. Well, we’re not going away, and we won’t be shut up, and we’re going to call them on their twisted, half-truth ridden distortions in media, and we’re going to turn off their networks, and avoid their favorite in-the-tank websites, and we’re going to forge ahead without them if necessary. The simple truth is that the GOP establishment needs our support much more than we need theirs, and with the direction this is going, I can’t see a single reason to support them or their chosen candidate. Meanwhile, something else is brewing, and I take note, because watching Gingrich speak, I realized there was a change, and it manifested Saturday night.
Watching Herman Cain endorse Newt Gingrich on Saturday night, I think I glimpsed a bit of the future, because I think what Gingrich has been saying from the outset of this race is correct: We must all set aside our petty differences and find a way to engineer victory as a team. So far, among the candidates who entered the race, and have subsequently departed it, Cain and Perry, each once a front-runner, have endorsed Newt Gingrich. Now while it’s the undisputed truth that conservatives are a generally independent-minded lot, I don’t think we should fail to notice this. I’ve told you before that a candidate who was an aggregate of the best parts of all of these would be great for the country, but alas, no such candidate stepped forward. What we’re watching now, as Gingrich integrates these former competitors into his team is the result of having treated both of these men with due respect to their positions and experiences and accomplishments over their lives. Gingrich has a big idea, all right, but it’s not about some mission to the moon. Instead, I believe he’s focusing on building a team that can win in November and take the country back from Barack Obama.
This represents a serious departure from previous campaigns, as when the vanquished left the scene, frequently never to be seen again. Think about what this will mean to the strength of the GOP team come November if Gingrich is the nominee. He’s building a governing majority now, with the party as his first target. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is tooling around trying to further divisions in the party. Are we now witnessing what is effectively the updated version of the Reagan coalition? That would be a stunning achievement, and while he’s a long way from having accomplished it, that he’s seeing that far down the road is a hopeful sign. Nothing is more prone to failure than an ad hoc campaign without direct and vision guiding it forward. Whatever else you may think of Gingrich, it’s now clear to me that he has a plan, and if just a little luck breaks his way, he might not only capture the nomination, but also the presidency.
It’s always been true that the most effective presidents were those who could put together a governing coalition that permitted the best people to lead with their strengths and their passions. If Gingrich is figuring out the way to do this effectively, then we as conservatives should be thankful, whether we intend to support him in the primaries or not. We need somebody at the head of this movement who can focus and direct its energies not only to electoral victory, but to a concrete plan of restoring our nation. Could Gingrich be that leader, after all? I’ve certainly had my misgivings, and as Sarah Palin reminds us, he is a “flawed vessel,” but as she also points out, nobody is perfect and without troubles. Can Gingrich be a true reformer? He’s done it before, certainly, because his accomplishments in leading the Republicans to sweeping victory in 1994 was a marvel in modern American history. Could he do it again?
Time will tell, but for now at least, we know with certainty one thing: Newt has a plan.
I’m not going to write a lengthy article to accompany this. There’s really no point. Congressman Allen West makes plain everything that really needs to be said. He spoke at a dinner Saturday in Florida that would see Herman Cain endorse Newt Gingrich for President shortly after Colonel West’s remarks concluded. There’s a good reason West remains a highly motivational, show-stopping speaker at these sorts of events, and I personally look forward to hearing more from him soon.
Here’s the video:
In an appearance on Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Saturday show on FNC, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin explained her rationale for who would be the candidate best able to handle Obama in the debates, who would be most likely to prevail over Obama, and how she draws those distinctions. It was a telling interview, inasmuch as she did not endorse Newt Gingrich, but instead suggested that she wants to see the honest vetting of these candidates go on, and she made it plain that she didn’t think Mitt Romney had been entirely honest with some of his attacks.
This interview began only a few minutes after Herman Cain announced he was endorsing Newt Gingrich at an event in Florida. Here’s the video:
Sarah Palin pointed out that Romney’s negative ads were not merely normal rough-and-tumble campaigning in Florida and reflected the politics of personal destruction. Palin pointed out that Romney drew first blood with negative attack ads in Iowa, but that Gingrich had tried to run a positive campaign. She mentioned how the tone of the campaign worsened when those in the DC establishment. She described Gingrich as an “agent of change.” The former Alaska governor spoke of her dislike of pundits, on Fox and elsewhere, who are “gleefully proclaiming” Romney as the “inevitable nominee.” Among other things, she also defended Gingrich, and describe him as the best candidate to “clobber Obama in the debates.” She said “Rage against the machine? Vote Newt! Annoy a liberal? Vote Newt!” In addition, Palin went to some lengths to explain that she would like to hear more about how Romney’s Massachusetts Healthcare plan was the model for Obamacare.
Again, while Governor Palin clearly isn’t endorsing a candidate as yet, she seems to be very supportive of Gingrich at this time. She also seems of the mind that there’s still some honest vetting to do, and while she was clearly disappointed with the dishonest smear tactics that had been used against Gingrich, she did stress that issues are issues, and we ought to welcome that fight. Lastly, I don’t know if it was just Pirro rushing to make the hard break, but near the end of the segment, Pirro talked over Palin several times, and the segment ended with an abrupt cut-off just as Palin was explaining her view of the establishment. I don’t know that this means anything, but then again, we’ve learned a good deal about media outlets recently.
Endorsement or not, Palin’s message was pretty clear: In Florida, vote Newt! Rage against the machine? Vote Newt! Annoy a liberal? Vote Newt! (I must admit the last one particularly appeals to me.)
Saturday night’s headlines will erupt, and this should lead the headlines on Sunday morning, but since the media is too busy clubbing Gingrich over the head to notice, you never know. I can’t think of a more impressive situation for Gingrich. This comes at an event in which none other than Congressman Allen West had spoken just moments before, and in an environment of incredibly good cheer. Herman Cain was on hand to both introduce and endorse Newt Gingrich!
At the height of the past week’s Drudge Report punishing of Newt Gingrich, many eyebrows were raised. Drudge seemed to be running an inordinate number of anti-Gingrich hit-pieces, and myself and others began to wonder what might be lurking behind this story. It wasn’t that it was mere bias, something we’ve all learned to expect from all media outlets, but instead an overwhelming sense that Drudge simply wanted to pummel Gingrich into the ground to make way for Mitt Romney. I received emails from readers asking “what the hell is wrong with Drudge,” but I was at a loss to explain it. Drudge has always been a somewhat elusive personality, but this afternoon, somebody passed along a story that might help to explain it. I read the article in fascination, and I apologize to my readers for having missed this when it first published. It seems obvious, reading this article in retrospect, with a few more months behind us what had been going on, and now it seems clearer than ever given Drudge’s one man war on Newt Gingrich during the last week.
The article from last November over at DamnDirtyRino.com offers a view of things when Drudge was pummeling Rick Perry, then still in the campaign for the nomination. While not nearly as exhaustive as his most recent slant against Gingrich, what happened was very similar in terms of his approach. A number of harsh anti-Perry headlines appeared prominently, and they served their purpose well. Apparently, back in 2005, RNC operatives arranged a meeting between Drudge and Matt Rhodes, a highly placed operative in the Romney operation. Ever since then, Drudge’s links haven’t included headlines that were negative toward Romney, and what’s more, it seems that whomever challenges Romney gets ripped, ultimately.
The article concludes with the following:
“What’s disappointing about all of this, though, is the fact that from Matt Drudge’s earliest days posting Hollywood gossip on Usenet discussion boards, he’s set himself up as the answer to the biased media that refuses to air, and often actively suppresses, information that shows conservatives in a positive light. Since then, it appears that Matt Drudge has become the new boss . . . same as the old boss.”
It’s not a new article, published last November, but it made clear allegations about a process of clearly biased smears that had not yet been turned against Newt Gingrich, but at the time, was being fielded against Herman Cain, too, if you’ll remember. Some thought me a bit over-the-top in questioning Drudge, or suggesting that he may well have been blended into the Republican establishment, but given that he was having sit-downs with a high-powered Romney operative in 2005, in a meet put together by RNC operatives, maybe I was closer than I knew. I don’t claim that Drudge shouldn’t be able to advocate on behalf of whomever he likes, but he should at the very least state it out front so the rest of us have no doubt. Of course, looking at his page recently, it shouldn’t have left much doubt anyway.
HotAir is reporting that NBC’s legal division has demanded that the Romney Campaign suspend use of some video of Tom Brokaw in another twisted, out-of-context campaign ad that attempts to paint Gingrich as some kind of monster. Of course, as HotAir points out, this may be a tactic on the part of the Romney Campaign to bring more attention and more free plays of their anti-Gingrich ad all over media. NBC’s demand will make the ad a big story, thus giving other media outlets an excuse to run it for free in order to “show our audience the root of the controversy,” no doubt. Sure. As the HotAir article reminds us, this isn’t the first time the Romney campaign used such a tactic to get greater coverage of one of their ads. Simply place somebody in it you know will object strenuously, and you have a blockbuster – free.
Nevertheless, it is another scathing denunciation of the sort of campaign Mitt Romney has been running, with its distortions and fact-twisting multi-million dollar campaign of television and radio advertisements. Brokaw commented:
“I am extremely uncomfortable with the extended use of my personal image in this political ad. I do not want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign…”
I’m sure his indignation is heartfelt. Either way, I’m not falling for it.
In another setback in relations between Mitt Romney and Tea Party folk, news now comes from Florida that a coalition of Tea Partiers has endorsed Newt Gingrich, first to beat Mitt Romney, and then to beat Barack Obama in November. This is another repudiation of Mitt Romney among Tea Party patriots, and it’s important to note that Mitt has largely brought this on himself. A candidate seeking the GOP nomination simply cannot afford to belittle, disparage, or ignore the Tea Party. They are a bold and refreshing, rejuvenating segment of the conservative electorate, and it’s been clear all along that Romney has been ignoring them at his own electoral peril. On Tuesday, we’ll get some indication of their relative electoral strength in Florida, but indications are that Tea Party folk are tending to break in Gingrich’s favor, much as was the case in South Carolina one week ago. It’s tight, but we’ll know for sure Tuesday evening.
Despite millions and millions spent on attack ads against him in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and now Florida, Gingrich is holding onto a lead in national polling. Of course, the problem at present is in Florida, where millions of dollars in negative ads are hammering him relentlessly with many out-of-context quotes, and again seeking to attack him personally. I realize the advertising game goes both ways to some extent, but let’s be honest enough with ourselves to admit that when you look at the amount of cash being heaped into media buys in this race, only one candidate has the sort of resources necessary to flood the airwaves. Gingrich leads 32%-24% over Romney.
Of course, at present, no place polled is quite as important as Florida, with the impending primary about to kick off in that state, but the truth is that due to early voting, it’s been underway right along. If conservatives in that state don’t band together to defeat Romney, the media will paint this as more momentum for Mitt, and the talk of “inevitable” will begin anew. I don’t think that should happen, but will happen may be another matter. One thing this poll point out is that Gingrich may be doing well nationally, but the influence of such overwhelming establishment manipulations as have been ongoing in Florida may make it insurmountable.
I wonder about some of my fellow conservatives, who at the first sign of trouble, abandon the candidate who they supported only a week ago, particularly since the charges against him were largely out-of-context fabrications drummed up by supporters of the candidate he defeated last Saturday. In abandoning Gingrich so easily, for those who have openly supported him, what does it say about the state of conservatism that when smeared, rather than fighting the smears, we tuck tails and run away? Thankfully, those rare leaders such as Governor Sarah Palin won’t take that approach, and while she and the few others willing to stand against the establishment try to rally conservatives and Tea Party folk to understand the true nature of the assault launched against them, we shouldn’t run away from this fight. We, who say it is our party, and not the party of the establishment, should for once and all times deliver an unrelenting statement of who exactly runs this party.
By heading off for the tall grass in search of a place to hide, since “when elephants fight, only the grass suffers,” we ought for once to realize this is our fight, and this is our time. While Newt was not my first choice, he’s better by far than the apparent leading alternative, and if we don’t rally behind him at this point, that alternative is likely to prevail. We like to point out that the GOP establishment consists of “RINOs,” but my question for you is this: If we bow out of this struggle because it has become a little messy, or because dis-entangling the truth from all the lies is too tedious, are we not in fact surrendering the party to them? Who then are the RINOs?
We conservatives who value our independence of judgment, and our devotion to principle first before party ought not abandon so easily when it becomes clear our conservative candidates are being torpedoed. I hung in there with Cain until the bitter end, not because I was a big Cain proponent(I had my issues with him on several things,) but because I was unwilling to let the obvious take-down win the argument. On substance, by all means, take on Herman Cain, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the mudslingers acting on behalf of others carry out such a demonic hit. I’ll not support that, whatever I may think of Cain’s policy ideas.
I remember when the pictures of Bachmann and others were used to bring her down, with a magazine cover portraying her as a wide-eyed, unblinking loon. That wasn’t fair, but that was the way in which she was butchered. What about Sarah Palin, and the non-stop three years-long smears of her person, and as I’ve reported, not all of it going back to leftist sources? I would still walk over Alaskan glaciers barefoot to vote for her, but I’ll be denied that opportunity because even before the McCain defeat of 2008, she was being set up and smeared, but not only by Democrats.
Some have asked me why I am so opposed to Romney, and while some may not have known, and others may have forgotten, I haven’t let loose of the betrayals that began even before there had been a single ballot marked on election day in November of 2008. You should remember too, since “elephants never forget.” Those who don’t follow party inside-baseball politics can be forgiven, but the truth is that the Romney machine was angry about not getting the nomination in ’08, and they decided to make sure from the earliest moment that there would be no serious opposition to him in 2012. In truth, there were some in the Romney camp who would have been happy for McCain to lose in ’08, because had he won, we wouldn’t be talking about a Romney nomination in 2012. Get it? Got it?
Clearly then, Newt Gingrich is not my favorite politician, and you, my friends know well who is, but she’s not in the race, and in lieu of that, I am willing to look at who is out there. Ron Paul remains unacceptable to me, if only because I worry about our nation’s security, coming from a military background as I do. Rick Santorum has gone home, not officially suspending his campaign, but now completely underfunded and effectively unable to continue irrespective of the official status of his campaign. This leaves Romney and Gingrich, and while there are a few who suggest there’s little difference, I cannot but decline to agree with that sentiment.
People forget that if not for Newt Gingrich’s Herculean efforts through the late eighties and nineties, we might have had “health-care reform” in the shape of Hillary-care in 1994. Instead, he used the issue to make the difference that led to the first overturn to Republican control since more than a decade before my birth. Whatever else you might say about him, this remains an unchallenged fact, and what it implies is that Gingrich has the intellectual wherewithal to create or build upon a movement, rather than simply a candidacy.
In contrast, Romney enacted a health-care fiasco upon which much of Obama-care is modeled, and in fact, which was written in large measure by the same people. Do you really want to take one of the few issues off the table that has substantial bi-partisan support on your side of the argument for a change?
Ladies and gentlemen, there is one more matter in all of this, and it really gets to the core of why I cannot support Romney, along with the more obvious issues: Do we really wish to reward a man with victory who has employed the dishonest tactics of every left-wing Alinskyite, in undermining his competitors through smear, distortion, and outright lies, but worst of all through various surrogates who are carrying his water? I don’t know what you think about this, but in my book, he has become Obama. If you wonder what has happened to your party, or more importantly, your country, you have no farther to look than this, and there is every reason to state not only in words, but also with your votes and your open advocacy that this is not the kind of candidate who represents us. If we wish to take back the Republican party, we must do it. When we run into these sorts of characters, we must be smart enough and wise enough to discern among them, but most of all, we must have the courage to fight them, openly. I’ve talked about my prospective willingness to walk away, but for now, I have resolved to fight. Will you?
I hope so, most earnestly. We may not have four more years to reform our party. We must do it now.
In a scathing admonishment aimed at the GOP establishment, moments ago, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took the Party’s elite to task for their dishonest, and leftist-like attacks on Gingrich. Her concern for the future of the party dominated by an establishment that is willing to destroy anybody and everybody who might get in their way is the focus of her remarks. She’s right: If the GOP establishment and all its little shills will do this to us, then we have some serious questions to answer.
Among other things, she wrote:
“But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 that didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.”
I encourage all of you to read Governor Palin’s excellent remarks, because her concluding question needs to be answered before we go any farther down this primary path.
In what can only be called a stunning, face-slapping rebuttal, Jeffrey Lord has discovered that Elliott Abrams’ story about Gingrich’s alleged criticism of President Reagan were not only erroneously characterized, but almost certainly indicates it was an intentional hit-piece by Abrams, that Abrams must have known was dishonest. It points out the problem going on with much of Romney’s campaign of destruction aimed at Gingrich, and it points out how thoroughly damaging such a thing can be when amplified almost infinitely by the roaring link-fest of the Drudge Report. Abrams’ hit-piece stayed up on Drudge for more than twenty-four hours, and there will be no rebuttal. The only way the truth will be distributed at this point is for you, the public, to undertake this chore.
Lord used the more charitable word “misleading” to describe Abrams’ piece, but to me, once one has read Lord’s piece, there can be no way to conclude that Abrams had been anything but intentionally dishonest. At that point, the question of motive is brought sharply into focus, and it is clear that Abrams is part of the establishment wing of the GOP out to destroy Gingrich in order to shove Mitt Romney down our throats. Ladies and gentlemen, this is no longer an issue of electability. This is an issue of integrity, and whether you like Gingrich or hate him, if you claim to be a conservative Republican, you must not tolerate this from the party. If the party machine is permitted this scandalous behavior, there is no point to the party, and you must come to recognize that this has been the root of the smears of all the other conservative candidates too.
What this demonstrates all too clearly is what many conservatives have long suspected: The establishment is intent upon shoving Romney down our throats, and any foolish enough to fall for that deserve the just results.
I was suspicious about this debate when I heard Tammy Bruce play audio on Thursday of Romney telling his supporters who couldn’t get tickets to shove their way in, so I wasn’t surprised to hear rumors as the debate wore on that the audience was stacked with Romney supporters. The scuttlebutt is that 900 additional Romney supporters were brought in by the Florida Republican party, but I’m looking for confirmation. It seems that the Florida GOP did control 900 of the 1200 seats, so if they wanted to rig it for Romney, they certainly could have, but as of yet, I have been unable to confirm that it was disproportionately given to Romney supporters, but the fact that the Florida party controlled them means it could have been.
If I had to pick a “winner,” I would say Rick Santorum, but that’s provisional, because I think while he definitely made some excellent points, and put Romney in the position of making an ass of himself, I also suspect most people didn’t catch one thing he said that would actually damn him in my book, and theirs if they thought about it. If I had to say who was most honest in this debate, I would say Ron Paul, followed by Gingrich and Santorum in a tie for second, with Romney getting the evening’s Pinochio award.
You might ask why I would give Mitt Romney such a distinction, but it has to do with what he said about his vote in 1992. In the primary that year, he voted for Paul Tsongas, in the Democrat primary, so I’m a bit confused about what he said during this debate. The other significant issue was his use of the whole Gingrich “ghetto” business in relation to language. What Newt had been discussing was that he didn’t want to see people locked into ghettos defined by language barriers because they had not learned English. It had nothing whatever to do with the Spanish language, or those who speak it, as Romney and his ad attempted to imply. These two lies were the worst among lesser ones, but definitely noteworthy.
Ron Paul was steady, and CNN did not let him answer the Israel/Palestine question. Had he answered it, he might have gotten a black eye, and that wouldn’t have served CNN’s purposes. As usual, he was right about fiscal matters, and monetary issues also. The problem is that he only touched on his defense and foreign policy stances, and this made him seem much more acceptable than usual. That was the point.
Rick Santorum had a pretty good debate, and his exchange with Romney surely put the former Massachusetts governor in a defensive position, so much so that he said “there’s no reason to be angry.” Frankly, there’s every reason to be angry about the way in which Romney conducted himself during that series, because he lied repeatedly. More than this, however, the manner in which he said this to Santorum was more condescending than usual, and that’s quite a bit. Santorum was spot-on to point out that Romney, particularly would have difficulty contrasting himself with Obama, and that to nominate Romney is to give up the issue of Obamacare.
Unfortunately, there are two areas in which I think Santorum failed. Let me put the last first, and that was in his answer to the final question. When he spent time attacking Gingrich and Romney as a part of his answer, it came across as desperate, and a little non-responsive, because while what he was saying was largely true of the other two, the question was about why he could beat Obama. Instead, he squandered part of his time telling us why the other two could not.
The other issue I had with Santorum, and the one I think damns him in my view, was the discussion of taxes, when he effectively endorsed a “progressive” income tax, albeit with slightly lower rates. I don’t think many people noticed this, but what it implies is that he would do little or nothing to rethink the entire question of taxes. I think that’s a shame, because what it came across as being was an appeal to class envy, or at least pandering in that vein.
Santorum did well in answering other questions, but this one would hurt him if most people noticed, which I doubt. Had a not said that, and if he had focused on his own virtues and electability with that last question, I’d be prepared to call him the winner unreservedly. As it is, I’ll call him the winner, but I’m putting an asterisk next to his name.
Gingrich was flat. I don’t think he bombed, but I don’t think he shined. I also noticed that the way the questions were structured, it was clear CNN wanted to set up certain responses, and they got them. The problem is that in the FoxNews debate of Monday last week, it wasn’t a bunch of leftists asking the questions. In this debate, a leftist asked every question, except those from the audience, but clearly those had been screened and selected for the same reason. Let me explain.
This debate was rigged. Romney’s one “shining moment” was supposed to be his moment equal to last Thursday’s “Newt moment,” but it looked contrived and rehearsed, which I am now certain it had been. He’ll get away with it, of course, because there will be no proof, but it was served to him on a golden platter, and of course he hit it well. The driving idea behind the management of this debate was to keep Gingrich off balance, and to push Santorum and Paul up a little, hopefully scavenging some support from Gingrich. At the same time, Romney was supposed to find some separation, and in a world wherein most of the audience won’t have noticed his two biggest lies, he will have prevailed.
Factually, of course, Gingrich is right about the immigration question, and I’m surprised when he didn’t capitalize when Romney made the best point in favor of what Gingrich had said: This isn’t about eleven million grandparents. That’s true, but if grandparents are the thing on which Romney hangs his criticism of Gingrich on this issue, didn’t he actually demonstrate why Newt’s proposal is not altogether unreasonable? In other words, it’s a small segment of a greater issue, so tormenting Gingrich on behalf of the point seems preposterous. More, Gingrich is right: Grandparents will not “self-deport.” Their families here legally will care for them and shield them from the law, along with their churches, as Gingrich made plain. It’s true. In this sense, Gingrich was being honest where Romney was being disingenuous at best.
Romney did make one criticism that is true, about candidates promising things to voters in various regions to get their support. That’s true, but the problem is of course that Romney has done it too, so the value of his truthfulness on the one point is negated by the fact that he is guilty also.
All in all, I think it was one of the poorer debates, in large part because it was managed in order to obtain one predictable outcome: Newt Gingrich was not to be allowed to prevail.