Archive for the ‘Rick Santorum’ Category

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.

 

 

 

Hey, I Agree With Santorum: It’s Bull…

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Rick Gets Testy

I listened to a number of people today attempt to describe Santorum’s response to a NY Times reporter as “intemperate,” “petulant,” and “immature.”  I’ll be honest with you:  If I had to face these interminable jack-wagons in the press, always fishing to present me out of context, I would probably blow a gasket now or then too.  It’s not that Rick Santorum is my favorite candidate, because of the four remaining, I would choose Newt Gingrich, but just as the media tries its best to catch Gingrich saying something a little off-key, this is the same thing the press is doing to Rick Santorum, and I can understand how any of them might grow a bit fatigued with this approach.  Rick Santorum has been saying for months, in virtually every appearance, and in every campaign stop that he believed that Mitt Romney was least able to battle Barack Obama because of Romney-care.

I’ve been telling you that same thing, because everything suggests that it’s true.  The latest Gallup polling results show that as many as 72% of Americans now believe the insurance mandate in Obama-care is unconstitutional.  If they believe that, then it’s likely that they won’t be altogether receptive to the 10th Amendment arguments of Mitt Romney on Romney-care, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned before.  States may have their authority, but that authority does not permit them to step on individual liberties any more than the Federal government may.  Others may accept that argument, but I think most Americans would tend to reject it, and I think that would be a real problem for Mitt Romney especially when Obama openly admits that Romney-care and its mandate were the model for Obama-care.

Apparently, in campaign stop in Wisconsin, Santorum repeated his general theme, but because he changed the way in which he said it, it left an opening for a smarmy NY Times reporter to take a shot at him because his statement during this particular speech seemed more open-ended, and he said Mitt Romney is “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” He got a little angry with the reporter, Jeff Zeleny of the NY Times, because he seemed to be trying to set Santorum up, and I think Santorum got a little miffed.  To be sure, it probably was a bit intemperate to hurl the expletive “bullsh..,” but almost every person I knew who had seen it voiced approval.  It seems conservatives have gotten a belly-full of the press this campaign season, and after months of dirty tricks and negative ads primarily focused on the conservatives in the race, it’s not surprising that Santorum lashed out a bit.  Many conservatives were heartened to see it, because it exhibited a passion for his position, but in fact, I also noted something else:  Many of the conservatives to whom I spoke about the incident actually thought he shouldn’t have qualified it at all, because there’s a sense among many conservatives that Romney is the least electable versus Barack Obama, and I think the “Etch-a-Sketch” was the last straw for many.

These are the same reasons, in fact, that when Gingrich faced the questions in the South Carolina debate, and he took the moderator to task, he got the positive response he did:  Conservatives are tired of getting kicked around in the press, and the willingness of Newt Gingrich to confront the press was an endearing quality to many conservatives.  I think this latest flap with Santorum evinces the same theme, because conservatives simply don’t like the media, because they’ve long recognized the media will not afford conservatives a fair shake.  Some will say that Santorum had been a little too combative in this instance, and others will nit-pick him over the wording of his remarks, but his point was generally true on both counts:  He has stressed for months the “unique disqualification” of Mitt Romney due to Romney-care, and he made his remarks about Romney in this instance in the general envelope of the same context, although he worded the lines somewhat differently, and these are the “gotcha” games with which conservatives have become disgusted.

You can watch the video of the exchange here:

Santorum may not be my favorite candidate, but he’s certainly preferable to at least one in my view, and I’m glad to see him take on the media a little bit.  It’s time to deal with reality, and the press is too busy taking Obama’s part against all Republicans, and Romney’s part against all other Republicans for me to think much of the media.  I think Newt should remember this too, as it was part of what drove his climb back in South Carolina.  Conservatives hate the mainstream media these days, and they have every justification.  Candidates should remember this when they face the press.

 

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.

 

Santorum Wins Louisiana Plus New Santorum Video: Obamaville

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Something to Celebrate

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

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

 

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

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

How Many Secretly Agree?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

Glenn Beck Abandons Rick Santorum

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Beck Jumps Ship

I’ve been waiting for Beck to say this for some time, and I think it’s been part of his plan all along. While he supported Michele Bachmann, and then Rick Santorum, if you watched the coverage he gave to all of the candidates, you might have noticed that he was reluctant to criticize Mitt Romney. There are those who believe this comes down to the Mormon faith he shares with Mitt Romney, but I’m not sure it’s quite that simple. On Friday evening, he appeared on FNC’s O’Reilly Factor to say that it’s time to be done with the primaries, and that Santorum and the others should get out in order to give Romney an unfettered run to the general election.

Here’s the video, courtesy Mediaite:

I couldn’t possibly disagree more. I really don’t understand how with Santorum challenging Romney closely, Beck can justify walking away. He mentions the numerical impossibility, but that’s a lot of hogwash if you examine things closely. It’s entirely possible for Romney to stumble, and for Santorum to pick it up, or even for Newt Gingrich to rise back to the top, and Beck’s position in this seems at least somewhat self-defeating if we are to believe he has supported Santorum since Bachmann’s withdrawal.

From my point of view, it appears that Beck’s support of Santorum wasn’t all that strong from the start, and he seemed to be moving in Romney’s direction all along. A number of conservatives have questioned this change in Beck, and it’s really a bit disturbing, but Beck will likely discount such talk as “conspiracy theories.” It will be interesting to see who else caves and goes along with the Romney ticket before the outcome is clear. After all, much of the whining at present is based on the notion that a brokered convention would be a disaster for the party, and thus the country.

I don’t believe that. I think the Republican party could stand the cleansing provided by a good floor battle. It would likely lead to either a real moment of unification or a moment that will lead to what I see as the inevitable split in the party. The problem is that false unity will not provide victory, and the proof of that was in 1976, when the party suffered a defeat after conservatives had a dishonest theme of unity shoved down their throats. It took them another four years to get their act together, and for the conservatives to take over the party, but the result was Ronald Reagan presidency.

Some argue that we can’t afford four more years of Obama, because the country might well collapse under the weight of his maladministration. I am inclined to agree, and that’s why I believe it is more important than ever that when the GOP nominates a candidate to face Barack Obama, that such a candidate must be up to a real fight, and must be able to draw distinctions between the GOP and the Democrats in clear terms. I don’t think a contrived unity will accomplish that, but if Mitt Romney is the nominee, we may indeed find ourselves faking it come November, and while fakes and frauds may win as Democrats, it’s not going to work on conservative Republicans. Too many will simply stay home in disgust, and I won’t blame them.

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.

 

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.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Romney and Santorum: Dead Heat in Michigan Polls

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Close in Michigan

This shouldn’t have been close.  In 2008, Mitt Romney won in Michigan by nearly double-digits.  The very idea that the son of a Michigan governor should happen to find himself in this position demonstrates how thoroughly many conservatives have tired of establishment candidates.  What should have been a walk-over won’t be, and instead we’re likely to see a terribly close contest that may come down to the wire.  If Romney loses in Michigan, he might as well go home, because if he can’t win here, and convincingly, I don’t know how you can argue he will ever beat Barack Obama.  There’s also an Arizona primary on Tuesday, and at the time of this writing, that contest is not nearly so tight, with polls indicating a big Romney lead.

After getting the endorsement of another Republican governor, with Jan Brewer endorsing him over the weekend, but she seems to have more pull with Arizonans than Nikki Haley demonstrated with South Carolinians.  There is also a healthy Mormon segment of the vote in Arizona, so taken together, Romney probably will maintain that edge.  Let us also remember he has the endorsement of US Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain, who was able to stave off J.D. Hayworth in a primary challenge in 2010.  I expect that he will win there comfortably, but if it closes up significantly, it will hint at the continued weakness of Mitt Romney.

Romney needs to win Michigan on Tuesday, but conservatives need Rick Santorum to win.  There is certainly reason to believe Santorum could pull it off, not merely because of the closeness in the polls, but also because he’s doing particularly well among evangelical Christians in the state.  Naturally, Romney has a significant cash advantage, as he has had throughout this primary season, but as has been seen in some states, that advantage doesn’t necessarily equate to victory if the grass-roots activists in a state begin to push for somebody else.  If Romney can pull off an unexpectedly large victory in Michigan Tuesday, he’ll certainly retake the initiative, but if it’s very close, or worse, he loses entirely, it may be a show-stopped.  Tuesday’s  returns will offer us a good deal of insight into the rest of the primary season.  If it’s close, it’s not over by a long-shot in the run-up to Super Tuesday, and if it’s a blow-out, it may well signal a consolidation in favor of the victor.

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.

The Influence of Cultural Conservatives in 2012

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Bully Puplit?

One of the more annoying themes to begin in earnest during the rise of Rick Santorum has been the idea that cultural or religious conservatives should shut up and go hide in the big tent’s closet.  For those of who think of themselves as moderates, and may look with disdain on cultural conservatives, I have a message from the back, and moderates just might want to pay attention:  The Republicans did not win in 2008 without cultural conservatives, and if you want to know who stayed home, making it more critical than ever that McCain capture more moderates and independents, let me give you just a hint:   It was the cultural conservatives who moderates don’t like, but without them, Republicans cannot win the Presidency.  More than just pat them on their heads, and placating them before banishing them to the periphery of the so-called “big tent,” moderates had better learn to speak to their issues, and show that they mean it. These cultural conservatives won’t always know the nuances of every piece of regulation ever written, but they know who’s who when it comes to their issues, so before dismissing them, moderates might wish to think again, because cultural conservatives are losing patience.

It’s not that they’re what moderates tell themselves are a bunch of back-woods Bible-thumpers, but then again, the centrist wing of the party doesn’t understand them mostly because they refuse to engage them.  Some moderates may be suffering from a problem of narrow-mindedness that is almost as severe as some liberals.  You see, cultural conservatives are people who believe that one’s actions, and one’s life should be consistent with one’s beliefs.  This does not mean they’re holier-than-thou, but it does mean that by conscious choice, they try very hard to be devout.  They are not infallible, and they know none are, but at the same time, they recognize that one cannot lead a virtuous life without choosing to follow through on their ideas about what is virtue.  In short, they work very hard at living their lives in a manner consistent with their firmly-held beliefs.

I’d like to put this in context for some moderates who don’t quite see it this way, and who don’t understand how anybody can get so anxious over cultural issues like abortion.  The best way to do this is to create an analog that permits one to see it as through their eyes, and to do this will necessarily require that we propose something as shockingly depraved to moderates as the issue of legalized abortion is to cultural conservatives.  Let us imagine that a movement arose to repeal the prohibition on slavery, now enshrined in the Thirteenth Amendment.  You wouldn’t stand by for that, and you’d rightly raise Hell over it.

For many cultural conservatives, each day that abortion is permitted under law is a day of life in Hell on Earth, writ large by the silence in which it takes place.  When they see a woman walking toward that clinic, they see a crime against humanity every bit as severe and morally depraved.  Understand that I’m not trying to change your mind about the issue, but instead, I’m merely suggesting that you consider the impact. How would you feel as you watched your country return to slavery?  To people of faith, who believe each human life has unique, inherent value, what legal abortion permits is every bit as obnoxious to liberty and justice, and the rights of people.

It has been stated that strong cultural conservatives cannot win the election, but let me state to the knowing of the world:  This is a dastardly lie.  Ronald Reagan was unabashedly pro-life.  Both George the elder and the younger claimed to be pro-life.  It is fair to say that without this position, there is a fair chance that the younger would have lost in Florida, and thus the election of 2000.  Moderates can pretend to themselves that the cause for a significant vote against Republicans originate with cultural issues, but none of the available evidence really supports that.  Yes, there are a few at the margins of the moderate middle who can be swayed a little either way, but in most elections, this is not the driving issue, and you must understand that for any competent candidate, this will not be the most important set of issues in 2012.

Cultural conservatives don’t expect moderates to lead with cultural issues as their standard, but they do expect that when a Republican president arrives in office, at each opportunity to replace a federal judge, it will be one who views such matters in the context of a strict constructionist.   As I see it, it’s not too much to ask, and if you happen to be a particular fan of that ludicrous ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade, you have other issues, because even if you believe abortion should be legal, Roe v. Wade was the most convoluted, concocted and moronic ruling to issue forth from the court in the 20th century, with only the Kelo decision challenging its blatant idiocy in the 21st.

Moderates who favor abortion have another choice, but they’re playing a game.  The game is that they support it, but are unwilling to go through the constitutional amendment process.  Why?  For the same reason people fear to ever run the New Deal and Great Society programs through a similar constitutional process:  They wouldn’t pass.  The feminists know it, based on the Equal Rights Amendment, that was eventually doomed by its failure to pass muster before its expiration.

My intention here was not to get into the weeds on any particular issue, and I have discussed abortion particularly since that is the cultural issue most reference.  What it is my intention to point out is that moderates who are so consistently uncomfortable with cultural conservatives had better get over it, because the conservatives have been putting up with the moderates patiently in election after election, for the most part, but if the moderates hope to overcome the voters who now begin to outnumber them as beneficiaries of the welfare state, they had better grasp that now more than ever, they need a working coalition with cultural conservatives, and the same old pat on the head may well not be enough any longer.

Santorum Day on Drudge?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

His Turn!

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

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

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

Limbaugh: Establishment Republicans Scared to Death

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Cultural Conservative v. Moderate

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Alert: Charlie Rose Identifies Rick Santorum…

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Dreaded "Social Conservative"

Perhaps I should warn you that the content maybe disturbing to some readers, and maybe Charlie Rose should stick to asking honest questions.  In this interview of Rick Santorum on CBS, Rose tries to get Santorum to answer for remarks by Foster Friess on contraception and “an aspirin between the knees,”  in another interview with Andrea Mitchell who was offended and left speechless by the remark.  Santorum said he wasn’t about to comment on every controversial remark of every supporter of his who says something about which others may become offended.  It’s true to say that Santorum isn’t Friess, and Friess isn’t Santorum, so it’s hard to understand what point Rose was trying to make other than to smear Santorum by association.

That’s a favored tactic of lefties, but as Santorum correctly point out, it’s not something they’re willing to entertain even slightly when it comes to the things said by associates of people on the left, such as Barack Obama’s long affiliation with the black liberation theology spewed consistently for decades in Reverend Wright’s church.  That, of course, is beyond the pale, but more, it is interesting to hear Rose dismiss it as old news.

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It may be old news, but not on your network, pal.  More, it is as if Rose wants to seriously contend that since he’s not practicing a double standard, apparently because we’re to believe that…CBS has improved its journalistic standards?  Please.  Charlie Rose is a left-wing hack who got busted by Santorum who continued to insist that this is a trumped-up bit of nonsense, and that the media is trying to make hay of it for the sake of their own political agenda.  He’s right, and it’s completely unfair, and just as the media is willing to ignore Obama’s record, they’re equally willing to ignore their own inconsistent standards.

Of all the things that Rose said, the most shocking was: “You have been identified as a social conservative…”

OH NO!!!  Identified by whom, Charlie?  Identified?  Oh goodness, has the FBI been notified?  A social conservative?  What is the world coming to now?  Social conservativesWho’s ever heard of such an outrageous thing? Somebody CALL DRUDGE NOW!  Get that little warning light going!

NEWSFLASH: Santorum identified as a social conservative!

It’s clear to me that Charlie Rose doesn’t know anything about social conservatives.  It’s further obvious that Santorum caught Rose with his pants down on that one, or well you know, I can’t say that in the same paragraph with the dreaded “social conservative.”

All this from the same people who seem to have no discomfort with Shariah…

The left is insane, and the proof is in the fact that they don’t even notice their double-standards or logical inconsistencies.

Santorum Becomes Media Punching Bag

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Is He Really a Neanderthal?

Of the remaining GOP candidates, I am inclined toward supporting Newt Gingrich, so I don’t really want to be told I’m in Sen. Rick Santorum’s corner, except that in this case, I am.  The media has been trying to make the Obama administration’s contraception mandate into something other than an attack on religious liberties, and by the middle of the week, they saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  They portrayed Rick Santorum unfairly as wanting to impose his personal views on contraception on the rest of the nation, but this is a bold-faced lie.  He actually went out of his way to say that he wouldn’t  impose his values through law, but instead that it is proper to raise the issue as a matter for national discussion.  For this, we should throw him under the bus?

That Santorum has reason to believe contraceptive measures each imply risks for women is really not so controversial as the media pretends, and frankly, I’m a bit tired of the licentious view of human sexuality that says “anything goes,” without respect to the consequences that are frequently ignored until they are realized.  That Santorum is willing to speak to this issue is no crime.  There is no need for me to rattle off the litany of solid science that supports Santorum’s view, but then again, in our current culture, some of this may be news to some of you. You are free to site all the opposing science you want, but the truth is that the following are irrefutable:

  • The best and most effective way to avoid pregnancy is to abstain from sexual intercourse.  There.  I said it.
  • The best and most effective way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases is still to abstain from sex.  There.  I said that too!
  • The best way for a child to avoid a life of poverty is to be born into a two-parent household in which the parents are both married and monogamous.  Yes, I said it.  Don’t like it?  Tough.  It’s true, and remains so irrespective of your personal feelings on the matter.

Part of what Santorum suggests is that our culture promotes a sort of narcissistic mindset that ignores all of these facts, and that various forms of contraception, never mind abortion, give too many people a false sense of security that all too frequently leads to one or more of the negative alternatives to the truisms listed above.  You may not like it.  You may not want to be told that, and it is understandable that you wouldn’t necessarily want Rick Santorum imposing his views on this through law, but since he’s specifically said he has no such intentions, and since his voting record in Congress supports that claim, the only reason to hold this against Rick Santorum is that some would rather not hear it.

Why?  It’s simple, isn’t it?  People hate to be told they are wrong, or that they are making bad choices, particularly when they are in the midst of making them, and especially when they have made the same bad choices repeatedly.  In listening to Karl Rove running his mouth on Friday night’s Hannity show on Fox News, he said that social conservatives shouldn’t “appear to be judgmental.”  What?  I suppose that’s the preferred position when you’ve divorced your wife and had Dana Perino handling the press on the occasion, but part of the problem in this country is that all too frequently, we’re not judgmental enough.  We didn’t arrive at a situation where sixty percent of births are to unwed mothers because we were too judgmental.  We didn’t arrive in a situation in which we now honor with lowered flags those who died at their own hands because we are too harsh in our judgments.  We don’t have an all-encompassing welfare state because we were too harsh in our pronouncements about the idle poor, or the causes of their condition.  Our prisons aren’t packed to overcrowding with repeat-offenders because we punished first-time offenders too harshly.

This country isn’t suffering from an surplus of judgment.  While some may part company from me on this point, I actually find it refreshing that a candidate is willing to speak to the moral decay of our country.  I heard the Tea Party Patriots’ Mark Meckler being interviewed by Mark Levin on Friday, and he said that we have a distinct advantage over our founders in that they created the framework upon which our efforts to restore our country can rely.  While I understand his meaning, I couldn’t help but think that if I had to choose the framework of law embodied in our Constitution, or the moral character of our people circa 1790, I would choose the latter because they were able to construct and abide by the former.  I see little evidence for hope that the inverse postulate is true, and that by some magic, people who have neglected their constitution will suddenly re-adopt it and thereby be improved in all measures.  It was the character of the nation and her people that created the US Constitution, and not the reverse.

While the media goes on to tell us why Rick Santorum is too judgmental, I think it’s time we consider what it is that the “bully pulpit” of the presidency is intended to be, and while it certainly isn’t the proper platform from which to ceaselessly castigate the American people for our various moral failings, it is the proper venue in which to gently chide people to return to the better angels of our nature.  Thus far, what I’ve heard from Rick Santorum on these issues doesn’t resemble the former nearly so much as the latter, and I am quite satisfied that he knows the proper boundaries.  Of course, the Romney crowd in establishment media is helping to drive this theme against Santorum, so it’s really not surprising to see theses criticisms rising in volume, but I think it’s fair to point out that much of this criticism is undue.  In a culture in which casual sex has been normalized, out-of-wedlock-births comprises a clear majority, and the welfare state raises more children than do parents, it may be time that we begin to discuss these issues, not as a matter of legislative priority, but as a matter of judgment.  That Rick Santorum seems willing to do so against the tide speaks well of him even if the media won’t.

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.

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

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Santorum Wins Big!

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

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

GOP Scandal: Florida Violated Another Rule?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Another Victory Lost?

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

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

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

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

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

Florida Poll – Election Eve

Monday, January 30th, 2012

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

Please answer them both.

No double voting!

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

Thank you for participating!

Thursday Night Debate

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Another Night, Another Debate

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.

Mission accomplished…

South Carolina Primary: Poll

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Palmetto State Polls

As voters in the Palmetto State head to the polls on Saturday morning, I thought it would be interesting to put up a some poll questions, not only for South Carolinians, but for readers generally.  Obviously, there’s quite a lot at stake in this small southern state, but given the media focus on the contest, and all the controversies that have surrounded it, size seems not to be an issue.  Candidates have been pressing the flesh and volunteers have been working overtime, as the media bombardment of advertising has hit an all-time record, not only in the sheer volume of it, but also in terms of the content.  By many accounts, this has been one of the nastiest campaigns people on the ground in South Carolina can remember.

Many will be happy when this day comes and goes, so their phones will stop ringing with robo-calls and their mailboxes will contain anything other than the SuperPAC junk mail that has been flooding the state.  Finally, they’ll  be able to turn on the television without being bombarded by political ads,and we will know who this state has chosen.

Here are three poll questions for you, and I will reveal the results after the polls close in South Carolina.