Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

The Alex Jones Freak-Show With Piers Morgan

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Jones Launches

As a resident of Central Texas, I’ve been familiar with Alex Jones for more than a decade.  When I first heard him, he w as on KLBJ-AM radio in Austin on weekends, as well as a daily Internet broadcast. Jones has always been easily convinced of conspiracies, and while he bumps into a number of real ones, he never seems to have the self-restraint to realize that not everything is a conspiracy, and not everything bad that happens is strictly the result of some conspiratorial actions of some shadowy elites.  I knew I could never listen to him again once he proposed that the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition.  All of the video from that day shows the real cause of the collapse, and it wasn’t a thermite plasma device, or a series of smaller explosives, but the structural failure of steel load-bearing members weakened by heat and bearing much greater and more asymmetric burdens then they had ever been designed to bear.

It was from that moment on that I dismissed Alex Jones as an overblown crackpot.  The sad part is that he does more damage to his own credibility than his adversaries ever could, and it’s too bad because Jones is right about a number of things on the issue of freedom, and the never-ending growth of government.  On Monday night, he appeared on Piers Morgan’s show on CNN and scored some excellent point before melting down and making a complete ass of himself.  The freak-show may have been entertaining in some respects, but ladies and gentlemen, he is a loose cannon, and conservatives shouldn’t rely on him to carry the banner of liberty.  I get as angry as the next conservative when I see what the left is doing to our country, but most of us realize you can’t win an argument if you appear to be off your nut.  Jones never saw that memo.

The first thing Jones should have known was that he was being set up like a carnival side-show freak.  If Piers Morgan had wanted a serious debate about guns, there are much more authoritative sources he might have interviewed.  John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime would have demolished Morgan without challenging him to a boxing match. As soon as Morgan began pummeling Jones over his beliefs about 9/11, it was clear that his entire aim was to discredit gun-owners by association with the likes of Jones.  Of course, by then, Jones was quite angry because he knew he had been set up, but the problem with Jones is that he never knows when to shut up, and his own kooky pet theories know no bounds.  One would think that with his conspiratorially-tuned mind, he’d have been looking for a big ambush after his run-in with TSA on his way to this interview.

It’s not to say that Jones doesn’t air real issues of consequence, like the extensive coverage he gave to UN Agenda 21 long before it got any mainstream media coverage.  Jones is a constant critic of TSA, and the Department of Homeland Security, but one needn’t be a conspiracy nut to see that those agencies are fatally flawed and reprehensibly managed.  Jones seemed determined to point out Morgan’s hypocrisy, and yet with his inability to maintain his composure, a lacking he’s suffered for all the years during which I’ve been acquainted with his work, he comes off sounding like a ranting loon, and if there was a conspiracy this day, Jones was too incensed to see how he is being used as a propaganda score against the very cause he went to CNN to defend.

I think Alex Jones firmly believes he is doing as he should, and that he believes he is advancing the fight for liberty in America, but each time he gets drawn into one of these battles, he looks the part of the fool he had been selected to play, and he never quite seems to recognize that in the mainstream of America, he’s not going to score points with average viewers by screaming at the interviewer.  Instead, he looks like a raving maniac to most viewers. Rather than ranting, he should have mentioned the stories in support of his thesis that big multi-national corporations are helping government to disarm Americans, like Bank of Americaca that seems to be hostile to gun manufacturers banking with them, or how the Obama Administration is on record as seeking the assistance of big business in getting rid of guns.  Instead, he sat there  flipping verbal channels like the ultimate expression of ADD/ADHD, and in so doing, squandered an opportunity to speak to the issue at hand in a cogent, sensible manner.

Jones went to the interview armed with crime statistics, but as he rightly complained, Morgan was prepared to pepper him with factoids on the subject of mass shootings.  The problem is that sensing the snare, like a trapped animal, he exploded in rage, and rather than making his best arguments, he came off as a clown or a nut.  It’s not to say he didn’t say anything correct or worthwhile, but that the way he said it in combination with all of his extensive conspiracy theories made him look like a raving maniac. It’s too bad, because he made some great points until Morgan got him off-kilter, and from there on, Jones was in purely ballistic trajectory. He spews tenuously-linked tidbits of stories, strung together like a flow of lava from an erupting volcano, and it makes Jones seem unbound and disorganized like a library shelf full of books suddenly deprived of their bindings, but that is also the nature of many of his conspiracy theories.

Here are parts 1 and 2 of the interview, as aired on CNN, H/T

Again, I think that Jones is probably sincere in his efforts, but sincerity is not a substitute for reason.  I think he’s right when he asserts that a gun ban will result in greater violence, and I also know he’s got an important story to tell about such things as the seeming correlation between some psychiatric medications and mass shootings, as WND reported on Monday.  As you can see by that article, WND was careful not to assert that the linkage is certain, but they relied on a variety of cases that are well documented and sourced, rather than innuendo and supposition.

In stark contrast, Jones frequently relies on a trail of bread-crumbs that he spots on a bakery floor, making more of them than might be reasonable.  Again, it’s not to say that Jones and his website don’t present important information, as they were among the first to run the story on the unbelievable amount of small-arms ammunition being purchased by the Federal Government, numbering nearly two billion rounds, for the Department of Homeland Security and other civilian agencies.  In Jones-speak, that’s enough to kill every man, woman and child in America nearly seven times over.  As I said, it’s not that he covers all nonsense, or that all of them are made-up, fanciful conspiracies about globalists, but it is to say that it’s hard to pick your way through it all to separate the wheat from the chaff, and all too often, there’s a good deal more chaff than hard news.

I rather like Alex Jones, in the same way I liked the entertainment value of other loudmouths in media from time to time, not as a steady diet, but as a diversion.  I know that with Alex Jones, what you see is what you get, and most of the time, it’s not smoke indicating fire but steam warning that the pot is boiling.  Watch and listen to Jones at your own risk.  At times, he says some very sensible things, things I have said myself, for instance indicating today in his interview that no entity has committed more murder than statist governments over the last century or so.  It’s undeniably true, and it’s likewise true that in each of the countries in which that occurred, the people had been more or less disarmed without significant struggle.  You see, Jones will say that with the passion it deserves, but when he then follows-up with one of his more outlandish theories, it wastes it all.  One might be tempted to take him seriously if he didn’t follow up every good point with two bad ones, an absurd one, and a challenge to a boxing match.

The most disconcerting thing about Jones is that he doesn’t understand the power of propaganda when he is made into its instrument for the other side.  CNN will make the most of Monday’s freak-show, and haul it out every time something bad happens and they want to discredit patriots, Tea Party folk, libertarians, Republicans, and conservatives.  They will hold Jones forth as exemplar of the nuttiness of the so-called “right,” but naturally, he’s not representative of any of those groups.  He’s one man, with a very loud mouth, and a microphone, and he appeals to some people, particularly young men, under thirty, because he’s angry and he’s loud and he’s obnoxious, but he is not the voice of reason.  Most of his audience outgrows him like a pair of high-water pants, wanting more depth and substance than the yelling man from Texas can provide.  If only he would stick to what he could prove, ditch the bizarre theories, and tone down the yelling a bit, he might just find himself with a larger audience, but after nearly twenty years of his yelling, conspiratorial rants, there’s not much chance of that.

 

 

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Former Marine Who Told Feinstein “No Ma’am”

Monday, January 7th, 2013

No Ma’am!

Joshua Boston is the former Marine who published a letter on December 27th, informing Senator Dianne Feinstein that he would not obey any law that demanded he register or surrender his firearms and his right to bear them. Corporal Boston’s letter was a response to all the talk about gun bans, and particularly Feinstein’s proposed legislation. CNN interviewed him, and he figuratively stuck to his guns, telling the CNN interviewer that an unconstitutional law is no law. The interviewer naturally seemed argumentative, but that’s to be expected when a Marine talks to the press.  Watch the interview here, courtesy of Mediaite:

Feinstein’s office responded, saying she respected the Corporal’s service, but like most leftists, I believe the Senator from California is lying through her teeth. If she had any regard or respect for Corporal Boston or any of the millions of other veterans who have worn the country’s uniform, fought it battles around the globe, and kept the nation secure against all threats, she wouldn’t be considering this sort of legislation. Among other things, in his interview on CNN, Boston said:

“Whatever happens happens. I have a right granted to me by the Second Amendment in our bill of rights and it says ‘shall not be infringed.”

In his original letter, Boston in part made his case this way:

“I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.”

What I find interesting in this interview is the demeanor of the CNN interviewer, who seems to hold his remarks in contemptuous, laughing disdain.

“The law is the law, right?”

As the 8-year veteran observes, an unconstitutional law is no law.

This is another example of what I explained in my piece on Sunday about Confronting Ignorance About Guns. These people in the newsrooms are frequently factually ignorant of almost everything relevant to the issues they cover, and it is perfectly understandable why conservatives and conservatism never seem to get even-handed coverage in media.

To his credit, Cpl. Boston acquitted himself well in the interview, and he did the Marine Corps proud.

Semper Fidelis!

Gingrich is Right: Romney Is the Weakest Front-Runner

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Holding Out for Overtime

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

Here’s Newt Gingrich from CNN with Wolf Blitzed:

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

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

Friday, March 9th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Governor Palin Was Asked About 2016

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Can't Even Vote in Peace

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was asked a few questions by CNN when she went to vote on Tuesday.  She said that “anything is possible for an American.”  That’s certainly a hopeful, positive message, and I think that’s one of the things for which so many Americans  admire Gov. Palin:  She’s an optimist with respect to the country, its future, and what can still be accomplished here irrespective of the current political climate. Whether or not Governor Palin chooses to run for President of the United States at any time in the future, she has the support of millions.

Here’s the video:

Romney Deck-Stacking At CPAC?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

What Won't He Do To Win?

Mitt Romney has a real problem, and despite denials, it’s clear that he has a real problem with conservatives.  It’s so bad that he met with a number of conservative leaders at the CPAC conference in Washington DC on Thursday, for a meeting in the presidential suite of the Marriott Wardman Park where the CPAC is holding its annual conference.  According to CNN’s report, this meeting included thirty influential Republicans.  With a private list of attendees, one can see why Romney would keep it quiet, and this makes it clear that despite all the denials of Romney and his campaign, they understand that they’re in serious trouble with conservatives, and this may be the start of his attempt to bring reluctant conservatives along.

I doubt this will be all that successful, because while he may appeal to so-called “conservative leaders,” I doubt how influential they will be if they suddenly appear before conservative audiences pushing Mitt Romney.  For any of those who participated, this is a danger too, because it’s just as likely in this volatile election cycle that conservative grass-roots activists will merely see such moves as evidence that the alleged “conservative leader” has sold out to the establishment, and the secret truth is that they will be right.

I’m having a good deal of difficulty viewing Ann Coulter in anything but a negative light since she’s essentially jumped the shark with respect to the GOP field, and also in her views of late on such issues as Romneycare.  Conservative activists are on the look-out for evidence of precisely this kind of shift, and even if it is not so bombastic as Coulter’s has been, it will nevertheless be noticed by the party’s conservative base.  The base is clearly sick of the negative attacks, and also the way in which the establishment has been actively shoving Romney down their throats, so if they persist in this practice and now co-opt other conservatives in an attempt to sway the base, I can see the wheels coming off in a hurry.

If the head of the NRA or other representatives of that organization now come out and make pro-Romney statements forgiving for his earlier anti-second amendment positions, that organization could well suffer because most conservatives now know they can simply pack up and move to a different organization(like Gun Owners of America) that holds the same positions, only more staunchly, but do not get into bed with politicians who have sold them out previously.  While Romney is scheduled to speak Friday, so is Ann Coulter, and it remains to be seen as to how the latter, particularly, will be welcomed by the crowd.  Coulter may catch a little heat.  If so, she deserves it.

One of the reasons this was kept quiet is because it is precisely the sort of acknowledgment of the Romney problem with conservatives he and his campaign have been denying all along.  If this is seen widely for what it is, a blatant attempt to ingratiate himself with high profile conservative leaders, it will be a signal in part about Romney’s desperation.  The longer this race goes on, the harder it is going to be for Romney to sew up the nomination in advance of the convention, and he had hoped to be further along on less money than he is at present.  He’s spending money like water, and it’s going to take a toll on his opponents, but the problem is that no matter what he does, the nagging facts about his less than stellar history as a conservative probably means he’s going to fight this to the bitter end.  It’s a yoke he has earned, and he’s not likely to cast it off easily.

Romney “Not Concerned for Poor”

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Did Drudge "Miss" This?

Romney has fallen directly into the trap laid by CNN, and this clip will be used in Obama campaign ads on television indefinitely.  This is the sort of thing Romney should have gone out of his way to avoid, and while I understand the point he was trying to make, his clumsy way of making that point will ultimately be used against him, and will play directly into Barack Obama’s class envy theme for the general election.  Romney clearly has no idea what he’s just done to his own prospects, because when further questioned on it, he doubled down. Mitt Romney just doesn’t get it, and you can bet that will be the media refrain as they help Obama in September and October.

Watch the video:

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…

Mitt’s “Ooops” Moment in Debate

Friday, January 20th, 2012

The "Oooops" Moment

If you missed last night’s debate, you missed a good one. At one point, Mitt Romney was answering one question, and then had to return to another, and seemed to lose track of it.  There was an awkward moment, and he stammered, and looked pleadingly at Newt, who shrugged and actually bailed Mitt out by making a joke, giving Romney time to recover. Romney then went on to attack Gingrich in his answer to the question he finally remembered.

Here was Mitt Romney’s Perry-like “ooops” moment:

You can read complete coverage of Thursday’s South Carolina CNN Debate, complete with video, here.

CNN Debate In South Carolina: Newt Owned It From Outset

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Making a Monkey of Media

Usually, these debates start slow and wind up to a crescendo.  That’s the way the media likes it, because they want to keep the audience tuned in.  There were really just a few key moments in Thursday night’s debate, and the biggest of these was the opening question to Newt Gingrich on the subject of his second wife’s accusations on ABC News.  His response knocked moderator John King for a loop, and rocked the auditorium, receiving not one, but two standing ovations in rapid succession.  The other candidates really had no choice after that but to follow suit and make statements that more or less followed the former Speaker.  He seized the initiative, and from that point on, it would be hard for anybody to wrest it from him without some fatal error on his part, but no such egregious error on Gingrich’s part ever materialized.

Here’s Gingrich answering that opening attack:

Another key moment in the debate was when Santorum pointed out the flaws of Romneycare, and the notion of a health-care mandate, and how that issue would be something used by Obama to negate Romney’s or Gingrich’s arguments about Obamacare in a general campaign.  Romney was ineffective at deflecting this criticism, but it was naturally strongest against him because he had actually implemented the program.  Gingrich, by contrast, did a much better job of countering Santorum’s criticism with respect to his own record, and pointed out that he helped shepherd Medical Savings Accounts legislation through the House that Santorum was sponsoring.  That had a blunting effect on Santorum’s criticism, but I also must note that Santorum came off a little angry or annoyed Thursday night.  I’m not sure of the cause, or if it was just a bit of the anxiety of “the man on the bubble,” because while he started with a strong positive statement about the fact he had indeed won Iowa, he lost that positive note somewhere along the way, and seemed to get stuck in a bit of a tantrum.

Watch Rick Santorum take Romney to task here:

The last big moment came when it was announced to the audience that Gingrich’s tax return had been released as this debate commenced.  This prompted the question that led Mitt Romney into a pitfall that really made him look poorly.  He was asked, as were the others, when they would release their tax returns, and Paul said he wouldn’t, Newt said “about an hour ago,” and Mitt hem-hawed, as Santorum said he would do so once he had been home to prepare his taxes, something he says he does on his own.  The question returned to Mitt Romney, however, when CNN’s John King asked him about the story I have reported to you, being that George Romney, Mitt’s father, released his tax returns in November 1967, twelve years worth, in preparation for his own run for the nomination.  King asked if Romney would follow his Dad’s example, and he continued to vacillate and in the process, was booed by a segment of the audience.   This moment was Romney’s downfall, and it should be clear that this remains a huge obstacle for him in this primary season. He’d be best to dispense with it quickly, before it does him more damage.  If we have a repeat of this in Florida, it may well cost him the nomination.

Here’s video of John King asking Mitt about his father’s precedent:

Ron Paul actually had a few good one-line retorts, particularly to Santorum, which may have accounted for Santorum being off his game a bit.  At the same time, it should be noticed that there was little mention of foreign policy in this debate, and it tended to focus on economic issues, and practical issues that effect voters directly, apart from the shoddy opening attack CNN engineered for Gingrich, but from which he seemed to have come off the better from the exchange.  There was one other odd moment, and I had to replay it several times to realize what had happened.  Romney was answering a question, but wanted to shift back to an earlier question, and had a momentary lapse in remembering what that other question had been.  He searched for it, and then looked almost pleadingly at Newt, who shrugged and made a joke, which bought Romney a moment, and then he finally remembered his place and went on to attack Newt in answering it. For a moment, and if not for Gingrich buying Romney a second or two, it threatened to be a Perry-style “ooops” moment, but Romney recovered and it probably won’t hurt him.

Mitt Romney’s almost “Ooops” moment:

All in all, it was a good debate, but the biggest fireworks were at the beginning.  That set the stage for Newt to merely confirm his superiority in this sort of arena, and all Newt needed to do thereafter was avoid any huge pitfalls and over-confidence.  He did so, and even though I think the opening question was set up to try to evoke the “angry Newt” we saw after Iowa, he maintained his composure and actually thrived in the moment.

South Carolina will be tight, but I think Newt may have clinched it with this debate performance, particularly that opening, because it permitted him to clear the air right at the beginning, to remain composed, and to return to form throughout the remainder of the evening. While it wasn’t the runaway victory he had on Monday night, I think it’s because he peaked early and effectively, and from there, the rest of it was fairly routine, boiler-plate content, and the rest of the participants really couldn’t catch him.  I think had Rick Santorum come across as a little less angry as he did at several points, he might have done substantially better.  It was clear that while he would take shots at Gingrich and Paul, it was obvious to me that he was angry with Romney, undoubtedly due to Romney’s negative ads in South Carolina.  Romney has a good deal of money to spend, and this is taking a toll on Santorum.  You can read it in his eyes: He’s tired, and he’s running on empty. He’s usually a little better composed, but he seemed anxious or annoyed or both, and this may have been magnified by what looked like plain old fatigue.  At present, he appears to be the man on the bubble, and he seems to know it.

Gingrich Wins Tea Party Patriots Straw Poll

Monday, December 19th, 2011

CNN is reporting that Newt Gingrich is the winner of a Tea Party straw poll in a conference call including over 23,000 participants.  He won it by roughly 3 percentage points over runner-up Michele Bachmann.  According to the CNN piece, “An overwhelming number of activists from around the nation showed they are serious about electing a candidate who advances tea party principles,” said National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin.

Here is the complete breakdown direct from Tea Party Patriots:

  • Newt Gingrich 31%
  • Michele Bachmann 28%
  • Mitt Romney 20%
  • Rick Santorum 16%
  • Ron Paul 3%
  • Rick Perry 2%
  • Jon Huntsman 0% (.34%)

That’s a pretty clear win over such people as Rick Perry, once thought to be a front-runner, and it’s a handy move upward for Rick Santorum.  With Mitt Romney finishing a distant third, it invites discussions of other possible late entrants as have circulated at least twice on Monday.  Still, 31% for Gingrich may not be enough to seal the deal, but considering that the Tea Party is expected to have a significant impact on the nomination process, it’s one cannot discount this straw poll.  After all, 23,000 is a rather large sample when compared to most polls, so this may well be indicative of the state of the race, at least in states where the Tea Party is thought to be stronger.

H/T to Dawn Larson for the breakdown on the vote!

Chris Christie Finally Out – Who’s Next?

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

What does it mean?

I don’t know how he could say it any more plainly.  He was so adamant in his statements today that it seems there could be no way he would change his mind.  A few are clearly disappointed, particularly in the media, and they’ve already run off in pursuit of a new victim.  The media loves to gin up candidates, and then chew them up and spit them out.  Sarah Palin’s right about this, and I’ve said it before:  The media is playing what she calls “flavor of the week,” and I’ve called “savior of the month,”  all with the goal of crushing any candidate the Republican party might put up.  The goal is to wind up with the most liberal Republican possible, amenable to the media if their own guy should blow it, and tolerable to the GOP establishment.  While they push Herman Cain for the moment, we all know how this will likely end: Even if he somehow were to overcome Romney in the long run, and win the nomination, the media will act to destroy Cain too.  This is why the Republican party must nominate somebody who has been vetted already.  The media will save its most lethal ammunition, to be deployed in the general election.

Within minutes of the beginning of Chris Christie’s press conference, a story posted on Politico aimed at bringing up the next one the media would happily throw into the meat-grinder.  The story offered is that attorneys who represent Sarah Palin have been talking to states about the filing date deadlines.  To be honest, this could mean nearly anything, but the narrative being put forward suggests that Palin may be getting ready to jump in.  Maybe.  The problem is that I’ve lost all confidence in the media, and I don’t know what it means.  I’ve become a skeptic, not of Sarah Palin, but instead of all the media tidbits put in circulation each day.  To me, it’s no longer an issue for discussion:  Sarah Palin will announce a candidacy, or she will tell us she’s not running.  Either way, it’s not going to change my immediate future because I’ve decided to carry on as if she will run, and for a simple reason:  She’s the candidate I believe in, I know her record, and I know it compares favorably against any Republican already entered, or any whose names I’ve heard under discussion.

When I saw the Drudge Headline blaring: “Palin Time,” did my pulse quicken?  To borrow a phrase, “You betcha!” Once I saw it was a link to the same story I’d read from a link on Twitter two hours before, I resumed normal operation.  Every Palin-supporter I know is ready to roll.  Every person to whom I speak is hoping the day will come soon.  Until the day she announces her plans, I’m not going to waste many minutes in contemplation of that moment, and while like any of my friends, I’ll cheer when it comes, between this moment and that one, when I discover along with the rest of the world what her plans will be, I am going to continue to prepare for what will come after that moment.

The challenges of any political campaign are many, and while I savor the competition, I know the reality:  It will be a tough process, and it’s going to require all hands on deck, with as much devotion as we’ve ever poured into anything, and maybe a good bit more.  Like many of you, I made a trip to Walmart this morning, and I’ve handed out The Undefeated to potential allies already.  We’re going to need millions of them.  If Governor Palin decides to enter, as all of hope and believe she will, I intend to be already moving, already gaining ground, and already setting the stage for what I believe will be a pivotal campaign in American history.  The truth is that as much as this will be Sarah Palin’s fight, it will be our fight too, and a chance to save our country, maybe our last.  I refuse to entrust that future to cynicism or complacency or the simple folly that better, more able men will take my place.

It is now, if ever there had been a time in modern history when Edmund Bourke’s lament applied, “when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”  You may know it better by the oft-used “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”  What his actual words reveal is that he knew not only that good men must stand, but that they must stand as one, together.  Does this not describe our position more thoroughly than the more common interpretation of Burke’s words?  I submit to you that it does, and for us to prevail, we will need to live by its intent.

As I’ve said, I no longer put enough stock in anything the media tells us to read any tea leaves from Politico’s story.  I also know that if it’s true, and its implications are perfectly correct, it doesn’t change anything in my immediate plans.  I’ll work with O4P and C4P and other Palin supporters wherever I find them, however I can.  I’ll still be standing on my little soapbox talking to any who will listen.  I’ll continue to work among and within my family, my friends, and my community as best as I can.  The Tweet that went out from @PeterHambyCNN sums up my view:

the line out of Palin-world: the race is still “wide open”

Indeed, the race certainly remains wide open, and I will pursue it as such.