Posts Tagged ‘GOP Candidates’

Dan Riehl: “Maybe It Would Be Better If Romney Lost The General Election”

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Blogger Dan Riehl

Fellow blogger Dan Riehl posted an article this evening, and it’s short and to the point.  His thesis is that if Romney wins the nomination, we might be better off losing in 2012.  This is a viewpoint for which I have some sympathy, and I know any number of people who are considering sitting this election out if Mitt Romney is the Republican Party nominee.  Before you leap to shout down Dan Riehl, or me, I’d like you to consider what Riehl offers as justification for this position.  He links to an article over on LegalInsurrection.com that explains what the Romney camp is trying to do in South Carolina now that it seems Newt is on the march again, and may be reversing things.  It’s another case of Romney and his folks doing and saying anything to win, and it’s disgusting.  I don’t think we should ever reward this kind of under-handed politicking but as Riehl suspects, it may be influential and effective. From LegalInsurrection:

Although I can’t find a link yet, Fox News reported a few minutes ago that Romney is rolling out former Senator Jim Talent, who led the smear campaign in December.

Is this some sort of theater of the absurd? I’ll modify my prior explanation of clarity:

We are on a path to nominate someone who campaigned against Reagan, campaigned against the Contract with America, campaigned against those who are pro-Life, campaigned against 2d Amendment rights, campaigned against conservatism, and designed and enacted the precursor to Obamacare from which he will not back away, yet may successfully convince Republican voters that he is the most reliable conservative.

Operation Zany is working like a charm … on us.

This all goes back to early December when, as you’ll remember, Newt was riding high.  Suddenly, his numbers began to crater, and if you missed their earlier article on it, you really ought to read Romney’s Strategy of Crazy, and what this article details is how Mitt Romney’s campaign set out to wreck Newt by painting him as unhinged.  This is the slash-and-burn political character assassination in which your “inevitable” nominee and his army of flacks, shills, and SuperPAC contributors engage beccause they have only one cure for every ‘problem:’ They throw money and public relations at it.

In truth, as a matter of justice, there is no circumstance by which we should ever permit Mitt Romney’s brand of dirty politics to come to occupy the White House.  While Barack Obama is indeed disgusting, and he is absolutely wrong for America, I have a similar judgment about Mitt Romney that I’d be prepared to render.  I can’t help but think Dan Riehl is right about all of this, and as we see Mitt’s campaign firing up “Operation Zany” again in South Carolina, I think it’s clear what we must do.  I think that Sarah Palin even offered us a clue, not only as a matter of postponement, but also as a matter of justice.  What Mitt has been doing throughout this campaign is sleazy, and we should call him to account for it.  It’s bad enough we must tolerate this sort of thing from the other side, but to see it inflicted on our side is quite another thing.  I have serious questions about the character of anybody who supports this sort of disgusting slash-and-burn form of politics, particularly on our side.  In this light, it’s somewhat easier to understand how Gingrich got lost in the moment too, because frankly, I’d be throwing some verbal bombs myself if somebody said these things about me in a war against a concocted caricature of my person.

It’s true that this is politics, and it’s a full-contact sport, but I also think there must be some limits imposed by a sense of decency that Romney’s camp surely exceeded by any measure.  It’s time that we stopped looking at this as some damned football game and conducted ourselves as adults, realizing that this isn’t fun and games, and we can ill afford to let such smears dominate the process further.  How many good people must be destroyed before we admit that this has gotten out of hand?  Think of them all.  Bachmann was portrayed as a wild-eyed, unblinking kook, and it’s unfair in the extreme.  Palin’s been bashed relentlessly since 2008, in part by the same people still working for Mitt in one capacity or another.  Cain was taken down by claims that have evaporated in the wake of his withdrawal.  Perry’s been portrayed as a good old boy, and flawed though any of them may be, this whole thing now takes on the look of a circus.  Now we have Newt, who is clawing back after a similar campaign of destruction waged against him, and we wonder why we’re in trouble, and in danger of nominating a world-class jerk?

You might claim not to know about Romney’s maneuverings and strategies behind the scenes, and I could forgive that, but once you know what this guy is about, I don’t understand how you permit it to fester any longer in your midst.  South Carolinians are said to be more savvy in some ways than others, and I have no idea if that’s true, but I think the evidence will come when the votes there are tallied, and we find out if they too can be suckered by Romney’s professional propaganda machine.  If so, I may wind up siding with Riehl on this one, because to me, what Romney has done is detestable. Every additional piece of information that floats in about him or his operation just makes me wretch in nauseated convulsions.  There’s something quite wrong with this man, and he seems to lack the moral underpinnings to see that what he’s doing here is wrong.  That he’s assembled a campaign to carry this out speaks as ill of they as he, but I still hold out hope that the American people can react and get wise to the ploy.  It will be a dual tragedy if they don’t.

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Conservative Revolt Under Way?

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Conservatives Ready to Stomp RINOs?

After Monday nights Fox News GOP Debate in South Carolina, it seems that a fair number among the conservative base of the GOP is on the cusp of open revolt against the party establishment that keeps shoving Mitt Romney down our throats.  His insistence on delaying disclosure of his tax returns until April signifies the fact that he has some weakness there he doesn’t want exposed until after he expects to have the nomination locked up, but he didn’t even firmly commit to that time-frame.  This is something we must demand of all the GOP candidates.  None should escape our examination.  The last thing we need is a candidate with warts that will be exposed later, once nominated, that will cost us the election and shaft us with another four years of Barack Obama.

It’s bad enough that the party establishment has pushed up the schedule in the early states in order to close off debate sooner, but I don’t think they planned on this reaction by the base.  People are now starting to ask: “Hey, what’s in those tax returns” or “why are we being told this guy is inevitable?”  As this goes on, it’s becoming clear that there is a portion of the media, even non-traditional media, that is pushing certain polls at us relentlessly showing Romney way ahead, while the truth on the ground in South Carolina and elsewhere may be something else entirely.

Suddenly the “inevitable” emperor has no clothes, and people are beginning to seriously questions Romney’s electability.  The entire question of his tax returns is an indictment, and while some pro-Romney hacks are trying to dismiss that as some sort of attack on capitalism, it has become clear that this is now their canned defense for any criticism. You can’t talk about Romney’s stammering answer on disclosing his tax returns in the name of transparency and openness without somebody trying this lame defense of Romney.  This has nothing to do with capitalism, and everything to do with Romney’s willingness to submit to inspection by the people from whom he wants financial and voting support.

Is the conservative revolt now getting under way?  Is it too little, too late?  Will Romney succeed in stealing this nomination process with the assistance of a willing media establishment?  Time will tell, but I have begun to notice that many people are no longer taking this sitting down. Rise, conservatives! Rise Tea Party! Say “No” to candidates who will not disclose their tax documents!  The New York Times, in crediting Sarah Palin for pointing out this problem, went on to state the following:

“Mr. Romney also can look to his own father, George. He released a dozen years of tax returns when he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 1968, leading Richard Nixon to follow suit.”

I will not vote for any candidate who refuses to disclose his tax returns.  Nobody should.  This election is too important to the future of the country to wind up stranded in September or October with a damaged candidate who cannot win.  We need to see this information now, before we choose.  It’s our country, and it’s our choice!

Good Night For Perry, Gingrich; Goodnight Ron Paul

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

South Carolina

Perry had his best debate of the season, although to be fair, that’s not exactly saying a great deal, but he didn’t seem to fall asleep after the half-way mark, and he didn’t stumble through any lists, in part by avoiding them. Gingrich absolutely clobbered Juan Williams who looked like a man besieged as the crowd erupted into thunderous applause that went well beyond the cut to commercials according to people on the scene. Gingrich seemed to return to form, staying primarily positive, and taking on the media, including the noteworthy exchange with Juan Williams.  I’d be willing to say that on style as well as substance, you would be right to give the nod to Newt Gingrich as the “victor,” whatever that means in this context.

The replay of Williams being booed is worth it:

Ron Paul’s inability to articulate his views on national defense really hurt him Monday night, because when he stumbled and stammered a bit through one long answer(to which Perry aptly remarked he should have gotten “the gong”,) he seemed to lose track, and it showed he wasn’t as quick on the turnaround as most would hope, and while I think I understood what he was trying to say, it’s only because I’ve seen him say it more effectively and much more cogently before.  Tonight, he fell flat.

Rick Santorum gave a decent performance, and when he confronted Romney on the question of voting rights for paroled felons who had done their time, he came across as holding Romney’s feet to the fire.  Of course, you could see his set-up coming, but it worked, and Romney looked foolish in most respects on the issue, because in the end it was revealed that he did nothing while Governor to advance his stance, meaning it’s not a sincere position.  Romney came off sounding snide and petulant, and a bit arrogant too.

Speaking of Mitt Romney, as I pointed out in a blog posting Monday night, if he won’t tell us what’s in his tax return now, before we vote for him, there’s no reason on earth that we should. Period.  He gave a number of other well-rehearsed answers, but he really came across as plastic, as usual.  He really seemed under duress over the whole Tax Returns question, and with good reason.  Every voter in South Carolina and around the country should now be suspicious unless they simply like living under a rock.

All in all, I liked the debate only because it was less crowded and allowed for more full responses, and it was less littered by ridiculous questions formulated in some leftist dungeon.  As we get closer to the South Carolina primary, just a few days away, this will help generally because it was before a South Carolina crowd, and it revealed one particular thing about one candidate:  Mitt Romney doesn’t want his tax return filings out, and you and I know there must be a good reason for it. He got nervous, because there was a bit of blood in the water and he was happy to change the subject to anything else.  I think we need to put pressure on him on this point precisely.

Self-Contradiction Cannot Defeat Obama

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Today, Welfare Opponent; Tomorrow?

When you run into people whose utterances contradict their previous actions, you’re wise to ask which will matter to you in the long run.  If somebody break every promise to you they’ve ever made, at some point, you’ll start ignoring their promises.  If one lives by crony capitalism in the real world, but offers to you a long diatribe about the evils of crony capitalism, you’ll quickly point out any hypocrisy, and the contradiction will necessarily ruin one’s credibility.  It is therefore impossible to overestimate the destructive contradiction that now consumes the heart of Mitt Romney’s campaign.  He is now out campaigning in South Carolina, and is actually talking about the dangerous trend of the United States toward becoming a social welfare state.  This from the man who imposed Romney-care on the entire state of Massachusetts, complete with mandates?  The monstrous contradiction between what he now professes as a danger and what he has implemented while Governor of Massachusetts is going to destroy his candidacy, and Barack Obama will be only too happy to help.

You might dislike Ron Paul, and like me, you may think he misses the point on foreign policy and national defense, but one thing you can say about him is that he’s more or less consistent across the board with respect to his actions and his philosophy, whether we agree with it entirely or not.  That’s one of the things people find attractive about him, and whether you agree with his philosophy will largely determine how you regard him, but the test of consistency is to examine one’s actions, and see how they hold up to one’s professions.  Ayn Rand once wrote approximately that “to the consistent will go the victory(paraphrased.)”  The reason this is so is because people have a natural dislike and distrust for hypocrisy and inconsistency.  Even when one disagrees with the particular views of another, if one sees that the other is at least consistent throughout, it is easier to offer grudging respect on that basis.

Mitt Romney has no such virtue, as his current pronouncements on the welfare state show, since he was quite willing to expand it and propagate it when the opportunity presented.  This is why the media and Obama can’t wait to see this man win the nomination:  Inconsistency is a campaign killer, and Romney’s self-contradictory statements on this and other issues have already doomed him.  The problem is that because his opponents have little cash to spend on revealing his inconsistencies to a wider audience, at this point only politically attentive people are aware of this impending doom.  Worse, by the time the greater body of the electorate is paying attention to all of this, if nominated, Romney will finally have an opponent who will make this case plain with unfailing acuity in a general campaign.

This is something about which every Republican voter ought to be terribly concerned, because what it means is that if Romney goes forward as the nominee, his opponents will absolutely dig up every bit of this to make a mockery of him.  You can complain, and you will cry foul, but this is precisely what Obama’s campaign will do, and it will be on every late-night show, and you will see it, and there will be no escaping it from the moment the Republican convention ends until Obama is laughing it up on his way to a second inaugural in November.  I hate to be the bearer of such pessimistic thinking, but that’s what is likely to happen if you nominate Mitt Romney, and apparently everybody in the country except Republican primary voters to date seems to know it.

Of course, part of this is that Romney is moving right for South Carolina, and to try to wrap up this nomination, but the problem is that what you don’t realize is that what sounds like conservatism now will be tossed overboard the moment a general campaign commences.  Ask yourself not “what does Mitt say,” but instead “what has Mitt done?”  He will move back to his slightly left-of-center position for the general, and if he somehow manages to defeat Obama(but he won’t,) he will govern from the center, and we won’t fix one damned problem confronting this country.  Of course, that assumes he’ll win, but since he won’t, let’s stick to the subject: Contradictions of the kind now consuming Romney are bludgeons to be used against him by his opponents.

My strongest suggestion to other Republicans seeking the nomination is to figure out how to highlight Romney’s contradictions, and mock him publicly for them.  These things are coming anyway, so it’s best to show them to voters now when they can still change their minds.  Nothing will demolish a candidacy faster than to have its self-contradictions exposed, and Romney has them by the truckload.

Hannity Asks Palin About “Vulture Capitalism”

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Dumbfound by Michelle Obama?

Unfortunately, I missed this interview as it first aired, but aa reader forwarded me a link to the Youtube video, and I belatedly viewed it with great interest.  Sarah Palin was on Sean Hannity’s show on Wednesday night to discuss a range of issues revolving around the Republican nomination fight, and some of the issues that have been raised in the recent criticisms of Romney’s record at Bain, among other things.  I was interested to see what Governor Palin would say with respect to the questions about all of these things.

She was careful to draw a distinction between attacks on capitalism and capitalistic endeavors, and instances of such things as bail-outs to companies with which Romney is or was involved.  When Hannity pressed her on Perry’s characterizations of “vulture capitalism,” she redirected the question toward the larger subject of free market capitalism:

“I would hope that Governor Perry and the other candidates would shift gears a little bit and start talking about how important it is that we do embrace free market capitalism and fight against crony capitalism that is a problem in Washington DC, and kind of focus along those lines.”

Watch the whole interview here:

Palin also mentioned two unresolved issues with Romney that we need to consider is the release of Romney’s tax returns, and also the issue of his claims of 100,000 jobs created.  It’s a hard thing to take Romney seriously as he continues to withhold information that will be a bludgeon against him if he should be nominated.  She also mentioned that a portion of all of this was inoculation against future attacks, and that’s an accurate assessment.  By playing up these issues now, they’ll be “old news” later.

One of the funniest moments of this interview was when Hannity asked Governor Palin for her impression on Michelle Obama’s statement.  Her reaction was probably much like that experienced by many Americans who heard this, because it hints at just how thoroughly out of touch those in the Obama inner circle really are.

I think what I will take from this interview is that Palin’s focus on the importance of free market capitalism in drawing the distinction between Barack Obama and the eventual GOP nominee is going to be critical, and contrary to conventional wisdom, this may not automatically redound to the benefit of Mitt Romney as some may have assumed.  As I’ve noted, the fact that he was a businessman doesn’t necessarily make of him a capitalist, and the evidence is mixed, particularly considering his record as governor of Massachusetts.

Bachmann Out, Perry Reassessing

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

 

One Goes, One Stays, For Now...

Michele Bachmann is suspending her campaign while Rick Perry is said to be reassessing his, but he’s gone on to campaign in South Carolina. This is part of the inevitable process of winnowing the field, and the hand-writing has been on this particular wall for weeks.  Bachmann was clobbered by Perry’s entry, and a few gaffes, and she never regained traction.  Some of her critics say she tried to hard to be somebody she isn’t, but it’s certain that Bachmann will remain a popular figure in the conservative and Tea Party movements.  There’s no shame in it, and she should hold her head high as she returns to her Congressional duties full time.

Maybe she will now have some of the impetus required to wrangle with leadership over some more fiscally conservative legislation, that is so desperately needed in this current Congress.  Here’s wishing all the best to Representative Bachmann!

Rick Perry’s story is somewhat different.  Though he finished fifth, it’s safe to say that he’s got a bigger war-chest at the moment than Newt Gingrich, and he’s apt to put up one heck of a fight in South Carolina, where Gingrich is thought to have something of an advantage, being from neighboring Georgia.  Time will tell if Perry’s all finished, but the fact is that his debate performances have really set him back.  It’s hard to recover from the sort of public shellacking he’s taken over that sore topic, but one thing remains true about the Texas governor: He’s tenacious and he doesn’t go away quietly.  I expect him to remain something of a factor if he decides to stick it out, and with Bachmann gone, he will likely benefit from some of those who’ve now been left without a horse to ride in this primary race.

If Perry doesn’t turn things around substantially in South Carolina, money or not, I can’t see him staying much longer, so we may get an answer regarding his real electoral future soon.

Bachmann Holds Fire Against Romney for VP Slot?

Friday, December 30th, 2011

 

Some Explaining to Do?

Politico has published a lengthy article about Michele Bachmann’s slide from being momentary front-runner to bottom of heap, minus only Huntsman. It’s a scathing review of her campaign, but that’s not entirely unexpected from Politico.  What makes this particular story so interesting is what it reveals about Bachmann’s intentions, and it’s interesting that so many folks had thought she was merely acting as a stalking horse for Mitt Romney, and it turns out that according to Ed Rollins, she had been holding her attacks against Romney because she had been angling for the VP slot.

“There was some talk early on between her and her husband that she could end up as the vice presidential nominee,” Rollins said.

That’s a stunning disclosure, and it should make every Bachmann supporter wince in pain. To have placed their hopeful support in a candidate who was merely making back-up plans out of presidential campaigns.  Slowly but surely, Bachmann’s campaign is breaking down, and she’s now having a substantial credibility issues, as people are abandoning her campaign.

 

Virginia Shocker: Bachmann, Huntsman, Santorum Not Qualified(Updatedx2)

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Really?

In what must be considered the biggest blunder in electoral history, Michele Bachman, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum failed to gather enough signatures to qualify to be on the ballot in the pivotal swing-state of Virginia.  As HotAir is now reporting, the only thing worse is that Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry might also have failed to gather enough, as it requires 10,000 qualified signatures.  Gingrich and Perry both have more than 10,000 signatures, barely, but they may not have enough qualified signatures by the time the petitions are examined.  Of course, this is great news for RINO-in-Chief, Mitt Romney, because if all five of these failed to gather enough signatures, his only other qualified opponent will be Ron Paul.  I have a hard time believing in coincidences, and this really makes one wonder about the intent of some of these campaigns.  Clearly, this throws into question the matter of competency.

Note to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Utah voters: You might as well scratch Bachmann, Huntsman, and Santorum off your list.  Any of these will now have a hard time winning the nomination, as Virginia has a large number of delegates, and none of these candidates can get any from Virginia.   More, if they can’t manage a campaign to get themselves on the ballot in Virginia, they may not be presidential material.  Advantage Romney, and you had better believe that’s the point of all of this, and to me, it has the look of a set-up.

I’ve begun to think we’ve all been had by the establishment [again.]  Make of it what you will, but this stinks to high Heaven, and it’s not conceivable that these candidates hadn’t know this in advance.  10,000 signatures is a large number, but extrapolating the polls across the population of Virginia, it wouldn’t seem difficult for any of them to obtain the requisite number of qualified signatures with a large number to spare, excepting only Huntsman, who might not be able to gather that many signatures across ten states.

This is an unmitigated disaster for Bachmann, Huntsman, and Santorum, and the margin will be close for Gingrich and Perry.  One would think it might have been more important to these candidates to spend a little time on Virginia signature-gathering if they expected to be around for that primary.  Maybe they didn’t, and then, why are they still in at all?

Update: Perry has been DQ’d also.

Update 2: Newt also gets DQ’d.

Mark Levin Tweets Disdain for Romney

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

The Great One!

In a post that give further evidence for the reason Mitt Romney can’t seem to break 25% in the primary fight, on Wednesday evening, Mark Levin “tweeted” a mouthful on the social networking site. New Yorker Magazine’s Jonathan Chait wrote something about Romney that caused Levin some heartburn, not because it is false, but because it is undeniably true.  Levin, annoyed by the underlying facts quickly posted on Facebook, and via Twitter:

@marklevinshow  Romney is really starting to piss me off. The lib site is, dare I say, right. http://fb.me/QB3Qryjy

The link is to an article that appears in the New Yorker’ Daily Intel section, detailing Romney’s flip-flop on the Iraq war, but more importantly, the author of the piece, Jonathan Chait, explains Romney’s reversal on the issue of Iraq in terms of political expedience aimed at gaining support from the conservative base of the Republican party.  Chait seems to approve, at least in terms of his disdain for conservatives, and he cheerfully reports that Romney takes some positions as a way to make peace with the base. Chait writes:

The thing I’ve always found endearing and (to some degree) comforting about Mitt Romney is that his flip-flops betray pure contempt for the Republican base. He treats them like angry children, and their pet issues as emotionally driven symbols of cultural division rather than as serious positions. Four years ago, conservatives were enraged that liberals would question Bush’s handling of foreign policy, so Romney was defending the decision to go to war and promising to “double Guantanamo.”

Yes, that’s right, this liberal writer likes Romney for his willingness to double-cross conservatives.  None in the base of the party should be the least bit upset by this, because it’s true, and because what Chait sees as evidence of a betrayal of the base is accurate, but unlike you, Chait’s gleeful about it.  He characterizes conservatives in the Republican party as angry, emotional children to be herded like so many cats.  Undoubtedly, this is a great reflection of how Romney does feel about conservatives, and it’s one more reason to discount him as a potential president.

Another interesting part of the article arrives parenthetically:

(It made zero sense as a policy position and could be understood only as an expression of culture-war solidarity.) Likewise, conservatives are now outraged over Obamacare, so Romney promises to repeal Obamacare.

It will surely warm Jonathan Chait’s heart to know that Romney has no intention of keeping the repeal promise either, as we’ve recently learned. Chait wasn’t attempting to expose Romney to the conservative base, but instead to caution his own readers because he intended them to understand why Romney is unpredictable and untrustworthy:

Nothing about Romney’s attempts to ingratiate himself with the right hint even slightly of genuine conversion. It is patronizing appeasement. Of course, none of this tells us the really crucial thing, which is what promises Romney would actually keep if elected. But at least it offers the modest comfort that Romney knows better.

This is the way conservatives and Tea Party folk are viewed by the establishment and Northeast liberal crowd in both parties, and Chait’s assessment is simply his view of Romney’s willingness to lie in order to fool conservatives.  Of course, in Chait’s view, that’s a virtue, but what this provides you is real insight into what they think about us, out here in “flyover country.”  Levin is right to be angry, not at Chait, but at Romney, because it’s becoming increasingly clear that Romney shares many views with the likes of Mr. Chait.

Note: In other developments, Romney continues to avoid and decline a debate with Gingrich, and he is still using surrogates to do his dirty work against the former Speaker of the House.  Romney excuses the attack ads launched by his Super PAC by saying effectively,  “it’s politics,” and shrugging it off as the nature of the beast, while pretending his official detachment from that organization prevents him from expressing any sentiments about the negative nature of the ads.  At the same time, he is sending out Chris Christie as his attack dog, and this too presents real questions about the sincerity of Romney: He’s willing to see the mud fly, but he likes to keep his own hands clean.  It’s small wonder Levin and others are growing tired of Romney’s tactics: He’s a coward, and nothing is worse where conservatives are concerned in this election cycle.  There’s something disgustingly ironic about a politician sending out others to do his dirty work who then suggests his opponents should get out of the kitchen if they can’t take the heat of dirty politics, while relaxing in the shade provided by Chris Christie.

Ahem.

Iowa Governor: Ignore Ron Paul Victory

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Ron Who?

This is ridiculous.  I can’t believe the party that professes to be the “law and order” party, and the party that supports the rule of law will now pretend that Ron Paul didn’t win, even if he does pull off the win in Iowa.  I’m not a Ron Paul backer, and his adherents will be quick to point out my lengthy criticisms in my coverage of this campaign, but I am also critical of the sort of machinations I’m now witnessing in Iowa.  As I have repeatedly told readers, I believe Ron Paul has a naive view on foreign policy that disqualifies him in my view, but I won’t I support the GOP establishment attempts to dominate the primary process.  If we won’t play by the rules, why have them, and if we pretend the winner isn’t the winner, why have an election at all?

Of course, this is all prospective, because no votes have been cast, and we’re a long way from declaring anybody the winner in Iowa, but we should consider carefully what establishment figures are saying about all of this.  After all, it is the establishment that gave us this accelerated primary schedule, and if it now plays to the advantage of the one candidate they had hoped to weed out early, that’s not the candidate’s fault, but their own.  As a matter of fairness, should Ron Paul win in Iowa, I will not engage in the down-playing and minimizing the Republican party establishment now seems to be setting up.  This ought to tell us something important about the GOP, and it’s time we rank-and-file folks recognize it.

When I read in Politico that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said the following, I knew I was seeing the culmination of years of establishment domination of the party in that state:

“People are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third,” said Gov. Terry Branstad. “If [Mitt] Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire and the other states.”

You might wonder why Branstad would seek to ignore the victor, and the answer is that it may well be Ron Paul, Republican Congressman from Texas.  In fact, the very premise of the story is offensive to me:  “Will Ron Paul Kill the Caucuses,” is the question asked in the Politico article’s title, and I have to ask in reply: Will the GOP establishment kill the caucuses?

Again, it’s not that I favor Ron Paul, but a sense of fair play dictates that I ask the question, because in my view, if Ron Paul has organized and motivated people in the state of Iowa to support him in sufficient numbers to win, why shouldn’t he be considered the victor? It’s as though the governor of Iowa is saying: “Well, just ignore that Ron Paul fellow, because he may win, but he’s not representative of thinking in our state.”  In fact, others are making that argument, almost precisely.

Here’s the real problem with that thinking: If we have a respect for the rules, and Ron Paul has played by them, and he manages a win, we might wish to ask if that isn’t the most relevant consideration.  After all, if he can get enough support to pull this off, even against the better-funded Romney or Perry, why shouldn’t we consider him as a serious candidate?  Are we now supposed to submit to the argument that the winner of the Super Bowl hadn’t been the best team?  Oh, you might make that argument if you thought another team better, but the problem is that by the rules, and according to the system, the winner is the winner.

This points out a deeper problem in the Republican party that arises from too many years of accepting establishment candidates with an uncritical campaign. Here we have a whole slate of candidates who are to varying degrees rejected by voters, and yet the one that pleases the most voters is to be considered unacceptable?  If this should come to pass, I may need to rethink my view not only of the idea of the Republican party, but also the notion that they’re willing to play even by the rules they’ve established.  I find it unconscionable that should Ron Paul win in Iowa, he would be treated as anything less than the victor and the presumptive front-runner.

You can argue for this one or that one, but my question remains: If they’re so damned good, why didn’t they win?  Of course, all of this is a bit presumptive, because nobody has voted, but I find it curious that people who worry that Ron Paul would run as an independent and thus derail a Republican nominee’s bid to unseat Barack Obama would likewise suggest that if Ron Paul remains in the party and plays by the rules, he cannot win even if he wins.  That’s absurd, and it’s embarrassing, and anybody thinking that way should be ashamed, no matter their preference.  The whole notion of this process is to go with the candidate that the most people can agree to support.  If we won’t abide by those rules, let us dissolve the process, let the establishment tell us who they want, and to devil with the rest.

In other words, if this process is to be rigged in such a way that Ron Paul cannot win, even if he does, what’s the point to the process at all? Why bother? Why make the pretense at a democratic process if what we really have is a process whereby the least objectionable establishment candidate will be selected for us?  If you want to argue that somebody is killing the Iowa caucus, we should not point the finger at Ron Paul, and instead admit that if Ron Paul wins, but we didn’t want him, it’s our fault. Any charade aimed at negating the significance of a Ron Paul victory will be met on this site with scorn and derision. Why? Is it because I think Ron Paul is the superior candidate?  Clearly, this is not the reason.  Instead, I believe that if Ron Paul plays by the rules and wins with a plurality, since none are likely to attain a majority, then I will consider Ron Paul the winner.  That goes for any of them.  My question is this:  If we would accept a Gingrich, Romney, Perry, Bachmann, or Santorum victory, by what moral or intellectual contortions could we suggest that Ron Paul isn’t eligible by the same standards?

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the things you tell me without reservation is that we must have consistent candidates who do not sway in the breeze with political expedience.  You argue passionately for the sort of people who abide by their principles, and do not surrender them when times are tough.   I have agreed with you unreservedly, but now I must ask:  Shouldn’t the same be true of us?

A Conservative’s Dilemma

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

The Choices Before Us

I’ve been receiving a number of emails today, some of which were authored by those who think I’ve been too rough on Congressman Paul, Governor Romney, or Speaker Gingrich, or any of the other candidates I may have from time to time examined.  A couple of very important and consistent conclusions can be drawn from all of these emails, and I thought it would be proper to consider them together with you.  Nearly every one of the notes goes on at length to defend the candidate in question, and each of them goes on to tell me in one way or another that I’m falling for some media narrative or other.  This suggests a confusion about what I believe, and I’d like to clear that up for readers, both new and old.

With Newt, I’m “too harsh” because I’m a “Beckerhead,” despite the fact that I’ve been critical of Beck at times.  With Mitt, I’m “too inflexible” because I’ve noted that he’s been all over the place on various issues. In the case of Ron Paul, I’m being told that I don’t know what conservatism is, despite spending much of the last half-year discussing that very subject.  So arises the question: “What’s the truth?”  The truth is that like so many of you, I am unhappy with the current roster of choices, and none of them offer me much hope with respect to electing a “conservative,” as I conceive that term to mean.

Of course, this necessarily leads to the question as to what constitutes a “conservative.”  Various people will offer you a range of definitions, and the dictionary will focus on the notion of “conserving traditions,” but I think that’s a tortured application of a term that in our political context has almost no discernible, concrete meaning any longer.  In part, it stems from the redefinition of terms over the last century or more of political discourse.  The statists sought cover under the labels “progressive,” “socialist,” “liberal,” and more recently, “libertarian.” We’ve concocted new terms to try to differentiate, and most of them have been misused or misapplied with absurd results.  Of all the abuses of terminology that makes me angry, it is the misuse of the terms “liberal” and “conservative.”  These two have been stretched and twisted and reshaped until they in no way resemble the people who claim them as labels.  What this argues for is a little truth in advertising by way of labels.  I’ve tired of this nonsense in respect to the way in which it is used to pigeon-hole people into associations with beliefs and ideas they do not share.

Rather than try to tell you a definition under any of the bastardizations of the modern usages, I’m going back to a time when these terms still had some meaning.  I wish to go back to the days of our founding to explain to you what it is that I believe.  In the end, you will brand me with any label you find useful, but I would have it that you understand at the very least what I believe, and take from that understanding what it implies about the sort of candidates I choose to support.

In the era of our founders, I would have been called a “liberal,” in the precisely classical sense that characterized Thomas Jefferson’s inclusion under that label.  It would in no measure imply the sort of collectivist reflex with which the current uses of the term “liberal” are nowadays stained.  In the specifics of my belief, I need little beyond this from the preamble of our Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[74] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

I believe that such a government must regard the people it serves as its master, mindful of their individual rights in all things.  In this respect, I see government in the place of an honest umpire, neither for nor against any particular person, but in favor of a standard of right and wrong according to an objective set of rules the object of which is only the guarantee of those rights.

I also believe that government, in pursuit of the guarantee of those rights, must exercise its delegated authority in the name of an organized defense.  This means I believe in a vigorous national defense, but it also means I do not believe the purposes of our government should include military conquest. It means that I believe in a strong enforcement of our laws against criminals, but it also means I do not believe law should be placed in the service of plunder by some citizens of others.  It is this last that under modern constructs and usages characterizes me as a “conservative.”  I believe acts of government must serve all citizens simultaneously.  In today’s political discourse, there are those that would thereby label me a “libertarian,” and again, I would reach merely to history to make my case that it is not the object of government, as envisioned by our founders, to redistribute wealth or favors or benefits.  In this, I adhere to the sentiments of James Madison:

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.” — James Madison

This would nowadays be called a “libertarian” by some, but this does not answer all that a government is or must do. It merely speaks to what a government must not do.  Madison here offers a warning that our nation’s government has long ago discarded in reckless pursuit of the very objects against which he warned.  This is not the government of our founding, nor the government of its re-framing under our Constitution.   The argument of some is that we have a living constitution that permits reinterpretation, but that would be a detestable reinterpretation itself.  Our founders thought this Constitution ought to be flexible, and so it is, but not in the manner now described by modern “liberals” who I call “statists.”  The framers of our Constitution laid a foundation for our republic, and for change of its laws, and most important among the things they enshrined in the Constitution are the only valid method by which it was intended to be flexible.  Article V:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

If you want to know the means by which ours was to be a “living constitution,” there in Article V you will find it.  Notice that it does not say that the meaning of the law is to be amended by reinterpreting its words.  It gives us the ability to change the meaning of the law by changing the law itself, either by the Amendment or Convention procedures as outlined therein.  I am a strong believer in this, because I know full and well how the statists have long preyed upon the ignorance and indulgence of the American people.  It offers me some hope that so many now finally understand what has been at stake in the progressive era, begun arguably with the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, but nevertheless in full swing by the time of Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural.

This would at first make the case of those who say I am therefore a modern-day “libertarian,” but I eschew that definition by virtue of all that term has now come to encompass.  Under this definition, I would necessarily reject any foreign involvements at all, but this is not so. I recognize as all conservatives do that there is the matter of reality from which one cannot escape.  Am I satisfied with the manner in which we have tended to a changing reality?  Hardly.  Am I satisfied that the measures we’ve undertaken were “necessary?”  Not at all.  Despite this seeming contradiction, I believe that we must fundamentally address this if we’re to  restore our constitution to its proper meaning.

As an example, I don’t believe the method by which we’ve circumvented the Constitution’s restrictions on military establishment is right and proper.  In our modern world, with push-button warfare of potentially devastating arms, it is necessary to consider that we ought to have not only a standing Navy at sea, but also a standing Army, which we do in fact have, even if Congress has continued the charade of no appropriations to that purpose for more than two years in technicality.  The National Security Act of 1947 does not amend the constitution, but merely adds to the charade.  I believe we ought to  amend the constitution to provide for this necessity rather than carry on with the fiction.

One must look at Madison’s quote above, in consideration of the government we now have, and wonder which Amendments provided for the growth of all those things against which he had warned.  The answer, of course, is simply: There haven’t been any.  Nowhere will you find an amendment providing for the welfare state, or education, or NASA, or a million other things that were considered by our framers as obscenities.  Whether I support them or not, still we have not amended the Constitution to permit them, but have instead acted on the notion of “necessity” as a matter of pure political expedience.  For this, I would be called a “radical” inasmuch as I present the radical notion that we ought and must adhere to our Constitution, or dispense with it and call our government something else, but it is not the government prescribed by the US Constitution, and has not been for many years.

This will lead inevitably to the question put forth by the adherents of Ron Paul, who will argue summarily on the basis I have outlined that I must be his kind of “conservative.”  This too is erroneous, for in fact what troubles me about Dr. Paul is that which has troubled me about much of modern “libertarian” dogma with respect to matters of national security: An unwavering belief in the absurd, the impossible, and the Utopian.   It is the key consideration among such “libertarians” that we must not involve ourselves in any matters but trade beyond our border, but since that will remain largely within the conduct of the private sector, the government need not be involved.

This is a lie, and an abrogation of our responsibility to the truth.  When Thomas Jefferson dispatched the Navy and its Marine forces to Tripoli in combat against the Barbary pirates, he did so not as an adventurist, but as a defender of American shipping.  It is preposterous to suggest that one’s trade will be sufficient intercourse with the world, because in truth there is yet another underlying and fundamental flaw that lies at the heart of such contentions: The abiding assumption that all others are guided by a similar reverence for those natural, unalienable rights of man that government exists to guarantee.  As Michele Bachmann said in Thursday night’s GOP Debate on FoxNews, only a knave or a fool believes this to be the case, and yet with nearly every dose of modern “libertarian” thought to which I exposed on the matter of defense and foreign policy(including Dr. Paul’s,) this juvenile, almost hippie-like presumption about the motives of all men emerges to a degree and extent that makes of their positions a laughing stock in the face of reality.

Contrary to the latter-day peacenik propaganda, we do not all “cherish the same things.”  If that were so, there would be no crime and no war and no strife anywhere among men, and yet it persists in our world, in our nation, and even in our neighborhoods and homes.  No unreality is more dangerous than such an assumption of the sort of Utopian relation of men and civilizations.  For what purpose do we have a government if not to defend us against those who do not share our views of the rights of man?

Damn me if you please, or if you feel as though you must, but do not permit yourself to believe I have not fully considered these issues.  Of late, I’ve given consideration to little else.  This entire blog is in service to that consideration, and to arouse yourselves to the belief that I would so casually entrust the future of this country, or its government to somebody on the basis of an unthinking support is patently absurd.  I don’t care if you call me “conservative” or “libertarian” or “liberal,” because I know in our current context, all those terms have lost their original meanings, but this much I do know:  I know what sort of candidate I would happily support.

I would support a candidate who shares my reverence for the Constitution in terms of the government’s relationship to its masters: We the people.  I would support a candidate who understands that our government now needs vast reforms, that some would call “sudden and relentless,” because our government has inverted its role in our lives, by which means it has become the master and we have become its servants.  I would support a candidate who understands the cruel and dangerous realities of our world, and is willing to act to bring our government and its operations into compliance with them by legal, constitutional means.  These are all the things, in general, that I would support, but I will not support any candidate absent any of these to any substantial degree.

These are the characteristics of the candidate I would support, but therein lies my personal dilemma, whatever you choose to call me:  None of the candidates now in the field have shown me that they are substantially, and in the greatest measure, what I believe such a candidate ought be.  I suspect the rapid climb and descent of one candidate after the other means that while many of you may not share my views entirely, the greater number of you are dissatisfied with your choices, and you now find yourself choosing from among what you consider an imperfect lot. In truth, I expect many people feel as I do in this matter, but this may be the nature of the choice we will have in 2012, and I fear, as do so many of you, that it will be insufficient to the grave national tests that lie ahead.  This may be my dilemma, but many of you share in it, and I wish for you the wisdom of Solomon.  We cannot afford to see this infant be rendered in halves.

Newt Gingrich’s “Zany” Proposals for the Courts

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

"Zany" Court Proposals?

There are those in media who can’t wait to tell you that Newt Gingrich is nuts for wanting to change the courts in any way. Their arguments consist of a defense of the status quo, and they speak in haughty terms about the sanctity of the Constitution, but let us be honest and admit that such huffing and puffing is more bluster than substance.  After all, the US Constitution already provides most powers over the formation of the judiciary to Congress.  They set the number of judges on a particular court, and they set the jurisdiction of the courts, and they decide how many courts there shall be, except that there must be a Supreme Court, which is spelled out in Article III.  The history of Congress changing the composition of the courts is as long as our history, as Gingrich pointed out aptly, but I disagree with some of the examples he used, including particularly the scheme pushed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to pack the court with friendly justices.

When Roosevelt found that much of his New Deal program was being found unconstitutional by the “nine old men” on the Supreme Court, he concocted a scheme to change the balance in his favor.  He sent surrogates to Capitol Hill with a plan to add six more justices to the Supreme Court, all of which he would ultimately nominate.  At the time, most of his programs were being found unconstitutional by 6-3 or 7-2 votes, so by adding six more, he would attain a working majority of 8-7 or 9-6 on many of these issues.  It was such a crass attempt to change the court for short-run political advantage that even his own party in the Senate went into virtual convulsions at the suggestion.  This effectively killed FDR’s first court-packing plot, but it did not stop his more subtle plan.

FDR saw that he wasn’t going to get by with such a crudely overt attempt to subvert the court to his will, so he came up with a secondary plan, and he waited a while to implement it.  He discovered that most of these nine old men were not particularly wealthy, and so none had any plans to retire, since at the time, justices could retire to pensions one-half their previous salary.  As Supreme Court justices, most had acquired nice fat mortgage payments, so that to retire would make them unable to live in the manner to which they had become accustomed.  FDR therefore had his surrogates in the House introduce a bill that would increase the pensions of the justices to 100% of their salary, so that they would be induced to retire.  It worked, and in rapid succession, while everybody was focused on his overt plan to pack the court in the Senate, none really noticed this adjustment introduced in the House.  In the end, he got his way, and New Deal programs sped along through the courts.

What Gingrich proposes is not nearly so radical as FDR had accomplished, and yet it is met with more outrage among leftists who would go on record having supported FDR’s plan at the time, they being of the sort who see the Constitution as unlimited in its flexibility.  The truth is that to eliminate the 9th Circuit Court as Gingrich proposes is not such a radical idea in the context of court reforms and changes throughout our nation’s history.  It’s certainly worth considering because some courts have outlived their judicial usefulness or efficacy. All too often, the 9th Circuit Court has been used as an instrument by leftists to promote an activist agenda, and we should consider the merits of Gingrich’s proposal carefully.

On the other hand, the part in all this that bothers me is not that Gingrich seeks to restore the balance of power among the three branches, because like many others, including Mark Levin, whose book Men In Black details the myriad ways in which the courts have become their own sort of ruling oligarchy, I too think the courts need reform.  More troubling to me on the part of Gingrich is that this is the same guy who endorsed Dede Scozzafava for the 23rd District of NY, despite the fact that she is anything but a conservative.  That bothered many conservatives and Tea Party patriots at the time, and it should be noted that this gives me pause with respect to the sort of judges Gingrich might appoint to the high court if he were entrusted with the presidency, while admitting that Mitt Romney had not done any better.

This is the reason the selection of a president, or even a party’s nominee for that office is so critical.  On the other hand, in fairness to Newt Gingrich, it must also be said that the way in which his proposals have been greeted with shrill denunciation is a bit unseemly too, because the Constitution makes clear that the formation of the courts is at the discretion of Congress with the President’s approval through ordinary legislative means.  To raise the sort of ruckus we have seen over this issue since Thursday night’s debate is to overstate the importance of remarks that seemed more aimed at applause than serious legislative priorities.  I could be entirely wrong, of course, and Newt Gingrich might be the wild-eyed courts-smasher they’re all pretending, but it hardly seems likely.  While I question many things about Gingrich’s record, I wouldn’t call this one issue earth-shaking.  In point of fact, the US Constitution makes the issue plain:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. (Article III, section 1.)
Later in Article III, it’s given to Congress to establish the jurisdiction of the lower courts.  All in all, Article III makes it plain that the lower courts are subject entirely to Congressional discretion, and the Supreme Court’s make-up and number are likewise under the authority of Congress to determine. Gingrich’s proposals on limiting terms would require a constitutional amendment, and frankly, I have no problem with that either.  This is the primary reason for my opposition to the ridiculously shrill statements some in the media are making about this question, and therefore by implication, Gingrich’s suitability to the office.  There are plenty of  good reasons to question Gingrich, but frankly, this really isn’t one of them. In the establishment media’s desire to undo Gingrich, they’ve actually over-reached this time.

New Rush Parody: Ron Paul

Friday, December 16th, 2011

This is hilarious, because like all good humor, it finds its roots in the truth.  Rush was on the warpath about Ron Paul Friday, and frankly, he has it right: Ron Paul simply is too disconnected from reality on the matters of foreign policy and national defense.  Paul seemed on the verge of coming completely unglued in an exchange with Michele Bachman during Thursday night’s debate on FNC, and Michele Bachmann surely got the better of Paul.  Here’s Rush Limbaugh’s parody, from Dailyrushbo.com:

For the record, what follows is the exchange between Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul during the debate Thursday:

Is Ron Paul a Conservative?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Separated from the Rest

The supporters of Ron Paul say he’s a conservative.  They cite his strong commitment to the US Constitution on economic issues.  They remind us about his focus on the 10th Amendment.  They point out his desire to return to a solid currency. What they scurry to cover is his naive, nonsensical ideas about national defense and foreign policy. What they rush to ignore are the asinine contentions of Ron Paul that seek to pander to 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and his child-like view that Iran will be fine if it develops nuclear arms.  Even if these weren’t bad enough, his supporters use stealth and misleading approaches to sell him as a conservative.  I’m weary from all those who tell me Ron Paul is a conservative, because in fact, he is not.  Instead, he’s a libertarian, and he’s in the wrong party, and I have no problem suggesting he should take his act elsewhere, and if need be, take his followers with him.  Conservatives don’t pander to so-called “truthers” or to the hemp lobby, but that is the core of his support.  Conservatives don’t blame America for the September 11th attacks of 2001.  Ron Paul does.

Even during Thursday night’s debate, Ron Paul was clearly out of place on the stage with fellow Republicans.  His views on several issues of national import made it plain that he’s missed something basic in how he regards the role of the United States in foreign affairs, but more fundamentally, something is broken with respect to the extremely naive view he takes of foreign governments and their actions.  What Congressman Paul supposes is that Iran will act every bit as rationally as the United States, but we have no evidence upon which to base such a supposition. History is replete with examples of regimes that were fundamentally irrational and completely unmoved by the notions of human rights or natural law, and supposing that they would accept our moral basis or standard for rational conduct is every bit as absurd as the proposition that we must accept theirs.  In point of fact, the Islamic Republic of Iran has enshrined in its constitution the requirement to spread Islam to all parts of the world.  When Paul argues that we might reasonably rely upon a notion of peaceful Iranian intentions, he does a serious disservice to the American people, either through purely wishful thinking, or through sheer dishonesty.

In his heated exchange with Representative Bachmann in Thursday evening’s debate on FoxNews, he exhibited the ridiculous extent to which he has bought into leftist mythology about Iraq, too.  He cited a number of Iraqis killed as more than one million, but this reflects the most absurd estimates of the most radically anti-war propagandists.  Even WikiLeaks, having stolen and released actual classified US estimates of Iraqi War dead is around one tenth of that number.  Don’t get me wrong: This is a tremendous number of deaths, but it is a small portion of what Ron Paul reported, and what it reveals is his willingness to rely upon the most ridiculous claims of conspiracy theorists and anti-war propagandists.  Had he relied upon the more accurate number, he wouldn’t have come across as a bizarre conspiracy nut, but by exaggerating this number by relying upon numbers from sources of dubious credibility, he became his own worst enemy.

When Ron Paul talks about the overbearing size of government, he makes much more sense, because in that arena, he speaks to issues wherein he needs no bombastic, incredible claims in order to demonstrate his point.  He can merely reference the laws made by Congress, signed by the President, and this is sufficient.  When he gets into the discussion of foreign policy matters, it is as though he loses all grounding in credible facts, both in history and law, but more importantly in his flawed understanding of human nature.  The tyrants of our world do not care for the arguments of John Locke, or Adam Smith, or Thomas Jefferson, to name a few.   Such despots care not for the facts of human nature or human rights, or they wouldn’t be despots at all.  When Ron Paul pretends to himself or to others that one can contend with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the same manner one can deal with Canada, he is ignoring the facts of the world in which we live, and in which a President must successfully navigate the ship of state.  Ron Paul’s misunderstanding is so thorough as to be dangerous, not merely to individual citizens of the United States, but to the country as a whole.  This is a dire misreading of our founding documents, the design of our government, and the purpose for which it stands, and it negates the value he might offer in other areas of discourse.  On this basis, Ron Paul is wholly unfit to claim the mantle of conservatism, never mind to be sworn in as President of the United States.

 

2012: An Electoral Mess in the Making?

Monday, December 12th, 2011

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

So you like Newt?  Or you hate Newt?  I remain ambivalent. At the moment, this is not what concerns me, no, not in the least.  I can see the writing on the wall.  As The Daily Caller launches hit-piece after hit-piece, including Sunday evening’s column by Ann Coulter, I see what’s going down.  One after the other, Republicans are being put up and knocked down, because to fall from the first rung of a ladder is of little consequence but perhaps a temporarily bruised backside, but to plummet from its top rung may land you in political rehab or worse.  Certainly, it’s clear to me that this systematic approach to eliminating opposition has been underway for some time.  It’s not that I was particular to Gingrich, or Cain, Perry, Bachmann or anybody else who fell from the top, as my own preferred candidate never entered the race, but it is the manner in which this is being done that seems so transparently dishonest to me.  The permanent political class may have their fix in, but it may yet backfire on them. There are many irregularities looming in the 2012 election cycle, and it promises to be quite unconventional indeed.  It may get even uglier.

It’s not that the candidates who have risen and fallen have been without their flaws, some decidedly worse than others,  but something about this just seems all wrong.  It’s as though we’re being guided step-by-step through every one of them, and just when they begin to show promise, they are clobbered by gaffes or scandals or something.  I have a feeling the next one to be put up for display will be Rick Santorum.  I already see signs moving in that direction.  After Santorum?  Huntsman?  Is there enough time?  You see, the only one who hasn’t been run up the flag-pole in this fashion so far, apart from those mentioned, is none other than Willard “Mitt” Romney.  If you’re like me, you look at that bit of information, and you take it to heart, because if any of them have been due an undressing on the basis of their record, who have been at or near the top for any substantial period of time, it would have to be the Mittster.  He seems to be following the notion of remaining steady, while avoiding “peaking early.”

Since it’s clear that whomever is driving this wagon-train has a batter grip on the reins than either you or I might have suspected, I have a suggestion for conservatives and Tea Party patriots, and you might want to think about this intently: If you’re tired of seeing your candidates go up in flames, and since time is running out, we’d better do one of two things, and do it fast:

  • We must choose one and coalesce behind that candidate with the best record and fewest warts, or:
  • We must find a new candidate, already vetted.

Otherwise, prepare the way for Mitt.   If you won’t choose one, a candidate will certainly be chosen for you.  The “inevitable candidate” will live up to that billing after all, and the permanent political class will have its man, and we can all join hands and watch Willard’s election night concession speech next November, an outcome I firmly believe will be just fine with the establishment that claims not to exist.  If that’s okay with you, I don’t suppose there’s a single thing we can do but accept it.  So many of us are already disheartened by many factors in this election cycle that one can almost see the layer of discontent building within the Tea Party and conservative base of the Republican party.

As all of this goes on, we also have the growing plot of Americans Elect.  I’ve told you about my concerns with this group before, and frankly, there is a new Salon.com article that confirms some of my earlier concerns, but also  magnifies them. It now turns out that they won’t be telling us who their contributors are, and to make that possible, they’ve changed the the organization in order to avoid those disclosures.  From Fred Wertheimer at HuffPo:

Americans Elect was registered as a federal political committee until last October, when it switched and claimed it was a “social welfare” organization under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. The reason for the switch appears quite clear: to keep secret from the American people the donors supporting its political activities.

To be clear, I still don’t know what this means, except that I’ve been seeing their ads pop up more frequently around the Internet including DrudgeReport and TheBlaze among many others, but I don’t think any sane American should buy into an organization trying to elect a candidate to the Presidency that will not even disclose its contributors, and actively moves to change its legal form to avoid said disclosures.  Additionally, there are some apparent irregularities in its process, identified by the left-leaning but nevertheless thorough(at least in this case) Irregular Times.  Also from the Salon piece, they’ve set up a committee that can overrule what the on-line vote tells them anyway:

So they’ve reserved for themselves the power to overrule it,” says Rick Hasen, a professor at UC Irvine law school and author of a lengthy critique of the group.

Ladies and gentlemen, I smell rats – several of them.  I don’t know where this is all leading,  but I know this much: All of the ongoing machinations are intended to fool the American people, one way or the other, and whatever the particulars of the motives behind the scenes, you can bet that they are not benevolent.  You conservative and Tea Party folk had better figure it out fast, because I think your time is nearly up.  This process has led us on a wild goose chase in search of one non-Willard “Mitt” Romney after the other, all to leave us with…Willard?  Is that the deal? If you’re satisfied with that, so be it, but if not, whatever you may do, look not to Americans Elect until they’ve given full disclosure.  The four top candidates they’re tracking include Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Buddy Roemer, and Barack Obama.  If that doesn’t tell you something about the direction of that organization, nothing will.  Caution, my friends, extreme caution, but also, I believe, it is coming down to it.  Don’t be so quick to fight among yourselves that you’re divided and thereby easily conquered.  Don’t say things in haste to your fellow conservatives and Tea Party brethren that you damage your ability to fight side-by-side.  If you want to defeat Barack Obama, and stand any chance of restoring the country with a real conservative, it’s going to take all of you.  In just more than three weeks, we will have the Iowa caucus, and if you haven’t coalesced behind a candidate by then, or at least very shortly after, we’ll likely take what we’re given.  We’ll be stuck, again, but this time, “being stuck” may well mean: Obamacare forever.

Or worse.

Beck Challenges Tea Party Over Gingrich, Race

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Is it about Obama's Race?

In case you missed it, Glenn Beck appeared on FBN’s Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano and had some provocative things to say about Newt Gingrich.  Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com has the story on what Beck had to say to the Tea Party with respect to their potential support of Gingrich.  Beck asked the following question of Tea Party folk who support Newt: “Ask yourselves this, Tea Party: Is it about Obama’s race? Because that’s what it appears to be to me.”  Now, while this is going to require some background context, what you should understand is that Beck is making a point, but I think he chose the wrong way to make it.

Beck’s known for his bombastic remarks and challenges, and it’s fair to say that this is his stock in trade, but let’s give the man his due, because he is making an important point about Newt.  His allegation is that in interviewing Gingrich, he decided that Gingrich is a Republican Progressive after Gingrich referred to Teddy Roosevelt as his favorite President.  When Beck challenged Gingrich on this, Gingrich backed away a little, qualifying his statement by saying that he liked Roosevelt before his Osawatomie, KS speech in which he came out as a full-blown progressive.  Here’s the real problem with that, and to his credit, Beck picks up on it: Theodore Roosevelt was ever a progressive.  He merely came out as a progressive, basically a socialist, in that speech. What Beck contends is that he cannot support Newt Gingrich because he is like Roosevelt before that famous speech.  On this point, Beck makes perfect fence, but like so many other instances, this is also where he “jumps the shark.”

In speaking with Napolitano on Freedom Watch, Beck explains his view on Gingrich, but then takes it that next step: He challenges the Tea Party by asking: “Is it about Obama’s race?”  Here’s what Beck is really asking:  Since Obama is a leftist Democrat progressive, and Gingrich is a Republican progressive, both are nevertheless progressives, a.k.a. “socialists,” so if the Tea Party will support one, but won’t support the other, what is the real difference upon which that support turns?  Here is where Beck wrongly plays the race card against the Tea Party.  He offers that it must be about Obama’s race.  While I understand the point he is trying to make, I think he could have made it without dragging the race card into this.  There are other simpler, more plausible reasons than race for this seeming contradiction on the part of Tea Party members who support Gingrich, but not Obama, and in order to help Beck, I’ve made a list of them:

  • Gingrich is a Republican; Obama is a Democrat: While Beck can gloss over this difference as insignificant, and in some ways he’d be right, the truth is that the people who he is challenging don’t see the difference as entirely meaningless. They have some perhaps reasonable expectation that there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats.
  • Gingrich is smarter than Obama:  Many, in the Tea Party and otherwise, see Gingrich as a more thoughtful fellow, and if faced with a choice, would rather have the smarter of the two.
  • Gingrich and Romney appear to be leading: Both men are progressives, and of the two, Gingrich is at least willing to talk to the Tea Party and reach out to them. Tea Party and conservative folk are likely making a judgment about the reality they see developing, and responding accordingly.

These are only three of a whole range of reasons you would naturally come to long before you get to some cock-eyed notion about Obama’s race, as Beck has managed to do.  I think it is folly on Beck’s part to try to play this angle on the Tea Party patriots, and rather than trying to make a point by suggesting that supporting Newt Gingrich is some sort of back-handed admission of racism on the part of those conservatives who are supporting Gingrich, he ought to instead try to educate them about the history of progressives without insulting the motives of Tea Party conservatives, or giving leftists a video clip they will later use to assail the Tea Party.

Beck’s basic point is sound: Gingrich is a progressive, and always has been, but if he’s a progressive, why should Tea Party and conservative folk support him any more than they would support Barack Obama?  One could make this same argument about Romney, and it would fit just as well.  What Beck should have done is use the moment to explain his meaning, rather than throw down the race card.  He would have served his audience and the debate in a more positive way, and we wouldn’t now have this additional distraction from the cause for which we begin now to gather: To select the candidate who will face Obama next November.  Challenging the Tea Party by suggesting their choice of Newt Gingrich is evidence of racism is simply deplorable.  I understand what he was trying to say, but I think he could have found another device for demonstrating his point.  The race card is over-used in American politics, and to see Beck making this argument was disappointing.

You can watch the video here.

Did You Ever Wonder: What if Palin Had Run?

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Some People Just Have “It”

As most of you will remember, I have been an ardent supporter of Sarah Palin’s notion of “sudden and relentless reform.”  Like many who believe that’s what our republic needs, I was disappointed when she announced that she would not seek the GOP nomination for President.  She said that she doesn’t need a title to help drive the sort of reforms and restoration the country needs.  Nevertheless, one of the things that has come along is a new HotAir Poll that shows that at least some Republicans think otherwise, because Governor Palin is still very influential.  Perhaps most stunning of all, when respondents were given a choice between the current front-runners and Sarah Palin, in a three-way race, Sarah Palin won.  I am not surprised.

While I admit that HotAir’s poll is not all that scientific, I think it’s noteworthy because it shows a couple of things.  Before considering them, let’s take a look at the results in both two-way and three-way races they presented in their poll:

Courtesy HotAir

That’s simply stunning. What this implies about the electorate is pretty clear: Left with the current front-runner as their choices, at present, Palin supporters seem to shift nearly six to one in favor of Gingrich when the field is reduced to just two.  It also suggests quite plainly that given an option to vote for Sarah Palin as opposed to either of these two, more GOP voters would jump at the chance.  It’s for this reason that when media tells us “the field is settled” that I wonder about the credibility of that claim.  After all, it seems to me that among the electorate, it’s not such a settled question as some have thought.  It also offers us a little insight into the supporters of Palin, and where they may head with their votes if Gingrich and Romney become the only choices.

The message here is that Sarah Palin is still very powerful as a force within Republican ranks, and her endorsement may be more valuable than the former Alaska Governor might be inclined to believe.  It also indicates that Sarah Palin’s general positions are likely more favorable to a wider segment of Republicans than either of the current “front-runners.”  It was my thesis early on in this campaign season that Sarah Palin is the real front-runner.  On the basis of this poll, I stand by that determination even if she’s not running, in fact.   The favor upon with which she is generally looked by Republican voters is much more thorough than some may have noticed, but it also says something about where the conservative base of the GOP really is, with respect to their opinions on various issues.  The reason Sarah Palin has always been out front is primarily because voters identify with her positions, and her general outlook on the country and the necessities of reform.

Since she’s not running, this may lead some to wish for her to reconsider, as such “draft” movements have been persistent since she made her announcement on October 5th.  What I think this really tells us is just how unifying the right candidate could be for the GOP under the right circumstances.  We have learned recently that polling showed most of Herman Cain’s support would likely turn to Gingrich if Cain withdrew, and now that he has, I expect that will probably occur, but this also should transmit a thorough warning to Newt Gingrich:  “You’re still only a second (or third)choice.”  That should highlight something very important that the Gingrich camp simply cannot afford to ignore about the volatility of conservative voters who have begun to feel for months that they might be forced into a choice among the lesser of evils.  Gingrich should take no comfort in finding that Republican primary voters may see him as a slightly lesser evil than Willard “Mitt” Romney.

The message to the GOP candidates couldn’t be clearer:  Think about what Sarah Palin has represented and why she appealed to the Tea Party and conservatives,  and then figure out how you can earnestly and sincerely implement the reforms she has advocated.  Show Republican voters how you will beat Obama and reverse Obamacare as two first stops along the way to restoring the country, and you might find yourself the winner, not only in the primaries, but at the polls that really count, next November.

She may not be running, but don’t let the media fool you:  Sarah Palin is a vital player of this race, candidate, or not.

Why Charlie Black Is Wrong

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Misunderstood by the Establishment?

I love the GOP establishment wizards who make the most outrageous claims, but since the dominant media culture is overwhelmingly left-leaning, nobody really ever bothers to challenge the downright bizarre propositions they seem so frequently to offer.  In one more pathetic demonstration of just how out-of-touch GOP insiders have become from the conservative base, Charlie Black has offered his opinion on the field and the GOP nomination for 2012, and both the question and his response are as perfectly misleading as anything I’ve ever read.   According to YahooNews, the long-time Republican strategist made the most shockingly wrong-headed claim.  From Yahoo:

Asked at National Journal‘s Election Preview on Tuesday whether he thought the party might name a vice presidential candidate like Sarah Palin, whose addition to the GOP 2008 presidential ticket excited conservatives — but also turned off independent voters — Black argued such a pick won’t be necessary given the current crop of presidential candidates.

“We don’t have any moderates running,” Black said. “I don’t think there will be any need to do philosophical balance.”

I didn’t miss Governor Palin’s October 5th announcement on Mark Levin’s show, so I know she won’t be seeking the Republican nomination, but let me just say this as bluntly as I am able: Sarah Palin is precisely the sort of candidate the Republican Party desperately needs, not merely as the VP selection, but in point of fact, at the top of the ticket.  I realize that Palin’s announcement means I won’t get my wish, but I’d like to take the opportunity of Black’s answer both to refute the notion put forward as a construct, and to refute Black’s evaluation of the field, but part of doing so is going to require that I revisit what we’ll be missing in this campaign season without Sarah Palin’s entry.

The first point to understand is that the premise posited by the question is false:  Palin did not “turn off independent voters.”  The simple fact is that McCain’s candidacy failed because he suspended his campaign just as Palin’s impact was really being felt.  The truth is that McCain couldn’t motivate the Republicans’ conservative base, and that is what doomed his campaign, so this entire premise is a lie. It’s simply dishonest, and former McCain campaign officials have grudgingly admitted this to have  been the case: They did far better with Sarah Palin than they could have done without her.

Examining Black’s answer, I’m led to the conclusion that he is as out of touch as anybody in the GOP establishment.  To suggest that we don’t have a moderate running is to pretend that Mitt Romney is a staunch conservative, and that’s as preposterous as the suggestion in 2008 that McCain was a conservative.  In 2008, conservatives had been looking for the non-McCain, because they recognized him as too moderate, and too willing to to saw off limbs behind real conservatives, but now they seek the non-Romney candidate because they rightly realize that Romney’s positions are roughly as solid as the intergalactic void.

Black’s pretense that the Republicans won’t need “ideological balance” is merely a play to get us to ignore the reality:  Romney is no conservative.  Not yesterday, not today, and not tomorrow.  If he was perceived as conservative, he wouldn’t be hovering in the 25-30% range in the national polls.  No, if Romney is the nominee, there will be many conservatives who decide to stay home, just as there were in 2008, and it is this for which McCain was forced to find a solid conservative like Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Assuming momentarily that he were to win the nomination, if Romney picks a fellow moderate as his running mate, you can expect a land-slide victory…for Obama.

Let’s be honest about something else, however, and it’s this attempt to paint Sarah Palin as a hard-right conservative.  The evidence of her gubernatorial record is not that of a doctrinaire right winger.  While considerably more conservative than a Romney or a McCain, it wasn’t a strict adherence to conservative ideology that made her such a force in 2008, and again in 2010, when campaigning on behalf of others under the Tea Party banner.  What Palin brought to the ticket was something that none of these candidates really possess, and that is the record of a real outsider, somebody truly from beyond the beltway in virtually every way, who brought an honesty and sense of duty to the country to McCain’s flailing and floundering campaign.

Not all political virtues come down to the sort of considerations Charlie Black ponders and weighs.  He’s an insider, and a part of a political establishment that knows only wins and losses, and cares little for ideology, or in truth, even for the country.  To him, a candidate like Palin possesses some sort of voodoo magic he can’t comprehend, and it is by this failure to perceive reality as it is outside the Beltway that the Republicans now risk losing in 2012 to Obama:  They don’t “get” Palin’s appeal.  They never have, and they probably never will, much as while so many of them now pay lip-service to Ronald Reagan, they didn’t understand what conservatives found so appealing in a populist who spoke plainly about the state of our nation and our world.  To these hucksters and hacks of the permanent political class, it just doesn’t add up.

The reason Sarah Palin had been so appealing was not because she had been perfectly conservative on every issue so much as because she showed integrity in carrying out her office, and a simple devotion to the principle that she was elected to serve her state and its people,  but not the entrenched interests.  More, she showed a willingness to work across the aisle where it was possible, and put the hammer down when it was not.  At the height of her term, she had approval ratings in the range of 80% or more, so that the only the rabid extremes at both ends of the ideological scale actually disapproved.  In this sense, Palin was a moderate insofar as the way she governed, not so thoroughly tied to a party doctrine that she was inflexible.  What she did do was something rather  more marvelous and unique, and that was to embrace her role as an earnest servant of the people.  Despite leftists’ hankerings for a scandal, this is the truth that over twenty-four thousand emails revealed to a disappointed but undaunted press bent upon her destruction.

What Charlie Black and those like him seem not to recognize, or worse, to intentionally ignore, is that Palin’s best virtue is her own personal character, and how it directed her actions as a politician.  In speeches, in interviews, and in notes posted on Facebook, what Palin has revealed to those willing to notice it has been a wonderfully earnest person who believes in the power of individuals, and the rights of people everywhere against the tireless aggressions of the state.  This is what conservatives noticed about her in 2008 that brought a renewed energy to the McCain campaign.  This is what brought conservatives out to the polls to the degree they appeared at all.  Had McCain not foolishly suspended his campaign, things might well have gone differently, and had his campaign been more willing to contest every state rather than writing some off, it might have been salvaged.  There’s really no way to know for sure, but this much is true, and you can take it to the bank, and while Charlie Black can’t plot this on a chart, it’s something he might want to know:  There is nothing the Republican party needs more desperately than Sarah Palin.

The Republican party is dooming itself to four more years at least in the Presidential wilderness if it selects another moderate of the mold of Dole, McCain, or Romney.  The problem is really very simple to understand once you step outside the Beltway and look at the state of our country without a cocktail in your hand.  We suffer from a lack of courageous leadership in the form of a populist conservative, and there is not one in this field, as now composed, who effectively offers to fill that void.  We have a lot of candidates, all with their own potential virtues, but none of them possesses that element most critical to our country’s current morass, and it’s simply and clearly what Sarah Palin had prospectively offered, had she entered this race:  Clear-cut messaging, earnest presentation and delivery, and common-sense conservative leadership based in the values upon which this country had been built.  If it weren’t for the fact that the GOP establishment seems incapable of grasping this concept, the GOP might have a chance in 2012.

For conservatives, I ask only this:  Do you need a perfect candidate?  I believe most would tell me they don’t expect perfection, but only perfect diligence.  It’s one of the reasons that despite the questions over WMDs in Iraq, George Bush was able to overcome Kerry in the election of 2004:  Whatever his other failings, people believed he was generally earnest, and cared about the country.  We can differ over whether he had been a real conservative, and I would contend he hadn’t been, but the fact is that in conservative America, where elections are really won or lost, it is not over some notion of ideological purity, or some Beltway calculus about “ideological balance” on the ticket, but whether conservative Americans are roused to show up at the polls in support of a candidate based on their estimation of his or her character, and their earnest commitment to live by it. In short, it comes down to trust.

Conservatives don’t and won’t trust Mitt Romney.  They look at Romneycare and wonder about his statist reflexes, and his compromising, waffling ways.  They like Newt Gingrich at times, as he’s clearly at an intellectual advantage in many of these debates, but Gingrich has shown over time that he can be flighty too, and questions about his personal conduct are always resurrected as a matter of trustworthiness.  Rick Perry suffers from his own crony-capitalist problems, and at times, his positions have left Texas conservatives scratching their heads at the question as to whether they could trust him.  Herman Cain is a great motivator, but some of his positions, and frankly, his lack of understanding on some issues of critical import make some conservatives wonder if he can be fully trusted.  Ron Paul suffers the same problem on matters of national security and foreign policy, for while Americans very much wish to avoid being the world’s policeman, they also don’t wish to abandon longstanding alliances and our defensive posture on a global scale.  Michele Bachmann also seems to suffer this problem, but it has less to do with trusting her on specific issues as it does in trusting her ability to lead.

Trustworthy leadership is the trait conservatives crave, with a bit of populist understanding of the issues at hand.  They want a candidate who isn’t afraid to be called a conservative, but who instead counts it as a badge of honor.  They want a candidate who possesses the strength of character to serve the nation, as a conservative, without flinching at the endless harangues of the leftist and establishment press.  They want somebody in office who will make proper compromises, but whose reflex isn’t to cut a deal at the first sign of controversy.   They want a president who knows how to make cuts and instill budget discipline in good times as well as bad.  Rather than seeking to neutralize the Tea Party and the conservative wing of the Republican party and Independents, the GOP should embrace them, because what they really want is an earnest servant of all the people, who they can trust, and whose first and last thoughts of the day will come down to God, family, and country, just like their own.  In short, what Mr. Black misses is what conservatives in flyover country know almost instinctively, and recognized immediately upon hearing her speak on the national stage:  There is nothing this country needs more in the White House than Sarah Palin, conservatives and Tea Party folk know it, and it’s a damnable shame that the Republican establishment doesn’t understand why it’s akin to a national tragedy that she won’t seek that office in 2012.

Cain/Gingrich to Have Lincoln/Douglas Style Debate

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Crowd Favorites to Face off in Texas

The Texas Tea Party Patriots will be hosting a Lincoln/Douglas-style debate between Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, National Review On-line is reporting.  Myself, I think this is a great idea for both men, as it gets them off the stage with the rest of the crowd, and narrows the focus more sharply.  I like the idea, and I think it will provide for some excellent discussion, and a genuine furthering of the debate over who to nominate(or who not to nominate) for the top of the Republican Presidential ticket.  Both men should get a gold star for thinking outside the box on this one, and I think it’s a sharp move, and it demonstrates a willingness to go the extra mile to make their respective cases to prospective supporters.

The event will be held on November 5 at the Woodlands Resort near Houston, according to the National Review Online.  It will feature Representative Steve King, R-IA, as the master of ceremonies.  No network has yet agreed to air the event, but organizers are hopeful.  It should make for great television, because these two are probably two of the better performers consistently in all of the debates held thus far.  They will be discussing entitlements, and it will be a much more issue-oriented debate.

This is what the Republicans needed to do to break out of the mold the media has been creating. Excellent!

Pro-Romney Crowd Goes After Limbaugh, Others for “Flip-Flopping”

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

A Hobson's Choice?

I’m sick to death of the Establishment GOP and all the other Romney shills in the media pretending not to know what they’re doing as they level a disgusting mischaracterization at Limbaugh, Levin, and others on the charge of “Flip-Flopping.”  Worse, they’re aligning with liberals in the media to push Romney.  Consider Mediaite’s attack on Limbaugh.  Here’s the essence of their argument, and yes, they’re serious:  Since people chose Romney over McCain in order to try to stop McCain in 2008, therefore, these people are “Flip-Floppers” because they now say Romney is no conservative.  Excuse me while I call… “Baloney!”   I’ve seen it posted on several sites over the last few days, and frankly, it’s garbage.  As Levin described it Wednesday, he had a “Hobson’s choice” in the matter, and he chose accordingly.  Frankly, Levin is right:  The only choice was to oppose McCain, and that meant supporting Romney at the time, in his view.  That’s not exactly a glowing endorsement.  Nevertheless, this is the premise on which the criticism of Limbaugh, Levin, and others is based, and it’s intended to mislead readers in the out-of-context history they provide.

This is idiotic.  The story by Mediaite seems to insist that one cannot choose between the lesser of two evils, and later, when new choices of lesser evil are added, that one must stick with one’s original choice to the bitter end.  This also assumes that Rush had the full story on Romney in 2008.  It assumes that he was as familiar with Romney as he has since become.  One might argue that Rush was simply endorsing Romney because he liked McCain even less, but what of it?  I find this media tactic despicable, but what is still more disgusting is how many people fall for this obviously fraudulent attack on Limbaugh.  One wonders if such people aren’t inclined to see Limbaugh in a negative light from the outset.

Let’s be honest: Given the choice of McCain and Romney, yes, I’d be inclined to pick Romney.  Now, expand my choices by Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson, and yes, I’m going to re-think my previous choice.  To be perfectly honest, if tomorrow Sarah Palin decided to change  her mind and run, I’d be back back-peddling from any support I might have given any of the rest of these.  NO PROBLEM.  The simple fact is that if you have limited choices, you may choose the best that remains at the time, but not be overly happy about it.  That’s the truth of Limbaugh’s “endorsement” of Romney in 2008.

At the same time, it may also be true that you subsequently learn things about your previous choice that make you rethink your judgment of their qualifications.  In any other context, liberals and moderates would call this “the ability to learn and grow and become more pragmatic.”  In this case, however, it’s being used as an attempt to discredit Limbaugh and anybody else who ever said a nice thing about Romney, but now finds him lacking.  In 2008, I knew none of the details of Romneycare I now do.  I hadn’t even heard of the flap over his hiring a landscaping company that used illegal aliens.  I certainly hadn’t heard of the controversy over his “Welfare Wheels” program.  Had I known that, I wouldn’t have been any more inclined to support Romney in the timeframe immediately before Super Tuesday in 2008.  The truth is, there was a good deal about Romney that we didn’t know then.

To suggest that one can’t change one’s mind upon discovery of new evidence is lunacy.  I’m a voter, and I have a responsibility to take great pains in making my choices because the country and its future demand it of me.   This is also why I disagree slightly with Mark Levin about the choice conservatives faced at that time in 2008:  If anything, the choice between Romney and McCain had been a Morton’s Fork because both were equally bad.  The truth may be in what I consider a false dilemma.  We have one more option beyond all of these:  The assault against Limbaugh is only possible because Limbaugh fell for a false dilemma.  He decided at that point in 2008 to support somebody who was not a conservative, and while he may not have known better at the time, his generosity in his description of Romney in order to attempt the defeat of McCain is now being thrown in his face.

This is why you ought to be scrupulously deliberate in your choices this coming year. Don’t find yourself in the position of having to later say that somebody you now choose is not really conservative.  The only way to do that is to be sure that you choose an actual conservative, or if none are available, to withhold your vote and your reputation, and with it, conservatism’s.  The jury is still out as to whether any of these Republican candidates will pass muster.  For my part, I am still weighing.  I know Romney, Huntsman, and Paul are out of consideration for me.  Their records and positions demand that I must never support any of these.  I am having great difficulties with Mr. Perry, and lesser degrees of difficulty with the others.  What I won’t be told by some leftist or establishment hack in 2016 is that I had endorsed somebody as a conservative who later turned out not to be anything of the sort.

If Rush Limbaugh had a fault in all of this, it is merely that he was too generous in his praise in order to attempt to defeat McCain. You can bet I won’t be making that mistake, and I’ll bet Rush won’t be doing so again either.

Herman Cain Can’t Hide His Unpreparedness

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Oh Herman, Say It Ain't So

In talking to Wolf Blitzed, Blitzed asked Cain if he would negotiate away the detainees at Guantanamo in trade for the life of an American soldier.  You can watch the video yourself.  If this is the best he can do on foreign policy, I’m afraid I can’t support him.  I realize he was trying his best to avoid being tricked into saying anything negative or contradictory about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but a President simply must be faster on his feet. In a moment when Cain should have recognized he was out of his element, stopped, and thought the question through, he permitted himself to say something senseless: “I could make that call.”  The US simply cannot afford to negotiate with terrorists, and this”call” by Cain would turn Khalid Sheikh Mohammed loose again if this had been a real decision.

Here’s the video: