Posts Tagged ‘GOP Nomination’

Delegate Drama: Brokered Convention Still Feasible

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Brokered Convention Still Possible?

I just received this video via email, and I thought I should share this with readers because it provides an interesting report on the matter of delegate counts, and whether this primary is really over after all.  More, it provides some interesting tidbits on the activities of the RNC.  As you know, Ron Paul is still in the race, as is Mitt Romney, and the reason that’s important is because RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has directed staff to “open up channels of communications” between Romney’s campaign and the RNC. That would most definitely seem to violate the RNC’s rules while there are more than one contestant in the race.  We’ve known the RNC was in the tank for Romney for some time, but once again, this serves as further evidence of how they will do anything to advance their chosen candidate.  Here’s the video report from Ben Swann on Cincinnati’s WXIX News:

As you can see from this report, if the “unit rule” isn’t applied, then Mitt Romney may be looking at an open convention after all.  Look out!  “It ain’t over ’til it’s over…”

Swann also provided the link to thereal2012delegatecount.com in the course of his report.  At present, the count shows 697 delegates for Romney, but he needs 1144.  It would provide the irony of ironies if Ron Paul actually wound up forcing a brokered convention.

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If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Conservatism Rides On Roof...

Signaling what may be the beginning of a new round of endorsements of Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann(R-MN,) endorsed Romney on Thursday, but one wonders how she squares this endorsement with her position prior to exiting the race that Romney “cannot beat Obama.”  This may be the beginning of the big push to get everybody to rally around Romney, with Newt Gingrich having suspended his campaign officially this past Wednesday, and it may leave some number of conservatives in the lurch, including me, because I’m really not interested in endorsing Governor Romney.  On the basis of the adage “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” I find I’m in the position that I have no choice.  I’m not the sort to tell people how to vote, as I would rather make my arguments and leave people to decide on their own, so I’m rarely inclined to “endorse” anybody.  Naturally, as you might expect, any sort of “endorsement” I might offer will be fully justified in the context of my arguments, unconventional though it may be.  In order to explain myself, I need to catalog my reasoning:

Mitt Romney is a spineless wonder when it comes to confronting not only the left, but also the media.  He stays away from interviews he thinks might go poorly for him, considering the particular outlet, and this makes him positively disgusting in my view.  I have no problem with a candidate avoiding a liberal outlet on which it is believed a fair shake will not be offered, but to avoid interviews on conservative shows is another matter.  In virtually every issue over which there exists controversy, Willard remains aloof until the dust settles, never staking out a firm position until the outcome is already settled.  Remember the Debt Ceiling debate?  He had nothing of merit to say until it was over.  Remember the issue of Eric Holder and “Operation Fast and Furious?”  While others called for Holder to step down, and still others called upon President Obama to fire the Attorney General, Mitt remained quiet about it until the evidence was completely damning, and Holder had been criticized broadly.  That’s Mitt Romney’s leadership style, and if you’re going to replace Obama, you might just as well get somebody who joins President Obama in “leading from behind.”

Mitt is the father of Romneycare, and Romneycare begot Obamacare.  If you’re a fan of socialized medicine, this is your guy!  If you like health insurance mandates, and if you really love the notion of death panels, you have found the guy who brought this system to America.  He won’t repeal Obamacare, although he may tinker with it a bit, and if you’re into big government programs, the Republicans couldn’t have picked a better nominee.  Mitt Romney is the son of a liberal Republican archetype, so none of this is really a surprise.

Mitt Romney is a loser.  That’s what Republicans do when they nominate liberals only barely disguised as conservatives, and if you liked the Bob Dole campaign of 1996, you will absolutely love Mitt Romney’s.  He’s been endorsed by a whole slate of Bush-clan members, minus the most recent President Bush, and he’s the establishment’s chosen son.  If you liked the communitarian policy preferences of George W. Bush, or for that matter, his father, you’re going to love Mitt Romney.  If you want somebody who will carry on the Bush dynasty, throwing occasional bones to conservatives while holding court with a bunch of liberals, there has been no finer example of the type seeking the GOP nomination in 2012.

Mitt Romney is not a conservative, despite the pretense, and while the media will do its best to portray him as such in order to attack conservatives, the simple truth is that he’s more inclined to be one of theirs than one of ours.  He will be hammered by the press as a member of the elite, and a rich Wall Street guy, who is out of touch with mainstream America, working-class America, and so on.  He fits the template of the candidate against whom Barack Obama most wishes to run.  He relies upon his own version of Alinskyite tactics, since his father George Romney thought Alinsky was a peach.  We don’t need to worry about Mitt Romney dredging up Saul Alinsky in this campaign, and raise any issues that might be uncomfortable for Obama.  Isn’t that swell?

Of course, if you like failed campaign tactics, consider what Mitt Romney has employed throughout the primaries.  He and his supporting cast of super-PACs have absolutely demolished every opponent, by running dishonest attack ads to a degree I believe is unprecedented in Republican primary campaigns.  He has managed to demoralize conservatives to a degree that some will simply never vote for him, and that means he’s placed his own election chances in serious jeopardy.  His strategy rested upon ad buys that outspent his opponents by as much as twenty to one.  Of course, nobody in the media is asking how this strategy will translate to a general election campaign, when he will not have such an advantage over Barack Obama, and besides, he won’t want to offend any moderates or liberals.  Offending conservatives is fine where Mitt is concerned, but one simply mustn’t offend the left.

Considering all these reasons, I therefore believe it is nigh on inevitable that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee and candidate for President, and he will almost certainly, inevitably lose the contest to Barack Obama, barring some completely unknown factor.  Of all the Republicans the party could have chosen to best and most thoroughly lose the coming presidential election, I believe Willard “Mitt” Romney is absolutely the most thoroughly qualified.  It’s clear that the party establishment intends to lose this election, so that they can put up another insider, perhaps another Bush, and Mitt Romney makes the perfect place-holder.  He’s safe.  He stands little or no chance of victory, and that will clear the path for Barack Obama’s second term, and an incumbent-free oval office in 2016.

Since it’s fairly clear to me that the GOP establishment wants to lose this election, as is clear by its “inevitable” nominee who at last seems to fill that role, I believe I will support the Republican party in its goals.  They didn’t want conservative support, and they tried to close off conservative participation, and I am in the mood to grant them their wish.  Many conservatives aren’t excited about a Romney candidacy, because they know even if he were to win, they will spend the entirety of a Romney administration not battling liberals, but instead in a constant battle to prevent Romney from going along with the left.   Even if Mitt Romney manages to beat Barack Obama by some cosmic comedy of errors on the part of the Obama team, he will have done so without my help.  It is with this in mind that I do hereby heartily “endorse” Mitt Romney as the next liberal Republican presidential loser in a long string of them.   Those who have more recently joined the Romney camp may find my “endorsement” somewhat lackluster, but after all, as a conservative, I believe in accepting responsibility and doing things right, so if we’re going to lose, we might just as well lose big.  It’s the least I can do.

Conservatives may eventually hop aboard the Romney bus, but if and when we do, we will be riding on the roof, and we know it.

 

Note to Readers: My apologies for the lack of posts lately. Between the recent death of my father-in-law, the Spring work on the farm, and a difficult and lengthy project at work that is consuming between twelve and fifteen hours daily, seven days per week, I’ve been unable to post so much as normal.  I expect that by the end of May, the bulk of the farm-related efforts will be complete for the season, and by mid-June, the project at work should be complete.   There will undoubtedly be occasions upon which I am able to post more in that period, but it obviously hasn’t been this week.

Romney’s Stunning Hypocrisy

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

 

How Different Is He Really?

This is the second time in a week that Mitt Romney has said something on the campaign trail that I thought sounded suspiciously familiar.  Both remarks were in the context of Barack Obama’s “hot-mic” incident with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.  In both cases, Romney asserted that Barack Obama is hiding his true agenda from the American people, but the problem is that while he complains about Obama’s stealth agenda of radical leftism, and that Obama is just trying to fool Americans into voting for him by sounding more centrist, he’s merely holding off his real agenda until he can secure the election.  The problem is that with respect to conservatives in the GOP, Mitt Romney is doing precisely the same thing.  If he can secure the nomination, Romney will be moving a good deal to the left himself.

In describing Barack Obama on Wednesday, from the Reuters report, Romney said:

“He is intent on hiding. You and I will have to do the seeking,”

Many conservatives will read this and will wonder immediately why it is that he has been hiding from his true record as a liberal Republican from a deep blue state.   It’s not that Obama isn’t hiding, but that Romney is also in stealth mode during this primary season too.  Romney’s dishonesty about his own agenda will make it difficult for him to make these arguments about Barack Obama with anything like a sense of moral authority, because he’s guilty of the same thing.

We already know that Mitt Romney will abandon his positions that sound vaguely conservative, thanks in part to Pam Bondi and others, because he intends to re-reform health-care in his own image.  He will set up a very similar system to that which exists under Obamacare, and indeed exists in Massachusetts, probably minus the mandate.  If he manages to get the GOP nomination, he will begin to quickly separate himself from the so-called “hard right,” although in truth, there is no “hard right” politician in this race.  In fact, I dare say there are not many “hard-right” politicians in the country at the Federal level.

What this exemplifies is the art of “positioning.”  Romney has been using the image as a “Massachusetts Moderate” to attract votes in very blue states in which he has won, and while he occasionally remarks on being a conservative, as readers will have noted, it’s not been a very passionate sort of claim.  Even those tepid claims will be discarded when the general campaign arrives, should he happen to be the nominee.  Of course, we’ve known he wasn’t sincere since he described himself as “severely conservative,” because the negative connotations of the word “severe” in association with conservatism is a view held by the left and by liberal Republicans. Mainstream conservatives don’t consider themselves “severe” in any respect, and this phrase by Romney offers us a bit of insight into his real views.

For this reason, it’s a bit astonishing to see him make these claims about Obama.  It’s undoubtedly true that this President is attempting to hide the radical nature of his agenda, but that’s not exactly new.  What’s new in all of this is the disingenuous nature of Romney’s attack, because for all intents and purposes, he is doing precisely the same thing to conservatives at present that Barack Obama is doing to the broader electorate. Romney isn’t conservative, any more than Barack Obama is a moderate, and in point of fact, there are fewer points of separation between the records of the two men than either might wish to admit.

Romney is definitely misleading conservatives, whether mild or “severe” in their conservatism, because he needs votes from that segment to secure the nomination.  It is much the same as Barack Obama’s attempt to capture independents and moderates:  It’s a lie, and it will bear no resemblance to how he runs a general election campaign, or how he will govern.  Mitt Romney isn’t a “severe conservative,” but instead a severe fake.  April will be a month in which Romney gains many delegates in blue states, but he should not be permitted to get to 1144.  If Mitt Romney can call out Barack Obama’s intended deception in hiding his true agenda, I believe conservatives should waste no time in pointing out that Romney is engaged in a similarly disingenuous appeal.  Mitt’s no conservative, and if he secures the Republican nomination, the “Etch-a-Sketch” will be shaken, and conservatives who had been fooled by all of this will see how severe the deception had been.

And it will be too late to do a damned things about it.

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The Insufferable GOP Establishment Is Now Whining

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The Establishment Fears You

An article appeared in the Tampa Bay Times that should strengthen your resolve and hearten your efforts to defeat the Romney machine.  It’s titled Analysis of Rubio-Bush-Ryan Plan to Stop Rick Santorum,  and if ever you wanted to know what it looks like when the GOP establishment crowd is made to sweat, this is it.  The author, Marc Caputo, fairly gushes over the three well-known GOP politicians Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Paul Ryan.  When an article starts out this way, you have to know that it’s a real sob story:

Marco Rubio sounds worried. So do Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan.

Their candidate, Mitt Romney, is losing to President Barack Obama. The GOP primary is becoming “counterproductive.”

The assumptions made here are sickening.  First, there is the entitlement mentality, that suggests these guys have some right to expect their candidate to be the nominee.  What they know is what you should already know:  Romney’s presumed nomination is in trouble, as they’ve looked at the numbers and realize that 1144 delegates could be out of reach if Rick Santorum can make it through the month of April and into May.  The article acknowledges what I’ve been reporting about a potential brokered convention too:

“They are saying the only way they can win this race is by having a floor fight in Tampa in August,” Sen. Rubio said Wednesday of the “recipe for disaster” on Fox News. “I think that’s a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama. And our country — forget about the Republican Party — our country cannot afford that.”

Senator Rubio is simply wrong. A floor fight isn’t a recipe for disaster unless you’re a Romney supporter.  They way the establishment has controlled, manipulated, and rigged this process is a disaster for the country.  A real recipe for disaster in November would be for Mitt Romney to lose the election because he is incapable of positioning himself to defeat Barack Obama in any argument in a general election.

Predictably, this is where the article turns its attacks on Santorum, prefacing the assault this way:

“It’s as if Obama’s campaign is writing Santorum’s attack lines about how Romney is virtually indistinguishable from the president.”

Really? It’s as if a DNC ad-man wrote the article.  Media bias is what it is, but I have tired of people purporting to be part of News organizations, posing as journalists of some sort who make statements like this:

“If Romney loses Florida, he probably loses the election. If Santorum stays in and wins the huge Texas primary May 29, it’ll continue to make Romney look uninspiring and like the weakest of frontrunners.”

Note to Mr. Caputo:  Mitt Romney is uninspiring.  He is the weakest of front-runners. He won’t win Texas.  Of course, the absolutely most laughable part of this whining, pathetic plea is this:

“Santorum and Gingrich bear some responsibility for Romney’s problems. So does gaffe-prone Romney. Also, this poll and others indicate that the GOP’s stances on contraception and abortion have hurt the party’s brand among women and independent voters. The improving economy has worked against Romney and in Obama’s favor as well.”

It’s Santorum and Gingrich who are to blame for Romney’s inadequacies?  Mitt Romney has spent tens of millions of dollars on ads absolutely hammering his opponents, and we should blame his opponents for his unpopularity and his continuing inability to sew up the nomination?  Caputo’s article concludes with a plea that should embarrass anybody who is actually in the news business:

“Will Santorum give Romney the chance to make that case in time?”

Mr. Caputo should understand, as should the whining GOP establishment: Conservatives have no obligation to cede the race to Mitt Romney, or make it easier for him, or in any way enable his candidacy.  He hasn’t shown any inclination to get out of their way either, and I want to know only one thing from Mr. Caputo and those like him:

“Will Romney give Santorum and Gingrich the chance to make the case against Barack Obama in time?”

No? Then shut up and fight.

You’ll notice how the idiotic questions they pose for conservatives are never offered to the establishment.  They hope sincerely that we will not notice the fact that every question of this sort that they throw at conservatives could be turned around and thrown right back.  For instance, they are always demanding:  “But you will support Romney if nominated, right?”  I have yet to hear anybody in the big media ask Romney: “But you will support Santorum, Gingrich, or Paul, if nominated, right?”  Of course we won’t hear that question, because it would imply Romney could lose.  Newsflash:  He could lose.  Caputo’s article is proof of that fact.

 

 

Move to the Back, Sit Down, Shut Up, and Vote Like We Tell You

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Do They Only Want Our Votes?

The message of the GOP establishment is clear even if they soften it slightly behind flowery language.  If you’re a conservative, the only way to get a seat at their table is to surrender your principles in exchange.  Join up, and they will throw you a bone or two, and if the Republican establishment sees you as a candidate who could be elevated, they’re apt to offer to help “bring you along” as an up-and-comer.  They don’t view themselves as “RINOs,” because it’s their belief that they are the core of the Republican party.  Now they’re telling conservatives that this race is over, and they’re now in a full-court-press mode, asserting that now is the time to unite behind Mitt Romney.  They fear a brokered convention, and all of this talk about “uniting behind Romney” is aimed and shutting this down before a floor fight at the convention becomes a reality.

I’ve asked the question before, but let me ask it again:  Are conservatives prepared to sit down, shut up, and do as they are told?

The problem rank-and-file conservatives face is simple:  They don’t have the monetary resources to back a candidate like the establishment can.  Instead, they express their support by showing up, voting, working as volunteers, and doing what they can by means of their efforts.  They don’t make thousands of dollars in donations, and they’re not able put up a flurry of cash in support of a campaign, so what frequently happens is that they field a candidate or two who are underfunded and unable to make their way into the fight.  Worse, since the establishment of the GOP will always have at least one well-funded, supported candidate, what they are able to do is dominate the process despite the fact that their candidate is not particularly popular with the majority of the party.   This is our situation now, and all too often, it’s the situation in which conservatives find themselves by the time the convention comes along.

The party establishment may deny their own existence, but it’s undeniable that they have the ability to push a candidate that suits their aims, and all too frequently, that candidate is like Mitt Romney, who is not a conservative, and not widely accepted as such.  Instead, the establishment must cajole and convince conservatives into supporting their guy, because the truth is that the one thing their money can’t buy is the votes of conservatives.  Votes are the commodity they need, and it is the only bit of leverage the conservatives in the Republican party possess, but the frightening truth is that they are often placed in the position that they must choose between voting for whomever the party establishment chooses, or withholding their votes altogether.  Many view the latter as unconscionable, and so they dutifully troop down to the polls to surrender to the establishment on election day.  This tactic is effective to a certain degree, but it hardly solves the problem because too many conservatives simply will not be goaded that way.

The GOP establishment’s answer is ever the same:  “If you don’t vote for our guy, you’re the problem.  You call us RINOs?  Where were you on election day?  It’s your fault we lost the election because you didn’t show up.”   I reject this argument in its totality, because what it asserts is no different than the argument sorry competitors in any market will make to excuse their own failures.   Imagine you’re the head of General Motors, and you’re trying to get customers for your latest product, the Chevy Volt.  If consumers don’t buy it because the car has made a bad first impression, is heavily subsidized by government, is ultra-expensive even with the subsidies, and worst of all, has practical problems that make it worthless for 90% of American drivers from the outset, you might well blame the customer, but that won’t bring you success, and it won’t help your bottom line.  Your only option is to destroy your competition so that consumers have no choice but to buy your product since there is no alternative.

This is the problem the Republican party suffers when it insists on nominating candidates who are in many ways incompatible with the views of most conservatives.  Mitt Romney is a liberal Republican, and there’s really no disguising this, and while those in the establishment hate cultural conservatives, they also know they need their votes to win.  You would think that at some point, the establishment would catch on, but I submit to you that they have on occasion.  George W. Bush maintained an image of having moral views more compatible with cultural conservatives, and that’s why they helped elect him.  In stark contrast, however, we have Mitt Romney, who in substance is no worse than George W. Bush, but for the fact that he is not palatable to cultural conservatives.  If he were, Rick Santorum would have long ago been put away, but the problem for Romney is that he’s not even capable of convincingly faking it.

The other problem conservatives face is that the establishment would just as soon lose as nominate a conservative of any description to the top of the ticket.  They’re not happy with conservatives generally, and the reason is that they favor a progressive polity that is more in line with FDR’s than Ronald Reagan’s.  For those in the Republican establishment, Barack Obama may be bad, but Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain would be infinitely worse.  The very idea that these should have any chance is more a matter of the establishment humoring the conservative base in order to permit them to believe they’ve actually had some say. The idea laid upon the table by the establishment is that at some point, conservatives must become more ‘practical’ when those choices disappear.

In the last few days, the establishment has begun to push the narrative that “it’s all over, and it’s time to begin to focus on Barack Obama,” but I don’t see why we cannot do both.  I do not accept the notion that we must cast off our alternatives to Mitt Romney simply on the say-so of the Republican establishment, and I’m not even slightly influenced by their insistence that it’s now time.  Americans don’t really begin to pay strong attention until the conventions anyway, so I don’t understand the rush to close off debate, except that they fear a floor fight in which the establishment candidate might not prevail.   For me, that’s all the more reason to continue to have the fight within the party, because at the end of this trail, however it ends, it’s we who will have to live with it, but also with ourselves.  The establishment will say that it had been our fault if their candidate gets the nomination, but fails to win in November, either because we had forced a brokered convention, or having had the establishment candidate shoved down our throats, instead simply walked away.  If they give us the Chevy Volt of candidates as our only choice, I don’t see how they can dare to complain if we aren’t willing to be electrified. Whose fault is that?  Ours?  Or theirs?

Yes, I Still Support Newt Gingrich

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Still with Newt...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Why a Brokered Convention Offers Conservatives Real Hope

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Should We Fear It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

While “Etch-a-Sketch” Is Sinking In, Romney Is Sinking

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

How Much Damage?

As conservatives and Tea Party types begin to realize the full meaning of “Etch-a-Sketch,” the first gaps in Romney’s armor have begun to show.  Wrapped in a suit of campaign cash and superPAC support, Mitt Romney has been able to fend off almost every charge against him by virtue of a strategy of non-response combined with a campaign of big money advertising hammering his opponents.  At last report, he was outspending Rick Santorum in Wisconsin by a ratio of 50:1, but the problem for Mitt Romney is that all the money in the world won’t save him from the “Etch-a-Sketch” remarks of his Communications Director Eric Fehrnstrom on CNN.  That video has gone viral, and in its wake is a roiling sea of doubt: Is Mitt Romney faking his way through the primary season as a conservative?  Romney’s camp is quietly scrambling to undo the damage, but this horse in this story has escaped the barn.

Naturally, the first option for the Romney campaign was to redirect the controversy onto somebody else.  Rick Santorum’s remarks served as the outrage to which the Romney camp could point in desperate distraction mode, and for a time, it seemed that the theme would gain traction as a few people decided to carry his water, but the problem is that pointing at Santorum’s remark does nothing to blunt the impact of Fehrnstrom’s remarks.  After the mini-Jihad against Rick Santorum began to fade, the question voters still faced about Romney hadn’t been shaken out of existence in the Romney campaign’s etch-a-sketch play.  This has been the object of the Romney campaign all along, and while some may have missed the point at first, they’re now coming back to it, because if the truth is told about this fiasco, the problem for Romney is that the minds of conservative voters aren’t like Etch-a-Sketch drawings after all, and as annoyed as some may have been with Rick Santorum’s remarks, it’s nevertheless true that the impetus for those remarks has not been erased.

Romney’s negatives have been on a steady climb for some time, and this is beginning to present a real problem.  This is the reason the GOP establishment is on a full-court press to stop the conversation, and pull the plug on further debate.  This week, they played their big cards in this deal, throwing the Jeb Bush endorsement out along with a statement that it’s time to consolidate and coalesce, and while he didn’t fully endorse Mitt Romney, even Jim DeMint(R-SC) began to sound the tones of bringing this campaign season to a speedier conclusion.  The party simply does not want the primary debate to continue, because with each passing day, despite gaining a few more delegates, Mitt Romney has begun to take on the appearance of a candidate without the conservative horsepower to bring along the base.  If he can’t do that, he can’t win in November, and the GOP establishment is acutely aware that while he may get the nomination, his prospects for victory are slipping away.  Their nightmare scenario is a brokered convention, because they may not have enough delegates on the first vote to bring this to a speedy conclusion, and if they don’t get them then, it is entirely possible they never will.

What Romney had needed this week was a knock-out punch on Santorum, but instead, what they managed was a self-inflicted wound that they rushed out to cover up with a counter-attack on Santorum.  In the waning of the furor over Santorum’s indelicate remarks, the problem remains that all the talk about Santorum has done nothing to reduce the effect of the “Etch-a-Sketch” problem, and now even Charles Krauthammer has weighed in on the damage:

The fact that Krauthammer sees the damage plainly should tell you about the impact the “Etch-a-Sketch” remark is having, but you may also notice that Krauthammer places the blame on Romney’s staff.  While it’s true that Fehrnstrom’s description of the campaign as like an “Etch-a-sketch” was in poor form, it’s really not Fehrnstrom’s fault.  What Krauthammer seems to lament most is not the facts that underlie the remark, but that the remark slipped out there in plain view.

In this sense, Krauthammer misses the real point of this episode, and it’s one the conservative base of the party isn’t missing: Mitt Romney evinces no solid core of beliefs, and his half-decade long campaign for the Presidency is built on many instances of shaking up the Etch-a-Mitt. Romney’s positions on various issues have changed, re-shaped, “perfected,” and re-drawn so many times that conservative voters have suspected this all along, and all Fehrnstrom’s comments to CNN did was to solidify that impression, and it’s not so likely to be erased by a gentle or even vigorous shaking.  Krauthammer’s real disappointment here is that Fehrnstrom spilled the beans, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about the facts that support the disclosure.

This should offer you a bit of insight into the mechanics of Washington DC.  Krauthammer is more concerned with the impression it leaves than the fact that it seems to be true.  This is how everything in Washington is viewed:  Through the sorry, distorting lens of politics. It’s not a question of what an event means in fact, but what impression it will make.  It’s not a matter of what is truth, but instead  merely a concern over how a thing is perceived.  Krauthammer isn’t exercised over the fact that Romney may indeed “Etch-a-Sketch” his campaign appeal if he obtains the nomination, but that his Communications Director would openly admit this is a mortal sin.   You see, the reason he isn’t bothered by the former, but is so disappointed in the latter is because he’s part of the crowd that knows this is what Romney’s about, and while they have worked to conceal it from the eyes of voters, Fehrnstrom’s little disclosure made plain what they have toiled to keep secret, or at least tamped-down.

This is a sort of admission that I wonder if Krauthammer won’t later regret, because it exemplifies what’s wrong inside the Beltway, not just in government, but in the sickening media that services it.  They don’t exist to inform you or keep you abreast of critical issues so much as to manage your opinions and tell you what should be important.  What Fehrnstrom has inadvertently managed to do is open a window not only into the Romney campaign, but also into the diseased mindset of Washington DC on both in front and behind the camera.  Krauthammer’s remarks prove it, but it may be too late.  If conservatives ignore this, Romney might  be able to pull off the nomination in spite of it all.  On the other hand, as Krauthammer’s commentary also demonstrates, it seems that conservatives have finally seen the cracks in the Romney facade, and there may be no filling them any longer.

 

 

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

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

How Many Secretly Agree?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Word From On High: Shut Up About Romney

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

He Wants Us To Shut Up

This is what is being pushed today in conservative media.  At first, I thought it was just me receiving emails urging me to begin rallying around Romney “for the good of the party” and “for the good of the country.”  Apparently, I’m not alone, and apparently, Mark Levin is receiving such emails too.  I thank those of you who sent me such emails, but I’ll give you my answer here, in the open: I have deleted your emails with extreme prejudice.  (That means that I deleted them, then undeleted them, and deleted them AGAIN…just for fun.) I actually printed one out that had been particularly annoying, and deleted it with a match.   The Romney Campaign does not pick the nominee on this blog.  Don’t email me as an activist for the Romney campaign, urging me to stop talking about Romney.  I’m going to talk about Romney’s extensive failings until he wins or loses.  I’m going to remind my readers of the truth about this candidate.  While a blog is like an “etch-a-sketch,” or like Mitt Romney(apparently the same,) I am not.  Conservatives don’t give up or give over that easily, and I’ll be damned before I’ll be prodded into it.

Even tonight on the promo for the 8pm-er (Bill O’Reilly,) he was hollering about “stop[ping] this stuff.”  I see.  When Mitt’s campaign staffer came out and shoved both hooves down his own throat on CNN yesterday, we should ignore it, get beyond it, and stop talking about it, but when Newt Gingrich said two words about Mitt Romney’s activities at Bain Capital, we should pile on for weeks on end.  Or, when Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife is trotted out to slam him by ABC News, we should talk about it for weeks on end.  When Rick Santorum mentions the evils of pornography as an aside, that should dominate the headlines and stories for weeks.  When Mitt Romney runs ads accusing his rivals of being less than conservative, while claiming he is, we should ignore Eric Fehrnstrom’s remarks to CNN.  I see…

Well, I don’t see!  I don’t see why Mitt Romney is somehow exempt, or why it is that the flubs and foibles of his campaign should be ignored, while his own operatives in media spend time hammering away on his opponents.  You Romney flacks(and I don’t here mean average Romney supporters, I mean his activist set) are full of yourselves lately, and it’s getting out of control, and there’s a reason your candidate’s negatives are on the steep incline: Your candidate has been repeatedly exposed as non-conservative, and yesterday’s remarks by Fehrnstrom are merely confirmations of what we’ve known.

It’s time to deal with reality. The conservative base of the Republican party doesn’t want another establishment candidate.  They may be divided over which of the others should be the anti-Mitt, but they’re sure it shouldn’t be him.  The reason is simple, and despite the cajoling, I’m not going away, and I’m not going to forget.  I’m going to remind my readers every time it strikes me to do so that Mitt Romney is fatally flawed.  Today, Barack Obama provided an example of what he’s going to do to Romney over health-care, and it’s why Romney will abandon the issue of Obamacare come the Fall campaign.

Get ready for it.  Get ready for it to be the issue Romney avoids like the plague, and Obama is already testing the waters of his campaign on that basis.  (More on that later.)  The thing to realize is that the Romney campaign and all of its myriad establishment surrogates are making a big push to kill this process off before they get to the states in which he’ll be weak.  More, the Etch-a-Sketch remark is doing substantial damage because it taps into what many conservatives worried about Romney from the outset: He’s ideologically flimsy at best, and I would argue simply vacuous.  While none of the writers who contacted me on Thursday on Romney’s behalf admitted or purported to be part of the Romney official campaign, I noticed none of them were subscribers to this blog either.  That’s the giveaway, along with the very narrow window in which all the emails arrived. Conservatives shouldn’t permit themselves to be bullied by the Romney campaign.   You can bet I won’t.

 

Why Romney Isn’t Resonating With Conservatives

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Fish Out of Water?

Why is it that every time somebody in Congress proposes a new way to attack our national spending crisis, Mitt Romney becomes more scarce than a California condor?  That’s the way it seems to go whenever there’s an opportunity for Mitt Romney to commit to something.  He’s trying to win the GOP nomination by avoiding controversy, but also by avoiding being pinned down on any issue.  Where he does take a solid stance, he seems first to assemble a committee to examine all of the ramifications.  People wonder why Romney can’t connect with solid conservatives, and I will tell you that this is exemplar of the problem:  Conservatives expect a Republican candidate like Mitt Romney to know what he thinks about an issue once the details are known, because he already has established principles that define his answer to the issue or question at hand.  This is where Mitt Romney continues to fail the conservative “sniff test:” He seems to have no core upon which he can rely to provide him the correct answers.

I don’t expect moderates to understand this, because in point of fact, they’re not politically oriented in such a way as to perceive this important distinction.  Theirs is a pragmatic view that admits  the inviolability of no principle. Put another way, for them, there is nothing that is outside the realm of negotiations.  The laws of economics?  Subject to political necessity, they’re irrelevant.  The US Constitution?  Subject to the political expedience of the moment, that too goes out the window.  In short, they’re predisposed to view issues first from a political perspective rather than a decidedly philosophical one.  This defines the behavior of moderates, including Romney, and it’s why without a focus group, or at least an advisory committee, Romney will not take firm stands on issues.

Let us try to see this from both sides of the clear divide.  I am a conservative, with libertarian economic leanings much in line with such scholars as the late Milton Friedman, or professor Walter Williams, to name two.  For me, the question of government-run or government-subsidized health-care is a no-brainer, and it translates immediately to my polity.  I hold the principle that the best determinate player in any economic matter is the consumer, who should always likewise be the payer.  My view of such programs as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obama-care is roughly this: I oppose all of them because they are compulsory systems that decide for people how best to dispose of their income and wealth.  These are the facts, and I can’t get beyond them long enough to bother much with the nuances of any of these programs. They’re all intrinsically evil, whatever political excuses one might make for them. They are all enforced by coercion and its threat, and that is enough to damn them irrevocably in my view.  I don’t need a focus group. I don’t need an advisory committee.  What’s wrong is wrong whether one person or one-hundred million persons support it.

This is not the view of the moderate, however, as their view is highly politicized, and almost always stealthily self-serving.  Theirs is a view that a majority will ultimately rule, so it’s suicidal to fight against them.  This is the sniveling view of those who falsely believe that humanity is collectively too petty to discern the difference between their long-term enslavement and their short-run benefit. They aren’t really interested in leading opinion, instead taking it as it is, but figuring out how to massage their public relations to best shape public opinion.  Moderates like Mitt Romney are obsessed with gauging opinions before making decisions, because they are unfailingly terrified of “being on the wrong side” of an issue,  and by “wrong,” what they mean is really “politically unpopular.”  They make great pretense about the needs of the people, but this is mere posturing for the sake of their own political hides.

This is the same crowd that will cheerfully point out that their way prevails, as evidenced by the fact that they are in power, where principled conservatives seldom win on a scale larger than a Congressional seat.  Notice that even their view of winning is jaded by the same notion.  They reference not right or wrong, but wins and losses.  This is a highly practical view, but it’s also deeply dishonest absent a guiding philosophy.  That guiding philosophy is what is absent from the likes of Mitt Romney, at least publicly.  He tells us he is a capitalist because he worked at Bain Capital, but his conduct as Governor of Massachusetts evinces nothing but statism.  What conservatives do not perceive in Romney is a man rooted in fundamental beliefs that will not yield, and this is a source of great consternation for conservatives, having suffered through the likes of Bush and Bush.

Conservatives were never altogether happy with either George the elder or the younger,  except perhaps in terms of national defense.  Even in that arena, however, the nation-building tendencies of both men remains the source of much dissension among conservatives.  Conservatives rightly view the United States military as an instrument of national defense, and believe that “nation-building” is a function in which it has no proper role.  The prospect of “nation-building” is a problem for inhabitants, and not for foreigners arriving to impose their own forms of governance upon them.  The conservative sees little valid purpose in expending American blood or treasure on the account of some foreign country with which we are involved solely because it had posed some threat to the American people, who had felt obliged to remove it.

Moderates, on the other hand, can make a case on a different basis, and it flows from their basic view that there exists a political solution for all problems.  This is not the case, in fact, and it’s why after more than a century of dominance by progressives in the Republican party machinery, the party is in such thorough disarray.  Any conservative who rises is quickly sent packing over the first inkling of a flaw, or the first hint of intractability on any issue.  The conservative base of the GOP is tired of being treated as second-class citizens, and this is why Romney’s troubles continue. If conservatives felt he was a solid conservative, he wouldn’t be experiencing this difficulty, but then again, he wouldn’t have the support of the party’s establishment either.

I’m afraid we may be shafted again, with another tepid Republican nominee, who must spend a good time gauging issues carefully before taking a stand on anything.  It’s the tendency of the Republican establishment to advertise such people as “conservatives,” hoping to fool the base.  Some conservatives may give up in desperation now, but it’s not an endorsement of Romney so much as a shrugging of shoulders to what has been portrayed and pushed and engineered as the “inevitable” nomination.  Even conservatives become fatigued, but in such an important election cycle, you would think with all that is at stake, more would make a firm stand.  Of course, there are plenty of conservatives who do, but perhaps not enough yet to stem the tide.

If Romney wavers or missteps, he may find himself in free-fall, and his tepid and careful manner on the campaign trail is evidence that he knows it.  He’s just one serious gaffe from falling by the wayside, but his entire campaign is engineered to avoid one.  Expecting Romney to change his stripes at this late date is a bit delusional, but the media keeps pressing the theme that he’s connecting better with conservatives despite all evidence to the contrary. Perhaps it’s time we ask the GOP establishment if they will commit to supporting our candidate next time, or whether they will insist upon putting up another cookie-cutter candidate or another Bush-clan connection.

After all, there’s no sense in waiting until 2015 to start thinking about who will be Barack Obama’s successor.  It likely will not be Mitt Romney.

 

 

Romney Wins Illinois; Conservatives Yawn

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Winning Another Blue State

Mitt Romney won in another deep blue state that he will never win against Obama, edging close to the 1144 delegates needed to sew up the Republican party nomination.  Romney continues to win in states where he’s likely to lose in November, while in states where he has a hope of winning, voters continue to turn away from the former Massachusetts Governor.  He had a clear victory in deep blue Illinois, but this raises a question about strategies:  It seems Romney is willing to alienate the South, generally, because he hopes in the general election this Fall, voters across the South will simply vote for him because he’s not Obama, but that’s not likely to get voters to the polls.  He can’t afford to lose in even one “battleground” state, like Ohio or Michigan, in which he had only slim margins of victory over Santorum, and in the South, where a Republican should be expected to win handily, there’s a fair chance he will have alienated so many voters that they simply won’t show up.

That would constitute catastrophe, not only for Romney’s electoral hopes, but also for the nation.  He may win the nomination battle, but lose the general election war.  It’s one more reason for conservatives to worry, and I think the worries are more than valid.  After all, the fact that he wins in blue states is slim consolation compared to the fact that these are states he cannot win in the Fall.  He may be the inevitable nominee if he and the GOP establishment have their way, but that says nothing of his campaign against Barack Obama.  The evidence may lie in the fact that this was the lowest primary turn-out in Illinois in more than seventy years, just a meager 24% in Chicago according to CBS.

If Romney doesn’t start winning some states across the South, or some of the remaining battleground states by convincing margins, he’s going to be a sitting duck.  I think the Obama campaign has known this, and they have understood his nomination strategy quite well.  It may successfully make him the GOP’s candidate, but it is unlikely to pave the way for victory in November.  Romney has a real problem, and his failure to consolidate the party around him at this date speaks to a level of dissatisfaction with his candidacy and record that is truly stunning. He cannot put the notion of a brokered convention to bed until he starts commanding the red states.

Some will surely support him in the Fall campaign if he does secure the nomination, but that’s not likely to heal all the wounds his negative campaigning has inflicted on the conservative base of the party.  There is a wider segment than most may imagine that will simply not feel inclined to cast a vote for him come November, and this would be a catastrophe, albeit one brought on by the GOP establishment.  Sure, they would blame conservatives, as per their usual talking points, but the truth is that for a change, the establishment ought to have allowed the competition to occur without its own agenda of manipulating outcomes. Blue state primary wins does not a Republican victory make, and at some point, Romney is going to need to have a moment of clarity on this matter.  He’s winning, but he’s not really winning in a fashion to invigorate anybody.  If he doesn’t, and soon, he may get the nomination but yield a second term to Barack Obama.

Santorum’s Southern Knock-Out

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Knock-Out in Deep South

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Glenn Beck Abandons Rick Santorum

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Beck Jumps Ship

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

Here’s the video, courtesy Mediaite:

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

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

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

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

Is the GOP Establishment Leading Us Over a Cliff?

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Here We Go Again?

With Super Tuesday just two days away, I have a question or two about the direction in which the GOP establishment is leading the party.  We have been told that Mitt Romney is “inevitable,” but even if we accept this notion, I wonder what it will mean for the country in the upcoming elections.  Mitt Romney’s unfavorability ratings have soared, and half of Americans now see him in a negative light.  We are told his organization is first-rate, but apart from the gobs of money he and surrogate SuperPACs are spending, I really don’t see where that’s having any impact.  When you break down his support by income group, Romney only carried one segment in his recent narrow victory in Michigan, and that is the group earning over $100,000 annually.  If most voters were in that group, one might not have reason to worry, but the problem is that most voters are not.  Take away that segment, and Romney lost Michigan to Santorum.  This leads to my question, and I’ve narrowed it down to just this: When the establishment of the Republican party tells us Romney is “inevitable,” my mind leaps to November 7th, and asks: “Inevitable defeat?”

Mike Huckabee hosted an interesting forum for three of the four candidates remaining on Fox News, Ron Paul declining to participate, and it was interesting, detailed, and permitted the small panels to ask the candidates questions directly, and have a real exchange with them.  At the end, they each gave a closing statement.  What I found interesting about this was that among them all, it seemed to me that newt Gingrich gave the most detailed, specific answers to the questions.  It was clear that he had a better grasp of the issues than the other two, and while neither Romney or Santorum fumbled badly, viewing each in isolation this way, it was clear from the perspective of a viewer, Gingrich clearly ruled.

There was some discussion that Romney came across as personable, but at one point, during the closing statements segment, it seemed perfectly plastic.  Mitt’s time had expired, and Santorum was walking up to take his place, and Romney, now on his way out, did the laugh and grab thing that seemed contrived, as he placed his hand on Santorum’s shoulder and so on.  It seemed out of place. It seemed contrived. It reminded me of when meeting with a group, including somebody who I know can’t stand me goes through these motions in an attempt to disguise the ill will, but must keep up appearances.

This is the sense that one gets about Romney, and while it may not bother some in the GOP establishment, since that is how they function anyway, it is a signature of the plasticity of Mitt Romney and the whole upper echelon of Republican party insiders.  There are a few who can carry this off but it’s an intangible thing one senses in an intuitive way.  If this is the best Mitt Romney can offer, I fear my question will answer itself.  As I replay the moment in my mind, what it evinces is a desire by Romney to force an impression of warmth that a dog kennel strapped to an automobile’s rooftop roundly disputes.

It is true at this point that Romney seems as though he’s in command of the delegate count, but that’s another issue in which I must object. Hard delegates?  Soft delegates?  Last minute changes to delegate distribution?  It seems to me that the whole question of delegates is so thoroughly muddied by all of the rule changes, and the manipulations makes the delegate count suspect in a variety of ways.  Put bluntly, I don’t see how the RNC can have a rule in place that says no contests may be winner-take-all before April 1st, but then permit them to be winner-take-all.  Something doesn’t add up, but I suspect I’m using the wrong formula, which is roughly: Whatever the GOP Establishment decides:  Sum equals “Inevitable.”

Of course, with Super Tuesday looming before us, it is entirely possible that even with his win on Saturday in the state of Washington, Mitt Romney will not carry all of the states contested.  Santorum may win in some, and Gingrich will almost certainly carry at least Georgia.  What emerges from this picture is that while Romney may indeed get to 1144 delegates, it’s not clear that this inevitable nomination will translate into a victory over Barack Obama.  With his negatives on the climb, he faces an uphill battle in which he may find himself portrayed as he is widely seen, even in the Republican party: Wealthy, out of touch, and hopelessly incapable of defeating Barack Obama.  In a world in which perception too frequently drives reality, this may spell doom for the GOP come November.  I ask once again: Can we afford an “inevitable nominee” who is widely perceived as capable of no more than  inevitable defeat?

 

Sarah Palin Talks to Fox News Weekend Live

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Governor Sarah Palin appeared on FoxNews on Weekend Live.  She discussed the field of contenders, and whether she would get out and campaign for the GOP nominee if that happened to be Mitt Romney.  They talked briefly about the HBO fiction called Game Change, and her PAC’s response to it with a video.   Then she was asked about whether she would accept a GOP nominee’s offer of the Vice Presidential spot on the ticket, and she threw a name into the hat for consideration as the GOP’s Vice Presidential nominee that many of you will find quite interesting.

Watch the video:

Mitt Wins Home State

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

He's Smiling - Are You?

Mitt Romney won handily in Arizona on Tuesday, and managed to pull off a narrow victory in Michigan.  While some are again saying “it’s all over,” I disagree with that view.  Romney would have done more for himself had he won Michigan as handily as Arizona, and this makes it anything but a deal-closer, with Super Tuesday only a week away, and Ohio being the biggest prize on the day.  He is trailing in Ohio, with Santorum in front, and there’s still a good chance that this goes all the way to the convention.  Romney doesn’t need to win, but win big, and he’s simply not getting the level of support from conservatives.

Conservatives remain unimpressed with Romney, and every time he gets the chance to stick his foot in his mouth where conservatives are concerned, he seems to bite down with zest.  This leaves us with a problem, however, and there’s really no way around it: The broad conservative base doesn’t trust Romney, and even if he is the eventual nominee, or somehow manages to win the presidency, it’s going to be with a minimum of conservative support.  While many conservatives are saying they will support him if he is the nominee, it’s said in the form of a shrug.  That will make for an uphill fight in the general election, and it’s not a position in which conservatives had hoped to find themselves only a year ago.

Romney’s record is spotty at best, and conservatives know it.  The conservative base has flirted with supporting a string of candidates as an alternative to Romney, but the truth is that they haven’t settled on one who they can support with the fervor they need to win at the polls. If this continues, Romney will wind up as the nominee, and if so, it will be a difficult campaign that will take on the appearance of going through the motions among conservatives.  As many have noted, there’s simply no reason to be excited about Romney, and if he’s what we’re stuck with in November, we may well lose.

I realize many are unhappy with the situation, but the truth is the truth.  If Super Tuesday comes and goes, and Romney is able to win the lion’s share of primaries, it may well be close to over.  The problem is, most conservatives aren’t thrilled at the prospect, but they’re not doing anything to demonstrate the ability to defeat him consistently.  They have jumped from one to the other to the next in perfect unison with the media talking points, and the only conservative who bucked the attempt to destroy him at all was Newt Gingrich, but only because it took more than one attempt.  If Gingrich doesn’t perform well on Super Tuesday, it’s hard to see how he goes on. While it’s still an open question as to who will be the nominee, the window of opportunity is closing.  We’re running out of time to mount a serious challenge to Romney, and Santorum is the top dog at the moment in that pursuit, but I’m not sure he’s the right one.  We have little time to rethink this, or face the prospects of a Romney candidacy, and a like second term for Obama.

Re-Run Romney

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Plateau: This High But No Higher

It seems as though everybody but Mitt Romney and maybe Karl Rove have noticed that Romney is now simply an obstruction to this process.  Here’s the dynamic, and it’s the thing you must understand about this nomination race:  It’s Mitt Romney versus a coalition of people who think he’s awful.  The majority of the party has been leaping from front-runner to front-runner to avoid Mitt Romney, and there’s good reason for it:  He’s not a conservative.  Conservatives  know what the GOP insiders seem not to have noticed:  We won’t defeat Barack Obama in 2012 with a warmed over 2008 re-run who will be unable to contrast himself with Barack Obama in any credible way.  Let me put it another way:  I know there is an element in the Republican party who thinks this guy can win, but the truth is that he can’t, and I can give you several very conclusive, take-it-to-the-bank reasons he will never be the President of the United States.

He has a history of governing as a liberal.  You need only examine his record in Massachusetts to understand that Mitt Romney is not going to motivate voters in battleground states.  Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will go for Obama in a big way because Mitt doesn’t do anything to get out the critical vote of the conservative base in those states, and without them, he’s toast.  He can’t win because he’s rightly seen as a squish, and a malleable Massachusetts liberal, and when people look at him, they think: “John Kerry.”  He’s a wealthy white liberal from a liberal state, and that’s an appeal that simply won’t fly with mainstream conservatives.  Sure, he’ll pull in the desperate anti-Obama vote, but he won’t pull hard enough at the margins, and when those about the middle compare him with Obama, and having voted for Obama once, they aren’t apt to change their loyalties at this late date for somebody they will see as Obama, but without the personality.

He will not do well in the South.  He may pull a large number of votes from those who detest Barack Obama, but he will not energize the conservative Christian base of the so-called “Bible Belt” to ensure victory.  If he can’t win in the South, he may well not win anywhere save Utah, where his religious affiliation will play an undeniable role with the overwhelming power of the Mormon Church in that state.  Basically, you can replay McCain in 2008, and strip away some of the states in the South that will under-perform for Romney in a way that will make McCain’s loss look like a near victory.  There is a certain element of distrust among some Christians about his Mormon religion, but that’s really secondary to their concerns about his long record of flip-flopping on issues of cultural import.  Most Christians in the South will go vote for him out of  a sense of patriotic duty, but the margins by which they will remain home is likely to promise not only a Romney loss, but a potential to lose the House as well if too many stay home.

Mitt Romney has no color or personality.  He’s flat in his delivery, and plastic in his verbiage.  He avoids “red meat” that is the stuff of firing up one’s base, and it is this critical problem that makes it inevitable that the base that already doubts his ability will tend to say to themselves come November 6th: “Why bother?”  He’s going to be dependent upon others on the down-ballot to get people to the polls, because his dispassionate manner sells like ice-cubes in Anchorage in January.  It’s also not likely that he will be able to gather much steam from his VP selection.  He may well make the cynical play by trying get Marco Rubio to join his ticket, but honestly, I don’t see that coming out well, in the long run, for Marco Rubio.

Romney is too cautious.  It’s part of the reason he comes across as bland, but one doesn’t need to take giant risks to stoke one’s electorate at least a little.  If this guy couldn’t bus in people to support him at events, as he has done a few times already, he’d be talking to mostly empty rooms.  He has the star power of a candle in a thick fog, and he has no imagination, at least none I can discern, and listening to one of his presentations is like going to the annually required equal opportunity briefing most companies hold in some form.  You’ve heard it all before.  You heard it last year.  And the year before.  And four years ago. And before that.  He’s like a bad television re-run that goes on an on, over and over, like the ten thousandth airing of Star Trek, the Next Generation.  You don’t hate it.  It’s better than everything else on at the moment, since you’re stuck here, but you know all the lines, and you know already how the story comes out.

Mitt Romney is a re-run, and to the extent that he is, he’s old hat, and there’s no chance whatsoever that the American people are going to replace a cultural icon, Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, with this boring, straight-laced, risk-averse man.  I think it was Tammy Bruce who I first heard put this in context, and at the time, it was part of the reason she saw Sarah Palin as the answer to the riddle on how to defeat a cultural icon.  You need another cultural icon, but unless you liken Romney to Gordon Gecko, which is exactly what the Democrats will do, there’s not one chance in a billion that Romney will ever attain that status.  Without that, and with no personality, he’s doomed, and with him, perhaps our entire nation, as Barack Obama’s wrecking crew only accelerates after a re-election.

Embrace it, and understand that what Gingrich has said on the subject is true:  Mitt Romney should consider getting out, particularly if he cannot win in Michigan.  It’s close, of course, but in truth, it should be a Romney blow-out, and that’s the one thing that it will not be.  Now, it turns out that one of his co-chairs in that state is caught in a scandal involving an  FBI probe.  This won’t help after one of his supporters in Arizona has been caught in an unrelated scandal, and with all this piling up, it’s not looking so inevitable for the Mittster just now.  Mitt won’t win in November, which is why we should make every effort to avoid nominating him.  He’s not up to the task, and frankly, we don’t need another re-run to know how this will come out.

“Re-Run Romney.”  He’s no better the second time around.

Limbaugh: Establishment Republicans Scared to Death

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Cultural Conservative v. Moderate

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Governor Palin on Power and Money

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

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

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

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

Brokered Convention Talk and Sarah Palin Create a Stir

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

So It Began

Eric Bolling’s hand was stretching across to Governor Palin to thank her for the interview at its conclusion, when my phone rang.  I answered, and the first words I heard were: “How do we have a brokered convention?” I explained it in broad terms to my friend, who was ready now to go to war with the GOP, Democrats, or anybody who might stand in his way. I heard the call-waiting beep, and I excused myself, and fielded the next call. “Did you see that?  How do we make sure that if there is a brokered convention, she’s picked, and not somebody else like Jeb?” I asked only: “Who’s speaking?”  My hearing is failing as I get older, and sometimes I can’t differentiate particular voices over the phone. Nevertheless, once I knew to whom I was speaking, we discussed the matter at hand. Everybody who called wanted to know how a brokered convention could be forced, or how it would work, and if it could really work at all.

This went on from the moment of the conclusion of the Bolling-Palin interview until late into the night.  Friends, associates, activists, and many others called me, and all of them wanted to know how to go about making sure of two things, and precisely two things:  How can we make sure there is a brokered convention, and how can we make certain that Sarah Palin is the choice?

I will tell you now what I told them in simplified terms, as I’m sure over the next twenty-four hours, we’ll see people with more facts on the specifics: It still all comes down to delegates, but not merely numbers of them, but instead also who will be those delegates.  To accomplish the reality of a brokered convention isn’t all that difficult in terms of the mechanics.  Simply put, you just need to deny 1144 delegates to any of the candidates, and the best way for that to happen is to spread them around.  If Santorum wins one, and then Romney wins one, and Gingrich wins one, and maybe eventually Ron Paul wins one, and this cycles around long enough to deny any that magic number of delegates, what you will have is a brokered convention.  That’s a fact.

The infinitely more difficult part is seeing to the outcome of a brokered convention.  If any of them are too strong, they will be in a position to wheel and deal for the support of another candidate’s delegates, but more than this, the GOP establishment will have a strong hand with at-large delegates and also because the number of at-large delegates will swell this year due to the early states holding their contests earlier than the rules permit.  Those states  automatically have yielded half of their delegates to the party, to be made at-large delegates.

There is also the question of who the delegates will be.  Having a bunch of Santorum delegates who would lean toward Mitt Romney in Santorum’s absence would be bad.  Of course, this is where we get into the weeds of process, because delegates are selected differently in the various states.  I would therefore refer you to those within your state who can explain it to you in the context in which your state’s rules apply.   The point is that a brokered convention becomes difficult in several ways, including the manner in which a nominee is eventually selected.

The real messy part is the inevitable floor fight, that is one of the reasons the parties try to avoid this spectacle before television cameras at all costs.  Here’s an article from the Washington Post that discusses some of the possibilities.  I point all of this out not to dampen anybody’s spirits, but instead to make sure you understand what the pursuit of this will entail.  For those of you motivated enough to carry it out, there will be pitfalls, and dangers, and no shortage of potential heartbreaks.  Is it possible? Yes. Will it be a snap?  Not a chance.

Of course, all of those who phoned me on Wednesday evening don’t seem to be the sort who will be easily deterred.  They have a goal in mind, and have had this one in mind for some time as one possible way to see their preferred candidate lead the party into the general election.  I can’t fault them, as I have harbored that same hope ever since Governor Palin made her announcement of October 5th.  Of course, in all of this, we should recognize we are a long way from a brokered convention, and while I would like to see it, as would many others, there’s no certainty that we will get one, or that even having gotten one, it will have the outcome we envision.  There hasn’t been a brokered convention in the GOP since 1948, and Dewey was the result.  It came close to happening in 1976, when Ronald Reagan almost upset Gerald Ford.  What you must know is that such an avenue is tricky at best, and dangerous at its worst, because much of it will come down to the delegates, and the character they possess.  If they’re interested in currying favor with party bosses, it could be trouble, but if they’re ordinary Americans interested in victory as the path to restoring the country, it just might work out.

Sarah Palin in the Belly of the Beast with Chris Wallace – Video

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

In the Belly of the Beast

On Sunday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin appeared in studio with Chris Wallace to discuss her speech, and also the primary race in the Republican party.  Wallace asked her to identify the establishment, and she did, but I found it delightful when she described being there in Washington DC as being “in the belly of the beast.”  While I am certain the Govenor probably wasn’t including FoxNews in her characterization of Washington DC, given the direction of Fox News lately, I really couldn’t agree more, even if she had.  As usual, she was not going to be pigeon-holed by media, and she turned each question back around on Wallace, who was clearly digging for the answers he wanted, rather than the ones she might give.

Here’s the interview, courtesy of FoxNews:

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An excellent interview, in my estimation.  There’s a reason that she remains the grass-roots choice.  Wallace two minutes of the interview by trying to ambush her with HBO’s movie, but he finished by talking about her article about Trig.

Romney’s Failing Strategy of Attack

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Where Will He Point Now?

For quite some time, Mitt Romney’s strategy has been to attack his opponents through surrogates, media shills, and advertising, but with few exceptions, while he has made a case against his opponents, sometimes less than honestly, he has failed to make a case for his own candidacy.  Conservative voters are not herded by fear in most instances, and while you can occasionally turn them off from supporting a candidate if you can create enough of a negative buzz, what will not usually happen in such cases is to drive them into your own arms.  This tactic works well when it’s a two-candidate primary, particularly with a mind-numbed lefty electorate, but in a four-way race with conservative voters, what can happen is what we have seen in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri: Mitt Romney has so thoroughly bashed Gingrich that he succeeded only in driving voters in those states to somebody else.  Gingrich lost.  Romney lost.  Santorum won.

I think part of this grows out of Romney’s reliance on tactics that might have been valid in a more liberal state like the one he governed, where he could not gain victory without at least enticing some of a liberal mindset.  In Massachusetts, there are certainly Republicans, but the conservative wing of the party is small and mostly ineffective.  On a national scale, this is not true, and Romney will not be able to beat one conservative down without another rising in his place.  Romney’s strategy may still get him the nomination by slow, steady attrition, but that will not win the general election in November when he will need the entirety of the nation’s conservative base out pulling his wagon if he is to have any hope of overcoming Obama.  You cannot repeatedly offend conservatives and expect them to energize on your behalf, and this is what McCain had done over many years, and his best move was to nominate Sarah Palin, which was almost enough to overcome the ineptitude of his own campaign.

Mitt Romney is not likely to get such a bump from any of those he might choose to be his running mate.  He may be stuck on a flat-line of a grudging support from some conservatives, while a fair number simply turn away in disgust.  I think the latter has already begun, and the fact that in Colorado’s loss to Santorum, where in 2008, he won by a huge margin, what you’re seeing is the beginnings of the tell-tale signs of this collapse in his support.  His lack of a clear message and a positive campaign don’t remind people of Reagan, and it doesn’t set him much apart from liberals.  To many conservative voters, it appears as though Romney is simply playing the slash-and-burn politics of the left, and most conservatives don’t really want any part of that.

Mitt Romney started this campaign season with every advantage: High name recognition, good financing, well-oiled organization, and the happy support of the establishment wing of the GOP.  Now his name recognition no longer matters so much, and it’s clear that he can be beaten even when he spends overwhelming sums of money, and the establishment is not so happy this morning as they view what could be the reason to yank the rug from beneath Romney, and either try to buy influence with one of the others, or simply bring in a ringer.  Just looking at the tone on FoxNews last night and this morning, it’s like people at a funeral trying to convince themselves that it’s really a birthday party.

Romney’s arguments about electability and consistency seem now to fade, as the electorate realizes that all of this “inevitability” talk had been the fanciful expressions of one who had been a legend in his own mind.  Romney’s not invincible, and hasn’t been, but the GOP establishment wanted you to believe this so they could put their guy out front.  Now that Romney’s been taken down a few pegs, it remains to be seen whether he will continue his strategy of slash-and-burn against his opponents, or instead re-engineer his campaign to accentuate his positives.  If I were a betting man, I’d wager on the former, if only because there’s so damnably little of the latter.

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

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Santorum Wins Big!

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

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