Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’

I Don’t Believe Conservatives Are Finished Just Yet…

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Credibility Problem Solved?

While tending to things in the aftermath of my father-in-law’s passing, word came to me that Rick Santorum had dropped out.  Conservatives have an opportunity, just one, to get this thing right.  Mitt Romney is a set-up candidate, and the fact that he’s now warning conservatives about Obama’s anti-gun agenda merely disguises his own.  I also heard a little about the Hilary Rosen flap, and I must tell you that conservatives fell for that one, hook, line and sinker.  The story was nothing if not a political set-up, and both Romney and Obama were happy for it.  For Obama, it gave him a chance to put Michelle Antoinette Obama “off limits,” and for Mitt Romney, it gave him a chance to rally the troops.  The speed of the Romney campaign response, along with the speed at which Obama and company threw Rosen under the bus was the dead giveaway.  Obama wanted a chance to put his wife’s conduct and any criticism of her “off limits,” but that’s not going to work any more than the Romney camp’s attempt to make some political hay out of it is going to help him here. I’m calling “BS” on all of it.

The throw-away remark by Rosen was just that, and another bit of political snark of the sort the Democrats will not restrain themselves from employing later.  If you’ve deluded yourself into the belief that the Obama campaign won’t go after Ann Romney in the general election campaign, let me assure you: They will be merciless.  What will happen is that nobody in the Romney campaign will go after Michelle Obama for her lavish vacations, her incessant meddling in nutrition policy, and otherwise interjecting her hypocritical views into the lives of we and our children.  Bank on the fact that a Romney campaign, as dirty as it is willing to fight against other Republicans, will show no such fervor against Barack Obama or his spouse.  What the Obamas hoped to purchase by throwing Rosen under the bus so quickly was a sort of temporary truce against spouses. They don’t want us looking too closely at Michelle’s expenditures and so on.  Why not?  Simply put, it’s scandalous how the current “first lady” has spent our money.  One need only examine how the Obamas have used their daughters as tax shelters by distributing income to them to understand why they don’t want to talk about the Obama family.  It’s a great racket they can make work so long as they have all the benefits attached to the presidency.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney needed the flap even more badly than Obama did, because he needed something to swing conservatives over in line behind him as a matter of defending his side of an argument.  Frankly, while Rosen’s remarks may well be offensive to some, to others, the ability to stay home to raise children in this day and age does smack of a certain “luxury” (the term Obama used to describe it multiple times) that most women do not enjoy.  Some women are bound to say “good for Mrs. Romney,” but there are many more for whom this plays directly into the notion of privilege and an inability to relate that has heretofore characterized Romney himself.  Fair?  Absolutely not.  Will it play a role?  Bet on it.  The emerging Obama campaign is one in which Romney will be painted as a born-to-wealth son of privilege who never served in the military, and whose five sons likewise never served.  The fact that Obama never served is immaterial to the argument they will make, and will largely succeed in advancing about the Romneys as out-of-touch and too wealthy to understand the concerns of ordinary Americans.

The “rally ’round Romney” strategy employed in response to Rosen’s remarks was not entirely unsuccessful, but it was also hardly earth-shaking.   The problem is that conservatives are more than a bit put off by the fact that one by one, they have watched the Romney machine destroy their favored candidates, only to now be thrust into the position of defending Ann Romney against the Obama machine.  Too many conservatives simply aren’t ready, but I expect there will be a number of such opportunistic appeals to rally ’round Romney in the weeks and months ahead.  Romney’s scorched Earth campaign against Gingrich and others prohibits me from feeling any sympathy, and I haven’t given up on Gingrich completely either.  Santorum’s withdrawal makes it harder if not impossible to stave off a Romney nomination, but it’s not impossible.

For my part, I have watched this from a place of detachment, caught up in my own personal issues of the moment, and it’s been easy to remain detached: I don’t like Mitt Romney’s negative attacks on Santorum, Gingrich, and the whole host of others inasmuch as they were dishonest attacks, and that’s part of why I don’t see much effective difference between he and Obama except the color of their respective jerseys, one red emblazoned with a big “R”, and the other blue and sporting a capital “D.”  If this is the best we conservatives can must in 2012, we will lose either way.  Romney isn’t likely to win, but even if he does manage victory, we’ll be confronted with an administration every bit as much composed of virulent statism as the Obama administration.  It’s hard to be enthusiastic about that, particularly as a conservative.  There’s still hope, slim and slimming as time goes on, but for now, and until further notice, I am on the Newt 2012 train.  Given the conduct of his campaign these last six-eight months, I’m not sure I can support the liberal governor from Massachusetts.  I think many other conservatives share my reservations, and that’s why some number of Santorum supporters are now shifting to Newt Gingrich.

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.

 

 

 

Gingrich is Right: Romney Is the Weakest Front-Runner

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Holding Out for Overtime

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

Here’s Newt Gingrich from CNN with Wolf Blitzed:

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

Trayvon Martin and the Politics of Division

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

I had decided to avoid this case because I could see that it was headed for inflammatory realms in which race would become one of the central talking points, and I don’t wish to be part of such vicious spectacles, or in any way add to the situation, but this has gone too far.  Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old, was shot and killed after some sort of altercation with George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, on February 26th.  Martin, an African-American, was apparently armed only with Skittles candy and ice tea, and the presumption has been that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch participant or captain of some sort who has a concealed hand-gun carry license, must have overreacted in the moment and shot Martin.

Initially, it was reported that Zimmerman was white, but it was later amended to reflect the reality that he is Hispanic. The political impact locally was immediate:  There was outrage.  Since that time, various political figures and operatives have stuck their noses into this,  agitating for their own agenda, the list of agitators sadly including the President of the United States.

At the scene, police let Zimmerman go because according to witnesses, it appeared to be the case that during the final moments of the incident, Martin was atop Zimmerman, hammering away at him with punches.  Zimmerman was battered and bloodied, and he had grass stains on his clothing indicating he had been on his back, defensive, when the shooting occurred. Witnesses have confirmed much of this account.  That has not been enough to stem the tide of racially-charged agitating going on in Sanford, Florida, and increasingly, around the country, as the con-artists who use such incidents to try to sew chaos in the black community have continued to work their worst.  It’s abominable, but it’s also sadly telling, because rather than attempting to calm things, President Obama stirred them up further with his own ridiculous remarks before heading to South Korea.

We will likely never know with absolute certainty what transpired, or how this went down in the moments leading up to Trayvon Martin’s death.  We will have the words of the witnesses, the 9-1-1 call, and the testimony of George Zimmerman, along with any physical evidence collected at the scene.  All of this is important in reconstructing those moments, but the suspicion among many is that Zimmerman was an overzealous neighborhood watch participant who went too far, but it is also entirely possible within the framework of the evidence disclosed thus far that Zimmerman is entirely innocent of any wrong-doing. After all, the cops had a dead body, and a smoking gun, and a shooter.  They had everything they needed if they thought Zimmerman had committed a crime to arrest him on the spot.  This is the reason for the outrage, of course, because there are those who are suggesting that there’s no way this could be anything other than criminal malevolence on the part of Zimmerman.

One of the other reasons I haven’t written about this is because I know passions are running high, but information is thin. I am not about to condemn Zimmerman who may have done exactly nothing wrong, nor am I about to cast aspersions on 17-yo Martin, who may well have been the victim in this case, but in any event lost his life in the event.  What I am going to say is what the Mayor, the Governor, and the President should have said, but in various ways failed to do:

We are a nation of laws.  We have the system of justice that permits the investigation, the charging, the arresting, the trial and the punishment of wrong-doers.  We must trust in this system to sort through the physical evidence, the testimony of witnesses, circumstantial evidence, and the whole body of what is known about this case in order that justice be served.  What we do know is that in the hours afterward, the police saw fit to let Zimmerman go.  His story seemed to check out, and after interviewing Martin’s father, they verified that the screams for help heard on the 9-1-1 recordings were not those of Trayvon Martin, at least implying that at some point during the altercation, Zimmerman was on the receiving end of the worst of it.  Then there was a gun-shot, and that all changed.

Could the discharge of the weapon have been accidental?  Was it while prone on the shooters back, being pummeled by the other?  If this is the case, and that seems to be the story the police have accepted, then whatever led to that moment, you have the lanky teen in command of the situation in the moments just before the trigger was pulled.  I’ve read remarks from people who immediately criticize Zimmerman for using a gun on an unarmed assailant, but I would like to caution those who throw about such loose talk because fists can be deadly weapons too, and to assume that because we’re talking about punches is no reason to assume that Zimmerman was in any less danger.  If I had a dollar for every person who has been beaten to death, I’d be able to retire comfortably tomorrow.  In such a situation, it really comes down to whether the person being beaten believes his life is in danger.  Once that belief exists, his actions thereafter may be justified, however he arrived at the situation.

This is one of the real problems with these sorts of scenarios, and it’s really not conducive to the sort of hyper-emotional talk that accompanies such events.  The event must be deconstructed on a time-line, and that’s critical to understanding who is to blame for what, and where the points of demarcation along the chain of events may be. Knowing how the two came to blows will be one way-point, while there may come another at which Martin gained the upper hand, and yet another at which Zimmerman came to believe his life was in danger, and used the gun.  All of this is a complicated thing to put together, and it’s not made easier by the charges of racism, or charges of bias, or all of the rest of it that agitators and media add unnecessarily to the sad story.  I think every person outside direct involvement in this situation who has commented about this to the press is an irresponsible ass.

I except only the family of Martin, understandably stricken with grief and shock, and the local police who must make some statement, but they may be constrained by laws and regulations concerning the disclosure of all evidence and testimony until the case is closed.  The family can say what they want, and they should, but at some point, it’s also up to them to try to gather all the facts.  If Martin had a hand in his own demise, they need to know it.  What annoys me about the press is that they will talk to the family in such a case and do everything they can to build on any controversy.  This creates unnecessary hysteria in the community, and leads to the sorry spectacle with which we are now faced, but it also brings them around-the-clock ratings bonanzas and for the enterprising local journalist, if the story goes national, it may be the chance to move up to food chain.  Don’t kid yourself:  For every sad story in which there is any controversy, there is a legion of parasites trying to figure out how to exploit the situation to their personal advantage.

Now enter the circus of hucksters and hustlers, who have nothing much to lose, but everything to gain from turning a sad situation into a circus.  The New Black Panthers are on the scene, as are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and while not there in person, but in spirit and in words, Barack Obama, President of the United States.  I feel badly for the community there, because what should have been a sad story that resulted in an investigation that concluded one way or another is now a politicized three-ring circus with every hanger-on and vulture one can imagine.  It’s despicable.  Four weeks after the fact, this tragic tale has become a spectacle into which people who have no actual interest in the case have inserted themselves for their own nefarious purposes.  I can scarcely imagine that the grieving mother of Trayvon Martin is in any way relieved or heartened by the New Black Panthers issuing a $10,000 bounty for the “capture” of George Zimmerman.  It will not bring back her son, and it certainly won’t serve justice.

Sunday, Director Spike Lee tweeted George Zimmerman’s home address, exhorting followers to spread it.  To what end?  Is Spike Lee now engaged in trying to foment a lynch mob?  If anything befalls George Zimmerman as a result, or his family, or his neighbors, as a result of this ridiculous behavior by Spike Lee, I sincerely hope they sue this ridiculous character half out of existence.  His intent is clearly malevolent, and violent.  What Lee is effectively doing is calling for violence, though he’s careful not to say it directly.  Providing an address in this fashion is simply a form of hooliganism that all should abhor.  If we had a responsible President, he would have said something to put a stop to all of this, but his agenda is not served by stopping it.  He wants the chaos.  He wants the agitating.  This is what he did for a living before he was an elected politician.  This is all very much right up this President’s alley.

Of course, you would think that some responsible person seeking the Presidency would say something to condemn all of this loose talk, and somebody did:  Newt Gingrich pointed out the bad behavior of Barack Obama in the matter.  On the other hand, Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor, actually piled on with the anti-Zimmerman rants.  As the former Governor of that state, you would think that he would have exercised the prudence of keeping his mouth shut until all the facts are known, but he couldn’t stay quiet about it, trying to ingratiate himself with whatever interests he thinks will one day serve him should he seek higher office.

“This law does not apply to this particular circumstance,” Bush said after an education panel discussion at the University of Texas at Arlington. “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”

The problem with this remark is that Bush isn’t any more aware of the facts of the incident than the rest of us.  He doesn’t have any special insight to offer, but the last part of this remark could be said to be inciting.  We don’t know how those last moments of Martin’s life went down, and Bush really had no business injecting the biased statement about “somebody who’s turned their back.”  This reminds me of the “The Cambridge Police acted Stupidly” remark of Barack Obama.  It assumes and implies what may be all the wrong things about this case, and ignores some of the details that are now widely available. His next remark,  however, should have been his only remark on the case:

“Anytime an innocent life is taken it’s a tragedy,” Bush said. “You’ve got to let the process work.”

If Bush has said this only, and left it there, it would have been fine, and in fact, that’s the sort of thing all our politicians should say when asked about this case, or any like it.  Of course, for his part, Bush was a relatively minor player in the fiasco, because when you consider the outrageously prejudicial remarks of President Obama, it’s easy to see how this circus got out of hand very quickly:

“When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” Obama said in the Rose Garden. “I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this. And that everybody pull together.”

“My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said. “All of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves.”

“Obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through,” Obama said. “All of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how something like this has happened.”

This is absurd because it was going to be investigated, and indeed, the investigation was well under way when he opened his mouth on the issue. It’s also true that this case is not really a federal issue.  I don’t understand what the Federal government is doing in this case unless and until the State of Florida and the local jurisdiction put in a call for assistance, or until somebody makes a charge to the Department of Justice claiming that somebody’s rights have been violated under the existing legal system. To then bring his own kids into this, or to make the remark about “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” is simply a disgusting appeal to race as a motive.  It’s either that, or Obama is so fundamentally narcissistic that he must translate every issue and problem into a personal one in order to understand it.  Either way, Obama’s remarks are an outrage in and of themselves, and Newt Gingrich, commenting on Obama’s behavior, was quick to denounce the remarks, again from Politico:

“It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background,” Gingrich said. “Is the President suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be ok because it didn’t look like him?”

They also reported this on his remarks earlier the same day:

“That’s just nonsense dividing this country up. It is a tragedy this young man was shot,” Gingrich continued on Hannity’s show. “It would have been a tragedy if he had been Puerto Rican or Cuban or if he had been white or if he had been Asian-American of if he’d been a Native American. At some point we ought to talk about being Americans. When things go wrong to an American. It is sad for all Americans. Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling.”

Here, the former House Speaker sounds the right basic theme, but I think it’s important for all of these folks to avoid over-politicizing the issue itself, and urge calm and remind Americans that we have a justice system to handle this, and that prejudging anything here absent all the evidence could lead to a tragic miscarriage of justice, one way or the other.  In the context of commenting on the comments, I see that as proper because this is to focus on the behaviors of those not even remotely connected to the issue who are clearly adding fuel to the fire.  On the other hand, those commenting on the situation directly absent the full results of the investigation, including all circumstantial and physical evidence, along with all available testimony are acting irresponsibly.

There are a number of people who can’t wait to jump in front of a camera or a microphone and do a good deal of indignant harrumphing about this case, but all they are adding to the situation is more emotional invective.  The correct  answer is:  Stop!  This situation cannot possibly improve by the  injection of comments from uninvolved parties.  That we now have the New Black Panthers offering a bounty and effectively calling for Zimmerman’s scalp, while Spike Lee tweets the guy’s address is a recipe for disaster.  The media shouldn’t give any of these jerks face-time, but they’re trying to push the story for the sake of ratings, but maybe also a political agenda.  Either way, the President, Governor, Mayor, Prosecutor, and anybody else connected with the administration of justice in any way with this case ought to restrain their remarks to the very basic: “No comment,” or “We need to let the system of justice work,” or “I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation,” and most importantly, “the system of justice cannot work when we have hooligans trying to incite violence or using violent rhetoric.”

The simple truth of this case may be that race had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.  The attempt by some to turn this into a racial issue is simply disgusting, as Newt Gingrich asserted.  This is an instance in which cool heads should prevail, but with a parade of hucksters, opportunists, and politicians with their own agenda in mind, the media has turned this into something it should never  have been while they overlook real cases in which outrage is warranted irrespective of the issue of race.  In the end, the evidence may show Zimmerman acted improperly, and if so, he will be punished, but if not, then there’s going to be a bad situation here because too many people are trying much too intently to make of this a spectacle for their own purposes.

The media reports in ways that simply boggle the mind, and as late as Sunday, I have seen one Reuters story in which the shooter was described as a “white hispanic.”  If this doesn’t demonstrate the lunacy of the media, and their firm commitment to getting the most controversial angle on every story, I don’t know what does. It is my sincere hope that justice is served for all involved, whatever that turns out to be once all the facts are known and all of the investigations are concluded, but not one moment sooner.  This sort of rush to judgment is dangerous, and it should be rejected by every American irrespective of race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or political affiliation. If we are to have a civilized society, it begins with the proposition that when something uncivil occurs, we must respond to it in an orderly fashion that permits rational examination of facts without bias.  Many of the agitators in this instance are trying to obtain the opposite result, but we must not permit it. It’s long past time for cooler heads to prevail. I expect our national leaders to reflect that sentiment.

 

 

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.

Newt Knocks It Out of the Park on the Etch-a-Sketch Candidate

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Re-Drawing Romney

I wasn’t surprised to see Newt Gingrich pick up this theme, but that he did it so effectively and on such short notice is really just another testament to his mental horsepower.  The former House Speaker appeared at a campaign stop just an hour or so after Eric Fehrnstrom made his remarks to CNN, in which he likened Mitt Romney to an Etch-a-Sketch.  Call it the gaffe of the day, or the confession of the year, but either way, Gingrich was quick to seize upon the moment and throw it in Romney’s face.  After a day-long media mocking, Romney came out Wednesday evening in a tepid response designed to blunt the criticisms, but Newt Gingrich captured the moment in explaining what this episode should strike a cautious note for conservatives.  Here’s the video:

Fehrnstrom really threw his boss into a shark tank with this one.  He’s been a Romney adviser since Romney took office as Governor of Massachusetts.  What this episode demonstrates clearly is that Romney is no conservative, and once he secures the Republican nomination, he is going to move to the left dramatically.  Gingrich is right to make sport of Romney over this issue, because in fact, Romney has campaigned against both Gingrich and Santorum as though he was the more conservative of the three.  I think this episode permits us to firmly dispense with that line of nonsense.  Kudos to Newt Gingrich for not dropping the issue so easily.

Why Newt Won’t (and Shouldn’t) Get Out

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The 'Cheerful One'

Jonathan Karl has an enlightening piece up on ABCNews.com covering Newt Gingrich and his reasoning for staying in this Republican nomination fight.  It’s a reason that makes a great deal of sense once you understand the former House Speaker’s rationale:  He wants to prevent a Romney coronation, with the GOP establishment riding herd over the rank-and-file.  There’s good reason for conservatives to want this too, because if there is an brokered convention, we’re far more likely to have a more thoroughly prepared candidate once the general election season begins.  The GOP convention is our last chance as conservatives to hold any candidate’s feet to the fire, and if we’re smart, we’ll make full use of the opportunity it presents.   It is not only true that Newt Gingrich won’t get out, but also true that he shouldn’t.

The establishment line has been that “a brokered convention will hurt the party,” or that “Mitt Romney will win anyway,” or that “conservatives should shut up and get in line.”  None of these are true, and for now, Newt Gingrich is carrying that banner.  Also, as I observed last week, there is no guarantee that if Newt gets out, that it won’t bolster Romney rather than Santorum, as some have contended, notably GOP establishment operatives who would love to see Gingrich out so they can focus all of their venom and negative campaigning on a single target.  Gingrich seemed to confirm this, according to Karl:

1) His vote gets divided between Santorum and Romney. A larger percentage would go to Santorum, but at least some goes to Romney, allowing him to accumulate more delegates; and,

2) Romney is then able to aim all of his considerable firepower at Santorum, destroying him with negative ads the way he twice destroyed Gingrich (in Iowa and Florida).

This may sound familiar to my regular readers, although we should note that Gingrich has done the math too, and while his road to the nomination is formidable, the way to defeat Mitt Romney for either Gingrich or Santorum is in a floor fight at the convention.  Some establishment Republicans fear the spectacle, but they shouldn’t unless they’re selling a pig in a poke to conservative Republicans. On the anxiety in the party, carried forth and broadcast by the press, Gingrich told Karl:

“This thing is going to go on. You guys need to relax and cover the most interesting nominating process in your lifetime,” Gingrich told me. “Be not anxiety-ridden, this is going to be good for America. This is a good conversation to have.”

He’s absolutely right.  Nothing is supposed to be smooth or easy about this process.  This is where we’re supposed to settle the differences in the party.  This is the time for conservatives to find their voices in the battle with the party establishment.  The establishment would rather the grass-roots and conservative base of the GOP simply shut up and play along, but that’s not we’ll defeat Barack Obama. We’re conservatives, and we shouldn’t expect it to be easy, or even bloodless in a political sense. If we have the strength of our convictions, we must fight this battle too, and unflinchingly.  Newt Gingrich is right: It’s a battle worth fighting. As the Daily Caller further details, while messy, a brokered convention is an important part of the process.  We came within a whisker of getting Reagan in 1976, as the Daily Caller details, and it’s something to consider when we look at what’s going on in this primary season, and how the GOP establishment is pulling out all the stops to prevent a similar scene.

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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.

 

Newt Tuesday?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Will This Be His Day?

In the hours before voting is set to start in Alabama and Mississippi, one can almost feel the tension.  Many believe the primaries in these two Southern states is the ultimate test for Newt Gingrich.  In fact, this could be seen as a serious test for any of the three leading contenders.  Rick Santorum would break new ground by winning in the South, perhaps consolidating his position as the anti-Romney.  Meanwhile, Mitt hopes to break new ground, because he’s had significant trouble in the South to date.  Meanwhile, the viability of Newt Gingrich’s candidacy is on the line in these two Southern states.  If he were to lose in both, it could be said that he is all but finished.  If he wins in one, but not the other, it will depend on who the winner is in order to sort out the meaning.  If it’s Santorum, it slams the door in Romney’s face.  If it’s Romney, it signals he’s picking up steam. This is going down to the wire, and Alabama and Mississippi may turn out to be the battleground around which this entire primary season turns.

I expect Mississippi to be the real point of contention, because Romney has support there in the form of Governor Haley Barbour.  Barbour served as Chairman of the RNC back when Newt was Speaker of the House, for context, so these two are well acquainted with one another, but Barbour has sided with Romney throughout the primary season.  Barbour recently ran afoul of Mississippians by pardoning some convicted murderers, and this didn’t sit well with many victims’ groups, and indeed families of the victims.  In the end, the State’s high court upheld the pardons after they were challenged, but sometimes, it’s not about whether a thing may be done, but whether it should be done.

Newt is leading in Mississippi in the polls, although only by the slimmest of margins.  Santorum is talking down expectations, apparently because polls show him shading toward third in both states.  Still, it looks like a virtual three-way tie, with all three men within the margin of error.  This will offer another nail-biter, particularly for the Gingrich camp that must get every voter they can to the polls, needing two wins more desperately than either of the other two.  If Gingrich does prevail in both states, this will change the character of the race somewhat.  Seeing a Gingrich ascendancy from what has been thought to be a doomed candidacy at least three times would be quite a feat, and it would speak to the resiliency of Gingrich as a campaigner.

These will be tight contests, and you can imagine that whomever prevails, it’s going to generate some sort of change in the race.  If Romney wins in either, it will be seen as a breakthrough for him, and if Newt loses both, it will be seen as the end.  If Gingrich can win one, he will be seen as still in but still the man on the bubble.  Santorum is the only one of the three who doesn’t get a terrible beating if he loses in both states.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that among these three, I’d pick Newt, and Rick, in that order.  That’s based on my view of who is more able to articulate conservatism, and who is better able to make the kind of dramatic changes we need in the way things are done in Washington.

I’ll say this much:  If Gingrich does manage to pull off wins in both states Tuesday, he will be seen as having gained momentum in the South, and if he can sustain it through the end of May, Texas will be a big prize that will move within reach.  If Santorum can pick up either state, he can legitimately claim a breakthrough in the South, but the same is true for Mitt Romney.  This is a real three-way race and that’s going to make the outcome all the more exciting in terms of the ‘horse-race’ aspects.  It’s Newt’s best chance to recapture the momentum, and if he does, this race will move from “all but over” to “it ain’t over yet.”

 

Why The Establishment Wants Gingrich Gone

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Out of My Way, Pal!

The GOP establishment wants Gingrich gone, and this explains why we’re now seeing a push in that direction. Naturally, Rick Santorum wants Gingrich gone, because he thinks that he will be the beneficiary.  This may be a mistaken notion, being pushed by the establishment because they know the truth of the matter: If Gingrich gets out, Santorum will be locked into a one-on-one fight with Romney that he almost certainly will not win. Voters shouldn’t be misled into the belief that what Santorum needs is a one-on-one contest.  Placed in that position, a large number of Gingrich supporters will migrate not to Santorum’s campaign, as the media establishment pretends, but choosing instead to migrate to the Romney camp, although perhaps grudgingly.

If you only watch the headline coverage, you might think the polls indicate that the anti-Romney vote is somehow uniform in its opposition to Romney, but apart from the fact that there are multiple non-Romney candidates, the divide is a bit more meaningful than the difference in preferences between chocolate and vanilla.  Many of the people who support Gingrich are of a mind to avoid candidates who seem “too religious,” as has been the knock on Santorum.  It’s not that they don’t have deep faith, or are somehow anti-religion, but that these are voters who believe that faith is a deeply personal matter that shouldn’t be continuously aired in public as the basis of governance.  They prefer a strong separation of church and state, at least in terms of policy, although they do not agree with policies and rulings that prohibit “in God we trust” on the currency, or a generalized, acute hostility to faith.

Santorum has been positioned as a candidate who wears his faith on his sleeve.  That’s not entirely fair, but in politics, perceptions are driven by images and soundbites, and the media has effectively portrayed him that way whether he deserves it or not.  For some fair portion of Gingrich support, this is not palatable, and if left to choose between Santorum, who they view as somewhat theocratic, and Romney who doesn’t talk so frequently about his faith, the withdrawal of Gingrich would likely provide just enough new grudging Romney support to permit Romney to defeat Santorum in short order.

The Romney campaign is well aware of this, and it’s why they focused so much attention on knocking off Gingrich in Florida. It also shows in its approach since Super Tuesday. Romney is not spending much effort on Kansas, but they are spending time in the South, where Alabama and Mississippi will hold their primaries Tuesday. It’s not Santorum that they’re worried about, because they know that if they can push Gingrich out, they will pick up more of the former Speaker’s support than will Santorum.  Too many Newt supporters view Santorum as more unpalatable even than Romney.

The GOP and media establishment knows this to be the case, and this is why one after another, they are coming along to tell us now is the time for the party to coalesce around Romney, by ditching Gingrich.  Notice that they do not urge Santorum to get out, or even mention him in this context.  Instead, they’re focused on Gingrich.  If they want Romney, you would think they would focus on his current top opponent, but that’s not the case in the media flurry of “Newt needs to go” pronouncements.

Rather than focus on Santorum, they are pushing for Gingrich to get out, and that should provide you all the insight you need to understand their real motive.  If Gingrich gets out, this contest will be as good as over.  The inevitable candidate will be the nominee after all, and the GOP establishment knows it. That’s why they’re even willing to see Santorum win in Alabama and Mississippi.  If Gingrich wins these two on Tuesday, he will remain a contestant.  If he doesn’t, it will likely spell the end for the former speaker. Whether Romney himself can win in the South, or Santorum makes no difference except in the short run.

I think Santorum is catching on to this aspect of his vulnerability, and by now he should realize that if Gingrich gets out, his own time on the stage won’t last much longer.  Too many conservatives will decide to jump aboard the Romney express, being wary of Rick Santorum and the impression the establishment media has cultivated about Santorum.  Some of it is deserved, and some of it isn’t, but that won’t matter if Gingrich exits any time soon, before Santorum will have had a chance to try to correct that record to the degree he is able. It will be a quick one-two blow and both Santorum and Gingrich should realize this and focus on Romney’s negatives, rather than pummeling one another.

 

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

Friday, March 9th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sarah Palin: I Voted for Newt

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

On Super Tuesday, Fox News talked to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  She was asked who she voted for in the GOP Primary in Alaska, and she was blunt: She voted for Newt Gingrich.  She explained her thinking, and she explained why she thought the Republican primary contest should go on.  She also referenced the behavior of the media, and its focus on other irrelevant issues, or distractions.  She pointed to the focus Newt Gingrich has placed on the energy question, and she made it clear that Barack Obama must be replaced if we are going to turn this country around.

Here’s the video:



Gingrich Speaks to the NRA – He Gets It

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Newt on the 2nd Amendment

If you missed Newt Gingrich when he addressed the National Rifle Association in mid-February, you missed a great speech.  He referenced history extensively, and explained the real meaning of the Second Amendment and its critical importance as a political right.  Gingrich did not mince words about the reason for the right to keep and bear arms, its origin, and its continuing relevance and application in our modern world.  It was encouraging to hear a politician say that he understands the new direction of the attacks on the Second Amendment being levied by the Obama administration and the institutional right.

This speech is a classic:

The idea that the Second Amendment is about hunting and target practice ignores the fact that the first purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is a political right, meant to keep government in check.  Yes, that’s right.  The idea of the founders is that by the guarantee of the Second Amendment, the American people ultimately retain the right to throw off a tyrant.  This is why every socialist on the planet, or in the history of the planet, eventually gets around to banning firearms: It’s easy to rule over disarmed peasants.  I am gratified to see that Gingrich has a thorough understanding of this aspect of our constitutional system of government.  His knowledge of history helps explain why this context is not lost on Gingrich, and it’s one of the many particulars of his candidacy that exhibits his qualifications for the job he’s seeking.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Newt Gingrich Demolishes David Gregory on Meet the Press

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Beat the Press

On Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC, David Gregory jumped directly into his interview with former Speaker Newt Gingrich and began by asking him about the  controversy involving radio talkshow host Rush Limbaugh and his use of the terms “prostitute” and “slut” to describe Sandra Fluke, the 30yo law-school student at Georgetown University who is also an activist for radical feminist views, and who supports the Obama administration’s mandate that religious institutions be compelled to cover contraception, contrary to their religious views.  He couched his question in terms of whether the episode had done damage, but he left open where the damage may have occurred.   Gingrich did not fall for the trap Gregory laid, and it should serve as an example on how to handle the press.

It is typical of the mainstream media to demand that one conservative answer for another conservative’s statements and troubles, but they also like to create a narrative that suits their own ideological ends.  Gregory attempted this same tactic with Gingrich, but as is made plain in this video, Gingrich doesn’t fall into the trap.  He presses through Gregory’s attempt, and states his own case, and in answering the question by restating the premise, he demolishes Gregory.  Here’s the video:

As you can see from this video, Newt Gingrich knows full well how to contend with the false narratives advanced by the media. I think that as is often the case, Gingrich succeeded in making Gregory look foolish for pressing the line of questioning.  If the Republicans are going to win in 2012, this is the way they will need to do it, and frankly, I see none more capable on the Republican side at the moment than Newt Gingrich.  In this exchange, it’s clear that Gregory was sent packing with his lame attempt to drag Gingrich into the controversy, or at least to use the opportunity to advance the leftist talking point.

I was also interested to hear the substance of the way Gingrich answered it, because he stuck to his own agenda in pointing out that Barack Obama is carrying on a war against the Catholic Church, and indeed all religious institutions.  In fact, many of the things he said are in close accord with the positions I’ve taken over the last several days on the contraception controversy, particularly with respect to the war on the Church.  He also mentioned Cardinal George, and that means Gingrich is doing his homework.  He’s studying the available information, and that he’s arriving at conclusions that are fundamentally in accord with conservative values is important, because it suggests that his growth as a candidate has been genuinely positive. Can Gingrich come back?  If this interview is any indication, it seems likely.

 

Gingrich May Be Staging a Comeback

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Up in the Polls

Wednesday evening, Hot-Air reported the results of a poll that seemed to suggest that while he has a long way to go, Newt Gingrich may be seeing something of a resurgence in support.  It’s minor, but he jumped two points in his Gallup Support Rating.  Part of this may be due to Rick Santorum’s failure to best Romney in Michigan.  Some of his comments during the Michigan campaign swing may have hurt him, and this may cause him some serious problems. If he can’t grab Ohio next Tuesday, it may well spell the decline of Santorum’s hopes.  Gingrich is predictably strong in Georgia, but the interesting fact of Super Tuesday may be that we could have three different winners among the ten states.

Santorum is leading in Ohio at the moment, with Romney behind by eight points in second.  Gingrich is back in third, but well ahead of Ron Paul. In Georgia, it’s the reverse order, except for Paul, who is still fourth.  In other states, it’s a mixed bag, with Gingrich doing well in Tennessee, and Romney is doing well in Idaho.  What all of this suggests is that the race isn’t over, and until the non-Romneys reduce by one, he may go on to win.  Neither Santorum nor Gingrich are likely to quit, but much of that will hinge on Super Tuesday’s outcome.  If something incredible happens, and Gingrich loses his home state, as he himself mentioned, there’s probably not a way forward for somebody who cannot secure his home state.  That would be a blow to Gingrich, but for the moment, he looks strong in Georgia.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Super Tuesday being split up three ways, because that would certainly keep this thing alive. Among these three, I still prefer Gingrich, but I’d vote for my dog before I’ll vote for Romney in the Texas primary.  Speaking of Texas, our primary was supposed to be on Super Tuesday, but it’s been bumped back due to a redistricting court case.  Now, Texas is tentatively scheduled to hold its primary on May 29th, making it not quite irrelevant, but surely reducing its importance.  I don’t think this has been accidental either, as Texas probably wouldn’t support Romney unless he is the only one left standing, and by the end of May, he may well be.

Drudge Thought He Took Care of Newt

Whether Newt Gingrich can actually launch another comeback off of Santorum’s relatively poor performance in Arizona and Michigan is another question, but Gingrich has exhibited resilience throughout this campaign.  It’s also true to say that he’s probably the best-suited to contend with Barack Obama in a debate, but he’s also the only one among these candidates who stands a chance of reforming Washington DC, excepting Ron Paul, but he’s got a different agenda, and I don’t believe he’s all that serious about winning.  The funniest part of this story is seeing that Drudge has run with the same Hot Air story as his headline.  If Newt does rise again, I wonder what Drudge will do to him next.

I hope we get to find out.

 

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.

National Review Goes After Gingrich Again

Monday, February 13th, 2012

NRO's Editors Dump on Newt

I think it’s pretty clear that there is only so much room in the market for conservative media outlets, and since it’s likewise clear that the National Review has slowly transformed into the Establishment publication of record, I am calling on the editors at the National Review to set aside its claims to conservatism.  Since they’re so interested in cleaning up this race, I think they should step aside as the conservative journal of record.   You may think I’m nuts, but you see, according to the National Review, Newt Gingrich should withdraw from this race for the sake of Rick Santorum.  Newt Gingrich is simply an obstruction, they say.  He doesn’t have the temperament or the popularity to govern or even win the election, they say.  He must go, they say.  To all of this, I say “Nuts!”  Gingrich should respond similarly.  While the Review plays its silly games, pretending to favor Santorum,  I know what it is that they’re really after.

Don’t get me wrong: If Rick Santorum is able to make good on his recent victories, and becomes the eventual Republican nominee, vanquishing Romney, it will be better than Romney winning, but the trouble is that such an outcome isn’t set in stone, and more than this, I believe the call for Gingrich to withdraw is a head-fake.  The National Review doesn’t want Santorum either, but what they would like to do is reduce this contest to just two candidates(other than Ron Paul.)  You see, if this is reduced to a Romney v. Santorum race, Romney and the National Review suspect that with all of the cash at his disposal, Mitt Romney will be able to power through to the nomination.  If Gingrich withdraws, the National Review will likely have been correct, as Romney will grind him down with negative attack ads until the electorate’s eyes bleed.

The problem is that the editors of the National Review are positing a notion intended to give them what they want, but not necessarily what the country needs.  We need a hard fight all the way to the convention, and if it’s a brokered convention in the end, what of it?  That’s our process, and to be blunt, I have more faith in the outcome of that alternative than I do in trusting this process to the judgments of the National Review and the GOP establishment it represents. Make no mistake about it: The National Review is pushing here not for Santorum, but to set Santorum up for elimination. By reducing the number of targets for Romney’s negative campaign, they hope he will finally wrap this up.

Naturally, I disagree with the National Review’s board of editors on this call for Gingrich to withdraw.  Instead, I am calling on National Review to withdraw from the realm of conservative publishing, because if they were actual conservatives, they would be in favor of letting this process work itself out as designed. They would understand that this struggle  is important to the long-run health of the party, and if they really want to issue demands for somebody to  withdraw, perhaps they should focus their calls on the least conservative candidate of them all: Mitt Romney.  No, while the editors claim they think Romney isn’t up to it, they call instead for the withdrawal of a man who  is more conservative by leaps and bounds.  I have no interest in what they have to tell us because at this point, they’ve become the mouthpiece for establishment manipulations in this process.

The National Review has fallen a long way in my estimation, and it seems to have begun as Mr. Buckley’s influence has been on the wane subsequent to his death.  I didn’t always agree with Buckley, but at least I knew he was a sincere conservative.  I no longer get that sense from the National Review, and this call for the withdrawal of Newt Gingrich is just one more bit of evidence that the editors there are interested in short-changing this process.  Conservatives everywhere should recoil at the notion.

Why Mitt Is Desperate to Force Newt Out

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Reason to Worry

First, he called Adelson to convince him to stop adding financial support of Gingrich via his SuperPAC.  When that didn’t work, he piled on some more of his own money, and those who fund the SuperPacs advocating on his behalf or at least slamming his competitors.  When that didn’t work, some shills in the press dropped the conspicuous rumor that Newt’s “…hold a press conference after the Nevada Caucus on Saturday, raising new speculation about his future in the race,” implying he would get out Saturday evening.  This was solely to try to undermine the vote in Nevada in Romney’s favor by creating the impression among Caucus-goers that Gingrich would be out of the race by night-fall anyway.  You might wonder why Romney who is the putative front-runner, and his army of establishment hacks, would go through all this trouble if he’s got this “all sewn up,” as the “inevitable” meme pretends.  The answer is as simple as this:  It isn’t over, and Mitt knows it, because he can read a calendar.

One of the things weighing in Mitt’s favor is the postponement of the Texas primary.  Texas is a state likely to favor Gingrich, but its primary that should have happened on Super Tuesday has been postponed to April 3rd, and may yet be kicked further back on the schedule over judicial tinkering with the redistricting. Texans are starting to speculate that perhaps this is intentional, and is being used to reduce the importance and relevance of Texas in selecting the nominee.  There is good reason for that speculation, but I think it won’t matter unless the Texas Republican party gets smart and makes it a winner-take-all affair, which sine it is after April 1st, by national party rules it could be.

Romney doesn’t want this primary dragging on and on through the convention, because at the rate he’s spending money, he’ll soon look at the general campaign with emptied coffers and no ability to do in any measure to Barack Obama what he’s been trying to do to Gingrich, with some success.  As it is, he will be at a huge financial disadvantage come the onset of the general campaign.  This is why for Mitt’s sake, he must push this to a speedy conclusion, and it’s the reason why since Iowa, he’s been relentlessly hammering Gingrich.

As Governor Palin recently pointed out, we all love a rough-n-tumble debate, and a strongly contested primary, but I think Mitt’s reliance on these under-handed tactics and back-room deal-making will eventually take a political toll.  Even as he rides high on the expected wide margin victory in Nevada, people around the country are beginning to take notice of the fact that he is outspending all opponents by a phenomenal amount but when it’s closer to par, he can lose, and lose big.

Voters in the GOP must ask themselves now, because it will be much too late in the fall, whether we want to rely upon a candidate who can only seem to win where he either has a distinct home-field advantage, such as in New Hampshire and Nevada, or a gigantic financial advantage such as in Iowa and Florida.  He’s not likely to have many of those advantages, particularly in money, when it comes to the general election, so we must begin to ask of Mitt Romney: How will you outspend Barack Obama’s expected $1billion war-chest?

He can’t.  If this is so, my friends, we have a problem beyond his lack of conservatism.  If at the end of the day all he has is money, but no good arguments to elect him other than he’s not Barack Obama, we’ll lose, and lose big.  The Democrats know this, and this is why they want Romney so badly they can taste it.  It’s time to rethink this a bit and realize that if money is everything in 2012, then the GOP is going to get beaten badly. Only a candidate who can take the fight to Obama with a small relative budget is capable of beating him, and right now, by any guess available, that candidate is still Newt Gingrich.

New Gingrich Ad Goes Viral

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Soros-Approved?

This one is pretty rough, and while there is one point about which some will quibble, because the clip depicts Romney during his gubernatorial run, and he has since allegedly changed his position on the issue of abortion, the truth is that the remainder of the ad is extraordinarily effective, even if you discount Romney’s change on the one issue. The rest is damning enough on its own:

Romney, Money, and Politics: Why It Shouldn’t Matter (But Will)

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Does Money Matter?

AdWeek is reporting that in South Carolina, Mitt Romney outspent Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum combined.  This clearly wasn’t enough, but Romney isn’t making the same “error” in Florida, as current reports suggest Romney has outspent Gingrich in Florida by a margin of five-to-one.  That’s a significant spending advantage, and what we may learn is that while a two-to-one advantage may not make a big enough difference, if Romney pulls off the victory in Florida, five-to-one may be the magic number for a Massachusetts liberal. I am not opposed to money in politics, because I think in many ways, the Supreme Court ruled properly in saying that money equates to free speech, but I also think it’s up to we voters to be somewhat discerning when when we see such a disparity.

After all, money has always been the mother’s milk of politics, and any understanding of reality must include a recognition of this fact. Does it mean we should attempt to contrive laws that freeze out money?  Elections in cycle after cycle demonstrate the fact that those who wish to donate to some candidate or cause are always able to engineer some way around such laws, and the reason is simple: It’s their money. Legislators have attempted to place hard limits on campaign contributions for years, but the problem is that who it winds up hampering is rank-and-file voters, while those with the money to burn are able to avail themselves of the various loopholes in the various laws.  Worse, these laws are frequently written in such a way to run to the advantage of one group or political party, so that somebody is always disadvantaged, but most frequently it’s you and I.

Given this, voters are right to wonder about what is the real solution, but I think the answer is very clear:  We need more citizens who actually follow this information more closely, and we need very broad disclosure laws that merely require contributors and donors to identify themselves.  I realize we have some laws to this end now, but the real problem is that few people actually bother to avail themselves of the information that exists within easy reach at such sites as OpenSecrets.org. No law can protect us from the lack of curiosity or diligence most voters demonstrate.

For many voters, they want to be spoon-fed the issues a few weeks before the elections by the establishment media.  They aren’t to be bothered from their other diversions throughout the intervening period between elections unless an issue arises that affects them in that immediate time-frame.   While one can excuse some of that, as I too become weary with politics from time to time, the fact is that most people devote less than one hour per week to hard news, or significant information gathering about politics, or the condition of the country.

Some have likened the pop-culture to “cakes and circuses,” referencing a period in Roman decline when the ruling elite offered their people  food and entertainment to keep them from paying attention to the fact that their culture was dying.  I tend to agree with this assessment, but I also know a large number of the people most thoroughly engulfed by the pop-culture don’t even really bother to vote.  If you want to minimize the role of money in elections, the truth is that nothing nullifies its importance and influence more than an informed and determined electorate that already knows the issues and knows its own mind.

Florida: It Isn’t Over

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Florida Primary Looms

Most media outlets are reporting an advantage for Romney in the double-digits, but in looking at most of these polls as I reported Sunday, most have samples that are far too small and margins of error that are much too high.  I’ve seen a concerted effort to raise the sample sizes, and lower the margins of error, but they’re still diddling around with the numbers.  They’re hoping the net propaganda effect will leverage in favor of Romney getting more votes from those who are undecided.  This isn’t surprising, because the GOP establishment is getting a good deal of help from their friends in the media. It’s for this reason I am convinced that the Florida primary will be much closer than is being reported, and it’s also why I suspect there’s still a chance for Gingrich.

The whole purpose of the media massacre that was inflicted on Gingrich last week and through the weekend was to soften his support.  At the same time, I saw a media and establishment theme emerge in which the question of Romney’s Mormon faith was the issue, but not by people opposing him.  Instead, it was from his own camp, alleging that the people of South Carolina just hate Mormons.  You know, that “Christian Right” who have some sort of alleged problem with Romney’s religion.  In this entire campaign season, the only people I have ever heard raise this question were either media shills for Romney, or campaign shills for Romney. I’m located firmly in the midst of the Bible Belt, and I haven’t heard a single person say one word about Romney’s faith.  What I have heard them say, often and loudly, is that Romney’s problem is his liberal record.

I am not inclined to believe this election in Florida is “all over,” or that even were it, that this primary race is “all over.”  It’s simply not true.  Wednesday morning, we will have conducted exactly four states’ worth of caucusing and voting, with forty-six to follow.  I don’t know whose calculus indicates that this somehow wraps things up for Romney, even assuming he wins in Florida, but I suspect Florida is going to be a good deal closer than the media pretends.  My evidence is admittedly second-hand, apart from the manipulated polls, but there’s also the sense on the ground that Gingrich is drawing larger crowds in similar venues, and Gingrich is getting Tea Party support, and this combined with the story NewsMax is carrying about an ongoing Gingrich surge suggest to me the “it’s all over” meme is just that, and nothing more. My advice to Floridians remains the same:  Tomorrow morning, if you have yet to vote, go to the polls and defeat Mitt Romney, even if it means holding your nose. Nothing will deliver a more important message to the establishment, that still doesn’t take you seriously even after the whip-saw turnaround in South Carolina. It’s not over, not now, and not even tomorrow.

Call to Action: Conservatives, Tea Party Must Make Stand in Florida

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Conservative Stand?

The media is so completely in the tank for Romney in Florida that I must admit I have never seen anything like this in a GOP primary.  Certainly, we have seen it in a general election, as we need go no further than 2008 to see these tactics being used, but this time, the Republican establishment is pulling out all the stops while rank and file conservatives and Tea Party folk are fighting for their survival.  Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, as more is at stake in Florida than the Republican nomination. If the establishment is able to push or drag their boy Mitt over the finish line, they will claim “it’s all over” and that the Tea Party and the conservative base of the party is irrelevant.  If you haven’t noticed already, all of this is being pushed by insiders who want to retain the control of the party, and to wrest it from you.

I realize that as Sarah Palin pointed out recently, Newt Gingrich is a “flawed vessel” like any of them, but the truth is that at the moment, he is the only hope for staving off a Romney victory, and while I don’t usually make a vote with a negative end in mind, this may be one of those exceptional cases when the alternative is worse.  For that reason, and that reason alone, I am asking Floridians to consider what will become of their Tea Party and their conservative values if Mitt Romney prevails. How will you have a seat at the table if the establishment can claim you hadn’t been relevant in victory or defeat.  You scared the living daylights out of them in South Carolina, because in the space of four days, your brethren to the North rose up and told the establishment to pound sand.

In Florida, where sand is in plentiful supply, Floridian conservatives and Tea Party folk shouldn’t hesitate to tell Romney and his dirty-tricksters to pound it.  Mark Levin pointed out the problematic revelations this week has raised about Mitt Romney’s character. You deserve a seat at the table, and the fact that Romney has been actively and purposefully ignoring you should say everything about his intentions that needs to be said.  I know some of you are leaning toward Santorum or Paul, and I understand your basic objections to what I’m proposing, because in fact I share similar reservations, but unless you want a Romney victory in your state to be used to justify the contention that conservatives and Tea Party folk no longer matter, I don’t see a choice.  You must make a stand, if not for Gingrich, then at the very least against the establishment in this winner-take-all primary in which your voice as conservatives is truly at stake.

A Note on Bogus Polling

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Which Polls To Trust?

I’ve heard from a few people really concerned about the polling in Florida, showing Gingrich down, and Romney up, which seems at least in part to be contradicted by the sense of things on the ground. I am going to show you how a poll can be twisted, and how you can’t trust them, and if you allow them to form your opinion, you can actually be manipulated.  Let’s start with a very popular poll, the PPP(Public Policy Polling) outfit that currenty shows Romney leading 40% to 32%.  

In this poll, when you read to the bottom of the page and examine the data, you discover the following:

“The PPP poll surveyed 387 likely Florida Republican primary voters on January 28th with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.”(emphasis mine)

Ladies and gentlemen, when you see ANY poll with such a small sample size, it’s GARBAGE.  When you see any poll with a margin of error of more than 3%, it’s likely garbage, particularly if it has a small sample size.  For a state as large and diverse as Florida, any poll that doesn’t survey at least 1500 people, with a margin of error well below 4% is a poll intended to generate a headline and drive you.

Now, here’s their insurance: With a margin of error of 5%, if you add that to Gingrich, and subtract it from Romney, this poll may actually tell you nothing, because Gingrich could in fact be leading.  This kind of poll is GARBAGE as any serious analyst will tell you, and worse, when you see so-called analysts on television referencing such polls, you know they are LYING to you because as trained professionals, THEY ABSOLUTELY KNOW BETTER.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to “shout” at you, but I am disgusted with the media manipulation, as they try to create some false momentum in Romney’s direction. You should let others know this too.  387 people? Really? A margin of error of 5%??? That’s a potential 10-point swing in either direction, which gives them cover if their pushing doesn’t work out, but also helps them create a theme.

Don’t believe such polls. They are intended to mislead you. I have rejected four such polls from publication on this site in the last month because they were this egregious.