Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

Nikki Haley’s Stonewalling on State Hire

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Defending or Defensive?

I understand the Governor’s sensitivity to the question of her children, and the tendency of media to cause pain and injury particularly to Republican politicians’ families, but I don’t understand her refusal to discuss this case, which seems to be about nepotism.  What the media seems to be asking her is not about her daughter, per se, but about Haley’s own conduct.  She became rather angry at the mention of her daughter, 14, who works in the gift shop at the State House, but what bothers me in all of this is that while the media naturally behaves like sharks smelling blood at the first hint of “impropriety” among Republicans and conservatives, the reporter was not really asking about the Governor’s daughter so much as how she came to get the job in the gift shop, and whether there had been something improper in hiring her.  While I find it despicable when media attacks the families of politicians, and in fact, I don’t consider the families of politicians in supporting them, since we don’t elect the family members to serve, I tend to stay far away from discussing their families at all. I avoid particularly their minor children, but all children in general. It’s simply a ridiculous thing to do in all but the rarest of instances.  This may be one of those rare cases, because it’s not about Governor Haley’s daughter at all, but instead about Haley herself.

What the reporter questions in this video clip is nothing at all about Haley’s daughter, personally. Here’s the video, as well as the text version of the exchange(H/T Tammy Bruce):

At an impromptu press conference last week, a reporter for WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, Robert Kittle, asked Haley about her daughter working at the gift shop.

“Y’all are not allowed to talk about my children,” Haley responded.

 

Kittle pressed on, asking Haley if the story really wasn’t about nepotism – whether the governor had helped her daughter get the state job.

“None of that is true,” Haley responded. “That’s what makes me angry. Not only is this a story about my daughter, it’s a story that is based on false facts and none of that is true. Do not attack my children. Do not even talk about my children.”

Kittle then asked if the issue wasn’t about what the governor had done, not her daughter.

“I’m not going to talk about it anymore,” Haley said. “My children are off limits.”

It’s all well and good for the Governor to say to the press that her children are “off limits,” and they should be, but this story isn’t really about the Governor’s daughter inasmuch as it seems actually to be a story about Governor Haley and the insinuation of the reporter’s question is about the possible undue influence of the Governor in securing her daughter that job, roughly one-hundred feet from her own office door.  To everybody but perhaps Haley herself, this story isn’t about a kid working a summer job in a State-run gift shop, but instead about the influence of the Governor in placing her child in a job there. If we imagined for a moment that this had been her husband, rather than her minor child, the same question would stand.  Had it been her brother-in-law’s ne’er-do-well second cousin’s great aunt Imogene(any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental,) it might raise fewer eyebrows. When it’s the first-degree relative of the chief executive of the state, whether minor child or septigenarian parent, there are going to be questions, and there should be.

Frankly, I’m astonished that the Governor of South Carolina is so ill-prepared for the question, and maybe that’s the problem:  Did it never cross her mind that there might be something improper about her daughter(OR ANY RELATIVE,) obtaining employment in a state job in a location well within the bubble of the Governor’s security detail and watchful eye?  I’m betting that many Americans would love to have that arrangement to keep an eye on their teenagers during the summer months, but most of us cannot, since many employers forbid the sort of arrangement precisely because it gives the appearance of impropriety.

I’m not one who blows his stack at the mere appearance of impropriety, since I don’t care that much about appearances, although I am keen to expose actual impropriety, but so is the mainstream media, at least when Republicans and conservatives are the ones under examination.  This is why Haley really must answer the question, because it’s not really about her daughter, and it hasn’t anything to do with her family except by virtue of her influence.

There will be those who might think I’m being unfair in singling out Haley, or that I should ignore the story because Haley is a Republican, or something of the sort, but the truth is that when this came over the transom, it was given to me by a conservative worried about the potential scandal implicit in the matter.  Yes, fine, okay, it’s not absconding with the treasury or something of that nature, but the part I find disturbing about this is how Haley used the line “my children are off limits” to close off further questioning when it is clear that her daughter isn’t the object of this story.  It’s a question of character, and this goes to the heart of the matter with respect to the sort of nepotism that characterizes corrupt government.

Let me be clear: I am not calling Nikki Haley corrupt, and indeed, without further information, it is impossible to know for certain. If I were a reporter in South Carolina, I would ask some pointed questions about the matter, and I would do so in a way as to avoid going after or even seeming to go after the Governor’s daughter:

1.) Was the position properly posted on the appropriate state website and otherwise announced in applicable media?

2.) How many applicants were considered, and were they competitively evaluated?

3.) What were the screening criteria applied to applicants?

4.) Does the state’s job application require the listing of relatives also employed by the state, as is the case in many states, including my own?

5.) Did those charged with screening the application notice the relationship, and did that person or persons apply the State’s ordinary ethical hiring practices in evaluating the matter?

You see, this isn’t a family business, in which one can hire one’s kid without repercussion.  It’s a state job, and that means that somebody along the organizational hierarchy who is charged with supervising the employee is answerable to the Governor.  How did those in all the intermediate positions handle this application?  These are questions that ought to be answered by Nikki Haley, for the sake of the credibility of her office.  This petulant “my children are off limits” business is fine so far as it goes, but where it doesn’t extend is into a matter like this.  All these same questions are applicable had the relation been a sister or brother, or anybody else of close relationship to Haley.

None who read this blog would say that the Obama daughters should be given a summer job as a tour guide in the White House, because the stench of such a thing would waft up to the rafters.  In the same way, and for all the same reasons, we shouldn’t take Haley’s indignant dismissal of the questions as evidence of a defensive mother, as she intended, so much as the reaction of a defensive politician.  Assuming the facts of the story are basically accurate, it is easy to suppose that Haley didn’t give it much thought, and might even have figured it was a good thing for her daughter to take a summer job so close at hand, but the problem is that had it been anywhere else, nobody would likely have uttered a word.

One of the things we discuss a good deal on this website is the GOP establishment, and what I can tell you is that much of what you see and experience as a corrupt political establishment begins with things as innocuous as this.  Those who truly have a servant’s heart know this, and they studiously avoid the appearance of conflicts and impropriety not merely to avoid some statutory ethics rules sink-hole, but because they earnestly believe it is wrong in all cases to gain such advantage, even for one’s minor daughter, even in a minimum wage, summer hire job, just down the hall.

The truth is likely that Haley probably didn’t give it much thought, but that may be the most troubling aspect.  Whether a child, a parent, a sibling, or a spouse, our public officials ought not permit such things to happen, because no matter how one slices it, it stinks to high heaven.  The fact that it’s one of her children is irrelevant except as a simple fact in the case, but the unambiguous part of the story is that rather than face up to it and say, “You know, I was thinking like a parent, and not as your Governor, but I’ve corrected that, and my daughter is no longer employed there,” it would likely all go away, and people would understand it.  I could understand it, and so could most of my readers.  What I can’t understand is the proclamation that her “children are off limits,”  as a means by which to obfuscate the matter in which it having been her child, as opposed to any other close relative, is not the controlling or even vaguely interesting fact in the case.  Governor Haley, we know your children, and indeed your whole family is not the Governor of South Carolina, but in seeking employment, they necessarily carry a strong advantage over others seeking the same jobs.

This isn’t about the Governor’s child at all, but entirely about the Governor and her judgment in such matters.  After all, it’s not very far, ethically speaking, from a job for a relative to a contract for a friend.  While nobody is alleging the latter, still it is interesting to see the Governor try to obfuscate the matter of the former, and I don’t understand why some Republicans think this is proper behavior, or why it’s acceptable for Governor Haley to use her children as a shield in the matter, when it’s clear that this isn’t about her kids at all.  It may be that the Governor had done nothing wrong, and that she had nothing to do with the hiring of her daughter, and nobody at the gift shop knew it was Haley’s daughter who had applied for the job, and perhaps she got the job solely on an honest, competitive basis.  At present, we don’t know, and the Governor isn’t willing to talk about it.  Should we pretend it all away because she’s a Republican?  I think not.  While I have no intention of assisting the Democrat media machine in going after Haley, I also think we need at least a simple explanation, and just the facts will do. Nobody is after her kids, and using them as a shield simply isn’t acceptable.

 

Ann Coulter Flails; Implies Conservatives, Tea Party Stupid

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Ann Coulter Loses Mind

Another so-called conservative lost her mind in public again today, this time on Fox and Friends. It’s funny to see Ann Coulter attempt to pass herself off as a mainstream Republican.  In New York, maybe.  She puts forward a pair of contradictory premises.  On the one hand, she says that the voters who Republicans need to attract for the general election are those who trend more to the center, or even a little left, but on that basis, Gingrich isn’t the best choice.  Then she attacks Gingrich for being to the left of Romney.  The fact that Coulter can’t see this contradiction before she proposes it is all the evidence you need to know that she has now become completely unhinged.

The war against Newt continues to escalate.  The GOP establishment is clearly terrified.  Here’s the video:

The fact that Coulter dismisses the plurality of the South Carolina electorate who voted for Newt, or the vast majority that didn’t support her guy, Mitt Romney, is a key to understanding that Coulter has now left us.  I’m certain there will be future instances in which she will say something conservatives and Tea Party folks like, but in the main, Coulter has demonstrated repeatedly throughout the last year that she is now irrevocably committed to the GOP establishment.  She’s grown comfortable among them, and is now one of theirs. Of course, as she offers you her contradictory premises, she assumes you’re too stupid to notice, so her dismissal of conservatives is not surprising.

New Establishment Media Themes Emerge

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Making Newt into the Devil

In light of Newt Gingrich’s victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, two new themes have emerged that I am certain we will hear and read in the news throughout the the remainder of the week, and they’re both constructed to diminish Gingrich.  The first is that his personal favorability is low, and that people generally don’t have a positive impression of Gingrich, but the second is important only to those who are inside the Washington DC cloakrooms, who are not happy that Gingrich might win the primaries, and possibly win the Republican nomination. Plans have begun to hatch all over Washington DC on how to derail Gingrich, particularly if he does well in Florida, and you can count on the GOP’s establishment types to be hustled before the cameras with fresh endorsements of Mitt Romney. The insiders just don’t like Newt, and they don’t think he can defeat Obama, but more, they don’t like the fact that he may undo some of their favorite things if he were to win not only the nomination, but also the general election.  The hew and cry will go out as the establishment will say “Newt must now be stopped!”

It’s bad enough that they have concocted a theme regarding Newt’s “unreliability” and “zany” behavior, a charge often made of his public expressions of ideas that may be off-key, novel, or simply outside the conventional wisdom.  Now they are going to press forward with the idea that because people don’t like him, on a personal level, that prevents him from rising to electoral viability.  These are the same people who can’t wait to tell you how well-liked President Obama has been throughout his presidency. I can imagine the Gingrich retort, and it should be simply this: “People like to point out that my personal favorability is low, and that Barack Obama’s is high, but these same people fail to mention that the well-liked President is leading us off a cliff.  Does the elite media want the American people to believe that they should choose well-liked but incompetent over competent but not so well-liked?  This is typical of how out of touch Washington DC’s elites are with the real world Americans face.” Or something like that.

On the matter of the Washington elite not liking Gingrich, it’s very nearly the best selling point about Gingrich that you could raise in this election. In a similar fashion, I expect this theme to be destroyed as quickly as it is set up, but that won’t change the fact that behind the scenes, the elite in the GOP will continue to work to undermine him as best they can. The insiders took a bit of a drubbing in South Carolina when you consider the other scorecard, so now they will focus on the notion of Gingrich “electability.”

In the South Carolina primary, there were some winners and losers not tallied on the screen, but you should know them just the same. Among the not-so-obvious losers were Governors Chris Christie and Nikki Haley, whose endorsements seemed not to have made much difference to voters.  The biggest unlisted winner was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, whose push to vote for Gingrich probably made the turnaround happen earlier this week. The other big winner from the Gingrich victory was Governor Rick Perry, whose endorsement of Newt came at just the right time to sustain him through dark hours. The last of the unlisted big winners was the Tea Party, which rallied for Newt, and this accounted for the boots on the ground that pushed him over the top.  Clearly, the Tea Party’s loyalties run more deeply to Sarah Palin and Newt Gingirch, than to Nikki Haley and Mitt Romney.  It’s a force with which the establishment has yet to effectively reckon.

Of course, as I reported on Friday, there is other blow-back for which we have yet to account, and it may yet show up in the form of some chicanery if Romney continues to falter in Florida.  It now seems that after some pressure was applied, Romney is back on for both of the debates scheduled next week in Florida, but if Gingrich should prevail in Florida as in South Carolina, you can expect the stuff to hit the fan among the establishment wing of the Republican party.  They might fetch out somebody else altogether, and you might see all sorts of infighting erupt.  Gingrich was never well-liked among DC insiders primarily because he had a tendency to foment real passion, a sort of a “loose cannon,” because they see him as an obstacle to business as usual.

Now, it’s not entirely fair to consider Gingrich an outsider, but he was never part of Washington’s “in crowd,” so if he manages to pull off a win in Florida, there will be bedlam in the party.  A Gingrich victory in Florida just might be the catalyst for a catastrophic boil-over within the party that has only been on simmer for the last several months.  It may just be the medicine we need to shake their endless grip loose from things, and possibly bring true reform to the party.  Myself, if it shakes up the party, I am prepared to endure it, and if a Gingrich win in Florida will make that happen, I will be only too happy if the voters there instigate this battle.  It’s something the party has needed for a generation, really since the exit of Reagan, and the word has gone out that Jeb Bush may not endorse Romney now after all, instead deciding to remain neutral.  That may be the best indicator yet that things are going to get nasty in the GOP, because it means the Bush clan may be preparing to dump a new ringer into the fight.

All things taken together, Saturday’s events in South Carolina have re-shaped this race, and that’s a good thing for the Republican party.  A little revolution is good now and then, but the prospect of a Gingrich presidency is more than the establishment GOP can stomach, so the long knives will now come out from every corner.  It’s also true that the left lives in terror of a debate stage with Gingrich facing Obama, and they will now push any theme at all to convince you to choose another direction.  They and the GOP establishment will become allies because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” in their usual expedient manner.  Bank on it.

Newt Gingrich: ‘We Want to Run an American Campaign’ Video

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Courtesy of FoxNews.com.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.1010778&w=425&h=350&fv=location%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fv%2F1406802910001%2F%26core_ads_enabled%3Dtrue%26core_omniture_player_name%3Dfullpage%26core_omniture_account%3Dfoxnewsmaven%26core_player_name%3Dfullpage%26core_yume_ad_library_url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fassets%2Fakamai%2Fyume_ad_library.swf%26core_yume_player_url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fassets%2Fakamai%2Fyume_player_4x3.swf%26auto_play%3Dtrue%26video_id%3D1406802910001%26settings_url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fassets%2Fakamai%2Fresources%2Fconf%2Fconfig.xml%3Fc%26show_autoplay_overlay%3Dtrue%26auto_play_list%3Dtrue%26show%3DNA%26cache_bust_key%3D1327207995%26autoplay%3Dfalse%26data_feed_url%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fvideo.foxnews.com%2Fv%2Ffeed%2Fvideo%2F1406802910001.js%3Ftemplate%3Dfox]

South Carolina Poll Results: And the Winner Is…

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Palmetto State Poll

As the polls close in South Carolina, and we wait to find out about the returns, we have a clear winner in our own poll.  This suggests good things for Newt Gingrich tonight, but because this poll is a small, unscientific sample, it may not be representative of anything beyond the readership of this site, and I do note there seems to be a definite bias there, based on comments.  I also learned a lesson: I should have kept the poll a sticky post to keep it at the top, because the number of respondents diminished rapidly once it went further down, and then off the front page.  My apologies for that.

Here are the results(of all of them, I find the last question’s result the most interesting:)

South Carolina Primary: Poll

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Palmetto State Polls

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

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

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

Gingrich Up By 6 in South Carolina

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Surging in S. Carolina

Clemson University is reporting the results of a poll that shows Gingrich up by six points over Romney in South Carolina.  This tends to confirm suspicions that Gingrich may have stabilized despite attacks with a solidifying lead because Romney admitted earlier on Friday that Gingrich would win some primaries.  Clemson’s Palmetto Poll evaluated the impact the revelations about Gingrich might have on the election outcome, but they still draw the same conclusions as in December, although it has closed:

“We expect a reaction by the electorate to the personal revelations about Gingrich to be registered on Saturday, however, we do not think it will be substantial enough to erase the lead Gingrich has over Romney,” said Clemson University political scientist Dave Woodard.

“Our head-to-head matchup of the candidates has consistently shown Mitt Romney competitive. The margin for Romney has evaporated this week, and we believe that Gingrich — who led our December poll with 38 percent to Romney’s 21 percent — will win the South Carolina primary,” he said.

In the newest poll, Gingrich had slipped to 32%, and Romney had climbed to 26%, meaning the race is tighter than a month ago, but considering the full-court press of negative advertising Romney had done throughout December, and has continued in New Hampshire and South Carolina, it’s not really surprising that this race has tightened, but the effect of the re-aired story of Gingrich’s second wife’s allegations surely had some effect.  The Clemson poll showed respondents to this poll had the following priorities in choosing their candidates.

“After choosing a candidate, respondents gave a wide variety of answers as to what they liked most about the person they selected, but the two most popular appeared to be: “he has honesty and integrity” and “his overall political ideology” — meaning conservative principles.

“Much has been made of the ‘electability’ issue of the candidates, but in our poll the response: ‘He has the best chance of beating President Barack Obama,’” was the fourth choice of voters, after “‘He has better ideas for strengthening the economy,’” said Clemson political scientist Bruce Ransom.”

Saturday should be an interesting match-up, and Gingrich’s performance in Thursday night’s debate almost certainly helped him, while Romney’s performance was rather flat, and his meandering explanation of why he hasn’t released his tax returns is sure to take a toll on his support in the Palmetto state.

CNN Debate In South Carolina: Newt Owned It From Outset

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Making a Monkey of Media

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

Here’s Gingrich answering that opening attack:

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

Watch Rick Santorum take Romney to task here:

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

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

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

Mitt Romney’s almost “Ooops” moment:

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

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

Daily Caller: Tea Party Coalescing Around Newt Gingrich

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Tea Party to Dump Mitt in Harbor?

The Daily Caller is reporting that in South Carolina, the Tea Party seems to have begun to coalesce around Newt Gingrich.  That’s an amazing change of things, and this further demonstrates why Mitt Romney is becoming desperate, and the leftist media that wants him to be the nominee for easier defeat by Obama in November is now conducting an all-out war on Newt Gingrich.  For Gingrich, this is great news, and for the forces of anti-Romney, it may be even better news, because as I reported late Wednesday night, one poll is now showing Gingrich in a clear lead in South Carolina, but until the votes are tallied, it may be too close to call.

What remains to be seen is what effect the bogus non-story story pushed by Drudge and ABC News on Wednesday evening will have on these numbers, or the Tea Party’s support, but I suspect there may well be a backlash against this garbage underway.  From the article:

“My sense is there is a growing coalition behind Newt Gingrich,” said Dugan, who organized a state tea party convention last weekend that both Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum attended.

Mitt’s in trouble in the Palmetto state, and this story explains it well.  The thing to remember in all of this is that it’s terribly fluid, with as many as 40% or more of South Carolina Republicans still undecided, even at this late date.  Hold onto your hats, because with all the shenanigans already ongoing, it’s likely to be a very wild ride.  If the Tea Party continues this trend through the remainder of the week, it may just tip things in Gingrich’s favor.  The probability of a backlash against media sleaze is increased, as I think voters are catching on and no longer seem willing to let the media choose their candidate any longer.

New Poll: Gingrich Now Leading in South Carolina

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

 

A Little Lead

According to NewsMax, Gingrich has pulled ahead in South Carolina, and now we know precisely why the desperate media shills for…somebody else…ran with the phony Gingrich non-story story earlier this evening.  It remains to be seen how much damage that story will have done to Gingrich, but hopefully with a couple days for the responses to follow through behind the initial hit-piece published on the most-viewed link- aggregater on the Internet, maybe he will maintain his advantage.  Better yet, maybe there will be a backlash against the media and the guy who would have been the beneficiary of a smear story.  From the Newsmax article:

An InsiderAdvantage poll conducted Wednesday night has former House Speaker Newt Gingrich now leading the Republican primary race in South Carolina.

The poll of likely Republican primary voters has Gingrich with 32 percent, ahead of Mitt Romney who trailed close behind at 29 percent.

The results are a significant reversal for Romney, who had led polls before Tuesday’s Fox News debate. A poll conducted by InsiderAdvantage last Sunday showed Romney with a double-digit lead over Gingrich.

Yes, this is the reason for Wednesday evening’s media hit-job. Let there be no doubt that the media sees its role as pushing you like cattle.  Maybe it’s time to stampede them instead?

 

Rasmussen: Gingrich Closing On Romney (Updated)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Newt Gaining Ground

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Newt Gingrich suddenly closing on Mitt Romney, within real striking distance now, as Gingrich is now at 27%, to Romney’s 30%.  That’s substantial closure, and if this translates into movement in South Carolina over the next few days, Romney will be in trouble.  Of course, as I reported earlier today, Romney has a remedy, and his campaign is already cranking up the “Newt is unreliable and zany” meme.  It’s another reason people should be wary of what’s coming out of the Romney campaign in the run-up to the South Carolina primary, and it’s now intensifying.

According to the Rasmussen poll:

“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters nationwide shows Romney with 30% support and Gingrich with 27% of the vote. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, who was running second two weeks ago, has now dropped to 15%.”

That’s a good deal of movement, and they stress this point as follows:

“But the story in the new numbers, taken Tuesday night, is Gingrich’s jump 11 points from 16% two weeks ago. Romney’s support is essentially unchanged from 29% at that time, while Santorum is down six points from 21%. Paul’s and Perry’s support is also unchanged. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman earned four percent (4%) of the vote at the start of the month but dropped out of the race this week. This suggests that many voters are still looking for an alternative to Romney and currently see Gingrich as that candidate.”

This has always been the case:  Conservatives are looking for a non-Romney candidate, and Romney’s strategy has been to attack whomever the leading non-Romney may be at the moment.  We’ve watched the progression over the last year, and it’s predictable.  Much of the gains by Gingrich is suspected to be related to his tremendous performance in Monday’s debate.

I’m of a mind to agree with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who wants to see this nomination battle play out over a longer period so we can more fully examine the records of the candidates.  I think that Romney is only now really beginning to be looked at by the media, and he certainly seems to have more warts than once believed.  If we’re going to defeat Obama in 2012, we’ll need a candidate who can withstand the onslaught we all know will be forthcoming as Obama seeks to retain power so as to continue his “fundamental transformation.”  It’s my own belief that Romney can’t beat Obama under current circumstances, bad as we may perceive it to be, and putting up a weak candidate will not help our cause.

Update: Romney already going after Gingrich

Sarah Palin Tells Hannity She Would Vote for Newt In S.C.

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Newt in S.C!

On Tuesday night, Sarah Palin did not endorse a candidate when she visited with Sean Hannity via satellite, but she did say who she would vote for if she were a South Carolinian.  She made her reasoning clear and unambiguous, and it really very simple:  Vote for Newt because this process should not be seen as ended quite yet.  We still have much to learn about these candidates if we’re to avoid a September or October surprise, and Mitt Romney should not be seen as inevitable.  Here’s the video:

What should be plain to anybody who listens clearly to what Governor Palin is saying is that she thinks, and I thoroughly agree, that nobody should conclude that this party primary is over.  We’d still like to see more facts on the table, and as I have now extensively covered, we should not give our votes to anybody who will not permit their tax returns to be released prior to any more primaries.  Let’s face it:  Mitt Romney could clear all that up if there’s nothing to hide, and as Tucker Carlson of The Daily Caller pointed out in a later segment on Hannity’s show, there’s really no reason for Romney to withhold it any longer. He’s already said he would release it in April, but why hold off unless there’s something he’s trying to hide from Republican primary voters?

It’s clearly part of Romney’s calculations that he’ll have the nomination wrapped up by then, and this is his way of holding off any bad news or potential blow-back from the disclosure of his tax returns until it no longer matters in the matter of his nomination.  It’s time we call Mitt to account, and it seems that in the mean time, Sarah Palin is all in with South Carolinians and Floridians holding this contest in stasis until we can get some more details out of all of these candidates, and in my own view, particularly Romney.  She’s right:  These people need a close examination, and of all of them, only Romney has managed to avoid most serious scrutiny until late, and even at that, the media is largely carrying his water.

Note To Senator Lindsey Graham

Monday, January 16th, 2012

What His Opinion Is Worth?

Of all the people in the Republican party who annoy me, none make my stomach turn more violently than Senator Lindsey “Camera-Fiend” Graham, (R-SC.)   Rush Limbaugh likes to refer to him as “Lindesy Grahamnesty,” which is fitting given his support of various forms of amnesty for illegal immigrants. He’s constantly at odds with the conservative base of the party, but he still manages to get elected.   In an article on RealClearPolitics about Romney’s opponents for the GOP nomination seeking to highlight the dishonesty of the “electability” argument, Graham is quoted as having said that a Romney victory in his state would wrap up the nomination:

“I think it should be over,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “I’d hope the party would rally around him,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

I think Graham’s career as a guest on so-called news shows should be over, but I’m not getting my way on that, either.  As usual, Graham is wrong.  Why should three states amount to an end of the process?  It’s not as though they’re large states, and it’s not as though winning would give Romney anything near the number of delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.  Why is Graham in such a rush?  Why is the entire establishment of the GOP in such a rush to hold the coronation for Mitt Romney?  Maybe Graham is just looking for new funding sources.

Newt Admits Error – Pulls Back on Bain

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Reaching for the Reset Button?

Despite the fact that the media continues to ignore the millions of dollars in dishonest or at least disingenuous ads that were run in Iowa and New Hampshire against Gingrich by Romney and his various Super PAC surrogates, Gingrich seems to have seen his Bain-centered attacks on Romney as unsuccessful, and perhaps harmful to his own campaign.   In an indication that Newt Gingrich is turning away from his attacks on Romney on the basis of the “vulture capitalism” theme, Politico is reporting that Newt said on Wednesday the following in response to an Army Reservist in Inman, S.C., who said this to Gingrich:

“I’m here to implore one thing of you. I think you’ve missed the target on the way you’re addressing Romney’s weaknesses. I want to beg you to redirect and go after his obvious disingenuousness about his conservatism and lay off the corporatist versus the free market. I think it’s nuanced,” said Dean Glossop, an Army Reservist from Inman, S.C.

Gingrich seemed to step back from the brink:

“I agree with you,” Gingrich said. “It’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect. … I agree with you entirely.”

Now some will rightly note that Gingrich isn’t entirely backing down, but he’s admitting that at the very least, this was a bad approach to the question of attacking Romney’s record.  As I’ve written over the last two day, Gingrich is better off focusing on the things Romney has done in governing if he wants to go negative, or at least focus on those aspects of Bain that won’t come off as, or be reported as some sort of attack on capitalism.

I also think Gingrich would do well to point out that among the politicians now entered, Gingrich is the only one who ever accomplished real cuts in government spending.  This would require that Gingrich accentuate the positive again, and I think that’s a smart move as he certainly fared better when he was talking in positive terms about the country, but also how he is substantially different from Barack Obama, and perhaps how Romney really isn’t so different.  Gingrich is now campaigning in South Carolina, a state neighboring Georgia, from which he served in Congress.  As he works to try to regain momentum, he’s probably should consider changing this theme entirely for the moment.  It’s bound to land him on firmer ground with the electorate.