Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

Media Manipulates Debate, Limits Questions to Bachmann

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Intentionally Ignored

That’s the question many are asking in the wake of Saturday’s CBS News/National Journal debate.  An email has been leaked which seems to indicate this has been a conscious decision, and not some unlucky happenstance.  What it suggests is what we’ve suspected all along:  The Media is manipulating these debates to get their own favored result.  It doesn’t matter which candidate you support.  This entire situation has become a farce, and now we know why.  Big Media is engineering the outcomes by deciding who will get question, placement of candidates on the stage, and rigging of the entire spectacle.  The Bachmann campaign has posted an image of the email on her Facebook page, and it’s pretty damning.  In it, CBS News Political Director John Dickerson tells correspondent Caroline Horn:

“Okay let’s keep it loose though since she’s not going to get many questions and she’s nearly off the charts in the hopes we can get someone else”(bolding mine)

This means they had no intention of asking her many questions.  This certainly demonstrates what her campaign has been suggesting for some time:  Bachmann’s being moved to the margins not so much by voters as by the media’s portrayal of her.  By intentionally slighting her, CBS News is manipulating the results. In their statement accompanying the release of the email, Bachmann Campaign Manager, Keith Haigian, said on Bachmann’s Facebook Page:

This is Keith Nahigian, Michele’s campaign manager. While Michele has been onstage at tonight’s debate demonstrating strong leadership on foreign policy and national security, we received concrete evidence confirming what every conservative already knows – the liberal mainstream media elites are manipulating the Republican debates by purposely suppressing our conservative message and limiting Michele’s questions.

View the attached email by CBS News’ political director from earlier today–we need to show the liberal media elite that we won’t stand for this outrageous manipulation. Help us fight this affront by sharing this with your friends.

This really is a damning indication of how thoroughly manipulated these debates have been.  If they’re already deciding in advance to limit questions to a particular candidate, as many have suspected all along, then what sort of debates are these?  It’s a show intended to give us the favored result of the media, which is why I have suggested that the sane candidates should instead ditch the remainder of these debates and work to get debates scheduled like the Cain-Gingrich debate.  At least in that context, you don’t have hostile moderators, and you can be more assured that you’ll get an honest outcome, rather than a stage-managed result.

At one point, moderator Scott Pelley interrupted Bachmann’s attempt to interject with a response to Congressman Ron Paul.  Said Pelley:

“There’s actually a system at work here with regard to the Senator’s question.”

Indeed.

This episode reminds me of another CBS scandal, involving a forged letter.  Apparently, the faces have changed, but the dirty tricks remain the same over at CBS News.  We conservatives must not accept in any measure what the media tells us about the electability of any of these candidates, because it is clear they are seeking their own ends, and it surely doesn’t serve our interests, or the interests of an honest and fair debate.  Other candidates have been making a similar charges for some time, but this leaked email is the first evidence we’ve gotten that this is not accidental, not coincidental, and not a matter of bad luck.  It has everything to do with the media’s desire to stage the outcome.  Conservatives have every reason to be suspicious, because with this sort of clear shaping of debates, what we now must recognize is that the Media will not showcase for voters all of the candidates on a fair and equitable basis.

It also means something else, and for you, it’s very important now as the accelerated primary season is nearly upon us:  On this basis alone, every one of these candidates deserves a re-look.  That is the truth of the matter.

Here’s the image posted by the Bachmann Campaign on FaceBook:

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Media Mocked By Debate Audience – Perry Mocks Perry

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Debate in Michigan

CNBC hosted the Your Money Your Vote Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night in Michigan. After repeated attempts by media questions intended to raise issues about Cain and the sexual harassment allegations against him, and being repeatedly booed by the audience, the moderators finally went on to the topic that had been promised to be the focus of Wednesday night’s debate:  The economy.

The various candidates seemed to respect the wishes of the crowd, whether through conscious decision beforehand, or by sheer political instincts given the reactions of the crowd to these off-topic questions.

To me the funniest moment in the debate came when Rick Perry said he would shut down three departments of government, and then went to list them:

Rick Perry:  “Education, commerce and uh, uh, um, uh”

Ron Paul: “Oh my.”

Later in the debate, Perry said:

“Energy! That’s the one I couldn’t remember earlier.”

Of course, while Perry suffered from memory lapses, Romney suffered from sheer babbling. In answer to a follow-up question about Romney-care, he said:

“People have a responsibility to receive their own care…”

What?  What does that mean?  How can one not receive one’s own care?

I think he was basically caught flat-footed, and didn’t have a rehearsed answer, so strung together a few syllables. It was utter nonsense, every syllable.

Romney also avoided the direct answer on the Payroll Tax cut question, not wanting to be cornered there either.  Romney is an eel, and I refuse to vote for him under any circumstances.  This lack of courage, and this unabashed pandering that characterizes Romney surely damns his candidacy in my view.  Gingrich also squirmed away on this question.

Michele Bachmann had the right answer ready on the payroll tax, and I was happy to see her confront it bluntly.

Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich had the right answer on student loans, while Rick Perry tried to escape this one too.

Herman Cain simply doesn’t know enough to be President.  His answer on market volatility and uncertainty demonstrated this thoroughly.

Perry needs to go home.  No offense, but Rick, you’re not helping yourself at all. Jon Huntsman was right to call Romney out on the tariff pandering, but at the same time, he didn’t really offer any viable solutions of his own.

The entire debate was interesting and lively, but I would rather see the format of the Cain-Gingrich debates applied to other pairings.  I’d like to see Gingrich take on Perry, and Bachmann take on Romney.  I would like to see Cain take on Paul, and you can pair Huntsman with Santorum, because after all, everybody else needs a night off, and these two guys can’t buy attention.

 

My Thoughts on the Cain-Gingrich Debate

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

One Clear Winner or Two?

In order to avoid lending my own bias to the results of the polls I put up at the conclusion of the Cain-Gingrich debate, I withheld my own opinion on the performance of either man, and instead focused on the format of the debate, and my own thinking about that aspect of the story.  For the record, the polls have closed, and you can see the results here.  In this instance, I agree with the majority opinion on all three questions, including particularly the question “Who won?”  It was clear that while Herman Cain is a very likable man, at least insofar as his debate performance goes, the problem with Herman Cain has nothing to do with style, but instead entirely with substance.  It’s not that Cain didn’t score some points with me, as he most certainly did, but most of the points he scored with me were on a non-specific basis, or on the basis of his affability.  In terms of the issues, while I did not agree in every dimension with everything Newt Gingrich said, I nevertheless admire his command of the issues at hand, whether or not his views or ideas aligned precisely with my own.  He understands the issues in specific detail, and his knowledge as an historian lends to his presentation.

The truth is that the specifics of issues seem to pose a problem for Herman Cain, and to be honest, we knew this well in advance of this debate, so it’s worth noting that Cain at least had the courage to come forward in a venue where he knew that he was at a distinct disadvantage.  While that’s to Cain’s credit, the simple fact that he couldn’t provide any information on the subject of defined benefit plans suggests he simply isn’t ready.  He had some excellent one-liners, but then again, so did Gingrich, but the problem for Cain is that in the details, Gingrich demonstrated a detailed level of understanding that simply out-classed Cain.  Cain’s knowledge was general, and generic, and at that same time, Gingrich knew the nuts and bolts of the subjects under discussion.  There simply is no way to ignore the truth of the matter.

If the presidency were based on likability, Herman Cain would have won this debate, but the truth is that being President is a serious business, and knowledge of these issues is critical to the sorts of reforms we hope the eventual nominee will advocate, whoever that turns out to be.   Unfortunately, the presidency isn’t solely about detailed knowledge either, because what conservatives want is a president who they can trust, and whose first instinct isn’t to create another program or department or bail-out.  Conservatives want to know that a president has their backs.  Gingrich suffers from the deserved impression that he may lose his grounding under some circumstances, as expressed through his Global Warming defection during which he appeared with Nancy Pelosi in a joint advertisement on behalf of Global Warmists.

This is the dilemma presented by the Cain-Gingrich debate.  I suspect that even those who rated the debate “a draw” will admit that on the totality of the issues, Gingrich really was the superior of the two, but that their impression of Cain was informed by his engaging, and at times, humorous presentation.  I also suspect these are people who, like me, still feel a bit burned by Gingrich on a few matters, like the aforementioned Global Warming surrender.

There can be no real doubt: Gingrich absolutely dominated the facts and the issues in this debate, and on that basis, he must be considered the victor, but whether he can smooth over his past failures in the eyes of conservatives is another question.  The truth is that I suspect most conservatives wish that Cain had Gingrich’s grasp of the issues, or that Gingrich inspired conservatives as well as Cain does.  Conservatives want the “complete candidate” for a change, without compromise, and some of us thought we had spotted one, but she chose not to run.  We’re coming rapidly to the time for choosing, and the fact is that conservatives are still unsettled about it.  What the moderates and establishment Republicans hope to do is to make it difficult for conservatives to settle on a single choice, thus dividing the conservative wing of the party in the hope that they can be conquered.   So far, that strategy is paying off as the party is fractured but Romney’s support remains steady at around 25%.

Like many conservatives and Tea Party folk, I thought we would have a unifying conservative candidate, but that choice hasn’t materialized.  I say to my conservative and Tea Party brethren that among those still in the race, these two are probably the best, although I’d like now to see Gingrich face Bachmann in a similar style debate.  I’d like to see Cain against Romney.  I’d like to see Perry against Paul.  The format of this debate was the best of them in my view, and clearly in the view of my readers too.  This is the debate we should be having.  Let’s get to it.

Cain Accuser: Come Clean Mr. Cain!

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Accuser Comes forward

I honestly don’t know what to make of this, apart from the fact that it is a political attack.  I’m going to insist on more information, some sort of corroboration, or something.  Do we have hotel receipts? Do we have dates, times, anything to substantiate any of this?  My problem with all of this is simple: In the press conference, we were told there would be statements by two contemporaneous witnesses to the alleged victim’s statements in confidence.  These statements have yet to be released.  It’s one thing to say the statements exist, but it’s something else again to produce them.  Something is very odd about this, and the public would be right to withhold judgment pending the disclosure of these statements.  Until then, what we have still amounts at best to a “he said-she said,” and it’s not enough to believe the accuser.

I’m not going to get into trying to debunk the specific accusations until we’ve had something to substantiate the claims that both individuals were there, were present at the hotel in question.  I don’t wish to smear the accuser, Sharon Bialek, and I won’t, but the problem is that her attorney, Gloria Allred, has a history of some very dubious cases, and in this case, since no action will be take, and no claims will be filed, it’s difficult to understand how this is anything other than a politically motivated attack. If she seeks no compensation or settlement, then her only possible purpose can be to damage Cain’s presidential campaign.   The question is then: “Why?”

Over my lifetime, I’ve learned that people can be motivated to make ugly accusations for all manner of reasons, and sometimes it’s because they wish to see justice done.  Other times, it’s because they have some other axe to grind with the target, and the problem in this case is that while it’s being presented as the former, we really have no evidence one way or the other.

Allred said “Mr Cain, while running for President, is actively lying to Americans.”  My question for Allred is this:  You say you have corroborating statements from contemporaneous witnesses, but you have not released them.  What does Allred offer to substantiate the circumstances?  Do we have anything that shows Cain was in Chicago at the time?  Do we have anything to substantiate the Bialek was in Chicago at the time?  Do we have any information to show that there is or was any relationship of any sort between the two, never mind the allegations put forward by Bialek?  At present, I know of no information apart from her statements, and the statements of Allred, and to be honest with you, I don’t consider Allred a credible source for any information.

Allred’s comments preceding her client’s statement seem to me akin to that moment in A Few Good Men, when the character played by Demi Moore stands up in court and says “I strenuously object.”  The problem is that it’s pointless for Allred to stand up and say Cain “…is actively lying to the American people,”  after offering absolutely nothing to corroborate her client’s claims, apart from a business card that shows Bialek did work for the Education Foundation at some point, although by her own admission, not at the time of the alleged incident.  Statements of that sort are theater, but they have no impact because there is no evidence to support them.  Additionally, we do know that Bialek thought at the time she was let go from the foundation before the alleged incident.  It was stated flatly that she thought she had been fired unfairly by the Foundation because she hadn’t raised enough money.  Allred states that Bialek is a registered Republican.  What does that mean?  There are a number of other candidates in the Republican party who will benefit from this disclosure if it sticks.  It’s not as though the only people who intend political harm to Cain are Democrats, and in fact, I’ve said that all along.

Again, I don’t have a particular dog in this hunt, except to say that I would prefer the truth on all such matters.  What Allred has engineered was a very dramatic, hyped, and overblown spectacle from which no usable evidence of misconduct was produced, apart from Bialek’s claims.  If the two men who allegedly signed statements corroborating Bialek’s claims will not come forward, or otherwise consent to the release of their statements, then I don’t know how we’re supposed to view this as anything but an unsubstantiated political attack.  At the moment, that’s the extent of this despite the endless media coverage.

Ladies and gentlemen, we don’t have the truth of this matter yet, and while it’s our natural inclination to believe that where there is smoke, there must also be fire, but the truth is I’ve yet to see any damning evidence.  Bialek sounds credible, but then again, many people are good liars, so I have no idea about her actual credibility.  Without the release of the statements from her friends that purport to support her story, I haven’t enough evidence to damn Herman Cain.  It’s not enough to trot out an alleged victim who makes claims, wave around some pieces of paper that are alleged to contain statements from two confidantes of the alleged victim, and then call it a day.   There must be more, or it’s simply another claim brought forward in dramatic fashion by Gloria Allred.  Frankly, that says plenty to me about this woman’s motives, because she did not seek out an attorney so much as the media management of a publicist.

Here’s the press conference:

Romney Isn’t One of Us Either

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Out Amongst the People

It’s not often that you get a chance to see how a politician behaves among ordinary people.  They’re usually surrounded by security, and mobbed by media, so on that rare occasion in which you find yourself relatively alone with one for even a moment, most people will try to exploit the moment and express their own opinions.   In these situations, some politicians bear up better than others, and some are able to disguise the actual contempt or at least ambivalence they feel for we “little people.”  The Romney campaign thought it would be a good idea to have Mitt fly coach just to be among the people.  Unfortunately, once there, he promptly ignored a fellow passenger who wanted to discuss health-care reform with him, reports a New York Times blogger, Emmarie Heutteman.  According to the article, Carolyn McClanahan of Jacksonville, Florida was seated next to Romney.

From the blog posting:

According to Ms. McClanahan, about an hour into the flight — which Mr. Romney mostly spent reading USA Today and using an iPad while wearing headphones — she told him her idea for improving the American health care system: slashing overhead costs by switching to an electronic billing system.

“He looked at me blankly and said, ‘I understand,’ then put his iPad headphones in and kept reading,” she said.

While Ms. McClanahan said Mr. Romney was probably exhausted, she was disappointed he showed so little interest. Even another passenger’s request for a restaurant recommendation in Boston elicited little from Mr. Romney, she said. “I can’t give you any,” he said, according to Ms. McClanahan. “You’ll have to ask someone else.”

This is demonstrative of the arrogance that pervades the permanent political class.  I recognize that Romney just wanted to catch his flight, but if you sit in coach in an attempt to appear to be “just one of us,” then you should expect that people will attempt to make some conversation, particularly if you’re a presidential candidate.  Mitt is just another of those politicians who want your vote, but not your opinions.  I have no idea whether Ms. McClanahan had any good ideas or not, but after all, you never know.  I’m not surprised by this, although this sort of confirmation is troubling.

Undoubtedly, this may be Mitt’s last appearance in coach, because now his campaign is catching grief.  The Times article concludes:

Ms. McClanahan said that if Mr. Romney wants to improve his image with voters, he’s going to have to do more than just fly coach.

“I think that one of the problems right now is that politicians aren’t in touch,” she said. “They’re trying to act like they’re in touch. You need to be a little more sincere about it.”

Indeed. That’s one of the problems with Mitt.  In fact, it always has been: He’s roughly as genuine as a stuffed ape holding a plastic banana.  He’s got no credibility with average Americans because he simply isn’t one of us.  He never has been, and he clearly seems out of his element when among us.  It’s only a matter of time before they put him in flannel at a skeet-shooting range, or at a NASCAR race to show us how he’s one of us.  McClanahan’s instincts are right about Romney.  He’s out of touch. He’s out of style, and if  conservatives and Tea Party folk have anything to say about it, he’ll be out of the running.  Sadly, that’s going to be more difficult than some now think.

FoxToolsSunday “All-Stars” Reveals Establishment Hacks

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

All-Star or All Wet?

Foxnews has become the channel I am least interested in watching.  Fox News Sunday’s only panelist with any credibility was Juan Williams.  Paul Gigot, Evan Bayh, Bill Kristol, and of course, the moderator, Chris Wallace rounded out the show.   In summation: two GOP flacks, and three DNC tools.   Bill Kristol said flatly that Herman Cain “He’s not going to be the nominee, he was never going to be the nominee.”  Paul Gigot, hedging,  said Cain “probably won’t get the nomination.”  I am so tired of these establishment weanies who are seldom right about anything taking their shots at authentic conservatives.  Let’s be honest about it: How did Bill Kristol’s panting, arrogant support of the “Arab Spring” turn out?  After spending weeks bashing Glenn Beck who said at the time that we should worry about the direction of events in Egypt, you would think Kristol might learn some humility.

These wizards, with all of their laughing at Herman Cain simply don’t get it:  Conservatives have no patience for the establishment this cycle. They can climb aboard, or they can become more irrelevant, but their days of pretending to conservatives that they really know best are over.  It’s a sad day when even Juan Williams will defend Cain, but the rest of these tools are content to throw him under the bus.  Watch the video of Kristol, that genius “all-star:”

It’s not so much that I love Herman Cain as it is that I have come to detest the establishment GOP nearly as much as the hard left of the Democrat party.  News cycle after news cycle, event after event, for as long as I can remember, these Republican insiders, these geniuses who tell us which candidates can win, seem to get it wrong until the answer is obvious, and then they backtrack in a cacophony of harrumphing.  The basic problem with these elite Republican tools is that none of them share much in common with the bulk of us out here in fly-over country.  When they venture out of their narrow corridor of insider politics and Washington DC intrigue, they don’t spend much time getting to know us.

It’s a bit like the falsely accused man who retains an attorney who advises his client to “take the deal.”  They pretend to know what is in our best interests, and when we revolt against it, effectively saying “no deal,” they pout and become petulant at the impertinence of our claim of innocence on the charges.  “Just take the deal,” they implore.  “Take Mitt.”  For precisely the same reasons that I would never cop a plea on a charge of which I knew I had been innocent, neither will I accept this deal.  After all, it’s not all about avoiding jail, as they would argue, but as you and I know, about avoiding the damage to our reputation, seeking justice, and being vindicated by evidence, logic and reason.  While we explain in impassioned terms why it is that we cannot support a moderate of any description, they nod, they seem to be listening, but in the end they look at us and explain why “the deal” is better.  NO!

In my world, only criminals accept “the deal.”  In the world out here where prosecutors frequently sell out the interests of justice and tax-payers, what these Republican insiders do on behalf of our country is nearly the same.  “Come on, make the deal.”  Their argument is persuasive to some, and in some years to many, but in this election cycle, the conservative base of the party has begun to understand that you cannot make a deal with the devil and come off clean, or even victorious.  We’ve been through this too many times to mention. Imagine the ongoing conversation between conservatives and establishment Republicans:

“Gerald Ford?”

“He is the sitting President…”

“But he’s not one of us!”

“Just take the deal.” 

We did. How did that work out? In 1980, it was no better, but it turned out well.

“Just accept Gerald Ford and George HW Bush.  That’s the deal.”

“We like Reagan.”

“He’s too old, and too conservative, and the liberals are right: He’s a B-movie actor.”

“He was an effective governor in our most populated state, and we like him.”

“Come on, take the deal.”

“No.”

Odd, this time it turned out pretty well, don’t you think? In 1988, they told us to take the deal again:

“You can trust George Bush. He’s just like Ronald Reagan, bless his heart.”

“Are you sure?  He seems a little, er uh, moderate.”

“No, he’ll be fine. He’ll convince you.  See, look at that pledge he made: Read my lips: No new taxes. He’s Reagan part II.”

We grumbled, but we elected him on this basis. When he made deals with Democrats and raised taxes, we again rebelled, some of us leaving the party in 1992, in search of other options.

“Stick with us. Take the deal. It’s better than Clinton.  That Perot guy is a kook.”

“I don’t know… Maybe Perot is a kook, but maybe he’s not.”

This turned out well too, didn’t it? In 1996, the establishment was undeterred and unreformed.

“You have to support Bob Dole.  I’m Bob Dole, and Bob Dole says…”

Epic Fail

Then, in 2000, they offered us another Bush.

“No, this Bush is different. Really.  He’s not like his father, much more conservative. Just like Reagan.”

“Are you sure?  What’s all this business about compassionate conservative and new tone?”

“Trust us, it will work out. That’s just code so the Democrats think he’s more moderate.”

Then we got four years of socialism obscured by the tragedy of 9/11.  In 2004, however, they were back:

“Look, it’s really simple. He’s the incumbent. You have to dance with the one you brought, right, and besides, John Kerry? He’s WAY worse.”

We fell for this line too.  By the end, we wanted Bush gone so badly that had he been eligible for another term, some of us might have voted Obama just to be rid of Bush.

“Look, we know John McCain isn’t conservative, but this Obama fellow is really dangerous.”

“We know Obama is dangerous, but so is John McCain.”

“Okay, how about we sweeten the pot and give you a good VP pick, say, oh, this Governor from Alaska?  After all, McCain is getting on in years…”

“Okay fine, but we don’t think we can trust him.”

“It will be fine, you’ll see.”

John McCain:

“Due to the crisis, I’m suspending my campaign….”

“AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH”

Now we come to our current predicament.

“Mitt Romney is running again.  You liked him in the 2008 primaries.”

“Actually, we liked him better than McCain, which is roughly like saying we liked the prospect of having our wisdom teeth pulled slightly more than having our hands amputated.  How about: No Romney.”

“We could put up Tim Pawlenty!”

“No. We’re looking at Michele Bachmann.”

“What about Mitch Daniels? He’s a nice guy.”

“He may be a nice guy, when we can see him over the podium. He’s appointed some really idiotic judges.  Wasn’t he the Bush OMB director?”

“Turns out, Mitch doesn’t want to run. Well, his wife doesn’t. How about Rick Perry?”

“To tell you the truth, it’s hard to stay excited about Perry. He’s too much like one of yours. How about Palin?”

“Nah, Palin won’t run.  Even if she did, she’d lose.  Palin has been marginalized. She’s a quitter.”

“By and among whom?  We like her.  McCain quit. Remember that whole suspended campaign business?”

“Well, anyway, how about Chris Christie? Any takers?”

“No. What about Herman Cain?”

“Cain can’t win. Cain won’t win.”

“Why not?”

“Because we will sabotage him any chance we get.”

“Just like you did Palin?”

“Yep, it’s Mitt or bust.”

“Say, why do you establishment types keep screwing us?”

There is no establishment. It’s all in your head.”

“Yeah, right, and there’s no evil either… We’ve heard this ploy before.”

This conversation is only partially fictional.  While these precise words weren’t spoken by a particular agent of the GOP establishment, it’s nevertheless the meaning of what we and they said to one another.  Each and every time conservatives have compromised their values and went along with the moderates, the establishment, and the Bush clan(all mostly one and the same,) we have been hammered.  Each time.  The surrenders, the failures, the endless excuse-making, all so that this crowd of wizards can tell us how to live rather than having Democrats telling us how to live…  Why?

I submit to my fellow conservatives that we cannot afford another deal.  Whomever we select, it cannot be another one of their choosing.  Honest to goodness, listening to the chatter on Fox News Sunday, it is getting increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the Republicans and Democrats.  One gets the sense that they’ve all spent too much time at the same cocktail parties swilling the same statist kool-aid.

No thanks.  I’ve had enough, and while I won’t speak for the rest of you, I suspect many of you are with me this time:

No deal.

Cain, Gingrich Sit Down to Serious Debate in Texas and a Poll

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

A Great Debate?

I’ve watched every one of the previous debates, and by far, the Lincoln-Douglas style debate at the Woodlands near Houston Texas, hosted by a Tea Party group, the  Texas Patriots PAC, has been my favorite.  Both men were collegial, serious, and very honest about some very difficult issues including entitlement reform.  It’s a stunning difference when contrasted against the previous debates with seven, eight or nine candidates crowding a stage, and effectively permitting the media to highlight its favorites, or the controversies of the moment, turning the events into spectacles rather than serious debates.  It was also refreshing to have a moderator, Ben Streusand, who was not a leftist and whose interest was in furthering the debate and  informing the public.

This debate was such a thoroughly refreshing improvement over all the other debates that the candidates ought to adopt this format and ditch the rest.  I think both men performed admirably, and I also believe that while I could tell you who I think “won” the debate, it’s also important to note that winning and losing wasn’t the focus.  Neither candidate seemed to be pushing for some knock-out blow of the other, and I think that was in part due to the format, but also a result of the serious but friendly competition between these two men.  I think both men are to be commended for their performance, irrespective of who one believes to be the victor, and I think the Tea Party group that hosted this debate is to be praised incessantly for putting this together and making it a success.  The primary beneficiaries of this debate will have been the American people who bothered to watch it, and it was great television.

As with any such event, both men had their laugh lines, but more importantly, both men seemed at ease in themselves and with one another.  I now have a far better understanding of what both men propose, and I also have a much deeper respect for the thoughtfulness of both men.  Gingrich stood up for the idea that the so-called “Social Security Trust Fund” is real, and is a debt owed by the government to retirees and current workers who have paid into it.  Cain said that reform wouldn’t be possible without considering new options, and also reforming the way we generate revenue.  Both men argued passionately that individual choice must be an inherent property of any “fix” to Social Security.  In short, whatever your particular preferences, both men said that individual liberty is the key to successful reform.  They are absolutely correct.

Neither man spared their contempt for the current administration, although Gingrich was probably the more direct of the two in his criticisms.  Both men believe our current system of revenue is broken, and both have their own respective proposals that were at least mentioned during the debate.  I think that it’s clear that among the conservatives still in this race, these two are the best choices, in the main because they seem quite suited to a serious conversation about what the nature of our solutions must be.  I wouldn’t be unhappy if these two comprised the ticket for Republicans in 2012, particularly given our other choices at the moment.

I hope the other candidates will have watched this debate and realized why this is the better format, and work with Tea Party groups to set up similar events while ditching the remainder of the big media spectacles.  There’s simply no reason to subject our candidates to the liberal moderators, the idiotic questions, the “gotcha format,” and the rigid and plastic format that has been at the heart of the other debates. I would encourage Tea Party groups to put on similar events all over the country, changing up candidate pairings so that you can examine them two at one time, thus clearing up things for voters.  I think that would have a wonderful effect on voters’ ability to choose with clear-headed decisions about issues in this accelerated primary season.

As for who won?  I’m going to let you tell me.  After a day or two, I’ll make a few remarks, but I’d also like your opinion on the format, and whether you think this is how the remainder of the debates should be done.  If you don’t mind, please answer the three questions below:

Update: Hotair also covering

Update: You can participate in this Hot-Air Poll too!

Update:  You can watch the video HERE

Cain Rises Despite Allegations

Friday, November 4th, 2011

In Spite of the Controversy

ABC News is reporting polling data that shows despite the recent allegations, Cain is still rising. Some will wonder how this is possible, but the answer is simple:  Without any substantial evidence, this is just a take-down ploy, and Republican voters know it.  If you wonder why conservatives are reacting negatively to the allegations, you need only examine the story linked above.  ABC cautions that this could change if the nature of the story changes to something more serious.   This is a typical media poll, however, in that it seems to be written to push readers in a certain direction, and it’s not very informative.  From the article, there’s this paragraph:

Yet the controversy does pose risks for Cain. Just under four in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in this ABC News/Washington Post poll do say the allegations are a serious matter. Half of them say it makes them less apt to support Cain, and Romney leads him for the nomination in this group by nearly 20 points. If views of the seriousness of the issue were to increase, Cain’s support could be at risk.

No!  Get OUT!  Do they mean to say that if actual evidence of wrong-doing on Cain’s part comes out, some people might change their minds?  Of course they would.  Notice this, however, when you debunk it. Of those who think these are serious charges as they stand, half say it makes them less likely to support Cain, but Romney leads in that group by nearly 20 points.  Do you understand what this is? This is merely a statement of the obvious.  I could easily say it this way, too: One in five Republicans supports Mitt Romney, and therefore consider any allegation against upstart Herman Cain good news.

Who is surprised at that?  People who think these are serious allegations are prone to support Romney. SHOCKER! That’s nearly as shocking as: “People who believe in socialism vote Democrat.”  There’s no surprise in this because moderate Republicans are anti-ideology.  They could care less about principle.   It’s the only way they could support the candidates they do.  More, I’m tired of these polls including any substantial number of “republican-leaning independents.”  Unless they’re in an open primary state, or registered as a republican and thus able to vote in the primaries as a republican, for the purposes of this polling, they’re irrelevant.  I also don’t want to know about “registered voters,” but insist that polling organizations be honest and poll among “likely voters.”  In this case, they merely specified “adults.”  Here is the data on this poll:

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2011, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents, and 438 leaned Republicans. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points for the full sample and 5.5 points for leaned Republicans. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

Cain Campaign Accuses Perry Campaign…Without Evidence

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

As Mitt Romney Looks On

I don’t wish to seem too indignant, but why is the Cain campaign now accusing Perry’s campaign of outing this story about sexual harassment allegations and settlements about Cain?  It’s not that Perry’s campaign wouldn’t have any motive, but I’m going to need to see more evidence, just as I’ll need to see more evidence on the allegations about Cain before forming any judgments.  Earlier in the day, there was an equally plausible story about Cain’s successor at the National Restaurant Association, now a Romney supporter, who may have been in a position to have known some details about the Cain story, and then it was revealed that Karl Rove and Karen Hughes had connections with the same fellow, Chris Wilson, the pollster who was interviewed on KVOT in Oklahoma and said several things about the Cain allegations.

Why, with all of this, would Herman Cain’s campaign leap out there and make these accusations against Perry’s camp?  Do they have any more evidence to which we are not privileged?  Or is it something else?  You folks know by now that I am a bit cynical about all of this, and that my own speculations are based on reading the same information widely available to everyone, but what you expect is that I will consider things from a different perspective, and I have done so knowing I am challenging conventional wisdom at times, but that in lieu of evidence to the contrary, we ought to consider all the possibilities.  Some wondered early on if Herman Cain’s campaign was a shell operation because there is so little organization or firm foundation there.   Dana Milbank seems certain that his campaign was never supposed to go anywhere, as she absolutely rips him in the Washington Post.  Cain at times has seem ill-prepared for questions, and at times his answers have been unfocused, vague, and self-contradictory.  Cain was the immediate beneficiary of Christie and Palin bowing out, and none other than Rick Perry was passing his peak in the polls as Cain started briskly upward.

Honestly, I’ve had some doubts about Herman Cain, and they are born of an observation about his campaign, and his preparedness.  At times, I haven’t been alone in wondering if he wasn’t simply trying to secure the VP slot.  It’s entirely possible that I have misread Cain, as he is genuinely likable and seems a good-hearted man, but his tendency at times to align with Romney have left me to wonder how serious about the presidency he has been. Some have suggested that he knew all along these allegations would be coming, and ought to have known they could wreck his campaign.  I don’t know about that, but what I do know is this:  An allegation of the sort Cain’s campaign is now making against Perry could be the fatal blow that sends Perry home to Texas, whether founded in facts or not.  For their part, the Perry campaign is flatly denying the charge.

So who is the beneficiary if Cain is taken down a notch or two, and Perry is delivered a knock-out blow?  This is all speculation, but one could just as easily link these allegations to Romney as to Perry.  While all of this goes on, who is sitting pretty, safely out of the fray, as the opponent he really worries about – Rick Perry – takes a black eye he may not deserve?  That’s right.  Part of the problem in all of this is how it reveals the incestuous nature of Washington DC politics.  For all of his bluster about being a sort of outsider, Cain worked as the CEO and President of the National Restaurant Association in DC.  According to Wikipedia:

The association lobbies for the restaurant and foodservice industry and represents the industry on Capitol Hill.[15] It was the largest food and beverage political action committee contributor to both the U.S. Democratic and Republican Parties in the 2004 election cycle.[16]

Now that puts a little different light on the subject, and a little different light on Mr. Cain, the “outsider,” doesn’t it?  That’s sounds vaguely like it could be a part of that whole beltway-insider system we keep hearing about.  It would be apparent to the various GOP establishment operatives that they would have to defend Romney from the outset if they were going to get their chosen candidate across the finish line.  They must have known that Romney’s RINO skin would begin to show through the paper-thin conservative veneer with which they had covered him.  How better to defend him by preventing him from having to do battle at all?  As Machiavelli might have observed, what better way to be sure your candidate prevails than to control all the candidates?

For the record, I’m not suggesting that all of these candidates are merely establishment shills, in this campaign only to set things up for Romney or anybody else, but let’s at least be honest in that most of these people do the same cocktail party circuits, know most of the same people, employ the same law firms, lobbying companies, and public relations outfits.  In short, they all speak a different language and have different points of reference from most of us wee folk out here in fly-over country.  It’s the reason why for most of them, it’s impossible to listen to the claim of being “an outsider” while maintaining a straight face.

Herman Cain’s successor at the National Restaurant Association is a Romney donor.  Chris Wilson, the pollster who was on the radio today, worked for Karl Rove and the National Restaurant Association, along with many others, but only recently, for a PAC associated with Perry.  If you go through all of these candidates and compare their lists of donors, contributors, volunteers, lawyers, pollsters, and PR flacks, you’ll find that over time, there have been all sorts of overlapping relationships and linkages.  This is the ugly truth of how the game has been played all these years, and it points out the intractable problem with the desire among so many to “clean up Washington:”  To untangle this spaghetti of associations, connections and relationships is nearly impossible.

When Herman Cain’s campaign comes out with this flimsy link to a pollster who has only recently begun work for a Perry PAC, you must realize that they’re trying to sink Perry, but if they have no more evidence than this, I’d suggest as much or more caution as I had suggested earlier Wednesday.  On the other hand, Perry’s campaign might be behind this, but the sense I’m getting from the reports of the Cain campaign’s charge is that it has less foundation in fact and substance than the already pathetically flimsy allegations Politico published about Cain, and that should give you pause.  Why would his campaign leap to this accusation, particularly on such a flimsy basis?  Do they have more evidence?  Do they have something concrete tying this to Perry?  I’m no Perry fan, and no I wouldn’t be surprised, but let’s just say that something about the way this charge against Perry’s campaign came together makes me wonder.

Cain Under Fire: Can He Prevail?

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Dirty Politics or Unpreparedness?

Think whatever you like of the allegations against Cain, but what I’ve noticed has nothing to do with the details of the case, except for their absence.  Back when Herman Cain was serving as the President of the National Restaurant Association, just a relative few people would have been privy to the allegations and the case at the time.  What is now known is that the cases were to be held in confidence as part of the settlement agreements.  The parties to these cases wouldn’t have an interest in disclosing information about them, so it makes one wonder where the Politico dug all of this up.  If I was a betting man, I’d bet on somebody within the GOP establishment, or alternatively, one of the other non-establishment candidates who would like to topple Cain from the head of that pack.  Chances are, if it was a liberal, they’d have waited until after the nomination fight if Cain won, or accepted a VP offer.  While it’s true that Politico is a left-wing rag, they’ve often managed to get along with the GOP establishment when it suited their immediate political ends.

In their articles on this subject, Politico hasn’t revealed much detail, which only means they don’t have anything salacious on which to hang their hats, or it would be all over the media by now.  What this suggests to me is that whomever their sources may be, they were close enough to know there had been cases, but not close enough to have been bound by confidentiality agreements.  This suggest somebody close to the National Restaurant Association, or somebody at least somehow associated, who knew about the allegations, or the settlements, at least in that they existed, but this all has the stench of somebody with insider knowledge who tipped off somebody at Politico.

What I can’t understand about this is how Cain wasn’t prepared to see this happen.  Did he believe that because the settlement agreements had been made confidential, that nobody would spill the beans about their existence?  That seems naive for a man who spent a fair amount of time in and around Washington DC lobbying circles to know how things work.  Did he think, innocently, because there really had been nothing to the claims that nobody would dredge this up?  I don’t know, but I think it’s somewhat curious that Cain was caught short in this way. After all, if Cain has an Achilles’ heel, it is probably that he’s not quite as skilled in knowing  how the game is played, and one would have thought that he would have hired somebody who knew, and who had already been through an analysis of what the opposition would attempt.  He should have been ready to respond to this, because he should have known, or at least his advisers should have known, that this would be coming.

This is part of what makes the Beltway political scene so disgusting to so many Americans.  Examining this, all we really know is that there were some allegations made at some time by some people and that those allegations consisted of something, and that there had been some kind of settlement, but we know not a single meaningful detail about any of it. Does this sound familiar?  It should, as it is the methodology used to derail candidates year after year, campaign after campaign, and it stinks.  It’s as though the DC Establishment closes ranks to freeze out all others, and this is the manner by which they wage their war: Innuendo, implication, and smear are the tools of DC politics.

Predictably, Politico is now spinning this into a divide among conservatives, but that is mostly a pipe dream on their part, and the part of the Romney camp.  Politico is also trotting out the women’s groups, which have been conveniently absent over the matter of OWS hushing rape victims.  For this, of course, they show up.  Who would like to pretend NOW would ever endorse Herman Cain(or any Republican) over Barack Obama, anyway?

Presidential campaigns are always full of intrigue, and smears, and plain old lies.  For whatever reason, Cain seems hopelessly unprepared for the ferocity of it, and while they continue to deride him on this issue, I don’t think it’s going to matter, because this won’t be all and they’re hardly finished with him yet.  If Cain doesn’t get wise to the ways of establishment politics, they’re going to eat him alive.

What’s With Rick Perry?

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Rick Perry Speaking Friday

I’m not going to spend much time on this.  I’m sorry to say that we Texans have watched our governor self-destruct in this campaign. He entered to much hype and an almost instantaneous lead, but those days are long gone.  This video clip is from a speech Perry gave Friday, to the Cornerstone, a conservative group in New Hampshire. Let me be clear about this: Rick Perry didn’t say anything bad, or wrong, and in isolation, I agree with the concepts he expressed in general terms.  The problem is the manner in which he said it.  Something’s off about his presentation.  Am I alone in seeing it this way?  To me, it just seems like a very odd presentation.  I’ve seen Perry speak a number of times, and this speech is somehow different, and by different, I don’t mean “better.”  What is Rick Perry doing?

Herman Cain On Abortion: Say What?

Friday, October 21st, 2011

In Search of an Answer?

John Stossel asked Herman Cain about his position on abortion.  Cain seems to take the position that government should stay out of the issue entirely.  This would imply that he’s for continuing legality of the procedure.  The problem is, he also says he doesn’t think it should be legal.  That seems to contradict his first line.  I am having as much trouble trying to figure out what Cain’s stance really is on the issue.  He gives one more attempt to clarify it at the end, but again, it seems to contradict what he has already said.  Am I being difficult, or is Stossel?  I get the sense that Herman Cain is trying to have both sides of the issue.  He wants the state to stay out of it, but he doesn’t want abortions performed, but he’s not going to tell a woman not to have an abortion, and before you know it, I am confused about his position.

It simply appears that there exists some huge ideological or philosophical disconnect on his part, and his answer simply isn’t very satisfactory, if only because I walk away from the discussion not really understanding what his policy as President would be on the matter.  Take a look and see if you understand his position any better than I do:

The problem with all of this is that I like Herman Cain.  I like him because he seems willing to go after certain issues that others seem to avoid like the plague.  He’s a genuinely stand-up fellow, and he certainly seems to mean well.  I simply don’t think he’s spent enough time preparing on the specifics of some of these issues.  For instance, if you asked me about abortion, my answer would be a good deal more concise, and it wouldn’t leave any doubt in your mind as to my position.  It also wouldn’t please everybody.  I might say: “I believe human life begins at conception.  Since our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness owe to “Nature’s Law and Nature’s God,” it means these rights are unalienable, and not subject to the whims of others, and government exists to guarantee these rights.  The only instance in which abortion should be permissible is as an act of self-defense on the part of the mother.”

Are you confused about my position? What about Mr. Cain’s?  I wish he’d spend some time clearing up his positions.  It frequently seems as though he has canned, glib responses that lose all their effectiveness the moment a follow-up question is added into the mix.  It’s as though his understanding of the range of issues is a mile-wide in breadth, but cellophane-thin in depth.  I certainly hope Mr. Cain is able to pick it up on this score.  I really like him, and while I don’t agree with him on all of his positions, where I can figure out where he stands, I certainly like his perspective in general terms.

Let’s hope he can clear some of this up!

The GOP Establishment Thinks You’re Stupid

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

We May Not Be So Stupid

Every day that passes, we learn more about the people who direct the Republican Party, and every day, we get new reasons not to like them.  If the people of New Hampshire let themselves be pushed into voting for Romney, they no longer need to tout the motto “Live Free or Die,” but should instead adopt the motto: “Principles don’t matter.”  Mitt Romney is using his influence in Nevada to try to push up their primary to push New Hampshire up to December.  To Republicans in New Hampshire, if you allow the Romney campaign to prod you forward, you are going to anger the people of your state.  Go ahead:  Hold your primary during the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year period, and prepare to reap the reward.  Allowing Mitt Romney to try to steal this primary is an unspeakable act, but polluting the holidays with partisan politics is abominable.  The GOP establishment thinks you’re stupid, and they think you will advance your primary into December in order to stay ahead of the others.  The party doesn’t care what will happen to your state, and they think you’re too stupid to notice.

Any state party that yields half of its representation at the national convention in order to permit one candidate to make a bigger splash than the others isn’t serving their electorate.  The Bush operatives still hold sway in Florida, the state that got this all rolling, and now it’s been a domino effect with New Hampshire looking as early as December to maintain its position at the front of the line.  Romney is weak in Iowa, and this is about supplanting the influence of Iowa.  You need to understand that this is an attempt to steal a primary season, to shorten it up, and to prevent any other candidate(s) from gaining traction, but more importantly, to prevent any Tea Party opposition from gaining traction. It also means there will be all those delegates yielded to the national party for the convention, which will effectively lessen the influence of every state.  The people of New Hampshire may be powerless to stop this, and they may not care to because they’ve been told the falsehood that it will improve their influence.  Either way, the country loses.

As this goes on, what you must know is that whatever the 8-pm (EST) blow-hard or his substitute on Fox News may tell you, Mitt Romney has no business being President of the United States.  Fox News has become the establishment Republican propaganda network, and the only thing they’re going to bring to mainstream conservatives is defeat in 2012.  Fox News is compromised in many ways due to the Rupert Murcoch/News Corp/phone-hacking scandal.  You can bet Obama’s DOJ will play that ace-in-the-hole next fall.  In the mean time, Obama and the Democrats are happy to see the Republicans nominate Romney because he is the one candidate in this race they are dead-certain they can defeat.

You’re being told to accept Romney because “he can win.”  I’ve got news for you: If (and that’s a giant “if,”) Mitt Romney can win, then so can anybody else, including “My Pet Goat.”  The simple fact is that Romney can’t currently top 30% in national polls, and there’s a good reason:  He’s a liberal.  He sounds vaguely conservative on a few issues, but in the end, Romney always, always shows his true intentions as a big government, progressive Republican, or as Mark Levin would call such people, “Re-pubic-ans.”

As Tammy Bruce offered today, “I’m wondering now, why the Republicans even should bother to vote in the primaries” as she explains since the Republican establishment is now telling us Romney is the guy.  Meanwhile, Cain is moving up as an answer to the establishment, but so is Gingrich.  Do you think we can beat Obama with these?  The truth is, if we nominate Romney, we deserve to lose.

It’s time to tell the GOP establishment: “No more! Enough!”  Are we willing to do that?  I am.  Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to treat the GOP like a dirty cop.  He should be a good guy, but he isn’t, and in most every respect, he’s as bad as the people from whom he’s been tasked to protect me.  You know what I think of such cops?  To hell with them! I love good cops, who keep the peace, shield the innocent, and do not partake of graft and corruption, and enforce the laws of our country.  When I see a bad cop, however, I don’t care what happens to him because when he battles with thugs, I simply view it as rival gangs at war.  That’s the Republican establishment, and the only way I can reduce their influence is to simply cease aggregating mine with theirs.  I’ll defend myself, thank you very much, because their sort of “protection” isn’t protection at all. It’s more like a protection racket.

I no longer care whether the Republican establishment defeats Obama or not.  If they succeed in getting their guy nominated, he’s not going to offer any relief from the attack our constitution is under, whether from Obama or his shills in the media and Congress.  The simple fact is that Romney and others like him simply won’t do what it takes.  I’ll say it again: Anybody But A RINO.

I’m going to focus on the Senate and the House, and every chance I get to stick it to the Whigs Republicans, I will take it.  The Republican party was founded in the name of a cause in search of liberty.  It will fail if it doesn’t seek to put liberty in the forefront once more, and the GOP establishment is no better than the Democrats in that respect.  None.  You voters in New Hampshire have a chance to send a message by standing this manipulative nonsense down.  Of course, the Romney people are in a hurry to tell you this will increase your influence, but they’re lying  to you.

We can’t win the sort of election we need in 2012 by being against something.  People prefer an affirmative reason to vote.  This is why McCain lost, but until his idiotic “suspended campaign,” Sarah Palin was able to boost him:  She was that affirmative feature of McCain’s campaign.  Whatever surge McCain ever had owed to her presence.  While I don’t know who Romney will pick as his VP, maybe somebody to draw in conservatives like Herman Cain, but whomever it is will not rescue his campaign.  If conservatives hope to actually reform this government, it’s going to require all  hands on deck for a real candidate, but in lieu of that, we’re going to need to learn that we can no longer afford to hold our noses.

If a “President Romney” continues the downhill slide of our country, will the left say it’s because “Romney was too liberal?” No. They will state with straight faces that it had been evidence of the failures of “conservatives” and “capitalism.”  Bank on it.

Note To The GOP Establishment: Forget It

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Enough is Enough

My answer to the establishment of the GOP is “No.”  I will not support a RINO.  You can put one up if you like, offering conservatives and Tea Party patriots the fools’ choice between rampant lefty statism and moderate statism, but I will have no part of it.  Do you hear me, Mitt Romney?  Do you understand me Karl Rove?  There shouldn’t be any way you people are in charge of anything given the mess you made during the Bush administration with your false doctrine of feigning conservatism while ruling as progressives.   If we conservatives get our act together in time, we’ll realize that the first enemy we must defeat is you, and then you’ll be in real trouble.   The problem for conservatives at the moment lies in deciding which of these candidates is not a shill for your purposes, and which among them you cannot easily control.  It’s my intention to see to it that we conservatives and Tea Party patriots have a real choice.  You think we’re going to roll over easily?  Forget it!

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s how we can start:  We, not me, but we can create a list of common traits upon which we can all agree and accept them as our baseline.  We can decide what it is to be a conservative, and upon which principles conservatism rests.  We’re going to need to reduce this  list down to no more than ten fundamental principles, and no more than fifteen issues,  and we’re going to prioritize them on that basis.  We should be careful to exclude things from consideration upon which there is little distinction.  We can then create a score sheet and people can offer evidence as to how a candidate may be scored on a given issue.  Long before we get to that, we need to establish the lists.  Our task will not be to endorse a particular candidate, but show how each of the existing candidates stack up against an ideal hypothetical candidate.

The truth is that this has been done by many people and groups.  The difference is that we are going to do it on a shoe-string, on the honor system, and all from our own thoughts and ideas.  We’re not going to copy anybody, if we do this.  What I want to know from you is if you’re interested.  I want to know if I’m wasting my time, or yours.  I want to know if this is worth doing at all.  What I’d like from you, if you don’t mind, is to give me some indication of your thinking about all of this.  You can leave a comment to this post, or you can signify your interest by liking it, or you can send me an email, subject: Interested!  If you have particular ideas, use the subject line: Ideas!

We are running out of time to influence this outcome.  If we’re going to do this, it will need to be grass-roots and fast.  Let me know what you’re thinking.  Myself, I cannot stand the thought of the establishment ruling the day again.  Maybe this is how we can turn the ship around.  Thank you for your attention and time!

Tuesday’s Debate Demonstrated Our Problem

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

One of These? Please...

After some digging, I finally found the debate on Bloomberg TV.  I didn’t know we got that channel until I went looking.  Suffice it to say that I could have saved myself a good deal of trouble and faked my way through by guessing at the way it would go.   It wasn’t inspiring, and in fact, disappointing, not for the lack of fireworks, although there wasn’t much there either, but simply because there is nobody among the eight candidates who appeared Tuesday night that is worthy of endorsement.  It’s possible that if you took the best traits of each of them, you might cobble together a worthy candidate, but it seemed more like a staged coronation of Romney and a further opportunity to hammer Perry.

My assessment of the candidates, in no particular order:

Rick Perry: Better.  It’s obvious that he was the only candidate Karen Tumulty recognized at the table. While I’m no Perry fan either, this was a bit blatant.  She seemed to be seeking the approval of liberals everywhere as her questions all seemed to have a tone of indignant harumph about them.  Score Perry 20 points just for refraining from telling her to crawl back under her rock.

Michele Bachmann: That’s it? That’s the extent of her arguments?  How many times did she praise Mitt?

Jon Huntsman:  Who cares?  Everybody knows he’s in the room to make Mitt Romney look less liberal by comparison.

Herman Cain:  Blew it big-time on the 9-9-9 plan.  His insistence that the American people would hold Congressional feet to the fire to prevent the 9-9-9 from becoming 19-19-19 is laughable.  He’s either naive or dishonest.  I’m still willing to believe naive.  Also, he mentioned that he would be President so he would veto anything done to abuse his formula.  That’s all well and good while he’s still President, but hopefully, the country would go on a bit longer. What then?  Lastly, never say that “I have some candidates for that job” unless you’re willing to discuss them, because thereafter, it will look as though you’re hiding something, which you are.

Newt Gingrich: Too bad about Newt.  He’s a remarkably smart fellow, but his willingness to join with Nancy Pelosi on theGlobal Warming hoax damned him forever more.  Nobody will really trust Newt. Me included.

Ron Paul:  He made an excellent point about Sarbanes-Oxley, and also about Greenspan vs. Volcker.  Greenspan did help create the bubble. As usual, Paul is good as gold on economics but he’s a disaster on foreign policy.

Rick Santorum: Makes a good point about the importance of family with respect to poverty.  Otherwise, I think he was simply happy to be there.

Mitt Romney:  The good news for Mitt is that he didn’t say too much to get himself in trouble with the press, but every republican should be deeply troubled by what he did say.  Romney is playing a game of class warfare only slightly different from the Democrats, and he’s taking it in a different direction, but it’s the same thing.  He also lied about Romneycare.  In several ways.  Romney is precisely what we do not need: He’s a liberal.

We need to begin to ask the question about what it is to be a Republican.  We need to differentiate between conservatives and progressives.  Tonight’s debate served only to further muddy those waters.  What does the party stand for anyway?  If these people are representative of that, whatever it is, we’re in deep trouble.  Sure, if I could take Paul on economics, Cain on combative business savvy, Bachmann on confronting the welfare state, Gingrich on thoughtfulness, Perry on reducing regulation, and Romney on “looking presidential,” we might have something.  The truth is that we don’t have such an aggregate of good ideas and traits in one person.  If this is the pool from which we hope to draw the person who will defeat Obama, never mind restore our nation, I think it’s time to call Houston, because we have a real problem.

ABAR: Anybody But A RINO

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Sorry, I've Had Enough

It has become increasingly clear that the Republican establishment is going to get in line behind Romney.  They’ve managed to freeze out Palin by moving up the primaries even if she had been inclined to run, and she was probably the one outsider who could offer a serious challenge, but with her decision not to run after lengthy contemplation and family considerations, it has left a vacuum in the party that Herman Cain is rushing to try to fill.  The problem is that Mr. Cain has no war-chest, and if he doesn’t pull in some substantial donors soon, he’s got no chance, but more importantly, it’s becoming clear based on his statements that he doesn’t actually intend to win.  Given that in 2008, Cain endorsed Romney, and considering that Romney is now running around suggesting that folks who don’t wish to vote for him should instead choose Cain, one might begin to wonder if the fix isn’t in.  Again.

We conservatives are looking down a dark tunnel, and what we’re now beginning to understand is just how the cloak of the establishment is smothering our party.  The establishment offers us another un-conservative loser, and even if we manage to get him elected, we’ve got a bigger problem: Once again, we will have a liberal republican in office who claims to be a conservative, and this will once again cause an undeserved defamation of conservatism.  We’re being told he’s the de facto winner, with a maximum currently of 30% of the GOP primary electorate.

It’s no different in function from the manner in which Capitalism has been besmirched.  We see a system that is called capitalism, but it is so overwhelmed by statism that it can in no way even approximate actual Capitalism.  The bail-outs, the exhausting controls, the increasing taxes, the ever-devaluing currency, the interventions in the market, and the endless mandates of an overgrown government guarantee that Capitalism is not now and has not been in existence in the United States for most of a century, if not longer.  Instead, what we have had throughout that period is known as a “Mixed economy” that is what its name implies:  A mixing between the appearance of capitalism and fact of a command economy.  Notice that in this argument, when something goes awry, it is always Capitalism that takes the black eye, and only seldom does the command-and-control edifice of statism ever receive criticism, particularly among the intelligentsia.

In much the same way, other things are also attacked for the sins of their substitute.  Consider the war on the Tea Party, whereby the Tea Party is labeled “terroristic” and “threatening” and “violent” and “racist,” while in fact, the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd has virtually all of those characteristics, including an undercurrent of anti-semitism bundled together with and disguised behind their hatred of the rich.  The media blamed Tea Party patriots for the downgrade just a month or so ago, but in truth, it was the statists who caused the downgrade by their intransigent inaction on deficit spending.  Notice that at no point did the major media or the responsible parties(Obama and Congress) go on record to blame anybody except the Tea Party.  As you consider this, you might recognize the trend.

In exactly this way, when George W. Bush was elected President on the basis of his “compassionate conservatism,” I knew from my experience with his administration in Texas that this merely meant he would be anything but conservative.  Some conservatives like to excuse him, saying he was “good on 9/11 and defending the country,” but let’s be honest enough to admit that even a complete buffoon like Al Gore would have defended the country, albeit probably less vigorously. Still, had Al Gore been president in 2001, I doubt whether we would have seen the GOP Congress legislating the TSA into existence.  I doubt whether subsequent social spending would have gone through, including the Bush-Kennedy education regime, or the program now known as Medicare part D.  The simple fact is that conservatives would have recognized all of these as the advance of statism, and would have mobilized against them.  Only rarely, such as in the case of Harriet Miers, did conservatives seek to challenge George Bush when he was governing in a decidedly un-conserverative fashion.

This is the reason I am most concerned about the upcoming presidential election season.  It’s true that Obama is a walking horror-show of predations against our constitution, but the truth is that Bush laid the groundwork for Obama’s misdeeds, aided six of his eight years by a Republican Congress that was sticking with their guy.  Let’s not kid ourselves about the disastrous results of another RINO in the White House.  You can pretend all you wish that in electing Romney, you are protecting the nation from Obama, but the simple truth is that you are merely helping to discredit conservatism.  In 2008, we were told that conservatism was to blame, and even now, they blame Bush for the bail-outs (while they hypocritically clamor for more,) and all along the way, what has become clear is that if conservatism is going to get the blame, then for a change, we should at least elect a conservative President.  With Palin now doing the establishment a favor by stepping aside for her personal reasons, and Christie endorsing Romney, and Cain being less than a strong candidate, it’s easy to see it coming again.

You can go to the polls and support one of these candidates if you like, but there isn’t one of them with a substantial chance to win who is also conservative, and I’m in no mood to vote for a fake.  If the Republican part establishment thinks they can get my vote with the torture of four more years of Obama as the only alternative, they’re mistaken, and I will likely sit out this presidential election.   Sure, I’ll vote the down-ballot, but I’ll leave the presidential slot unmarked.  I don’t buy the notion of “anybody but Obama.”  I’d rather an openly Marxist dolt like Obama be re-elected than to compromise my principles and help the statists propaganda against conservatism by putting forward a candidate who will be called a conservative, but will govern as a progressive.  Until the people of this country realize how thoroughly the GOP establishment has been jerking them around by continuing to put forward progressive Republicans, never mind the Marxist Democrats, there is absolutely no chance that we will recover, restore, or reform what now ails us.

I’ve grown fatigued with the notion that conservatives should shut up and get in line. I’m not interested, and for once, the moderates can get in line with me.   Those of you conservatives and Tea Party patriots who tire of this too should finally understand that you’re only undercutting yourselves when you support the establishment in the end, out of a sense of desperation.  You can tout “ABO” all you like, but I’m going to shout “ABAR” to any who will hear me: “Anybody But A RINO.”  I mean it, but until conservatives finally sit out a presidential ballot en masse, the establishment will continue to offer you pathetic choices.  They no longer take your threats seriously because so many of you haven’t held to it.  If you want real change, it truly must begin with you.

Mitt Romney Won’t Get My Vote

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

This Guy? Please...

I can’t believe Mitt Romney is dredging up Michael Chertoff as a foreign policy adviser.  Chertoff is the former Homeland Security Secretary who lobbied for the so-called “naked-scanning” machines now in airports across the nation and profited from it.  He’s also the pro-amnesty shill who has repeatedly pushed the country in the direction of some sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants.  For Governor Romney to bring in this guy is akin to inviting the fox into the henhouse, which unless you’re a fellow fox, would seem a remarkably bad idea.  There are at least three things wrong with Chertoff, and probably a good deal more, but if Romney thinks this is the man to whom he should turn for foreign policy advice, I can’t imagine that Romney is a man I can support for dog-catcher, much less for president.  Irrespective of what others may say, or endorse, there’s simply no way I can support this un-conservative pretender.

Add to this the latest news that Romney’s son and one of his fund-raisers may have been using campaign ties of his father’s 2008 in finding investors for his project, and what you begin to wonder is if he’s not the sort of crony-capitalist we fear him to be.  Whether there was any sort of illegality isn’t really the question, as we all know how people leap through the holes in laws, but a question of the propriety of all of this, and whether it represents the sort of judgment we ought to expect from a president.  On the other hand, given the crony capitalism running wild in Washington DC, particularly at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it may be that he’d fit right in.

Worse yet, it turns out that Romney has appointed a full-blown environmental nut-job while he was governor, and actually pandered to leftists over coal-fired power plants.  From the Wall Street Journal article linked above:

With Mr. Foy by his side, Mr. Romney joined activists outside an aging, coal-fired plant in 2003 to show his commitment to the emissions caps. “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people,” he said.

Can you imagine anything more ludicrous?  Perhaps taken together with the headlines of the day, we can put this into context: The Obama administration’s EPA has decided to regulate more coal-burning plants out of existence, to the tune of 28 giga-watts of power generating capacity.  This is a prescription not merely for the destruction of thousands upon thousands of jobs in American coal mines, but a complete catastrophe for the economy in general.  This is a program of intentional impoverishment aimed squarely at the American people, and as recently as during his term as governor, Romney was aboard with this sort of ridiculous program.  He’s a dangerous panderer as well as being the liberal in this race.  Please don’t offer that Huntsman is worse, since I believe he’s in this race only to make Romney appear less liberal by comparison.

I’ve written two other articles on Mr. Romney, and the more I learn about his record, the less I like him, and that’s to say I don’t think he’s worthy of the job, and certainly not the sort of president a beleaguered America needs.  I can tell you with certainty that I cannot now or at any future point support a Romney candidacy, because all of these things combined with the Massachusetts health-care initiative signed into law by his hand resembles Obamacare in almost every important detail.  In short, Romney is the next best thing to Obama from the standpoint of an honest conservative.  Only in the deepest blue of blue states could a person such as this pass for a “conservative.”  I will have no part of supporting him.  There is no running mate with whom you could couple him that could present any improvement.  None.  Mitt Romney is the definition of RINO.  Nominate this guy, and it will guarantee four more years of Obama.

You can read my other articles on Romney here:

I Don’t Know If Any of Them Are Fit

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The "Not Ready for Primetime" Players?

As you know, I don’t support Rick Perry for a whole host of reasons, particularly having been a Texan throughout the time he’s held state-wide office, and knowing he’s got a number of really ugly crony-capitalist skeletons in his closet.  With that in mind, I must say that this story about the hunting lease, and the rock with a racial epithet stinks to high heaven.  I realize that a hint of racism would disqualify a candidate from consideration, and well it should, but to extend this story to impute some racist motives on the part of Rick Perry is simply going too far, and is mere race-baiting nonsense.

Perry has done himself enough damage with his poor debate performances, but what I found stunning in the aftermath of the Washington Post story on this greatly overstated controversy about Perry was that Herman Cain exploited it to make an attack on Perry, by calling the instance “racially insensitive.”  He later walked that back once the full context became known, but his reflex to run with that sort of inflammatory story has caused me to question the temperament of Cain more than Perry.  The only thing perhaps more disgusting was the fact that even after the story had begun to lose some of its initial traction, Romney’s camp pounced once they thought it was safe.  Like you, I believe every one of these candidates should be thoroughly vetted, but I think we’re coming to the point in American politics where the “Gotcha” business that Newt Gingrich has lamented is getting out of hand. Rather than focus on the real shortcomings of the candidates, we’re off on these over-hyped tangents.

This display of wretched gutter politics makes me question the lot of them.  When it boils right down to it, none of them are really exhibiting the character I expect from a president.  Perry has a whole host of problems on a substantial basis of facts, as does Romney, and as I’ve been learning more recently, Herman Cain as well.  The problem is that when you see them pile onto a story like this, you know it’s not about substance.  It’s about scoring “Gotcha” points.  For Herman Cain to now sink to the level of playing the race card, after already having accusations of racism thrown at him over his remarks about “brainwashed blacks” is a matter of a serious failure in judgment.  Romney ought to know better, but he’s apparently happy to stand back and let others make the first attacks and then stick his two cents in and kick his opponent once he’s already on the ground.  That sort of cowardly play is just what you’d expect from a candidate who seems to seek victory by default.

All in all, it’s a pretty sorry state of affairs.  Here we have nine candidates in the race, and they seem muddled and dominated by the media narratives of the day, and that may be the saddest declaration about this field one can make:  None of them seem fit.  More fit than Obama?  Yes, perhaps that’s the case, but are any of these really the people we want to lead(not run) this country?  While the jury is still out on the question, I believe it’s become time for we voters to being answering it.  It’s astonishing that at this late date, what we now seem to have is a group of people engaged in a fight to avoid the worst “Gotcha” moments, but apart from some platitudes, and a horrible lack of policy details, I’ve yet to see anything particularly compelling from any of them, and none of their records offer much solace.

They all need more vetting, and as they become the front-runner, or challenge the front-runner, one after the other, we need to examine their records and their history in office and in business.  Issues like this Perry story are simply concocted nonsense in an attempt to drive the election according to a media narrative.  If we’re to select a candidate, that candidate should have an impeccable record in office, and we must do our best to avoid this sort of tabloid journalism.  It simply doesn’t serve the electorate, and while it can create many nifty headlines and soundbites, it doesn’t do anything to take us in the direction of restoring our country.  I can think of thirty reasons not to support Perry, but none of them have anything to do with some painted-over, turned-over rock on a hunting lease in West Texas of which Governor Perry may have once been aware as an artifact of a terrible, but thankfully bygone era.

The Establishment’s Fake Chris Christie “Ground-swell”

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Too Close For Comfort?

If you watch Fox News, or indeed, almost any media, suddenly, all the buzz is about New Jersey Governor Christie and his possible entry into the GOP nomination fight.  I think this is a lot of smoke and mirrors.  Christie currently has national name recognition on par with so-called second-tier candidates, and with the primary season moving up, it’s hard to imagine him building sufficient name recognition outside the Northeast corridor.  Of course, Ailes over at Fox News has been doing his best to give him more media coverage and drive up the number of people who recognize him, but this is just another example of the manufactured hype being created around Christie.  The GOP establishment is either looking for somebody new to play javelin-catcher now that Romney is back in front,  or they hope to supplant Romney with somebody they think can cause more excitement.   Either way, Chris Christie may well be just the man for the job.  As part of their bid to make Christie more palatable to the base, they placed him in the presence of Nancy Reagan last week, but this an awkward attempt at disguising Christie as a Reaganite that gains little from any but the most superficially-inclined voters.

This isn’t to say there aren’t any people genuinely interested in a Christie candidacy.  Ann Coulter has become positively unhinged over the prospect, but the truth is that there’s no real ground-swell of support for the New Jersey governor.  He simply isn’t all that well-known or liked outside the Northeast corridor.  An overbearing, loud-mouthed bullying attitude may play well in New York City, but it simply doesn’t play in Peoria.  If Christie runs, he will not capture the Tea Party segment, and he will not cut into Romney’s core of support.  This leaves one to wonder what Christie’s purpose in running might be.  The answer is simple: He’s there to try to suck up the oxygen in a bid by the establishment of the GOP to stop or at least mute a Palin entry into the field.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

The simple fact of the matter is that apart from some high-dollar contributors of the crony-capitalist variety, Christie really doesn’t offer much to the Republican party at large.  The Northeast, liberal Republicans already have a candidate, and while they wish he would get more support, they’re satisfied enough that Ann Coulter has now come out to support Romney.  Christie’s only chance to win will depend  upon co-opting the Tea Party segment, and given his record on a number of issues, it is likely that he won’t get their support.  He’s simply too liberal, and too uninterested in issues important to the Tea Party.  He may pay lip service to some of those issues, but as Stephen Bannon pointed out in his interview of Todd Palin Sunday evening, it’s really not much of an accomplishment to cut state budgets when you have no choice, but it is a big deal to cut budgets in time of surplus.  Tea Party folk are discerning enough to recognize this vital distinction.

Chris Christie could best be understood as an exemplar of the problem with the Republican establishment: He doesn’t really believe in the things important to the conservative base of the party, never mind the Tea Party. It’s another sorry charade offered to us in the form of yet one more “savior” for the GOP, just as the line of them we’ve been presented over the last nine months.  What I found particularly telling was the Karl Rove interview by Hannity as they waited for Christie to speak at the Reagan Library last week, and Rove said:

“Well, and look, it’s not just wealthy donors. There have been fellow Republican governors, party activists, grassroots Republican movers and shakers. I mean, this has been a pretty interesting thing to watch. In a very short period of time, since his swearing-in in January of 2010, he’s become quite a figure on the national stage, because of what he’s done as governor. He took on the teachers unions. He’s blunt, he’s straightforward. He’s the every man of American politics. And he’s got a — he’s got quite a following.”

As usual, Karl Rove is trying to paint a picture that bears little resemblance to reality.  To call Christie the “every man of American politics” is a laughable attempt at positioning.  More, when he  says “…it’s not just wealthy donors,” he’s essentially lying.  That’s the vast bulk of Christie’s support, and Rove knows it.  Christie has little in common with the base of the GOP, or the Tea Party, and that’s the point insofar as the establishment is concerned.

I think you can see as well as I what is really going on here.  This is another put-up job by the establishment, and whether they expect Christie to win the primaries, stealing Romney’s base of support, or if he’s being put up as a body-block for Romney, it essentially doesn’t matter.  It’s a hoax  to call this a “ground-swell” or the result of “grassroots Republicans.”  What this really means is Rove and the rest of the GOP establishment are trying to maintain their power.  By now, nobody should be surprised about that.

Will Karl Rove Tell Us It’s Too Late for Christie Too?

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

They Think We Can Win With This Guy?

I should be fair.  It’s not simply Karl Rove, but the whole GOP establishment class(which George Will says doesn’t exist,) demonstrating this double-standard in media punditry.  Despite her impertinence in other respects, at least S.E. Cupp included Christie in her demanding article of Friday, but I’m beginning to wonder if all of the attention on Christie isn’t intended for another purpose.  While it’s difficult to stomach the hypocrisy of those who have argued that it’s too late for a Palin entry, saying precious little about a prospective Christie entry in the same context,  this could be a media phenomenon with another purpose entirely.  What if by holding forth all of  this Christie speculation, the GOP establishment is trying to accomplish something else entirely?  What could that be?  With the sudden spectacle of an accelerated primary calendar, we must consider what else may be afoot.

The Bush people are still strong in Florida, much as they remain in Texas.  The recent move of Florida’s GOP primary to January was done with the advice and blessing of the GOP establishment there.  This is widely seen as a way to prop up Romney, and to lessen the impact of insurgents, particularly of the Tea Party stripe.  It may also be a manner in which to eliminate down-ballot challengers in what otherwise would have been hotly-contested congressional primaries.

The GOP establishment understands that if they are to have their guy, they probably will need to go with Mitt. They may view him as imperfect to their ends, but he’s close enough, and they think he can win a general election against Obama (if there is one.)  What moving the primaries up does to candidates is to shorten the time they have to grab mind-share in the electorate.  At present, Romney is probably the clear front-runner, and to kill off any insurgents will require them to get this over with quickly.

At the same time, Christie may be used as a delaying tactic.  If they can cause Palin to hold of just a while longer in entering, assuming she will, then the longer she holds off, the narrower her window will be, particularly in light of this accelerated schedule.   For reasons we’ve discussed at length, there are many good reasons for Palin to hold off in the conventional schedule, and the GOP establishment knows this which is why they spent the entirety of the spring and summer trying to goad her into an earlier entry, to which they would have responded with a Christie or Daniels or even Jeb Bush.

With Romney now having withstood a serious challenge for the top spot by Rick Perry, they’ve come back around to the realities which may mean that they’re left with Romney as their best remaining bet.  Don’t be surprised that after another week of speculation, Christie comes out and says “Well, it’s just way too late now folks.”  This will then be used as a way to hammer Palin if she enters thereafter, so as to attack her with their continuing meme of sabotage.  Of course, she’ll quickly overcome that narrative, and the establishment knows it too, which is why they’ve hurried up the primary schedule:  They will try to knock Palin out by depriving her of the time she needs to carry the ball all the way down the field in time to score.  I believe this underestimates Palin’s appeal by a fair margin, and it may be the establishment’s last available timing-based play to keep her from the nomination if she chooses to pursue it.

If she gets in before Christie swears off his own entry, he might not demur at all, leaping in behind her, saying that while he thought it’s too late, if Palin can make a go of it, so can he.  What all of this may boil down to is an attempt by the establishment to wrest control of the timing card from Palin.  They’re trying to place Christie into the position she has occupied all these months, and the willing media, particularly FoxNews, is willing to go along.  The liberal press will go for anything that creates turmoil in the GOP, particularly between the establishment and the base, so they’re along for their part in this whole thing.

As I suspected, it will come down to careful timing, and as I believe based on previous instances, Governor Palin may be the master of this sort of thing.  She has demonstrated very good instincts and this close to the end of the beginning, I don’t think she’s likely to make any missteps, thereby turning it into what the establishment hopes will bethe beginning of the end.  Expect the unexpected, and be ready to roll.

What S.E. Cupp Doesn’t Understand

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Pushing a Broken Narrative

CNN has posted an article by S.E. Cupp and I must say I disagree with Ms. Cupp completely.  She argues that the Christie and Palin question is a detriment to the GOP.  Add Ms. Cupp to the long list of people trying to tell us when it’s too late for this one or that one.  Lately, it’s become an absurdity to watch.  I can’t imagine that it’s possible that she believes her own impatience ought to drive the party’s choices, but there she is demanding: “Time’s up, Christie and Palin. In or out?”  Excuse me if I fail to take Cupp’s complaint seriously, declared as if she has anything to say about it.  Perhaps she should return to tweeting all things Tony Stewart.  Maybe she would have told Reagan he had better jump in.  Who knows, but more to the point, who cares?  What Cupp’s column demonstrates is the arrogance of the media in its attempts to  influence events according to their agenda.  Besides, while this article is posted on CNN, I know that Cupp’s associations have included The Daily Caller, and of course FoxNews, so I’m not surprised to see her further this particular narrative.

I would like Ms. Cupp to substantiate the following claim:

“And now, the will-they-or-won’t-they game has flipped from fun and energizing to damaging to the party. Christie and Palin now do conservatives more harm than good.”

I disagree, and her article doesn’t explain this charge very well.  It seems to consist of an assertion that Christie and Palin are taking “valuable resources and attention” from the rest of the field, but what goes unstated is that if the rest of the field was compelling, neither Christie nor Palin could get any attention.  The very fact that they get so much attention makes it clear that her thesis is based on broken logic, and indeed, the very existence of her own article demonstrates the point:

“With the question marks still lingering in the ether, and pundits on both sides of the aisle still performing their daily trapeze act — swinging back and forth between “yes, he’s running” and “no, she isn’t” — the focus on Christie and Palin has taken valuable resources and attention away from the rest of the field.”

She doesn’t need to pay it any more attention if she doesn’t wish to, but then she writes an article giving it more attention.  More, she goes on to make the claim:

“Because of those question marks, conservatives haven’t been able to invest fully in the candidates who are running. They haven’t been able to imagine one of them as president. They’ve held back support, money and endorsements, because they still don’t know that the field is settled.”

My laughter over this jewel cannot be quieted.  Conservatives “aren’t able to fully invest in candidates?”  Suddenly, Cupp’s argument seems more like a “Winning The Future” moment than any sort of conservative commentary.  There is absolutely nothing forbidding conservatives from committing to any of the declared candidates.  What Cupp offers here is actually an insight from the perspective of the establishment: These are people who hedge their bets, and the non-entries of Christie and Palin have essentially frozen a goodly sum of cash that might go into play should one or both ultimately announce, or swear off.

Cupp finishes off with this self-aggrandizing flourish:

“Time’s up, governors. If Chris Christie and Sarah Palin want to run, get in there. If not, definitively and convincingly take your names out of the running. Conservatives need to begin the arduous job of whittling down the field and picking their frontrunner. The fact that there have been five GOP straw polls in as many weeks with as many different winners is proof that these unanswered questions are creating a dangerous ambivalence among conservative voters.”

S.E. Cupp now runs the conservative movement?  Does she speak for you?  She doesn’t speak for me.  For whom is she speaking, anyway? That should be the question that you take away from all of this.  Which conservative voters have become “dangerously ambivalent?” I don’t know any.  Ambivalence will be measured by turn-out during the primary season next year, and not by gauging the number of big-dollar contributors still clinging to their cash.

I’ll give Ms. Cupp her due:  She did an excellent job of trying to advance a phony narrative.  All I can say is “Better luck, next time.”  As I pointed out in my coverage earlier Friday, this all comes down to strategy, and none of us should fall into the trap of believing Ms. Cupp doesn’t know that.  What we should also recognize immediately is that Cupp’s article is a part of somebody’s strategy, and when taken together with Williams’ article on FoxNews, it begins to paint the picture more clearly as to the identity of the driver of this narrative.

Leading By Default?

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Can I Win Without Speaking?

After the FoxNews/Google debate, it had begun to crystallize in the view of many Republicans is that Rick Perry isn’t the candidate many had hoped.  Capturing the straw poll in Florida on Saturday, Herman Cain reached new heights as Perry’s slide down hill has accelerated.  Bachmann has peaked and begun to taper off, while Gingrich, Paul, Santorum and Huntsman continue to struggle in the middle-to-low single digits.  This leaves Mitt Romney out front, not because he’s such a great candidate, but because to date, his chief opponents have grossly underperformed.  This begs the question most conservatives want most to ask: Is Mitt Romney capable of carrying the conservative banner into battle a year from now?  Most conservatives seem to believe the answer is a firm “no,” but it nevertheless leaves Romney in the position of the last candidate standing.  He’s done nothing revolutionary or proactive to seize the lead or stay at or near the front of the pack, but instead seems to have landed in the lead by default.  If we’re to defeat Barack Obama in November 2012, it’s going to take a stronger candidate than Mr. Romney has been to date.

When you examine his debate performance, the best you can say about Romney is that he hasn’t gotten into serious trouble, but he has flipped and flopped to the extent that most conservatives are looking elsewhere.  Mr. Cain’s straw poll victory on Saturday demonstrates the point:  While Romney doesn’t spend much energy on straw polls, knowing he will not win them in front of a conservative audience that constitutes the base of the party, and the overwhelming majority at straw poll events, he believes it’s better to avoid energetic participation and score poorly than to engage fully and still score a a small proportion of support.  He realizes the infinitely larger black eye that embarrassment would confer on his campaign.

What this demonstrates, perhaps more than anything, is Mr. Romney’s complete lack of courage for a fight.  He’s not even willing to make his pitch to conservatives, and that means he knows he cannot win their support except by virtue of being the only candidate remaining.  His unspectacular campaign mirrors his less-than-thrilling debate performances inasmuch as while he says nothing particularly offensive, he also fails to inspire even a tepid response.  In short, Romney’s strategy is to cruise carefully while avoiding clear debacles, and hope to survive to lead at the end, knowing that the anti-Obama sentiment prevailing among Republicans will be enough to carry him through the nomination.  That may be a suitable strategy for winning the nomination, but it’s unlikely to win the Presidency in 2012.

In Thursday night’s debate, Romney got into a battle with Perry who was busy criticizing the former Massachusetts governor’s health-care plan, and challenged him on changing between what he had said in his book and what he has been saying on the campaign trail about the plan’s possible application for the entire nation.  Romney said:

“I said no such thing”

and that “Romneycare” was merely:

“a state plan for a state.”

The problem with this statement by Romney is that he knew it to be untrue.  While in paperback, the idea that his health-care reform plan might have national application was omitted, the fact is that in his original hard-bound book, No Apology, it was clearly stated:

“We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.”

Either Romney was lying, or he hadn’t read any but the paperback version of his book.  That puts his jab at Perry into better context:

“I actually – I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing.”

What Romney sought to imply about Perry’s book is that he hadn’t written it himself, and while that may very well be true, it calls into question if Mitt remembers writing his own.  This illustrates the problem with Romney too, because for all intents and purposes, he’s just another well-polished, glad-handing politician who is at least vaguely conservative, but to the conservative base, this speaks volumes about his lack of credibility across the board because it strongly implies a basic dishonesty in Romney’s approach and his policy positions.

This is the likely cause of Herman Cain’s runaway Florida GOP Straw Poll victory on Saturday.  In addition to the poor or at best fair performances of the two alleged front-runners in the Thursday night debate, combined with his own compelling performance, Cain suddenly looks a good deal more attractive to voters than to these two.  Better, if Cain continues to press forward, there is some chance that Romney will be forced to abandon his strategy of winning by default.

The top five in the Florida GOP Straw Poll:

  1. Cain: 37%
  2. Perry: 15%
  3. Romney: 14%
  4. Santorum: 11%
  5. Paul: 10%

This result is a testament to Cain’s strong performance in Thursday’s debate, but it also speaks volumes about the lack-luster performance of the supposed front-runners.  If Romney pursues his current course of avoiding engagement much longer, he risks falling into single digit territory particularly if there is a later entry into this race.  Perry is self-destructing, and while he does so, Romney plans to capitalize mostly by doing exactly nothing.  We Republicans should ask ourselves if that is the sort of candidate we expect to defeat Barack Obama as well as restore the nation now floundering economically under the weight of programs of the same sort Romney has himself implemented in his own state.  Perhaps this is key: When asked during the debate if he thought Obama was a socialist, he vacillated to avoid a direct answer.

With a general election on the horizon that promises a billion dollars of Obama campaign cash, we simply can’t afford another nominee who will not engage fully in this fight.  Romney may win the nomination by default, but he can’t win the general election that way, and the conservative base of the party knows it.  If he won’t speak the truth now, talking to the base of his party, will he ever?  If not, how does he intend to distinguish himself from Barack Obama?  These are the questions Mitt Romney must answer, but chances are that like most everything else, he’ll take a pass and hope to win by default.

Romney Bickers With Perry; Perry Stumbled; Cain, Gingrich Shined

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Bickering Between Perry and Romney

As expected, the spectacle at center stage between Perry and Romney bickering over their respective interpretations of their books became a recurrent theme.  Perry took the first real shots at Romney, looking much too aggressive, and coming across as too eager to hammer his opponent.  Romney battled back, but as a Texan, I became  embarrassed for my Governor.  He looked confused at times, and ill-prepared.  By contrast, the stars of the show were Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, the first revealing his fight with stage four colon and liver cancer, and expressing his strong support for Israel, and his 9-9-9 plan, with Gingrich providing the real wit in the crowd.  Bachmann was flat, while Romney was wooden.

Cain had many great lines, but among his best was this gem:

“Ronald Reagan said we’re a shining city on a hill. We’ve slid down that hill.”
Gary Johnson had one of the funniest lines of the night:
“My next-door neighbors two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.”
The rest was  fairly standard. Aside from Cain and Gingrich, the remainder of the field sounded tired.  Romney’s rhetoric was particularly flat, and Perry came out too aggressively, and sounded confused by the end.  He has shown in two successive debates that he has a problem holding himself together for more than an hour.

Perry’s worst moment may have come when he seemed to double down on his compassion argument for the in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.  That was astonishing and drew some extended booing from the crowd.
This field needs something that’s missing.  I have my own ideas. What are yours?

The Establishment Thinks We Have No Memory

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Hurry? To Join This?

It’s amazing, isn’t it?  Just a few weeks ago, I was reporting to you on Karl Rove and others who claimed that if Sarah Palin didn’t get into the race on September 3rd, during her speech to the Tea Party of America in Indianola, IA , she’d just as well forget it.  I told you back then that Rove was playing games and trying to position a candidate for a run in late September, and he wanted to gain the momentum often accompanying the last person to get into the race.   Now we read talk of Chris Christie getting in after dozens or hundreds of denials on his part over the last eight or nine months.  We once again see talk about Mitch Daniels being “unhappy with the field” as we get down toward crunch time.

As I told you almost one month ago, this is all highly tactical, and people like Rove play for keeps.  Governor Palin knows it, and as I told you then, you should trust in her judgments on this.  Apparently, the GOP establishment believes we have no memory of them telling us that September 4th would be “too late for Palin” while they now tell us it’s still not too late for others.  This is as good as a confession on the part of the establishment:  They know Sarah Palin can control the outcome, and all it will take is for her to decide her own timing.

Palin has every advantage, and they know it.  We’ve discussed at length the reasons she can win, and while it seems silly for the Establishment cronies to pretend otherwise, you must remember that they too are trying to win.  She has almost universal name recognition, which none of the other candidates possess, and therefore will hold a huge advantage.  It appears that Perry may have peaked, and is now dropping almost as quickly as he most recently rose, and just as his entry squashed Michele Bachman, the Roves of the world know whomever enters next will capture the buzz and relegate Perry to second or third place.  The window is beginning to close for other candidates, particularly those with the least nationwide name recognition, and all this sudden talk about Christie, Daniels, and even Guliani is all geared toward one or more of them making an entry.  Mitch Daniels is out there saying it’s not too late.  They may even try to use one or more of them in combination in a bid to foil Palin, but the establishment is not nearly so smart as they may have believed, or perhaps put another way, Sarah Palin has turned out to be a good bit more cagey than the RINO brigade had expected her to have been.

We may see a sacrificial entry to try to tempt Palin to leap into the race shortly after, in order to introduce Christie or Daniels immediately after.  Looking at this as a tactician, that’s how I’d try to play it if I were in their position.  Every day Sarah Palin waits makes their task more impossible, and despite your impatience for a campaign, this is what you must finally begin to realize if you haven’t already: Getting in earlier than absolutely necessary pays Governor Palin(and her supporters) no benefits whatsoever.  In short, she has nothing to gain from an early announcement.  She has every advantage to gain from waiting.  As I reminded you again last week, timing is key, and the establishment class pundits know it too.

I realize all we Palin supporters get quite jazzed when we’ve thought for one reason or another that her entry was imminent, usually all media hype being pushed by Rove or Rove-like characters in the media.  At this point, here’s what you need to do: Prepare as though the game is on, but do not let yourself be played emotionally any longer.  Game-faces, my friends.  Governor Palin will announce when she sees the best chance to win.  She has proven far more adept at all of this than any of the establishment types had imagined, and much more savvy than even some of her own supporters have expected.

We simply must stop letting people work us into a useless frenzy.  It’s dis-spiriting and ultimately wasteful.  Haven’t you noticed that at every time the Beltway crowd has thought there was an opportunity to tempt her in, it’s always coincidentally aligned with some form of attack or smear or something of the sort?  This isn’t accidental.  At this level, few things are coincidental.   Think back to May, and the release of the e-mails as people worried over whether she should hurry to get in since Michele Bachmann had entered.  Remember the phony drama they tried to cook up when she went to Pella, IA for the debut of The Undefeated?  Remember the nonsense that erupted just before her Indianola speech insisting she “must get in now, or else?”  I  cautioned you, along with others,  because it’s simply true that there are many people who would like to see Palin leap in early, and if not, then at least cause her supporters to become nervous and begin to look elsewhere.  The various slobbering trash-piles that have come out of the woodwork in the last week or so were all about an expectation of a Constitution day announcement.  “Ooopsey.”  Somebody even capitalized on a hoax using the Bob and Mark show, that had people tuning into their show from all around the country.  I certainly don’t blame Bob and Mark, but there was somebody out there pushing the narrative, and some of us inadvertently helped.  I’m sorry my friends, but I’m going to be blunt:  We should have begun to become immune to all of this nonsense by now.

Sarah Palin will enter when she decides it is the right moment to do so, and not a minute sooner, and I don’t blame her.  Various pundits are trying to push narratives about debates, and whether waiting beyond this debate or that debate will matter.  It doesn’t, and it won’t be a factor.  Again, the same pundits who have told you that Sarah Palin must participate in this debate or that debate in order to be taken seriously are now pushing other candidates who have or will have missed the same debates they’ve told you are so critical.  Let’s not get caught up with the fact that you and I have no knowledge of the exact date of an official announcement.  In fact, the fewer who know the day she decides, never mind the date she chooses, the better.  I hope she keeps that information as close as can be, for as long as practical and possible in all the days between.  This is a fluid situation, and when she makes her final decision, I suspect it will come without much warning at all.  Good!  All the better to let the Rovians run their course while manipulating themselves into a corner.

If Karl Rove appears on FoxNews tomorrow, do you think when he starts talking-up candidates X, Y, or Z, that there will be anybody who asks him how it could be that it’s not too late for those candidates, but four short weeks ago, it was too late for Sarah Palin?  No, not a soul will ask, but even if they did, he’ll grumble something or simply shrug it off.   As I told you back then, nothing said by folks of his sort is ever said frivolously.  Rove knew it was a lie when he said it, and if he puts forward other candidates now, he’ll be offering you the last of the proof you need to know it too.  Lying is what this class of paid political manipulators do, and they’re good at it.

Let’s not be side-tracked by all of this.  Let’s continue to work and organize for our goal.  Karen Allen of O4P was right to urge you to begin ramping-up your efforts in a more thorough way than ever before.  Indeed, as Ron Devito reminds us, “keep your powder dry,” but that doesn’t mean you should be idle.  Instead, you should be taking every opportunity to advance this effort, and to prepare to swamp the formidable but not invincible opposition.  Keep your focus.  Prepare.  Friends, it’s no more difficult than this:  Let’s not let our own impatience in combination with the media’s narrative dictate our future.  The GOP establishment already believes we are forgetful and easily manipulated.   I have no intention of proving them right.  Neither should you.