2012 Election – The Senate (Part Three)

Monday, October 22, AD 2012

We’re in the home stretch now as we look at the final set of Senate races. Each of these contests are either complete tossups or utter blowouts.

Pennsylvania – Republican: Tom Smith. Democrat: Bob Casey (Incumbent).

This race had flown under the radar as it appeared that Casey was cruising to re-election. Smith started gaining momentum at a time when nearly every other Republican was losing it, and he has now narrowed the gap. Even when Casey was well ahead he was failing to poll at the magical 50% number. Casey’s problem is representative of the shift in the Pennsylvania Democratic party. While his father was a true social conservative, and therefore a good fit for the state, the younger Casey pays only lip service to abortion and other issues. I think that Casey will survive, but only barely, and for just one more term. Prediction: Democrat hold.

Rhode Island – Republican: Barry Hinckley. Democrat: Sheldon Whitehouse (Incumbent).

A Republican polling firm has this race in single digits. Until I see other polls showing it that close, it still looks to be a pretty safe seat for Whitehouse. Prediction: Democrat hold.

Tennessee – Republican: Bob Corker (Incumbent). Democrat: Mark Clayton.

Corker was just about the only Republican to win a close election in 2006. He won’t have to sweat this time. Prediction: Republican hold.

Texas (open R) – Republican: Ted Cruz. Democrat: Paul Sadler.

Democrats in Texas must feel like Republicans in New York and California. One would think in a state as big as Texas, as Republican-dominated as it is, Democrats would be able to field a semi-competitive candidate. As it is, the real election occurred over the summer when Cruz upset the state’s Lieutenant Governor in a primary runoff. The only question about this contest is how big Cruz’s margin of victory will be. Prediction: Republican hold.

Utah – Republican: Orrin Hatch (Incumbent). Democrat: Scott Howell.

For once Orrin Hatch had to battle for re-election, but it wasn’t the general election that he had to worry about. Hatch was able to avoid the fate of his former colleague, Bob Bennett, and successfully fended off a tea party challenge for the nomination. Hatch had a little more conservative credibility than Bennett, obtaining the support of figures like Mark Levin. Having won re-nomination, Hatch will cruise in the general. Prediction: Republican hold.

Vermont – Republican: John MacGover. Independent: Bernie Sanders (Incumbent).

If there is a silver lining for Republicans, it is that this will continue to be technically a non-Democrat seat. Yeah, I’m stretching. Prediction: Independent hold.

Virginia (open D) – Republican: George Allen. Democrat: Tim Kaine.

In a year of tossups, this might be the tossiest-up of them all. Allen is running to regain the seat that he macaca’d himself out of six years ago. Allen has done better than he did during the last campaign, when he spent the better part of the Fall running negative ads against Jim Webb in a desperate effort to deflect attention away from his macaca moment. The 2006 election was one where partisans on both sides wished both candidates would just go away. Now, in an election pitting two former, relatively popular governors, once again it seems there is surprisingly little enthusiasm. At times it appears that both candidates are kind of going through the motions to win a seat neither really desperately wants, but feel compelled to run for out of some sense of party loyalty. It is truly a strange dynamic, and the voters have expressed their own confusion by failing to break for either candidate. It’s almost impossible to pick a winner, but I’ll go with Allen to win back the seat. No matter who wins, I sense that this will be an open-seat contest again in 2018. Prediction: Republican pickup.

Washington – Republican: Michael Baumgartner. Democrat: Maria Cantwell (Incumbent).

Another seat that the Republicans had some hopes for at the beginning of the year, but this was never a race. Prediction: Democrat hold.

West Virginia – Republican: John Raese. Democrat: Joe Manchin (Democrat).

Manchin has done a masterful job of persuading Mountaineers that he’s a rogue independent while siding with his party when it really matters. Prediction: Democrat hold.

Wisconsin (open D) – Republican: Tommy Thompson. Democrat: Tammy Baldwin.

This race has followed a path unlike most of the others. When former governor Tommy Thompson won the nomination this seemed like a prime Republican pickup opportunity, and Thompson did hold a double digit lead over the summer. Baldwin received a nice post-convention bounce, and she and Thompson have swapped leads it seems with every other poll. Thompson may have seemed like the safe choice for many Republicans in the state, but this is a case where the other candidate’s relative youth may be too much to overcome. Prediction: Democrat hold.

Wyoming – Republican: John Barrasso (Incumbent). Democrat: Tim Chestnut.

I don’t anticipate we’ll be up late waiting to hear a winner announced here. Prediction: Republican hold.

FINAL ANALYSIS: I have the Republicans picking up Florida, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Virginia, while losing Maine. That would be a net gain of five seats for the GOP, giving them a 52-48 majority (assuming the independents caucus with Democrats). I’m starting to rethink my Florida and Missouri calls, though I can see Ohio, Pennsylvania, and especially Wisconsin breaking in their favor (though Massachusetts can also swing the other way). Whatever the case may be, my most fearless prediction is this: we will know the identity of the next president much earlier in the evening on election night than we will which party will control the Senate.

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6 Responses to 2012 Election – The Senate (Part Three)

  • Disagreements:

    In Pennsylvania I think Smith will pull it out. He is dominating the airwaves and is a far more adept candidate than I would have expected from a political novice and Casey the Lesser is still trying to coast to victory purely on his great father’s name. This is one of the more surprising races of the year as I did anticipate Casey coasting to victory. A plus, Smith is a pro-lifer’s pro-lifer being against abortion with no exceptions. He and his wife have seven kids, four of them adopted.

    In Wisconsin I think former governor Tommy Thompson will prevail. I also expect Romney to take the land behind the Cheddar Curtain, helped by Ryan.

  • The Prez selection in VA will pull the Senate race with them. Romney and Allen all the way.

  • “we will know the identity of the next president much earlier in the evening on election night than we will which party will control the Senate.”

    By 10:00 PM Central Standard Time I suspect, although as is usually the case the Mainstream Media will be quick to call Democrat States and slow to call Republican states. Assuming that Romney carries Viginia, Florida and Ohio, in addition to the states everyone concedes he will win, he only needs one of New Hampshire, Nevada Iowa, Wisconsin or Colorado. I predict he will win all of those states in addition to Ohio. For additional icing on the cake, I think Romney will take either Michigan or Pennsylvania.

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  • Rasmussen now has the PA race as a statistical tie.

  • The feeling that this is another 1980 is growing stronger every day.

2012 Election – The Senate (Part 2)

Friday, October 19, AD 2012

Minnesota – Republican: Kurt Bills. Democrat: Amy Klobuchar (Incumbent).

Minnesota feels like the mirror image of Arizona. It’s a state that a lot of people keep expecting to turn more purple, but it just never does. While Romney could eek out a victory here if the presidential election turns into a blowout, Klobuchar is quite safe. Prediction: Democrat hold.

Mississippi – Republican: Roger Wicker (Incumbent). Democrat: Albert N. Gore.

Yes, Gore is indeed a distant relative of the former Vice President. And he has about as much of a chance of winning here as the other Gore would. Prediction: Republican hold.

Missouri – Republican: Todd Akin. Democrat: Claire McCaskill (Incumbent).

Originally thought to be one of the Republican’s surest pickup opportunities, Akin had to go and open his mouth. Despite pleas to drop out of the race, Akin stubbornly stayed in and seemingly doomed the GOP here. Of course he had a secret weapon ready to deploy: his opponent. The fact is, McCaskill is a deeply unpopular Senator who is far too left-wing for her state. Throw in some corruption, and suddenly Mr. Legitimate Rape has a shot. With the polls narrowing, Republicans will have no choice but to throw some money Akin’s way. Looks like he’ll have the last laugh. Prediction: Republican pickup.

Montana – Republican: Danny Rehberg. Democrat: John Tester (Incumbent).

Tester defeated incumbent Conrad Burns by less than 3,000 votes in 2006, and it looks like this is turning out to be another nail-biter. With Montana and North Dakota having close Senate elections, we might be up late on election night wondering who has control of the Senate long after the presidential race has been decided.  Rehberg is the at-large Representative for Montana, so he is as familiar face with the electorate as Tester. Considering that this is a more favorable year for Republicans than 2006, I think Rehberg will win a squeaker. Prediction: Republican pickup.

Nebraska (open D) – Republican: Deb Fischer. Democrat: Bob Kerrey.

This race was decided the day Ben Nelson decided to accept the “Cornhusker Kickback” in exchange for voting for Obamacare. The Democrats had to pluck Bob Kerrey out of retirement in New York in order to even pretend that they had a chance, but this is the one GOP layup for the evening. Prediction: Republican pickup.

Nevada – Republican: Dean Heller (Incumbent). Democrat: Shelley Berkley.

The polls have been narrow throughout, but Heller has maintained a consistent edge in the range of 2-5 percent. Most worrisome for Heller is that he has only cracked 50% in one poll, which is always a danger sign for incumbents. Once again the momentum of the presidential race might determine the ultimate outcome, but it looks like Heller should be able to hang on. Prediction: Republican hold.

New Jersey – Republican: Joe Kyrillos. Democrat: Bob Menendez (Incumbent).

Every now and then New Jersey tantalizes Republicans. Once a fairly strong suburban stronghold for the GOP, it has become a solid blue state since the Clinton years. Though Republicans have done well on the gubernatorial level, and though they do actually have an even split with Democrats in the House caucus, the GOP just has never been able to breakthrough in the Senate. That will not be changing this year. Prediction: Democrat hold.

New Mexico (open D) – Republican: Heather Wilson. Democrat: Martin Heinrich.

New Mexico has been the one semi-swing state that hasn’t turned towards the Republicans this cycle. President Obama seems safe here, and Heinrich has opened up a comfortable double-digit lead. Prediction: Democrat hold.

New York – Republican: Wendy Long. Democrat: Kirsten Gillenbrand (Incumbent).

Believe it or not, but when I was a kid growing up in New York the Republican party in the state wasn’t a joke. Prediction: Democrat hold.

North Dakota (open D) – Republican: Rick Berg. Democrat: Heidi Heitkamp.

For the second cycle in a row, a Democrat retirement has opened up an opportunity for the Republicans to pickup a Senate seat in North Dakota. Unlike last time, this will not be a cakewalk for the Republican candidate. Congressman Rick Berg is running against Attorney General Heitkamp. The polling here has been sparse, so it’s difficult to know how the race stacks up. Even though Romney will win here fairly comfortably, and even though the state trends pretty heavily towards the GOP, this is far from a lock for Berg. I predict he will pull it out, but this is going to be very close. Prediction: Republican pickup.

Ohio – Republican: Josh Mandel. Democrat: Sherrod Brown (Incumbent).

Mandel had this race close, but then Brown started to pull ahead after the Democratic convention. The race has tightened up again, but Brown has a decent-sized lead. Once again, though, Brown fails to poll above 50%. Since Ohio could be viewed as the Democrats’ firewall for both the presidency and the Senate, I do not envy anyone living in the state. My advice – turn off the television. At any rate, though Brown is far to the left of the majority of the state, he is a tough guy to beat. I think Brown will hold on, but this race could easily shift towards Mandel in the closing moments. Prediction: Democrat hold.

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9 Responses to 2012 Election – The Senate (Part 2)

  • The only disagreement that I have is with Ohio. Mandel is closing fast in some polls and I think if Romney manages a 54-45 win in Ohio to mirror my expected national result I think Mandel could squeeze in. Watch a lot of Republican candidates running ads with them and Romney as the Romney steamroller ad blitz kicks into highgear after the last debate.

  • Mandel would have a better shot if he didn’t look like he was 15 years old. I agree with Paul that Brown will likely hold on here in the Buckeye State. Even if Romney pulls it out here (which I believe he probably will) a lot of blue-collar voters will be splitting their tickets, and Brown will be the beneficiary of that.

  • I don’t think Mr Zummo needed to limit his scorn to the NY Republican party. It seems to me that quite a few states have very indolent or feckless Republican Party organizations. I think that is what is the limiting factor in a number of states where Repubs do have a shot unlike NY. (And even in NY there are Congr. districts that they should be more competitive in.) Is it an amazing coincidence that the election cycle that the Repub Party was rather uninvolved in, namely 2010, produced one of the biggest Republican landslides in history? Then there’s VA. In the state election of 2009, again where the Repub Party was still shellshocked from 2008, the state gubernatorial ticket won in a blowout and ran even with the Dem in Northern VA. In 2010 the Repub Party were feeling better and reasserted control over things. They then had a relatively disappointing election with big falloffs in districts McDonnell had easily carried or ran even.

  • “It seems to me that quite a few states have very indolent or feckless Republican Party organizations.”

    Unfortunately, Illinois is one of them. Our GOP practically handed Barack Obama his U.S. Senate seat in 2004, and has yet to put up a decent challenger to the infamously liberal Sen. Dick Durbin. Its next shot at Durbin’s seat is two years away and I don’t see any really promising prospects on the horizon yet.

  • Great post Paul, here in Ohio Josh Mandel has the best organization of anyone. When Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan come to speak ( and they have been here a lot) the Mandel people are always around handing out yard signs wherever they go (and there are a lot of Mandel signs around here.) He also has the best TV ads of any candidate. No doubt Sherrod Brown will do well in Northern Ohio, but Mandel may actually get the votes of some Jewish voters or some younger people who vote Obama.

  • What happened to NJ, anyway? I wonder. I know that we’re supposed to look at people like Whitman, or Arnold in CA, and say that they’re signs of their state’s Republican party in its death throes. But in those two particular cases, I can’t help wondering if they were the cause of death.

    I’m a Marylander, and for years I fancied that the Republican Party could elect a candidate here, so obviously I’m delusional. But it felt like we nearly won with Ellen Sauerbrey, and then we won with Bob Ehrlich, and then it was in that victory that the party disappeared. I’m not just saying “better a conservative R than a liberal R”. I’m saying that that much effort for that little reward might be too much to ask.

  • Pinky,

    I lived in NJ (south) for several years and it’s a tough environment. There was a Republican mayor of Jersey City back in the 90s, Bert Schundler, who got in because two African American candidates split that vote. However once in he instituted a rather conservative agenda which greatly benefited the city. He was reelected in a landslide. When he ran for Gov in 2001 though the Repub establishment threw a hissy fit and the wonderful Jim McGreevy got elected to be followed by the estimable Jon Corzine. I think PA is a better place to try to secure first. NJ is totally surrounded by deep blue states presently. My feeling is that any state with strong public sector unions (I don’t include private sector unions.) )that can’t be dislodged are not going to be easy places for a conservative to operate in. Kudos therefore to Scott Walker and even Mitch Daniels. One need only look to Europe and to CA and IL to see the strangling effect of strong public sector unions.

  • Pennsylvania’s weird. It’s like the alternate universe where Democratic politicians aren’t endangering their souls. But I sense that the equilibrium in the state is falling apart. The Philadelphia machine seems to be getting more dominant, and political machines cannot tolerate dissent, so everyone’s gotta become pro-choice.

  • “One need only look to CA and IL to see the strangling effect of public sector unions.”

    Actually, I don’t think public sector unions are to blame for why conservative GOP candidates can’t seem to get traction in IL. If you travel just about anywhere south of I-80 you would think you were in a red or at least purple state. The areas around Springfield also still lean GOP even though large numbers of state employees live there, and I can’t think of anywhere where Dem Gov. Quinn and his now incarcerated predecessor were less popular. Many of the state employees who joined unions in the last decade did so not out of greed or any great love of liberal Democrats, but simply to protect themselves from abuses the Blago administration often inflicted upon non-union executive branch employees who didn’t go along with his, ahem, hair-brained schemes (arbitrary firings, denying raises for years on end back when the state could still afford them, etc.)

    If there is a “strangling” effect against conservative candidates it comes from 1) the weakness of the GOP in the last 15 years since the George Ryan scandal (he’s the OTHER former governor currently in the pokey) and 2) the more liberal tilt of the Chicago suburbs, which are the true swing vote area of the state.

2012 Election: The Senate

Friday, October 19, AD 2012

Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems that even the Senate races are getting less attention than usual this year. I live in proximity to one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country, and it’s gotten relatively little attention. It’s all the more amazing considering that almost half of the races are fairly competitive, and the gap between the parties is small. Currently, Republicans hold 47 seats while Democrats have 53 (including two independents that caucus with them). If Mitt Romney is elected, Republicans will need to pickup a net of three seats in order to win effective control of the Senate. Considering recent Senatorial history, Republicans would do well to win a few extra seats.

Since Democrats have to defend two-thirds of the seats up for election this cycle, it would seem that Republicans should have a good chance of winning back control of the Senate. Unfortunately a couple of key retirements and several inopportune gaffes have made the Republican road to Senate control all the more difficult.

All that said, I will briefly analyze each of the Senate races. With 33 seats up for grabs, I will be splitting up these posts in batches of 11 each, working my way through them alphabetically. So let’s get to it.

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9 Responses to 2012 Election: The Senate

  • Click here to donate to Josh Mandel’s campaign.

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  • Only disgreements: I think the wrestling queen will take Connecticut. She has been polling well and Obama has been quite weak for a Democrat in the nutmeg state, Connecticut also has a fondness for quirky politicians, just ask Lowell Weicker. Romney has been showing a lead in one of Maine’s Congressional districts. I do not think it is impossible that the Independent and the Democrat will
    split the Democrat vote and the Republican will squeeze in, just as the current governor did in 2010. Hawaii is my prediction for Senate shocker of the night. I am expecting a Romney landslide against Obama. If that happens it could depress the Hawaii Dem vote enough for Lingle to get in.

  • Of the three, the one that’s the closest call for me is Connecticut. I still think that the WWE baggage is going to be too much (and I say that as a regular viewer of Monday Night Raw), but it’s going to be close.

    In general, if Romney does win in a landslide – and I am with you there, Don – then I can see the Republicans winning all the close contests. Basically it would be 2006 in reverse.

  • Interesting opening sentence. I may be wrong, but I think that the Senate isn’t getting much notice because so many races are close. Paradoxical, I know. Close races should get more press. But no one’s sure how to cover the story. “VIRGINIA RACE COULD GO EITHER WAY AND MAY NOT MATTER” is not a headline that any editor wants to see. As Barbie could tell you, math class is tough, and there’s a slow realization in the press that voter turnout complicates things. Like, the impact of Florida being uncontested is something I hadn’t thought about.

  • Interesting point, Pinky, though I recall a lot of close races in 2004 and there seemed to be more coverage. Of course that could just be perception, and memories get hazier over eight years.

  • Close in Massachusetts. I liked your, “this is Massachusetts, on the other hand.” observation.
    It’s a college student/professor on the rally scene place, from Ivy leagues to Community Colleges (and judiciary), where other voices are suppressed with disdain. Most media is partisan to the n-th degree, so the parents of the above are convinced and brainwashed, also. It is also a place of quieted residents who are mindful of equivocating politicians and media.

    The latest in ads shows E. Warren has begun “waving dead fetuses” with a bullet point on a Scott Brown vote on Roe v. Wade. Connecting dots is common school exercise, and a Harvard professor speaking passionately about amoral ‘rights’ of ‘women’ may cue men and others with a more sane agenda. I really hate that this whole nation is fed daily with coverups using ways and meanings of killing babies in all but those words.

  • The reason the Senate races haven’t gotten much coverage is that the Media is obsessed with Obama. He is their Be All and End All. Also they know that if he is re- elected he will govern as if Congress didn’t exist.

  • Can someone explain to me the reasoning of the bishops refusal to continue the teaching that it is a sin to deny a person their human rights? “Religious and racial prejudice” are sins against the 5th Commandment. And it is “particularly a sin to join an organization that does so, such as the Nazi Party or the KKK.” Cardinal X, I wouldn’t mention his name out of respect for his honest answers and his privacy, confirmed for my in an email recently that those are still the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    Well, if it is a sin against the 5th commandment to join an organization that denies human rights, why is it not a sin to join the Democrat Party that is solely
    responsible for the murder of unborn babies? Write your bishops and ask them why. The answer I got was that “there is more to being a Democrat than that.” What more, I want to know!

    NCR, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE FOLLOW UP ON THIS AND GET THE BISHOPS ON RECORD FOR WHY THEY HAVE REFUSED TO TEACH JOINING THE DEMOCRAT PARTY IS A SIN, IF THEY USE THE NAZI PARTY AND THE KKK AS EXAMPLES OF ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE SINFUL TO JOIN BECAUSE THEY DENY ONE THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS, WHY IS THE DEMOCRAT PARTY GETTING A PASS?

    If we get an answer to that, maybe we can stop this game we are having to play every election, especially this one, to get so many people of a particular party elected in order to have a chance of stopping the murder of innocent human babies.

2012 Election: The House

Monday, October 15, AD 2012

With it being a presidential election year, it is easy to lose track of the fact that there is an institution called Congress. You may not have heard, but as is the case every two years, approximately one-third of the Senate and all 435 House seats are up for election. I hope to look at the Senate races in the coming week, but this post is for the House of Representatives.

The least suspenseful aspect of the 2012 election are the House races. Certainly there is some drama within individual races, but in the aggregate, the Democratic chances of recapturing the House are somewhere between slim and are you kidding me. Real Clear Politics already has the GOP at 226 seats with lean-R and likely-R districts, with an additional 26 races listed as toss-ups. No matter what happens with the presidential election, Republican control of the House is a near certainty. The main question with regard to the House is how big will the Republican majority be? Even though the Republicans had an historic mid-term pickup, there were a number of close elections that Republicans lost in 2010, many of them in districts favorable to Republicans. Throw in post-census re-districting, and the GOP should retain a fairly strong majority.

I’m not going to go into detail into every tossup race. Consider this an open invitation for those of you either in swing districts or neighboring swing districts to inform us how things are shaping up in your neck of the woods.

I’ll kick things off by taking a look at the People’s Republic of Maryland. Currently two of Maryland’s eight House districts are held by Republicans, which is just too many for the overwhelming Democratic majority in the state. In attempt to knock off the longest-serving Republican – Roscoe Bartlett in the sixth district – the Democrats drew up a laughably gerrymandered map. This is actually a map of Maryland’s 8th district, currently served by Democrat and Nancy Pelosi lackey Chris Van Hollen (click on 2012 map). What they’ve done is place a part of heavily Reublican Frederick County in the northern part of the state and magically patched it with Maoist Montgomery County to the south. At one point the district basically just runs up I-270. The area to the west is the sixth district, which now combines portions of Montgomery County with the more conservative northwest section of the state. In other words, they’ve taken one heavily Democratic district and one Republican district and converted them into two Democratic-leaning districts. The gerrymander is so ridiculous that it is one of the five major state-wide ballot initiatives in Maryland. (Even if the voters decide to reject the altered districts, those elected will serve the districts as currently designed for the next term, and the Democrats just get to re-draw the lines).

Bartlett is facing challenger Joe Delaney, and things do not look good for Bartlett. It would be the ultimate justice if instead of ousting Bartlett, the re-drawn eight district winds up in the Republican column. Ken Timmerman is challenging Van Hollen, and has drawn the support of luminaries such as John Bolton. The district is now “only” 50% Democrat, which means that instead of this being a lock-solid Democrat district, it’s just a very strong Democrat district. Timmerman is going to have to pull a lot of independents to have any chance, but stranger things have happened. In the end, it looks like the state of Maryland will be a net pickup of one for the Democrats.

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Third Party Love & Hate

Tuesday, September 25, AD 2012

A couple of posts at Breitbart’s “Big Government” site have resulted in thousands of comments  and intense debate between libertarians and conservatives, and between libertarians themselves over the merits of supporting a third-party/independent alternative to Mitt Romney. Having been involved in third-party politics myself at one point in my life, I am sympathetic to the cause. But given the stakes this November, I’ve decided to hold my nose and vote for Romney, as I’ve already posted here at TAC.

I must say, however, in response Kurt Schlichter (the author of the aforelinked pieces) that I regard this as a highly personal choice, and not one that I am willing to guilt others into making. On many of the issues that matter to me and other Ron Paul supporters, Romney is absolutely abysmal and nearly indistinguishable from Obama, whether we are talking about civil liberties, constitutional protection of the lives of American citizens (even the bad ones), foreign policy, monetary policy, and a host of related issues. Those who prioritize such issues cannot be expected to give Romney their vote. There was also the disgraceful treatment of Ron Paul and his delegates by the GOP at the RNC this year. Schlichter would have us basically forget all about it.

With that said, however, when Ron Paul stopped actively campaigning for the GOP nomination, his candidacy in effect came to an end. There certainly is something bizarre about a pledge to vote for a man who by the looks of things would like to settle into a well-deserved, hard-earned retirement from public life. I always suspected that Paul didn’t really want to be president. Some see this as a positive trait, and it can be in certain contexts, but men also need leaders. If that makes me sound fascistic, so be it. Human nature is what it is.

So people who accept the reality that Paul is unable or unwilling to capture the nomination and the Presidency are then faced with other options. I’ve explained my choice, but many others are considering Gary Johnson, and Schlichter is addressing them as well (as well as Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party candidate’s supporters). Aside from the fact that Johnson is pro-choice and therefore unsupportable for Catholics, I don’t begrudge anyone the right to support either of these men as an alternative to Romney.

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  • “. . . but men need [sic] also need leaders. If that makes me sound fascistic, so be it.”

    Not at all. Leaders take many forms. The biggest difference between what the Obammunist/Peoples’ Democratic Party and Libertarians would call “a leader” is that the O/PDC believes Leaders should be iconic, centralized power-structure figures, a` la Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, Chavez, Castro, Kim, Kim, Kim. . .

    Libertarians, both “large-L” and “small-l,” believe leaders are those who lead their families, communities and nation best by serving them, in the example of the ultimate Servant Leader, Jesus Christ. Those who provide the skill, foresight and initiative to risk and grow business, to plan and execute charitable causes and to provide models of involvement and direction not from a lofty Ivory Tower but from the trenches where they serve are who we call “leaders” because they lead by example and not by dictate.

    Nothing fascistic about that.

  • To me, it comes down to winning battles, or winning the war. Winning the war is changing our culture of death to one of life. The coming election is just one battle in that war. Despite what some insist, I don’t believe the election of Romney will stop our sprint to Gomorrah. If we sell our vote to the Republican party to win this battle, we will have gained indefensible ground. Romney, despite his prolife platitudes, is pro-abortion at heart. His only difference with Obama on foreign policy would probably be Israel. Economically, he will at best only slow the ticking of our debt bomb. “Independent” voters will see the lack of change in 2016 and give us another lost battle.

  • I get where you’re coming from, but it is hard to win a war without winning any battles. I don’t really disagree with you that Romney is not going to do much (probably slow our sprint to a light jog, perhaps). But, as Bonchamps correctly points out, Romney is at least marginally better/less bad than the O.

  • WK,

    Thanks for highlighting my egregious late-night typo, lol. I think libertarians/constitutionalists/paleocons (the “alt-right”, as it were) need a leader who isn’t afraid to lead and who doesn’t approach politics as if it were a smelly diaper. We need a leader who is willing to, to continue the metaphor, get his hands dirty. Not too dirty, not “hop into bed with Wall Street” dirty, but at least more aggressive and organized than what we have seen from Ron Paul or before him Pat Buchanan.

    Tony H,

    I agree with you, more or less, though I believe Romney has no choice but to govern in a pro-life manner. I’m not convinced Romney will even slow the debt bomb, but I am convinced he won’t lift a finger to stop the implosion of the dollar. I believe he will continue the vast majority of Obama’s policies, which are themselves continuations of Bush’s policies. One thing I think he won’t do, though, is press Obama’s war against the Church and religious freedom in general. And that is important to me, and significant enough to warrant my vote.

  • We need a leader who is willing to, to continue the metaphor, get his hands dirty. Not too dirty, not “hop into bed with Wall Street” dirty, but at least more aggressive and organized than what we have seen from Ron Paul or before him Pat Buchanan.

    Dirty, not enjoying filth. Difference between dirt under the nails and someone who just never washes his hands.

  • I think libertarians/constitutionalists/paleocons (the “alt-right”, as it were) need a leader who isn’t afraid to lead and who doesn’t approach politics as if it were a smelly diaper.

    It might help if libertarians could ever acknowledge there were social problems other than ‘government failure’, constitutionalists could figure out that positive law should reflect conceptions of justice and notions of prudence and does not form the essence of them, and the rest of them to stop pushing projects of dubious utility and validity (Austrian economics, ‘race-realism’, and the various and sundry personal complaints, conceits, and emotional disorders of palaeo spokesmen).

  • I realize that a second Obama term is the worst thing that could happen.

  • Well, up until now, it’s been a tiny movement. It hasn’t been producing great leaders for the same reason that China gets more Olympic medals than Liechtenstein.

    The biggest thing to hit the libertarian cause hasn’t been a political party, but a movement. The tea partiers have given the libertarians a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The relative health of the Tea Party movement is going to be pretty easy to measure come Election Day; if it is still healthy, the libertarians would be smart to cement their bonds with it.

  • This is a good piece. Rhetorically caning those who are going to, or are likely to, vote 3d party does nothing on behalf of a major party candidate.

    I think libertarians/constitutionalists/paleocons (the “alt-right”, as it were) need a leader who isn’t afraid to lead and who doesn’t approach politics as if it were a smelly diaper.

    What Art said, and let me elaborate slightly:

    Libertarians need to acknowledge that individual liberty grew in America as part of an ecosystem with an indispensible buttress: a socially conservative/religious ethic which mandated delayed gratification, duties to others apart from the self, and an understanding of “rendering unto Caesar” that put Caesar firmly in his place. Reading contributors to “Reason” and viewing Libertarian candidacies in general, there isn’t the beginnings of a glimmer of a clue on this point. Somehow, Caesar marches on despite their atomistic arguments and defenses of license. Oddly enough.

    “Constitutionalism” does have a worrisome tendency to engage in debates that Talmud scholars or students of the Scholastics would find too impractical, abstract and technical. Reciting the Constitutional provision is the beginning of wisdom. But only the beginning.

    Paleos need to stop gnashing their teeth over Appomattox and busing.

  • Pinky,

    I hate to say it, but the “Tea Party” movement was co-opted a long time ago and is virtually indistinguishable from the mainstream GOP. When a committed foreign policy hawk like Allen West is the model “Tea Party” candidate, there will only be ruptures between that movement and the libertarian movement. There are many areas I think conservatives and libertarians can overlap, but on the question of liberty vs. safety, there is an unbridgeable chasm. I have a bit to say about this.

    We (the paleo side of ) will not sacrifice liberty for “safety”, and we do not view “Islamo-fascism”/threats to Israel as anywhere near what ought to be America’s priorities. We are a new generation that did not grow up during the post-war period, does not view America as a global actor as if it had a halo, wings, and the rosy red cheeks of the cherubim, firing little Cupid-arrows of freedom at mean old dictatorships, and do not wish to commit trillions more dollars to overseas adventurism.

    Like I said in a previous post, our message to the rest of the world is the same as one of the last Roman emperors to the far-flung imperial posts in places like Britain: look to your own defenses. American decline is real and inevitable, and it can be graceful with a chance for recovery and maintenance of great-power status like the United Kingdom, or it can be catastrophic like the Roman or Soviet collapse. But the view, common in the “Tea Party” I think, that America has a divine right to permanent superpower status is in our view a pathetic delusion. And this is what primarily divides, in my opinion, the “Tea Party” from the libertarian/constitutional/paleocon movement, the true “Alternative Right.” It is not, contrary to what some believe, “social issues.” Which brings me to…

    Dale Price,

    “Libertarians need to acknowledge…”

    Yes, and I think many of them do acknowledge those things. I think that was the significance of the Ron Paul campaign. Ron Paul is adamantly pro-life. Even if some social conservatives don’t agree with his emphasis on state’s rights, there is no doubt that he not only morally opposes abortion (with libertarian arguments, no less), but believes that the role of the state (at some level) is to protect innocent human life. He has also emphasized the role that churches played in providing medical care long before there was government involvement in these areas. A Ron Paul “alternative right” coalition has many seats at the table for principled pro-lifers and social conservatives in general, provided, I think, that we retain a local/state level emphasis instead of insisting that only the federal government can restore the social fabric.

    What libertarians REALLY need to understand is what Charles Murray brilliantly analyzed earlier this year – the role of the family in establishing economic and social security. The disintegration of the family only increases the justification for statist intervention. The stronger the family, the weaker the rationale for government involvement in our lives. So it is in the vital best interest of the libertarian to support conservative social values at least on SOME level.

  • Austrian economics a ‘project?’ Is gravity a ‘notion?’

  • Bon, I’m not sure that you can conflate libertarians and paleos. At least, not in a border state. For many of the people who would self-identify as either group, the whole lump of national issues (language, immigration, trade) are really important, but they hold exactly opposite views.

    Also, you may be too quick to write off the Tea Party, or more accurately the set of emotions which lie behind the many organizations that arose under that broad title.

  • Pinky,

    I don’t mean to conflate libertarians and paleocons. But if Murray Rothbard could support Pat Buchanan, I think there is some hope for a coalition. Ron Paul has pointed out, as well, that unrestricted immigration is a fiscal nightmare as long as the welfare state exists. A libertarian who supports unrestricted immigration in the current political climate is simply irrational and working against his own presumable goal of eliminating the welfare state.

    Of course, there will always be the dispute between economic nationalists and free traders, between a vocal and virulent anti-capitalist minority on the right and the Austrians, and so on.

    But I really think that there is more agreement than disagreement. Both want the state out of their lives. Both are opposed to foreign military adventurism. Both are opposed to the bailouts, to Fed’s unlimited money-printing scheme, to the toxic revolving door between corporate America and the regulatory bureaucracy. Because of Ron Paul, social conservatism can get a fair hearing from a growing number of libertarians. The importance of the family is not just moral or theological but also economic and social.

    I think what Ron Paul has started can grow into something more. I think he provides the first key link between the libertarians, the constitutionalists, and the paleocons. What is needed is clear thinking on the issues that divide these groups. Some of the differences are legitimate, and others are based upon sheer ignorance, on knee-jerk assumptions, and a horrid lack of imagination. I think these problems can be fixed.

  • Austrian economics a ‘project?’ Is gravity a ‘notion?’.

    1. Yes
    2. No

  • Sure, there’s a subset of pro-family libertarians, and they all attend church on Sunday.

    The problem is, I just might be familiar with all of them.

    And none of them are at the controls of the Johnson campaign, Reason, Cato, etc. Sure, Cato has had some nods to pro-family thinking, but mostly in the context of welfare reform.

    I grant that Paul was pro-life, and admirably so, but that was considered a non-disqualifying eccentricity by the non-religious Paul supporters I’ve interacted with. And he–and Rand–aren’t systematic thinkers or advocates for the family in the context of libertarianism. Despite being admirable family men, they are first and foremost economic and legal/constitutional libertarians. Libertarianism has a long ways to go in developing a workable understanding of subsidiarity, with the indispensible family at the center.

  • Libertarians need to acknowledge that individual liberty grew in America as part of an ecosystem with an indispensible buttress: a socially conservative/religious ethic which mandated delayed gratification, duties to others apart from the self, and an understanding of “rendering unto Caesar” that put Caesar firmly in his place. Reading contributors to “Reason” and viewing Libertarian candidacies in general, there isn’t the beginnings of a glimmer of a clue on this point. Somehow, Caesar marches on despite their atomistic arguments and defenses of license. Oddly enough.

    Yep.

    And that “Reason” sort of libertarian screwed up when they supported GOProud trying to for the TEA party— did not win any friends with that “TEA partiers don’t care about social issues” BS, or similar attempts to lay claim on the entire movement. (Anybody else tired of the sort of Libertarian who tries to tell everyone that they’re “really” a Libertarian? Or claim random historical figures?)

  • (Anybody else tired of the sort of Libertarian who tries to tell everyone that they’re “really” a Libertarian? Or claim random historical figures?)

    Never encountered such. Have encountered folk who chuffer endlessley about who is a ‘real’ conservative or are in the habit of dismissing anyone not on the payroll or subscriber list of the von Mises Institute, Chronicles, or The American Conservative as a dolt.

  • Lucky you, Art.

    And there is a massive difference between going “you are not a conservative” and saying “See? See? You really agree with ME!” (Possibly one of the most annoying college liberal debate tactics. I’d gladly harm the guy who taught it to my cousin.)

The State of the Race

Thursday, December 8, AD 2011

We need to rewind a little bit before we address the madness engulfing the presidential primary season.  During the runup to the 2010 midterm elections and in its immediate followup there has been some internal GOP strife between purists who want to select only the most ideologically pure candidates and those of a squishier stripe whose primary concern is electability.  This has been an ongoing warfare, and has continued on into the GOP presidential primary.

So now Newt Gingrich is atop of the polls.  A mere few months ago Newt had been written off as a candidate, especially by the purists.  Gingrich reviled the base right at the start of his campaign by deriding Paul Ryan’s budget reform plan as right-wing social engineering.  This was just the latest in the string of rhetorical and other slights against the right.  He had endorsed Dede Scozafava, sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi for that silly global warming PSA, and had otherwise served as a negative symbol of the establishment.  But a few great debate performances – and I emphasize the word performance here – plus the flameout of various other non-Romney candidates managed to put Newt at the top of the polls.

So now the same establishment voices that urged moderation are attacking Gingrich in full voice.  Pundits like Charles Krauthammer and others are questioning Gingrich’s bona fides.  George Will went so far as to suggest that Newt is some kind of Marxist, and Mark Krikorian implied that Newt’s heart belonged to the French Revolution.  This, in turn, has angered the conservative firebrands, who perceive that the establishment is attacking the new conservative hero.  In other words, for questioning Gingrich’s conservatives purity these writers are basically being written off by purists who think that these commentators are manifesting a clear lack of purity.  The anti-purists, meanwhile, are writing off a candidate because of his, umm, lack of purity.  So the anti-purists are clearly RINOs because they think someone who the purists themselves thought was insufficiently pure not that long ago is not in fact pure. On the other hand the purists are upset that the non-purists are questioning the bona fides of a previously heretofore believed to be impure candidate, and in doing so are demonstrating that they are tools of the impure establishment.

Yeah.

I am convinced that if National Review wanted to derail the Gingrich campaign all it has to is endorse Gingrich.  As I have written before there seems to be a contingent of the GOP electorate that is motivated by spite, and they will flock to any candidate that the establishment criticizes.

It’s an astoundingly insane situation.  Frankly, I think that Gingrich is neither a Marxists-Leninist, nor is he the modern embodiment of Ronald Reagan.  Gingrich is a conservative technocrat.  He thinks that we can achieve conservative outcomes through just enough social and government tinkering.  He’s not quite a big government conservative, but I think Jonah Goldberg has a pretty good feel for Gingrich’s political instincts.

Gingrich probably agrees with the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan more than any other leading conservative. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” Moynihan observed. “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” A constant theme of Gingrich’s career is a desire to use government to fix the culture. Indeed, there’s no Republican in the field with a more robust faith in the power of government.

So in this crazy, upside down primary season the segment of the Republican party that agrees with Gingrich is trying to eliminate him from the race, and the segment that is turned off by this sentimentality is outraged that anyone could question Gingrich.

Personally, I am ambivalent about Newt.  He’s a better candidate than most, and think that he’d ultimately make an adequate president. And while I don’t that it is unfair to dig deeper into a candidate’s philosophy and question his fitness for office, some of the assaults on Gingrich are a little absurd.  When John Sununu is on the attack against a candidate and questioning his conservative record, well, let’s just say Sununu is probably not the best judge of conservative character.

But to me the race has come down to two men named Rick.  Which one will I ultimately vote for?  If it were purely about ideology it would be Santorum, but other factors – including executive experience – ultimately matter as well and weigh in Perry’s favor.  I’d be perfectly content with either candidate.  Neither is looking particularly strong in the polls right now, but considering all that has taken place over the past few months, we should expect either to be the party’s nominee.

In all seriousness, neither is as much of a longshot as they appear right now.  You see, there’s this election that takes place in Iowa.  Despite the fact that Iowa is a rather small state and has a method of voting that is one of the dumbest and most confusing methods of selecting a candidate known to man, the Iowa caucus is crucial.  And so, this completely outmoded and overrated caucus may very well cause a darkhorse candidate to jump to the front of the line.  Both Santorum and Perry appeal to the socially conservative element in the state, and victory is obtainable in a state where the election hinges on non-traditional forms of electioneering.  I’m not suggesting that Perry or Santorum will in fact win, but if either does – especially in the case of Perry – then it will fundamentally alter the narrative of the campaign.

Of course, if either takes (or in Perry’s case, reclaims) the lead, then expect the establishment to get the knives out.  But then at least the battle lines will make sense.

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13 Responses to The State of the Race

  • Intrade has Santorum and Perry in 5th and 6th respectively in the Iowa Caucus. In 2008, Fred Thompson was polling much higher than either of them in Iowa and still won zero counties.

  • America must be saved from Obama.

    Obama ist kaput.

  • America must be saved from Obama.

    Obama ist kaput.

  • Have you heard Mrs. Newt’s very authoritative use of the first-person plural? Clearly she means to be a co-president following the Michelle model, and that just won’t do. No more empresses.

  • “Intrade has Santorum and Perry in 5th and 6th respectively in the Iowa Caucus.”

    Yeah and Intrade in December 2007 gave Obama a one in ten chance of being the Democrat nominee in 2008. The predictive ability of Intrade is nil, except when the result of an election is obvious to all.

  • At this point in 2007, Intrade accurately predicted the Iowa Caucus results for both parties.

  • No surprise there RR as most political prognosticators at the time expected Obama to beat Clinton in Iowa.

  • Don, you raise an important point. Iowa is a lot more moderate than people think. 2008 was the only time the more socially conservative Republican candidate won Iowa.

    Any Republican will nominate pro-life judges so I’m in the “let’s get an electable nominee” camp. Going with anyone but Romney or Huntsman is gambling on abortion. Romney is the better politician but Huntsman has less baggage so I think it’s more or less a draw on electability.

  • If (God forbid) Obama wins in 2012, we will be partying like its 1012 AD.

    In 2012, the choice is not Obama or Bachmann/Gingrich/Huntsman/Paul/Perry/Romney/Santorum/Trump.

    In 2012, the choice is Obama vs. America, one nation under God.

    “You can’t maintain a civilization with 12-year-olds having babies and 15-year-olds killing each other and 17-year-olds dying of AIDS and 18-year-olds getting dipolmas they can’t read. The welfare state has just plain failed because it reduces human beings from citizens to clients, because it . . . subjects them to rules . . . that are anti-family, anti-work, anti-property, and anti-opportunity. The challenge of our generation is to replace the welfare state.”
    Hon. Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) 11-10-93

    “The wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century.” Obama 12/5/2011

    In fact: the federal income tax code is now more progressive than it was in 1979, according to the Congressional Budget Office. IRS data show the richest 1% paid almost 40% of federal income taxes in 2009, up from 18% in 1980.

  • Rick Santorum is the best candidate, and I wish more Catholics and all Americans would take a serious look at Mr. Santorum. If people base their opinion and vote on poll numbers, Rick Santorum has no shot. However, if people vote on principles and who is the best person to lead this country, Rick Santorum is the man. Rick Santorum has my vote!

  • Sadly, Rick Santorum has no chance. Santorum has admirable social conservative views, but no hope of winning.

    Both Pittsburgh newspapers – the socialist rag and the libertine rag – spent his entire second term savaging him. Santorum lost to an empty suit Democrat by almost 20 points in 2006. Santorum has a career as a lobbyist or a lawyer, but not in elected office.

  • You guys may be happy to know that Santorum just surged past Newt in Iowa in both the latest CNN poll and Intrade. He’s in double-digits for the first time.

Cain Suspends Campaign

Sunday, December 4, AD 2011

Herman Cain’s candidacy is effectively over.

“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” said Cain to boos of disappointment. “I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family. Not because we are not fighters.”

Cain said he would endorse a Republican candidate soon, and announced his own “plan B” for public service, a policy web site called “The Cain Solutions.”

In the short term, I would imagine that most of Cain’s support will trickle to Gingrich.  Then again, considering that Cain’s support is made up of anti-establishment types, it very well could go to a less popular candidate, say Santorum or, sigh, Bachmann.  Either way, this hurts Romney as it eliminates a non-Romney with significant support.  The fewer viable candidates, the less chance for Romney to eek out the nomination.

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22 Responses to Cain Suspends Campaign

  • Obama and the libs have three advantages here.

    1. The women are disinclined to come forward. It would hinder the agenda.

    2. The women are disincented to make the accusation. They are quietly paid off, or promised jobs.

    3. The accusers are eliminated.

  • “3. The accusers are eliminated.”

    That is pretty far fetched even by your standards T. Shaw. Bill Clinton had plenty of females who came forward to make accusations against him and none of them were “eliminated”. He had two advantages over his Republican opponents: a base that largely could care less about marital fidelity except as a club against Republican candidates and a media that played defense for him.

  • Cain is a striking example of the hubris that is the hallmark of so many people running for office. Cain had to know that this type of baggage was out there, and he either didn’t care or he thought he was invulnerable. I feel a great deal of sympathy for his wife of 43 years who certainly didn’t volunteer for the fact that she is married to a philanderer to become public knowledge. Far better for this to come out now for the GOP than for it to come out when Cain was the nominee, or, more likely, after he was placed on the ticket as the Veep nominee.

  • You nailed it, Don.

  • Bingo, Don. And this is great news for President Obama, as it makes it more likely Gingrich is the nominee and will subject the party to a defeat we haven’t seen since ’64.

  • Don, Had to throw in a third . . .

    It’s like the other side uses “9/11 was an inside job.”

    RL: If Obama gets re-elected it won’t be because the GOP candidate was Gingrich. It will be because the majority of voters (the living and the dead) decided the government and the 1% can provide for them. That will close the book on the Republic and our way of life.

    Why does the desperately vital salvation for the great and dire health care crisis become destructive in 2013? Answer: It’s after the 2012 election.

  • I feel a great deal of sympathy for his wife of 46 years who certainly didn’t volunteer for the fact that she is married to a philanderer to become public knowledge.

    “Fact”? When did accusations, however useful they are to the media, become “fact”? It hasn’t been news that large organizations pay off for lawsuits if the one suing will take less than a fight would cost for decades, as much as that sucks and has contributed to current problems.

  • Let’s see now Foxfier. A woman comes forward and says that she is his mistress for 13 years. Cain denies the affair, but admits giving her money and not telling his wife about it. She has supplied cell phone records showing numerous recent conversations with Cain. Now he suspends his campaign. That is a strong prima facie case that the guy is a married skirt chaser, even leaving to one side the other women who have come forward.

  • “A strong case” is NOT fact.

    Heaven knows I can see innocent reasons for those facts we have, and as someone who’s been accused of similar behavior for simply socializing, I’m really tired of accusers getting unwarranted weight. Incidentally, the only call between them that I’ve heard of was a single, six-minute one. The other “contacts” are text messages, mostly her contacting him and him replying.
    By this standard, there’s a “strong case” that I had an affair with a former shipmate- because he’s a dumb kid who has horrible taste in women, and I tried to help him through that. (Heck, I even “initiated contact” a couple of times– because I’d read something he wrote on facebook, or get an email, or hear that his psycho ex was back in his world.) I seem to remember I gave him money a couple of times, too, and our finances are NOT in the area of the Cain’s!

    RL: If Obama gets re-elected it won’t be because the GOP candidate was Gingrich. It will be because the majority of voters (the living and the dead) decided the government and the 1% can provide for them. That will close the book on the Republic and our way of life.

    Another option: enough votes were cast that Obama won. If my governor can win with the dead and double-votes, why not him?

  • Noted Romney-booster Ann Coulter (“we’ll attack him *after* he takes office”) , has some more things to say about Cain’s accusers this week:

    “And now we have Ginger White stepping forward to claim that she had a 13-year affair with Cain….[Much like his other two accusers…] She’s another financially troubled, twice-divorced, unemployed single mother, who has claimed sexual harassment in the past, declared bankruptcy once, was accused of stalking and had a libel judgment entered against her just this year. So far in 2011, she’s had nine liens put on her property….

    White’s proof that she had a 13-year affair is that she has two of Cain’s books signed by him — one with the incriminating inscription, “Friends are forever! Everything else is a bonus,” and the other, “Miss G, you have already made a ‘big difference!’ Stay focused as you pursue your next destination.”….Also, White produced evidence that Cain had texted or called her cell phone 61 times during four non-consecutive months — but did not reveal what those texts said. (“Would you please return my lawn mower?”)

    ….This is the sort of evidence you get with an actual sexual predator: Bill Clinton’s accusers had gifts, taped phone conversations with him and a semen-stained dress…
    Ginger White claims she had a 13-year affair with Cain — and all she has are two books with inscriptions that could have been written to an auto mechanic who waited in line at a Cain book signing. Even her business partner during the alleged affair says White never mentioned Cain’s name.

    These women are like triple-A ball players with the stats being: number of bankruptcies, smallest bank account, number of liens, most false claims, number of children out of wedlock, degrees of separation from David Axelrod, total trips to human resources and so on.

    That wouldn’t be dispositive — except for the fact that their only evidence is their word….Most people say, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’ I say, ‘Where there’s smoke around a conservative, there are journalists furiously rubbing two sticks together.'”

    anncoulter.com

  • One can come up with innocent explanations for anything Foxfier, but the weight of the evidence is against Mr. Cain. My guess is that it was the text messages that got him to drop out.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/From-the-Wires/2011/1129/Ginger-White-Her-phone-bill-has-61-calls-or-texts-from-Herman-Cain-video

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/President/2011/1201/Herman-Cain-admits-payments-to-Ginger-White-edges-toward-quitting

    He obviously thinks the evidence is against him and so he is dropping out.

    I love this statement from Cain’s mouthpiece:

    “No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life,” Lin Wood, Cain’s attorney, wrote. “The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door. Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”

    That is pretty weasel worded even for a member of my profession. I certainly do want to know if a candidate is an adulterer. It speaks volumes about their trust-worthiness, their penchant for reckless behavior and their willingness to betray someone they purportedly love. This idea that someone’s private life is off limits in the area of adultery when they are running for the most important elected position in this country I find completely risible.

  • And still, that is not an establishment of fact.
    Given that this is the latest in a long line of low-on-substance accusations from dubious sources, I think he just figured out that they’ll keep slinging until something sticks. Clearly, that tactic worked in some cases– just yesterday I heard a talk radio guy talk about how it was clear that he was guilty, since he’d been accused “so much.”

  • A bit more detail for the “61 calls or texts” thing:
    In a one-month period, Ginger White sent 52 texts to Herman Cain’s phone. There were 17 texts from Cain’s phone to White’s, most appear to be responses to her text messages.

    The only phone call they mention is back in January. (And yes, I know that 52+17=/= 61. Maybe that’s why she’s got financial trouble.)

  • It would be more than enough for me to convince a Judge in a dissolution case Foxfier, under a standard of more probable than not, and unlike a court of law in the real world there is no presumption of innocence. People have a duty to themselves not to throw away their reputation through stupid actions and that is precisely what Cain has done. It strains credulity to give Cain the benefit of the doubt when he has already admitted giving money to this woman, somehow the sums that he gave her slipping his mind, and forgetting to tell his wife all about it, all the while carrying on an extensive cell phone and texting contact with the gal. Oh and the money was always in cash according to Ginger White. Almost as if Cain didn’t want someher to find out about it. When Cain was asked about the amount of cash he gave White he responded that on advice of counsel he couldn’t answer that. Yeah, I can understand that.

  • Why is there not even a sniff of sexual scandal with Obama, the most evil man yet to occupy the Oval Office?

  • And this is great news for President Obama, as it makes it more likely Gingrich is the nominee and will subject the party to a defeat we haven’t seen since ’64.

    I guess one might say never say never, but you do posit here a sequence of events – given the state of the economy and given the observed level of public disapproval of the President – that has no historical precedent.

  • It strains credulity to give Cain the benefit of the doubt when he has already admitted giving money to this woman, somehow the sums that he gave her slipping his mind, and forgetting to tell his wife all about it, all the while carrying on an extensive cell phone and texting contact with the gal.

    Except that is exactly what you do when someone you’re trying to help is having financial trouble and the amount of money involved isn’t a big deal to you. As HA’s laundry list of issues demonstrates, “financial trouble” is a mild way of putting it.
    That she sent three times as many texts as he did, and almost all of his were in direct response to her texts, supports the image of someone who’s got a sucker on the hook. (I can only imagine what his response-text at just before 5AM consisted of… oh, wait, I don’t have to imagine much, I’ve been there, although mine arrived at 2AM. Hopefully, his spelling was better than mine.)
    My cynical personal experience suggests that he’d finally figured out that he wasn’t doing any good and had stopped helping. Usually results in a lashing out, especially if that lashing will get whatever it was they were gaining before.

  • PWP: That is so because all the Cain detractors are NOT racists. You see, Herman Cain is a conservative. He isn’t a black man. Ergo, he is responsible for his actions.

    In accounting we have standards for loss/gain contingency recognition. The contingency, say charge off a loan, needs to “probable” = more likely than not, as in 51+%.

    I think “probable” works in civil legal matters. Criminal would require a “beyond reasonable doubt” determination, I think.

  • I have been married for 29 years Foxfier. I would never in my wildest dreams give a younger woman not related to me cash on a regular basis to “help her out”. I would give her a check, specify on the check that it was to help her out, and I would make certain that my wife knew all about it. As a matter of fact, I would have my wife write out the check. My cynical attorney experience of 29 years indicates to me that Cain might wish to retain a very good divorce attorney in the near future, especially when more details comes out in the book his mistress is no doubt planning to sell the rights to.

    “Why is there not even a sniff of sexual scandal with Obama, the most evil man yet to occupy the Oval Office?”

    Unlike movies and novels Paul, people can often be good in certain aspects of their life and evil in others. Franco was a devoted family man for example, and killed off some 100 K of his fellow Spaniards after the Spanish Civil War.

    “I think “probable” works in civil legal matters. Criminal would require a “beyond reasonable doubt” determination, I think.”

    Correct T.Shaw. A dissolution is, ironically, a “civil” proceeding!

  • .. My cycnical attorney experience of 29 years ….

    Is largely what I attribute your position to, actually… Folks tend to see what they expect in a situation where there’s insufficient information. Part of why I didn’t go the glib route– though it’s oh so tempting!– and make cracks about how next we’ll hear he’s been dining with tax collectors, and is rumored to have spoken to a woman of ill repute at a well.
    Your theoretical actions are based on your experience of what can be reasonably construed as suspicious; a seventy-something, married, conservative businessman and preacher who still automatically calls some women “hon” (iirc– it was some once-standard and now big news term) is going to have different assumptions. This is why I keep pointing out he’s not a politician.
    (Now that I think about it, considering how many pols are lawyers, that may have changed the political landscape rather starkly. The assumptions are all funky. Pure theory, though.)

  • Cain is a terrible liar. When Hannity suggested that the matter could be easily resolved by comparing travel records for the times White claimed to have met Cain in hotels, Cain responded, “let’s not play detective.”

  • I like Andrew Klavan’s take on this from a few weeks back. We take the charges seriously and investigate them because we’re the good guys. We expect a higher standard of conduct from our own candidates than others do of theirs. We don’t slander the women or circle the wagons, because we really care about getting to the truth more than about protecting our own. Of course it isn’t fair. A battle between the good guy and the bad guy is never fair.

    Klavan doesn’t add, but I believe, that over the long haul decency is a viable political strategy.

A Short-Sighted Maneuver by PA Legislators

Wednesday, September 14, AD 2011

There is an effort underfoot in the Pennsylvania legislature to change the way the state awards its electoral votes.

PA Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi wants to allot Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes on a congressional district by district basis, rather than the current system of winner take all.

In a state like Pennsylvania, where Democratic candidates for President have won every election since 1988, it could be a way for Republicans to avoid a total loss.

For a number of reasons, I think this is a bad move.

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5 Responses to A Short-Sighted Maneuver by PA Legislators

  • Democrats hate the electoral college so even if splitting it puts a Republican in the White House the outrage over the change would be somewhat subdued.

  • Yes, both wings of the Democrat party – their left wing and their far-left wing – hate the Electoral College. So, if a state splits its distribution of Electoral College seats between the slates of two candidates and that puts a Republican in the White House you can bet that Democrats everywhere will be as mad as Wisconsin Democrats. Their screaming, name-calling and use of any excuse to bash the Electoral College will go on for years. It’ll be the trigger of the Democrats’ second “Selected, Not Elected” intifada.

  • further eroding the purpose of the electoral college.

    The Electoral College is a convention. It has no purpose.

  • Another post on this topic on NRO by Tara Ross. She brings up a good point.

    Looking beyond Pennsylvania, national adoption of the district system could change the focus of presidential campaigns in negative ways. Instead of “swing states,” we’d have “swing districts.” This could unfortunately encourage the federal government to become even more entangled in purely local matters.

    Pennsylvania legislators should not implement a congressional district system based purely on partisan considerations. Perhaps they believe that NPV advocates have their own partisan reasons. The does not make such motivations any less unwise. Every state can make its own assessments on these matters and should make its own decision. But Pennsylvania legislators will serve their constituents — and their country — best if they remember to honestly assess what would serve their state, rather than their political party.

  • This could unfortunately encourage the federal government to become even more entangled in purely local matters.

    It would be pleasant if she would provide for her readers the intermediate steps in this particular chain of reasoning.

Post Debate Thoughts

Wednesday, September 7, AD 2011

I made a semi-serious New Year’s Resolution not to discuss or even read about the presidential campaign until Labor Day.  I didn’t quite live up to that resolution, but I have managed to steer clear of the discussion far more than I would have thought possible.  So tonight was the first of the presidential debates that I have seen.  Below are my thoughts on how each of the candidates fared.

One general comment: the debate moderators were horrendous.  It seemed that about half of the questions were addressed to Rick Perry, and just about less than half to Mitt Romney.  In fact the first ten minutes were essentially just a sparring match between the two.  The most embarrassing part of the evening was when they trotted out a newscaster from Telemundo just to ask a question about immigration.  Just awful.

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26 Responses to Post Debate Thoughts

  • The debate was good compared to the CNN “deep dish or thin trust” debate. Substantive questions focusing on the candidates of consequence.

    Newt and Santorum need to smile. Romney merely held his ground. Perry did not help himself but he didn’t falter badly either. Huntsman finally distinguished himself but he needs to hire some marketing consultants and polish his presentation. Bachmann needed to demolish Perry but she didn’t. Her time is up. Why is Cain up there? Ron Paul had a couple moments but he also had a couple completely incoherent moments.

    All in all, no big movements in the standings except for the end of Bachmann. That leaves Perry as frontrunner with Romney close behind and Huntsman as the long-shot.

  • Huntsman? Please. The guy is at 2% in the polls, and that support is all coming from Democrats and the media. He didn’t help himself tonight with his smug, eyebrow cocking ingratiating of himself to people who’d never dream of voting for him over Obama.

    And just another one of my periodic reminders that I will NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, EVER vote for Mitt Romney. If he somehow manages to win the nomination, I will not support him in the General Election. And before any of the “anybody but Obama” crowd asks the question, no, I would not support Romney even if I knew for a certainty that my vote would be the difference in his defeating Obama.

  • This is a Perry-Romney race currently, which Romney is doomed to lose. Gingrich now is running a campaign for a cabinet position which he probably will get. Bachmann is probably hoping currently for Veep but that is not going to happen. Huntsman has a great future as being a “reasonable Republican” and can be counted on to be trotted out by the Lamestream Press in future forums where they need a Republican to agree with Democrats and give a show fake balance. Santorum’s campaign won’t survive Iowa. Like Bachmann he is hoping for Veep, but the best he and Bachmann will get is a cabinet position. Cain is a shoe-in to be Secretary of Commerce in the next Republican administration. Ron Paul: a mixture of ignorance and ideology with a crazed cult of followers. The only question for Paul is whether he goes third party next year and I suspect he will. If he does he will take more votes from Obama than the Republican nominee and end up with about three percent.

    If Palin gets in it becomes a Palin-Perry race and that is what has the Perry campaign concerned. Other than major gaffes and Palin entering, Perry is the prohibitive front runner.

  • I didn’t watch it last night, I can’t stand Brian Williams.

    “Huntsman has a great future as being a “reasonable Republican” and can be counted on to be trotted out by the Lamestream Press in future forums where they need a Republican to agree with Democrats and give a show fake balance.”

    They do this quite often. They also like to trot out liberal Catholics to bash the church.

  • I watched the Brewers lose to the Cardinals, 2-0. Nyjer Morgan got thrown out in the 9th for jawing at the pitcher and Albert Pujols ran across the field, almost sparking a donnybrook. It was apparently more exciting and impactful than the dull political debate I missed especially if you’re a cheesehead.

  • Uh oh, those Cards are only 8.5 back now. The Brewers better beware.

  • Paul, two words: 1964 Phillies.

  • Lowest point in the debate was when the crowd cheered when Williams said Perry had overseen 240-250 executions as governor. Sad.

  • Why aren’t more people getting behind Santorum? I haven’t followed everything around the debates and presidential campaigns but what I’ve seen I’ve been impressed with. Is it that he is too conservative on the social issues? Not strong enough in economic/foreign affairs issues? Combination? What is he missing?

  • I am not sorry that I didn’t my waste time.

    Anybody but Obama.

  • Huntsman has a shot at Secretary of State or if Obama wins, he’ll be the 2016 frontrunner. The veep will be Marco Rubio.

  • Lowest point in the debate was when the crowd cheered when Williams said Perry had overseen 240-250 executions as governor.

    A state as populous as Texas has likely seen about 15,000 homicides during the 10 years he has held the position.

  • Why are so many people pro-Santorum? Didn’t he betray the pro-life and conservative position a few years back when he spported Arlen Spector over a pro-life candidate?

  • Art:

    We won’t get into a discussion of how all those executions didn’t stop all those homicides. Your argument is self-defeating. Countries and states with no capital punishment have lower homicide rates than those with capital punishment.

    The most grizzly thing was not that all these executions took place but that this audience cheered that he oversaw all of these executions.

  • We won’t get into a discussion of how all those executions didn’t stop all those homicides. Your argument is self-defeating. Countries and states with no capital punishment have lower homicide rates than those with capital punishment.

    Of course, it could be in part because other states have fewer homicides that they are more in the mood to coddle murderers.

    Though I agree that it’s unseemly to cheer executions, however necessary they may seem.

  • When they stick the needle into Major Hasan there will be a big collective fist pump in our house.

  • Joe/Darwin:

    Will you both be in your pews during the Mass for the forgiveness of sins this Sunday shaking your heads and saying “bullshit”? I don’t believe Christ wants us to be selective in our forgiveness.

  • “Whoever sheds human blood, by man shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
    Genesis 9:5-7

  • Eva,

    Of course not. The Church has never held that justice and forgiveness are mutually exclusive, and I most certainly do not. Even John Paul II, an anti-capital punishment pope if there ever was one, stated clearly that the use of the death penalty was necessary and just in other times and places than our own. That doesn’t mean that forgiveness was, to use your word, “bullshit” in past societies.

    I’m not here to make a full-throated defense of capital punishment as it’s currently used in the US, because I don’t think it’s necessarily used justly or effectively. However, I do think that anti-capital punishment advocates in the US generally spend most of their time either mawkishly sympathizing with murderers over their victims or else making very poor arguments.

    The claim that capital punishment “doesn’t work” because countries that don’t have capital punishment have lower homicide rates is a poor argument. For instance: capital punishment was virtually non existent in the US (due to supreme court intervention) from 1966 to 1980. That same period marked an increase in murder and other violent crimes, which then began to fall as executions increased. (It fell the fastest in the ’90s, the period when executions were at their highest.)

    A whole lot of other things changed during those periods. I would tend to think that capital punishment was not instrumental in driving down the murder rate — because it’s used so infrequently compared to the number of murders. But it would certainly seem to run against the notion that outlawing capital punishment reduces murder.

  • We won’t get into a discussion of how all those executions didn’t stop all those homicides.

    My point, eva, was that the State of Texas does not appear to be executing people with abandon.

  • I would like to see an entirely different debating format. We lend up learning as much if not more about the moderators and questioners than about any of the candidates. The candidates should question each other rather than having the press decide what issues should be addressed and which ignored. Values are evident in the questions raised, not just in the answers.

  • I didn’t get to watch because I had to go to a catechism meeting…
    but I prayed for Rick Santorum.
    He said he supported A Specter as part of an effort to make sure we had good Supreme Court appointments Santorum later apologized I also really like Gingrich– I hope one of those two will at least be VP

  • What’s so terrible about applauding Gov Perry for saying Texas executed 234 murderers? I live on the outskirts of Peoria, Il where one shooting or murder, on the average, occurs once a month. I would applaud our dimwit Govenor Quinn, if he would lift the moratorium on the death penalty. And maybe some of those folks who were applauding lost a friend or a loved one to a murderer.

  • eva,

    Judge not . .

    A noted theologian penned the following, “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    The noted theologian that wrote the above is now Pope Benedict XVI

  • Pius XII speaks for me on the death penalty:

    “Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he, through his crime, deprived himself of his own right to life.”

    There is a world of difference between forgiving someone for sins and trangressions and arguing that therefore they should not pay the earthly penalty for their crimes. That some Catholics are apparently incapable of understanding this is all part of the moral chaos of the modern world.

    The late Cardinal Dulles gives a good overview of the history of the teachings of the Church in reference to the death penalty:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/08/catholicism-amp-capital-punishment-21

  • Weird I had a completely different takeaway from the debate. Maybe because I have not seen any of the candidates speak prior to last night.

2012 Presidential Election: Clouds Are Gathering For Obama

Friday, July 15, AD 2011

The Presidential election is still just over 15 months away, and much can change in that time.  However, as of now the signs are ominous for President Obama:

1.  The Unemployment Rate: Currently the unemployment rate is around 9.2.  Since World War 2 no President has been re-elected when the unemployment rate was greater than 7.2.  Roosevelt won re-election in 1936 with an unemployment rate of 16. 6 and again in 1940 with an unemployment rate of 14.4.  However, FDR had inherited an unemployment rate of 19.8.  Obama inherited an unemployment rate of 7.8.  If, as increasingly looks likely, the economy remains stagnant or slips back into recession, I find it had to see how there will be much improvement in the unemployment rate prior to November 2012.

2.  Electoral College Shift: The Republicans will see a probable gain of approximately 14 votes in their electoral college votes simply due to red states gaining population and blue states losing population.

3.  2012 ain’t 2008: In 2008 Obama took Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina, a total of 39 electoral votes.  I do not believe he has a prayer of taking any of those states in 2012.  Ohio with 18 electoral votes and Florida with 29 electoral votes went for Obama in 2008, and both went big for the Republicans in 2010.  Unless Obama can take one of those states, the electoral math becomes hard for him, albeit not impossible.

4.  Say Goodby to the Youth Vote: Obama benefited from a high level of support among young voters, precisely the category of voters suffering the highest level of unemployment.  I doubt if a good many of them will be motivated by the promise of four more years of the same to leave Mom and/or Dad’s basement to pull the lever again for Obama, certainly not in the same high numbers.

5.  Polls: Obama is beginning to show real weakness when matched against a generic Republican:

Registered voters by a significant margin now say they are more likely to vote for the “Republican Party’s candidate for president” than for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, 47% to 39%. Preferences had been fairly evenly divided this year in this test of Obama’s re-election prospects.

The latest results are based on a July 7-10 poll, and show that the Republican has an edge for the second consecutive month. Obama held a slight edge in May, when his approval rating increased after the death of Osama bin Laden. As his rating has come back down during the last two months, so has his standing on the presidential “generic ballot.”

Gallup typically uses this question format when a president is seeking re-election but his likely opponent is unknown, as was the case in 1991-1992 and 2003-2004, when incumbents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, respectively, were seeking re-election.

The elder Bush held large leads over his generic Democratic opponent throughout 1991, but early 1992 preferences were more evenly divided and Bush eventually lost his re-election bid. The younger Bush also consistently maintained at least a small advantage over the Democrat throughout 2003, before winning re-election in a close contest in November 2004.

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6 Responses to 2012 Presidential Election: Clouds Are Gathering For Obama

8 Responses to Compare and Contrast: Which Video is Funnier?

  • My gold position loves the Won!

    10. Happiest man in America: Jimmeh Carter. He is no longer worst prez in US history.

    11. Coming soon 8.8% unemployment plus 11% inflation. No way, man! We remove food and fuel from the equation; just like we dropped 2,300,000 out of the unemployment equation denominator. Way!!

    Obama-worshipping simpletons . . . A nation of “You want that super-sized” burger flippers, i.e., MA’s in clown suits.

    Since 2008, Jason Matera has termed them Obama-zombies . . .

    Maybe Obama can start that fourth war with Belize. Let’s fight one in the Western Hemisphere (is that one of the 57 states?) for once. Yeah, it’s close to Cozumel for R&R!

  • 12. President Obama: He’s kept the oceans safe from the dangers of off-shore drilling.

    13. President Obama: Teaching America there’s no problem so great that a beer summit can’t solve.

    14. President Obama: A staunch supporter of freedom, should you happen to live in Libya or Egypt.

    15. President Obama: Singlehandedly saved the teleprompter industry!

  • Four more years?! No more years!

  • Obama: Maybe born again, but the question is where?
    Obama: Dope and mange,
    Obama: The race card is better than the Trump card.
    Obama: He ain’t no peanut farmer.
    Obama: Ready for the Final Four!

  • 16. President Obama: Preserving Satan’s will by fighting against life.

  • 17. President Obama: It’s still Bush’s fault.

  • 18. President Obama: Never met a Muslim I didn’t like or couldn’t bow to.

  • “This is the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow…” — Mr. President, the people of Japan are willing to take you up on your promise.