Numbers Look Grim for President Obama

Tuesday, October 30, AD 2012

Superstorm Sandy has largely passed my area by, and Pepco has been spared another round of calamitous outages. Luckily for you that means I get to write a post digging deep into presidential election statistics.

Though the election polls have produced differing results, a general consensus has seemingly emerged. Mitt Romney is, at worst, tied with President Obama, and has upwards of a five-point lead. The Real Clear average of polls puts Romney up by less than a point. On the other hand, RCP has Obama up 201-191 in the electoral college, with a 290-248 edge in the “no toss-up” scenario. Obama has held a consistent edge in the battleground state of Ohio, though Rasmussen’s most recent poll now has Romney up by two.

In general, I agree with Jim Geraghty that it appears almost certain that Mitt Romney will win the popular vote. It takes polls with rather generous Democrat advantages (in the range of D+7 and up) to even get Obama tied. I trust Gallup’s likely voter screen more than other polls, and Gallup has had Romney with a steady advantage of three-to-five points.

It’s certainly possible that Mitt Romney could win the popular vote and lose the electoral college. It has happened to several presidential candidates in our history, and we are all familiar with what took place in 2000. What is fairly unlikely, however, is for Mitt Romney to win the popular vote by a substantial margin and still lose the electoral college. If Mitt Romney wins the popular vote by more than even just a percentage point, than he will be the next President of the United States. Of course we can never be certain in politics, but it seems like a safe bet that the electoral and popular vote winner will the the same person.

One of the reasons that an Obama electoral college victory in the face of a popular vote defeat is unlikely is that massive swings in national vote totals are reflected in all states. President Obama won the popular vote by seven percent over John McCain in 2008. Assume for the moment that Mitt Romney wins by just one percent – that would signify an eight point swing in favor of the Republicans. Such a huge shift in the electorate is not going to be limited to a small number of states. And as history has shown, when the incumbent party loses support, it loses support everywhere.

I have taken a look at each presidential election since 1976. Since that election, the incumbent has lost twice, the incumbent party has lost two additional times, the incumbent has won three times, and one time the incumbent party has won once. In all but two of the elections since 1980 there has been a net shift of at least eight percent. Let’s take a closer look:

Continue reading...

46 Responses to Numbers Look Grim for President Obama

  • The University of Colorado electoral model that came out in August is looking very very prescient at the moment.

  • It seems like one of the big problems with just about all models is that presidential elections are fairly infrequent and so for any given comparison there are very few like situations.

    Right now, what I’m moderately confident in is that short of some big surprise in the near future Romney should manage a popular vote win, though possibly a narrow one. The big question is how this plays out in the electoral college. The general rule is that the two don’t split. But on the other hand, there also aren’t a whole lot of really close modern elections to go from.

    I fear that the basic structure of the map and votes are better for Obama than for Romney, since Romney needs to win Ohio plus one other state that isn’t already a moderately clear win for him (I’m counting FL, VA and NC as fairly clear wins, though it’s possible I’m being over-optimistic about VA.) There are several solid possibilities, but it means that Obama just has to play defense and hope that Romney doesn’t break through, while Romney needs enough of a wave of support that several states fall his way. Romney does indeed seem to be riding a wave, but at this rate it seems like we won’t know till election night if it’s big enough.

  • I disagree with one aspect of your comment, Darwin. There seems to be the perception that Romney must win Ohio while Obama can afford to lose it and still win. I think that the reality is quite the opposite. The president is playing defense, and Ohio is his last line of defense. If that goes, he is done. While it would be difficult for Romney to lose Ohio and win the 270+ he needs, it is actually plausible that he can pick off enough states like Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire in lieu of Ohio (assuming other states like Florida, Virginia and Colorado come home).

  • That’s because in American history it’s only happened twice (excluding FDR’s third and fourth terms): James Madison in 1812

    Umm. I do not think there was any popular balloting for electors prior to 1824.

    Re a disjunction between the popular vote and the electoral vote. It has happened 4x and in a fifth case (1960) the Democratic vote in two states was cast for an “uncommitted” slate rather than one bearing the Democratic candidate’s name, so there is some opacity about how to tabulate the popular vote.

    1. In one case you had a multiparty contest and six states held no popular balloting, having the state legislatures select the electors.

    2. In another case you had jagged state-to-state variations in the relative dimensions of the electorate and widespread fraud and (down South) intimidation (topped off with a finicky legal dispute over the decisive electoral vote, an elector having been disqualified because a federal employee).

    3. In a third case, you had some of the above and a popular vote margin under 1%.

    4. In the other two cases, the popular vote plurality was under 0.6%.

    If Obama wins the electoral college while losing by two or three million popular votes in a clean contest, it will be something without precedent (but, then again, a great many weird things have happened in recent years).

  • is it assumed that Mitt has CO in the bag? If he wins OH but only takes back the South + IN (that one isn’t in doubt obviously,) he’d still narrowly lose.

  • Colorado had looked pretty good for Romney for a while, although now I think it is back in the toss-up column.

    Umm. I do not think there was any popular balloting for electors prior to 1824.

    The system was complicated, and I’ll have to look back at my books, but I don’t believe that is totally correct. IIRC, most states allotted their electoral votes based on popular votes by this time, though not exactly through the winner-take-all allotment practiced in 48 states.

  • * Since Republican states were traditionally designated with the color blue prior to 2000, technically Vermont has always been a blue state.

    And I thought I was the only one to remember that!

  • Why’d it switch?

  • G-Veg,
    It was never official, but blue for GOP had been the more predominant practice on TV network maps until Bush v Gore. I don’t recall what the networks did that evening, but the next day USA Today published a national map color-coded by county, which captivated American attention since it showed how how pockets of Dem support had overwhelmed a sea of GOP, and that map happened to use red for GOP and blue for Dem. After that, the colors became part of our national consciousness. Unfortunate if you ask me. Red is more appropriate for the Dems. That at least is my recollection.

  • Darwin,

    My comment was simply that the Colorado model stated in August what many people at the time said was fanciful – Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would all go for Romney. Minnesota and PA were viewed as solid Obama. Yet here we are a week before and both campaigns have moved to those states. I don’t know any pollster or analyst who made a similar call.

  • JDP,

    If Romney takes Ohio (assuming the South plus IN), then all he needs is any one of NV, CO, IA, WI, PA, or NH. While Obama could lose Ohio and still run the table in those states, it is not very likely.

    On the other hand, if Obama takes Ohio, Romney could still win if he takes (i) PA and any other state, (ii) WI and CO and any other state, (iii) WI and NV and any other state (except NH unless it brings along a single vote from ME), or (iv) various other combinations. While not easy, it is a better route than Obama’s.

    It is easy to see why both sides have to regard OH as key, but at the margin it is even more essential for Obama than Romney.

  • I guess the reason I’d see Obama as having the easier time at the moment is that if he just wins all the states that he’s currently ahead in the polling in, he wins.

    I’d say that Romney has a fairly good path to 248 and Obama only has a fairly good path to 237, but of the remaining states (NV, CO, IA, WI, OH, NH) they’re all ties or moderately good “leans Obama” cases.

    My big hope is that the national polling (which is much more frequent and statistically rigorous) actually gives a far better impression of where the states are trending, and that VA is thus a lock and OH is tipping into Romney’s column right now (as the last couple state polls do actually suggest). If that’s the case, with one week’s runway left we could be popping corks early on election night. But right now I’m still worried.

  • Back in the day, when broadcast networks were A) the only game in town and B) still more-or-less journalistically reliable, the colors actually were designed to switch every election. The incumbent was red and the challenger was blue one cycle, then vice-versa. This was originated in 1976 when NBC used a back-lit big board. But the scheme wasn;t close to nailed down yet – Republicans were usually blue because of the incumbancy-challenger cycle between 1980 and 1996. In 1980, the country looked, in the words of David Brinkley “like a suburban swimming pool.” CBS was reversed from the other two major nets, so even at that there was no real conformity.

    Eventually it settled into what it is now, for no real discernable reason, probably with the advent of CNN as a major player (GOP = red always) and because in 2000 the map was up for more than just election night as folks waited for the SCOTUS call. The two largest speculations are that Red and Republican both start with “R,” and that, in the eyes of liberal media types, blue is a peaceful and sophisticated color while red is angry and violent. Neither theory has been proven and both remain popular in various circles, depending.

  • Darwin,
    I certainly agree that cork popping is very premature. But the most recent reports from the best poll unpackers in the business (Barone and Cost) are very favorable to Romney. Assuming nothing, I’m going to be content with my optimism till proven otherwise next week.
    More specifically, I think Romney will take the southeast, and he is ahead in OH and CO once the polls and their imbedded assumptions are understood. If he takes Ohio, we win. But if he falls short in OH, I think he has still has a decent shot given the other combinations.
    But you are right, the race is tight, and optimism is not money in the bank.

  • Everyone, you might remember my post (linked below) earlier this month that stated why I believe the demographics point to a Romney victory in Ohio. I kept hearing from people in the know that everything was looking good and then the other day on CBS, the Ohio GOP chairman talked about the Ohio Groundgame being superior to the President’s, and the Democrats know it. As a matter of fact even Mark Halperin, no friend of the GOP, made a statement that his Democratic sources had never seen the Ohio Conservatives so organized.

    The Gallup early voting sample points to this as well. I believe Rush Limbaugh said something to the effect that this is what scares the Left the most. Below is also a link to a story of mine featured in the National Review, in which I talk about seven Ohio swing counties to watch on Election Night.

  • WK,
    Thank you for your clarification of pre-1980 practices. Seems spot on right to me. I still think the USA Today map is the explanation post-1980.

  • In terms of an electoral college/popular vote split, it’s worth noting that as of now several million people lack power due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and it’s not clear how far recovery efforts will progress before next Tuesday. Since the damage seems to be concentrated in blue states like New York and New Jersey, it’s possible that depressed voter turnout in these states due to the storms could help Romney secure a popular vote majority even if he fails in the electoral college (at the very least, I expect this to be cited as an explanation for the Romney popular vote win if the split does occur).

  • Blackladder,
    That may be right, but unless there is some difficulty with the NOVA vote, do you agree that there would be no electoral college effect? If delayed metro-Philly returns are key to determining PA, it seems to me Romney has won.

  • Disenfranchisement!M!

    Damn Neocons! Hurricane Sandy is a conspiracy I tell ya! We should delay the vote by a month so everyone has a chance to vote.

  • BA says “It’s possible that depressed voter turnout in these states due to the storms could help Romney secure a popular vote majority even if he fails in the electoral college ”

    The only practical argument would be if Romney Won NY or NJ because of low turnout hurting the Dems And one or both of the states were critical to an Electoral College victory. That is not possible.

    Mike P There is no problem from Sandy in North or South VA affecting turnout. I don’t think it will have any significant impact in PA either. We are still a week away from the vote so I would only see parts of NYC and the Jersey coast being definitely impacted next week. I don’t think Obama will carry VA anyway.

  • I think BA’s point is simply that lingering storm effects could impact vote turnout in New Jersey and New York so that while neither state will turn into Romney states, the overall impact would be to push the popular vote towards Romney even as the electoral college goes to Obama. I don’t think that the storm’s aftermath is likely to impact the vote that significantly – assuming 40% of that vote is going for Romney, there would have to be well over a million people who can’t get to vote in order to ignite that much of a shift.

  • The loss of thousands of military absentee ballots doesn’t seem to bother the MSM a whit. However, the disenfranchisement of active duty military is deeply troubling, both because it seems immoral that we can’t seem to guarantee that privilege to those guaranteeing the privilege to us and because this could significantly affect states in play like PA.

  • I believe the polls unless I have a reason not to.

    I don’t trust Gallup – Their screen is too tight. They had Obama +11 in 2008, which was farther off than anyone. Currently, their Romney +5 is an outlier and I believe for the same reason.

    The reason for the “skewed polls” is Republican leaning Independents. Polls that treat them as Independents show Romney crushing Obama among independents, but a D+8 electorate. Polls that treat them as Republicans show an even race among independents with even turnout from each party. Either way, this leads to a narrow Romney win in the popular vote. The “unskewed polls” are probably double-counting Republicans.

    I believe Rasmussen tracking is bouncing between R+3 and R+1. I would put it at R+2. His national polls are dead on, but his state polls are less accurate.

    R+2 is slightly less than Bush’s margin in 2004. Although Bush easily won the popular vote the second time around, the election was in doubt until the next morning because of the close race in Ohio.

    Right now, the polls show exactly that happening. Romney wins the popular vote by slightly less than Bush, but barely loses Ohio and the election.

    The difference is that Obama is focusing all his efforts on the swing states (like Kerry in 2004) and ignoring the safe states. Expect Romney to close the gap in the blue states and run up the score in the red states, due to GOP enthusiasm, but he’s still not polling at over 270EV.

    An Obama win without a majority vote would arguably be a “worst case scenario”.

  • G Veg “However, the disenfranchisement of active duty military is deeply troubling, both because it seems immoral that we can’t seem to guarantee that privilege to those guaranteeing the privilege to us and because this could significantly affect states in play like PA.”

    Since the Repubs can’t be bothered to fight for it very much, I guess it’s not important to either party however immoral it is. This has been going on for many months and even goes back in some sense to Florida in 2000. Hardly a peep from Boehner McConnell and Romney.

  • Thanks, Rozin. I figured Sandy would have no effect, but good to know.

    Paul, Blackladder, and Jim,
    I don’t see why the popular vote matters. It is not the system we have or the way the campaign is conducted. If Romney falls short, he falls short. I don’t think he will, but if he does his winning the popular vote would be irrelevant except to the extent it deprives Obama of any claim to a mandate.

  • I take it as a given that Romney starts with a base of 257 electoral votes. This includes Colorado where the Republicans have the advantage in early voting.

    With that as a given Romney has the following paths to 270:

    1. Ohio-18 electoral votes.
    2. Pennsylvania-20 electoral votes.
    3. Michigan -16 electoral votes
    4. Wisconsin-10 electoral votes with New Hampshire -4 electoral votes
    5. Minnesota-10 electoral votes with New Hampshire-4 electoral votes
    6. Iowa-6 electoral votes-New Hampshire-4 electoral votes-Nevada-6-electoral votes

    New Hampshire I think is close to being a given for Romney. If Romney wins Ohio, Pennsylvania or Michigan he wins with no further states needed. With New Hampshire, Wisconsin or Minnesota can be Kingmaker states. If Romney loses all of the above states except New Hampshire, he still has a path to victory with Iowa and Nevada.

  • Oh, and if there is any doubt as to who has the upper hand in this race, I doubt if the Obama campaign strategists, in their wildest nightmares, imagined they would be buying TV ad space in Detroit a week before the election:

  • Another reason for the reversal of red and blue in political symbolism could be that red lost its association with communism and leftism in general after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, while the wealthy, well-educated elites or “blue bloods” that used to be the backbone of the GOP became much more liberal in their leanings.


    CBS used blue for GOP and red for Dem in 1980 even though Reagan ws the challenger.

  • Don is exactly right. Both candidates really need Ohio, but at least Romney has options if he loses Ohio. I don’t think Obama does.

  • Mike, I agree that the popular vote doesn’t matter in the end. My point is simply that I don’t expect Romney to win the popular vote by more than a scant margin AND lose the electoral college. So the national polls do provide meaningful insight.

  • NBC also had the blue = Reagan and red = Carter color scheme in 1980 as well (with Carter’s Georgia the only “red” state in the bunch shown here):

    Notice John Chancellor calling Reagan the winner at 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time (7:15 Central Time), which was somewhat controversial at the time since polls in some Western states hadn’t closed yet.

    Although I think Romney will ultimately win and by a larger margin than the media have led us to believe, I doubt the suspense will end quite as fast as it did that year.

  • Mike P: [Romney] winning the popular vote would be irrelevant except to the extent it deprives Obama of any claim to a mandate.

    Wishful thinking I’m afraid. The media will talk endlessly of all the vote suppression by those evil Republicans that silenced the voices of so many.

  • Paul, understood and agreed.

    Rozin, yeah they might try that but no one will take it seriously outside their echo chamber.

  • “With New Hampshire, Wisconsin or Minnesota can be Kingmaker states.”

    Wisconsin maybe, but Minnesota? Really? As Paul said a couple of weeks ago, it’s like the flip side or mirror image of Arizona — a state that “should” be red but remains stubbornly blue/liberal. I know there are some polls showing it could be in play but I’m not getting my hopes up. And, wasn’t the unexpected Romney TV ad buy in Minnesota really intended to target western Wisconsin voters?

  • The most recent poll we have from Minnesota Elaine shows it 47-44.

    Two things about this poll. First it is a Star-Tribune poll and they have a notorious history of greatly exaggerating Democrat numbers in their polls.

    Second, for an incumbent Democrat President to be at 47 a week out from the election in Minnesota is a definite warning sign that Obama is in trouble in this state. Minnesota hasn’t gone Republican at the Presidential level since Nixon in 1972. The Minnesota ad buy could do double duty. I doubt that the Romney campaign thought that Minnesota was really in play until they saw this poll.

  • D McC I doubt that the Romney campaign thought that Minnesota was really in play until they saw this poll.

    Then they didn’t take the University of Colorado model seriously either. I have trouble believing that they would do this based simply on some media poll, no matter the results, when they have been notoriously inaccurate and volatile this cycle. I’m inclined to view it as following the same logic that Obama had in advertising in VA late in 2008.

    Mike P: I hope so but an Obama win would mean that their echo chamber is pretty large. Although at bottom Obama doesn’t care whether he has a mandate or not to do what he wants.

  • A bit to my point, here’s a Rasmussen poll in Massachusetts that has Obama up by 19. He defeated McCain there by 26. There might be a bit of a home-state bias for Romney, but considering where his favorables were when he left office, maybe not so much. So there’s obviously no way Obama is losing, but if those numbers are accurate it shows how the overall tide is shifting. Those numbers are basically in line with what you’d expect from a 7-8 point swing in the electorate.

  • Okay, trivia time. We’ve already covered Minnesota being the one state that has voted Democrat every election since 1976. Can anyone name the nine states that voted Republican in each of those elections? No cheating.

  • Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Alaska?

  • You got 6/9 Don. South Carolina went for Carter in 1976, Montana for Clinton in 1992 and Arizona for Clinton in 1996.

  • Let’s try Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

  • Almost there. Arkansas went for Carter in 1976 and then for Clinton both times. Think states sharing an initial with yours.

  • Of course, Idaho, probably the most Republican state in the Union! I am surprised I overlooked it.

  • Good ol’ Idaho.

So I Am Voting for Kodos After All

Tuesday, October 23, AD 2012

Jeff Goldstein left this comment on his own blog.

The wife and I reversed course and did in fact pull the trigger for Romney. But only as a stop gap to get Obama out.

Having voted for him, I now own part of him, should he win. And I’m going to be a very very very strict owner.

Beyond that, though, I think whatever the outcome of this election, the GOP establishment and the conservative / classical liberal / TEA Party base are going to engage in a huge existential battle. And I think the GOP is either going to have to get in line with us or head over to the Democrat side. Which won’t be terrible, because it’ll dilute the hard left with a lot of moderate mushiness and move it more toward the Democratic party of, say, JFK.

I agree with those of you who say enough is enough, and no more lesser of two evils. And I don’t begrudge you voting libertarian or writing someone else in. I really don’t. I just feel like we can not afford 4 more years of this guy without bringing the whole thing crashing down. And with two small kids, that literally terrifies me. In my state, every vote counts.

But it will be moot if we don’t also take the Senate and the House, and not with establicans, either. Any GOP office holder who has pimped for a Democrat instead of a TEA Party challenger should be primaried and cast out, whatever his or her voting record. There cannot be a permanent ruling class. And it’s time these entitled suited monkeys learned that.

We also need to change leadership — at least in the House. I think McConnell will, confronted with the reality of a bunch of new conservative / TEA Party Senators (should we get them; the GOP isn’t too terribly concerned with helping most of the serious ones, many of whom are in tight races), act in the interests of that particular trend. Boehner, on the other hand, needs to go. As does Cantor. Period. Full stop.

To me, it’s completely unacceptable that the GOP is allowing the Dems to beat up on Bachmann, King, and West — along with a number of very good constitutional conservative Senate candidates.

And that needs to be made clear as well, forcefully, once this election is over.


As I type this I am watching the third party debate on CSPAN. Yes, I am watching more of this than I did the debate that took place between Obama and Romney last night. Here’s the thing. While it’s nice to say that you are going to vote third party in protest, the people who are actually running for president on third party tickets are, shall we say, less than serious. Jay Anderson’s friend Virgil Goode seems like a decent man and the one third party candidate who is tethered to reality. On the other hand, the rest of the people on the stage seem more interested in vital issues like ending drug prohibition and combating climate change. Gary Johnson is under the impression that when he’s inaugurated he will wipe out the income tax and balance the budget, evidently as unicorns and mermaids dance around the maypole. The candidate of the Justice Party, Rocky Anderson, seems like he has gotten a head start on the end of prohibition. And then there’s Jill Stein of the Green Party, who makes one long for the seriousness of the Nader campaign.

All of the candidates for president – those polling in the 40s and those polling in the .40s alike – are simply not attractive. As is almost always the case we have to choose the least bad candidate. The least bad candidate of this election cycle happens to be Mitt Romney. It is unfortunate that it has come to this, but when the available protest candidates are even more revolting than the primary candidates (and my only options in this state are Johnson and Stein), then there is little choice.

That being said, I think that Goldstein’s points are going to be worth keeping in mind. Assuming that Mitt Romney is elected as the next president of the United States – and I believe he will be – that is but the first stage in what is going to be a long battle not just between Republicans and Democrats, but between Republicans and Republicans as well. (And presumably there will be the same serious soul searching internally for the Democrats.)  But that’s a post for another time.

As for now, I’m going to watch Larry King do a better job moderating the clown debate than anyone who moderated the “real” debates.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to So I Am Voting for Kodos After All

  • I’m in total agreement with Jeff. We have to get Obama and his Administration out of here, and Reed out of Leader of the Senate. Having done that, we have to get real leadership in the House. That done, then we can go to town and really turn our country into the greatness we inherited from our founding fathers.

  • Mr Zummo says ” [Romney’s election] is but the first stage in what is going to be a long battle not just between Republicans and Democrats, but between Republicans and Republicans as well.” If the word “long” is capitalized I agree entirely. We need to think in terms of several decades. But I see no hope in soul searching by Leftists who think the soul is a gift from the government.

    However, I’m afraid Mr Goldstein’s statements strike me as bravado. Unless he can show that the people currently running (and likely to win) form a conservative majority in both the House and Senate caucus I fail to see how his statements about leadership differ from bluster. The election of Romney, which I also support for the sake of the country, would make changes at the Congressional level Less likely though. He did not win the nomination beholden to the Tea Party which foolishly did not coalesce around a single candidate. Similarly the time to “primary” RINO Repubs was in 2010 and 2012 unless again Romney loses. A Repub WH can throttle most “insurgencies” and with Obama and Obamacare gone there would be less energy behind the Tea party movement. Just being realistic. Mr Goldstein sort of realizes that his scenario can evaporate because Repubs are willing to jeopardize their majorities by providing little to no support for more conservative candidates. The fewer that win the more secure the leadership. (They would rather have a one vote majority or even a close minority than be tossed out with a six vote majority.) The airy confidence that RINOs would somehow join the Dems but serve as a diluting agent also defies current reality. So Mike Castle and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and Jon Huntsman etc forced to join the Dems are going to dilute Leftist programs like Obamacare and cap and trade? If the Left wins a few more elections they won’t need such “help”. The only real force that conservatives have in the near to medium term is the negative one of withdrawing electoral support to the Repubs. Unfortunately this strategy has only limited utility at the national level given the menacing nature of the current Dem party.

  • aside from the main point, but Gary Johnson is basically exactly the reason why I’m not a libertarian. I’ve read libertarians referred to as “Communists turned inside out” and that pretty much nails it for me. Liberals exalt Equality as the end-all-be-all, libertarians exalt Personal Liberty, both are wrong.

    actually when you think about it modern libertarians share much more philosophically in common with liberals. sure, they’re “anti-government,” but more core to their ideology is that everything is about the self. Liberals think in these terms too, they just differ in the means, i.e. it’s the state’s job to liberate people (however defined)

  • also i didn’t watch the debate last night either, mostly cuz it sounded like a big agreeing-fest

    Unless the GOP critiques the “democracy is always good in the Middle East” mentality there doesn’t seem to be a massive difference on foreign policy, except that Romney will hopefully be less deferential and favor-currying with the M.E. than Obama has, culminating in his apparent misplaced confidence in Libya

  • I had assumed that I will spend the next four years rousing opposition to what Romney will be attempting to do. Now I am not so sure. Some conservatives have been elected and then are revealed to be RINOs. Now I am beginning to wonder if Romney has been a conservative pretending to be a RINO in Massachusetts? We will all find out soon enough.

  • I don’t know if it is bravado so much as a rallying cry, Rozin. Jeff realizes that whatever happens on November 6 is just the beginning of what will be a very long political battle.

    actually when you think about it modern libertarians share much more philosophically in common with liberals. sure, they’re “anti-government,” but more core to their ideology is that everything is about the self.

    I largely agree, though libertarian ends are generally more palatable than leftist ends.

    I had assumed that I will spend the next four years rousing opposition to what Romney will be attempting to do. Now I am not so sure.

    Yes, his behavior during the campaign has given me slight hope. I had assumed he would have moved right to the middle after securing the nomination, but that hasn’t exactly been the case. His selection of Ryan as a running mate gives me some hope that he is serious about fiscal reform.

  • Additionally I was struck by the rumors about Gloria Allred and her “October Surpise” with some postulating that the big scandal is that Romney as a Mormon leader counseled individual women against having abortions, including helping one woman pay her bills.

  • That would actually be a rather welcome October surprise.

  • that is but the first stage in what is going to be a long battle…between Republicans and Republicans

    More like the 117th stage. I made the comment on an earlier thread that if there are two competing gas stations being built on a length of road, it makes sense to put them as close to the middle as possible, with enough room between them so that people will be able to distinguish which one’s closer. A guy who lives on mile 1 of a four-mile stretch of road wants a gas station to be put up on mile 1, but it’s better for the gas station to go up at mile marker 1.95, ensuring it’ll get all the business from the first two miles of road. If you put up a gas station at marker 1 and the other one’s at marker 2, you lose half the people between the two stations to your opponent. So each party’s going to be neutral-to-exteme (on one side or another) on abortion, taxes, defense, whatever, because that ensures they get the most of the wishy-washy and all of the passionate.

  • Pinky,

    If the two parties are merely fighting over how to spend a balanced budget (ie setting priorities) and operating within the Constitution then there is life after losing and your analogy holds. I also assume that the judiciary is operating within its Constitutional charter. The problem is that the modern Democrats know no such boundaries and will happily wreck the entire country if they think they can be around to run the pieces. If this sounds extreme, look at Europe. Despite the PIGS/F economic catastrophes the same political parties seem to survive. The only difference is that the public riots in favor of more debt and benefits. Why would the Dems be afraid to wreck the country seeing that? It’s obvious that even Establishment Repubs aren’t duly worried.

    Mr Zummo,

    I understand Mr Goldstein was trying to set a marker down. My problem is that the situation needs to be defined accurately before a strategy to win can be devised. I don’t think Mr Goldstein made any effort to think through the statements he was making. He should have just said what you said in that case.

  • DMcC says “Now I am beginning to wonder if Romney has been a conservative pretending to be a RINO in Massachusetts?”

    I visited relatives in Mass for many years and saw every Gov from King to Romney in action so to speak. Romney was the least popular of the 4 Repub Governors starting with Weld. Perhaps part of that was due to Bush43’s unpopularity in the state. He did not strike me as a conservative masked as a RINO. The one area he was consistently conservative on was the budget. As President I would see him acting fairly strictly on spending. On other things he is more Big government oriented or center left than not. He was no fan of Reagan. Without a fairly conservative Congress, I would not expect too much except for budget and debt restraint. He is only going to repeal Obamacare because he and the other Establishment Repubs know it would be political suicide if they didn’t.

  • Pingback: It’s Not Cooperation with Evil If One Side is Not Evil | The American Catholic

Is Intrade Really a Valuable Predictor?

Thursday, October 11, AD 2012

Intrade is an online trading platform where participants actually place (legal) bets on the outcomes of certain events. For close to a decade political pundits have been using it as a reference to predict election outcomes. Indeed it seems to have a good record, correctly predicting the outcomes of the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, and getting all but two states correct in 2008. Currently, Intrade gives Barack Obama a 62.4% chance to win re-election.

So is Intrade a valuable resource that can be relied upon to accurately predict election outcomes? Not in the least.

This Business Insider article sums up several of the problems with Intrade, and hits upon the point that has bugged me the most about it, namely that all it does is distill current conventional wisdom. Take, for example, that 62.4% number above. Sure that looks good for Obama, but over a week ago that number was well over 80%. In other words, as Obama’s poll numbers moved down so did confidence by Intrade investors. As Joe Weisenthal put in when discussing the Republican primary:

So why ignore InTrade? Well, basically, because all it does is distill conventional wisdom. Seriously, what good is it to know that on InTrade Mitt Romney is far ahead, and that Hermain Cain doesn’t have a chance? All you have to do is read any DC-based political pundit, and they’ll tell you the exact same thing.

And when the conventional wisdom changes, so does the market.

Rick Perry is down in the dumps on InTrade now, but back in August — when everyone was talking about how he was the frontrunner — he was the frontrunner on InTrade as well.

Weisenthal then tracks Perry’s chances on InTrade, and notes how they basically just mirror Perry’s poll numbers.

Even the 2004 and 2008 results aren’t that impressive in retrospect. When people woke up on election day 2008, did anybody really doubt that Barack Obama would win, other than people who clung to fleeting hopes of a miracle McCain victory? And in 2004, Bush’s chances were just over 50% – meaning that the market as a collective was leaning the same way as most polls which, with a few exceptions, generally gave Bush a slight edge. In fact, if you look at Intrade activity on election day itself, Bush’s chances plummeted as early exit poll leaks suggested a Kerry victory, and then rose again as actual election results came in and a Bush victory became more apparent. In other words, Intrade just reflected the polls. And while the state predictions seem impressive, again, how many states were truly up for grabs? Intrade was therefore no more useful a guide than any reasonably informed individual with access to polling data.

Some fans of Intrade like to point out that participants literally have to put their money where their mouth is. I don’t really see how this makes the platform any more valuable as an index. Bookies all over the country would be the ones fearing having their legs broken if money induced wiser gambling behavior – and Intrade is, in essence, simply a gambling platform.

Long story short, Intrade offers no more insight into how the election will play out than some cranky guy writing on a blog who can look at the Real Clear Politics average of polls (which has Romney up by 1.3 percent, incidentally). So then why do pundits insist on citing it, and why do people continue to think it has any meaningful predictive value?


Continue reading...

11 Responses to Is Intrade Really a Valuable Predictor?

  • Intrade is a paean to the common wisdom as blaired through the media. It is as predictive as most straight line projections: not very.

  • The question to ask is not whether Intrade is accurate, but whether it is more accurate than the alternatives. I just finished Nate Silver’s new book. In one of the early chapters he looks at the accuracy of predictions made by TV pundits. In most cases a pundit’s predictions turn out to be less accurate than random guessing. Intrade isn’t perfect, but the reality is that it’s a lot more accurate than that.

  • After the election results are in it will be interesting to analyze why it provided relatively good or relatively bad predictive results for this particular case.

  • Certainly, it’s basically distilled conventional wisdom, but when you’re dealing with moderately knowable events (or “given the way things are going” kind of predictions) it might be very slightly better than just looking at the polling data.

    So, for instance, on the question of prediction the presidential election: Right now the polls show Romney ahead, though there needs to be a little more state polling post debate before it’s clear whether he’s ahead enough in the right places to win the electoral college. InTrade still has Obama as the favorite, though by much less than before. If I was told to make the most conservative bet possible with a large amount of money, I might put the odds about where InTrade is right now. My reasoning would be that the Obama campaign has been fairly ruthlessly efficient at staying on top of things throughout the campaign, while the Romney campaign has been prone to unforced errors. Current polls suggest Romney slightly ahead, and a certainly hope that that’s because Romney has finally shattered the characterization of him that Obama has been running against so successfully. But if I really, really had to place money right now (and defend it to others rather than just pleasing myself) I’d probably put it on the assumption that Obama would edge ahead in a close election through constant negativity and Romney’s occasional errors and lackluster campaigning.

  • The perils of something like Intrade are that you have a lot of people who have more money than knowledge about politics. This election will not be close and the result will be circa Romney 54 to Obama 45 with one percent split among the third party candidates. Why am I confident of this:

    1. Wretched economy.
    2. Drops in Democrat registration in key states.
    3. The enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats.
    4. The results of 2010 which placed Republicans in control of more state houses and legislatures than since the 1920s. They put in place voter id laws in more than 30 states. The margin of fraud advantage that the Democrats have traditionally had is rapidly diminishing as a result, tied in with purging voter rolls of the dead, convicted felons, people who moved away decades ago,etc.
    5. Romney and the Republicans are on a par with Obama and the Democrats when it comes to campaign spending.
    6. Too many of the polls relied on by the rubes at Intrade have ludicrous oversampling of Democrats.
    7. Obama has a glass jaw as evidenced by the first debate.
    8. Republicans have a party id advantage over the Democrats. Prior to the 2010 landslide they were down 1.6 against the Democrats in Rasmussen party id.
    9. Obama’s war on the Church. Lots of Catholics in the swing states and Obama is going to be lucky to have his total among Catholics match the 45% I predict for his national total.
    10. Libya gate.

  • To elaborate on my last comment a bit: people will often dismiss Intrade by saying that “it just tracks the polls.” It’s true that there is a correlation between what the polls are saying and the implied predictions on Intrade. How could there not be? At the same time, they don’t always track each other. For example, in the Business Insider article Paul links to, it mentions that in early November Herman Cain had a 4% implied chance of winning the Republican nomination on Intrade, whereas Romney had about a 70% chance. At the time, Cain and Romney were roughly tied in the polls.

    More importantly, even where the polls and Intrade do track each other, Intrade will often get there first. Paul mentions that the Intrade contract for Obama winning re-election has fallen as the polling for Romney has improved. Yet the Intrade contract started falling first. It was only later that polling caught up.

    The same goes for the idea that Intrade merely reflects conventional wisdom. If everybody agrees that, say, Obama did really horribly at last week’s debate, then it’s not surprising that this is also reflected at Intrade (though I would note that the Obama Intrade contract fell substantially before the debate was even over). Most of the time, though, you are not going to find such unanimity about the effect of some new political development on the campaign. When the 47% video came out, for example, a lot of folks said it would hurt Romney and a lot of folks (myself included) said it wouldn’t matter. In that case there really was no conventional wisdom for Intrade to reflect. Intrade, of course, reacted as if the news did hurt Romney, and my sense is that in the subsequent weeks opinion has shifted more towards this view as well.

    If you want to compare the accuracy of Intrade to polling or conventional wisdom, you can’t do it by looking at cases where they all agree. You have to look at cases where they disagree and see what it more likely to be right in those cases. If you do that, it’s clear that Intrade, while far from perfect, is indeed more accurate.

  • (though I would note that the Obama Intrade contract fell substantially before the debate was even over).

    I only saw a few minutes of the first part, over my husband’s shoulder. Even I could tell Obama was sucking silt.

    If the drop had happened before he was eyeballing his belt buckle while Mitt talked, that’d be interesting.

    It’s also possible that Intrade isn’t tracking the same group of people; only folks who have money to spare are going to be risking it on betting about politics, and that’s a smaller group than it use to be, possibly with a bias towards college kids and gov’t employees.

  • For what it’s worth, I agree with Donald’s forecast. If I had money to spare I’d buy a Romney future not just because I think he will win, but because he’d bring more money back in return, at least if I purchased a contract now.

    Perhaps what irks me is not Intrade itself, but the weight that people give to it. What would show me that it is of some value is if it had a regular history of not only outperforming the polls, but contradicting the polls and predicting winners early on. All that the Intrade results show me is that a few more people think Obama is going to win, but that a couple of more good Romney polls will probably bring the president’s numbers down even further. To me such a tool is of little or no value.

  • Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I end up seeing InTrade numbers all the time because I’m always refreshing the RealClearPolitics poll page. Throughout the election cycle thus far, Romney’s chances had been stuck under 40%. However, this last weekend he started to consistently creep over the 40% line and this morning I noticed Romney was above 44%.

    This would seem to suggest that the consensus that Obama’s victory is relatively certain is starting to recede as Romney’s (admittedly slim) lead in the polls holds steady just two weeks from the election. It’ll be interesting to see how that continues to develop.

    I wish I were as optimistic about the election as a whole as Paul and Donald. Right now it seems likely that things will all come down to Ohio, where I will definitely be at the polls first thing in the morning. I’d like to think that my new state is solid for Romney, but I don’t feel confident yet.

  • I have been looking at the Intrade numbers as well and have noticed their almost obstinate refusal to budge until the last couple of days. Of course Rasmussen now has your state tied, so we’ll see.

    Something has to give with these polls. I know that it has been suggested that Romney could win the popular vote and lose the electoral college, but if that happens Romney’s pv margin would have to be fairly small. There is no way he can simultaneously win by 5% or more AND lose the electoral college – or at least it is very, very, very unlikely. So either Gallup and Rasmussen, who have had Romney up by 5 are off, or the polls that have Ohio a dead-heat or Obama up are wrong.

    FWIW, the Republican candidate has never done worse in Ohio than he has done nationally. Even when Republicans lose the state they do so by smaller margins than they do nationally.

  • The author has analyzed this well. InTrade and the polls reflect the conventional wisdom that’s circulating in the culture. They automatically become more accurate as the election approaches, because the general societal thinking must be expressed during the election. As for predictive value, InTrade does not set static odds well in advance of the event. If it did that, then IT would be putting its money where its mouth is. While I understand the innate human desire to know the future, I do find it distressing that too many think that gambling is a way to do that. InTrade makes money no matter what the actual results are — just like the house in a casino.

Santorum Suspends Campaign

Tuesday, April 10, AD 2012

Well, Mr. Inevitable is indeed inevitable now.

Kudos to Rick Santorum on a race well run.  It is amazing that he managed to accomplish what he did considering his financial resources and his standing at the outset of the race.  Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to overcome Mitt Romney’s considerable resources.  Santorum would have had to run a perfect campaign to win the nomination, and he didn’t.

It is unbelievable to me that Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee.  After the remarkable victories in the 2010 mid-terms and the rise of the tea party movement, this is the best the Republicans can do.

Continue reading...

41 Responses to Santorum Suspends Campaign

  • Well, Gingrich is next to drop out.

  • Santorum came a lot closer to winning the primary contest than today indicates. If Gingrich had dropped out after Florida, the Weathervane might well have been the one tossing in the towel today.

  • This really is the bottom line of it all…
    It is unbelievable to me that Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee. After the remarkable victories in the 2010 mid-terms and the rise of the tea party movement, this is the best the Republicans can do.

    I would add the train wreck that is the state of the nation the incumbent has created. They are being lobbed a ball, and the best they can do is hit a single?

  • I was a Santorum supporter, but I will now campaign hard for Mitt. Obama must go. I cannot wait to see the look on Hussein’s face when the moving trucks pull up.

  • “I cannot wait to see the look on Hussein’s face when the moving trucks pull up.”

    Thank you for that image daledog! I will be working hard also to bring that about!

  • “…this is the best the Republicans can do.”

    My father in law was once Mayor of our town. That was, oh gosh, quite possibly before I was born actually. He retired after two years, a kind of self-imposed “term-limit” way before the term was even invented. According to the well-yellowed news clipping we have, he said he wanted to make sure others had a chance to run and do the job, since he didn’t think city government was that big a deal (meaning, that hard or complicated) a job. The people needed to get involved.

    As I said, that was way back when. Things have changed. I certainly lack the confidence
    to run the town. And running for President is quite a bit different than running for city government (we have had the same group of people for quite some time now in our town), or for Representative (either State or Federal level) or for Senator (State of Federal.)

    There ARE a lot of good, competent, smart people out there, who have no interest in having their lives savaged in the media in order to govern the country. I think Romney may be doing as well as he is doing in the GOP primaries is because people don’t see him as a politician or political insider as much, as say, Gingrich or Santorum. They see him as a business man. Does Romney have a “conservative core” (or any “core” for that matter)? From what I have seen in my own supposedly conservative town, it seems that a lot of people don’t really have a core, or aren’t even necessarily paying attention to what is going on. Some don’t even know who our elected representative is, and he has one of the more powerful governmental positions in DC.

  • I wish he would have stayed in. I hope he will be VP.
    You can say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

  • As I said in another forum, this allows me to view the rest of the cycle with a sense of bemused detachment.

    I put Mitt’s chances at no better than 45%, assuming the economy continues to, at best, tread water.

    The press assault on his LDS beliefs is underway. Of course, the elite media will be careful to couch it in terms of “educating the public” about “this mysterious and not well understood religion.” And not, say, as part of a smear job conducted on behalf of their boyfriend on Pennsylvania Avenue. But origins, polygamy, blacks in the priesthood, secret temple ceremonies–all will be played to the worst possible effect.

    In short, it will be effective at turning off independents in the same way that Al Smith’s Catholicism was used against him in 1928. A damnable shame given how fundamentally decent and patriotic your average LDS is. Frankly, I’d take your average Mormon chosen at random from the closest LDS church in favor of Mitt, but…

    All told, Mitt’s electability has always been more far more apparent than real.

  • It is too bad that Santorum couldn’t quite do it – but he does have a future in politics, if he’s so inclined.

    That said, it is time to rally ’round Romney – certainly, not the best possible candidate, but someone who, as the campaign has unfolded, has shown an ever clearer understanding of what is at stake. I still have grave doubts that he understands the revolution which is needed to fix our country, but it could be that events will force him in to a revolutionary path once he takes office – and you can rely on it, Romney will be sworn in on January 20th, 2013. Obama is doomed – don’t believe the stories in the MSM as they are all in the tank for Obama and will just keep churning out the “Obama is going to win” stories until November 2nd or 3rd, when they’ll start to allow a few bits of reality to be quietly reported so they can claim they reported the truth all along.

  • Mitt doesn’t have a prayer no matter who he picks as VP. This will be a rerun of McCain-Obama 2008. Santorum, who has no choice but to back Romney, will find his earlier criticisms used in Obama ads over and over. No matter how hard he tries, Mr. Etch-a-Sketch cannot erase his past.

  • “All told, Mitt’s electability has always been more far more apparent than real.”

    There we will have to agree to disagree Dale. I expect Romney, or almost any other Republican for that matter, to cream Obama around 54-46. I expect the appeal to religious bigotry will be in the Obama arsenal and will be as futile as the other smear tactics that the Southside Messiah will bring to the fore as he flees from his record.

  • D.J. Hesselius: A statesman is imbued with our founding principles and lives for them. A politician learns where the people are vulnerable (abortion, contraception, healthcare) and takes advantage of the people and the situation. (Never let a good crisis go to waste.) The young are intimidated and fear being ridiculed by a militant evil, an atheism that will suffocate freedom in the public square, and with freedom will go Justice. Never before has such evil eliminated our freedoms. Intolerance of evil has become a hate-crime. Disguised as freedom, vice has supplanted virtue, revelry has replaced reverence, pseudo-sophistication has replaced common sense. It is the administration that has become corrupt and is using our freedom to enslave us. If 79 people could foment the Bolshevic Revolt in Russia, 79 good people on the ground level in America can restore constitutional and principled government. We do not need to support golf-playing princes on the backs of our children. We need patriots and statesmen .

  • What makes me so darned mad is that another Primary season passes with Pennsylvania’s views meaning nothing. Perhaps we wouldn’t be in the political mess we are in if our national contests were decided nationally rather than by far Left midget states inYankee land and rural towns in Iowa.

  • AMEN G-Veg…seems that when it comes to May and the Primaries we sit back doing something with our thumbs, twiddling specifically. This is a real disappointment. I am almost discouraged enough with the field of candidates and what appears to be the final choice that has been dropped on us Pennsylvanians to NOT vote…yes that’s what I said. HOWEVER I have a moral and civic duty to vote for the best candidate. Oh how I dread the lines to pull this lever for Mitt “Mr Wrong” Romney!!!

  • It’s times like these I wish I was able to leave the US (if this is the best we can do…)

  • G-Veg What are you talking about?—-are you looking for some national format for primaries? or just for Pennsylvania to be moved up–
    I wish he would have stayed in and PA had voted for him– I think there was a concern that PA was going to go for Romney. I think if he could have stayed in for Texas things could be a lot different.
    I believe the idea of taking our time and going to lots of different states over time to air out the issues is still a good idea.
    If Iowa really had decided the national nominee, Santorum would be the candidate. Another concern for me is that it seems some Powers That Be wanted Romney no matter what the rural towns of Iowa or Pennsylvania want or would want..

  • What I’m not saying is that the race should be decided by PA or any other state alone or in concert with a few. What I am saying is that the flow of the GOP primary has been all wrong for some time and we had better fox it or we’ll continue to select nominees under the “electability” mantra that are as comfortable in the Democratic camp as ours. The center is a losing position if it is already held by a proclaimed centrist.

  • The reason you all are so dang disappointed with Romney and the abismal choice of him or The President is that there is no viable 3rd party and of course because $ dictates. I work hard to be a true centrist and love the definition of statesman Mary De Voe provided.
    We cannot expect much from either side if all we hear as voters is the hatred, anger and immature rhetoric uttered to the other side by everyone not on your side.
    I was for and still am for Ron Paul. I hope his son is more appealing in looks and voice.
    I also hope that we get more statesmen/women instead of politicians to represent us.

  • And by “fox it” I mean “fix it,” not whatever “fox it” might mean. (I don’t do well with the I-Pad hunt and peck.)

  • I agree with you about the flow of the GOP primary– but I don’t think it is structural– or the order of the states primaries as much as it is the seeming unwillingness of Republicans to be positive and supportive and cheerleading for their own candidates– We RUIN OUR OWN FLOW our own mojo, our own momentum… why can’t Republicans just be enthusiastic once!!– always so sour dour pickle face about GOP candidates –and the pickle face that starts in the GOP makes it easy for the D’s . We shoot holes in our own guys constantly saying things like “is this the best we can do?” well that really helps.
    These are actually smart stalwart good men and woman running and we always knuckle under the Ridicule used by the D’s- that is what they are good at and we are vulnerable to.. let’s find the way out of that pattern-or lose.

  • I kind of liked your “fox” it because I’m still miffed at FOX’s systemic support of Romney

  • We loved Palin. We loved Santorum. We love Rubio and Jindal. We are quite enthusiastic about candidates calling us to great things. We just can’t seem to get one of them into the White House.

    I think we are properly cynical and milktoast in our support for candidates that are shoved down ur throats by those claiming great electoral wisdom. I’ll vote for Romney this time with a sour face. Who knows, he might be as conservative as the President is Socialist when he gets in office. If so, I promise to enthusiastically support a second Romney term.

  • I for one am Catholic and tired of being R, D, I or whatever. Romney seems like an elitist and one of the establishment.neither of which I want anymore of. If I don’t like someone I will not be forced to like them even if they (on paper) stand for what we all as Catholics are looking for in a candidate…and no I don’t want Barabas either.

  • OK, longer post.

    Since Perry bowed out and Gingrinch went moon-crazy, I was really hoping (against hope?) for Santorum to come up from behind and get the GOP nomination. (If, hypothetically, Newt dropped out and endorsed Rick, would the Pennsylvanian be able to beat “The Weathervane”?) His current campaign suspension is due primarily to his daughter getting ill, which is perfectly human and understandable.

    Of course, this leaves the nation with two main options for leadership:

    Obama, under whose second term things will be as bad, if not, worse, than his first. An unapologetic liberal whose spending habits, by most accounts, will cause the US economy to cease to exist sometime in the 2020s. As someone who will probably still be alive by that time period, I really, really don’t want that to happen.

    Romney, a.k.a. “The Etch-A-Sketch” and “The Weathervane,” whose primary talent is telling the audience what they want to hear, no matter what that is. On social issues he’s wiffle-waffly at best, a pro-choice liberal at worst. I can count on one hand what might be his (politically) redeeming features – he might be willing to respect the conscience rights of non-liberal types (I think the “taxpayer-supported abortion” part of Romney care was passed by the legislature after he vetoed it), he might try and prevent all of Europe east of Germany and Austria from falling under Russian domimation again (something which Obama, it seems, is all too willing to let happen) and the Pacific Ocean becoming a Red Chinese lake, and maybe, just maybe, he could actually cut the government spending enough so that the US still has an economy while I still live. However, given his support for an ObamaCare-style health plan on the state level back in Mass., I’m still skeptical on that last point.

    Sigh … I really don’t look forward to the 2012 elections now … anyway we can legally, morally work that “line of succession” to get Speaker Boehner in the White House? 😉

  • sorry about all my huffing and puffing– I am just really sad and upset about this
    I don’t think I can come up with any enthusiasm for Romney, and I have never knowingly voted for a pro-abort, which I am afraid he really is….
    I’m the pickle face now

  • Our Republic survived the Depression and FDR’s administration. We really will be OK?

    The President seems more and more like Mad King George every day. He is utterly delusional. His Justice Department is getting spanked again and again. The Pine case is just the latest, but by no means the last beating, Holder will suffer. His signature legislation is coming apart and the far lefties are jumping ship like stoned rats. The Quakers want us out of Afghanistan, the law schools want Guantanamo closed, and California will settle for nothing less than full immigration amnesty.

    President Nero isin deep trouble.

    Even if he wins reelection, he will be so badly damaged that he will have to tinker at the edges of Democracy. So Santorum isn’t the guy… Let’s hold our collective noses, vote Romney, and, win or lose, turn our attention to a GOP landslide at the next mid-term.

  • Paul Ryan/Marco Rubio 2016…Hey why wait?!

  • And by “fox it” I mean “fix it,” not whatever “fox it” might mean. (I don’t do well with the I-Pad hunt and peck.)

    A “foxed” book is one that’s worn on the edges, bent binding, etc. I’d say that things have been quite solidly foxed already….

  • I held my nose and voted for Bush.

    I stuck my finger down my throat and voted for McCain.

    What will I have to do to vote for Romney? I don’t want to know.

    I am done with the whole Lucy and Charlie Brown football game with the elephant party. At least with King Barry, the country gets destroyed quick, and we can rebuild. The elephants are slowly killing us instead.

  • I am convinced that Ryan and Rubio sat this one out solely because conventional wisdom holds that a sitting president is nearly unbeatable. I’m sure they are kicking themselves now.

  • Well, the Republican party did it, and now we will all suffer for it. I, like many people I have talked to, will not vote for Mitt Romney. Since the Republican Party manipulated the primaries and purchased this ticket for Romney against the wishes of the people, they will get what they justly deserve — a brutal beat down. I can’t in good conscience vote for Obama, either. So, I will stay home this November. May God have mercy on us all.

  • How the world is going to survive to another four years of Obama?

    I will pray.

    Romney depends on the economy. He does not have charisma and conservative record. If the employment continue to improve even that gradually, Romney is finished.

    ABO is not enough to win.

  • I don’t know that much about the System– but is there any way the unrest among R’s can grow enough before summer that Santorum could still be tapped for the nomination?

    I do not have as good a feeling about Rubio as some of you apparently do…

  • “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

    If we poor, exiled children of Eve are happy in this vail of tears, we might not be happy in the Hereafter.

    Bill G: You may have it correct. One may defy the “Gods of the Copy Book Headings” only in the short term. In the long term, we are all dead.

    Obama will use the (open mike) flexibility to finish the job – destroy the American Dream to control we the serfs.

    The main hope is the GOP takes the Senate and keeps the House majority.

  • Folks,

    There is good commentary on Romney at the Crisis Magazine web site:

    Hey, Romney IS better (or less bad) than Obama (can’t believe I wrote that, but it’s true).

  • here’s Tony Perkins take on Santorum’s suspension of his campaign –

  • “And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! “

  • Excellent recap and basic analysis of the Santorum campaign by Mr. Bill O’Reilly. There are a number of lessons to be had from Santorum’s run:

  • Mr. Bill O’Reilly’s idea that Santorum failed because Santorum answered questions only go so far- Santorum could have joked the questions off a few times and the press would have mocked that– for not answering.
    Whatever he answered would have been wrong according to them.
    O’Reilly, in effect, piled on by blaming Santorum.
    O’Reilly repeatedly said that most of the candidates should get off the stage. After people complained about lack of respect and recognition of the other candidates he included Santorum and Gingrich just barely– His look-down-his-nose attitude about Santorum continued though, even when he was obligated to cover him after Santorum had some success (even without FOX kingmakers)
    He smiles genially while letting the whole audience know that Santorum is really not quite Big Time, explaining to us about the rookie mistakes, generously adding that he Himself has also made rookie mistakes.

Hollow Victories

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

There is some excitement that oral arguments are going well for opponents of Obamacare.  Though oral arguments are not perfectly indicative of how the Supreme Court will vote in the end, there is some cause for guarded optimism.  That being said, even if the Court completely strikes down Obamacare, it will be something of a hollow victory.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is no other correct course of action for the Court to take than to strike down the individual mandate and thus effectively kill Obamacare.  It is one of those remarkable monstrosities that happens to be both bad policy and unconstitutional.  The problem is that something this monumental is essentially being decided on the whims of a single Justice.  How did we reach the point where our basic liberties come down to what Anthony Kennedy may have had for breakfast one day?

I don’t mean to be flip, but it feels like we’ve taken a very wrong turn somewhere along the line. 

Continue reading...

15 Responses to Hollow Victories

  • For those that support Romney, this election is about nothing other than putting an –R in the White House.

    Winning isn’t an end in itself. It is a means to an end. That’s precisely the point of the Supreme Court example.

    Reality is not always a pleasant thing to contemplate. But part of being conservative, I think, is a willingness to face up to reality even when it’s not pleasant. One may not like the prospect of having to choose between Romney and Obama in November, but that’s reality. Calvin Coolidge isn’t going to be on the ballot.

  • “How did we reach the point where our basic liberties come down to what Anthony Kennedy may have had for breakfast one day?”

    The weeping you hear is from the Founding Fathers in the next world.

  • Winning isn’t an end in itself. It is a means to an end. That’s precisely the point of the Supreme Court example.

    Thus demonstrating why you, and so many other Romney supporters, continue to miss the point.

  • “Calvin Coolidge isn’t going to be on the ballot.”

    Yeah, but the Mormon Richard Nixon probably will be. I’ll vote for him in preference to Obama, but other than Romney not being Obama, I’ll be hanged if I can think of anything else Romney has in his favor from a conservative point of view.

  • The Supremes don’t necessarily have the “last say.” If struck down, in part or in its entirety, Obamacare could still come back in another form as devised by Obama and a complaisant Congress. Also, given that hundreds of entities have been granted exemptions to the law, that language could be broadened to include certain individuals or small businesses, thus debunking the false notion that “everyone” must buy health care or face a stiff penalty. In short, the lawyers and politicians will find a way toward a “compromise” that will defuse the issue before November.

  • 3 points:

    (1) “… happens to be both bad policy and unconstitutional …”
    But you repeat yourself. If it’s unconstitutional, it is by definition, bad policy. 🙂

    (2) Whatever the faults of Anthony Kennedy (and you know my opinion on the man, and I am, to put it mildly, not a fan), he has throughout his career on the Court been fairly solid on 10th Amendment issues. Not that his swing-vote squishiness doesn’t give me some pause, but I’m not as worried about how he will vote on this issue as I will be when the Court is inevitably called upon to define same-sex “marriage” as a so-called “fundamental right”. I’m actually slightly more concerned how Roberts and Alito will vote.

    (3) And THIS is the REAL implication for the upcoming election. At this juncture, the judicial nomination argument is one of the key talking points Romney’s supporters are using to try to sway those like me who are going to be voting 3rd party this fall. Let’s suppose that it’s Roberts and/or Alito (in addition to or instead of Kennedy) that joins the 4 liberals to uphold ObamaCare. Suddenly, the “But we HAVE to vote for Romney to get conservative Justices” argument becomes moot. If either or both of the two most recent Supreme Court Justices that were appointed by a conservative GOP president with approval by big GOP majorities in the Senate can’t be counted on to vote against the constitutionality of ObamaCare, then the GOP will, and SHOULD, lose the judicial nomination argument in its favor for all eternity.

  • “then the GOP will, and SHOULD, lose the judicial nomination argument in its favor for all eternity.”

    Why Jay? Roberts and Alito from all intents appeared to be solid conservative nominees, and thus far they have voted that way. If they go rogue now we should hand over to the Democrats the Supreme Court for all eternity? That does not make any sense to me.

  • You make some very necessary points Mr. Zummo. I would simply add that the election of Barrack Obama is a reflection of us, our society, our governance, and our fondness for dependence (as opposed to liberty). The greater concern is whether we have reached the tip point. While many argue politics, to his credit Obama has advanced the statist agenda across the board.

  • Come on, “blackmail”? I haven’t heard anything like that. I mean, by those standards, someone could say that your raising doubt about Romney’s SCOTUS nominees is an attempt to blackmail Romney supporters into voting for Santorum. But that’d be nonsense, because you’re not blackmailing anyone; you’re trying to present your preferred candidate in the best possible light, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Remember the time-honored truth that the Paulbots never seem to recall, that antagonism is rarely persuasive.

  • Pinky,

    I have the strike-through there and I thought that indicated that I used the word for humorous, exaggerated effect.

  • Yeah, I know, I’m just getting a bad taste in my mouth from all this. The article and some comments tended to lump all Romney supporters together as the enemy, a voting bloc composed entirely of RINO’s.

    Years back, volunteering for a campaign, I remember being told to never alienate anyone, because even if the voter wasn’t supporting your candidate, he could be on the fence about a half-dozen other races further down the ticket. It ticks me off to see assumptions of bad faith being made by supporters of all four candidates against supporters of their opponents. And to top it off, there’s near-complete agreement about the issues. Most Republican primary voters only disagree about which candidate would best promote a pro-life, low-tax, internationally secure agenda. They weight issues differently, and make different calculations about effectiveness, experience, and electability, but they agree on 90+% of the platform.

    Every party goes through this in the primaries, and by November I hope that heated words spoken in March will be forgotten. I’m just worried.

  • Don, the point I’m making is that if the GOP-nominated Justices can’t be counted on to strike down a monstrosity like ObamaCare, then the argument that we just HAVE to vote for Republicans because of the Supreme Court will no longer prove sufficient to justify voting for just any Republican, especially one like Mitt Romney.

    I mean, seriously. If even a majority of GOP nominees can’t be counted on when it comes to the REALLY BIG issues like abortion and ObamaCare, then there’s really not much left to justify conservative voters continuing to do what we’ve been doing.

  • I understand your argument Jay, but it still does not make any sense to me. We are going to have a Supreme Court and its rulings are going to have a vast impact on our lives. I see no reason to hand it over to the Democrats forever. Overall I have found the Republican justices appointed since Reagan far more congenial to my views than those appointed by the Democrats, to say the least. A Souter and a Kennedy are arguments for better screening of appointees, not an argument for having someone like Obama in the White House forever to keep making appointees like Breyer and Ginsburg until the rulings are always 9-0 in favor of treating the Constitution like toilet paper.

  • Don, I concede that a the GOP nominees are, on the whole, better than Democrat nominated judges. That’s not debateable. But, for the better part of 3 decades now, Supreme Court Justices have been trotted out as one of the, if not THE, main reasons to vote for the Republican nominee, regardless of whether that Republican nominee was one that was otherwise suitable.

    ALL I’m saying is that, yes, a Mitt Romney is likely, on the margins, to nominate better judges than Barack Obama. BUT if those judges are unlikely to do things like overrule Roe or strike down ObamaCare, then the argument holds MUCH LESS weight, and becomes not as strong an argument for voting for Mitt Romney.

    So, in the situation in which we find ourselves – a likely nominee for President that is wholly unacceptable to me, the argument that we just HAVE to vote for him because he will nominate judges who will … do what? Overturn Roe? Strike down ObamaCare? Again, it is a lot less compelling argument on behalf of the GOP nominee when the judges nominated, while better than what we might expect from the Dems, can’t be counted on when it comes to the BIG issues that are most important to me.

    Now, once again, my argument is only pertinent if there is a defection from, say, Roberts and/or Alito to uphold Obamacare; but if none of the GOP-nominated Justices (apart from the squish Kennedy) votes to uphold ObamaCare, then the issue of judges will actually strengthen Romney’s hand: “See, if we had more Justices like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, we could stop even MORE of this kind of big-government nonsense.”

  • I disagree with Paul’s assessment of the Commerce Clause. Words matter, and the words used to assign to Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce can easily be understood to be very broad in their application. Just because the Framers did not envision (or presumably favor) such broad application, does not mean they didn’t create the architecture that allowed for it (even if they didn’t mean to!). It is not ridiculous to maintain that Congress has the power to regulate the health care component of our national economy by creating a mandatory insurance system, which is not to say that I think that is the better argument — actually I don’t.

    I do favor a mandated insurance system, but only at the state level. It is necessary to prevent the free rider system we have today, where thousands of people choose to go without insurance knowing that the government (i.e, the taxpayers) will pay for their necessary care. That said, such a mandated system should cover only truly necessary care that is sufficiently expensive to warrant risk sharing (i.e., insurance). Optional care and routine care that is not so expensive that it cannot be budgeted should not be covered by mandated insurance.

    Insurance has its place in health care, but its current role is not rational. It is a by-product of a tax system that encourages employers to compete for employees by providing unnecessarily rich coverage, which leads to serious inefficiencies. The user is two steps (employer and provider) removed from the payor. Accordingly, most people use health care services more aggressively because they do not bear the lion’s share of the cost of such services in any perceptible way. If we removed the tax favored status of health insurance, it would de-couple from employment thereby allowing a more robust and mature market to develop for individuals (just like property, casualty, and life insurance); families would then purchase insurance that rationally meets their needs, which in most cases would be affordable high deductible policies that cover any necessary catastrophic care.

    A federal (not state) insurance mandate may well be unconstitional, but it is not necessarily bad policy if (i) designed to prevent free riders and (i) limited in coverage appropriate to insurance. Obamacare is not remotely so limited. It goes in exactly the wrong direction by expanding the role of insurance rather than tailoring that role to its purpose.

The Ballad of Jennifer Rubin

Tuesday, March 20, AD 2012

Jennifer Rubin sent a strong message today.  She wants Mitt Romney to know that she’s got his back every bit as much as Ann Coulter.

Rubin makes a lot of hay over the fact that Rick Santorum never visited Afghanistan, and has not said that he would go to Afghanistan were he the nominee, a promise that Mitt Romney made a few days ago.  Santorum made a pretty compelling case as to why:

And I’m not too sure making the trip Afghanistan is necessarily anything other than what it looks like: a show. And what I’m looking at is trying to, you know, make sure that we successfully win this nomination

Sounds right to me.  There is nothing to be gained for anyone by the candidates flying to Afghanistan for some pr stunt.  But that’s not how Rubin sees it.

Continue reading...

8 Responses to The Ballad of Jennifer Rubin

  • Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s tame conservative, is precisely the ideal conservative for the Post. She spends most of her time attacking real conservatives like Santorum on behalf of fake conservative Romney, and her columns are often vacuous and fact allergic. The powers that be at the Washington Post got a real bargain when they hired her: a token conservative who attacks conservatives!

  • She certainly fills the David Brooks role at the Post rather nicely – albeit with about 1/4 of Brooks’ wit.

  • Who is this Jessica Rubin of whom you speak?

    Is this Washington Post something to which to tie your horse and buggie?

  • a token conservative who attacks conservatives!

    You’ve confounded her with Kathleen Parker.

    I believe her principal employment is with Commentary, who are a fairly trenchant crew. I think the problem here is not the striking of poses but an excess of intramural factionalism and the stupidities you find in commentary about the day’s political ephemera (which is why one should not comment much about what one reads in the newspapers).

  • Nah Art, I am very clear on who she is, and she isn’t a conservative:

    “As for his comments on prosecuting abortion doctors, this would, I assume, concern the death penalty in states that impose capital punishment for murder. After all, it would be contrary to his views (that unborn children are people under the Constitution) to decide for criminal law purposes that an unborn child is any less a person, and deserving of less protection, than any other person.

    Moreover, if Santorum is going to prosecute doctors for murder there is no logical reason to exempt women from prosecution for conspiracy to murder, right? If she conspired with a doctor to kill a live child, she would not be spared (“otherwise if there’s a law when there’s not an enforcement of the law”). So what exactly is the rationale — that it would be too outrageous to articulate this legal predicament? Well, that’s where his reasoning leads us.”

  • She is part of the Commentary crew. For the most part, they are concerned with questions of foreign affairs, aspects of the eduction system, and the doings of the media. Some of the folks from that stable are very uncongenial to social conservatives, and some are not.

    Of course, she is not discussing issues abstracted from political competition. Which is to say she expects the red-headed step-children to vote for her boy in November while submitting to serial displays of disrespect from her (among others). You’re right. Flip her the bird.

  • “if Santorum is going to prosecute doctors for murder there is no logical reason to exempt women from prosecution for conspiracy to murder, right?”

    If I’m not mistaken that WAS the common practice when abortion was illegal prior to Roe — it was the doctor, not the woman, who was prosecuted, and who was subject to losing his license to practice medicine. The woman was seen more or less as a second victim of the crime and the doctor as someone willing to exploit her desperation for his own gain.

    But, it’s also my understanding — and someone with more knowledge can correct me if I’m wrong — that abortionists in the pre-Roe era were NOT prosecuted for murder. An illegal abortionist might be prosecuted for manslaughter or negligent homicide or something similar if the WOMAN died as a result of a botched procedure, but performing an illegal abortion was a stand-alone crime in a class by itself. It was not legally a form of murder or homicide.

  • Pingback: The Value of Well-Paid Advisers | The American Catholic

Shenanigans in Michigan

Friday, March 2, AD 2012

Despite losing by three percentage points in Michigan on Tuesday night, Rick Santorum could claim a small moral victory.  Because Michigan awards its delegates proportionally, Santorum and Mitt Romney walked away with 15 delegates each.

Or so we all thought.

Well lo and behold the Michigan Republican establishment got together and made sure that didn’t happen.

On a 4-2 vote, the Michigan GOP’s credentials committee met Wednesday night and awarded both of the state’s at-large voting delegates to the party’s national convention to Romney — who won the popular vote 41%-38% over his chief rival, Rick Santorum.

Based on earlier explanations to reporters and the campaigns that the party’s rules said the at-large delegates would be awarded proportionally, it had been expected that each candidate would get one at-large delegate.

. . .

Saul Anuzis, one of six members of the credentials committee, said the credentials committee voted in early February to award both at-large delegates to the winner of the popular vote.

Republican Party spokesman Matt Frendewey said he didn’t do a good job explaining the rules to reporters.

“I just didn’t explain it clearly enough,” he said.

You see it was all just a big misunderstanding.  They always meant to award both at-large delegates to the winner of the popular vote.  Nothing to see here.  The native son won after all.  Have fun in Ohio.

Unfortunately for Anuzis (who at one point came close to heading the RNC), not all Romney supporters are this dishonest.

Not to former Attorney General Mike Cox, a member of the committee, who said the vote doesn’t pass the smell test.

“I have this crazy idea that you follow the rules,” Cox said. “I’d love to give the at-large delegates to Mitt Romney, but our rules provide for strict apportionment.”

Cox supported Romney and even acted as a surrogate for the candidate on several occasions during the last three weeks. He was one of two “no” votes Wednesday night — along with attorney Eric Doster. Voting for the distribution of delegates to Romney were party Chairman Bobby Schostak, Anuzis, party Co-chairwoman Sharon Wise and party official Bill Runco.

Cox figures the issue will become moot when Romney does well on Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primaries and caucuses next week.

“But this niff-nawing over one delegate doesn’t help him,” Cox said.

He acknowledges that there was discussion of giving the popular-vote winner both at-large delegates, but that it didn’t get written into the rules.

Obviously Mr. Cox’s ears must have had a typo during that discussion.

So we have further proof that Mitt Romney is such an incredibly awesome hurricane of a candidate that party insiders have to change the rules post facto in order to give him a victory in his native state.

One would like to think that by now Romney and company have done enough to repel any Republican voter from even considering voting for Romney.  HA!  Romney now commands a 16-point lead according to Rasmussen, and has all but erased Rick Santorum’s lead in Ohio, and now leads in Washington state.

I don’t know what to say.  In light of the events that transpired yesterday I made a vow that I was no longer going to hector those whom I normally agree with about this election.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to try and do everything in my power to help Santorum get the nomination, but I’m done banging my head against the wall.  It is what it is.


Continue reading...

28 Responses to Shenanigans in Michigan

  • “I don’t know what to say.” How about: “Let’s begin to put our differences aside and realize that, unless we unite soon, President Obama will be re-elected in November.” He will then be unfettered by the need to run for election again, with its attendant consequences for his second term.

    Paul, you are right, “It is what it is,” and this November, unless we unite soon, it will be what WE allow it to become.

  • Tom, I’m sorry but I’m not going to be bullied into supporting someone as loathsome as Mitt Romney. I won’t spend my days and nights blogging about how awful he is, but “he’s not Obama” is not enough. I recognize that is a minority position, likely unpopular, and if you want to vote for whoever the GOP candidate is, that is your prerogative. Count me out.

  • Ah, pettiness and stupidity, the hallmarks of the Romney campaign. The pettiness is obvious in cheating to get a measly delegate. The stupidity comes into play in creating a great deal of ill will over one delegate. If Romney is the nominee I will vote against Obama, and the most effective way I can do that is by voting for the Republican nominee. However, Romney and his acolytes are working overtime trying to dissuade me from my resolution.

  • I certainly did not, and do not, wish to “bully” anyone. I think that I was stating what, by now, must be obvious.

    What each of us chooses to do this November is, ultimately, our choice, the consequences of which we must be fully aware. A second Obama term will be unfettered from the restraints of having to run for re-election. If you dislike what has occurred during his first term – to quote Bachman-Turner Overdrive – “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

  • Bully was a strong choice of words, so I apologize for that. And I completely agree that a second Obama administration must be avoided. I’d like to avoid nominating the guy who will make it easier for Obama to achieve that mission.

  • No need to apologize Paul, I admire and respect your passion. Let’s all of us – Republicans, libertarians, and conservatives – commit from this day forward, while respecting our differences, to ultimately put them aside and work together to defeat President Obama this November.

  • Even the events of yesterday couldn’t compel me to vote for that fraud Romney. And, unlike Paul, I WILL use my blog to rail against him and encourage others to vote for someone like Virgil Goode (potential Constitution Party candidate).

    Romney’s answer to the question about the Blunt Amendment that was posed to him the other day should be all the proof we need that he will sell our interests down the river at the first sign of media and Democrat confrontation. Oh sure, his campaign came back later and said he “misunderstood” the question, but I’m not buying it. Listen to him speak. When is it that he sounds most ill at ease? When he’s trying to sound conservative and mouth pro-life platitudes. When does he sound like he’s most in his own skin? When he’s trying to get to the left of his opponents, such as when he attacked Perry over Social Security and in his answer to the Blunt Amendment question when he resorted to the “bedroom police” rhetoric of the left in attacking Santorum over contraception.

    Call it whatever you like. “Bully” might be too strong a word, but no one will ever convince me to vote for Mitt Romney, and I don’t care what kind of Obama parade of horribles is marched in front of me to try to sway me.

    (And let me just say that Ohio Right to Life, who sent me a pro-Romney email today, can forget about ever receiving any support from me.)

  • Jay, I hope that former Representative Goode (R) of Virginia decides, as a loyal Republican, to support the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Every Republican, libertarian, and conservative who does not vote for the Republican nominee in 2012 will help to re-elect President Obama to a second term, a second term in which he will be unfettered by the constraints of having to run for re-election again.

    Let me just give you one enticement to vote for the Republican nominee: the very likely replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the next presidential term. If Justice Ginsburg were replaced with a Republican appointee to her fill her seat, that would tip the balance decisively to five constitutionally-oriented votes, six if you count Justice Kennedy. Isn’t that what a supporter of the Constitution Party would wish for?

    Jay, when comparing Obama with Romney, or whoever is the ultimate Republican nominee, please do not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. And yes, while I am not an ardent supporter of Romney, he is a “good” when compared to President Obama. Federal judicial appointments alone should make this clear.

  • Michigan did award its delegates proportionately. The wrinkle is that because Michigan held its primary early, it may be penalized at the convention and some of the awarded delegates may not get to vote. The rule they adopted on how to allot the voting at large delegates is a bit confusing, but it does suggest that the winner of the popular vote would get both of the voting at-large delegates.

  • It’s really not worth fighting over a single delegate unless it ends up coming down to one later on in the race (which I don’t expect to happen). I still see the whole thing as a victory for Santorum anyway. Romney had to spend 5 times as much cash just to win by only 3%. It’s the same pattern in every state he has won, when he massively outspends his opposition he wins. When he doesn’t, he loses.

    The Romney supporters don’t seem to be asking themselves WHY that is. Most of those who don’t support Romney however know the answer. It’s because he can’t win on character, facts, or his record. The only way he can win is to try and denigrate his opponents.

    Honestly I really wish Gingrich would back out and support Santorum. Newt has no chance at winning, but if he backed out most of his supporters would rather easily slide over to Santorum. The reverse isn’t necessarily true, AND Santorum already has a bigger lead in delegates won at this point as well.

  • Seriously, Tom, save your energy. My mind will not be changed re: Mitt Romney. And Congressman Goode has already announced his candidacy for the Constitution Party. As far as his being a “loyal Republican”, Goode is as independent a politician as they come. He was a conservative Democrat for most of his career, then an independent, then a Republican, and now a member of the Constitution Party. Like me, I don’t believe he will fall for the “But you HAVE to vote for Romney” routine.

  • It takes no energy, Jay, to state the obvious; every Republican, libertarian, or conservative who does not vote for the Republican nominee for President, no matter who that nominee is, will help to re-elect Barack Obama to a second term, a second term in which President Obama will no longer be constrained by the need to run for re-election again.

    I am NOT an ardent supporter of Mitt Romney, but I prefer him to President Obama. Whether we like it or not, a third-party candidate will not be the next President of the United States. Either Barack Obama, or the Republican nominee, will be the next President of the United States.

    The choice regarding who, for example, will nominate the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she retires from the Supreme Court of the United States, is yours.

  • Please. Mitt Romney can’t be trusted to go to the mat for a constitutionalist replacement for Ginsburg. Mitt Romney can’t be trusted, period.

    Vote for him if you’d like, but I won’t. If the Republican party is intent on nominating people who are blatant frauds and who don’t share my values and my beliefs, then they have made the decision they can do without my vote. If Obama is re-elected as a consequence, that is the fault of those who nominated him and the fault of their nominee, not mine.

  • Jay,

    Robert Bork has endorsed Romney. Do you think Bork would do that if he thought Romney would nominate non-constitutionalists to the Supreme Court?

  • Jay, I respectfully ask you, and those who agree with you, to carefully reconsider and do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Whether we like it or not, we have a binary choice for President in November. In Florida, in 2000, a swing of 300 votes would have elected Al Gore. Please do not let something similar happen in Ohio, or other battleground states, in 2012.

    A second Obama term will be unfettered from the need to run for re-election. Those issues that, for political reasons in his first term, President Obama has hesitated to openly advocate, and to establish public policy toward, will not be so constrained in a second term. Advocacy and public policy actions in favor of same-sex marriage is only one probable example of an Obama second term.

    Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito – Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Which of these pairs of recent Supreme Court appointments is most closely aligned with your judicial philosophy? Who do you trust more to make constitutionalist appointments to the Supreme Court, Obama or, if he is the nominee, Romney?

  • Tom, I’m with Jay on this: I am not changing my mind. We’re not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, because frankly Romney doesn’t qualify as good. He’s a nasty, dirty campaigner with no scruples, and he’s a complete shape-shifter who changes his message when it suits his needs.

    I’ve head the arguments you’ve made before – I’ve made these arguments before. Enough.

  • Enjoy Obama’s second term . . . I am now moving on. I’m done.

  • Tom has it right.

    The choice is Liberty or Obama.

    If you think the GOP is likely to take the Senate nor maintain its House majority if Obama gets four more years to finish us off . . . Independents/swing voters go straight ticket.

    There will be a second Obama turn and it will be the end of America as we know it.

    Alinsky, Ayers, and Axelrod are having 24/7 orgasms.

  • Paul,

    If I may ask, who did you support in the 2008 primary?

  • We’re not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, because frankly Romney doesn’t qualify as good. He’s a nasty, dirty campaigner with no scruples, and he’s a complete shape-shifter who changes his message when it suits his needs.

    Just to point out that the list of Republican candidates who have in recent decades performed adequately enough to earn some delegates in constituencies they had not before represented or earned more than a scatter of popular votes is limited to Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, George Bush the Elder, John Anderson, Robert Dole, ‘Pat’ Robertson, Patrick J. Buchanan, ‘Steve’ Forbes, George Bush the Younger, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Mitt Romney, ‘Mike’ Huckabee, ‘Ron’ Paul, Dr. Gingrich, and Mr. Santorum. You are not going to get the good; you might just get the marginally satisfactory.

  • By nominating Romney, the GOP’s platform will consist of two words: Mitt Romney.

    It won’t be a campaign on any of the following: Healthcare (Romney’s 2009 recommendation of the individual mandate to the President being the latest Weathervane spin his fans refuse to acknowledge), energy production (he enthusiastically signed cap and trade), or religious liberty (he forced Catholic hospitals to supply abortifacients as Governor).

    He’s going to run as a gentlemanly businessman shaking his head at how out of depth poor Mr. Obama is. Cantor’s Romney endorsement today shows the template.

    “What I have seen is a very hard-fought primary. And we have seen now that the central issue about the campaign now is the economy,” Cantor said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    “I just think there’s one candidate in the race who can do that, and it’s Mitt Romney.”

    Cantor said Romney was “the only candidate in the race who’s put forward a bold, pro-growth, pro-jobs plan for the future.”

    And in a tidy 59 points, no less. Sounds like it’s good for an equally tidy 200 electoral votes.

    The Supreme Court Justices argument would be a lot more convincing if (1) John Sununu wasn’t in the inner circle, and (2) Romney hadn’t punted on appointed judges to an “independent commission.” Bork will have slightly more influence over Supreme Court nominees than that other renowned Romney legal advisor, Douglas Kmiec.

    He’s a trimmer whose first instincts when faced with controversy are to tack to the left. By nominating him, the Republicans reveal themselves to be almost as graspingly desperate and unprincipled as he is. You can deck it with parsley and artfully-arranged radish rosettes all you like, but at the end of the day, it’s still a Mitt Sandwich.

  • who did you support in the 2008 primary?

    Fred Thompson, then Duncan Hunter.

    Then, with both out, and my only remaining choices being Paul, McCain, Huckabee, and Romney, I put aside my misgivings and went with Romney (although I wound up voting for McCain by the time all was said and done because it was down to just he and Huckabee). I still would take Romney over Paul and Huckabee, that’s how much I don’t care for the latter two. In retrospect I was judging McCain on his rhetoric and not his record, and doing the reverse for Romney. I didn’t particularly care for any of the choices before me, but Romney seemed like the least worst at the time.

    Things have changed drastically in the intervening four years. This field of candidates is far, far more conservative. The likelihood of a Republican winning is better (considering the circumstances). Also, I’ll be honest: I hadn’t researched Romney with the depth I should have. This year I am very familiar with all of the remaining candidates. I also think context matters. If the Republican party, given the option of going with someone with a conservative (if admittedly imperfect) record instead chooses the “safety” of someone like Mr. Romney, it has essentially sent a message that individuals who hold my beliefs are unacceptable for higher office. Exactly how much longer am I supposed to blindly follow a party like that?

    Now excuse me while I bow out of the conversation, at least for the day. I have a smoker to put together, and considering my handyman “skills,” that will take me right up to my self-imposed internet curfew of 6 p.m.

  • Oh one more point before I go: ditto Dale Price.

  • it has essentially sent a message that individuals who hold my beliefs are unacceptable for higher office.

    I will dispute that. I think the message that has been sent is as follows: primary voters are generally low information voters. The rise and fall of Gov. Perry and Mr. Cain in particular are indicative of fickle and superficial thinking.

  • And I deemed Mitt Romney to be unacceptable the first time I ever laid eyes on him and heard his smarmy efforts to get to Ted Kennedy’s left in 1994. He’s done absolutely nothing in the intervening years to change my initial impression of him.

  • Two comments.

    First, I can understand preferring another candidate to Romney in the primary. What I can’t understand is how someone could prefer Romney to McCain and Huckabee *and* say they won’t vote for Romney against Obama in the general election.

    Second, having litigated constitutional issues in the federal courts for five years, my assessment is that judges appointed by Republican presidents (even moderates like Bush 41) are as a group far superior to judges appointed by Democratic presidents.

  • fickle and superficial thinking.

    Can’t say I completely disagree with that, though my own (persistent) support for Perry was (I hope) neither superficial and certainly not fickle.

    For the record, my 6 p.m. estimate turned out to be severely conservative.

Assessing Potential Supreme Court Vacancies

Tuesday, February 28, AD 2012

Supreme Court appointments have been a relatively muted issue during the campaign.  It might be worth taking a look at the Court and in order to see where we might be headed over the course of the next presidential term.  I will be listing Justices in order from least to most likely to retire over the next four years.  Letter in parentheses indicates party of the president under which they were appointed.

John Roberts (R), Samuel Alito (R), Sonia Sotomayor (D), Elana Kagan (D):  All recent appointments, and all relatively young.  None of these guys are going anywhere anytime soon barring a catastrophic health crisis.

Clarence Thomas (R): Even though he recently started his third decade on the Court, Thomas is still fairly young, as he won’t turn 70 until 2018.  He is the Justice most committed to completely overturning decades of bad precedents, and I have a hunch he’d like to be on the Court to help shape those future rulings.  There is a tiny sliver of a chance he could retire if a Republican wins the presidency, but it would be a fairly big surprise.

Antonin Scalia (R), Stephen Breyer (D): Scalia and Breyer are fairly close in age.  Scalia turns 80 at the end of the next presidential term, and Breyer is two years his junior.  Scalia would also be completing his 30th year on the Court in 2016.  Both are still vigorous and active.  Neither will retire if a member of the opposite party wins the forthcoming election, and I would put the odds of retirement at just under 50/50 if someone from their party wins.  I would imagine Scalia would share some of Thomas’s desire to be able to shape opinions, so he might hang on through the next term.

Anthony Kennedy (R):  The Court’s swing vote, he is just a few months younger than Scalia and has served just one less year on the Court.  His retirement would be the game changer, and whoever gets to pick his replacement could be altering the course of the Court for the next thirty years.  It doesn’t matter which party controls the White House, the confirmation fight over his replacement will be a bloodbath, and I would fully expect a filibuster effort.

Will he retire, and will he peg his retirement to whoever is in the White House?  He’s a moderate, but he was appointed by a Republican.  Ultimately Kennedy will probably decide upon his retirement in the same manner as he decides most of his votes: by flipping a coin.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (D): The only one of the eight clear ideoloigical justices who could retire during an administration of the opposite party.  She is the oldest member of the Court, and she has had some health problems in recent years.  I personally have seen her up close a couple of times, and she looked incredibly frail – and this was several years ago.  But she is still fairly vigorous, even travelling to Egpyt in order to tell the Egyptians how rotten our Constitution is.  She has evidently indicated a willingness to retire at 82, the same age as Louis Brandeis.  That would occur in 2015.

If Barack Obama wins re-election, I would put the odds at just about 100 percent that she will retire over the next four years.  Even if  a Republican wins the White House, health issues might force her hand.  If that happens, the confirmation battle will be just as intense, if not more so, than for whoever would replace Kennedy.

Ultimately the question we have to ask is which of the candidates is likely to go to the mats when it comes to a Supreme Court nomination battle?

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Assessing Potential Supreme Court Vacancies

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg was chief counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, not American nor Civil, before she became professor of Law at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She wrote in her book that fourteen year old girls ought to be given sexual freedom (without informed sexual consent at emancipation?) and the court took her lede by emancipating every pregnant child, without parental notification. The state was given access to aborting the infant child of the infant child. Ginsburg was shoed into the Supreme Court where I believe she has done nothing remarkable since her ideas and her non ideas are as severe as her hairdo. She reminds me of Chuckie Cheese on a bad day.

  • John Roberts (R), Samuel Alito (R), Sonia Sotomayor (D), Elana Kagan (D): All recent appointments, and all relatively young. None of these guys…

    Two of “these guys” aren’t even “guys”.

It Takes A Family

Monday, February 27, AD 2012

I recently completed Rick Santorum’s It Takes A Family.  I quipped on Twitter that had I read this before the campaign started then Santorum would have been my top Rick pick before that other Rick entered the race (though I still maintain that Governor Perry would have been an outstanding nominee, but no need to go there).  At times Santorum slips into politician speak – you know, those occasions when politicians feel compelled to tell stories of individual people in order to justify some larger agenda.  And some of the book is a little plodding, especially when he gets into wonkish mode (which fortunately is not all that often).  Those quibbles asides, there are large chunks of this book that could very well have been written by yours truly.  That isn’t meant to be a commentary on my own genius, but rather a way of saying I agree with just about everything this man has to say.

The book title really says it all.  The heart of Rick Santorum’s political philosophy is the family, meaning that to him strong families are the heart of any functioning society.  The family has been undermined both by big government programs and by the culture at large.  Santorum mocks the “village elders” who view more government programs as the solution to all problems.  Santorum acknowledges that many of the problems we face don’t have quick and easy fixes, and often no legislative action can be taken.  Santorum offers a series of small policy proposals that are aimed at giving parents and individuals in tough economic circumstances some tools to help, but he also emphasizes the doctrine of subsidiarity.  Ultimately we must rely principally on local institutions, starting with the family.

Santorum understands what even some on the right fail to appreciate, and that is we can’t divorce social issues from economics.  The breakdown of the family coincides directly with economic hardship.  If we want a healthier economy, we need healthier families.  It’s a central tenet of conservatism that is somehow ignored by large swathes of the political right.

His approach to politics can be summarized in a passage on page 341 of the hardback edition:

Continue reading...

10 Responses to It Takes A Family

  • What a contrast from “Dreams from My Father”. I’m voting for Rick tomorrow, May his tribe be blest.

  • By the grace and mercy of almighty God, Rick will be our next President.

  • I completely agree. If I was judging Santorum based on his books and speeches, voting for him would be trivial. The problem is his voting record does fit with what he says. Correction, doesn’t fit enough with what he says.

  • I think you make a good point here Kyle. I had a conversation last night with a Ron Paul supporter, who is a very faithful Catholic. His contentions with Rick are his support for Title X funding for Planned Parenthood (and other organizations who both provide contraception and perform abortions), his support for the Iraq War (which has been declared an unjust war by both JPII and BXVI) and his support for the use of torture. These are not pieces that mesh well with what Rick says and what he writes (and, for that matter, with the teachings of the Catholic Church). If it truly takes a family and public policies should emphasize that priority, why are we spending tax payer dollars on contraception? What assurances has he given us to prove that he will stick to his morals and principles when making public policy. He fell down on those principles when voting for Title X. George Bush talked great before his presidency, too. He didn’t deliver in dealing head on with the great social issues of our time.

  • I had a conversation last night with a Ron Paul supporter, who is a very faithful Catholic.

    Ah yes, Ron Paul supporters. I wonder what his thoughts are on the fact that Ron Paul is on record as saying that social issues should be completely off the table in this election, and that he’s basically serving no other purpose than to be Mitt Romney’s lapdog.

    his support for the Iraq War (which has been declared an unjust war by both JPII and BXVI)

    Are we really going to go down this road again where we act as though support for the Iraq war signals a break with Church teaching? Both of the popes opposed the war, it is true, but in so doing did not speak with the magisterial authority of the Church. They gave personal opinions on the matter. That is all.

    his support for the use of torture

    Only true if you consider the use of waterboarding as torture. I personally do, but it’s not an open and shut case (and NO, this is not an invitation to go down this rat hole again).

    If you’re looking for policy perfection in your candidates, you’re not going to get it. Every single politician is imperfect because all of them, contrary to the belief of some Obama voters, are human beings.

  • Thanks for the response, Paul and I’m with you on all you said. In fact, I mentioned much of this to him as well. Though I didn’t know that RP wanted all social issues off the table during the campaign.

    I guess I want to make sure that what he is saying is really what he’s going to try to give us. Funding contraception (especially giving funding to places that perform abortions) should not be allowable in his administration if he is going to try to shape this country into one that supports and promotes the family as the building block of this society.

    I believe he very well could, I just want to be reassured. His voting record doesn’t completely do that for me, but I also don’t see a better choice in the field.

  • Here’s Jay Anderson’s post talking about Ron Paul’s comments. Actually he called social issues a loser, but the sentiment is the same.

    I understand your concerns. One of the things to keep in mind is that these issues are more visible than they were during the time that Santorum was a Senator. President Santorum in 2013 would likely treat these funding considerations differently than Senator Santorum in 2003.

  • Just promising us one thing TAC, that whoever wins the nomination, if it is other than Santorum, that the end of the Obama regime is favored over internecine sniping.

  • Well, I can’t speak for my other bloggers, though I suspect most will work to defeat Obama. Personally, I have no intention of supporting Romney, but I will likely simply remain mute on the election.


The Goldilocks Conservative

Friday, February 17, AD 2012

Rick Santorum has come under fire from right-wing critics for being not conservative enough on fiscal and economic issues, while simultaneously being too conservative on social issues.  In my mind, he’s just right.

On the matter of fiscal policy Santorum has been portrayed as some kind of big government statist.  As a Senator he did cast votes for raising the debt ceiling, for Medicare Part 2, No Child Left Behind, and other big spending programs.  He’s admitted erring on a couple of these votes.  Overall, though, Santorum’s record as judged by free market policy institutes is fairly solid.  The Weekly Standard ran a piece on the National Taxpayer Union’s grading of Santorum, and he compares very favorably to most of his colleagues.  

Continue reading...

35 Responses to The Goldilocks Conservative

  • “Of course the Democratic spin machine will demagogue Santorum to death,”

    They will attempt to, but I am beginning to doubt that will be effective. Some politicians grow in stature after a time in the political wilderness after a defeat, and I think that is what happened to Santorum after his defeat in 2006. He has thought hard about the issues, has well-articulated positions and is unafraid to speak his mind and defend what he believes. As he said recently, voters may not agree with all that he believes, but they will never doubt that he believes what he says he believes. If I were an Obama political flack, I would much prefer to go up against Romney. A politician of conviction can be hard to beat, once people begin to listen to him and begin to realize that he is truly seeking the common good, even if they do not completely agree with him.

  • Wow, never heard the term populist described the way you describe it. But according to that definition I am definitly a populist. I guess that describes why I never felt comfortable with the the socially liberal, economic conservatism the republican party seems to be heading.

    Santorum is now my guy, I was a naysayer but he won over. Originally being from Pa I know how much he is disliked by “independents” in Pa. I still have some serious doubts about the general election and his ability to get the independent vote. But he has shown he will fight for it, and he won’t shy away from the great moral issues of our time. He has my vote.

  • They need to demagogue-to-death any GOP nominee.

    Until there is nothing left for them to steal, they must distract us from the fact that the entire population is going to the poor house.

    I’m an independent (small i).

    The only potential candidates for whom I will not vote are the useless POSes currently destroying our country and our way of life, i.e., the ones with (D) behind their names.

  • Of course, for me, Santorum’s position on social issues is a huge plus. My concerns with him are in the foreign policy area. No question that he is better than Obama, but is he good enough to pull the lever for standing on his own merit? That is my current dilemma, and will keep an open mind.

  • Thank you, Mr. Zummo! It’s refreshing to see a look at Santorum that’s not attempting to paint him as crazy or creepy.

  • “personal moral judgments are not those that are going to be reflected in public law, nor should they all the time. Not everything that is immoral in this country should be illegal or should be within the governance of the federal or state government, or any government.

    Santorum must be brushing up on St. Thomas Aquinas. Here is a quote from the Summa about “whether it belongs to human law to repress all vices”:

    “… law is framed as a rule or measure of human acts … laws imposed on men should also be in keeping with their condition … law should be “possible both according to nature, and according to the customs of the country.

    Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained…”

    Santorum is showing some pretty good theological grounds for his position.

  • Nicholas, not only are his points on good theological grounds, but also on simple logical grounds, which I think speaks to more people ultimately. He seems to know the boundaries of the office and he seems to be articulating them well. While I don’t like the fact that he has and will vote to fund contraception from a Federal level, as I don’t believe that anybody truly needs free contraception, and I would hope that he would make a push to make sure that no Title X funding goes to abortion providers, his reasoning is sound and I think will resonate with a great number of voters. Let’s just hope he is successful in communicating his position. That is, let’s hope the media allows him the platform to accurately communicate his position.

  • That is, let’s hope the media allows him the platform to accurately communicate his position.

    And I’ll hope my cats start pooping Gold Double Eagles.

    We have about an equal chance of seeing our hopes fulfilled.

  • Reagan received some of the worst press imaginable in 1980. He spoke over the heads of the media to the American people. Santorum will have to do the same. The difference is that Santorum will have a host of new media available to help him get his message out. Santorum of course is no Reagan, but in 1980 the popular perception of Reagan outside of conservative true believers like me, was that Reagan was a senile, washed up Grade B actor, with crazy right wing views, way out of the mainstream. This perception continued until Reagan devastated Carter in their one and only debate a few days before the election. Reagan was vastly misjudged and underestimated and the same is true this year of Santorum. If played properly, such a misperception can give a candidate an advantage as people begin to realize that what the media has told them about the candidate simply is not true. Santorum would do well to remember Reagan’s ending in that debate:

  • I think there is a mistake in thinking that Gingrich is for a ‘mandate’ like Romney and Obama. First, everything government does is a mandate, so it is a stupid thing to take offense to, unless you are an anarchist. Newt is in favor of ensuring that those that can qualify for and afford medical insurance get some; rather than wait until they need it and go to the ER and stick the rest of us with the bill. They will either raise prices at the hospital or raise taxes through government programs. Libertarians will disagree, but they are wrong. What we need is the availability of inexpensive critical illness and/or hospital insurance, which the market (without government mandates of coverage) will provide at low rates. Young healthy people can pay cash at the physicians office, its the hospital that costs so much. They need to cover this so the rest of us don’t have to.

    Additionally, the whole sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi is a canard, please drop it. There are much better things to disagree with Newt about. WTO, GATT, China’s MFN status, etc.

    I’ve also heard Rick back-peddle away from strong family and anti-contraceptive stances. He has said he stresses the family ONLY because it is good economically. I don’t think he actually thinks that, perhaps it is political pandering, but he did say it. He has also said that contraceptives are fine and that it is a personal choice not to use them. That sounds pretty libertarian and again, I don’t think he believes that.

    He is also a little thin-skinned and gets a little pissy when challenged. Facing Obama that will not be good (ironic because Obama is even more thin-skinned.) I know this from personal experience. I challenged him on the fact that he and his fellow Republicans were far from conservative in the compassionate Bush years. I like Rick and I think he is good and faithful man; however, his flaws (like the rest of us) are a problem – the rest of us aren’t running for president though.

    Newt is also a faithful Catholic and as a re-vert/convert myself, I can tell you we tend to be very, very passionate because we came to the Church later in life. That is not to say that those blessed to be raised in the faith are not passionate – so don’t get your panties in a bunch.

    Newt has the skills and the stature to get things done. Conservative things. Things to repair the damage. You are going to have a president who has to work with a not-so-conservative Republican establishment in the House and (probably) a Democratic Senate. Newt can do that, I am not so sure Rick can. Furthermore, Newt can attract libertarians where Santorum probably cannot because of Newt’s developing stance against the Fed and his gold commission. If this is about delegates, and I suspect it will be, Newt can gain Paul’s.

    Nevertheless, I think Rick can be a good president, certainly better than the other three options (worst to least bad: Obama, Romney, Paul.) But, given where we are, Newt is still a better option and he is smart enough to come back again.

  • Obumbler and his minions have nothing to run on except to attack the opposing candidate. They have nothing, NOTHING to run on regarding Obumbler’s record. Obumbler is an extremist left wing hack and is surrounded by the same. if empty headed “independents” are put off by some of Santorum’s social views, which have no chance of being enacted into Federal law or as a Constitutional amendment, then they are as guilty of ruining this country as the political Left.

    I know what would be pure political gold. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a former daily communicant at St. Mary of Mercy in downtown Pittsburgh – I know this because I saw him at nearly every 7:30 AM Mass – supported Obumbler in 2008 and was rewarded by being appointed Ambassador to Ireland. I know not what Mr. Rooney thinks of Obumbler now, but Mr. Rooney would be required by protocol to submit his resignation to a President-elect Rick Santorum – who would certainly ask Mr. Rooney what he found so attractive about Obumbler.

    So many people seem to think of Santorum as a right wing social extremist and a big spender – just check Red State, who blames Santorum for Rick Perry’s demise as a candidate. Obumbler is the social extremist, not Santorum. Oh, and Rick Perry’s demise was due to Rick Perry. Perry jumped in far too late, debated terribly and allowed Michele Bachmann to beat him up over Gardasil. Erick Erickson would do well to remember that.

  • “Are you better off then you were four years ago?”A question all persons ought to answer before voting.

  • Santorum’s problems have nothing to do with policy matters on balance. As a unabashed conservative I just don’t want him selling my brand. He has courageously taken up the fight but there’s nothing in him which inspires confidence.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Paul.

    Clarification, please:

    You say there are conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and populists?

    And you define and distinguish between them…how, exactly?

    I ask because your definition of “populists” seems to match neither the strict definition of the name nor the behavior of any group distinct from “social conservatives.”

    And then you call them the flip-side of libertarians, saying that “they are socially conservative but economically more liberal.” This presumably means that libertarians are socially liberal but economically more conservative.

    But that’s rather confused, if that’s how you describe libertarians.

    Pro-life libertarians, who’re about 35% of the whole libertarian lot and constitute a solid majority of the libertarians in my home state of Georgia, are typically quite socially conservative if you’re talking about how their personal behavior aligns with traditional morality. The only way in which you can call them “socially liberal” is that, except for abortion, they do not believe in using the coercive power of the state to make everyone obey their traditional mores. (Abortion is the exception, of course, because it involves an assault on an individual’s rights, which, libertarians believe, is exactly what state compulsion is intended to prevent.)

    But is that really “socially liberal?” I don’t see how it can be, because “socially liberal” is also used to describe the statists behind the HHS mandate…and they are using compulsion to make everyone behave as they think they should by forcing everyone to pay for contraceptives. A libertarian would never do that. So how can they both be described as “socially liberal?”

    The fact that libertarians don’t use compulsion in most matters related to sexual mores does not in mean they’re “socially liberal.” Rick Santorum says he doesn’t want to outlaw condoms and wouldn’t lock up homosexuals for homosexual acts; does that make him a libertarian? Does it make him a social liberal?

    I think that if you’re going to break down the American electorate, the only sensible way is to ask them, of any given question affecting human behavior,

    (a.) How ought people to behave in this area of life?

    (b.) Are you willing to exert state compulsion to make them behave that way? Or only try to persuade them to adopt your view voluntarily?

    The “how ought people to behave” answer can either be in accord with Catholic teaching or not.

    The “compulsion” answer will be (at the extremes) either totalitarian or libertarian.

    So a Catholic monarch of the Middle Ages or Byzantine Emperor would presumably have been fairly totalitarian in imposing a Christian moral code, but it would have been a Christian moral code.

    Mao imposed a non-Christian code, but was totalitarian in doing so.

    A Christian libertarian holds a Christian code of behavior, including marital one-man-one-woman fidelity and almsgiving to the needy. He tries to persuade his neighbors to do likewise. But he doesn’t compel them.

    A non-Christian hedonist libertarian holds a non-Christian code of behavior, including smoking pot and spending his money only on himself. He probably doesn’t give a frog’s fat fanny what his neighbors do. But he doesn’t compel them to do as he does.

    A left-liberal progressive holds a Christian view on almsgiving, but an anti-Christian view on sexual matters, and he’s also a statist: He believes in compelling almsgiving via the welfare state, and he believes in compelling contraceptive-buying through the HHS. He is, in a word, an authoritarian on his way to becoming totalitarian.

    I imagine there are also folks who are totalitarian about sex but not economics, and hold Christian views about sex. These folks would outlaw condoms but desire a free-market. There may be such folks, but none of them are running for office.

    Likewise there may be folks who are totalitarian about sex but not economics, and hold anti-Christian views about sex. These folks support the HHS rule changes but are free marketers. I don’t see many of those, either.

    My point in all this is: Libertarianism is NOT defined by a particular view either of sexual morality or economic morality. Those are add-on modules which you must supply yourself. Libertarianism does not claim to have a complete moral compass built in.

    All that Libertarianism says is this: It is immoral for you (or government on your behalf) to use force to compel your neighbor to behave as you wish, unless the compulsion is being used to deter, halt, or punish a violation of the rights of an innocent person (which is to say: a wrongful imposition of force or fraud on that innocent person).

    Libertarianism, then, is (and only claims to be) about a tenth of a philosophy. It supplies the answer to one particular question: When may I pull a gun on my neighbor to make him behave as I wish? If you answer this question as libertarians do, you’re a libertarian. How you answer all the other moral questions determines whether you’re a Catholic libertarian or some other kind.

    Narrowly, on the matter of contraception, Rick Santorum does indeed appear to be a libertarian: He doesn’t believe in using state compulsion either to force people to buy contraceptives, or to force them not to. He’s a Catholic libertarian (on that issue), so he personally opposes them buying contraceptives, but since he won’t use state compulsion to prohibit it, he’s still libertarian on that issue.

    Whether he’s libertarian on any other issue depends on when he does or does not propose force to ensure compliance with his views on that issue.

    Is Rick Santorum a libertarian on abortion? That’s the trickiest one, because libertarians are divided. Pro-life libertarians say Santorum is libertarian on abortion, because he believes in prohibiting an assault on human life, which is one of the things libertarians agree the government is supposed to do. (Libertarians are not anarchists.) They say pro-choice libertarians are hypocritical and have lapsed into anarchism on the topic of abortion.

    Paul, I realize this really wasn’t the main point of your piece, which I liked overall.

    But we Americans on the right are typically believers in limited government, which is why we so often take a libertarian stance on any given topic.

    So, we really ought not misuse the term libertarian. We ought to define it correctly. This will help us keep as many libertarians on board the anti-Obama bandwagon as possible, which is a good thing strategically. And, more importantly, it’ll mean we’re accurate and truthful in how we reason together.

  • BTW, my last note was in reply to Paul Zummo, not Paul D.

    Sorry for any confusion!

  • Zummo, this is what is going to happen to Santorum (and I apologize to Don McC who is not a sports fan):

    Imagine going to see a Red Sox vs. Yankees game (or, what is more to my preference, a Red Birds vs. Brew Crew game – I am trying not to be provincial though.) Imagine all the umpires coming out in Red Sox caps and cheering every time the Sox score a run. Imagine every single hit of the Sox being called safe, even caught fly balls. And every single hit the Yankees hit is called foul. A Yankees runner steals home 3 full seconds before the ball reaches the catcher- but it’s an out, according to the umps.

    Gee, I’m getting angry just IMAGINING such a game. Apply this to the *ha* MSM “rules” governing the behavior of GOP candidates- and you’ll appreciate what Santorum is up against.

  • R.C. : a couple of things. First off, as I said above, this four-pronged layout was admittedly simplistic. I was trying to categorize the ideological breakdown of the nation in a very broad manner.

    As for the libertarian-conservative thing, I might be putting up another post this week that clarifies the distinction. Long story short, conservatives who believe in limited government are not necessarily animated by the same principles as libertarians. Hopefully I will have time to expand on that later on.

  • As for the media backlash against Santorum, as Donald mentioned, there are new media outlets that will provide Santorum (or any GOP candidate) more favorable coverage than existed in the time of Reagan. Of course the counter to that is that there are also an abundance of left-leaning new media that will work in concert with MSM outlets.

  • True Paul, but we have the added advantage, contra the claim of the “reality based community”, that this year reality will have a distinct conservative bias. Many apolitical people I know have told me with what scorn they react to the meme in the mainstream media that “the economy is recovering”. The days when Walter Cronkite could say “Well, that’s the way it is.” and be believed by most Americans seems as far away as the First Punic War.

    In regard to leftist new media outlets, somehow the phrase Vox Nova came to mind, I am confident that conservative new media will more than hold their own.

  • Paul, good luck clarifying “the libertarian-conservative thing.” Modern usage of the terminology complicates things and the American perspective complicates things even more.

    My experience with libertarians is that many of them are deeply idiosyncratic and will defy any attempt to clarify their “ideology.” For many, it ends up being more personal preference than ideologically consistent. Conservatives understand that freedom is limited by human nature, traditionally taking their guidance from a faith-based understanding of human nature, i.e., virtues vs. sins. The Garden of Eden is the quintessential basis of this limitation. God gave us free will; but not free reign.

    Of course, within the American context, the limitation of freedom must be done within constitutional limits. Libertarians mistakenly believe that our Founders were libertarians. They were not. The Founders were conservatives, but uniquely so for their time, who believed in limiting the authority and power of government, especially at the national level, but devising a system of constitutional (written) self-government in which a virtuous people limit their own freedom within those constitutional guidelines.

    As for the Romney-Santorum thing, I am increasingly of the opinion that, given Republicans deeply self-destructive behavior of late, that neither candidate can beat Obama this fall. Santorum, if he is the nominee, and after the media is done with him, will win fewer electoral votes that McCain did in 2008. As bad as the Obama presidency has been, and by our inability to get our act together, we are handing him re-election on a silver platter.

  • “Imagine going to see a Red Sox vs. Yankees game…”

    Or worse yet, imagine going to a Cubs-Cards game at Wrigley where the Cubs have a 10 run lead going into the 6th or 7th inning and they STILL find a way to lose…. that’s what I fear the election may end up being like.

  • I know have told me with what scorn they react to the meme in the mainstream media that “the economy is recovering”.

    Whether they are scornful or not, real domestic product began to increase in June of 2009 and the private-sector labor market ceased imploding in December of 2009. Our most salient problems are prospective (given the wretched state of public finances in most occidental countries and the undercapitalization of European banks) or they are chronic conditions not much influenced by the business cycle (crony capitalism, crony philanthropy, ill-structured welfare programs, &c.).

  • Thanks American Knight for your commentary. The vitriol unleased against Newt speaks volumes…he is feared. Newt is a visionary who can accomplish the ” rebuilding of America.” All forward thinkers are marginalized in their day precisely because they are ahead of their time. Why do people laugh because he envisions America to take the leadership role in space? China and Russia want to own the moon! What kind of world will this be if China and Russia are the global authority and power? We need a forward thinking president who identifies faith in God to be central to leadership. As a recent convert to the Catholic Faith (2009), Newt (not Santorum) proclaimed “marriage is a sacrament” and he was the first to identify religious liberty as a core issue. Like Wayne, my conern with Santorum “Mr. Family Man,” is that he will vote to Federally fund contraception. This, to me, reveals his lack of authenticity. Genuine faith informs decisions- it does not leave it on the doorstep!

  • The vitriol unleased against Newt speaks volumes…he is feared.

    Who fears Newt? I’ve personally defended him from some of the more scurrilous attacks against him. He is not my current favorite pick for the nomination, but he’s certainly preferable to Romney and Paul.

    As a recent convert to the Catholic Faith (2009), Newt (not Santorum) proclaimed “marriage is a sacrament”

    Do you really want to go there? Do you suppose that the once-married, father of seven has a less concrete understanding of the sacramentality of marriage than Newt? Really?

    Like Wayne, my conern with Santorum “Mr. Family Man,” is that he will vote to Federally fund contraception.

    Again, you’re really going to go with Newt Gingrich over Rick Santorum on the issue of contraception?

    As I said, Newt is not so bad. It’s just that he’s not as conservative as Rick Santorum, not as electable as Rick Santorum, and has a much more checkered personal life.

  • Paul Z: As I said, Newt is not so bad. It’s just that he’s not as conservative as Rick Santorum, not as electable as Rick Santorum, and has a much more checkered personal life.

    Paul, it is probably safe to say that people of good will like both Newt and Rick; however, I see many people of faith overlooking some of Rick’s problems (whether real or merely rhetorical). I tended to think he is more ‘conservative’ than Newt, but I am beginning to think he is not as politically confident, which renders him less likely to stand against the Obama machine. As for ‘electability’ (whatever the heck that means), I have spoken to many liberals and liberal-leaning independents who think more fondly of Newt than any other Republican because of the success he built with Clinton, whom they love. I think that makes him more appealing and therefore more electable.

    As for the checkered past, I think that makes him more real and easier to relate to, we must also remember that God prefers to use imperfect instruments. We know that sinners who are aware of their fall are more likely to see the good and humbly accept their role. We live in cynical times and a candidate with previous falls that he has overcome can be more attractive.

    The real difference is in the potential effectiveness. Newt has a strong record here. He has the skill-set to not only articulate conservative principles in a pithy and down-to-earth manner, but he is also willing to break with Republican dogma and express his convictions. He was the first to come out in defense of religion and the Church and he applies the doctrine in a practical manner that appeals to non-Catholics. I think we can do well with either Rick or Newt, but it seems that from a practical perspective, Newt can get more done and sooner. Rick can continue to grow and may very well be the one to sustain the turn-around that Newt can bring.

    We need different men at different times. Often, the visionary who starts a new enterprise is not well suited to continue the work after start-up and rapid growth. I think this may be the same for us now. We need big, radical and effective change and Newt is more capable of that than Rick. There is no question that Newt can mop the floor with Obama and that is the most important step for without that nothing will change.

  • “Whether they are scornful or not, real domestic product began to increase in June of 2009 and the private-sector labor market ceased imploding in December of 2009. ”

    The Illinois unemployment rate is 9.8% Art. I did more bankruptcies last year than any single year in my career, and the pace is picking up. For Illinois, talk of recovery is a sick joke.

  • “There is no question that Newt can mop the floor with Obama and that is the most important step for without that nothing will change.”

    Newt can’t even mop the floor with Romney, and I say that as someone who has written several favorable posts on Newt. As always, Newt’s greatest enemy is himself, as he illustrated in this campaign.

  • As for ‘electability’ (whatever the heck that means), I have spoken to many liberals and liberal-leaning independents who think more fondly of Newt than any other Republican because of the success he built with Clinton, whom they love.

    I remember tales of liberals who said they could happily vote for John McCain. Who did they really vote for when push came to shove? Barack Obama. They will do the same this year. A great example of this was a left-leaning friend of mine who claimed all year in 2008 that she would vote for McCain over Obama. In the end she of course voted for Obama. Why? It came down to Vice Presidents. Since neither McCain or Obama would likely survive their term (McCain would die of old age and Obama would get assassinated), then she had to choose Biden over Palin.

    Never discount the mental contortions people will go to in order to justify voting behavior.

    I’m not a fan of discussing electability, but there’s no getting around the fact that Gingrich is enormously unpopular with the electorate. Santorum, on the other hand, appeals to voters in swing states like Michigan and Ohio. We can never know exactly how things will play out, but I think Santorum would have a slight advantage here.

    There’s also the matter of debates. I think Newt is horribly overrated. I’ve been saying since the beginning, before I had determined my order of preference among the candidates, that Santorum was much better substantively than Gingrich. Gingrich is all show and drama, and I’m not sure that will play in a general election debate. Besides, if presidential elections were actually decided by debates, well, our election results in recent times would have likely been different.

    Otherwise, I’m not going to argue too much about Gingrich. I think that some of his more “out there” tendencies of thought will be restrained by a Republican. I even agree that his moon colony idea is not a deal breaker. He would most likely make a fine president, and I could live with him if he got elected. But I prefer Rick, for reasons already stated.

  • I think this discussion says a great deal. It is easy to idealize a candidate before they run and then act disappointed in the options. The fact is we have two really good choices and I suspect that most of us would be happy with Rick or Newt. I give a nod to Newt, you give a nod to Rick, but none of us are that invested one way or the other and not because of lukewarmness or mediocre candidates, but because both are strong.

    I think Newt has done very well in the debates. I agree that he was derailed by Romney in Florida because I don’t think Newt was expecting Obamaesque lies out of a ‘colleague’, peer, or whatever. Do debates make a president? No. But, it certainly will play when Obama and the Rep nom go head to head. Romney loses, Paul has a minority appeal (fervent as it is), Santorum will look angry and combative – Newt will reveal Obama for the hollow fool that he is.

    As for show, well, this is a celebrity obsessed and fickle culture, so that has some play; however, Newt backs it up with substance and he has delivered in the past. Additionally, his ouster was orchestrated by Republicans who could not handle the necessary negotiation with Clinton and the RINOs who did not want to be restrained. Look what the compassionate conservatism that is Republican policy after Newt was discharged has cost – sickening.

    He does not only lay out a big picture that is conservative, American, faithful and probably populist; but he tells us HOW he is going to get it done, which I suspect is something professional campaign managers detest. The simple fact is that America is headed toward severe decline unless big changes back toward our principles happen and happen now. I am hopeful that we will come out better for it. The Roman Republic’s battles between the populares and optimates preceded a period of Republican stability long before the rise and fall of the Empire.

    I think we can agree that Romney is useless, Paul, although he has some merits, is ideologically a libertarian materialist (doomed to eventual failure) and Obama is extremely dangerous (incompetent as he is). Gingrich/Santorum works for me, and I accept Santorum/Gingrich. I suspect that is the case for most of us.

  • For Illinois, talk of recovery is a sick joke.

    Even in the most prosperous times, there are depressed areas.

  • As for the checkered past, I think that makes him more real and easier to relate to,

    I seem to recall his lieutanant William Paxon, who had been in politics his entire adult life, said he was motivated to seek a career change due to listening to Dr. Gingrich yapping about himself one evening. Mr. Paxon did not actually use the term ‘narcissist’, to be sure…

  • No question that Newt has an issue with pride (hubris) and being enamored with his own prowess. Then, again, which of us in a position of leadership with natural competence doesn’t have to struggle with that? I was most certainly a self-centered egoist until God knocked me down a few (hundred) notches. I came back to the Church of my infancy.

    Newt has grown into the Catholic Church. Rarely does one choose to become Catholic, especially later in life because it is easy or satisfies your ego. What other Church demands such a total submission? Far easier for an egoist to remain comfortably Protestant.

    It is easy to confuse confidence with pride. I see a man who has been humbled and matured. Does he still have egoist tendencies? Probably. Grace builds upon nature. Newt’s temperament has not changed; however, it seems that his character has and to what does he attribute the change? The Holy Eucharist.

  • It is overly simplistic to make the inference that the number of children one has renders a concrete understanding of the sacramentality of marriage. Santorum correctly identifies a core problem affecting America’s society today- the destruction of the family. Contraception destroys confidence in God because it says that we do not trust God to design our families. Contraception has the potential to destroy human life that is just beginning in the womb. Santorum, in supporting federally funded contraception, is sanctioning its use.
    The funding of contraception services by people of faith is the way that the HHS mandate is attacking religious liberty. It is by no coincidence that contraception services is the instrument chosen to destroy religious liberty. John Paul II wrote in his Encylical “The Gospel of Life,” “Here though we shall concentrate particular attention on another category of attacks, affecting life in its earliest and its final stages, attacks which present new characteristics with respect to the past and which raise questions of extraordinary seriousness. It is not only that in generalized opinion these attacks tend no longer to be considered as ‘crimes’; paradoxically they assume the nature of ‘rights’, to the point that the State is called upon to give them legal recognition and to make them available through the free services of health-care personnel. Such attacks strike human life at the time of its greatest frailty, when it lacks any means of self-defence. Even more serious is the fact that, most often, those attacks are carried out in the very heart of and with the complicity of the family-the family which by its nature is called to be the ‘sanctuary of life’.”
    This is the very crossroads we find ourselves in today with this current HHS mandate… the legislation of reproductive rights. Most all other Christian faiths have embraced the contraception mentality. The rejection of “Humane Vitae” by prelates in the American Church is the issue that is rearing its ugly head. It is not an issue to relegate to the back. In my opinion, it needs to be front and center for the survival of this country. Finally, we export the contraception mentality to poor nations by attaching contraception services as a requirement for them to receive essential assistance such as food and medicine.

  • God knows, you can’t please everyone. Go, Rick!

    I am with him on defending the family. But for you, Paul Z, I’ll let it ride.

    God bless.

  • I dunno.

    It seems an Iowa poll has Obama beating Newt Gingrich 51 to 37. However, pharaoh loses to the others, including Ron Paul.

    I’m shocked.

    Where is the corn belt gratitude for keeping ethanol in 10% of all US gasoline and running up the prices of farmland into the stratosphere?

Looks Like A Two-Man Race to Me

Tuesday, February 7, AD 2012

Rick Santorum has won two of the three election contests tonight, and as of the time I write this is dead even with Mitt Romney in a state that had been all but conceded to Romney before this weekend.  Santorum has now won three of the eight primaries/caucuses that have been held thus far, and possibly four.  That puts him about even with Romney, and comfortably ahead of Gingrich and Paul in states won.

Admittedly he will be behind Romney in the delegate count, especially considering that no delegates were up for grabs in Missouri.  But 200,000 people went to the polls in Missouri, and a majority of them voted for Santorum (and again, I’ll admit that Gingrich was not on the ballot there).  He drubbed Romney in Minnesota as well.

This primary season has been a wild one, and who knows what will happen in the coming weeks.  The Romney sleaze machine* is already out in full force hitting Santorum.  Santorum is radically underfunded compared to Romney and even Newt, although that makes his victories thus far that much more impressive.  Right now it is looking like a two-man race, but it’s not between Newt and Romney but rather Romney and Santorum.

*: I wrote a post a few weeks back in which I said that Newt was and perhaps still is a jerk.  For the record, Mitt is kind of a jerk, and over two election cycles has proven himself to be a rather despicable campaigner.  For those of you who would vote for Romney in the general election, I suppose the silver lining is that the man is willing to fight dirty.  So at least he’s got that going for him.  Which is nice.

Continue reading...

20 Responses to Looks Like A Two-Man Race to Me

  • For those of you who would vote for Romney in the general election, I suppose the silver lining is that the man is willing to fight dirty.

    Nope. Romney fights dirty only against Republicans. If he gets the nomination, he won’t campaign that way against Obama.

  • Larry, I’m afraid you are probably right. The thing is you can fight hard without fighting dirty. Republicans just don’t seem to understand that.

  • Republicans just don’t seem to understand that.

    Happens when objecting to dirty attacks is labeled fighting dirty. Get told something often enough and you’ll eventually believe it.

  • I’d love it if Santorum is the candidate. If it is Romney – that would not be much different than Obama.

  • In the cae of Newt, he seemed to have gotten genuinely shaken up by the attacks on him in iowa, and he never really recovered his momentum. He won South Carolina, but it almost seemed that was a spite vote by the South Carolina voters. Oddly Santorum, who was the attack dog in the early debates, is becoming the guy who has emerged above the fray. He’s doing what Newt did early: deliver a conservative message while focusing his fire on Obama and not the other candidates. The added bonus is that he’s a bit more genuine about it.

  • Because of the ups and downs of Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum, I think it’s crazy to say right now that it’s a two man race. Weren’t people saying it was a two man race after South Carolina between Romney and Gingrich? Weren’t people saying it was a two man race after the first caucus?

    I think it’s just bad judgement and short-sighted to rule out anyone right now.

  • Also to Greg and Foxfier’s points, Santorum has been effective when he’s criticized the other candidates because he largely deals with legitimate policy differences from a conservative perspective. All of the others have tried to go after character issues, or have even attacked from the left. But when Santorum goes after one of the other candidates, the other candidates are left reeling because he’s not flinging absurd charges at them. He hits them at their weakest points, and he does so in a way that doesn’t discredit his cause (other than sounding a tad whiny at various moments).

  • Brett, I’m being just a bit tongue-in-cheek here as all the talk over the past month has made this sound like a two-man race between Newt and Romney. Just pointing out that actual election results would put that characterization in doubt.

  • If Rick Santorum can go from getting an 18 point drubbing as an incumbent senator. being a long shot for the GOP nomination to winning the nomination and the presidency, it will one of the most miraculous miracles in American political history. I’d love to see it, but it’s still a long shot.

  • Greg, as a friend of mine who is a Mother Superior of her order once said, “if it takes a miracle from God, I know him.” I’m going to keep praying and suffering for Santorum’s campaign.

  • The question is, how does Santorum make it a one-man race. I think the only way to do that is to bomb Tokyo. The not-Romneys have been calling for each other to drop out of the race for a long time now; Santorum needs to win Michigan and call for Romney to drop out of the race. Make the narrative going into Super Tuesday that the Republicans have rejected Romney. I think Santorum needs to win Michigan to make the case.

  • I really wish people would stop writing garbage like this and trying to sway peoples’ opinions. No, it’s not your job to do that.

    Santorum cannot win the general election; not ever.

    If you think he can, then that’s your opinion.

  • “I really wish people would stop writing garbage like this and trying to sway peoples’ opinions. No, it’s not your job to do that. ”

    New to blogs are you?

    “Santorum cannot win the general election; not ever.”

    Polls are actually showing him 1-3 points behind Obama which is quite good for a challenger in February polls. Unless you have invented a time machine and seen the future, I will have to assume your opinion of an Obama-Santorum race is simply just that, your opinion.

    “If you think he can, then that’s your opinion.”

    That goes without saying, although you said it anyway.

  • Swaying people’s opinion in a democratic republic! Oh my stars and garters– what will happen next?!?!?

  • “I really wish people would stop writing garbage like this and trying to sway peoples’ opinions. No, it’s not your job to do that. ”

    Now you’re not trying to sway our opinions, are you?

  • I will talk to my friends Marty McFly and Doc. I will see if Ken can borrow their car.

  • Ken,

    Last poll I saw had Rick over pharaoh 45 to 44.

    That was before Steve Urkell’s imbecile cousin pissed off the Pope.

    Are you minimally brain damaged? Did you eat too many lead chips as a toddler?

  • Rick Santorum is on with Greta at the moment. Too bad Ken took off with the car.

  • Oddly enough I have a statistics and research oriented profession, so in some measure it is in fact my job to persuade people.

  • I have something I would like to persuade people to think about…. birth control /sexual responsibility is not a woman’s issue is it? Doesn’t it still take two to tango?

Logic Fail

Thursday, February 2, AD 2012

You want to know why Republicans are possibly going to lose the White House this year, despite an environment in which the GOP nominee should be all but guaranteed victory?  Republican voters have become incapable of comprehending the larger picture, and have swallowed media narratives hook, line, and sinker.  The perfect distillation of this is evidenced on this thread on the blog Legal Insurrection.  Professor William Jacobson is a Gingrich supporter, so he has reason to take down Ann Coulter’s idiotic “Three Cheers for Romneycare” column.  Of course Jacobson un-ironically accuses Coulter of deflection, a curious charge for someone who himself has twisted logic in order to boost Gingrich.  But that’s neither here nor there.

What really struck me was this exchange in the comment section.

Here is a Santorum supporter speaking up:

I admit that Mitt is sub-standard. What I dont get is (aside from the several here with clearly anti-Mormon bigotry) why sub-standard Newt should be the overwhelming favorite.

When I caucus next Tuesday (Colorado) – unless the Paulbots are out in force – I will vote for Santorum… because both Romney and Gingrich have huge non-conservative faults. This site has seemingly become dedicated to taking down Romney for the sake of Gingrich. I’ve yet to hear a persuasive argument why I should overlook Gingrich’s equally glaring faults.

A very good question.  Here is the response he received:

Oh for God’s sake, Bain, I like Santorum too, but look at the numbers. He’s just NOT going to rise.
This is the weaning, and Santorum doesn’t cut it.
Love the guy, but move on.
It’s like picking players on a team: You WEAN.

Well that’s a really convincing argument.  Shockingly, bains ain’t buying it.

Let me see if I have this right…

You want me to not vote for a candidate that I like… in favor of a candidate that I don’t like, so that the candidate that you hate will fail (well aside from Ron Paul).

The only argument in favor of Romney is his electability. His supporters really have nothing else to fall back on.  Well, Gingrich supporters are really not much better.  Their only argument is that Gingrich is the only person that can take down Romney.  They seem willing to concede that Santorum is the superior candidate – he just can’t win.  Well, that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you deem that a candidate cannot win and refuse to vote for him, well guess what?  He can’t win.

It’s a strange game that GOP voters are playing.  They are basing their voting decisions not on who they deem to be the best candidate, but rather are voting for people who they think other people will be voting for.  So I actually have to take back a bit of my opening premise.  It’s not that Republican voters aren’t trying to look at the big picture, they’re just doing a terrible job of it.

Continue reading...

39 Responses to Logic Fail

  • Since I am a Pennsylvanian and my vote doesn’t actually matter (our primary isn’t until April. I suppose it makes sense to someone, somewhere that New York and Pennsylvania – pivotal to the existence of our nation – should be cut out of the primary system) I am resolved to vote for Santorum.

    I will not be bullied and I certainly feel like the GOP Establishment has been acting like a playground bully in this Primary. Why can’t they get it: I may vote for Romney over Obama but I don’t like him. Forcing me to choose between Obama and Romney is irritating and, if the stakes weren’t so damn high, I would probably vote for every position on the ballot except that of the presidency.

  • The only argument in favor of Romney is his electability. His supporters really have nothing else to fall back on.

    Except that he has actually run private companies and a state government. The other three have done nothing of the kind.

  • I will not be bullied and I certainly feel like the GOP Establishment has been acting like a playground bully in this Primary.

    Just out of curiousity, which individual is bullying you? Has the Governor of South Carolina or some editor at Commentary been sending you threatening letters?

  • I don’t know G-Veg, you might be right about it being all over by the time it gets to PA (April 24), but this one might last a bit longer. It really depends on what happens on Super Tuesday.

    That said, I certainly share your annoyance. The fact that states like Pennsylvania, Texas and others basically have little say in the process is astoundingly absurd.

  • As a wag on Ace put it, and I tweaked a bit:

    “Romney 2012: Because He Appeals To Everyone Else But You.”

  • “Except that he has actually run private companies and a state government.”

    Badly Art, at least in regard to state government. Experience as an executive can be helpful or not to a president. Abraham Lincoln had zip executive experience and Jimmy Carter had been governor of Georgia. Ulysses S. Grant commanded the Union Armies successfully in the Civil War, as Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the Allied armies in Western Europe, but one was a failure as president and one a success. Other things being equal, I think it is good for a president to have some executive experience, but I think its predictive value as to how someone will perform in the office is fairly low.

  • “Just out of curiosity, which individual is bullying you? Has the Governor of South Carolina or some editor at Commentary been sending you threatening letters?”

    Bullying comes in many forms.

    Pulling out all stops to support the establishment candidate and to marginalize all others qualifies in my book. Dole, McCain, and now Romney – all establishment candidates who’s “turn” it was to run for President.

    We’ll see if this round turns out differently.

  • If Romney gets the nomination (which seems likely at this point) I absolutely will not vote for him in the general election. Gingrich at least would be entertaining. Better to go down in flames with Gingrich or Santorum than “win” with Romney.

  • Obama has run the most powerful country in the world for 3 years. I suppose that makes him more “qualified” than Romney, who only ran a state for 4 years. Both did a crummy job in their respective positions, governing as big-government-health-care-mandating-religious-liberty-trampling-gun-grabbing-pro-abort liberals. But if the “executive experience” is all that matters, I suppose Obama wins on that account.

  • I think it is good for a president to have some executive experience, but I think its predictive value as to how someone will perform in the office is fairly low.

    Here are our recent non-executives: John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Barack Obama. With the sorting of time, I suspect their performance will be rated thus: easy heat, wretched, wretched with some qualifications, satisfactory, wretched. I would rather not go there if I can avoid it, most particularly with regard to the policy dilemmas and potential emergencies the country will likely face in the coming six years.

    Bullying comes in many forms.

    You mean you get to define it?

    Dole, McCain, and now Romney – all establishment candidates who’s “turn” it was to run for President.

    Mr. Dole’s principal competitors were a newspaper columnist and a magazine publisher. Mr. McCain’s were the Governor of Arkansas, the man you are condemning, and a crank obstetrician who has spent many years as an ineffectual member of Congress. Mr. Romney’s are that same OBGYN and two lapsed members of Congress one of whom is an ethical train wreck with a fondness for technological and management fads. I am agreeable about Messrs. Santorum and Huckabee but I cannot blame people for taking contrary views of their candidacies.

  • The fact that states like Pennsylvania, Texas and others basically have little say in the process is astoundingly absurd.

    The Republican National Committee could set aside two Saturdays in June for states to hold their caucuses and declare delegates selected at any other time and in any other manner to have no standing. Not holding my breath.

  • Also from PA, and also feel cheated out of the ‘weaning” process. I really like Santorum, but am perfectly happy to vote for a shoe, if that shoe is less leftist than Obama.
    I wish it were different, and honestly don’t know why we handle the primaries this way. Why not move more of the primaries up to Februrary so we can be a part of the decision making? It is infuriating that by the time I get to vote, the process has eliminated all but one, including in local elections I might add. Local GOP chooses local candidates through a “committee” leaving the voter with only one nominee. That makes me believe thatthe GOP is self destructive.

  • “Here are our recent non-executives”

    And here are our executives:

    Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43 from the same period. Carter I would rate as the worst President of the 20th century and third worst president overall. Reagan is a President worthy of Mount Rushmore if there were space. Clinton is probably the worst man who has sat in the Oval office. As President he was saved by the Republicans taking Congress in 94 and thus curbing the excesses in government demonstrated during his first two years. Bush 43 as a war president succeeded in so mishandling the war in Iraq, prior to the surge, that he set the stage for overwhelming Democrat victories in 2006 and 2008. His domestic compassionate conservatism was a disaster for the nation. He looks better now in comparison to Obama who is doing his best to wrest the title of worst president from James Buchanan, but that is small praise indeed.

  • “if that shoe is less leftist than Obama.”

    I agree with you on that Trish!

  • Leftist is leftist. You’re just negotiating how slowly you want to be strangled to death.

  • Maybe Trish is articulating my concerns better than I did.

    My dissatisfaction is with the Primary process more generally.

    Primaries are damned expensive and, if your state is anywhere other than at the beginning of the line for the presidential candidate primaries, damned near pointless. From a non-partisan viewpoint, one can reasonably question whether the State has any interest at all in who parties put forth as candidates.

    The results are as you demonstrated – piss pore.

    Dole, McCain, and Romney – all likely to get swept aside like so much chaff by their Democrat opponents while our best and brightest don’t even get placed before the very rank-and-file that are likely to vote for them.

    Intellectual exercise:

    Supposing that Iowa and Pennsylvania were first. We’d probably be talking about Santorum as the likely candidate. Same pool of candidates, completely different result by simply shifting the order.

    If the Primary system is supposed to “wean out” the candidates, it should approach something like a replicable process. Moving around the states though gives you different results so I think it fair to ask whether strength in the primaries demonstrate anything remotely like electability.

  • Agreed, but with the current choices, I see little difference.
    Sadly, my opinion is that Rick can’t do it- I watched the Dems KILL, completely demolish his senate re-election chances, and that was just for PA Senate. They are already accusing him in a column today in Phila of “using his 3 year old daughter” for sympathy votes. Trust me, they would become even more evil with time, if he were to get the nomination.
    Until we slowly-one candidate at a time, change the culture in DC, we will never have a true conservative in the White House.

  • Funny, that Rick supposedly can’t perform better than a stiff like Dullard Flip Rino, since Rasmussen just released a national poll showing Santorum performing just as well as Dullard (and far better than Gingrich) against Obama:

  • Trish,

    I don’t know how much more evil Democrats can be given that they openly support (even encourage) the murder of the unborn and the filth of homosexual sodomy.

  • I like the comment above about the self fulfilling prophecy the best– not voting for him because he can’t win and of course he can’t win if we don’t vote for him– or is that a catch 22 or
    more ridingbicycles down the Kaibab trail — DON’T LOOK AT THE EDGE! or we will all go over!

  • If we say “Oh, the person I’d REALLY like to vote for is conservative candidate X, but I think he could probably never get elected” and then at the same time say “I don’t like it, but I’d vote for moderate-to-liberal RINO stiff Y as long as he’s one tick to the right of the Democrat”, is it any wonder that every 4 years starts to look like the movie “Groundhog Day” with the same crappy scenario repeating itself over and over again?

    If we concede that we believe the conservatives we want can’t win, and admit right off the bat that we’ll support whoever gets the nomination as long as he’s marginally better than the Democrat alternative, aren’t we conditioning the GOP to give us just that? If that’s the signal we send to the party establishment, it’s no wonder that the establishment lines up in lockstep behind the squishiest, least objectionable candidate available (“least objectionable” in the sense that they stand for nothing and are thus, in theory but not in actual practice, less likely to draw enemy fire).

    Forget about complaining that the choice of candidates has already been winnowed down for us by the time our particular state’s primary rolls around – we’ve already narrowed the choices from the get-go just by buying into the assumptions and narrative of the party establishment. And then we tell them we’ll vote for their guy no matter what. We’ve been played for suckers time and again, and yet so many conservatives will line up on election day and pull the lever for yet another nominee who doesn’t represent their interests. Rinse. Repeat.

    See ya again in 4 years when we’re once more crying after a measly 3 primaries and 1 caucus that our choices have already been made for us, and act “shocked, shocked” that yet another RINO squish is being shoved down our throats.

  • Mr. Anderson,

    Your point is well made. What, then, do you suggest?

    One choice is, of course, to write in candidates but that never seems to do much more than give some journalist hack a follow-up story. Third-party candidates can move things but, at least this time around, it looks like that would be a Ron Paul vote and that isn’t something I’d broadcast after having done it.

    Are you suggesting then that we’d be better to vote for the positions on the ballot other than President, accepting that we are putting the President one vote closer to landslide?

    (I may actually be with you on that one. I’d have to think about it.)

  • Let me put this question out there: who would you have rather seen run / get the nomination? I know it’s easy to complain about the starting quarterback, but who’s the backup you’d rather see in the game?

  • Pinky: to whom is your question addressed? I’m sure most of us – including the author of this post (me) – have clearly stated our preference for Santorum.

  • Oh, yeah! Talk about unelectable!

    Ron Paul is polling but few points below drone-killer Obama (of OBL and Guvmint Motors notoriety), and Paul can’t pull 23 percent in a primary or caucus.

  • Paul – OK. I know that he’s popular on this site, but I didn’t think of him as “industry standard”. Do you think that he would get the nomination under a fairer primary system?

  • that yet another RINO squish is being shoved down our throats.

    ‘Another RINO squish’? I think it is a reasonable proposition that the succession of people who have won the Republican presidential nomination define the Republican type, not random combox denizens. You may not like what the dynamic of Republican politics serves you, but that is what it is. (And, much as you dislike it, the only people shoving things down your throat are Republican voters and campaign contributors).

    Dole, McCain, and Romney – all likely to get swept aside like so much chaff by their Democrat opponents while our best and brightest don’t even get placed before the very rank-and-file that are likely to vote for them.

    I am tired of repeating myself on the unreasonableness of this sort of handicapping, so won’t do that again. I might note that John McCain managed to garner 46% of the vote in a most challenging set of circumstances (the banking crisis, for one). Adlai Stevenson did not do this, Michael Dukakis managed it only with a much more agreeable milieux, and assessing Hubert Humphrey’s capacity to do this requires counterfactual speculation.

  • And here are our executives:

    Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43 from the same period. Carter I would rate as the worst President of the 20th century and third worst president overall. Reagan is a President worthy of Mount Rushmore if there were space. Clinton is probably the worst man who has sat in the Oval office. As President he was saved by the Republicans taking Congress in 94 and thus curbing the excesses in government demonstrated during his first two years. Bush 43 as a war president succeeded in so mishandling the war in Iraq, prior to the surge, that he set the stage for overwhelming Democrat victories in 2006 and 2008. His domestic compassionate conservatism was a disaster for the nation. He looks better now in comparison to Obama who is doing his best to wrest the title of worst president from James Buchanan, but that is small praise indeed.

    Why you neglect Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower, you do not say. All occupied the office during the era when general expectations of the services performed by the federal government were taking their current form. (And all were, on balance, accomplished in office above an beyond what we have seen since).

    The troublesome part of comparative assessment of our executives (aside from having very few data points) is that no two face the same challenges. Also, two assessors have the same notion of what ends it is desirable to achieve.

    I find your description of all of these people awfully florid. Mr. Carter followed bad monetary policy, taking advice from the wrong economists. Decisions he took during the period running from August 1978 to February 1979 vis-a-vis the political crisis in Iran turned out very badly, but it is conceivable that had we instigated a military coup in Iran in January of 1979 it might not have turned out better. One can certainly conceive of some alternatives to his response to the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran, though it would have been difficult to prevent ABC News turning an attempt at extortion by the Iranian government into a concatenation of human interest stories.

    With regard to B. Clinton, please note that he was willing and able to cut deals with the political opposition. The current incumbent is not (and had never had to do so before).

    Contriving an expansion of Medicare while arranging simultaneously for an income tax cut (the formal the principal manifestation of ‘compassionate conservatism’, the latter having nothing to do with it) was poor policy and created problems and unnecessary problems. There is a difference between ‘problems’ and ‘catastrophe’. The rest of what went under the heading of ‘compassionate conservatism’ was small beer.

    As for the war in Iraq, the military you have has a skill set and an institutional culture. Yes, the war was mishandled for four years. I cannot help but note that the change in strategy which was so successful was adopted over the objections of much of the top brass.

    Please note, I’ve not claimed that executives are protected from poor policy choices. Nor is an executive protected from being a scuzzy human being. They are partially protected from failures of governance which arrive from not having governed. Gerald Ford was the most able of our non-executive leaders; his admiring press secretary freely admitted after he left office that the man was on a learning curve as an administrator and that this did cause problems. John Roche, late of the Fletcher School at Tufts and an admiring aide to Lyndon Johnson, had similar tales to tell.

    As for Mr. Reagan, I am not much for the ‘civil religion’ business. Politicians should be appreciated, but not turned into icons. In Mr. Reagan’s case, when he was determined not to acknowledge something, he did not. If you put him on Mount Rushmore, you need to select an expression. I might suggest the look he had on his face when David Stockman was trying and failing to explain to him what the implications of his stated preferences were as regards public sector borrowing.

  • “I think it is a reasonable proposition that the succession of people who have won the Republican presidential nomination define the Republican type, not random combox denizens.”

    Since I am not a Republican and have absolute no desire to be one, Art, I really couldn’t say.

    All I know is that in November of even years I’m told I have to support candidates whose priorities quite often are not my own or risk being responsible for the whole world going to hell in a handbasket. And what I’m saying is that I’m not playing that game anymore, especially when the person being shoved down my throat … YES … shoved down my throat is the likes of frickin’ Dullard Flip Rino, the big-government, health-care-mandating, religious-liberty-trampling, Social-Security-demagoging, Mediscaring, gun-grabbing, Reagan/Bush-repudiating, pro-abortion liberal.

    If THAT, as you say, “defines the Republican type”, then I’m glad to know it once and for all so that I can say “To hell with ’em” and gladly cast my vote elsewhere.

  • (It should be noted, however that even as an independent I was out there for many years as a conservative and a pro-life activist working to elect Republicans when “Mr. Electable” was a self-described “progressive independent” distancing himself from “Reagan/Bush” and doing his damndest to undercut conservatives and Republicans and running to Ted Kennedy’s left. See, even as an independent, I was a better “Republican” than Mitt Romney. But now that I know he’s truer to the “type”, I’ll gladly cede the ground so many conservatives gave their sweat and tears fighting for to the “new breed” – actually, I suppose they’re more like the old WASPy breed – of Republican.)

  • Since I am not a Republican and have absolute no desire to be one, Art, I really couldn’t say.

    That’s fine. It is odd for a non-Republican to be complaining about “RINOs”.

    All I know is that in November of even years I’m told I have to support candidates whose priorities quite often are not my own or risk being responsible for the whole world going to hell in a handbasket. And what I’m saying is that I’m not playing that game anymore, especially when the person being shoved down my throat … YES … shoved down my throat is the likes of frickin’ Dullard Flip Rino, the big-government, health-care-mandating, religious-liberty-trampling, Social-Security-demagoging, Mediscaring, gun-grabbing, Reagan/Bush-repudiating, pro-abortion liberal.

    Something Phyllis Schlafly said a while back comparing our political parties to multi-party systems: our voters are less likely to have a satisfying option, but more of the winners’ program will be enacted. It is a trade-off.

    Living here in New York, I have seen what it looks like to have party barons in the state legislature and amongst the $2,000 a plate dinner crowd put the screws to local county chairmen and in turn to seen what it looks like when county chairmen disregard their electorate. The former happened in a special election for Congress in 2009 and the latter happened last year in an election in that same district. That is not what you are experiencing.

  • “It is odd for a non-Republican to be complaining about “RINOs”.

    Except when it’s not. Happens all the time among conservatives, and I have a feeling you know that. The term, inartful as it is, is shorthand for more liberal Republicans or for Republicans with records one might associate with Democrats. Again, you know that, but you’d like to pretend that it means something it doesn’t by giving it a literal interpretation. What is odd that certain folks would suddenly become sticklers for who may appropriately invoke the term “RINO”.

    But, again, as someone who, notwithstanding my political independence, has tended to vote for Republicans, probably with more frequency than your chosen candidate ever has, I feel perfectly unconstrained in my using the term “RINO”. Thank you very much.

  • Well, I am a conservative and a Republican, and very proud to claim both titles. I will vote for Romney if he is the nominee over Obama since I believe that is the only realistic option to get Obama out, but I will do so without any illusions as to the Weathervane. His only virtue is that he is not-Obama and for me that is enough. I love this country and I despair as to the damage that Obama has done to it in four years.

  • I’m not sure what the best solution is, Pinky. Some suggest – and I think with merit – that a consolidated schedule would hurt underfunded candidates even more. On the other hand, it’s clear that what we have now isn’t working.

  • Except when it’s not. Happens all the time among conservatives

    It still does not make any sense.

    The term, inartful as it is, is shorthand for more liberal Republicans or for Republicans with records one might associate with Democrats.

    You are referring to a political tendency that dissipated almost completely fifteen years ago. The National Journal a few years back published a rank-ordering of all members of the House of Representatives. Democratic and Republican Representatives were sorted into two neat piles, with a small interstitial zone in between with fewer than ten members. The Republican in the House coded the most liberal was a man from Connecticut named Christopher Shays who occupied a place almost precisely at the midpoint.

    Since I have seen the term used repeatedly to describe the Republican presidential nominee, I tend to think it is a nonsense term. It is also a decidedly idiosyncratic use of political terminology, and one that does not communicate well at all, to use the term ‘liberal’ to describe Messrs. McCain, Bush-fils, Dole, or Bush-pere. They have all suffered from inertia and lack of imagination in the pursuit of domestic initiatives. That is regrettable, but our institutional set-up being what it is, you cannot accomplish much anyway.

  • Some suggest – and I think with merit – that a consolidated schedule would hurt underfunded candidates even more.

    What if it breaks the back of the candidate-centered contest entirely? You might restore an element of deliberation and peer review to the process, with delegations largely composed of uncommitted local elected officials, wheelhorses, and grandees. Consider that in 1968 the place and show candidates entered between them one primary. The runner-up in 1964 entered no primaries and his candidacy lasted a matter of weeks.

  • Has a head-and-shoulders better candidate ever lost the nomination in the modern era? You could make an argument that none of the strongest Dems even ran in 1992. Some Republicans would say that the strongest candidate lost the nomination in 1976, and some Democrats would say the same thing for their party in 2008. But I don’t think you can make a Keanu Reeves winning an Oscar kind of argument that the system picks the worst candidates. That is to say, if only Keanu, Stallone, and Ashton Kutcher made movies last year, the Academy can’t be blamed for their choice.

  • OK. I’ll bite Pinky. What in tarnation is an “head-and-shoulder better candidate?”

    I’m hearing some folks say here that it is all about electability. Sure, we’d like a candidate who is actually a fiscal conservative. Sure, we’d like a bloke who is actually a social conservative. But, we’ll settle for a candidate who is one or the other, or even neither in a pinch, if she or he has a better chance at winning.

    I’m hearing others say (and I’m one of them) that it is all about consistency. We will only vote for someone who seems wishy-washy about our conservative ideals if left with no alternative. Then, we’ll begrudgingly vote for them.

    I’m hearing other voices (I’m in this camp too, I think) that it is all about our individual hot-button issues. We will vote for someone that hits the right notes on our issues even if they aren’t conservative in other ways.

    The problem with two and three, of course, is that it really is betraying the good because it isn’t perfect which doesn’t make a lot of sense. The first one seems to be more problematic though in that it assumes that we have any idea what “electable” is. It seems to me that we aren’t all that good at prognosticating. I, for example, didn’t see the Obama train coming until about two months before the 2008 convention. I was absolutely sure that Clinton would take the nomination. Palin blinded me to McCain’s can’t win attitude until about September so I didn’t see that coming either.

    I am honestly looking for an alternative approach here. I’m not arguing for the sake of arguing, I really do want a way out of this intellectual morass.

    Do I vote for Romney in November, a guy that doesn’t seem to care a wiff about the social cares that I care deeply about, who seems out of touch with my working class roots, whose business experience is limited to big finance and whose executive experience is limited to running Utah, whose electability mantle rests entirely on establishment decree?

    Do I “throw away” my vote by writing in Santorum because his social conservative creds are spotless and his family life admirable?

    What do you suggest?

  • write in Santorum– maybe others will too… wouldn’t that give the commentators something new to say– “won by a write in landslide”! He is the best choice.