Circular Firing Squads
Red State’s all-out assault on Santorum comes as no surprise. This is a blog that perceives all who fail short of achieving purity as a conservative (whatever that’s supposed to mean) as heretics. So they have taken a few incidents where Santoum fell short – and in some cases, he did cast a wrong vote or endorsed the wrong candidate – and have now transformed Santorum into some kind of statist.
The shrill attacks on Red State are to be expected. What’s disappointing is seeing an otherwise insightful blogger like Ace of Spades hyperventilate ignorantly about Santorum. What set Ace off was this comment by Santorum from much earlier in the campaign:
One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea … Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay … contraception’s okay.”
It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal … but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.
Ace is displeased: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The Hawkeye Cauci have arrived, and tonight we’ll watch in breathless anticipation to see which presidential candidate will walk away with the lion’s share of the precious 25 delegates being awarded tonight – a critical two percent of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination. Rick Santorum has climbed up the polls and is a serious threat to finish third, if not win the caucus outright. And as with all candidates who have experienced a burst in popularity, the knives have come out for Santorum. Yesterday I linked to Alan Colmes’s disgusting mockery of the manner in which Santorum and his family mourned the loss of their child, but that is just a taste of the attacks that Santorum has experienced in the previous few days and will experience if he continues to be a somewhat viable candidate.
In particular the blog Red State has run a number of blog posts in recent days that have, to put it mildly, been very critical of Santorum. Just scroll through the link and you can see that Erick Erickson in particular has been a busy beaver. Now most (though not all) of the contributors to the blog are pro-Perry and they see Santorum as a threat mainly to Perry. And for what it’s worth, I am sympathetic to Red State’s views. Though I certainly think people should vote for the candidate they feel is best, as a Perry supporter myself I lament that Santorum will do more to divide the conservative vote and help nominate Romney than anything else. Rick Perry is much better suited for a long run at the nomination than Santorum, so I have mixed feelings about Santorum’s rise in the polls as he is my second choice for the nomination. In fact I’d be ecstatic if either Rick won, yet both candidates are basically evenly dividing the not-Mitt vote with Gingrich.
Red State’s takedowns of the other candidates, especially Ron Paul, have been very good. The anti-Santorum stuff, on the other hand, has been very weak tea. There’s but the vaguest hint of a scandal with a company that Santorum was associated with, and this attack on Santorum about not believing the President to be a Chief Executive is nitpicky at worst, and smells of desperation. The most effective criticisms revolve around the issues I brought up in this post from about a month ago. In particular, this post simply linking to Santorum’s video endorsement of Arlen Specter is just damning. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
I wasn’t going to blog anymore about Herman Cain, but I cannot let this go without comment:
Mark Block, chief of staff for the Cain campaign, laid the blame for the leaks about the allegations about Cain squarely at the Perry campaign’s feet in an interview today.
“The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable,” Block told Fox News tonight. “Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology. Both the Rick Perry campaign andPolitico did the wrong thing by reporting something that wasn’t true from anonymous sources. Like I said, they owe Herman Cain and his family an apology.”
Asked if he had any evidence, Block mentioned the fact that Cain had told Curt Anderson (who now works for Perry) about the accusations during his 2004 senate run. Cain accused Anderson earlier today; Anderson denied that he was.
As with every other aspect of his campaign, Herman Cain has been unable to address this situation in anything resembling a coherent manner. I could let that pass, but instead of addressing the issue – or even not addressing it – the Cain camp decides to avert attention away from this mess by hurling unsubstantiated claims against one of his Republican rivals. Could the Perry camp have leaked the information? It’s certainly possible, but it just as likely could have been the Romney camp. Or, and here’s a wild guess, someone did a little digging and came across a publicly available story.
Look, I don’t know if there’s anything more to the original story than that it was a misunderstanding. But Cain is doing himself no favors by reacting as wildly as he is. First he played the race card. If he had been a Democrat conservatives would have collectively rolled their eyes, and yet some conservatives, including one that I highly respect, are willing to indulge this fantasy. And now this.
What’s sickening is not just the man’s basic ineptitude, it’s that he is inspiring the same kind of blind loyalty to a cult of personality that we mock Democrats for with regards to Barack Obama. And for what? A candidate who has nothing to offer except a silly campaign slogan that is, for the record, politically unworkable. A candidate who couldn’t even win a Senate primary in Georgia, of all states. Ah, but he sounds so authentic.
And therein lies the problem with the conservative movement. Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate, and we hate the establishment. So our counter-reaction to the establishment is to rally around the guy who mouths the most platitudes, all the while ignoring the substance. It’s like watching the Hot Air blog come to life. The main contributors are a collection of mealy-mouthed wimps who fear the rise of genuinely conservative candidates. On the other hand, the commenters are a collection of raving “THIS GOES TO 11!!!!!!!!” “purists” who make the Free Republic look like a haven of logical thought. It’s something behold, but it’s also a sad reflection on the conservative movement as we seem constantly to have to choose between raving psychosis and stultifying boredom.
What’s even funnier about the Cain dead-enders is envisioning their reaction when he drops out and turns around to endorse Mitt Romney. But at least we would have beaten the guy who said “heartless” in a debate that one time. Good job. Look what happens when the search for purity leads to the nomination of the most impure candidate.
Then again, not everyone is turning a blind eye to Cain’s collapsing campaign. Even his biggest booster in the blogosphereis starting to sound a little worried.
The fact that Chris Wilson works for a firm that has been associated with Rick Perry’s campaign may confirm widespread suspicions about the origin of Sunday’s Politico story, but as matters now stand, such speculation is irrelevant to whether Cain can survive this. Whatever the motives of the Politico sources, Cain’s fate depends on the specifics of the accusation and the credibility of his accuser.
Then again, knowing the spitefulness that guides certain people, he’ll only ascend in the polls.
Update: FWIW, here is Eric Erickson’s interview with Perry, in which he firmly denies having anything to do with leaking the story. Notice that despite the umms and ahhs, it doesn’t take a team of detectives to figure out what Perry is saying.