No, Mitt. If you don’t think the antifa demonstrators are equally morally repugnant and guilty of violence, then you’re simply ignorant, no matter what they claim to be fighting.
No, Mitt. If you don’t think the antifa demonstrators are equally morally repugnant and guilty of violence, then you’re simply ignorant, no matter what they claim to be fighting.
Well, that will be the effect of his speech today. The man who lost a very winnable race four years ago, will give a speech today explaining why Donald Trump, who he praised extravagantly four years ago after the Donald endorsed him, is unfit to be the Republican nominee:
The rapidly intensifying effort by the Republican establishment to dislodge Donald Trump from the top of the party’s presidential nominating race will star 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who is preparing a speech for Thursday when he’ll lay out his case against the front-runner.
With Trump’s convincing victories on Tuesday, the single biggest day of voting in the Republican race, Romney was motivated to make a more formal case against him in hopes of keeping him from coalescing more support, according to a Republican source familiar with Romney’s plans. Romney has voiced criticism for Trump in recent months, including his attack last week on the New York businessman’s refusal to release his tax returns.
Romney doesn’t believe Trump is the right person to lead the party, the Republican source said. A number of mainstream Republicans are falling in line with Trump, and Romney wants to speak up before more people go that route, the source said.
While making the case against Trump at the Hinckley Institute of Politics Student Forum at the University of Utah, Romney will not endorse one of his opponents, two people familiar with the former Massachusetts governor’s plans said. Romney will, however, praise Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Romney’s comments will be focused on “the state of the race,” likely echoing past criticism of Trump for failing to release his tax returns, and not decisively distancing himself from the Ku Klux Klan. Continue Reading
Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. One of my favorite Psalms is 127. It ends:
Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
The imagery is powerful and states an obvious truth: that our children are precious gifts from God. Sons as defenses from enemies at the gate has often been literally true throughout history and will likely be true again in the future.
A friend of mine recently died. He had led a somewhat rough life, had battled personal demons, and financial success had eluded him. However he was a hard worker and a skilled craftsmen, I hired him frequently to do work for me, and he did his best to be a good father. He had a great sense of humor and over the years he had helped quite a few people and organizations in my town. His extended family was big and brawling, often fighting each other, but always with an underlying love and care for each other. He died of a massive heart attack while working. He left a teenage daughter and debts, and that is about all. His large extended family rallied around the daughter and arrangements were made for her care by the family. His family completed the jobs that he had not been able to complete before his death. His funeral Mass was the best attended I can recall in our town and the atmosphere of grief, love and good humor was a great comfort to all. A life well led because the deceased, with all the mistakes he had made, always put his family first and did his best to help others. Continue Reading
The narrative game has begun. One of the major memes we can expect to hear now that the GOP lost the presidential race is that “extremism” is to blame. Many of us know that it was absurd to label Mitt Romney “extreme” on anything. Even those on the other side willing to concede this point will say something like “the GOP is being held hostage by the extreme right” and “the Tea Party is to blame for the GOP defeat.” This is all, of course, complete nonsense, but many Republicans will buy it.
I honestly don’t know if it is possible to isolate and eliminate the factors that are ultimately responsible for Barack Obama’s reelection and Mitt Romney’s crushing defeat last night. What I do know is this: in 2004, President Bush was said to have won primarily because of a surge of evangelical voters who stormed the polls to defeat gay marriage initiatives in key swing states. Last night, voters approved gay marriage in three states and defeated two GOP Senate candidates because of remarks they made to the media about rape and abortion. Neither “extremism” in general or the “Tea Party” is to blame; commentators have been quick to point out that Akin was not a Tea Party choice and that perfectly moderate Republicans such as Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin went down in defeat last night.
Mark Gordon at Vox Nova explains why he is voting for neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney.
For my part, I won’t be voting for either Obama or Romney because both promise to pursue policies that violate my understanding of fundamental Catholic teaching. To invest my democratic franchise in either would, in my opinion, be an abrogation of my first responsibility, which is to to witness to the Gospel in all its dimensions. For me, there can be no disjunction between the two. To permit any other allegiance, identity, issue or ideology to trump the Gospel – even temporarily or provisionally – is, again in my opinion – a form of idolatry. Christian discipleship must be marked first of all by an unyielding evangelical integrity: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness …” (Matthew 6:6). And just as I would hope not to choose a “lesser” evil in my personal or business life, neither can I do so as a citizen. As I’ve often written here, when you choose the lesser of two evils, you still get evil. Christians shouldn’t be in the business of choosing evil.
Such is his right, and if he genuinely believes that voting for either candidate would involve cooperation with evil, then the choice is understandable and perhaps commendable. The problem with Mark’s analysis is that only one candidate affirms positions that are clearly in opposition to dogmatic Church teaching. Continue Reading
Mitt Romney speaking last night before a crowd of 30,000 in West Chester, Ohio. Obama made his charming and unifying “voting is the best revenge” remark before a crowd of 4,000 yesterday in Springfield, Ohio.
The election is almost upon us, and many of us have made up our minds as to whom we are going to vote for, or whether we will even bother to vote at all. On the slight chance that someone from the ever-shrinking pool of undecided voters in a critical county in a vital swing state stumbles upon this blog post, the even less likely chance that they are Catholic, and the even less likely chance that their Catholic faith informs their political conscience, I’ll make one last appeal for a GOP vote.
I say a GOP vote, and not a Romney vote, because a) the most important issue at stake in this election really only depends upon which party, not individual man, is in power, and b) many people on the fence probably aren’t very enthused about Romney the man. I’ll admit that even as someone who has made up his mind, I am still not enthused. Granted, Romney isn’t as awful as many of us imagined him to be before he took Obama to the woodshed in the first presidential debate, it still isn’t easy to joyfully rally to his banner. He lacks the consistency and commitment to principle of the enigmatic Ron Paul, a pretty old guy who manages to get thousands of modern American 20-somethings to care about things other than themselves, which is nothing short of miraculous in its own right. Still, he has emerged as a capable enough candidate for the highest office in the land. But let’s return to the issues.
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
Thank the Good Lord I am not a politician. If I were running for office, what I am about to write would undoubtedly cause me to plummet in the polls and induce a heart attack for my campaign manager. It is up to us – bloggers, polemicists, wags, editorialists, etc. – to say plainly and boldly what politicians cannot say. By now hundreds if not thousands of us on the pro-life side of the spectrum have weighed in on the mountain that the Obama campaign and the leftist media have made out of the molehill of the “rape exception” that many self-identified pro-lifers hold. FYI: it is a molehill not because rape is no big deal, but because less than 1% of abortions are performed on rape babies. I don’t know if what I have to say will be different from what you have read, but I’m about to douse this issue in gasoline and light a match, so check yourselves now.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney appeared tonight at the Al Smith Dinner and gave the usual humorous speeches. A few observations:
1. Romney the Standup Comic-I was surprised at how well Romney did. Comedy and Mitt Romney would seem to be mutually exclusive concepts, but he had good timing and delivered an effective series of jokes. Funniest joke: A reference to the Cardinal, because of Obama’s troubles with the Church, turning Obama’s wine into water.
2. Flat Obama-Four years ago I praised Obama’s speech at the Al Smith dinner as being hilarious. Not this year. Most of his jokes fell flat and he seemed to be going through the motions. Funniest joke: He said at one point that for the third debate he was going to train as he did for the first debate. Pause. He then said that he was just kidding, that he only wanted to make Axelrod sweat.
3. These Guys Really Hate Each Other-Both Romney and Obama at the end of their speeches gave unfelt praise to the other. Their other comments dripped venom for their opponent, especially Romney’s comments. No love lost here at all.
4. Romney on the Attack-The usual humor at an Al Smith dinner is self-depracatory. Romney had a bit of this but most of his humorous comments were fairly hard hitting attacks against Obama.
5. The War on the Church-Romney was not shy in mentioning Obama’s attacks on the Church. He joked that Obama has found a way to soften the attitude of the Church to the HHS Mandate: the rules will be in Latin. Continue Reading
I was a little disappointed to see some mainstream conservative pundits declare Obama the victory of the debate “on points.”
Obama, to his credit, performed much better this time around. He kept pace with Romney and landed a number of critical blows. He came out ahead on the Benghazi exchange, though as other pundits noted, the story tomorrow may not look so good for him. But I don’t think Obama can be declared the winner of the debate.
Each issue ranks differently on the list of importance for voters. I think many of us would agree that the economy is by far the most important issue for most voters, including the undecided voters who were present at the debate and in the post-debate focus groups. Given this, it follows that winning an exchange during the debate on the economy ought to be weighted more heavily than winning an exchange over other issues. Of course almost all issues can be related back to the economy, but some are more “purely” economic than others.
On those issues, I thought Romney emerged the clear victor. I think he presented himself as someone with a superior working knowledge of business and economics, and probably inspired more confidence in his ability to handle the nation’s economic problems than the President. Double Romney’s points for every answer that created the impression that he knows more about economics than Obama, and he becomes the clear winner of the debate.
I may just sleep through the foreign policy debate, though. My regular readers know why. I’m a Paulbot anti-American isolationist! No one represents my views. Oh well.
I posted debate advice for Mitt Romney prior to the first debate which may be read here. My advice for round two is as follows:
1. Don’t Get Cocky-You had an exceptionally good first debate. Enjoy it and forget it. That was round one of a three round fight, and who is left standing at the end of the third round is how you determine the victor.
2. Don’t Sit on a Lead- That is what Obama tried to do in round one and it was a disaster. Don’t make that elementary mistake.
3. This is a Townhall Meeting-We have Joe and Jane Citizens asking the questions and that is a challenge. The media is predictable, ordinary citizens are not. Listen closely to the questions and answer them. Ignoring questions at a townhall can be ruinous, especially if they are inane.
4. Aggressive Obama-After his fairly passive performance at the last debate, Obama will probably come out full of fight. That can work to your advantage at a townhall if Obama comes across as over the top before a live audience. After the Biden debacle I think he will probably avoid this, but don’t be surprised if he has flashes of temper and be ready to capitalize on them.
5. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs-You can bet that almost every person in that townhall will have a friend or relative who is either unemployed or underemployed. Pledge to turn the economy around and put America be back to work. Be detailed as much as time allows. People were impressed the first go round at your breadth of knowledge and your ideas. Play off of those strengths. Continue Reading
Back in graduate school a professor of mine discussed the 1984 campaign. One of the national nightly news telecasts (I believe it was ABC) ran a segment basically running down the Reagan economy. It was one of those voiceover features that had a lot of stock footage of Reagan in various places: the Rockies, Mount Rushmore, and other locations featuring Reagan speaking. It was meant to be a devastating piece, but one of the members of Reagan’s campaign team called ABC afterwards and thanked them for the feature. Why? Because the visuals were all of Reagan in these fabulous settings, and in a visual world what appears on screen often trumps the content of the spoken word behind it.
That all crossed my mind when I saw this Barack Obama ad attacking Mitt Romney. Watch this video with the sound down first:
The content of course is absurd. “Partisan experts on our payroll say that Mitt Romney will raise taxes on the middle class to pay for the tax cut for the rich he’s not proposing.” Whatever. It’s par for the course for the Obama administration, and it’s an attack that is resonating less and less each day.
What struck me were the visuals. It shows an authoritative Mitt Romney at the debate. He’s talking in what appears to be a very passionate and confident manner. Meanwhile, President Obama is nodding along with his head down. It just seems like such a bizarre image to portray to the electorate. It’s an almost submissive, timid looking Obama being lectured by Mitt Romney. Considering how people drown out the content of these ads, it’s a visual that essentially reaffirms the post-debate sentiment that Mitt Romney took Barack Obama to school. No matter what was actually said in the ad, the voter is left with a visual image of a beaten-looking president being shown up by an energetic challenger.
Obama may have had a very successful fundraising month, but he might want to reconsider how is money is being used.
Update: Just saw this from Aaron Goldstein where he also ponders why Obama keeps running ads that seem to help Romney.
A couple of posts at Breitbart’s “Big Government” site have resulted in thousands of comments and intense debate between libertarians and conservatives, and between libertarians themselves over the merits of supporting a third-party/independent alternative to Mitt Romney. Having been involved in third-party politics myself at one point in my life, I am sympathetic to the cause. But given the stakes this November, I’ve decided to hold my nose and vote for Romney, as I’ve already posted here at TAC.
I must say, however, in response Kurt Schlichter (the author of the aforelinked pieces) that I regard this as a highly personal choice, and not one that I am willing to guilt others into making. On many of the issues that matter to me and other Ron Paul supporters, Romney is absolutely abysmal and nearly indistinguishable from Obama, whether we are talking about civil liberties, constitutional protection of the lives of American citizens (even the bad ones), foreign policy, monetary policy, and a host of related issues. Those who prioritize such issues cannot be expected to give Romney their vote. There was also the disgraceful treatment of Ron Paul and his delegates by the GOP at the RNC this year. Schlichter would have us basically forget all about it.
With that said, however, when Ron Paul stopped actively campaigning for the GOP nomination, his candidacy in effect came to an end. There certainly is something bizarre about a pledge to vote for a man who by the looks of things would like to settle into a well-deserved, hard-earned retirement from public life. I always suspected that Paul didn’t really want to be president. Some see this as a positive trait, and it can be in certain contexts, but men also need leaders. If that makes me sound fascistic, so be it. Human nature is what it is.
So people who accept the reality that Paul is unable or unwilling to capture the nomination and the Presidency are then faced with other options. I’ve explained my choice, but many others are considering Gary Johnson, and Schlichter is addressing them as well (as well as Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party candidate’s supporters). Aside from the fact that Johnson is pro-choice and therefore unsupportable for Catholics, I don’t begrudge anyone the right to support either of these men as an alternative to Romney.
I agree with the President. So long as he is President nothing will change from the disaster he served up in his first term. More of the Same is the real Obama campaign slogan.
Romney saw his opportunity from Obama’s unitentional lapse into truth:
1. A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
2. The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled. The assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
3. I accuse the present Administration of being the greatest spending Administration in peacetime in all American history – one which piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission, and has failed to anticipate the dire needs or reduced earning power of the people. Bureaus and bureaucrats have been retained at the expense of the taxpayer. We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary. In addition to this, we are attempting too many functions and we need a simplification of what the Federal government is giving the people.
4. Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.
5. It is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of the right order, for a larger and higher organisation, to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower bodies. Continue Reading
Mitt Romney being interviewed in regard to the 47% remark by Neil Cavuto yesterday. (Go here to read Darwin’s brilliant post on the 47% controversy.) I have never been a fan of Mitt Romney, who I have nicknamed the Weathervane. I have always planned to vote for him, but almost entirely in order to get Obama out; Mitt Romney becoming President being merely a necessary by-product of ending the Age of Obama. However, I found this interview impressive. Romney ably presented his view that ever-increasing dependence on government is a terrible thing and is a result of the miserable failure of Obama’s economic policies. Romney is taking what is widely assumed by
the Obama press agents the Mainstream Media and turning it around by standing his ground. People tend to admire politicians who have convictions they are willing to fight for, even if they do not entirely share the convictions themselves. The rap against Romney has always been that he has no such convictions, nothing that he is willing to do battle for. This is Romney’s opportunity to demonstrate that he does have core beliefs that he will defend, no matter what the chattering heads on television say. Not bad Mitt.
It seems like leftist pundits have decided that remarks by Romney at a fundraiser that were secretly taped and distributed by Mother Jones constitute the latest “now Romney has lost the election” moment. In the video, Romney tells supporters that Obama starts out with a huge base of 47-49% of voters who pay no income taxes, are dependent on government, and thus cannot be reached by Romney’s low tax message.
Of course, for those whose memories go back further than the most recent “Romney is finished” moment declared by Andrew Sullivan and Co., the obvious comparison to this is when Obama famously announced back in 2008 that the big difficulty for his campaign was that it was difficult to reach people who are see no evidence of progress in their daily lives and so they become bitter and cling to their guns and their religion.
Both comments spring from a degree of party mythology. It’s not the case that all 47% of people who don’t pay income taxes are Democrat supporters. Because our tax code is so progressive and because of the hefty child tax credit and earned income tax credit (both of which are things Republicans generally support) a lot of middle income families do not pay taxes. That certainly doesn’t make them default Obama supporters. Many of them are in fact die-hard Republicans, because they don’t participate in the modern Democratic Party’s vision of government dependence and social engineering as the solution to their problems.
That said, I think this particular media tizzy is particularly silly, and the pundits declaring Romney to be badly hurt by this are mostly reflecting the beliefs of a bubble in which the GOP is already hated.
Obama’s remarks were, if anything, far more offensive to potential swing voters. He categorized whole sections of the country, demographically, as being given over to bitterness because they hadn’t seen progress and explained that this bitterness came out in their becoming attached to guns, religion, hating minorities and immigrants, etc. There are a lot of small town people who like to hunt and go to church and don’t think of themselves as racist who nonetheless were potential Obama swing voters in 2008.
By contrast, Romney’s analysis may be off (and I don’t think that does him any credit) but it’s really hard for me, at least, to picture someone saying, “Gee, I was really thinking Romney might have some answers on the economy, but now I heard this clip where he says that people who don’t pay taxes and want to be dependent on the government are in the bag for Obama, and I’m proud of the fact that I don’t pay taxes and depend on the government, so forget about him! I’m supporting Obama.”
A lot of people who don’t, on net, pay taxes don’t really think of themselves as not paying taxes. The tax code is complex enough to make it tricky to tell in some ways. (And they pay other taxes even if they don’t pay federal income tax.) Nor do many people who are potential GOP voters think of themselves as dependent on government. If anything, the argument that Obama already has a huge advantage because he’s bribing voters with lots of government handouts seems to fit with Romney’s overall campaign message. Whether that’s a winning message I don’t know (I hope it is) but it’s hard for me to see how this is actually all that damaging.
William Saletan is a Leftist who writes a political column for Slate. His prescience at predicting the future was amply demonstrated on September 14, 2000 when, based on then current polls, he stated that the election was over and Gore was a sure winner. Go here to read that masterpiece of prognostication. Now he has a piece attacking Romney for standing up for American freedom of speech as opposed to the craven apology for our freedom issued by the Cairo embassy. Christopher Johnson, a Protestant who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, gives Saletan a fisking to remember at Midwest Conservative Journal:
to Slate’s William Saletan, freely expressing your opinion can be an abuse of your right to freely express your opinion:
Mitt Romney says the U.S. Embassy in Cairo has betrayed “American values.” He’s wrong. The embassy is standing for American values. It’s Romney who’s betraying them.
How’s that, Sally?
The fight began brewing Tuesday morning as Egyptian protesters gathered outside the embassy. They were furious at a sophomoric American-made movie that ridiculed the prophet Mohammed. In response, the embassy issued a statement saying that it “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims—as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” The statement added: “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
Quick observation. If the universal right of free speech can be “abused,” then the universal right of free speech is not universal at all but has definite limits. Saletan most emphatically agrees.
When you read the tweets alongside the initial statement, the message is clear. Free speech is a universal right. The Muslim-baiting movie is an abuse of that right. The embassy rejects the movie but defends free speech and condemns the invasion of its compound.
You keep using the word “universal,” Sally. I do not think that word means what you think it means.
At his press conference, Romney accused Obama of “having that embassy reiterate a statement effectively apologizing for the right of free speech.” Romney claimed that the embassy had said, in his paraphrase, “We stand by our comments that suggest that there’s something wrong with the right of free speech.” This, too, was a Romney lie. The embassy had declared five times in writing that free speech was a universal right.
In other words, everyone has, or should have, the right to free speech. But there are some things that you shouldn’t be allowed to say.
What made Romney’s statement and press conference disturbing, however, was his repeated use of the words sympathize and apology to conflate three issues the Cairo embassy had carefully separated: bigotry, free speech, and violence. The embassy had stipulated that expressions of bigotry, while wrong, were protected by freedom of speech and didn’t warrant retaliatory violence.
Then why did the embassy grovelingly apologize for them?
Romney, by accusing the embassy of “sympathizing with those who had breached” the compound, equated moral criticism of the Mohammed movie with support for violence. In so doing, Romney embraced the illiberal Islamist mindset that led to the embassy invasion: To declare a movie offensive is to authorize its suppression.
Um..what?!! Project much, Sally? It was the embassy that declared that movie “offensive,” idiot. Why else would they have apologized for it and prattled on about some alleged hurt feelings Muslims may or may not have actually had?
“The Embassy of the United States issued what appeared to be an apology for American principles,” Romney asserted at the press conference. “It’s a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values. … An apology for America’s values is never the right course.” Lest anyone miss his buzzwords, Romney called the embassy’s comments “a disgraceful statement on the part of our administration to apologize for American values.”
One of the foremost of which is basically unrestricted freedom of speech.
What, exactly, does Romney mean by “American values”? The embassy never apologized for free speech or diplomatic sovereignty. The only American offense it criticized was the movie’s “bigotry” and “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” Does Romney regard this criticism as an “apology for American values”? Is bigotry an American value? Is it weak or un-American to repudiate slurs against Muslims?
National Review will have none of “yes, but” attitudes like Sally’s.
Nobody in the U.S. government, least of all the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acting in his official capacity, should be calling Terry Jones or any other American citizen about the Mohammed spoof. Not only does that elevate Jones to some sort of semi-official status, but spoofs of deities are entirely within our rights and absolutely no business of the government’s. The U.S. government should not be taking an official position on the Mohammed spoof. It is entirely outside the official competence of United States military to be calling private citizens asking them be quiet, especially when they are exercising a constitutional right. Offending people is not an incitement to violence. Otherwise I could get everyone who wears a Che Guevara t-shirt brought up on charges of incitement.
Do I enjoy it when some work of “art,” some movie or some television show blasphemes Jesus Christ or insults and belittles Christians? Of course not. But unlike adherents of the Islamic religion, I’ve figured out a civilized way to deal with it. I simply don’t patronize or stop patronizing those businesses who produce or support such works.
Conversely, if a work of art exalts Christ or displays Christians as they truly are, that work of art, whatever it is, will receive whatever support I can give it. So what William Saletan is essentially saying here is that speech should be suppressed if someone anywhere is angry enough about that speech to kill people and burn things.
Saletan’s mindset basiclly gives the savages editorial control over all forms of expression everywhere which means that my opinions must perfectly accord with theirs or my expression of my opinion is an “abuse” of free speech. I don’t know if Saletan realizes this or not but that is precisely why so many of us made a point of patronizing Chick-fil-A’s during that recent controversy. Continue Reading
Brace yourself for the latest meme to hit the politosphere: the word is now that Paul Ryan has “softened” his views on abortion. Ryan has long opposed abortion in all cases save in a few cases where he believes it may be necessary to save the life of the mother. This means that he has opposed abortion in the case of rape. But in this post-Akin political environment, so the narrative goes, Ryan, in the interests of being a team player, is renouncing his opposition to rape exceptions.
What set this off? First there was the statement made by various Romney campaign spokespeople in the aftermath of Akin’s blunder:
“Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape”
Then there were Ryan’s responses to some reporters who were pressing him on the abortion/rape issue, and focusing particularly on some legislation he previously supported which made distinctions between different types of rape. Ryan said to the reporters:
“I’m proud of my record. Mitt Romney is going to be president and the president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction.”
One the basis of one or both of these statements, major news outlets and some in the Catholic blogosphere are claiming that Ryan has “softened” his views on abortion. Or, to put it in Mark Shea’s words, Ryan has “partly renounce[d]” his position. In response to a comment I made on Mark’s blog, he elaborated further:
I just don’t see how anybody can regard movement from “It is always gravely evil to deliberately kill innocent human life” to “I am opposed to the murder of innocent, unborn children except in cases my boss tells me not to be opposed,” or, “unless I feel it jeopardizes my chances of becoming VP” and maintain that Ryan is not compromising.
It is quite obvious to me that Paul Ryan has not said or done a thing to warrant the attribution of such cynical and selfish motives to him – though I do believe he, like most pro-life politicians and even people such as myself, is willing to compromise on a few points to make significant gains, a point I will elaborate on below. In any case, Mr. Shea goes too far. Because I often find his commentary to be fair-minded (even when I disagree), I am surprised at this rather unjustifiable attack on Ryan’s character but also willing to grant the benefit of the doubt. So I will offer my take on these comments and Mark can reply if he feels it’s worth his time.
We are approaching the most important U.S. Presidential election for us – by “us” I mean theologically orthodox, politically conservative Catholics – possibly since 1960, when the election of the first Catholic president seemed so possible and actually occurred. I’m grateful to be a contributing member of The American Catholic during this election season, which is one of the most widely-read Catholic blogs in the country. This certainly won’t be the last thing I have to say about the presidential race, but rather the first.
When the GOP primary was getting underway, I was a firm Ron Paul supporter. I knew he would not and could not win, but I supported him anyway because I agree with him on most issues, particularly on the role of our government both domestically and abroad. To support Ron Paul was to support the drastic reduction of the federal government, to reject the arrogant assumptions of technocratic management of economic and social issues from the top-down, and to place a vote of confidence in individuals, families, and local governments to solve social and moral problems. I also believe that this is the fundamental political truth of our time: a state governed by militant secularists cannot possibly effect the common good as it is understood by Christians, people of other faiths, or even those secularists who recognize the value of the natural law tradition that has informed the politics of Western civilization since the time of Plato and Aristotle. And yet if we are destined to have secularists in power, we can at least work to limit their power by limiting government as much as possible.
The corollary of the political truth stated above is that one cannot simply discuss “the role of government” in the abstract, without considering who will actually run the state and what values and assumptions they take with them as they create and execute policies with coercive force. Who exactly will be deciding issues that affect your life and mine? Who will have coercive power over you and yours?
More important than what happens to me or my family, though, is how the Church will be affected by those who rule. Even in her most humiliated and rejected state, which the sex scandals have arguably wrought, the Church is still the light of civilization. If her light is extinguished, driven underground, or forced to hide in the shadows, then it is not simply we Catholics who will suffer (though there is certainly nothing wrong with suffering for the faith), but all of society. The Church can and has survived hideous persecution, but it is not clear that society can survive what it will inevitably become without the Church, as well as all of the other religious organizations that will be affected by federal policies, actively involved in public life. Finally, whether society recognizes its debt to the Church or not is irrelevant.
It may be that God has ordained this as a time of cleansing, a time during which the Church must be forced underground and reduced to a smaller size so that she can be tempered and purified. But we cannot know such things with any certainty. What we can know with at least a little more clarity, on the other hand, is what our duties are as Catholic citizens. It is my view that our first priority is to protect the right of the Church to publicly exist. Usually this doesn’t come up because usually the U.S. government does not enact policies that threaten this public existence. But the status quo has changed, and we now face the prospect of an open, vicious anti-Catholic regime in a lame duck Obama presidency. For this reason, I feel obliged as a Catholic to work for the defeat of Obama-Biden in 2012. In practical terms, this means supporting Romeny-Ryan for the Presidency.
The Catholic News Agency published some remarks made by President Obama in Denver yesterday (Aug. 9) regarding the HHS contraception mandate that are so deluded and irrational that it becomes difficult to imagine how this country can possibly continue forward. We are dealing now with a level of dishonesty that is so open and aggressive that reasonable discourse, upon which social peace ultimately rests, is fast becoming impossible.
This is what Obama said about Mitt Romney’s opposition to the mandate:
“It would be up to the employer to decide. Your boss, telling you what’s best for your health, your safety,” the president said.
“I don’t think your boss should get to control the health care that you get. I don’t think that insurance companies should control the care that you get. I don’t think politicians should control the care that you get.”
This is Barack Obama speaking. The man whose healthcare vision is about to be foisted on the American people, in which they will be forced to buy health insurance (by politicians, from insurance companies) or face official penalties, just said that he doesn’t think politicians and insurance companies should control the care that we get.
Some statements are so at odds with reality – in this case, a reality established by Obama himself – that they can only be described as psychotic. The psychosis continues with the idea that without the HHS mandate, employers would, and indeed, have been, deciding what is best for their employee’s health. It never entered Obama’s psychotic mind that a desire not to cover what HHS mandates could, and almost always does, revolve around the employer’s desire to avoid something he finds morally objectionable, in which case it has absolutely nothing to do with dictating employee’s health. No, when a man in a position of relative power, the employer, decides what he will and will not pay for his employees to have, it is necessarily an aggressive and unjust exercise of power by the master over the subordinate in the psychotic mind of the president.
It doesn’t matter that on every corner of every major street of every town and city in the United States is a CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid or local drug store that is brimming with contraceptives that are legal for anyone to purchase. It doesn’t matter that there are clinics that provide abortions and sterilizations for those who want them. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t a single employer in the nation that can legally force people to work for them and thus deny them the opportunity to work for someone who is willing to offer a plan that covers such things. All of these conditions, which collectively taken together, any sane man would recognize as a condition of freedom (at least relatively) as far as health and reproductive choices are concerned, mean nothing to Obama. They mean nothing to the hordes of bleating drones who have dutifully towed the party line on this issue either.
The layers of insanity go even deeper. Obama himself has created the conditions under which businesses with 50 or more employees must eventually provide health insurance (by 2014). He has forced this responsibility onto the employers of America. He then proceeds not only to insult them with his “you didn’t build that” remarks (some potential business owners won’t be building anything thanks to Obamacare), but to prohibit them from exercising their preferences, moral or otherwise, in how they go about doing it. And yet to hear Obama speak, one might think that employers themselves demanded Obamacare just so they could have power over their employees that they didn’t have before, and that the HHS mandate had to exist for this reason. This isn’t just a false picture of reality, but a deranged one.
Finally, Obama speaks as if employers making decisions about what they will cover or not cover in their health plans is something new, as opposed to the way it has been since health plans came into existence. All this time, apparently, bosses have been dictating to workers what is best for their health by not paying for their condoms and vasectomies. Obama has now freed us from the tyranny of having to pay for certain things we want with our own money. People who view reality this way can’t be reasoned with by people who don’t.
Looking at Obama’s recent rhetoric, a phrase keeps emerging. He keeps referring to America as “one American family”, especially when there is a tragedy in the news. Some commentators are even beginning to see him as a father figure (try not to wretch if you watch the clip). There is no doubt in my mind that he seems himself as the father of the nation, laying down rules for some of his more stubborn children, insisting that they share their toys with one another. That is how he sees the businessmen of America. And as for the religious conservatives, they are the cranky old uncle who is grudgingly tolerated but also increasingly despised by the more content members of Barack’s family. In neither case is there respect for what they do or what they represent. There is no respect for them as autonomous, rational beings with their own convictions. They’re just stubborn children or senile geriatrics, they aren’t mature and rational like Obama and his friends. He isn’t even a politician, not in his own psychotic mind. He is self-excluded from that list of people who want to “control what healthcare we get.” He isn’t controlling us; knowing us better than we know ourselves, he is guiding us, in spite of ourselves. He is our father.
Well the above video from the Romney campaign removes all doubt that the HHS Mandate is going to be front and center in the fall campaign. Obama was campaigning with Sandra Fluke yesterday, as Ed Morrissey at Hot Air details here. Obama’s war on the Catholic Church, and his attempt to promote schism within the Church, may play a decisive role in the swing states like Ohio that will decide this election.
Faithful readers of The American Catholic will recall the incident, recounted here, when President Obama chose to snub Lech Walesa, the near legendary former President of Poland, who, as the leader of Solidarity, along with Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan, sounded the death knell of European Communism, as being “too political”. Yesterday Walesa got “too political” again:
Two months ago, President Obama’s team refused to host former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize Lech Walesa at the White House, claiming that he was too “political” to participate in the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony.
Today, Walesa — an anti-Communist freedom fighter — got political. “Gov. Romney, get your success, be successful!” Walesa said in Poland during a meeting with the former governor. “Poland and many other countries will certainly do their best for the United States to restore its leadership position. And after our conversation, I’m quite confident that you will be successful in doing that,” The Washington Post quoted him as saying.
The endorsement comes two months after Obama refused to host Walesa at the White House. The Polish government had requested that Walesa receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom that was posthumously awarded to Jan Karski, who served in the Polish Underground during World War II. Continue Reading
From a townhall meeting in Ohio today. Go to 6:49 in the above video where Romney speaks about the HHS Mandate as a violation of religious freedom, and he says we are all Catholics today. If Mitt Romney keeps this up I will be voting for him as well as voting against Obama, and I didn’t think I would be saying that in this campaign.
I have always found Mitt Romney to be a fairly indifferent orator, but he was on fire today, attacking the remarks made by Obama that Paul blogged about here.
President Barack Obama‘s campaign officials are trying to minimize the damage caused by his campaign-trail comments that downplayed entrepreneurship.
The push-back came midday when Obama’s press secretary, Ben LaBolt, tweeted out that “Romney apparently set to launch false attack. … Get the facts.”
LaBolt was trying to head off Romney’s new focus on Obama’s July 14 speech where he argued that entrepreneurs are dependent on government for success.
“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” Obama told the crowd, while urging tax increases and a larger role for government.
Romney’s strongest response came shortly after LaBolt’s tweet.
“I’m convinced he wants Americans to be ashamed of success … [but] I don’t want government to take credit for what individuals accomplish,” Romney told a cheering crowd in swing-state Pennsylvania.
“The idea to say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza, that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonald’s, that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft … is not just foolishness, it is insulting to every entrepreneur,” Romney told the July 17 crowd in Irwin, Pa. Continue Reading
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scheduled a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser at the home of Phil Frost, the executive of the company that makes the Morning After Pill, on Wednesday night. Plan B One-Step is produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Frost’s company.
Well I guess if “Catholic” universities can honor the likes of Kathleen Sebelius, we shouldn’t be too upset when “pro-life” candidates go groveling for money from people who make pills that kill unborn children. After all, Romney desperately needs money to not air ads that criticize Obama too harshly, so we should be forgiving of this slight oversight.
In all seriousness, what made this story even more sickening was the response from an individual at Catholic Vote.org:
Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, didn’t seem troubled by the fundraiser saying, “What matters is whether a President Romney will end all taxpayer support for abortion-inducing drugs, repeal unconstitutional mandates that force private institutions to cover such drugs, and whether he will make progress in building a culture of life.”
I can understand why pro-lifers are willing to swallow their pride and back Mitt Romney over Barack Obama. There’s no possible way for a Romney administration to be worse than Obama, goes the thinking. Having set such an incredibly high bar for themselves, one woud like to believe that pro-life groups would still hold their candidate’s feet to the fire. There’s no excuse for Romney associating himself with those who profit off of the death of innocents. It is even more inexcusable for Catholic groups to completely shrug off this affair. I have to agree with Jay’s assessment that people of Burch’s ilk are nothing more than a “Republican-first-pro-life-second political hacks.”
This isn’t about whether Romney is preferable to Obama, so save your breath there. If this is the kind of gutless pushback Romney is going to receive as a candidate, why would anyone expect him to respect pro-lifers once he is elected president? You can vote for him if that is what your conscience dictates, but please don’t make a fool of yourself by turning a blind eye to his misdeeds now, because you’re just laying out the carpet right on your back for President Romney to walk all over.
Rick Santorum, the candidate who I supported in the primaries, has endorsed Romney in an e-mail to his supporters. I agree with every word of his email:
Thank you again for all you did as one of my strongest and committed supporters. Your belief in our campaign helped us start a movement of Americans who believe deeply that our best days are ahead as long as we fight to strengthen our families, unshackle our economy and promote freedom here and around the world. Karen and I will be forever grateful for the support, kindness and commitment you showed us, as well as our children, over these last months.
On Friday, Governor Romney came to Pittsburgh for an over-hour long one-on-one meeting. The conversation was candid, collegial and focused on the issues that you helped me give voice to during our campaign; because I believe they are essential ingredients to not only winning this fall, but turning our country around.
While the issue of my endorsement did not come up, I certainly have heard from many of you who have weighed in on whether or not I should issue a formal endorsement. Thank you for your counsel, it has been most helpful. However, I felt that it was completely impossible for me to even consider an endorsement until after a meeting to discuss issues critical to those of us who often feel our voices are not heard by the establishment: social conservatives, tea-party supporters, lower and middle income working families.
Clearly without the overwhelming support from you all, I never would have won 11 states and over 3 million votes, and we would not have won more counties than all the other candidates combined. I can assure you that even though I am no longer a candidate for president, I will still continue to fight every day for our shared values – the values that made America the greatest country in the history of the world.
During our meeting I felt a deep responsibility to assess Governor Romney’s commitment to addressing the issues most important to conservatives, as well his commitment to ensuring our appropriate representation in a Romney administration. Continue Reading
Mitt Romney aka the Weathervane has won, as expected, the DC, Maryland and Wisconsin primaries. The Republican nomination isn’t over, but the fat lady is definitely approaching the microphone. Now I had thought that the Weathervane has only one strength as a candidate: not Obama. However, Stuart Rothenberg today hit upon another strength that I had not considered:
Despite all his conservative rhetoric — on taxes, government spending, traditional marriage, immigration, abortion and health care — conservatives aren’t buying it. They believe that Romney is simply pandering to them because he knows that is what he needs to do to lock up the Republican nomination.
Whether it is his multiple positions over the years on abortion, his support for an individual mandate in Massachusetts, his Mormon faith or simply his profile as a wealthy, impeccably dressed businessman, the most conservative Republican voters (many of whom are evangelicals) don’t believe that he is a passionate conservative who is ready to take on the political establishment.
What’s interesting about Romney and his supporters is that, despite his conservative rhetoric, moderates and country club conservatives continue to support his candidacy.
Think about it. Romney, who stresses his opposition to abortion, talks tough on immigration and rules out a tax increase even to help cut the deficit, continues to get the support of pragmatic conservatives who reject former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s ideological rigidity, thought Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) was too conservative and viewed Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a bomb thrower.
Clearly, establishment Republicans also don’t believe Romney when he talks about his views and his agenda. If they did, they probably would feel about him the same way they feel about Santorum or Bachmann.
Romney’s great asset is that these voters figure he is merely pandering to evangelicals and the most conservative element of the GOP when he talks about cultural issues, immigration and taxes.
The bottom line, of course, is that nobody — not his critics and not his allies — really believes Mitt Romney.
The Washington Post’s Dan Balz pointed out to me recently that this makes Romney something like the opposite of what Barack Obama was in 2008.
Four years ago, Obama, who had only a thin legislative record and was known to have voted “present” on a number of important votes in the Illinois Legislature, was so ill-formed in the minds of voters that many could project their own hopes and dreams onto him, giving him considerable appeal among a wide range of voters.
People liked Obama, so they figured out a way to find themselves in agreement with him — even if they had no reason to believe that he really held the views they ascribed to him.
The question is whether, in November, Romney may be in a similar position as Obama was or whether the fact that nobody actually believes Romney will destroy his presidential bid completely.
Is Romney such a mass of contradictions that voters can look at him and project their positions on him, allowing them to support him? Or is his credibility so shot that too many voters will simply conclude that they can’t trust him, making it impossible for them to support him? Continue Reading
Santorum needed a big victory today in Louisiana, and he got it. The polls closed at 8:00 PM and the networks called the Pelican state for Santorum immediately. According to the exit polls Santorum won every demographic except those earning over 200k who went for Romney. Vote percentages look like they will be in the range of 46-28, with Romney taking the 28. As in Illinois, Gingrich was a non-factor. This race is supposed to be all over according to most pundits, but I guess someone neglected to tell the good voters of Louisiana.
I don’t often call-back prior posts, but now I am going to do it twice in one day. Yesterday I discussed a Jennifer Rubin article that criticized Santorum for, among other things, failing to surround himself with a troupe of advisers to help him stay on track as a candidate.
Meet Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom. Earlier today he had this exchange on CNN:
HOST: Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?
ERIC FEHRNSTROM: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.
People have been having a lot of fun with this comment on twitter, and it took about ten minutes for this to make its way into a political ad:
Maybe we should say former Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstron.
Gaius Gracchus proposed a grain law. The people were delighted with it because it provided an abundance of food without work. The good men, however, fought against it because they thought the masses would be attracted away from hard work and toward idleness, and they saw the state treasury would be exhausted.
Cicero, Speech in Defense of Publius Sestius
Faithful readers of this blog know that I am not a big fan of Romney aka the Weathervane, to say the least, but he is right on target here. The ever broadening expectation of many in this country for “freebies” from Uncle Sucker is destroying American pride, self-respect and our economy. Romney’s total rejection of this mentality, as exemplified by the heckler’s demand for “free” contraceptives, impresses me more due to it being impromptu and also being in front of a somewhat hostile college audience. If he is the nominee, he will need many such moments to attract doubting conservatives to the polls. Some, like my good friend Jay Anderson of Pro Ecclesia, will not vote for him under any circumstances. Others can be persuaded. He has a long way to go to assuage my many doubts about him, and to make my vote for him in November if he is the nominee something other than a purely anti-Obama vote, but this is a start.
By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O’er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees,
and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.
From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commercial tree,
turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.
When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue,
there were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.
Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation’s glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln’s name appears,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.
As was tweeted by a few individuals, it is remarkable that a conservative, Catholic, Republican – who largely rejects JFK’s sentiments on religion in the public square to boot – won primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. It’s also becoming evident that exit polling means squat with regards to Rick Santorum.
Mitt Romney continues to be the weakest front-runner imaginable. It was funny to listen to John Batchelor and his parade of insiders smugly dismiss Santorum’s victories and chat away about the inevitability of Romney’s nomination while Santorum was winning two southern states in which Romney finished third. Yes, Romney still has an edge, and with victories in American Samoa and Hawaii Santorum’s delegate edge last night was minimal. But Romney has far from sealed the deal.
Speaking of Romney, his gaggle of supporters truly marked themselves by their utter gracelessness in defeat. As Mark Levin said, Romney supporters are quickly becoming as obnoxious as Ron Paul supporters. It’s true that partisans of all of the candidates can be particularly blind to their own candidate’s faults and to exaggerate the foibles of the others, but Romney supporters in all corners of the internet have been particularly bitter and have done little to actually sway others to their side. What might explain this phenomenon is that unlike the others, Romney voters aren’t particularly enamored with their candidate and are instead motivated by either dislike of the other candidates and/or fear that any other candidate would lose the general election. So they don’t really have any convincing arguments to make on behalf of Romney, but instead they kick and stomp their feet every time Romney fails to win a primary. I would suggest that calling those of us who don’t vote for Romney a bunch of hayseed hicks, and suggesting that social cons be banished from consideration this election might just not be a winning strategy. Just saying.
As for Newt, there is absolutely no compelling reason for him to stay in this race. He won his home state, the state neighboring his home state, and has otherwise been a distant consideration save for the states he lost last night in the south. Rick Santorum already had a slight lead in Louisiana, and I think that last night’s victories just about clinches the state for him (though that’s a rather dangerous prediction considering the wildness of this primary season thus far). That being said, his reasoning for staying in is not all that outrageous. He suggested that he didn’t want Romney to concentrate all of his fire on Santorum, something I said not that long ago. And while he has no realistic shot to win the nomination before or even during the Republican convention – is a brokered convention really going to nominate the guy with the third most delegates coming in? – he might be able to prevent Romney from securing the necessary number of delegates, and that seems to be his primary goal. After all, not all of his supporters will switch to Santorum. By staying in the race he is hurting Santorum, but he’s also hurting Romney by picking off a few delegates. Take away Gingrich from last night, and both Santorum and Romney would have won more delegates. That would have inched Romney closer to the nomination.
On the other hand, I don’t suppose Gingrich contributors are going to be all that enthused to continue propping up a candidate who has no intention of actually winning, and is instead motivated by nothing more than spite. Also, as was discussed last night, even if Romney fails to secure the precious 1,044 delegates by the time Tampa rolls around, he’ll still be the favorite at a brokered convention if he is significantly ahead of Santorum. There is no magical candidate that will emerge from the ashes of a brokered convention. It’s either going to be Romney or it’s going to be Santorum. Every delegate that Santorum doesn’t win from here until the convention is just as good as a delegate for Romney under a brokered convention scenario. If Santorum remains fairly close in the delegate count while neither candidate has the necessary majority, then Gingrich can play kingmaker at the convention. He would be well-advised to drop out sooner than later if he wants to achieve his twin objection of derailing Romney and having a hand in deciding the eventual nominee.
The divide between the truth of the election results and the punditry of the mainstream media is seemingly growing every major primary election night. Perhaps none more than the recent Super Tuesday results, especially those of Ohio. How could it possibly be that Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator won the youth vote, all voters under 44, and the married women vote? If one listens to the mainstream media, especially that of NBC, MSNBC and the New York Times one would think the only people voting for Rick Santorum would be rust belt pre-Vatican II ordained Catholic priests, and an amalgamation of southern characters such as Jed Clampett, Mr. Haney, as well as some assorted extras from the set of Deliverance. However, the true exit poll results tell us something quite different.
The mainstream media seemed shocked that Rick Santorum didn’t win the Catholic vote and won the Evangelical Vote as well as the others I indicated earlier; young people and married women. I want to delve into the nitty grtty of the statistics and demographics in a few paragraphs but first let me give you some background on those in the heartland who became liberals even though they grew up in GOP circles and folks like myself who became conservative after growing up in a Democratic household.
I grew up in a working class steel and railroad town in Ohio. My family, like many around us was Democrat in party affiliation and social conservative in our mindset. I was educated in Catholic schools (during the 1970s & 80s) and though it was the warm fuzzy era of Catholic education, our nuns and lay teachers never completely bought into the liberal model that was so the rage in cool, upscale areas. Continue Reading
Well, all of the remaining candidates in the Republican fight for the presidential nomination had something to brag about, and to worry about, after last night.
1. Rick Santorum:
Brag About: Major bragging rights go to Santorum. He battled to almost a tie in Ohio, after being outspent four to one by Mitt Romney, in a truly remarkable demonstration that fervent volunteers can largely negate a money advantage. His wins in Oklahoma, North Dakota and Tennessee demonstrated that where the Republican party is strongest, unless there is a substantial Mormon population., Santorum also tends to be strongest, and that he has an appeal to the Republican base that is not limited to geography. He came in a strong second in Alaska, and weak seconds in Idaho and Massachusetts.
Worry About: He did not win in Ohio and thus any momentum from a near defeat in the Buckeye State will be much less. Gingrich is giving no sign that he is leaving the race and his vote totals deprive Santorum of victory after victory.
2. Mitt Romney, a/k/a the Weathervane:
Brag About: He dodged a bullet by winning, barely, the big prize of Ohio last night. He won overwhelmingly in Massachusetts. Toss in victories in Virginia, Alaska, Vermont and Idaho and it is impossible to argue, as much as I would like to, that Super Tuesday was not a very good night for the Weathervane. He ran a strong second in Oklahoma, and weak seconds in Tennessee, Georgia and North Dakota. He continues to amass the most delegates and to be the clear favorite to get the nomination.
Worry About: Unless his money mud machine is fully deployed, the Weathervane has a great deal of difficulty in winning against a strong candidate, the prime example last night being Ohio where he eked out a one point victory with only a four to one spending advantage. His victory in Virginia, where 40% of Republicans voted for Doctor Delusional since he was the only not Romney on the ballot, is also troubling for the Weathervane as it shows the depth of the anti-Romney sentiment among rank and file Republicans in a key state in the fall, and is mirrored throughout the nation. Continue Reading
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.
What could have been a very bad night for Mitt Romney, a/k/a The Weathervane, turned out to be mixed. He won handily in Arizona, a state none of his opponents seriously contested. In Michigan he dodged a bullet by eking out a 3 point victory over Santorum The problem for the Weathervane is that Michigan should have been one of his strongest states, a state where his father was governor, and which he won by nine points in the Republican primary in 2008. Outspending Santorum three to one, he barely won a victory in a state which should have been his going away. Ironically he owed his victory to the fact that his old nemesis Gingrich stayed in and deprived Santorum of a winning margin. Continue Reading
Santorum has some savvy ad people in his campaign if this ad is any indication. Having the buttoned down Romney in a Rambo spoof is hilarious and will stick in the minds of viewers. It also hits on Romney’s one trick pony campaign: ceaselessly go negative because his flip-flops over the years make it impossible to portray himself, with a straight face, as a candidate with convictions about anything except that he should be president. Bravo Santorum campaign! Continue Reading
A brilliant piece by Ross Douthat in the New York Times explaining why Romney a/k/a the Weathervane, is running into so many problems in dealing with the challenged posed by Santorum:
But Santorum’s advantage is that he can get to Romney’s right and to his left at once. On the one hand, Santorum isn’t responsible for a health care bill that looks an awful lot like “Obamacare” and he doesn’t have a long list of social-issue flip-flops in his past. This makes his candidacy a plausible rallying point for the voters who previously turned Bachmann and Cain and the pre-debate Rick Perry into conservative flavors of the month.
At the same time, though, Santorum’s persona, his record and his platform all have a populist tinge that plays well in states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where swing voters tend to be socially conservative but economically middle-of-the-road. (Hence the Michigan poll that showed him leading among independents and Democrats who plan to vote in that state’s open primary.)
This means that Santorum can play the same anti-Bain, anti-rich-guy, blue-collar card that Gingrich tried to play in New Hampshire and South Carolina – but subtly, implicitly, in ways that don’t make him sound like he belongs in Occupy Wall Street instead of the Republican primary.
So what script should Romney choose as a response? Many conservatives have urged him to rebrand himself with primary voters by embracing a more rigorously right-wing policy agenda – endorsing Paul Ryan’s budget more explicitly, outlining a more aggressively supply-side approach to tax policy or even a pure flat tax, echoing furious attacks on the Federal Reserve by Ron Paul and Gingrich, and so on. Continue Reading
Interesting. I had assumed that National Review was in the tank for Romney. However, this morning the editors have called for Gingrich to drop out and endorse Santorum. They follow this up with a blast at Romney:
We hope so. Gingrich’s verbal and intellectual talents should make him a resource for any future Republican president. But it would be a grave mistake for the party to make someone with such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity its presidential nominee. It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.
We hope so. Gingrich’s verbal and intellectual talents should make him a resource for any future Republican president. But it would be a grave mistake for the party to make someone with such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity its presidential nominee. It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.
Santorum has been conducting himself rather impressively in his moments of triumph and avoiding characteristic temptations. He is doing his best to keep the press from dismissing him as merely a “social-issues candidate.” His recent remark that losing his Senate seat in 2006 taught him the importance of humility suggests an appealing self-awareness. And he has rightly identified the declining stability of middle-class families as a threat to the American experiment, even if his proposed solutions are poorly designed. But sensible policies, important as they are, are not the immediate challenge for his candidacy. Proving he can run a national campaign is.
Romney remains the undramatic figure at the center of the primaries’ drama. Lack of enthusiasm for him has set it all in motion. Romney is trying to win the nomination by pulverizing his rivals. His hope is that enthusiasm will follow when he takes on Obama in the summer and fall. But his attacks on Santorum have been lame, perhaps because they are patently insincere. (Does anyone believe that Romney truly thinks poorly of Santorum’s votes to raise the debt ceiling?) Continue Reading
Rick Santorum’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference convention this week. According to The Hill, the impact of the speech on the conservative audience was electric. Go here to read the story. Coming off his trifecta wins on Tuesday, Santorum is now neck and neck with Romney in national polls, and is beginning to see poll results where he outpolls Romney against Obama. We may be witnessing one of the greatest comebacks in American political history. Continue Reading
Last night in Missouri Rick Santorum finally got to go one on one against Romney, since Gingrich did not bother to get on the ballot, and the results were devastating to the Weathervane. Santorum won two to one, garnering 55% of the vote to 25% for Romney, with Ron Paul bringing up the rear with 12%. Santorum won every county in the state. The Romney camp will claim that since this was a non-binding beauty contest and that Romney did little campaigning in the state, this is meaningless. Rubbish! What does it say about the Romney campaign and its appeal to Republican voters that they lost this badly in a state that has been a bellweather of the nation in most Presidential elections?
However, Missouri was not the end of the bad news for Romney last night. In the Minnesota caucuses Santorum came in first with a stunning 45% and second was, wait for it, Ron Paul with 27%. Romney, who won the caucuses by 20 points in 2008, came in third at 17% with Gingrich being Tail-end-Newt with 11%
To complete the trifecta of woe for the Weathervane last night, we turn to Colorado, a state Romney was supposed to win according to the polls. In the caucuses, Santorum came in first with 40%, Romney took second at 35%, Gingrich a very distant third at 13%, just edging out Paul at 12%.
So, the night couldn’t have been better for Santorum or worse for Romney, but what does it all mean? Continue Reading
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.
Fresh off his Florida triumph, Mitt Romney, a/k/a the Weathervane, decided to spend the day helping out his adversaries Obama and Gingrich. The video above with Romney saying that he doesn’t care about the poor because they have a safety net can be played almost uncut in Democrat attack ads this fall if Romney is the nominee. Then Romney finished the day by sending a slap across the face to economic conservatives: Continue Reading
Coming out of his strong victory in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich had a golden opportunity in the Sunshine State to deal a deathblow to the Romney campaign. Defeat Romney a/k/a the Weathervane in a large state like Florida, and the main rationale of the Romney campaign, electability, would be shattered. If Gingrich had won the state he would haven been the clear frontrunner and Romney would have been wondering whether he would be too old to try again in 2016. Instead, Romney has won, and appears to have won strongly. What happened? Continue Reading
I haven’t written much of anything about the GOP primary contest, despite the fact I have been following it closely, in part because I found myself so incredibly dissatisfied with all the candidates. However, as the field narrows and appears to be actually competitive, and various people I respect line up behind candidates, it seemed like it was time to come out of the closet as something I’m not very enthusiastic about being: a Romney supporter.
This is not because I’m particularly fond of Romney. I don’t trust him a great deal, I’m not clear how solid any of his principles are other than his conviction that he should be president, and I don’t find him particularly inspiring. As various candidates have had their five minutes of popularity for the achievement of not being Romney, I kept hoping that one of them would manage to pull ahead and show some stature. I was particularly hopeful about Rick Perry, but he just didn’t seem able to run a campaign.
So why support Romney?
I’ll start with the positive. While I’m not enthusiastic about Romney, I think that most of what the GOP needs in order to oust Obama this year is simply a credible alternative who doesn’t scare people too much. Given how bad the economy is and how unpopular some elements of his policy have been, “not Obama” can be a solidly popular candidate by that virtue alone. Continue Reading
After a recount, the vote tally from the Iowa Caucuses show that Rick Santorum defeated Mitt Romney by a whopping 34 votes. Previously Romney had been declared the winner by eight votes.
In the grand scheme of thing, this means little. It doesn’t change the delegate vote one iota. It does mean that the talking point that Romney won both Iowa and New Hampshire needs to come to a halt. It is funny to read stories about this development suggesting that the Iowa caucuses were a split a decision, yet when Romney was considered to have won there was no such talk. He might as well have won by 8,000 votes judging by some of what was said in the aftermath.
I do note that there seems to be a lot of confusion about the vote tally.
The deadline for final certification of the results was Wednesday. Party officials said eight precincts failed to follow the rules and fill out the official forms on caucus night, meaning those results can never be certified, while other precincts turned in forms that didn’t meet the legal requirements.
And yet we continue to allow this state to have over-sized influence on the nomination process. Are we prepared to just ignore Iowa yet?
Romney, a/k/a the Weathervane, is a lousy politician. I do not mean that in a pejorative sense but in a descriptive sense. Being a politician is a job that requires a certain set of skills and abilities. The Weathervane is giving every sign of not being very good at being a politician. Current evidence of this includes the following:
1. The Bain Mess-The Weathervane had to know that the Obama campaign would use his work at Bain Capital against him, but he seemed completely flat-flooted when Gingrich raised the issue. The responses from the Romney campaign thus far have been lacklustre.
2. Tax Returns-Did the Weathervane really think that he could go through this campaign without releasing his tax returns? Now he says that he will release his current tax return sometime in the Spring. He has also sheepishly stated that his tax rate is around 15% due to his income largely being from investments. His tax returns should have been released months ago. By now they would be an old issue and harmless to him. Instead, his stubborness about releasing the tax returns has transformed a non or minor issue into one that could hurt him badly. Idiocy.
3. Out of Touch-Talking about his speaking engagements in 2010 and early 2011 the Weathervane said that he made very little money on them. The very little money was 374K. Romney might as well hang a sign from his neck stating “out of touch rich guy”. Continue Reading
People are crying crocodile tears about Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry attacking Mitt’s record with Bain Capital. While I think some of the rhetoric has been excessive, I also don’t think this line of attack is completely out of line. As conservatives we tend to reflexively defend all market institutions without first considering that some institutions are a little shady. Moreover, I find it incredibly amusing that people are using this as a cudgel against Gingrich and Perry when Romney was the one who attacked Perry from the left on social security and basically charged him with wanting to take people’s social security away. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Whether or not you think this line of attack on Romney is fair, Mitt is going to have to come up with a better line of defense than this:
On the heels of his decisive victory in the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney took the attacks on his private sector record used by GOP rivals and turned them against President Obama.
Romney’s critics have accused him of destroying jobs in order to increase profits for his investment firm, Bain Capital, but speaking Wednesday on CBS, Romney said that what he did was no different from the Obama administration’s auto industry bailouts.
“In the general election I’ll be pointing out that the president took the reins at General Motors and Chrysler – closed factories, closed dealerships laid off thousands and thousands of workers – he did it to try to save the business,” Romney said Wednesday on CBS.
This is a preemptive strike against a potential line of attack in the general election, but does Mitt really want to imply that what he did was not much different than what Obama did with the bailouts? He’s already got Romneycare hanging around his neck, and now he’s volunteering a comparison with President Obama that most conservatives are not going to find flattering.
Hey, Mitt, you haven’t sewn up the nomination quite yet. You might want to keep that in mind before opening your mouth again.
Rasmussen is first out of the gates with a national poll of the Republican candidates following Iowa. Santorum has risen 17 points to 21% with Romney at 29%. Gingrich is at 16% and Ron Paul is at 12%. Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry are both at 4%. Romney seems incapable of moving out of the twenties in any of the national polls on the Republican nomination. Santorum has a lot of room to grow, and Romney seems to have hit a firm ceiling for his support in regard to the nomination race.