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