It’s Not Cooperation with Evil If One Side is Not Evil

Sunday, November 4, AD 2012

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.

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25 Responses to It’s Not Cooperation with Evil If One Side is Not Evil

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

    Cardinal Ratzinger

  • Thanks Don. I just put that in the main post – meant to originally then somehow managed to overlook it.

  • Thomas Kempis says always vote for the lesser of two evils in his Imitation of Christ.

  • Gordon essentially argues that “If the Pope insists that access to health care is a universal right than it logically follows that a complicated legislative initiative mandating that companies provide certain levels of insurance is something that all Catholics are morally obliged to support. ”

    The flagrant sleight of hand between universal insurance and universal healthcare really gets me mad and particularly because Repubs and even conservatives so seldom call it out. Obamacare and in fact any socialized medical system as in the Soviet Union or the Uk etc etc explicitly state that Health CARE will not be equally available. Ironically It is most true in the US which doesn’t mandate universal health insurance but does make every effort to provide Health Care even in the absence of insurance. Just read Ezekiel Emanuel or Tom Daschle (Obama’s medical gurus) about how millions of people are going to be denied health care because of age or cost or current medical condition unless euthanasia is now defined as “medical care”. Anyone who uses Insurance as a synonym for care as Mr Gordon does is not worth reading. Any insurance program is merely that “horror of horrors” to such individuals, a voucher system. If I buy insurance I merely have a promissory note and expectation that I can use my insurance voucher when I need it. If the govt is broke or feels it wants to fund something else they will start creating ex post facto conditions which will effectively negate the insurance. They will delay health care indefinitely without formally denying it. I don’t see any sentence in Mr Gordon’s specious arguments which even touches upon these health care issues which currently exist in other countries. (If he does mention it somewhere else then it doesn’t seem to bother him unduly since he doesn’t emphasize it here.)

  • Yes, I don’t really see the problem here. I believe there are other statements by Ratzinger indicating that one’s motives for voting are really what are most morally relevant.

    I think if you prioritize the issues correctly and vote rationally as a Catholic, Mitt Romney is an obvious choice:

    Obama is assaulting the Church.

    Nothing can be more important to a Catholic than the structural integrity of the Church.

    Stopping Obama’s assault ought to therefore be the number one priority.

    Electing Mitt Romney stops Obama’s assault.

    Ergo, vote for Mitt.

    A vote for some other candidate is fine if you live in a state where your presidential vote doesn’t matter. Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Socialist, whatever (some of those aren’t options for “serious” Catholics, by the way). I live in CA, so I can do that if I want and it makes no difference.

    If you live in a battleground state, though, you really do have more of a moral obligation upon you. A vote for Obama is a vote not only for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, among other moral atrocities, but also for a continued direct assault on the Catholic Church. A vote for a third party candidate or no vote at all is sheer petulance, in my opinion, at least under those circumstances. And a vote for Romney is not necessarily an endorsement of Romney – it can be a vote of no confidence in the current regime, which I think it will be for most people anyway.

    So consider that even if you believe some of Romney’s positions are “evil”, and on foreign policy they may be in my opinion at least objectively (but NOT on economics, where I think he’s just what the country needs), consider that your reasons for voting as you do also matter.

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  • I have a question regarding which I don’t see much discussions although I remember reading this in an article by the Holy Father.

    Isn’t there a difference in voting for a candidate who has taken a position, say intrinsically evil, but voting for that person not for that cause but for other causes which are critical? In this case it is not a directly being ‘complicit’ but rather a different degree, if you will. Please explain.

  • “Now it’s interesting that Gordon uses the term “serious Catholic” because it echoes something my pastor said this morning in his homily, and it’s what inspired me to bother writing this refutation of Gordon’s post. I am paraphrasing, but he said that no morally serious Catholic would claim that any party or politician perfectly represents Church teaching. On the other hand, a morally serious Catholic should notice when one party or candidate repeatedly takes positions at odds with Church teaching.”

    Thank you for this post. When I read something that objects to a practical approach to voting in this imperfect world with veiled innuendo about what Mitt Romney may do, a little of one or the other of the seven capital sins pops out through the stated effort to be so loyal to the Gospel. Anger, pride, or envy? Unknown, but there is something that brings to mind the Beatitude:

    Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

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  • Because his vote does less than it could to prevent the largest portion of votes from possibly ending up with the candidate championing the gravest evils with the most vigor, is Mark Gordon at Vox Nova commiting a sin of omission?

  • May I recall some words of Cardinal Ratzinger, as he then was, addressed to the Catholic members of the Bundestag on 26 November 1981

    “It is of course always difficult to adopt the sober approach that does what is possible and does not cry enthusiastically after the impossible; the voice of reason is not as loud as the cry of unreason. The cry for the large-scale has the whiff of morality; in contrast limiting oneself to what is possible seems to be renouncing the passion of morality and adopting the pragmatism of the faint-hearted. But, in truth, political morality consists precisely of resisting the seductive temptation of the big words by which humanity and its opportunities are gambled away. It is not the adventurous moralism that wants itself to do God’s work that is moral, but the honesty that accepts the standards of man and in them does the work of man. It is not refusal to compromise but compromise that, in political things, is the true morality.”

  • Good Lord, the Obama administration is attacking the Catholic church & he won’t vote for Romney. Do some research on Romney as I did, a very good & moral man.

  • Henry,

    From the letter Don linked to above:

    [N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.

    In other words you can vote for a pro-choice candidate despite their position so long as there are proportionate reasons. I don’t think advocacy for single payer, for example, would be a proportionate reason.

  • “If you live in a battleground state, though, you really do have more of a moral obligation upon you… A vote for a third party candidate or no vote at all is sheer petulance, in my opinion, at least under those circumstances.”

    If you say so.

  • “Isn’t there a difference in voting for a candidate who has taken a position, say intrinsically evil, but voting for that person not for that cause but for other causes which are critical? In this case it is not a directly being ‘complicit’ but rather a different degree, if you will. Please explain.”

    As Paul point out above, this relates to the problem of cooperation. Quickly, we live in a world where it is unlikely that we would be able to do anything if we were stopped by possible evil outcomes. Moral theologians have long recognized that under many (?most) circumstances, it would be impossible for someone to do good without being involved to some extent in evil. Along with the principles of double effect, the principles of cooperation were developed in the Catholic moral tradition as a way of helping those in the world to discern how to properly avoid, limit, or distance themselves from evil (especially intrinsically evil actions) in order to avoid a worse evil or to achieve an important good.

    For example, one works in a hospital as a nurse. Abortions occur in the hospital. Does the nurse working there make her involved in evil? It depends. If she agrees with abortion and works there either to support the hospital’s mission in providing abortions (even if she is not directly invovled in abortion procedures) then she is involved in formal cooperation. This is necessarily cooperation in evil and makes here complicit in the evil.

    But what if she does not agree with the abortions. This will change the analysis from formal cooperation to what is called material cooperation. However, just because she does not agree with abortion does not get her off the hook. What if she is an OR nurse and assists with the abortion procedure. Then this is immediate material cooperation. Her assistance is directly necessary to performing the procedure and, even if she does not agree with the procedure, her actions are necessary to the procedure being performed. Immediate material cooperation is also always illicit.

    Now we get a little more complicated. What if her actions are not directly necessary to the procedure taking place. Say she is a recovery room nurse and does not agree with abortion but is called upon to take care of women after abortions. The procedure did not require her help to take place but she is indirectly helping in that if there were no post-op care the procedure could not take place. This gets to what is called mediate material cooperation – the situation where one does not agree with the intention of what was done (in this case abortion) but still assists indirectly.

    This is mediate material cooperation and the licitness of this depends on three factors (tired yet?) Mediate material cooperation is morally licit according to a proper proportionality between the goods to be protected or the evils avoided, on one hand, and the evil of the principal agent’s act, on the other. The graver the evil to which the cooperator contributes, the graver the good sought or the evil avoided must be. Second, The reason for cooperation must be proportionate to the causal proximity of the cooperator’s action and the principal agent’s action. That is, is there sufficient reason to be invovled given the evil involved.

    Mediate moral cooperation is further distinguished between proximate and remote. The distinction between proximate and remote refers respectively to mediate material cooperation that has a direct causal influence on the act of the principal agent (proximate) and that which has an indirect causal influence (remote). So in the case of the recovery room nurse she is involved in proximate mediate cooperation. The care of the woman however may justify her being involved and such care would be licit (some may disagree). An example of remote mediate cooperation would be a janitor who cleans the hospital. Clearly he is invovled in the hospital’s mission but is so far removed from the abortion acts as to have no significant complicity.

    The third criteria is he danger of scandal (i.e., leading others into doing evil, leading others into error, or spreading confusion) must be avoided. Even if one can licitly cooperate, if there is a significant risk of scandal, one should avoid cooperation.

    So I’m tired now. If you have questions, I’ll try to get to them later.

  • One last thing.

    “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. ”

    This also from John Paul II regarding illegal immigration in his letter on Migration Day, 1995:

    “4. When no solution is foreseen, these same institutions should direct those they are helping, perhaps also providing them with material assistance, either to seek acceptance in other countries, or to return to their own country.”

    As the first quote shows, the state may limit immigration. As the latter quote shows, those here illegally can be compelled to leave.

  • It would probably have irked Gordon to hear my pastor explain that the only issues that truly matter in this election relate to abortion, marriage, and religious liberty.

    Your pastor is simply wrong. War, torture, assassinations are also important issues. The difficulty is that the two leading candidates are not that different on these issues. I suppose O is slightly less likely to go to war with Iran (slightly, or maybe just not as quickly).

    Also, according to the logic employed here before, isn’t Gordon really voting for Romney by voting third party? He would have likely voted for Obama, but now that he is voting 3P rather than O, he is therefore voting for Romney. Or does that logic only work when you are tagged a “likely Romney voter going 3P”?

  • I probably erred or over-stated what my pastor said (I should have asked for a written copy of the homily). But those issues are the most important, and the ones that impact us as Catholics the most.

    I’ve actually never liked the “a vote for a third party is as good as a vote for Obama” line. No, only a vote for Obama is a vote for Obama. So it doesn’t work in either direction. Now, I’ve reached the conclusion that it is unwise to vote for a third party in this election considering the stakes, but that I still think that cliche is wrong.

  • For example, one works in a hospital as a nurse. Abortions occur in the hospital. Does the nurse working there make her involved in evil? It depends.

    Something a bit closer to my heart– finding an OBGYN that doesn’t do abortion, push sterilization, and throw a fit when you won’t take a subscription for birth-control post birth. I think I’ve finally found one that at least remembers I want to have kids….

    I find that one focuses the mind wonderfully on what levels of cooperation with evil are like.

  • I think the issue of abortion, marriage and religious freedom vs war, torture and assassinations gets to what Pope Bennedict said (as cardinal) about proportionality.

    In the US, there have been 53 million abortions. The US gov’t has done far less in the last 40 years in terms of war, assassinations and torture.

    It is worth noting that NEITHER canidate or canidates party has forsworn war, assassination and torture, but one party and canidate have sworn for 100% abortion.

    With that said, we must each vote our concious.

    Foxfier – don’t know if you will be back or not, but my sister is in NC and has a Doctor practice she goes to that has a Catholic take on fertility (ie no Abortions and won’t prescrib BC pills). In fact they have said to potential new doctors at the practice ‘if you want to do these things, don’t join us here.’ I wish you luck in finding the same

  • *grin * I’m always back, though I’ve been quiet of late….

    Sadly, I live in Washington. As best I can tell, everyone has to offer at least referrals for these things, if they’re a doctor.

    Made the mistake of trying the Franciscan health group, assuming it would be Catholic friendly… first doctor kept urging me to get sterilized, and when I told him I had religious objections, he wanted to know what religion. Claimed he’d never heard of a Catholic objection to tube-tying in over 20 years…..

  • War, torture, assassinations are also important issues.

    Not in this election or in any in the last twelve years.

  • Phillip –
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    Would that I had your education and eloquence – but now I am one step further down that road – Thanks so very much for your enlightening responses to Henry Peters’ question. I had the same ignorance but not enough smarts to formulate the question… so my thanks to Henry too!

  • But the Republican platform does countenance abortion in the cases of rape and incest.

  • There are No Words!

When the Believers Lose Their Faith In The Religion Of Big Government

Sunday, October 21, AD 2012

President Barack Obama’s debate performances could never equal the expectations of the secular faithful. Many on the far left envisioned an American society where religion was about as important to the populace and politically influential as it is in Sweden. The land of the midnight sun has been a great hope to liberals ever since religion began to erode there in the 1950s and abortion became commonplace in the 1960s. Governor Michael Dukakis famously poured over Sweden’s great Welfare state enterprise to see what he might learn, which of course led to his electoral demise in 1988.

With all of his rhetorical skills, President Obama could never make Americans have a come to Pierre Trudeau, Willy Brandt, Jose Luis Zapatero (pick your favorite Western Democratic Socialist) moment like many Americans have a Come to Jesus moment over failings in their lives. Instead of realizing that not everyone can be suckered into buying Big Government swampland, the Left has taken their frustrations out on the President. If only he were talking more about rising and falling oceans and making them believe we are the ones we have been waiting for; the Left attacks the messenger and not the message.

Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist laments about this in a long New York magazine  article. The writer for the Old Gray Lady states the Americans are somehow too dumb to become like Europeans and surrender their lives to government and not God. He sees little hope and concludes the Tea Party will always prevail in the American persona rather than government control. Talk about a brain trust, can you imagine the anti-religious nuggets thrown around the water cooler when Bill Keller, the former New York Times editor was present. You may recall Keller infamously dubbed himself a “Collapsed Catholic,” fortunately reported to us by former Newsweek Religion Editor Kenneth Woodward, who is not Catholic and hardly a friend of conservatives, but a principled man who couldn’t take any more of the Times’ hypocrisy directed at the Church. I would strongly suggest you read this The New York magazine article for if conservatives mouthed these same thoughts about minorities instead of suburbanites and rural residents, we would be blacklisted.

In my just released book, The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I note how the Left turned on Al Smith (the first Catholic standard bearer) after he formed the Liberty League in the mid and late 1930s and told Americans he could no longer support President Roosevelt. This startling development occurred after a number of questionable instances came to light including the Supreme Court Packing Case and the Roosevelt 1938 purge of Conservative Democrats. By 1940 unemployment was still at 14% and if had not been for World War II who knows how long unemployment would have remained in double digits.

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9 Responses to When the Believers Lose Their Faith In The Religion Of Big Government

  • 1. “President Barack Obama’s debate performances could never equal the expectations of the secular faithful. ”

    They could but only if the polls said he won. The content or reality is not important to the Leftist.

    2. “The writer for the Old Gray Lady states the Americans are somehow too dumb to become like Europeans and surrender their lives to government and not God. ”

    This is so Last Generation. Today’s Leftists have moved on to adoring Castro, Chavez and the Chinese Politburo with a longing look at Islamic jihadists.

    3. “Perhaps the President’s lackluster and uneven debate performance comes from a man who no longer believes in what he is selling.’

    He still believes it but he has always been a lazy goofoff expecting other people to translate his TOTUS talk into stirring deeds.

    4. “The Left has morphed into a powerful money machine.”

    The Leftists only hide beyond populist rhetoric, they always prefer the limousine. And they have always been part of the well to do class.

    5. “Socialist thinker Joseph Schumpter (Shortly after World War II) believed that Socialism could eventually win because Capitalism would give the people all of their material needs while weaning them off religion.”

    Sometimes academics top the Stupid list. He could have seen that Socialism would promptly take away all that Capitalism had provided.

    6. “Some on the Left see it all slipping away, they will never have the 2008 perfect storm opportunity at least within my lifetime.”

    Never underestimate the ability of termites.

  • Once again another informative post Rozin. As I have indicated in previous articles (and perhaps should have for this one,) I have always believed there are two sorts of leftists. The first being the utopians (small in number) they cling to the 1960s as their model. They are the ones I wrote of living at one time in cramped apartments and VW buses. However, the second group (and larger of the two) are the true radicals (often dressed as if they were indeed the man himself) those who adhere to the ideals of the French Revolution and the tactics of Saul Alinsky.

    An electoral loss for the radicals would be devestating, whereas the utopians would take it in stride. In some ways the Utopians still haven’t recovered from Bob Dylan going electric, the end of the Summer of Love, along with the demise of the Eugene McCarthy candidacy.

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  • I thank you for bringing the new god to the readers attention, I hope more are listing, because our Creator is watching this culture of greed and death spread. Do you think He is going to stand back and not get our attention about almost 4000 babies a day killed in the US out of greed ? Do you think if this continues and other things you have talked about He will allow, not make, something happen that will make 9-11 look like a spark, that will bring us back on our knee’s to Him ? JMJ

  • I get the feeling that if I sat down with Frank Rich for ten minutes I could explain politics to him. He understands that political movements adapt, and that predictions of impending ideological collapse are faulty. But he doesn’t apply that to his own thinking, that the moderate Republican is disappearing and that Republicans can’t win women or minorities.

    You don’t have to be a fortune-teller to see that in a two-party system, each party is always going to present itself as nearly in the middle but a bit over to one side. On a four-mile stretch of road, the best position for one gas station is at the two-mile marker. The best position for a rival gas station is at just about the two-mile marker, but a little up or down the road (to be the closest gas station for 50% of the market). Three or more gas stations, there are different strategies, but with two it’s inevitable. The same is true with politics.

  • Being a faithful Catholic means being neither Left nor Right. Sure, we are to reject the extreme statism of the Far Left, but we must also equally oppose Ayn Rand atheistic capitalism, which is nothing more than libertarian anarchy. Both ideologies challenge and contravene Catholic faith and morals.

    God bless for this terrific article!

  • One question as to the role of Big Government and consistent ideology. The author presumably opposes abortion in all forms and promotes the abolition of that sinister practice. I concur. How would the author go about achieving this goal? Would it be through the use of Government to interject itself in the medical field and forcibly ban abortion?

    So, if it is acceptable to prevent the deaths of the unborn through the use of Big Government, why is it also not acceptable to utilize the power of government to prevent deaths of living people outside of the womb, vis a vis health care reform?

  • Benjamin a very interesting question with regard to the role of government. The single most important role of government is to protect her citizens. We naturally think of a foreign invasion, or a terrorist attack (The War of 1812, or 9-11-01.) However, we don’t have to go to far into the realm of history to see an era when lawlessness had the nation living in fear. For example, because of Prohibition outlaws were roaming the countryside (John Dillinger, Ma Barker, Pretty Boy Floyd) because the cities were teaming with mobsters shooting it out over liquor territory. Law enforcement, much like their current compatriots in Mexico, were hopelessly outgunned. Something had to be done, which is why J Edgar Hoover established the FBI.

    In our modern era, though there are far fewer abortions (Thank God due to the relentless efforts of pro-life forces) somewhere between 1-2 million of our citizens are killed in abortion facilities. The Constitution established the courts to administer the laws and law enforcement to enforce the laws. Once Roe has properly run her course (it was wrongly argued and established in the first place) the courts and law enforcement will remedy the situation.

    As for Government Health Care, this is not promised by our forefathers, as was Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. If one says the government is responsible for you being happy one could argue health care could make you happy, or some illegal vice. Does that mean the government should provide you with that as well? This is a slipperly slope. The Catholic Church has always said health care is a right, but they never said it was a right to be provided for by the government. In the Renaissance era, the elite of the Church would provide hospital space for the poor and indigent. We should be our brothers keeper, not the state.

The Subtle Art of Political Advertising

Tuesday, October 9, AD 2012

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.

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7 Responses to The Subtle Art of Political Advertising

  • The same sort of thought crossed my mind when I saw the ad last night. If I were Obama I’d do whatever I could to pretend last week didn’t happen. I sure wouldn’t keep reminding people about it.

  • Because Obama-worshiping imbeciles are sold on Big Bird and Elmo not employment (But, can they spell it?), skyrocketing gasoline prices, murdered diplomats in Libya, murdered GI’s in Afghanistan, . . . [sigh]

  • Then there’s the visual of the empty chair in the White House…

  • A classic example of the Obama campaign running an ad that helps Mitt Romney:

    The Emperor not only has no clothes, he has no good ad men apparently.

  • I am wondering when it will occur to the public: if the Democrats respond to every idea with ‘Well, the only way WE could think of to deal with this involves a huge tax increase’, that might not be an argument for keeping them in charge?

  • September – before the debate – was a good fundraising month for BO. October’s numbers will speak boatloads.

  • It seems surprisingly fair of Obama to run that ad since some of Romney’s ads were rather supportive of Obama (as noted here and elsewhere). As for fundraising what’s a billion dollars between the Chinese Army, Russia, and assorted worldwide leftists and maybe some Mideast oil countries not eager for energy independence to come to the US? We saw this tape in 1996 (and maybe in 2008) but the Repubs and the country apparently see no big deal in it.

Negativity About Negativity

Thursday, July 26, AD 2012

We’re roughly 4,231 months into the 2012 presidential campaign, or so it seems. Even if you live in a very secure red or blue state (like me), you’ve probably already been subjected to an endless barrage of television ads if you live within about 300 miles of a swing state. And if you live in Richmond, the capital of the battleground state of Virginia, some 4,504 ads have already run (this one’s not an exaggeration), and exactly zero of them have been positive. That’s right, 4,504 out of the 4,504 ads run thus far in the market have been attack ads.

Such information usually inspires people to bellyache about negative campaigning. For instance, this past weekend I talked to my relatively apolitical brother, who said that a politician would instantly become a mass favorite by just being the first guy to run a positive campaign detailing what he was going to do, and forgoing the attacks on his opponent. I just smiled, nodded, and kept smoking the cigar he had generously given me.

I find the criticism of negative campaigning to be overwrought for three reasons. First of all, as Jim Geraghty mentions, they are simply more effective than positive ads. As he says, “if positive ads worked, campaigns would use them more frequently.” People like to complain about them, but attack ads do have an impact. I don’t know if we can accurately measure how persuasive they are, but campaigns would stop running them if they had any indication that they were ineffective.

Second, are “positive” ads any more bearable? No thirty second television spot is going to convey a tremendous amount of information. While we might roll our eyes as soon as the ominous music rolls while some low-voiced narrator explains why Mitt Romney likes to torture small animals and wants your grandmother to die in the street, the fluffy “Hi, I’m Joe McGenericcandidate, and I like puppies” ads are somehow even worse. Nine times out of ten, positive ads are nothing more than the candidate or his surrogates spouting generic nonsense that conveys almost no substantive information. Moreover, in a culture where people increasingly watch television shows through their DVRs specifically so that they can skip the commercials, we generally find all ads to be annoying. So who cares whether the tone of the political advertisement is positive or negative – they’re all equally insufferable. At least the negative ads are more likely to be somewhat funny and entertaining.

Finally, any person who bases their vote even partly due to political advertising should be banned from the polling booth. The first thing that should happen when a registered voter appears at the judges table  – after flashing photographic identification – is them being asked if they only decided their vote after watching a thirty second television advertisement. If they answer yes, or if they answer no but it’s clear that they’re lying – and we can get people there who can tell when people are lying to them – then they should be politely escorted out of the building. If after several decades of campaigning you still can’t decide who to vote for, and you finally just wave your arms and say “I guess I’ll vote for the guy who says the other guy wants to murder my children in their sleep,” then you really should have no right to vote. I wouldn’t feel much better about this voter if he instead said “I guess I’ll vote for the guy who promises abortions for some and miniature American flags for everyone else.” Political advertising is geared towards dumb people and the politically ignorant (not a mutually exclusive group, necessarily). I really don’t care if the message being conveyed to them is negative or positive. The fact that any political advertising actually sways the electorate is depressing in its own right.

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8 Responses to Negativity About Negativity

  • any person who bases their vote even partly due to political advertising should be banned from the polling booth.

    In that case, maybe we should just ban the ads? 🙂

  • “Finally, any person who bases their vote even partly due to political advertising should be banned from the polling booth.”

    Amen! I think everybody short have to take a short quiz before being allowed to vote.

  • I talked about this in a discussion about VP choices, and I’m going to repeat it here: we really need to take the high road more often. We’ve seen in recent years the way that smears degrade the societal bond. It is a politician’s duty to appeal to the best in people.

    I suspect that your brother is right that it’d also be good politics.

  • I will paraphrase the famous American philosopher, Yogi Berra, “It ain’t negative if it’s true.”

  • “Finally, any person who bases their vote even partly due to political advertising should be banned from the polling booth.”

    I disagree. Some candidates are a bit coy about their views when they do not want life issues to predominate the race. All it takes is a Planned Parenthood-sponsored ad to “out” the pro-life candidate as “dangerous” to women and society as a whole and I know exactly who to vote for.

    For a while, I refused to vote for candidates who were not explicitly and proudly pro-life (on the presumption that they would fold under the pressure of the mainstream media), but that seems not be a good indicator of the candidate’s performance in office. So, negative ads still serve a purpose for me anyway.

  • I agree that political ads go for the lowest common denominator, and that goes for the stupid and the ignorant who these ads are geared to. But we must not forget the part played
    by the media in shaping public opinion.

A Few Thoughts About Last Night

Wednesday, March 14, AD 2012

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.

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59 Responses to A Few Thoughts About Last Night

  • The electablility argument is getting pretty thread bare for Romney, which has been the only selling point of the Weathervane’s campaign. There is a poll out today showing Romney getting trounced by Obama in Pennsylvania by six points with Santorum trailing Obama by one. Plus, as Paul points out, polls routinely understate Santorum’s actual vote totals, usually by three-four points. We are beginning to see a “Reagan Effect” in Santorum’s numbers, Reagan consistantly doing better on election day than his polls indicated.

  • As that commenter at Paul’s blog noted the other day, Romney must be the most unelectable candidate in history whose most compelling argument in his favor is “electability”.

    Larry Sabato seems to get what we get and what so many GOP Establishment types (see, e.g., Pawlenty’s gawdawful and pathetic shilling last night) just can’t seem to grasp:

    “Yes, he’s constructed a solid organization, but it cannot hide Romney’s unappealing inadequacies. Maybe a bad economy will elect him anyway, but without pure luck tossing the White House into his lap, he needs Rick Santorum’s challenge. Santorum is forcing Romney to earn the nomination every step of the way, and maybe, just maybe, he’s making Romney face up to his severe shortcomings on the campaign trail before it is too late to do anything about them.”

    I doubt it, if the oh-so-inspiring delegate-math talking points the Romney sycophants are spouting is any indication. They JUST DON’T GET IT. Romney has run the sort of campaign an incumbent runs – the sort of campaign Bush ran against Kerry in 2004 – that focuses on the negatives of the alternative and relies on superior organizational infrastructure to ensure the votes are there when and where they are needed. But Romney is NOT an incumbent, and, at any rate, this type of strategy will NOT work against Obama in the fall.

    What he has utterly failed to do is provide a compelling reason to vote FOR him. He has offered no compelling conservative vision for the GOP or for the nation. And he has never provided a satisfactory narrative explaining how a life-long self-described “progressive”/”moderate” Republican and a supporter of the “pro-choice” viewpoint suddenly at the age of 60 decided that he could be be the “conservative” standard bearer. And he can’t provide such an explanation because we’d all know it to be complete crap. Just look at who those supporting him are today. Just look at his discomfort in trying to sound like a “severe conservative”. Just look at how easily and with such flair he gets into his comfort zone in going to his opponents’ left.

    Quite honestly, Romney offers nothing to the GOP electorate other than a warm body and nice hair to put up as an alternative to Barack Obama. Sorry, but given his ACTUAL track record, that ain’t enough to get me to pull the lever for him.

  • I’m not as sanguine about Santorum’s prospects. The following is this morning’s take from one of my politically astute partners:

    The upcoming calendar will be much more favorable for Romney. (Even last night, he gained more delegates than Santorum with his wins in Hawaii and Samoa.)

    Here are the upcoming races with number of delegates:

    March 17 Missouri (52) Expect Santorum to win here
    March 18 *Puerto Rico (23) Romney
    March 20 Illinois (69) Romney
    March 24 Louisiana (24) While the south, very different than SC, GA, AL, MS with the very heavy Catholic vote
    Apr 3 *Wisconsin (42) Romney (although Gingrich claims he will win because wife no. 3 is from here)
    Apr 3 *Maryland (37) Romney
    Apr 3 *DC (19) Romney
    Apr 24 New York (95) Romney
    Apr 24 Pennsylvania (72) Bet it is close
    Apr 24 Connecticut (28) Romney
    Apr 24 Rhode Island (19) Romney
    Apr 24 *Delaware (16) Romney

    I have marked with an * those primaries that are winner take all. That has been a huge plus for Romney so far. He has won most of those states so far. And the calendar is shaping up well for him going forward on those. I really can’t see him losing any of the upcoming five—Puerto Rico, Wisconsin, Maryland, DC, or Delaware.

    Because most of the other primaries, until you get to California, will be some sort of proportional award of the delegates, it is very hard for the others to catch Romney. Right now, he has the pretty commanding lead and more than everybody else put together. And he is entering a much more favorable calendar for him. The worst is behind him. He should have a big day on April 24. If he does not, then he is in trouble. But I really can’t see Santorum winning New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Delaware. He will have lot of pressure to win in Pennsylvania. If he loses there, then I think it is over.

  • Actually, I’d rather argue with Ron Paul fans.

    The Romney bots are becoming indistinguishable from progressives in their hatred for Santorum. And their inability to recognize the slightest of flaws in their guy is on the verge of sending me into a cricket bat flailing frenzy. One bot tried to chalk up Santorum’s margin entirely to evangelical bigotry.

    Because, as we all know, southern evangelicals are renowned for their love feasts with the Roman Church.

  • Maryland is not winner-take-all. Three delegates from each congressional district are awarded, and ten delegates go to the overall winner. Romney will likely win here (though I am gonna be doing my best for Santorum), but there are several districts where Santorum will do well and likely win.

    Other than that, you are correct that we are entering a slightly tougher portion of the contest for Santorum, though I think you are slightly over-rating Romney’s chances in some of the states. My guess is is LA and PA are safer for Santorum than you suggest, and Wisconsin could be in play. If he survives this, then we are back to states that would seem to favor Santorum.

  • Mike, I think your analysis is pretty sound. It’s definitely an uphill battle for Santorum, especially since Gingrich is determined to stay in. Even without him, though, it’s not easy to see RS’ path to victory.

    Romney needs to wake up and see that he’s not entitled to the GOP vote in November just because he gets the nomination. Right now, he seems determined to keep the base at arms length, and he just might get that in return come November 6.

  • Thanks, Dale. Just a few more thoughts: Plainly one cannot assign Santorum’s success with evangelicals exclusively to anti-Morman bigotry, but as a resident of the capital of the South, I think it is a surprisingly significant factor. I have many friends who are evangelicals, and they uniformly report widespread discomfort with Romney’s Momanism. In the end, this discomfort is not likely to hurt Romney too badly in the general election because the evangelical vote is concentrated in states that GOP is almost sure to win regardless. Regarding the South and Catholics, I can confirm that things have changed dramatically in the 30 years I’ve resided here.

    In addition, I don’t see Romney as distancing himself from the base. What he is doing is concentrating on the issue that is most likely to get him elected: the economy, which is also the issue his resume suggests he is most competent to address (i.e., his strong suit). While this may frustrate social conservatives (like myself), I don’t think there is any intention to keep the base at arm’s length — instead he is staying on message. Time will tell whether that works.

    Finally, regarding social issues, I predict Romney would do fine as president. I worry Santorum’s passion would backfire. I do yearn for a president who would replicate W’s consistency and passion for the pro-Life cause, etc., but to be effective that president needs to skilled in persuading others. Santorum has a tin ear for this in my view, and badly so. His election could actually hurt the pro-life cause simply due to the clumsy way he tends to express himself or frame the issues. This is one reason I believe that Romney would be more successful than Santorum in appointing conservative jurists, and this is the single most important role the president plays with respect to abortion and other issues of importance to faithful Catholics.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’d vote for Rick over Obama in a NY minute, but I think Romney would be the better President. I realize mileage varies on this assessment.

    Finally, I would note that not all politicians are particularly ideological or interested in abstract things such as the role of government in matters of social policy as it effects either personal behavior or the economy, especially Republicans who typically are not products of political science schools and career politicians. Romney, like many Republican candidates, is a man of conserative sensibilites and impulses, but he is mostly a practical problem solver, more technician than ideologue. I know many good and solid Catholics like this — we are not all policy wonks.

  • “Romney, like many Republican candidates, is a man of conserative sensibilites and impulses, …”

    I’ll ask again: On what basis can anyone confidently and credibly make this claim on Dullard Flip Rino’s behalf?

    His rhetoric before he decided to run for President at age 60 gives no indication that he is anything other than a self-proclaimed “pro-choice progressive”. His ACTUAL governing record indicates that he is a slightly left-of-center big-government technocrat. When he decided to seek the GOP nomination, suddenly a lifetime in the progressive wing of the GOP gave way to a “conservative” Romney who seems ill-at-ease talking like a conservative and right at home talking like a progressive, big-government technocrat.

    Based on those measures, Romney is easily the least conservative (i.e. most liberal) candidate likely to win the GOP nomination since Gerald Ford.

  • Mike Petrik, I don’t want to cast aspersions on your politically astute partners; however just because a state tends to vote liberal in general elections doesn’t mean the GOP primary will be filled with moderates and liberals. For example in Delaware the establishment Mike Castle was beat by Christine O’Donnel. One would think in the land of DuPonts and Big Bank headquarters Governor Romney would be a natural, don’t bet on it. Don’t believe me, ask Mike Castle.

    In Illinois the adult home of President Obama, he lost more counties in 2008 than he won outside the Chicago Metroland Area (where few Republicans live in the first place.) The bulk of the GOP is in the downstate area and they are hardly the Romney type. Senator Santorum was only by 4 points behind in Illinois, and that was even before he won Alabama and Mississippi.

    Finally New York and California, surely one would think listening to the mainstream media that Romney would win at least 2-1. However, remember that Carl Paladino won the New York GOP primary (for Governor) and he was hardly a moderate (talk about firebrand language.) As for California again like Illinois GOP voters don’t live en masse in the liberal enclaves of San Francisco and Hollywood. GOP numbers tend to cluster in Orange County and San Diego where Romney should do well, but Santorum could equally do well in the Valley outside LA as well as Central California in places like Bakersfield and Fresno. Even if Santorum lost but the loss beat expectations in Illinois, New York and Califorina, there would be more whispers about the Romney candidacy than already exists.

  • Dave,
    Time will tell who is astute or not, but my understanding is that Romney is running very well with suburbanites, and it is those suburbanites who deserted the GOP in 2008, including Chicago suburbanites. You may be right regarding NJ, NY, CA, etc. We’ll know soon enough. In the end, it is a matter of delegates, not whispers.

  • Here’s a story on Hot Air alluding to Gingrich’s big donor possibly cutting him off. This paragraph struck me:

    The question will be whether Adelson himself acknowledges that. He’s already been rumored to have pledged to support Romney if Gingrich didn’t win the nomination. He might just decide to move his very large fundraising capability to Team Romney now and focus on defeating Santorum in the primaries. That would make more sense than keeping Gingrich on life support at this point in the nomination process, especially since the primaries will be shifting away from states where social issues carry as much sway as they do in the Deep South, at least after Louisiana. If Adelson really does decide to move onto the next phase, then Gingrich’s campaign will become moribund whether he suspends it or not.

    It’s possible that Gingrich believes his big donor will move to Romney if he bows out, and that’s what’s keeping him in the race. Gingrich may have made a strategic decision that he’s ultimately be helping Romney, not Santorum, if he quits the race.

    Just something to chew on.

  • I am a Santorum supporter but to call it straight he needs to win Pa like Gingrich needed to win Georgia and Romney Michigan. I have not heard anyone talk about it yet but not sure he can pull a win in Pa.

    The sooner Gingrich gets out the better it is for Santorum.

  • Just to follow-up on an earlier point, there are in fact no winner-take all primaries. Several states allot a chunk of delegates based on the overall winner, and there are several party delegates awarded, but they all basically use a system where delegates are awarded based on congressional districts (three for each c.d. in the state).

    Okay, I have to amend this, because that link just showed how the state is awarded the number of delegates it has. This link shows how each state awards its delegates. Again, though, it looks like Utah is the only state with a true winner-take-all primary. I really don’t know why NJ, MD, and CA are listed as winner-take-all when clearly they are not.

  • Mike, you certainly are right Governor Romney does well in traditional suburban areas as he did in Ohio and Michigan. However, California, New York and Illinois are a little different. It is my understanding that the Chicago Metro Area as well as the vast Los Angeles and New York metro areas has many more Democratic suburbanites than do most places. Therefore, the GOP is concentrated in other areas of those particular states as I outlined in my previous post, which is why I don’t believe one can say that Governor Romney will win by a hugh margin in those states. Paul, good point about the former Speaker and Sheldon Adelson. Newt seemed to go out of his way to compliment the former Pennsylvania Senator. I read somewhere that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich shared a very pleasant phone call last night after the primary results.

  • I have not heard anyone talk about it yet but not sure he can pull a win in Pa.

    I believe he was up by a considerable margin last time they released polling numbers, but that was a while back.

  • Just read this so not sure it was such a bad night for Romney:

    However, despite the disappointing results in the two southern states, Romney ended up winning the night anyway — at least in delegates.

    I believe he was up by a considerable margin
    Glad to hear Santorum is up!

  • Santorum is up by 14% over Romney in PA according to Quinnipiac survey dated today. Now I’m going more carefully through the states, and I guess Delaware is also winner-take-all, as is DC. PA is tricky – it looks like it’s basically winner-take-all as well.

  • Chris, I just checked Real Clear Politics and the RCP average for Pennsylvania through the month of February (including one poll which included Monday) has Santorum up by 15.5%. Of course, as has already been said elsewhere, this primary season is about as unpredictable as they come.

    I am encouraged by Santorum’s run thus far and if he can do well and stay standing after April 24th (which is a long way off), he will have a very strong case for the candidacy come the convention.

    In the end, I’m not sure that this whole primary season is really hurting the eventual candidates chances at beating Obama. I don’t see any of the problems being brought up concerning who is more conservative being a problem come November. The distinctions will likely be very clear and can be easily made by either candidate. Then again, I am still a rookie when it comes to discussing politics, so feel free to correct me.

  • I’m not exactly one of those Ron Paul fans you were talking about earlier, however I work at being a true centrist, because I’m sick of the civil war (ineffective government) of the left and right.
    I believe Ron Paul is the best candidate based on his consistent record throughout the years and what he stands for.
    Less government (the government out of our homes and businesses), the constitution, no FED, improve our foreign policy, he believes in liberty and justice and fiscal responsibility, less taxes, etc.
    Obama, Newt, Santorum, Romney…pound for pound are not as good of a candidate as Ron Paul.

  • There is no reason for Newt to get out. The Republican establishment wants Romney, who is perfectly situated to lose to Obama, when gas hits $5.00+ and then suddenly drops to the low threes, high twos following the Republican convention. If Romney manages to pull it out, then we’ll get a new boss, the same as the old boss – Bush!

    Santorum is only winning because he keeps taking words and ideas from Newt. If Newt wasn’t driving the conversation, Santorum wouldn’t have much to say. Additionally, the Democrats are salivating at a Satntorum candidacy, which is why 20% of Santorum’s numbers from last night came from Democrats at the request of Debbie Wasserman-Shultz. Santorum is the Democrat’s patsy. Wake up people.

    Newt may not be able to win, neither can Santorum and Romney is limping because he’s an empty suit. Newt ensures that Romney can’t gain 1,144 and this goes to convention. After Newt pulls Paul’s people because of his stronger stance on the Fed vis. a vis. the other two, then we’ll have the right ticket. Gingrich/Santorum – the senior and the junior. Rick will be a very effective President of the Senate and can pick up the conservative Catholic mantle in 2020.

    I am hopeful that Newt will win, I am mildly comfortable with Santorum, but I fear that as we approach 40 years of a self-inflicted holocaust, God will give us over to Moloch and Ba’al and we’ll see 4 more years of Obama and an overt persecution of the Church in America. Grab your rosaries, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

  • Newt has no chance. Zero. And I am glad for that because I think the man is ill-suited to be president. Romney has more in common with Bush I than II, but really is different from either. Bush I’s experience and accomplishments were public sector, unlike Romney’s. And Bush II is much more ideological, whereas Romney is more of a pragmatist. Gingrich’s strong suit is that he is thoughtful, insomuch as he is full of thoughts.

  • Yeah, that’s the problem. Why would we want a president who can think? The only one of all five in the race with not only the ability to think strategically, but a record of actuating those strategies is Newt. Of course, I suppose we have to acknowledge that BHO has been effective in bringing Christian persecution to America; however, even principled atheists agree that he has gone beyond the pale.

    Newt rising – just wait and see. If not, get on your knees and beg for Mercy.

  • Santorum is only winning because he keeps taking words and ideas from Newt.

    Amusing, but no.

    Santorum is the Democrat’s patsy.

    Rick Santorum continues to poll evenly with Obama, as does Romney. Even Ron Paul polls well against the President. You know the one candidate that lags all others in head-to-head matchups with Obama? Newt “29% favorability rating” Gingrich. And I say that as someone who far prefers Newt to either Mitt or Paul.

    After Newt pulls Paul’s people because of his stronger stance on the Fed vis. a vis. the other two, then we’ll have the right ticket.

    Yes, their whopping 200 delegates and collective 25% of the vote are gonna take the Republican convention by storm.

    Newt has no chance. Zero.


  • Why would we want a president who can think?

    Oh, no one doubts Newt can think. He’ll give you 15 different solutions to 10 different problems. I’m just not sure we necessarily want one with ADD.

  • I’m not voting for a dictator, I want a president who can put forth a strategy, articulate it to the people and get Congress to debate it and send him a bill. Does that require 15 different solutions? Perhaps. Better than a one-trick pony.

    Paul – End the Fed, end the wars.

    Santorum – Rebuild the factories and behave like a Catholic while being casual about the Natural Law.

    Romney – Big Business, just be a good consumer and let the adults run the show.

    Obama – There is nothing we can’t solve by killing more babies.

    Come on, you all know that Newt is the right man at the right time. The clock is ticking and when 40 years are up – so are we.

  • you all know that Newt is the right man at the right time.

    According to the polls, no, we don’t. But we’ll let you know as soon as we need a guy to berate the press and bluster during a debate.

  • “Come on, you all know that Newt is the right man at the right time.”

    I have praised Newt several times on this site AK for his elequent denunciations of the manifest bias of the Mainstream Media, and I would certainly prefer him to Obama or to Romney, but he would be massacred in a general election due both to his messed up personal life and to his unerring ability to cut his own throat whenever he appears to be riding high. Newt is one of the most imaginative politicians of our day, and he would come up with a 100 new ideas a day, five of which would even have some merit, and 25 of which would land this country in deep kimchi if ever implemented. He should stick to retirement and writing imaginative alternate histories with William Forschten.

  • The beautiful thing about our Republic (its still a Republic right?) is that we can each make our choices and God decides the outcome. Sometimes it is good, when I was young and first made it to these shores, it was morning in America. Four years ago we were duped into placing an incompetent man who hates our country in charge. Out of the five choices we have I like Dr. Paul because he brings issues to the table that are too often ignored; unfortunately, he’s a libertarian and that may look good at first, but eventually it leads to disaster and probably along the scale of the death knell of the ancien regime. I like Santorum, but I’ve only met him once and he got pissy and flustered because I accused him and his fellow Republicans of losing site of authentic conservatism and especially their profligate spending (which began as soon as they ditched Newt.) I fear that he is unprepared to defeat BHO and is likely to be managed by the Washington-Wall Street establishment. Nevertheless, he is a strong second choice for me.

    The other two, BHO and Romney, will most assuredly be a disaster and we may not survive.

    Newt can do it. Does he even have a chance of winning? Sure, why not. Stranger things have happened. The fact is that we are, at core, a conservative and Christian people. The last time we ran two conservatives against each other was at the end of the first Progressive experiment – in 1924. Reagan was never ever supposed to happen – but, he did. Newt is not Reagan, he’s Newt and in all reality, Reagan could not secure the Republican nomination today. We are a mess and a bold visionary is what is needed to institute a major course-correction.

    Either way, he needs to stay in the race because he makes all the others, even Romney, better. As far as Santorum supporters go, Newt is helping Rick and hurting Romney. That is a good thing. We cannot see tomorrow. This is a strange primary. The rules are quite different, the lay of the land has never been like this and the insider manipulations have never been worse. I want Newt not only because I think he is the best suited, but also just to upset the current order of Demopublican management of America’s decline.

    This should be a two man race – Gingrich and Santorum. The winner of that contest would obliterate Obama.

  • This notion that Newt is a man of ideas is rubbish, but his supporters have said it enough that even his critics have begun to believe it. It’s fundamentally baloney, as Newt would say.

    What are his grand ideas and bold vision?

    A flat tax?

    Henry Hyde said it best about Newt, “Him and his new ideas—there are no new ideas!”

    I don’t know who to support between Santorum and Romney, to be honest. Santorum is such a bad campaigner I have my doubts regarding his ability to beat the president, despite what polls right now say. Romney’s marginally better.

    I despair of democracy.

  • Francis, I pretty much agree with your take, but try to avoid despair, even of democracy — it is still the best form of government save all the others. It’s a fallen world, and we won’t fix that in 2012.

  • “In Illinois, the adult home of President Obama, he lost more counties in 2008 than he won outside the Chicago Metroland Area (where few Republicans live in the first place.) The bulk of the GOP is in the downstate area and they are hardly the Romney type. Senator Santorum was only by 4 points behind in Illinois, and that was even before he won Alabama and Mississippi.”

    This analysis appears to be accurate. Republicans in Cook County or any of the close-in suburbs have been scarce as hen’s teeth for years, though there were and are exceptions (for example, Rep. Henry Hyde came from a suburban Congressional district).

    Meanwhile, Democrats south of I-80 are becoming an increasingly endangered species; Gov. Quinn and, more recently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (with his proposal that ALL guns owned by state residents should be registered and the owners charged $65 a pop for that dubious privilege) have succeeded in alienating many of the downstate working-class voters that used to be reliably Dem. And voter registration overall in the Chicago area has dropped precipitously in the last few years.

    I think Santorum COULD pull off a win in Illinois if the more liberal/RINO leaning suburbanites north of I-80 decide to sit out the primary because they like none of the candidates being offered, while the more conservative and motivated downstaters turn out in droves.

  • I’m currently reading a Romney bio, and based on that I am pretty confident in the sincerity of Romney’s pro-life convictions. As a church leader, he counseled women against having abortions, at one point showing up at a woman’s hospital room to try to talk her out of having an abortion and telling her about how a relative’s child with Down Syndrome had proven to be a blessing for the family. It’s true that he ran as a pro-choice candidate in 1994 and 2002, but when it came to actually governing he wasn’t able to follow through and govern as a pro-choicer. There are issues on which Romney’s personal instincts seem to be moderate, but abortion is not one of them.

  • Meanwhile, the Weathervane, true to form, tests the political winds before taking a stand on another critical issue:

  • Well, I’m pretty confident that Romney is a fraud, and will vote accordingly. Which means it’s either Santorum or the Constitution Party for me.

  • “Quite honestly, Romney offers nothing to the GOP electorate other than a warm body and nice hair to put up as an alternative to Barack Obama. Sorry, but given his ACTUAL track record, that ain’t enough to get me to pull the lever for him.”

    See that’s the problem…Conservatives who want Santorum to win can’t wrap their heads around the fact that he’s unelectable. He has virtually no chance of winning. A candidate’s electability is inversely proportional to his enemies desire to see him nominated and democrats would love a Santorum nomination.

    Another way to put it is this way, Santorum would make a fine, trustworthy, and authentically Catholic president but since the American public currently has no appetite for such a man conservatives would nominate one at their and the country’s peril.

  • The portion of my comment that you quoted was about Mitt Romney and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Rick Santorum.

    My position on Mitt Romney has been the same since the first time I ever laid eyes on him in 1994. I felt the same way about him in 2008 – even back then, he was the one candidate other than Giuliani for whom I would NEVER cast a vote.

    And I don’t know where you’ve been during this election, but I’ve been saying the same thing about Romney since the days Santorum was pulling single digits and was begging to get asked questions in every debate. I was saying the same thing about Romney when I briefly flirted with supporting Hunstman. I was saying the same thing about Romney for the 5 seconds I considered Pawlenty. I was saying the same thing when I was on board with Rick Perry. In short, I’d be saying the same thing about Dullard Flip Rino REGARDLESS of who his competition was. Your focus on Santorum in response to the portion of my comment that you quoted is a complete non-sequitur and a big fat red herring.

    See that’s the problem…so-called “Conservatives” who want Romney to win can’t wrap their heads around the fact that he’s the problem – he can’t close the deal because he’s fundamentally flawed as an at-best “moderate” candidate running for the nomination of a conservative party. He has no chance of winning my vote and virtually no chance of winning the votes of countless other conservatives who simply don’t trust him and believe him to be a liberal fraud.

  • Nice post Jay. You hit (Dim)Mitt Romney right on the head. He is a fake. He is not trustworthy. He is not conservative and sadly, neither is most of the Republican Party; hence why he is the ‘favorite’.

    We are close to a tipping point and Christians in general and Catholics specifically need to be very careful for whom we vote. Persecution is building in our land and it is not from any single man. It comes from a radical secular establishment and they use pawns like BHO and Romney to execute it on their behalf. To avoid this you need a faithful Christian or possibly a libertarian, preferable a Constitutionalist rather than an anarchist.

    Romney will lose the ‘conservative’ vote. I know that I am leaning third party if we are stupid enough to make that empty suit the nominee. I’d prefer any of the other three.

  • so-called “Conservatives” who want Romney to win can’t wrap their heads around the fact that he’s the problem

    1. THE problem is that the federal government’s net borrowing is around about 9% of domestic product; the incumbent President disregarded the solutions a bipartisan national commission offered to repair the problem and offered nothing to replace said solution; and the competitors for his job have offered no worthwhile plans either.

    2. A secondary problem is that three of the principal candidates to replace them have never supervised anything other than their office staff and the fourth has for 18 years been given to bouts of blatant opportunism and no one knows what he really thinks (though we can be fairly sure he is not a ‘dullard’).

    Wunnerful wunnerful.

  • “Romney will lose the ‘conservative’ vote. I know that I am leaning third party if we are stupid enough to make that empty suit the nominee”

    He certainly may lose the “cut off your nose” conservatives. Having done that too many times myself I no longer have a nose to cut off.

    This election is neither about Romney nor any bona fide conservative. The election is squarely about Obama and for that we gratefully have the opportunity to replace him. The fact that some replacements are further to the right than others is picking nits with extreme prejudice.

  • He certainly may lose the “cut off your nose” conservatives.

    No, he is going to lose the “I don’t want to replace Obama with Obama-lite” conservatives.

    You know, Romney backers have had months to make the case for Romney, and in that time all you have managed to say – repeatedly – is that he is better than Obama and he is more electable than the others. The first point might be true – but then again who isn’t? – and the latter point is becoming more and more laughable as each day passes.

    Also, it also not enough to make the election just about the incumbent. There needs to be at least some enthusiasm for the challenger. Otherwise we might be wrapping up President Kerry’s second term.

  • The entirety of Romney the Very Canny Businessman’s contract with conservatives (of every stripe) reads thusly:

    “Vote for me, and I won’t be Obama.”

    Which he will adhere to to the last letter. Legally and ontologically, he will not be Barack Obama.

    Paid in full.

    Which means that after he gets elected, he will be able to indulge his three proven political principles: pursuit of elective office (in 2016), indulging his craving for bipartisanship, and flinching in the face of/pandering to the left (See Minimum Wage, Indexing of; cf. “Scheme, Perry”).

    Why, he can’t do anything about the fiscal/entitlements nightmare–at least not in an election year, or the year before an election year. He’d offend the volatile swing voters to whom he actually is beholden. So, sorry about that. Ditto social issues, too. But here’s his e-mail to March for Life-rs:

    “Dear You People:

    Abortion is rather less than ideal, as a majority of polled likely voters currently agree, the margin of error being plus-minus three point five percent….”

    But at least as the country careens toward Greece/Weimar, the conservatives who voted for him can accept the solace that he is indeed not Obama.

    If the only thing that keeps the country from careening to Hell is Mitt Romney, then the Republic is dead already.

  • Its always interesting when conservatives disagree. In principle and on most if not close to all of the issues I rather fancy most everything that is written on this here blog, by you gentlemen. Although however one might agree with such principles, in the end it is the application and the “getting there” which serves as the source of disputes.

    I like Santorum. I don’t like Romney except for his usefulness to ouster BO and will not be an apologist for him, per se. To that extent it is prudential judgment as to who is more electable in any given set of circumstances. Current political climate dictates the authentically conservative Catholic will not win. Its about the economy.

    In any event it would behoove conservatives to stand behind the eventual nominee come the general election if the goal is to preserve our nation from the existing attack from within.

  • To that extent it is prudential judgment as to who is more electable in any given set of circumstances. Current political climate dictates the authentically conservative Catholic will not win. Its about the economy.

    Again, though, actual results and polling do not bear this out. Santorum polls just a smidgen below Romney in head-to-head matchups with Obama. When you throw in Santorum’s track record of winning difficult elections in his House and Senate races in Pennsylvania, and the fact that he is staying close to Romney in elections despite being outspent by him by several orders of magnitude, the idea that Santorum is somehow certain to lose compared to Romney just holds absolutely no water.

  • It is too depressing to think about.

  • Paul, I respect people who come to a different calculation. If it helps you, prudentially speaking, I live in a State that hasn’t voted for the Republican candidate since 1988. So, my decision on Romney makes no difference.

  • FWIW, I live in a bluer state than Dale, so ditto for my decision. That said, I don’t know that my calculus would change if I lived ten miles to my west.

  • Blackadder,

    If Romney is truly pro-life and he chose to run as a pro-abort (I’ve seen his speeches and he was PASSIONATELY pro-abort) then doesn’t that reveal a certain flexibility with principle and a casual relationship with truth? Do we really want to place our trust in a guy like that?

  • I live in THE swing state, and that fact has absolutely no bearing on my decision. (In fact, in a sort of perverse way, I’m rather relishing the fact that Romney could really use my vote and that I’m going to withhold it from him.)

  • I too reside in a mainly blue state, to commiserate with Paul Z. & Dale, so this discussion is really for political banter with fellow conservatives. I’d much prefer hearing anyone’s argument here than elsewhere.

    I’m reticent to use polls this far ahead of the election but since you raised the issue Paul Z., Real Clear Politics has Romney beating Obama in at least a few polls whereas Santorum shows no such advantage. What polls are you referencing?

    Also for Paul Z, Dale, Jay or anyone else for that matter, when you watched the debates and see Rick out articulating conservatism how do you view him carrying the conservative banner? Do you think he advances his message convincingly?

  • If the only thing that keeps the country from careening to Hell is Mitt Romney, then the Republic is dead already.

    I appreciate your point. Just want to point out the following:

    1. He has experience with re-structurings.

    2. George Bush the Elder was quite adept at making himself appear opportunistic and silly. He performed satisfactorily in office, though not without error (e.g. David Souter). He may have been the most able chief executive we have had since Gen. Eisenhower retired to Gettysburg.

  • when you watched the debates and see Rick out articulating conservatism how do you view him carrying the conservative banner?

    He would have been the optimal choice among the five in 1992 or 1996 or 2000. Now, not so sure.

  • “He would have been the optimal choice among the five in 1992 or 1996 or 2000. Now, not so sure.”

    Art- hadn’t thought of it that way, but that rings true.

  • I have about 2 minutes, so can’t look up the source, but I believe it was Rasmussen that had Romney up 2 and Santorum minus 1 on Obama. May have been Gallup. Most of the polls I’ve seen have basically had the races fairly tight.

  • Here is a poll in Florida that has them both down by a couple to Obama. You’re right about polls being meaningless at this point, but they do suggest that that Santorum is not unelectable, at least no more so than Romney.

  • when you watched the debates and see Rick out articulating conservatism how do you view him carrying the conservative banner? Do you think he advances his message convincingly?

    1. On the whole, yes, he does. With the sad exception of the last debate, where he froze a bit in the headlights. He’s even better on the stump–for example, when my oldest son and I saw him in Michigan in February. A 45 minute speech about the economy as an organic whole, with references to the mediating institutions in civil society–it was a tour de force. Even my 9 year old son remembers the Keystone Pipeline and oil discussion to this day.

    But I will acknowledge he gets distracted and wounds himself needlessly with ricochets.

    2. He does on the stump, unfiltered. His discipline on the whole has gotten better, if still imperfect.

    I’m not going to pretend he was my first choice, or even my fourth. My first didn’t run, and the remaining three flamed out.

    He’s the best of a weak field, and under no delusions that the left can be made to like him, which saves time.

  • Art:

    The restructuring specialist is the best argument for him, and one I can instinctively buy.

    But then I go back to the fact this is Mitt Romney we’re talking about, a man who has never been a model of walking-the-tightrope political courage.

    In fact, when I keep hearing the Romney boosters’ attacks on Santorum, and to a lesser extent even Gingrich, my rebuttal is “That is a great argument–or rather, would be, if your candidate was Bobby Jindal. But he’s not–your guy is *Mitt Romney*.”

  • My observations of Santorum have been via the debates with occasional clips of him talking to the media. I either haven’t seen this tour de force side of him or just am looking for something else. Thanks for your observations Dale.

    He will be at my alma mater on Friday evening so maybe having the chance to see and hear him in person will provide another perspective.


It is Time to Get Rid of Most Campaign Finance Laws

Tuesday, February 21, AD 2012

One of the big items today is news that the Romney campaign is bleeding cash.  Considering his all out assault first on Newt Gingrich, and now Rick Santorum, this comes as no surprise.  Yet while Romney spends more in a day than Santorum spent through most of the campaign thus far (only a slight exaggeration, I think), Santorum continues continues to poll ahead of Romney nationally and is neck-and-neck in Romney’s home state.  Of course Romney still has plenty in reserve thanks largely to his Super PAC.  Even Newt Gingrich’s fledgling campaign is still alive thanks to the generosity of one supporter funding a pro-Newt Super PAC.

These Super PACs have come under fire.  They are the indirect result of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, a law which itself amended the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), a law meant to restrict the amount of money that individuals could donate to individual candidates.  FECA created a two-tiered structure that basically divided federal contributions into two categories: hard money and soft money.  Professional sports fans probably recognize the terms as related to soft and hard caps, and it’s really the same concept. Under FECA individuals could only contribute $1,000 to a candidate per election cycle.  Yet there were no restrictions placed on “soft money,” meaning contributions to party committees.  This was the original end-run around campaign finance law.  Under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), or McCain-Feingold, individual contribution maxes to candidates were raised, but soft money contributions were phased out.  This, in turn, gave rise to other organizations, mainly 527s, which were able to raise unlimited amounts of money to air issue advocacy ads against candidates.  These various organizations are not technically affiliated with any candidate, and it is a violation of campaign finance law for candidates to collaborate in any way with these groups.

So is it time for another set of reforms?  Indeed it is.  And the reform is simple: repeal all these ridiculous (and arguably unconstitutional) provisions, and allow individuals to contribute whatever amount of money they want directly to candidates.

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Newt Fading

Tuesday, February 14, AD 2012

I wanted to followup on Don’s post from yesterday about National Review urging Gingrich to exit the race.  As I said in the comments, I owe NRO a slight mea culpa.  I thought that by including Santorum (and Huntsman) with Romney as the candidates they thought worthy of the nomination they were merely blowing smoke.  Yet they have given Santorum fairly favorable coverage, so much so that angry Romney fanboys like Old Fan think that NR is in the tank for Santorum.  I still think the hatchet piece on Gingrich was out of line, so I’m not totally ready to forgive them for that.

As for the actual meat of their suggestion, there is much merit to it.  There have been nine primaries and caucuses thus far.  Gingrich was the landslide winner in South Carolina, but has otherwise done terribly.  He’s finished a distant second twice, and has barely hovered around ten percent in the other contests.  Right now one poll has Gingrich in fourth place behind Ron Paul, and other polls show a clear trend towards Rick Santorum as the favorite among the anti-Romneys.  Now, polls have shifted mightily throughout the campaign season, so Gingrich shouldn’t head for the exits quite yet.  But poor showings in Arizona and Michigan should just about do it for Newt.  Considering the fact that the bulk of his supporters will likely flock to Santorum (where as Santorum supporters are evenly split between Romney and Newt as their backup choices), and that Newt is much more favorably disposed to Santorum than Romney, I would imagine that Newt will not stay in the race if he has another pair of fourth place finishes.

That being said, if National Review wants Gingrich out of the race the last thing it should have done is publish an editorial making this feeling public.  Republican primary voters in general, and Gingrich supporters in particular have, to a large extent, been driven by spite.  It’s practically impossible to read a screed written by a Gingrich supporter that doesn’t mention the “Establishment” once or a dozen times.  Throw in the fact that National Review is already reviled with a special kind of intensity in camp Gingrich – and with good reason – and I can envision Gingrich supporters doubling down.  Newt himself has shown that he is prone to fits of spite, so National Review may have just guaranteed that Newt will stay in the race longer than intended.  In fact I’d submit that if National Review wanted Newt out of the race the best thing it could do is endorse the man.

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5 Responses to Newt Fading

  • I don’t know how GOP can survive 11/12 unless RP loves the country enough to very soon allow RS & MR get to springtime.

    And – valuable Newt Gingrich who does love this country can best serve as leader of the Catholic Church’s struggle for freedom to exist. Essential and God-pleasing need. He needed someone for the struggle with the Philistines …

  • One can overstate it’s importance but the moon colony idea during one debate prior to Florida was a turning point…as in downward.

  • I don’t know if it was the moon colony thing specifically, but certainly that entire debate performance could be pinpointed as the night his candidacy died, which is fitting since his entire candidacy was based on debate performances (and the word performance is very apt with regard to Newt). It was amazing to watch a candidate, over about a 2 or 3 week stretch, do the complete opposite of all that he had done previously to shoot up in the polls.

    That said, I think the moon colony idea is actually not that crazy. The main negative about it is that this is not necessarily the best time to suggest new spending schemes. But of all the reasons not to support Newt, it doesn’t even crack the top ten.

  • That said, I think the moon colony idea is actually not that crazy.

    Oh, yes it is.

  • Yes, moon colony crazy like prohibiting the Keystone Oil Pipe for three years, shutting down refineries and coal plants, and priceless Obama whining about the price of gas soaring from $1.81, the day before he took over, to $3.51 today.


Saturday, February 4, AD 2012

Santorum 45, Obama 44 according to Rasmussen.

Doesn’t exactly sound like Johnson-Goldwater to me.

I should add, by the way, that it’s just a snapshot of the current mood, and by no means indicative that Santorum would have a free and easy path to a general election victory.  It does show that the grave concerns about Santorum’s ultimate electability are overwrought to say the least.

So, to sum up, Santorum polls better than Gingrich against Obama, is more conservative than Gingrich, and has certainly far less personal baggage than Gingrich.  For those of you still clinging to Gingrich as the anti-Romney of your choice, why?

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36 Responses to Unelectable

  • What is truly remakable about the polling numbers that most of the Republican candidates have been racking up recently against Obama is that this is while the Republicans are cutting each other up. These numbers would send a chill down my mind if I were a political analyst for Obama. Also note that this is the week of the State of the Union address which has normally given most presidents a temporary bounce in the polls. Not Obama.

  • Indeed, Donald. We get so caught up in the doom and gloom on one side that we forget that the Democrats can’t exactly be feeling good themselves about their November prospects.

  • Means nothing. Less than nothing, it is deceptive. Where’s the electoral college numbers?

    Frankly, Obama wipes the floor with any of the four Republicans out there. The only ones who could have beaten him are out (Huntsman) or didn’t run (Jeb).

    I pray I’m wrong but I see no outcome but another four years of Obama.

  • Means nothing.

    Well it doesn’t mean the world, but it’s certainly not nothing. The fact that a little-known (compared to the other two major GOP candidates) contender is polling even with Obama suggests that the president is vulnerable and that Santorum should not be written off.

    Where’s the electoral college numbers?

    The electoral votes of states in which Obama is polling at less than 50% adds up to 313. I would say that puts him at something of a disadvantage against any potential opponent.

    Frankly, Obama wipes the floor with any of the four Republicans out there.

    The polling suggests otherwise. Even the largely despised Gingrich is within sniffing distance.

    The only ones who could have beaten him are out (Huntsman)

    Really? The guy who couldn’t get beyond 3% in the polls was going to defeat Barack Obama in an election?

    or didn’t run (Jeb).

    I think that a third Bush running for the White House would have posed some electoral difficulties.

    And while pessimism is warranted with the stupid party, the actual numbers do not justify the notion that Obama is unbeatable.

  • A poll has 20% Obama approval rating among uncommitted voters.

  • I believe the electoral map strongly favors the GOP this time around. Here is where we are at now based on most polls:

    I would give Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorada, Missouri and New Hampshire to the Republicans. That gets them to 272, without Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, all of which I think the Republicans have a decent chance to win. If the Republicans take Ohio, they could lose Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado and still be at 270. The Republicans have a number of paths to 270. Assuming that Obama doesn’t take any state in the south this time, he has a narrow path. Assuming he takes Pennsylvania and loses Ohio, he must take New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado which gets him to 272 when added to his base states.

  • “Democrats have lost their solid political party affiliation advantage in 18 states since 2008, while Republicans have gained a solid advantage in 6 states. A total of 17 states were either solidly Republican or leaning Republican in their residents’ party affiliation in 2011, up from 10 in 2010 and 5 in 2008. Meanwhile, 19 states including the District of Columbia showed a solid or leaning Democratic orientation, down from 23 in 2010 and 36 in 2008. The remaining 15 states were relatively balanced politically, with neither party having a clear advantage.”

    When it comes to the political landscape, 2008 might as well have been a century ago.

  • Democrat Party affiliation is now at 32.9% of voters according to Rasmussen, the lowest on record. In November of 2008, the Democrats had 41% of voters. The Republicans are at 35.9% In November 2010 when the Democrats suffered a historic loss, they were at 34.7% compared to 36% for the Republicans.

  • You have my sympathies. I would much rather see Santorum, as well. In spite of the facts, however, sometimes the wise things are not done and we are left to deal with the ill consequences. I would not at all be surprised for the incumbent to be victorious and to carry a large chunk of the “Catholic” vote.

    God help us!

  • The mainstream media has asked all of the questions of Mitt and Newt. They have chosen the candidate for you and you will like it. YOU WILL COMPLY!!!!!

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  • I dunno. Rasmussen polls are noticeably skewed toward Republicans, and one must never underestimate the power of the “better the devil you know” urge once the media (and Obama’s negative advertisement machine) get done trashing the GOP nominee.

    The scenario that is playing out nationally in 2012 is, to me, becoming eerily reminiscent of the 2006 Illinois gubernatorial election. That year, Governor Hairdo was running for his second term armed with gazillions in campaign cash, vs. a fragmented GOP with multiple candidates of different ideological stripes running in the primary. The eventual GOP nominee, Judy Baar Topinka, was a moderate/RINO somewhat comparable to Romney.

    Blago, meanwhile, had been under investigation for over a year, everyone with functioning brain cells knew by then that he was crooked, and IIRC one of his inner circle was indicted only two weeks before the general election. Yet in spite of all that, he still won, though NOT with an absolute majority of the vote. Why? Because Blago was able to pollute, er, bombard the airwaves with campaign commercials depicting Topinka as inextricably tied to the previous governor who had just been convicted of corruption. (Picture an endless barrage of Obama commercials this fall with the theme that “Romney is the second coming of Dubya!”)The tagline for most of these commercials was “What was she thinking?” On top of that, Blago promised everyone all kinds of goodies (like free health insurance for all kids, through a program called, you guessed it, All Kids) AND “no new taxes” to boot.

    The result? Voters got the impression that they might as well stick with Blago since Topinka was “just as bad” ethically and also would take away their goodies (she was very upfront about the state’s fiscal situation which even then was pretty bad). Illinois Republicans in general were not all that enthused about Topinka, just as they are not enthused nationally about Romney today. Plus, a Green Party protest candidate (leftist doppelganger of Ron Paul, perhaps?) got into the mix and drew about 10 percent of the vote. In the end, Topinka only got about 40 percent of the vote, and even though Blago got LESS than 50 percent of the vote, he still won. The rest, as they say, is history.

    To top it all off, Blago had the previous year issued an overreaching and pretty much unnecessary executive order/rulemaking compelling all pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception/abortafacients on demand. (One of the lawsuits stemming from that order is STILL working its way through the courts, 7 years later.) He was heartily endorsed by Planned Parenthood and other pro-abort groups, while Topinka was not; although she was pro-choice, she was in favor of parental consent and other restrictions the abortion lobby found entirely intolerable.

    I realize there are different factors at work on a national level, not the least of which is the Electoral College system which prevents a POTUS from being elected by raw popular vote. Even so, you can see some obvious parallels here.

    All that being said…. I do think that IF Catholics and evangelicals stay united and vocal in their opposition to the HHS mandate (which has much more far reaching consequences than Blago’s pharmacist order ever did) AND if Obama does not backtrack on it before the election, that alone MAY be enough to ensure his defeat in November. If the economy continues to founder or sink, then Obama will be toast.

  • Actually Elaine, Rasmussen polls skew to being accurate. He was dead on in regard to his final poll for the 2008 Presidential race:

    In regard to the pro-abort Judy Bar Topinka, she ran the most lifeless and hapless campaign for governor that I can recall in my lifetime. I doubt if the Weathervane, if the gets the nomination will be that bad, but we shall see. Fortunately, blue state Illinois is no longer a bell weather for the nation, Chicago dominance having taken that title from us, beginning with the 2000 election. Topinka was of course running in 2006, a very bad year nation-wide for Republicans. The race that of course indicated, as you know, how triple-doomed our beloved State is, was when Quinn, Blago’s Liuetenant Governor who took over after Blago was tossed out, managed, barely, to win election in 2010, the best year for the Republicans since the Twenties, against a strong Republican candidate.

  • I hate to say it, but by the time Obama spends his $1 billion reelection war chest, and the media completely dissembles the Republican candidate, no matter who he is, Obama will be reelected, by a vote of about 280-260 in the electoral college. Many Independents who voted for Obama in 2008, and who desperately want to vote for someone else in 2012, will very reluctantly conclude, based, in part, on the “incompetence” and in-fighting during the Republican primary process, that they have no choice but to vote again for Obama.

    Defeating Obama in 2012, based on his record, should be relatively easy. I HATE to say this, but the longer the Republican selection process is drawn out, and the nastier it is, the more likely is Obama’s reelection.

  • Rasmussen tracks likely voters as opposed to registered voters. Considering that Republicans normally vote in higher percentages than Democrats, that would explain any supposed GOP bias in their polls.

  • Tom, in the best electoral year imaginable for Democrats, 2008, with the economy in melt-down and the blame for it being given to the Republicans, with almost all of the mainstream media acting as unpaid press agents for Obama, running against a very weak opponent and with the Democrat party at its strongest point in post war history, Obama managed to get 52.9% of the vote. The gloom and doom is completely unwarranted as to the prospects of beating this bozo in November.

  • I will pray a decade of the Rosary every day from now till November for the defeat of Barack Hussein Obama. I prefer Santorum. But I would accept either Gingrich or even Weathervane. I hope Donald’s optimism is justified.

  • Donald, I desperately hope that I am wrong. I do think that it is more likely that Republicans will retain control of the House and win back the Senate.

    However, increasingly, the election of our President resembles the political equivalent of a continuous running episode of American Idol (amazingly, I nearly fell out of my chair when this is exactly what occurred at a recent Democratic event . . . Obama is REALLY good at this stuff!!), and we all know who is going to win that contest if it is between Obama and any Republican. When it comes down to style over substance, Obama wins hands down.

    The key electoral states in 2012 are: Ohio, Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire. Republicans must win Florida. Whoever wins Ohio, will be our next President. If you live in Ohio, Florida, Iowa or New Hampshire, your electoral efforts in this presidential cycle are critical. Other key states are: Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. While Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan are in play, Obama will most likely win them again, and they are not necessary for a Republican victory in 2012.

  • Whoever wins Ohio, will be our next President. If you live in Ohio, Florida, Iowa or New Hampshire, your electoral efforts in this presidential cycle are critical.”

    If so, then it’s critical that the GOP nominee is someone for whom I’d be willing to vote (i.e. NOT Dullard Flip Rino).

  • My oh my, “Flip Rino,” and a “Dullard” to boot. Sounds like the lead-in to a soon-to-be-aired Obama campaign ad.

    Well, assuming that “Flip Rino” is the Republican nominee, it’s either “Flip” or Obama. If your not willing to vote for Flip “the Dullard” Rino, especially if you live in Ohio, Florida, Iowa or New Hampshire, then you will help to re-elect Obama. The choice is yours.

  • I agree with TomD.

  • “Whoever wins Ohio will be our next President.”

    Probably true as Ohio is one of 6 “bellwether” states with a long-standing record of matching the outcome of the national POTUS vote. Since 1896, Ohio has failed to pick the winner only twice — a 93 percent accuracy rate. Nevada is #1, since it has only missed once since 1912, a 96 percent accuracy rate. Missouri used to be in first place but dropped to third after going (just barely) for McCain in 2008; the Show Me State has only been “wrong” one other time since 1904 (92.8 percent accuracy). New Mexico, Florida and Tennessee also have reflected national results with 90 percent or more accuracy for at least the past 80 years.

    Of all these bellwether states, I’m guessing, Obama has no chance in Tennessee, very little if any chance in Missouri, not much chance in Florida (especially if Rubio ends up on the GOP ticket), and probably not much chance in Nevada either. That leaves Ohio and New Mexico in play, but New Mexico has, what, 3 electoral votes so it probably won’t make much difference.

  • Also, can someone tell me what makes Iowa or New Hampshire particularly decisive in the GENERAL election as opposed to the primaries?

  • Jay, if Romney is the nominee but you don’t want to contribute materially to an Obama victory either, you may still have time to move to a non-swing state! One of the few consolations of being an Illinois resident is that I can vote however I want in the general without fear of “helping re-elect Obama” since Obama already has the appropriately named Sucker State in the bag anyway.

  • Presidents Buchanan and Huckabee think they are very decisive in the General election Elaine! 🙂

  • I am convinced now that the GOP leadership is going to throw the election (like they did in ’08) because they don’t want to be at the helm when the Titanic sinks.

  • Y’all will never convince me to vote for Romney, so save your keystrokes. If mine was the single deciding vote in Ohio, I still wouldn’t vote for him.

  • I am convinced now that the GOP leadership is going to throw the election (like they did in ’08)

    Since, there has been only one occasion (in seven opportunities to do so) where a political party was awarded the Presidency for three terms running. The incumbent administration was by the fall of 2008 among the most disdained in the history of scientific polling. In the middle of the campaign, the occidental world went into a banking crisis of a sort unknown in affluent countries for the previous 70-odd years. You think the Republican candidate threw the election? What have you been drinking?

  • Prepare for the worst: economic and societal collapse. Good place to start would be the disaster “prepper” series beginning Tuesday night at 9PM Eastern on, I think, Discovery Channel.

    And, drink heavily.

    Four more years of Obama and you will fondly reminisce about how good things were in 2008.

  • “If mine was the single deciding vote in Ohio, I still wouldn’t vote for him.” Jay, if enough voters think like you do, Obama will be re-elected. In the key battleground states, a few thousands votes COULD be the difference. Again, it is YOUR choice.

    Elaine, while Ohio and Florida are decisive in terms of the number of electoral votes, Iowa and New Hampshire are critical, not so much for the actual electoral outcome, but as indicators of who is going to win. Even though Michigan can be classified as a “swing” state, no one would be surprised if Obama carried Michigan, for example, but if the Republican nominee is leading in the polls in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, then that is a very good indicator for the general election.

    So, the first tier of critical states is: Ohio, Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire.

    The next level is: Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

    Missouri is probably the only state in serious play that McCain won in 2008. The 10 critical battleground states, leaving out Missouri at number 11, were all won by Obama in 2008. That is where every vote counts as to the actual outcome in the electoral college. I think it is most likely that the election will be won or lost in Ohio.

  • Team Dullard is now attacking Santorum for … get this … not being a “real” conservative. Says Dullard Flip Rino: Ignore all the big-time liberal crap I’ve done throughout my career, Santorum supported some earmarks, so you should vote for me.

    The sheer arrogance and chutzpah it takes for that pro-abort, health-care-mandating, religious-liberty-trampling, gun-grabbing RINO liberal and his shills to argue for his election on that basis is one reason why I will NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, vote for that fraud.

  • “If your not willing to vote for Flip [‘]the Dullard[‘] RINO,…. then you will help to re-elect Obama. The choice is yours.”

    This is precisely the weak-minded (or sometimes elitist-pompous), appalling attitude that has crippled the Republican party and must be done away with. Jay Anderson is right on the mark and TomD is dead wrong.

    Every election now, the Republicans put up a lame, big-government, establishment, status quo, neocon candidate; and we are told that we must obey and support the party’s candidate lest we help the Democrat. And the vast majority of Republican lemmings get suckered into this trap, obey the party establishment, do what they’re told and support the worthless Republican neo-con. The party string-pullers know the sheeple will always do what they are told, and so we continue to have one worthless nominee after another as the cycle continues. I could tell that Romney was going to be this year’s typical neocon pick from miles away.

    This attitude has rendered the Republican party useless. I am tired of being fed garbage every Predidential election and being told that I have to eat it or else I might get something worse. Shove it. The Dems just voted in one of the most liberal Presidents in history, yet the Republicans are too weak-minded to ever vote for a true conservative and always and only manage to nominate establishment candidates who are barely right-of-center, if that. And they still do this even in the wake of the ultra-liberal Dem president victory. It’s utterly pathetic.

    The attitude that unless we support the Republican nominee, we’re essentially “helping” the Democrat is appalling and arrogant. It means that conservatives are expected to fall in line and compromise for the Republican establishment’s desires, but never the other way around. The better solution would be for Republicans to abandon their party’s establishment and support a true conservative third-party candidate. But the arrogance of these attitudes causes many Republicans to consider it blasphemy to ever question the establishment’s pick.

    Until Republican voters reject the establishment, or until the conservative base splits from the Republican party and finds a new home with a third party, we are reduced to merely hoping that the “least worse” candidate wins and that the collapse of America will simply drag out at a slower pace.

  • Bill99, any Obama supporter who is reading our exchange is smiling right now. I also do not understand what you believe you are going to accomplish with words like “weak-minded,” “elitist,” and “pompous.” Do you think this will help to coalesce conservatives against President Obama?

    All your explanations and personal condemnations aside, I am stating a simple fact. If you do not vote for the Republican candidate, you will help to re-elect Obama. This is especially true if you live in Ohio or Florida, and true to a lesser extent in Iowa, New Hampshire, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, or Missouri. If you live in California or New York, Mississippi or North Dakota, your individual vote will most likely not make a difference. If you live in any of the “battleground” states, and do not vote for the Republican candidate, you will help to re-elect President Obama. THE CHOICE IS YOURS.

    Democrats clearly understand that in order to exercise political power, you must obtain it first. When it comes down to it, the American people are a fickle lot; they want smaller government in the abstract, but ask them about individual government programs and they want those funded. Too many Americans want a limited government that provides them with everything that they believe government should provide. Republicans are caught in the cross-fire of this incompatible objective. And Democrats smile.

    We Republicans squabble over ideology, and even though the majority of Americans self-identify as conservatives, we often snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I hope that this is not such an election, but it is increasingly looking as if 10 or 20 electoral college votes could be the difference.

The Only Conservative Left

Friday, January 27, AD 2012

The 2012 presidential election cycle is truly one of the most depressing things to behold.  Neither of the top two candidates in the Republican field are particularly appealing, and the incumbent President has made Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan look like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Meanwhile, for all the bluster about the Establishment choosing our candidates (a charge not wholly without merit), conservatives have done themselves no favors by engaging in ridiculous character assassinations of any candidate who is not one hundred pure and good – meaning all the candidates.  Meanwhile, superficial bluster about being a conservative is taken more seriously than actual conservative governing records in big states.

To top it all off, the only conservative left in the race is barely gaining any traction, even when dismantling his opponent in exchanges such as this.

That was far from the only highlight for Santorum.  While Newt and Mitt were busy tearing each other apart for every perceived slight, Rick brought some common sense into the debate.

I don’t think Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have helped themselves with their terse exchanges on illegal immigration and Fannie & Freddie.

Apparently, Rick Santorum didn’t think so either. He said there was nothing wrong with Newt using his knowledge of Congress to help advise companies and then said there was nothing wrong with Romney making money. Santorum then implored Mitt and Newt, “Leave that alone and focus on the issues,” to strong applause.

Ah, but Senator Santorum is unelectable, according to the all the wise pundits.  There’s no way he could possibly be more electable than the guy who was once portrayed as the “Gingrich who stole Chrismas,” and who has a 2:1 unfavorable to favorable gap in the polls.  And he’s certainly not as electable as the guy who is so darn appealing that Republicans are climbing over themselves to pick anyone else but him to be the nominee, and who has an electoral record that makes the Detroit Lions look like a juggernaut.  Santorum lost his last election by 18 points, and as we all know someone that unpopular can’t ever recover.  No, we need to nominate the guy who left office with a 34% favorability rating, and who didn’t lose his bid at re-election because he didn’t even bother, knowing he was going to get destroyed.  Failing that, we can nominate the guy whose own caucus ran him out of Washington, DC.

But Santorum is unelectable.

We also know Santorum is also unelectable because he holds social views outside of the mainstream.  For instance, Santorum has this notion that marriage is an institution for one man and one woman.  This is such an insane notion that it is only shared by a majority of the American population and the current occupant of the White House.  You see, the problem with Santorum is that, unlike President Obama, he really means it.  As was discussed a couple of weeks ago at Creative Minority Report, Santorum is actually sincere in his beliefs.  So while he might hold policy positions that are identical with the rest of the field, he is the one being mocked because, well, he actually believes what he is saying.

One of the things that occurred to me recently that only augmented my political depression is that Gingrich does hold one electoral advantage over Santorum.  The fact that Gingrich is a twice-divorced man with a checkered past while Santorum is a faithfully married man and father of seven means that independents won’t fear Gingrich as much on social issues.  That’s right – actually being a man of unquestioned personal morality is an electoral disadvantage, because that just makes you seem all the more scaaaaaary.  Thank goodness our elections are decided by the sorts of people who think it’s just creepy that other people think that all life is precious, even lives conceived during rape.

So excuse me if I sit this dance out.

Update:  Great piece by Daniel Allott that discusses “Santorum Derangement Syndrome” and the problems that sincere politicians face.  H/t: Dale Price.

Continue reading...

16 Responses to The Only Conservative Left

  • As I recall Bush versus Clinton Mr Zummo, Mr Bush gained some traction from his stable marriage over against Mr Clinton. The public mood has changed a lot in some ways but disdain for Mr Obama’s sexual and medical policies are very important now. They will become more-so if Cardinal Timothy Dolan – well, as of 28 February- as head of the NCCCB gets a fire lit under] the Conference and all its members and its constituents and their flock. The insurance issue in itself and the attack on conscience is a nuke ready for ignition against all that is wrong with the current group in charge of setting policy.

  • Santorum was simply fantastic !! America should wise up.

  • Perhaps Michael Voris’ recent video on the “Five Reasons Conservatives Lost” bears on this topic:

    BTW, I would like to fuel that nuke HT was talking about with tritium and plutonium-239. I know where we can get a Subroc to do the trick! 😉

  • Apologies Paul P for using a WMD image as a pacifist. David’s smooth stone might have been better as long as it hits forehead and not ears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • No apologies required, HT. I was in violent agreement with you either way. If a smooth stone doesn’t cut it, then we always have the subroc! 😉

    Just kidding.

  • Santorum is getting a lot of positive buzz for his debate performance last night and people are beginning to pay attention to him. His takedown of Romney on Romneycare was memorable. Romney’s stuttering non-defense (Obamacare is nothing to get mad about) was a strong indication as to why the Weathervane is the weakest candidate to go up against Obama. As compared to Romney and Gingrich, Santorum seemed to be the only adult in the room. Santorum probably will not be the nominee this time around, but he is giving a good example of intelligent, articulate conservatism and people are starting to note this.

  • Donald R. McClarey: The soul of clarity

  • “Donald R. McClarey: The soul of clarity” Or is that McClarity? kay sorry.. ButI love Santorum… I am praying he wins.

  • While I’m definitely leaning toward Santorum (if only he hadn’t come out in favor of waterboarding…), the amount of sheer vitriol that’s already been leveled against him makes me fear the heights the Derangement Syndrome would reach if he made it to the White House. (If you thought the hatred of Bush was bad…) Then again, he’s been receiving that kind of backdraft ever since he was Senator, so maybe it won’t be so bad for his health…

    As for the majority of Americans opposing same-sex marriage, I’m not so sure how long that will last, as sodomy seems to have been accepted alongside divorce, fornication, and shacking up by society as something wholesome and worthwhile. (Have you ever tried to discuss the Catholic teaching on sexuality with someone outside the Catholic sphere? Or even tried to formulate an argument in a possible effort to – gasp! – try and win them to your point of view?)

    I dunno. (And then there’s conservatives’ sometime infatuation with Ayn Rand, which brings to mind the nightmare of an America divided solely between liberals and Objectivists…)

  • Local conservative radio host here in Houston says Santorum is not a fiscal conservative. Tom Delay supports Santorum and stated he is a true all-round conservative. Have heard he is big on unions – I personally don’t care for unions.

  • I kind of like 🙂 the moon colony idea of Newt….but we need the colony up and ready prior to the election not after… so that we have an alternative.

  • HAPPY FEASTDAY today 28 JANUARY “Tommy Aquinas” -presume he is your hero ? i find myself drawing closer to Mr Santorum from my earlier views when he was good but not seemingly electable. I also operate on the Higher Side of our Humanness. The hatred spewed on him is Evil at work, as it is for any Good, witness what we did to the GOOD SHEPHERD Jesus. My prayer and hope is that the combination of positive Gospel of Life people, the disdain for 44 and his backers, and the other nebelous factors in any public debate will be swept up by the Holy Spirit who will see ” the good, the true and the beautiful ” voted to triumph. That could be Mr Santorum, or Mr Gingrich or Mr Romney. As I noted elsewhere we are not electing a replacement Messiah.

  • “Santorum is actually sincere in his beliefs. So while he might hold policy positions that are identical with the rest of the field, he is the one being mocked because, well, he actually believes what he is saying.”

    This is the key to my support for Santorum and to the media’s–yes–conspiracy to ignore him. Every Republican is obliged to make pro-life noises. Once elected, he may throw pro-lifers a few bones, but for most part ignores them. I don’t think anyone believes Santorum would behave this way, whether they support his candidacy or not.

    I share your depression over this awful primary season, Paul.

  • Santorum’s hometown newspapers – no, check that, they are disgusting rags and/or scandal sheets – have never stopped ripping into him. It seems that Santorum’s wife worked for an abortionist before she met and married Santorum. The key to all of this is to make the Santorums look like hypocrites on the pro life issue.

    These disgusting rags – the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (the socialist rag) and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review (the libertarian/anarchist rag) point out Karen Santorum’s previous life, but ignore Dr. Nathanson and Norma McCovey. It does not fit their “world view”.

    I loathe the media. Actually I don’t like it enough to loathe it.

  • PenguinsFan: We all struggle with the hate-forgive-let go struggle. I am learning to take Jesus’ advice. walking the extra mile meant that, by law, Jewish men were obliged to carry a Roman soldier’s equipment for one mile. Jesus asks them to go the extra mile, and take the sting, hate and resentment out of the forced march. We can write letters, get on the local radio talk shows if available and make our points positively to the general public and maybe influence advertisers. One never knows the effect of a simple gesture, the biblical leaven or the mustard seed that influence the end product. Prayer of course is indispensable to take on Jesus’ mind as expressed in in Phil. 2:6-11- emptying ouselves of the fasle self and take on the mind of Christ Jesus.

54 Responses to Gingrich Wins South Carolina Open Thread

  • Excellent! I’d really prefer anyone but Romney on the Republican ticket. It doesn’t matter much though, because Obama round 2 is inevitable. At least with a Gingrich we’ll have some interesting debates.

  • 1) The inevitable oh-so-electable Romneybot is now 1 for 3 in his own party.

    2) Santorum got hosed by Newt’s ego starting on Monday night.

    3) Santorum needs to stay in the race, and every time he’s asked about that he needs to say, “Absolutely, it’s only a matter of time before Newt implodes and we all know it and I plan to be here to give people that solid conservative choice when he does.”

  • Santorum made a good show tonight. Having been denied the momentum of a first claim to victory in Iowa, he still beat Ron Paul. That’s bigger than most people think. I think it likely that Newt supporters will dwindle as they start to review his record rather than his rhetoric. The same is obviously true with Romney. Game on. Go Rick Santorum!

  • Just throwing this out there, but if Newt wins the election – the general – then that’s gonna go down as the biggest political comeback in American history. Not even Nixon comes close.

  • Indeed Paul. Absolutely nothing would surprise me this election year. The country is in such a mess that a candidate like Gingrich who would normally not even be in the running might just be able to get the nomination and go on to win. I suspect that the Obama campaign would much prefer to run against Romney, who I think they regard as McCain II. Gingrich is just too unpredictable to make an opposition strategy easy to map out. Additionally a candidate who can take a normally campaign destroying event like the resurfacing of an ex-wife who talks about adultery, and turn that stinkbomb to his advantage, is a candidate with formidable political skills. Note how Gingrich in his victory speech played up the religious bigotry of the Obama administration. He will not be an easy candidate to fight against due to just how unconventional and imaginative he is. Gingrich is usually his own worst enemy, but he is also his strongest asset.

  • Whatever happens, Obama has got to go. Seeing how Obama and Sebelius destroyed any pretense at conscience protection has infuriated me to no end. The days of my ever being nice to liberals are over (if indeed there were any such days). They have got to be shoved out of power for good. As to Gingrich, may God bless him. I prefer Santorum to be sure, but Gingrich isn’t a bad choice and even the Weather Vane as Donald calls him is far superior to that man of depravity and idolatry now sitting in the Oval Office. I just finished posting a nasty letter to (I wasn’t threatening, but did make the King Manasseh comparison) and then prayed the Rosary for God’s mercy on our nation and on his soul. Let’s see if I am arrested tomorrow morning! 😉 Nothing would surprise me at this point.

    Godless wicked Democrat! Arrrrrggggghhhhh! But hoorah and thank God for Newt!

  • I dunno. I don’t see Gingrich as having enough fuel in the tank to make it all the way through the primary contest. I’d still tend to bet heavily on Romney being the eventual winner, but I hope Santorum stays in for the long haul so we continue to have a viable alternative after Gingrich eventually implodes.

    Honestly, I can’t see Gingrich managing to win the general unless outside history manages to intervene (say, with the European economy collapsing like a house of cards in the fall), and if he did, I’m not sure he’d actually be any happier a political comeback kid than Nixon.

    It’s fun to hear him spout off but he just isn’t reliable at any level.

  • All good points Darwin, but I would note that Gingrich has been given up as political vulture meat not once, but twice in this campaign so far. I certainly thought he was politically dead the first go round when his entire New Hampshire campaign staff bailed on him. I am not going to make the mistake of underestimating him again this year, although I rather hope that Romney continues to do so. Santorum will doubtless stick around through Florida. If Gingrich wins Florida however, I think Santorum may decide that there is no way that he gets back to being the anti-Romney and drop out. If he does that and endorses Gingrich, I think that Romney has a difficult path ahead of him.

  • It doesn’t matter much though, because Obama round 2 is inevitable.

    I keep hearing people say this, and not one of them is able to elaborate upon an explanation of why they think this.

    What disconcerts about all this is what a gratuitous self-inflicted injury is incorporated within it. The man is a godawful spectacle who appears to be prospering on the basis of a certain sort of forensic talent. Serial adultery? No problem! A complete absence of administrative experience? No problem! An affection for management fads? No problem! Payola from Freddie Mac? No problem! And didn’t he do a job on that moderator?

  • A thought

    The Daley machine hack in the White House had his second machine provided Chief of Staff decide to go back to Chicago and his replacement did not come from the machine. With Ritchie Daley retired I wonder how many more of the President’s entourage will want to go back to Chicago.

    Will this put a crimp in his operation?

    Who Knows? But interesting

    Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

  • John King of CNN actually inadvertently produced this result. Gingrich is a media slayer and South Carolina loved it. If the media stops the Gingrich attacks, does Gingrich then fade into normality and get beat by Romney’s money chest and it’s resultant ad and organizational power?

  • The gingrich performance in response to John King was an embarrassment, his win in SC is an embarrassment and if he would be president, he would be an embarrassment. Glib, manipulative, brilliant-but-phony, pugnacious, opportunist, cheater – not exactly words I would like to apply to our president.. He is not the best man in the race… may be the worst.

  • The major embarrassment thus far in this race Anzlyne is the attempt by Romney to pass himself as a conservative Republican. The average GOP voter understands that he is nothing of the sort. That fact is why they have been looking for an alternative since the start of this race, and that is why Gingrich is prospering now. Absent that fundamental antipathy to Romney, Gingrich would be ready to announce today that he is heading back into retirement, instead of leading an insurgency which may deprive Romney of his opportunity to see if he can blow the election against Obama in the Fall.

  • Ninety-seven percent of us are worried about the economy. Seventy-nine percent are very worried. There are significant numbers preparing for economic and societal collapse.

    It ain’t Newt that will implode.

  • One cultural note about “cheating” for those who think Gingrich did not really repent: country music, loved in many non urban oriented states, has an odd combination of a gospel aspect and a cheating or fornicative aspect. Patty Loveless sings gospel related songs and sang also ” I Know You’re Still Married”….and ” On Your Way Home” ( after leaving her house: “Where’d you get that alibi/ did it fall out of a midnight sky/ or did ya find it/ laying by the side of the road”).
    Loveless was twice married.
    Alison Krauss, divorced and a Grammy Winner…26 of them and twice winner of the Gospel Music Association Award… recently with Union Station sang “Let Me Touch You For Awhile” about a girl in a bar hitting on a cowboy on the rebound for at least a one night stand…..despite Krauss doing entire gospel albums.
    The country audience is neither the Knights of Columbus nor the Mennonites in the sexual or
    faithfulness area.

  • Gingrich? Newt Gingrich?


    The man has political skills, but I think the best case scenario is that he loses by McCain’s margin.

    Unless the economy significantly weakens, which, long term, is more likely than the current smooth patch indicates.

    I dunno. Nominating Newt seems like the ultimate own-goal.

    I recognize Santorum’s profound executive weaknesses and sometimes grating demeanor in the spotlight (though he’s a winning, genuine guy in person, as I can attest), and I think I’ve even acknowledged the same here. But unless one gets hives at the thought of a sincere social conservative with the nomination (e.g., the Reason [sic] fanbois), he has far less baggage to explain away than Gingrich or Romney.

    Thanks, Jindal, Christie, Jeb, etc.

  • Question: After three marriages and three affairs (2+1), how does this man stay in the good graces of the Catho
    lic Church. Or is he?

  • Thanks, Jindal, Christie, Jeb, etc.

    This is an oft-repeated lament. While most of these folks (not Christie) would be an improvement over the current field, I am sure that the circular firing squads would have taken them down. To borrow from my comment at Ace last night, if Paul Ryan had entered the race, for example, he would have been the front-runner. Then Michelle Malkin would have written some naggy article about how two or three votes of his that suggest he’s a RINO. Then he would have given some answer in his first debate that ticked a few people off, and his poll numbers would have gone. Then he goes on CNN to present his 30 point plan to improve the economy. Point 19 sounds vaguely similar to an Obama proposal, causing Red State to run three days worth of blog posts calling him a statist.

    And so on and so forth.

    To put it another way, if Rick Perry had not gotten in the contest, we’d all be lamenting how the sure-fire winner decided not to run.

    Conservatives: our own greatest enemy since 1995.

  • Rotifer:

    Here’s the “drill”: repentance, Confession, penance, amendment of life, good works . . .

    Do you think Newt converted to Catholicism in a cynical posturing to get elected prez? If so, what evidence do you have?

    Obviously, Obama wants to get in the good graces of the Catholic Church. He gave his USCCB a year to get used to the fact they will be required to pay for employees’ chemical abortions.

  • Rotifer
    The Church records are confidential but guessing despite that: Newt’s second marriage was probably annulled by the Catholic Church because the wife was married prior and did not annul her first marriage. His first marriage could well have been annulled because Newt himself at the time was morally incapable of really knowing what a Christian marriage is nor capable of vowing it til death. An annullment is a declaration by the Church that a real marriage in the past never took place before God even if Catholic Church authorities or separated Christian authorities authorized one at the time…..while not knowing the true hidden moral maturity or lack of it
    in one or both people….OR….a separated Christian authority permitted a second marriage despite a first (Newt’s second wife’s case).
    Does Church infallibility enter into this area? No. Just as the Church could have been incorrect marrying a couple, it could be incorrect permitting an annullment.

  • Perhaps someone could explain how Newt Gingrich is actually more conservative than Mitt Romney.

  • I wonder if any of the remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will
    join, even for a short time, the March For Life tomorrow?

  • Sure BA:

    1. Flip flops on abortion. From 1994 when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy: ‘But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”
    2. Romneycare.
    3. Judicial appointments while governor of Massachusetts.
    4. Tax increases he sponsored while governor of Massachusetts.
    5. Flip flop on abstinence based sex education.
    6. Flip flop on embryonic stem cell research.
    7. Flip flop on the minimum wage.
    8. Flip flop on gun control.
    9. This quote when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994. “I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”
    10. This quote: “My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”
    11. Flip flopping on abolition of the Department of Education.
    12. Flip flopping on allowing prayer in school.

    Mitt Romney’s campaign slogan if truth were a requirement for such things: “If you do not like my views today, they are bound to change tomorrow!” Mitt is a conservative now because there is no way that anyone but a conservative can get the nomination. His record clearly indicates that he is a liberal Republican.

  • “I wonder if any of the remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will
    join, even for a short time, the March For Life tomorrow?”

    Karl, Rick Santorum was there in 2011, as he has been in earlier years. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is there tomorrow.

  • Then Michelle Malkin would have written some naggy article about how two or three votes of his that suggest he’s a RINO. Then he would have given some answer in his first debate that ticked a few people off, and his poll numbers would have gone. Then he goes on CNN to present his 30 point plan to improve the economy. Point 19 sounds vaguely similar to an Obama proposal, causing Red State to run three days worth of blog posts calling him a statist.

    Game. Set. Match.

  • As a catholic, I am especially grateful for the redemption I have received from Jesus Christ through His Church. Examination of Newt should include a thoughtful examination of his character post conversion to the Catholic faith. The Lord seems to like to use those of us who have been the greatest sinners to serve Him–just look at His choice of King David, Mary Magdalen, Augustine, and Thomas Becket to name a few. To me, considering Newt as a serious contender in this Presidental race was cemented when he stated emphatically that marriage is a sacrament. He gets it! Additionally, his SC victory speech emphasized the extremely important issue of religious liberty his number 1 point of contention. Of all the contenders, Newt is the only candidate in my lifetime since Ronald Regan that actually speaks truth to power. We need to pray to the Lord that His choice for President be done. Perhaps its time for America to begin a fast of sack cloth and ashes.

  • Don,

    Thanks for the list. What interests me about your examples is that they are almost exclusively about positions Mitt Romney took many years ago, rather than anything he’s said or done during this campaign (or the last one). By that standard Ronald Reagan wasn’t particularly conservative, and neither is Newt Gingrich. Gingrich supported an individual mandate (and at the federal level) for more than a dozen years, supported embryonic stem cell research, supported cap and trade, etc.

    More significant, however, are the flip flops that Newt has made just during the course of this campaign. He attacked the Ryan Plan as “right-wing social engineering.” Then flipped and endorsed the plan (and said that anyone who quoted his prior statements on the issue was a liar). He defended Fannie and Freddie as necessary for the housing market (after getting paid millions to do so), then flipped and said they should be broken up. He attacked Romney for his private equity work at Bain Capital. Then said his prior criticisms were irrational. Then made the same criticisms again, only more forcefully. As far as I can tell, the idea that Gingrich is more conservative than Romney seems to depend almost entirely on the assumption that when Romney changes his position he doesn’t really mean it, whereas when Newt does so he is completely sincere.

  • You are incorrect in your assumption BA. Virtually all of my examples, except for the Senate race statements, come from Romney’s term as Governor of Massachusetts which was from 2002-2006 and which I do not think qualifies as “many years ago”. In regard to abortion Romney ran as a complete pro-abort in 2002.

    The McCain opposition research book on Romney is a very good mine of information on the Weathervane’s flip flops and is linked below:

    Be pro-Romney if you will BA, but Gingrich is a piker when it comes to flip flopping compared to the Weathervane. Romney could hold a very interesting debate all by himself himself considering that he has managed to be on both sides of so many issues over the years.

  • “Be pro-Romney if you will BA, but Gingrich is a piker when it comes to flip flopping compared to the Weathervane. Romney could hold a very interesting debate all by himself himself considering that he has managed to be on both sides of so many issues over the years.”

    Almost could not catch my breath from laughing so hard as the result of this statement!

    To be witty is a gift; to alloy it with intelligence is a blessing, not just to the one gifted with it but to whomever is blessed through observing it. Thank you.

  • Don,

    2002 was ten years ago. Perhaps it’s a sign of my relative youth, but that seems like a fairly long time. And in any event, Gingrich was still supporting a federal individual mandate, cap and trade, and embryonic stem cell research after all of the cases you cite against Romney.

    Can we agree at least that, going by what they’ve said in this campaign, Romney is clearly the more conservative candidate, and that the only way to say Gingrich is more conservative is if you believe what he says but not what Romney says about their own positions?

  • Thank you Karl!

    Ten years seems like a mere blip to me BA, either due to my study of history or my approaching 55th birthday.

    One could say that Romney is now a conservative if one were to have a bad case of amnesia as to the rest of his life. I can accept a politician having a Road to Damascus experience on one or two issues, but Romney’s conversions have been wholesale, and always very convenient for whatever office he is aiming at. I doubt the man’s honesty and for me in regard to a politician that is the kiss of death. If he is the eventual nominee I will vote for him for one reason and one reason only: he will be the Not-Obama in the race.

  • Tess. Pope Gregory in 590 or so made up the story about Mary Magdalene being a prostitute. There is nothing to support the assertion. Give the girl a break.

    Re Newt. He went thru 3 wedding ceremonies. He has bought his way out of one or (possibly) two thru annulments. He was of legal age, 19 yr old, at his first wedding and married his math teacher, 7 years his senior, after a 3 year ‘affair’. In all, he had affairs with his next two wives, while married to someone else. It’s called adultery. Another affair has been documented. All the time he was beating up on fellow legislators for doing the same. Is this the guy u think should be the leader of the free world; appoint moral judges; push the right kind of social legislation (or lack thereof)? This guy into repentence? He’s too arrogant. He has rationalized all this as part of working too hard. Have u read his reasoning? Seen the tape? **choke**

  • Politics is all about comparison Rotifer. Compared to Gingrich I prefer Santorum. Compared to Romney I prefer Gingrich. Compared to Obama, I prefer the Republican.

  • “19 yr old, at his first wedding and married his math teacher, 7 years his senior, after a 3 year ‘affair’.”

    If that is true, then his first wife was more at fault than the 16 year old Gingrich, and that got him off to a rather rocky start in regard to man-woman relationships.

  • Gingrich at least has a balanced budget and welfare reform to point to when making his claims to conservatism. What aspects of Romney’s record does he point to? He ran as a liberal. He governed as a liberal. And he is a liberal. His 2007 election-eve conversion of convenience is not convincing to me. And, apparently, it’s not convincing to most other people either.

    I will NOT vote for that fraud should he win the nomination.

  • Re Newt. … He has bought his way out of one or (possibly) two thru annulments.

    “Bought”, eh? Care to reveal what the bid-ask spread is on annulments these days?

    If the media stops the Gingrich attacks, does Gingrich then fade into normality…?
    -bill bannon

    If the past is any guide, the establishment media doesn’t stop attacking Speaker Gingrich until he’s long since stopped bringing himself to public attention. I doubt they can even help themselves anymore, they just can’t resist trying to attack him. Likely, the South Carolina results shocked them; bunches of media operatives are probably still shouting “inconceivable!” Come Monday, they’ll be back.

  • This:

    “Mitt Romney has no tangible record of conservative accomplishments but has occasionally made statements that sound conservative.
    “Newt Gingrich has a tangible record of conservative accomplishments but has occasionally made statements that don’t sound conservative.”

    Can anyone really argue that this statement is untrue? So, I’m struggling to ascertain on what conceivable basis one might posit that Romney is “conservative”, much less come to the conclusion that he is “clearly … more conservative” than Gingrich.

  • Dan McLaughlin has had some very insightful posts on the candidates. Here his take on Newt, and here’s a series of posts on Romney. Long story short, though there are some troubling things with Newt’s style of conservatism, it’s really not even close between the two.

    As the comment Jay links to points out, there is simply nothing in Romney’s actual record of governance that indicates any sort of conservatism. At all. And the Massachusetts excuse doesn’t fly. We here in Maryland were governed at the same time by Bob Ehrlich, a fairly conservative (though pro-choice) governor who governed much more conservatively than Romney. Yes, he was defeated in his re-election bid – as Romney would have had he run – but he actually left office fairly popular. He just had the misfortune of having an -R next to his name in 2006. But he managed to govern a state that is every bit as liberal as Massachusetts without imposing an individual mandate or other disasters.

  • We here in Maryland were governed at the same time by Bob Ehrlich, a fairly conservative (though pro-choice) governor who governed much more conservatively than Romney.

    Some things are a matter of honor, Paul, and when people breach that, you cannot forget.,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=213&cntnt01origid=26&cntnt01returnid=29

  • Then Michelle Malkin would have written some naggy article about how two or three votes of his that suggest he’s a RINO. Then he would have given some answer in his first debate that ticked a few people off, and his poll numbers would have gone. Then he goes on CNN to present his 30 point plan to improve the economy. Point 19 sounds vaguely similar to an Obama proposal, causing Red State to run three days worth of blog posts calling him a statist.

    You’re 100% right on that, and the “own worst enemy” comment. And Redstate’s woodshedding of Santorum has been a gruesome wonder to behold–if not as laughable as Coulter’s weathervaning on Romney.


    Any of the others would have less baggage than Newtromney, and less fodder for credible flyspecking. I think even Christie (save on 2nd Amendment issues) would be less subject to it. Oh, the Axis of Redstate would still find something to fulminate about with each, but it wouldn’t have the same traction. It would be relegated to the eyerolling closet much, much faster.

    Perry’s fatal flaw was expectations combined with some of the most remarkable pratfalls this side of Chevy Chase. That, and running a socon campaign when he had the Texas economic record to tout.

  • Thomas Sowell on the Gingrich vs. Romney comparison:

    … While the televised debates are what gave Newt Gingrich’s candidacy a big boost, concrete accomplishments when in office are the real test. Gingrich engineered the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years — followed by the first balanced budget in 40 years. The media called it “the Clinton surplus” but all spending bills start in the House of Representatives, and Gingrich was speaker of the House.

    Speaker Gingrich also produced some long-overdue welfare reforms, despite howls from liberals that the poor would be devastated. But nobody now claims that they were.

    Did Gingrich ruffle some feathers when he was speaker of the House? Yes, enough for it to cost him that position. But he also showed that he could produce results.

    In a world where we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available, the question is whether Newt Gingrich is better than Barack Obama — and better than Mitt Romney.

    Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared with what Gingrich accomplished as speaker of the House? When you don’t accomplish much, you don’t ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want?

    Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain…

  • I doubt the man’s honesty and for me in regard to a politician that is the kiss of death.

    Do you consider Gingrich to be an honest person?

  • With his first two wives? Absolutely not. With the voters? Much more so than Romney.

  • Conservative, neocon, moderate, log cabin republican– “average republican voter’??
    personally I want someone whose policies and personal life are coherent and trust worthy I think we have an opportunity to vote for a candidate who is good.. which is such a relief from so many years of choosing the lesser of the evils–
    I want to vpte for a leader disciplined by faith in true Authority -higher than his own impulses and or value judgments (G, R and O).
    ” broken promises, glib demagoguery, and cynical political moves ” phrase used by Thomas Sowell to describe B Obama. could that also describe Newt-different particulars, but same idea about lack of respect for a promise and willingness to demagogue ( is there a better example of exploiting peoples emotion than Newt’s display last week? Ethics – is it ok that he does questionable things as long as he gets things done?
    Look at Townhall Rebecca Hagelin’s “Blinded by Hate” column and
    “Newt and Mitt: Two Sides of the Same Coin” .

  • Don,

    Leave aside the issue of his marriages. Gingrich claims that Freddie Mac paid him $1.6 million dollars for him to tell them “as a historian” that there business model was flawed. Do you really believe that?

  • I believe he has said a good deal more than that BA, although I understand that is the talking point of the Romney campaign.;cbsCarousel

    The contracts between Freddie Mac and the consulting firm of Gingrich will soon be released and we will all find out all about it. No doubt Romney in return will be itching to disclose literally tons of documents about his activities at Bain and other business ventures over the years.

    Really BA this Tu Quoque defense of Romney will not hunt. Romney is a pretend conservative, a liberal trying to masquerade as a conservative, and that, along with being a truly lousy politician, is why against an underfunded challenger like Gingrich, who has tons of baggage, he is floundering. Most politicians will be mendacious on occasion, but few politicians have ever been as mendacious as Romney as to just what he believes over such a wide spectrum of issues.

  • Really BA this Tu Quoque defense of Romney will not hunt.

    It is not a Tu Quoque defense, except for Democratic pols who also got a share of the swag from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (James Johnson, Jamie Gorelick, Barney Frank, &c.)

  • Disagree Art. The issue that BA and I have been discussing is honesty with BA claiming that Gingrich is as big a liar as Romney, which is simply not the case.

  • Don,

    Actually I only asked whether you thought Gingrich was an honest person in response to your claim that you couldn’t support a politician if you didn’t think they were honest. Would you like to modify your position to that you can support a dishonest politician so long as you think they are less dishonest than Mitt Romney?

  • No BA, my position is that Romney is a wretchedly dishonest politician that I will only vote for if the only alternative is Obama. However, considering the meltdown I think is happening with the Romney support in Florida and around the country, I am beginning to hope that I will not be forced to vote for President with my left thumb and forefinger clamped on my nose. Compared to Romney, Gingrich is Diogenes’ honest man found.

  • Don,

    You accused me of making a tu quoque, but that’s exactly what you are doing here. You said you couldn’t support a politician if you doubted whether they were honest. That naturally raises the question of whether you think Gingrich is honest. It is no answer to say that he is not as dishonest as Romney, since in your view Romney is incredibly dishonest.

    Again, I’m not the one who said they could only support honest politicians (from my perspective that would rule out most everybody). All I’ve done is ask whether you really believe that Gingrich is an honest guy.

  • “That naturally raises the question of whether you think Gingrich is honest. It is no answer to say that he is not as dishonest as Romney, since in your view Romney is incredibly dishonest.”

    Asked and answered BA. I have already said that Gingrich is being honest with the voters in my opinion as opposed to Romney’s cross dressing attempt to pass himself off as a conservative.

  • Out of curiosity, Don, who did you support back during the 2008 primary when it was Romney v. McCain v. Huckabee?

  • Actually BA I voted for Romney as a protest against McCain. In Illinois he got 28% to 44% for McCain, and I was hoping that a McCain loss might slow down his momentum, although I doubted that would be the case. I posted this on Darwin’s blog the day before the election:

    “Donald R. McClarey said…
    Although I will vote for Romney tommorrow in Illinois, he is toast and McCain will be the nominee. I will grit my teeth and vote for him in the Fall.

    Super Tuesday will not settle matters for the Dems, which will probably be good news for the Republicans. After a long and grueling contest I think Clinton will be the nominee, although I expect she will alienate a fair number of Obama supporters along the way.

    She will probably offer him the Veep spot. If he is smart he will decline it, pray that she is beaten in the Fall and begin preparing for 2012. This election has a strange feel of 1976 about it, with Clinton being Ford to Obama’s Reagan.”

    So much for my crystal ball in 2008!

Newt Is (or at Least Was) Kind of a Jerk

Thursday, January 19, AD 2012

Marianne Gingrich’s claim that Newt wanted an open marriage is the news story of the day.  In all honesty, this doesn’t tell us that much more about Newt than we didn’t know already.  Some have already said that this is no worse than simply cheating on your spouse, and, politically speaking, this might not have any impact at all on the race.

That being the case, it does serve as a forceful reminder that Newt Gingrich is kind of a jerk.  In fact, I think that if his ex-wife’s claims are true (and admittedly, we don’t know for certain), then it is even a bit creepier than just having an affair.  It indicates that Newt is not that concerned about the feelings of other people.  Based on what we know of the man, he gives off a vibe that he views other people as simply pawns.  While he would hardly be the first such personality to become president, it doesn’t mean we should be so flippant about allowing such a man to obtain the highest office in the land.

Now, we know that Newt has had a conversion, and that people change over the course of their lives.  Perhaps the Newt from the mid 1990s is not the same man that he is today.  We can’t really judge the state of a man’s soul, and I don’t propose to do that now.  But we have to consider a couple of things.  First of all, as we are all too well aware, simply becoming a Catholic does not make one a saint.  We are abundantly aware that we are all sinners, and though we all hope that a closer relationship to Jesus fostered through the Church makes us better people, it’s still a struggle.

More importantly, this didn’t happen when Newt was a young man.  Newt was nearly two decades older than I am right now when this all happened.  Yes, men older than Newt have had conversions of the heart.  But a conversion is not necessarily a transformation into a completely new man.

I don’t know what kind of person Newt is right now.  But I know what he has been, and I’m not going to turn a blind eye to an individual’s character simply because people on the other side of the aisle are all too willing to do so.

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29 Responses to Newt Is (or at Least Was) Kind of a Jerk

  • She has said this before. This is her first on TV but the story has been around. He has apologised for it all. I miss you point, age has nothing to do with whether a man or woman are satisfied in a marriage. He could have carried on secret liaisons, but was open with her about it all. Not ideal but this side of heaven few people are.

  • The point about age is that he was not some young cad who had not yet fully matured. He was a past middle-aged man whose moral character had fully developed. As I said, it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have changed, but let’s be honest about who he was.

    Not ideal but this side of heaven few people are.

    Not all of us habitually break marriage vows or treat others as disposable playthings. Yes, we are all sinners. But, well, some sin more than others. While we’re not electing saints, can we at least have a little bit higher of a bar than this?

  • Yeah, honestly, given how I felt about Clinton in the same time period this was going on, this makes me pretty damn reluctant to give Newt any support.

    We already know the guy is a policy loose cannon. Now we have further evidence (not like we didn’t have evidence before) that he’s personally unreliable. There’s just not much to like about the guy. (Other than not being Obama, of which the US currently has over 300 million.)

    Santorum or Romney.

  • Imagine the polling disparity between male and female voters if Newt gets nominated. Won’t be pretty. The only way he could win is if the economy tanks more than it has now. Too much baggage, too little discipline, too much of a risk of Bad Newt returning. He’s a better debater than Obama–by far–but that won’t move enough voters, all other things being equal.

    I’ve tried to talk myself into supporting Gingrich, but I find my arguments less than compelling. The only one left who doesn’t give me the willies is Santorum. And I don’t see him winning either.

  • *in with the obvious joke*

    Maybe she’s trying to help him with the hard-line Ayn Rand crowd….

  • Yeah, our choices for president this Fall have been whittled down to: the scrub already occupying the Office, the milquetoast moderate flip-flopper, the libertarian loon, the egotistical sociopath, and Rick Santorum. Such a tough call for me, but I’m gonna go with Santorum.

    Oh, but he endorsed Specter.

    Again, look at the alternatives.

  • In reply to Newt is a Jerk…the whole purpose of the Catholic Church is to save souls. What good is it if we repent before God and then our own community condemns our past when Christ has blotted out our sin? Don’t you think this is very judgmental? I would remind the brethren that we are all sinners and it may take a longer time for transformation, but that is between us and the Lord. If our lives have changed then we need to give people the benefit of the doubt. Jesus told us, “The man who says he does not sin is a liar.” The church is for “sinners”. Duh?! Newt Gingrich is the only candidate I believe that can beat Barack Obama, a support of abortions and gay marriage among other things I am sure we know God would not want. This is a fact. Not judging. Barack Obama is “not a christian”. He can’t be with these ideals. Remember the type of men Jesus chose to establish his church. They were far worse in some areas. Please think. I like Rick Santorum and maybe in another election he would win, but I believe Newt can beat him and we have a better chance to save our country and our church. God Bless.

  • Wait a second, Paul! What do you mean, you don’t become a saint automatically? No one told me I was going to have to *work* on being good. That does it, I’m becoming an evangelical. They don’t have to do anything.

    In the spirit of ecumenism, I would like to denounce my last paragraph.

    More seriously, this interview doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Did Newt use the phrase “open marriage”? Or did he just say that he didn’t want to break off his affair? There may not be much of a practical difference between the two, but the creepiness factor of an open marriage is way worse.

    430, I don’t think it’s a gimme that Newt could win the general, or that Santorum or Romney couldn’t.

  • I also think our country needs to wake up. Newt tells it like it is. Our people don’t seem to hear or see anymore. It’s like we’ve been in a fog for so many years, including our church. My personal opinion only, I think God has allowed us to be kicked in the pants and many don’t know what to do with “reality”. We are in trouble in our country and in our church. The idea of offending anyone or hurting someone’s feelings has left us with a group of whining liberals and cowards as politicians. Newt knew he would take the pain and decided to do it anyway. Most would never dare with the baggage that Newt has had in his life. Oh how God does confound the wise! Think, pray and ask for wisdom. If Newt can’t beat Obama, than nobody can unless we have another candidate. When are we going to see a democrat rise up and fight for these values we have held in our country. We are a free nation and if we want to stay this way, we better get tough and stop attacking Catholics that have repented.

  • Pinky, you may be right. But I speak as a Catholic and I can only vote as a Catholic. Romney made it clear last week that “contraception is working just fine and we should leave it alone”. So….we still have two Catholics available to us. Santorum and Gingrich. Gingrich is pro-life and for marriage between man and woman. So does Santorum. Ok. We do have a choice on morals this election. And we have a Catholic that could beat Obama. I do not believe that Santorum can beat Obama. I believe Newt can. I also believe that Romney is just not tough enough. Romney is very wishy washy and always sounds like he is stuttering and nervous in his answers. Not very sure at times how to answer. This is just the primary. How would he do in the general election. We would be taking a chance we cannot afford this time. Newt is experienced, knowledgeable and not afraid to speak his mind. We need to wake up and listen. Hear what Newt is saying. He speaks clearly and explains what he means. I can’t believe the sharpest minds on many websites distort what he says all the time. They don’t seem to “hear” or understand what he says and means. He will beat Obama if he wins. We need tough. Look at the Presidents we have had in the White House and people judge Newt? Really??

  • And we have a Catholic that could beat Obama. I do not believe that Santorum can beat Obama.

    How do you know that? If anything, the morally clean gentleman who twice won statewide election in a moderately blue state is more likely to win a general election than one of the most nationally reviled political figures of the past 20 years. Honestly, Obama is so unpopular that almost any conservative who retains the support of the base is very likely to win. Finally, considering the ins and outs of this primary season, I don’t know how anybody can predict the mood of the electorate 10 days out, let alone 10 months.

  • Paul, that’s a valid point, and one that was really driven home during the last election. Everyone assumed that the election was going to be “about” foreign policy, and that’s how McCain and Obama positioned themselves. That was before the stock market lost a billion points in September. We don’t know yet what this election is going to be about. BTW, that’s one of the problems with such early primaries. Ideally, each party would choose a candidate who is qualified and has a vision for all fronts, but in truth each party makes decisions about a candidate’s marketability on the issues that they think will be important in November. And that’s a long way away. As I’ve said before, I hope the election isn’t about US/Pakistan relations and government meat inspection, because that would mean that something horrible had happened on those fronts. We can somewhat safely predict that the economy and the budget are going to be major issues – but there’s a full 1/4 of a presidential term between now and the election.

  • Paul, Good question. South Carolina has to determine who wins this Saturday. Based on the polls, Santorum so far, is not doing good. Maybe I should have said that if Newt wins the nomination, then I do think he can beat Obama. You might be right with Santorum, but I just dont’ see him tough enough. I could be wrong. I do hope one of them beats Obama. I certainly do not want Romney. I can’t anyway. He approves contraception which is a no no to Catholics. I know some don’t count that, but I do. I have to as a Catholic. BUT…to assume “anyone” is better than Obama and would win it, I beg to differ. All would BE a better President than Obama, but NOT all can beat Obama. I do hope you are right. Thanks for your post.

  • That was then. This is now.

    Big thing: Newt is (and always will be) not Obama.

    Seems talking about someone’s divorce is how Obiemessiah got to be a senator.

  • Mr Gingrich has already done yeoman service by breaking the mould of political discourse. He has taken on all comers; Wall Street predators, race greviance mongers and the Muslim crybabies. By doing so he has made easier for genuinely republican values to prevail.

  • Newt Gingrich is and was a statesman who can think on his feet without the need for “advisors”. Elections are not the same as opportunities for speculation and judgment about personal aspects of a life being lived. He is and was able and willing to address the state of the nation.

    I object to the term ‘jerk’ here. There are and have been others elected to govern that earned the term, however.

  • Instapundit: Seen on Face Book, “I don’t care if Gingrich was a swinger at this point. If he gets the nod, he gets my vote, because at least he was screwing a woman and NOT AMERICA.”

  • Bet he’d get some work for the USA done at the desk, too.

  • Harsh crowd here, last I heard him say he has sought reconciliation and forgiveness. If God can forgive him so can we.

    Let’s move on from it and see it for what it is, an attack by a liberal media network one day before the primaries with the sole purpose of derailing Newt. Like him or not, ABC was out to get him. They dug up dirt from a long time ago and threw it all over the internet.

  • No doubt about it, what Gingrich did to his ex-wife was the act of an unmitigated cad. There is no excusing it nor is there any way around it…but there is Christ’s offer of forgiveness, along with the warning that those who don’t forgive will not be forgiven. Leave it to the people on the left to say that if you ever once sinned, you are forever condemned…leave it to them to assert that if you’ve done wrong, you’re only way to “redemption” is to claim that doing the wrong thing is virtuous (this is how “gay rights” got its foothold). It is for us to ask – what has Gingrich done, lately? If, as I understand, God in some way forgets our sins once we ask forgiveness, then surely we can do as much. A man who cheated on his wife last month is someone who needs to go in to the spiritual dog house for a while in order to find redemption…someone who cheated on his wife more than a decade ago and has since converted to the one, true Church is someone who long ago left the dog house.

  • Are we done with the red herrings yet?

  • “We can’t really judge the state of a man’s soul, and I don’t propose to do that now. ”

    …and a few minutes later:

    “our choices for president this Fall have been whittled down to: the scrub already occupying the Office, the milquetoast moderate flip-flopper, the libertarian loon, the egotistical sociopath, and Rick Santorum.”

    what a swell guy you are Paul….getting tips from Mark Shea?

  • You are correct Jasper, and I should have been more temperate in my remark there regarding Gingrich. But I do stand by the fact that we cannot be naive with regards to the man’s character.

  • Did anyone on here see or hear or read today the full Mr Gingrich interview by Mr King.? He said his two daughters made themselves available to ABC regarding his second marriage, as well as friends who knew the facts. Not allowed! Character is not just about fidelity in marriage. It is about one’s whole life, past to present. Take away the spin-doctors, the advisers, the speech writers and the teleprompter and what is the real character of any POTUS? The candidate is much more “transparent” to use the much-quoted word today. As a US citizen looking back at the scene from Europe, Newt was a real human being last night.

  • As I read history only one perfect human was without sin and He was crucified and accused of being a traitor and worked His miracles with Old Nick himself. I add King David to the list of sinners who kept their jobs, a miurderer-adulterer who wrote Psalm 51 in repentance. Mr Gingrich as I noted said that ABC refused to allow his daughters and some in-the-know people tell what happened with his ex-wife. He said the reports were not true. To me that puts his reply to Mr. King, in contrext, using ABC as an excuse to nail Newt. IF I were back there he would have my vote as the most qualified, less burdened by baggage candidate who has any chance at beating the incumbent in debate and on the issues. He is not running to replace Jesus or the Pope but to unseat a man who has not met his own goals and broken too many promises. And came from Chicago’s School of Democratic Public Service and was a community organiser which are not really qualifications for the POTUS.

  • HT, I think we can set the bar for our candidates somewhere between Christ and Lucifer.

    And no, I am not comparing Newt or anyone else to Satan. I just think that it’s a little bit extreme to say that no one is perfect, therefore we should have absolutely no concern about a candidate’s character. To me that is moral relativism run amok.

  • If my Irish humour may be excused, I do not consider Mr Obama “Lucifer,” the Light-bearer. He is not that ” bright” without the teleprompter!

  • If my Irish humour may be excused, I do not consider Mr Obama “Lucifer,” the Light-bearer. He is not that ” bright” without the teleprompter!

22 Responses to Breaking News: Perry Out

  • Paul,

    You are quick to the draw! I was already preparing the email to send you when I checked TAC.

    With Gingrich and Santorum surging and Perry dropping, it’ll be an interesting weekend in SC. Especially with Gingrich’s ex-wife interview and Romney’s inability to think on his feet in debates.

  • Interesting: according to this Perry is going to endorse Gingrich:

    From this I derive the following:

    1. Perry really hates Romney.
    2. Perry wants Romney to lose in South Carolina.
    3. Perry is not convinced that Romney is the inevitable nominee. As Governor of Texas I assume that he would want to be on good terms with a man who might well be the next President. That he is not in fence mending mode yet is a good indication that he believes that a unified conservative opposition could still derail Romney.

  • I note the Romeny campaign has put out a new TV spot that features pro-abortion Catholic Susan Molinari. So far, no criticism from Catholic conservatives.

  • Kurt, you have been following the contempt with which the Weathervane is generally held on this site have you not, or has that completely passed you by? How you, who run a site called Catholics for Obama, think that you score any points by pointing out Romney’s flaws while shilling for the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history, speaks well for your chutzpah if not your judgment.

  • . So far, no criticism from Catholic conservatives.

    Yeah, we Catholic conservative bloggers have really been shilling for Romney, there. Good call.

  • Kurt,

    Did you just skim over our website and not read how much we have not been supporting Romney (just as you skimmed reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Holy Bible, Encyclicals, etc. on your way to supporting the most notorious abortion supporter in the history of the United States of America).

  • *votes for Tito’s explanation*

    Not that I think any objective reader would fail to notice the…odd trends in Kurt’s responses.

  • Wait wait wait, Don. Are you actually trying to say that this isn’t the most pro-Romney blog after Jen Rubin’s?

    Nice try.

    But no sale, *sir.*

  • Good economic news: US gun sales are soaring. Unbelievable: This booming US manufacturing sector isn’t being touted by Obama. He ought to take credit. He’s hugely assisting these home-grown manufacturers. Maybe he owns stock . . .

  • “Wait wait wait, Don. Are you actually trying to say that this isn’t the most pro-Romney blog after Jen Rubin’s?’

    I do not think it is possible Dale for you to have your tongue thrust further into your cheek! 🙂

  • “I note the Romeny campaign has put out a new TV spot that features pro-abortion Catholic Susan Molinari. So far, no criticism from Catholic conservatives.”

    Kurt, you’ve been to my blog, at least to post a comment. Did you bother to read anything while you were there? I haven’t blogged in a few days, so haven’t addressed the Molinari ad, but I daresay there are few people in this country who routinely expresses as much antipathy toward Romney as this particular Catholic conservative. And none of the Catholic conservatives at TAC have ever written anything positive about Romney from what I’ve seen.

    But I’m glad to see that criticism of abortion supporters is something you’d like to see. Perhaps you could start with the abortion supporters (and those Catholics who vote for them) in your own party.

  • Perry gave 3 reasons why he’s dropping out: “One, my campaign has stalled. Two, we’re really far behind in the polls. And three…uh, three….um, dang it, what was the third reason again?”

  • “I do not think it is possible Dale for you to have your tongue thrust further into your cheek!”

    So much so that I may have pulled a muscle there, in fact.

  • Awwww, LarryD, for shame! Such low hanging fruit – I expect better.

  • Paul – someone had to do it.

    I’m wondering – who’s gonna save a pretzel for the gas jets, now that Perry is out?

  • I can’t blame Larry for swinging at that hanging curve.

    The reaction over at Hot Gas has been somewhat muted, all things considered.

  • The reaction over at Hot Gas has been somewhat muted, all things considered

    Haven’t read the blog in months. I feel much saner for it.

  • I think the blog itself is fine (AP’s bouts of anti-religious snark notwithstanding)–and a very good news aggregator.

    But too many of the commenters need to be beaten with a sock full of wood screws.

  • But it’s no Ace of Spades, I’ll admit.

  • Even Ace has annoyed me lately with the anti-Santorum stuff, but it’s far more entertaining, and the commenters far less insane.

  • Hot Gas, you mean the anti-Catholic bigots blog called Hot Air?

Rick Santorum Won Iowa

Thursday, January 19, AD 2012

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?

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3 Responses to Rick Santorum Won Iowa

  • I think that increasingly South Carolina is being perceived as the must-win state for primary candidates. Iowa and New Hampshire can be, and have been, won by a full-bore campaign that expends all its resources. By the time SC rolls around, though, only people with money are still in the race.

    Then again, as the years go by, people might try to focus on SC the way they currently do on Iowa and NH. But for the time being, it’s perceived as too big to win without an extensive advertising budget.

  • Sadly, Iowa has a significant liberal element even in the Republican party. Need I say more?

Still Want to Defend Romney and Bain?

Wednesday, January 11, AD 2012

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.

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14 Responses to Still Want to Defend Romney and Bain?

  • Cronyism or crony capitalism is wrong no matter the party of those who do it. I want the Amendment forcing Congress to give up insider trading and having them live by the rules they set for the rest of us! (Of course, I’d require the penalty for a Congresscritter violating this to be citizenship forfeiture.)

  • Laughing, David Axelrod said, “I love it when conservatives trash capitalism!”

    How to stay healthy when obama gets re-elected: don’t get old. (see Instapundit)

  • Yes.

    All the pundits are talking about is how Obama is going to run ads quoting Newt and Perry attacking Romney’s time at Bain. I can excuse Perry because he’s a child. Newt knows better. He just doesn’t care because he’s a horrible person.

  • It is good that Mr Gingrich is falling on his sword to take out the crony capitalists. Such men as Neutron Jack who squeezed “efficiencies” by firing janitors and destroying middle-income pesitions and Carl Icahn – who mutilated a high-tech icon like Motorola should be spoken of in terms reserved for rapists and child molesters.

    David Axelrod said, “I love it when conservatives trash capitalism!”
    He wont be laughing so hard when the guns are trained on Obama, beholden as he is to Wall Street, Solyndra and Jeff Immelt.

  • Over at a more liberal blog, there’s a discussion about why business experience or governing experience even matters. The president can’t repeal a single mandate. In other words, he can’t change what government does, at all. He can hire and fire but how much experience do you need for that? Governing experience seems even less useful. The president’s legislative authority is probably better utilized by someone with congressional experience.

    Also, Obama will have 4 years of executive experience including foreign policy experience, something that Romney has none of. So really does the experience argument hold any water?

  • It is good that Mr Gingrich is falling on his sword to take out the crony capitalists. Such men as Neutron Jack who squeezed “efficiencies” by firing janitors and destroying middle-income pesitions and Carl Icahn – who mutilated a high-tech icon like Motorola should be spoken of in terms reserved for rapists and child molesters.

    1. The word is ‘positions’.

    2. Carl Icahn has been a minority shareholder of one of the two successor companies to Motorola. He did not have a controlling interest.

    3. A ‘crony capitalist’ is one who is able to extract rents derived from his connections to government officials. That does not describe Mr. Icahn or Mr. Romney even in your renderings.

  • He can hire and fire but how much experience do you need for that? Governing experience seems even less useful.

    1. Read Jim Manzi’s posts on The American Scene on this subject three years ago.

    2. Read John Dean’s memoir of the Nixon Administration, Ron Nessen’s account of the Ford Administration, and Richard Nathan’s The Plot that Failed on the Nixon Administration. Contrast what you read with contemporary news reports on the Reagan Administration’s inner workings.

    The president’s legislative authority is probably better utilized by someone with congressional experience.

    Of which Obama had very little.

    Also, Obama will have 4 years of executive experience including foreign policy experience, something that Romney has none of. So really does the experience argument hold any water?

    Yes, and we have been watching how he performed.

    You’ve outdone yourself this time.

  • I was expecting more from Manzi’s post. All he did was lay out correlating facts based on past presidents. Anybody care to explain why business experience matters or how governing experience is any more useful than legislative experience?

  • What is GE worth now? As others have pointed out Neutron Jack bailed out exactly at the right time to keep his reputation as the greatest manager since Josef Stalin intact ie just before Sep 11. The secular trend in the stock markets when he was around would have doubled GE’s value without any effort on his part. Corporate raiders such as Icahn do nothing to enhance the technical competence of companies such as Motorola. Their gambit is to come in as minority shareholders and spread discontent among the other shareholders. Pandering to greed they sow discord in the management ranks. The suitably riled shareholders then prevail on the paternalistic ruling family – in this case the Galvins to move with the times. The upshot is Motorola loses its technological lead as the engineers and salesmen are forced to count beans and watch their backs. And all for nothing, as Motorola soon found out after the locusts left – loosing its lead in both communications and computing.

    Agreed that I used the term “crony capitalist” erroneously.

    Pres Lincoln would have called the wrath of the Prophets down on Icahn, T Roosevelt would have lashed him onto the back of his horse, Howard Taft ridden over him with a water buffalo, Eisenhower would have included a dark reference to such “capitalists” in his farewell speech and Nixon would have ordered a nationalisation. I do not see why the Republican Party of these presidents should carry water for such people.

  • Anybody care to explain why business experience matters or how governing experience is any more useful than legislative experience?

    That may be the most obtuse question I have been posed in the last six months.

  • RR,

    As someone who works for the Executive Branch, I can tell you that these things matter more than you can imagine. There is tremendous wiggle room in the way federal law is interpreted, implemented, and enforced down at the agency level. And some of it (not all) flows down from the Chief Executive. The chain of command matters greatly, because it is their expertise at managing or lack thereof that will affect all kinds of people.

  • Unless you’re a cabinet-level official, the president himself doesn’t affect your job much. The department head calls the day-to-day shots. Sure, it’s important for a president to be able to work with his cabinet but much more important are the president’s legislative and commander-in-chief functions. In terms of legislation, LBJ, former Senate minority leader, is considered one of the most successful presidents. One of the most successful commander-in-chiefs was FDR who was Assistant Secretary of the Navy for 7 years (back when the Navy was it’s own cabinet-level department).

  • Remind me again, how many bondholders did Bain stiff and how much of its money was looted from the taxpayers?

Rick Perry Should Not Drop Out (Updated)

Wednesday, January 4, AD 2012

After finishing in fifth place in the Iowa caucus, Rick Perry delivered perhaps the finest speech of the night.  At the end, he said that he was going home to Texas to “reassess” his campaign and try to find a way forward.  That is not quite as dire as “suspending” one’s campaign, but that is not a good sign for those of us who support his candidacy.

I hope that Perry decides to continue, and not just because he’s my favorite candidate.  I also don’t think that Michelle Bachmann should drop out.  No candidate should drop out after last night, and for one simple reason: it is simply time to stop making one small caucus and one small state so important in the grand scheme of a campaign.

Tim Pawlenty dropped out after merely losing a non-binding straw poll in Ames.  Pawlenty’s premature exit from the campaign is a decision that he must be ruing considering all that has transpired over the past five months.  Perhaps Pawlenty would have dropped back into Jon Hunstman territory, or perhaps Pawlenty would have become the candidate that conservatives rallied around in order to defeat Mitt Romney.  We simply don’t know because Pawlenty let the decision of a handful of voters in what is basically a glorified clambake take him out of the race.

You know how many delegates Santorum and Romney, the winners of the Iowa caucus, each won?  Six.  Six delegates out of 1,144 needed to win the nomination.  Iowa’s population is roughly one percent of the total US population.  It is a state that is over 90% white, and has an unemployment rate that is 5.7 percent, almost three full points below the national average.  In other words, it is not a state that is exactly representative of the nation as a whole.

The first four state in the presidential primary season represent a decent cross-section of the population, or at least of the Republican electorate.  Iowa is a populist, midwest, rural white state.  New Hampshire is a small New England state that is typically more libertarian.  South Carolina is a growing, southern state that has typically been more predictive of the eventual nominee than the first two states.  Finally there is the populous swing state of Florida.  We will have a much better idea of the state of the race after the Florida primary has been completed, and all the candidates owe it to the electorate to at least tough it out until that point or else we will continue to allow Iowa to have a ridiculously over-sized influence on the nomination process.

Now there are legitimate reasons for Perry (and for Bachmann) to see the writing on the wall and drop out.  Perry concentrated his efforts on Iowa and spent north of $5 million there.  After all that he only received 11 percent of the vote.  Perry had already written off New Hampshire, and he is struggling to get even in the top three in South Carolina.  He may see the rise of another respectable conservative in Santorum as a sign that he has no path to victory, and his continued presence in the race is only muddying the field.  That’s an understandable strategic decision, and I respect that.  But I hate to see Iowa continuing to play a more glorified role in the selection process than is merited.

Update:  Evidently Rick Perry has listened to me.  Who says I don’t have influence?

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14 Responses to Rick Perry Should Not Drop Out (Updated)

  • May we see a fresh, citizen-demanded move to reform the financing of campaigns and the selection of delegates. The exaggeration of Iowa’s importance – and one candidate spending $5+ million there to gain so little makes it more questionable. Not to mention the 50 states and the one billion expected for 44’s bid that is un-challenged inside his own party.

  • I didn’t know you wanted to divide the not-Romney vote to help Romney.

    Every eventual nominee has finished within the top 4 in Iowa and the top 2 in New Hampshire. Sure, Iowa shouldn’t be this important but Perry and Bachmann aren’t doing well in any state or nationally. Iowa is merely reflecting the fact that they aren’t popular anywhere. Staying in isn’t going to diminish Iowa’s role.

    I’m glad to see Perry go. Bachmann is expected to drop out later today. It’ll dramatically improve the quality of the debates. I expect Huntsman to drop out after NH and Newt after South Carolina which will improve the debates even more.

    I’ve heard that Pawlenty was glad to drop out. He didn’t enjoy campaigning.

  • I didn’t know you wanted to divide the not-Romney vote to help Romney

    Admittedly I wouldn’t mind seeing the field winnowed, but I still think candidates should let a wider range of voters make the call.

  • You know what would be a good first in the nation primary? North Carolina. A good-sized population, southern but with an influx of out-of-staters, relatively diverse, and Republican-leaning but not decidedly so. I think that would be a much better test for the candidates than Iowa. I’d also suggest Virginia but they’d only let a couple of guys on the ballot, so they don’t get it.

  • The Economist lose the primary system. They argue that the early states should be small. It allows people like Santorum with few resources to compete with people like Romney. It also allows voters to personally get to know the candidates.

  • I meant The Economist loves the primary.

    It’s Christmas all over again, Paul. Perry just said he’s back in!

  • A little off topic here, but there’s a natural process that the more you win, the more you look like a winner. Over the next few weeks you’re going to see a change in the political reporting. The whole “weak field” story line is going to disappear, and it’ll be replaced by a “Thrilla in Manila” battle of the giants. Is X undefeatable? Y has emerged as a leader. Z is drawing record crowds. Then there’ll be a “fight to the finish” story line, and “will there be a brokered convention?”, which there won’t be, because there never is. By the end of it all, after week after week of one candidate and the word “WINS” appearing in the headlines, even the most ideological member of the press will get caught up in the excitement of a potential horse race in the general election.

  • As an early supporter of Gov. Perry, and as someone who is decidedly NOT Santorum’s biggest fan, it pains me to say that Perry needs to read the writing on the wall and understand that he has been tried and found wanting. He blew his chance, and I truly believe there is no recapturing the momentum. I mean, he ought to be cleaning up in a state like South Carolina, but instead he’s pulling 6-7 % of the vote. What a joke. He’s done for, and needs to get out so that the conservative vote can coalesce around someone who still has a chance to stop Romney.

  • Perry is obviously a skilled politician as his record in Texas indicates. The fact that he was unable to perform adequately in the debates flabbergasted me and his ground game in Iowa was very weak for all the money he spent. Throughout this I have had the feeling that his heart simply wasn’t in making this run.

  • I always had my eye on Santorum for the primary (I’m in SC), but I figured I’d be one of the 4% vying for him. I didn’t think Perry was going to last as long as he has, given how terrible he is at debating. Perry has little chance of getting Top 4 in NH, even less chance in SC where he should be doing well. He should absolutely follow Bachmann’s lead and drop out so that someone (Romney) doesn’t get nominated.

  • I know that the 2012 schedule is different than that of 2008, but Giuliani tried to wait until Florida until he made his move. It looks good on paper, but I think again that the drumbeat of victories and defeats makes a late surge very difficult. And I know, Florida isn’t late, but it’s late-R, and everyone wants to whittle it down to a two-or-three-man race right away.

  • You know what would be a good first in the nation primary?

    None of them. Have the bloody primaries and the 1st round of caucuses the 2d week of June and the 2d round of caucuses the 3d week of June and the conventions in August. If we are fortunate, our politicians can slice five months off the budget of time spent in madcap electioneering.

  • I wonder what the good to bad debate ratio is before opinions level out. Perry’s last few debates were pretty good. Does he need 1.5 good debates to makeup for every bad? 2:1?

    I know it’s not a gaffe, but I found Santorum’s whining and petulance in the early debates equally annoying. He’s better now because he’s more comfortable. He’s more comfortable now because he’s not a single digit guy.

    The upcoming debates should be interesting.

  • I know you’re kind of kidding, but there’s actually something to that, Kyle. Perry’s poor debate performances came early on in the process when he was making a first impression. Once opinions are formed about someone, they are difficult to change.

January TAC GOP Presidential Poll

Tuesday, January 3, AD 2012

UPDATE 1-8-2012:  We have eliminated Ron Paul due to spamming issues.  If you feel the need to cast a vote for Ron Paul, please do s0 by leaving a comment.

John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Buddy Roemer, and Paul Ryan never announced their candidacy for the GOP nomination as some had speculated, so they have been removed from the TAC Poll.  In addition, Gary Johnson has removed himself from consideration the moment he accepted the Libertarian Party Nomination.  Herman Cain has suspended his campaign which is nothing more than preventing the inevitable.

Here’s our latest poll so please vote in anticipation of the Iowa Caucuses (voting ends 7pm this Friday):


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65 Responses to January TAC GOP Presidential Poll

  • Pingback: Rick Santorum Roundup |
  • I am surprised to see that Santorum is doing so well on this poll. Is it because he’s Catholic? I hope not, because the Catholic church teaches, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” I do not see this practiced by Santorum in his legislative ethics, nor in his strident efforts to promote war with Iran, and now countries in South America (see the Iowa debate).

    The candidate who truly espouses peace is Dr. Ron Paul, and he has my support in the hopes that his administration would be one of peace & goodwill.

  • There is a difference between espousing peace Cynthia and being a naive fool about foreign powers that mean harm to us. Ron Paul crossed that line long ago. His viewpoint of course is that the rest of the world can go to Hell while America huddles down in Fortess America. Somehow I do not think that foreign policy lives up to the admonition of Christ that you cited.

    In regard to our Civil War Ron Paul believes it was completely unneccessary. Go to the link below explaining why he was wrong:

  • Two Paulbots have been banned for their charming attempt to recycle a slur against Santorum hurled by homosexual activists. All such additional attempts will go into the trash where they belong and the attempted commenter will be banned from this site.

  • It’s been pretty ugly for Santorum as the Militant Gay Lobby has been harrassing Santorum with their KKK tactics all throughout his Iowa campaign. It’s no coincidence that Paulbots are doing the same to Santorum considering that Ron Paul wrote racist newsletters up until the 1990s.

  • Oh look, the Paulbots are stacking our poll:

    “Little poll that sanatorium is winning…

    Submitted by Howimademy on Wed, 01/04/2012 – 19:54.

    Thought it’d be fun to just knock him out of first…silly, maybe…fun, yes. 🙂…”

    Of course this has ever been the tactic of Ron Paul cultists. Too bad for them that they can’t win elections in real life.

  • Too bad for them that they can’t win elections in real life.

    Or friends or jobs or a life . . .

  • What bothers me (off topic just a bit), is that Sarah Palin are warning Republicans to not alienate these 9/11 Truthers, ie, Paulbots.

    Of course, this came a day after she said that “its not (Michele) Bachman time”. Considering that she has almost zero executive experience, I found this truly rich.

  • Ron Paul is no doubt the most Biblical candidate for 2012, if you are a true believer you would support Dr. Ron Paul. Here is a short series explaining as to why he is:

    I urge everyone to watch this series so you can understand as to why he is the most Biblical candidate and why believers should support him and no other candidate. If you don’t you are just lying to yourselves and/or others.

  • Most Biblical? Indeed! Here is exclusive video of Ron Paul leading the Paulbots out of Iowa and across the Mississippi:

  • Are you proud to mock your religion?

  • I am a Catholic John. I mock the Ron Paul Cult that you are obviously a card carrying member of. Read back your original comment to yourself. It would be too much if applied to George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, let alone Ron Paul. It comes across as completely over the top and invites the type of mockery that I gave it.

  • We will see.

  • They are just like cochroaches aren’t they…the Paulinista’s…they seem to be everywhere…I gotta give them credit…they are organized, but then so were the borg.

  • It was bound to happen in one of these polls that the Paulbots would manipulate poll. They know they can’t win, so instead of letting poll develop organically they spam it. Fortunately, that doesn’t work in politics. We can pretty much throw out the Ron Paul vote, meaning that Santorum has the Catholic vote behind him.

  • I am all in favor of ending the IRS.

    Thats one of the reasons I am voting for Ron Paul. (as if thats not enough by itself)

  • I would say, there is no greater media cheerleader for Ron Paul right now than Judge Andrew Napolitano, who is Catholic. Regarding Rick Santorum, I must ask, “What could be more ‘pro-life’ than peace?” What does “waterboarding” have to do with “family values”? I apologize for “Paulbots” who may have offended you. However, I am genuinely concerned that a President Santorum or a President Gingrich would start World War III in the Middle East by bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities for no good reason except political expediency.

  • I do not think Catholics can take Santorum seriously. Although he spouts pro life rhetoric at times, he places a higher value on politics. Why did he support Arlen Specter’s candidacy for Senate over Pat Toomey? Toomey was pro life while pro choice Specter was head of the judiciary committee and had fought Robert Bork.

  • Santorum was always a pro-life leader in Congress. He fought hard for every pro-life piece of legislation and always voted pro-life. In regard to the Specter endorsement in 2004, as the tight Presidential polls that year indicated, there was every prospect that 2004 was going to be a bad year for the Republicans. The Democrats had slightly more seats up than the Republicans, 19-15 in the Senate that year, but the playing ground was fairly even. On election night Kentucky, Florida and Alaska were fairly close, and South Dakota was won by a hair. Control of the Senate would have shifted if those elections had gone the other way, and they might well have.

    Santorum extracted a pledge from Specter that he would support every Supreme Court nominee sent up by Bush. This pledge was crucial if control of the Senate had shifted or if the Republicans had come back with a diminished majority .

    I think what Santorum did was reasonable at the time, assuming that one’s goal is to have Supreme Court justices on the Court that will overturn Roe. Bush lost Pennsylvania to Kerry, and I think it likely that Toomey might well have been defeated that year, considering that he only got 51% of the vote in 2010, the best election year for Republicans since Calvin Coolidge was in office.

  • “would say, there is no greater media cheerleader for Ron Paul right now than Judge Andrew Napolitano, who is Catholic.”

    He is also a paranoid conspiracy nut like Ron Paul. He is a 9-11 Truther among other charming conspiracy theories he partakes in.

  • Ron Paul does not ‘work well with others’ as the old grade school report card used to say. Whatever his viewpoints, if one hasn’t that power to sway other powerful and intelligent people to your side it is wasted. In all his years in Congress he has been a moody, strange loner. He’s like the kid who sniffed his fingers and his mother attach his mittens to his snow suit so he wouldn’t lose them. No one wants him on a team.

  • These folks make a habit of just spamming polls:

    Because nothing says your candidate is a massively popular guy on his way to winning a nomination than having to spend your entire day spamming meaningless internet polls.

    Well, at 8.6% unemployment, it’s understandable how they have the time to dither their day away. Doing arduous things like brushing up on that ole resume is just a bummer activity.

  • Completely counterproductive activity since everyone knows that the Paulbots do this, but they persist in it anyway merely to be annoying. Juvenile and delusional which basically sums up the Ron Paul Cult.

  • “I think what Santorum did was reasonable at the time, assuming that one’s goal is to have Supreme Court justices on the Court that will overturn Roe.”

    This is where I would take issue with you.
    Let us examine the nominees of Bush:
    Roberts: pro life, but I doubt he would overturn Roe v Wade due to his belief in Stare Decisis.
    Harriet Myers: ???
    Alito: Pro Life, but it is not clear he would overturn Roe V Wade.
    Digging deeper, it was Arlen Specter who reportedly dissuaded Bush from nominating Alberto Gonzalez.
    So, by making the political bargain Santorum did, he passed on opportunity to remove a staunch pro choicer in exchange for gaining no headway in overturning Roe V Wade. I am not sure I believe Toomey was a sure loser against Spectre, as Spectre generally won by thin margins, though you make a good point. I see Santorum as playing party politics rather than sticking to his stated principles. I really do not trust him. I am from Pennsylvania and have followed his political career going back to before he was elected to the US House when he upset Doug Walgren.

  • Considering that Alberto Gonzalez is a pro-abort I think it was a very good thing that Specter talked Bush out of nominating him, although I hadn’t heard that. In regard to Roberts and Alito, judging from their votes in a partial birth abortion case, Gonzales v. Carhart, I have little doubt that they would vote to overturn Roe if the opportunity presents itself.

  • I am a Ron Paul supporter. I’m not a Paulbot, not even sure what that means. I’m also a pro life follower of Jesus Christ. I’m not a pothead and I don’t spam polls. I do however go to any poll I can find and cast my vote for Ron. There are 3 people of voting age in my household and many times we can’t all cast our votes for Ron because most polls only allow one vote per IP address.

    I would like to personally apologize for the knuckleheads who tried to post the Santorum stuff on here. Something to consider though. We have a lot of young people in our camp, young people don’t really care to much for what us older folks would call propriety. I guarantee you, if you were to come over to Ron Paul forums or the DailyPaul and meet some of the people there that we are mostly, such as yourselves, kind and decent folk.

    Most of us only want to live in peace with our neighbors and the world. We love our country and see it slipping away from us. We are losing our God given rights buy the day, bankrupting ourselves with endless wars and entitlements, etc, etc. We love America, we love our neighbors, and we want to be free.

    You can hate us if you want to, not a very Christian thing to do but what the heck, live and let live. We are people just like you but with a different perspective, one that we did not get from CNN or FOX news. Many people don’t realize this but there is not one main stream media news network that isn’t owned by a larger enterprise that makes most of their money from the military industrial complex. Don’t take my word for it, look it up.

    As I said, I am staunchly pro life as many of my fellow Ron Paul supporters are, but for us, being pro life extends beyond the womb. There are 75 million human beings living in Iran, approximately 50 million women and children. I personally am not willing that even a single one of them be sacrifice so that I might sleep a little better at night. Besides, God has not given me a Spirit of fear, it’s in the Bible, you can look that up too.

    Please get the facts about our candidate before you dismiss him entirely, there are hundreds of videos all over the internet of Ron Paul in his own words. The media misrepresents Ron Paul and often flat out lies about him or puts words in his mouth. For example, Bill O’Reilly just said last night that Ron Paul said he didn’t want to be President, a bald faced lie. These are the kind of things that we are fighting against and some of us take it a little too far at times.

    God bless you all, and have a great day.

  • I agree, Don. I certainly think that Roberts and Alito would *like* to overturn Roe. As principled jurists (unlike Roe’s authors), they do have to take stare decisis principles into account, which does make the outcome harder to predict. That said, beyond reversing Roe outright, pro-life forces certainly favor judges who are sympathetic to their strategy of chipping away at Roe so as to limit its applicability as much as possible, and certainly Alito and Roberts fall within that description.

    I think the criticisms directed toward Myers were over the top and unfair. In any case I have no reason to believe that her jurisprudence vis-a-vis Roe would differ from that of Roberts or Alito.

  • In any case I have no reason to believe that her jurisprudence vis-a-vis Roe would differ from that of Roberts or Alito.

    The objection to her nomination went beyond how she’d decide cases to the potential quality of her jurisprudence. But that’s a debate for another time.

  • Ditto what Tito said re: “KKK tactics”

    Rick Santorum 2012!

  • Archie, I do want to commend you on your thoughtful comment. I do wish that more Ron Paul supporters were as reaonable and polite as you – frankly it would help his own cause if he didn’t have his supporters making such disgusting attack ads as this one against Huntsman.

    Please get the facts about our candidate before you dismiss him entirely, there are hundreds of videos all over the internet of Ron Paul in his own words.

    Archie, the reason most of the people here think he is so far out there is precisely because of what we’ve seen Paul say in his own words. Frankly people like O’Reilly are full of hot air anyway, and I don’t need to listen to him in order to come to my own conclusions.

  • Paul, thank you for your kind words. I saw the video you posted, silly really. I’m not sure what they were trying to prove. Huntsman is a decent enough guy and a very successful businessman, he obviously is not my first choice but I wouldn’t rule him out were he to win the nomination. My son speaks Chinese as well, so I’m really not sure how that’s a bad thing. What can I say, it’s politics, sometimes it’s ugly, sometimes just plain ridiculous.

    In fairness, Huntsman ran a very biased and misleading attack piece on Ron Paul as well, taking his words out of context and basically saying he was crazy. If you don’t agree with Ron that’s fine, but his views are particularly well thought out, not crazy. Concerning foreign policy, he has been supported by some of the better minds on the subject. The CIA has written and warned about “blowback” and the 9/11 commission report agreed with much of what he has been saying for years.

    Those of us in the Paul camp who have lived a little longer are a bit easier to deal with and welcome rigorous intellectual debate on the issues. If there is something that you have heard Ron say that troubles you or gives you pause, I am very interested to know what those statements may have been. BTW, I’m very pleased to hear that you are not one of the mindless drones who takes every word from FOX as if it came down from Mt. Sinai.

    Love and Peace in Jesus Christ

  • Father of five, Knights of Columbus Grand Knight here. Ron Paul is the only option for me when I size up the candidates against my faith. We don’t want the world to go to hell in a hand basket. Evil countries, evil men, and evil ideas around the world need to be stopped. It’s just the the US Federal Government should not be in charge of this. It’s not their role. The US Federal Government isn’t the only way to combat evil. We can combat it here in our north western hemisphere and the other countries of the world can pick up their own slack.

  • “We can combat it here in our north western hemisphere and the other countries of the world can pick up their own slack.”

    The Ukranian man made famine under Stalin, the Katyn Massacre, the Rape of Nanking, the Cultural Revolution, and the list could be endless, shows how well that tends to work out in practice.

  • Donald, I understand your point. I’m not saying Americans shouldn’t do anything about these horrible atrocities around the world. I’m just saying that tax should not be collected from all American’s to fund a military operation across the world.

    What I believe should happen is what happened before we became the police of the world. Allow American’s to join foreign armies in times of need so that if an American is willing they can make a difference. If 51% of able-bodied American’s joined a foreign force to combat evil and/or contributed funds to these causes I think we would see evil be defeated in many cases.

    If you think that 51% of able-bodied American’s would not serve or fund other countries across the world on their own… then you and I have something in common. If 51% of American’s would not give money or risk their lives for other counties, then why the hell is our Federal Government doing this in the first place? Is it because “it’s the right thing to do”, or because it’s “just and righteous”? That’s what they told us about Iraq and i have to say I don’t believe them anymore.

    This is why I have changed my mind. I will (or want to) contribute my time and money to causes I feel are “just” and “righteous”. I don’t want the government taking my money and giving it to who they feel, or just say, rightfully deserves it.

  • “The Ukranian man made famine under Stalin, the Katyn Massacre, the Rape of Nanking, the Cultural Revolution, and the list could be endless, shows how well that tends to work out in practice.”

    What did the US do about any of that?

    We did not bomb or invade them.

    Should we have bombed Ukraine, China, etc. to stop killing innocents?

  • We should do what we can T. Shaw to stop innocents from being massacred. Sometimes we effectively lack the power to do anything about it, but we should never rest our foreign policy on the presumption that murder of innocents abroad is none of our business. In regard to China, if we had effectively supported the Nationalists, corrupt though they were, in their war against Mao in 1945-49, how many tens of millions of lives might have been saved? After the Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1919, the US and its allies had an opportunity to support the Whites against the Reds. Instead the US and its allies tired of the conflict, pulled out of Russia and the Soviet Union was established, with the consequences to the world that we are all familiar with. When we refuse to fight evils at the outset, the evils often do not disappear, but grow in strength and end up killing hordes of innocents.

    This section from Proverbs 24 has always hit home to me in this area:

    10 If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!
    11 Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
    12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
    Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

  • It was Catholics who put the worst president we have known in our lifetime, even over Jimmy Carter, into office. How can we do this again by voting for someone who cannot win with his crazy conspiracy theories and his isolationist thinking?

    Are we doomed to repeat history because we ignore it? Does anyone here think that the US has done anything to make clearly religious extremists, BIGOTS, whose religion like it or not, gives them permission to kill the infidel…that be us…just for existing into assassins hell bent oh no, paradise bent to kill us all. The entire Western Civilization.

    I have never heard Judge Napolitano espouse the conspiracy theory that the Truthers espouse but regardless, they are crazy. Ron Paul is pro life, thank God, but he is not prolife if he thinks he can negotiate us to peace with these people. They are more prolific than us, because most Catholics do not practice a prolife mentality and they are not unwilling to die. All I can see is that we are not willing to do what our fathers did, we are willing to die for our freedom and that of our brothers and sisters.

    How said for people like my father and I am sure many of yours or your grandfathers and mothers who laid down their life. Or was Hitler more of an enemy than a Islamist extremists who insinuate themselves into our culture, take advantage of our education, and good heartedness until ready to blow themselves up for what? 70 Virgins….doesn’t that offend anyone?

    When I stand before Jesus, I will have to answer for voting for someone who may use techniques of war, IN war, that I don’t necessarily care for, however, I feel better being able to say that I voted for a lesser evil in order to end the reign of a decidely anti life, scoundrel who has lied to us about everything and is not only trying to control our birth and death but how, when and where we can practice our faith, in fact I would venture to say, Obama would like to replace our Christian faith with a secularist faith based upon the ideology of green. To be a steward of this gift of earth is our task but climate change and all that has attached itself to it is not about science it is about ideology and a way to replace Christ, expecially in the minds of kids, with mother earth.

    We need a pit bull to go against the obama machine, not someone who thinks, much like Carter did (and look what that got us) that we can negotiate or worse just stick our heads in the sand and pretend there is no other world out there…no enemy by us.

    I am so saddened that we may be the reason for another 4 years of hopey changey until the only change will be our Church muzzled and more of us blown up.

  • Hello Chris, May I offer a brief rebuttal from the Ron Paul side? Sir, you are completely mistaken or misguided when you refer to Ron Paul’s foreign policy as isolationist. I know the media says it all the time but it simply is not Dr. Paul’s view. Ron Paul has stated repeatedly that were a significant threat present itself he would deal with it swiftly, vigorously, and completely, and then he would come home. That to me, does not sound like a man who is weak on defense, but rather a man who is wise on war.

    Ron Paul’s foreign policy is non-interventionist. Ron Paul wants free trade and friendship with all nations. When Ahmadinejad made serious overtures at the U.N. recently, that he was ready to negotiate, Obama wanted none of it. War has been the game plan from day one.

    Here’s a clip from General Wesley Clark stating as much in no uncertain terms.

    I could go into greater detail of course but if this clip doesn’t at least get you to look into what I’m saying a little deeper, any additional words on the topic would be meaningless.

    In regard to the evil horde of Muslim extremists eager to destroy us and our way of life. Sir, as someone who has shared tea and tobacco with Muslim men, who has done business with Persians (Iranians), Saudis, Yemenis, Lebanese etc. I have to tell you, I just don’t see it. My son who works in Naval Intelligence (no jokes please) doesn’t see it either and he is far more in the know than I am. I know these people personally. Most Muslims, Middle Easterners, Africans, what have you, they simply want to be left alone.

    Are there Muslim extremists? Absolutely. But there are Christian extremist, Hindu Extremists, every religion has it’s extremists. Here is something that so many people rarely ever think about. Of all the people in America who claim to be Christian, how many of them would you call fundamentalists, and out of the fundamentalists, how many would you label as extreme, and out of the extremists, how many are blowing up abortion clinics on a regular basis? I hope you are beginning to see my point. Islam is no different than Christianity, Muslims are no different than Christians or Mormons or any other group. Religious practice in the middle east is as cultural as religious practices everywhere else in the world. They are no more devoted to their faith and all that faith entails than the average “Christian”. Most Muslims don’t know the Koran any better than most “Christians” know their Bible’s.

    When we place sanctions on countries who have done us no harm, starving their children, devastating their economies and overall quality of life, when we threaten them with war and regime change, we create the very extremists that we fear.

    In your comment above you spoke of “our Christian faith”, I share that same faith. In my 20 plus years as a Christian, and a Christian who takes his faith perhaps a bit more seriously than some, though admittedly not as much as others, I have yet to discover this concept of Christ honoring preemptive war. If you can direct me to the appropriate scriptures supporting this position I will consider them with prayer. Until then, may I leave you with a verse from 2 Timothy,

    “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’.

    God Bless

  • I see Ron Paul is way ahead in this poll. I do not believe it is true Catholics who usually view National Catholic Register voting for Paul. The paulbots find polls over the internet and tell all of their paulbot buddies to go that site and vote for Paul. To love thy neighbor means help those all over the world. That’s what America’s been doing since her birth, starting at Tripoli, and part of why she’s been so blessed.
    God Bless America.

  • Archie,

    I too have sat and laughed and kibbitzed with may people of Middle Eastern background, including Muslims. Sufism is a lovely mystical version of Islam. Sufism was one man’s attempt to bring to Islam what we believe, that reason and faith are compatible and should work in cooperation. He was not successful because of the Koran’s religion and the pressure of the mainline groups, so it went the way of mysticism. But those who truly still adhere to it are lovely hearts. As a Middle Eastern Major in college, I have always had a love of the place, the people and the history. But I am not naive about their religion or their cultural ways. Are there extremists in all religions, heck yes, but how may certainly in this day and age blow up people of other religions for no reason. We have the nuts who go to military funerals and spew their hatred, but they don’t kill people, they don’t send their young children or mothers to die. The cool aid drinkers who think one or another of their prophets is Jesus incarnate or another Messiah tend to kill themselves rather than others. It is quite different and the difference come by the fact that we do not worship the same god…worshipping one god does not make it the same god. Their story is Abraham Isaac and Ishmael with the emphasis on Ismael. They cannot know God in any real way, a personal God for them is anathema. Jesus is just a prophet and not the last or with the last word.

    Have christians done bad things over time yes, and people always want to bring up the Crusades, but defending our own in the Holy Land was not necessarily doing wrong when we were asked in and it was a different age. We constantly judge our ancestors by our own 21st century values. We give everyone else a pass…loh that is their culture, we can’t comment or dislike it but when it comes to ourselves we say, how dare the Crusaders do this or that.

    Do not put Christian fundementalists in the same light with these people that is completely to twist the truth. If you are going to do comparisons, do them in this time and place. When was the last time CHristians savagely attacked any one of another religion without provocation, other than our religion/our God (to whom we are slaves remember that is the case for muslims) tells us it is what we should do?

    The Iranians are NOT going to negotiate. Iran is no different than STalin was or the Japanese even for their part back in the 30s and 40s. You are not dealing with honest people. Have you so soon forgotten Jimmy Carter’s debacle in that respect? While I have no use for Obama, he had to listen to HIlary and the people who know with whom we are dealing…zebras do not change their stripes.

    How about Obama’s tour of Mea Culpa at the beginning of his presidency, telling everyone how the US is to blame and we are sorry and we would just love to negotiate and work with you. Where did that get us? Perhaps that is why Obama stepped back a bit. He found out all he did was expose us to being considered weak and a target.

    I think Obama set out to wreck the country, period. All his ‘friends’ are out in th eopen communists, socialists and anarchists. He found out, we the people are in line with that and while most of his appointees drink the same cool aid, don’t think Hilary, does though I wouldn’t vote for her either. Like her or not, she is clearly working her tail off from the looks of her and she has here hands full.

    Can’t you see by the outcome of the so called “Arab Spring” that we are in for the biggist struggle of our lives. As soon as I saw the first country rise up, I began to pray, knowing full well it ws not going tobring a spring but a long winter of extremism.

    What does Ron Paul consider imminent danger? And I don’t want us to negotiate or give money to these people through the government. I am a believe not in redistribution of wealth, perhaps Distributionism but I don’t trust the government not to make that into socialism and communism as it is almost impossible for power not to corrupt. I believe in Subsidiarity whether it is here or abroad. When three planes are flown out to kill us for no reason other than we are who we are, we vote, we respect others’ religious rights, women’s rights…or we did before the feminist and gay rights movements and the cowtowing that the Obama administration is doing to their causes…that is a declaration of war. That you can’t pin point a country but must admit to a cultural enemy doesn’t change it. Makes it far more difficult and requires some not so typical tactics of war, but it still requires us to accept it for what it is and protect ourselves and our country.

    I do understand the culture and the religion. I don’t listen to the msm or anyone else on this one. I study history and I am tired of the tail wagging the dog in this country. Mostly I pray…and I would suggest we all do that rather than just listening to televisions and debates. I want a pit bull to go up against Obama and that isn’t Ron Paul and frankly it isn’t Ron Santorum though I admire him. It is Newt because he is knowledgeable and he has made our government work together before. One of the very few who have. He has the intelligence and the experience.

    If we were voting for a saint none of these people would deserve our vote. But we are not, we are voting for a man or woman who can reign in this government and it’s tenticles on both our money, our human rights and our religious rights to name the most important. We have ideologues on both sides and the only one who has ever been able to cut through that is Newt Gingrich. Like him or not, he converted and he was absolved ofhis sins. Who are we to second guess Christ. Is his personality great no, but this isn’t a personality contest. This is a contest for our country…is there a real monetary crisis coming…hell yes and no matter who gets in it will not be averted, perhaps mitigated but not averted.

    Let’s listen to history and to our God…let’s us pray for our country and that whomever we put into office, we will as a people put God back in the center of our lives and the life and laws of this country. That is where I stand.

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  • So nobody’s supposed to vote in this poll unless you’re a regular on this site? How is it fair to completely remove a candidate from the poll based on that? Seems pretty biased to me!

  • Josette,

    You don’t have to be a regular at TAC, but Spamming does not reflect the electorate.

  • Ron Paul 2012!

  • first of all, just because we believe in the message of Ron Paul does not make us dishonest, cheaters, or less valuable in the eyes of the Lord or the United States. we each get 1 vote and believe me, we don’t have to cheat to have enough voters to beat any of the other candidates. We are also willing to support him from our pockets too. he does not take money from Lobbyists, churches, Wall street or big Government supporters. He attends Church ever Sunday, has raised a good, god Fearing family, has great values for himself and his offspring. How can you not support a man who is truly a Christian, a Military Hero, and honest person and a true Statesman? I do not need the Catholic Church to tell me who to vote for, nor do I need them to tell me right from wrong….I have been led to Christ with no help from you or your pope…..or any of your lying, child molesting priests! so, kick us out of you poll that has now become useless for anything but glorifying your bias and closed minds! I am so glad that I was not allowed to join your church and raise my boys under the catholic doctrine! I am Happy as a Methodist thanks! In Jesus name, may your lies and bias be unveiled to your congregations!

  • “I do not need the Catholic Church to tell me who to vote for, nor do I need them to tell me right from wrong….I have been led to Christ with no help from you or your pope…..or any of your lying, child molesting priests! so, kick us out of you poll that has now become useless for anything but glorifying your bias and closed minds! I am so glad that I was not allowed to join your church and raise my boys under the catholic doctrine! I am Happy as a Methodist thanks! In Jesus name, may your lies and bias be unveiled to your congregations”

    Initially Sour Melody 00, I put your comment in the trash where the rantings of anti-Catholic bigots like yourself normally end up at this site. However, the sheer stupidity of coming to a Catholic website to urge support for a candidate, and while you are doing so spitting on the Catholic Faith, was so monumental that I had to share it with my fellow Catholics for their amusement. Thank you for the laugh that your bitterness, bile and bigotry produced.

  • Mel’s a typical paulbot [email protected] I had favorable feelings for Paul (he’s right on the Fed for the wrong resaons). I never thought libertarians were worth the powder it would take to shoot them.

    After Mel’s hate-filled tripe, Paul can go to Hell and so can his freaking son Rand.

    To ensure Paul never got elected; if, in some nightmarish scenario, Paul were nominated by the GOP, I’d vote for Obama. Then, I’d go to Confession because that would be a mortal sin.

  • Mel you black-hearted protestant murderer.

    Now, I remember why I always threw in when they passed the hat for the IRA, you rat.

  • I second Donald.

    I initially was going to trash your bigoted rant, but Donald did the right thing to show how vile your hate is to all the world.

  • “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be the children of God”

    Mathew 5:9

Knives Out

Tuesday, January 3, AD 2012

The Hawkeye Cauci have arrived, and tonight we’ll watch in breathless anticipation to see which presidential candidate will walk away with the lion’s share of the precious 25 delegates being awarded tonight – a critical two percent of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination.  Rick Santorum has climbed up the polls and is a serious threat to finish third, if not win the caucus outright.  And as with all candidates who have experienced a burst in popularity, the knives have come out for Santorum.  Yesterday I linked to Alan Colmes’s disgusting mockery of the manner in which Santorum and his family mourned the loss of their child, but that is just a taste of the attacks that Santorum has experienced in the previous few days and will experience if he continues to be a somewhat viable candidate.

In particular the blog Red State has run a number of blog posts in recent days that have, to put it mildly, been very critical of Santorum.  Just scroll through the link and you can see that Erick Erickson in particular has been a busy beaver.  Now most (though not all) of the contributors to the blog are pro-Perry and they see Santorum as a threat mainly to Perry.  And for what it’s worth, I am sympathetic to Red State’s views.  Though I certainly think people should vote for the candidate they feel is best, as a Perry supporter myself I lament that Santorum will do more to divide the conservative vote and help nominate Romney than anything else.  Rick Perry is much better suited for a long run at the nomination than Santorum, so I have mixed feelings about Santorum’s rise in the polls as he is my second choice for the nomination.  In fact I’d be ecstatic if either Rick won, yet both candidates are basically evenly dividing the not-Mitt vote with Gingrich.

Red State’s takedowns of the other candidates, especially Ron Paul, have been very good.  The anti-Santorum stuff, on the other hand, has been very weak tea.  There’s but the vaguest hint of a scandal with a company that Santorum was associated with, and this attack on Santorum about not believing the President to be a Chief Executive is nitpicky at worst, and smells of desperation.  The most effective criticisms revolve around the issues I brought up in this post from about a month ago.  In particular, this post simply linking to Santorum’s video endorsement of Arlen Specter is just damning.  

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16 Responses to Knives Out

  • Anyone who can watch that Specter endorsement ad and still defend Santorum while pissing and moaning about frickin’ Gardasil needs to re-examine their priorities. The former is one of the, if not THE, biggest sell-outs of the pro-life cause by a pro-lifer in my lifetime. The Gardasil mandate that never came to be pales in comparison. They’re not even close to being in the same category.

  • “The problem with this defense, especially the bolded section, is that Specter was not needed to put Roberts and Alito on the Court. Republicans wound up with a more sizeable majority in the wake of the 2004 election.”

    True Paul, and Santorum had absolutely no way of knowing that when the primary was held in April. As the tight Presidential polls that year indicated, there was every prospect that 2004 was going to be a bad year for the Republicans. The Democrats had slightly more seats up than the Republicans, 19-15 in the Senate that year, but the playing ground was fairly even. On election night Kentucky, Florida and Alaska were fairly close, and South Dakota was won by a hair. Control of the Senate would have shifted if those elections had gone the other way, and they might well have.

    I think what Santorum did was reasonable at the time, assuming that one’s goal is to have Supreme Court justices on the Court that will overturn Roe. Bush lost Pennsylvania to Kerry, and I think it likely that Toomey might well have been defeated that year, considering that he only got 51% of the vote in 2010, the best election year for Republicans since Calvin Coolidge was in office.

  • I like Santorum and want him as the next president. I still can’t figure out why so many say “he is an unelectable candidate.” Can anyone offer some logic to this thought? Am I just getting the vibes from the anti-pro-life crowd?

  • True Paul, and Santorum had absolutely no way of knowing that when the primary was held in April.

    That’s a fair point. I remember that the Senate configuration was very much in doubt even all the way up to the eve of the election. I was more optimistic than most – and turned out to be right, but it very well could have gone the other way. As it turns out though, Specter’s vote and even presence really was not determinitive, and I think it’s fair to say that in hindsight. Again, you could be right about Toomey in 2004, but we’ll never know. Long story short, Santorum made the wrong call, and it cost him.

  • The Specter spectacle is forgivable as a a wrong call, placing pragmatic considerations over principle. A bigger criticism is his foreign policy is indistinguishable from Bush. If that’s what you want, then he’s your man.

  • c matt, I just learned Santorum’s foreign policy is much worse than Bush’s.

    Unless Santorum comes out and says he believes the “Palestinians” have a right to vote as Israeli citizens, this goes too far for me. It’s as extreme as anything Ron Paul says about foreign policy.

  • I still can’t figure out why so many say “he is an unelectable candidate.”

    Because he lost 20 points to Bob Casey for the senate and he would not win Pennsylvania in a general election.

    I really like Santorum, I really do. He is a good man. I was in Pa during that Spector endorsement and was crushed by it, but have moved on from all that. He would make a secertary of HHS, Dept of Homeland Security or something similar, but he just wouldn’t win a general election.

  • In 2006 Christ could have been running statewide against Satan in Pennsylvania, and if Satan had a (D) after his name he would have won by 5 points. Casey ran as a fake pro-lifer, and capitalized on the high esteem in which his late father was held by pro-life voters, and quite a few Toomey voters decided it was time for payback. That Santorum was able to win two terms to the Senate in a blue state is actually a tribute to his skill as a campaigner. I have my concerns about Santorum: little charisma, a manner which seems to rub quite a few people the wrong way, not a great orator, etc. However, when looking at all the candidates currently, I think he is the best of a very weak lot.

  • That Santorum was able to win two terms to the Senate in a blue state

    I wouldn’t exactly call PA a blue state. It has traditionally been a battleground state, albeit one that Democrats have won with some regularity in recent presidential elections. But the parties have switched control of the governor’s mansion and the legislature. In fact now the GOP has a decided advantage in terms of its Congressional delegation, and I believe has a majority in the state legislature. And while Santorum really had little chance in such a wave election in a state that leans a little bit in the Democrat direction, he lost by nearly 20 points.

  • It’s as extreme as anything Ron Paul says about foreign policy.

    Rubbish. Most of the video in question appears to depict an attorney arguing with someone for sport. The principle he eventually asserts is that the disposition of the territory is properly at Israel’s discretion and not subject to claims of right by other parties. That is an arguable point. It is not extreme in the manner of Paul’s historical fantasy.

  • I wouldn’t exactly call PA a blue state.

    There was a measure of resistance to the New Deal in Pennsylvania, but if you look at the top of the marquee amongst the state’s office holders you see that from about 1944 to about 1972 the state returned either mainline Democrats or returned Republicans given to qualifying, accomodating, and amending the initiatives of the mode in the Democratic Party. Such a disposition was congruent with the main currents of thought within the Republican Party prior to 1972; afterward, the Republican Party nationally took on a more coherent, ideological, and above all inner-directed disposition. This was not reflected at the top of the ticket in Pennsylvania, which continued to return the same sort of chaps. Mr. Santorum is the only figure elected between 1972 and 2010 who reflected the main currents of thought within the Republican Party and one of just two figures elected during the entire postwar period whose disposition to the Democratic Party was one of vigorous resistance. (The other fellow last stood for election in 1952). In context, he has been an oddity in Pennsylvania, and aspects of his career something of a tour-de-force.

  • The odd thing about PA politics that no one’s mentioned is that there’s a strong pro-life element in the Democratic Party, and a strong pro-choice element among the Republicans. A pro-lifer has to make a lot of prudential decisions. Without getting into a whole double-effect conversation, it can get pretty complicated. But then again, I’m always defending Santorum around here. 🙂

    Alito was confirmed by a good percentage, but the committee vote was 10-8 along party lines. If that had been 9-9, I don’t know what the Senate would have done.

  • If [the Judiciary Committee vote to send the Alito confirmation to the floor] had been 9-9, I don’t know what the Senate would have done.


    The World’s Greatest Dithering Body would have let the Alito nomination die in committee, that’s what.

    Because Sen. Santorum’s reputation rests so heavily on how principled he is, his half-a-loaf-is-better-than-none argument falls flat. No way does it come close to answering the question you sold your soul for Arlen Specter?

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