I Fought the Law (And the Law Won)

Thursday, August 21, AD 2014

There is an unspoken commonality between the two big domestic news items of the past week. The first, of course, involves the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. The second is the (farcical) indictment of Governor Rick Perry. The former has sparked outrage and continued discussions over items ranging from racism to police brutality. There has been a much needed discussion of whether the police have become more confrontational, and whether they have become overly militarized. Though the wizards of smart at such venerable institutions as Vox may not realize it, this has actually been an ongoing conversation for some time in conservative and libertarian circles. Even some on the right have attacked armies of strawmen in claiming that conservatives in general are reflexively defensive of the police. While we certainly are less quick to call for prosecutions before all the evidence is in (unlike certain governors), that doesn’t mean we automatically awesome that the police are in the right whenever a civilian is shot and killed.

As for the Perry indictment – well, when even the editorial pages of the New York Times and Austin American Statesmen, as well as lefty pundits like Jonathan Chait, acknowledge (through gritted teeth) there is no there there, you might just have yourselves a completely partisan and unmerited prosecution. But the conversation surrounding the Perry indictment has centered around its frivolousness and the potential impact on Perry’s political future. What it has not sparked is a similar conversation about prosecutorial misbehavior that we are hearing regarding police misbehavior. And that is a mistake.

Before continuing, I want to make clear that the two cases are not of the same gravity. Michael Brown is dead, whereas at worst Rick Perry’s possible presidential ambitions have been hampered (though there is a possibility that in fact this has been incredibly beneficial to his presidential aspirations). In the grand scheme of things, I would gladly take wrongful prosecution over being shot and killed by a police officer. Yet, when we talk more generally about law enforcement and criminal prosecution, we should be just as concerned about bad DAs as we are about rotten police officers.

The Perry case has drawn notice, but it’s certainly not the first case of a political prosecution. Indeed, it’s not even the first case of a purely partisan, political prosecution of a Republican coming from a Travis County District Attorney (see Delay, Tom). In Alaska, prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence that would have exonerated the late Ted Stevens. Now these are political prosecutions, so it might be somewhat more difficult to empathize with the wrongfully prosecuted. But there have been other noteworthy examples of prosecutors either disregarding evidence, or simply engaging in prosecutions due to political pressure, or to advance their own careers. The most notorious example in recent years is perhaps Michael Nifong, the Durham county DA who pressed forward with rape charge against Duke lacrosse players even after it became manifestly obvious that no crime had been committed. This past year we witnessed the George Zimmerman trial, an event which occurred it seems largely because the DA was fearful of the political fallout (and I acknowledge that I might be somewhat generous about her motivations) if there was no prosecution. Even the Michael Brown shooting could become a political prosecution if it is felt that the police officer has to be tried merely to appease the mob.*

*Again, let me emphasize that I am not saying that a trial would merely be a political witch-hunt. We do not have all the evidence in, and it is quite possible that Darren Wilson ought to be indicted once all the evidence is in. I am merely saying here that there is a potential for an unjustified prosecution based solely on political pressure.

These are but the most notorious examples that come to mind, but undoubtedly there are others that are just heinous, if not worse. The point is that some prosecutors – much like some police officers – are motivated by less than honest intentions, and their behavior can be just as destructive to a person’s life. Now, I’m not saying that every incorrect prosecution is a wrongful prosecution. Prosecuting attorneys are mortal and can honestly but incorrectly come to the conclusion that the suspect is guilty. We can only hope in those cases that the jury can realize the error. Prosecutors should not be maligned for honest errors in judgment. But what is dangerous and what does tear at the social fabric is a DA who marches on in spite of contradictory evidence, who intentionally stifles exculpatory evidence, and who refuses to relent all because they just so desperately need a conviction, and any conviction will do.

We don’t fear District Attorneys as we do police officers because District Attorneys don’t carry guns (as part of their jobs), and so they aren’t going to wrongfully kill anyone. But we need to demand the same level of integrity from them as we do the police precisely because they are guardians of law and order. When they use their office as a political weapon, they are making a mockery of the rule of law.

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11 Responses to I Fought the Law (And the Law Won)

  • 1. William Dyer (“Beldar”) has suggested that adopting a British system wherein barristers work both as prosecutors and as defense counsel is not the solution.

    2. Glenn Reynolds has suggested that it be required to disclose plea offers at trial. (That’s only going to effect the small portion of cases which are actually tried).

    3. A third suggestion has been offered: that the public prosecutor’s office have a fund from which it must compensate defense counsel for failed charges. Each charge is assigned a metric and that for the full bill is computed. The charges which survive negotiations or trial are the numerator. The defense counsel is compensated for the full amount less the proportion accounted for by the surviving charges. (I think you’d essentially have to have fixed hourly rates for defense counsel adjusted annually per the year to year change in nominal personal income per capita). Might discourage over-charging. Has the drawback that it would establish a monopsony in the market for criminal defense work.

    4. Scarify the federal criminal code. A great many of the horrors you read about seem to emanate from opaque charges leveled by U.S. Attorneys (Conrad Black). There’s supposedly a class of assistant us attorney who, like Perry Mason, work on only one case at a time.

    5. Remove unqualified immunity from prosecutors and judges, and allow defendants to bring charges in front of mixed disciplinary panels.

    6. Replace competitive election to prosecutors’ offices with appointment conjoined to periodic retention referenda; hold such referenda for U.S. Attorney’s as well; have term limits for DA’s: two terms and change and you’re out.

    7. Allow judicial panels to subject prosecutors to peer review and removal.

    8. Consolidate superior court jurisdictions; Fewer mini-jurisdictions with local prosecutors with idiosyncratic defects and fewer single-judge multi-hat courts.

    I suspect your real problem, though, is the decay of the intramural culture of the legal profession, which is an aspect of the ruin of our times generally.

  • “5. Remove unqualified immunity from prosecutors and judges, and allow defendants to bring charges in front of mixed disciplinary panels.”

    Allow civil suits against prosecutors if a Judge finds at the conclusion of a case that a prosecution was without merit.

  • Allow civil suits against prosecutors if a Judge finds at the conclusion of a case that a prosecution was without merit.

    Donald R. McClarey

    Said suits to brought in a court presided over by a physician and heard by a jury of more physicians. Such a court should hear all cases of lawyer malpractice.

  • “Prosecuting attorneys are mortal and can honestly but incorrectly come to the conclusion that the suspect is guilty”

    Should a prosecutor really ask himself whether the suspect is guilty? A prosecutor is presented with a bundle of precognitions and, possibly, the suspect’s Declaration. He knows little or nothing of the defence case. He has no opportunity to observe the demeanour of the witnesses when giving their evidence or to see it tested by cross-examination. Still less is he able to judge between conflicting testimony.

    The question he should ask himself, surely, is this, “If the jury find these witnesses to be credible and reliable, is there sufficient evidence on which they could properly convict? Is there legally sufficient (i.e. corroborated) evidence (if believed to be credible and reliable) to identify the accused and to establish the essential ingredients of the offence?”

  • The question he should ask himself, surely, is this, “If the jury find these witnesses to be credible and reliable, is there sufficient evidence on which they could properly convict?

    What jury? In this country, over 90% of criminal cases are disposed of through negotiation between prosecutors and defense counsel.

  • Said suits to brought in a court presided over by a physician and heard by a jury of more physicians. Such a court should hear all cases of lawyer malpractice.

    No. Mixed panels: an economist, a merchant or artisan, an engineer, an accountant, a physician or allied professional, and a statistician or actuary. Beat them over the head with the math.

  • Art Deco

    Guilty pleas diminish sharply with the gravity of the offence.

    In summary cases (maximum 3 months imprisonment) 95% are concluded by plea. On indictment in the Sheriff Court (maximum 5 years imprisonment), this drops to 81%. In the High Court, which deals with the most serious cases (maximum life imprisonment), it drops to 63%, despite the fact that pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity attracts a discount of about one-third of the sentence.

    Also, bear in mind that defence solicitors do not usually instruct counsel until after the indictment has been served, so an advocate depute takes his decision to prosecute in almost complete ignorance of the defence case. The list of witnesses and productions must accompany the indictment, so he must be prepared, at that point, to lead a proof.

    Conviction rates vary dramatically with the type of crime. In homicide cases, 77% are convicted, 12% Not Guilty, 7% Not Proven and 4% deserted. Importing drugs has an 86% conviction rate, with 2% acquitted and 12% deserted. Rape has one of the lowest, 56% convicted, 28% Not Guilty, 15% Not Proven and 1% deserted. Crimes of dishonesty all have conviction rates around 80%.

  • In New York, prosecutions for murder are resolved in jury trials about half the time. It’s lower for other crimes. All felony indictments are issued by grand juries who almost never no-bill anyone.

  • Don, I have a question for you.
    My understanding is that judges form groups called ‘judicial conferences’ that seek to promote professional behavior within the judiciary. It would seem to me that these conferences could be more active in promoting professional behavior among the other players in the justice system, for example:
    1) Disallowing all traffic tickets during a ticket blitz by police
    2) Banning testimony in court by any police officer with a demonstrated history of probable false statements (“Officer, I am not happy with your performance in this case, and I am putting you on the conference watch list. Don’t let it happen again, or we will make sure you can never sign your name to another police report! Now, get out of my chambers!”)
    3) and proactive disciplinary action against prosecutorial misconduct – meaning why wait for the victim to complain?
    It seems to me that the justice system is much too passive with regards to policing itself, and that judges are in the best position to pressure the other players to behave. Of course in the Perry case the judge probably colluded with the prosecutor, so the conference politics would then come into play, but the idea still stands. Your opinion?

  • “Disallowing all traffic tickets during a ticket blitz by police”
    I shouldn’t have written ‘all’. The big three – DWI, leaving the scene of an accident, and passing a school bus – should stick even during a blitz.

  • “Your opinion?”

    Most judges are doing a good job just keeping up with the cases that flow through their court rooms, let alone starting to exercise a supervisory capacity of the prosecutors and the police. Judges usually do not have much to say about anything unless a party in litigation files a motion or an objection. Some judges are proactive, but most are not. Additionally, in most jurisdictions either party can file a motion that has to be granted to substitute one judge without cause on each case, and judges that either defense counsel or prosecutors do not get along with are routinely substituted. Finally, the largest category of judges come from the ranks of prosecutors.

    No, the only thing that will make a change in the system is prosecutors fearful of bankrupting lawsuits if they are found to be bringing a meritless prosecution, if a judge at the end of the case, on motion of the defendant, is required to make a finding as to the merit of the prosecution. Just the possibility of a court finding that a prosecution was without merit could have a major impact on what is prosecuted.

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?

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.

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  • 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?

Coulter Shreds Any Remaining Credibility

Thursday, January 5, AD 2012

I’ve never much cared for Ann Coulter, but her column today shreds whatever remaining credibility she had.  Her attacks on Santorum in particular reek of anti-Catholicism.  Thankfully Jay Anderson has fisked her so that I don’t have to (Jay’s comments in red).

… Santorum is not as conservative as his social-issues credentials suggest. He is more of a Catholic than a conservative [ED: Apparently, being “more of a Catholic” – i.e. taking one’s faith seriously – is supposed to be a bad thing.], which means he’s good on 60 percent of the issues[ED.: Got that? Being Catholic automatically means being “wrong”on 40% of the issues in the mind of Coulter. At least she’s honest about her bigotry.], but bad on others, such as big government social programs. He’d be Ted Kennedy if he didn’t believe in God. [ED.: Yeah, that Santorum is JUST LIKE Ted Kennedy. Wait. What could the conservative Santorum POSSIBLY have in common with the uber-liberal late Ted Kennedy? Oh yeah. That whole Catholicism thingy – being beholden to the Pope, or something like that. Any doubts about how Coulter feels about Catholics now?]

Santorum may not be a big spender as far as professional politicians go [ED.: Or, for that matter, as far as your big-government, health-care mandating RINO boy, Dullard Flip Rino, goes.], but he is still a professional politician. In 2005, one of his former aides described him as “a Catholic missionary who happens to be in the Senate.” [ED.: I, for one, think the Senate could use a few more such statesmen who are committed to renewing our culture, promoting virtue and traditional family values, and prizing service to others in the common good. Apparently, these things have no place in the selfishly individualistic, objectivist AynRandland that Coulter envisions for our society.]

The Catholic missionary was fantastic on issues like partial-birth abortion, but more like a Catholic bishop [ED.: Ah, there we go. What anti-Catholic screed would be complete without a few shots at the hierarchy in the form of Bishop-bashing?] in his support for No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement program (now costing taxpayers more than $60 billion a year), and a highway bill with a Christmas tree of earmarks, including the famous “bridge to nowhere.” [ED.: I was unaware that the Bishops had taken a formal position in support of any of these measures. Not sure they’ve really taken much of an interest in Alaska road projects, for example. But why let that get in the way of slapping the Bishops around?]

More at the link.

If I may add, her attacks on Rick Perry are just as poorly thought out.

Rick Perry is not electable as president for three reasons: First, he seems too much like Bush;

Only to dimwitted individuals who can’t look past the fact that he’s from Texas and speaks with a midwest Texas twang.

second, he gave illegal immigrants in-state tuition;

Really?  I mean really?  This is supposed to be a disqualifying position?  Also, he didn’t just give them in-state tuition discounts – the communist bastion known as the Texas legislature, by an overwhelming majority, did.  Meanwhile, Coulter supports the guy who gave Barack Obama the model for his health care overhaul.

But yeah, Perry signing the in-state tuition discount for illegals is completely disqualifying.

and, third, uh, oops … I can’t remember the third reason.

Oh!  Oh!  Get it?  It’s because Perry had that brain freeze at the debate.  That’s a completely original joke from Ann Coulter that hasn’t been made a couple of hundred times already by people with far more wit.

Ten years ago National Review gave Coulter the boot for her post-9/11 column.  With such slipshod reasoning as displayed here, I think they’d be ready to welcome her back with open arms.

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29 Responses to Coulter Shreds Any Remaining Credibility

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  • Ann Coulter… zero credit.

    She has a problem with Santorum’s vote on Medicare, but she makes no mention of Romneycare?! That’s a burden on Massachusetts and the people of Massachusetts. It’s medicare part D and then some.

    She hits Newt for sitting on the couch with Pelosi for a TV commercial, but no mention of liberal legislation passed by Romney as governor. Which is more detrimental to the citizen, an environmental TV ad or liberal legislation?

    And Rick Perry… again with the stupid, vapid in-state tuition charge. (You’d swear Texas is the most liberal state in the union the way these ill-informed pundits speak.) Dear Ann, how can you possibly have a problem with in state tuition in Texas when Romney pushed free, comprehensive health care for illegal immigrants?!

    I am glad Ann and McCain have found common ground. So much to talk about at the next GOP cocktail party!

    In regards to her Catholic disrespect, it speaks for itself. Too bad she didn’t give Catholics the level of respect she gives the Log Cabin Republicans.

  • Ann Coulter’s act got old very, very long ago. I guess she must have forgotten about what she said in regard to Romney in February of last year:

  • I like Ann. I usually disagree with her but I enjoy listening to her take.

    Her bit about Santorum acting like a Catholic bishop is something you’d hear on Republican-leaning conservative Catholic blogs.

    She also makes a legitimate point. Had Santorum been in the House in 2009, can you say with certainty that he wouldn’t have voted with Joseph Cao in favor of ObamaCare the first time around? I don’t think he would have but the fact that I’m not certain says something about Santorum.

    I do think the fiscal conservatives in the GOP would keep any Republican president in check though so that’s not a big issue for me. Apart from his electability and possible lack of leadership ability, what concerns me most about him is his overly aggressive foreign policy and his deviation from free-market economics.

  • “Her bit about Santorum acting like a Catholic bishop is something you’d hear on Republican-leaning conservative Catholic blogs.”

    Rubbish RR. This is the Republican-leaning conservative Catholic blog and you would never see any of our contributors writing anything like that.

    “can you say with certainty that he wouldn’t have voted with Joseph Cao in favor of ObamaCare the first time around? ”

    I can say that with complete certainty.

  • Coulter’s article offends me more as a reader than as a Catholic. She just doesn’t back anything up. It reads like she wrote it in five minutes. I know she often uses hyperbole to make her points – way too often, for my tastes – but in this article she isn’t even making specific charges. (Actually, the more I think about this column, the more it offends me as a Catholic. But I’m ok with being offended as long as you back it up.)

    “what concerns me most about him is his overly aggressive foreign policy and his deviation from free-market economics”

    Coulter implies the same thing about his economics, but I just don’t see that in his record, except for the Medicare expansion. I have a real problem with that vote, but frankly a lot of high-caliber people disappointed me that day.

  • Pinky, as I said I don’t mind the drunken sailor record so much because any president will be restrained by the fiscal conservatives in Congress. But Santorum wants to tinker with the economy. Republicans rightly criticize Obama for “picking winners and losers” pointing to Solyndra. Santorum wants to do the same. As did Newt. Newt supported ethanol subsidies. Santorum supports manufacturing tax breaks. And if you follow their reasoning, there’s no reason why they would stop there. Their ideological frameworks don’t prevent “picking winners and losers.” David Brooks says we elect thought processes. I’m mostly with Santorum on his social issues thought process, i.e., orthodox Catholicism. I’m just realizing this now but the person whose foreign policy thought process most agrees with mine is Secretary Clinton’s. On the proper role of the federal government, I’m with Rick Perry. On economics, I’m with Romney. Santorum is right to worry about economic mobility but special tax breaks isn’t the solution I’m looking for. Nor is hiring students as janitors.

  • Years ago, I read one of her attack liberals books. I liked it and found it readable. I find most contemporary writers to be torturers.

    Ann and I are “bomb-throwers” more adept at outraging than communicating. I wonder if she does it because she thinks her readers wouldn’t get it. Or, more likely, she actually does not “have the goods.”

    Her attacks on my two Rick’s are short on facts and evidence. Liberals are so much easier to hit up. They never have facts.

    Or, was I less critical in the earlier readings?

    Anyhow, men are from Mars.

    Women are from Bedlam.

  • One thing about Ann that has always bothered me is that she’s just a complainer. I don’t really recall her offering solutions to any problems, just complaints that person X isn’t doing enough, person Z is crazy, and person Y had the right idea but did it wrong. I’ve found myself liking Charles Krauthammer more and more as the days go by, and I’m curious to see his take on the Iowa poll (I haven’t seen anything post-caucus, only his pre-caucus prediction).

  • “This is the Republican-leaning conservative Catholic blog …” (emphasis added)

    Love it. Reminds me of when Limbaugh responds to generic condemnations of “talk radio” by saying “Let’s get one thing straight – I AM talk radio.”

  • Too many people take Ann way too seriously. She will continue to say the most provocative and outlandish comments that are convenient at the time usually with a twisted right-wing spin.
    Ann Coulter = The Lady Gaga of the Republican Party.

  • Ann Coulter is my least favorite conservative and always has been, but a couple of years ago (I think) I happened to read a column of hers that was a fairly nice tribute to her then-recently deceased father… and it referred to him being Catholic. Sounds to me like she MAY be yet another of those “recovering Catholic” types. Still, she at least gives the Church credit for being right on more issues than not.

  • Santorum wants to do the same. As did Newt. Newt supported ethanol subsidies. Santorum supports manufacturing tax breaks

    An inadvisable idea, but it is a passably transparent rule. The U.S. Department of Energy had by 30 Sept. 2010 acquired a $50 bn loan portfolio. Discretionary decisions have to be made concerning each extension of credit. You have opportunities to make stupid allocation decisions and sluice income to the well connected you simply do not have when you merely declare the profits of manufacturing tax exempt.

  • Kyle,

    Krauthammer’s article today is full of glowing praise for Santorum, which actually mildly surprises me.

  • Santorum is at 24% today in a Rasmussen poll in South Carolina, just three points behind Romney:


    Note Gingrich at 18%. Once Gingrich pulls out, and hopefully throws his support to Santorum, Romney is going to be in very deep trouble and the GOP establishment will be in full melt down mode. Most of them simply do not realize that Santorum has an ever improving chance to win this. He raised over two million dollars in the last two days and his state polling is taking off. Romney is deeply unpopular with the base of the party and the effort by Republican elites to push him to victory is bitterly resented by the rank and file. Santorum gives them a chance to say a loud No!!! to all of this and Republicans around the country are grabbing hold of this opportunity.

  • Karl Rove and now Ann Coulter are bending over backwards to ensure the Romney gets the nomination. I wonder if it ever dawned on them why Romney can’t get past 25% in any poll? Could it be the anti-Romney vote? With Bachmann out and the novelty of the racist and 9/11 Truther Ron Paul wears out, Santorum will get another bump as well.

  • I remember in mid-December when CK was asked if Newt was peaking at the right time, if it was too early. He said “No. He’s peaking at the perfect time.” Oops. Can’t get them all right.

    And this is the part that worries me…
    “He is no austere limited-government constitutionalist. He participated in George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” ”

    Ugh. The fed is overdue for a serious downsize. The private sector has; it’s the fed’s turn.

  • Point of information (correct me if I’m wrong): Our Rick’s proposal is to cut corporate tax rates for all corporations. The rate reductions for all non-manufacturing corporations is 50%, for all manufacturing it’s 100%.

    BTW: reducing tax rates is the proven way of government fostering economic growth and development.

    Reduced tax rates are subsidies when you believe the regime owns you and is oh so liberal as to allow you to keep some of youe earnings it does not need to fund your subjugation.

    Solyndra was not “picking winners and losers.” It was political pay back to Solyndra’s billionaire Obama cash bundler.

  • “Krauthammer’s article today is full of glowing praise for Santorum, which actually mildly surprises me.”

    Santorum is from the Northeast, not like all those red-state rubes from the South and Midwest. In addition, Santorum is part of the Wilsonian GOP Establishment. Of course Dr. K is going to love him some Santorum

  • Krauthammer is a Teddy Roosevelt Republican who recognizes who our enemies are on this planet, as does Santorum.

    Although a pro-abort, Krauthammer has also called for the overturning of Roe:


    I have enjoyed Krauthmmer’s columns over the years, appreciating his reasoning even when disagreeing with him, and I am happy he likes Santorum.

  • Since I endorsed Santorum two days ago, despite his deficiencies on a number of issues, I’m glad to see him get support from whatever quarters he can.

    But I still think my explanation for Dr. K’s support is probably right on the money. The “making the world safe for democracy” crowd in the GOP sticks together. (And that crowd has a stronger resemblance to W.W. than they do to T.R., both of whom were from the so-called “Progressive” tradition, by the way.)

  • Santorum is from the Northeast, not like all those red-state rubes from the South and Midwest

    Mr. Santorum is from Pittsburgh. That’s the Rustbelt, not New England or the BosWash corridor.

  • (And that crowd has a stronger resemblance to W.W. than they do to T.R., both of whom were from the so-called “Progressive” tradition, by the way.)

    Actually Jay Roosevelt was much more eager to get into World War I than Wilson and blasted him regularly for his unwillingness to do so. Roosevelt also pioneered nation building in Cuba after the Spanish-American War. What is called Wilsonian foreign policy might be better called Rooseveltian foreign policy. The Republican party had a spasm of isolationism in the thirties and up to Pearl Harbor but it has basically always been activist in foreign policy, other than for that time period, dating back to the sending of Sheridan with 50,000 troops into Texas immediately at the end of the Civil War to strongly tell the French to get their gallic hides out of Mexico.

    However, for all I know his foreign policy views might well be what attracts Krauthammer to Santorum. Krauthammer has had his doubts about Romney for some time:

  • Donald: Thanks for the link, I was intending on getting towards NR sometime today. Glad I’m not the only person who reads his work (some of my conservative friends say, “Who?” when I mention his name). He has a weekly editorial/opinion column in my local newspaper, The Greenville Times (Greenville SC).

    Art: The general term “Northeast” refers to: Maine, NH, Vermont, Mass, RI, Conn, NY, PA, and NJ. I would agree, though, that Eastern PA (having spent several years living there) is more like Ohio than the rest of the Northeast region, it still technically is part of the Northeast corridor.

  • CK is interesting, and the article is a nice write-up, BUT he has a double standard here. Some say Perry is a long shot for nomination, and CK calls him a dead man walking. Many say Santorum is a long shot on winning the general, but CK calls him “first challenger to be plausibly presidential” along with several other accolades.

    I like Santorum, but he has a very tough road ahead.
    – He needs to put the personal issues to the side (Don’t worry. They will naturally come out anyway.) and make clear to the public what his policies would be. Right now, it’s muddled (ex: artificial contraception), and the MSM will happily paint his personal opinion as public policy and cry “Theocracy!”
    – He needs to continue retooling himself to move away from the petulance we saw in the early debates.
    – No more debating the audience like he did at the college on homosexual marriage. The campaign trail is not the senate. State your position and why and move on.

    This is the part of Rick that has me worried. I actually agree with a few of the positions he took, but that’s a long list.

  • The notion that part of Santorum’s appeal to many “establishment” types has to do with his being from the Northeast and not the South I would think is inarguable.

    Clearly there is a sentiment among some that a Northeastern candidate (such as Romney or Santorum or Christie) or Upper Midwest candidate (such as Pawlenty or Daniels) would help to expand the base of the party beyond what has been for the last 20 or so years a Republican “solid South”.

    Living in Ohio, I recognize that Pittsburgh and Western PA are considered rust belt. So are Buffalo and Syracuse. But that doesn’t make them any less part of the Northeast.

  • Santorum is borderline Northeast at best. Bachmann was Midwest but that didn’t help her image. The Northeast Republican image has more to do with perception than actual geography. Bush 2000 and McCain were acceptable to Northeast Republicans.

  • Living in Ohio, I recognize that Pittsburgh and Western PA are considered rust belt. So are Buffalo and Syracuse. But that doesn’t make them any less part of the Northeast.

    1. Cross-cultural contempt is a reality (lucidly expressed at one point by whathisname in the Oval Office), but you imputed to a particular individual (a man who grew up in Montreal and has spent his adult life in Washington after a run of years in Boston) a particular attitude that I think you would have a difficult time demonstrating he holds.

    2. Political boundaries and compass points are not optimal (much less exclusive means) for delineating regions. The ‘Midwest’ has two components:

    a. A savanna zone which was (until recent decades) intensely invested in agriculture and has a fairly truncated settlement hierarchy, with cities of middling and large size found only on its peripheries;

    b. A deciduous forest zone with a full settlement hierarchy and (until recent decades) an unusual affinity for heavy industry and slavic immigrants.

    Each of the cities of the BosWash corridor is a region unto itself and divergent from proximate provincial territory. I am not sure any were ever ‘industrial cities’ to the extent Chicago or Detroit were industrial cities. Economic and demographic adjustments derived from the decay of manufacturing are still ongoing in Detroit and Buffalo; not so cities farther east. (Have a look at some place names in Upstate New York and Michigan. You will see people from the one were settling the other).

    The Midwest begins at Allentown.

  • Actually, Santorum does have a (slight) Midwestern connection… he attended a Catholic high school in Chicago for a year while his dad was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

Romney 29%-Santorum 21% Nationally

Thursday, January 5, AD 2012

Rasmussen is first out of the gates with a national poll of the Republican candidates following Iowa.   Santorum has risen 17 points to 21% with Romney at 29%.  Gingrich is at 16% and Ron Paul is at 12%.  Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry are both at 4%.   Romney seems incapable of moving out of the twenties in any of the national polls on the Republican nomination.  Santorum has a lot of room to grow, and Romney seems to have hit a firm ceiling for his support in regard to the nomination race.

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21 Responses to Romney 29%-Santorum 21% Nationally

  • Of course the Catholic Social Justice types are out now with their denunciations of Santorum:


    Perhaps we can start to take these points one by one to show how some are using CST for rank partisan purposes.

  • “The baby is born when the baby is born.” Barbara Boxer is such a deep thinker.

  • That poll proves that Romney hasn’t hit a ceiling. The previous Rasmussen poll had Romney at 17%. It’s true that Romney has never hit above 30% in any poll (with the exception of PPP which seems to be a random number generator). It’s also true that nobody has hit above 40%. It’s hard with so many candidates. RealClearPolitics has Romney at the highest level of support ever. Higher than Cain ever got. There’s no reason to believe it won’t rise further.

    On Intrade, Santorum’s rise has hurt Gingrich but it hasn’t affect Romney. In fact, Romney’s numbers have improved, presumably because Santorum is the less threat.

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  • with the exception of PPP which seems to be a random number generator


  • “Of course the Catholic Social Justice types are out now with their denunciations of Santorum:”

    Yes, they always seem to put a letter from Cardinal Ratzinger down their memory hole:

    “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.”


  • Yes, they always seem to put a letter from Cardinal Ratzinger down their memory hole

    Not in this particular case. The blog Phillip linked to brought up perfectly legit issues working against Santorum and it made no attempt to compare them to abortion and euthanasia. Catholics who ignore bishops’ (and popes’) pastoral guidance on these matters in order to vote party line do so at their own peril (in my opinion).

  • Well Spambot the Pope noted that their could be a legitimate diversity of issues on issues such as war and peace and that not all moral issues carry the same weight. I tend to attempt to not be more Catholic than the Pope. Then we have the fact that the group putting this tripe out is a George Soros funded machine to attack all Catholic politicians to the right of Ted Kennedy:




  • CatholicVote.org endorsed Santorum today. That doesn’t hurt.

  • Just saw Santorum on The OReilly Factor last night. I was a little disappointed. Bill completely misrepresentation regarding Catholic Teaching on birth control and Santorum really seemed to back off from calling him out on it. In fact Bill gave him an opening to go into social issues more and Santorum dodged the question.

    In fairness, I know that Santorum has limited time to respond to questions thrown at him. I am sure he was completely caught off guard by the question.

    But it really seemed as I was watching the interview live that Bill needed to be corrected on his. He completely butchered Catholic teaching on birth control. Santorum made some silly faces after Bill said it, but never followed up on it. Considering millions of people were watching it seemed to me the sort of thing that really needed to be corrected. Especially since Bill brought it up and gave Santorum the chance for a follow up on it.

    For those uninformed people watching the exchange you would probably think Bill was right about birth control after the exchange.

    I guess the very fact that birth control even came up is a good thing

  • O’Reilly was doing his best to torpedo Santorum last night. He brought up the fact that when asked a question on the subject Santorum had said that states do have a right to ban contraception. O’Reilly then asked Santorum if pressing for such a law would be a priority in a Santorum administration and Santorum said absolutely not. O’Reilly is buffoonish at best in most areas of knowledge and normally I would ascribe his questioning Santorum on a non-issue to simple ignorance, but I believe he had malice aforethought against Santorum in the interview yesterday.

    Santorum of course was making the point that a state could ban contraceceptives because he believes that Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1967 US Supreme Court decision holding state bans on contraceptives to be unconstitutional under a right to privacy, was wrongly decided. Griswold set the stage for Roe. Of course all of this is far, far beyond O’Reilly’s knowledge base.

  • I think Santorum handled the O’Reilly interview pretty well. Santorum knows that debating contraception isn’t going to win him any votes. No sense in dwelling on the topic.

    But I want to pin down Santorum’s exact position. So he’s personally opposed to contraception. But he’s said that he doesn’t want to ban it. I guess that’s morally permissible if you think banning it would do more social harm. But Santorum has voted to fund contraception. Is that morally permissible?

  • Spambot,

    I think the only places one can legitimately (though not necessarily correctly) critique Santorum are on torture and war. The former I think Santorum would agree is wrong but he believes that certain techniques performed during the Bush Administration are not torture. Perhaps if the Church clearly stated Enhanced Interrogation Techniques in all circumstances were torture and he persisted in his view, one could then say he is clearly out of line with the Church. I think he has a harder time with attacking Iran.

    The remaining items in the link regarding income inequality, immigration etc. seem so fraught with prudential judgments that it merely is a laundry list of the liberal establishment. Prudential judgments, even by Church leaders, do not bind one’s conscience. Unfortunately, most of our Bishops do not make that fact clear.

  • I think Santorum handled the O’Reilly interview pretty well. Santorum knows that debating contraception isn’t going to win him any votes. No sense in dwelling on the topic.

    I would agree except that Bill framed it as a “Catholic” position, and not a general “conservative” or “republican” position. It seemed that framing it that way relieved Santorum somewhat in that it became an issue of what Catholic teaching is. Basically a case of one Catholic correcting another Catholic on an aspect of the faith.

    I am not skilled in the ways of politics, and most likely naive regarding this. Very likely a battle regarding Catholic teaching wouldn’t be a good political move. But it seemed like the opening existed for more to be said and just maybe a little clarification would have been a good thing.

  • Why should we trust a one day poll of 1,000 GOP over Gallups three day averages? I desperately want to believe the rasmussen poll (and now that Bachmann is gone I am for Santorum either way), but isn’t the 11% number more likely? I want to believe it isn’t.

  • I have high trust in Rasmussen’s numbers Ike based upon my prior experience with him and other pollsters. We will soon have more polls to draw comparisons with. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few showing Santorum ahead of Romney by this time next week.

  • Still waiting for someone to explain to me how Santorum’s support for funding contraception is morally permissible.

  • Phillip & Don,

    Thanks for the replies. I’ll keep it all in mind. (I think what concerns me is that it’s not one bishop saying one thing and another bishop saying something else. On the issues discussed in the link, there seems to be a set of fairly unified and consistent positions among the bishops who have expressed opinions. Not risng to the level of inerrant teaching, but not something to ignore either.)

  • Spambot,

    Fair enough. However, a quick response. The bishops uniformly opposed welfare reform. It passed anyway and most likely had a positive effect on poverty, work and the common good.

    Prudential judgments, even by the host of bishops, remain prudential judgments.

  • Spambot,

    This from Vox Nova by commenter “A Sinner.” An excellent rebuttal of the prevailing distortions about CST by some and better worded than I could:

    “I don’t like all these things about him either. But “show me the dogma.”

    Vox Nova’s tactic has fallen ridiculously flat of trying to “give the conservative heresy-hunters a taste of their own medicine” by trying to draw equivalency with disagreement on the prudential question of the concrete means of implementing social teachings (of which the absolute abstract moral principles in themselves…are much broader and more vague than you’re making them out to be, and there IS plenty of room for debate on whether this or that given solution fulfills the criteria).

    Now, albeit, I do generally believe the in the approach of the Vatican and USCCB towards economic questions and immigration and war, etc. But to act like Catholics have to toe the line on specific policy questions like that is very dangerous. The conservatives may (with things like the culture wars and abortion and gay issues) bring religion too much into politics, but the sort of “obedience” to “Catholic social teaching” you are proposing here would bring too much of politics into our religion!

    I support both positions, to be sure, but amnesty for immigrants or supporting Medicaid or opposing the Iraq War…are simply not De Fide questions, and there is certainly a lot more room for debate and disagreement about the application of various moral principles there than is about the statement ‘the State has a duty to defend unborn life.’”

  • Vote counters in Iowa are saying that one precinct erred and gave Romney 20 extra votes. So Santorum really won by 12. However, there’s no recount process so Romney is still the official winner.

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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  • 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:


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  • 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)

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

The State of the Race

Thursday, December 8, AD 2011

We need to rewind a little bit before we address the madness engulfing the presidential primary season.  During the runup to the 2010 midterm elections and in its immediate followup there has been some internal GOP strife between purists who want to select only the most ideologically pure candidates and those of a squishier stripe whose primary concern is electability.  This has been an ongoing warfare, and has continued on into the GOP presidential primary.

So now Newt Gingrich is atop of the polls.  A mere few months ago Newt had been written off as a candidate, especially by the purists.  Gingrich reviled the base right at the start of his campaign by deriding Paul Ryan’s budget reform plan as right-wing social engineering.  This was just the latest in the string of rhetorical and other slights against the right.  He had endorsed Dede Scozafava, sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi for that silly global warming PSA, and had otherwise served as a negative symbol of the establishment.  But a few great debate performances – and I emphasize the word performance here – plus the flameout of various other non-Romney candidates managed to put Newt at the top of the polls.

So now the same establishment voices that urged moderation are attacking Gingrich in full voice.  Pundits like Charles Krauthammer and others are questioning Gingrich’s bona fides.  George Will went so far as to suggest that Newt is some kind of Marxist, and Mark Krikorian implied that Newt’s heart belonged to the French Revolution.  This, in turn, has angered the conservative firebrands, who perceive that the establishment is attacking the new conservative hero.  In other words, for questioning Gingrich’s conservatives purity these writers are basically being written off by purists who think that these commentators are manifesting a clear lack of purity.  The anti-purists, meanwhile, are writing off a candidate because of his, umm, lack of purity.  So the anti-purists are clearly RINOs because they think someone who the purists themselves thought was insufficiently pure not that long ago is not in fact pure. On the other hand the purists are upset that the non-purists are questioning the bona fides of a previously heretofore believed to be impure candidate, and in doing so are demonstrating that they are tools of the impure establishment.


I am convinced that if National Review wanted to derail the Gingrich campaign all it has to is endorse Gingrich.  As I have written before there seems to be a contingent of the GOP electorate that is motivated by spite, and they will flock to any candidate that the establishment criticizes.

It’s an astoundingly insane situation.  Frankly, I think that Gingrich is neither a Marxists-Leninist, nor is he the modern embodiment of Ronald Reagan.  Gingrich is a conservative technocrat.  He thinks that we can achieve conservative outcomes through just enough social and government tinkering.  He’s not quite a big government conservative, but I think Jonah Goldberg has a pretty good feel for Gingrich’s political instincts.

Gingrich probably agrees with the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan more than any other leading conservative. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” Moynihan observed. “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” A constant theme of Gingrich’s career is a desire to use government to fix the culture. Indeed, there’s no Republican in the field with a more robust faith in the power of government.

So in this crazy, upside down primary season the segment of the Republican party that agrees with Gingrich is trying to eliminate him from the race, and the segment that is turned off by this sentimentality is outraged that anyone could question Gingrich.

Personally, I am ambivalent about Newt.  He’s a better candidate than most, and think that he’d ultimately make an adequate president. And while I don’t that it is unfair to dig deeper into a candidate’s philosophy and question his fitness for office, some of the assaults on Gingrich are a little absurd.  When John Sununu is on the attack against a candidate and questioning his conservative record, well, let’s just say Sununu is probably not the best judge of conservative character.

But to me the race has come down to two men named Rick.  Which one will I ultimately vote for?  If it were purely about ideology it would be Santorum, but other factors – including executive experience – ultimately matter as well and weigh in Perry’s favor.  I’d be perfectly content with either candidate.  Neither is looking particularly strong in the polls right now, but considering all that has taken place over the past few months, we should expect either to be the party’s nominee.

In all seriousness, neither is as much of a longshot as they appear right now.  You see, there’s this election that takes place in Iowa.  Despite the fact that Iowa is a rather small state and has a method of voting that is one of the dumbest and most confusing methods of selecting a candidate known to man, the Iowa caucus is crucial.  And so, this completely outmoded and overrated caucus may very well cause a darkhorse candidate to jump to the front of the line.  Both Santorum and Perry appeal to the socially conservative element in the state, and victory is obtainable in a state where the election hinges on non-traditional forms of electioneering.  I’m not suggesting that Perry or Santorum will in fact win, but if either does – especially in the case of Perry – then it will fundamentally alter the narrative of the campaign.

Of course, if either takes (or in Perry’s case, reclaims) the lead, then expect the establishment to get the knives out.  But then at least the battle lines will make sense.

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13 Responses to The State of the Race

  • Intrade has Santorum and Perry in 5th and 6th respectively in the Iowa Caucus. In 2008, Fred Thompson was polling much higher than either of them in Iowa and still won zero counties.

  • America must be saved from Obama.

    Obama ist kaput.

  • America must be saved from Obama.

    Obama ist kaput.

  • Have you heard Mrs. Newt’s very authoritative use of the first-person plural? Clearly she means to be a co-president following the Michelle model, and that just won’t do. No more empresses.

  • “Intrade has Santorum and Perry in 5th and 6th respectively in the Iowa Caucus.”

    Yeah and Intrade in December 2007 gave Obama a one in ten chance of being the Democrat nominee in 2008. The predictive ability of Intrade is nil, except when the result of an election is obvious to all.

  • At this point in 2007, Intrade accurately predicted the Iowa Caucus results for both parties.

  • No surprise there RR as most political prognosticators at the time expected Obama to beat Clinton in Iowa.

  • Don, you raise an important point. Iowa is a lot more moderate than people think. 2008 was the only time the more socially conservative Republican candidate won Iowa.

    Any Republican will nominate pro-life judges so I’m in the “let’s get an electable nominee” camp. Going with anyone but Romney or Huntsman is gambling on abortion. Romney is the better politician but Huntsman has less baggage so I think it’s more or less a draw on electability.

  • If (God forbid) Obama wins in 2012, we will be partying like its 1012 AD.

    In 2012, the choice is not Obama or Bachmann/Gingrich/Huntsman/Paul/Perry/Romney/Santorum/Trump.

    In 2012, the choice is Obama vs. America, one nation under God.

    “You can’t maintain a civilization with 12-year-olds having babies and 15-year-olds killing each other and 17-year-olds dying of AIDS and 18-year-olds getting dipolmas they can’t read. The welfare state has just plain failed because it reduces human beings from citizens to clients, because it . . . subjects them to rules . . . that are anti-family, anti-work, anti-property, and anti-opportunity. The challenge of our generation is to replace the welfare state.”
    Hon. Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) 11-10-93

    “The wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century.” Obama 12/5/2011

    In fact: the federal income tax code is now more progressive than it was in 1979, according to the Congressional Budget Office. IRS data show the richest 1% paid almost 40% of federal income taxes in 2009, up from 18% in 1980.

  • Rick Santorum is the best candidate, and I wish more Catholics and all Americans would take a serious look at Mr. Santorum. If people base their opinion and vote on poll numbers, Rick Santorum has no shot. However, if people vote on principles and who is the best person to lead this country, Rick Santorum is the man. Rick Santorum has my vote!

  • Sadly, Rick Santorum has no chance. Santorum has admirable social conservative views, but no hope of winning.

    Both Pittsburgh newspapers – the socialist rag and the libertine rag – spent his entire second term savaging him. Santorum lost to an empty suit Democrat by almost 20 points in 2006. Santorum has a career as a lobbyist or a lawyer, but not in elected office.

  • You guys may be happy to know that Santorum just surged past Newt in Iowa in both the latest CNN poll and Intrade. He’s in double-digits for the first time.

Why Aren’t More Conservative Catholics Supporting Rick Santorum?

Thursday, December 1, AD 2011

Most of you have an immediate response to the question posed in the title of this post, but please indulge me for a moment.

In this seriously flawed Republican presidential primary field is a candidate who is a Roman Catholic.  He is a man who clearly lives his faith.  He has no skeletons in his closet (that we know of, naturally).  He is the father of seven children, and has demonstrated a devotion to the pro-life cause in a manner that is second to none.  He is unapologetically conservative, and is willing to take stands that go against the grain.

In other words, we have a candidate who it would seem should be drawing a large chunk of the conservative and Catholic vote.  Yet he regularly polls somewhere in the 1-2 percent range.  Considering the number of Catholics in the country and within the Republican party, this suggests he can’t even win the support of even a fraction of the most conservative Catholics.  Heck, even the conservative and Catholic author of this post has not really fully supported Senator Santorum.  I oscillate between the two Ricks, but have generally leaned towards Governor Perry.  So what gives?

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59 Responses to Why Aren’t More Conservative Catholics Supporting Rick Santorum?

  • “His 2006 loss looks bad, but it was a difficult environment for any Republican, particularly in a leaning blue swing state.”

    True, however he lost by the largest margin ever for any sitting senator in the state of Pennsylvania, 59%-41%. Any Republican running that year for the Senate in Pennsylvania would have lost that race, but I would have expected a veteran Pennsylania politician running for his third term to have made a stronger race of it. That gives me a lot of pause in assessing the political skills of Santorum.

  • Sorry to be a bore on this point, but we have been for nearly three years learning the hard way what happens when you put someone with no administrative experience atop a public bureaucracy with 3.4 million employees. Mr. Santorum is appealing for a host of reasons, but he is unsuitable (at this time) for the position he is seeking. If he had had a tour as Allegheny County executive and some time as a federal bureau chief, he would not be unsuitable.

  • People should vote for the most conservative electable candidate. Santorum might have the highest negatives outside the right of any candidate. People really hate the guy. I’d prefer him to Gingrich but at least Gingrich can conceivably beat Obama. The candidates in order of electability from most to least: Huntsman, Romney, Gingrich, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Paul, Santorum. I think it’s a fair assessment of electability without the wishful thinking. The last 4 can be regarded as unelectable. Gingrich and Bachmann have an outside shot. If you want a Republican president support Huntsman or Romney. If you’re willing to take risks, support Gingrich or Bachmann. If you want Obama to serve a second term, support one of the others.

  • I don’t think anyone as socially conservative as Santorum could’ve done any better in the 2006 Senate race. He had no base. The left hated him and Casey ran as social conservative with the name to back it up.

  • You’re not being a bore, Art. It’s an absolutely legitimate point, and I can’t believe I missed pointing that out myself.

  • I should add that though I agree it’s a negative, I wouldn’t say lack of executive experience is an absolute disqualifier.

  • I did not vote in the US elections, but, if I would, my candidate would be Santorum for sure. He is the best clearly for me.

  • As a southern baptist I can say I intend to vote for Santorum , he is the true conservative in this race. Time will tell but I believe he’ll do much better then expected, he’ll carry the South and become our next President. He is the best man for the job.

  • My parents used to live in his district and they HATED him. They are liberal, but they lived in a very conservative district and everyone hated him. I’ve asked them a couple times what was so bad about him, but they just say he was terrible. They told me they used to ask their friends why they voted for him if they thought he was so bad… I guess they stopped doing that, didn’t they?

  • Santorum is a diehard supporter of the Bush doctrine and this seriously turns me off. I don’t want a president who thinks it’s responsible to send soldiers to die in war against an abstract noun.

  • There was nothing abstract about either 9-11 or the menace to his own people, neighboring states and the US posed by the regime of Saddam Hussein. That Santorum understands this increases my regard for him greatly.

    Santorum predicted the on-going disaster in Egypt back in June in the well-written, and prescient, piece linked to below:


    He has a series of these types of analyses of foreign policy issues:


  • As the article clearly indicates, Mr. Santorum is unelectable. Defeating President Obama in 2012 must be THE top priority. Mr. Santorum may have the best policy positions of any of the Republican presidential candidates . . . but he is unelectable.

    Zach, the majority of Democrats in the Senate voted to authorize the war in Iraq and “. . . send soldiers to die in war against an abstract noun.” Leaving the 2008 election rhetoric aside, President Obamas’ policies to date in Iraq and Afghanistan are virtually indistinguishable from the policies that would have been pursued by a Republican Administration.

    And based on early signs of a parliamentary election victory in Egypt by Islamists/the Muslim Brotherhood, as Mr. Santorum predicted, the political situation in Egypt may soon get much worse.

  • Defeating President Obama in 2012 must be THE top priority.

    This is wrong for a couple of reasons. Merely defeating President Obama. He must be replaced by someone who will be willing to enact significant changes. A placesitter who is merely better than Obama is insufficient.

    Second, as stated in my post, predicting who is electable at this stage is an exercise in folly.

    The rest of your post I totally agree with.

  • He must be replaced by someone who will be willing to enact significant changes.

    You will need in addition:

    1. A secure plurality in the House of Representatives with like inclinations; and
    2. The same in the Senate conjoined to the abolition of the filibuster.

    Not holdin’ my breath.

  • Paul, my point was that beating President Obama in 2012 must be the top priority in choosing a candidate. A candidate who is unelectable does not meet that key criterion. This does not mean that you nominate “anyone” regardless of their policy positions, because you deem them electable. It means that unelectability is an automatic disqualifier for the nomination. In my mind, losing to now-Senator Casey in Pennsylvania by 20% in 2006 is a pretty good indicator that Mr. Santorum, as much as I respect him, is unelectable.

    Many Americans, myself included, would like to see significant changes in our politics and policies. Given our present political balance-of-power realities, however, it is hard to envision many significant changes becoming reality in the near term. If only for future judicial nominations, the top priority for selection of the Republican nominee must be that he/she is electable. Whether a candidate is electable or not is part of the vetting process that Republicans are currently engaged in.

    Given the importance of defeating President Obama in 2012, non-electability must be at the top of the list of qualifications that disqualifies someone from being the nominee.

  • Again, Tom, who are you to decide who and who is not electable? Each person that has jumped to the head of the polls within the GOP primary has also led Obama in polls. Newt Gingrich, who most people (including yours truly) wrote off months ago now edges Obama out in polls. President Obama is at sub-40% favorability in the polls, sitting on 9+ percent unemployment, and several swing states that voted for him last time are all but written off for him. I don’t necessarily think that every one of the candidates can defeat Obama, but I think whoever gets the nomination has a very good chance.

    As for this:

    Whether a candidate is electable or not is part of the vetting process that Republicans are currently engaged in.

    Is just plain wrong. The only reason Mitt Romney continues to do as well as he does is his perceived electability. Time and again on other conservative blogs I’ve seen Romney supporters mention his electability – and only his electability. If anything GOP primary voters are overly concerned with this aspect of the election.

    Given our present political balance-of-power realities, however, it is hard to envision many significant changes becoming reality in the near term.

    If that is really the case then we might as well write off this republic of ours.

  • Why do we think we know who can or cannot beat Obama… Is not God in charge?! God can and does do mighty things with the least of His children. In acts such as this – we truly see the glory of God. Should we not work, promote and vote for the candidate who most clearly keeps Gods laws?! To me that is what we are called to do… and then, let God be God. We are not in charge of anything beyond our own actions. I for one am supporting Rick Santorum, I could do no less – as I try my best to live out my faith. It is Rick Santorum who defends the sanctity and dignity of Life, and of Marriage.

  • wow Spector, Casey and tone? These three “reasons” are flaky and flimsy. Especially the tone one… I think people who have met him and spoken with him personally may have an edge on seeing that sunny side that is not portrayed to people who look up information about him on the internet, or from liberal or conservative neighbors who can’t articulate why they hate him.
    I wish I lived in Iowa! I would caucus for him. We have to stand up for the truth, not for who is politically correct with the masses… at some point we have to trust God. …think Lepanto do the right thing. and trust that people will vote for the best person.
    Just defeating Obama is not enough– we should be replacing him with someone who is good.

  • With all due respect Paul, I will not “decide” who is electable or not . . . I ultimately have one vote in this process, just like you do. And one voice in this very important discussion, just like you do. Others will have to judge the merits of our opinions.

    I agree, President Obama is very vulnerable – there is no doubt. All the more reason that we must defeat him in 2012. That the Republican presidential field as it is currently configured is, shall we say, less than perfect – there is also little doubt. Just consult the polls concerning the opinion of the current Republican field, even by Republicans. And Newt’s electability would take more discussion than there is room here to provide.

    Ultimately, if we do not defeat Obama in 2012, having fielded the “nearly perfect candidate” will offer little consolation.

    I think it is a bit much to say that the “only” reason for Mitt Romney’s standing in the polls is his electability. It is one key component, but certainly not the only one. I understand that many conservatives do not like him as the candidate in 2012. I have not yet decided whether Romney is the best nominee. Like many other Republicans, I personally would like to see someone else enter the race.

    I, for one, will never “write off this republic of ours,” no matter how dismal the political realities may be on the ground. We must stay in the fight, expending most of our efforts united toward the goal of defeating President Obama in 2012. Now let’s all focus our efforts on defeating President Obama, respectfully voicing our opinions and making the substantive case for each of the current nominees, taking all the important aspects of this election into consideration.

  • Whiny and arrogant tone? Stomp up and down and throw a hissy fit? Who have you been watching? That’s not Santorum at all. What I’ve seen for months now are debates in which he is consistently and purposely ignored, while all the attention and questions are directed at the media’s anointed “leaders.” I can recall more than one debate where Santorum did not get asked a single question for over an hour. He has every right to point out the bias and lunacy of that treatment, and to interject himself and demand an opportunity to be heard. If you call that whiny, then you need an afternoon with a roomful of preschoolers.

    In Santorum I see a man of much grace and steadfastness. I see a highly intelligent and thoughtful man, who walks the talk every single day. I see a man who does not back down when push comes to shove, and when the arrows start flying he doesn’t duck under his desk. He is the only candidate who is willing to speak the moral truth and defend it without apology. I see a man with integrity; a man who has been personally tested and has the inner mettle we need in a President.

    If Catholics do not put their support and their vote behind such a man, then we absolutely deserve the mess our cowardice will create for our country. Shame on us if we once again throw our votes at the candidate deemed to be more “electable” or God forbid, Obama again. The fact is, we have President Obama now only because of Catholics, and that means we have much to answer for.

  • For those of us living in Pa during the republican primaries in 2004, I think many of you are really underestimating the impact that supporting Spector over Toomey had. It was nothing short of devastating for the “grass roots” loyal pro-life republicans. It took the wind out of our sails.

    In my opinion it was the beginning of the end for Santorum in Penssylvania. The “base” never recovered to support him with any strength against Casey. Casey can barely pat his head and rub his stomach at the same time but he just ran all over Santorum. Santorum.

    Say what you will, but that is the truth. I remember many of us were in shock over that endorsement. To date I have never heard him recant that endorsement, or say something like “boy, I really blew it on that”.

    What I have read from various sources was just his reasons for defending that endorsement. I am sure he regrets it, but because it hurt him politically, not because it was a bad endorsement.

    Say what you will, but he wouldn’t even win Pennsylvania against Obama in a general election.

    He would be a good appointment to HHS or some other federal level position.

  • Paul – There’ve been five waves of he’s-not-Romney candidates: Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and Gingrich. All of them have been grassroots surges. If people who write columns in Washington had their way, none of those candidates would have stood a chance, and Romney would be running against Huntsman. It seems like most every second-tier candidate has had a moment on the first tier. So, while most years I would agree with you about not dismissing someone on the basis of percieved unelectability, if a candidate never got noticed this year, it says something. Lots of debates, lots of opportunities.

    I was sure that Pawlenty was going to find his footing, as sure as I was of Thompson four years ago.

    Now, if memory serves, you’re a fellow Marylander, right? I think it’s great that the US cordoned off the worst decision-makers in the country into one state with a late primary and few electoral votes, just so they couldn’t do much damage. They let us drive, which is clearly a mistake, but otherwise the better 49 are unaffected by our stupidity. I think that living in Maryland is affecting the way I follow politics. I still love it, but I’ve been zapped by the Skinner box so many times that I don’t expect a treat when I pull the lever.

  • Jennifer:

    Even though I’ve learned to look past it and think that it’s really not that consequential of an issue to me, it is a recurring theme among people who have either written off Santorum or have not supported him. At times I do think he has come across as petulant, particularly when he has pestered other candidates and did, at one point, even suggest to another person speaking that their time was up and that he should stop speaking. Others see that as aggressive and something to be applauded, others think it comes across as bullying.

    I do agree he’s been overlooked and that frustration has seeped out. Rightly or wrongly, people take superficial concerns about tone and other behavior seriously. I mean Rick Perry’s candidacy just about tanked because of “heartless” remark, as well as his otherwise emotionless appearance during the debates. Don’t underestimate people’s ability to be impressed by style over substance. Like it or not, it’s how a lot of people determine the “winners” of these debates.

  • Pinky,

    Yes, I am a fellow Marylander. What’s funny is that not only is our general election vote of little consequence, but even our primary vote is fairly meaningless because of how late our primary is being held. As you say, that’s a good thing for the rest of the country. And at least we’re better drivers than Virginians, if nothing else.

  • Who is it that is a great supporter of Romney then?

    No one here has said they like him or want him to be President. No Republican I know wants him as their candidate and this is true of even the “nominally republicans” I work with.

    How can it be that this guy is the front runner likely candidate when all I hear, whether in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, or Coastal Georgia, is “I just can’t vote for him”?

  • G-Veg:

    I really don’t get it. The man is actively reviled by 75 percent of the party. I’m not talking about an unwillingness to vote for him, I’m talking about deep revulsion. This is a guy who four years ago couldn’t beat out John McCain, and yet now he is supposedly the only human being alive who can beat Barack Obama. Sometimes conventional wisdom is based on nothing more than wishful thinking repeated often enough.

  • Paul Zummo, I read your criticism of Ramesh Ponnuru @NRO and thought it was a pretty devastating take. I disagree with him, too (that Romney’s victory is likely, so let’s get excited about it), but still think Ramesh is a thoughtful & conservative thinker. So, hopefully you will reconsider at some point.

  • Ramesh actually responded to me over at my personal blog, and I wrote him back.

  • To Chris from PA: I’m not downplaying at all the betrayal pro-lifers felt by Santorum’s support for Specter. But I can assure you, Rick definitely regrets the decision, and not merely because he lost re-election. He understands it was a bad move. He’ll readily say he should have listened to his wife, who was adamantly against it. He did it for two reasons: Roberts and Alito. His intentions were good — truly. But he will acknowledge that it was a mistake and he is sorry.

  • Jennifer,
    Fair enough. I don’t agree with the intentions, but at least I know where he was coming from.

    I still remember for the first time watching him on WNEP raising Spector’s hand with a big smile on his face at some campaign rally while thinking to myself “I feel like I need to vomit now”…..

    Ultimately I agree with TomD who I will quote
    “Defeating President Obama in 2012 must be THE top priority.”

    For what its worth, in my mind it’s between Romney (who after a couple of endorsements I feel is genuinely pro-life now) and Gingrich. What I really like about Gingrich is he “gets” radical Islam and has spoken out about the plight of the Coptic Christians in Eqypt.

  • Jennifer, you are right on! I interviewed Santorum in 2007 and he told me that Guiliani was the only viable candidate, as most establishment Republicans said. He defended his support of Specter based on the same wisdom.
    Then his daughter Bella Maria was born, in 2008, with trisomy 18, and his world was turned upside down. Trust, me I had the same thing happen when my daughter was born with Down syndrome. He admitted just before beginning his presidential bid, that she has caused him to re-order his priorities. He contributed a wonderful article he wrote about her on her second birthday “Two Years Worth Every Tear” to my book “A Special Mother is Born”.
    Last Monday, I presented a copy of the book to him in a Town Hall meeting in New Hampshire, he seemed genuinely flattered by my calling him a pro-life hero. He had a conversation that day with a virulent defender of abortion, remained calm and reasonable as he staunchly defended the right to life of the unborn.
    He has my vote, and my prayers that Catholics will see his pro-life convictions and believe in his deepening of faith.

  • The only reason Mitt Romney continues to do as well as he does is his perceived electability.

    1. He is a familiar name;
    2. His domestic life has not caused any embarrassing distractions;
    3. He has notable experience as an executive in the public and private sector;
    4. He has experience with commercial and industrial restructurings and will have some critical engagement with what is told him by and about the financial sector, something none of the other vigorous competitors for the presidency could have said at any time in the last fifty years. This sort of understanding is regrettably salient at this time.

  • Santorum’s foreign policiy is essentialy Bush Redux. If you like that, then he’s your man. If not, then that is a perfectly substantive reason for not supporting him.

  • c matt
    you want to explain what you mean by bush redux?

  • What’s the alternative to ‘Bush Redux’?

  • Who would have thought that an inexperienced community organizer with no work history would become President? Santorum is consistant and principled. He is a true conservative. He knows foriegn affairs, he can get things done in Congress, he will protect life, why isn’t he the choice of the people? The country club republicans want a big government guy, the liberals can’t argue morality with him, so he loses out with those groups, but if the everyday hard working church going gun toting folks out there would listen to him they might change their minds. It shouldn’t be about who can beat Obama, because he is doing a good job of that on his own. It should be about who will support us and who best represents our morals and beliefs.

  • Paul Zummo says about Romney, “The man is actively reviled by 75 percent of the party. I’m not talking about an unwillingness to vote for him, I’m talking about deep revulsion.”

    If the measure of “actively revile” is 100 minus your poll numbers then Gingrich is actively reviled by a similar percent of the party. Polls show Romney viewed favorably by over half of Republican voters.

  • I’ve forgiven Santorum for the whole Specter debacle; it’s his current support for waterboarding that bothers me.

    His foreign policy positions don’t really bother me, given my strong interventionist streak; while I don’t think we have the resources to militarily overthrow every tyranny on earth (nor perform the post-overthrow nation-building adequately), the “traditionalist” and “non-interventionist” foreign policies seem to say, “Your tyrant not affecting us/our national interests? Well then, screw you!” Not a sentiment I share, to say the least.

    I haven’t really been following the primaries, but the candidate I somewhat have been “rooting for” is Perry, as he seems to be (or at least “seemed” – I don’t know now) the most electable and sensible “social conservative” candidate that has a chance of winning.

    I do think a Romney win in the GOP primaries would be disasterous for the nation, as it would indicate to Republican politicians that issues like abortion and gay marriage are no longer important, and thus the political atmosphere would be even further into the culture of death even more than it already is…

  • Don’t be obtuse, RR. Romney’s poll numbers haven’t budged an iota despite the fluctuation in the rest of the campaign. It’s clear that lines have been drawn in the sand between his supporters and critics, and he is not moving any higher in the polls. Perhaps not every single one of the 75% of his non-supporters revile him, but he is clearly and deeply unpopular.

  • Santorum is at least as pro-life as the other candidates. His aggressive foreign policy does bother me but that’s not a major issue this election cycle. His economic plan which creates a special carve out for manufacturing is too interventionist for me but there are worse ideas out there. His emphasis on the middle-class should have very wide appeal and is a winner in the general elections. His demeanor is off-putting but the Gingrinch is even worse. His perceived hostility towards gays is a major problem for him, especially because it’s so well known. Fairly or unfairly, he’s defined by it. His position on DADT makes no sense. It’s one thing to oppose repeal, but he says repeal targets gays for special privileges not enjoyed by heterosexuals. That goes far beyond rational argument and warrants suspicion of unjust discrimination and that’s one thing voters will not forgive.

  • Santorum is a very good man & was a solid senator, but I have read the comments of other readers who are correctly critical of his neo-conservative, nation-building policies. I agree with those critics and believe that Rep. Ron Paul is correct in his overall assessment. Both George Washington and Ike Eisenhower offered powerful farewell addresses that reflected the Constitution wisdom of the U.S. being wary of foreign intrigues as well as the military, industrial, congressional complex. Once Rick jumps off of the neo-conservative bandwagon, he’s got my vote.

  • National defense. Santorum.

  • “No Republican I know wants [Romney] as their candidate”

    I really believe that he, and maybe Perry, would be good presidents. I suspect that the next president is going to have to implement some serious austerity – necessary in the long run, but recessionary in the short run. He’s going to take a lot of heat for it and be considered a failure. Right now, Romney’s the one I trust most to be able to do it.

  • I have the complete opposite feeling about Romney, Pinky. He is precisely the type of individual who would be unwilling to use any of his political capital in order to advance difficult measures.

  • Both George Washington and Ike Eisenhower offered powerful farewell addresses that reflected the Constitution wisdom of the U.S. being wary of foreign intrigues as well as the military, industrial, congressional complex. Once Rick jumps off of the neo-conservative bandwagon, he’s got my vote

    1. George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower could not have faced more dissimilar configurations in international relations.

    2. There is no constitutional provision which prescribes a specific foreign policy.

    3. His commentary on the ‘military-industrial complex’ notwithstanding, annual military expenditures during the Eisenhower administration averaged in excess of 10% of domestic product and incorporated conscription to boot. Mr. Bush and the ‘neo-conservative bandwagon’ made do with 5% of national product and a professional military.

  • My favorite Eisenhower quote, from his state of the union address in 1959:

    “America’s security can be assured only within a world community of strong, stable, independent nations, in which the concepts of freedom, justice and human dignity can flourish.

    There can be no such thing as Fortress America. If ever we were reduced to the isolation implied by that term, we would occupy a prison, not a fortress. The question whether we can afford to help other nations that want to defend their freedom but cannot fully do so from their own means, has only one answer: we can and we must, we have been doing so since 1947.”

  • “The United States ought not to indulge a persuasion that, contrary to the order of human events, they will forever keep at a distance those painful appeals to arms with which the history of every other nation abounds. There is a rank due to the United States among nations which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.”

    George Washington, Fifth Annual Message, 1793

  • Also, Washington’s farewell speech originally called for no foreign entanglements – for twenty years. He wanted the US to get on its feet so it could be an equal in its agreements.

  • We seem to be missing the point about Santorum. He is a staunch conservative, he is not Bush redux except for the fact that he is steady, consistant, and does not waiver. His opposition to DADT is right. We have now created a special protected class within the military and are attempting to undermine the Chaplain’s role in the military. If you have every heard Santorum discussing homosexual issues you will hear a person who is Christian/Catholic to the core and truly loves his fellow man. He is demonized by the radical left because he takes a moral stand that our Church dictates. The reasons some people give for not supporting Santorum is his support of Spector and his strong national defense stand especially against Iran. The other candidates have more skeletons in their closets(with the exception of possibly Ron Paul). Newt has supported embryonic stem cell research and is/was a proponet of “climate change” legislation, has cheated on two wives, but is probably the most intelligent candidate(intelligent does not always equate to being correct) . Romney has changed his stance on abortion through thoughtful investigation and is accused of being a flip flopper, and lest we not forget Romneycare. Cain is being lynched by accusations and has but one theme, 9-9-9. Perry can’t speak intelligently in a debate. Bachmann comes off as shrill. Paul has great ideas but personally I don’t like alot of his foreign policy stands. Huntsman, et al are hanging around. Why is Santorum laggin in the polls?

  • Thank you for your many insights and points of persuasion – Mr. McClarey, Pinky, Sid, etc. From Mr. Zummo’s 3 reasons: 1) Sen. Santorum’s ill-advised support of Spector is a minor factor; 2) his thumping lose to Casey, again, it carries some weight in PA, but is still relatively a small factor; 3) the “arrogant, whiny” factor may well have more to do w/ the media’s politically correct posture in favor of the liberal agenda. And now that sodomy and bestiality are okay in the military, we can see just how “professional” our troops are will become. Many of our fellow Catholic readers & thinkers have made excellent, thought-provoking points concerning the need for a top-notch military, ready both to defend and fight. However, the question of America’s role to a significant degree – as a “policeman-of-the-word” must be weighed both on the scales of our laws as well as on the financial ledgers. Are we following both the spirit and the letters of our Constitution by trying to build democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are we responsible stewards to present and future generations by spending vast sums of money for such aims and enterprises? The bottom line on Sen. Santorum for me remains one of considerable admiration and respect for his skills, courage, fervor, honesty, goodness, and judgment. My sole objection is his view of America as some messianic, military savior who is obligated to be the perennial enforcer on the international playground whenever significant political-military-economic-&-cultural issues come to a head. During one of the debates I heard two young men say in so many words, “That Santorum dude would be a-okay, but he needs to tone down the war drums on Iran.” Fellow readers, I realize that the issue with a nuclear Iran is serious and complex, but I think that all of our politicians could learn from the pastoral attitude of our Holy Fathers who pleaded with nations – before the conflicts in Iraq – to seek diplomacy unceasingly, while remaining well aware of duplicitous and deceiving tactics of real and potential enemies. The bellicose tone of Sen. Santorum and other quality candidates needs to be tempered. Congress must be engaged fully – as required by the Constitution – be the U.S. involves itself in wars. We remain on a trajectory of selecting Presidents who exercise unilateral powers. We, the people, must demand a return to a more balanced approach, which includes the needed funding for intelligence and an honest assessment of each situation, but is governed by the denominator of the voice of the voters in the House and Senate. Representative Ron Paul – a military veteran and a superb defender of pro-life policies and liberty – understands those distinctions well. It would be encouraging to see Senator Santorum to reassess his stance in the aftermath of the primaries because he is so vigorous a champion with much potential for future office. The latest Newt flip-flop on life begins at implanation – not at conception – is something that Santorum would never do. Like Rep. Paul, Sen. Santorum is a true-believer in that sense. And for that – despite his neo-conservative position – I could vote for him, knowing his honesty and his vast superiority over President Obama. Alas, barring a series of nearly impossible developments, neither Sen. Santorum nor Rep. Paul will garner enough electoral support. But, of course, we should be focused on the task of selecting whom we believe would be best, not selecting or predicting the ultimate “winner”. Oremus.

  • hard to imagine any “Holy Fathers”, esp since Leo XIII being libertarians.

  • “maybe people should actually just vote for who they like best”

    There in is your answer. People do vote for who they like the best. Rick, for all of his good points, is not likeable. However, he’d be a good V.P.

  • Sarah Palin said: “It is RICK SANTORUM”:


    I love this woman. She is fantastic.

  • I watched Santorum last night on the Fox forum. This man has obviously thought a huge deal about the issues, knows them cold and knows what we would do as President. Even though I do not think he has much of a chance, I am going to support him.

  • Now that Cain is basically out, it should be interesting to see if there is any movement in Santorum’s direction as his voters defect to various candidates.

  • Have any of you been polled? I ask because I harbor doubts about the validity of polling.

    I’m over 40 and would expect to have been tagged at some point. The subject came up at a birthday party a couple of months ago and no one in my extended family has been polled in at least 20 years.

    “Statistics lie and liers use statistics” and all so, other that to steer elections, what validity do the polls actually have? Do they actually represent the support of rank-and-file Republicans?

    Maybe the answer to Paul’s query above is that the party really doesn’t support Romneyand the polls are garbage.

  • Like most others who fail to see the big picture of the Spector endorsement, you do not mention that the GOP held the slimmest 51-49 margin at the time. Toomey, less conservative in 2004 than the 2010 version, would have never beaten the Democrat that year. Spector was the chair of the juduiary committee and pledged to Santorum that he would vote for any Bush juducual appointee. Roberts passed thru with no opposition, Alito not so much. So, no Spector, no Alito. Could Toomey had delivered that? You know the answer. Santorum was looking at the long term not political expedency. Isn’t that what has been missing in our leaders for so long? Get over Spector. Support Rick Santorum.

  • So, no Spector, no Alito.

    The final vote on Alito’s confirmation was, I believe, 58-42. The GOP held a 55-45 advantage after the 2004 election. So your math does not hold up.

    And if Specter had lost to Toomey, contrary to what you said, Toomey very well could have won his general election contest. And with a Senator Toomey instead of Specter, no 60th vote for health care.

    Also keep in mind that Snarlin Arlin was one of the main reasons Bork was defeated, but let’s not bring up really old news now.

    Get over Spector. Support Rick Santorum.

    I kind of said that (minus the blanket endorsement for Santorum).

  • I was a Cainiac, now I’m a Santorumite! Rick Santorum is the most Conservative in the race. His record is solid Conservative. His efforts to protect the unborn are well-known and go back to his first position in the Congress. He is smart, thoughtful and unafraid. I think he is the best candidate for POTUS and I will be voting for him in my state’s primary in March!!

Are Primary Voters Superficial?

Wednesday, November 16, AD 2011

Rachel Masden has a column up lamenting how Rick Perry’s gaffe in last week’s debate demonstrates our obsessiveness with image over subtance:

As in real life, politicians, voters and the media all get caught up with entertaining but petty nonsense. Case in point: Rick Perry stuck his cowboy boot in his mouth during a recent debate performance, unable to recall one of the three agencies of government he’d euthanize if he were to become president. Turns out it was the Department of Energy — which for a Texas governor to forget about would be a bit like the prime minister of Great Britain forgetting about Buckingham Palace. OK, funny — but really, so what?

For at least 24 hours, the mishap represented arguably the single most globally widespread American news item. I even saw it broadcast and translated on French television in Paris. This is the media and political culture of today — all about stagecraft, showmanship and ratings.

As a political strategist, let me tell you a little secret: Debates are easy to fake. All you need to succeed is a good policy-prep team, a competent spin doctor to distill that policy material down to snappy bite-sized talking points, and the memory and delivery capabilities of a C-list Hollywood actor. Perry just didn’t remember his lines. That’s all.

But what about the other guys who lucked out and did remember all their lines this time? Isn’t it the job of media moderators to recognize boilerplate spin and slice through it on the fly? There’s one reliable way to do this, but it’s rarely seen: In response to a candidate’s prepared take, a media moderator need ask only one question: “What precise action in your background or experience illustrates this principle?” In other words, when a candidate says that he would do something, what has he previously done in his career to demonstrate that value through tangible action? Do you know who any of these candidates really is beyond what he or she claims to be? If not, then thank the style-over-substance media.

The column is timely because I’ve been having some second thoughts about the primary process.

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9 Responses to Are Primary Voters Superficial?

  • How come they don’t use the same microscope on Obama?

    He said there are 57 states and that Hawaii is in Asia.

    And his policies are dangerous. Case in point: President Obama told the Muslim world in Cairo in June 2009 that no government has the right to stop any nation from developing nucular weapons.

    “I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.”

    Compare that to 20 seconds not naming a wasteful agency Governor Perry would shutter.

    So, look at Texas’ success with years of Governor Perry and compare that to the mess the US is after three years of the genius.

    In conclusion, everyone knows Hawaii is on Monday nights on CBS . . .

  • Agree or not with his substance, at least Ron Paul has substance.

  • If Republican primary voters are seeking intelligence, Cain never should’ve gotten this far. No, the spite wing of the party is looking for an anti-Obama, however unintelligent.

    I also take issue with the idea of Newt as the “ideas man.” He’s a history buff with legislative experience and some speaking ability. That isn’t ideas. That’s knowledge. Wikipedia can’t come up with any ideas. All it can do is search its memory bank and that’s exactly what Newt does. When faced with a new problem, he looks around to find an analog then takes it to the logical extreme and people applaud it as genius. Take his tax plan which is exactly Perry’s plan with a lower rate. Or his foreign policy which consists of repeating lines from books on WW2 and the Cold War. I have seen no evidence that he has an analytical problem-solving framework.

  • And can you imagine submitting to the microscope handlers on those interview occasions? So much chaos in the whole world since 2008 that contenders should have a chronology of events for reference, while the handlers contemplate people in glass houses throwing stones. Would love to know what Jesus wrote in the sand when a crowd was testing His judgement.

    Human compassion and humor won’t be going the way of the insidious cynics, jokers laughing and clapping to the tune of MSM while Satan sneers (?). The Office of President should be about work success, not ratings, parties, cameras, catchy phrases (like one week no boots on the ground) and raising/wasting money.

    By the way, MSM is losing Regis Philbin, to whom the VP paid a short, standing up visit this a.m. but showed audience his back mostly while he said something about Irish Catholic. Regis was gracious and will be missed.

  • If Republican primary voters are seeking intelligence, Cain never should’ve gotten this far.

    Sure. Any idiot can run a national restaurant chain or a consequential trade association. Seats on the board of Federal Reserve Banks are passed out in Cracker Jack boxes.

  • “Agree or not with his substance, at least Ron Paul has substance.”
    Yes, and I believe the substance is tin foil.

  • I think Santorum is strong on substance, but he has attacked fellow republicans in the debates. He attacked Perry in the early debates. Remember those debates? When cordial manners were not the fashion and Perry entered the ring, 6 vs. 1, with Gingrich abstaining. I think it was Gingrich who toned the candidates down on attacking each other. Romney owes a huge thanks to Gingrich for that. It’s unfortunate no one on stage can point out to Romney how philosophically wrong Romneycare is. He’s still embracing as recently as today.

  • We know that poll responses are superficial. But primary voters, I don’t know. This race has so far been dominated by Romney and whoever looks strong enough to take on Romney. But typically voters sober up as the primary approaches, as they did famously when they dropped firebrand Dean in favor of staid Kerry. They’ll probably settle on two candidates, a moderate and a conservative, and those two will slug it out. That’s what happens on the Republican side most of the time.

  • That’s what happens on the Republican side most of the time.

    That happened in 1976. There were never any but two candidates. One was the incumbent President.

Perry Vs. Santorum on Gay Marriage

Monday, July 25, AD 2011

At this early stage of the game, I’d say that my top  choices for the GOP nomination are two Ricks: Perry and Santorum.  The latter has as much chance as I do of actually getting the nomination, but he’ s also the one who I am most sympathetic to ideologically.

I say this all as a preamble because I’m going to disagree with parts of both of their comments from this past weekend.  Rick Perry had this to say about New York’s decision to permit gay marriage:

Perry, who is considering running for president, at a forum in Colorado on Friday called himself an “unapologetic social conservative” and said he opposes gay marriage — but that he’s also a firm believer in the 10th Amendment, the Associated Press reported.

“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me,” he said to applause from several hundred GOP donors in Aspen, the AP reported.

“That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”

Perry’s argument on behalf of federalism is completely legitimate.  For now I’ll leave that specific debate aside and focus on the tenor of Perry’s statement.  While one can argue that a state has a right to do x, it does not follow that the state should be free from criticism.  This is similar to something that Rudy Giuliani said, and which I criticized last week.  All that federalism means is that individual states have wide latitude to formulate their own laws, free from interference by the federal government.  Federalism does not mean that citizens of other states cannot criticize these decisions.  This idea that federalism entails complete silence on the doings of other states is akin to those who hide behind the first amendment when they say something silly and earn public ridicule.  Just because you have the right to do something or say something it doesn’t mean that you should do something, and citizens of other locales absolutely have the right to speak out against these decisions and perhaps persuade the citizens of the state in question to change their mind.

That said, I have a slight issue with Santorum’s response:

That prompted a response from Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who tweeted overnight: “So Gov Perry, if a state wanted to allow polygamy or if they chose to deny heterosexuals the right to marry, would that be OK too?”

It’s not unfair to employ the logic of  a slippery slope argument.  There are already rumblings from polygamist groups who want to legalize polygamy now that the floodgates have opened.  That said, there are a couple of problems with this rhetorical strategy.  To me the slippery slope argument is the last refuge when all other arguments fail.  It doesn’t really address the actual issue at hand, and in fact there’s a subtle implication that the subject under consideration is not all that serious a concern.

I guess what bothers me about Santorum’s tweet is that it doesn’t tackle the issue of gay marriage head on.  I acknowledge that this is just a tweet, and Santorum has no doubt argued well on behalf of traditional marriage before.  But this smacks too much of a dodge, as though gay marriage isn’t that bad – but polygamy and the outlawing of heterosexual marriage, now that’s bad.  If the issue under discussion had been abortion, would Santorum have raised the specter of something semi-related?  I doubt it.

I’ll admit I might be nitpicking here, and that Santorum is simply mocking the absurdity(in his view) of Perry’s federalist stance.  Again, you’re not going to capture a lot of nuance in a single tweet – which says something about the nature of twitter, but that’s for another rant.  I just fear that too often defenders of traditional marriage rely upon the slippery slope argument too facilely.  If gay marriage is as bad for society as we think it is, we should argue against it on its own merits (or demerits) instead of attacking semi-related subjects.

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22 Responses to Perry Vs. Santorum on Gay Marriage

  • “While one can argue that a state has a right to do x, it does not follow that the state should be free from criticism.

    That’s exactly the idea that I thought when I first read Perry’s remarks. He had an opportunity to display some moral leadership on this issue, and he backed down.

    I know that right now he’s a governor, and he’d like for his state to enjoy the states’ rights that the Constitution calls for. But, for a man flirting with running for POTUS, he needs to show he’s capable of leading a nation.

    As for Santorum’s tweet: I think his response was fine. The institution of marriage is under attack on several related fronts. They need to be linked together in the public’s mind. His tweet might just be the motivation for someone to look more deeply into the matter. I don’t think that it will be a cause for someone to disregard the matter. It was (IMHO) a winning tweet.

  • Sorry about the bold in the above paragraph. 😳

    I wish there was a way to preview the post.

  • Frankly, I think the responses offered by both men don’t fully encapsulate their positions on the matter. Then again, this is a sound-bite culture, and they will be judged accordingly. They need to do better.

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  • The key problem is that it is not a “slippery slope”, it’s a fundamental shift. If marriage is just a legal arrangement, then of course, anything can be legislated and it’s just a matter of jurisdiction. If it of divine origin, then no law can declare that something is a marriage when it is not. There is no slope, it’s one or the other. There is no half way point, only a series of inconsistencies between one end an another. And it’s not the last refuge of the desperate, it’s the key defending wall on the citadel of marriage.

    It’s the very same situation with contraception. Either sex is fundamentally tied to the creation of children within a family, or it is not. If it is not, then anything is permissible. It’s one or the other.The logic is spelled out in Humanae Vitae and all the consequences spelled out in the encyclical have come to pass.

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  • What Anil said. Double.

  • I find Perry’s stance wanting and cavalier at best. ‘That’s fine with me.’ If I were running for the GOP nomination, I’d cut and paste that in every ad to point out Perry’s lack of moral leadership. Santorum’s argument is valid and not slippery slope, it’s more reductio ad absurdum. If so-called ‘gay marriage’ is allowed, then why not marry 3 people, marry your mother or marry your dog?

    And what of the Defense of Marriage Act which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996 whereby the federal government defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Even though repeal attempts are under way and court challenges are pending, it’s still the law of the land as far as I know even though the Obama regime is no longer defending it. Perry, who I thought might have been a good POTUS candidate, blew it as far as I’m concerned.

    BTW, governors make much better presidents than Senators. Governors run governments; senators just legislate.

  • Several New York town clerks, all of them Republicans AFAIK, have resigned or have said they will probably resign because of the institution of SSM.

    I understand some Republicans have other priorities. But their fellow partisans are being purged from government in SSM states, thereby shrinking the party’s talent pool for future action. Perry can’t just stand on federalist principles and let his allies hang in the wind.

  • Perry killed any support he might have had from me in the primary. A concern for Federalism I think has nothing to do with whether what a state is doing is good or bad. It is too clever by half and it is dumb politics to boot in a Republican primary election cycle.

  • Imagine a governor — or anyone — admitting that while he wouldn’t marry a bicycle himself, he has no objection if someone else does. Yet ten years ago the concept of matrimony between two persons of the same sex would have rightly been dismissed as a joke, but time and quiet, subtle, incessant propaganda make even the absurd seem, well, surd. Mr. Jagneaux is exactly right, and Governor Perry, whatever his many qualifications, has displayed a remarkable lack of moral core, and thus should not be in a position of authority.

  • When two become one in covenant, marriage becomes a family. Same sex marriage is not possible in covenant or in physical reality. It is not same sex. Homosexual behavior is assault and battery. Persons cannot consent to a crime of assault and battery.

  • Thanks for the comments. I think what bugged me about Santorum’s comments was less the substance and more what I perceived to be a regular pattern of how we discuss this issue. What he said was fine, but I don’t want us to to become over-reliant on that way of formulating the issue. Granted I might be nitpicking there.

    We seem pretty agreed on Perry. I’m not sure it’s a disqualifier in my books. It is apparent that “federalism uber alles” is his big theme. Normally I’m okay with that, but the concept of federalism doesn’t mean you abandon your moral compass.

  • Assorted and unrefined thoughts:

    1) I think Christians started losing the battle to defend the sacred institution of marriage as soon as they entrusted to government for licensing and regulation.
    2) A lot of ground was lost due to 1930 Anglican Lambeth Conference (which permitted Anglicans to use artificial birth control), the legal acceptance of no-fault divorces, and the acceptance of divorce and remarriage in general by Christians.
    3) With traditional marriage so poorly defended already, we look hypocritical when opposing gay “marriage”.
    4) From a legal standpoint, state recognition of gay unions is a matter of equal protection under the law. Thus, Santorum’s tweet is partially a non sequitur. Polygamy is indeed an obvious logical extension of equal protection arguments, but such equal protection makes denying heterosexual the right to marry completely nonsensical.
    5) The Church, and Christians in general, should never accept homosexual behavior as anything but gravely sinful, but defining and regulating is not a proper function of the State.

  • The State has been regulating marriage from the days of Sumer. Until today mankind was never absurd enough to dream of homosexual marriage. The one constant of marriage was that it was between men and women. Now that is all being done away with so that a small group of people ensnared by a serious sin can receive validation from society at large. Perhaps historians will call our age The Silly Season.

  • You can’t win the marriage argument by playing defense only. That’s the problem with the whole “debate” over so-called gay marriage. It’s been given cachet by the media, putting it on a plane of being just another lifestyle.

    Traditional marriage needs no defense. It has stood for milennia as the norm of human behavior. Instead, the so-called gay agenda and all its insidious and evil impacts should be assailed by all who value what is right. Moral arguments may not succeed where legal arguments hold more sway in a secular society but they are stronger and more persuasive to those willing to examine their consciences.

  • “Moral arguments may not succeed where legal arguments hold more sway in a secular society but they are stronger and more persuasive to those willing to examine their consciences.”

    Moral arguments are always the strongest arguments long term Joe. You are absolutely correct on that.

  • If a candidate says something questionable early in the race, isn’t that the perfect time to write him letters asking him to correct his stand? Simply not voting for him won’t send the message, and won’t change the debate in helpful ways.

    The media and other actors obviously have an interest in making GOP opposition to SSM look as weak as possible, so that it will become as weak as possible.

  • but defining and regulating is not a proper function of the State

    Eric, defining and regulating is the most salient thing the state does. Always and everywhere.

  • “Eric, defining and regulating is the most salient thing the state does. Always and everywhere.”

    1) I accidentally left out the word “marriage” after “defining and regulating”. Oops. 😉
    2) The State should define nothing. Rights are natural and inalienable; they do not flow from the State. All the state ought to be allowed to do is acknowledge and defend them.
    3) Regulation is only justifiable when life, liberty, or property of one person is threatened by the actions of another.

  • So, now Perry has said that deciding abortion on a state-by-state basis is okay.

    I understand that Perry supports and defends traditional marriage and the right to life in the State of Texas, and that he’s personally committed to both of the causes, not just out of political expediency.

    I also understand that he sincerely believes that – as it stands today – the Constitution requires that states get to decide these issues for themselves.

    However, he really needs to follow up these statements of his with something like, “This such an important issue that I will actively pursue constitutional amendments to defend traditional marriage and the right to life.”

    Without saying *something* like that, it sounds to me as though he’s happy to have states do whatever they want on these issues. That’s not acceptable to me.

    Kevin J Jones, you are probably right. If I am interested in having him move in the direction I’d like to see him go, I probably should let him know. (As great as TAC is) I doubt that Rick Perry spends much time browsing the articles and comments here. — But maybe I’ll include a link here in my letter to him 😀

  • Okay, I’ll take the credit: One week after I call the Rick Perry for President hotline, he goes public on CBN, saying that he supports a Constitutional amendment for traditional marriage and against abortion. For what it’s worth.

    Now, I guess I need to call Pizza Hut about that “Free Pizza on Saturdays” idea I like to see happen. 🙂

Where They Stand: Gubernatorial Races

Friday, October 29, AD 2010

With all the talk about the upcoming Congressional midterms, local races are getting overlooked.  This is unfortunate for a couple of reasons.  First of all, despite a century plus of actions and efforts to the contrary, federalism is still alive, and state governments still matter.  Second, these races have an impact upon national elections because states will be redrawing their districts in the wake of the 2010 census.

It would be a massive undertaking beyond my abilities and time to look at each state’s legislative elections, though most projections I have heard have the Republicans gaining a massive amount of seats in state legislatures.  Republicans are projected to switch majority control in about five or six states at a minimum.  Here I will be taking a look at each of the gubernatorial elections.

On a side note, it may seem odd to label these elections as pickups and holds.  After all, it’s not as though governors gather en masse and vote, so having a “majority” of governorships seems not to be that big of a deal.  But for the aforementioned reasons, it is important to win as many of these races as possible.  Currently there are 26 Democratic governors and 24 Republican.  Republicans will certainly have a majority after Tuesday.  As is the case with the House, the only question is how big of a majority.

And now, to the races we go:

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14 Responses to Where They Stand: Gubernatorial Races

  • “While the south started voting for Republicans on the presidential level around the time of Barry Goldwater …”

    It was Eisenhower that first got the South voting for Republicans for President. In 1952, Ike won Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida (and, if you count “border states”, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Maryland); in 1956, he won those same states, except for Missouri, and added West Virginia and Kentucky.

    Goldwater was able to crack the deep South, but not for reasons I’d be particularly proud of.

  • The importance of the governerships is that this is the year for reapportionment, and the governor may have a role, depending on the state’s law.

  • I’ll give Maryland one thing. It’s been easier to register my historic sports car with heavily modified and highly illegal V8 engine in Maryland than in DC, my other address of record. DC is more blue than Maryland.

  • Paul, this is the best analysis of the gubernatorial races I’ve read. My only disagreements are in Colorado where I think crazed Tom Tancredo will win, and Minnesota where I think crazy, and certifiable, Mark Dayton will win. Our bottom line totals are precisely the same.

  • Thank you, Donald. I thought it would be helpful to have them all in one place.

    And now tomorrow, all 435 House races.

    Errrr, maybe not.

  • Great observations about New England. All of the states but Maine have elected Republican governors in recent years. I can’t wait for this red state / blue state myth to disappear.

  • Seems to me, Paul, that, quite the contrary, federalism is on the decline as the rights of states have been eroded by a tide of tyranny from the halls of Congress and the White house. Arizona is the latest in a long line of victims.

  • You won’t get much disagreement from me, Joe. SCOTUS has turned the 10th Amendment into a mere “truism,” and the trend has certainly been towards more power in the hands of the federal government. But federalism isn’t completely dead yet, and state government still retain a great deal of autonomy. Hopefully we can reverse the trend in the coming years.

  • There were a couple of polls that had Palladino within striking distance, but then he opened his mouth.

    That is ‘Paladino’. Much of the embarassment surrounding his campaign can be attributed to the behavior of the Republican establishment, who have abandoned him. The New York Republican Party is a cliquish institution, and those chaps react very badly to characters they view as unclubbable. That would enclude Messrs. Paladino and Hoffman, whose potential as candidates was stunted by the behavior of other elected officials and party hacks.

    What is interesting is that some engaging candidates are running for Congressional seats this year, but they did not seem to be able to recruit anyone of note for the state-wide contests. The state party chairman attempted to recruit a Democratic politico from Long Island to run for Governor (for whatever reason). The clubmen on the state committee were not buying and nominated the amiable Mr. Lazio. Mr. Paladino petitioned for a primary and dispatched the clubmen’s choice so thoroughly that it revealed a chasm between them and their voting public (about which I would wager they give not a damn).

    Some time decades hence there may be in New York an authentic political party organized in opposition to the rule of public employee unions and fixers. Right now what there is is a rancid fund raising and patronage mill thoroughly dominated by mediocrities.

  • Yes, here in Illinois, our governors make the license plates, literally.

    In my area of downstate Illinois, it seems like what’s been going on at the national level has filtered down to every other level. At every level, we’ve had Democrats in charge for a while, and they’ve gotten arrogant, wasteful, and sloppy about covering their tracks. Whether it’s Congressman Phil “I don’t worry about the Constitution” Hare putting his foot in his mouth again, or our mayor and top city officials taking an afternoon off for a celebratory golf outing after maintaining their majority in the last election, or our sheriff driving his work vehicle all over the place on personal time; the story is pretty much the same: people who think we can’t live without them, so they can do whatever they want.

  • “the near certainty of a jail sentence upon the completion of one’s term (as Illinois governor)”

    That is particularly true if said governor is a Democrat.

    The last elected Democratic governor to avoid criminal conviction or imprisonment was Adlai Stevenson — yes, THE Adlai Stevenson who ran against Ike twice. EVERY other Democrat elected in the last 60 years — Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, and Rod Blagojevich — ended up being convicted of some crime, although in Walker’s case, the offense for which he went to prison (some kind of S & L loan fraud) occurred long after he had left office and become a private citizen.

    Republican governors have a much better (though not perfect) track record of staying out of jail. In the last 60 years, one (George Ryan) ended up in jail; one (William Stratton) was acquitted of tax evasion charges; and three (Richard Ogilvie, Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar) have clean records. I’d say that bodes better for Brady.

    I think Brady will win in Illinois, though it won’t be a blowout. Democrats can, of course, take Chicago and Cook County for granted, but the suburbs or “collar counties” outside Chicago are still on the fence.

    The esteemed Illinois political blogger Rich Miller of Capitol Fax foresees disaster of Biblical proportions for Democrats downstate. No Democrat, whether running for General Assembly, Congress, or statewide office, is safe south of I-80.

  • “The esteemed Illinois political blogger Rich Miller of Capitol Fax foresees disaster of Biblical proportions for Democrats downstate. No Democrat, whether running for General Assembly, Congress, or statewide office, is safe south of I-80.”

    Music to my Downstate heart Elaine!

  • Don, it should be noted here that if Quinn loses on Tuesday, the 60-plus-year streak of ELECTED Democratic Illinois governors ending up as felons will remain unbroken for at least four more years, since Quinn was not originally elected governor but succeeded Blago after the latter’s impeachment.

    The only other exception to this Democratic-governors-becoming-felons rule was Sam Shapiro — the Democratic lieutenant governor who succeeded Otto Kerner when the latter was appointed a federal judge. Shapiro served only 8 months in 1968-69 and ran for election in his own right but lost. Unfortunate, since he was by all accounts a smart and honest guy.

  • California please vote for Meg Whitman! If Brown wins, this state will become a gay marriage state, there will be extensive embryonic stem cell research, and cap and trade will be implemented, causing more business to leave the state. Schwarzenegger’s troubles in leadership are hurting Meg. If a republican state house is voted in you will see major changes in the state with Meg. Don’t be turned off by her ability to pay her own way. She is a successful, courageous woman ready to serve the people of the state, not labor unions, not extreme environmentalist, not the liberal agenda hurting our schools.

Debra Medina Fails To Disavow 9/11 Truthers, Rick Perry Gets My Vote

Thursday, February 11, AD 2010


It has been said that all politics is local.

And so it is.

I have had some issues with whom to vote for in the upcoming Texas gubernatorial elections.  Especially with the Republican primary coming up and Debra Medina gaining fast on current Governor Rick Perry.

Insurgent Republican candidate Debra Medina was a asked a question by Glenn Beck on his radio show if she would deny that there was any government role in 9/11 and she hedged.

Mr. Beck followed up with a direct question and she still hedged.

Continue reading...

103 Responses to Debra Medina Fails To Disavow 9/11 Truthers, Rick Perry Gets My Vote

  • I listened in this morning because I wanted to hear what she had to say. I saw this as a make it or break it moment for her campaign. The interview seemed to start off rocky. In reply to the question, “Who is Debra Medina?”, she briefly talked about herself and then went into critiques of Perry and Hutchison. Glenn was audibly annoyed, by that point.

    On the one hand, I wonder why the 9-11 Truther question was asked; it didn’t seem to pertain to the issues facing Texans today. But, as I sat listening, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She was dancing around the issue! This little dance routine looks like a tacit admission of Trutherism. She never outright rejected the notion. The perception now, despite what she said, is that she’s a Truther. She’s finished. Finished.

  • I didn’t listen to the radio show, only to Medina’s comments on the show.

    Like you the question wasn’t really relevant in certain ways, but the way she answered it was awful.

  • It’s because of Beck’s target crowd.

  • I listened to one of the clips and he said he brought it up because he got a lot of mail accusing her of being a Truther. Based on her answer, there was probably a lot of legitimate concern out there and it turned out to be a fair question. I’m not a Beck fan, but I’m not sure what’s wrong with not having Truthers as a target audience.

  • I thought Truthers were liberal Democrats who despised Bush, the same way Birthers tend to be conservatives who despise Obama.

    If this woman is running as a Republican for governor of one of the reddest of the Red States, by what logic does she figure sympathy for the Truther movement helps her win votes? If she were running for, say, mayor of Berkeley or for Congress from some hard-left-leaning district I could see her logic; but this doesn’t make sense.

  • Texas isn’t very red. The TX House of Reps is 77 Republicans and 73 Democrats — a 4 vote majority. The TX Senate is 19 Republicans to 12 Democrats — a 7 vote majority.

    There’s been much talk in terms of changing demographics in Texas. In about 10 years, this state will arguably be purple, politically speaking.

  • When I was working in politics in Texas we had a term, Texicrat, for Texas Democrats. Think RINO, but in reverse.

  • Tito, I must say I’m sad that you will be voting for Governor 39%. We’d be better off being governed by cardboard for the next four years.

    I am totally opposed to Governor Perry and I am still entertaining the idea of voting for Debra Medina (who I oppose practically down the line on almost every issue) to vote against Governor Perry in the GOP primary (which will count me as a registered Republican until the next election — the horror!). It was a gaffe, sure. I’m more disturbed that Perry was unaware that the Advanced Care Directives Law that has seen the euthanasia of a six month old infant and several others had passed through the Texas Senate when he was the Lt. Governor and President of the Texas Senate.

    You’ll disagree, sure. Vote your conscience. I’m not rather concerned that someone’s gaffe in failing to deny that they believe in a conspiracy theory as more important than defeating Governor 39% who has been more than a horror. I’m not how sure one’s views over something that has no affect over the immediate points of Texas’ public policy absolutely disqualifies someone from your vote unless you think the other candidate is better on public policy. Mandatory vaccinations? An education budget that has been either frozen or cut in the last 16 years? — In the last 5 year in Houston alone, nearly 250 teachers were fired for criminal activity including criminal misconduct, child sexual abuse, and workplace intoxication — and I can’t seem to find one candidate talking about such issues other than lets-be-anti-Washington. Great. How are we going to solve our state’s problems?

    Of course, there’s that ever-annoying dilemma. With any of these candidates, I’m going to find their agenda sickening and their Democratic opponent is almost surely going to be pro-choice. I’m really divided over the question of whether it is legitimate not to vote for conscientious reasons.

  • Medina is a Truther and therefore unfit for any public office as far as I am concerned. It takes a special type of paranoid idiocy to believe that 9-11 was the work of agencies of the government.

  • “Medina is a Truther and therefore unfit for any public office”

    Well, that depends on how you define a Truther. It could mean :

    1) someone who believes the 9-11 attacks were actually plotted or staged by the Bush administration;
    2) one who believes the Bush administration knew the attacks were coming but chose to do nothing to prevent them;
    3) one who believes the Bush administration discounted or misinterpreted evidence that the attacks were imminent, and thereby failed to prevent them;
    4) one who believes the U.S. government has not revealed all that it knows about the origin and nature of the attacks.

    Conclusions #1 and #2, which assume that Bush was willing to let thousands of innocent American citizens die purely to provide himself with a pretext for launching the War or Terror, the PATRIOT Act, and other measures, are examples of “paranoid idiocy.”

    Conclusion #3 simply assumes that Bush and/or his advisers made mistakes, though not necessarily malicious ones. Conclusion #4 presumes that the government might be withholding certain information for security reasons, or to protect certain parties from embarrassment or exposure. While we may not agree with these conclusions (and I don’t), I think they can be held by reasonable people.

    If Medina says simply she doesn’t know the “whole truth” about 9/11, she may mean something similar to Conclusion #3 or #4, not necessarily #1 or #2. However it’s evident she handled the question very badly.

  • I have to wonder, if Sarah Palin handled this question badly — let’s say almost identically — would it change your view of her or your willingness to cast a vote in her favor?

  • I don’t understand the Governor 39% thing. What’s that about?

  • My views regarding Truthers Eric are independent of the person making the statement.

  • Well, since at this time I have no intention of voting for Sarah Palin — it wouldn’t change my view of her.

    I’m just baffled that Medina would attempt to run as a more-conservative-than-thou Republican if she was a genuine, hard-core Truther who really believed Bush was that evil. Is she trying to appeal to the libertarian, Ron Paul types who consider everything the Big Bad Feds do evil?

  • My guess Elaine is that like Ron Paul she is a paranoid conspiracy nut who normally has the good sense to not go full headcase before the sane. Beck caught her in an unguarded moment.

  • Tito,

    With all due respect, this is a really poor reason not to vote for Debra Medina.

    And while I remain highly skeptical of the logistical aspect of the 9/11 conspiracy, it is a documented historical fact that factions in this government (and it is far from the only government in history) have considered false-flag operations in the past.

    Operation Northwoods, for instance, is not a hallucination. It’s not tin-foil hat spectulation, it is real, verified, accepted history that absolutely no one denies.


    And this is only ONE example, ONE historically documented, scholarly approved, mainstream comfortable instance of the US government either considering, or actually perpetrating, harm on its own citizens (lets not forget the Tuskeege Experiments either).


    Unless Medina is actually coming out and saying that she believes the US government planned and executed 9/11, I think its incredibly closed-minded to write her off. Voters should look at policies, not implied personal opinions.

    That’s just my two cents, and I’m sure everyone will disagree. It’s cool 🙂

  • I’m also really just disturbed by this notion that an failure to immediately disavow an idea that isn’t popular (although I think this particular idea is more popular than you realize) is automatic grounds for disqualification, as if our minds must instantly shut down.

    Forgive me if I see this as an example of knee-jerk group-think and want nothing to do with it.

  • Perry won his 2006 re-election bid with 39% of the vote, which is humorously exactly where he’s polling right now in the GOP primary.

  • Perry won his 2006 re-election bid with 39% of the vote

    So what? 39% is a pretty respectable figure in a four person race, particularly when two of the other candidates are competing with you for votes on your half of the political spectrum.

  • Eric,

    you said, “I have to wonder, if Sarah Palin handled this question badly — let’s say almost identically — would it change your view of her or your willingness to cast a vote in her favor?”

    I am probably one of the Biggest fans for Sarah, but if she answered this way… I would have disowned her in a heartbeat!

    I’m sorry Joe, but you are wrong… we don’t need loons running the government.

  • This was a clear and definite set up. First of all, to not question what happened on 9/11 and to simply accept the government’s account is blissful and disgusting ignorance. Debra Medina did not say that 9/11 was an inside job or that she believed that government insiders allowed 9/11 to take place. It is a fact that some of the 9/11 commission members said that the investigation was doomed from the start. So what is the public supposed to make of such claims? Medina simply said that she was not satisfied with the official story. She is not alone. Many Americans feel this way and Mrs. Medina should not be expected to disavow a staff member simply because that staff member questions the government’s “official story”. Beck is a Hack and anyone who agrees with his sentiment on this issue will believe just about anything, I suppose. Any talk show host who labels an individual running for governor as a “9/11 truther” is only trying to do one thing and that is to distract the public from focusing on important issues like government taxation and an overreaching federal government. Make no mistake, this was a planned attack by the republican establishment of Texas to bring down Debra Medina. Sarah Palin just endorsed Rick Perry and Glenn Beck has been in Palin’s pocket from day 1. Medina’s following was getting to be just too large to be allowed to go on any further. Anyone who has followed her race closely can see through the blinders the neocons have put up for the public.

  • Debra Medina is like a non-press adored Barack Obama.

  • It is possible I suppose that she answered the question as she did because she assumed that Beck is a Truther. Surprise! Like a lot of Beck’s critics, and I say this as someone who thinks Beck is half a lunatic, she made assumptions about Beck rather than being aware about what his actual views are.

    Beck has long been a severe critic of the Truther movement as the nut cases in the movement themselves realize:


    This might be an indication that Medina is not a Truther, but rather just another politician attempting to curry favor with whoever is interviewing her at the moment. That is somewhat pathetic, but it is not paranoid crazy.

  • I’m with Brett on this.

    I like Palin, but if she would say what Medina said, I would immediately drop any interest that I had for her.

    That simple.

    I don’t buy the conspiracy theory one iota.

    And with much respect to Joe, when it happens I’ll believe it.

    There would be a near-revolution if the government were actually implement anything like Northwoods.

    There are still people who believe that FDR allowed Pearl Harbor to be bombed, which I don’t believe one bit.


  • Tito,

    The only reason government DIDN’T was because JFK was, in spite of his flaws, a man with a moral compass. This proposal was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It went almost all the way up to the top – but the buck stopped with Kennedy.

    Forgive me if I think it is reasonable to believe that George W. Bush was not of the same caliber. Or Bill Clinton. And certainly not the current clown.

    Bottom line – our government has factions within it that are morally willing and able to plan the mass murder of US citizens to advance a foreign policy agenda. The hard evidence that it carried out 9/11 is somewhat lacking – I personally believe that it was gross negligence and incompetence this time around – but I certainly don’t believe that those who think government is CAPABLE of it on a moral level are insane.

    I think you’re naive if you think people in power are checked by some profound respect for human lives that even the average citizen finds difficult.

  • I love the defenses of Medina: “Don’t listen to what she *said*, listen to what her campaign wrote after the fact!”

    Who are you going to believe, her furiously-spinning flacks or your lying ears?

    Listen, it’s pretty clear that her “Truth”erism is, like it is for all “Truth”ers, a lazy exercise in mental masturbation. Anybody who really, truly believed that the government was complicit in 9/11 would do more than try to argue it’s a “Federal issue” (which ranks as one of the 10 dumbest political statements I have ever heard or read). They would actually be trying to *do* something, and not just sign web petitions, make internet videos harassing Danny Bonaduce (no, really) or try to burn chickenwire. Consistent with her statements and political bent, you’d think that Medina would at least organize a tax protest, for the love of Ron. “Everybody fill out new W-4s!” Legal. Easy. Noticeable. And it would crimp the evil regime, even if just a little bit. But no, she makes a jurisdictional argument, of all things, not to address the issue.

    None of them deserve to be taken seriously because, deep down, none of them seriously believe a word they emit on the subject. To use an analogy appropriate to a Catholic blog, “Truth”ers are a church made up entirely of the lapsed.

  • I’ll continue playing devil’s advocate here, because I think it needs to be done.


    You said,

    “Anybody who really, truly believed that the government was complicit in 9/11 would do more than try to argue it’s a “Federal issue””

    Actually, no, that doesn’t logically follow. Belief and action are not logically connected in that way. You can say that they ought to or they should – but not that they must.

    “They would actually be trying to *do* something”

    Again, no. That’s not an argument.

    This really isn’t about the substance of their claims, but the error in logic you are making here. The actions or lack thereof of 9/11 truth folks have absolutely nothing to with whether or not they ‘actually’ believe it. Belief implies nothing.

    We might say that anyone who really believed in Jesus Christ would devote their entire lives to Him, but then, we’d only have a tiny handful of Christians left. There’s what we ought to become, and what we are.

  • The fact that Operation Northwoods was developed and advocated is not evidence that our government conspired to produce 9/11. 9/11 truthers are nutters of the same ilk as flat-earthers. Joe, you are a good and smart guy, but one really can have a mind so open that all gray matter manages to escape.

    Don’s hypothesis is the most reassuring, even if it does take considerable speculative liberties.

    Finally, I admit that it is technically possible that the truthers are right, just as it is technically possible that the flat earthers are right. But folks who vote and live their lives respectfully mindful of these bizarre technical possiblities are missing the boat big time.

  • Mike,

    “The fact that Operation Northwoods was developed and advocated is not evidence that our government conspired to produce 9/11.”

    I NEVER argued that it was. That is NOT my point.

    I said, very clearly – and against all hope that I would be properly understood – that it simply means that people who suspect that the government is morally capable of such a thing are not crazy. They have a precedent.

    So please understand, two entirely distinct claims. The precedent of Northwoods:

    1) Does show that it is not crazy to believe government is capable of harming its own citizens (and we have JFK alone to thank for putting a stop to what the CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to do)

    2) Does NOT prove a single thing about 9/11, obviously.

    So while I question 9/11 truthers on the logistics of the whole conspiracy, I DO NOT question their sanity for believing that the government could contemplate such a horrific act. And Northwoods is only ONE example.

  • Joe:

    Well, no right back! 🙂

    The lack of action–deeds–suggests quite a bit about the putative believer. It is a strong indicator that the belief in question is a matter of mere minor habit, or a dilettantish (word coining time!) dabbling done because it’s what a subgroup expects.

    Let’s try it this way. Consider the following hypothetical (none of which is true, amusingly enough): I say I’m a fervent Democrat and I believe the Republicans need to be stopped at all costs because their policies are uniformly destructive and threaten our nation.

    Subsequently, you find out that (1) I’ve never donated to a Democratic candidate, (2) never had a yard sign for a Dem on my property, (3) I’ve never done volunteer work for Democrats and (4) it turns out that I vote about 20% of the time.

    On the other hand, I’ve renewed my Detroit Lions season tickets at the first opportunity for the past 22 years, price increases or no, and despite the fact I know the feckless owner of the Lions bankrolls GOP candidates and causes.

    Thus, while you would not be in a position to call me a liar with respect to my claim to be a dogged Democrat, you could draw some conclusions about the nature of my claim and its importance in my life.

  • against all hope that I would be properly understood

    LOL 😀

  • We need to remember what this was all about:

    “Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.” — Body of Secrets, James Bamford, 2001

  • Dale,

    Yes, one could do all of those things – but one would have to make an awful lot of unwarranted assumptions to do so. All could be explained in ways other than laziness.

    1 – you have no money
    2 – you don’t have a yard
    3 – you’re too busy
    4 – you’re threatened with job loss if you leave work to vote

    Or, alternatively, one could do one or more of these things but just isn’t comfortable for whatever psychological reason.

    All of these things happen to people on a regular basis. The bottom line is that you can’t make judgments about a person’s sincerity without knowing something more about their circumstances.

    As for Medina, she’s running for office. Presumably she’s spending her own money toward that end. Perhaps she thinks that will be more effective than convincing a handful of people not to pay their taxes this year. Again, I think you’re making unwarranted assumptions about her. She might – might – embrace an unpopular position so its easy to just pile on the assumptions; she’s so unpopular, who will care?

  • I don’t think Operation Northwoods shows the government was capable of orchestrating 9/11. It’s one thing to talk about doing something like this, quite another to actually carry it out. Further, the scale of what was proposed was not comparable to what happened on 9/11. The proposals generally involved either fake incidents or attacks on a small number of non-citizens. That’s shocking enough, but it’s nowhere close to plotting to kill tens of thousands of Americans.

  • Eric, et al,

    I to have the very same concerns about Perry. I was quietly seeing and maybe even hoping that Medina would creep up the polls as she had recently overtaken Hutchison for number 2.

    Believe me, I’m going to hold my nose when I cast a vote for Perry.

    Like McCain, I’m not that enthusiastic as it is.

    Unlike McCain, I have seen Perry work closely with the pro-life movement in the legislature and he has been “our man” in Austin getting things done, or at least going to bat for us and our legislative bills.

    He’s learned his lesson, believe me, I’ve inquired.

    Perry has got my vote after Medina’s unfortunate comments.

  • Words just don’t matter any more, do they?

    I might as well type asjdkhbsjkfhbjskgbfjkdgbjk the next time I want to make a point. It would be just as effective.

    “I don’t think Operation Northwoods shows the government was capable of orchestrating 9/11.”

    It shows that government is morally capable of it – that is what I said. The logistics are a different story. I made that distinction several times. I should have typed djbfdsjkgbskjgdb instead.

    “It’s one thing to talk about doing something like this, quite another to actually carry it out.”

    Is it another thing when the Joint Chiefs of Staff propose it? The only reason it wasn’t carried out Kennedy’s personal opposition.

    The talk only does one thing – it obliterates the ceaseless and stupid claim that anyone who believes government could or would kill its own citizens is “crazy.” That’s the only claim I am making.

    Or, AJgjisfgbjfgbjshfgbsf.

    “Further, the scale of what was proposed was not comparable to what happened on 9/11.”

    The scale isn’t relevant. What was proposed was bad enough. And no one said anything about “tens of thousands” – only 3000 or so died on 9/11. A terrorist campaign “in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington” – could have ended up killing or wounding just as many. Not to mention all of the innocent people who would have died fighting the phony war.

    Or, ritoyritoyuitory.

  • Joe H.,

    Ewrtjvjrum gweercfviop weporijwoiu qwefijkfj qjkfaslkuj kljlkj eiruqtcb adfga? qpwoeiru alf, aslfkj to what asfkl.


    zvxbvbm tyru f asjg, afas ja asw.


    The city of Detroit reminds me of Kabul, just as pretty but not so much.


    As mfnf, asdfklj “paokj” dhakh sdfho.

  • I mean, have you listened to the emotional-hysterical reasons why people won’t even CONSIDER the possibility? It’s just that they can’t bear to think for one second that American soldiers are being sent to fight and die for a lie. Well, that’s not an argument. It’s an emotional response.

    If someone wants to completely and totally reject 9/11 conspiracies on the facts, I respect that. In fact, that’s what I do myself.

    But to reject it on the assumption that government would never do or contemplate doing such a thing, or on the grounds that we MUST NOT THINK lest we denigrate the service of the men and women overseas are just forms of self-imposed idiocy. To then turn on people who share a different interpretation of the facts, given what government is historically capable of, and call them cooks, crazies, even traitors who ought to be shot, is just crazed mob mentality. It isn’t sane, it isn’t rational.

  • “I don’t think Operation Northwoods shows the government was capable of orchestrating 9/11.”

    It shows that government is morally capable of it – that is what I said. The logistics are a different story. I made that distinction several times.

    My comments were directed towards morals, not logistics.

    The scale isn’t relevant. What was proposed was bad enough. And no one said anything about “tens of thousands” – only 3000 or so died on 9/11.

    The expected death toll was in the tens of thousands. The only reason it wasn’t actually that high was that people ignored official statements that it was safe to stay in the Towers. Anyone who thinks the government was behind 9/11 has to think they were planning on killing far more people than actually ended up dead.

    A terrorist campaign “in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington” – could have ended up killing or wounding just as many.

    Allow me to quote from the Wiki page on Operation Northwoods that you linked to earlier:

    The terror campaign could be pointed at refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized.

    I don’t think attacks on Cuban refugees in the states “even to the extent of wounding” were likely to kill thousands of American citizens. Again, even trying to wound a non-citizen is really bad (and sinking a boat load of refugees would be horrendous), but it’s not on the same level as deliberately killing thousands if not tens of thousands of your own citizens.

  • Joe:

    You are a game interlocutor, I concede that! 🙂

    But…I don’t know that my carefully-stacked deck allows you to play all of the cards you want to play–e.g., the self-declared diehard Dem has plenty of money to spend on Lions–Lions!–tickets. Granted, that may also be a symptom of a delusional personality in and of itself, but I’ll put that aside for now.

    More to the point, my hypothetical shows the belief holder to be knowingly acting against the holder’s alleged firm belief by actually funding that which he asserts is anathema.

    Which is what the “Truth”ers are doing by living out the status quo under the most illegitimate regime in American history.

    It seems that you have met a better grade of “Truth”er than I have. I envy you. In *every* case where I have stumbled across one, it is either a case of lazy paranoia alloyed with dogged ignorance, or worse (and thankfully rare) is closely-associated with hatred of Jews.

    I have no problem with a distrust of government–even where it is reflexive, so long as there are limits. I think it’s wired into our national character and usually serves us well. But when it lapses into a habit of paranoia, it becomes corrosive. The “Truth”er mentality is deeply corrosive, and is of a piece with other anti-reason/hyper-individualist memes floating about in American life right now, which is why I react so badly to it.

  • “My comments were directed towards morals, not logistics.”

    That wasn’t clear. It is now. And I completely disagree.

    “Anyone who thinks the government was behind 9/11 has to think they were planning on killing far more people than actually ended up dead.”

    If the ends justify the means, then the difference of thousands isn’t really a difference at all.

    And again, you leave out all of the people who would have died in the phony war, a war against a country under the direct protection of a nuclear superpower. I’m sure the Soviets would have sat on their thumbs while all of this unfolded.

  • If the ends justify the means, then the difference of thousands isn’t really a difference at all.

    If numbers don’t matter, why did the report suggest that people would only be wounded in the attacks rather than killed, or that the various attacks would or could be faked rather than real. Why the focus on non-citizens? I don’t think it is realistic to human psychology to say these things don’t matter.

    And again, you leave out all of the people who would have died in the phony war

    Soldiers dying at the hands of the enemy in a war you started (for what you believe to be justified reasons) is not the same as you killing your own citizens.

  • Dale,

    “The “Truth”er mentality is deeply corrosive, and is of a piece with other anti-reason/hyper-individualist memes floating about in American life right now, which is why I react so badly to it”

    I’m not concerned with various “mentalities”, to be honest with you Dale. All that matters to me are facts and logic, both of which are independent from one or another kind of “mentality.” A crumpled up napkin in the gutter that has the expression “2+2=4” on it is telling me a truth regardless of its grimy and smelly presentation.

    On many of the facts, I think 9/11 truthers come up short. But the premise that government would carry out such an operation is not delusional, since there are plenty of historical precedents for it here and in every other country.

    The precedent, obviously, proves nothing. It does something else. It makes it reasonable to question and investigate the official narrative of 9/11. It provides a good reason to search for proof. It makes the people (or some of them at any rate) who do search for it “not crazy”, not traitors, but reasonable people with a legitimate concern.

    Now, let me address this:

    “More to the point, my hypothetical shows the belief holder to be knowingly acting against the holder’s alleged firm belief by actually funding that which he asserts is anathema.”

    By this logic, though, no one who pays taxes in this country really believes in anything. Both left and right disagree with where a lot of the tax money goes – to what the left believes are unjustified wars, to what the right believes are unjustified welfare programs, to what Christians believe are immoral, sacrilegious purposes, and so on and so forth. People pay taxes because they don’t want to risk jail, not because they don’t care.

    That’s just being pragmatic. There is a time and place for self-sacrifice in the name of a cause, and my guess is that most people do not feel that this is the time. Or, they are cowards.

  • “If numbers don’t matter, why did the report suggest that people would only be wounded in the attacks rather than killed”

    Different people and different governments have different approaches to these matters. The Project for a New American Century reports stated quite clearly that the entire foreign policy agenda they wanted to see implemented would require a “Pearl Harbor” type of event.

    A larger scale war may require a larger scale incident. It could be that simple.

    Of course, their saying it, and their being guilty for arranging it, are indeed two different things. It isn’t a distortion of the truth at all, however, to say that this think tank, whose members went on to occupy key positions in the Bush administration, greatly benefited from the 9/11 attacks. It’s the plain, unvarnished, indisputable, documented truth.

    “I don’t think it is realistic to human psychology to say these things don’t matter.”

    Then I believe you are being naive about man’s capacity to do evil.

    What you’re really saying here, in making these distinctions between citizens and non-citizens, terrorist attacks and wars, is that the same people who are willing to go to war on the basis of outright fabrications, drop bombs on civilians, and cause thousands of deaths – in the name of a cause they believe is justified – would be completely unwilling because of some magic barrier in their minds to do anything remotely similar to their own citizens.

    Forgive me if I don’t think that particular approach to human psychology is realistic. Operation Northwoods, is, as I said, only one example of the government’s willingness to commit crimes against its own people (or lets say, innocent people).

    There were Operations Ajax and Gladio, in which innocent civilians – albeit non-Americans again – were murdered by the CIA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies in foreign countries. There is MK Ultra, there is the Tuskegee Experiment, which WERE done on American citizens. There is the reckless use of depleted uranium which has caused untold misery to a number of US combat veterans, these are only a few.

    Personally, I don’t think the numbers mattered at all. IF the government did 9/11 – IF – then it was clearly aimed at simply bringing down the Twin Towers as a symbolic landmark, whether there was 1 person or 10,000 inside.

    “Soldiers dying at the hands of the enemy in a war you started (for what you believe to be justified reasons) is not the same as you killing your own citizens.”

    If you send soldiers off to die for a lie, and especially back then when the draft was being used, then I don’t think there is a relevant difference. How many people do you think would volunteer to fight and die for what was an obvious, open lie, or a reason so immoral and stupid that it would have to be covered up by a lie?

  • Plus, the wiki entry doesn’t have everything.

    “The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.

    Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, “the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic].”


    Can we trust the crackpots at ABC news?

    We have a clear pattern of deception and reckless disregard for the sanctity of human life.

    Given that, the only thing I say follows is that we take claims seriously. It’s a lesson as simple as the one we learn from “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

  • “I’m not concerned with various “mentalities”, to be honest with you Dale.”

    You should be. The way people think–or, in this case, won’t–is exceptionally important, especially in the context of a society that aspires to be self-governing. To the extent lazy paranoid un-thought becomes widespread, all of us will suffer. The hardening of destructive intellectual patterns and the championing thereof by the strident is always a precursor to civil conflict. It was in America from the 1840s to Sumter and it was the same with the run up to the Spanish conflagration in 1936. I’m not saying we’re anywhere near such a horror here, but the initial signs are worrisome.

    More to the point, your tax analogy dodges the monstrous nature of what “Truth”erism says about our current republic–namely, that it is dead.

    Not reformable, not fixable at the ballot box, not subject to redress in the courts, but *dead.* It posits that an illegitimate regime has enthroned itself on the corpse of the American republic, having committed the mass murder of American citizens before our eyes for various sordid and squalid ends. That the murderous puppetmasters who perpetrated this atrocity are so slippery and clever that they cannot be rooted out despite the “obvious” “evidence.” With the war in Iraq or on abortion, the various political factions at least have the honest hope that the ballot box might move policy in their favor, however incrementally. Not so the “Truth”er.

    Whether honestly held or as is currently practiced, “Truth”erism is the political equivalent of the sin of despair. It is another toxin in the body politic. I pray to God that it remains in the inert form we see in adherents like Medina.

  • As a former resident of Texas I feel it is a shame that Medina fumbled the question and that so many are so sensitive to the ‘truther’ question they would actually fall into the arms of Rick Perry.

    Rick Perry has had more than enough time as governor of Texas. He should be retired from public service and forced to work the private sector.

    Medina has handled herself extremely well in the debate footage I have seen, and technically her answer was not wrong, just horribly answered. I would be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was shaken by the question which— lets be honest, has nothing to do with Texas politics. And shame on Glenn Beck for an atrocious interview. He just lost a viewer.

    Clearly Medina falls into the category of ‘truthers’ that do not necessarily accuse the government of being ‘behind’ the 9/11 attacks, but nevertheless suspects that all that can be revealed about that day has not seen sunlight. While I personally do not think the U.S. government had anything to do with the attacks I think it is fairly naive to portray the U.S. government as being completely in the dark regarding a rising and ongoing threat. Also it is naive to not believe that some in our political class privately wait for just such disasters in order to advance their own ideological agenda. ‘Never let a crisis go to waste’ indeed.

    One question I would have for those (among the Right) who immediately are now going to vote for frat-boy extraordinaire Rick Perry: if it is so easy to imagine a ‘conspiracy’ amongst bankers and politicians to extract money from the taxpayer through the bailouts, why is it impossible to imagine a ‘conspiracy’ among political elites to further entrench their foreign policy agenda?

    The 9/11 highjackers ‘conspired’ to murder thousands of American citizens. Enron executives ‘conspired’ to coverup their pattern of fraud and theft. The CIA conspires EVERYDAY to destabilize governments not to their liking. Environmentalists conspired to gain economic and political control in order to mold society as they see fit. A few thousand years ago, political and religious authorities ‘conspired’ to murder Jesus Christ.

    Again, do I believe the U.S. government, in twirling-mustache fashion engineered the fall of the WTC and Pentagon? No. Mostly, because they’ve proven themselves to be so grossly incompetent in all lesser ambitions. BUT if you think for one second that the most powerful and influential people in the United States do not have interests contrary to the safety and well being of the ‘common good’, and that they work (ie, CONSPIRE) in the advance of that agenda: you’re living in la-la land.

    People don’t suddenly become angels and saints when they work in higher office. When I entered the professional world at an ad agency, one of the biggest surprises was the open pettiness, back-stabbing, egomania and over-the-top theatrics of ADULTS. It wasn’t until several years after being on projects ranging from film productions to simple busy work that I realized it wasn’t much different in the upper-levels of society: just the stakes were much higher.

    I fully admit I’m not cutout for such an office. I would not want to be a part of a culture where my all too common weakness can result in lives being ruined or snuffed out.

    Bully for Medina for giving an honest, if not well-articulated answer, despite the known backlash that would come. Thats more than can be said for either Rick Perry or Sarah Palin.

  • The Project for a New American Century reports stated quite clearly that the entire foreign policy agenda they wanted to see implemented would require a “Pearl Harbor” type of event.

    I assume you are referring to the PNAC report Rebuilding America’s Defenses, which includes the following quote:

    Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.

    If you read the section of the report in which this quote appears for context, you’ll find that the “transformation” and “revolutionary change” referred to in the quote consists of things like adopting information technologies, reforming the military procurement process, and generally streamlining the military to make it smaller and more effective. So, in context, the quote 1) doesn’t say that a new Pearl Harbor is desirable; and 2) is talking about an area of military policy that a) doesn’t have anything to do with Iraq, and b) hasn’t actually happened yet. To say that this quote somehow gives any credence to 9/11 conspiracy theories is, in my opinion, pretty thing gruel.

    It isn’t a distortion of the truth at all, however, to say that this think tank, whose members went on to occupy key positions in the Bush administration, greatly benefited from the 9/11 attacks.

    It’s true that some people associated with PNAC held positions in the Bush administration. On the other hand, some of the people associated with PNAC who held positions in the Bush administration were against the Iraq War. So perhaps they needed to be a bit more discerning about who they let into their cabal.

    Personally, I don’t think the numbers mattered at all. IF the government did 9/11 – IF – then it was clearly aimed at simply bringing down the Twin Towers as a symbolic landmark, whether there was 1 person or 10,000 inside.

    The question isn’t whether you consider the cases to be morally different. The question is whether the fact someone is willing to attack, wound, or possibly even kill a small number of non-citizens means they would have no compunction about killing large numbers of their own citizens. I don’t find that remotely plausible.

    How many people do you think would volunteer to fight and die for what was an obvious, open lie, or a reason so immoral and stupid that it would have to be covered up by a lie?

    The assumption here is that if you have to lie to get people to support a war, then the reasons for going to war must not be compelling. I don’t think the folks who proposed Operation Northwoods saw things that way. They appear to have believed that a Communist Cuba was a severe threat to American national security, and that popular reluctance to take action wasn’t justified.

  • Dale,

    “Not reformable, not fixable at the ballot box, not subject to redress in the courts, but *dead.* It posits that an illegitimate regime has enthroned itself on the corpse of the American republic, having committed the mass murder of American citizens before our eyes for various sordid and squalid ends. ”

    If that’s what’s true, it’s what’s true. In my view it is never intellectually sound to reject a theory because of its implications – yet that is what most people seem to be willing to do. There are perhaps other good reasons to reject the 9/11 conspiracy, but the implications for the American republic is absolutely not one of them. One can believe that this country is finished without believing that 9/11 was an inside job. Personally I think we are hovering on the edge. And I don’t see how that is despair – that is just history.

    Countries, empires, they come and go, they rise and fall. You speak of the sin of despair – there is also the sin of presumption, in this case, that America is a divine institution that cannot fail, like the Church. I’m not saying YOU believe that, but it could follow from what you’ve said.

  • Plus, the wiki entry doesn’t have everything.

    “The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.

    Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, “the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic].”

    Actually, this is mentioned in the Wikipedia article, and the proposal wasn’t to kill John Glenn, but to blame the Cubans for it if he died.

  • For the record, the Project for a New American Century was not a ‘think tank’, but an advocacy group. I believe it employed four people.

  • I had a response typed up, but the internet connection here is so terrible that it failed to load it… and I don’t feel like doing it again.

    Needless to say, I disagree, BA. Briefly, by paragraph.

    1. PNAC also advocated regime change against Iraq, and the Afghan war was planned in advance of 9/11.

    2. Association is not membership.

    3. The thousands if not millions of people who die on both sides of a war also count – anyone willing to go to war under false pretenses at the potential cost of that many lives is certainly capable of carrying out acts of terrorism against citizens.

    4. Obviously, the reasons were not compelling to the American people, or to Congress, that democratically elected and accountable body that alone is supposed to have the authority to declare war.

    Instigating terrorist attacks to spread a level of fear and panic that will lead to a war that will cost thousands of lives is a criminal conspiracy, an act of evil on the scale of 9/11.

    That’s all I’ll say on it.

  • 1. PNAC also advocated regime change against Iraq, and the Afghan war was planned in advance of 9/11.

    Lots of people advocated regime chance in Iraq. What does that have to do with 9/11?

    You cited a PNAC quote about the need for a new Pearl Harbor. As I showed, the PNAC quote doesn’t actually say what you claimed. Do you not care about that?

    I don’t know what you mean when you say the Afghan war was planned in advance of 9/11. Nor do I see what that has to do with PNAC.

    2. Association is not membership.

    I don’t think PNAC even has members. If you’re going by employees of the organization, then it’s not true that they went on to hold high positions in the Bush administration. If you want to include people who were signatories on PNAC statements, then you’ll get people who opposed the Iraq war, as well as those who supported it.

    3. The thousands if not millions of people who die on both sides of a war also count – anyone willing to go to war under false pretenses at the potential cost of that many lives is certainly capable of carrying out acts of terrorism against citizens.

    I don’t say they don’t count. They do, however, count differently, at least to most people (if you don’t think it made a difference to the creators of Operation Northwoods, then why were their proposals so focused on non-citizens and/or plans involving minimal casualties?)

    4. Obviously, the reasons were not compelling to the American people, or to Congress, that democratically elected and accountable body that alone is supposed to have the authority to declare war.


  • Joe,
    You can *perhaps* make a plausible case for the federal government being willing to have the appetite for a horrible false flag operation on this scale (personally I think that is a real stretch when considered in context), but the case for the proposition that it could and did pull it off is simply not plausible. The very idea that thousands of co-conspiritors have successfully remained silent is just plain laughable, and that is why we are all laughing at the 9/11 truthers. The fact that you don’t think it is laughable is frankly kind of disturbing. The willingness to be a contrarian can sometimes be an emblem of courage and intelligence, but only sometimes.

  • BA,

    “Do you not care about that?”

    I do. Obviously that quote has been misused, so I care about that. But there’s still the fact that its foreign policy prognosis required a 9/11 to go into effect. That doesn’t prove anything, as I said.

    The only reason I brought it up was to answer one of your questions – why the Northwoods proposals weren’t as drastic as a 9/11. I said a bigger war, a longer war, a more expensive war on multiple fronts, would probably require a bigger justification. Just such a war was being dreamed up before 9/11. Again, it proves nothing.

    On Afghanistan:


    “why were their proposals so focused on non-citizens and/or plans involving minimal casualties?”

    See above. The scale of deception and the loss of life that would have resulted make it just as bad. We can only speculate on the reasons why the plan wasn’t more drastic – but when you fit it in with a PATTERN of willingness on the part of the CIA, factions of the military, and others to murder civilians to advance political goals, It ISN’T crazy. The other two operations I mentioned, Gladio and Ajax, involved exactly that. There was also Operation Condor in Latin America which the CIA had a hand in as well.

    People can justify these covert opts and the assassination of innocent civilians however they like. Frankly I would rather debate whether or not such things are justified rather than whether or not they happened, or could happen again.

    I’ll also remind you that I DON’T think the US government pulled off 9/11 – only that I believe that FACTIONS within it are CAPABLE of that level of evil, and that isn’t crazy to say so. That’s all. That’s the argument – that the supposed benevolence of the government, or some supposed barrier in their minds that says “murdering innocent civilians all over the globe is fine, but never ever domestically” is not the reason they wouldn’t do it. And that’s the reason I most frequently hear for dismissing 9/11 truth claims out of hand, without even looking at the evidence.

    If that doesn’t apply to you, then we have no quarrel. If you reject it for other reasons, then we probably agree.

  • Mike,

    “The very idea that thousands of co-conspiritors have successfully remained silent is just plain laughable”

    I don’t think you need “thousands of co-conspirators” – no one argues that. If their premise is that you need thousands of people to orchestrate this, then obviously that is laughable, but I don’t think they accept that premise and there’s no logical reason for them to.

    “The fact that you don’t think it is laughable is frankly kind of disturbing.”

    Again, I do – but I don’t think they would accept being boxed into that corner. So I’m not going to laugh at people for a position they don’t hold.

  • Joe,

    I was going to write out a response, but frankly the disagreement between us is minor enough that it’s probably not worth arguing over. I apologize if I came across as rude or overly hostile/nitpicky.

  • It’s all good. I get too defensive at times myself, so I apologize if I overreacted.

  • I’ll add one more thing for general consumption.

    It wasn’t that long ago that anyone who questioned anthropogenic global warming was considered a kook and a nut. Defenders would ask, “what, are you saying the whole scientific establishment is lying?”

    It turns out that the willful collaboration of thousands of people in a big lie wasn’t really necessary – it took one research team and its accomplices in the UN to trickle down false information to scientists all over the world. Before climategate, glaicergate, amazongate, et. al., the IPCC was consider “the gold standard.” Now it is about as valuable as dirt.

    Climategate and the surrounding “gates” are evidence of a conspiracy among a handful of people in positions of authority to distort and falsify information. They got millions of people to believe them unquestioningly, and thousands of scientists to use their data as a basis for their own research.

    For those who still don’t understand the extent to which the IPCC’s theory has imploded,


    Again, none of this makes a case for 9/11. I reiterate that I don’t think Bush administration planned and executed 9/11. But it shows that conspiracies can begin with a few people “in the know” and spread down through compartmentalization – no one beneath those who know has all or most of the information, only enough to fulfill their part.

  • Hey Joe,

    in one of your beginning responses you said…”The only reason government DIDN’T was because JFK was, in spite of his flaws, a man with a moral compass.”

    I will disagree with you and so does President Diem, he had him murdered.

  • Oh sheesh Bret, I’ve heard plenty of JFK conspiracy theories but that’s the first I heard that President Diem of South Vietnam did it. Actually, if he really did do it (and that’s a big if), more than likely it was his sister-in-law Madame Nhu’s idea. As I posted some weeks ago, Madame Nhu seems to have been the closest thing to a bona fide female dictator in modern history.

    Between “Castro did it,” “the Mob did it,” “the CIA/FBI did it,” “LBJ did it,” and “Woody Harrelson’s father did it,” and now “the South Vietnamese did it,” have we missed anybody?

  • Pingback: The Adventures of Debra “Kadabra” Medina « docweaselblog
  • Elaine,

    “W” and Dick Cheney.

  • Elaine,
    I’m afraid that Bret’s imprecise use of pronouns confused you. I’m sure he was referring to JFK’s alleged involvement in Diem’s murder. The allegation that JFK had Diem murdered is also a bit imprecise. Most historians agree that (i) the US was indeed increasingly uncomfortable with Diem due largely to his contemptable oppression of Viet Nam’s Bhuddist community, (ii) Viet Nam’s military decided that Diem needed to go and plotted a coup, (ii) these military leaders sought and received assurances that the US would not intervene in the event of such a coup, and (iv) the military offered Diem safety if he surrendered, Diem declined and was killed later after being captured.

  • The reason to Vote for Medina is to get the entrenched political classes out of power. Perry is a corporate Republican as far as I have heard. I think the solution is to vote out every incumbant except proven – as in initiators of legislation and spenders of political capital such as Chris Smith of NJ pro-lifers. Perry is part of the problem with his mandatory guardicil vaccinations.

  • Elaine,

    Sorry for my imprecise use of pronouns. Diem was dead before Kennedy was assassinated.

    Mike what you said is true; however, to overthrow one of the Biggest Anticommunist during the middle of the Vietnam war because the press thought that the Buddhist community was being suppressed (which it wasn’t) was lunacy.

    He was a solid Catholic who knew the evils of communism.

    In reality, it was Roger Hilsman, Averell Harriman’s plan with Henry Cabot Lodge doing the ground work. Secretary of State George Ball approved the overthrow and Kennedy agreed (but to Kennedy’s defense he thought it had been cleared with Sec. of Def. McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor which it had not).

    He did not surrender to the Americans because he did not trust Lodge (with good reason). But he did surrender after he went to Holy Mass. He and his brother was gunned down afterwards.

  • Oh by the way Elaine, you have Madame Nhu all wrong. That is another female who was assassinated by the press.

  • How to destroy a 9/11 truther:

  • BREAKING: Sarah Palin 9/11 truther controversy makes hypocrite of Glenn Beck


  • If you can find a mainstream news organization reporting this it would be appreciated.

  • Glenn Beck is a truther himself. To all of you closed minded hate filled war mongers……


  • Not a hypocrite,

    I’ve wasted 7 minutes and 31 seconds of my life viewing and searching the video you posted of Glenn Beck accusing the U.S. government and “W” of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks.

    He never said anything remotely close to your claim.

    He did say we have a right to question our government and then quickly pointed out he doesn’t when it comes to 9/11.

    He made a reference to Sandy Berger and questioning if both Slick Willy and “W” were in cahoots in regard to him, but not to 9/11.

    You failed.


    To prove that Glenn Beck is a truther.

    I will delete anymore posts that you put up if it includes calumny again.

  • Countries, empires, they come and go, they rise and fall. You speak of the sin of despair – there is also the sin of presumption, in this case, that America is a divine institution that cannot fail, like the Church. I’m not saying YOU believe that, but it could follow from what you’ve said.

    It’s late, but I don’t want to leave a misimpression. No, I don’t believe the U.S. is a divine institution, nor particularly one guided by providence.

    But I won’t back off the analogy of “truth”erism to despair: to the extent the phenomenon breeds a genuine cynicism and paranoia, it is a mental/quasi-spiritual cancer on the republic. I agree that America is in considerable trouble at the moment, but for the sake of my children (the first among many reasons) I don’t want to see it die on my watch. A determined, hard-working, clear-eyed and clear-thinking citizenry is a must at this hour. “Truth”ers present none of those virtues, and in fact prevent the cultivation of the same. Ditto the paranoia of birtherism, albeit on a much smaller scale.

    Put another way: the death of America would be a calamity that would make the fall of Western Rome in the fifth century look like a recession. Imagine Constantinople, Athens and Alexandria being obliterated at the same time, and you have a measure of what would happen.

  • Not a hypocrite:

    1. Tito is right. I’m no fan of Beck, but he is not a “truther.” You are mistaken or worse.

    2. There is only one way to avoid being a hypocrite: Conform you conscience to your actions. For those of us who struggle unsuccessfully to conform our actions to our conscience, we live with the knowledge of imperfections and therefore our hypocricy every day.

    3. Given your statement re Beck, I must assume defamation is not a sin in your book — you not being a hyprocrite and all.

  • Beck might not be a truther, but I think the rather rudely and aggressively stated point was this:

    Beck said the same thing Medina said.
    Medina said we have a right to question.
    Medina was called a “truther”.
    Ergo, Beck is a truther.

    All you have to do is disavow premise 3 for this thing to go away. Debra Medina is not a “truther”, and I hope she wins in TX.

    For Dale,

    “A determined, hard-working, clear-eyed and clear-thinking citizenry is a must at this hour. “Truth”ers present none of those virtues”

    That simply isn’t true, Dale, especially among the educated engineers and political activists in their ranks. Disagreeing with them is one thing; degrading their character is another.

    “the death of America would be a calamity that would make the fall of Western Rome in the fifth century look like a recession.”

    I think you overstate the problem a bit.

  • Joe,
    I don’t know whether Medina is a truther, but her handling of Beck’s question leads one to believe that she falls into one of the following categories:

    1. She is a truther.

    2. She is not a truther but is willing to pander to them.

    3. She is not sure and has no developed opinion either way.

    4. She thinks truthers are wrong but also thinks their opinion is a reasonable one.

    I realize that you are comfortable that a person can hold 3 or 4 and still be fit for office. I’m not.

  • Fair enough, Mike, but do you think that Beck and Palin, who have made similar statements, fall into the same category?

  • “educated engineers and political activists in their ranks”

    They’re the worst of the bunch, and are causing the most damage. A degree is no indicator of character, much less clear thinking. Likewise a career in political activism.

    “I think you overstate the problem a bit.”

    The mightiest nation in history, the lynchpin of the western political system, the strongest economic power ever to exist, going down in flames? Actually, I understate the potential horror. Western Rome didn’t have nukes, for starters. Nor did Rome provide massive amounts of aid to nations struggling with disease and poverty. The cascade effects are incalculable, and would take a great deal of work to overstate. Great empires–and, yes, America is in many ways an empire–do not die peacefully in their beds, unless there happens to be a reasonably like-minded heir to hand off the scepter to. That’s happened once in history–Great Britain passing the baton to America.

    Now, there’s no one to pass the baton to.

  • Joe,
    Yes, if they did in fact make similar statements. That said, I think it is disingenuous to say that Beck and Medina are comparable because both said that people have the *right* to question the government (something no American would disagree with), when Beck then explictly emphasizes his disagreement with truthers to the point of ridicule whereas Medina carefully and obviously deliberately chooses to not do so. And I’m not aware of Palin behaving similary to Medina. If I’m wrong on the facts, I’m all ears.

  • And Joe, I do not think Beck is fit for public office, but for other reasons. Palin is clearly fit for public office, though quite possibly an ill-fit for the presidency, at least at this point in time.

  • Mike,

    Palin, according to the video I saw on youtube, was willing to say publicly that she supported another 9/11 investigation. Though I think her intent was simply to tell the people who asked her what they wanted to hear, Medina supporters might understandably, if illogically, want to play the same game with Palin and say that supporting another 9/11 investigation is tantamount to not believing the official story, which could therefore mean that she gives credence to truther claims.

    Medina, moreover, HAS expressed her disagreement with truthers, unless we are of the mind that she did too little, too late after having been put on the spot. Her statement to the press afterward is good enough for me, and I think it would be more important to get back to the issues. To me its absurd to hold this against a person if you think they’re right on the issues.

    It would be one thing if she persisted and started campaigning on a truther platform, but she hasn’t done that. One moment of hesitation shouldn’t undo a campaign, and the fact that it can is precisely what is wrong with this country. It’s like the Dean scream. It’s media sensationalism and I reject Beck, Fox News, and Rick Perry’s attempt to manipulate the electorate with this irrelevant distraction.

  • Thanks, Joe. I admit that I have not followed this very closely, and it may be that Medina’s later statement is more than adequate — I don’t recall reading it. But I would emphasize that if the statement is basically akin to my option 4 above, it would not be adquate in my view. And it would not be comparable to Beck.

    As for Palin, it depends on context. If all she honestly meant was that thge 9/11 report was deficient and glossed over failures and errors that the public had the right to know about, fair enough. If she was playing with ambiguity to pander to the truthers, then bad on her and I see no difference with Medina at all.

  • To any truthers who might be reading this thread, please go to Popular Mechanics at the link below and learn why you are truly wasting your time.


  • In regard to Sarah Palin and 9-11, the question was asked her by someone calling himself Anthony the Activist during a rope line that she was proceeding down. Here is the video he made.

    Unlike Medina, Palin did not have the following question asked to her:

    “Do you believe the government was in any way involved in the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?”

    Nor did Palin give this type of answer:

    “I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard,” Medina replied. “There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that.”

    Comparing what Palin said to what Medina said is like comparing swans and swine.

  • Don,

    It really isn’t like that at all.

    If one voices support for the idea of a new 9/11 investigation, then one can reasonably assume that they believe the old one wasn’t good enough, that there are still problems with the “official story”, etc. That’s what 6 of the 10 people on the panel said anyway.

    That isn’t THAT different from what Medina said – using a little common sense. And it certainly isn’t different than the clarification she made afterward.

    So its probably time to move on and concentrate on the issues. I certainly don’t believe that Medina spends her waking hours in fits of paranoia about government conspiracies.

  • Mike,

    I think BOTH Medina and Palin were doing what politicians do.

    Medina, I think, probably assumed that a lot of her grassroots supporters were sympathetic to, or actually were, 9/11 truthers. And this might be the case, because a lot of them are anti-establishment types, and Medina is an anti-establishment candidate. That’s not her fault. It’s not her fault that polls show 86% of Americans question the official story and that the “truther” position, in one form or another, is a hell of a lot more popular than its opponents understand. And I think THAT ALONE was the real reason for her hesitation.

    Palin was being Palin – telling people what they want to hear. She’s an amazingly gifted politician.

  • Disagree Joe. Medina was specifically answering a question as to whether she believed that the government was involved in bringing down the World Trade Center. Her answer indicated that she believed that the truthers had asked some very good questions and made some very good arguments. She is either a truther, lying or was simply bone ignorant and pandering to Beck since she wrongly assumed that Beck is a truther.

  • As for Palin, she was indicating that she would support a new 9-11 investigation in order to assure that 9-11 didn’t happen again. Presumably she was referring to the miserable intelligence failure prior to the 9-11 attack and a new investigation could highlight steps that could be taken to correct such an intelligence failure in the future.

  • Joe,
    It may be that both Palin and Medina were saying what they thought their audiences wanted to hear, but the more important fact is that they did not say the same thing as Don amply demonstrates. To suggest that they were similar requires taking profoundly unfair and unwarranted inferential liberties with Palin’s statements.
    It may be that there are more truthers out there than I realize, but if so I’m glad I don’t get around more.
    I’m perfectly willing to believe that the 9/11 report failed to disclose certain intelligence failures, perhaps even deliberately failed to do so; but in my view anyone who takes seriously the view that the government was actually involved in some conspiratorial way with the attacks is seriously and sadly out of touch with reality.

  • “To suggest that they were similar requires taking profoundly unfair and unwarranted inferential liberties with Palin’s statements.”

    I think it’s also pretty unfair to not allow Medina to clarify her remarks, or apologize for them if that is what’s called for. This “one strike and you’re out” rule of politics is absurd, especially when the issues are so high. It’s like a shutting off of the mind. I can’t do that.

    The number of genuine truthers who believe that it is a proven fact that 9/11 was an inside job is probably small, but the number of people who think that the government is covering something up is a substantial majority, according to the polls I’ve seen.

  • Joe, I agree completely with your last post. If Medina has issued or will issue a statement that makes it clear that she is not only not a truther (something that I assume she already has done) but also understands that the truther position is irresponsible and nutty, then she is fine by me. In other words, thus far her conduct has led me to believe that she is in one of the last three categories I listed earlier. If she makes it clear that she is not, then we are good to go.

    There is a HUGE difference between believing that our government covered up or might have covered up some things not disclosed in the 9/11 report versus believing our government was actually involved or might have been actually involved in a conspiratorial fashion in arranging and executing the incidents. There are many plausible reasons one might speculate as to why the report could have been less than complete, including some that almost everyone might agree are legitimate. And might the report have glossed over some shortcomings and misteps in order to avoid embarrassing certain powerful parties or interests? Sure, that is possible. But I believe (and hope) that the number of Americans who actually take the inside job possiblity seriously (let alone think it is an established fact) is very small, but I don’t know. My point remains that it is this — the truther — position that is nuts. A candidate who leads me to believe that they don’t think it is nuts is simply not fit in my view.

  • “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

    “1,000 Architects & Engineers Call for New 9/11 Investigation ”

    More than 1,000 worldwide architects and engineers now support the call for a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. After careful examination of the official explanation, along with the forensic data omitted from official reports, these professionals have concluded that a new independent investigation into these mysterious collapses is needed.


  • Why would a call for an independent investigation into 9/11 throw such abject fear into people?

    And when did “truth” become a dirty word, and someone who wants to know the truth become someone to be despised, and a subject of suspicion?

    If the officially approved version of 9/11 is accurate and true, wouldn’t an independent investigation by “we, the people” just prove that fact?

    We all know that our government would NEVER, EVER lie to us. So what could they, or anyone else, possibly have to fear from some independent fact checking by the citizens?

  • It’s a shame that a Catholic website would attack the 9/11 truth movement. What is wrong with not believing the official story? It is not wrong to question authority. I am a Christian and I don’t believe the official story of 9/11. I am a responsible American, husband, and father. I am not a nutjob or Glenn Beck drone. I make my own decisions.

    Glenn Beck attacked Medina, threw her the question out of left field, to purposely cause her bad press, within 30 min. after hanging up with Glenn, Perry’s campaign had audio excerpts via cold calls sent to Texans trashing Medina.

    Glenn Beck is controlled opposition. His job is to subvert the Tea Party movement, water it down, and lead the masses back to the NEOCONS.

    There is nothing ‘Christian’ about Endless War.

  • Joey,

    There is absolutely no evidence of government involvement.

    Do you also believe that FDR ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor?

    Do you also believe that the moon landing was staged?

  • Here is a video of Sarah Palin–saying she would like another 911 investigation and another video of Glenn Beck saying he has questions about 911 and its our right and DUTY to question government:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcngiD6Sq6Q&feature=youtu.be, Palin supports new 911 investigation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FSwztg8Xvk Glenn Beck video, says it’s our DUTY to question government

    It’s noteworthy that both Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin receive their checks from Fox.

    Debra Medina isn’t a 911 truther any more than I am.
    I knew the mud-slinging would start and it has.

    There is a difference between a “Truther”–one who believes the government is responsible for the attack on 9/11, and those who think the government may have known something and failed to stop it–as with the attack at Ft. Hood, Texas.

    Beck has lost a lot of Texas viewers; over 17% of his television audience over this–NOT INCLUDING those who have quit listening to his radio broadcast. One article I read said it was close to 1,000,000,000 viewers–probably a combined figure.

    Oh, and while I’m at it, here a link to an old speech by Governor Perry, in which he admits that he shares Vicente Fox’s dream of an open border with Mexico.


    Think about THAT before you cast your vote.

  • Beck EVERYDAY questions the validity of this present administration. I listened to him for years and can say that it seemed to me that he definitely had an agenda. Medina is the best for TX and for this country. Perry and Hutchinson are of the establishment and I would rather risk Medina then go with the same old same old making things worse. Take a look at who pays Beck his millions, who his publicist is and then maybe you will understand why he probably obeyed some directive from somewhere. Mr Beck is NOT WELCOMED in my home anymore on radio or TV.

  • Was Perry or Hutchinson ever asked if they were 9/11 truthers? And since when is it wrong to question the government? The greatest country in the world the USA is capable of evil…take a look at abortions…so I am not saying either way I am just saying that the evil perpetrated on our most helpless and who is to say the government never had any false flag operations!?!

  • It’s a free country.

    You have every right to question the government.

    With it comes consequences.

    For example my opinion is that Truther’s are nuts.

    I have a right to that opinion.

    Unfortunately for you and Medina, 99% of the rest of the country thinks Truthers are nuts as well.

  • I did not and do not like the way that Glenn Beck handled the interview with Debra Medina and at the time I accepted her later explanation and seeming clarification, as having been made in good faith. But this is my problem with Debra Medina. Debra Medina should either explain what is going on in the Debra Medina Facebook page or say why she does not accept the basic principles and ethos of the US Constitution ( if that is her position ) or shut up. Frankly, I am sick of Debra Medina rabbiting on, appearing to be a conservative constitutionalist nationalist republican, whilst on the Debra Medina Facebook page if one expresses views in the ethos of Ronald Reagan or Senator Barry Goldwater, one will likely be hounded remorselessly up to and including death threats and yet at the same time, the Debra Medina Facebook page is a comfortable place to express admiration for somebody like the British MP Mr George Galloway.

  • ” John Says:
    Sunday, February 21, 2010 A.D. at 1:13 pm
    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

    “1,000 Architects & Engineers Call for New 9/11 Investigation ”

    More than 1,000 worldwide architects and engineers now support the call for a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. After careful examination of the official explanation, along with the forensic data omitted from official reports, these professionals have concluded that a new independent investigation into these mysterious collapses is needed.


    I have tried to engage 9/11 truthers in reasonable debate about the events surrounding the World Trade Center on 9/11 and these folks are simply not willing to do that, what they will most usually do is spew Youtubes and cut and paste at one. In one of the rare instances, that one of these characters was willing to get in to a debate with me, in which in that particular instance they were making an argument that sprinkler fire suppression systems, should have been able to fight and extinguish the fire, having effectively lost the argument on that point, ( re the capabilities of the sprinkler systems ), they then went on to claim that no aircraft had hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. What is also interesting, is that when in a popular internet forum, I advanced the possibility that 9/11 might have been a false flag operation but conducted by Aliens from outerspace, this idea attracted little interest, despite the fact it is a more legitimately plausible concept than many of the arguments advanced by the truthers, which fits well with my view that the 9/11 truther movement has very serious ideological and political objectives and its not just a bunch of folks who prefer convoluted conspiracy theories to simple explanations well grounded in facts.

Gov Perry Moves to Stall Investigation of Execution of Innocent Man

Tuesday, October 13, AD 2009

Megan McArdle links to a post by Publius of Obsidian Wings on Governor Perry’s recent move to slow the investigation into likely miscarriage of justice (due to a faulty arson investigation) which resulted in the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham. This much-discussed New Yorker article makes a fairly solid case that the evidence that Willingham set fire to his own house (resulting in the death of his three daughters) was far from conclusive. Publius says:

In 2005, after the execution, Texas established a commission to investigate forensic errors, and the commission started reviewing the Willingham case. In the course of its review, the commission hired a nationally recognized fire expert who ultimately wrote a “scathing report” concluding that the arson investigation was a joke.

The expert was originally set to testify about his report on Friday, October 2. On Sept. 30, however, Perry suddenly replaced three members of the panel, including the chair, against their wishes. The new chair promptly canceled the hearing. More recently, Perry replaced a fourth member (he can only appoint four — other state officials appoint the remaining five members).

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15 Responses to Gov Perry Moves to Stall Investigation of Execution of Innocent Man

  • Agreed. It’s funny: I was strongly pro-death penalty until I read Evangelium Vitae, which — between the strength of the case and the authority of the author — relatively quickly led me to change my mind. Upon further review, I found that my former pro-penalty views conflated justice with vengeance, something which I find common for many (albeit not all) death penalty-supporters today.

  • Agreed that Governor Perry was wrong. As to the case itself, after 27 years at the bar, defending accused felons as part of my practice, generally the cases are more complicated than the news media reports. Here is the response of the Chief of the Corsicana Fire Department to the Texas Forensic Science Commission regarding this investigation.


    I normally view media investigations seeking to establish the innocence of someone convicted of a crime with the same skepticism I apply to the prosecution’s case at a trial. Unless I reviewed the trial transcripts I am in no position to judge whether Willingham was wrongfully convicted. I would agree with the article in the New Yorker that jailhouse snitch testimony is worthless. The saving grace is that normally a competent defense attorney can filet the snitch in cross examination and, in my experience, juries usually heavily discount such testimony.

  • #1 The headline of this article is misleading.

    #2 Even for those who strongly support the driving privilege (indeed, perhaps especially for them) citizens should have some assurance that the state takes the use of the driving privilege with utter seriousness and takes every possible precaution to avoid a permanent and tragic miscarriage of safety. One “possible precaution” is to ban automobile use. I’m sure the advocates of taking “every possible precaution” will give up their cars.

  • Mr. McClarey:

    Stick by your reading the transcripts. The state contends that the snitch was unaware of the X pattern in the children’s bedroom yet he testified that Willingham told him he poured the accelerant in an X pattern.

    Some more:

    1) “Cameron Todd Willingham: Media Meltdown & the Death Penalty:
    “Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?”, by David Grann

    As more reality comes to light, the more into disrepute run’s Grann’s article.

    Myarticle, above, was written and released prior to the Corsicana Fire Marshall’s report, below

    2) EXCLUSIVE: City report on arson probe:
    State panel asks for city response in Willingham case

    3) No Doubts

    For a collection of articles, go to:

    Corsicana Daily Sun, The Willingham Files

    OTHER REPORTS: There is the potential for, at least, 3 more, official, reports on this case: the Texas Fire Marshall’s office, which will give an official and requested reply, the Corsicana Police Dept. and Navarro County District Attorney’s office, both of which, I speculate, may only contribute to the TFM report, but could issue their own reports.

    There is an official “report” which, it appears, few have paid attention to – the trial transcript.

    I find that rather important because, at least six persons, who were involved with the trial, two prosecutors, the defense attorney, two surviving fire investigators and a juror have all voiced support for the verdict, still, in the light of the criticism of the arson forensics.

    One of those original fire investigators is, now, an active certified arson expert.

  • “Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars”


    “Pope John Paul II: Prudential Judgement and the death penalty”


  • Just to clarify: I don’t consider the death penalty itself to be unjust, and I’m not strongly persuaded by the suggestion that it’s not needed to protect society in the modern world. I am, however, a bit ambivalent towards capital punishment as it exists in the US in that it seems to me there’s little value of either justice or protection to society in executing someone 15-20 years after the crime, which is what seems to be standard.


    The part of the New Yorker article I found fairly convincing was down in section IV where it talks about Dr. Hurst’s work on arson and overturning of assumptions in other cases that certain burn patterns could only be left by arson.

    Now, maybe I’m overly open to “expert testimony” of an experimental sort, but given that his findings had been used in a several similar cases to establish reasonable doubt, it seems to me like it would have been worth at least putting things on hold while looking into the question. I’m not thoroughly convinced the guy was an upstanding citizen, or anything, but it sounds like there were at least serious questions about the assumptions being used (reasonably enough, because they were standard in the industry) by the arson investigators at the time. And if the article is fully accurate on the arson, I’d be pretty confident the guy was probably innocent.

    That said, I think the vast majority of stuff put out by anti-capital punishment groups in an attempt to prove innocence is so clearly bunk (and transparant bunk at that) that one of the factors here may have been that a few people in the Texas justice system has simply stopped paying much attention to information presented on behalf of people on death row. That might be understandable in a sense, but it’s also a major problem.


    Are you trying to argue that the state _shouldn’t_ make every effort to make sure it only executes guilty people? Really?

  • DC: I certainly agree that the death penalty is not *inherently* unjust (that’s our faith’s teaching), but I disagree that we need the death penalty to protect society, at least in developed countries wherein prison technology keeps the most dangerous away from society. There might be the occasional exception, but in the vast majority of cases, I don’t see how the application of the death penalty *in our country* is needed to protect society.

  • Not only does our faith teach that the death penalty is not inherently unjust, the unbroken tradition of the Church stretching back to the Old Testament is that the death penalty is in fact sometimes a necessary penalty. Because the “moral equilibrium” upset by the crime of murder cannot be righted by any penalty short of death, the common teaching of the Church has always been that both natural and Divine justice require this penalty.

    Even today, under the Catechism’s far more negative treatment of capital punishment, acknowledgement is made that this penalty is sometimes necessary in order to defend the community, and should occur “rarely” only when certain advancements have occured which might render offenders harmless– advancements that have not yet occured, at least in this country, where no reliable methods exist (consonant with our Constitution) to render offenders harmless.

    Any view of capital punishment that denies or disparages the fundamental duty and right of the state to execute certain offenders is closer to the heresy of Waldensianism than to Catholic orthodoxy.

  • Here are but a few of the many examples showing that we do not in fact have the ability to render offenders harmless: http://seeking4justice.blogspot.com/search/label/Rendering%20Offenders%20Harmless
    Nor is it all clear what the Catechism was referring to when it mentioned “the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm.”

    Moreover, since we execute only a tiny fraction of murderers (1/4 of 1%), after fair trials and extensive and thorough appeals on many levels, it can confidently be said that in fact we only execute offenders “rarely.”

  • Tom, we do have the ability to render offenders harmless: supermax prisons come to mind.

    As to moral equilibrium, I think you overstate your case: the Magisterium has never said that anyone guilty of murder must be put to death for justice’s sake. More broadly, the Catholic doctrine of justice has never said that punishment ought to be of the same nature as the offense, and no society with Christian roots that I’m aware of thought of or practiced such a notion of justice (we don’t steal from thieves).

  • I cover the Catholic support for the death penalty above, as well as a review of Gerald’s Hurst’s interview.

    It is arguable that Pope John Paul II made numerous errors in EV and that such were just transferred into the Cathechism.

  • The Church’s solid and perennial teaching has been that the death penalty is in accord with natural and Divine justice, and that states have a right and even a duty to use this penalty.

    No one said that every murder has to be punished with death, only that the state acts justly and well, and not deficiently, when it executes someone convicted of murder. With all due respect, classical notions of justice, embraced by the Church for two millenia, ratify the principle that the moral harm done by murder is generally only fully repaired by what moralists call the “congruent satisfaction” of capital punishment.

    Abolitionism or squeamishness about this penalty does not respect life but in fact cheapens it by lessening the punishment that most closely fits the offense. If you want the long list of citations from Scripture, from the Church Fathers, from the Schoolmen, from the Popes, I can do that for you, but I suspect a smart guy like you probably knows that the Church has always not just tolerated, but blessed the practice of capital punishment.

    As to supermaxes, anyone familiar with these places can tell you that escapes occur, inmates murder or seriously injure each other and the guards; parole rules and executive pardons can result in the release of these offenders years after they are “safely locked away.”

    In any event, it clearly rests with the informed judgment of the civil authorities as to whether an offender is a threat to kill or harm again. In those cases, executions do not contravene even the Catechism’s ambiguous teaching.

  • Tom, I agree with your first ‘graph wholeheartedly.

    I think I need some clarity regarding your views on the appropriate punishment for murder. Previously you stated that “the ‘moral equilibrium’ upset by the crime of murder cannot be righted by any penalty short of death” mean that the death penalty is *required* for murder? I doubt that’s what you meant, which is why I opined that you overstated your case.

    But you seem to both deny & affirm that that’s your meaning in your latest comment when you write, “No one said that every murder has to be punished with death” but then proceed later to add, “the moral harm done by murder is generally only fully repaired by what moralists call the “congruent satisfaction” of capital punishment.” Can you clarify for me? Do you simply mean that *most* murders are appropriately punished by death, but not all? Or something else?

    Regarding supermaxes, I’m not familiar with an successful escapes… I’m guessing that you are, though. Link or reference?

  • When determining the efficacy of prisons rendering offenders harmless, one must take into account (i) the ability of offenders to commit murders while in prison, either by directly murdering guards or fellow “guests” or indirectly doing such or murdering those outside the prison via order. While I generally oppose the death penalty, there may be instances that may still be warranted to protect others.

  • The Catechism provides little time for justice, which must dominate the utilitarian aspect of protection.

    “While punishment does serve the purpose of protecting society, it also and primarily serves the function of manifesting the transcendent, divine order of justice–an order which the state executes by divine delegation.” ” . . . it may be argued that such a conception of punishment, rooted in the restoration of moral balance, always presupposes an awareness of the superordinate dignity of the common good as defined by transcendent moral truths.” (5)

    “Yet the presence of two purposes–retributive and medicinal justice–ought not obscure the priority of assigning punishment proportionate to the crime (just retribution) insofar as the limited jurisdiction of human justice allows. The end is not punishment, but rather the manifestation of a divine norm of retributive justice, which entails proportionate equality vis-à-vis the crime.” “The medicinal goal is not tantamount merely to stopping future evildoing, but rather entails manifesting the truth of the divine order of justice both to the criminal and to society at large. This means that mere stopping of further disorder is insufficient to constitute the full medicinal character of justice, which purpose alike and primarily entails the manifestation of the truth. Thus this foundational sense of the medicinality of penalty is retained even when others drop away.” (6)

    5) “Evangelium Vitae, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Death Penalty”, p 519, Steven A. Long, The Thomist, 63 (1999): 511-552

    6) ibid, p 522