Bill Whittle is sometimes -- well, usually -- over the top for my tastes, but I love his style and language. He has discovered the same thing I have here: I will not sway my lefty friends, but my libertarian friends can be reached with reason.
While some of the president's more ardent supporters are dancing about the September Jobs report (you can't spell bullshit without BLS...), James Pethokoukis peers a bit more deeply into the data:
1. Yes, the U-3 unemployment rate fell to 7.8%, the first time it has been below 8% since January 2009. But that's only due to a flood of 582,000 part-time jobs. As the Labor Department noted:
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
2. And take-home pay? Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by just 1.8 percent. When you take inflation into account, wages are flat to down.
3. The broader U-6 rate -- which takes into account part-time workers who want full-time work and lots of discouraged workers who've given up looking -- stayed unchanged at 14.7%. That's a better gauge of the true unemployment rate and state of the American labor market.
But: HOORAY! 582,000 Americans found a part-time job at low pay! Woohoo! And that Romney fellow insists things are not going well.
Allysia Finley calls for Gov. Huckabee to issue a little "tough love" for his pal, Todd Akin
Mr. Huckabee has been the loudest voice--aside from Ms. McCaskill--urging Mr. Akin to persevere. Last Monday he offered Mr. Akin his syndicated radio show as a platform to repent. When Republicans continued to insist that the candidate step down, Mr. Huckabee sounded off on his party for leaving Mr. Akin "behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding."
"He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize," Mr. Huckabee added. "I'm waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves."
Mr. Akin is unlikely to drop out without encouragement from the pastor. Which means Republicans who want a prayer of winning in November ought to be working on Mr. Huckabee. Regardless of whether they've erred, GOP leaders will likely have to perform an act of contrition in order for reconciliation to occur.
UPDATE: My Facebook friends are having fun with this: "Akin Claims Breastmilk Cures Homosexuality."
Doesn't look very well documented to me (the quote that is -- the science is clearly dead on) but I'm quietly hoping it is true.
A University of Colorado analysis that has correctly predicted every presidential election since 1980 based on state-by-state factors forecasts that Mitt Romney will unseat incumbent Barack Obama to become the new president in November's general election, according to a release.
The prediction model looks at economic data from all 50 states and Washington D.C., including state and national unemployment figures and changes in real per capita income, according to CU political science professors Kenneth Bickers and Michael Berry.
"Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble," said Bickers in a statement.
Polls look great today. I am trying to climb out of my Akinfunk® -- it's a long way.
While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn't get an appreciable bounce after naming Paul Ryan as his running mate, the late Ayn Rand sure did.
The philosopher who favored individualism over collectivism has won renewed attention with the choice of Ryan, who in 2005 credited Rand as being "the reason I got involved in public service."
Ryan has since scaled back that praise, citing Rand's atheism. Rand died in 1982.
The Rand box set of two of her works -- "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" -- cracked the Top 100 "Movers & Shakers" list on Amazon.com earlier this week. The online retailer's gauge measures the biggest increases in sales ranking compared with the previous 24 hours. Rand's books jumped 20 percent in the rankings yesterday.
Prior to Mitt Romneys selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, I was going to vote "for" Romney in the sense of voting against Obama. In light of this development, however, I not only plan to vote for Romney-Ryan; I also emphatically endorse their ticket, and I urge readers of TOS, Objectivists, and fans of Ayn Rand to do the same.
In her fascinating book, Bourgeois Dignity, Deirdre McCloskey picks up the delightful term "Clerisy" from my man Coleridge.
Yet in the late nineteenth century the artists and the intellectuals--the "clerisy," as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and I call it--turned against liberal innovation. The treason of the clerisy led in the twentieth century to the pathologies of nationalism and socialism and national socialism, and in the twenty-first century to the pieties of radical environmentalism, and to the dismal pessimism of the union left and the traditional right.
In Britain, they're called the chattering class, but I never felt we had a good word for these folks in America. But I like "The Clerisy" very much.
Amy Walter of ABC submits a successful application to membership today. She tells what voters want (and don't) and why they voted as they did in the last few elections. How very handy. The Yahoo teaser caught my eye:
More government? Less? An ideological battle that voters don't want
In picking Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney assured an ideological campaign where a debate over the role of government will be front and center.
Icky. Voters don't want that. If you click through, Walter will explain that crazies like us want it
In picking Rep. Paul Ryan, whose eponymous budget plan has become synonymous with political polarization, Mitt Romney assured an ideological campaign where a debate over the role of government will be front and center. It is a debate the Obama campaign and partisans on both sides are also eager to have. But it's not a debate that swing voters want.
They aren't as interested in choosing whether government should be more active or less. They are more interested in simply having it work.
Who's gonna buy my condoms? Huh? Which candidate gives you Cancer? Who has better hair? (you gotta like the GOP this year on that important metric.)
I loathe her hubris. She goes on to explain the last several elections. But I must concede that she has a point. If only there existed some enterprise that could inform and educate people on important issues. Perhaps it would even be popular enough to fund with advertising. Hmm....
Goin' meta today. I don't know whether I prefer the interior quote or the wrapper:
The boldness of Romney’s choice surprised some, including the mysterious blogger Allahpundit at the popular conservative Hot Air site, who invoked a science fiction analogy: "It's like watching C-3PO lead the raid on the Death Star." (This comparison of Romney to C-3PO, the comically effete robot of the Star Wars film series, might dismay Democrats who have spent the past several weeks trying to convince voters that Romney is actually Darth Vader.) -- Robert Stacy McCain
Politico gets the Obama campaign to admit that yeah, that guy we said we didn't know about was in a couple of our ads and yes, there is tape of his kinda being on our conference calls, and maybe Stephanie Cutter did tweet about it once or two times at the most.
"We just lied because we figured nobody would remember, and we'd get away with claiming we had nothing to do with that ad about Romney causing cancer," Psaki didn't add, not having to. "We're really pretty irritated that we even need to explain ourselves to you people."
Some go their whole lives without realizing their true purpose. But this morning, I now know my calling. "Libertario Delenda Est: the Libertarian Party must be destroyed."
Reason puts Gov. Gary Johnson's new ad up on Facebook. And, what can I say, it is awesome! (Not sarcastic -- it is a very good ad.)
Jump in the pool -- the water's great! Be a Libertarian with me just this election! Establish the popularity of libertarian principles!
But they are not popular as in plurality popular. Yes, 50% favor treating marijuana like alcohol -- but do those 50% vote? Sixty-five do not believe troops in Afghanistan make us safer. Sixty two believe in marriage equality. I'll take his word on the figures, but how do those overlap? When you do a Venn diagram of who believes all of those, you'll see less than fifty (you're starting with 50 -- there isn't one guy who likes weed but favors traditional marriage?)
Uh-oh, we're already in electoral trouble. And we haven't mentioned -- over the snappy acoustic guitar beat -- that we are going to cut aid for poor people and privatize social security and legalize prostitution and heroin and quite possibly even lower the mandated percentage of ethanol in our nation's fuel supply.
How popular are we now? Before a single unfair withering attack ad is put on TV by an opposing Super PAC.
The answer is 9-19%, which polls always cite. I am proud to be in that small but wickedly intelligent minority. But I am not so naive to think that we will prevail in a first-past-the-post election. We need to make friends and build coalitions.
And that, dear readers, is my new raison d'etre. I cannot persuade my lefty Facebook friends -- they lack devotion to reason and critical thinking skills -- but I can perhaps bend the libertarian contingent into a more pragmatic voting pattern.
I don't think any ThreeSourcers are going to complain about this. I did a screen grab so you could experience as I did:
UPDATE: AP/Yahoo -- more in sadness than anger -- frets over the Governor's gaffes:
GDANSK, Poland (AP) -- It wasn't supposed to be this way.
Mitt Romney outraged Palestinians on Monday, stirring fresh controversy on his visit to Israel just days after insulting the British on what was intended as a feel-good visit to the Olympics in London.
Brother jg is more concerned about disconcerting-gate than I. Anything that gets the Telegraph readers' panties in a bunch is okay by me. But if a Mulligan is offered, perhaps "fine" would suffice.
But to fail to see that the free, pluralist, racially tolerant state of Israel enjoys economic advantage over its kleptocratic, misogynistic, homophobic, bigoted, religious loony neighbors is such willful sophistry that only an academic could profess to believe it.
UPDATE II: Jim Geraghty compares it to Reagan's tough words for the Soviets and suggests "If a U.S. Leader Isn't Offending Palestinian Leaders, He's Probably Doing Something Wrong" [subscribe]
Regarding the Palestinians, when you teach your kids to become suicide bombers, and glorify that as one of the best things your children can aspire to, you're not going to find a lot of innovation, or education, or long-term planning. When Hezbollah and Hamas talk about their desire for a booming economy, they don't mean the term the way we do.
The best answer to the President's "You didn't build that" which I have encountered. And it's not even silly.
John Kass describes his Dad and his uncle, getting up every day, driving the old white Chrysler out of the driveway before dawn to open their grocery store.
There was no federal bailout money for us. No Republican corporate welfare. No Democratic handouts. No bipartisan lobbyists working the angles. No Tony Rezkos. No offshore accounts. No Obama bucks.
Just two immigrant brothers and their families risking everything, balancing on the economic high wire, building a business in America. They sacrificed, paid their bills, counted pennies to pay rent and purchase health care and food and not much else.
But what about those government helpers, John? Your Dad didn't pave the streets did he? What about government?
One of my earliest memories as a boy at the store was that of the government men coming from City Hall. One was tall and beefy. The other was wiry. They wanted steaks.
We didn't eat red steaks at home or yellow bananas. We took home the brown bananas and the brown steaks because we couldn't sell them. But the government men liked the big, red steaks, the fat rib-eyes two to a shrink-wrapped package. You could put 20 or so in a shopping bag.
"Thanks, Greek," they'd say.
That was government.
The link requires (free) registration to the Chicago Trib -- no doubt David Axelrod has my IP address now. But it's worth it to read the whole thing and see a brief clip of Kass feeling it.
Obama Pledges To Repeal Health Care Law If Reelected
WASHINGTON--Calling it a "poorly conceived and irresponsible piece of legislation, pure and simple," President Obama made a public pledge to voters Tuesday that, if reelected, he would fight to repeal the recently upheld Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"Professor Reynolds would caution against cockiness"
A very good friend of this blog sends a link to Dr. Krauthammer today:
What remains is a solid, stolid, gaffe-prone challenger for whom conservatism is a second language versus an incumbent with a record he cannot run on and signature policies -- Obamacare, the stimulus, cap-and-trade -- he hardly dare mention.
"Excited yet?" Asks our friend.
I'll accept the Romney critique, though I have been very pleased with the campaign so far. But the raps against the President and the excitement on the right are premature.
I will be cautious until the concession. The President has a winner today in stealing Sen. Rubio's DREAM-ACT-LITE. The Tancredo wing will overreact and we'll be the Old Straight White Boys club again.
I had high hopes for President Obama's speech on the economy. But instead of going to Ohio on Thursday with a compelling plan for the future, the president gave Americans a falsehood wrapped in a fallacy.
The falsehood is that he has been serious about cutting government spending. The fallacy is that this election will be some sort of referendum that will break the logjam in Washington.
Milbank does not go on to endorse Gov. Romney or the Ryan Plan or 9-9-9 or anything. Republicans get some harsh words. Yet, none worse than these:
Of more concern is Obama's nonsensical claim that he has a deficit plan that would strengthen Medicare for the long haul. He has called for doubling Medicare spending over the next 10 years, to nearly $1 trillion in 2022. His cuts in the rate of growth amount to just a few percentage points. As The Post's Lori Montgomery has reported, the president's 2013 budget marked "the second year in a row Obama has ignored calls to restructure Social Security and Medicare entitlement programs."
Nothing in Obama's speech came close to a proposal to fix the debt problem; he dealt with that only at the end of the speech -- largely by complaining about Republicans' refusal to consider higher taxes on the wealthy.
Surely I was in store for some libertoid belly-aching, unpragmatic nonsense, and perfect as enemy of the good. And Jesse Walker fails to disappoint. Yet, it is difficult to argue with one point:
The problem is the idea that it would be good to take the guy out of his Senate seat, where he's well-positioned to battle actual bad legislation, and stick him in a job where he'll be expected to suppress his disagreements with his boss and serve as a public face of the Romney administration.
The loss of him in the US Senate and the general lack of independence he would have in Joe Biden's job do not seem fitting. And I hereby retract my endorsement.
But even when they were disappointed by their popular vote totals, Paul supporters stayed behind and tried to win delegates at the low-turnout state and congressional district conventions. This cost-effective insurgent strategy seemed stalled, but now appears to be finally paying some dividends.
Many other Republicans are demoralized. The near-certain nominee doesn't excite them. There are fewer high-profile Tea Party primaries than two years ago. The other conservative presidential candidates have been beaten.
Ron Paul's supporters remain. They are still trying to win delegates and reshape the Republican Party.
I share Brother BR's concern that some convention mischief might hurt the party's chances in November. Yet, long term, the GOP must shift to embrace some of these ideas or cease to be worthy of Tea Party support. Not today. Not this year. But I am sticking by my Paul-as-Goldwater and looking for Reagan.
Nobody seriously believes that there will be a cost to Jimmy Fallon or President Obama for campaign finance transgressions. It's a great example of absurdity of regulation, but far more serious examples are going unpunished.
I agree it is bad but the audience reaction makes me fear for the republic. No, that's not a representative sample of Americans, and it remains possible that many of those people will not get up early enough to vote in November. But ThreeSources has spoiled me a bit.
Anyhow, I have a solution. And some awesome free advice for the Romney Campaign. Demand equal time (It will be granted) and have Governor Romney come on to "slow jam the news." Insist that it is only right. It would be a very funny sketch. I know the NR folks hate the entertainment-political nexus -- as do I but you cannot wish it away. White bread, Mormon, Mitt Romney "slow jamming the news" would be one for the ages.
UPDATE: Danielle Pletka engages in a little wishcasting in "The manifest uncoolness of Barack Obama."
Really, who wants a President Cool? I’d settle for a President Grown-up.
I agree with every word. But the cheers in Fallon's audience (and many of them will indeed vote) tell me to be concerned.
As the Democrats prepared for quadrennial Seamus-gate where we whack the Romneys for allowing their dog to ride on the roof in a carrier, somebody found the paragraph in "Dreams from My Father where a young Barack tastes the delicacies of tiger and dog meat.
Hilarity has ensured much of the day "Better the Roof of Mitt's car than the roof of Barack's mouth!" But this one (Hat-tip: Insty) is a keeper:
UPDATE: Really? Got this on WaPo:
UPDATE II: James Taranto provides the whole story, relays a few good tweets, and grabs "Quote of the Day" for:
It doesn't seem to have occurred to [Josh] Marshall that as dogs are haram, this should put to rest the Muslim rumors.
UPDATE III: IMAO I can’t believe Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car. That ruins the flavor.
Walter Russell Mead has an interesting interactive electoral map. Two tabs show President Obama winning and Governor Romney winning. The difference is flipping Colorado & Virginia.
I have not played that game yet this year, but I am not painting Colorado red in spite of its name. I wonder about Iowa, New Hampshire and possibly Wisconsin. But my state is going to be tough.
You can call me negative (yeah), or point out that I spend too much time with Boulderites (yeah). But there is another item which suppresses my natural sunny optimism. Colorado can be bought. I saw that in the 2010 Senate race. Compared to big markets around the country, the media markets are cheap and can easily be flooded by demagogic commercials from campaigns and 527s. I'm not necessarily pessimistic on the entire race but Colorado will be almost impossible.
The sides skirmished over assigning blame for rising female job losses.
The latest provocation: an assertion by Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life."
The candidate's wife fired back on Twitter that she chose to stay home and raise five boys and that, "believe me, it was hard work." She told Fox News on Thursday that women should respect each other's choices.
Mitt Romney was losing the so-called "war on women." Badly. Until Democratic operative Hilary Rosen appeared on CNN Wednesday night and seemingly derided his wife's decision to stay at home and raise the couple's five boys.
It isn't quite a perfect metaphor - General Lee was defeated at Gettysburg but did not surrender there - but the historic civil war cemetery there is apropos for hosting the end of Rick Santorum's GOP presidential nomination bid.
"We were very concerned about our roles as being the very best parents has we can be to our children," Santorum said. "We made a decision over the weekend while this presidential race is over to for me and will suspend our campaign effective today -- we are not done fighting."
Well, okay, technically Santorum hasn't surrendered either. But really, he's blaming the end of his candidacy on the need to be good parents? After all this time? C'mon Rick, say it: "We got our butts whupped."
Larry Flynt's 'Obama 2012' campaign earmarks may not be spent after all. And br'er JK's plea has been answered.
While the United Mine Workers of America likely won’t actively oppose President Obama’s reelection bid, Roberts said the new EPA regulation could prevent the union from endorsing the president.
“That’s something that we have not done yet and may not do because of this very reason. Our people’s jobs are on the line,” Roberts said, adding that Obama has “done a lot of great things for the country.”
Roberts's [sic] comments underscore the vehement opposition to the new EPA regulations in coal states whose economies rely heavily on the fossil fuel.
I also really enjoyed this quote:
Roberts, in Tuesday’s interview with host Hoppy Kercheval, took aim at the Sierra Club, arguing the environmental group’s campaign to shut down coal plants is killing jobs.
“This is a broader problem for me than it is for the Sierra Club or the EPA,” Roberts said. “And I’m convinced, Hoppy, that if you give the Sierra Club enough money, they could shut your job down. I don’t know how they’d do it, but they’d figure out a way.”
May I now call the primary contest over? Governor Romney swept the three primaries last night (and Erie Mayor Joe Wilson was re-elected by 41 votes).
Beyond the commanding delegate lead, the reaction of talking heads on FOX News speaks to a race that is over. The people with the most to gain from a continued race -- the FOX News team, panel and paid pundits -- were all on and not one could suggest a plausible excuse for Senator Santorum to stay in. And nobody mentioned Mr. Gingrich's name: he was Speaker Voldemort last night.
I have reconciled to Governor Moisturizer. He gave a good speech and appeared Presidential taking the fight to President Obama while SenSweatervest sniped about evil establishment GOPers like Sens. Marco Rubio (HOSS - FL) and Ron Johnson (HOSS - WI). I can't call myself excited, but you go into battle with the candidates you have. I hope he selects a Tea-Party-friendly VP, but I am ready for prepare for November.
Wow. I really respected this guy a year ago! (The WSJ's "Professor Cornpone" editorial precipitated the decline.)
But Speaker Gingrich's petulant whines and destructive lashings-out are truly too much to bear. First it was the brave Speakinator against the WallStreetMachine™; now the system is broke because it does not recognize his total awesomeness:
PALATINE, Ill. -- With the future of his presidential ambitions uncertain in the wake of losses in two big southern states on Tuesday night, Newt Gingrich delivered a gloomy address in this Chicago suburb Wednesday night in which he at once reaffirmed his plans to stay in the presidential race and bemoaned a country and Republican Party that he described as unreceptive to "big ideas" such as the ones on which he.s hinged his White House bid.
Quick! Somebody call a Waaaaahmbulance!
However, the Speaker is going at as he came in -- two adverbs at a time!
At Illinois GOP dinner, a gloomy Gingrich bemoans 'methodically and deliberately stupid' political system
UPDATE: I see the linked "Cornpone" post is dated 1/31/2011. Make that "Wow. I really respected this guy a year five quarters ago!" ThreeSources regrets the error.
UPDATE II: Also: "his total and existential awesomeness." The sell-by date on that joke is coming fast and I don't want to be caught with a whole box.
No, I am not making a 2016 category yet, but -- as Republicans always nominate last quadrennial's second-place finisher...
Which brings up the real scary possibility for those of us who find Santorum frighteningly anti-libertarian: He does look positioned to run second, putting him in line for 2016 or 2020. Any rational person would say, come on -- second-place Rick Santorum stronger the next time around than Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Nikki Haley, Rand Paul, Jeff Flake, Bob McDonnell, Bobby Jindal, etc.? But there's that pesky rule -- Reagan, Bush, Dole, McCain, and now Romney all got the nomination after running second previously. So defenders of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should probably start a project now to move Republicans off that rule. -- David Boaz
Jim Geraghty pens the winning tagline for the Governor of the Commonwealth:
James Taranto offers something of a sales pitch for the Republican front-runner: "I can understand why some people would be scared of President Santorum, and I'm a little scared of President Gingrich, but c'mon, Romney?"
We interrupt our 24x7 contraception and monetary policy debates for an election bulletin: The GOP primary contest is over. Stephen Green (VodkaPundit) mails my thoughts exactly in a short blog post
Given the choice between Romney and nothing, to turn the old adage upside-down, I'd take nothing. But in politics "nothing" isn't one of the choices.
Correction: You can vote for nothing, but then worse-than-nothing wins by default.
So keep that in mind when I call on Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to surrender gracefully tonight, and to pledge their delegates to... this isn't easy for me to say... to pledge their delegates to Romney.
Green wrote that yesterday and I didn't see any results last night to change my mind. In fact, watching Gov. Romney, Sen. Santorum, and Speaker Gingrich speak (did Ron Paul not? I missed it), I am completely convinced.
I'll concede that the fight to now has been good for Candidate Romney, I was concerned but I was wrong. He improved his positions and his debate performances and his campaign style because of the competition. But that ended about 1:30 AM Eastern this morning.
Speaker Gingrich talks up his "positive campaign" as he blasts Romney as "Wall Street" and tells his small government supporters that he is going to set gas prices.
I feel for Senator Santorum. His opponents in media have distracted him from a fairly cogent economic freedom message to social issues. Entrapment may not be fair, but it put John DeLorean away (I can hold a grudge), and it exposed Santorum for what he is.
Both have served their purpose and added to the debate -- as did Rep. Bachmann, Gov. Perry, and The Herman Cain. It is time for them to follow the others offstage.
I read this from Robert Tracinski via email last week. Today I found it posted in full with excellent comments.* The major issue I see is the specter of Santorum highjacking the TEA Party Movement:
Santorum's views have zero cross-over appeal; there will be no "Santorum Democrats." They have no appeal to independent voters, who will peg him as a self-righteous prig who wants to impose his religious views on them. And it's worse than that. The resurgence of the right that produced the Tea Party movement and the huge Republican victory in 2010 is based in large part on an alliance between two wings of the right: the more religious wing and the more "libertarian" wing. They have been able to work together because of a de facto truce on the "social issues" while we drop everything else to save the country from a government takeover of the economy. I would add that there has been no need for any kind of truce on birth control or gambling, because those issues haven't even come up. But Santorum insists on bringing them up, and in doing so he breaks the Tea Party alliance and splits the right. He puts the libertarian wing of the right on notice that if they vote against Obama's version of big government, Santorum will use their vote to promote his version of big government.
Someone needs to stand up and speak on behalf of the Tea Party movement to proclaim that we did not come out and march under the banner "Don't Tread on Me" so that we could be hitched once again under the yoke of the "common good" as determined by politicians in Washington.
* The good comments are the first ones, at the bottom of the thread. The recent ones, as is often the case, seem to have degenerated into various tangents.
"Clearly there’s a tag team strategy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. For all I know, Mitt Romney might be considering Ron Paul as his running mate. Clearly there is now an alliance between those two and you saw that certainly in the debate."
The story was also mentioned by Rush Limbaugh in his first hour today:
The partnership is all speculative, but “it’s clear there’s a hands-off policy with Romney and Paul,” Limbaugh said, noting it will be interesting to see how Romney supporters would handle the possibility of a Paul vice presidency.
Alas in some quarters, such as this diary entry by a user of Erick Erickson's RedState.com, there is not much love for Congressman Paul potentially being a sellout.
I hope Libertarians who thought Paul was a honest broker can go to Libertarian party rather than support this fraud Ron Paul! Ron Paul turned out to be the "typical Washington insider that wheel & deals to get himself & his family taken care of ". This guy, just like Obama, fooled all his followers especially the youth! Also, I feel sorry for the Judge Napolitano, Stossel & few other openly libertarians who thought this guy is for real…shame on you Paul especially aligning yourself with a MA liberal!
"Satan has his sights on the United States of America!...Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition." -- Sen Santorum circa 2008
Unlike every other county in Colorado, Weld holds an intermediate set of local assemblies for selection of delegates to the state political conventions. As the next step after caucus night, the District Assemblies convened on Saturday morning and yours truly was elected as one of twelve delegates from District E.
My optimism in America and in freedom was renewed by this meeting of neighbors. The evangelical conservatives and the libertarian conservatives played nice together and exchanged views in what I thought to be a very constructive and open-minded way. No Ron Paul delegate or mention of the name Ron Paul was booed, or even grumbled. I made new acquaintance with several neighbors, including a gentleman who boards horses a few miles north of Atlantis Farm. A couple more questions revealed our mutual friend, blog sister Terri. And if this gentleman hadn't fully endeared himself already he would have when he requested, after the meeting was closed, that it not be held in a school building in the future since that pre-empted his Second Amendment right to self-protection. [PSA - Never attempt to rob a conflagration of Republicans.]
Unless China changes its ways, on day one of my presidency I will designate it a currency manipulator and take appropriate counteraction. A trade war with China is the last thing I want, but I cannot tolerate our current trade surrender.
Day One, huh? I think the Governor is lifting this riff from Speaker Gingrich's effective South Carolina speech: "On my way to the first inauguration ball, I will repeal ObamaCare!" It works better with a crowd, a good idea, and a fiendish glint in the presenter's eye.
I happen to be a fan of the yuan/dollar peg. But a larger issue is our countries' relationship. Not content with a trade war, Governor Romney wants to prepare for a shooting war -- with our banker and best customer.
We must also maintain military forces commensurate to the long-term challenge posed by China's build-up. For more than a decade now we have witnessed double-digit increases in China's officially reported military spending. And even that does not capture the full extent of its spending on defense. Nor do the gross numbers tell us anything about the most troubling aspects of China's strategy, which is designed to exert pressure on China's neighbors and blunt the ability of the United States to project power into the Pacific and keep the peace from which China itself has benefited.
Maybe I've been watching too much Rep. Ron Paul lately, but I see managing the China relationship in the context of trade. Intellectual property theft and human rights are legitimate concerns. And, to be fair, the Governor discusses them eloquently.
But bluster seems unlikely to win the day, and -- more importantly -- it marks Romney's being outside the free-trade camp. Larry Kudlow would join him on human rights and piracy; so would I. But currency manipulation is a canard. And, while military strength should be watched, who is surprised that an advancing economic power with a long history is spending newfound wealth on its military?
[Mitt Romney] "is no less conservative than Mr. Gingrich or Mr. Santorum. Newt 'cap and trade' Gingrich. Newt have a health care mandate, he proposed that in May of 2009, a health care mandate. Newt Mr. environmentalism. I mean Newt Gingrich, if you take a look at his voting record, is every bit as fiscally liberal as Mitt Romney. And Rick Santorum who apparently we are told is surging in the polls now, well, this isn't even close. Rick Santorum is running to be Pastor-in-Chief. He's running on the social issues, and the people who have swarmed to Mr. Santorum are not swarming because of his fiscal record, they are swarming because of religion. Let's be blunt about this. Here's a guy who supported Arlen Specter, and Arlen Specter turned out to be the sixtieth vote on Obamacare. He could have sided with the conservative Pat Toomey but he supported Arlen Specter.
Here's a guy, when it comes to Supreme Court nominations, voted for Sonia Sotomayor, the radical judge now sitting atop the court. Here's a guy who voted against the National Right to Work Act; voted against repeal of Davis Bacon, the union prevailing wages law on taxpayer-funded projects; voted for Alexis Hermann as Secretary of Labor; voted for mandatory federal child-care funding; voted for Job Corps funding; voted twice in support of unionizing FedEx; voted for minimum wage increases six times on small businesses; voted for background checks on people who pawn a gun; voted twice to make it illegal to sell a gun without a secure storage or safety device; voted for a federal ban on possession of assault weapons, of course by those under 18; voted for funding of the Legal Services Corporation; voted twice for a congressional pay raise; voted for every single earmark you can imagine; has stated his opposition to a flat tax - he thinks that because you make more money you should pay more; voted for tobacco taxes to fund health care subsidies; voted for internet taxes, I mean I could go on and on and on here. Do your research on Rick Santorum, he's not a fiscal conservative.
If social issues are your thing and you think that's all that matters that's fine, it's a free country vote for Santorum, but don't give me this hooey that Rick Santorum is more fiscally conservative than Mitt Romney. It's simply not true.
If you take a look at Santorum's record or at Newt Gingrich's record, that's what it is. It's pro-life statism, it's pro-life liberalism."
He isn't endorsing Romney mind you, but does say liberty will be vastly better with Romney than either Rick or Newt. His real game-changing candidate is ... Paul.
"The President's budget is a full-scale assault, a full-throated assault on the American dream, Capitalism. You've got a guy like Ron Paul who's saying I'm going to elimnate the Department of Commerce, I'm going to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I'm going to eliminate the Department of Energy, I'm going to eliminate the Department of Education, I'm going to cut one trillion from the budget in my first year. That's Congressman Paul. The budget the President released yesterday not only keeps all those departments but increases spending for the rest of them."
I made a cursory search to see if this had been posted on these pages since the first of the year. If it has never been so in the blog's history we should all consider ourselves ashamed for the oversight.
Ronald Reagan, interviewed by Manuel Klausner in Reason Magazine, July 1975:
REASON: Governor Reagan, you have been quoted in the press as saying that you’re doing a lot of speaking now on behalf of the philosophy of conservatism and libertarianism. Is there a difference between the two?
REAGAN: If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path.
So what Reagan lovers should be asking is, it seems to me, which of the GOP presidential nominees are hostile to libertarian thought and which are the very embodiment of it?" Ron Paul for President. Do it for the Gipper.
Hillsdale College's Paul Rahe has done it again. Being thrice granted Quote of the Day honors on our humble blog (here, here and most notably here) his posting of last Friday explains in grand detail and with far greater authority the warning I've been sounding for just a few short years of my relatively young life - that Christian altruism enables Marxist-Leninist policies in the west. I called it The Virtue of Selfishness. Rahe calls it American Catholicism's Pact With the Devil and says it goes back to FDR and the New Deal in the 1930's.
In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States -- the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity -- and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism -- the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people's money and redistribute it.
"He still needs to be able to articulate what his solutions are to the challenges facing America -- but not just Mitt. All four of them," she said.
"What I want to see is that candidate and I believe that most voters in the GOP and independents, we will want to see that candidate whom we can trust will just inherently, instinctively turn right, always err on the side of conservativism, which means smaller, smarter government, more empowerment for the individual, for the private sector," Palin said.
While Palin has previously encouraged a vote for Gingrich she's backed away from that and, as this quote confirms, is waiting for the best small government, pro liberty message from any one of them. If the "Ron Paul is unelectable" meme would somehow die out I think she would even back him. And for his part, Paul said on Face the Nation yesterday:
"I think the problem is that all three of them have represented the same system, the same status quo ... None of them talk about real spending cuts. None of them talk about real changes in monetary policy. So they're not a whole lot different. So I think when it comes down to those three, it's probably going to be management style more than anything else," Paul added.
And Palin encourages the GOP faithful to embrace the extended contest, not fear it.
Palin said each of the candidates has his strengths and they are able to hone them -- and deliver a more concise message -- if the race keeps going.
"Each of them I believe they are getting stronger, they're getting better and that's what competition provides and that's why I want to see the competition continue," she said. "They all have something to offer and that is why it is a good democratic process in our republic."
Love the phrasing there... "democratic process in our republic" i.e. the US government is not a democracy. I'll add my voice to what I sense is a growing chorus: "Ron Paul is electable."
Yesterday brought two events to wake me from my "Senator Santorum is okay...nothing to worry about...move along..." stupor. I must confess, I have given him too much benefit for a world of doubt. Blog sister dagny was right all along.
Event one: I don't want to speak out of turn, but a good friend of mine confided to be "done" with the GOP. I've heard this 100 times and said it seven or eight, but this was pretty serious. The confluence of an anti-gay-marriage initiative and Santorum's Tuesday Sweep was too much to bear. I'll leave out the back-and-forth but share the conclusion without permission. "I'll vote against Obama and puke in the parking lot."
We all get a little down; this is something worse. And what do I say "Mitt Romney! Mitt Romney! Mitt Romney!!!?"
Event two. I'm never sure what to make of Fox Business's Judge Andrew Napolitano. He puts on a good rant, but he never weaves it into anything pragmatic. Still, it's good to have truth tellers. [Side note: A guy put one of Napolitano's rants on FB and all his liberal friends said "That was on FOX? Boy I bet the censors were sick that day!" Umm, guys, he does that every day and I cannot think of another network that would put it on.]
Last night he had Reason's Matt Welch on for a brief segment to whack the Senator about his stated aversion to libertarianism. Santorum looked at the camera and said "I want to drive libertarianism out of the Republican Party." That stings a bit.
Then one remembers his debate performances. Rep. Ron Paul would make a statement. Speaker Gingrich would grind his teeth a little and wait for "Crazy Uncle Ron" to finish. Gov. Perry might roll his eyes. Gov. Romney probably did not play "Bizz-Buzz" in college, but he would have been good -- he combined a friendly smile with a blank stare, the essence of non-committal.
But Senator Santorum would pounce! High dudgeon and incredulity: "You really believe X?" While one can consider many of Paul's ideas out of the GOP mainstream, I suggest we at least join Senator Jim DeMint and give these ideas a basic respect to keep their believers in the party.
Perhaps life is good in a very bad year. Senator Sweatervest and Speaker Crazyman can split the non-Romney vote, each keeping the other out. We might well end up with Governor Romney (what, no disparaging sobriquet?) but maybe it is time for least evil. Ron Paul could continue to tell the truth and concomitantly place third or fourth.
And were Gov. Doginthecrateontheroof (who's your daddy?) to choose a Paul or Rubio for Veep, I might find some enthusiasm.
And, we've always been at war with Eurasia!
UPDATE: Kim Strassel suggests he needs a message beyond "Faith, Family, and Freedom."
I hope I shall not be thought less of for posting this Ann Coulter takedown from American Spectator, so long as I don't suggest Newt Gingrich as the best Romney antidote (which, I'm learning, he is not.)
Yet Coulter, once the scourge of such malleable "moderates," has gone through some sort of transformation that has rendered her blind to Romney's cheap opportunism. And if the primary voters are foolish enough to follow her advice, they will rue the day they listened to her and the establishment Republicans with whom she has now made common cause. As Coulter herself pointed out last year when she spoke at CPAC, Barack Obama will be reelected in 2012 if the Republican Party nominates Mitt Romney for President.
I must address the best argument of the Speaker Gingrich team, including the Speaker himself, who just delivered it on a robocall.
[SIDE TRACK: Is it not the greatest thing ever to be in a state still in play? My phone rings each hour with a survey, recording, operative, precinct member or something. I've done live telephone town halls with both Governor Christie (HOSS- NJ) and Speaker Gingrich. It rocks to be wooed.]
The Speaker notes he will challenge President Obama to x Lincoln-Douglas style debates, each lasting y hours. My blog brother yearns for a pugilistic campaign.
Obama will say "no" x times and the campaign will devolve to super PAC nonsense about the Speaker's background both real and imagined. Ain't gonna be no Lincoln-Douglas debates. They will sit in front of some PBS septuagenarian and have two minutes to address some CW question. Then they will go home.
Speaker Gingrich was lackluster in the last debate and claimed it was because Governor Romney was "fundamentally and [other adverb] dishonest." Good thing the President is the Paragon of Probity® then.
Sadly the campaign will be insubstantive (cf, Colorado Senate 2010) and Gingrich's advantage will not be usable.
Or maybe you've made up your mind and just aren't tired of this stuff yet. I thought the best of the three interview performances was Santorum's. If you only listen to one of them, make it his. If only I could picture him being taken seriously in a head-to-head with President Obama. His boyish good looks seem a bit of a handicap to me. Tell me I'm wrong.
Christina Romer punctures the argument that manufacturers need special tax treatment. (Y'know, I work for a manufacturer and should probably check my love of liberty at the office door -- Go Rick! Yeah!)
A successful argument for a government manufacturing policy has to go beyond the feeling that it's better to produce "real things" than services. American consumers value health care and haircuts as much as washing machines and hair dryers. And our earnings from exporting architectural plans for a building in Shanghai are as real as those from exporting cars to Canada.
Is it just me (it can't be the shoes) but is it disturbing when a GOP Presidential candidate needs a lesson on the benefits of the free market from a U Cal-Berkeley professor and former Obama Administration official?
Weld (CO) County Lincoln Day - Caucus Minus 72 hours
I feared that last night's ThreeSources Blogger Bash might be falling apart due to the substantial snowstorm we endured from Thursday through Saturday. But what snow taketh, snow giveth back. Blog brothers JK and BR traded places as BR's weekend plan was outdoors - in the mountains.
The night began with some contretemps and dirty looks as our assigned table had been swiped by a Mr. Bud Johnson and 7 other senior citizens. An honest mistake I suppose - I might also have confused the "table tent" sign reading "THREESOURCES.COM" for the one reading "Bud Johnson." They must have chewed and swallowed our sign so we made a replacement.
So after considerable hunting around we were awarded Bud's assigned table way to the side of the room. (I could see the speaker at the podium from behind the loudspeaker on the stage so it wasn't that bad.) I asked the nice young man who helped us find Bud's table to please let Mr. Johnson know we had found his table. I said that since they were our elders we would not ask them to move.
We had the last laugh though, I think, since ours was one of the tables Rick Santorum visited while pressing the flesh. We were the last table in our row but it was, after all, the front row. Rick was quite generous with his time, making leisurely visits to each table. He shook hands with several of us but he seemed to know better than to engage in conversation, and nobody I saw tried to. We all thanked him for coming.
Once we were settled we enjoyed a nice dinner, rolicking conversation and speeches from Rick Santorum and Cory Gardner. I'll discuss those in a separate post at some point but for now I'll refer you to Terri's excellent writeup on Santorum with another great photo. I didn't think he was as flat as she did but he could have done better. He was the best speaker of the night though and I thought he made a good case for the "doomsday" message he's been derided for in some quarters.
It was an excellent night. I was very happy to meet Terri and Nanobrewer in person and find out how much more we have in common than just political views.
Speaking of common views, before we entered the hall I decided to go visit with some demonstrators we saw on the sidewalk (and heard from across the street.) I chatted with three or four of them and would have liked to talk much longer. They were friendly and well spoken, although some of their signs were stereotypical of the #Occupy mentality's darker (egalitarian collectivist) side.
I was offered an "overturn Citizens United" petition to sign. Given my propensity of late, and considering the well-meaning young man (Josh, if I remember correctly) only had four signatures before me, I signed it. We talked about whether corporations should have the rights of people and I suggested that, like people, some corporations are good and some are bad. "When you talk about Wall Street I think corporations like Fidility Investments are good while Goldman Sachs is bad. The distinction is cronyism." They were like, "Yeah, that's right." To which I said, "See, that's the same point of view we have in the TEA Party." This was met with some skepticism. I'm sure If I'd stayed five minutes longer we'd have been in an argument about something. I didn't see the "ROBIN HOOD WAS ONE OF US" message on the 99% sign until I'd left - If I had we'd certainly have talked about that. But they encouraged me even more to attempt to bridge the gap, somehow, somewhere. I plan to spend some time on their website: occupygreeley.org. If I can get through or around the Marxism to connect with real people I think we can make progress together on common ideas. And I gave them our web address, twice, so maybe one or more of them will reach out to us as well.
Peace on, brothers!
UPDATE: Perhaps because I had so much fun talking to the demonstrators out front, dagny gave an interview to a local newspaper. (Not just a bunch of *bloggers* mind you.) The UNC campus newspaper The Mirror quotes her in the fourth paragraph:
"I'm glad we came," said Jodi Rinard, a member of the WCRP. "It's a great chance to discuss ideas. It's a great chance to discuss politics."
Well done dear! She told me she'd talked to them but the story wasn't in the online edition when I looked this morning. It's a pretty straight account of the themes Rick Santorum discussed. It soft pedals the importance Rick put upon repealing Obamacare saying only, "Once the people become dependent on the government for their health, there is nothing the government won't be able to control," Santorum said. Santorum contrasted the Romney and Gingrich records of "supporting an individual mandate at some point in their careers" with his "authorship of the law implementing Health Savings Accounts (HSA) 20 years ago. Rick also quoted Margaret Thatcher as saying Britain's NHS was the biggest obstacle to free-market government reform.
UPDATE: [2/20/12] Video of Rick Santorum's speech can be seen here.
The lovely bride and I will be safe at home this evening. Our two tickets to the Weld County GOP dinner and appearance by Senator Santorum are up for grabs (as are I think two others). Be our guest if you can make it to Greeley tonight. jk [at] threesources [dot] com.
Perhaps a bit of editorializing on the AP's part. But he provides material:
"Go back and read what the sirens did once you arrived on that island," Santorum warned students at Colorado Christian University this week, invoking mythology. "They devour you. They destroy you. They consume you."
I got on a live town-hall call with Gov. Christie (HOSS ALERT!) last night. That was cool and hearing his soothing joisey voice praising Gov. Romney was starting to help.
We did not get to my question "Governor, I'm a voter who could be pulled into the Governor's camp, but I am disturbed by the underlying philosophy, highlighted by the Wall Street Journal editorial this [Thursday] morning. Are indexed cap-gains taxes commensurate with free market capitalism?" But the final question -- from a woman in Aspen no less -- was similar and at least as tough.
I hung up thinking that, after the four other steps, I will make it to acceptance of Gov. Romney as the GOP nominee. Then I watched Kudlow & Co.
Joe Scarborough (R - MSNBC) of all people was a guest. And did the best destruction of Mitt I have ever heard. Start at 12:55 and go through "he probably thinks Hayek is the field goal kicker for the New England Patriots."
I turned to the lovely bride and said "we. are. so. totally. hosed."
Serves us right. Yesterday we tried to defend, or at least explain, Mitt Romney's remark that he didn't worry about the poor because they had the government to help them. Then Mr. Romney tells the world he favors a rising minimum wage indexed for inflation that really would hurt the poor.
Mr. Romney reaffirmed his minimum-wage views to reporters as he tried to extricate himself from the controversy over his "poor" remarks. (See "What Mitt Really Meant," Feb. 2.) It was a classic political gotcha moment, and Mr. Romney's response was more troubling than his earlier marks.
No political or philisophical merit to this at all. Just a mean whack at the sincere people who feel that the Speaker would be the best choice to lead our nation away from the brink of Socialism. And -- if the first comment were not so good, I would have demurred:
President Obama addressed his third National Prayer Breakfast this morning. Given the setting a highly theological theme is expected, and the President did not disappoint:
"It's absolutely true that meeting these challenges requires sound decision-making, requires smart policies. We know that part of living in a pluralistic society means that our personal religious beliefs alone can't dictate our response to every challenge we face.
But in my moments of prayer, I'm reminded that faith and values play an enormous role in motivating us to solve some of our most urgent problems, in keeping us going when we suffer setbacks, and opening our minds and our hearts to the needs of others."
Uh-oh. Here it comes. Open our minds, and our hearts, and ... taxpayers' wallets?
"But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus's teaching that "for unto whom much is given, much shall be required." It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who've been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.
When I talk about giving every American a fair shot at opportunity, it's because I believe that when a young person can afford a college education, or someone who's been unemployed suddenly has a chance to retrain for a job and regain that sense of dignity and pride, and contributing to the community as well as supporting their families -- that helps us all prosper.
It means maybe that research lab on the cusp of a lifesaving discovery, or the company looking for skilled workers is going to do a little bit better, and we'll all do better as a consequence. It makes economic sense. But part of that belief comes from my faith in the idea that I am my brother's keeper and I am my sister's keeper; that as a country, we rise and fall together. I'm not an island. I'm not alone in my success. I succeed because others succeed with me."
Don't say the President implores us to personally address "the needs of others" for what he really wants is an electoral mandate to redistribute wealth from some individuals to "others" and to do so himself. And also don't say I didn't warn anyone who was listening.
Preaching to the choir here I s'pose, but when I heard the President of the United States say "that belief comes from my faith in the idea that I am my brother's keeper" I just couldn't let it pass without notice.
I'll admit it; I think Speaker Gingrich would make a terrible President. I think Gov. Romney would be a perfectly mediocre POTUS, but it does not matter because he is demonstrably the worst candidate since, well, his "brainwashed" Dad.
The wingnuts at the WSJ Ed Page take him to the woodshed for his "I don't give a rat's ass about those little street urchins! Are there no workhouses?" remark. Inartful to start with, they point out that there were excellent educational opportunities he missed for his walkback. But, Paul, Dan, and Stephen -- is there perhaps a larger mistake that we overlook?
Mr. Romney's larger mistake is to think and speak in "class" terms. He touts his concern for the "middle class" all the time, as if he's trying to show that a rich guy can identify with average Americans. But this is a game that Democrats play better, and it leads Mr. Romney into cul-de-sacs like saying the poor are fine because they benefit from government, while the middle class don't. Mr. Obama will turn this into an argument for hooking the middle class on more government.
Mr. Romney's failures to communicate are common among businessmen and other normal people who have the right instincts but haven't spent their lives thinking about politics. He also recently ran into trouble when he said he liked firing people, when he was really talking about the discipline of market competition.
Still, his business now is politics, and as the Republican front-runner he has an obligation to explain how conservative principles and policies can address America's current problems. We'll be happy to translate for him in these columns, but it would be less politically painful if Mr. Romney sat down for a week-long tutorial with, say, Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush and others who can help him avoid such obvious liberal traps.
Perhaps these are becoming counter-productive, but I see your Obama's Uncle and raise you Alan Freaking Reynolds! Including extra bonus David Stockman whacks. Oh man, it's like Easter and Christmas and my birthday all at once!
Newt Gingrich's alleged role in the development of supply-side economics sometimes looks like a deliberate distraction from deeper questions about why he claims to be more "conservative" than other candidates. Gingrich is the only candidate who repeatedly advocated federal legislation making health insurance compulsory. He has enthusiastically supported federal subsidies for ethanol and other green energy boondoggles. And he dismissed a thoughtful plan from Paul Ryan to slow the growth of entitlements as "right wing social engineering." Other candidates have their own faults. Romney seems hawkish for my taste, too prone to blaming our problems on China, and too harsh on immigration. But those are very common views among conservatives, arguably making Newt more moderate than Mitt in these respects.
For Newt Gingrich to toss out strikingly grandiose and obviously unworkable ideas about scrapping many taxes and slashing others is for him to reveal that he's far from moderate. But being immoderate is not the same as being conservative. And voicing flippant disregard for budget problems of the magnitude we face is not the same as being any sort of economist, supply-side or otherwise.
The one major accomplishment of Barack Obama has been to bring a sudden and abrupt end the people's ability to tolerate this tacitly understood game between the two major Parties.
All the other challengers were easily eliminated or made irrelevant, as they did not have the money or experience of knowing how the game is played, but Newt refused to just slink away. Never has the Republican Establishment trained its guns on any one candidate in such an unbridled and unrestrained way.
Perhaps Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul are not the right candidates to face Barack Obama, but that decision should be up to the voters. While it maybe the role of the conservative pundit class to proffer their opinions of the various candidates, it is not the role of the overall Establishment to so marginalize candidates that there appears to be only one viable alternative.
The Establishment could not have made a more strategic blunder. They will, in all likelihood, succeed in securing the nomination for Mitt Romney, but the damage they have inflicted upon themselves is approaching irreversible. The public now sees the length to which the Establishment will go to make certain their hand-picked candidate is chosen regardless of the dire circumstances facing the nation.
Not a promising, conciliatory beginning, izzit? Portends poorly for the tenor of the whole piece...
We start, as James Pethokoukis did, with Art Laffer's (HOSS alert!) shining guest editorial on the Speaker's bold 15% flat tax plan.
Imagine what would happen to international capital flows if the U.S. went from the second highest business tax country in the world to one of the lowest. Low taxes along with all of America's other great attributes would precipitate a flood of new investment in this country as well as a quick repatriation of American funds held abroad. We would create more jobs than you could shake a stick at. And those jobs would be productive jobs, not make-work jobs like so many of Mr. Obama's stimulus jobs.
Sounds pretty good, huh? Well it is, and Jimi P likes it as well. Unfortunately...
If only Gingrich were as bold and specific when it came to cutting spending. Even Laffer admits in the op-ed that the Gingrich plan--despite faster economic growth--would be a revenue loser to the government. Now, that's not such a big deal if you also plan to slash the size of government. But Gingrich doesn't say what he would cut, aside from, dare I say it, grandiose projections like this one in his "21st Century Contract for America": [Hint: Six-sigma, baby! Waste, fraud and abuse!]
Sorry to be bellicose, but that is what a bass player I knew called "the crux of the biscuit." Government is going to be leaner and more efficient. It is going to do things you like and not things your lefty Facebook friends like.
But I want less government. I want government to do less. And I continue to believe in an existential threat if we continue down this road. And all the current GOP candidates except one will continue down this road in some fashion. Ergo, with some trepidation, I will be caucusing for Rep. Ron Paul. And I hope he wins the nomination and the general election.
But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 who didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.
Click continue reading to see my comment to the FB thread.
There are 5 men in this country from whom we may now choose to be its next President. None are perfect and each has flaws for which some of us will "disqualify" him. I have disqualified ALL of them at one point or another. Ultimately, I believe, the greatest threat to America comes from Crony Capitalism - cozy personal and financial relationships between establishment politicians and CINO businessmen (Capitalists in Name Only.) Our greatest hope for ending bailouts is an electable Republican - Newt Gingrich. I trust Sarah and Michael and Nancy Reagan. They are great Americans. Romney is a nice guy with the wrong friends and backers: Republicans who give the brand a bad name. I don't oppose Romney so much as I oppose THEM. Watch this (especially after 21:30 mark): http://vimeo.com/35369616 Who am I? I am the TEA Party.
While Bob Dole was endorsing Romney yesterday, former Reagan administration official Elliot Abrams loudly denounced Newt Gingrich's Reagan cred. Everyone remembers, right?
The best examples come from a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986. This was right in the middle of the fight over funding for the Nicaraguan contras; the money had been cut off by Congress in 1985, though Reagan got $100 million for this cause in 1986. Here is Gingrich: "Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing. Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.”"
That's right. Mr. Scheve, incensed at what he felt was a deliberate misrepresentation of his old boss by Abrams and the Romney forces, specifically of Gingrich's long ago March 21, 1986 "Special Order" speech on the floor of the House, and aware "that most of his [Abrams'] comments had to have been selectively taken from the special order" -- Scheve started digging. Since the Congressional Record for 1986 was difficult to obtain electronically, Scheve trekked to the George Mason Library to physically track down the March 21, 1986 edition of the Congressional Record. Locating it, copying and scanning, he was kind enough to send to me.
So now I've read the Gingrich speech that is the source of all the hoopla. All seven, fine print pages worth of it exactly as it appeared in its original form.
I can only say that what Elliott Abrams wrote in NRO about Newt Gingrich based on this long ago speech is not worthy of Elliott Abrams.
And here's the money quote:
• Abrams quotes Newt for saying in this speech that Reagan's policies towards the Soviets are "inadequate and will ultimately fail." This is shameful. Why? Here's what Newt said -- in full and in context:
"The fact is that George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick are right in pointing out the enormous gap between President Reagan's strong rhetoric, which is adequate, and his administration's weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail."
So he criticized Reagan's administration, not Reagan himself. Add to this the frequent reminders that "the establishment never trusted Reagan" and you start to see the bigger picture.
Well, not directly. He meant to endorse Mitt Romney. In a statment, the former Senator from Kansas said:
I have not been critical of Newt Gingrich, but it is now time to take a stand before it is too late. If Gingrich is the nominee it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state and federal offices. Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway.
Gingrich served as speaker from 1995 to 1999 and had trouble within his own party. Already in 1997 a number of House members wanted to throw him out as speaker. But he hung on until after the 1998 elections when the writing was on the wall. His mounting ethics problems caused him to resign in early 1999. I know whereof I speak as I helped establish a line of credit of $150,000 to help Newt pay off the fine for his ethics violations. In the end, he paid the fine with money from other sources.
Gingrich had a new idea every minute and most of them were off the wall. He loved picking a fight with Bill Clinton because he knew this would get the attention of the press. This and a myriad of other specifics helped to topple Gingrich in 1998.
In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads, and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year. Newt would show up at the campaign headquarters with an empty ice-bucket in his hand — that was a symbol of some sort for him — and I never did know what he was doing or why he was doing it.
In my opinion if we want to avoid an Obama landslide in November, Republicans should nominate Governor Romney as our standard bearer. He has the requisite experience in the public and private sectors. He would be a president we could have confidence in.
When Mitt Romney is endorsed by Senators Dole and McCain, arguably two of the weakest Republican nominees since Adlai Stevenson, it can only help the former Speaker.
UPDATE: Mea maxima culpa. The Refugee meant to say Thomas Dewey, not Adlai Stevenson. He regrets the error. (And should fact check himself from time to time.)
Those of you who count Newt Gingrich's portliness as one of his many electoral handicaps, and I admit such a bias, may rest assured at least on this one count. In a lengthy and entertaining piece by RCP's Carl M. Cannon entitled Newt vs. Mitt: Can a Fat Man Beat a Thin Man? the author summarizes the social science:
Once again, the sexist double-standard manifested itself. Female "candidates" who carried excess weight were routinely devalued more than similarly girthed male candidates. But that wasn’t all. There was fascinating data about portly men: Overweight men -- but not truly obese men -- actually were judged more positively than thin ones. "Larger body size may be an asset for male candidates," Miller and Lundgren stated in a subsequent paper, postulating that this finding was not inconsistent with the gender bias they detected. "There is significant pressure for women in western society to be thin," they wrote, "but for men there is pressure to have muscle mass."
After watching a large part of this David Stockman interview with Bill Moyers I'm about ready to adopt the dirty hippies #Occupy meme. When they villified "Wall Street" and "Greedy Corporations" I always had a mental image of Fidelity Investments and WalMart. But if I replace that with Goldman Sachs and General Electric I think we would agree on more than we differ.
This also magnifies my distrust of the GOP establishment and, by association, the Romney candidacy.
Thousands of loggers lost their jobs in the American Northwest because of dubious claims about wiping out the last of the spotted owls. This is just one example of environmental extremists' non-linear cost benefit analysis doing irreparable harm to the livelihoods of American workers.
The latest glaring example of this is TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL Pipeline project. Despite the safety record showing pipelines to be the "safest, most efficient and economical way" to move the natural resource called crude oil, environmental activists have chosen spill hazards as the primary reason to oppose private construction of the new pipeline. But America is already criss-crossed by 55,000 miles of oil pipelines, many of which are small, old and in disrepair. And the spill rate [pg. 9] for those lines is 0.00109 incidents (spill of 50 bbl or more) per mile per year. That calculates to 60 spills every year. The estimated spill rate for the modern new Keystone XL [pg. 10] is 0.186 spills per year, anywhere over its entire 1371 mile length. (.000136 incidents per mile per year)
So the question every American voter should ask himself is, would I quit my job and ask 19,999 of my neighbors to quit theirs in order to avoid increasing the pipeline spill incident rate by 0.3 percent? (And have you even noticed any of the sixty-odd spills that already happen each year?)
It seemed like a big deal last Wednesday when Sarah Palin said if she were a South Carolina voter she would vote for Newt to keep the nomination contest going a while longer. In retrospect, big deal is a giant understatement. Weekly Standard:
According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Newt Gingrich now enjoys the support of 52 percent of Tea Party voters, and his huge advantage among such voters has vaulted him into the national lead in the GOP presidential race. The poll was taken yesterday, two days after Gingrich's win in the South Carolina primary, and it shows the former speaker leading Mitt Romney by an overall margin of 7 percentage points -- 35 to 28 percent. That result marks a 10-point swing between the two candidates from six days earlier, when Romney led Gingrich by 3 points in Rasmussen's polling (30 to 27 percent), and a 20-point swing from 19 days earlier, when Romney led Gingrich by 13 points (29 to 16 percent).
No doubt buoyed in part by the recent near-endorsement of Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin -- as well as that of Allen West (R., Fla.) -- Gingrich's level of support among Tea Party voters has risen from 24 percent shortly after Iowa (at which point he was tied with Romney among such voters), to 39 percent last Tuesday, to 52 percent in current polling.
No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others.
As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat. If we drift, quarreling and paralyzed, over a Niagara of debt, we will all suffer, regardless of income, race, gender, or other category. If we fail to shift to a pro-jobs, pro- growth economic policy, there'll never be enough public revenue to pay for our safety net, national security, or whatever size government we decide to have.
As a loyal opposition, who put patriotism and national success ahead of party or ideology or any self-interest, we say that anyone who will join us in the cause of growth and solvency is our ally, and our friend. We will speak the language of unity. Let us rebuild our finances, and the safety net, and reopen the door to the stairway upward; any other disagreements we may have can wait.
The speech itself was excellent, and the delivery by Indiana's Governor Daniels had the added benefit of making Mitt Romney sound, by comparison, like a dynamo.
All the organization and money in the world can’t force folks to vote for you if they don’t want to, and now that Newt’s inoculated himself against further Super PAC attack ads and renegade ex-wives, it’s unlikely that Romney can carpet-bomb him as effectively as he did in Iowa. Newt’s now like one of those nuked Japanese film creatures that not only was not destroyed but is back, bigger, badder and more cheesed off than ever. -- NRO Michael Walsh
Read on to find analogies to the Battle of Gettysburg (primary election) and the boxer vs. the puncher (general election.)
The establishment GOP punditry has been dutifully besmirching Newt Gingrich as "radical" and "erratic." Too much so, they say, to be elected president much less hold the office. But what about the other guy? IBD's editorial page appreciates the way that Newt goes about reminding the media, and the voters, who that guy in the Oval Office really is.
Alinsky's radicalism despises capitalism, entrepreneurship, individualism and, most of all, American exceptionalism. It is the genesis of Obama's demonization of the successful and his passion for the redistribution but not the creation of wealth. It's at the heart of his ongoing apology tour where he tells the world we are sorry for acting like we are mankind's last best hope for mankind, a belief Newt Gingrich shares with President Ronald Reagan.
Obama's is the belief system that Newt Gingrich told NBC's David Gregory, "is fundamentally different from probably 80% of this country." That would be a comfortable electoral majority, would it not? Does Mitt Romney even know how to pronounce "Alinsky?"
<understatement>Bret Stephens is a little down in the dumps</understatement>
In The GOP Deserves to Lose, he makes our commentariat look energized and enthusiastic. You'll want to read the whole thing, but the ThreeSources Style Guide dictates that I excerpt. Where to start? Where to stop?
As for the current GOP field, it's like confronting a terminal diagnosis. There may be an apparent range of treatments: conventional (Romney), experimental (Gingrich), homeopathic (Paul) or prayerful (Santorum). But none will avail you in the end. Just try to exit laughing.
Getting a taste?
Finally, there are the men not in the field: Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour. This was the GOP A-Team, the guys who should have showed up to the first debate but didn't because running for president is hard and the spouses were reluctant. Nothing commends them for it. If this election is as important as they all say it is, they had a duty to step up. Abraham Lincoln did not shy from the contest of 1860 because of Mary Todd. If Mr. Obama wins in November--or, rather, when he does--the failure will lie as heavily on their shoulders as it will with the nominee.
A lot of viewers were expecting Gladiator Newt to burst upon the stage, unsheath his sword, behead a moderator or two, hurl the decapitated-anchor noggin into the audience and bellow, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?" But this was a comparably subdued Newt. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
The WSJ Ed page analysis of The Gingrich Challenge is 20/20. If Romney can't beat Gingrich he probably can't beat Obama, and if Gingrich doesn't discipline himself, stay on message, and broaden his appeal then he won't succeed either.
The Republican nominee will have to make a sustained and specific case that Mr. Obama's policies made the recovery weaker than it should have been (stimulus, health care), squandered resources on political boondoggles (Solyndra), and how and why GOP policies will do better. Mr. Romney's 59 economic proposals are fine but forgettable little ideas. He needs a big idea.
Gingrich has been talking about these big ideas. However...
Mr. Gingrich will also eventually need a more inclusive message than he is now offering. He made a stab at it in his South Carolina victory remarks by mentioning the strengths of his competitors. His bow to Mr. Paul's "sound money" platform was especially shrewd, but then he kept talking and talking in his familiar undisciplined fashion.
He needs to practice the politics of addition with independents and nonconservatives.
The TEA Party is dead, they say? Not so quick. But remember it's the message, not the messenger, that we will reward.
What a great weekend for blogging and, pari passu, a rotten weekend for getting other stuff done.
The discussion of the GOP race was thoughtful and fun and spirited and serious -- everything I love. With several threads going, I risk another to address a direct statement: "So what you're saying is, Newt doesn't love liberty."
Yes. I am saying that at the bottom of the Speaker's [adjective], [adjective] heart is a Teddy-Rooseveltian desire to wield the levers of government to do great things. As Professor Reynolds would say, "What could possibly go wrong?"
I back this scurrilous charge with the Speaker's support for ethanol subsidies, and his lobbying-but-not-really-lobbying for Freddie Mac and previous support of the GSE model.
If we need a man to school Juan Williams and John King, by all means. If we need a consistent voice for liberty, then we should vote for...ummm...wait a minute...it'll come to me...
Note the possessive plural; I have been out-pragmated, Big time.
I appreciate the good words about Governor Romney. They are indeed palliative. But take a little walk with me (anybody read Issacson's Stove Jobs book? Five stars!) If your number one goal is defeating the President, isn't your best choice Senator Santorum?
The guy drives me nuts and has anchored the bottom of my list since Rep. Bachmann left the race. But somebody suggested that this is a time to be positive.
Articulates Free Market Principles. This has indeed been a nice surprise. He quietly and convincingly keeps making the case in interviews and debates. Now I think his manufacturers' tax break and his family engineering contravene those positions -- but there's been worse and he has a good story for each.
Evangelical Electoral Power. Libertarians love to talk, evangelicals vote. And give money. And walk precincts. And call their friends. And go GOTV. And serve as election judges. They put George W. Bush in the White House two times. Why not put them to work?
"Reagan Democrats." That's his spiel -- but is there not underlying truth? Middle class, Catholic kid. Grandson of a coal miner (never tire of hearing that one -- you?). Neither Gordon Gekko nor Long Dong Silver nor Crazy Uncle Wilfred. He loses Colorado which may be hopeless, but he puts Pennsylvania in play and pulls Ohio into the Red.
Don't know that I am riding on the Rick Bandwagon, but as we settle down to pragmatic choices of imperfect candidates, we should not leave anyone out.
It's primary election day in South Carolina so I write this not to lobby for a candidate, but to defend his character and that of millions of men who, like him, experienced divorce from a wife.
This issue is a minefield of conflicting opinions and values but I think all would agree that people who divorce, more often than not, disagree on the root cause. As Taranto summarizes, Marianne told Brian Ross (with prompting) "Oh, he was asking to have an open marriage and I refused." Taken with her claim that he first asked for a divorce Taranto sees an important distinction:
In either case, there is an enormous difference between offering such an arrangement as a "compromise" to a spouse who does not wish to divorce, which is what Mr. Gingrich appears to have done, and flat-out asking for an open marriage.
This was my surmise even before reading of the details. "When she refused to divorce he probably said something like, 'What, do you just want to continue a marriage in name only?" He was determined not to be kept in servitude to a marriage that had died 12 years earlier. Taranto continues:
There is also evidence that the Gingriches' marriage had been troubled for years before the split. National Review's Robert Costa notes a 1999 Associated Press report on their separation, which revealed some background:
Documents related to the divorce filed Friday in Cobb County Superior Court include a separation agreement signed by the couple and notarized in December 1987. There is no indication it was ever filed.
Browning said Marianne Gingrich called her husband on his birthday in June 1987 to tell him she was leaving him. Gingrich, he said, came back to Georgia to find his home emptied out.
Browning said the pair maintained separate residences for six years before reconciling in late 1993 or early 1994.
There's no way to know who was at fault in the first separation, and while it is not in dispute that Mr. Gingrich committed adultery before the actual divorce, the 1987 story leads one to wonder if he was completely to blame for the ultimate breakup.
Newt and Marriane reportedly married in 1981 and just six years later, Marianne moved out taking everything but a television and a guest bed. In retrospect I'm sure Newt regrets not finalizing a legal split with his estranged wife in less than the 12 years it ultimately took, but only a bitter shrew would maintain that he owed any matrimonial duty to her during that time.
And what of the 6 years they were married? It's apparent to me it was a bad match from the beginning. If either is guilty of anything it is first and foremost poor judgment in marrying to begin with.
Now can we get back to the 100% of GDP national debt, economy-wrecking taxation and regulation, evisceration of our military and national security secrets and Euro-socialization of American society? By all accounts Newt, Mitt, Rick, Ron, Rick, Jon, Michele, Gary, Herman and Tim are all now happily married. Thank you very much.
Before we get into it, let me just say, I disagree with Newt here. I can imagine a lot of things that would be more despicable. A lot more despicable.
Just off the top of my head: John King could have held a gun to a panda cub's head and opened fire every time one of the debaters went over his time limit. Even more despicable, he could have pulled the trigger before the time limit, just to know what it feels like. CNN could have doctored videos of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum so that they appeared to be playing Stratego with each other. Oh, wait did I say "playing Stratego"? I meant to say "having wild gay sex, with a midget riding a pogo stick in the background and an expression that says 'Things are going to get a lot weirder than this.'" -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
The reader can be forgiven if he concludes that the "lacks moral character to be president" opinion belongs to ABC News, and not to Marianne Gingrich who "In her most provocative comments" ... "said Newt sought an "open marriage" arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife."
Yes, that's provocative. Don't see the words president, character, or moral. Read into straight news reports much ABC? I propose that ABC's claim in Marianne's own words would have been much more provocative than this.
Heartfelt condolences to brother Keith. I remember the hurt. AP:
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry will abandon his presidential bid and endorse Newt Gingrich, two Republican officials said Thursday, a move coming just two days before the pivotal South Carolina primary as Republican front-runner Mitt Romney struggles to fend off a challenge from the former House speaker.
If you don't want to spend the better part of the next year trying to drag this sad sack of Mitt across the finish line so he can disappoint us for the next four years, then stand up, speak out, and stop letting the mainstream media and a bunch of Beltway conservatives tell you that the race has to be over with just 1.8% of the delegates needed for a victory awarded. The Tea Party didn't rise up, fight Barack Obama, and help the GOP have its best year in half a century just to see the Republican Party ideologically slide all the way back to the pre-Reagan years as a reward. --John Hawkins
When in the course of a weak field, a blogger flip-flops chooses to reëvaluate a former position, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that he should declare the causes which impel him.
Rep. Ron Paul hit one question out of the park for me last night. Bret Baier asked about military budget cuts and bases in the Palmetto State. (This was early on, before most people fell asleep.) Paul said we might need more bases for his military. We could close bases in Germany and South Korea and open them in South Carolina. He bifurcated spending for "defense" and what he’d call "Empire." I must reluctantly meet him halfway.
So, I'm a Ron Paul guy. I might grow my hair out, maybe join a truther club -- no, seriously, Presidents don't get all their wishes or accomplish all their goals (thank NED!) The correct foreign presence is likely somewhere between the status quo and Rep. Paul's ideal. Nobody else will ever yank a single soldier out of South Korea and I am not convinced that we can afford our current global presence.
So, I hope President Paul does not abandon Israel (still my largest concern) and give Al-Qaeda an "olly-olly-oxen-freeee." But our country's greater, existential threat is four more years of progressive socialism.
We have to fix home and hope the world does not crater during the process. Else, there will be no significant American presence in the world economy or military theater. We have to have our cancer surgery -- even if it means losing the house.
Don Luskin is quite good at it. He pens an instant classic of the genre on the WSJ Ed Page today:
Newt Gingrich's claim about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital--that its business model was "figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company"--is an egregious lie. Yet Mr. Gingrich is not stupid. He and the other Republican primary contenders who have echoed his attack have calculated that the only way to beat President Barack Obama, who uses the words "millionaires and billionaires" as insults, is to join him. It's unanimous, then--capitalism is immoral.
At last, Mitt Romney finds himself with an issue that can define him, an issue about which the 2012 election can be a referendum. This is Mr. Romney's moment to distinguish himself by proudly making a moral case for free-market capitalism.
I fear this is "Mister Romney's moment" in the manner that last Saturday night was "Tim Tebow's moment" and the New Hampshire primary was "Mister Huntsman's moment."
Should Governor Romney prove me wrong, I'd be the happiest blogger in the whole USA, but I suspect Luskin's Jedi mind tricks will fail -- and the guy who wants to institute the first ever progressive cap gains tax will be our nominee.
I cannot disagree with a word of Byron York's post-mortem, yet I remain unapologetic.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC -- A number of Jon Huntsman's core positions were deeply conservative. His pro-growth economic plan was nearly everything the Wall Street Journal editorial page could have wanted. He was strongly pro-life. Strongly Second Amendment. Yet conservative Republicans stayed away from his candidacy in droves, and the few people who were attracted to the Huntsman campaign were moderate Republicans, independents, Democrats -- and the media.
Why? Huntsman's problem was that, whatever his position on some key issues, he sent out political and cultural signals that screamed NPR, and not Fox News, that screamed liberal, and not conservative. Even though conservatives agreed with Huntsman on many things, they instinctively sensed he wasn't their guy. It wasn't hard for them to figure out.
I'll be quiet for awhile, I am still adjusting. I had hoped his candidacy would last long enough for the T-Shirts to arrive. C'est la guerre.
UPDATE: @jamestaranto Huntsman touts "refusal to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful...prosperous...and competitive." So negative.
Fair cop, guv. That was my least favorite aspect of his campaign. He didn't get the "sunny Reagan" memo.
The weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal includes a 2000-word, 2/3-page interview with presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who finished 5th in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary with 9 percent of the vote. The interview is entirely about economic issues. To do a long interview with Santorum and never ask him about his opposition to contraception, his years of homophobic comments and policies, his attacks on "this whole idea of personal autonomy," "this idea that people should be left alone," and the pursuit of happiness is like spending an hour with Barack Obama and asking him only about his "plan to streamline government." -- David Boaz
South Carolina's largest newspaper endorses Gov. Huntsman.
Both men get tagged "moderate," but for different reasons. Mr. Romney is a technocrat, a business leader who focuses on getting the job done. As governor, that meant governing in a way that suited Massachusetts. Today the job is winning the presidency, and if that means "evolving" in his views as the primary electorate swings further right, and running away from his signature accomplishment as governor, so be it.
Mr. Huntsman is a true conservative, with a record and platform of bold economic reform straight out of the free-market bible, but he's a realist, whose goal is likewise to get things done. Under his leadership, Utah led the nation in job creation, and the Pew Center on the States ranked it the best-managed state in the nation.
A Gingrich fundraiser just called up and got an earful. I was my polite self, but said; "I wish you good luck as a person, but not in your effort to raise money for a Republican who attacks Capitalism."
Where is Rick Perry when you need him? I am having a great day! Woooo!
Fortune Magazine editor Dan Primack reviews the new "Winning Our Future" PAC smearomercial about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. He says, "The 'Bain Bomb' is full of wet fuses."
We've been keeping regular track of claims made about Mitt Romney's business history over at our Mitt Meter, but today's video "documentary" from the Gingrich-affiliated Winning Our Future PAC requires its own post. The ominous music, deep-voiced narrator and tails of worker woe were all to be expected. But I also thought that the video would get most of its basic facts correct (and then cover them in innuendo). I was wrong.
Gotta admire Newt's tenacity and dedication to political victory but objectivity, fairness and free market fundamentals obviously escape him.
Unsuccessful or "diseased" businesses are a threat to overall economic health by preventing their labor and capital from going to productive enterprises. And he took them over by buying them, at a market clearing price. What's so awful about any of this? Only that the business failed in the first place, which completely predated any involvement by Bain or Romney.
Gov. Huntsman's 17% portends poorly for his chances. He needed a Santorumesque close second finish, and I don't think the Palmetto State polity favors him. I'll "go down with the ship" I suppose, but see myself settling for Gov. Romney as all the non-Mormon candidates go completely insane. A strategic caucus for Romney vis-á-vis Sen. Santorum or a quixotic one for Huntsman looks like the decision.
But I don't have to like it.
Dan McLaughlin (I'm guessing that's my buddy, @baseballcrank) sees danger in dropping our integrity to support Governor Romney -- just because he is not President Obama, just cause he has an 'R.'
The other point I would make about integrity is that it goes close to the core of why a Romney nomination worries me so much: because we would all have to make so many compromises to defend him that at the end of the day we may not even recognize ourselves. Romney has, in a career in public office of just four years (plus about 8 years' worth of campaigning), changed his position on just about every major issue you can think of, and his signature accomplishment in office was to be wrong on the largest policy issue of this campaign. Yes, Obama is bad, and Romney can be defended on the grounds that he can't possibly be worse. Yes, Romney is personally a good man, a success in business, faith and family. But aside from his business biography, his primary campaign has been built entirely on arguments and strategies -- about touting his own electability and dividing, coopting or delegitimizing other Republicans -- none of which will be of any use in the general election. What, then, will we as politically active Republicans say about him?
In other words, if the election is going to turn into a contest over the future of the free enterprise system, the pro-free enterprise side of it sure doesn't want to wind up losing because of a flawed messenger, because the consequences of losing such a fight could be really devastating. The message of New Hampshire is that the people of that state, who know Mr. Romney well, find him a better messenger than any of the other candidates who were running. These are the same primary voters who chose Senator McCain on the last go-round. -- Ira Stoll
On Iowa caucus night Sarah Palin commented that the GOP marginalizes Ron Paul and his supporters at its peril for they understand that "a lot of Americans are war weary and we are broke." Coming from an ardent supporter of Israel this is a rather bold, and welcome, statement.
An old friend went into greater depth on the Paul candidacy on his website yesterday. I've been missing the rational insights of Minneapolis' Jason Lewis since Denver's KHOW radio foolishly replaced him in their lineup with *yawn* Sean Hannity. But I've since reconnected courtesy of iheart radio (iheart.com) 1130 AM in Minnesota. I'll excerpt only his close but the concise explanation he gives of Paul's three major issues that have "tapped into an emerging national sentiment that not only transcends party politics but speaks to a new generation of Americans fed up with the status quo and desperate for real change" is well worth your read.
Whether Ron Paul is the right messenger remains to be seen; as the GOP field winnows, polls show that he’s unlikely to be the second choice of Republican voters looking for a new candidate. But the message isn’t going away, and the two major parties ignore it at their own peril. As the Arab Spring demonstrated, cultural and political change usually begins with a select few, but those who are pushing the envelope today are often considered mainstream tomorrow.
A flawed messenger certainly, but America would clearly benefit from a less paternalistic relationship with the rest of the planet. Not disengagement as he sometimes seems to advocate, but closing a few hundred overseas military bases and a nearly complete end to foreign aid would be a good start. Strategic alliances must continue but the foreign national defense welfare business is long past due for the Bain Capital treatment.
I sent Professor Reynolds a nasty email a few minutes ago, complaining that Gov. Huntsman was always the butt of a joke on Instapundit. He links to a Bryan Preston piece with video of four very young Huntsman supporters who are well spoken and intelligent. Shooting from the hip, one exuberant lad applauds his moderation (which his friends define as not pandering to social conservatives) and says his Democrat friends wonder why he doesn't run as a Democrat.
Game, set match for Preston -- and sadly Reynolds who links with the same headline.
I suggest Larry Kudlow provides the answer, buried in a story about Gov. Romney:
So far as I know this is the first time that Governor Romney has endorsed the modified flat tax embodied in Bowles-Simpson. Jon Huntsman, who I think won the Sunday-morning debate in New Hampshire, has endorsed this from day one, with three rates of 8%, 14%, and 23%, plus a corporate tax rate of 25% (which Mr. Romney shares). The Wall Street Journal labeled this plan "exceptional." Governor Huntsman would blow out nearly all the deductions and exemptions in the code to properly broaden the base and generate additional revenues along with the revenue-generating growth impact of new incentives.
This is the guy who is "too moderate" for the Tea Party? I have too few hairs to waste pulling them out, but...
The numbers are in. AEI's Christopher J. Connover compares state heatlthcare and medicare spending during the tenures of "My Three Governors."
I'll cede that Utah and Texas likely had more helpful legislatures than "the commonwealth," but Gov. Huntsman comes out very well.
The available evidence suggests that Huntsman has a slightly better record than Perry in "bending the cost curve" both for health spending in general and Medicaid spending in particular, along with a decidedly superior record in that regard compared to Governor Romney. Also, Romney has overseen a rising burden of health spending during his time in office, whereas both Perry and Huntsman have seen this burden fall relative to the rest of the nation. The caveat is that Romneycare may possibly have begun to reverse the trend of relatively rising health spending for health facilities in Massachusetts. But we cannot be absolutely certain of this, given that the recession arrived just as Romneycare was being implemented. As with so many indicators of performance and characters, voters will simply have to make up their minds using imperfect information.
FORT MILL, S.C. (AP) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is likening front-runner Mitt Romney's former private equity firm to "vultures" that ruin workers' lives.
Perry is sharpening his attack in hopes of drawing a clearer contrast on jobs with Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who touts his business credentials. The issue has special salience in South Carolina, where unemployment is high.
Addressing a retiree community in South Carolina, Perry criticized Romney's Bain Capital firm for two business deals that caused job losses in the state. He said private equity firms are "just vultures" that feed off sick companies no matter the human toll.
Wellsir, that re-evaluation was quick. Aren't these people tuned in at all? Kudlow did a whole show and all but bit a Gingrich surrogate last night, Michelle Malkin is furious, the WSJ Ed Page, ThreeSources. UPDATE: Rush, FOXNews... UPDATE II: James Pethokoukis adds himself, National Review, Jennifer Rubin and Akiy Roy, asking "Are there any right-of-center commentators or pundits who think the attacks on Mitt Romney’s Bain career bolster the case for free-market capitalism driven by 'creative destruction?' I haven’t found any yet." UIPDATE III: Taranto
Rush Limbaugh, discussing Newt Gingrich being interviewed by FNC's Megyn Kelley about his criticism of Romney's history at Bain Capital:
GINGRICH: There has to be some sense of everybody's in the same boat -- and I think again, as I said, he's gonna have to explain why would Bain have taken $180 million out of a company and then have it go bankrupt, and to what extent did they have some obligation to the workers? Remember, there are a lot of people who I had a that $180 million, it wasn't just six rich guys at the top, and yet somehow they walked off from their fiduciary obligation to the people who had made the money for them.
RUSH: (sigh) Folks, things happen. Sometimes they happen for a reason. Now, one of the things that you have to say that is happening here is (whether he intends it or not) we're finding out some things about Newt that we didn't know. We're finding out that he looks at "these rich guys," six rich guys and they have an obligation. He sounds like Elisabeth Warren.
"Fiduciary obligation?" I do not think it means what you think it means!
One of the joys of following politics is the collection of great lines you pick up along the way. I love to say about a person "I Knew X. X was a friend of mine. And, son, you're no X." And yet some of my friends fail to catch the allusion to the VP Debate of 1988 -- hell, some of them don't even know who Lloyd Bensten was! I knew Lloyd Bensten. Lloyd Bensten was a friend of mine...
When're a pol on either throws up the obfuscation screen to explain the inexplicable, I turn to VP Al Gore's superb and astounding "no controlling legal authority." I'd have to Google the context (spending campaign dollars on hookers?...) but it is a true classic.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty [come home, Mister Excitement -- all is forgiven!!!] gets that one today. for his answer to "So how come you're supporting the 'ObamneyCare' guy? And how will his magical, mystical waivers work if it doesn't kick until 2017?"
"I don't know if the range of options for waivers is limited just to the waivers addressed in the Obamacare bill itself, or whether there's some existing authority that goes beyond that, that would allow either the president or the Secretary of Health and Human Services to grant waivers," he responded.
Yup, a serious and substantive collection of kind words from Jay Nordlinger. For all the Governor's failings, Nordlinger is right that the treatment of Capitalism from his rivals has been unconscionable:
The last two presidential election cycles have revealed a stinking hypocrisy in conservatives: They profess their love of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but when offered a real capitalist and entrepreneur, they go, "Eek, a mouse!" And they tear him down in proud social-democrat fashion. In the off season, they sound like Friedrich Hayek. When the game is on, they sound like Huey Long, Bella Abzug, or Bob Shrum.
Last time around, Mike Huckabee said Romney "looks like the guy who laid you off." Conservatives reacted like this was the greatest mot since Voltaire or something. To me, Romney looked like someone who could create a business and hire the sadly unentrepreneurial like me.
I've been off the handle at Speaker Gingrich about this, and I guess the Gov. Perry campaign is having fun with the carefully edited audio clip of "I like to fire people." (For those who have not heard it, the context was how he could control a private contractor but not the government.)
I do not recall a single instance of another candidate saying "Whoa, cowboy! I have many differences with the Governor of the Commonwealth, but we should all accept Schumpeterian creative destruction."
The idea for this contrast of visions came to me yesterday, when I searched for a suitable cartoon to highjack and found an excellent cartoon in its own right from the Sarasota Chronicle by way of the (Montana) Missoulian. Being Broncos Playoff Sunday and having chores to do before the game I almost didn't post it, thinking it deserved a good writeup accompaniment. JK's Motor City Madness segue's well: New Orleans says, "Leave us alone" while Detroit still moans, "Take care of us."
In a thinking world based on reason and free will, David Brooks's endorsement should kill a GOP candidacy. The guy who fits the NYTimes definition of a conservative suggests that Santorum's intrusions do not go far enough:
Santorum doesn't yet see that once you start thinking about how to foster an economic system that would nurture our virtues, you wind up with an agenda far more drastic and transformational.
If you believe in the dignity of labor, it makes sense to support an infrastructure program that allows more people to practice the habits of industry. If you believe in personal responsibility, you have to force Americans to receive only as much government as they are willing to pay for. If you believe in the centrality of family, you have to have a government that both encourages marriage and also supplies wage subsidies to men to make them marriageable.
Worth a read just to bathe in its weirdness, Hat-tip @jamestaranto David Brooks wants "wage subsidies to men to make them marriageable." What could possibly go wrong?
All hail Kim Strassel! She catchesthe fundamental flaw in the GOP top-tier candidates.
What both campaigns are in fact doing is following Democrats down the class-warfare rabbit hole. Spooked by the Democrats' inequality theme, the Romney and Santorum campaigns are taking the narrow view, catering to the blue-collar vote, playing the class game.
In an election that needs to be about contrasts, this is point Obama. Game on for candidate Santorum, who gets to explain why his own policies for government to reward certain classes of citizens over others are any different than Mr. Obama's. Or let's see candidate Romney knock Mr. Obama's proposals to further tax America's job creators, those Mr. Romney thinks are doing "just fine." The bigger risk is that a Republican president actually pursues these distorting economic policies, sacrificing growth.
UPDATE: Brother br highlighted a Huntsman apostasy from HuffPo, and does not accept my complaint that it is not a direct quote:
Huntsman, by contrast, has argued for banks to be reduced in size, and for stricter limits to be placed on the type of financial activities they can undertake.
Taken as 100% face value: we currently regulate banks and we have proven that we will not allow the largest to fail. I remain the lasseiz fairest of them all, but in that world, keeping private institutions away from presenting systemic risk to global liquidity is not exactly nationalization.
And taken at its 100% worse, it is far less a threat to liberty than the things I routinely hear -- and Strassel highlights -- from the Romney and Santorum campaigns.
The President of the United States wants to run America "on behalf of the American people" unilaterally, without the consent of Congress, the Supreme Court, or the governed.
On the other hand: [at the 3 minute mark]
"And we had the task, where we are very successful, is reintroducing some ideas Republicans needed for a long time, and that is the conviction that freedom is popular. But once again we have had a fantastic showing for this cause and challenging people, not the status quo that we have been putting up with for decades after decade, but challenging them and saying, you know, let's challenge 'em - let's go back to this real old-fashioned idea, this very dangerous idea - let's obey the Constitution!"
I don't know about y'all but I'm beginning to be "scared straight."
And he could use it to purchase this year's election.
I couldn't believe my ears on this one. Partially because the prospect of Obama giving new lower rate mortgages to every Fannie and Freddie mortgage holder is so outrageous, and partially because I heard it from Rush Limbaugh before JK posted it. (And Rush is on 2-hour delay in Denver!)
And the beauty part for Obama? He wouldn't need approval from Congress to do it. Even though many Republicans would scream that the plan would reward irresponsible homeowners who took on too much leverage -- indeed, talk of a housing bailout is what launched the Tea Party movement -- they probably couldn't stop it.
But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. (Applause.) I've got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I'm not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve. (Applause.) Not with so much at stake, not at this make-or-break moment for middle-class Americans. We're not going to let that happen. (Applause.)
Yesterday, Barack Obama was in Shaker Heights, Ohio, to deliver his awful class-war speech again. On page 39 of Mr. Romney's 160-page economic plan, he attacks the president's "inflammatory" rhetoric against "so-called millionaires and billionaires." Mr. Romney adds: "He actually includes every household earning more than $250,000 in that category." But turn to the next page, and you read that Mr. Romney will eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest "for any taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of under $200,000." -- Dan Henninger
Houston? We have a problem.
UPDATE: A great friend of this blog emails a link to Paul Hoffmeister in Forbes.com. This is a read-the-whole-thing piece.
The most important question to predict a presidential race is whether the GOP nominee is sufficiently pro-growth. Jude Wanniski, one of the godfathers of supply-side economics, noted that, since 1896, only supply-side Republicans have become President. Voters only elect Republicans that credibly support sound money and low taxes.
This was true from McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft between 1896 and 1908, to Harding and Coolidge during the 1920's, to Reagan and George W. Bush during the last 30 years. Of course, some Republicans faked it during their campaign and won; for example, Eisenhower (1952), Nixon (1972), and George H. W. Bush (1988). And, predictably, "austerity" Republicans have never been elected president; for example, Hoover (1932), Goldwater (1964), George H.W. Bush (1992) and Dole (1996).
This simple but powerful historical pattern is testimony to our remarkable democratic system. American democracy has developed two political parties: a party of economic growth and a party of income redistribution. If a credible plan for growth is offered, the electorate will vote for it. If such a plan is not offered, then it will vote for income redistribution, hoping that the party of growth will get its act together someday.
UPDATE II: The author's name is "Hoffmeister" not Huffmeuster (corrected). I managed a typo and a misspelling in one word.
Splitting the well-moisturized, salt&pepper, Mormon guy vote?
Right now, Huntsman has only received 700 votes, or about 1 percent of all votes cast. In a normal race, this would be nothing more than a blip. But this isn't a normal race.
With 96 percent of the vote in, Rick Santorum is leading Mitt Romney by a razor thin margin of 79 votes.
Entrance poll data suggested that Huntsman's support came exclusively from "moderate or liberal" voters, a subset which made up just 17 percent of the electorate, but which Romney carried over Santorum 35 percent to 8 percent.
If the final numbers are similar to these, Santorum might want to send Huntsman a belated Christmas present.
Yes, Iowa has pulled that old realtors' trick. You take someone to two houses with similar characteristics and the same price, but one is clearly better than the other. It makes the decision easier. Iowa has taken us to those two houses and Romney's is much better.
Yes, I was up late last night "Go Mitt!!! C'mon Governor Romney!" I don't have a Huckabee-esque antipathy for Senator Santorum in spite of the sweater vests. But he is far down my list as he clearly wants to use government power to advance social agendas. Subsidizing reproduction is likely defensible and I appreciate his nuance on immigration.
But I search like Diogenes (if I may steal Brother BR's metaphor) for a small-government candidate. Senator Santorum is another George W. Bush. While we have seen worse, that is not what I seek.
As a person with some modest experience of life under east-AsianCommunism, I've had a lot of people asking me whether the tears being wept at the funeral of Kim Jong Il are genuine.
Here's my answer: Those tears are more genuine than Newt's. -- John Derbyshire
The Colorado state caucus date is February 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm. You can pre-register and be emailed your caucus location (when it is determined) online. KOA Radio:
The Colorado Republican Party has set up a website for GOP voters to pre-register for the February 7th Caucus. State chairman Ryan Call believes Colorado will play an important role in deciding who becomes the Republican nominee. It will be the 6th state to weigh-in on the race.
Because districts and precinct lines have been redrawn, Call if urging Republicans voters to pre-register at www.caucus.cologop.org . Once you sign up there, you can be emailed your caucus location.
Call believes the turnout on February 7th will be huge. He claims Republicans aren't just choosing a nominee, they're choosing the person who will be our next president.
Is giving money to Gov. Huntsman a complete waste? Possibly, yes. If Mayor Giuliani was unable to pull off a New Hampshire - Florida nomination path in 2008, it is pretty hard to imagine the less well known and less polished Jon Huntsman doing it.
I see two other choices and like neither.
One. Join George Will in acceding to a second Obama term and focus all efforts on a GOP Senate. With Senator Nelson's (D - ObamaCare®) retirement, I don't think even the Republicans can muff this one. But, without the A team running, resign to losing the White House.
Two. Settle for a "front-runner." As blog pragmatist, I am supposed to be the first guy on this train. Surely either a President Romney or President Gingrich will be way better than the current occupant. But I can't.
I meant to blog about this but hoped it would go away:
Incensed by the negative ads that have spoiled his campaign, Newt Gingrich recently complained he'd been "Romneyboated," an allusion to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose ads helped derail Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004.
John O'Neill, the swift-boat captain who led the anti-Kerry movement, is none too pleased with the comparison. "To me, it reflects Gingrich's very cynical hypocrisy, which he shares with Kerry," O'Neill tells National Review Online. That hypocrisy "is the reason why he can appear with [Nancy] Pelosi in climate-change ads and why he can take money from Freddie Mac: If you're part of the political class, [you believe] you're free from any public scrutiny of what you've done." [Bracketed comments in original]
Words cannot describe how offensive that is. That he brings it up. That he identifies with Senator Kerry instead of his critics. That he cannot appreciate other Republicans pointing out what a crappy, lying faced, flip-flopping, unprincipled, hypocritical weasel he is. Perhaps I shouldn't say that. Perhaps I should have said crappy, lying faced, flip-flopping, unprincipled, hypocritical, fat weasel.
Governor Romney is the architect of ObamaCare® His bold tax reform offers capital gains tax breaks for everybody -- everybody who makes less than $200K that is. "The rich" will "have to pay their fair share."
NB likes Senator Santorum. He is on the "Faith, Family, and Freedom" tour -- 33% of which is actually under government purview. He's not "picking winners and losers," he's offering 0% tax rates for manufacturers because their jobs are easy to move overseas. How about the Financial Sector? I think BofA should get 0% too. Can you imagine the lobbyist action on defining "a manufacturer?"
I'd start in on Doctorepresentative Ron Paul but this would turn into a rant. No, my last chance of having somebody I could support is to see Gov. Huntsman stay in.
Whether the ads are fair or not, it's not as if Mitt Romney did anything that the Obama campaign wouldn't do in a general-election contest. Er, let me revise and extend that: If you can't handle what Romney's PACs are sending your way over the airwaves, how will you rebut attack ads coming from the Obama campaign AND the Democratic National Committee AND the unions AND the Soros-funded "independent" groups AND the eager recitation of the criticism from their mainstream-media allies? -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Managerial progressives see only the end -- preventing free-riders from riding for free. And they ignore the collateral damage done by way of the means selected. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have no understanding of first principles. For both of these social engineers, citizens are subjects to be worked-over by the government for their own good. Both men are inclined to treat us as children subject to the authority of a paternalistic state under the direction of a benevolent and omniscient managerial class. -- Paul Rahe in an awesome, comprehensive takedown of the individual mandate.
4. Jon Huntsman needs no worse than a close loss in New Hampshire to keep his campaign going. But should he do that, or even pull off an outright win, maybe voters elsewhere will take another look at his conservative record as a pro-lifer who instituted a flat tax as Utah governor and supports the Paul Ryan approach to entitlement reform.
"Like Ronald Reagan's tax cuts and pro-growth policies, Newt's low individual and corporate tax rates, deregulation and strong dollar monetary policies will create a boom of new investment and economic growth leading to the creation of tens of millions of new jobs over the next decade. Plus, Newt's record of helping Ronald Reagan pass the Kemp Roth tax cuts and enacting the largest capital gains tax cut in history as Speaker of the House shows he can get this plan passed and put it into action."
My name is Eric. I am a boy and I am already 48 years old!! I live in the great city of Fort Lupton. Of course, that's in Colorado, United States but I'll bet you knew that! This year I've been so good that I should be the angel on top of the tree!
Santa Claus, some things I might like for Christmas this year are:
- smart phone;
- new pair of hockey skates; and,
- Rush Limbaugh endorsement for Mitt Romney.
Santa Claus, I almost forgot to say... Please also give something nice to Timmy Tebow and the rest of the Broncos. A deep run into the playoffs would be nice!
Yesterday I wrote of my indecision between Newt and Romney. Today, I've decided. Based upon this report, Newt has lost me.
Gingrich holds that a microscopic clump of largely undifferentiated cells inside a woman’s body deserves the same legal protections as a born infant living independently outside its mother’s body. His dogmatic position utterly defies the facts of pregnancy and the status of the zygote or fetus, as well as the basis and meaning of individual rights. Individuals need rights to live successfully with others; the concept cannot apply to a zygote or fetus wholly contained within another’s body. A woman is an independent person with the right to live her own life in accordance with her own judgment. A zygote or fetus is not. Abortion bans severely harm women and their partners by violating their rights.
Do I believe Romney is "pro-choice?" No more than the Personhood crowd trusts him as anti-choice. But I do find him wise enough to bury the issue, not highlight it.
UPDATE: ThreeSourcer newbies: In a more innocent time, we ran dogsforbush.com, inviting users to submit pictures and stories to support President Bush's re-election. We attracted enough hate attention to make the exercise worthwhile.
I got tired of paying ten bucks a year to keep the domain name, but all the entries are available at www.threesources.com/dogs.
The pro-Democratic super PAC American Bridge has bought the domain and programmed it to redirect to various Web sites, a clever attack on the former House speaker. The link might take you to Freddie Mac's Web site, Tiffany’s, information about Greek cruises , or to the ad Gingrich cut with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in favor of addressing climate change. Sometimes the page goes to a Post article about his campaign's June implosion.
For two days I rested comfortably with my hypothesis that Newt's unpredictability and questionable ideas are best avoided and we'll just go along with Ann Coulter and get behind Romney. "We don't need or maybe even want a conservative crusader in the White House" I mused. "A potted plant with an R after his or her name is what we should seek in order to produce Oval Office signatures on the bills of a TEA Party congress. Leave the ideologues in the smaller, more divested offices of national government."
Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.
Is losing with the firebrand less palatable than losing with the "sure-thing moderate Republican with great hair?" Here's to not having to decide before February 7, the Colorado Caucus date.
He's been the GOP's consistent second-choice since the season began. Not principled enough, activists engaged in a serial struggle to support a challenger to defeat His Presumptiveness. Now they've all had their moment in the sun and the last non-Romney standing, Newt Gingrich, shares too many atributes with a certain Doctor Jekyll.
This morning I was invited to vote in a Townhall-dot-com online National GOP Primary. Huntsman and Santorum, polling below five percent, were not allowable choices. I was asked to pick my first and second choice from the remaining five: Bachmann, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Romney. The exercise has enough of a sense of finality to it that I was unable to bring myself to pick Newt for either choice.
As the Corn Caucus looms, with primaries close behind, prominent TEA Party folk seem to be facing the same deathly-cold dilemma: Newt tells us what we want to hear, but do we believe it? And will America elect a man with so many negatives?
It's true that the liberal media attack Republicans unfairly. But that's a fact to be dealt with, not ignored by nominating a candidate who keeps giving the media so much to work with.
JK brought us news of TEA Party "troublemaker" Christine O'Donnell's endorsement of Mitt.
A quick Internets search reveals that South Carolina's state treasurer Curtis Loftis is now officially a Romney man, as is New Hampshire's Tom Thomson.
Thomson, a tree farmer and son of former New Hampshire governor Mel Thomson, is an influential conservative activist in the Granite State. He is the honorary chairman of the Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire chapter and organizes annual tea party rallies at the New Hampshire State House on tax day.
The endorsement is something of a coup for the Romney team, which hasn’t had much luck wooing tea partiers.
Romney may or may not be the most electable of our choices [Jon!] but he's the most electable of those with a chance to be nominated. I told dagny last night, "All we really need in a president is someone to sign the bills that come out of Congress" anticipating GOP control of both houses. Reaching for more, and falling short - that would be disastrous.
Another figure endorsing Romney is Christine O'Donnell, who declared, "He's been consistent since he changed his mind." Nathan Wurtzel observes, "Yogi Berra wishes he had thought of that one." -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Oh, come on, governor. This isn't like memorizing the periodic table.There are the good guys, Roberts and Alito and Scalia and Thomas. And then there's the guy who determines everything, Kennedy. And then there are Dasher, Dancer, Comet, and Blitzen. -- Jim Geraghty, in Morning Jolt Item #2: Rick Perry's Over-Under on Supreme Court Justices: 8.5 [subscribe]
I saw a few tweets about this this morning and hoped he was misquoted or that it happened in a parallel universe, or that somebody accidentally got Speaker Gingrich confused with Sen. Bernie Saunders (I - VT). Look, I'm even too upset to make a (Communist - VT) or (I - Venezuela) joke. But no, I think this happened: "Newt Strikes Back"
Gingrich: "If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him. And I will bet you $10, not $10,000, that he won't take the offer."
I'll confess I may nave been looking for a dealbreaker against Mister Speaker -- he makes me quite nervous.
But I have found it. Gingrich has been in the public sector too long and has forgotten that the private sector creates wealth. On Kudlow, Gingrich said "Mitt Romney ought to thank me -- it is because of my supply side policies that he got rich." Kudlow loved this line and called for Romney to respond for several consecutive nights on his show.
I'll respond for the Governor, and I am not even on staff. Romney created wealth at Bain Capital with his work and intellect. If a Democratic pol asked a venture capitalist to give him credit for wealth creation, we'd be grabbing for pitchforks. I lost a little respect for Mister Speaker over this -- and actually quite a bit for Kudlow, who knows better.
Gingrich has reviewed some 94 million books on Amazon. I suggest he read a little Joseph Alois Schumpeter before criticizing a successful venture capitalist for directing capital to its best use.
For those who enjoy such things, tonight's GOP Presidential Debate on ABC may have been the best one yet. With his second place in Iowa polls, Ron Paul supporters are burning up the Twitterverse how their guy won. But he didn't. He said many good things but still believes America's interests end at the water's edge. Pity. Tonight's debate was the first round of the "Newt Romney" grudge match. ("Newt Romney" is Michele Bachmann's new term for the co-leaders with very similar and somewhat mercurial positions, versus her "true conservatism.")
Chris Cillizza did a very good job summarizing the night's developments, and this was the most important one I saw:
For all of those folks predicting (or hoping) that Gingrich would implode, tonight was not their night. Make no mistake: there are genuine concerns within the party about what Gingrich leading the national ticket might mean for downballot race next November. But Gingrich gave his detractors very little reason to think that his collapse is in the offing.
But Chris didn't mention what I thought was the quote of the night by Newt Gingrich. [Nothing linkable on this yet as the media kids are focusing on Romney's offer to "bet you ten thousand dollars I never said that" with Rick Perry.] After a prolonged back-and-forth over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and specifically, Newt's prior comment that "the Palestinians are an invented people," Romney chastised Newt, and Newt responded.
Romney: I've also known B.B. Netanyahu for a long time, we worked together at Boston Consulting Group, and the last thing B.B. Netanyahu needs to have is not just a person who's an historian, but somebody who is also running for President of the United States, stand up and say things that create extraordinary tumult in his neighborhood. And if I'm President of the United States I will exercise sobriety, care, stability, and make sure that in a setting like this, anything I say that can effect a place with, with rockets going in, with people dying, I don't do anything that would harm that process. And therefore before I made a statement of that nature I'd get on the phone to my friend B.B. Netanyahu and say, 'Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?' Let's work together because we're partners. I'm not a bomb thrower, rhetorically or literally."
Gingrich: "I think sometimes it is helpful to have a President of the United States with the courage to tell the truth, just as it was Ronald Reagan who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire, and who overruled his entire State Department in order to say to Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall. Reagan believed the power of truth restated the world and reframed the world. I'm a Reaganite. I am proud to be a Reaganite. I will tell the truth, even if it is at the risk of causing some confusion sometimes with the timid."
Romney didn't help himself, I thought, by mispronouncing the Israeli Prime Minister's name "B. B. Not-an-YA-hoo" (rather than Net-an-YA-hoo.) Not once, but every time he said it.
The Ryan Plan is now a "litmus test" for Republican presidential candidates? That would be great if true. Gingrich made a cataclysmic, unforced error earlier this year when he dissed Ryan's bold Medicare reform as "right-wing social engineering" and too big a change too quickly. It was a ridiculous statement when you consider that a) the shift to a premium-support system would not kick in until 2022, b) the plan would operate like the current prescription drug benefit plan, and c) the plan would only affect younger workers.
My strongest point about Gov. Huntsman is that he is the only candidate to embrace the Ryan Plan. And my strongest point against Mister Speaker is his disapprobation.
Well brothers and sisters, I have just read the president's Osawatomie speech, almost in its entireity. Those of us who wondered how he thought he could win re-election can see the answer in this speech. It is a brilliantly deceptive blueprint for a bait-and-switch shell game on the American people.
I actually agreed with most of what he said in the opening, right up until "I am here to say they are wrong" which I would replace with "I am here to say that I am wrong." This comes right after the following passage:
But, Osawatomie, this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement.
Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that's happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.
Yes, Mister President, you are advocating a return to exactly the same practices that got us into this mess: Ever higher taxation, goverment spending more and more of our GDP, greater burdens on private businesses, further layers of coverage mandates for health insurers, interference with supply and demand in higher education which drives costs through the roof and causes shortages of trained blue-collar workers - in short, making life and business more expensive in America and driving jobs overseas. There really is a grave threat to the existence of the American middle class: You, and the repackaged, recycled, and retreaded egalitarian values you seek to "reclaim" demand.
An honest review of history shows us that such wealth-sharing demands - not, as you claim, free market capitalism - have failed to produce economic prosperity. Every, single, time. Free market capitalism has never been allowed more than enough rope with which to hang itself.
UPDATE: IBD Ed Page refutes the top five lies from Obama's Osawatomie speech.
Since hearing soundbites of President Obama's "I'm channeling Theodore Roosevelt" speech yesterday I've wanted to deconstruct one or more of his specious points in a blog post. Before I could do so, Wichita Wordsmith Bud Norman beat me to it. And unlike his evaluation of candidate Newt Gingrich, he has a definitive conclusion this time.
Obama’s favorite straw men were once again eviscerated with all the gusto of John Brown swinging a saber at some pro-slavers. He accused his Republican opposition of wanting to “return to the same practices that got us into this mess,” as if they were all clamoring for the government-enforced subprime lending and exorbitant deficit spending. He characterized the Republican philosophy as “We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules,” which strikes us as an unfairly simplified description, although we must admit it is still a more attractive option that relying on Obama to care for us and playing by his rules.
Just one of many delightful paragraphs, and I'll leave the ending for you as a surprise.
Is it too early to nominate Bud's Central Standard Times for promotion to the blogroll? I'm not sure I could have given the subject such sublime treatment. Indeed, I'd be tempted merely to stoop to a lowly video example of Obama's America.
Not the classical physicist, the Speaker of the House. I linked two articles yesterday showing the strong plusses and strong minuses of the "more conservative than Romney" candidate leading the GOP primary polls at the moment. While searching for supporting material for my "worst event in my lifetime" entry I found a very well written post on a two month old blog out of Wichita that gives the most frank and objective view of Gingrich's political career as I've seen. But be forewarned - the conclusion of blogger "Bud Norman, American" is no firmer than was mine.
The race for the Republican nomination appears to have come down to two intelligent, knowledgeable men in Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Neither of them has a history of down-the-line conservatism. Gingrich can match Romney flip-flop for flip-flop and heresy for heresy. He has supported cap-and-trade legislation, federal funding for embryonic stem- cell research, the expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drugs and a federal requirement for everyone to buy health insurance. He has been neither more consistent nor more conservative than Romney.
Perhaps most significantly, Gingrich has an extensive Hispanic outreach organization, which he has been building for years. Unlike anything in the Romney playbook, that network could give Gingrich a head start slicing into Obama’s base in key states in the Mountain West, where Hispanics are a fast-growing swing voting bloc. Polls show Hispanic voters, two-thirds of whom backed Obama in 2008, still favor the president — but GOP strategists believe that winning 40 percent of that vote could disrupt Obama’s electoral college strategy by putting Colorado, Arizona and Nevada in the Republican column.
GOP strategists acknowledge that Gingrich could well self-destruct before winning the nomination. But if he survives, they say, he may be more formidable than some predict.
Rep Ron Paul, the editors of National Review, and your humble blogservant, jk, agree.
In announcing that their candidate would not attend the Newsmax debate set to be moderated by Donald Trump in Iowa later this month, the Ron Paul campaign wrote, "The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office's history and dignity."
Trump, via Twitter, countered that Huntsman "has zero chance of getting the nomination. Whoever said I wanted to meet him?"
In other news, Huntsman and Gingrich will debate "Lincoln-Douglas style" in New Hampshire this month. "Michael Levoff, a spokesman for Huntsman's campaign, said the date, place and debate rules are still being worked out" but other reports cite December 12.
Jeopardy® champion and frequent Kudlow guest James Pethokoukis says yes.
If elected president, Huntsman says he would like to slash tax rates to their lowest levels since before America entered World War I and eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends. Powerful supply-side medicine for an anemic economic recovery. Huntsman has embraced Representative Paul Ryan's transformational, market-oriented debt-reduction plan, calling it "the model I would work from." He's also pro-life, a dedicated free trader and--at least as evidenced by his sweeping bank reform plan--an ardent anti-crony capitalist.
To be fair, Jimi P comes out of the closet for Newt two tweets later. But the Huntsman piece is a powerful argument that should sit well with a lot of ThreeSourcers.
UPDATE: Misread. Pethokoukis was MTing @ellencarmichael, not endorsing the Speaker himself.
The infamous "Rick Perry moment" in which he forgot the third of three federal agencies that he would abolish, while Ron Paul upped the ante to five agencies, fosters an image that Republicans want to take a meat cleaver to government. While that plays well in Three Sources, it does not engender thoughtful reform more likely to win over the masses.
Instead, The Refugee would suggest that candidates focus on the programs that they would privatize. Perhaps a poster child for this effort would be USDA's crop forecasting, profiled in today's WSJ for its highly inaccurate corn estimates. USDA sends out field personnel to stake out 15'x15' field plots and then measure the length of ears and extrapolate total crop size from there. Estimates are updated on a monthly basis. USDA corn estimates during the past two years have been more than 10% off, causing enormous price swings that damage both producers and buyers.
Seriously? 15x15 plots? Monthly reports? Surely entrepreneurs could find a way to use easily accessible satellite images, highly accurate rainfall guages and other calculations to generate more accurate estimates. It would seem that such a system could be updated on a daily basis for the effects of rain, flooding, drought, etc. Competing firms would give farmers and markets more data points from which to reach their own conclusions.The total cost to the economy might or might not be less (farmers and investors would likely have to buy a subscription to the data), but it would more accurately match cost with revenue and be borne by those who directly benefit.
There are likely a myriad of other programs that can be performed as well or better privately, such as the National Weather Service, National Earthquake Center and on and on. Could we not easily identify at least 30% of the government that can be done as well or better privately?
Targeting specific programs for privatization, rather than lopping off whole agencies, is much more likely to be politically palatable. Eliminating departments is a right-wing pipedream that lefty debate moderators use to frame Republicans as "extreme." Let's change the argument.
Upon castigation by my brother for "gravitating toward" another "sure loser" I've reevaluated the differences between the records of the two Mormon ex-governors in the race. Not long ago br'er JK had me purt near convinced Huntsman is the best man to debate President Demand-the-Unearned for all the marbles. But that's sorta like letting Oregon go to the Rose Bowl for beating UCLA while Stanford watches helplessly due to an accident of arbitrary divisionalization. In our patented alternate universe, make Romney governor of Utah and saddle Huntsman with Massachusetts - then see which one shares nicknames with an anthropomorphic teevee dolphin.
I'm not jumping off his bandwagon yet, but if Jon really has the chops to "Tebow" the GOP field there are 4 weeks left, Herman Cain just punted the ball and it's first down on his own 2 yard line (while Newt also has the ball at his 25.) Time to start making plays and gaining ground, in big chunks.
Last night's Huckabee Forum on FNC did a good job of summarizing the state of the nominating campaign as we begin December 2011, on "2012 Eve" if you will. While Florida AG Pam Biondi was the most pleasing to watch, Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli was by far the best questioner. In this video segment he discusses several of the candidates and declines to name his current favorite, instead saying "there's opportunity, even in the next month, for these candidates to flesh out their positions in ways that make them unique and special and make them somebody that conservatives in particular could get behind." That really validates my current mood that the question is not settled.
Yesterday, he posted a list of quotes from Speaker Gingrich that he felt would not excite the serious, tea party, conservative, republican base that seeks to keep that serial flip flopper Romney away from the nomination. They are somewhat devastating.
Today, he defends himself from the hate mail (some dared to call him "RINO!") in a superb Morning Jolt email. You're mad if you don't subscribe, but I cater to the afflicted by copying the entire Newt section as an extended entry (click "continue reading...")
If I may join the Speaker in using more adverbs to prop up my apparrunt intelligence: it's singularly devastating.
UPDATE: Verum Serum unearths product of his lobbying professorial history advisement for Freddie Mac: (HT: Insty)
The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownership and the housing finance system. We have a much more liquid and stable housing finance system than we would have without the GSEs. And making homeownership more accessible and affordable is a policy goal I believe conservatives should embrace.
Well, it’s not a point of view libertarians would embrace. But I am more in the Alexander Hamilton-Teddy Roosevelt tradition of conservatism. I recognize that there are times when you need government to help spur private enterprise and economic development.
You read the grand collection of easily forgotten Newt quotes on Campaign Spot yesterday, right? I went to Memeorandum last night to find it at the top of the page.
Unsurprisingly, those who preferred somebody besides Newt loved it; Newt fans insisted that it was A) evidence that NR will endorse Romney, B) evidence that I've been bought off by Mitt Romney, C) a tirade (somehow quoting Newt constitutes a tirade), or D) RINO!
It's just so farshtunken tiresome.
Streiff at RedState suggests I'm a "gnome," scoffing, "I'm sure there is an army of gnomes out there, this very instant, researching every exotic statement Gingrich has uttered in his career. This will be a full employment plan not only for those gnomes but their children because every time Gingrich has had a thought he has told a newspaper somewhere about it."
Of course. I suppose all true conservatives shrug nonchalantly at the thought of a candidate and potential president who feels the need to publicly proclaim every thought that comes into his head.
I don't doubt that Gingrich is brilliant. But he's also extraordinarily undisciplined, quick to come up with ideas, quick to tout and celebrate them, and quick to discard them, a form of intellectual attention-deficit disorder that marks his post-congressional career.
For example, in 2003, he offered an explosive and provocative argument that President Bush's foreign policy was being undermined by his own diplomatic corps, and he passionately declared, "Only a top-to-bottom reform and culture shock will enable the State Department to effectively spread U.S. values and carry out President George W. Bush's foreign policy." This was (and still is!) bold stuff, his article caused a big stir, his contentions outraged then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and every diplomat, Gingrich got a lot of attention . . . and then nothing happened. No reforms were enacted. Gingrich moved on to his next big idea for American renewal, and for all the hubbub, we have the exact same culture at Foggy Bottom that we always had.
Most of Newt's big initiatives since leaving office have had this big-talk, little-action pattern: the task force on U.N. reform, the Hart-Rudman Commission (it talked a lot about terrorism in 1999, but nobody was listening), etc. I suppose you could argue that his Center for Health Transformation was an exception, as it helped create the prescription-drug benefit for Medicare, but then again, a lot of conservatives see that as another unfunded expansion of an entitlement program.
He proposed U.S. efforts to remove Yassir Arafat from power in April 2002. Bold idea, went nowhere (became moot in late 2004). Later that year, he attacked Walter Mondale (the Democrats' Senate candidate in Minnesota after Paul Wellstone was suddenly killed in a plane crash) by saying that Mondale wanted to privatize Social Security and raise the retirement age. He constantly blurts these things out, and because he's a former speaker, there are rarely any lasting consequences. As the Republican nominee or as the American president, there would be big consequences.
Hey, look, if you've written me off as a hopeless RINO, how about Mark Steyn? Jeff Poor at the Daily Caller caught Steyn sitting in for Rush earlier this week:
Filling in for Rush Limbaugh on his radio show Tuesday, Steyn referenced a Pundit & Pundette blog post that suggested Gingrich sounds smarter on the debate stage because he uses so many adverbs.
"You watch him in the debates," Steyn said. "It's all 'profoundly, dramatically deeply compelling. All the action is in the adverbs. One of my problems again with Newt is like he's bursting with ideas that sound all as if they are coming from a self-help manual. If you remember back in his heyday, he had something called 'The Triangle of American Progress.' And that evolved into the "Four Pillars of American Civilization,' which in turn expanded into the 'Five Pillars of the Twenty-First Century.'"
And the growth of those programs, from three-to-four-to-five points, doesn't lend a lot of credence to any hopes Gingrich would scale back government.
"And by the way, just the sort of grade inflation going on in his plans," Steyn added, "makes him sound as a wee bit of a dodgy prospect when comes to actually slashing back government."
A couple of people wondered when we would see a similar list of Mitt Romney's deviations from conservative thinking. Well, there's this thing that Tim Pawlenty called "Obamneycare," and he used to emphasize that he was pro-choice, and he used to boast that he was an independent during Reagan-Bush and . . . what's that? You've heard all of that? Yeah, me too. In fact, we spent most of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 hashing this stuff out. The primary difference (no pun intended) between last cycle and this cycle is that the enactment of Obamacare has put the issue of the individual mandate front and center, and Romney's view is that we must fight all the way to the Supreme Court to ensure that the federal government never thinks it has the authority to make us buy health care, so that the states are free to make us buy health care instead.
Despite having deep worries about Gingrich's temperament in office, I'm not that anti-Newt. If he gets the nomination I'll be strapping on my helmet and doing my best to replace President Obama with President Gingrich. And I'll really be hoping for some kick-tush veep who will hopefully be able to keep Gingrich focused on enacting his best ideas. (Hint, hint.)
If you prefer Gingrich to Romney or any other candidate, fine. But don't tell me you're choosing Gingrich over Romney because the latter is an inconsistent, unreliable, fair-weather conservative, and the former isn't.
Surging to double digits in the polls! Mary Kaye's husband might be having his moment.
Russ Douthat pens a piece on Governor Huntsman's political missteps, but the paragraphs before the "but" constitute a ringing endorsement:
It’s a plausible line, evoking William F. Buckley Jr.'s often-quoted admonition that right-of-center voters should support the most electable conservative in any given race. But is it accurate? Not if you judge candidates on their record, rather than by their affect [sic?]. By that standard, the most electable conservative remaining in the Republican race is probably Jon Huntsman.
Huntsman is branded as the Republican field's lonely moderate, of course, which is one reason why he's current languishing at around 3 percent in the polls. But as Michael Brendan Dougherty noted in a summertime profile for the American Conservative, Huntsman's record as Utah's governor isn't "just to the right of other moderates, it is to the right of most conservatives."
The only candidate supporting the Ryan plan. Let that one sink in...
Lest we forget, has yet to be played in the 2012 nomination contest (derisively called "the ongoing Gong Show courtesy of the GOP dunceworks" by a commenter at JK's Huntsman Rising! link.) While the race has proven to be a combination of the Romney establishment candidacy and a game of musical chairs between the "anti-Romney's, an endorsement by the ex-governor from the AK time zone is a development that still promises a tectonic effect on the race. And RCP's Scott Conroy says, Gingrich May Have Inside Track on Palin's Endorsement.Gingrich May Have Inside Track on Palin's Endorsement
Palin and her advisers have in recent weeks discussed when her endorsement might have the greatest impact on the race, but the timing remains undetermined.
But Palin would likely have the biggest influence if she were to back a candidate before the Iowa caucuses. Her still considerable clout with the evangelical and Tea Party-leaning wings of the party could have a particularly significant impact in Iowa and in the first-in-the-South primary in South Carolina.
Aides emphasized that while Gingrich currently appears to be the front-runner for Palin’s endorsement, her thinking could change.
Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen are Clintonistas, to be sure, but their WSJ guest editorial seems a cri de coeur from a serious branch of the Democratic Party:
When Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election to the White House, both men took the moral high ground and decided against running for a new term as president. President Obama is facing a similar reality--and he must reach the same conclusion.
He should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president's accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Never before has there been such an obvious potential successor--one who has been a loyal and effective member of the president's administration, who has the stature to take on the office, and who is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy.
I suggest Secretary Clinton would win in a landslide, and would be a far better hope for this great nation than a 50/50 chance of a second Obama term.
He's a responsible, well-spoken adult with a good record in office, a soothing style, bipartisan appeal and ample knowledge of the world beyond our shores. But Jon Huntsman, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, somehow imagines he can overcome those handicaps. -- Steve Chapman, Chicago Trib
There's no "he said" to go with this one, as Newt Gingrich isn't talking about the private family matter, but his daughter is. In short, no, her father did not "hand her divorce papers on her death bed" as the liberal meme has it.
My mother and father were already in the process of getting a divorce, which she requested.
Dad took my sister and me to the hospital to see our mother.
She had undergone surgery the day before to remove a tumor.
The tumor was benign.
Mother and father are still alive and well and Jackie and her sister "are blessed to have a close relationship with them both."
Blog friend Sugarchuck and I use that endearing sobriquet for the WSJ's Peggy Noonan, whom we have both followed through significant ups and downs. I don't think her writing chops ever dimmed, but her thinking chops did. She is so ensconced in the elite Westside Manhattan and Washington Axis, she became deracinated from reality.
But she pens a beaut today on the GOP debates. Brother JG will be happy to see she starts out taking his side in the "strongest steel forged by the hottest fire" theory. She notices one guy who is not going to face a grilling between Novembers:
One of the people in the debate was bombastic to the point of manic, and another was more pointedly aggressive than her usual poised and beautiful self. But enough about Jim Cramer and Maria Bartiromo. It was a revealing debate. It would be wonderful to see President Obama grilled as the Republicans were Wednesday night in Michigan. What exactly will you cut in the entitlement programs? How will you solve the foreclosure crisis? And we'd like you to answer in 30 seconds while we look at you with the sweet-natured gaze of a cop at a crime scene.
What style that woman has. Though she has generally kind words about each candidate, she ends with a sober and pragmatic warning. Republicans must keep moderates in mind. I don't accept that that means abandoning philosophy, but it is a reminder to see candidates as swing voters see them.
But this is a time to be sober. The voting begins in 7-1/2 weeks. We're picking a president now, right now, every day as we make our decisions.
Did you see the Ohio numbers from Quinnipiac this week? Mr. Obama beating all comers. In an initiative, voters rebuked his health-care, but Gov. John Kasich's effort to gain some control over unions and public-sector spending was roundly defeated in a referendum. In Ohio, that bellwether state. This thing isn't over.
Republicans should sober up. They should be thinking not about what the Republican at the local GOP meeting is thinking, but what the independent across the street is thinking. He's catching the Cain story on TV and thinking: "This guy may have a problem. I want more evidence, but if it's true, then man, we don't need to go there again."
Kim Strassel, on the same page, points out signs of substantive Democratic weakness in Virginia's results. But weakness in the GOP field will make it hard to capitalize.
Via Investors Business Daily, Ann Coulter explains why so much of the smears against candidate Cain are coming from Chicago.
Suspicions had already fallen on Sheila O'Grady, who is close with Axelrod and went straight from being former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's chief of staff to president of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), as being the person who dug up Cain's personnel records from the National Restaurant Association (NRA).
It goes on from there.
This time, Obama's little helpers have not only thrown a bomb into the Republican primary. They also are hoping to destroy the man who deprives the Democrats of their only argument in 2012: If you oppose Obama, you must be a racist.
Looking at the leaders we elect, a bit of circumspection with the process seems in order. Or. "Tyler Cowen, call your office!"
Gov. Perry's "Oops" goes down in history with GHW Bush's looking at his watch, Admiral Stockdale's "Why am I here," and Ted Kennedy’s equally missing reason for seeking the office. It might be a fair cop of Kennedy, but really? I was going to suggest we all know somebody brilliant and capable who has on occasion, ummm....ahhh.....what was I saying...
Perry's fumbling around was very, very human. I know it'll hurt him. But I don't think it ought to. What matters is what he is planning for the government, not which departments he can remember at a particular moment.
Once, Bill Buckley couldn’t remember the name of Evelyn Waugh. He said to me, "Who's my hero, the author of Brideshead?"
Do you see what I mean? I think Perry should be cut much slack, but people aren't like that, maybe especially in politics.
I don't always agree with Simon, but he wrote my post for me today.
Nobody digs politics more than me. But these debates are torture -- I would have loved a little waterboarding last night to break the ennui. It's not that they're dull (they are) and it is only partially that it is a forum for Democratic leaning journalists to whack GOP ideas (it is). It is mostly that we don't ever learn anything new about the candidates. Take it away, Rog:
We already know (oh, how we know) that Newt Gingrich is the smartest student in the room, that Mitt Romney can look like a president, that Herman Cain was a business success, that Michel Bachmann adopted more kids than Cheaper by the Dozen, that Rick Santorum is a mean self-promoter, that poor Rick Perry is the worst debater since Sally-whatever-her-name-was in the third grade, that Jon Huntsman is a bore and that Ron Paul is, well, Ron Paul.
Bag the rest, suggests SimonSimon says, and have the double digit candidates sit down and talk.
I will add one item. I hate to bag on the House of Kudlow, but that was the worst of the debates and they had the most interesting topic. Rick Santelli got to ask one question late. Larry got to come on after and interview prominent Democratic partisans about what weasels all the candidates are.
For the moderators, we get CNBC's two most left wing journalists, John Harwood and Steve Liesman; big money Democratic contributor, Goldman Sachs guy and Spitzer friend Jim Cramer; and Maria Bartaromo, who is "moderate" in comparison, but solidly in the conventional-wisdom-beltway-industrial-media complex camp. What, Rahm Emmanuel was booked?
Terrible, painful, tedious, uninformative, and deleterious to the party's objectives.
Mitt Romney's greatest supposed attribute has been his "electability." Erick Erickson and Karl Rove throw cold water on that idea, likening him to the squishy John Kerry.
In the 2004 election, most Americans stood on Kerry's side of the issues, but Rove claims they ultimately voted for Bush because they didn't really believe Kerry believed anything. Voters supposedly like strong leaders they disagree with better than weak leaders who might agree with them on Monday but wake up on Tuesday, wearing a different face.
That's exactly the argument Erickson is making, and it's precisely the one that could hurt Romney badly.
He's ba-ack. Dorothy Rabinowitz reporting on the candidate's speeches to the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition forum last month:
Mr. Gingrich predicted, too, that late on Election Night—after it was clear that President Obama had been defeated along with the Democrats in the Senate—the recovery would begin, at once. His audience roared with pleasure. No other Republican candidate could have made the promise so persuasive.
Finally, Mr. Gingrich announced that as the Republican nominee he would challenge President Obama to seven Lincoln-Douglas-style debates. "I think I can represent American exceptionalism, free enterprise, the rights of private property and the Constitution, better than he can represent class warfare, bureaucratic socialism, weakness in foreign policy, and total confusion in the economy."
Dorothy's headline 'Why Gingrich Could Win' hinges on Cain imploding. Still not convinced that will happen but if it does, Newt is the next "not-Romney" in line.
At the very least, a good excuse for another listen to the video.
Blog friend Terri provides a thoughtful post on l'Affair Herman (not excerpting -- it is short and required).
In addition to an interesting gender perspective you're less likely to see here (hey, I've tried to recruit her) there is a reasoned evaluation that is similar to mine. Neither of us is abandoning the Godfather of the Double Breasted Suit, but it suggests more scrutiny is required of his political skills if not his personal habits.
I'll add that I am all for personal accountability, but I am concerned by two things. First, can four women derail a candidacy and get feted on TV for it? Secondly, I am sensitive to the fact that the people whom I want to run for the office are staying home to watch football. We slip further into the realm of seeing only Vice President Goresque candidates, who have planned on running since they were seven. If this takes Cain down (as opposed to his paucity of political skills), we will never see the businessperson candidate again.
Sad on many levels. I don't mean to die on this hill for Herman Cain, but I'm not certain anything untoward has been conclusively presented.
Before getting into the details, let's pay attention to what this means.
It means for certain that Herman Cain's lead in the polling is real -- very, very real. People are taking him seriously. Mr. Cain is about to spend a week in Washington answering questions and giving speeches. Someone wanted to make sure he has a miserable week.
The presumptive nominee is frightening me again. Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt newsletter [subscribe] leads with "Romney's Bold, Groundbreaking Form of Hesitation," which opens: "Oh, come on, Mitt. Come on."
The topic is Gov. Romney's refusal to stand with Gov. Kasich's reforms in Ohio
Terrace Park, Ohio (CNN) -Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stepped into the middle of the charged battle over organized labor in Ohio on Tuesday, but he avoided weighing in on the contentious legislation that would dramatically limit the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions.
"Oh, come on, Mitt. Come on."
Geraghty links to an excellent Walter Russell Meade piece that lists the political peril of going all in on public-sector union reform. We cannot all be Gov. Scott Walkers and capture a plurality. But:
JK and jg conspired to provide me with a log-in of my own when I asked jg to loan me his log in for a post I have been composing for most of a year about the administrative burden on business created by government. THIS IS NOT THAT POST!
Now that I have my fancy new log-in I decided to test it out on something more current and shorter. Jg sometimes sends a few dollars in support of various Republican candidates. I don't complain very much and usually vote for said candidates while holding my nose. I have never before actually wanted to send money to a candidate.
I have lamented numerous times on these pages and elsewhere about the lack of candidates that reflect MY values and as there are no mainstream Objectivist candidates, I expect that to continue.
However, comma, Herman Cain finally said something on a very touchy subject that actually represents my values. He said that abortion is NONE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S BUSINESS. On that point I heartily concur and I am willing to make a campaign contribution.
With the help and support of family, friends and a team of medical professionals chosen by ME, I have been through 3 healthy pregnancies and 1 miscarriage. I vehemently assert that the decisions made along the way were NONE of the government's business. Should my team and I have decided along the way there was a reason to consider terminating a pregnancy, government interference could only have made things immeasurably worse. Further the government DOES NOT have the right to hold me hostage for 9 plus months.
The bad news is that the talking heads seem to think that this comment by Herman Cain is political suicide and makes him immediately unelectable. Sigh... There I go tilting at windmills again.
I don't know nearly enough about Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan to offer meaningful commentary -- in fact, given the limited information available to the public, I would suggest that many of those commenting on it don't know enough either, but I digress. In any event, the policy has recently been criticized on the grounds that it is regressive and shifts the tax burden away from the rich and more towards, well, everyone else. Some of these criticisms are ultimately meaningless unless we assume that the status quo is optimal.
Kimberly Strassel has been on maternity leave. I was concerned that her August column had been up as her latest. She's back, fine, and again hitting them out of the park on Fridays.
Just as I begin to warm to the idea of tolerating a Mitt Romney candidacy (there I go again -- communications director!)...just as I start to think it would not be less pleasant than a plate of live eels and kale...Ms. Strassel dares to tell the big-T truth: Romney's Guilty Republican Syndrome
Mr. Romney has generally espoused the opposing view--smaller government, fewer regulations, opportunity--but only timidly. This hobbles his ability to go head to head with the president, to make the moral and philosophical case for that America. How can Mr. Romney oppose Mr. Obama's plans to raise taxes on higher incomes, dividends and capital gains when the Republican himself diminishes the role of the "top 1%"? How can he demonstrate a principled understanding of capital and job creation when latching on to Mr. Obama's own trademark $200,000 income cutoff?
At a town hall in Iowa Thursday, Mr. Romney took it further: "For me, one of the key criteria in looking at tax policy is to make sure that we help the people that need the help the most."
These are the sort of statements that cause conservative voters to doubt Mr. Romney's convictions. It also makes them doubt the ability of a President Romney to convince a Congress of the need for fundamental tax reform.
A lot of conservative types are piling on the President for expressing solidarity with the dirty hippies #occupywallstreet protesters. I think they have forgotten President Clinton too soon. Parse the offending comment:
You asked earlier about "Occupy Wall Street" and what I've said is that I understand the frustrations that are being expressed in those protests. In some ways, they're not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party, both on the left and the right. I think people feel separated from their government, that the institutions aren't looking out for them and that the most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership, letting people know that we understand their struggles, we are on their side and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you're supposed to do, is rewarded, and that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don't feel a sense of obligation to their communities and to their companies and to their workers, that those folks aren't rewarded.
Larry Kudlow called it "solidarity." Keith Koffler is offended at the comparison of OWS to TEA. If I may be permitted a small digression, I welcome the comparison. The Tea Party comes out pretty good. I think Tea Partiers should welcome every opportunity to point out the differences -- not say that a comparison is off the table.
But word parsers, mad dogs, and Englishmen: can you point to the offending sentence or clause in the President's remark? We "understand their frustration." We want to create a system which rewards "hard work, responsibility, doing what you're supposed to do." This isn't exactly Karl Marx izzit?
Readers may have heard reports that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax reform proposal "will raise taxes on 84 percent of Americans." Presidential candidate Rick Santorum even repeated the claim in the Las Vegas debate. In actuality, what the analysis by the "non-partisan" Tax Policy Center (which Cain describes as a well-known left-leaning think tank) concluded was that 84 percent of families earning $10,000 or less annually will see a net tax increase, averaging about $110 per month. But this includes the elimination of refundable tax credits - negative taxes, funded by higher earning taxpayers. It assumes that consumption behavior will remain unchanged. (To fully avoid the 9 percent consumption tax individuals need only forego the purchase of new goods, buying used instead.) And it assumes that earnings will not rise and retail prices will not fall in a reduced tax environment. This is just specious.
Furthermore, the entire analysis is biased by its comparison to existing tax burdens. Where is it written that current tax liabilities, with their myriad deductions, ceilings, floors, and politically motivated preferences is fair? What is the moral case for 47 percent of the working public paying no federal taxes in the first place? Their cost of living is too high? Well, reduce the hidden tax burden in the form of corporate taxes and tax compliance costs - two more examples of government being the problem, not the solution.
But talk of fairness may face a tough hearing compared to the rest of the study. The summary table also shows a net tax increase for more than 90 percent of families earning between $10,000 and $50,000, and more than half of families earning up to $200,000 per year. Meanwhile, 70 plus percent of families earning $200,000 or more are shown to benefit from an average tax cut of about $20,000 to $487,000 per year. Unfair or not, this is easy to demagogue in 30-second spots.
UPDATE: Mea Culpa - The complicated summary table also includes a figure for percentage of all households with a tax increase ... 83.8 percent. So the headlines are accurate but so is, I believe, my analysis.
Okay, put a gun to my head and I'll excerpt. But it's an Art Laffer Editorial in the Wall Street Journal. On 9-9-9. I think whole-thing-readin' is in order. Dr. Laffer's in:
The whole purpose of a flat tax, á la 9-9-9, is to lower marginal tax rates and simplify the tax code. With lower marginal tax rates (and boy will marginal tax rates be lower with the 9-9-9 plan), both the demand for and the supply of labor and capital will increase. Output will soar, as will jobs. Tax revenues will also increase enormously--not because tax rates have increased, but because marginal tax rates have decreased.
By making the tax codes a lot simpler, we'd allow individuals and businesses to spend a lot less on maintaining tax records; filing taxes; hiring lawyers, accountants and tax-deferral experts; and lobbying Congress. As I wrote on this page earlier this year ("The 30-Cent Tax Premium," April 18), for every dollar of business and personal income taxes paid, some 30 cents in out-of-pocket expenses also were paid to comply with the tax code. Under 9-9-9, these expenses would plummet without a penny being lost to the U.S. Treasury. It's a win-win.
Co-hat-tip: Blog friend EE, who includes a free link (good seven days)
He also spoke at the dedication of the Martin Luther King memorial in Washington D.C., where King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, claimed that her father "moved us beyond the dream of racial justice to the action and work of economic justice."
No, I do not believe he did. The man who dreamed of a day when all of us are judged not by the color of our skin, but the content of our character, would have cheapened the ideal of racial fairness by linking it with President Obama's ideal of economic fairness. What he and King's daughter speak of is a sort of economic affirmative-action program. Fairness in government spending must be "free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice" just as must be legal treatment by race.
Fairness in taxation must also be "free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice." Like 9-9-9. If any contemporary black man is following the teaching of the Rev. Martin Luther King it is not Barack Obama, but Herman Cain.
UPDATE: (19 OCT) I have amended my construction slightly to comport with my brethren's comments, calling out my uncertainty about Dr. King's ideas about the concept we call "fair" or "fairness" in the realm of economics. And this was my intended focus: Some see fairmess as "everyone pays the same tax" while others will not accede to this position until everyone has the same ability to pay that tax, i.e. equal distribution of wealth.
This leads me to what seems the winning tack in the pro-liberty argument: No man is more or less important, relevant or responsible for our civil prosperity than any other. Taxes must therefore be equal. (This is my ideal of egalitarianism.) But since equality does not, can not and will not exist in the human domains of effort, ability and aspiration, some men will produce more than others. This inequality is to be celebrated, for the alternative is anti-prosperity.
But since the self-made man recognizes the benefit he derives from a more prosperous society he may accede to paying a higher tax than his less able neighbors. A natural mechanism for this is taxation as a non-variable percentage of income, or spending, or both. But this imposition of a greater burden upon oneself is voluntary. It is a grant that may be revoked, in spirit and deed if not in law, when the self-made man sees the fruits of his labor being wasted - such as to line the pockets of looters and grafters and influence peddling politicians, lobbyists and crony capitalists. He may declare that he is Taxed Enough Already and engage in civil rebellion of various sorts.
Herein lies the beauty of the 9-9-9 tax plan. It is a non-variable rate of taxation proportional to prosperity. It taxes income and consumption equally, such that neither is disadvantaged versus the other. It is a progressive tax, since those who earn more and spend more are taxed more. But for the man who knows a beggared neighbor is a liability rather than an asset, an unequal tax burden such as this becomes not only fair, but desirable. For those who are comforted by such things, let us call it a "compromise." But, most importantly of all, it is a tax in which all citizens participate and do so on a par with the greatest and least accomplished amongst us. Tolerance of government waste will diminish, while lines of class and station will be obliterated. America's prosperity will be shared, and it will be bountiful.
Don't thank me -- no, go ahead and thank me -- I have saved the nation, the party, and the Republic. While watching Kudlow.
Larry had Senator Rand Paul (HOSS - KY) on last night. I always enjoy listening to Paul filé. While others might be called "Tea Party Darlings" am I wrong to call Rand Paul its intellectual cornerstone? Of course not.
It's frequently a fool's errand to look for a running mate that plugs a candidate's ideological lacuna; better to pick off a state with rich electoral votes or possibly appease a sectional split. But I am going to call this election different. The Tea Party types in the GOP are not ready to "fall in line" with a conventional, establishment candidate like Governor Romney. The PowersThatBe, conversely, are not going to sit still while a national Christine O'Donnell is nominated. Either side staying home would spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.
Gov. Romney has the money, organization, backing, smoothness, smarts, and hair to be elected. Senator Paul has the conviction that the Tea Party craves and a Christieesque ability to articulate its merits. The Tea Party and a good portion of the Ron Paul rEVOLution will have a tough time not supporting this ticket.
At the same time, the out-of-mainstream beliefs of libertarians will be off to the side. Governor Romney can say responsible things about Social Security, Paul can call to schedule its demise. There might be some tension -- but no worse than Kennedy-Johnson!
If a more conservative third party could rise, destroy the GOP, and still win elections, I'd be just fine with that. Or, if the Democratic party decided to become a thoroughly libertarian party, I'd be perfectly fine picking and choosing sides on an issue-by-issue basis between the two major parties. Also, maintaining the same level of plausibility, I would be totally psyched if Frodo had simply flown the Millennium Falcon to Mordor, saving all that time. Or we could use the proceeds from Meghan McCain's invention of an all-in-one cold-fusion, perpetual-motion, and dashboard-mounted smoothie blender to simply buy a slice of America from the federal government and create our limited-government nation-state. -- Jonah Goldberg
A surprising consensus seems to be forming amongst the commentariat that big-city eastern RINO Mitt Romney is persuasively pivoting to become TEA Party friendly THE Mitt Romney. Personally I haven't given up on Herman Cain, and I admit I'm a little unsure about TMR when my sister and her husband derided him right after the Bloomberg debate as a "political chameleon who knows what he has to say to get elected."
The Tea Party movement was fueled by opposition to the Wall Street bailouts, President Obama's health care reform legislation and out-of-control spending in Washington. Yet the current favorite to win the Republican nomination has rejected the Tea Party line on all of these issues.
Well, his tune seems to be different now than it once was. Call it the Cain Effect. Both men still contend that protecting the currency is a necessary evil but that is the extent of Romney's defense of bailouts. He's also called for repealing Obamacare and slashing spending - a return to private sector implementation of, well, nearly everything. It's probably time for a closer look at that 59-point plan.
"It's the same thing I saw with John McCain, and I saw with George Pataki and with Rudy Giuliani," Chafee told WPRI.com during an interview at his office Wednesday.
Referencing a speech on foreign policy Romney gave last week at The Citadel, Chafee said: "The appeal you have to make to the Republican primary audience -- that's just alien to what's in our best interests as a country."
Linc Chafee didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left him. Cain effect indeed.
Oh my, oh dearie me, what has our brunette of the lakes done to disgrace us now? Thinks me. But if you click through (only 30 second clip), I think you could call it a joke or -- at worst -- some hard edged political persiflage.
Paging the WaPo: a sense of humor was found in the parking lot; please claim it at the front desk.
Remember the early Gilligan's Island episodes? The theme song singer got tired of enumerating the island's residents toward the end and dismisses the last two with "...and the rest." It was replaced by the iconic "the professor AND Mary ANN" as America's ginghamed sweetheart rose in fame.
I was singing that at the last GOP Presidential Debate. Bret Behr going down the line and I fully expected him to give up somewhere Huntsman-ish and sing "and the rest!"
Yet we find ourselves, as the WSJ Ed Page laments, with the field we have. Gigot and his minions are more upbeat than I, but we see the same lacunae:
Most notable is the absence of those, like Mr. Christie and Congressman Paul Ryan, who have been most engaged in the fiscal and economic debates of the last three years. The field is weaker for their absence, and Mr. Christie's remarks yesterday about the lack of current Presidential leadership showed why so many people wanted him in the race.
I did a telephone town hall with Governor Romney yesterday. It is a great format and I am always appreciative of candidates (and officeholders, my Representative, Jared Polis, has done several) who put these on. The Governor was himself in all his glory. His mellifluous baritone makes up for not seeing his excellent hair and skin tone.
But, I am going to be hard pressed to swallow hard and support this guy. If I may quote blog friend Sugarchuck without permission, early on in the race he said "I look at Romney and I see 'the enemy.'" The Governor was a "pander bear" on the call. I don't expect him to pick fights with potential supporters, but there is the Evelyn Waugh "up to a point" agreement. No, the Governor is everyone's friend and agrees with everyone's position.
The main question about Mr. Romney is whether his political character matches the country's huge current challenges. The former Bain Capital CEO is above all a technocrat, a man who believes in expertise as the highest political virtue. The details of his RomneyCare program in Massachusetts were misguided enough, but the larger flaw it revealed is Mr. Romney's faith that he can solve any problem, and split any difference, if he can only get the smartest people in the room.
This goes back to the Insta-Daughter's theory of presidential opposites, in which each President is chosen to be the opposite of his predecessor. What's the opposite of a skinny black guy from Hawaii? A fat white guy from New Jersey!
UPDATE: Roger Simon emails: "What's the opposite of a phony black guy from Hawaii? A real black guy from Georgia." Good point! -- His Instyness
After praising the Chris Christie keynote address on Tuesday I criticized a portion of his speech, drawing an exasperated reaction from our dear proprietor. As the leading blog promoter of NewNewt, it's only fair that I give him the same treatment.
Newt's draft "21st Century Contract with America" has been released to the world. Newt's plan for Social Security and Medicare is to "save" them, basically by offering alternatives that taxpayers have the option to choose from. For Social Security this means:
We must therefore consider a voluntary option for younger Americans to put a portion of their Social Security contributions into personal Social Security savings accounts. Other countries, such as Chile, have found that this model creates vast savings while giving beneficiaries more control over when and how they plan to retire.
But if we're honestly talking about bold, sweeping, permanent solutions to government problems we need to get something more like The Salzman Plan on the table:
But here’s a plan – call it the Salsman Plan – that would ensure electoral support from all three groups, and thus potentially guarantee a political landslide for the candidate who proposes it. First, tell the elderly that they’ll no longer be subject to political scare tactics, because immediately they’ll be given an account in their name that’s full of U.S. Treasury bills and bonds, whose worth equals the present value of what they’d otherwise receive in Social Security checks for the likely balance of their lives. They can do what they wish with their new account: cash it out now, slowly liquidate it over time, perhaps buy an annuity, or keep most of it as is. Second, tell the young and the middle-aged they will no longer have to pay the 15.3% payroll tax, and they too will immediately receive an account in their name with U.S. Treasury bills and bonds, based on what they’ve already paid in so far. They too can do what they wish with their sudden investment windfall. Social Security, no longer empowered to tax payrolls or send retiree checks, would then be closed overnight.
Larry goes out of his way to say he is not endorsing anybody in the GOP primaries. But we can safely say, he liked the speech:
First, Christie gets the linkage between domestic economic growth, national security, and foreign-policy influence. This was an absolute key Reagan principle.
Second, at the Reagan Library, Christie talked about the New Jersey model, where in a tough war against government unions and teachers, divided government worked to reform the state’s pension and health benefits, cap property taxes, and hold down arbitration awards for union salaries. (Christie didn’t mention this, but he also stopped the millionaire’s tax in New Jersey.)
And while the governor said there was compromise on a bipartisan basis, and while he emphasized leadership in compromise several times in his speech, he noted that he balanced two budgets with over $13 billion in deficits without raising taxes.
Enriching the incentive to work or run a company in the United States, however, would have a more direct impact on the U.S. economy. The problem with many tax-cut proposals isn't low taxes; it's the huge cut in government spending that would usually have to accompany them, since most advocates of tax cuts don't suggest ways to replace lost government revenue. But Cain's national sales tax would provide cover for cuts to personal and corporate income tax rates and allow expensive programs like Social Security and Medicare to keep functioning normally. Again, there are many complexities, and Cain's math probably isn't bulletproof. But the principle of higher consumption taxes paired with lower income taxes is a sound one.
In other words, Cain's 9-9-9 plan could bring in the same revenue as the existing income tax only scheme while at the same time stimulating production and growth, moderating consumption, and encouraging individual savings. If this three-headed tax monster could be kept on an unbreakable leash it could do wonders.
Put it this way: The GOP nominee is running against the incumbent president. Unlike the incumbent, Herman Cain has at least twice identified the causes of a large failing enterprise, designed goals, achieved them, and by all accounts inspired the people he was supposed to lead. Not least, Mr. Cain's life experience suggests that, unlike the incumbent, he will adjust his ideas to reality.
Herman Cain is a credible candidate. Whether he deserves to be president is something voters will decide. But he deserves a serious look.
Dan Henninger at the WSJ Ed Page counters the "He is great, but..." candidacy of Herman Cain. He's #3 in the polls and he's five points off that incumbent president whose CV he blows away.
In emphasizing the Q&A, JK says the speech is skippable. Perhaps, but a few choice lines are, shall we say, an exception.
"Telling those who are scared and struggling the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others, trying to cynically convince those who are suffering that the American economic pie is no longer a growing one that can provide more prosperity for all who work hard, insisting that we must tax, and take, and demonize those who have already achieved the American dream. That may turn out to be a good campaign strategy Mister President, but it is a demoralizing message for America."
The riffs on leadership and compromise, hope and failure, and fixing government were excellent but what impressed me most was philosophical. He defended the idea of American exceptionalism, and explained that what our nation represents over the past few years doesn't live up to that standard. "Real American exceptionalism" is "earned American exceptionalism."
Quoting Reagan describing, in 1989, what he always envisioned whenever he spoke of America as "a shining city on a hill..."
"In my mind it was a tall proud city, built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace. A city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still."
"That, is American exceptionalism. Not a punch-line in a political speech, but a vision, followed by a set of principled actions that made us the envy of the world. Not a reelection strategy, but an American revitalization strategy. We will be that again, but not until we demand that our leaders stand tall by telling the truth, confronting our shortcomings, celebrating our successes, and once again leading the world because of what we have been able to actually accomplish. Only when we do that will we finally ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a second American century. We owe them, as well as ourselves and those who came before us, nothing less."
I wept a few times during the Q&A session last night. And a couple of times after, thinking that he was not running this time.
I think I have figured out what divides my blog brother(s?) and me on the Garden State Guv. If you want to plot him ideologically on a single axis, Gov. Christie will certainly not be the most doctrinaire conservative. He holds several apostate views, and I have to believe he holds them sincerely and honestly.
But, but. but -- on the issues of entitlement funding, entitlement spending, and entitlement mentality, he is off-the-charts good. And that is the key issue of our time. He also has a warmth and personal integrity. "Leadership, pure and simple" he says of President Reagan. I'd apply it to the big man himself.
UPDATE: By the way, the speech is skippable if you have a job or something, but the Q&As at the end (34:00) are NOT to be missed. I'm with the woman at 43:40.
The poll found that 54 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the way Christie is handling his job as governor, while just 36 percent disapprove. That's a sharp tick up for Christie since May, when 44 percent said they approved of his job performance and an equal number said they disapproved.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) said at AEI today that "we're facing a survival-level threat to the America we’ve known" from spiraling debt, diminished optimism, and a turning away from self-sufficiency.
With the looming potential of a Christie candidacy NYT's Nate Silver theorizes that the big winner could be ... Rick Perry.
The other view is that the campaign has not been about Mr. Romney per se, but instead is simply a struggle between moderates and conservatives. If the median primary Republican voter wants a “movement conservative” as their nominee, then Mr. Christie may not pass that test because of his stances on issues like immigration and climate change.
Mr. Romney could still win under this view if several candidates split the conservative vote and he has the moderate vote to himself. But the entry of Mr. Christie would complicate his equation and lower his odds, while posing less threat to Mr. Perry’s campaign.
In the 2008 race Romney, the Colorado favorite, suffered from also-rans to his right. Four years later he could face the same problem, but this time from his left in Chris Christie.
UPDATE: Added missing links. (Antropologists wish it were so easy!)
@baseballcrank calls it "The Most exciting Jon Huntsman story of the year.
Did Huntsman, who was profiled in the September issue of Vogue, join the latest fashion craze? The downward spiraling economy -- and example of the new Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton -- caused fashionistas to start recycling outfits, dubbing themselves recessionistas.
Or perhaps it's a lucky tie? Either way, the Huntsman campaign won't say. When reached for comment, a Huntsman spokesman said tie decisions were above his paygrade.
But then, Michele only drew 1.5% support ... in the Florida GOP straw poll. Among 2600 party activists the big winner was the Hermanator with 37 percent - nearly as much as the next three finishers combined.
The vote and spectacle underscored that Cain, who polled in single digits this week, is the new tea party darling. And Michele Bachmann isn’t. She was the big loser, coming in last place. Once a top-tier candidate who won the Iowa straw poll, Bachmann had trouble breaking through in recent debates, failed to give specifics and didn’t reach out to the Presidency 5 grassroots voters.
Or maybe her appeal is truly regional. At any rate, she's losing momentum along with former "white knight" Rick Perry. A Miami-Dade activist said of Perry: “... it’s become increasingly clear he can’t perform. He has electile dysfunction.”
I doubt it will keep him in front but at least the showing gives Cain a chance to be in front for a time. Who knows?
Christie suggested to an audience at New Jersey's Rider University that the current GOP candidates are not answering the public's appetite for real leadership.
"I think what the country is thirsting for, more than anything else right now, is someone of stature and credibility to tell them that and say, 'Here's where I want us to go to deal with this crisis,'" Christie said.
Christie continued: "The fact that nobody yet who's running for president, in my view, has done that effectively is why you continue to hear people ask Daniels if he'll reconsider and ask me if I'll reconsider."