January 23, 2012

“Romney’s Pawlenty moment”

Mark Thiessen, WaPo:

Instead of putting Gingrich on the defensive for channeling Michael Moore, Romney spent not one but two debates on the defensive over releasing his tax returns. At the conclusion of Thursday’s CNN debate, Romney was asked if he had any regrets about his campaign. He replied that he regretted the time he had spent talking about his opponents instead of focusing on Barack Obama. Wrong answer. His mistake was precisely the opposite. When Romney had the opportunity to attack Gingrich from the right and deliver a devastating coup de grace, he demurred. It was his “Pawlenty moment.”

With a free pass from Romney, Gingrich shined in the South Carolina debates and used them to right his faltering campaign. He used moderators Juan Williams and John King as foils, declaring to cheers from the audience: “I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.” He deftly put the Bain debacle behind him and rallied conservatives behind his candidacy once again. And Romney stood there helplessly and let it happen.

Gingrich was nimble and flexible in the face of adversity. Romney was stiff and flatfooted — and he lost the South Carolina primary as a result.

The damage to Romney’s campaign could extend beyond South Carolina for this reason: The central premise of Romney’s candidacy is that he is the best man to beat Obama. But in South Carolina, Gingrich borrowed directly from Obama’s playbook, launching the exact same attack Obama will use against Romney this fall if he is the nominee. Romney responded with all the agility of a deer caught in headlights. He had a chance to show just how he would take the fight to Obama in November — and he failed miserably.

This should raise a question in the minds of GOP voters: If Romney can’t defend free-market capitalism against Gingrich, how will he be able to defend it in the fall against Obama?

What I don’t understand — well, aside from his icky social conservatism, which is an existential threat to the nature of the contract between the individual and the government in a way far more worrisome than, say, advocating for government/private partnerships, or waxing rhapsodic over the moral and ethical necessity of ethanol subsidies, or identifying politically with Woodrow Wilson and FDR — is why the conservative base didn’t swerve to Santorum, who didn’t attack Romney on Bain capital, who has never loved the idea of an individual mandate, who doesn’t believe in the “grandiosity” of the government or government leaders, and who has performed quite well in the debates on both substance and in defending conservative (if not always libertarian) ideas.

While Gingrich tosses the red meat and support for him seems to swing wildly depending upon just that ability, Santorum has remained steady throughout the campaign.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad that Gingrich has weakened the “inevitability” of Romney (whose campaign pundits disagree on how best to salvage) and I would happily vote for him over Obama, with the hope that Gingrich’s ego and sense of history would cause him to adhere strongly to the conservative message, now that he senses that the ethos demands such a tack. As I’ve said of Gingrich from the beginning, he could be a very successful conservative or a very successful progressive, depending upon which way the political winds are blowing.

But frankly, I’d be much happier with a candidate who sees the Presidency as a position that serves the people, and who approaches government not as the realm of philosopher kings filled with big ideas, but rather as a collection of representatives working within the carefully established constraints of the Constitution to best serve and protect the governed.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:58am
255 comments | Trackback

Comments (255)

  1. I was nearly permanently blinded by my eyes rolling back into my head when I wondered over to the moron’s place today. Talk about someone desperate for the approval of the establishment…

    Why Gingrich? Because he attacked/fought back against the establishment that every conservative knows is the biggest enemy: the press.

  2. Steyn on “The man who gave us Newt”.

  3. Tim Pawlenty’s “moment” came when he was given an opportunity to defend Sarah Palin* sometime last Spring and he demurred. So the Pawlenty moment isn’t going after a Republican rival from the right, it’s failing to speak up and defend conservatives and conservatism when they’re unfairly assaulted.

    *I don’t remember the specifics, but I think it was the whole Sarah Palin’s “bullseye” graphics got poor Gabby Giffords shot in the head —the bitch— thing.

  4. Oh, and I can’t remember where, but apparently Steve “Backstab” Schmidt, formerly of the McCain campaign, has gone to the media to tell us all that a Gingrich candidacy would hand the election to Obama. His choice of venues? Maddow.

    Not my first choice if I intended to message to get out to actual, you know, Republicans…

  5. Gingrich tosses the red meat and support for him seems to swing wildly depending upon just that ability

    It’s said Newt is channeling the outraged American, which if it’s true is a most hopeful sign, the likely variability of his platform and the expected Republican progressivism of a President Gingrich notwithstanding.

    Just maybe we’re waking up in nearly boiling water, finally ready to take the damn failshit place back for some semblance of the classical liberalism that formed us.

  6. President Gingrich sounds dickensian

  7. What I don’t understand … is why the conservative base didn’t swerve to Santorum

    Rush has been making the case that it’s because Newt is an unapologetic promoter of a conservative* vision of the country, and in South Carolina he was better at that than Santorum.

    *ostensibly

    I’d be much happier with a candidate who sees the Presidency as a position that serves the people, and who approaches government not as the realm of philosopher kings filled with big ideas, but rather as a collection of representatives working within the carefully established constraints of the Constitution to best serve and protect the governed.

    And that’s how you get around Gingrich’s right flank.

  8. My least favorite VDH essay ever. Despite protestations, he seems(to me) to fully endorse Romney, casually dismisses Santorum, and Hate’s him some Gingrich.

    The talk today is about how Newt won SC by virtue of passionately fighting for conservatism. Conservatives are craving someone that will stand up to the left, and take the fight to them.

    I think that may be Santorums problem. I fear, like W, he is too much the nice guy, and won’t attack progressiveism as boldly as we wish.

  9. I don’t know if Newt is channeling anything, although it’s not for a lack of trying.

    Based on what Rush has been saying, I think it’s more that the S.C. primary voters identified with Gingrich because they believed that he was under assault, like they believe themselves to be, and he’s hitting back at the liberal media elites, like they’d like to themselves.

  10. Oh he started taking the fight to Gingrich last night upon landing in Florida and he looked about as natural and comfortable as a bug in a Willard suit. Didn’t look comfortable dirtying his mittens with this dirt flinging task. And he can’t outsource the anger job to an undocumented worker as the crowds are demanding personal anger.

    Plus, as fast as mitt is calling for release of Fannie Mae contracts newt is releasing them making Mittbot v2.0 look even sillier for the hemming and hawing on the tax return release. Which he is now releasing tomorrow.

    The optics are really bad and only outshined by the battle tactics in their schtoopit.

    He put himself in this catch 22 and He’s toast.

  11. OT: Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) suffered a stroke today.

  12. I agree that Mitt is giving off a whiff of burnt toast.

    What I don’t understand … is why the conservative base didn’t swerve to Santorum

    I consider myself part of the base and I think Santorum is out of step with the zietgeist. I like the championing of the family stuff, but the hatey pastor endorsements? No. Same thing with the Marriage Amendment. His focus is too narrow for me, but I am not a soconlike him.

    I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about Newt from a lot of different sources and we seem to have a lot of historical revisionists filing columns these days. Going back and reading contemporaneous accounts of his tenure in the House and as Speaker are rather different than what is passing for Common Wisdon in a lot of today’s columns.

    Newt is nothing if not feisty. Don’t discount the coattails effect of having an R in the White House, either. Pundits who are forecasting the end of days if Newt wins are overwrought.

  13. Tim Johnson’s office put out a statement regarding Sen. Kirk:

    Today’s news regarding Senator Kirk is very concerning for all of us on Capitol Hill. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mark and his family for a quick recovery and return to the Senate. As chairman and ranking member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, we’ve worked side by side over the last year to provide for our veterans. I look forward to redoubling our efforts when he returns to Washington.

  14. Hatey pastor endorsements?
    Marriage Amendment?

    I don’t think Santorum is the one with the narrow focus.

  15. “I think Santorum is out of step with the zietgeist”

    That’s why I like him. The zietgeist sucks.

  16. Alright it’s the news media with the narrow focus. The one who gives us all of our news and has quotes and everything.

  17. Maybe it’s the news media. Or maybe it’s you acquiescing to the media filter.

  18. I’ve called on Santorum and Gingrich to have one of Newt’s Lincoln-Douglas style debates, with Florida deciding the #ConservativeOption, either Santorum or Newt suspending and endorsing the other. I think Santorum needs to go for this or something else like it or the media will just keep spiking anything he says. Except for attacks on Newt and Mitt and any random glitter-bombs by The Gheys. Newt claims he’ll follow Obama around until Obama agrees to a series of debates? C’mon Rick, it’s now or never. Where’s Newt today? Go there, stand tall, and challenge that man to a debate this week. You’ve got nothing to lose, and he can’t say no.

    BTW, so far the answer to the call has been No, Señor George, he is not here…

  19. Well, it certainly can’t be because I can think for myself and have personal experience as one of his constituents.

  20. At this point that’s probably a better gambit for Gingrich than it is for Santorum, motionview. Gingrich and Romney are obliged to lay into each other, while Santorum can play the adult in the room and make his points judiciously.

    Santorum’s best gambit at this point is to try to get the anti-Gingrich and anti-Romney votes (note: being anti- the one doesn’t make you pro- the other) to rally around him.

  21. Motionview, I hope your man is listening!

  22. One thing Sen. Santorum carries today, as a sort of baggage, and therefore something against which he may mistake that he must fight — whether the view is accurate or not — is simply that he had been made to appear to the public a lieutenant to the movers and shakers back in the nineties: always a member of a group or working in the interests of the party or at the behest of a higher “ranking” officeholder, or carrying the water of the Bush administration, say, as he has admitted recently with regard to votes he would honestly repudiate today. Again, this appearance was generally so, I believe, whether on a particular issue he was in fact standing up as his own man or not. And too, this sort of appearance isn’t unusual with Congressmen and Senators, on account of the collegial nature of the institutions themselves. And in some minds, it may not help that Gingrich happens to have been one among those higher ranking officeholders to whom Santorum could be seen to report.

  23. Yes leigh, so you keep reminding us all.

    Nonetheless, your account of Santorum’s shortcomings mirrors that of the lib-media to whit: he’s out of step with the spirit of the time —according to the people responsible for creating and reflecting that zeitgeist.

  24. Senator Kirk’s stroke is being reported as an ischemic stroke. That’s good news. He should be back on his feet relatively soon.

  25. My radio news quoted one of Kirk’s doctors saying to this effect: *His reasoning functions will recover quickly, if impaired at all, but his physical controls on “x”-side likely won’t return intact, if ever*. So in the specific sense of walking, he may not be on his feet, but in the general sense of making recovery, he will.

  26. “I consider myself part of the base and I think Santorum is out of step with the zietgeist.”

    More VDH:

    In 1960, there were far fewer government officials, far fewer prisons, far fewer laws, and far fewer lawyers — and yet the state was a far safer place than it is a half-century later. Technological progress — whether iPhones or Xboxes — can often accompany moral regress. There are not yet weeds in our cities, but those too may be coming.

    The average Californian, like the average Greek, forgot that civilization is fragile. Its continuance requires respect for the law, tough-minded education, collective thrift, private investment, individual self-reliance, and common codes of behavior and civility — and exempts no one from those rules. Such knowledge and patterns of civilized behavior, slowly accrued over centuries, can be lost in a single generation.

    The current zietgeist trajectory.

  27. He will have not lost his ability to speak and to reason, which was the important consideration, from the report I heard. It could be that PT and OT could help him to regain strength on the side of his body affected by the stroke. He will need to be placed on a regime of coumadin or maybe just baby aspirin, if he is lucky, to guard against future stroke.

    He is a not elderly and seems to be in good physical condition. He will just need to be more vigilant.

    Everyone get your blood pressure checked regularly. Also, the flu in on the rise again with 10 dead. Go get a flu shot.

  28. You know who tries to always be in step with the zeitgeist so he can get out in front of and hope to master it? Newt Gingrich.

    Sometimes that’s been a good thing (Contract w/ America), and sometimes it’s not so good a thing (Global Warming, Individual Mandate).

    The problem with Newt is that, unlike Romney, you really can’t,/i> trust him.

  29. There are 37,254,376 people in California. Where is this “average Californian” VDH refers to? I’d submit that an awful lot of people are well aware that civilization is fragile.

    You can be be certain Santorum will always be partying like it’s 1999.

  30. Ernst I’d bet that’s pretty close to their thinking.
    This is a different and dangerous time. Bold decisive leadership implementing sudden and relentless reform is needed. You have to make things happen and you have to leave footprints on foreheads if that’s what it takes to get there (to sdferr’s point). He should have interrupted John King and stolen Newt’s softball, berating King for demeaning the process. He should have issued this debate challenge, balls out, on a Sunday morning talk show. You use the media machine or you are used by it.

    I can remember John McCain’s 2008 acceptance speech, McCain being interrupted by hecklers, I believe Medea Benjamin. I jumped to my feet, begging the TV, “Please John. That’s what a community organizer does. At least now we know what a community organizer does. Is that a community organizer? Anything like that. Please John”. And of course the disturbance ended, McCain missed it, just smiled and waved, boys, smile and wave.

    I want to be the guy speaking into the candidate’s hidden ear-piece. Is that a job description?

  31. “I want to be the guy speaking into the candidate’s hidden ear-piece. Is that a job description?”

    An interesting and juicy metaphor, motionview. Would we want a candidate who had need of such an help?

    Or, in the alternative, to the extent that a candidate might become like Rush Limbaugh, say, who people call to tell him *Rush, you are saying what I am thinking*, wouldn’t that candidate be more like the guy speaking into the constituency’s ear-piece? Anyhow, just a couple of thoughts on it.

  32. Last week the movie Wag the Dog was on teevee. There was a moment were Robert DeNiro’s character did just that: speaking in to the President’s ear as he addressed the press on national television.

    DeNiro’s job description was that of “fixer”.

  33. When Romney had the opportunity to attack Gingrich from the right…

    That there is a Douglas Adams worthy line.

  34. DeNiro’s job description was that of “fixer”
    I wonder how Axelrod fits inside TOTUS?

    You’re right of course sdferr, I’d love a Ronaldus Magnus, but you go to war with the military candidate you have. I’ll settle for being in the writer’s room.

  35. On a more serious note, and in response to your question about Santorum, while I too would, in principle, prefer him over Gingrich’s variability, I have to wonder, based on Santorum’s (to date) inability to strongly register with the electorate if the Beltway machine wouldn’t swallow him whole.

    Of course, this does leave open the possibility – particularly as and if Romney further fades, that he will begin to show increasing strength and may begin to display himself as a credible force and alternative to Gingrich..

  36. What I don’t understand … is why the conservative base didn’t swerve to Santorum

    Panic. And the red meat thing. But mostly panic.

  37. “There are 37,254,376 people in California. Where is this “average Californian” VDH refers to? I’d submit that an awful lot of people are well aware that civilization is fragile.”

    Sure leigh. The average ones striking in Fresno have a keen grasp of a stable civilization.

  38. How on earth could Romney credibly (or even incredibly) attack Gingrich from the right? He’s tacked so far to the middle himself that he’s got nothing to the right of Gingrich.

  39. You’re the one who chooses to live in Fresno, Lee. California is a great big state with a lot of options.

  40. Three words, leigh: Governor Jerry Brown

    That’s how aware your fellow Golden-Staters are of the fragility of civilization.

  41. Also, if it comes down to Bain guy and Freddie-Mac guy…

  42. Believe me, di, my family is none too keen on a ssecond round of Jerry Brown. A silver bullet is the only way to get rid of him.

    My brothers and I all beat it out of there 20+ years ago.

  43. I don’t live in Fresno, I live where horses outnumber people and guns outnumber teeth.

    You do know who calls the shots in California don’t you? Hint: Schwarzenegger thought it was him when he got elected Governor, but quickly learned the truth.

  44. I’d submit that an awful lot of people are well aware that civilization is fragile.

    An awful lot does not a majority make.

  45. I don’t live in Fresno

    Thank goodness for that. Fresno has been awful since the 50′s. It wasn’t any better when I went shopping at the mall there with my cousins two summers ago.

  46. #43 – Who Are the Permanent Government: Un-elected Bureaucrats, Lobbyists, and Unionists?

    Now I’ll take “Easy Political Questions” for $200 Alex.

  47. Fresno is not awful. I don’t know what you’re talking about. If I had to live in a city of a million people, Fresno would be on my short list(in California that is).

  48. @#47, the correct answer is: Public unions and Environmentalists.

    Judge rules: close enough!

  49. Fresno, Hanford, Modesto, Pixley, Exeter, Lindsey, Tulare, Visalia, Selma, Goshen, et al. No thanks.

  50. All those places are wildly overpopulated to my way of thinking. Still, Hanford, Exeter and Visalia are great little towns. Different strokes I guess…

  51. There just not my cup of tea. I was born in Tulare and lived in Visalia when I was a little kid. I’m with you on the wildly over-crowded bit.

    The closest town to me here in Oklahoma has 5,000 people, give or take a few. I’m 15 miles away and like that just fine. And, having a lake in my backyard is as good as the beach and not as crowded.

  52. There=They’re

  53. An interesting article on the type of man we really need more of.
    The economically important bits of this

    At George Will’s house, Obama impressed his companions. He got a big laugh when he teased David Brooks, a Times columnist who is a less orthodox conservative than the others, by asking him, “What are you doing here?” Kudlow said that the tone of the dinner was essentially “We’re going to disagree, but we wish you well.” As the President-elect departed, Rich Lowry grabbed Obama’s hand and said softly, “Sir, I’ll be praying for you.”

    What does it feel like to give someone who hates everything you stand for a tongue-bath?

  54. Rich Lowry sounds like an insufferable twat I hope God tells him to fuck off

  55. did baracky autograph rich’s kneepads

  56. Motionview, I had to quit reading when I got to this part:

    Polarization also has affected the two parties differently. The Republican Party has drifted much farther to the right than the Democratic Party has drifted to the left. Jacob Hacker, a professor at Yale, whose 2006 book, “Off Center,” documented this trend, told me, citing Poole and Rosenthal’s data on congressional voting records, that, since 1975, “Senate Republicans moved roughly twice as far to the right as Senate Democrats moved to the left” and “House Republicans moved roughly six times as far to the right as House Democrats moved to the left.” In other words, the story of the past few decades is asymmetric polarization.

    That’s just a crock of shit.

  57. What does it feel like to give someone who hates everything you stand for a tongue-bath?

    I’m betting it’s less pleasant than licking a dead fish but more pleasant than being licked by a dead fish. Or something like that.

  58. But if you have “the Center” defined by the left, repubs would indeed have to make a major rightward lurch to get back to a normal balance.

  59. stop global warming asymmetric polarization

  60. Lee, it could be that looked at as a question: which represents the greater difference in governing political philosophy? That between Bob Michel and Eric Cantor, or between Tip O’Neill and Nancy Pelosi? There may just be something credible there.

  61. Gingrich admires FDR more than any other president because (1) He Got Things Done (2) He created the America we know today.

    Must-listen recording of Gingrich’s man-crush on FDR.

  62. Di, indeed that is the part that worries me about The Newt. Even more so invoking Woodrow Wilson and the limits of the Presidency being as far as a big man can push them.

  63. Sdferr, I suppose with the proper parsing, you can come up with an argument. For me I think the question is, how many republican leaders today are to the right of JFK?

  64. This from Gingrich’s SC victory speech is the part that answers the “why not Santorum” question.

    “It’s not that I’m a good debater, it’s that I articulate the deepest felt values of the American people”

    The people he was reaching with his rhetoric were the Tea Party not strictly “conservatives”. His prospects rose when he went after the “elites” and not his opponents. Santorum doesn’t quite go there but stays within certain bounds of civility toward those in power, as per sdferr’s #22.

    I realize that that use of “values” is not going to be right with you sdferr but it is meant to be read as principles and nowadays those two get used as synonyms unfortunately.

    Does he truly believe what he’s saying? Who knows? For many it is enough to just hear it said for now. Maybe one of the others will pick that rhetoric and the principles up and carry it further.

  65. “I realize that that use of “values” is not going to be right with you sdferr but it is meant to be read as principles and nowadays those two get used as synonyms unfortunately. ”

    Absolutely, and entirely correct as regards Gingrich’s (and nominally speaking, any other politician using the word today) use. Part of my beef (only part) is that the word obscures more than it captures to reveal.

    An aside: I just looked up the use in the online etymological dictionary, and much to my surprise (I expected older citations), the earliest English cite there is 1921, though one can see the direct translation from German terms in use much earlier. Still, it’s fucking gross, while going hand in hand with the debasement of our politics.

  66. To return to topic, one of the harsh realities is, Santorum has not had as much money or as large of organization going in. On one hand, I shrug and consider he hasn’t been able to attract enough supporters, a facet of the process. On the other hand, Romney has the establishment organizing for him and enough ad dollars to drown out anything Santorum says except the part where he wants to take away everyone’s condoms.

    Then you have the daily racehorse polls. It’s actually hilarious to watch, if you can channel your inner cynic. The whole republican base saying to the establishment, “Anyone but Romney! How about this guy?”. Then, “Ok, this guy. This woman? please, pick one, just not Romney!”

    Santorum just hasn’t really got his day in the spotlight yet is all. Hopefully there are still enough open minded people to give him his chance.

  67. The smartest thing the Establishment could do would be to throw some cash Santorum’s way. Since, of course, that’s unlikely to benefit Romney, the question then becomes, do they not want Gingrich more than they want Romney?

  68. Santorum hasn’t got the spotlight because of what sdferr said at 22. He is a sidekick.
    Same reason Dean Jones never got cast as President.

  69. “The smartest thing the Establishment could do would be to throw some cash Santorum’s way.”

    I can confirm tonight from multiple sources that phone calls are in fact occurring between Republicans in Washington and among evangelical leaders to raise money for Rick Santorum rapidly.

    The sources tell me that this is not for a Santorum win, though the evangelicals I spoke to continue to hope it is possible. This is to stop Newt Gingrich. One evangelical leader I spoke to said, “If Newt wins, we won’t be able to make family values an issue in the general.” One lobbyist I spoke to said, “They [the GOP leaders in DC] are really nervous about Gingrich and they think he’d be a disaster. The best way to shut him down is to prop up Rick.”

    link

  70. There was one Gingrich-Santorum Lincoln Douglas style debate in Nov. 2011 in New Hampshire. Here, here, here, here, here, here, here,and here are the 8 parts on Youtube totaling about 1 hour.

  71. oh my tea party fever

    Goaltender Tim Thomas, one of only two Americans from the 2011 Stanley Cup team, decided not to join his teammates.

    Thomas posted the following statement on his Facebook page at 6 p.m. ET:

    “I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

    This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

    Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

    This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT”

    link

  72. nr, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the case that money is being funneled to Santorum to keep him alive and to keep it a three man race. Face it, Ron Paul is there because he likes the attention, not because he expects to win.

  73. “Ron Paul is there because he likes the attention, ”

    nah he wants delegates to shape the final outcome at the convention

  74. Damn. I forgot about his delegates.

    Well, I hope he has an amusing story about Rand’s TSA pat-down tonight.

  75. “If Newt wins, we won’t be able to make family values an issue in the general.”

    This is a huge plus in Mr. Newt’s column. We might even end up with a campaign about for reals issues.

    Not getting too hopeful yet, but maybe.

  76. The sources tell me that this is not for a Santorum win, …. [t]his is to stop Newt Gingrich.

    The risk for the Establishment types is that the third man in a two man race is looking to take out the second man, as Haley Barbour noted to Laura Ingraham earlier today; and right now, Mitt Romney is arguably the second man.

    completely OT: Can anybody tell me if a loose (like wiggly loose tooth loose) polarized prong on a 6-outlet surge protector is a Bad Thing?

  77. Do you like the stuff that’s plugged into it, Ernst?

  78. We might even end up with a campaign about for reals issues.

    With Barak Obama running for re-election?

    I’d be more worried about family values becoming a wedge issue that depresses the Republican base.

  79. I’m not sure anymore Pablo. With the way the TV started acting last night, I’m thinking I might want to Get Out! of the house before the bed starts levitating and spinning.

  80. “Can anybody tell me if a loose (like wiggly loose tooth loose) polarized prong on a 6-outlet surge protector is a Bad Thing?”

    yes spend $15 and get a new one

  81. Obama is mostly prepped and meme-ready for Wall Street Romney. He’s not prepped for someone smarter than he is.

  82. Romney still sounds like an asshole on the tax return issue.

  83. mittens makes jentherube cry to night

  84. Obama has put all his eggs in Romney’s basket. I like how all the pundits are on their heels about Newt winning South Carolina and Santorum squeeking out a win in Iowa.

    Finally this is getting interesting.

  85. the mittens is sounding dumb

  86. oh mitt take down

  87. That’s okay, Nancy has his back. He doesn’t need to be prepped to Newt.

  88. is there a debate on now nobody tells me anything

  89. I found it but I had to find out from Hot Air

    that’s just wrong

  90. Ruh-roh,
    nor laup is pointing fingers at CRA and banks being forced to loan money to those who couldn’t pay it back-for the fairness…

    I hope people don’t completely stop listening when he starts talking about economics.

  91. Oh, sorry. I thought you knew.

  92. Romney is super-excited about regulation

  93. Newt gets $5 million more in the till from the casino guy.

  94. Romney says “America needs a regulator-in-chief and goddamn it I’m the man for the job!”

    He’s really winning over the crowd

  95. One thing I wonder about the Pelosi/ethics hearings thing is what if she releases fake files? The real ones being under seal and no one can discuss them how would anyone prove that she had faked them? At least before major damage was done.

  96. Oy, geoff. One conspiracy at a time, my friend.

  97. “Do you really think financial markets were over-regulated; this is the second time Dodd-Frank has been singled out tonight”, Brian Williams asked mockingly, with a well practiced tone of incredulity.

    Mittenz was too polite, of course; he should have said, “You damn skippy”!

  98. Cuba is drilling oil they just got a shiny Chinese rig!

    failshit America looks on enviously

  99. the nbc doesn’t give ricks much time

  100. Newt calling for the overthrow of Castro and regime change in Cuba…

    Naked pandering of the Fla Cubans, or simply fighting the last, last battle?

  101. Anybody else consider the irony that the only candidate that can beat Obama can’t beat Newt Gingrich.

  102. Ron Paul is kind of a whiny little bitch huh

  103. Ron Paul: No sanctions on Cuba

    Rick S: Sanctions, baby!

  104. Santorum has the most measured answer to the Cuba question. But I’m biased…

  105. Romney looks malnourished and palid I wonder if he has a debilitating illness

  106. they ax rickys a question?

  107. Iran can’t shut down the straights of Hormuz, for more than a few moments at least.

    Must resist Mitt’s promise to make a larger Navy!11!1!

  108. Newt looks like my grandma she was jowly too (in her 90s) and her hair was a wee bit bluer

  109. Gotta throw Newt a bone for calling out Ogabe for cancelling joint US-Israeli Naval exercises in the Persian Gulf…

  110. mittens is wearing mittens tonite. he makes jentherube cry

  111. Romney is looking all frat boy with his hand in his pocket and for some reason the stage is set up to where he’s actually looking down for reals not just figuratively

  112. I hadn’t seen that geoffb thanks.

  113. nor laup says we’ve already comitted an act of war against the Iranians…Likens it to someone blockading the Gulf of Mexico…

    Relativism anyone?

    facepalm time

  114. the mittens needs a sweater vest stat.

  115. I wonder who their 2 special guest questioners are? Matthews? Maddow? Joe Scarborough (he was a Fla rep, after all)?

  116. It’s almost as though Ron Paul’s entire reason for being in the race is to enact a performative expression, revealing how utterly ball-less the Republican party has become, to the extent they can’t bring themselves to toss his ass right off the stage. But my, Dr. Paul, well done, you putzer.

  117. oh good 2 more liberal hacks

  118. Adam Smith? The invisible hand of the market guy (I kid)?

  119. Santorum calling out the Iranians! Naming real acts of war…

    And calling out Ogabe for the failure of his Iran policy. Takin’ it strong to the hoop!

  120. who’s the idiot twat what thinks an oil spill will shut down Disney World?

  121. Ooooh, Santorum says energy shortage more a threat to Fla economy than any hypothetical offshore drilling.

    Strong.

  122. I have no idea who that woman is happyfeet, someone for National Journal.

    And her question about english as the national language is ridiculous.

    The campaigns are electing to send out literature in spanish, not being told to do so by the government.

    Newt makes an important point about the social “glue” that one common language supplies.

  123. she’s obviously not supposed to upstage the Brian Williams and she’s doing a good job so far

  124. Brian Williams is an empty suit-regardless of how expenive a suit it is…

  125. nbc romney – newt – paul

  126. I’ve been so so so curious about what the candidates think about immigration

    brb gotsta get my notepad!

  127. It’s sweet that they let Down’s syndrome girls moderate debates.

  128. Here comes the subsidy questions for the Newstster.

    He gave a non-answer.

  129. the homes are underwater Romney says and so the sugar is I think I put some in my coffee this morning on accident what was the question

  130. mittens: i’ll get rid of it change subject.

  131. that was a supremely douchey move on Wall Street Romney’s part

    what a miserable fucking coward he is no wonder McCain takes his teef out for him

  132. oh good some “social issues”

  133. oh for fuck’s sake we have to talk about that vegetable bitch again

  134. Here comes the Shaivo question, for Santorum, of course. Why was he involved? Turns out her parents were his constituents.

    He was doing them a solid.

    And now the question of whether DNR orders a “immoral”…

  135. does anyone on erf think DNRs are “immoral”?

  136. I gotta throw Newt another bone for pointing out that a Federal revue would be mandatory for a criminal, so why is it so out of line in this instance.

    Good reminder to make a living will…

  137. One conspiracy at a time, my friend.

    hey, I can chew gum, walk, and talk on my phone all at the same time.

  138. nor luap freedom fighter

  139. Hold the phone, space program question time.

  140. Dr. Paul had the best answer.

  141. NASA’s mission should primarily be off world exploration, the rest of the slack will be taken up by private enterprise.

  142. this no-name NBC slut is annoying

  143. no name is a puff host wannabe

  144. Now we have the “if tax cuts create jobs, why didn’t the Boooooooosh! tax cuts create jobs”?

    Hello! I seem to remember what the media called a “jobless recovery” circa 2004 where unemployment was in the 5 to 6 percent range.

    Newt gave a pretty good answer about over-regulation, but forgot to throw that part in to hightlight the absurd nature of her question.

    What happened to the fighty fighter that happily fights the media whenever, wherever?

  145. “NASA’s mission should primarily be”

    winding down this gov’t agency

  146. Well, he didn’t finish his answer by calling her “stupid”, Bob. So there’s that.

    There are way too many commercials on this.

  147. yes Mr. Reed Newt flubbed that one he must be afraid to hit girls

  148. “to highlight the absurd nature of her question.”

    Mitt’s people will be spreading tomorrow: Newt just wants in her pants, which is why he made nice.

  149. “What happened to”

    so many lies so little time.

  150. Mitt’s people might be saying just about anything tomorrow sdferr,
    and you’ll be knee-deep in all the propaganda until Saturday…

    If I were you I might be tempted to write in for James Madison.

  151. Forrest Gump don’t got shit on Newt

  152. You know, I find it hard to hear Newt talk about being a “genuine conservative”. Anyone else?

  153. Newt done knee-capped Mitt with his stellar resume.

    His is bigger.

  154. Rick’s pulling out the big guns in his closing; Obamney care, Cap-n-Trade, progressive connivances…

    Talks about the fluidity of the principles.

    Good finish, whether one likes him or not.

  155. “There are way too many commercials on this.”
    And surprisingly little Romney Spam

  156. go newt!

  157. Romney is a contemptible coward.

  158. Newt’s resume sounds good Leigh, unless someone points out that by his own accredation he’s the consumate Washington insider. And somehow he’s The Tea Party candidate?

    That’s a real headscratcher, for me at least.

    Newt’s good at tossing around the red meat, and is a glib, quick thinker. But he does what’s good for Newt, at any particular moment, and I wonder if he could be counted on to do what’s right, or necessary, if that wouldn’t be particularly good for Newt…

  159. Newt really knocked that out of the park but Wall Street Romney has robo-stats

  160. Romney’s just contemptible all around.

  161. nbc luvs mittens

  162. Newt played the role of front-runner pretty well happyfeet, but I’m not sure he knocked anything out of the park.

    I know you not fond of him, but I thought Santorum did pretty darn well.

    And you should be encouraged that WRT Shaivo, he made it clear that his personal moral yardstick shouldn’t be the measure of policy.

  163. the part where he said it was humbling to contemplate having to face down America’s elite ruling class to salvage something of what’s left of pitiful failshit America was where I thought he knocked it out of the park

  164. And somehow he’s The Tea Party candidate?

    Has he claimed that mantle, Bob? I haven’t heard him speak it, but I may have missed it.

    I didn’t know until yesterday that Newt has a Ph.D. from Tulane that he got at a very young age. He and Obama can compare grades, she snarked.

    Dissicated Andrea Mitchell is yacking now.

  165. I had to turn it the moment the debate was over to avoid the NBC ass-hats. But I gots to know, is Matthews amongst the “analysts” going over the debate?

    ‘Cuz I’m sure he must love him some Romney.

  166. Mr. Reed I can’t take Santorum seriously cause of I am extremely bigoted against his kind

    it’s a flaw

  167. Nope. Chuck Todd and Andrea, and David Gregory.

  168. Ok, I get it happy. Newt’s pretty good at writing his own material; it goes with the glib-ness.

  169. David Gregory should land a role in the Depp Dark Shadows reboot

  170. You know Leigh, I haven’t read or heard him say it personally, but I’ve heard some alleged TP types and members of the punditocracy saying it.

    And thanks for the line-up card on NBC. You’re watching it, so I don’t have to…

  171. Mr. Bob Santorum said his first priority as president was to reinstate DADT.

    That’s very weird.

    It goes back to what leigh said about the geist what is zeit.

  172. Wait a minute happyfeet,
    You’re bigoted against white ex-Senators from Pennsylvania? That may make you a racist; or at least a Pennslyvania-ist…

  173. also Newt still has a for real scrappy doo underdog feel to him I think

  174. “Mr. Bob Santorum said his first priority as president was to reinstate DADT.”

    citation needed

  175. And I didn’t hear about the repeal of DADT being his first priority. But admittedly I’ve been bust for the last couple of months.

    Now I know why most folks have babies when they’re under 50 :)

    I mean, I never pulled all nighter’s in college! Well, unless partying that is…

  176. I just can’t validate someone who elevates social con issues so high while our countrymen are become food stamp whores what wallow in despair like whorish little pigs

  177. “also Newt still has a for real scrappy doo underdog feel to him I think”

    you be into alaskan cum sluts too

  178. no I made that part up about it being his first priority for dramatic effect

  179. “I just can’t validate someone who elevates social con issues ”

    seems the mbm does that. not ?s about iran, oil/gas/manufacturing et al. yea let the mbm frame it.

  180. Heh. I had my last baby at 37. I feel for you. Now he is a pesky teen.

    The Fred endorses Newt!

  181. Well happyfeet,
    I think you and a lot of other folks might be over-reacting to some of the thinks Rick has said.

    I get the impression he’d be onboard with rolling back some of the social engineering measures that have been more destructive to our society. But I don’t necessarily think they’d be very high priority.

    I think it would be more like Ronnie Reagan did it; where he would speak out for social issues from the bully pulpit, but wouldn’t impose his own idea of morality on others by codifying it into law.

  182. i like how nbc gave dr. luap more time than someone who won an effin’ state

  183. Wow…The Thompson endorsement of Newt will go a long way with rank-and-file folks…

  184. I have to agree nr, I thought that peculiar myself.

  185. Prediction.

    Newt wins Fl.
    Santorum Second (Catholic vote helps)
    Romney third.

    GOP Establicans freak.

  186. I think that’s possible but in my heart I feel that Santorum is unelectable

    and also in my heart I like seeing his social con agenda emphatically rejected by voters

    also I like pumpkin lobster soup and TVD marathons and rainy nights in Los Angeles

  187. Romney invested in the Macs?

  188. but also I think Santorum’s religiosity is not even comparable to Mr. Reagan’s

    Mr. Reagan was divorced you know plus he made a gay baby

  189. I agree the country is better served talking about the spendings.
    talking about buttfucking and cumsluterry is just a distraction
    probably an alinsky tactic.

  190. that would be so cool to see Romney in third but Floridians are those whores what made Crist their governor, no?

  191. if Fred says to vote Newt this time after he told us to vote for Meghan’s coward daddy last time, then that my friends is a compelling narrative of personal growth

    mazel tovs Mr. Fred!

  192. That’s true, Ronnie was divorced…

    Are you sure that your Santorum thing isn’t a lingering bible-belt-kind-of anti-idol-worshipping-Catholic sort of bias? Just wondering.

    I have relatives in the deep south that always bring up my idol-worshipping heresey at family parties; mostly after having a few(dozen) drinks. I never get pissed or anything. I mean, they’re sure they’re lookin’ after my eternal best interests or something like that :)

    And, dude, pumpkin lobster soup? I’ve never even heard of that!

    Y’all have lobsters on the west coast?

  193. Newt is a Catholic, too. And a convert because before he was a filthy Protestant.

  194. pumpkin lobster soup is a Japanese thing right there in NY! – it’s the japanese pumpkin

    so so good – still looking for it out here

  195. I think Newt gets some TEA Party cred ‘cuz he was one of the big names that saw the parade, grabbed a baton, and sprinted for the front.

    “no I made that part up about it being his first priority for dramatic effect”

    “in my heart I like seeing his social con agenda emphatically rejected by voters”

    Sooo, you lie about him.

    What an asshole.

  196. yes I lied I am so ashamed

  197. I plan to cast a vote on the 31st, even willing to risk jury duty to have it count.

  198. They’re called kamchatca pumpkins, happy. Look at the Asian market.

  199. Mr. Bob I grewed up around Catholicisms! I love it very much. I think the Pope is a bit stodgy at times, but that’s kind of what they hired him for, no? It’s probably tied into his pension.

    But I’ve never met a for real catholic what’s as much of a pious jackass as Santorum seems to be. Seems damn proud to be.

    He’s just taken to a place where it’s cartoony.

  200. I can probably find the pumpkins but I’m not much of a diy kinda guy with food

    that’s sort of a last resort

  201. Kabocha pumpkins, sorry.

  202. LOL local Jacksonville news is running a story saying don’t let Romney’s Mormon heritage scare you.

    Then castigates a Romney PAC ad as mostly lies. It does get confusing.

  203. There’s no good reason to be polluting your lobster soup with pumpkins. Some cream and some sherry is most of what you need to do it right.

  204. Try Trader Joe’s. They might have it frozen or already made up. Toss in the lbster and viola!

    Santorum would make a lousy priest. He’s awfully sanctamonious.

  205. OK folks, I’ve enjoyed taking a dip into the deep end of the intellect pool; it’s been to long…

    But I think Bobby boy will be needing my attention here soon. He still doesn’t go all night without a fill-up.

    Tomorrow my big little boy will be 5 months old! His first teeth are starting to come in. He’ll go straight from Barley to prime rib :)

    Thanks be to God, my little blessing is growing quick. He’s nearly 19 lbs, and just a hair under 29 inches long. But, you know, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

    Anyway, the sleep training has been hard on my lovely wife, who thinks herself a failure as a Mom since he won’t sleep all night yet. So let me be ready to take care of him the moment he awakes, so she can have a good night free from interruption and worries of maternal inadequacy.

    It’s been fun, I’ll see y’all soon.

  206. You better get started on the little brother soon, Bob.

    Night!

  207. too long…

    I still can’t type. Some things never change :)

  208. here’s a place in Manhattan where you can find the tasty soup Mr. Bob I just googled that at random it’s not a trick to get you to wander into the Village

  209. He’s just taken to a place where it’s cartoony.

    Yeah, he actually means it! How crazy is that?

    Here’s all the lobster soup you need. Seriously. OK, I’d throw some lump lobster in it, but then we’re lousy with it around here.

  210. I just can’t validate someone who elevates social con issues so high while our countrymen are become food stamp whores what wallow in despair like whorish little pigs

    Maybe they wouldn’t wallow like the desperate whorish little pigs they are, if social conservative issues were discussed seriously instead of cartoonishly.

  211. have a good night Bobs

  212. the key thing is the pumpkin Mr. Pablo

    just wondrously comforting

    Mr. Ernst the new president has for real shit to do. Chop chop. We don’t have time for silly divisive hectorings.

  213. “also in my heart I like seeing his social con agenda emphatically rejected by voters”

    like the “gay marriage thing” in ca? just wondering. any tasty cupcakes out there?

  214. Hectoring is for church. I don’t want the Legion of Decency running the country.

  215. The sleep training thing only works if mommy’s will is stronger than junior’s.

  216. Anyway, the sleep training has been hard on my lovely wife, who thinks herself a failure as a Mom since he won’t sleep all night yet.

    Bob, of my two, one was a nighttime angel after a few months. The other was all night terrors until she was two or so. Explain to the Mrs. that her hopes of having some control over such things are a bit of overreach, and that it’s early yet, so don’t give up hope.

  217. Adieu Bob, kalinihta, and come back soon too.

  218. “We don’t have time for silly divisive hectorings.”

    chop chop says the baracky

  219. I know pumpkin. I know lobster. I’m a New Englander, after all. Lobster don’t need no fucking pumpkin is all I’m saying.

  220. Stop rubbing it in about the lobster. We’re landlocked out here.

  221. Interesting characterization there leigh.

  222. but that’s the last debate I watch til we’re down to at least three whores on the stage

    and I’m so sick of the immigration yammerings I can’t even tell you

    that’s just the obamawhore media trying to prop up Obama’s waning hispanic support

  223. lobster bisque on the west coast is kinda dicey

    not as dicey as risotto but still

  224. and I’ll never order blue crab out here again ever my whole life

    omg the quintessence of foul

  225. It depends on the church, Ernst and the temperament of the Pastor. Some people like to be hectored. I’m not one of them and have a nice mellow priest who used to be a lawyer and never hectors.

    I guess he got it out of his system.

  226. “and I’m so sick of the immigration yammerings I can’t even tell you”

    the happy tancredo

  227. Religion is way better without all that pesky morality. That’s what turned me off.

  228. but no santorum didn’t have a breakout night

    it looks like Obamacare whore Wall Street Romney is giddy to discover that Freddie Mac whore Newt is a whore just like him

    But the rest of us we’ve already processed this information.

  229. I’m so sick of the immigration yammerings I can’t even tell you

    that’s just the obamawhore media trying to prop up Obama’s waning hispanic support

    They should stick to wedging the values voters then. Since it seems to be working.

  230. One, at least, of the four candidate remainders is gonna get sick while they’re down here campaigning, I’m thinkin’. There’s something going around kinda rhinovirusy-like, ‘cept in my case it started at the top of my lungs, spread down, then up the respiratory tract, then upward still more, straight through the throat and into the sinuses, where it seems to be content to stay awhile. Ain’t drownded on the fluids yet, but feels like that could come along anytime now. Hacky, nosedrippy and feverish is no way to do the best campaigning, is it?

  231. I hope it’s Ron Paul he’s old and feeble

  232. sorry that was supposed to be a bubble thought

  233. There is a new strain of the flu out and about, sdferr, but that sounds like a bad cold.

    I hope you get better soon.

  234. Me too on the get better soon angle, on account of this sucks ass.

  235. Gratefully, on the other hand, KU decided not to lose to Tx A&M tonight, so there’s that. Plus it made a decent diversion from that contender for the dumbest-man-in-television award, Brian Williams.

  236. Wait, you said a fever? How long have you had this? You may want to get a chest xray to make sure you don’t have smething worse than a cold, like pneumonia. I sure hope it’s only a cold.

  237. Michigan is not exactly landlocked but we are not on the ocean. Luckily these guys come around twice a month, mostly because we have a large Japanese community here. Love the soups both the lobster bisque and the she-crab.

  238. It just started last night. But to say plain, the chance of me getting a chest picture are betwixt and between not and never.

  239. Sdferr, sorry to hear you are under the weather. Get well soonest.

  240. Little A just shook off New Monia it’s a very real thing

  241. Thanks y’all. It’s a decent enough excuse to make pies, way I see it.

  242. I think the Pope is a bit stodgy at times, but that’s kind of what they hired him for, no? It’s probably tied into his pension.

    That was funny.

  243. You know the fantastic thing about somebody sharing their moral feelings with you is

    you are not obligated to do a damn thing about it.

    If Santorum is personally sanctimonious but doesn’t bother putting into legislation any of his moral convictions, he is instantly 100% less of a dickbag than Obama and the “let’s re-engineer the United States to our (terrible, less-free) specifications!” squad.

  244. Pellegri’s #245 wins the thread, IMO.

  245. I think that’s possible but in my heart I feel that Santorum is unelectable

    and also in my heart I like seeing his social con agenda emphatically rejected by voters

    Strong families and tax breaks for charitable giving are so fucking priggish and divisive it would make the baby Jesus squeal, were he here. And not showing off up in Heaven, the sanctimonious jackass.

    Turn the other cheek!

  246. I just don’t see him getting any traction with this social con thing

  247. You know what sells? Progressives.

  248. Hey, how about some nice class war?

  249. “Soros insists the key to avoiding cataclysm in 2012 is not to let the crises of 2011 go to waste.”
    Pablo, I swear I might have heard that before. And old George doesn’t think his investments in the far left had anything to do with the various crises? Methinks he is not-so-subtly preparing the battle space.

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  251. Jeff / Pellegri,

    The essential problem people have with Santorum is that they are afraid they saw him in 2008 under the alias Huckabee. Someone who genuinely feels that it’s the government’s job to “make people — better.” The areas for improvement aren’t the same as Obama (or ORomney), but the mechanism is the same.

    I’m not entirely certain how he goes about that, but that’s where I see his problem.

  252. I finally got around to reading that Lord article Dave in SoCal linked and sdferr mentioned. I wasn’t aware that Bob Dole had endorsed Mitt Romney. Bob Dole and John McCain, my oh my. That’s quite the rogues’ gallery Romney’s collecting.

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