January 30, 2012

I no longer feel so alone

Sure, the GOP Establishment and many erstwhile “conservative” opinion-leaders are pushing Romney down our throats this election season (because what says “conservative alternative to Obama” better than a pro-government health care, pro-cap and trade, pro-TARP former Massachusetts governor / professional campaigner?) — and sure, many “TEA Party leaders” have come out in support of Gingrich (because, in addition to being pro-TARP, pro-cap and trade, and pro-ethanol subsidies, what says “TEA Party conservative” better than a guy who views FDR as the embodiment of a great national leader?) — but out here on the fringes there are still a few of us who view this election as more than just a horse race to determine which party gets to manage the comfortable decline of the US.

And so it heartens me to see people like Mark Levin, and now Michelle Malkin, remaining true to the kind of movement conservatism we absolutely must help gain intellectual and ideological ascendancy should we wish to begin beating back the tide of democratic socialism that’s in the final stages of being institutionalized here in the US.

I have written repeatedly that, if it comes down to Newt Gingrich as the GOP’s presidential nominee, I could vote for him: Gingrich has a tendency to be too smart by half, and he has long attempted to game the momentary political ethos for his own ends; but such peculiarities of character don’t entirely negate (for me: others whom I respect differ) what he was able to do in bringing the GOP back to power in the House; in affecting actual welfare reforms; and in balancing the budget (using the standard practices at the time). If in fact Gingrich is a kind of slave to the ethos, he no doubt recognizes the strong conservative current running through the electorate at this historical moment and would serve it, or at least, agree to lord over it. I am under no illusions about Gingrich’s attempts to sell himself as a DC outsider; but yet I am also aware of his particular gifts, which when used in defense and advancement of conservatism may not prove inconsiderable.

Romney, on the other hand, has learned to mouth conservative talking points without fully embracing them (or even, it seems to me, fully understanding them: take for instance his defense of his time at Bain Capital, where Romney used a leftist argument — capitalism as justified by its altruism, whereby it exists and is moral because it creates jobs — to justify private equity practices). Further, he has not backed down with respect to the inherent workability and righteousness of the individual mandate and a top-down government run health care apparatus — a fact made even more troublesome by “slips” from some of his GOP advisers meant to keep him plausibly connected with centrist moderates (he believes), even as he tries to position himself as the real Reaganite alternative to the other candidates.

Ron Paul’s foreign policy makes him an outlier; and his newsletter, like it or not, makes him an unelectable liability as a national candidate.

Which is why many of us have gravitated toward Rick Santorum, who has provided a steady conservative message throughout his campaign — and has on his record a rejection of the individual mandate (regardless of the Romney camp’s attempts, through the Washington Examiner and others, to suggest otherwise), a rejection of TARP, a rejection of cap and trade, and a demonstrable history of promoting private solutions to any number of social and economic problems.

Early on in the debate season I Tweeted that we should be taking a closer look at Santorum — this despite my reputation for being something of an enemy to social conservatism (a charge I believe unfounded, incidentally). For that Tweet I received some instant scorn from many of the newer new media players in the GOP opinion-leader universe.

And yet my instincts have proven right I think — even as the power and media elite continue to try to clear the field for Romney by attacking Gingrich and entirely dismissing (and ignoring) Santorum. The only inevitability from which I predict will be a populist conservative backlash against the GOP of the kind they are not adequately anticipating.

Notes Malkin:

[Santorum] voted against cap and trade in 2003, voted yes to drilling in ANWR, and unlike Romney and Gingrich, Santorum has never dabbled with eco-radicals like John Holdren, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. He hasn’t written any “Contracts with the Earth.”

Santorum is strong on border security, national security, and defense. Mitt the Flip-Flopper and Open Borders-Pandering Newt have been far less trustworthy on immigration enforcement.

Santorum is an eloquent spokesperson for the culture of life. He has been savaged and ridiculed by leftist elites for upholding traditional family values — not just in word, but in deed.

[...]

Most commendably, he refused to join Gingrich and Perry in indulging in the contemptible Occupier rhetoric against Romney. Character and honor matter. Santorum has it.

Of course, Santorum is not perfect. As I’ve said all along, every election cycle is a Pageant of the Imperfects. He lost his Senate re-election bid in 2006, an abysmal year for conservatives. He was a go-along, get-along Big Government Republican in the Bush era. He supported No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug benefit entitlement, steel tariffs, and earmarks and outraged us movement conservatives by endorsing RINO Arlen Specter over stalwart conservative Pat Toomey.

On these latter issues I’m not much bothered; in fact, I see a certain irony in the fact that Santorum is attacked as insufficiently conservative for votes in support of the GOP platform under Bush by the very people who gave us George Bush, and who now want to give us Romney.

Has Santorum voted incorrectly on a number of Party issues? Absolutely. But his overarching worldview is conservative — and his answer in the last debate about the primacy of the Declaration of Independents and its controlling proclamations about the relationship between the individual and government was clearly articulated and forcefully delivered, not by someone who has learned to mouth certain platitudes but by someone who believes deeply in the foundational assertions responsible for American exceptionalism.

And TEA Party voters are beginning to figure this out, too — or at least, those in Florida. TEA Party “leadership” or “spokespeople” are both oxymorons. And to the extent such political “leadership” or the mantle of “spokesperson” has been coopted by establishment intrusion or coercion, proclamations issued by titular TEA Party organizations are perhaps inherently dubious anyway. In the end, it is the individual voter who matters — and as I’ve been saying, no one in “unelectable” unless those who have votes refuse to cast a vote for him and her.

Don’t let the special pleaders tell you otherwise.

(thanks to Bob Reed)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:53am
95 comments | Trackback

Comments (95)

  1. Santorum and Mr. Newt are splitting the not-Romney vote

    one of them should get out

  2. Leaving Paul aside, Santorum is the only one left that you can tell believes what he says he believes in. I can’t figure out which of Newt and Romney I trust less. Can’t vote for either, ever.

  3. No, both should stay in. After FL almost all contests will be proportional until April.

  4. I’m sitting this election out. I’m not voting for a big government guy again.

    And Santorum is a big government “conservative”.

  5. oh. ok.

  6. I can’t figure out which of Newt and Romney I trust less.

    That’s easy. It’s Newt.

    You can trust Romney to disappoint conservatives and classical liberals.

  7. Anytime anyone says “I won’t vote for any of the nominees” I read it as “I’m voting for Obama”. We have to stop the bleeding before we can fix the wound. Obama is not going to stop the bleeding. I shudder to think at all of the things Obama can do to violate our little country without the black cloud (racism!) of re-election hovering over his head. You think it can’t be worse? I think Obama has not yet started to fully violate you with his marxist cock of lies.

    Cause seriously- Newt, Romney and Santorum are not the enemy. You may disagree with them on things, even hugely fundamental things (I sure as hell do), but I guarantee you every one of them believes in conservatism, small government and improving the economy moreso than the Marxist in the White House.

  8. Geoff, what happens in Virginia if Romney loses FL (please please please) since only he and Dr. Paul are on the ballot there? I guess there is no special pleading or at least I haven’t heard anything new.

  9. The nation rolls over on its back so the Socialists can rub its tummy.

  10. Mr. Matt I think it’s fair if Mr. Pablo doesn’t want to vote for the Newt or the Wall Street Romney … people have different tolerance levels for these Gingrich Romney types

    but you’re right Obama will rape our little country something awful for the next four years

    Whereas Romney will Domino Pizza our little country. Which is fine it’s just nobody knows what that means.

  11. Leigh, VA will split up their 49 between Romney and Luap Nor no matter what happens in FL. The GOP establishment there screwed their own pooch for Romney-love.

  12. Romney is on the side of our enemies: Romneycare, TARP and “sensible gun restrictions.”

    I don’t know if I can bring myself to vote for Gingrich, although, Jeff makes an interesting point about Gingrich having enough self interest to recognize and promote conservative/classical liberal values.

  13. Harsanyi is making a crap argument by taking David Brooks’s characterization of Santorum’s book and running with it for his own purposes. How often does Harsanyi agree with Brooks otherwise?

  14. If Romney is such a conservative guy, why didn’t he in 2002, run for Gov. in Michigan when Engler stepped down. A nomination that his birth State would have handed to him gladly. A State where he could have shown the world his skills at turnaround based on conservative principles.

    Could it be because Massachusetts is/was a better fit for his brand of progressive-conservatism?

  15. Values.

    Faugh

  16. We have to stop the bleeding before we can fix the wound. Obama is not going to stop the bleeding.

    I kinda think anybody who’s in favor of keeping the bleeding going is the enemy —whether they want to bleed us a little or a lot.

    And frankly, I’d rather the electorate be able to assign blame to one party when they decide they’ve had enough of the bloodsuckers. So yeah, I think I would rather have a President Obama than a President Romney. A Republican House isn’t going to collaborate with Obama.

  17. I’m onboard with that sentiment, Ernst.

  18. Jeff, my question, since you briefly mentioned it, is won’t Santorum be wide open to attack about “values” issues- the same issues that are raised by members of his own party – certainly, his record on abortion and gay marriage could turn off independent voters who are uncomfortable with that degree of focus on “values”. I was of the impression the “values” issues were one of the primary reasons he was not considered viable in the first place and only now becomes viable when people like Bachman, PErry and Cain are out of the race. I realize “independent” voters may be overhyped during election season but it would seem that we would need them, unless the assumption is that like many of us, we don’t care who is President as long as its not Obama.

    Also, I’m in Florida so been putting up with the non-stop advertising for the candidates- there’s been a constant barrage of anti-abortion ads linked to Mitt, Newt and the various right to life groups- it seems to me this overwhelming tide of pro-life type advertisements is the wrong issue to be emphasizing, when there are so many other issues to focus on.

  19. Anytime anyone says “I won’t vote for any of the nominees” I read it as “I’m voting for Obama”.

    No offense, but that’s more a problem with your reading than it is with what they are writing. Not voting for a particular candidate is not a de facto vote for another candidate. It is the absence of a vote for a given candidate.

    If the GOP is so concerned with defeating Obama, it should put forth a candidate GOP voters want to vote for, not one they have to vote for lest someone tell them that a failure to vote for someone you don’t want to vote for is a vote for someone you don’t want to vote for.

    That’s ludicrous. And we’ll never change the calculus until we’re willing to insist it be changed.

    My advice to those who read things the way you do is this: if you’re going to give me someone I don’t like and ask that I vote for him, at least have the courtesy to make it someone I don’t like who is also on my side.

    A Romney coronation will be the culmination of a takeover by the permanent ruling elite, wherein Party affiliation only determines going forth who gets to manage and direct the administrative state. A centralized Nanny State that gives me lower taxes and “compassionate conservatism” is still a centralized Nanny State. And as such it is anathema to individual liberty. I will not vote for my own enslavement, even if doing so means I’ll forestall some aspects of the process.

    I will happily work to make sure conservative / classical liberal Senators and House members are elected. And I will rail against Barack Obama to try to convince people not to vote for him. My rejection of Romney does not make me a de facto supporter of Barack Obama.

    It simply doesn’t.

    And the best way to avoid the argument going forward? Is to make sure Romney isn’t the the nominee.

  20. Whereas Romney will Domino Pizza our little country. Which is fine it’s just nobody knows what that means.

    That’s just so cute.

    I remember back in grade school when the auditorium hosted a mock campaign. Nixon won handily, what with the crowd of 12 year old chicks and their cheerleading and whatnot.

    Not long after the emerging radical libertarian (and Alinskyite) JHo artfully penned a landmark assignment paper entitled Richard Nixon: A Paradox, and in it unleashed a diatribe against campaign promises so convincing that it resonates to this very day. Devastating were the ages of ruin it laid to Team R.

    It seems nobody knows that a candidate shall do and never have.

  21. The Newt I liked and hope is still inside him somewhere.

    [I]t is the Soviets who have developed language into a war of words of great power. Lenin probably most brilliantly personified this when he and his faction lost a fight for control of the International around 1903, and immediately adopted the Russian word “Bolshevik” which means majority.

    As Lenin said, “If we who are the minority, they had lost the vote, but they said if we call ourselves “Bolshevik” meaning majority, and we call our opponents “Menshevik” meaning minority, then after a year or two, everybody will believe that we are the majority and they are the minority.

    So they were Bolsheviks ever since. It is Lenin who called the Soviet newspaper Pravda, which means truth. Because he said, “I will own truth.” He meant by that not merely a pun, but the literal ability of a totalitarian state, as George Orwell told us in “1984,” to redefine reality over and over again.

    The Soviets believe very deeply in a war of words and in the power of language to shape reality. They understand George Orwell’s essay on politics and the English language. They systematically use words which is why they call their armies “peoples’ armies” even if they are dictatorships and thugs and terrorists. Which is why they told their Communists in Nicaragua to use “Sandinista” because they knew that if they were called Communists we would have understood it. Yet, we do not even realize that Leninism as a doctrine for the use of language exists.

    All too often we use their words. Our Government uses their words.
    [...]
    Again and again we forget that words in the long run define reality and that if you cannot think it, you cannot say it; and if you cannot say it, conversely you cannot think it. If we think of the Soviets as “Gorbachev is basically a nice guy,” and I can find you quotes, the best of them by George McGovern, on Andropov as a reasonable man.

    Now, Andropov was the head of the Soviet Secret Police. He helped invent using mental hospitals as a torture ground for people who dissented. He helped develop the Gulag Archipelago. He was the Ambassador who brought in Soviet tanks to crush the Hungarians. There are no adequate words in the West to describe what the horrible thug Andropov was functionally even if he drank scotch and pretended to be nice personally.

    Because we lack the words, we all too often deceive ourselves.

  22. Jeff, my question, since you briefly mentioned it, is won’t Santorum be wide open to attack about “values” issues- the same issues that are raised by members of his own party – certainly, his record on abortion and gay marriage could turn off independent voters who are uncomfortable with that degree of focus on “values”.

    Those issues will most certainly be deployed as wedge issues against Santorum — a way to show him as “intolerant.” But in a one-on-one election wherein Santorum is given a big platform to express his views himself — and not have them defined by the left — I suspect many will find that one can hold conservative social views and still be a fine Constitutionalist.

    I also suspect that Santorum will have the unique ability to fight the assault on religion by an increasingly secularist state by pointing out that, if one is to fear any religion at all, what they should really fear as Americans is the religion of the state which has taken it upon itself to wipe out its competition, clearing the way for it to become the centralized religion of the country, lording over everything from who can worship when and where, to who can run hospitals and charities unmolested by dictates of a centralized, interested State.

    As for whatever ads are running in Florida, whatever emphasis there may be on pro-life messaging likely has to do with the wish on the part of those advocates to separate out the records of the candidates on a particular social issue. Where Santorum has separated himself out in the debates — what he’s concentrated on — is in his opposition to the individual mandate, to TARP, to cap-and-trade, etc. Too, to reach the “independent” or “moderate” voters, he’s adopted a strategy to appeal to Reagan Democrats, concentrating on a revival of the manufacturing sector.

    The question then is flipped: will independents and moderates run toward the Democratic statists who have used the bureaucracies to molest small businesses, destroy manufacturing, and kill jobs because they fear a man’s personal position on the issue of abortion? Or will they run away from such molestation and embrace free markets, lower taxes, and a concerted effort to revitalize manufacturing and energy sectors and create jobs in spite of the candidate’s personal position on abortion, or same sex marriage?

  23. One phenomenon I’ve noticed amongst the ads I’m hearing: there seems to be no super-pac advocating for Santorum. Now, why is that?

  24. The “not voting for GOP candidate X is the same as a vote for Obama” line is part and parcel of the “blame Conservatives when Romney loses” theme that has started.

    This is the same trope that has been used against Conservatives since Bush 1, at least. These lines of attack against Conservatives are supposed to make us feel guilty to the point of going along to get along..

    Conservatives are tired of being blamed and are instead asking the GOP why Conservatives are always expected to compromise without getting anything in return.

    The GOP wants the Conservative vote without doing anything to earn the Conservative vote. This is nothing more than the GOP version of the plantation.

  25. …I guarantee you every one of them believes in conservatism, small government and improving the economy moreso than the Marxist in the White House.

    Because “somewhat more conservative than a Chicago Marxist” is really the sort of qualification I look for in a President.

    To repeat my observation from last week: given the perfect storm allowing them to run whomever they wanted, the Progressives went full-Marxist with their Hopenchangefuhrer. Given the perfect storm allowing them to run whomever they wanted, the GOP went with a Statist milquetoast. In both cases, the Establishments showed their true colors. There simply is no party that will protect my right to be left alone in peace, and therefore there is no party that will get my time, treasure, or votes.

    To the extent that local pols exist who will protect me from their do-gooder peers, they will get my support. But my support is contingent on how well a candidate represents my wishes, and has nothing at all to do with how awful his opponent may be.

  26. There is one, it’s just not as super as the others.

  27. And Santorum is a big government “conservative”

    We’ve been through this here, Jeff Y. Santorum is not an Objectivist. What he’s reacting too in his discussions of radical individualism is not individual freedom and autonomy, as he made clear in his answer in the last debate when he singled out the Declaration of Independence as the why of the country. Family promotion by way of tax relief and the like is decidedly anti-Statist inasmuch as it tries to get the government (ironically and paradoxically) out of the business of the family, except where we as a society have decided to promote a certain family architecture (see my previous post on same-sex marriage if you wish to understand why I believe this position is perfectly Constitutional and adheres to the idea of negative rights). And because of his religious convictions, Santorum is more likely to fight an overreach by the courts and reassert the validity and legality of the 9th and 10th Amendments.

    He is nothing like Gingrich or Romney or McCain or Dole or even George W Bush. As a Senator for a party in power, sometimes you’re called upon to vote with the team, and you have to pick your battles.

  28. I have yet to hear any ad-time aired from that though motionview. So, is it you mean “not as super” in turn means no air-time (on account of no dough, I’m guessing)? But I still wonder why that would be? That is, it appears to be a voluntary thing, for people to gather funds or donate funds, etc., and hence to mount an advocacy apart from the candidate’s own efforts. Yet, here, the silence is what I notice.

  29. Jeff, thanks for continuing to be a voice of reason.

    Another thing on Santorum’s social conservatism: he is not markedly different than any of the other candidates on what are the two big social issues – abortion and gay marriage. In fact, his opposition to gay marriage is shared by a certain dude named Barack Obama. What separates Santorum from the rest is that he actually believes it – and it’s a sad testimony that inauthenticity is a mark of favor with a certain subset of voters.

  30. By the way, Santorum defended his support of Specter on Glenn Beck. Basically, Specter offered the quid pro quo of pushing through judicial nominees in return for re-election support. I think Specter helped get Alito onto the Supreme court.

    I believe Senate seniority rules played into the decision. I don’t remember who would have headed the judiciary committee if Specter would have lost but I think the case can be made it would not have been someone willing to push forward Justice Alito.

  31. sdferr is there a Santorum Super PAC? I thought he was running a shoestring campaign.

  32. That RWBFund says it’s organized as a SuperPac leigh. And it does advocate for Rick Santorum.

  33. Thanks. Here in the hinterlands we aren’t getting any political advertising except for local seats that are up for re-election.

  34. Sorry, Jeff, we’ll have to agree to disagree on whether a vote for nobody is not a vote for Obama. A vote for nobody is certainly a tacit acceptance of another 4 more years of Barrack Obama. If you don’t vote for the nominee, you’ll be able to voice your disagreement with all the Obama raping but it will be hard for people who actually did vote to take you seriously. I mean, I realize its one vote but when your decision is to not participate, as a protest, then you are either a. hoping enough people show up to the polls to beat Obama or b. your content with another 4 years of Obama rape. Blogging is great and if it wasn’t for some of your blogging (and others), I would not be as educated on political issues- blogging can also influence the vote, to some extent, but if you’re not doing the one thing where you actually have some degree of power to express your opinion through voting, you’re giving up. And if your “I won’t vote stance” influences others to not vote, well, I can’t imagine that’s a good thing. Why can’t you just show up at the polls, vote, and let the chips fall where they may, knowing you’ve done everything you can to influence the GOP to pick a better nominee.

    I guess I don’t agree with most of your take on Romney- a Romney nomination won’t solidify the wishes of the “permanent ruling elite”- it will, hopefully, encourage the grass roots folks, like the Tea Party, to find better candidates in advance of these elections and VET them, so actual conservatives without huge personal issues, can maintain a run in the election. I agree with you the establishment wants a Romney nomination and I agree Romney is not the conservative we are looking for, but I submit there are none of the “conservatives we’ve been looking for” available. But with a republican congress and (hopefully) Senate, Mittens won’t be able to do any kind of real damage and quite frankly, I think he might surprise you with the manner in which he governs. An Obama win, however, will solidify that we are going to be fucked for another 4 years, with 0 guarantee that we won’t have a Romney/Gingrich esque candidate in 2016.

  35. *I suspect many will find that one can hold conservative social views and still be a fine Constitutionalist. *

    I think for the most part, he would be, but you and I both know, all we’re going to hear on the 24 hours news cycle is about his religious convictions, gay marriage and abortion, because the media knows damn well that’s the type of issues that generally alienate independents, as well as democrats and republicans who may be uninterested in those types of issues, at least in this election where the economy is the biggest problem. I think Santorum’s a good guy but I do not think he will have the traction necessary to a. win the nomination and b. win the general.

    Again, I note the sheer overwhelming amount of ads running in Tampa, where the ONLY issue is abortion. Huge mistake, in my opinion.

  36. What is it about Romney that is going to attract moderates and independants who are leaning toward Obama? Is it all that money? His connections to Wall Street? His past political achievements?

  37. A vote for Obama is a vote for Obama. A vote for, say, Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for Mitt Romney. You can vote for Mitt Romney if you really don’t want him to be POTUS. I’m not going to.

  38. I think for the most part, he would be, but you and I both know, all we’re going to hear on the 24 hours news cycle is about his religious convictions, gay marriage and abortion, because the media knows damn well that’s the type of issues that generally alienate independents, as well as democrats and republicans who may be uninterested in those types of issues, at least in this election where the economy is the biggest problem.

    So you’re saying that the ads the liberals will run against Santorum are a reason we should look elsewhere?

    They’ve already won, then.

  39. If Romney is the nominee, we are going to lose the White House.

    We need to concentrate on taking back the Senate and keeping the House.

  40. A vote for nobody is certainly a tacit acceptance of another 4 more years of Barrack Obama.

    Oh? Twenty percent — a whopping fifth of the country — identifies as “progressive”. Dems are in the minority, more now than in a long time. Nobody knew what Barry was until he got elected; nobody but those paying strict attention. Obama was elected by the Press using anti-Bush rhetoric.

    How is a stay-home a vote for Obama?

  41. A vote for nobody is certainly a tacit acceptance of another 4 more years of Barrack Obama.

    No it isn’t. It’s a explicit rejection of support for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. I have a vote. Not using it is not the same as giving it to someone else to use. No one can cast my vote for me.

    It is instead my one recourse to showing that I’m unhappy with the choices given me. If I vote for someone who doesn’t represent me, I have no recourse to complain when someone who doesn’t represent me — but who differs from the person who doesn’t represent me that I did vote for — gets elected.

  42. lots and lots of people what voted for the rapist last time are gonna stay home this time

    but there’s no way in hell that’s the same as a vote for Wall Street Romney

    it’s pickles and kittens

  43. So you’re saying that the ads the liberals will run against Santorum are a reason we should look elsewhere?

    They’ve already won, then.

    They should just give the GOP nomination to Obama. Then we’ll totally “win”!

  44. If you think of it as a pendulum swinging and electing Romney as the swing to the right, then when he fails and the pendulum comes back across center we will find the center has moved a little farther towards the spending, statist, Left, and with all the dangling bob’s momentum moving in their direction. This will repeat until the entire apparatus falls off the turtle’s back.

    I amn not sanguine about what happens then.

  45. Trying to browbeat people into voting for your candidate, Matt — does that work for you as a rule or are you trying something different this year?

  46. A vote for nobody is certainly a tacit acceptance of another 4 more years of Barrack Obama.

    No, the forcing of Mittenz RomneyCare on an unwilling electorate is what’s causing another 4 years of Obama. You will not blackmail me by threatening another 4 years of Obama on me. You will not blackmail me by asserting that “the grownups” won’t take me seriously unless I join in with their astonishingly naive outlook on politics and embarrassing willingness to let themselves be duped time and time again by an entrenched political class that has no real concern for our liberty and dignity.

    Frankly, we’re long passed the point where “the grownups” need to pull their heads out of their asses and start demanding candidates who actually believe in and will fight for a return of the State to its historical limits. ‘Til they figure that out, I don’t really care what they think of me.

  47. What if some social conservatives are under such a tremendous assault by the State that they feel their religious liberty is under a direct and immediate threat, so much so that they stated at every Catholic Church in the country yesterday: We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law.

    C’mon, you knew it was coming, I’ve surprised myself by almost making it to 50 before self-linking.

  48. all we’re going to hear on the 24 hours news cycle is about his religious convictions, gay marriage and abortion, because the media knows damn well that’s the type of issues that generally alienate independents

    So why not counter with the truth about Obama’s own religious convictions and associations, his repeatedly stated opposition to gay marriage, and his horrific defense of abortion-through-exposure?

    WhyTF can’t conservatives go on the offense against the most offensive president in the country’s history?

    Because the press won’t like it? Because the press won’t amplify it? Fuck the press. If we can’t get around them, we may as well clap the fucking irons on our own ankles and bow our heads like good little slaves.

  49. With Perry’s exit, I’m down to Santorum. Who is, let it be said, a god-botherer.

    Howsomever, Newt’s a verified loose cannon, and Romney’s a freakin’ Democrat.

    Sheesh.

  50. Not voting for a particular candidate is not a de facto vote for another candidate. It is the absence of a vote for a given candidate.

    So those who voted for Ross Perot instead of the GOP candidates did NOT put Bill Clinton into office?

  51. Catholics are 22% of the population, and were a significant source of Obama’s support.

  52. So those who voted for Ross Perot instead of the GOP candidates did NOT put Bill Clinton into office?

    Those who voted for Clinton put him in office. Because he got the most votes.

  53. dicentra, Bush 1 put Clinton into office. Bush 1 going back on his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge sunk him.

  54. Bush 1 put Clinton into office. Bush 1 going back on his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge sunk him.

    I’m remembering that as the Press, not Bush. Just like this last running-against-Bush election.

  55. JHoward, can you believe that was 20 years ago? Where has time gone?

    Anyway, I recall President Bush having incredible popularity numbers after Gulf War I. However, a recession, going back on the “No new taxes pledge” coupled with an adversarial press all conspired to take President Bush down.**

    Remember James Carville and his famous “It’s the economy, stupid” statement?**

    H Ross Perot entered the race strictly as a spoiler. Perot’s only interest was making sure Bush was not reelected.*

    *Disclaimer: Only an opinion.
    **Going from an admittedly fallible memory.

  56. So those who voted for Ross Perot instead of the GOP candidates did NOT put Bill Clinton into office?

    It’s not Perot’s fault, nor is it the fault of those who voted for him, that the GOP contender was so uninspiring.

  57. Catholics are 22% of the population, and were a significant source of Obama’s support.

    BTW — Obama’s Army has moved against the Catholics:

    Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street movement threw condoms on Catholic schoolgirls, refused to allow a Catholic priest to give a closing prayer, and shouted down a pro-life speaker at a Rhode Island right to life rally on Thursday, according to its organizer. The event marked the third time protesters associated with the movement have disrupted a pro-life meeting in a week.

    [snip]

    The pro-life organization’s executive director, Barth E. Bracy, told LifeSiteNews.com that, near the end of the rally, the Occupiers “strategically fanned out with military precision.”

    That’s when they “started showering condoms down on some of the girls from a Catholic high school.”

    They gathered around speakers at the podium, shouting them down or otherwise jostling them and members of the audience.

    Bracy, who finished only a quarter of his keynote address before being drowned out by chants and catcalls, said the Occupiers – who carried a large sign reading “Occupy Providence” and wore distinguishing arm bands – physically bumped several people. “They’re touching you. They’re swarming you,” he said.

    Gosh, this all seems so familiar. Where have I seen this playbook before?

  58. Bush 41 split his base by going back on the tax pledge. Absent that, it’s hard to imagine Ross Perot gaining as much support as he did.

    And the logic of this argument suggests that the guy who should get his ass the hell out of the race is Mitt Romney. Because he’s the one opening the unbridgeable fissure with the base.

  59. This contraception ruling against the Catholics is so bad Obama has even lost E.J. Dionne.

  60. It’s not Perot’s fault, nor is it the fault of those who voted for him, that the GOP contender was so uninspiring.

    Indeed. If you’re the Annointed Candidate, but a sizable portion of your base is now saying they’ll vote for “anybody but you”, or a 3rd party “spoiler” candidate — how hard would it be to figure out what those people are so pissed-off about, and throw them a frickin’ bone?

    I mean, if Romney had (months ago) seen the polling data suggesting that only about 30% of the R base wants to vote for him, and the rest are down on him for one reason or another, he couldn’t adjust his positions in an attempt to get another 20% of the the base on-board? If he had just come out and said “RomneyCare seemned like a bang-up idea at the time, but damn if it didn’t turn into a disaster. I’ll never do that again!” it would have at least partially removed one of the most-frequently cited objections to his nomination.

    It just seems that if you want to win the primary, you should be able to forge a majority coalition out of people who are (in theory) already on your side.

    When a sizable portion of your side rejects your candidacy, telling them (in effect) “FU – you have to vote for me, otherwise the scary man (or one of the other scary men) will win, and you sure as hell don’t want that!” seems, you know, kinda dictatorial.

    And we’ve already tried that. It sucks; let’s not do that again.

  61. This, now please.

    Yesssss…

    The press has no more wisdom than any other collection of corrupt rent seekers. If the size of their audience is grounds for them officiating at presidential debates, why not have Rush Limbaugh do it? Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and maybe for fun we can get Gary Burbank to come out of retirement.

  62. JB, I think the GOP has forgotten the old campaign axiom of going into battle with your base and then winning over the middle.

    Instead, McRomney is trying to get the “moderates” without first making his case to the base.

  63. It is called “the base” for a reason.

  64. that’s a good point and I don’t think we’d be talking about “the Establishment” so much this season if it weren’t such a starkly different creature than this “base,” however mythical it might seem to some

    nobody ever says the base is mythical

    maybe they should start

  65. Leads me to some bar napkin math:

    Figure 30% of the electorate is conservative and 30% is liberal.

    That leaves 40% as independent/moderate.

    If, as a candidate, you alienate 25% of your base, that means you’re down to 22.5% support. So, to make up the difference, you’re going to need to pick up 28.6% of the middle?

    Whereas if a candidate worked from the base outward, take the 30%, which should be easy pickings, and trying to pick up the rest of 20.1 percent needed from the middle.

    And I suspect the numbers for Romney are even worse. What if he has only 50% support from the base?

    Just spitballing here.

  66. Romney has a significant douche problem that no conceivable running mate could cure

  67. Perot ran against Bush I AND Bob Dole.

    Bob Dole didn’t say “read my lips.”

    Perot’s splitting of the conservative vote put Clinton into office on a plurality. People keep citing Clinton’s victories as The Voice Of The People when it was anything but.

    Because only a few of Perot’s votes were peeled off Clinton’s.

  68. Bob Dole falled down

    over and over and over

  69. Romney will get crushed by independents.

    Party hotshots seem to think that independent means leans-democrat. I do not know why they think this, I am convinced they are quite quite wrong, but that seems to be that.

    Independents, to a large degree, hate both parties. And this mushy-middle focus-grouped panderfest stuff that they use to appeal to the independents is to a large degree what they hate.

    They will not go for the rich self-funding guy who’s turn it is. Independents hate politics as usual – that’s why they are independent.

    Barrack Obama positioned himself as an insurgent. An agent of radical reform and CHANGE, the longshot underdog running against a political dynasty (Clinton). He had, infamously, NO RECORD compared to McCain’s 3,273 years in the senate Getting Stuff Done.

    Romney is the walking caricature of dynastic GOP career politician.

    They think he will appeal to independents but the only independents he will appeal to are the ones who will vote Obama and then marvel at how dignified his concession speech is, what a good foil he is, how he knows his place so well.

  70. When I listen to Santorum talk about philosophical issues and SoCon stuff, he turns me right off. Badly. Very, very badly. He seems to me to be all in favor of mandating sunday school or something. He seems to invoke the same words I would, but opposite – denouncing them! Reading him talking about libertarianism or the role of government in promoting social values sent me screaming for the hills.

    It seems to shout BIG BIG Government that mandates Sunday School and gives all your money to homeless bums because Jesus likes that.

    But, when the dude actually gets onto policy, particularly economic policy, he’s not so bad. Not so bad at all, enough that I think, I must misjudge him about the other stuff.

    He is certainly not perfect. I don’t know that he’s a world better than Gingrich, who is definitely not perfect but I think has some things to recommend him.

    I would vote for Santorum. Part of me wishes we could swap him with Gingrich as the Not-Romney. I really don’t care, so long as it’s not Romney, who it probably will be regardless.

    But if it is to be Romney I will have to content myself with making it as long, bloody, and painful as possible, before going (L) probably.

  71. Hell, Entropy, just write in Sarah Palin if Romney is the nominee. It’s what I plan on doing.

  72. Well Blake… I’m honestly kind of holding out hope for Gary Johnson.

    Lots of lefties are disaffected with Obama. Lots of righties are going to be disaffected with Romney OR Gingrich. If he can manage to poach a bit off the left AND the right, we may yet have a 3-way and a viable, historic, unprecedented Independent candidate.

    He is pro-choice, for ending the drug war, anti-interventionist foreign policy, and has stated that he will definetly be making a play for leftwing voters.

    But on economic issues he’s further to the right than anyone the Republicans may offer short of Ron Paul, and has a great record as a Republican governor.

  73. Entropy,

    I may have to look at Mr. Johnson. As long as Mr. Johnson understands we should annihilate anyone who fucks with the US and leave the destroyed country to look after itself, Johnson might be worth looking at.

    Sorry, Ron Paul being part of the “blame America” crowd leaves me a bit thin skinned when it comes to the idea of a non interventionist foreign policy.

  74. Sorry, Ron Paul being part of the “blame America” crowd leaves me a bit thin skinned when it comes to the idea of a non interventionist foreign policy.

    People really ought understand not even Paul is crazy enough to think he’s going to win this. The man is running for a philosophy, not the Presidency. As such, he does not really compromise anything.

    I don’t know that, were he actually trying to govern, he would be so uncompromising.

    But at any rate – he is an extremist, there can be no doubt. He’s basically pacifist almost. He’s WAY WAY out there on foreign policy. I do not like his foreign policy… I do like non-interventionism, I like his direction, but he takes it way way too far. I certainly cannot agree with most of his foreign policy rants.

    All the same, I’d still vote for him if he had a chance. (Or maybe, even if he doesn’t, since I like his direction as a protest vote). Domestic policy trumps foreign policy for me, foreign stuff is an afterthought at best. We must fix our domestic problems or we won’t last long enough for the goat-herders to get us, and our allies will end up alone anyway.

  75. I’m basically a single issue voter when you boil it all down.

    A sort of a National Security Hawk.

    The way Bill Kristol views Iran, is how I look at the Federal government. BLOW IT UP! BOMB IT NOW! Bomb it again to be safe!

  76. I’m writing in Mark Levin with Sarah as VP. Might as well; my vote in RI is purely aspirational.

  77. One phenomenon I’ve noticed amongst the ads I’m hearing: there seems to be no super-pac advocating for Santorum. Now, why is that?

    No real deep-pockets types have come out to back him yet sdferr-yet

    But soon, I’m thinkin’, that will change.

  78. Why is that, Bob?

  79. What I expect to be his decent showing in Fla, the last 2 debate performances, and his increased visibility via the new media and some of the old.

    It’s a hunch Leigh, and I could be wrong; but I hope not.

  80. He’s getting good press in Missouri today. I heard talking heads refer to MO as a “beauty show” so I guess it doesn’t count for much.

  81. MO, a non-binding primary. Caucuses in March, conventions in April and June to determine delegates. I’d consider the primary to be like the Iowa straw poll.

  82. Tomorrow (actually today) my chad hangs for Newt.

  83. Instead, McRomney is trying to get the “moderates” without first making his case to the base.

    Why shouldn’t he? The GOP knows that Obama is too odious an alternative for the base, so they figure they’ve got our vote locked in.

    Which, they pretty much do.

  84. He’s basically pacifist almost.

    There are various cases to be made for not doing what we’ve done for the past 50 years, but Nor Laup accepts Lefty talking points to shore up his proposals, and that’s where he loses me entirely.

  85. No real deep-pockets types have come out to back him yet sdferr—yet…

    Real deep-pocket types don’t have anything to gain from dismantling the gubmint apparatus. That’s the ratchet effect with big-gubmint eternally getting bigger the bigger it gets.

  86. From the link at #79:

    “I feel like this is so similar to our 2010 Senate race. Romney is the Crist candidate, loved by many and backed by the establishment. But we have no Rubio. Crist would have been an easy win. He was a liked governor. Without Rubio, he would have easily won the seat. Just because we don’t have a Rubio in this race doesn’t mean we need to settle for a Crist.”

    This.

  87. Another:

    “Erick Erickson has educated me too much to cast a vote for Rick Santorum.”

    What is Erickson’s beef with Santorum? The Spector deal?

  88. Entropy, I disagree Romney will get clobbered by independents. If Florida is any indication, independents are looking for someone safe- someone that doesn’t lean to far left or too far right. At least, that’s my take on it, in talking to my friends in Florida. I assume that’s why Romney appears to have a strong lead in Florida. That and he appeals to older citizens (who, I think we sometimes forget, are one of the strongest voting blocks in the country). I agree, he’s not winning by being the most appealing conservative candidate- unfortunately, all 4 of the remaining candidates are not the most appealing conservative candidates either. I guess we’ll see today.

  89. If Florida is any indication, independents are looking for someone safe- someone that doesn’t lean to far left or too far right.

    I guess that means we get to drift into shoals instead of driving the ship of state up onto them then. Because we wouldn’t want to discomfit the independents and force them to make a choice

  90. It’s a minor thing to bring up, but do bear in mind that registered independents don’t get a vote in the Republican primary in Fl. today. Now, sure, had a registered independent gone to or mailed a change of registration form — switching from independent to Republican — to their local voting bureau office, no later than 29 days ago, they may vote as a Republican today, so the bar is a least that low.

  91. That would require planning in advance, though. So it would appear that the all important Independent turned Republican Vote is a chimera.

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