Friday, December 30, 2011

Newt Gingrich Cries While Talking About His Mother

I think this is the sweetest thing I've seen from any candidate, possibly ever. If only it were shorter, it would probably make a great commercial to counteract all the negative ads. Who knew that Frank Luntz could make Newt cry and without any reference to poll numbers?

Thomas Sowell Endorsed Newt Gingrich and Updated Thoughts on the Race

It's amazing how a candidate who everyone is now dismissing is racking up these big name conservative endorsements like Art Laffer and Thomas Sowell (who endorsed him Wednesday though I somehow missed it).  For those of you unfamiliar with Thomas Sowell, he is a brilliant economist/writer who is 100% for small government and provides very reasoned commentary on a regular basis through his columns.  Here is a key excerpt:

Perhaps the strongest reason for some voters to support Governor Romney is that the smart money says he is more "electable" than the other candidates in general and Newt Gingrich in particular.

But there was a time when even some conservative smart money types were saying that Ronald Reagan was too old to run for president, and that he should step aside for someone younger.

Washington Post editor Meg Greenfield said that the people in the Carter White House were "ecstatic" when the Republicans nominated Reagan, because they were convinced that they could clobber him.

Today, it is said that the Obama administration fears Romney, but would relish the opportunity to clobber Gingrich because of his "baggage." CNN has already started digging into Gingrich's most recent divorce.

Much depends on whether you think the voting public is going to be more interested in Newt Gingrich's personal past than in the country's future. Most of the things for which Gingrich has been criticized are things he did either in his personal life or when he was out of office. But, if we are serious, we are more concerned with his ability to perform when in office.

Even some of those who believe that Gingrich would devastate Obama in head-to-head debates on substantive issues nevertheless claim that all Obama has to do is come back with questions about Newt's work for failed mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac.

But, even at the personal, point-scoring level, Barack Obama can open up a can of worms by going that route, since Freddie Mac at least never planted bombs in public places, like some of Obama's political allies.

There are no guarantees, no matter whom the Republicans vote for in the primaries. Why not vote for the candidate who has shown the best track record of accomplishments, both in office and in the debates? That is Newt Gingrich. With all his shortcomings, his record shows that he knows how to get the job done in Washington.

While it would be nice if Newt wins in Iowa, that probably isn't going to happen at this point with half of the political TV ads on the air slamming Newt.  If Rick Santorum wins, is that going to change anything?  Not really, it will just mean he will stay in the race longer.  The fact that he has spent a rock solid 3 months in Iowa, means he has little to no organization in other places, as is indicated in the polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina.  Plus, once he wins Iowa wait until the conservative press starts remembering his support of steel tariffs, his vote for Medicare Part D, his support for Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey, his love of earmarks and his involvement in the K Street project.  While he has been marketing himself as a 100% down-the-line principled conservative, the reality, like always, is a little more complicated.  In fact, his record isn't really that much different than Newt's (who has a slightly higher rating from the ACU).  Also, I think some of his over the top social views may turn many people off even those generally positively disposed to him.  Remember when he equated homosexuality with bestiality and blamed radical feminism for the degradation of society?  There will be a full week between Iowa and New Hampshire and then another week before South Carolina.  That is plenty of time for some character assassination.

Now if Ron Paul wins in Iowa, that might be the death knell for the Iowa caucus being so important.  Why should candidates spend so much time and money in Iowa when it will be perceived to have little to no correlation with the eventual nominee.  And Ron Paul will never be the nominee.  Sure he might win some crowded caucuses when only about 10% of a political party actually attends but has zero shot in primaries.

So even if Newt finishes at #4 or #5, it won't be the end as I think Bachmann might be finished barring a miracle, as could Perry (a bigger if as he still has funding and support from quite a few conservatives).  Neither of them poll particularly well in NH or SC so I don't see how they continue for long.  Those supporters will have to find a home and there is a good chance it could be Newt, who will likely be reinvigorated by additional debates and people start souring on Santorum (who is not seeing a surge anywhere other than Iowa where he practically waits outside people's homes to shake hands and kiss babies).  A victory in South Carolina might catapult him back to front runner status and this time without 3 other conservatives in the race siphoning off votes.

And finally, it is important to remember that no actual national convention delegates will be apportioned in the caucuses, just delegates to the county conventions who then pick delegates to district conventions and then to the state conventions who then do the apportioning.  It's like one giant political game of telephone and whoever wins the caucuses might not actually get the most delegates in the end.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best Search Phrase That Led Someone To This Site

Here is a search phrase that led someone to this site:

"If mitt romney wins i'm going to punch myself in the balls"

Just awesome.

Ron Paul Thinks the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations Is Running the World

Take a look at this video of a c-span interview with Ron Paul in which he gets a question from a caller on the "treasonous, Marxist, alcoholic dictators that pull the strings in our country," like the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. Ron Paul pretty clearly agrees with the caller's assessment.

I have a lot of libertarian friends who really like Ron Paul and think he is helping popularize libertarian philosophy. But he isn't. He is exactly the kind of libertarian who gives libertarianism a bad name and makes people think of kooks and kranks. We need people like Hayek and Friedman to represent us, not whackjobs like Ron Paul who has never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like (don't forget he was also a truther at one point and still heavily associates with them. You know, those people that think the US government or the Israelis are behind 9/11 and not the 19 Saudi terrorists who actually did it). Hell, at this point Gary Johnson is preferable.

h/t Slate

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Vote for Ron Paul is a Vote for the Destruction of Israel

During the debates, Ron Paul made it sound like he really has nothing against Israel, that he is really just against the billions of dollars we send to Israel every year.  While that is a fair point given the state of our country's finances, what really seems to be behind this is a deep seeded hatred of the Jewish State.  Eric Rondero, a former staffer for Ron Paul who worked with him on and off for 16 years, has an illuminating post on Ron Paul's personal biases.  Here is the key point on Israel:

He is however, most certainly Anti-Israel, and Anti-Israeli in general. He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.

It is one thing to say that Israel can take care of itself and doesn't need US aid, a whole other thing entirely to support stealing Israel from the Jews (again) and giving it to the Arabs.  I'm sure some people would argue that given Ron Paul's general pacifism/isolationism that he wouldn't actively do anything to hurt Israel.  I think that view ignores the very important fact that Israel is highly dependent on US re-arming in times of war.  Imagine if Israel is fighting a war in the future where it's enemies (various Arab nations, Iran and/or Turkey) are fully armed with Russian and Chinese weapons and Israel is refused arms by the American President?  Israel would probably be destroyed in a matter of weeks simply due to a lack of munitions.

I know Ron Paul has no chance to win in Iowa but I think people who are thinking of voting for him, even as a protest vote, ought to realize exactly what kind of future they would be voting for.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Eurabia

h/t Caroline Glick

Almost Every GOP Candidate Can Win Iowa

This article from the Sioux City Journal about the fluidity of the Iowa race mentioned that in the Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG poll 28.1% of Iowan's had definitely decided who they will vote for in the Iowa caucuses (37.8% were still trying to decide and 34.1% were only leaning towards a candidate).  That is just a remarkable number and really points to the fact that the polls mean almost nothing.  Even in the more recent PPP poll, a full 37% said they could change their mind.  I decided to see what those poll numbers would look like if you only count those who said they are strongly committed to a candidate:

Ron Paul - 16.8%
Mitt Romney - 13.6%
Newt Gingrich - 7.8%
Rick Santorum - 5.6%
Michelle Bachmann - 5.5%
Rick Perry - 5.1%
Jon Huntsman - 2.3%
Gary Johnson - 1.7%

Clearly, nobody has an insurmountable level of support.  Also, my guess is that most of those unsure are conservatives who really just want an electable conservative and aren't really married to their candidate.  Newt supporters can switch to Perry or Rick Santorum or Michelle Bachmann or vice versa pretty easily.  Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have relatively firm support because their niches, moderates and libertarians, respectively, are pretty well filled by them with little/no competition.

Many decisions will likely come down to caucus night and I honestly wouldn't be shocked if any of the top 6 win in Iowa and given the number of candidates, a few thousand votes could easily separate #1 from #4 (people seem to expect about 150,000 caucus goers this year).

Further Proof That Negotiating with the Palestinians is Futile

I'm waiting for Thomas Friedman to devote a column to this speech at the 24th Anniversary of the founding of Hamas by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh:

Here is a key segment transcribed by Palestinian Media Watch: "These principles are absolute and cannot be disputed: Palestine - all of Palestine - is from the sea to the river. We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine. The involvement of Hamas at any stage with the interim objective of liberation of [only] Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem, does not replace its strategic view concerning Palestine and the land of Palestine."

If only a drone was overhead, then this would have been a VERY popular YouTube video.

Friday, December 23, 2011

UCLA Political Scientist: Newt Gingrich Is the Biggest Threat To Obama

Lynn Vavreck of UCLA says that she has long believed that Newt is the biggest threat to the Democrats. Although he has baggage, his vision and ability to be a good strategist are "things that historically win close elections."

h/t Conservatives with Newt

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bachmann and Santorum Are Betting the Farm on Iowa

The Des Moines Register has a nice Candidate Tracker where you can see where a candidate is in the state on any particular day and even which counties they have visited. Importantly, the also sum up the total number of days that a candidate has spent in the state and how many events they had. It's understood that candidates who don't spend time in Iowa usually don't win the caucuses:

It's pretty clear from this graphic that Bachmann and Santorum are really, really focused on Iowa, with Santorum spending over full 3 months (94 days with events) campaigning in the state with 280 events! Bachmann is not that far back with 74 days in the state and 192 events. Both of them have been to nearly all 99 Iowa counties. Even more amazing is that they can't seem to break 10% in any poll out there and are both averaging 7-8% support. It's very possible they could surge in the last week after people start making up their minds but it really isn't looking good. Remember, the laws of physics dictate that they can't be in two places at once so all those days they spent in Iowa meant they weren't spending the time in New Hampshire or South Carolina. No wonder their polling numbers are downright abysmal in those states, especially in New Hampshire where neither can break through 5% support in the polls.

I used to think that Bachmann and Santorum need to be at least #3 in Iowa to stay in the race and be viable, but I'm not sure about that. Given how much time they have spent in Iowa at the expense of every place else, I think they really need to finish #1 or #2. Think about it, how can they make an argument that they are viable if they finish #3 in Iowa and then #5 in New Hampshire? That's not exactly momentum. Sure McCain was able to get the nomination after coming in at #4 in Iowa but that is because he won New Hampshire and then South Carolina. Iowa is really going to be make or break for Bachmann and Santorum. I just hope they have the sense to drop out of the race if they don't make it as #1 or #2 or else they will continue to siphon off votes from other Conservatives and helping Romney.

Back to the day/event totals, I was rather surprised to see that Perry has spent so little time in Iowa. He is #6, behind even Herman Cain who dropped out of the race weeks ago! What has he been doing? He seems to have the funding and the staff to do great things but doesn't seem to be. It's not like he is focusing on New Hampshire or South Carolina as his number seem pretty bad there too. In some polls he only gets 1% in New Hampshire! I just don't understand what is going on there.

I think the Romney numbers are misleading. Yes, he is clearly not doing many events in Iowa but he is spending at least $3.1 million on television ads. Just for the sake of giving some perspective, there are only 3 million people in Iowa so this is like spending over $300 million on national ad buys, an enormous amount. What people have to remember though is that Steve Forbes spent $4 million on advertising in Iowa in 1996 and ended up in 4th place behind Bob Dole, Pat Buchanan and Lamar Alexander and just ahead of Phil Gramm. I don't think the other candidates spent nearly that much money on ads. What happened was that Iowans don't like being carpet bombed with ads, preferring old fashioned styles of campaigning, so Romney's ads may backfire on him quite a bit.

I really doubt Ron Paul will win in Iowa. Yes he has dedicated supporters but they aren't very good at convincing others of their rightness. Also, Iowa farmers don't seem like the type of people who would go for his schtick.

I think Newt can still pull it off. I think the Paul bubble will pop in the next two weeks and I just don't see Iowans going for Romney. They might go for a Bachmann or a Santorum, but Newt is just a superior candidate to both of them. Think about how much time they have spent in Iowa and yet they still are in the second tier in the polls. That is at least a hint of something.

Anyway, we'll see what happens.

Another Reason Not to Vote for Romney: George H.W. Bush Just Backed Him

George H.W. Bush, the most anti-Israel Republican President (his Secretary of State James Baker had said "f*ck the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway") since Eisenhower, who broke his no-new-taxes pledge and stopped the first Iraq War well short of when we should have, just backed Mitt Romney.  At least Nixon opened the door to China, but does Bush Sr. have any redeeming qualities?  His just reinforces the idea that those wishy washy country club establishment Republicans are supporting Mitt, who is clearly one of them.  No ideals?  No problem!  My favorite quote from the article is:

Romney, Bush said, is the "most electable," despite the flip-flopping label that his Republican opponents are trying, with some success, to drape around his neck.

"It was a charge that was used against me," Bush said. '"No new taxes'? Remember that? I don't think it's significant. He's got a record as governor, and people change their mind. I don't take that criticism very seriously."

Does Bush remember losing in 1992?  He lost in part because of the heat he received when he went back on his no new taxes pledge.  Romney is probably going to be a similar disaster of a one term President if he is elected.

Bob Garfield Tries to Make the GOP Sound "Fringe", Fails Miserably

Bob Garfield is one of those media elites that liberals would love to have at their dinner parties.  He has a show on National Public Radio, has contributed to All Things Considered, Playboy etc. Upper West Side catnip.  Well, he just wrote a piece in The Atlantic titled "The Media's Deaf, Dumb and Blind Campaign Coverage".  The point of the article is that the media is so afraid of showing their liberal bias that they are not covering how "fringe" the GOP has become.  Of course, he ignored the possibility that what they are saying isn't fringe at all, and might just be a slightly different way of thinking than what he is used to in his liberal conformist cocktail parties.  I think knowing this, he resorted to misrepresenting (a nice word for saying he made stuff up that wasn't actually said) to make things sound scary, when in fact they weren't.  So let's take a look at all the examples he puts forward for Republican "craziness":

When presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich this weekend floated the idea of arresting federal judges over "activist" decisions, something very strange happened: It was in the papers.

Not on page one, or anything. No "-gate" suffix. No wall-to-wall cable coverage, like for a shark attack or a missing blond. Still, Gingrich's remarks did get a mention, possibly because the scenario he described sounded so gigantically unconstitutional. And unapologetically authoritarian. And just plain scary.

That's because he didn't say he wanted to arrest the judges.  He said he would send out the Capitol Police or US Marshalls to judges who refused to honor a Congressional subpoena to testify to explain their decisions.  Is that really that crazy?  Members of the legislative and executive branches have to explain their decisions on a daily basis, why not judges?  Most of them already don't have to get re-elected so why is this even smallest semblance of accountability crazy?  Also, I think that Congressional hearings on judicial decisions is a better use of time than say their hearings on the use of steroids in baseball (which uber liberal Henry Waxman said were dealing with important questions for "baseball, its fans and the nation").

For months and years, the GOP presidential candidates have mimicked the most incendiary and marginal right-wing firebrands of the 1950s and 60s. Yet neither the provocations, nor their eerie echoes, have gone much remarked upon. For instance, when Rep. Michele Bachmann asserted that public schools "are teaching children that there is separation of church and state, and I am here to tell you that is a myth," based perhaps on her objection to the accepted understanding of the Establishment Clause, this raised no great media hew and cry.

Since when is "accepted understanding" have anything to do with the truth?  People used to think that the Earth was flat and Jews have horns (though this is still believed by many Arabs, Europeans and Ron Paul supporters).  Anyway, let's look at what the Establishment clause actually says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"  Basically it saying that Congress can't create an official state religion so there won't be  a Church of America like there is a Church of England.  In now way was this meant to apply to the states as Massachusetts had an established church (Congregationalist) until 1833, two generations after the Constitution was ratified (I'm guessing that if it were an oversight, it would have been caught by then).  The extreme view that is forcing an Alabama school to take "Silent Night" out of the Christmas program is not based on the actual text of the 1st Amendment.  So Bachmann is actually 100% correct.

In 2010, Sarah Palin said as much, too: "Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant -- they're quite clear -- that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the Ten Commandments."

Granted she takes it a little too far when she talks about the Ten Commandments but if you do look at the Declaration of Independence there are two mentions of God at the very beginning.  "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  So basically, we have certain GOD-given rights and the constitution (with the Bill of Rights) was a document meant to enshire those rights in the laws of this country.  So with that in mind how is what Sarah Palin said controversial?  Well, here is the completely insane answer:

Here is what Wesley Swift had to offer on the subject: "This is a Christian nation. The Supreme Court ruled on separate occasions that this is a Christian nation. And the fact remains that there are many forces that are seeking to destroy Christian civilization." Wesley Swift being the founder of the Christian Identity movement -- a white supremacist, anti-Semite and convicted domestic terrorist. One of his brothers in paranoia was the so-called "minister of Hate," the Rev. Gerald L.K. Smith, founder of the racist and anti-Semitic America First movement.

So Palin's comment that the founders believed that the laws of this country should defend our rights that "are endowed by their Creator" somehow makes her comparable to a White Supremacist and anti-Semite?  Holy leap in logic Batman!  Note she didn't even mention Christianity in her quote so religious Jew and Muslims should have no problem with what she just said.  What a tortured mind is Bob Garfields, he even hears the word God and he thinks about racist White Supremacists.  The folks at NPR must have A Clockwork Orange like setup somewhere in their offices to get a reaction like that.

Xenophobia. Demonization of the United Nations and the Federal Reserve. Radical reduction of federal budget and influence. Conflation of federalism with socialism. Cult of states rights. Christian exceptionalism. Return to the gold standard. Not to mention the dismantling, in the name of jobs, of the entire regulatory infrastructure of the nation.

There is a lot in this paragraph to comment on so please be patient.  Xenophobia?  And the evidence of xenophobia is???  Is it related to the insane attempt to link Palin's innocuous phrase with White supremacists?  Is that the best you can do Bob?  Given that all of the candidates are for legal immigration (most want to expand it and none of them are saying we should deport every illegal) where is the evidence of xenophobia? 

To call what the Republicans are doing with regards to the United Nations "demonization" makes it sound like somehow it is undeserved.  It's a racist, anti-semitic, anti-American organization that is so dysfunctional that Libya was on it's Human Rights Council (in 2002 it even passed a resolution backing Palestinian terrorism) and Iran was sponsoring a UN-backed conference on terrorism.  And let's not forget the whole Oil for Food scandal that involved Kofi Annan himself.

On the Federal Reserve there is only one statistic that you should know, that since they started the US Dollar has been devalued by almost 96%.  Enough said.  And on the "radical reduction of federal budget" issue, has he seen our budget lately?  For every dollar we collect, we are spending $1.40.  It actually seems more radical to keep spending this way instead of, now hold on to something, actually spending just what we take in!  I don't think I'd want to see Bob Garfield's credit card statement if he considers this a radical idea.

His comment about conflation of federalism with socialism actually makes no sense.  Anyone who has read the Federalist Papers (and I'm willing to bet more Republicans have than Democrats) would have trouble doing that.  Obviously federalism won't necessarily lead to socialism but you have to have people in government willing to hold themselves back and not act like drunken teenagers with keys to their parents car.  He then just throws that phrase "Christian exceptionalism" out there like it is dirty.  I'm really not sure what he is referring to but given America is great and it is Christian that might be where he is getting that from.  Here's a useful exercise, please name any non-Christian nations that is as free as the United States?  I'm waiting.

On the gold standard and the regulatory thing, he is confusing Ron Paul with the GOP.  Ron Paul is not the GOP, he is loosely affiliated at best. Remember he ran for President as a Libertarian in 1988 and in 2008 endorsed the Constitution Party candidate for President.  He just runs as a Republican because he gets more attention that way.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the radical Obama administration: "They are socialist. Their policies prove that almost daily. Look, when all the answers emanate from Washington D.C., one size fits all, whether it's education policy or whether it's healthcare policy, that is, on its face, socialism."

And this is crazy because?  Isn't Obamacare a step towards a more socialist healthcare system?  Is there anyone credible who doesn't think so?

On December 16, New York Times columnist and Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman called Ron Paul's economic doctrine "madness."

I don't quite understand why we should take this as proof that his ideas actually are madness.  Garfield actually provides no reasoning, just saying that hey Krugman thinks it's crazy.  Just because Krugman won a Nobel Prize doesn't mean he is right.   I have a feeling that Hayek and Friedman, who also won the Nobel prize, would probably support his ideas.  Also, Bob Garfield needs to look at Krugman in Wonderland, a great blog that regularly pokes holes in the tripe that Krugman publishes.

Bachmann spies enemies in both the legislative and executive branches government, asserting on one occasion, "I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?" And on another one: "The federal government will virtually have control over every aspect of lives for the American people," she said. "It is time to stand up and say: We get to choose. We choose liberty, or we choose tyranny -- it's one of the two."

It's kind of a a legitimate question given that liberals have expanded the interpretation of the commerce clause to mean the Federal Government can regulate abortions and whether or not you buy insurance.  Given that, is there anything that the Federal Government can't regulate?  Saying we are on the road to tyranny doesn't sound especially extreme.

I know Bob Garfield meant to write this to poke fun at the GOP and get some nice golf claps from his fellow compatriots in liberal intellectual circles (which I know he has done) but what is clear is that the GOP isn't the one out of touch, Bob Garfield is for thinking that what they say is actually crazy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Watch Ron Paul Get Pissed Off Over Questions Over His Racist, Anti-Semitic Newsletters

It would be shocking if someone like this wins in Iowa.

Does he really think anyone believes him when he says he didn't write the newsletters and doesn't know who did? The newsletters were written in the first person, had his name in bold print on top and the staff behind the newsletters was very small. Also, as recently as 1996 he defended their content.

Newt Has Found His Winning Slogan: "Please Don't Turn America Into Massachusetts"

Obama's Iraq Disaster

When Obama evacuated our troops from Iraq for no other reason beyond political considerations, I knew the situation there would go south.  I am very surprised however at how quickly it's turning ugly.  The Sunni Vice President, one of our closest political allies, has a warrant out for his arrest in what appears to be a power play by the Shiite Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki.  Eli Lake has a great piece on it:

Hashemi in a phone interview from the Kurdish city of Irbil told the Daily Beast Tuesday that he could not return to Baghdad because his offices and home were seized by security forces that had taken his files and computers. And he accused the Obama administration of failing to be more forceful to stop a political crisis that could explode into worse tensions.

"We are really disappointed and frustrated with the Americans, they have done zero in terms of these problems. I am not betting on them doing anything. They tell us they will try their best, but we think this means nothing," he said.


While Iraqi television has run interviews with men who claim to be bodyguards to Hashemi claiming that he has ties to terrorists, Hashemi told The Daily Beast that he has not even seen the charges against him.

"Three of my brothers have been killed because of my participation in building a new Iraq, regardless of all I have done, I am now accused by the prime minister who says I have a link to terrorism, this is really unbelievable," he said.

Asked if he believed Iraq could disintegrate into three countries—Sunni, Shiite and Kurdistan—as many analysts feared at the height of the Iraqi civil war in 2006, Hashemi said, "I hope not, but believe it or not, all options are in front of Iraqis."

"The situation is really deteriorating, all possibilities now could happen.  I hope this won't happen. But if you ask my expectation, we have a gloomy picture," Hashemi said.

Great job Obama.  I have a feeling that history will not look to kindly on what you did in Iraq. 

Romney Is Lying About His "Super" PAC

Romney's Super PAC, Restore Our Future, is currently bombarding Iowa airwaves with negative ads about Newt Gingrich, who he sees as his top threat (as he can both communicate effectively and isn't so extreme to scare away more centrist Republicans).  Of course he claims he has nothing to do with it and couldn't stop it if he tried.   On the Joe Scarborough show he said "my goodness, if we coordinate in any way whatsoever, we go to the big house".  Of course, this is all a lie.  As a former head of the Federal Election Committee, Trevor Potter, stated:

"Nothing prevents [Romney] from simply saying he doesn't want the ads run or from criticizing the super PAC for doing it. Romney is correct that candidates are prohibited from coordinating the content or targeting of advertising with these outside groups, but that is a very narrow prohibition.  The only prohibition is the candidate cannot coordinate with the super PAC on what they put in the ads or where they run them. He can certainly call on them to stop the ads, and that would not constitute illegal coordination."

So his whole "I can't do anything legally to stop it" is a complete lie.  Also, you have to remember that Restore Our Future was not started by concerned citizens who happen to just really like Romney, it was formed by three Romney campaign insiders, Carl Forti, Charlie Spies & Larry McCarthy.  In the last run, Forti was Romney's National Political Director, Spies was Romney's CFO and Counsel and McCarthy was on his media team.   These were people that were integral parts of the previous campaign.  Something tells me that if he wanted something stopped, it would be stopped.  

His latest defense, that Obama is going to do it too, is about as bad a defense.  Doesn't he remember that Republicans don't like Obama, not the way he governs, not the way he campaigns, not it any way shape or form?  Mitt is probably in the wrong party.

Michael O'Leary (aka "the Irish John Galt"), the CEO of Ryanair, Goes Off on the EU

A very enjoyable speech:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ranking the GOP Candidates

With recent polling in Iowa showing that just about any of the major candidates, even Ron Paul, could realistically finish #1 or #4, I thought I'd post my ranking of the GOP candidates:

1.  Newt Gingrich - All the negative press really has only proven one thing, that the establishment doesn't like him and will do anything to stop him.  Even Andrew McCarthy, writing in the National Review, eviscerates that publication for its attack on Newt.  Is Newt 100% conservative, nope.  But is he a Reagan Conservative with a long history of achievement (balanced budgets and entitlement reform)? You betcha.  He has a higher lifetime American Conservative Union rating (90) than Rick Santorum (88) and I don't remember anyone accusing Rick Santorum of being anything but conservative (because that person would be laughed out of the room).  He is also one of the few candidates that can communicate effectively and possibly actually convince some people to come to the side of liberty.  You can read my full endorsement here.

2.  Rick Santorum - I like Rick Santorum.  He is very pro-Israel and pro-growth, a combination I love, of course.  While he does have some blemishes on his record (e.g. steel tariffs), I'm pretty sure that I will be very happy under a Santorum Presidency.  That said, I've never been sure about his likability.  But as that is purely cosmetic, it can likely be fixed.  If Newt's run does implode, he is the one I would most likely want to see debating Obama in 2012. Unfortunately, he seems to have put all of his eggs in the Iowa basket so if he doesn't finish at least #3 there, I just don't see how he continues.

3.  Rick Perry - If Rick Perry had about 20 IQ points more, I'm pretty sure he would be my #1 candidate.  He has a relatively strong record as Governor of Texas and I think administrative experience is very important.  However, unlike Newt or Santorum, he is an awful, gaffe prone speaker.  Honestly, I'm not looking forward to having to defend all the gaffe's that he is liable to have if he is the nominee/President.  Also, I'm not sure if having someone that is so vehemently anti-evolution is such a great poster child for the GOP.  I also have problems with evolution but when you talk about it like he does, you just turn off lots of independents. And it's not like you can do anything about it as President.

4.  Michelle Bachmann - If only she were a Governor.  But she isn't, also she is a politician who has never actually accomplished anything while in office.  Sure, she has a 100% ACU rating but that has meant she hasn't worked on any bi-partisan legislation or got anything through (kind of like Ron Paul). I'm just not sure if she is Presidential material yet.  Also, she has a tendency to want to destroy her opponents, even Republicans (like Pawlenty and Newt) and play loose with the facts to make rhetorical points.

5.  Jon Huntsman - I'm honestly not sure what to make of Jon Huntsman.  Great record as Governor on taxes, horrible record on spending.  He probably will do great things for the economy but not so great things for our foreign policy (though I did enjoy his talk with Newt on the subject).   

6.  Ron Paul - I know, for someone calling himself "libertarian neocon" I really put Ron Paul far down on the list.  Part of it is the fact that he has his head completely in the sand on Iran and radical Islam.  He also doesn't seem to mind the company of some of the kooks who often are part of the Libertarian movement, like truthers and anti-semites (I have a feeling he is anti-semitic himself).  I doubt he will win Iowa as he would have to depend on Democrats & Independents switching their affiliation (Iowa is a closed caucus) as well as young people voting.  It's easy to say you are going to switch affiliations or go out in the freezing cold for a few hours when someone asks you on the phone.  Reality is different.

N/A.  Mitt Romney - This guy would be a disaster for the GOP.  If nominated he will do what Obama only dreamed of doing, destroy the Tea Party.  What's the point in fighting so hard and being so involved if the GOP still gives you a liberal Republican like Mitt Romney?  Also, his record in Massachusetts is just so horrible between Romneycare, the tax increases, minimum wage hikes, judicial appointments and gun control.  As I mentioned before, I will not be voting for him if he is the nominee.  As Jim Robinson at Free Republic said so eloquently, No Romney, No Way!

So we'll see what happens on January 3rd.  I think more important than the winner is who will drop out soon after.  Santorum is probably the one most likely to drop out if he doesn't do well since he is so totally focused on Iowa.  Bachmann might have to drop out as well (though she might be bullheaded enough to stay in no matter how poorly she does).  Less conservatives in the race will help focus conservatives on fewer candidates and will help oppose the Romney machine, which has brainwashed much of the right wing punditocracy.

Romney's Terrible Record

The great Thomas Sowell asked today in his piece in the IBD, "Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone?".  Let's look again at what he did in Massachusetts:

  • Of course, Romneycare, which is the basis of Obamacare.  How is it that nobody but Mitt Romney passed universal healthcare in their states?  No Republican, No Democrat, just Mitt Romney.  Than in itself provides evidence that he would govern from the left.  It's not like anyone pointed a gun to his head and told him to enact Romneycare.  He did it on his own.  His attempts to convince us that Romneycare wasn't that bad because states should be the laboratories of reform is just utter nonesense.  His plan denies healthy young people the ability to choose to not throw money away by paying for health insurance that they probably won't use (apparently you can choose to kill your baby but not choose whether or not to sign up with Oxford).  I don't really find it appealing to have states experiment with abrogating our civil liberties.  A local despot isn't much better a far off one. The worst thing about this is that despite pandering to the left wing in Massachusetts, he still only had a 34% approval rating when he left.
  • He broke his pledge not to raise taxes in order to balance the budget.  In 2004, he increased government fees by $259 million.  If you gross this up to a national level and then use the 10 year budgeting metrics that we normally use when talking about tax cuts and hikes, this is the equivalent of a $120 billion in tax hikes (I multiplied $259 million by 46.5, the ratio of the size of the US vs. the Size of Massachusetts and then multiplied by 10 to get the 10 year projection).  And Romney didn't stop there, he increased fees again every year of his administration.  He even proposed an excise tax on SUV's.
  • He has opposed real tax reform by the GOP.  He ran ads calling the flat tax "a tax cut for fat cats" and even refused to support the Bush tax cuts.
  • In 2004, he proposed a "climate protection plan" that would reduce greenhouse emissions by 25% by 2012.  Can you tell someone bought into the global warming hype?  I also don't see how you can realistically cut emissions by that much without asking a quarter of your people to leave your state and other draconian solutions.
  • He proposed indexing the minimum wage for inflation.  Again, why should the government get in the middle of two consenting adults negotiating pay?  Also, why would you want to make it more expensive for companies to hire workers?
  • He signed a permanent assault weapons ban (though has now become a lifetime member of the NRA).  
  • Out of 36 judicial appointments, Romney only nominated 9 Republicans.  One of his judicial appointees even turned out to be the judge that blocked the removal of those Occupy Boston whackos.  One of the strongest arguments to vote for a Republican, any Republican, is that the judges they will appoint will be conseravative.  But with Romney, the record doesn't show that.  How do we know he won't pick another David Souter to the court, as George H.W. Bush did?
So let's see, implemented a socialist healthcare system, raised taxes, opposed tax cuts, proposed a draconian decrease in greenhouse emissions, was for increasing the minimum wage, signed a permanent assault weapons ban and appointed liberal judges.  His record in Massachusetts is simply dreadful and really makes it hard to see how he would be that much different than Obama.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Italy and Spain are Supposed to Bailout Italy and Spain

Okay, now this is really ridiculous.  Not white socks and black shoes ridiculous, but full on beyond the looking glass ridiculous.  Part of the bailout mechanism for the EU is supposed to come from the IMF, which as you know is supposed to get its funding from its member states.  So in the latest agreement to increase funding for the IMF by 150 billion Euros you see why the devil is always in the details, especially when it comes to complex international agreements (it was supposed to be 200 billion but then the UK finally woke up).  According to this document, over 25% of the 150 billion is supposed to come from Italy and Spain, the main recipients of this aid in the first place.  So IMF funding is going to be used to provide IMF funding?  I feel a rift in the space-time continuum is approaching.

Newt Gingrich on American Exceptionalism

Here is a great video of Newt talking about American Exceptionalism. He really is a great communicator:

h/t Conservatives with Newt

John Bolton Interview on Iran, the UN, North Korea, Israel and Everything Else

Here is a great interview with John Bolton in which he talks about quite a bit (it's over 70 minutes long). It's definitely worth a listen. I really would love for him to be the Secretary of State. I'm pretty sure that if Newt, Perry, Santorum or Bachmann get the nomination, that he will be their nominee (Romney will probably pick someone who is wishy washy like Condi Rice).

h/t The Right Scoop

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Romney Won't Repeal Obamacare

If you listen to what he said just last year, he would just try to eliminate some of the differences between Obamacare and Romneycare. That is not very reassuring now is it? (h/t Ben Domenech)

This just reinforces my conviction to never vote for Mitt Romney. As Jim Robinson over at Free Republic wrote "No Romney, No Way!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bibi to New York Times: Go ____ Yourself

Apparently, the New York Times had the audacity to request an op-ed from Israel's Prime Minister after having a very long string of anti-Israel Op-Ed's.  Here are some key excerpts from his office's response to that request:

The opinions of some of your regular columnists regarding Israel are well known.   They consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace.   They cavalierly defame our country by suggesting that marginal phenomena condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu and virtually every Israeli official somehow reflects government policy or Israeli society as a whole.  Worse, one columnist even stooped to suggesting that the strong expressions of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu during his speech this year to Congress was "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby" rather than a reflection of the broad support for Israel among the American people.

Yet instead of trying to balance these views with a different opinion, it would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in the New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel.    Even so, the recent piece on "Pinkwashing," in which Israel is vilified for having the temerity to champion its record on gay-rights, set a new bar that will be hard for you to lower in the future.

Not to be accused of cherry-picking to prove a point, I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune.   After dividing the op-eds into two categories, "positive" and "negative," with "negative" meaning an attack against the State of Israel or the policies of its democratically elected government, I found that 19 out of 20 columns were "negative."

The only "positive" piece was penned by Richard Goldstone (of the infamous Goldstone Report), in which he defended Israel against the slanderous charge of Apartheid.

Yet your decision to publish that op-ed came a few months after your paper reportedly rejected Goldstone's previous submission.  In that earlier piece, which was ultimately published in the Washington Post, the man who was quoted the world over for alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, fundamentally changed his position.   According to the New York Times op-ed page, that was apparently news unfit to print.

Your refusal to publish "positive" pieces about Israel apparently does not stem from a shortage of supply.   It was brought to my attention that the Majority Leader and Minority Whip of the U.S.  House of Representatives jointly submitted an op-ed to your paper in September opposing the Palestinian action at the United Nations and supporting the call of both Israel and the Obama administration for direct negotiations without preconditions.   In an age of intense partisanship, one would have thought that strong bipartisan support for Israel on such a timely issue would have made your cut.

So with all due respect to your prestigious paper, you will forgive us for declining your offer.  We wouldn't want to be seen as "Bibiwashing" the op-ed page of the New York Times.

Is Thomas Friedman Now Anti-Israel and even possibly a little Anti-Semitic?

I think Thomas Friedman spent too much time chatting with members of Hezbollah (as he did in his book "From Beirut to Jerusalem") and the Saudi Royals.  His latest piece is so anti-Israel it even borders on the anti-Semitic.  Here are some key passages:

That thought came to mind last week when Newt Gingrich took the Republican competition to grovel for Jewish votes — by outloving Israel — to a new low by suggesting that the Palestinians are an "invented" people and not a real nation entitled to a state.

Grovel for Jewish votes?  You mean for all the 6,190 in Iowa or the 10,170 in New Hampshire?  Considering only about 25% of Jews tend to vote Republican, their impact on the GOP nomination fight is minimal so Newt really has no reason to "grovel" for Jewish votes.  Would it be that much of a shock that he actually believes what he says?  Even a member of the Palestinian Executive Committee said the exact same thing in 1977:

"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism."

Anyway, back to Friedman:

This was supposed to show that Newt loves Israel more than Mitt Romney, who only told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because "I don't seek to take actions independent of what our allies think is best, and if Israel's leaders thought that a move of that nature would be helpful to their efforts, then that's something I'll be inclined to do. ... I don't think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process. Instead, we should stand by our ally."

That's right. America's role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And this guy's running for president?

Thomas Friedman has a problem with standing by your friends now?  Also, what exactly is wrong with having a US Embassy in Jerusalem?  It was even the capital of Israel before 1967, unless Friedman believes ALL of Jerusalem is occupied territory?

As for Newt, well, let's see: If the 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians are not a real people entitled to their own state, that must mean Israel is entitled to permanently occupy the West Bank and that must mean — as far as Newt is concerned — that Israel's choices are: 1) to permanently deprive the West Bank Palestinians of Israeli citizenship and put Israel on the road to apartheid; 2) to evict the West Bank Palestinians through ethnic cleansing and put Israel on the road to the International Criminal Court in the Hague; or 3) to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank as citizens, just like Israeli Arabs, and lay the foundation for Israel to become a binational state. And this is called being "pro-Israel"?

Of course, Friedman doesn't mention the option that he is offering which is give the Palestinians territory which has a view of downtown Tel Aviv, making just about all the populated portions of Israel in the range of rocket fire.  Also, why are the Palestinians entitled to a state?  They is probably less difference between a Palestinian and a Syrian than there is a resident of Pennsylvania and Virginia.  Does Virginia deserve a state?  I don't remember Friedman ever penning an article saying that South had a right to secede from the Union.  Oh, you think that is different because the South had slavery?  Palestinians only murder small children in their sleep just because they are Jewish.

I'd never claim to speak for American Jews, but I'm certain there are many out there like me, who strongly believe in the right of the Jewish people to a state, who understand that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood yet remains a democracy, but who are deeply worried about where Israel is going today. My guess is we're the minority when it comes to secular American Jews. We still care. Many other Jews are just drifting away.

Yes because of people like you who claim to support Israel but are actually giving aid and comfort to the people who want to murder every last one of us.  Secular or non.

I sure hope that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. The real test is what would happen if Bibi tried to speak at, let's say, the University of Wisconsin. My guess is that many students would boycott him and many Jewish students would stay away, not because they are hostile but because they are confused.

Here is where the anti-semitism comes in.  The "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby" line is pretty similar to some of the vile rants by Patrick Buchanan as well as the usual suspects of neo-Nazis and radical muslims.  In 1991, Buchanan called Congress "a Parliament of Whores incapable of standing up for U.S. national interests, if AIPAC is on the other end of the line."  Is this any different than what Friedman just wrote?  I think that the vast majority of Republicans and most Democrats would still support Israel regardless of money given how close an ally it is and how it is under assault by the same people who murdered thousands of Americans on our own soil.

Also, how is the University of Wisconsin a better test that elected officials from both parties?  The University of Wisconsin is not exactly known for its political objectivity, instead being rife with the left wing political brainwashing that is occurring on many college campuses.

It confuses them to read that Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia last Wednesday, was quoted as saying that the recent Russian elections were "absolutely fair, free and democratic." Yes, those elections — the ones that brought thousands of Russian democrats into the streets to protest the fraud. Israel's foreign minister sided with Putin.

Israel doesn't have the luxury of other western countries to wag their finger moralistically at those they deem to be unworthy.  Israel needs all the help it can get.  And if they hadn't received the support they did from Stalin during their War of Independence, they might not even be around today.  If Avigdor Lieberman's statements give Israel one bit of intelligence on its enemies or keeps one weapons system out of the hands of Iran, it was worth it.  I don't think Russia's democrats were waiting with baited breath to hear if Lieberman supported them.

It confuses them to read that right-wing Jewish settlers attacked an Israeli army base on Tuesday in the West Bank, stoning Israeli soldiers in retaliation for the army removing "illegal" settlements that Jewish extremists establish wherever they want.

God forbid Jews build homes in Israel without first going to an arcane and heavily bureaucratic permit process!  While I don't think IDF soldiers should be stoned by other Jews (they are just draftees after all), the policy of uprooting Jews is quite despicable.

It confuses them to read, as the New Israel Fund reports on its Web site, that "more than 10 years ago, the ultra-Orthodox community asked Israel's public bus company, Egged, to provide segregated buses in their neighborhoods. By early 2009, more than 55 such lines were operating around Israel. Typically, women are required to enter through the bus back doors and sit in the back of the bus, as well as 'dress modestly.' "

Does it really confuse them?  Just about every store in Israel is closed on Jewish religious holidays and every Saturday on the sabbath.  And everyone knows that.  Israel has theocratic elements but it is still the most liberal country in the entire middle east.  "Dress modestly" doesn't mean Burkha.

It just amazes me how Friedman, a religious Jew, can spout such garbage about Israel and especially on the whole Jewish control of Congress thing.  At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years he starts advocating a proposal for the Jews to evacuate all of Israel. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why I Won't Vote for Mitt Romney If He is the GOP Nominee

This is really not a place I thought I'd be at.  Up until very recently I didn't even think there was a Republican that could be nominated that would keep me home on election day or vote for a 3rd party.  I think I have found that candidate and it is Mitt Romney.  There are two main reasons for this, the first being that I really have no idea what he actually stands for. I don't think anybody does.  And I think that chances are high that he doesn't really stand for much that is different than Obama's current policies.  Let's take a quick look at his record:

  • Of course, Romneycare, which is the basis of Obamacare.  How is it that nobody but Mitt Romney passed universal healthcare in their states?  No Republican, No Democrat, just Mitt Romney.  Than in itself provides evidence that he would govern from the left.  It's not like anyone pointed a gun to his head and told him to enact Romneycare.  He did it on his own.  His attempts to convince us that Romneycare wasn't that bad because states should be the laboratories of reform is just utter nonesense.  His plan denies healthy young people the ability to choose to not throw money away by paying for health insurance that they probably won't use (apparently you can choose to kill your baby but not choose whether or not to sign up with Oxford).  I don't really find it appealing to have states experiment with abrogating our civil liberties.  A local despot isn't much better a far off one. The worst thing about this is that despite pandering to the left wing in Massachusetts, he still only had a 34% approval rating when he left.
  • He broke his pledge not to raise taxes in order to balance the budget.  In 2004, he increased government fees by $259 million.  If you gross this up to a national level and then use the 10 year budgeting metrics that we normally use when talking about tax cuts and hikes, this is the equivalent of a $120 billion in tax hikes (I multiplied $259 million by 46.5, the ratio of the size of the US vs. the Size of Massachusetts and then multiplied by 10 to get the 10 year projection).  And Romney didn't stop there, he increased fees again every year of his administration.  He even proposed an excise tax on SUV's.
  • He has opposed real tax reform by the GOP.  He ran ads calling the flat tax "a tax cut for fat cats" and even refused to support the Bush tax cuts.
  • In 2004, he proposed a "climate protection plan" that would reduce greenhouse emissions by 25% by 2012.  Can you tell someone bought into the global warming hype?  I also don't see how you can realistically cut emissions by that much without asking a quarter of your people to leave your state.
  • He proposed indexing the minimum wage for inflation.  Again, why should the government get in the middle of two consenting adults negotiating pay?  Also, why would you want to make it more expensive for companies to hire workers?
  • He signed a permanent assault weapons ban (though has now become a lifetime member of the NRA).  
  • Out of 36 judicial appointments, Romney only nominated 9 Republicans.  One of his judicial appointees even turned out to be the judge that blocked the removal of those Occupy Boston whackos.  One of the strongest arguments to vote for a Republican, any Republican, is that the judges they will appoint will be conseravative.  But with Romney, the record doesn't show that.  How do we know he won't pick another David Souter to the court, as George H.W. Bush did?
So let's see, implemented a socialist healthcare system, raised taxes, opposed tax cuts, proposed a draconian decrease in greenhouse emissions, was for increasing the minimum wage, signed a permanent assault weapons ban and appointed liberal judges.  His record in Massachusetts is simply dreadful and really makes it hard to see how he would be that much different than Obama.
Even in this primary season, in which his rhetoric is the most conservative you will probably see Mitt act in his lifetime (if he gets the nomination, expect him to move to the left for the general election), it's unclear how different he is.  Take foreign policy.  His biggest issue with Obama is that he is withdrawing the "surge troops" in September 2012 instead of December 2012.  Really, a 3 month difference?  Is that why I am supposed to vote for you?  What about arguing that we keep the troops there until we win?  Have we forgot about having actual victory as a goal?  It seems Mitt has.  Then, on Israel, his biggest issue with Obama's policies seem to be that he criticized Israel in public instead of in private.  Big friggin deal.  As a strong Israel supporter I am not for any US President who will turn the screws on the Jewish state whether it be out in the open or behind closed doors.  I want someone who actually supports Israel, one of our closest allies, and will work together against common foes.  Then of course there was the exchange with Newt in which Romney defended capital gains tax cut being limited to those making under $200,000 in language similar to Obama's.  "I'm not worried about rich people. They are doing just fine."

So tell me again why I should be voting for Mitt?  Have you noticed that most Mitt proponents seem to focus on the idea that he is the "most electable" as the reason to vote for him with almost no mention of his record?  The most they can scrounge up are some quotes with promises from the Romney campaign.  Yes, promises from a guy who changes his mind like you change your underwear.  I think the real reason that much of the establishment Republicans support Romney is because of the same old Washington game.  It really doesn't matter to them what the ideology of the candidate is, as long as he wins and you are friends with his close advisors.  And since Romney has been the front runner for so long, each one of those establishment reporters have spent months, even years schmoozing with the campaign  and have dreams of close access with a sitting President and possibly even an undersecretaryship.  How else do you explain their visceral reaction to Gingrich, the first realistic challenger to Romney.  Newt has issues, sure, but has it deserved the relentless negative attacks?  Sure, he isn't a perfect conservative but very few are.  Even Rick Santorum has favored pork projects, steel tariffs and medicare part D.  You don't see the press attacking him for it.  Or even Ron Paul who is polling as #2 in most Iowa polls.  That's because the Romney supporters in the press don't feel either of them are a threat to them achieving the access/position they have been waiting for.

And this brings up the second big reason why I won't be voting for Mitt Romney if he wins the nomination.  His treatment of his Republican opposition.  This man acts just like Obama, someone who will do anything to be President.  It is one thing to compete with a candidate for votes through a fair description of differences in record etc., but it's another thing to be out to destroy another candidate, especially another Republican.  And that is exactly what Romney and his minions are trying to do with Newt, they are trying to destroy him.  Even people who aren't in Newt's camp, like Mark Levin are seeing this happen before our eyes.  Really, the temerity of Romney saying that Newt is an unreliable conservative after having a record as horrible as he had in Massachusetts?  Referring to him as "zany"?  Having surrogates character assassinate in the press on an almost daily basis?  It's not like Newt did anything to deserve any of this.  He didn't climb to the top of the polls through negative ads on Romney, he climbed to the top by appearing as an elder statesman in a weak candidate field and having the ability to actually explain why he believes what he believes. He also has a proven record of balancing budgets and passing entitlement reform under a Democratic President!  Is that so wrong?  And this isn't the first time Romney did this, as he also launched negative attacks on both Huckabee and McCain (though he didn't have the press in his pocket back then because Giuliani and Thompson were thought to have a greater chance at the nomination early on). 

Things have become so bad that you face character assassination just for opposing Romney.  Rudy Giuliani had a rant against Romney today focusing on his flip flops.  Jennifer Rubin attacked him for this by tweeting "Romney will never win over the adulterers no matter how hard he tries".  Really?  That is all Rudy Giuliani is now?  An adulterer?  How about the NYC mayor who showed real leadership while his city was under attack by Al-Qaeda, with thousands dead, including many members of the local police and fire departments?  He's a hero and doesn't deserve to be called an adulterer for voicing an opinion about a candidate.

And unfortunately, even Paul Ryan, who has become engulfed by the establishment, has come in on the act with a completely dishonest attack on Newt.  Just yesterday (as in 1 day ago) he said  "This is not the 1990s. The 'Mediscare' is not working and we should not back down from this fight. I, for one, believe the country is ready, they're hungry for it. They are ready to hear real solutions. We shouldn't wait around for the status quo to become popular. Leaders don't follow the polls, leaders change the polls."  And what did he do today?  He announced the Ryan-Wyden plan which waters down his reforms tremendously and possibly eliminates any actual benefit from medicare reform.  The Washington Post has this choice line "Ryan and Wyden acknowledged that their plan might not bring in more savings than under the current law."  Is this how leader's lead?  Also, apparently Ryan and Wyden won't even write the proposed legislation any time in the near future, likely waiting until 2013 (I guess they have time as there will be no benefit coming until 2022). 

And there you have it.  Neither Romney's record nor his rhetoric are something that I would actually want to vote for.  He is, in many ways, little different from the guy who Romney supporters claim Romney would be best at getting rid of.  I am also very much turned off by his character, which is supposedly exemplary but is, in actuality, that of a calculating political operative only interested in himself.  As I've mentioned before, he is the Dorian Grey of the GOP and I stick by that.  I am also sick of the establishment thinking they can ram a candidate down our throats, without even a single vote being cast!  Unlike normal people, they care more about which party is in office, than the ideology of the guy actually in office.  They are the ones behind the Democrat-lite candidates that we had in almost every election since 1936.  No wonder government has continued to expand at such a fantastic rate.  If the Democrats win, they expand government.  If the Republicans win, they also expand government.  I'm tired of that cycle and I'm tired of having to vote between the lesser of two evils.

I also think those of us who believe in small government need to take a stand against MItt Romney in order to save the Tea Party movement.  I think that if after all the effort to fight Obamacare and to win back the House ends up with us getting someone like Mitt Romney, many Tea Party supporters will just throw up their hands in disgust and walk away from caring any more.  Focusing more on their jobs and family rather than politics.  This will ensure both that the GOP will lose a large portion of their base for future elections (giving more victories to the Democrats) as well as giving GOP control squarely in the hands of the establishment so they can continue to nominate losers like McCain, Romney, Dole and George H.W. Bush.

So, I can see myself supporting every other GOP candidate if they are the nominee.  Bachmann, Santorum, Perry, Paul and even Huntsman will get my vote (he might be a wayward conservative but at least he is honest about it.  Plus, his record as Governor of Utah is much better than Romney's and his tax reform plan is actually ambitious).  But not Romney.  Not ever.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mitt with Santa

Jon Corzine is Going to Jail

It looks like the former Democratic Governor and Senator of New Jersey, Jon Corzine, is going to jail based on this testimony from the Chairman of the CME group. Apparently, he knew that client funds were being used by MF Global to cover their losses (h/t Zerohedge).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Romney: "My Views Are Progressive"

Just more proof that you can't trust a word that comes out of Mitt Romney's mouth. Either he was lying then or lying now. I don't think we can take the chance.

The Newt Gingrich - Jon Huntsman Debate

I highly recommend people interested in the race, or in foreign policy in general, watch this video. This was a great high level, and importantly, civil debate. I was very impressed by Jon Huntsman, who seemed just as knowledgeable as Newt and very thoughtful. I'm still uncomfortable with some of his positions (especially his relative isolationism/"realism") but I would definitely prefer the GOP primary battle to be Hunstman vs. Newt than Mitt vs. Newt.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingrich is Providing Hope For Israel

Caroline Glick, the Israeli journalist/columnist, has a nice piece on Gingrich today titled "Gingrich's fresh hope". Here is the key excerpt:

When Romney criticized Gingrich's statement as unhelpful to Israel, Gingrich replied, "I feel quite confident that an amazing number of Israelis found it nice to have an American tell the truth about the war they are in the middle of, and the casualties they are taking and the people around them who say, 'They do not have a right to exist and we want to destroy them.'"

And he is absolutely right. It was more than nice. It was heartening.

Thirty years of pre-Obama American lying about the nature of the conflict in an attempt to balance support for Israel with appeasement of the Arabs did not make the US safer or the Middle East more peaceful. A return to that policy under a new Republican president will not be sufficient to restore stability and security to the region.

And the need for such a restoration is acute. Under Obama, the last three years of US abandonment of the truth about Israel for Palestinian lies has made the region less stable, Israel more vulnerable, the US less respected and US interests more threatened.

Gingrich's statement of truth was not an act of irresponsible flame throwing. It was the beginning of an antidote to Obama's abandonment of truth and reason in favor of lies and appeasement. And as such, it was not a cause for anger. It was a cause for hope.

Does It Matter Who Wins Iowa?

Iowa has the first in the nation caucus and many people place a lot of weight to the results.  Sometimes I think they are important, like in the 2008 Democratic nomination race, when they had only 3 major candidates running.  Barack Obama's stunning victory got cash to pour into his campaign and caused Hillary to take a major beating in the press as she and her campaign thought it was going to be a coronation instead of an actual fight.    In the 2012 GOP race, where there are 7 candidates vying for votes, it is far less important.   Right now you have 4 candidates vying for conservative votes with three of them, Santorum, Perry and Bachmann barely having any daylight differentiating their positions.  And these are not minor candidates, in the latest RCP average, those 3 candidates are garnering 24.2% support combined, which is probably pretty close to the support that the winner of the Iowa Caucus will receive.  And importantly, if those candidates don't get into the top 3 or 4 in Iowa and then don't get into the top 3 or 4 in New Hampshire, their campaigns are done.  That support will then go to the remaining conservative candidates (or at least the most conservative of the remaining candidates).  So what maybe more important than who wins may be who loses and where do their voters go.  Just take a look back at 2008 when Mike Huckabee won with 34% of the vote and the eventual nominee, John McCain, came in 4th with only 13%.  In fact, McCain only won 1 primary of the first 5 contests (though he did win the all important New Hampshire primary).

There seems to be a lot of chatter amongst the press that it is possible that Ron Paul would win in Iowa.  I think that is highly possible.  A caucus is not like a primary where you vote in secret and just go home and wait for the results to be counted.  A caucus takes hours where speeches are given and people can be convinced to change votes.  So often the people with the best organization, most diehard supporters and most buses wins.  So let's say Ron Paul wins with 25-30% or more of the vote.  Is that going to matter at all?  I don't think so.  He is a completely unelectable candidate and the vast majority of Republican voters want nothing to do with him.  When other candidates drop out, he will receive a very small fraction of those voters.

What is going to matter is who has made it into the top 3 or top 4.  Right now, my guess is that the top 3 (in no particular order) are going to be Paul, Gingrich and Romney, with the next three being Santorum, Perry and Bachmann.  Given those three candidates are polling in low single digits in New Hampshire, their campaigns are going to be on death's door pretty quickly.  How are you going to be able to market yourself as a legitimate candidate with a #5 showing in Iowa and a #5 or #6 showing in New Hampshire?  You can't.  By the time of the South Carolina primary on January 21st we might be seeing a much smaller field, possibly with only 1 or 2 conservative candidates (greatly reducing the split of the conservative vote), Romney and Ron Paul, which might be the final field in this race.  So what is really going to be important will be who wins that primary.

The Truth About Palestinian Refugees

Another great educational video from Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Danny Ayalon:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Newt Won the ABC/Yahoo! GOP Debate

Last night's debate was very contentious and it was amazing how everyone kept piling on Newt Gingrich, even on issues in which they agreed with him. Take the discussion about Newt's comments on the "Palestinians". For example, Newt had previously said that the "Palestinians" were an "invented people" (not that individual "Palestinians" were invented but that there has never in history been a distinct culture or group known as "Palestinians"). The big criticism there was that he was telling the truth but maybe he shouldn't have. So now even Republican candidates have to be politically correct? They can't say something that is completely true because it could ruffle some feathers? I think non-establishment Republicans will be more behind Newt than ever after this exchange on this issue. They want someone who will stand up and tell the truth about the world, about our economic situation and our fiscal future and not let political correctness guide our narrative:

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Anyway, here is my take of how individual candidates did:

Gingrich - Definitely the winner despite constant attacks by everyone else. He really defused Romney's career politician schpeel by pointing out that Romney would be in his 17th year as Senator right now if he had defeated Ted Kennedy in 1994 (i.e. Romney wanted to be a career politician but just couldn't do it). Also, Gingrich probably cemented a lot of the pro-Israel vote with his performance last night, standing up for his very true comments despite a barrage of attacks.

Romney - Wanna bet $10,000 that he doesn't win? Who the heck bets $10,000 over anything? Either you bet $10 or you bet $10 billion (if you're really sure). Also, he came across as very wishy washy in the Israel discussion with the only definite difference between Obama and Romney being that he would criticize Israel is private instead of in public. Once again, I get the feeling that Romney is a pretend hawk.

Perry - Had a good debate. For Perry. I think people have become used to his senility because I haven't seen anyone mentioning his confusion of whether Obama had 2 or 3 choices of what to do about the drone that was captured by the Iranians (it was just as painful as when he forgot about the Department of Energy and got lost listing Romney's flip-flops in previous debates). But the substance of what he said still was pretty good and he was honest enough to defend Newt when he agreed with him in the "Palestinian" segment. If only his IQ was about 20 points higher he would be running away with this thing.

Bachmann - Did a very good job with her "Newt Romney" speech saying how neither are true constitutional conservatives. Unfortunately, I felt any momentum she was gaining was shot down by Santorum's comment that she never actually achieved anything in the house, losing all of her battles. In other words, she is as ideological and consistent as Ron Paul but with a similar record of legislative achievements: zero.

Santorum - Did a pretty good job but never really shined. Also, I didn't think it was wise to take Mitt's side on the Israel issue. We know he completely agrees with Newt but chose Mitt's side due to political expediency.

Paul - He really is seeming senile recently. He always seems to need things to be repeated. Also, he doesn't seem as sharp as usual. I remember at the Huckabee Forum when he couldn't name a constitutional amendment he doesn't like (not even the one allowing a federal income tax???).

Update: You can watch the entire debate below:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Romney's Poor Electoral Record

Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard points out that people might be overestimating Romney by taking a look at his record:

Romney has the least-impressive electoral history of any Republican frontrunner in a very long time. Most of the politicians who chase the White House are proven vote-getters with very few electoral blemishes on their record. John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis—what unites all of these men is that before getting to the presidential level, they had demonstrated a talent for getting people to vote for them. (Barack Obama is the exception who proves the rule.)

Over the years, Mitt Romney has faced voters in 22 contests. He won 5 of those races and lost 17 of them. (This total includes a win in the 1994 Massachusetts Republican Senate primary as well as results from the 19 primaries he participated in during 2008. It excludes caucuses because their rules make them complicated enough to be considered distinct from straight-up lever-pulling.)

Romney’s electoral record becomes even more underwhelming when you examine the particulars. He first attracted national notice in 1994 when he mounted what was considered a strong challenge to incumbent senator Ted Kennedy. But when it came time to vote, Romney lost by 17 points in what turned out to be the best year for Republicans in more than half a century. In 2002, Romney won the gubernatorial race in Massachusetts. This victory—the triumph of a Republican in deep-blue Massachusetts—is now the cornerstone of his 2012 “electability” rationale.

Yet Romney’s victory was, as a matter of raw political power, less impressive than it seems. Romney was actually the fourth in a string of Republican governors who ran the state from 1990 until 2006. Of that group, Romney received the lowest percentage of the vote, failing to break the 50-percent mark in his 2002 victory. He took home a smaller share of the vote even than Paul Cellucci, the political nonentity who won the 1998 election. After three years in office, Romney’s approval rating was so low that he was forced to abandon hope of reelection. Romney’s term concluded with a Democrat winning the governor’s office for the first time in 20 years.

More evidence of voters’ coolness toward Romney came in a recent Public Policy study, which took snapshots from 13 states both early and late in 2011. In all 13 states, he became less popular as the year progressed. Even more telling were Romney’s negatives—which increased in tandem with his name recognition. As Romney began campaigning more actively, voters became less favorably disposed toward him.