Hugh Hewitt quoted Romney supporter David Parker as having crunched the numbers and concluded that “there is NO scenario wherein Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, or anyone else other than Mitt Romney can accumulate the needed 1,144 delegates; unless of course that Mitt Romney withdraws, which is not likely!” The nut of the argument:
… With proportional allocations and 851 of 2,286 delegates having been through the primary/caucus process; Mitt Romney has won nearly 50% (he has also won 14 of 22 states), Rick Santorum has won about 19% and Gingrich has won about 12%. From another vantage point, Mitt has to win approximately 50% of the remaining delegates, Santorum and Gingrich have to win approximately 70% and 73%, respectively. …
Those numbers, if correct, don’t quite mathematically eliminate Santorum and Gingrich, but they sure make Romney’s eventual victory highly likely.
I suppose I’m OK with that. I’ve expressed before my strong dislike for Santorum’s big-government social conservatism. And Gingrich strikes me as narcissistic, unpredictable, and too clever by half (as demonstrated by his partnering with Nancy Pelosi on the issue of “climate change,” for instance).
Ideally, I’d like to see the Republicans nominate someone with a Reaganesque vision of a brighter future, not just a competent executive to “manage the decline,” in Gingrich’s memorable phrase. But, like many people today (most, I hope), I’ll settle for someone who can defeat Obama — and who’ll hopefully have a majority in both houses of Congress, where people like Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan can provide the vision.
Matt Drudge reports that ABC News is sitting on an interview with Newt Gingrich’s first wife, Marianne, that contains “explosive revelations.” On my way home, I heard Hugh Hewitt tell his radio audience that they’re withholding the interview until after the South Carolina primary in order to protect Newt and hurt Romney in that state. But now, on his website, he’s acknowledged another possibility:
… The leak of the story of the interview of Marianne Gingrich without details may actually do more damage to Newt than the interview itself, but it is amazing that a network news operation is sitting on a big story three days before an election.
I question Hewitt’s original contention, as well as his use of “actually” and “but” in that sentence. I think it’s likely that the story was leaked to hurt Gingrich, not Romney. The MSM have been largely pro-Romney (after the attempt to elevate Huntsman’s candidacy fizzled). As in 2008, they’re favoring the most moderate Republican — until after he’s nominated, and then they’ll suddenly discover that he’s a right-wing extremist.
South Carolina has a high percentage of evangelical voters. Leaking the claim that Gingrich’s first wife has dirt on him is going to be damaging even if her revelations later turn out to be no big deal. If nothing else, it reminds those evangelicals of Gingrich’s sorry marital history.
I’m not a big Newt Gingrich fan, but when he’s right, he’s right, and when he’s on his game, there’s nobody better. In last night’s debate, his response to Juan Williams’ race-baiting, “don’t you realize your wife doesn’t like to be beaten” question was simply masterful. He was unapologetic, forceful, articulate, and stood by his principles — qualities that are unfortunately rare among the GOP leadership. It’s the first time a presidential candidate in a debate ever got a standing ovation, and he deserved it.
While you and I and most of the American viewing public were watching J.J. Abrams' latest (not bad; not up to the hype, but not bad), the Republican presidential candidates had another "debate." Do I have to remind you that the best way to find out what happened is to read Vodkapundit's drunkblogging of the event?
It looks like Gary Johnson had the best line of the night — maybe the best line of the year:
7:44PM Johnson: My neighbor’s dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this administration.
UPDATE: Credit where credit is due: Johnson borrowed that line from Rush Limbaugh.
To the delight of the mainstream media, John Huntsman threw his hat into the ring today. They've been promoting his potential candidacy for weeks now. He's the kind of soft-spoken, moderate, reach-across-the-aisle Republican that the Socialist Democrat Party's media shills like. He's the new John McCain.
Of course, if he were to get the Republican nomination, they'd turn on him in a heartbeat, just like they did McCain.
Huntsman announced his presidential campaign at Liberty State Park, with the Statue of Liberty behind him, right where Ronald Reagan spoke on Labor Day, 1980. And Huntsman evoked Reagan early and often. Rush Limbaugh had the right response to that: "You have to forgive me here but I'm a little resentful of people who are nothing like Reagan trying to be Reagan."
Huntsman may have evoked Reagan, but he channeled McCain:
Let me say something about civility. For the sake of the younger generation it concerns me that civility, humanity, and respect are sometimes lost in our interactions as Americans. Our political debates today are corrosive and not reflective of the belief that Abe Lincoln espoused. I don't think you need to run down someone's reputation in order to run for the office of president. I respect the President of the United States. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help a country we both love, but the question each of us wants the voters to answer is "Who will be the better president?" not who's the better American.
As Limbaugh noted, this is the timid Republicanism that the media elites and the inside-the-beltway, ruling class Republicans want the GOP to embrace, and it's nonsense (emphasis added):
The Republican Party is still convinced that in order to secure the support of independents, that they have to be boring. They have to be serious and Milquetoast and cannot be confrontational, cannot be partisan, cannot go into attack mode. Somehow this is going to cause the independents to get nervous and send them running right back to Obama. Now, of course, that's flat-out BS, it's totally wrong. The elections of last November demonstrate that in a real world, real life example. But then there's also this. We're told — and this is a trap, by the way, the left puts this out. It's designed to get us to be boring. It's designed to get us not to contrast ourselves with the left.
They put out this notion, "These independents, these moderates, they don't mess around. They're cut above! And they start hearing this deep partisanship and they're just gonna run away from you guys. They're gonna run right back to the Democrats." Right. Now, the Democrat Party and anybody in it that you want to name today is the most vicious and mean-spirited and exemplifies the politics of personal destruction unlike I've ever seen it practiced in my lifetime. …
So Huntsman stood where Reagan stood, tried to evoke Reagan, and then proceeded to talk about civility and being nice, about not running down his opponent, and about how much he likes and respects his opponent. Is that how Reagan approached his opponent?
Not exactly. At that same spot, Reagan issued a full-throated denunciation of the godawful mess Jimmy Carter's policies had made of things. Reagan called Carter out by name, called him a failure and a disaster, and eviscerated his misbegotten policies (which sound eerily familiar today). Then he spoke with optimism about the better future that lay ahead after Carter was sent packing. Listen for yourself.
Tony Lee thinks Republican presidential candidates can become much more effective communicators by studying Dodgers' play-by-play announcer Vin Scully:
At the start of the baseball season, hope also springs eternal for the field of potential GOP presidential candidates who are gearing up to launch their presidential bids in the spring. But like Scully’s epic "day to day" quip, the GOP has turned into a day-to-day party and it is an image these presidential aspirants must work to change. Republicans have too often been reactionary—and thus held captive to events—instead of being forward-thinking and proactive. The GOP has lately been a party of nearsighted tactics devoid of any overarching strategy. But in the immediate, the GOP and its representatives have simply just forgotten how to speak effectively and compellingly to Americans. As the presidential sweepstakes kick off, all potential candidates would do themselves a big favor if they listened to nine innings of Vin Scully. …
Lee describes five lessons to be learned from Scully. It's pretty good advice for the GOP's chronically inept communicators (which is most of them). Read the whole thing.
In his weekly email newsletter, Independence Institute President John Caldara observed that each of the two major-party presidential candidates is the most liberal senator in his party. "So really we have a Marxist running against a Democrat, but at least the Democrat's running mate is a Republican."
Caldara also pointed out that The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News have both endorsed the Institute-backed Amendment 49, Ethical Standards. You can find a brief description of that and the other 17 measures on the Colorado ballot at the Institute's Issues '08 page, as well as at the Ballotpedia Colorado page.
And check out Caldara's blog, The Cauldron, from time to time.
I tried to watch the first McCain-Obama debate. I really did. I gritted my teeth and hung in there right up until moderator Jim Lehrer asked them both how the financial crisis and bailout would affect "how you rule the country."
I screamed "The President doesn't rule the country, Jim!" and ran from the room.
UPDATE: You want more? Substantive analysis and insight mixed with adult beverages? Well, go read Stephen Green's drunkblogging. Here's the money quote:
McCain is no debater. He wouldn’t last a second during Question Hour in the British Parliament. And yet Obama is coming off in third place in a two-man session.
… When it gets so bad that late-night comics like David Letterman and Jon Stewart are making sport of him, you'd think that Obama's handlers would be trying to do something about it.
But the problem with deep-rooted narcissism is that it can't be disguised or controlled; arrogance is so much part of the narcissist's psychological makeup that he simply cannot help but find new, almost daily, forms and forums in which to express it. Here is Obama's latest gaffe, which has already become the target of MSM, talk-radio, and blogger mockery:
Stumping in an economically challenged battleground state, Obama argued Wednesday that President Bush and McCain will resort to scare tactics to maintain their hold on the White House because they have little else to offer voters.
"Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
"…all those other presidents on the dollar bills"? Did we miss something? Have we already had that election?…
No wonder that the David Letterman audience exploded with laughter the other night when, in a list of "Top Ten Reasons Why Barack Obama May be Over-Confident About the Election," reason number six was: "Getting his head measured for Mt. Rushmore." …
… Hubris has dashed the lofty dreams of more than one Democratic candidate, despite weak Republican opponents — and given the latest polls, it appears that it is setting off alarm bells with the electorate this year, too.
The problem for Obama is that megalomania is so much a part of him that there's probably not a damned thing he can do to hide it. So, I'm sure the gaffes will continue, every time he speaks without the discipline of a text prepared for him by others .
Obama thinks some people are "scared" of him because of how he looks. But a lot of us are turned off (not "scared") because of how he sounds — like a slightly less stiff, more pigmented version of John Kerry.
I heard this portion of Obama's Tuesday night victory speech on the radio today, and I was chilled by both his words and the intensity of the adulation, cheering, and screaming by the crowd:
Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that, generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless…
… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…
… this was the moment when we ended a war, and secured our nation, and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.
This was the moment, this was the time when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.
Wow. Just wow. Did he ride in on a white horse?
Set aside for the moment the absurd suggestion that until St. Barack's triumphant arrival, "we" didn't care for the sick or provide jobs for the jobless. What really disturbs me is someone whose mentors, spiritual advisers, friends, allies, and close associates include the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Frank Marshall Davis, Alice Palmer, Rashid Khalidi, and Raila Odinga (to name just a few*) promising to "remake" America.
It's all over, according to AP, CNN, and CBS. And it's a familiar story for feminists. A highly educated, highly competent, incredibly bright woman (the smartest woman in the world, according to her supporters) spent years in the shadow of a less disciplined, less competent man. She supported him through thick and thin, sublimating her own ambition and career goals to support his.
Eventually, she stepped out of his shadow. She joined the world's most prestigious boys' club and proved she was as tough and competent as any of them. She decided the time was ripe for her to move up to the executive suite. She'd paid her dues — and then some. It was a promotion that she was clearly entitled to.
But then, as she was poised to assume the role for which she'd been working for decades, along came some wet-behind-the-ears, inexperienced male competitor. Compared to her, he was an intellectual lightweight with an incredibly thin resume. It should have been clear to all the decision-makers that she was the far superior candidate for the position. But he was young, handsome, charismatic — and male. He got the promotion, and she was passed over.
Another outrageous example of the gender bias that permeates our sexist society. I wonder how N.O.W. and other feminist organizations will react to this injustice.
Well, really, I don't. I'm sure their commitment to liberal/leftist ideology in general will trump any concern they have for women's rights and gender equality in particular. The "little ladies" will obediently climb aboard the Obama bandwagon. If they didn't, the men who run things would call them racists.
UPDATE: Instalanche! And not just a quick "Heh!" — Glenn posted a teaser quote. Thanks, Glenn! To those of you who aren't sure — yes, my tongue was firmly in my cheek while writing this. It's not easy satirizing the left these days, is it?
Someone at the Libertarian Party national convention was handing out Vote Republican kits — the "kit" consisted of a clothespin for your nose. Along the same lines, Kevin Baker of The Smallest Minority came up with the political bumper sticker of the year, a must-have collector's item even if you don't plan to put one on your car to declare your tepid support:
Kevin has teamed up with Jed Baer of FreedomSight to make the sticker available for order (and help Jed out at the same time, which is also a good thing). Kevin explains it all in this post. In the update near the end, he sends you to Jed's order page — so if you're in a hurry, just go directly there and click the image to order.
Do it now! You never know how long something like this will be available, and you don't want to miss out, do you? Get a few extras for friends and relatives. And the next time you're out shopping, pick up a bag of clothespins — there could be a shortage later in the year.
The Libertarian Party nominated former Republican Congressman Bob Barr and Las Vegas oddsmaker Wayne Root as its candidates for President and Vice President. The good news is that Barr and Root were apparently the only two presidential candidates (out of 13) who wouldn't sign a pledge — promoted by the 9/11-Truther group Libertarians for Justice — demanding an investigation into "what really happened" on September 11, 2001.
The bad news is that Barr and Root both just barely won, so nearly half the LP delegates were prepared to have the party represented by someone who's at least open to some truly insane conspiracy theories. Furthermore, Barr barely beat Mary Ruwart, who got some media attention when she refused to back away from an earlier defense of child pornography and prostitution.
The other bad news is that Barr, although not nearly anti-military enough for the "purists" in the party, seems to believe that the only way the US might be at war with radical Islam is if we attack Iran — a depressingly naive and ignorant position, if you ask me.
The "purists," who call themselves "the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party," are apparently outraged that "Republican pragmatists" have taken over, and the recriminations and name-calling have begun. Some people have denounced Barr as a "neocon," further evidence that most of the people who denounce others as neocons don't have a clue what a neocon really is.
Remember all the fuss last December over the bookshelves in this Mike Huckabee Christmas greeting ad?
Liberals were all upset at Huckabee's "subliminal" attempt to mix politics and religion (in a Christmas greeting, no less). Some religious leaders objected:
Catholic League president Bill Donahue said Huckabee went beyond wishing people a joyous holiday. Donahue said he was especially disturbed by the cross-like image created in the background of the ad, saying he believed it was a subliminal message.
“What he’s trying to say to the evangelicals in western Iowa (is): I’m the real thing,” Donahue said Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends. “You know what, sell yourself on your issues, not on what your religion is.”
Asked about the ad today, Ron Paul decried Huckabee's religious iconography with his own veiled reference on Fox and Friends:
"It reminds me of what Sinclair Lewis once said. He says, 'when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.' Now I don't know whether that's a fair assessment or not, but you wonder about using a cross, like he is the only Christian or implying that subtly. So, I don't think I would ever use anything like that."
I wonder if Ron Paul, Bill Donahue, the folks at Huffington Post, and the Kos Kids were reduced to apoplexy when they saw the flyer the Obama campaign is distributing in Kentucky:
Somehow I don't think so. After all, Barack — or should I say Barry? — is just trying to counter those rumors that he was brought up Muslim. And look, he's promising us Hope! And Change!
If this story is true, John McCain is about to make it utterly impossible for me (and lots of other libertarian, classical liberal, and economic conservative types) to vote for him:
Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is at the top of the list of John McCain's possible running mates, according to a top McCain fundraiser with ties to his inner circle.
Economic conservatives are likely to oppose the choice of Huckabee as McCain's vice presidential candidate, given the populist tone of his campaign and his tax record as governor of Arkansas.
But in his "Capital Commerce" column for U.S. News & World Report, James Pethokoukis points to the fundraiser's disclosure and cites several factors that could make Huckabee a strong asset for McCain.
For one thing, the former Baptist minister is a great campaigner who could garner support in the South among social conservatives and at the same time appeal to working-class voters in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Huckabee would also appeal to many more voters on a "he cares about me" level than millionaire investor and possible vice presidential choice Mitt Romney, especially given all the turmoil on Wall Street this year.
<snark>Yeah, that's how "maverick" McCain can solidify the base and restore the Reagan coalition: pick a tax and spend, anti-business, anti-free-trade, populist demagogue who makes people think "he cares about me."</snark> Excuse me, I have to go throw up again.
McCain's Portland speech on the environment and global warming, in which he embraced "cap and trade" (AKA "ration and tax") greenhouse gas controls, was bad enough. At this point, I'm a long way from ready to vote for him (although I keep making myself read that Obama statement on Supreme Court justices).
A McCain-Huckabee ticket? I won't vote for that under any circumstances. I'll just cross my fingers that Obama doesn't do too much harm (before becoming the next Carter and being crushed in 2012).