Patterico's Pontifications

2/16/2012

The GOP field’s big weakness

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 7:50 am

[Posted by Karl]

Allahpundit is probably not the only righty nervous over the current election polling, even though it is still too early in the cycle for deep concern.  The polling is likely the product of a media environment hyping good economic news and the GOP intra-party fighting.  However, folks right of center should not get into a mode of blaming a left-leaning media.  The establishment will probably spend much more time on dropping unemployment claims than rising foreclosures or the combo of rising gas prices, falling gas consumption and retail sales.  (A recovery led by declining unemployment figures seems odd, given that unemployment is generally considered a lagging indicator, but I digress.)  But most forecasters were predicting some economic growth this year, and the right should never be rooting for bad economic news.

James Pethokoukis offers Republicans advice for how to win if the economy keeps improving.  Some of it — the JFK-esque “we can do better” approach is alright, some of it (the economy is built on debt, Obama did not really fix our structural problems) is true, but unlikely to resonate with the mushy middle in a decently improving economy.  As the out-party, the GOP may need another issue to mitigate an improving economy.

Finding such an issue is sometimes not easy.  In this cycle, two possibilities spring immediately to mind.  The debt bomb might be an exploitable issue,as Americans (including the Obama administration, rhetorically) recognize the current path is unsustainable.  However, as just suggested, the issue may lose some potency with the mushy middle if the economy grows decently.  Moreover, the Democrats and their media would likely do their best to reframe any discussion of the debt into a Mediscare campaign.

The other obvious issue is Obamacare, the president’s still-unpopular signature legislation.  Mitt Romney would be a poor candidate to exploit this issue, given his stubborn refusal to abandon Romneycare.  In contrast, Rick Santorum has had a cogent critique the Obamacare/ Romneycare paradigm of government-controlled healthcare.  On the other hand, if Santorum became the GOP nominee, the Democrats and their media would do their best to steer any discussion of healthcare into a discussion of Santorum’s aversion to contraception.  And for whatever reason, Santorum seems to relish debating a question which likely alienates the mushy middle, instead of assuring them his focus would be on the issues important to them.

Anyone who reads me regularly knows I harp on the fundamentals.  If the economy does improve significantly, any Republican would have difficulty winning.  Accordingly, I do not fault Republicans for focusing on the economy.  However, the GOP field’s biggest weakness may be how ill-suited they seem to be in talking about anything else.

–Karl

142 Responses to “The GOP field’s big weakness”

  1. Ding!

    Karl (6f7ecd)

  2. _______________________________________________

    The recent poll that reflected the sentiment of many people who believe the Republicans in Congress have an extreme agenda (or, at most, conservatism against the backdrop of an increasingly liberal USA in the 21st century), and the absurd benefit of the doubt apparently being given to that which truly is extreme (ie, President “Goddamn America”), suggests to me this society is headed in the direction of Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico with a good dose of Euro-socialism thrown into the the mix.

    Lucky us.

    Mark (31bbb6)

  3. With $5 dollar gas, Keystone, Iran, etc.:

    Drill baby, drill?

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

  4. The weakness of the GOP field is the GOP field.

    JD (12366a)

  5. Another insightful post, Karl.

    And for whatever reason, Santorum seems to relish debating a question which likely alienates the mushy middle, instead of assuring them his focus would be on the issues important to them.

    This is really confusing me: What on earth could he or his strategists be thinking? Focus on the the economy, pound Romneycare, but stop debating and getting sucked into the fray of losing battles with the MSM/lefties re contraception, abortion, and ultimately the misconception of his negative view toward women. He already has the social cons – they don’t need any reassurances. The independents he might actually snag, are not going to be captivated with his harping on religious/moral issues. I originally believed the MSM was leading on this and keeping the focus on these issues (and of course, making sure Santorum came upon the wrong side of everything), but it seems he continues to open that door himself. To what end, I’m not sure.

    Dana (a93e63)

  6. Ding ding!

    I’d say only the economy is a viable issue. You can make a solid argument that we’re really on the way to a second recession, given the foreclosure and retail sales figures, and that Obama’s policies are making sure we get that second recession.

    Obamacare is not a winning issue, unless the GOP can come up with a solid substitute that’s not simply a return to the status quo ante. I don’t know of anyone who was enamored of the status quo ante, and arguing that Obamacare is somehow horrible because it replaces insurance company bureaucrats with government bureaucrats isn’t going to win any converts. You can campaign against the growth of the regulatory state, with Obamacare as Exhibit A, B, and C, but anything that’s based on “repeal and replace” has to focus on the “replace” far more than the “repeal”.

    Nor is the debt that much of a winning issue. People are more concerned with their own cash flow and bills right now than they are with any public debt that won’t implode for years to come. Short term private worries will always overshadow long term public worries. And the Democrats, as you point out, will try to frame it as a choice between cutting Medicare and enacting tax hikes on “the rich”.

    Of course, part of the problem is that the GOP often chooses to fight battles on the wrong terms. The Keystone pipeline was a good example. Instead of arguing that Obama made the wrong decision and such and such a number of jobs could have been gained (which thereby helps validate Obama’s stimulus by making it seem that government can directly create jobs if the right projects are chosen–meaning Obama’s stimulus was wrong not because it was wrong in principle but because it was not managed competently) the real argument should have been along the lines of “why was the Federal government allowed to interfere in this at all?”–in other words, point to it as another example of the cancerous spread of the regulatory state.

    JBS (2d88a8)

  7. Comment by JD — 2/16/2012 @ 8:17 am
    Not yet lunch time and we already have the zinger of the day.

    JBS (2d88a8)

  8. I agree, JD. Unfortunately, you’ve neatly summed it up.

    Dana (a93e63)

  9. If Neut can hang thru the first Tuesday in April and can carry TX we can call a stalemate early enough to sort something out.

    Sleazer McBain is Ok with Potatohead as VP already. I don’t think anyone is going to rush into those arms.

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

  10. OTOH, Jiimmy is in the permabull game, it is not in his self-interest to go after the Ministry of Truth:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-grand-game-perception-management

    Note the BDI, shipping rates:

    http://www.dryships.com/pages/report.asp

    Yesterday’s Empire State Manufacturing Index was robustly positive on declining components. Flat out false. Most of the information we see spun in the MSM are outright lies.

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

  11. Dana,

    I’m not sure Santorum has strategists. We know he doesn’t have a pollster or a headquarters.

    Karl (7aaa21)

  12. From a campaign perspective, I’m not sure there’s a need to worry about the economy getting better. The only way the economy will improve is if hiring and consumption rise over existing levels. And what has or will happen that makes us think that either of those will pick up, that people are going to be more optimistic than we’ve been? Has Europe stopped being a potential bomb? Have we stopped worrying about foreclosures and people losing their jobs? No more worry about health care costs going up? Any sense that Congress is getting its act together to address the issues before it?

    So worrying about the GOP having fallback issues is a waste of time.

    steve (369bc6)

  13. I agree, JD. Unfortunately, you’ve neatly summed it up.

    Comment by Dana

    Yeah, that’s basically it.

    Unless one really believes in one of these candidates, such as the Romney fanatics or the several Santorum supporters (nothing wrong with that), a brokered convention seems like the best result. Even if you like those guys, you probably realize the GOP might have problems in the general election.

    Karl’s post is interesting in noting we could have a harder election than anticipated. I’ve long wondered if the democrats would be able to temporarily resuscitate the economy. Personally, I think troubles with Iran are about to drive gas prices through the roof and harm the economy.

    I also think Obamacare and the debt ought to be defining issues. The debt is less of an issue than it could be because the GOP house is a failure. They had their chance to prove to me they would actually fight the tough fight, and they instead made yet another political calculation to kick the can down the road. I don’t think every pundit realizes just how foolish this was. Perhaps the GOP will get smarter soon.

    One question I have is: who would win a brokered convention? Not who would I like to win, but who would actually win. In the game of having the most connections and favors owed in the establishment, doesn’t Romney win? Or maybe some other dynasty politician like Jeb Bush?

    The one thing that seems to ruin Republican candidates is having a substantial executive record. It’s like we’d prefer a blank slate to leader who got things right 95% of the time. Would a brokered convention give me a conservative governor? There are a few to choose from… I’d be delighted with any of them.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  14. 12. This just in:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-15/bank-firm-ratings-may-be-cut-by-moody-s.html

    Down two or more grades.

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

  15. I get this feeling the economy will continue improving, get Obama reelected and help lots of Democrat win in Congress, then start heading south again some time next year.

    Gerald A (7d960d)

  16. Dustin,

    A brokered convention might not be as nice as you think. Check the Jay Cost email Allapundit quotes at the tlink.

    Karl (7aaa21)

  17. 15. It’s baked in the cake.

    Germany, et al., now seem confident the EU is better off ditching Greece. Portugal’s creditors are better protected against default. Greece is actually hurting everyone’s credit rates because of cross-holdings.

    But the EU 17 are already in recession and the pain will be exacerbated with Greek default on or before March 20. Any new bailout requires Greece make good on past austerity pledges and pass muster in EU member states.

    Not going to happen.

    Other than AIG and Morgan Stanley US firms aren’t in immediate peril, but a year from now the cascade will have a greater toll.

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

  18. Karl, that was a good post. Once again, we are allowing the debate to be framed by our opponents. I posted the following on the other thread, and it is more relevant here.

    Dustin, I will not argue with you, but you have a genuine prejudice regarding Romney, and your consistent drumbeat is ironic, given how you state you don’t care for that approach from others (“fanatics”? Really?).

    “…Complaints about the conservative ranking of Santorum makes no sense if you’re arguing for Romney, whose record on so many conservative issues is just plain liberal…”

    Um. Too liberal for you, sure. Or many conservatives, if you wish. But I don’t think most liberals would agree with you or them. And I think that, well, liberals are the authorities on what is liberal, yes? Unless you like liberals to tell you what conservatives think.

    Count on it, if Romney is the nominee: I don’t think the DNC platform will be that Romney isn’t sufficiently conservative.

    I honestly don’t care to fence about this; every time I try, I get told (not by you) I am a “squish” or that Obama is “just the same” as Romney or that I am a Romney worshipper. None of that is true, and is part of the unfortunate ad hominem style critiques that appear to be growing here and elsewhere. Fact is, I want Obama out of office. That is Job Numero Uno. I’m with Glenn Reynolds on the candidates: a syphilitic camel is a better choice. And we all had better keep that in focus; I’m not sure many people are at present.

    I think it is great to hold people’s feet to the fire during primary season. And I too wish the field was stronger and better (for example, if Rick Perry could have presented a better image of himself). But what is lost here is the consistent, near daily framing of many DNC talking points for the upcoming election…by folks who say they are opposed to Obama. This creates a meme that could sink us all in November.

    Does that mean I don’t want to see criticism of Romney? Sigh. Not at all. I do wish that folks here wouldn’t parrot sound bites that could have come out of Axelrod’s office. The silly nicknames, the over-the-top rhetoric, and so forth. All of that makes the Chicago Machine smile.

    My only hope is that, no matter who gets the nomination, the focus will then be on what Obama has and has not done…and compare that record (and the potential to come) against the nominee. Obama is known quality. Does anyone actually think his past agenda will be moderated in any way during a second term? Or that infighting among us will lead to the Senate returning to the R side of the aisle?

    Let me be clear: I have never been enthusiastic to vote for anyone in a Presidential election. I have always been enthusiastic to vote against people I thought were bad for our country. I think about the power grab in Washington, the absolute ignoring of financial strategies that did not work, the “hold my breath until I turn blue” attitudes of this administration, the potential for two or even three Supreme Court Justices. This is the most important election in many decades, even with the crappy field of candidates.

    To each their own. But I am tired of all the weirdness on this issue, which isn’t about debate, but about extreme hyperbole and what appears to be a lack of attention on November.

    My apologies for the sermon. I don’t like posting here these days, and I know I will get lots of unpleasant responses. So be it. Purity remains the enemy of the good. We know the job Obama has done, and will do if re-elected. That is certainty.

    Simon Jester (bdf8fc)

  19. Karl, thanks. I tend to not read all of the ‘here’s what the polls say’ articles… that discussion with Jay should be its own topic.

    It’s true that a brokered convention costs the party in many ways. If we’re going to pay that, we need to get something that justifies it.

    I do not see how the result of the brokered convention would be weaker than Romney unless, as Jay notes, it were Romney anyway.

    I do not think Romney can legitimately whine about whether the voters had a say after his campaign said it was unfair to Mitt if VA voters could vote for Newt, who was leading the state and was shoved off the ballot for unconstitutional reasons… kept off only for the a ripeness in court technicality. Romney has taken the democratic principle argument completely off the table, which is a big reason I want to see a brokered convention.

    It reminds me a lot of Al Gore in Florida, picking and choosing where we would have democracy or compromise it, entirely based on whether it helped Al Gore. That is simply fake democracy. Though I do not think Romney’s campaign was crazy enough to actually architect having other candidates thrown off the ballot, that is what happened, and the campaign endorsed that result by whining about what’s fair to Mitt (and not being concerned with what’s fair to the party or the voters).

    Back to the brokered convention point, though, I also think Santorum’s success shows that the traditional political organization is not as necessary. It’s helpful for artificial things like navigating weird ballot access, but for getting out the vote? It seems the guy with the least organization is trampling the guy with the most.

    I do think it would be much better if those candidates who realize they would be better than the remaining field would jump in, win some contests, and make their case up front for a brokered convention. I also do not like the idea that this is some clever way to slip around the process, which is something some Palin fans seem to think she’s doing (personally, I do not think she is intending to be the candidate though her not running has been a looming factor making it difficult for some to settle for any of the conservatives).

    Thanks for steering me exactly to the discussion I was looking for, Karl… before I even asked actually.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  20. The sure way for the GOP to lose is making the dominant issues social ones, as Santorum does. I suggest the piece by Byron York is a good place to start. Santorum is stubborn and gets on these loser issues, like the Schiavo case, and won’t let go no matter how they hurt him. The economy is the issue and the story is about why Republicans and Democrats disagree. If gas prices are sky-high in October, watch Obama try to use the national reserve, or some other gimmick but he will be in big trouble.

    If the economy starts to improve, and I hope it does, Republicans have other issues and they need to be ready for that debate. If, God forbid, there is a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran, the issue will be energy and oil. We should be hammering on that already. The out-of-control EPA and the other crazy regulators should be a topic of discussion.

    The last thing we need is a fight about contraception.

    Mike K (326cba)

  21. Dustin, I will not argue with you, but you have a genuine prejudice regarding Romney, and your consistent drumbeat is ironic, given how you state you don’t care for that approach from others (“fanatics”? Really?).

    It’s not really prejudice… I admit I am biased against candidates with that liberal of a record, but I explain my basis for saying Romney is liberal all the time.

    I admit the other candidates have a mixed record at best, but they aren’t as liberal.

    I am no fanatic, though, Simon. I have argued with a number of Romney fanatics, and sometimes that’s a lot like wrestling with a pig… we both wind up muddy. My rationale for preferring we not nominate someone like Romney is grounded in Romney’s record.

    But if you read my comments more carefully, you’ll see I also will note Romney’s advantages. I’ve noted I think Romney’s executive experience is a very valuable credential, particularly against Santorum, and but-for what I see as a battle for control of the GOP, I prefer Romney of the two. This is actually something I’ve said consistently and many times for *months*.

    The problem is that Romney’s few fanatics will skip over that kind of comment and start arguments with incredible hostility or dishonesty. One example is the comment left on this blog that because of my heritage I belong under the boot of a Romney supporter. It’s difficult to respond to that without anger. I’m doing my best, but I realize sometimes I definitely should have just ignored that crap.

    Count on it, if Romney is the nominee: I don’t think the DNC platform will be that Romney isn’t sufficiently conservative.

    True. Instead, they will argue that Romney’s attempt to pose as a centrist is not authentic. To prove it, they will show Romney flip flopping on a dozen issues. It will work because it is completely accurate.

    Um. Too liberal for you, sure. Or many conservatives, if you wish. But I don’t think most liberals would agree with you or them.

    I disagree on this. I think a lot of liberals would be much more comfortable with a President Romney than you realize. Remember, Romney reportedly argued to Progressives that they need him in DC. Romney has the support of people like Donald Frum and Lisa Murkowski. Dana Milbank wrote that article titled “Democrats for Romney?” noting that Romney is a technocrat as opposed to someone like Rick Perry, and if Obama is doomed because of the economy, democrats should hope the GOP doesn’t place another Goldwater type as happened in 1980.

    Now, you are right that (current definition rather than classical) liberals would not be satisfied that Romney is liberal enough. They aren’t even satisfied that Obama is liberal enough. No one is ever liberal enough and liberals will always want to continue “progress”.

    But I think if liberals thought Obama was doomed because of the economy, they would much rather the GOP nominate Romney over Santorum or Newt or any of the folks who might jump in later.

    Let me be clear: I have never been enthusiastic to vote for anyone in a Presidential election. I have always been enthusiastic to vote against people I thought were bad for our country.

    That’s sad. I admit that’s understandable.

    Anyway, if you’re worried I’m going to angrily react to disagreement, I guess I haven’t been clear. It’s certainly not honest disagreement that I have a problem with. I am happy to have pleasant discussions with Romney or Obama supporters, and certainly agnostics about Romney.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  22. btw, what you call a drumbeat I call consistency. What I say about Romney is largely not even opinion. He does support the ind. mandate. He did enact awful gun control. I am tired of Republicans who do not show enough fight against democrats, only to moan later that the democrats are the excuse for their record.

    If I perceived Romney as a conservative fighter, I’d be one of his biggest fans.

    Did Romney ever plan to run for a second term in MA? Some think he intended to run for President in 2008 well before he did. If so, he had no need to be reelected in MA.

    It would have been difficult pushing MA towards resolving its debt, but New Jersey is proof progress is possible. It seems that Romney fought democrats on the margins of moves to the left, and the results were poor. He would collaborate or even lead to the left on a number of issues (education spending, gun control, healthcare reform, gay marriage, subsidized abortion, healthcare for illegals, federal funding for Romneycare, tax increases), then veto the marginal extra the democrats naturally went for. They naturally won. I mean politically. The momentum in MA ended a string of GOP governors and Romney’s endorsements lost their state election bids. Leadership is not a short term political compromise, one after another. Even the low info voters recognize that.

    I’m guessing here, but it’s not prejudice to assume Romney would govern the same way in DC. He would lead new government initiatives collaborating with Reid and Pelosi, then he would oppose some of the marginal stuff and claim the democrats were responsible for the whole mess. As the GOP was proven largely irrelevant, the results would be poor.

    Beating Obama is important, and I’ll vote against him, but if you think beating Obama is the number #1 priority in politics, you are misguided. Obama represents some serious looming problems that predate him and will outlast him.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  23. Painting all not-Romney’s as wild eyed unelectable crazy people is a great way to promote the unity needed to beat Obama. Claiming the mantel of electability, while losing in primaries and the polls, and using said faux mantle as the centerpiece of why conservatives should support a demonstrably not conservative politico is another great strategy. Or criticizing those that criticize Romney, while ignoring the nasty attacks on everyone else ….

    JD (8c753a)

  24. _____________________________________________

    I think a lot of liberals would be much more comfortable with a President Romney than you realize.

    But the situation in general reveals just how much of the electorate, at least based on current polling data, is tilted to the left. IOW, it’s not like too many of them have a soft spot in their heart for a mainstream, traditional liberal versus a dyed-in-the-wool, hard-core rightwinger. Current biases throughout the populace indicate far too much of it is giving a lot of hugs to President “Goddamn America,” while directing much less ease at super-squishy Mitt Romney.

    Meanwhile, if the economy were okay but our culture were no less sloppy and pro-dysfunctional, including the effects of perennially lousy public schools and that which discourages gainful employment but fosters dependency on the state (eg, welfare)? So an ultra-liberal like Obama would be a guaranteed shoo-in later this year? (I fear the answer to that.) If so, this society will sell its soul to the devil for a few quick bucks.

    Mark (31bbb6)

  25. The idea that the economy is recovering, a meme they have pushed since they took office, is laughable, and could only exist in a world where the MFM provided active assistance to the Dems.

    Barcky invoked rising gas prices in a justification for further economic silliness yesterday. In doing so, he lies about the actual amount of the payroll tax cut, purpose of same, and just why it is that gas prices are rising. Lord knows it could not be due to his denial of the pipeline, denial of drilling permits, fraudulent moratoriums, demagoguery of oil companies, and his criminal support of his green energy political buddies.

    JD (8c753a)

  26. This RNC chart is pretty devastating.

    During the time that the Dems controlled everything in Washington with huge majorities, over one and a half percent of the labor force gave up on working. Joblessness isn’t down at all.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  27. If $15 trillion deficit, an Obama budget which by it’s own terms will buck that up to over $20 trllion by year 2 of a 2nd Obama term, $5 gas, and the kestone pipeline are not front and center, the GOP needs to be blown up. This is epic fiscal mismanagement by an economic idiot. I labor under no illusions about the wonders of any of these GOP candidates(spare Paul, who is unelectable, sadly). We will not survive as a republic with s 2nd Obama term.Problem is 40+% of the electorate is okay with voting itself the Treasury. And I don’t know how you stop that, or how you convince everyone else that the people with their hands out are the real problem, not thsoe who work hard to adavance their lot in life. The MFM will not allow that arugment to be made without savaging whom ever makes it.

    Bugg (34ad0e)

  28. Problem, Kevin, is that the House and Senate GOP led by McConnell and Boehner, buckle to their knees like $2 crack whores at the slightest hint of a substantive argument.

    Bugg (34ad0e)

  29. One question I have is: who would win a brokered convention?

    That’s easy: Obama does. If the nominee isn’t someone who has a campaign structure in place, ready to go, they will lose. There is no way to win the presidency with a campaign started from scratch 2 months before the election. It is effing insanity to think otherwise.

    The Republican nominee will be one of the four running, and while I still would prefer Gingrich, the only likely candidate left to support is Romney.

    It’s time to get practical. You dance with what brung you, and planning to hook up with another gal at the prom isn’t going to work.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  30. And for whatever reason, Santorum seems to relish debating a question which likely alienates the mushy middle, instead of assuring them his focus would be on the issues important to them
    Does Santorum actually relish debating such issues, or is it that he simply refuses to ignore them when asked??

    Whose idea was it to have a series of debates among the GOP field hosted by people who want nothing more than to see the GOP fail? Long ago and far away, it should have been “beeping” clear that the only way Obama would win re-election would be if the debate was kept off of the issues of his record and the principles behind them. So it should have been “beeping” clear that what needed to be done was hammer away at those points again and again and again, and let the electorate choose who was making the best case against Obama.
    Is that what happened????? “beeping” NO!!!

    Even now, some of the campaigns seem as if the final goal is to make sure their person wins the primary campaign, and if that means spending time distorting the facts about each other, fine. That in itself, IMO, is why a brokered convention would be good. “Anyone but Obama” is a 99.9% given, but if you want an anti-Obama person to stay home, nominate a candidate who has been so disengenious and dishonest in their campaigning that we don’t think it makes much difference after all.

    Perhaps it has been true ever since 1960 and “Camelot”, the public wants to be charmed by perception, not forced to make a choice on fact. If the candidates want to play the “beeping” celebrity game and the majority of the party wants to play along, they “beeping” well will get what they “beeping” deserve.

    So here we are “this late” into the game after some would have wished the race to be over, with the presumed front-runner getting lukewarm support among the base (can you win a general election with a luke-warm base?), the latest challenger with ideals actually closer to the majority of Americans if given fair representation but who is portrayed as a 1950′s prude that others are ashamed of (were 1950′s prudes the cause of the downfall of Western Civilization?), a lurking figure that few in repub leadership want to work with, and a hanger-on who doesn’t belong in the race syphoning votes. Hopefully we will get a deadlocked convention, some brave and good souls who will put up with themself and family being slandered will stand up and take the challenge, and they will go straight to the issues and be given a miraculous ability to turn even the best-planned media ambush back on the perpetrators and Obama.

    If “they” think letting Gwen Iffel be an objective moderator of debates and allow unlimited interviews with network anchors to be edited in the worst way as part of what they plan to do, with a candidate that will be respectable to that crowd, they might as well sign up to be among the first to live in the moon colony.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  31. I’m also pretty sure that most people, paying $5/gallon for gas are going to notice. Drill-baby-drill is going to get some traction. Obama’s going to sound pretty lame blaming it on the oil companies. Although maybe he’ll hide it with a war on Iran and $9/gallon gas.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  32. If, God forbid, there is a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran, the issue will be energy and oil.

    Lessee, 1 small nuke kills half of Israel, 100 not-small-at-all H-bombs obliterate Iran and maybe other targets. I think there will be more to worry about than “energy and oil”.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  33. “That’s easy: Obama does.”

    Good response, Kevin. I wish I had the pith.

    I disagree. I think the GOP field has to be sufficiently weak that the cost of a brokered convention to the GOP, politically, is outweighed by the benefit of a good candidate. I think that is the case this time.

    It’s time to get practical. You dance with what brung you,

    that’s reasonable… it was annoying that Mitch Daniels sniped at someone for his personal life when Mitch wasn’t willing to run (perhaps because of his family’s vulnerability to such ugliness).

    I think one way to bridge our differences on this would be for what Allahpundit and Jay’s dialogue noted… for a candidate to jump into the primary now, do some dancing, and then win the brokered convention.

    btw, I think JD is right about the economy.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  34. Lessee, 1 small nuke kills half of Israel, 100 not-small-at-all H-bombs obliterate Iran and maybe other targets. I think there will be more to worry about than “energy and oil”.

    Comment by Kevin M

    Here’s a different vision.

    1 small nuke kills half of Israel and Obama offers a speech at the UN and some letters and proposes a sanction but lets the UN security counsel veto it. He sponsors a memorial for Holocaust 2.0 and wins another peace prize for his ‘impressive’ hesitation to answer nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons, which ushers in a new calculation for rogue states.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  35. Kevin M., I was writing my post and did not see yours. You have a definite point about the problem of not having an established campaign apparatus. I’m assuming that by the time of the convention, split as it is, that desperation to defeat Obama to take precedence over established camps and the organizations in place would in large part be invigorated to work together to work to the finish line together.

    Romney is Romney, the base has shown they are not enthusiastic for him. I don’t think anything can change that short of a voice from heaven for those who would welcome it. Even if 99% of those sup[porting others would vote for him, they will not be enthusiastic. Can you win a general with only 1/3 of the base enthusiastic? I don’t know.
    Santorum is Santorum, the best you will get is that he will become much more adept at shifting gotcha questions into meaningful answers on his own terms. IF that happens, good things could happen, but nothing else will change between now and next November.
    Newt is Newt, as brilliant and quick as he can be, he does not inspire confidence in a majority of people to be trusted as the standard bearer, nothing he can do to change that, except go from now until November without another mistake. Can he do that?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  36. ___________________________________________

    Barcky invoked rising gas prices in a justification for further economic silliness yesterday.

    Meanwhile, his Secretary of Energy is known to favor not just higher gasoline prices, but much higher ones — European-high levels, at that — for environmental reasons. I’m sure his boss shares such sentiment—certainly behind closed doors. Yet so much of the public rationalizes away, or tolerates, such foolishness and idiocy? Because liberalism means one’s heart is pure and beautiful, and wonderfully idealistic?

    It’s ironic that I fear too much of the electorate in this nation (and the Western world in general) falling for leftism on an ongoing basis, while fearing too much of the populace in Middle Eastern nations such as Egypt — once given the opportunity to vote — falling for fundamentalist rightism (or pro-Sharia-law Islamism). The latter is happening and has happened — not to mention how that may factor in the increasingly shaky situation with Iran, Palestine, etc — while the former is what this “GOP field’s big weakness” blog post is analyzing.

    Foolishness appears to be a worldwide phenomenon of the human race.

    Mark (31bbb6)

  37. Foolishness appears to be a worldwide phenomenon of the human race.

    Comment by Mark

    It blows my mind that Obama has a shot. The guy has broken so many promises. It was annoying people bought his healer of all campaign in 2007, but how could they continue to buy it?

    The only card I think such politicians have is to ram in as much negativity towards their opponent as possible. Who knows? Maybe Obama can get his opponent tossed off the ballot again? I hate so many things about the way this guy campaigns.

    The collusion with Media Matters is borderline fascist. The BS with the BATF wouldn’t be believable in a movie. The constitution is getting Stockholm Syndrome.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  38. Gas prices will necessarily skyrocket

    JD (8c753a)

  39. i say you hit obama and his tyrant commie oligarchy on EVERY issue you can muster. house sales, foreclosures, social policies, debt, debt, debt, employment, attacks against the constitution, supporting govts that are anti-usa, supporting an anti-isreali foreign policy, hell what is wrong in pointing out the govt has NO RIGHT to force ANYONE to pay for someone elses contraceptives? if republicans think the majority of voters agree with obama on this they are sadly mistaken and i cant see why they dont simply vote for dems. a majority of catholics and non-catholics are against the prez on this one.

    really what is the “positive economic” news?

    has anyone seen gas prices lately? FOOD!??

    wtf?????????????????? this is too easy.

    george washington (787d14)

  40. To get to 8% unemployment, we would need to create 2.5 million jobs in 8 months – over 300k jobs per month. It would be wonderful if we could do that, but Obama’s policies are holding back growth.

    The engine of job growth in America is small business and 77% of them are not hiring this year. The reason is that they cannot accurately predict future costs of labor, fuel, healthcare or government regulation. If Obama is reelected, the inevitable tax increase will hit in early 2013. If the debt gets any higher, the government will crowd the private sector out of the credit market.

    We need to debunk the BLS numbers; show how Obama has cut 1.2 million off the unemployment rolls to create an illusion of recovery. We need to pound his out of control spending and his disregard for the Constitution.

    No one believes the MSM. People get their news from the web. This is the forum.

    Arch (0baa7b)

  41. has anyone seen gas prices lately? FOOD!??

    wtf?????????????????? this is too easy.

    Comment by george washington —

    Seriously. It’s just that gas is getting more expensive, either. We are seeing our dollars become less valuable, and we need more of them to buy the same things.

    Every American is taking a pay cut every time we see quantitative easing. It’s like a massive tax increase, every single time. A balanced budget and some debt resolution would also be much like a pay increase for every American, as their dollars would be worth relatively more.

    The argument can be made, but those who make it often are called crazy extremists for reasons I do not understand.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  42. . It’s just that gas is getting more expensive,

    I meant “not just”

    Dustin (401f3a)

  43. _____________________________________________

    It was annoying people bought his healer of all campaign in 2007, but how could they continue to buy it?

    And he has way more foibles and idiosyncrasies of a far-left nature than what any Republican in the White House may have had of a far-right nature (and I don’t recall there ever being a President Pat Buchanan or President [insert name of person who heads, say, the John Birch Society]). IOW, I can’t imagine the public allowing an ultra-conservative to get away with as much crappola as what they’ve done with Obama.

    The crowd that bows at the altar of secular liberalism (meaning far too many folks throughout the US and the West), and the crowd that bows at the altar of Sharia-law Islamicism deserve one another. Unfortunately, a variety of sane people (and I place most of those in this forum in that category) are trapped between those two self-destructive groups.

    Obama and other super liberals on one hand, and on the other hand, Iran, etc, and various super fundamentalists: A match made in heaven (or hell). With the People’s Republic of China pulling up the rear.

    Mark (31bbb6)

  44. The price of gasoline at the pump is critical in an election year.
    This is the first time in history that gasoline has risen this high this early in the year.
    High gas prices effect economic activity, and not positively – and high gasoline prices have always been a negative politically.
    There will be no recovery, except a ghost recovery, with gasoline over $4/gl, and if it goes to $5/gl, batten down the hatches.
    Any way the media tries to spin this will just be to their own detriment when people in the real world compare their daily experiences to what the WH is spinning through the MSM.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  45. There is a direct link between food prices and corn ethanol in fuel. Corn prices spiked and took grain, fodder, meat and milk prices along. The profits aren’t going to farmer greenjeans; they are going to Archer Daniel Midlands. The next time you stop for a freight train, count the number of round tanker cars filled with ethanol.

    Arch (0baa7b)

  46. Dave Mustaine has endorsed Santorum.

    If the leader of doom-and-gloom the-world-is-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket depicted-GeorgeHWBush-as-an-architect-of-destruction-on-one-of-their-album-covers makes-garygulrud-look-like-an-eternal-optimist metal band Megadeth thinks Santorum is the man, WHO are any of you to argue?

    Icy (0bc6dc)

  47. ^ lol

    I have to admit I’ve envious of the joy Santorum’s fans must be feeling to see their total underdog longshot become the clear front runner.

    It’s the exact opposite of my experience with a candidate I thought was the clear favorite bungle his way into obscurity.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  48. Yes Arch, in my own shopping I have seen it especially in meat prices. I used to buy some more expensive/quality things at 2 for 1 sales, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one, around her anyway.

    And I imagine the typical person south of the border is again having trouble affording corn tortillas. So much for compassion and concern for the world.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  49. As I said before, Icy, Bono is a big Santorum fan too. I think he should do a fund-raising concert.

    Actually Dustin, I am not that thrilled santorum is a front-runner. I agree with most of his ideas from what I know, but I think he has pushed the hyperbole in his arguments at times that will sound terrible when used against him.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  50. Oh yes, Dustin. He supports ethanol subsidies until he decides not to.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  51. Every news cast I see says something about the ECONOMY improving.
    Including Sheptard Smith.

    We are fuxed.

    gus (694db4)

  52. I think he has pushed the hyperbole in his arguments at times that will sound terrible when used against him.

    Comment by MD in Philly

    You’re quite right. Santorum is very honest about his views, which I just cannot hold against him, but sometimes he just won’t take that political clever skill of dodging an issue. He will own his views, even if they aren’t what the people want to hear.

    It’s a legitimate electability concern, but I think it could turn out to be a big plus.

    Think about it: Obama’s admin has been corrupt. They have flip flopped and contradicted themselves on issues like transparency or whether Obamneycare is a tax. Santorum can look us in the eye and promise he isn’t the kind of person who will try to trick us.

    If this election has ethics as a serious concern, which I think is plausible, this becomes a net gain for Santorum even when the left rails against his ‘extremism’. And I also think the way some will rail against Santorum being extreme will be highly ironic in its extremism (such as the google bomb).

    I also have to say I’m impressed with Santorum’s skills in the primary. Something he’s up to is working.

    I wish he was more of a Goldwater libtertarian (and this is being very charitable) and I wish he had some executive experience. These are huge problems, but I don’t see how Obama can possibly take advantage of them.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  53. It’s remarkable how a PRO-INFANTICIDE candidate and WAY WAY WAY PRO-ABORTION candidate was not seen as odd,
    Yet a pro-life candidate is seen as a freak.

    Again folks we are in deep trouble in this country.

    gus (694db4)

  54. Karl: While it is nice to see you using the term ‘mushy middle’, I thought you were among those downplaying their size and importance?

    steve (369bc6)

  55. Santorum may have the social cons now but he didn’t have them until he started talking about social issues — or if he did, he didn’t have them enough to make them want to donate to him, turn out for him, and work for him. He has them now, just as Obama solidified his base by withdrawing from Iraq and taking on the Catholic Church over contraception.

    Further, while the social conservative label will probably stick to Santorum more than it would to a candidate like Romney, how many voters who vote for Obama solely because of contraception and abortion would seriously consider voting for any Republican?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  56. Agree, gus. That’s why I think having a firm idea of what will happen next regarding Obama is foolish. By all “rights” he should have been no where near the presidency.

    DRJ- When Santorum backed Specter along with Bush against Toomey in the Senate primary in 2004 I think a lot of people were disappointed in him. I think many have been reluctant to back him again until he demonstrated his actions were going to be seen as consistent again. And as mentioned before, Pro-Life dems who would have supported him before largely abandoned him for Casey, Jr. I bet Casey, Jr. wants to stay away from this latest kerfuffle as i don’t think he is nearly as pro-life as his father, but just lets his silence let people think what they want. I could be wrong and would admit it if shown otherwise. But I don’t think he wants to go on the record and be for the mandate for what it will cost in PA, and likely doesn’t want to stand against the mandate either, which would be helpful in PA but make him persona non grata on the national scene, like his father.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  57. I thought you were among those downplaying their size and importance?

    You probably need to be more specific to show any contradiction.

    A lot of people don’t think the middle can be reached the same way, or that certain issues will not play with them the way partisans expect.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  58. how many voters who vote for Obama solely because of contraception and abortion would seriously consider voting for any Republican?

    That’s a good point, but there are a lot of libertarians who might go third party who would have supported someone like Newt or Perry.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  59. MD,

    You’re the expert on Pennsylvania politics here. What do you think of this Michael Barone article discussing Santorum’s endorsement of Specter?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  60. 47. Santorum up by 18 in OH, Potatohead and Sleazer McBain are abandoning GA to Neuter. TN same day.

    Undecideds are breaking NotRomany big. FL stunk up the Indie bed for Sleaze badly.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  61. Dustin,

    Would libertarians really support Newt? We’re not talking about people who will support anyone against Obama, because they will vote for any GOP nominee. We’re talking about people who would vote for Newt, Perry, Romney, etc., but not Santorum. IMO the only voters who feel that way would be people who don’t like social conservatives. Ultimately, how likely are they to vote for any Republican?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  62. Dustin,

    Also, I think you’re assuming Santorum will run as a big government, social conservative like Huckabee, but I’m not convinced that’s who Santorum was and/or who he is now. Just as 9/11 changed us on international matters, the fiscal problems our country faces have changed us on domestic matters.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  63. A lot of people don’t think the middle can be reached the same way, or that certain issues will not play with them the way partisans expect

    Why would anyone think otherwise? By definition, a moderate/independent does not see the world the same way as partisans do (if they did, they wouldn’t be moderates). And since marketing has to be targeted to the particulars of a given audience to be successful, what works for doctrinaire conservatives will not work for moderates.

    Put simply, if something appeals to the majority of people at this site, it most definitely should NOT be the centerpiece of a GOP nominee’s fall campaign.

    steve (369bc6)

  64. So politicians should always hide their real beliefs? That’s very Obama-like, steve.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  65. … the only voters who feel that way would be people who don’t like social conservatives. Ultimately, how likely are they to vote for any Republican?

    They can vote Republican but only if there’s no hint of social conservatism taking center stage. For whatever their reasons, moderates are absolutely (and irrationally) scared of social conservatives. And so much so that they’ll vote against their economic interests to keep the religious right from taking over. Look at Bob McDonnell’s successful campaign for how it ought to be done. Every time the media tried to go down that path, McDonnell kept talking economics and growth. To contrast, it seems like Santorum can’t wait for the social topics so he can not only talk about what he is most fluent with but avoid having to talk about economics, a subject he isn’t that strong on.

    steve (369bc6)

  66. 64. ” moderate/independent ”

    Indies are a bimodal population, 1/4 so-lib party switchers to the left of the Republican median.

    The bulk of Indies are to the right of the Republican center on both fiscal and social concerns.

    With Obama, Romney, the Libertarian party and Americans Elect all going for 10% of the electorate it hardly seems a winning strategy.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  67. Don’t look at it as hiding one’s beliefs. Think of it as keeping the focus on the topics the majority of listeners want to hear your views on. Why, when ‘it’s the economy, stupid’, would a GOP candidate want to talk about anything else? Why, when they have a 100 pound sledgehammer to bludgeon Obama (figuratively, for any Secret Service agents monitoring this site) would they want to use a much less effective tool?

    A GOP candidate gets only a certain amount of airtime. Why spend a scarce resource on an issue, such as Obama’s contraceptive mandate, that is of prime interest to at most 5% of the audience? And given that the media is especially hostile, why go with a subject that is so easily distorted?

    steve (369bc6)

  68. Would libertarians really support Newt?

    I guess we see Newt differently. I think he’s running as tenth amendment guy. I also realize he’s been very inconsistent and informed libertarians would have a lot of problems with much of his record (such as Newt’s support for an individual mandate several months ago)

    We’re talking about people who would vote for Newt, Perry, Romney, etc., but not Santorum.

    And not Obama, either. Perhaps not Romney either. I mean people who could move from supporting Ron Paul or Gary Johnson to supporting the GOP nominee.

    It really is all about how far these folks can compromise.

    At the very least, Goldwater fans should appreciate that Santorum respected them enough to level with them about his views, and then consider the rest of his agenda as similarly honest… because there’s a lot of good stuff on Santorum’s agenda they might like.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  69. The bulk of Indies are to the right of the Republican center on both fiscal and social concerns.

    ?? Please elaborate. It makes no statistical sense at all, a bit like saying that non-baseball fans are more interested in baseball than baseball fanatics.

    steve (369bc6)

  70. Put simply, if something appeals to the majority of people at this site, it most definitely should NOT be the centerpiece of a GOP nominee’s fall campaign.

    Comment by steve —

    ?

    I was just asking for some clarity on what you seemed to think was a contradiction.

    You really think this website is that fringe? All I want is a freaking balanced budget.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  71. ?? Please elaborate. It makes no statistical sense at all, a bit like saying that non-baseball fans are more interested in baseball than baseball fanatics.

    Comment by steve

    You’re assuming the GOP is fanatically conservative on spending. I wish I agreed.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  72. DRJ-
    While by no means an expert in PA politics, I may qualify as the expert here as you note.

    I read the Barone article. He could be correct, but I never picked up that argument “hanging in the air”. The perception I had was that Specter was an incumbant Repub, whose vote was usually with the Repubs on “major” issues, that he had seniority in the committee system, and that Bush and Co. were behind him. I personally felt Specter was more playing being the politician than standing on being an independent, but could be wrong.

    I don’t remember much about the Wofford campaign, wasn’t following politics too much “back then”. I do remember comments that Wofford was a “Forrest Gump” of politics, just happened to be at the right place at the right time to get swept along, with the suggestion that he wasn’t much of a skilled politician or statesman himself. I don’t think that was a partisan characterization, but a MSM editorializing.

    Maybe because of who he was associating with back then, but I had heard “friend of friend” that Santorum was not a very personable guy and easily disliked. Considering my source, I wasn’t sure how fair that was vs. a view from a lib; but I’ve read where santorum himself acknowledges being too abrasive when he first went to DC. Perhaps he felt the need to “brace himself” at first and overdid it. In any case, what I had heard from my friend was back in the ’90′s.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  73. 70. Bimodal means two centers of area under the curve. Rather than the bell distribution one posits for the Republican population distributed over the horizontal one has two bell distributions.

    The two populations share in common a hatred of the majors. The more conservative Indies hate Republicans for being spineless parasites, the less conservative, reactionary parasites.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  74. You miss my point. It’s not that you’re/we’re fringe. Rather, what appeals to you (and sometimes me) is not what will work in trying to reach the mushy middle.

    For example, the ‘conservative’ position is that the payroll tax cut should not be extended… and it is, only if spending is cut elsewhere. A theoretically sound argument to be sure, but a political killer. Which is why I’m glad the GOP leadership decided to not battle on this issue.

    The GOP has a choice. They can be pure. Or they can win. They can’t have both. Some will decide (idiotically, in my view) that they’d rather have four more years of Obama than to have Romney. Others will vote for Romney and make peace by knowing they kept Obama from doing any more damage.

    steve (369bc6)

  75. 74: I follow. My mistake was seeing Republican and thinking ‘conservative’.

    steve (369bc6)

  76. Let me just ask: is anyone here sure they would vote for Romney or Newt but also sure they won’t vote Santorum?

    Maybe DRJ’s right.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  77. obnoxious social con views like Rick Santorum’s play a huge role in divorcing educated people and minorities from the Republican party

    it’s a thing

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  78. While registered a Dem, as here in PA need to vote by party in a primary and if not a dem my vote would never make a difference in philly, I consider myself an independent “Conservative” rather than a Republican. Given the option, I would likely vote for a pro-life dem = (compassionate conservative repub) over a pro-choice fiscally conservative republican.

    But I am sure that voting block is small.

    I see Gingrich as somebody who is smart, has gotten things done in the past, and is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with Obama. I’m not sure how many people see him as something more/different than that.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  79. I guess my not being a racial minority must overpower my years of education in supporting Santorum, feets.

    As Dennis Prager says, there are some things only a college graduate would believe.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  80. Some will decide (idiotically, in my view) that they’d rather have four more years of Obama than to have Romney.

    Calling these principled patriots idiots will not win them over, and it’s amazing that people continue to do it. I agree with you that it is misguided, but these are good people who need to be reasoned with and respected by a political party that has repeatedly failed them after promises to earn back our trust in 2010.

    Also, I think it’s historically ignorant of the improved GOP in the 1990s which was instigated by conservatives refusing to support the GOP.

    Is the GOP going to be useful if it wins power? Make the case.

    You’re right that another four years of Obama is just so bad that it doesn’t really matter if the GOP is useless, but make the damn case anyway because these people still get to vote.

    You miss my point. It’s not that you’re/we’re fringe. Rather, what appeals to you (and sometimes me) is not what will work in trying to reach the mushy middle.

    I’m sure that’s true in many cases. Not every case, but many.

    The GOP has a choice. They can be pure. Or they can win.

    I hear this all the time and it’s usually wrong.

    It’s not about purity and it’s laughable (no offense intended) to claim anyone thinks purity is on the table. It probably was about purity when Perry was rejected, but these remaining guys are more about how far we compromise on urgent issues.

    I also think Republicans posing as centrist often just look weak, and democrats who pose as centrist look like leaders. This is unfair and I certainly don’t agree with this perception. For Romney in particular, how can he convince the independent voters of his sincerity as a centrist as everyone sees 500 ads proving he’s a flip flopper? If both Obama and Romney pose as centrists, Obama obviously being dishonest about this as he’s actually a radical lefty, I worry that Romney will have an even harder time than Mccain did.

    Let me distill this: it’s not even about ideology. It’s about whether or not these candidates are legitimate leaders the middle can have faith in. That’s why I respect Santorum even when I shake my head at some of his ideas.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  81. Actually, the segment of Christians that the “Christian Left” would try to recruit would not be opposed to the pro-life message, but they see conservatives as “Compassionless Pro-Lifers” and feel torn who to vote for. Now, I think that is an issue of perception much more than truth. So it is not the “social con” that drives away, but the perception of small govt=> no social programs=> lack of compassion.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  82. the perception of small govt=> no social programs=> lack of compassion.

    Yeah, I think Perry was doing a good job anticipating this problem, and again, I think Romney went so far on immigration and other rhetoric (about poor people and firing) that he would be more vulnerable. But what do I know? Romney clearly is much better at this than Perry is. I don’t get it, but that doesn’t change anything.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  83. 81. Good writin Dustin.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  84. Some people may prefer 4 more years of Obama to Romney, but I think the more common thinking would be “Why should I vote for Romney if he’s likely going to lose anyway? Let me at least cast my vote for someone I believe in.”

    Now, it may be looking at the odds wrong, but the mindset is different. I personally, FWIW, don’t see it so much as people being “against the establishment” (though some are and some ads sound that way), i think more of it is that many people are just not that excited about Romney because of Romney.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  85. Good article from Newsmax quoting the far-right, women-hating Santorum:

    “The issue is, as a . . . a public servant, how do I feel about the issue of contraception? It should be available,” Santorum said during an interview Wednesday night with CNN’s Piers Morgan.

    But he added: “I object to [it] when the federal government says that religious organizations who feel the way the Catholic Church feels should be required to provide it. I think that’s an infringement upon their religious liberties.”

    Santorum pointed to his voting record as U.S. senator from Pennsylvania as proof of his support for providing birth-control measures and he suggested that as president he would continue to do the same.

    “As far as contraception, if you look at my voting record, I have a voting record that supports . . . funding for contraception, both domestically, as well as internationally,” Santorum said. “And I would not support any law that would put any restrictions on that.”

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  86. Bro. Bradley,

    There you go again, pointing out the facts, making respectful discussion…
    what is in your water, sir? we should distribute it.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  87. It’s not so much that Obama’s approval rating is higher now, but Obama’s approval rating may have been depressed a little bit before, because he was engaged in political posturing and brinksmanship with Congress and it’s less evident now. The brinksmanship isn’t there now, even if the posturing is. Two months ago everybody was risking an expiration of the payroll tax cut.

    Obama doing better maybe in matchups than before has to do with the fact that he does worse against a generic Republican, and the candidates now are less generic.

    Two things that most affect differences between how women and men answer polls as to how they would vote:

    1) Women place more value on experience in office, and this favors the incumbent.

    2) Women are a lagging indicator. If see a difference between how things poll with men and how things poll with women, things should move in the direction of the men. Women generally pay less attention to politics than men but they do talk to other people, or people they have confidence in and so ideas and arguments affecting votes do eventually arrive.

    These two things I think are much more important than the other ideas people come up with to account for differences in polling between men and women.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  88. I can easily take some of Santorum’s old positions, support of the Davis-Bacon Act, filibuster of the National Right to Work Act, and say people could confuse him for Obama.

    In reality Santorum and Romney are not far apart. People just want to continue stupid gotcha games over the different candidates.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  89. Karl (A recovery led by declining unemployment figures seems odd, given that unemployment is generally considered a lagging indicator, but I digress.)

    Unemployment may not be down, or employment up anyway. You are talking about new unemployment claims.

    A lot of jobs in the fall were seasonal and temporary, and when they ended people were not eligible for unemplyment insurance. Maybe they could even start collecting again but I think it would then be an old claim, and not counted.

    Unemployment itself may not actually be down, because the statistics that show an increase in jobs are based on seasonal adjustments.

    So, no contradiction.

    A better statistic may be income tax withholding payments, but that needs a lot of adjusting. The website Shadoiw Stats has a little discussion of this at:

    http://www.shadowstats.com/article/an-analysis-of-withheld-income-employment-tax-receipts

    Or for the pdf try:

    http://www.shadowstats.com/article/an-analysis-of-withheld-income-employment-tax-receipts.pdf

    This shows some charts that go up to about now:

    http://www.shadowstats.com/charts/employment/federal-withholding-taxes

    Bankruptcy filings, while a bad statistic when comparing things over a long period of years, because of strong secular trends [secular in the economic sense of the word] may be a very good statistic month to month or even year to year.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  90. The other obvious issue is Obamacare, the president’s still-unpopular signature legislation

    If the Supreme Court destroys the law, the issue will instead be: What do you replace it with?

    What happens with Iran and what Obama does about it, will be a factor (but not a created issue) It’s all what Obama does and to a little extent what the Republican says and knows. Is he right or wrong and does he seem on top of it?

    Incompetence or possible incompetence is a very big issue.

    What happens with Greece and the Euro and what happens further and what Obama does or does not do and what the candidates appear to think and grasp could be an issue.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  91. daleyrocks,
    The candidates’ positions aren’t the whole story. Just as important is whether these positions are seen as reflective of the candidates’ true beliefs or adopted for expediency. Romney has a reputation as a trimmer that Santorum does not have. Indeed, Santorum’s problem is just the opposite; he’s seem as an ideologue.

    Romney did not help convince people that he has the vision thing by uttering, “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love”.

    Like many others, I haven’t been able to figure out what Romney really wants to do as president, or why he’s running aside from personal ambition. That’s frustrating. Any perspective you can offer as to Romney’s motivations and likely actions as president would be helpful.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  92. Bro Bradley hearts the 99%

    JD (318f81)

  93. JD
    Not in the OccuPoo sense, I hope!

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  94. Mediscare campaign.

    We’ve had Social Security scare and some other things maybe. All of these things were phony, but
    now there could be a new one, and it’s real:
    The Dream Act, amnesty and deportation scare.

    (Don’t underestimate this. This helped Hugo Chavez very much in Venezuela

    In early September 2008 Venezuelan officials bestowed citizenship on thousands of Colombians and other immigrants.]
    . He was the only one not for deporting people from Colombia

    It is big for Hispanics (and also for some others who realize that it can harm certain businesses and deepen recessions. Arizona and Alabama are not better off as a result of their laws. States OPbama may hope to carry with this are New Mexico, nevada and Colorado again.

    The Obama campaign is basing its plans on 2004, and these 3 states were not carried by Kerry and would take him to 266 if everything else ws sthe same as 2004. Obama also would shoot for Arizona. Yes, they are planning on making an effort in Arizona. Although Utah is too much for him to to hope for.

    Obama will try to use the issue without it leaking too much other places, and Santorum is horrible on this issue. Maybe Arizona could only be included in his strategy if he decided to make an all out campaign on this issue, and he thought the Republican was bad enough and would stick to his guns.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  95. Incompetence or possible incompetence is a very big issue.

    Particularly on jobs right? Yet none of these candidates ever led in a way that shows they have a great record on job creation. Some are actually quite dismal on jobs too.

    For some reason, the argument I thought would rock this primary did not seem to matter at all, as we had a candidate with an amazing record of governing in a way that worked for employers… of course because he didn’t use government as the solution.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  96. Depressives, keep in mind that if we hit $5 a gallon this summer, the public will be reminded of an Obama quote he’d rather we all just forgot about.

    For Obama, high energy prices aren’t a bug, they’re a feature.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  97. I think there’s a lot of water-muddying going on.
    By getting the talking heads chattering about So-Con issues (particularly as they relate to Santorum), the WH is keeping everyone from discussing the true issue that this election would/should be decided upon:
    IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!

    Every economic move this administration has made since 20Jan09 has been a negative influence on that economy. It is the one thing they DO NOT want to talk about, or have anyone else talking about.
    It is the one thing that every Republican and Independent should be talking about, because the WH has no believable defense for what they have done.
    If they did, their economic team would still be intact and leading the charge on this issue.
    Instead, they’ve got a third-rate collection of hacks that couldn’t do a price-analysis of a menu in a hamburger shack.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  98. Brother Fikes, it is so good that we don’t have Obama’s Cap-and-Trade plan, or gas prices would be sky-rocketing….
    Oh wait…

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  99. I just saw this, but…
    “don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is made up…”

    JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: This Is The Debt Chart Obama and Geithner Should Be Ashamed Of. It’s why they and the press would rather be talking about contraception.

    Posted at 5:40 pm by Glenn Reynolds

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  100. AD-RtR/OS!
    Brother Fikes, it is so good that we don’t have Obama’s Cap-and-Trade plan, or gas prices would be sky-rocketing….
    Oh wait…

    Precisely. And Santorum can make that argument against Obama very effectively, because he didn’t sit on a loveseat with Nancy Pelosi or get advice from fanatical “environmentalists” like John Holdren.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  101. I think there’s a lot of water-muddying going on.
    By getting the talking heads chattering about So-Con issues (particularly as they relate to Santorum), the WH is keeping everyone from discussing the true issue that this election would/should be decided upon:
    IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!

    someone needs to quote this every twenty minutes for the next nine months.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  102. 1 small nuke kills half of Israel and Obama offers a speech at the UN and some letters and proposes a sanction but lets the UN security counsel veto it. He sponsors a memorial for Holocaust 2.0 and wins another peace prize for his ‘impressive’ hesitation to answer nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons, which ushers in a new calculation for rogue states.

    #34: Dustin, the massive response would come from Israel, not the US. They have a couple of strategic subs for just this eventuality. And, not, they would not be waiting for the UN or Obama to react. The only real question is how widespread the response.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  103. And having Santorum as the nominee would guarantee we’d never get to discussing the economy. It wouldn’t be just the media pushing this, you’d have a nominee who relished the opportunity to ramble on about his social conservative positions. Why discuss the unemployment rate (and Obama’s role in why it is so high) when you have a nominee who would rather talk about contraception?

    steve (254463)

  104. Agreed, Steve. The guy can’t help himself.

    Colonel Haiku (ad2265)

  105. If the Supreme Court destroys the law, the issue will instead be: What do you replace it with?

    Well, clearly single-payer through a payroll tax would be constitutional, unless doctors want to argue the servitude issue. Barack’s wet dream, of course. I’ve often thought that the completely unworkable Obamacare was designed to wipe out insurance companies, then fail, leaving “no choice” but single-payer.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  106. As the cover on the Hitchhiker’s Guide says don’t
    panic, you know polls are for barbers and strippers,
    sarc,

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx

    Now principles or lack their off, is a harder issue
    to avoid.

    narciso (87e966)

  107. What is it about some of these “conservative” candidates who talk about the role that churches and charitable organizations play in taking care of the less fortunate among us and yet they themselves are about as stingy and tightfisted with their own money as a person can be?

    I’m specifically talking about Perry, Gingrich and Santorum. They’re good at talking the talk, but their bullsh*t walks.

    Colonel Haiku (ad2265)

  108. Santorum has the rest of the nomination ahead of him, so let’s hope he can learn to change his pitch to the economy.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  109. By the way, to those who feel that Libertarians have no interest in a Republican victory, I’ll just say that I was with an LP gathering during the 1994 midterms and we were whooping it up when the Republican landslide happened.

    Put it another way: There are people in both parties who believe in personal liberty, and people in both who oppose it. There is NO ONE in the Democrat party who believes in economic liberty, and (compared to Dems at least) almost all Republicans support it. It’s not a difficult choice. It does help that the Republican standard bearer not be a social troglodyte, tho.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  110. 92. Seminal, Brother.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  111. WTF?!?! The guy just can’t help himself…

    Rick Santorum warned a quiet North Dakota audience Wednesday that their state’s booming oil industry positioned the region as a prime target for terrorism.

    “Folks, you’ve got energy here. They’re going to bother you. They’ll bother you, because you are a very key and strategic resource for this country,” the Republican presidential candidate said. “No one is safe. No one is safe from asymmetric threats of terrorism.”

    Santorum pointed to Iran as the source behind future terrorist attacks, ramping up his rhetoric on a country he frequently discusses on the campaign trail.

    “That’s what Iran will be all about unless we stop them from getting that nuclear weapon,” Santorum said.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/291233/santorum-warns-iran-attack-north-dakota-charles-c-w-cooke

    Colonel Haiku (ad2265)

  112. Santorum has the rest of the nomination ahead of him, so let’s hope he can learn to change his pitch to the economy.

    Won’t matter. No one will hear it, and the press won’t ask him questions about it. Even if he miraculously downplays his raison d’etre , it will still define him in the eyes of the 90% of the electorate who aren’t paying much attention.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  113. North Dakota has much much more to fear from the EPA than Al Qaeda

    it’s a thing

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  114. AQ or some other dipsh*t excitable boys…

    Colonel Haiku (ad2265)

  115. MD:

    I see Gingrich as somebody who is smart, has gotten things done in the past, and is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with Obama.

    I see him this way, too.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  116. It’s kind of a peculiar pitch, another candidate, might have made the point, that they strike a blow for Energy Independence, or at least against the Sauds and the Iranians, but there has been at least one plot against the pipeline, uncovered by Rosmiller,

    narciso (87e966)

  117. So Santorum and Gingrich can’t change their media narratives, but Romney can?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  118. Off topic, but I just heard that Obama is at Terranea. And it had been such a beautiful day up here….

    lasue (983fc3)

  119. Just because Iran is going to get nuclear weapons if stopping them is up to us, and Obama wants to cut our nukes to 300 whether military advisors want to or not is no reason to think about nuclear attacks.

    I heard something interesting last week. It doesn’t take a submarine or an obvious missile launch site on a ship to launch a nuclear missile. Apparently there is technology, which the Iranians may well have, to essentially slip the missile into the water and the water essentially acts as the missile silo.

    Is this the #1 issue? By no means.

    You folk who want to talk about how Santorum “loves” to talk so-con issues, I would like to link where we can see entire transcripts or listen to entire speeches to document this claim.
    Whether or not Santorum speaks on these things for 30 seconds or 30 minutes I expect the media to focus on what they want. Now, it will be a problem no matter what, which I have acknowledged.

    But, we are more sophisticated than slams from stereotype around here. If you want to say Santorum can’t stop talking about these things, please give evidence.

    I will repeat one thing I said alone above. You have Romney who does not excite the base, will not excite the base. So, if you want Romney to win the election, you’ll need to convince 2/3′rds of the potential repub voters why they should bother.

    I’m not confident Santorum will be a good candidate. I am semi-confident that if the repub nomination is decided by who is left after the Repubs destroy each other it will be time to go into exile.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  120. I think the best way to address Obama’s incompetence is to smear Santorum.

    JD (12366a)

  121. Attacking someone’s charitable donations is a perfect way to highlight Obambi’s failed economic policies.

    JD (12366a)

  122. T

    Bugg (34ad0e)

  123. Colonel, is this what you are talking about?

    Santorum gave $81,500 to charity over the past four years, or 2.2% of the more than $3.6 million in total income he earned since leaving the Senate, the documents showed.

    Yes, 2.2% is not a large amount. All I will say is that I don’t know how much a potential presidential candidate should save to fund their campaign, especially in the early stages of the primaries when funding is split between candidates and many are waiting to see who they will give money to.

    When you and I are in similar situations, lets compare notes, eh?

    JD. I would like brevity lessons.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  124. To quote AD as above-

    IT’S THE ECONOMY,STUPID!

    $15.1 trillion deficits, going to $20+ trllion by year 2 of Obamanation 2.

    No balanced budget ever as per Obama’s own budget, which his own party will not support.

    Our kids paying for that.

    Real unemployment and underemployment up as the government cooks the books.

    $5 gas.

    A pipeline unbuilt, and oil derricks leaving our shores for Obama’s pal Soros and Petrobras.

    And about that-we know fully know Santorum’s views about contraception,Newt’s marriages, Romney’s religion, and Paul’s dumb newsletters. Wehn do theya sk Obama even one quesiton about his good currency-fixing buddy George Soros? Or even Reverend Wright? May be the LA Times will release the tape of Obama waxing poetic about his good terrorst pal(among many) RAshid Khalidi. The MFM will protect their POS to the very end.

    If we continue to see a campaign about contraception and Griswold v. Connecticut, WTF indeed. This idiot and his crew of Daley hacks could not run a paper route nor a 2-car funeral. They have to be stopped.

    Bugg (34ad0e)

  125. You do have the precision of a surgeon, MD, picking
    several doors in the Coliseum, and hoping the lions won’t maul you isn’t an effective strategy, Newt and now Santorum, have surged in part because they
    at least tried to address the heart of the party,
    that cares about issues, Romney has thus been able
    to muscle his way, through sheer money, and organization up to a degree.

    narciso (87e966)

  126. MD – I would gladly trade my brevity for your more genteel disposition.

    JD (12366a)

  127. JD–

    I also think the “economic recovery” thing will backfire on Obama. The more the media tells folks things are recovering, but they’re still struggling, the more they’ll decide they’re being lied to. With gas prices up, foreclosures up, layoffs happening and no one hiring, and service work way down for lack of customers, that great middle class that FEELS the real economy in their bones is going to revolt.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  128. Kev-

    We are fast approaching the US government acting like the Soviets with the nonsense 5-year plans touting nonexistent success as fact to support the regime.

    Bugg (34ad0e)

  129. So is the Maine fiasco enough to bring Nor Laup to deal with maybe Neut?:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/ron-paul-maine-caucuses-gop-takeover-2012-2

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  130. The Jeremiah Wright Lesson for Santorum,

    But on the downside, he has a video trail on social issues that may be about to devour him. It’s no one thing, but a totality of them: the aversion to birth control even for married women, the skepticism of women at work, the evident fear that careerism is a feminist trap. Even on ground that a substantial number of Americans occupy, such as opposition to gay marriage, his mode of argument is often the most explosive available — in this case, that same-sex relationships are not much distinguishable from intra-family or polygamous arrangements. While a Chris Christie is adeptly resisting gay marriage in New Jersey by invoking the democratic value of voters’ choosing rather than politicians, Santorum is traveling a path the media and the Left will besiege, and that the Right will not necessarily embrace.

    A conviction politician whose convictions don’t persuade is not who Republicans mean to nominate. At best, it’s a diversion from a case about the twin deceptions of Washington and Wall Street that Santorum makes when he is in full flight. At worst, it’s a precursor to a party spending the fall fighting to recover a culture that has vanished.

    I couldn’t agree more. He is giving the left red meat. He needs to re-prioritize, change his narrative. And while I see reality in Kevin M’s comment @ #113 (below), I hope he can change course, change his narrative, and pull in the squishy middle. Out of all the candidates, I believe the left is most fearful of Santorum being the one. And that’s a good sign.

    Won’t matter. No one will hear it, and the press won’t ask him questions about it. Even if he miraculously downplays his raison d’etre , it will still define him in the eyes of the 90% of the electorate who aren’t paying much attention.

    Dana (a93e63)

  131. That’s a remarkably disingenuous column, Obama’s evasive blame shifting and obfuscating is a model
    for behavior, now, as pointed out earlier, his long track record didn’t stop Koch or Dershowitz for supporting it,

    narciso (87e966)

  132. someone explain again what the point of nominating Santorum would be?

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  133. Colonel, is this what you are talking about?

    Santorum gave $81,500 to charity over the past four years, or 2.2% of the more than $3.6 million in total income he earned since leaving the Senate, the documents showed.

    Yes, 2.2% is not a large amount. All I will say is that I don’t know how much a potential presidential candidate should save to fund their campaign, especially in the early stages of the primaries when funding is split between candidates and many are waiting to see who they will give money to.

    When you and I are in similar situations, lets compare notes, eh?

    Comment by MD in Philly

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Yes, MD, that’s part of the story. I think Gingrich was at either 2.3 or 3.2% of his income, whereas Perry didn’t even hit 1% per my recollection. Any of these Republican politicians who aren’t close to 10% (or above, if also tithing) are not walking the conservative walk.

    BTW… that 10% goes for you and I, as well.

    Colonel Haiku (8f958f)

  134. Attacking someone’s charitable donations is a perfect way to highlight Obambi’s failed economic policies.

    Comment by JD

    May be of lesser significance, but our folks should be better than liberals, even in that respect. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

    Colonel Haiku (8f958f)

  135. Here’s an interesting take on the loss:

    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/The-Best-Candidate-in-a-Losing-Effort

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  136. feets-

    -Romney comes off as great to hire as CEO of a floundering company that makes widgets. One will get great widgets at a good price.
    -As a person to run the country, what direction will he run it in? As the conservative he now claims to be, or as the person who told voters in MA that he was independent, “not a Republican”. He would have been better off, I think, not trying to be a Conservative but be who he was, other than making the case he had changed on the abortion issue. A person can change on an issue without it being a flip-flop, but it is harder for a person to change his whole persona.

    The reason some would nominate Santorum is because they don’t want to nominate Romney. It’s not Santorum’s fault that Romney isn’t convincing and inspiring. Besides, I bet Bono would vote for Santorum over Romney, so there….

    I refer back to my definitive post at #30. The Repub establishment and a number of the candidates, including Romney, abandoned the best course long ago. Now people are fussing over how best to keep the ship afloat while we watch the competition sail over the horizon. If one of the candidates, like Romney, wants to convince us he can beat Obama, then campaign against Obama and do it better than the others. That is all the voters want. Some one who will stand up with conviction and say this is why Obama is wrong, this is what I intend to do, and this is why it will work and why you should support me. If Romney is too busy posturing as a Conservative’s conservative and putting down other repubs to do that, don’t blame Santorum.

    What is the main issue of this election? Obama’s record, on the economy and everything else. Hopefully by convention time people will remember that again and someone can stand up with the right message. That and Breitbart’s tape of Obama as a college radical being a college radical.

    Thank you JD. My genteel disposition is not all good, and I don’t take credit for that which is, but I appreciate the kind word.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  137. MD: I live in MA and know how he governed and what he tried to do. He eliminated waste, cut taxes, expunged useless agencies, merged others, balanced the budget, stood firm and fought the teacher’s unions on accountability and won. Our liberal legislators were killing our state economy on a daily basis and put us in debt with no hope of getting out of it but Romney did it and ended with a surplus. He stood firm on all the social issues us conservatives worry about sometimes winning the battle, sometimes losing against a stacked deck. “Romneycare” was a business oriented response to a government takeover of state health care where his veto would mean nothing because of the overwhelming majorities of Democrats that wanted it. At the time (although a lot of conservatives suddenly have amnesia about it now) the individual mandate was a conservative idea, not a liberal one.

    I agree totally with you about what the candidates should be talking about. They should be going for the juglar instead of speaking in generalities. I want to hear about Fast and Furious, the daily attacks on our liberties with specifics, and the corruption exposed on a daily basis.

    Dave B (982f20)

  138. Well, clearly single-payer through a payroll tax would be constitutional, unless doctors want to argue the servitude issue.

    – Sure, but the GOP-controlled House would never pass such a thing, so . . . not to worry. :)

    Icy (6386cc)

  139. obnoxious social con views like Rick Santorum’s play a huge role in divorcing educated people and minorities from the Republican party

    Comment by happyfeet — 2/16/2012 @ 1:47 pm

    Blacks and hispanics tend to be socially conservative. Those issues are not why they vote Democrat.

    There’s plenty of educated people who are social conservatives although the young brainwashed ones coming out of college are clearly running in the liberal direction these days.

    Gerald A (cc0aaa)

  140. Thanks Dave B. or your comments.

    As perception is (almost) everything in elections,
    I don’t know how much the thinking of many people on Romney is accurate or a reflection of the coverage.

    With all of the things that Obama has done wrong, I think a lot of people are looking for a “Reaganesque” “America, the last best hope” kind of over-arching theme. Not just an “It’s the economy, stupid”, but an “it’s the economy, stupid, because free enterprise and individual initiative is what has made America great, not a central planned economy where the government wants to take in as much as possible and decide how to hand it back out. This administration isn’t interested in only getting a bigger chunk from the rich 1% millionaires, but the “Joe the plumbers” as well to “spread around” ”

    along with
    -a strong America is a safe America, along with being a friend to the world (the BBC ran a story where the people of Syria were asking “Where is America?” They weren’t waiting for the UN or Arab League to intervene and save them, they were waiting for America to come and kick out Assad like that did Saddam, how about them pomegranates..”
    -Founding Fathers did not make a lousy Constitution
    -etc.
    -etc.

    And that is what they do not see in Romney. whether Romney can be that/is that but it’s not showing I don’t know.

    I’m not convinced he can do that, not sure Santorum can either

    Walker/Jindahl in 9/12

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  141. Santorum could avoid talking about religion and he has avoided it on occasion, but not always. I assumed he did this to appeal to his base of evangelical GOP voters, but maybe that’s not the only reason. Could he be doing this on purpose, so he can revisit Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright?

    DRJ (a83b8b)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.4025 secs.