Patterico's Pontifications


Weighing Out Mitt Romney

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:17 pm

[guest post by Dana]

So, Mitt Romney: will he or won’t he? He certainly remains popular and admits he is “carefully weighing the pluses and minuses of another run.”

Ross Douthat, while hoping Mitt doesn’t run, points out why he is back in the spotlight:

Part of the answer can be found in Henry Olsen’s helpful analysis, from earlier this year, of how exactly Republican presidential primaries tend to shake out. Olsen offered a four-group typology of G.O.P. primary voters — secular conservatives, religious conservatives, moderate conservatives and Rockefeller-Republican centrists — and argued that the nomination almost always goes to the candidate who can rally the moderate conservatives and co-opt elements from the other constituencies while fending of challenges from the right and (sometimes, though less often) the center. There are different ways to do this (as evidenced by George W. Bush and John McCain’s very different paths to the nomination), but the trick doesn’t change that much from cycle to cycle — you want to seem conservative enough but not too right-wing, electable but not a liberal sellout, a safe choice for donors who also makes the party’s activists feel respected. You don’t win by running against those activists (as McCain did in 2000, and Jon Huntsman did in 2012), and you also don’t win by running as an ideological insurgent; you win by straddling dispositional and ideological conservatism, raising lots of money, and promising the best chance of victory in November.

Or shorter, per commenter Dustin: “The GOP doesn’t have to live up to any standard… it just has to be less awful than the opponent.”

Meanwhile, Jennifer Rubin offers 15 reasons why Mitt should not run. Readers can decide for themselves the validity of her claims. Here is a sampling:

7. It is hard for him to make the argument that Hillary Clinton has been around forever and it’s time for someone new.

8. In promoting an anti-elitism message, the GOP has the upper hand against Hillary — unless Romney runs.

9. There are a number of fresher, more interesting candidates who would likely shy away from running against him (e.g. Rep. Paul Ryan). Even if others do run, Romney would suck up donors and operatives who would otherwise gravitate to a fresher, more electable figure.

12. With the exception of the first presidential debate against Obama, he seemed to lack the skill and desire to go for the jugular. Anyone going up against the Clintons will need that.

14. He is not well situated to break off parts of the Democratic coalition (minorities, women, young voters).

15. He is likely to widen, not shrink, the gap between the establishment and the tea party sides of the GOP.

In the meantime, Ted Cruz is playing it close to the vest, Rand Paul is waiting for his wife’s full support (and trying to figure out how to distance himself from his father), and Rick Perry is still trying to find his footing and make a comeback after the disappointment of 2012.


President Obama Lays Blame

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In an interview with 60 Minutes last night, President Obama threw the intelligence community under the bus when discussing the swift and seemingly sudden rise of ISIS:

“Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said.

His accusation did not sit well with a former intelligence officer:

“Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting.” Or both.

Sen. John McCain also pushed back today:

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told USA TODAY on Monday that intelligence agencies in fact forecast the rise of ISIS, and described Obama’s comments as “the dog ate my homework kind of routine.”

McCain blamed the expansion of the Islamic State on the U.S. failure to keep a residual force in Iraq after the end of combat operations.

“When the president decided we were not going to leave a sustaining force in Iraq … those of us who knew the area well knew the situation was going to deteriorate,” McCain said.

And jumping in to defend his boss, Josh Earnest sought to clarify that the president was not blaming intelligence officials:

Intelligence analysis is “a difficult business, and, ultimately, at the end, becomes a prediction,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

At the White House, Earnest said that the president retains confidence in Clapper and the intelligence community.

“Ultimately, the president is commander-in-chief,” Earnest said. “And he’s the one who takes responsibility for ensuring that we have the kinds of policies in place that are required to protect our interests around the globe.”


Added: Video of Josh Earnest attempting to deflect and spin the pressing questions from reporter Jon Karl who refuses to be put off (start at 26:00):

John Kerry 2014 vs. John Kerry 1971

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

Harry Shearer has this satirical debate between John Kerry 1971 and John Kerry 2014 on the reasons to go to war. The clip contrasts actual audio clips of John Kerry from 2014 supporting our action in Iraq, vs. actual clips of John Kerry 1971 protesting Vietnam:

It’s humorous enough on its own, but I was struck by this passage, beginning at 5:07:

There is no negotiation with ISIL. There is nothing to negotiate. They’re not offering anyone health care of any kind. They’re not offering education of any kind. For a whole idea, or philosophy or cult, whatever you want to call it, that frankly comes out of the Stone Age.

He finally gets around to commplaining that ISIS is “cold-blooded kiddlers” (I think he means killers), but his first complaint is that . . . they aren’t offering anyone government health care or education.

Well, of course you can’t negotiate with anyone like that!

Doctors Still Tough to Find Under ObamaCare in California

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

L.A. Times (you heard me):

Finding a doctor who takes Obamacare coverage could be just as frustrating for Californians in 2015 as the health-law expansion enters its second year.

The state’s largest health insurers are sticking with their often-criticized narrow networks of doctors, and in some cases they are cutting the number of physicians even more, according to a Times analysis of company data. And the state’s insurance exchange, Covered California, still has no comprehensive directory to help consumers match doctors with health plans.

More satisfied customers.

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