A debate cometh. Gird yer loins.
Who will win tonight?
The better question is: who won’t lose?
Right now, big government Republicans are winning and therefore, America loses.
The only solace? Obama is destroying America and killing the country faster. Will being less bad be good enough?
Ah, hope springs eternal, which is why I write about politics.
Join me on Twitter and/or Sulia. See you then!
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum throwing down. They will cut…
Oh, who are we kidding? This is the prissiest primary slap fight anyone could imagine. When pressed, both whine. When criticized, both wear their persecution complex like a hounded high school nerd.
This primary is insufferable and has been. There shouldn’t be an enthusiasm gap in the primary, yet here we are.
What is amusing in this situation: All the die-hard defenders of both men.
I don’t get it.
Don’t you have to feel ardently about someone in order to defend their honor? Who feels passionately about these guys?
Romney feels passionately about nothing.
Santorum feels passionately about everything.
Consequently, it’s difficult to prioritize. It’s difficult to latch onto an issue and identify with either candidate.
Neither man is a bad man. In fact, they both seem to be quite good people.
They’re just throwbacks to a former GOP mentality where the government solved almost everything in not so stark contrast to liberals who were quite sure they knew how to make the world right with the government.
It’s too bad we have these men at this time. We could really use a dedicated conservative willing to articulate passionately conservative values and push forth a grand vision for a self-reliant America.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a man or woman like that still in the running.
We have Mitt and Rick.
Both men are incremental and concerned about trimming around the edges. Both men practices a big government interventionism.
But they’re conservative in practice, you say.
Yeah, so is Barack Obama. He has the high expectations, early bedtime and family man image. He has the rather boring demeanor and technospeak that puts one to sleep.
Philosophically, politically and policy-wise, though, Barack Obama wants to make the world “fair”, he wants to save those who he deems needs saving, he wants to make sure the government is nudging people in a certain direction to achieve a certain kind of behavior.
Is that very different than Romney or Santorum? Using the government to achieve big ends?
It’s time for the government to BUTT OUT. It’s time for a leader to be responsible.
On Mike Koolidge’s radio program, I asked where the candidate is who articulates (forget Reagan’s vision) but John F. Kennedy’s vision,”Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Where is that guy? He’s nowhere in this primary and he’s certainly not Barack Obama.
So. We have a slap fight over trivialities for the GOP primary when we should be having a cage match over ideas and big visions.
Enthusiasm gap? It’s downright depressing.
I’ve disagreed with voters, both GOP, Dem, and Independent a lot recently. There’s kind of an axiom that the voter, like the consumer, is always right. Give him what he wants. What the voter wanted was John McCain and then, Barack Obama. We can see how that worked out. Can we admit those voters were wrong?
Right now, a chunk of the GOP primary voters want Mitt Romney. Like John McCain, nobody really wants wants Mitt Romney, they just fear that the media is right and that he would be electable.
In 2008, I felt that John McCain was wholly unelectable, that it would be a laborious, futile, uphill slog. Many of my DC friends vehemently disagreed with me. I feel the same about Mitt Romney. Yes, even against the Carteresque Obama, Romney would be weak.
At the GOP Fox/Google debate, I had an eerily reminiscent discussion with another DC GOP friend about Mitt Romney. What’s wrong with him? Well, nothing, if you’re a DC, big-government Republican. Mitt Romney is awesome if you secretly buy all the media’s premises about Republicans: That they’re heartless, gun-crazy, Bible-thumping, science-hating, economically stupid cretins who can barely find their way out of their sad middle-class existence to get to their sad middle-class jobs doing sad middle-class tasks. Ew. I mean, like, really.
The Meghan McCain incoherent diatribes about her fellow Republicans are really repackaged versions of what Peggy Noonan, and often, Charles Krauthammer think. Those conservatives! So gauche! (Except Meghan McCain doesn’t know what the word gauche means.)
These are also the same people who couldn’t find a bad words to say about Barack Obama. The media, the left, the independents and the big government Republicans loved Barack Obama. Meanwhile, conservatives saw an incompetent. But he was clean and articulate!
So now, the people who were wrong all ways in the last election are trying to push the GOP cart in the Mitt Romney direction.
Mitt Romney neutralizes every Obama criticism. TARP? Both for it. Gun control? Both for it. Stimulus? Both for it. Obamacare? Romney’s staff helped Obama’s staff to craft the legislation based on the Massachusetts model. How, pray tell, is Mitt Romney, silver-tongued as he is, going to debate Barack Obama and not sound completely inauthentic. Remember the flaccid McCain responses to Obama? Expect those.
Ironically, I felt that Romney would have had more of a chance in 2008 than now. He would have been a better candidate against the untested Obama. Not now. The Republican party has changed. America has changed. Massachusetts and the country struggles under the weight of big government “solutions” that have done nothing so much as added debt to the next generation. When looking back and forth between Obama and Romney, it’s a matter of worse and worser.
Here’s something I find distressing, too, while we’re on the subject. Commentators on the left are clearly riding on the Obama bandwagon. They chose him over Hillary. They enthused about him. On the right, commentators try to be value neutral, as though any candidate would be great. Some seem to just want to be able to say when the Republican fails (and since they’re human they all will), “I told you so.”
We’re not in “I told you so” territory here. We’re in “America is about to go off a cliff” territory. This is no time to enjoying the sport of politics. Or is cynicism called for? Do some on my side believe we’re so far gone that it won’t matter who gets elected? They’re all so bad that the best we can do is criticize the descent?
Well, I’m not to that point which is why I won’t concede to Mitt Romney. Someone told me that Rudy Giuliani was way ahead at this point in 2008. There is still time. And that gives me hope. Because Mitt Romney is a flawed, weak candidate. The GOP can do better.
The country needs better.
This CNN poll came out with great fanfare because it put Huckabee ahead of Romney and Palin. But when all three of these folks are put up against President Obama, this is the result:
What about the hypothetical general election matchup in 2012 against President Obama?
The poll shows Obama topping Romney 53 percent to 45 percent, beating Huckabee 54 percent to 45 percent, defeating Gingrich 55 percent to 43 percent and topping Palin 55 percent to 42.
“It is important to remember that at this stage of the game, candidate matchups are largely driven by name recognition, and at least a quarter of all Americans are unfamiliar with Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich. As a result, Obama has an 8- to-12-point edge over each of them in hypothetical matchups,” adds Holland. “But in a previous CNN poll, Obama managed no better than a tie against an unnamed Republican.”
But there is something more than name recognition at work in Obama’s big lead over Palin.
“Palin is almost as well known as Obama, but the general public appears to have some doubts about what they have seen of her so far,” says Holland.
Hmmm…. Well, for being so unqualified, she’s almost neck in neck with Huckabee and Romney and that’s very interesting.
She has a couple years to demonstrate her qualifications. And if things get bad enough, her optimistic attitude might well be enough.
Hotair has more.
When another inevitable tea party break-up happened in my home town of Houston, the derivative group–a fine field of motivated folks–discussed their alternatives. We talked about branding. I suggested that they don’t use the words “Tea Party” at all, but instead become a mission-focused organization. They did just that and currently fight corruption in local elections.
That seems to be the future of the Tea Party movement ultimately–breaking down into activist organizations either locally or nationally to fulfill a certain purpose. Some of those involved have jumped into the Republican organization with the goal of transforming it to a small-government, fiscally conservative party again. Others have decided to become watchdogs of their local school boards. Still others have organized Get Out The Vote efforts.
There’s a lot of work to do.
Today, RedState’s Erick Erickson has decided to leave the Tea Party movement behind–to move beyond it. He alludes to the Tea Party movement disintegrating into sects like churches.
The last straw? This:
Then last week, in what everyone would have thought was a joke had it happened on April Fools Day, a bunch of tea parties, or at least one saying it was doing it for more, put out a press release announcing the birth of the National Tea Party Federation, which is not an organization, not a structure, not a new set of leaders, but an evolution of alliances of 19 tea party organizations and a handful of other groups, except for the Tea Party Patriots, which has worked overtime to be simply a volunteer group of concerned activists who neither get paid nor make money. Yeah, I have a soft spot for Tea Party Patriots living up to their ideal.
Most of us can sit back and ask one simple question: What the heck happened?
The tea party movement, one year later, is descending into a self-parody of infighting, money making, claims of national leadership, protests, unions, federations, amalgamations, etc. The groups have been so busy organizing themselves to distinguish themselves from each other that the core message is gone and media and left have been able to seize on the discord and paint a picture of the tea party movement as something other than it is and what we all know it to be — concerned Americans.
This has nothing at all to do with actual tea party activists. Let me be clear. I do not want to nor intend to slight the activists who care and show up with their hand painted signs, sometimes risking violence against themselves by the left and ridicule by the media.
But I have a simple message for them all — it is time to stop calling yourselves tea party activists and start calling yourselves concerned Americans.
The Tea Party Federation nonsense, and it is nonsense, bothered me too. Dan Riehl has touched on the problems. Here’s my take:
A small group of spokespeople would be the mainstream media’s dream come true. Only four or five “leaders” to undermine and smear? Awesome. Should one of these people have personal issues, misrepresent the movement, the media can smear the whole movement with the actions of one “hypocrite” (almost as bad a word as racist in the media world).
Why in heavens name would the Tea Party Federation group want to give the opposition ammo and line up to be shot?
Power. Money. Opportunism.
Yeah, that. There are bad actors in every movement and there are those kinds of folks in the Tea Party movement. And those folks are trying to get a federation of some kind to aggrandize themselves–TV appearances, business, whatever, under the pleasing call to put out a unified voice.
The Tea Party movement doesn’t need a spokesman. It needs concrete action.
And that is happening. Sure, there are protests and that serves a very good purpose: Demonstrating the sheer numbers of people fed up with big government. It also gives people an image to associate with an idea: millions of people wanting smaller government heartens those who fear that the government is going to take over everything. Cynicism is a democracy killer. The public image helps that.
Still, more needs to be done. If we want empty bloviating, we can turn on C-Span to watch the latest Senatorial panel. What we need is to fundamentally change some things.
Are you a Tea Party activist or leader wondering what to do? Here are some ideas:
1. Go after education reform. If it seems like we’re raising a bunch of no-mind Marxists, it’s because the curriculum overwhelmingly favors liberal ideology.
2. Watch the School Boards or better yet, run for them. These bastions of local politics are notoriously corrupt and misguided. Help find ways to cut costs, hold teachers accountable and increase parent involvement.
3. Become polling-place observers. How many wrong things happen at voting stations? Depends on the place. Go observe. Bring your camera. Bring your video camera. Catch the corruption on tape.
4. Get out the vote. Make sure you get people out to vote on important days. Today in Texas, for example, is run-off day. Make sure people vote.
5. Run for office. Don’t just stand there, do something. Sick of corrupt politicians? Replace them!
6. Blog. Oh, party operatives will hate you. Politicians may hate you. Heck, your brother might hate you. But since the MSM simply refuses, or because of funds, can’t write stories keeping officials accountable, bloggers can and do. And no, there are still not enough of them.
7. Inform: Email, Twitter, Facebook, lunch with the ladies: Preach the small government gospel to anyone who will listen. Hearts and minds need to be won to the cause and evangelism happens person to person.
8. Fundraise. Good politicians, efforts and ideas need money to transmit and promote them. One blogger friend of mine said that he was changing his focus from blogging to giving money to candidates. He was done screaming and wanted to put his money where his mouth is. Many people, formerly unwilling to give politically, see the consequences of staying out of the process and would donate to help others.
9. Become a teacher or college professor. Start inculcating the next generation with pro-democratic ideals and free thinking.
10. Be an individual success. Be a star at something, or if you already are a star, and then, on your big platform, come out of the small-government closet and trumpet your message of excellence. Explain why you succeeded. Explain why America is great. Lead by example. Do you know how many people are still afraid to verbalize their ideology for fear of being called stupid, racist, fill-in-the-blank evil? Yeah. Have courage and state the truth.
There are so many ways to make a difference. Many Tea Party organizations are doing many of these things. Most aren’t just showing up and complaining. Most are turning their words into action.
Do I think the time for the Tea Party is over? No. I’ll be at a Tea Party event this week and why not? It’s inspiring to be with like minded folks and to hear the stories of triumph. We need that.
It doesn’t have to be either/or. The Tea Party brand is strong still and will be a catalyst for greater things to come.
Another close district, another brave Republican doing the “impossible”: Ray McKinney of Georgia’s Twelfth District talks about the challenges and opportunities for Republicans.
Ray McKinney Runs For Georgia’s Fourth District
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In the few minutes of their impromptu meeting, however, McKinney conveyed to Pence the necessary information: He is a candidate in Georgia’s 12th District, seeking the Republican nomination to take on Rep. John Barrow, a “Blue Dog” Democrat whose peculiar vulnerability is one factor in the calculations for Nov. 2. If the GOP can make a net gain of 40 seats in this fall’s mid-terms, Nancy Pelosi will become the former Speaker of the House, and Republicans cannot afford to miss any opportunity for a pickup — especially when liberals seem determined to lend a helping hand. The story of Barrow and GA12 is the tale of a building electoral storm with enough political power to evoke memories of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on New Orleans in September 2006 — two months before Pelosi and the Democrats broke Republicans’ 12-year control of the House.
The 12th District was one of two new congressional seats Georgia gained after the 2000 Census, when Democrats still controlled the Georgia General Assembly and sought to carve out a stronghold for their party. Yet GA12 has proven to be more conservative than its designers anticipated, rated only a “plus one” for Democrats by respected national analyst Charlie Cook, and has a see-saw history. Republican Max Burns was elected to Congress by a surprising 10-point margin in the 2002 mid-terms, but lost his 2004 re-election bid to Barrow by four points. In 2006, otherwise a disastrous wipeout for the GOP, Burns came back to challenge Barrow and lost by fewer than 900 votes out of some 140,000 ballots cast. And then came 2008, when Obama’s promise of Hope and Change proved the electoral tide that lifted all Democratic boats.
With a surge of black turnout in a district where more than 40 percent of the residents are black, GA12 re-elected Barrow — a white moderate — by a whopping 2-to-1 majority over a former GOP congressional aide, John Stone. Here, however, the story took a strange twist. In 2008, Barrow first had to overcome a Democratic primary challenge from state Sen. Regina Thomas, a black legislator with a far more liberal record and message. After winning that primary with 76 percent of the vote, Barrow then got a general-election boost from Barack Obama. However, Barrow has since voted against key items in the Obama agenda — including two votes against the recently-passed health-care law.
This race is winnable. Republicans need to stop conceding these districts and Ray McKinney is fighting for one right now.
Herman Cain knows how to give a great speech. He was also a delightful man to interview. Mr. Cain sat with Tabitha Hale and me for a few minutes. We had a great conversation on Saturday afternoon of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. He discusses God’s will for his life. He also talks about Republicans attracting people of color. He answers the question about whether racists dominate the Tea Party movement:
Herman Cain Might Run For President
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What a weird conference. There. I said it. The Tea Party received the biggest cheers. The Republicans bashed their own party. Attendees were optimistic and cheerful. Politicians were purposeful and focused on 2010–a marked shift from the usual perspectives at SRLC which has been a conference that gives voters a first look at potential Presidential candidates. Ron Paul’s groupies were suitably worshipful and idealistic. Mitt Romney’s posse were mission-focuses as always. But something was off.
It wasn’t the city or weather. New Orleans was more beautiful than I have ever seen it and the weather was perfect. Food? A+. Gambling? I wouldn’t know, but people had fun. A shooting did clear a friend’s restaurant, though–so it’s the same old New Orleans we know and love.
It wasn’t the venue or organization which was okay–although the scheduling was unorthodox. The speakers didn’t get going until the afternoon every day while the delegates had various brunches. It made for an excellent blogging schedule.
What simmered below the surface of the event, though, made me uneasy. And it was who didn’t attend the event that concerned me.
Eventually, Mitt Romney is going to have to show up at an conference with other political contenders. Will he get more cheers than Newt or Sarah or Mike Pence or Rick Perry? I know he’s hoping to wait them all out, gather to himself a gagilliion dollars and be the presumptive nominee. That method worked in the past, will it work now?
Haley Barbour endorsed Charlie Crist who is miles behind Marco Rubio. Barbour was RNC chair during the 1994 revolution. Many of these old dogs are still around and enjoying power. They remember sweeping in and they don’t want to be swept out.
The recent arm wrestling being done by the NRSC and NRCC against the RNC might actually be wasted effort. If donors are by-passing all of them and funding the Rubios of the world, the party bosses might matter less even as the give full-throated endorsements to establishment candidates who have zero chance of getting elected.
One Republican said to me, “It’s like the Republicans are ten years behind the times. They’re looking for women candidates, when the voters are beyond that.”
What he meant was, the voters now, men and women, want a good candidate who follows, as Rick Perry mentioned, first principles. Gender matters little anymore. Beliefs matter most.
But first principles are inconvenient when an old-guard politician is trying to keep power and money. And so beneath a placid, optimist surface, there is struggling. The struggle would seem to be philosophical: big government Republicans against tax-assailing and small government conservatives with some Tea Party help.
Unfortunately, the struggle seems to be more base than that: who is going to man the ship when Republicans get power back in November? There are lots of Republicans angling for chairmanships and sweet deals and that seems to be a more important fight to them than fighting Democrats and a President who are trying to do to dismantle freedom and the American way.
Politics, like business, has many aging boomers who love their jobs. They don’t want to give them up. Terrified of becoming relics and irrelevant, they fight like badgers to hold on to personal power while not paying attention to what they’ll even be owning after they “win.” If the establishment Republicans rip the party apart, they may have power in a party that no longer matters. Do they recognize this reality?
Many of the old guard are suspicious of the Tea Partiers and conservatives in general. Cozying up with small government types, makes keeping a big government difficult.
Bottom line, the leadership of the party isn’t at the top anymore. The grassroots are leading, amoeba-like, toward a philosophical goal of smaller government, less taxation and more freedom. So far, no presumptive presidential candidate has taken on that mantal.
After the November mid-term elections, I expect a very wild presidential campaign. And while Mitt stuffed the ballot boxes at the Southern Republican Leadership Council, I don’t think his place as the new face of the GOP is anywhere near certain.
The Republican party will change, people will give them one last chance, because voters burned themselves with Ross Perot going third party. But if the party isn’t responsive to the base’s concern after the last two years, I’m afraid there will be a new party building and the old guard will be manning an empty ivory tower.
Tabitha Hale has more. She has a controversial take on the opening speaker who decided that the most important issue facing the nation is gay marriage.
Here are some interviews I conducted at SRLC:
Ted Cruz, former Texas Solicitor General who has argued many cases before the Supreme Court (and won) discusses the possible legal approaches to get rid of Obamacare. Also here.
A great Republican running against Deborah Wasserman-Schultz: Learn about Brian Reilly here.
I also got to spend 10 minutes with Herman Cain. That video is still loading, but I’ll add it to the cue.
Liza over at Culture Kitchen gives me a back handed compliment and then dismisses a Rick Perry run for President because of his secession hyperbole while extolling Mitt Romney.
One word: Jobs
Texas has them. No other state comes close.
One phrase: It’s the economy stupid.
Rick Perry gets that, the Democrats don’t.
Now, Perry may have no chance to get elected, I don’t know. But please let’s not pretend that Romney doesn’t have baggage.
Can you say RomneyCare? And much as it pains me, his religion will still be a stopper for many people.
The press likes Romney way too much. Remember how they loved McCain? Yeah.
Wasserman-Schultz must go down.
Brian Reilly: Another GOP Up And Comer
Uploaded by melissaclouthier. – Watch the latest news videos.“>Brian Reilly spent a few moments to talk to me at the SRLC about the Florida race. He’s a good candidate in a winnable district. Like so many young gun conservatives I’ve met, he just needs money and optimism:
Brian Reilly: Another GOP Up And Comer
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RNC Chairman says the attacks he’s receiving are partly racism and that blacks have a smaller margin of error. I’d say that’s true for some few people, just as it’s true for some small segments who have disliked Obama from the beginning. Mostly though, it’s sore-loserism and establishment-ism and power-ism. You know, those “isms” that define Washington, D.C.
Here’s the video of the Chairman’s comments.
How about this for a theory?
1. Establishment Republicans see their power dwindling and they want to control the money.
2. The Crossroads business was hatched before last week when operatives from within this new money-seeking organization denounced their competition, the RNC–these people are going after the same dollars after all.
3. Republicans angry at Steele for saying the truth, that he’s not sure they’re ready to take the helm back, decided to gun for his demise.
You know, people are so sick of the Republicans. These guys demonstrated a frustrating inability to enact measures to trim the government’s power when they were in power.
I see nearly zero reason to believe that they govern much differently once back in power. For months, they fought the influence of the Tea Party movement and even now, some establishment candidates grit their teeth about this growing movement. They have a vision for Republicans in America–it’s big government, big business, big power.
Now, some have seen religion. They are terrified and want to get re-elected. But most who face primary challenges seem offended that they have to go through such lowly politicking to do the job they feel entitled to do.
In addition, those forming the Crossroads group, seem to ignore how this looks to people who now pay attention. It looks like the same old D.C. power plays. It looks like division and pettiness. It looks like the Mitch McConnell-Bush wing of the Republican party doesn’t want to let go.
Guess what: they were voted out for a reason.
Now, a person reading this might construe me as some worshipful devoté of the RNC and its leadership. I’m not. I’m just an observer who doesn’t believe, for one instant, that this Crossroads group is anything but an organization grown and built to support the Republican D.C. establishment while Chairman Steele is trying to strike the balance between an old and new Republican party.
Many Republicans don’t want a new party. They don’t want a younger, more diverse and more fiscally conservative party. It does not serve THEM.
They want power. It’s naive to think anything else.
So is it racism? Maybe a little bit. But really, it’s just Republican politics as usual.
P.S. The Republicans outside the RNC are questioning the judgment of Chairman Steele, right? Well, I question their judgment dividing the leadership during a year when Republicans are sure to win big because the Democrats are even more horrible than Republicans. What sort of wisdom do they have? How smart is it to divide the party on the eve of a big win. Yeah. Typical Republicans: shooting themselves in the feet.