Friday, December 30, 2011

Gingrich's Crying Moment Follow up

I decided to look around at different websites to get a feel for what people were saying about Newt's crying moment today.  My comments here.  This was about as insincere an event an anything any Republican could imagine.  First, the question was lobbed by Frank Luntz, a GOP pollster who coaches Republicans on what words to choose (since they can't choose their own) to craft their message to maximum effect.  Second, the question was lobbed to Gingrich as he sat before an audience of mothers.  And third, Gingrich, instead of allowing his emotional reaction to speak for itself, called attention to his tears by saying, "See? Now you've got me completely emotional."

Both TPM and CNN ran the story, and the comments following the story tell a lot.  Predictably, the comments were solidly in the "doubt it" category, calling the moment a fake Hillary moment, recalling when Mrs. Clinton got teary-eyed after a question about press coverage of her ahead of the NH primary.  The tears then were sincere and she went on to win the primary and give Obama a real challenge all the way to June when she finally stepped aside and endorsed him.  And now she's the Secretary of State.

My favorite TPM retort from commenter denholt66: "Time out: this is someone who fell so far behind on his child support and alimony obligations to his first wife that she had to petition the court for intervention. Fast forward to Wife No. 3, and he's taking out a $500K line of credit for her at Tiffany's. Yes, he's certainly "changed" over the years, hasn't he?"

Fox News's website also ran the story, and I expected to read a shitload of comments in support of Newt's humanity, sincerity, and other good qualities. But I didn't see much of that at all.  While there were supporters, as well as liberals trolling the comments section to pick fights with the wingnut regulars, the comments largely ignored the event altogether, and simply attacked liberals and predicted victory for the Republicans (not necessarily Gingrich) in 2012.  My favorite, from commenter ragingbull454:


The Fox News comments were a bit of a surprise to me at first, but then I realized who I was dealing with.  The viewers and readers of Fox News aren't interested in facts.  To them, facts do not matter.  All that matters is getting that black Muslim Kenyan out of there, whoever it is.   They'll support a wheel of cheddar cheese if it's sharp enough to win against Obama.

Newt Gingrich Cries In Iowa When Asked About His Mother

Please! If I'm being "Just Honest" for a second, please go back and read the piece. Gingrich received the question about his mother from FRANK LUNTZ. Don't know who he is? Google him. He's one of the most notoriousl­y insidious Republican political operatives working today, cut from the same vein as Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, and Dick Morris. Given the source of the question, I'm 100% certain that the whole crying episode was staged to make him appear more sympatheti­c to his audience. We all know that this serial adulterer is very unpopular with women, so Luntz floats this powder puff question when it's obvious that it'll make Newt teary, hence strengthen­ing his image among women voters. Not to take anything away from Newt's affection for his mother, of course; I actually like that he's capable of human emotion. But does that display of emotion do anything to make him more presidenti­al? No, but I'd let him host the Muscular Dystrophy Assocation Telethon next year and let him sing, "You'll Never Walk Alone."
About Newt Gingrich
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quote for the Day

In the wake of President Obama's disastrous decision to codify into law the Bush/Cheney position on indefinite detention, I thought it appropriate to pull down a wonderful passage written in 2006 by the recently late Christopher Hitchens.  Hat tip Andrew Sullivan, compiling all of Hitch's greatest quotes over the years. 
I believe the President when he says that this will be a very long war, and insofar as a mere civilian may say so, I consider myself enlisted in it. But this consideration in itself makes it imperative that we not take panic or emergency measures in the short term, and then permit them to become institutionalised. I need hardly add that wire-tapping is only one of the many areas in which this holds true.  The better the ostensible justification for an infringement upon domestic liberty, the more suspicious one ought to be of it. We are hardly likely to be told that the government would feel less encumbered if it could dispense with the Bill of Rights.

But a power or a right, once relinquished to one administration for one reason, will unfailingly be exploited by successor administrations, for quite other reasons. It is therefore of the first importance that we demarcate, clearly and immediately, the areas in which our government may or may not treat us as potential enemies.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Three Million Evangelicals"

Gingrich's political director in Iowa, Craig Bergman (who, by the way worked on Ron Paul's 2008 campaign), was fired recently for making this statement during a focus group, according to the Iowa Republican:
A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon.  There’s a thousand pastors ready to do that.

The Polk County (IA) GOP Chair, Dave Funk, believes Obama would lose to Romney in the general election, but that Romney, as the nominee, could not bring out "three million evangelicals to vote in every school board and local election."  In other words, it looks like evangelicals are more interested in continuing their dominance of the Republican Party than in the White House.  Pretty smart, actually.  They may not voice it out loud, but somewhere they realize that Obama has a very strong chance of being re-elected, even with the economic realities we face, because the field of GOP candidates is so pathetic and feeble.  Better to focus on down-ticket and local contests to create the grass-roots foundation that can steer a national movement.  In four years, when Obama's leadership will have, in their view, completely derailed the United States' role in the world (as if that never happened during the Bush/Cheney regime), an electable evangelical Republican who sat it out this time around can swoop in, capture the national spotlight, make mince meat out of the Democratic field (which at this point looks very weak indeed), and capture the White House.  Once again, they can try to enact the radical, fundamentalist, theocratic vision they carry to turn the US into a bible-thumping, Stepford nation of religious fanatics fixated not really on governance, but on ushering in their precious end-times.  And that is not nearly the same kind of brain-washing as that Kenyan anti-colonialist Muslim socialist Nazi wanted to do with his "re-education camps."

Monday, December 12, 2011


Poor Rick Santorum.  Guilt by association has reared its ugly head.  As the former senator and current sex-act by-product namesake used to represent the state that houses Penn State University, which employed Jerry Sandusky, currently under indictment for multiple counts of child sexual abuse and rape, it was going to happen sooner or later that someone tried to tie the two of them together.

At a "presidential candidate education forum" hosted by the University of Northern Iowa last Friday, an audience member questioned the candidate about Sandusky, whom the candidate awarded with the "Angels in Adoption Award."  Santorum explained that he hadn't known about the details of Sandusky's alleged activities at the time and noted that the award has since been withdrawn.  Well, fair enough, of course.  But, the audience member's follow up was, "So we shouldn't trust Obama with our kids, but we can trust you?"  The article offered no response from Santorum (if indeed there was one).

Santorum, who prides himself as a champion of "family values" and returning morality to the forefront of American society, might not be totally innocent in the process.  As we all know, the Sandusky scandal claimed the jobs of legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno and the university's president.  The whole scandal stinks of cover up.  It's not inconceivable that Santorum could actually have known what was up at the time (although there is absolutely NO proof, and I am not suggesting otherwise). 

The forum shone a spotlight on Santorum's idiotic ideas about public education.  Money quote:
It's now run by states and the federal government. The government has taken over and we have government-run education in this country.  Pretty soon, (the government will) be lifting (children) out of the nursery and putting them into school because the government needs to get in as soon as they can to influence the educational lives of your children.
He sounds positively Bachmann-esque, no?  These nutty conspiracy hypotheses have no place in a presidential election, whether they're just rhetorical flourishes or attempts at serious debate.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Huntsman's One-Time Shot?

Ross Douthat pokes a huge hole in the idea that Huntsman, arguably the sanest voice in the 2012 Republican candidate field, is setting himself up for 2016, when the Democratic field will be very thin indeed.  His money quote:
If Barack Obama is re-elected and the Republican nomination is up for grabs in 2016, there will be a long list of heavyweights ready and rested and ready to compete for the prize— Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Bob McDonnell, and probably other up-and-comers as well. (Not that all of these big names will run … but if one takes a pass another will be waiting in the wings.) Many of them will more than match Huntsman’s presumed ability to appeal to centrists and independents, while vastly exceeding his (seemingly-limited) capacity too win conservatives. All of them will be able out-raise, out-organize and out-buzz a guy who couldn’t rise to the top of the weakest presidential primary field in my lifetime.

In other words, if Huntsman can't find his way to at least a very respectable finish (top-three, perhaps?) in this primary season, don't count on his running in 2016.  Douthat conveniently forgets (like so many of his conservative fellows) that the American public has a horrible memory.  Look at how much attention they're now paying to a disgraced former House speaker and a former governor who has lost more elections than he's won?

Really, honestly, and truly, the GOP is going to fumble this election so badly.  They cannot bring themselves to take a serious candidate seriously.  Even Erick Erickson at RedState is willing to try, but even his influential voice is going to be drowned out by the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity.  Even the blond bimbo with the large Adam's apple has warned her fellows thusly:
Gingrich has spent his years since then having an affair, divorcing his second wife and making money by being the consummate Washington insider — trading on access, taking $1.6 million from Freddie Mac and palling around with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton. 

Even Chuck Schumer wouldn’t be seen doing a joint event with Al Sharpton! But Newt seeks approval from strange places.  

Newt Gingrich is the “anti-Establishment” candidate only if “the Establishment” is defined as “anyone who remembers what happened the day before yesterday.” 

So please, Ross, before you dismiss Huntsman entirely, develop a proper amount of disdain for the failings of your party.  Only then can you be taken seriously by the readers of The New York Times.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The GOP Religious Litmus Test

For any American serious about presidential elections, the very idea that one of the two major political parties has a large faction for whom religion is a major factor in determing the party's nominee should be frightening.  But it's more than an idea.  Fully one in seven likely voters in the Iowa caucuses believe that Mitt Romney's religion is a major reason to oppose him.  Now, we can go on and on about how there should be no religious litmus test for president, in any party.  But there is.  In the GOP, Mormons, Muslims, and Jews need not apply (I know, Jews have not expressly been excluded the way Mormons and Muslims appear to have been, but name me one prominent Republican Jew who has run for president in modern history.  Right...there are none.  Nope, not even that guy.). 

Let's not exclude the Democrats either.  More than one Democrat has had to take to the airwaves to discuss his religion while running a presidential campaign.  But let's be clear: neither Kennedy nor Obama had to do that as a prerequisite by progressive members of their party.  Kennedy's West Virginia speech about his Catholicism was done to win over the very conservative Democratic voters in that state (voters whose descendants are now, by and large, Republicans).  Obama's speech about his religion was to dispel the notion promulgated by Christianist Republicans that he was not a Muslim.  To this day, people still believe he was lying. 

The most dangerous thing we can do, as Americans, is to use religion as a criterion to pick a president.  When we do that, we trash our Constitution and we trash the vision of our founders to erect a wall of separation between church and state.

Next time you meet a politician -- at any level, local or national -- tell him/her flat out that you don't care at all what his/her religion is, and that you will see that he/she is held accountable anytime he/she invokes religion as a way to attract votes.