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Mitt’s Speech looks to November

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:47 pm - January 31, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

I thought Mitt Romney’s victory speech was a good one, in that he took the fight to Barack Obama, but did not, as I had hoped, show any magnanimity toward his Republican opponents. Instead, he all but ignored them. Perhaps, he was thinking of how his speech would play with independent voters rather than how it would help unite the party.

He still has that task ahead of him — if he is to achieve the goal of a united GOP convention.

UPDATE: Did Newt even congratulate Mitt Romney in his speech? Had he debated in South Carolina as he’s conceding in Florida, he would have lost the Palmetto State.

If Newt hadn’t lost the contest for the nomination with tonight’s returns, he’s losing it with his response to them.  He looks defeated without acknowledging his defeat.

Will Mitt Manage to Muster Majority in Sunshine State?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:18 pm - January 31, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

As we watched the Iowa returns just four weeks ago, we waited until past midnight to learn the winner, only to learn a few weeks later that the man who was declared the winner by a margin of fewer than 10 votes actually lost the state by a margin of fewer than 40.

Tonight, the only thing we’re waiting to see is whether Mitt manages to muster a majority.

This is a big victory for Mitt. He wins his first contest in a state where only Republicans were able to vote.  And his margin over his closest competitor exceeds Newt’s margin over him in South Carolina (12.6 points) and may well exceed his own margin over Ron Paul in New Hampshire (16.4 points).

That said, he still needs to reach out to his opponents’ supporters.  He would be wise tonight to invite Newt to sit down with him to talk sometime in the next month.

UPDATE: GOProud Congratulates Governor Mitt Romney on Big Win in Florida Primary

UP-UPDATE: Gay GOP Cheers Romney Win In Florida

UP-UPDATE:  Doesn’t look like he’ll get a majority.  Glad I didn’t bet on this race as I would have projected Romney to get 42%, Newt to get 30% and Santorum and Ron Paul to tie at 12.  Seems I may only be right about Santorum.

California Crisis Continues: State to Run out of Money in March

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:15 pm - January 31, 2012.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,California politics

If the states are laboratories for democracy, as Justice Louis D. Brandeis once wrote, then Americans in the forty-nine largest states should be grateful for California.   Since Jerry Brown first became governor (in 1975, not 2011), the (once-)Golden State has often shown us what policies don’t work.

The state is running out of money:

California will run out of cash by early March if the state does not take swift action to find $3.3 billion through payment delays and borrowing, according to a letter state Controller John Chiang sent to state lawmakers today.

The announcement is surprising since lawmakers previously believed the state had enough cash to last through the fiscal year that ends in June.

But Chiang said additional cash management solutions are needed because state tax revenues are $2.6 billion less than what Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers assumed in their optimistic budget last year. Meanwhile, Chiang said, the state is spending $2.6 billion more than state leaders planned on.

The once-and-current governor is a Democrats as are both house of the state legislature.

(H/t: The Gateway Pundit.)

Mitt Must Manifest Magnanimity (even if he musters majority)

If the returns tonight show what the exit polls indicate, Mitt Romney will muster a near-majority in the Florida primary. He may win by a bigger margin over Newt Gingrich in the Sunshine State than that by which the Pennsylvania native bested him in South Carolina.

Should Romney do well, he would be advised not to gloat, but instead to commend his rivals for running spirited campaigns, praising them for the positive proposals they have put forward. In short, he should be magnanimous. He will need the support of his rivals’ supporters if he is to defeat Obama in the fall.

He can learn something from each of his three remaining rivals. Newt has shown has to rally the conservative faithful — and when he’s not whining — demonstrated how to articulate the unifying conservative principles which have (ostensibly) guided our party these past three decades. Rick Santorum has been tenacious in the face of low poll numbers and pleas for him to exit the race. In understanding Ron Paul’s appeal, Romney can appreciate the power of the ideal of liberty and adherence to constitutional principles — not to mention the concerns the Texas Congressman has articulated about the Federal Reserve.

In short, tonight while Mitt Romney savors his victory, he must remember his rivals. He needs their support to unite the GOP and defeat a president out of step with the American electorate.

Must be that “smart power” about which we’ve heard tell

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:37 pm - January 31, 2012.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance,Obama Incompetence

US-Egypt standoff worsens (H/t Powerline)

What’s at the bottom of Newt’s “insurgency”?

Williams McGurn nailed it in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

That’s because at bottom the Newt insurgency is fueled by the sense that Mr. Romney’s tepid policy agenda reflects no fixed beliefs. Many who support Mr. Gingrich will concede he is not their ideal candidate. In fact, it’s telling that Mr. Romney’s GOP rivals are defined as non-Romneys, each standing for something lacking in the front-runner.

The most constructive way for Mr. Romney to kill off his rivals while bringing the party together is simple: Steal their best ideas. Mr. Gingrich has done precisely that with Ron Paul by calling for a commission to study the gold standard. Mr. Romney could easily do the same, echoing Mr. Paul’s call for an honest dollar or adopting Mr. Gingrich’s flat tax.

Emphasis added.  Read the whole thing.

The once-and-current Republican frontrunner would be wise to heed McGurn’s advice.  Perhaps tonight, should he win the Florida primary, Romney could show magnanimity in victory and acknowledge the appeal of his Republican rivals.

It’s the deficit, stupid

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:52 am - January 31, 2012.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

Federal budget deficit to stand at $1.1 trillion:

A new budget report released Tuesday predicts the government will run a $1.1 trillion deficit in the fiscal year that ends in September, a slight dip from last year but still very high by any measure.

Now, will someone in the legacy media please ask President Obama what his plans are to lower the deficit?  And follow up when he talks about raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires as such hikes will barely dent the deficit?

James Taranto backs Mitt Romney?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:18 pm - January 30, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Incompetence

From today’s Best of the Web on the polarizing Mr. Obama and his standing among independent voters:

According to exit polls, independents made up 29% of the electorate in 2008, and Obama carried their votes, 52% to 44%, very close to his overall margin over John McCain. Obama’s airy promises of postpartisanship no doubt helped him win over independents, but our guess is that an even bigger factor was the sense from the preceding few years that Republicans were incapable of governing competently.

Obama has had low approval ratings among independents for most of his presidency. That, not “polarization,” is the reason he is in danger of defeat this year. The way for a Republican to beat him is to run a campaign centered on competence, not ideology.

More on this anon.

Obama: The Man WIthout a Plan reprise

Writing about the president’s State of the Union address last week, Mark Steyn quipped that “the Union’s state — its unprecedented world-record brokeness — was not even mentioned”:

If, as I was, you happened to be stuck at Gate 27 at one of the many U.S. airports laboring under the misapprehension that pumping CNN at you all evening long somehow adds to the gaiety of flight delays, you would have watched an address that gave no indication its speaker was even aware that the parlous state of our finances is an existential threat not only to the nation but to global stability.

Obama, in short, was oblivious to our nation’s most pressing problems.  In a similar vein, Michael Barone observed that the speech contained “no serious public policy initiatives to quicken the pace of economic growth and address the long-term entitlement problems that Obama has occasionally noted.

Although the president did “call for higher taxes on high earners,” Barone reported that the

. . . man who can call on experts at the Treasury Department to draft legislation gave no indication that he has any feasible draft for his “Buffett rule” that would presumably require a second alternative minimum tax for very high earners.

Nor did he indicate that he has made any serious effort to come up with language to penalize corporations that “ship jobs overseas.” Once again a president hailed for his brilliance has handed off the grimy task of writing legislation entirely to the Congress.

What we saw Tuesday night was more like a candidate than an incumbent president.

Wonder why our friends in the media don’t take the incumbent to task for his failure to offer real solutions to our nation’s pressing problems.

Perhaps, Obama would not be running as well as he now is in the polls if, instead of bashing each other, the Republican candidates were reminding voters of the incumbent’s manifest failures, including his paucity of ideas on how to address the nation’s fiscal woes.

Newt’s appeal & the state of the Republican race

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - January 29, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

As I’m in New Orleans now for meetings, I won’t have as much time to blog as I would like.  I would very much like to write a more thoughtful piece on my former boss, but did hit the big points in my prior post.

Look, given questions about Mitt Romney’s commitment to conservatism, I totally get Newt’s appeal, but am concerned about his baggage.  Newt is, in many ways, a true visionary, but he’s also an undisciplined candidate with a self-image similar to that of the man he seeks (and we need) to replace.

As the POH diaries put it,

. . . now, for all intents and purposes, we’re left with the establishment candidate Romney vs. the guy who isn’t the establishment candidate Gingrich. And let’s face it fellow grassroots, common sense conservative, that’s the only reason that Gingrich is garnering so much support. Because he’s not Romney. That’s the best I can figure.

The line in the sand has clearly been drawn. You’re either supporting the establishment’s moderate choice or you’re hell bent against him and supporting whomever pisses them off the most. That happens to be Gingrich, otherwise you’d support Rick Santorum. Ron Paul supporters, you’re an entity unto yourself.

Read like whole thing.  Like that diarist, I have my issues with Mitt Romney and have yet to commit co his campaign — even as I am impressed with his executive ability.  Said blogged spot on in the first sentence below:

Certainly it would have been nice to have a strong, conservative candidate with populist appeal to take the fight to Obama. But who the challenger in this race ends up being may mean less than perhaps it ever has in history for the simple reason that the incumbent will be Barack Obama.

Conservatives are all debating the truth of the second sentence now.  Read the whole thing.  (H/t Instapundit.) (more…)

Newt’s “Grandiosity”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:54 pm - January 27, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Conservative Ideas

Although my co-blogger voted for Newt Gingrich for President in the recent South Carolina primary, I would only vote for the former Speaker were he the Republican nominee running against the failed incumbent.

I expect I will have more to say about his candidacy in due time — about a testiness similar to that of the man who seeks to replace (which said Democrat manifested most recently in Arizona).  Or his commitment to Reaganite conservatism — at least in the abstract, he very much supports the ideals the Gipper espoused (but his criticism Mitt Romney’s professional endeavors calls that into question).

Having interned for Newt, I have seen him up close, having gained, as a result, a great respect for his intellect and his energy.  He is very much a man of ideas and that is perhaps his greatest strength — and his greatest weakness.

It is a strength because it shows his imagination, his ability to think outside the box, to believe things possible that others see as figments of an optimistic conservatives’ imagination.  He doesn’t just repeat ideas, like some politicians repeating talking points.  He speaks from the heart.

Not all his ideas, however, are good ones.  And he’ll often bounce those off whatever audience he can find, be it his congressional staff, a reporter, on a panel discussion or at a campaign event.  And sometimes those, well, apparently loony* ideas, make him appear a little, well, eccentric.

Writing about last night’s debate, Michael Barone pretty much summed it up:

Gingrich seemed to me to morph into his expansive “grandiose” mode, which he enjoys immensely and in which he tends to say many interesting things. Interesting, but not necessarily vote-winning. His proposal advanced on the stump yesterday for a moon colony and admission to the Union as a state if it reaches a population of 13,000—kind of interesting to think about . . .

Interesting to think about yes, but not beneficial to his public image.  Or his presidential campaign.

* (more…)

UK Muslims Convicted for Distributing Pamphlets Advocating Murder of Gays

Religion of Peace Alert! (via @BillyHallowell)

A disturbing trial came to a close this week in London, England, after three men were convicted of distributing pamphlets that called for gays and lesbians to be murdered. The hateful fliers were disturbing at best. One of them, titled, “Death Penalty?,” showed a mannequin that was hanging from a noose and said that gays should be sent to hell.

“The death sentence is the only way this immoral crime can be erased from corrupting society and act as a deterrent for any other ill person who is remotely inclined in this bent way.”

The leaflet continues: “The only dispute amongst the classical authorities was the method employed in carrying out the penal code.”

It goes on to offer burning, being flung from a high point such as a mountain or building, or being stoned to death as suitable methods.

It’s okay, the real threat to gays (according to American gay leftist/progressive types) is Rick Santorum. 

Move along, nothing to see here.  Except the truth.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

GOProud understands that liberty is America’s animating ideal

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:58 pm - January 26, 2012.
Filed under: Freedom,GOProud

Our friends at GOProud get the nature of Ron Paul’s appeal. In his critique of the president’s State of the Union address, Christopher R. Barron, Co-Founder and Chief Strategist for the group offered a nice synopsis of what kind of leader libertarian Republicans want:

The American people – gay and straight – deserve a President who will encourage free enterprise to grow the American economy and create jobs. We need a President who understands that government doesn’t have all the answers – indeed often government is the problem. We need a President who will defend individual liberty and keep Americans safe, at home and abroad. In short, we need a new President.

Nice to see the leader of a gay group commend free enterprise and the ideal which allows it to flourish — individual liberty. And to make clear that we need replace a failed incumbent.

It behooves GOP to understand nature of Ron Paul’s appeal

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:45 pm - January 26, 2012.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Freedom

If the eventual Republican nominee succeeds in making clear the libertarian nature of Reaganite conservatism — and runs on that platform, he could do as well among young voters as the Gipper did in the 1980s.  Bear in mind that twenty somethings today as in the Reagan era seem to have a thing for septuagenarians who talk about freedom.

Ron Paul may be a flawed messenger, but his message resonates.  College students, Glenn reports, are becoming more libertarian.  They may calls themselves “liberal”, but that may be because it’s just “cool” to be liberal in college.  They tend to support a live-and-let-live attitude that defines the Reagan wing of the GOP.

It behooves the GOP to make clear to young voters (indeed to all voters) that is the party of individual party — and to support policies to that end.  And to remind people that Democrats favor policies which limit the choices individuals can make.

So AOL thinks Fidel Castro’s views on GOP are newsworthy?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:45 am - January 26, 2012.
Filed under: Media Bias

Caught this last night on their home page:

UPDATE: It’s not just AOL; NYT quotes “retired Cuban leader” Castro.  What is it with liberal journalists who quote this tyrant as if he is some wise old man?  (Could he be his views of the GOP correspond with their own?)

If taxing the rich is so important to President Obama . . .

. . . why didn’t he submit legislation to the 111th Congress when the Democrats had a majority in the House and a super-duper majority in the Senate (filibuster-proof for six months)?

And why aren’t our friends in the legacy media asking him about this oversight?

Question came to mind as I was reading Rush’s response to Obama using Warren Buffet’s secretary as a prop:  ”There’s something inherently unfair about the Republican tax code, as though Warren Buffett’s secretary is eating pork and beans while sitting in the sewer grate, while her boss is flying around on his NetJets planes. And, lo and behold, she was up there!”  Read the whole thing.

Republican tax code?  Democrats had full power for two full years and didn’t try to reform it.  So, shouldn’t we be calling it a Democratic tax code?

FROM THE COMMENTS: chad writes:

Republicans need to do a better job explaining double-taxation with dividends and capital gains. The way it is now, people hear about how so-and-so made all this money and only paid 15% while some much poorer person paid 20% or more, never getting the explanation as to how this is an apples-to-oranges comparison so long as we have high corporate income taxes that take a huge cut of profits before they become dividends or capital gains.

Indeed.

Barack Milhous Obama

“Can you imagine,” Hugh Hewitt asks, “if George Bush had told Karl Rove to get Howard Dean nominated and to spend millions to do so?

The blogger cites a story in the Orlando Sentinel which would have gotten national attention had the incumbent’s much maligned predecessor done just that:

The Democrats are targeting Mitt Romney as if he were already the Republican nominee running against President Barack Obama, with campaign ads, Internet videos, daily news conferences and dozens of news releases attacking the former Massachusetts governor.

Traditional Democratic partners are jumping in, too. Both theAmerican Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ and Service Employees International Union’s political-action committees are running their own TV commercials in Florida this week — attacking Romney.

Gingrich and the other two Republican candidates, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas U.S.Rep.Ron Paul, are being all but ignored by the DNC and its allies. Instead, they’re hammering Romney harder even than his rivals are, paying for TV and radio ads saying that Romney changes his positions on issues such as abortion; that his hard-line positions on immigration would be “devastating” to Hispanics in a state full of them; that his business record was characterized by “greed.”

Hugh contends that “Obama fears Romney so he is trying to eliminate him early“, adding that “In the old days it would be called a ‘dirty trick,’ but MSM loves the president and won’t criticize his operation.”

Via Powerline where Scott Johnson observes that Sentinel reporter Scott Powers compares this tactic to Richard Nixon’s reelection strategy in 1972, quipping that “When the shenanigans of Nixon’s crew were exposed . . . , I seem to recall that they were held out as something of a scandal“.  Scott, that’s because when Republicans do such thing, they are scandals.   When Democrats do them, well, they’re just not newsworthy.

Paula Deen: Bringing GayPatriot Readers Together

Before I drove cross country in 2010, I had never heard of Southern cooking diva Paula Deen, but I credit her for the harmony of our readers’ dinner in Atlanta that spring.  You see, when we gathered in that august town, I was concerned; one of our critics (with whom I have corresponded at least since 2006) would be joining us — along with two of our most outspoken conservative readers, one who, two years after the 2008 election, still sported a McCain-Palin sticker (with the Arizona Senator’s name removed) on his truck.

I had feared I might have to play peacemaker.  Well, I didn’t have to.  I don’t know how Paula Deen came up, but as soon as she did, all my Atlanta readers found something to talk about — how they delighted in this diva, enjoying her books, TV show and recipes.  They discussed which ones they had tried and home and celebrated her appreciation for butter.  Paula Deen, in short, bridged the political divide.

Aware of this woman’s capacity to foster harmony, my ears naturally perked up when my correspondent James Richardson alerted me this weekend to an article he wrote, taking to task “Northern” food critics who would bring this Southern diva down:

“Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later,” [New York-based foodie Anthony] Bourdain said Tuesday. He has also previously called Deen the “worst, most dangerous person to America” for her country cooking indulgence. Even 2011 James Beard winner Jose Andres said that Dean should “endorse a vegetable or fruit” instead of a diabetes drug.

But the Bronx cheer for apparent chef-turned-rebel terrorist Deen, a prototypical Southern mother with a lifetime’s recipes of irredeemably deep-fried dishes, is less a reflection of the culinary elitism that runs through Bourdain’s vice-ridden travelogues than the regionalist snobbery that fuels its appeal.

. . . .

From food to faith, the mythic Dixie–soulful and abundant, passionate and insubmissive–has always clashed with the rigidly cosmopolitan north, which keeps an ever watchful eye on we, her unlearned, drawling wards. (more…)

Obama: leading from behind on reform

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:05 pm - January 25, 2012.
Filed under: Leadership,Obama Incompetence,Real Reform

Maybe it’s just that he’s waiting for others to craft the reforms so he can see how people react before signing on to anything. This way, he accrues the benefit of supporting a popular reform without the political risk of backing a proposal which might alienate his base.

I endorsed Jon Huntsman for President, in part, because of his bold tax reform plan. In his speech last night, the man the former Utah Governor once sought to replace addressed the issue thusly: “It’s time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I’ll sign them right away.” He went on to repeat his mantra about having the rich pay more.

Note how in the passage cited above, the president asked someone else to write the reforms and send them to him.  He failed to offer a plan of his own.

In a similar vein, here’s how he addressed entitlement reform:  ”I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.”

Prepared to make?  Prepared to make, Mr. President?  The President of the United States should be doing more than just make preparations, he should be proposing solutions. (more…)

My Tweet Of The Day

Conservative pundits/politicians who claim to know what’s best for We, The People are no less heinous than the liberal ones.

You can surmise who I’m referring to. Hint: More than one person.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)