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Conservatives still looking for an acceptable alternative?

If Rick Santorum were the consensus conservative choice for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich’s support would long since have melted away. And although his chances of winning the Republican nomination are slim, he still wins the support of sucy prominent mainstream conservatives as Fred Thompson and Tea Party favorites and this former governor who dubs the former Speaker the “cheerful one”:

Since the former Pennsylvania Senator’s hat trick last month in the Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri beauty contests, he has not exceeded 40% in a single state whereas Mitt Romney finished well above that barrier in Arizona, Massachusetts and Idaho.* Newt won over 40% in each of his victories, South Carolina and Georgia, respectively.

There’s a lot of talk about Republicans looking for a non-Romney, but some conservatives, it seems, are looking for an acceptable non-Santorum.  Indeed, in John Hawkins’s poll over conservative bloggers, he found Gingrich coming out ahead of Santorum when all candidates were included and beating Santorum in a head-to-head matchup.

And to many conservatives with doubts about Santorum, Newt remains the most acceptable alternative.

* (more…)

The fundamental problem of the GOP presidential field

Ari Fleischer nails it:

Today, grass-roots Republicans want to drink a bottle of 2010 small-government wine, but our candidates were bottled in another era, before the tea party’s ideas took root. (more…)

Democratic Congresswomen refuse to condemn fellow partisan who uses sexual slurs against a Republican woman

Obama senior strategist David Axelrod’s faulted Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney for

his muted response to derisive comments made by conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, in which Limbaugh called a Georgetown student a “slut” for supporting government-financed birth control.

He said Romney is “afraid to challenge the de facto boss of the Republican primary,” indicating that Limbaugh was controlling the party.

Wonder how he feels about the reluctance of the president’s fellow partisans who refuse to comment on similar speech leveled by a man with far less influence in Democratic circles:

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Where was liberal outrage when female Republicans were slurred?

Even though I have some serious concerns about Michele Bachmann’s stands on social issues, I believe we should counter her with arguments rather than insults.

Some liberal personalities — as well as a good number of gay activists — have preferred instead to address her on a regular basis which the kind of slur Rush Limbaugh utters on a very (very, very) infrequent basis.  Indeed, she observed as much when Piers Morgan asked her about the conservative talk show host’s ugly language, “I have gone through myself an experience more things said about me and I have never seen this level of outrage on the left.

Rush Limbaugh has apologized.  Some (most?) of Mrs. Bachmann’s critics have not.

One of those critics (who has, as far as I can determine, yet to apologize) contends that “liberals looking bad not accepting” the apology.  And they still can’t let go of the story. Reporting that Limbaugh has been “targeted by multiple death threats”, Dan Riehl finds the “mainstream media . . . culpable“, citing a NewsBusters repor that ABC had aired eight Limbaugh stories in fewer than five days.  (H/t Instapundit.)

Wonder how many stories ABC ran on the harsh rhetoric directed against Mrs. Bachmann.  And she was subject to more than one slur by more than than one prominent left-wing pundit.

Does “Romneycare” makes Romney a “weak” frontrunner?

When I offered praise yesterday of Mitt Romney’s poise under fire, one of our readers suggested I had a man-crush on the GOP frontrunner.  Now, to be sure, I have a more favorable opinion of the former Massachusetts governor than I did at the outset of this campaign, I primarily lean in his direction because of his opposition.

Even as Romney has put forward a bolder, economic plan and more clearly articulate conservative principles, his Achilles’ heel, if you will, remains the health care legislation he signed when governor of Massachusetts.  Brit Hume said as much when reflecting on last night’s returns.  Byron York observed as much when talking to Ohio voters:

Why was Romney’s performance so underwhelming? Talks over the last couple of days with voters who chose Santorum suggested two reasons.  One, they still don’t trust Romney.  And two, they believe Obamacare will be a critical issue in the campaign, and they don’t think Romney, as author of the Romneycare health program in Massachusetts, will be able to effectively challenge Barack Obama over national health care.

Indeed, even after his big plans last week in Michigan and Arizona, Romney still lagged behind Santorum in Ohio polls, but but building momentum as the weekend approached.  That momentum was likely slowed by reports that the Republican encouraged the president to adopt the individual mandate.  (Over at the National Review, Mario Loyola disputes this assessment, noting that Romney was “was trying to fix the problems created by a scheme that was comparable to Obamacare, namely the ill-advised 1996 reforms.“)

Grace-Marie Turner shares York’s assessment, writing before Super Tuesday that “Even though Mitt Romney has had a string of primary wins, support for his presidential bid still is tepid among Republican voters nervous about Romneycare.”  (H/t: Laura Ingraham*)  She believes it would help the candidate to distinguish his plan from the president’s: (more…)

Nominations for the Watchers’ Council — March 7 Edition

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:21 am - March 7, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions (more…)

Newt Gingrich fumbles Georgia Victory Speech

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:55 am - March 7, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Newt Gingrich, last night, forfeited his best chance to get a bounce out of his big victory in his adopted home state.  At least since the Mesa, Arizona debate where, as Michael Barone put it, the former Speaker adopted a “grandfatherly” tone, “taking the long view on issues, agreeing congenially with other candidates quite often,” Newt has been less whiny than he had been after his defeats in Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida.  For a few weeks, we generally Newt the savvy conservative strategist, the man we have seen offering sage political commentary since he stepped down as Speaker and challenging the bias of the legacy media.

In making his remarks after he was declared the winner in the Peach State, however, Newt adopted his world-historical stance, speaking extemporaneously, convincing that every word he offered had last significance.  Instead, he rambled on and on (and on and on).  It seemed he was more interested in discussing the ins and outs of this campaign than in putting forward a conservative vision.

Had he done that, he might have positioned himself better for the coming contests.  ”Fox News analysts,” Charlie Spiering reported in the Washington Examiner, “ridiculed Newt Gingrich’s lengthy speech in Georgia, where declaring it a major comeback for his campaign“:

“It was just odd,” said the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayward. “It felt like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, reliving the exploits of his high school football game.”

“He made history,” Brit Hume deadpanned. “He gave the longest victory speech ever given by somebody who is 2-18 in the contest so far and one his political home state and the one next door.

Juan Williams said Gingrich was too self-absorbed.

So, Mr. President, is Sarah Palin then not a good citizen?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:28 am - March 7, 2012.
Filed under: Democrats & Double Standards,Liberal Hypocrisy

John Hinderaker spared me the effort of tracking down a comment the president made at his press conference yesterday that I caught yesterday while working out:

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Do you think Rush Limbaugh’s apology to the Georgetown Law student was sufficient and heartfelt? Do you agree with the decision of the growing number of sponsors that have decided to drop his show and stop supporting his show? And has there been a double standard on this issue? Liberal commentators have made similarly provocative or distasteful statements and there hasn’t been such an outrage.

OBAMA: You know I’m not going to comment on what sponsors decide to do. I’m not going to comment on either the economics or the politics of it. I don’t know what’s in Rush Limbaugh’s heart, so I’m not going to comment on the sincerity of his apology. What I can comment on is the fact that all decent folks can agree that the remarks that were made don’t have any place in the public discourse. And the reason I called Ms. Flute is because I thought about Malia and Sasha and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about. Even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.

Does that mean he doesn’t think Sarah Palin is a good citizen?  ”Note,” Hinderaker concludes, “that Obama simply ignored the question whether ‘there been a double standard on this issue [since] liberal commentators have made similarly provocative or distasteful statements and there hasn’t been such an outrage.’ No one followed up on that point, so it was par for the course.

By the president’s standards, then Bill Maher regularly offers remarks that have no place in public discourse.

Initial Super Tuesday Observations

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 am - March 7, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

When Mitt Romney won the Washington State caucuses on Saturday by a big margin, I observed that he had been running ahead of the polls and expected him a photo finish in Tennessee with the former Massachusetts governor winning by a margin nearly identical to that he enjoyed last week in Michigan.  Not so last night, save perhaps in Oklahoma.

Rick Santorum scored a big win in Tennessee, winning the Volunteer State by 9 points, nearly twice his margin in the Sooner State where he was supposed to win by a big margin. And he only won the Buckeye State by 1 point. Interestingly, exit polls showed that 5% of the voters in the Ohio Republican primary were Democrats, with 47% of them going for Santorum.

Even as I was predicting a Romney win in a Facebook exchange with a friend, I told her that Santorum could pull it out on the strength of the evangelical vote in rural Ohio.  (A native of the Buckeye State, I have long been aware of the strength outside in such areas.)  They went for Santorum by a margin of 17 points (47-30 over Romney).  My sense is that whereas Romney had a good campaign organization, Santorum benefited from grassroots networks at churches and evangelical community associations across Ohio.

Santorum had a similar margin among evangelical voters in Tennessee, running 17 points ahead of Newt, 18 ahead of Romney.  In Oklahoma, his margin was considerably smaller; the split was 37-27-27.

Some of the statements Santorum made that we found damaging to his cause likely helped him among these voters.

Ron Paul bested Santorum in Vermont and Idaho and edged out Romney in North Dakota.  In some counties in the Idaho panhandle, the libertarian Congressman was winning over 50% of the vote. (more…)