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In the current crisis, Santorum would be a lousy nominee

In my early morning (GayPatriot blog time) post on civility, I mentioned a conversation I had last night with a fellow alum of America’s finest liberal arts college about my opposition to Barack Obama’s reelection.  I focused my arguments on the incumbent’s big-spending ways and his regulatory policies.  He has neither a plan, I reminded my interlocutor, to deal with the skyrocketing federal debt nor the coming insolvency of federal entitlements.

As this wavering Obama supporter acknowledged my points, he expressed concern about a Republican Party obsessed with social issues, particularly contraception.  I replied that it wasn’t the candidates so much who focused on social issues, but the legacy media which focused on statements one candidate had made.

I then brought up the ABC/Yahoo/WMUR January debate in New Hampshire when former Bill Clinton advisor, now ABC News anchor, George Stephanopolous brought up the topic of contraception; I encouraged my friend to read what the likely Republican presidential nominee had said in that forum.

Discussing that debate, I expressed relief at Rick Santorum’s loss earlier this week in Illinois because that former Pennsylvania Senator, in the words of Erick Erickson (a blogger quite sympathetic to the concerns of social conservatives), like “Dug the dog in Up getting distracted by every random squirrel, Rick Santorum loses all ability to focus when social issues come up.”  With the Senator as the nominee, we would have a more difficult time defending our party as one focused on restoring fiscal sanity.

With Romney as the nominee, however, it will be a lot easier to make the case for change to intelligent urban- and suburbanites aware of the incumbent’s fiscal failures.

As a reminder, below the jump, I provide Romney’s response to Stephanopoulos’s question about contraception.  He doesn’t say anything that would offend social moderates — or sensible social liberals — concerned about our nation’s economic wellbeing: (more…)

Sometimes you don’t need to be a gentleman

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:57 pm - March 22, 2012.
Filed under: Dating,Integrity,LA Stories

The other day, I had this bizarre first (and last) date.  After becoming acquainted in an online dating forum, we agreed to meet at his place for a drink.  When I arrived, he asked me what I wanted; I requested a water.  As soon as he filled my glass, he pulled out a plate, a lighter, a spoon and some other drug paraphernalia.

“That’s an odd way to fix a drink,” I quipped.  He asked me if I wanted to join him.

Guess he interpreted my support for drug legalization to indicate that I was not averse to dating a man who did drugs — and that I used them myself.

Realizing then how uninterested I was dating that man, I debated how best to handle the situation.  Should I just tell him as much and leave or be a gentleman and stay?  I decided to split the difference, be gentleman, but make clear that I couldn’t date a guy who did drugs.  He insisted I stay, so I obliged him.  We chatted for maybe an hour and I took my leave, saying I needed to finish some things up before bed.

As I drove home, relieved that I was free, I recalled a similar date with a man I had met online.  Wisely, he and I got together at a coffee shop.  As the conversation began, I realized we had little in common and pondered how long I should stay before taking my leave.  All of a sudden, he said something like, “Look, Dan, I’m just not feeling it, so let’s not waste each other’s time.”  I smiled internally, shook his hand and returned home, relieved as I had been recently, but having lost far less time with an incompatible date.

Gentleman he may not have been, but honest he was.  The other night, I should have followed his lead.

Republican House in NH rejects repeal of Granite State’s recognition of same-sex marriage

Liz Mair reminded us yesterday of something significant about the New Hampshire House’s rejections of “a bill that would have made their state legislature the first one to repeal” the state’s decision to recognize same-same unions as marriage: the legislature that rejected repeal was overwhelmingly Republican.

Now, to be sure, the GOP leadership did push repeal, but the rank and file did not entirely fall into line. This is pretty significant considering how small the districts are in the Granite State; most representatives know their constituents. They’ll have to deal with them directly when the legislature is not in session (and even when it is). Thus this vote is considerably more significant than a vote in a larger state where legislators contact with their constituents is often filtered through their staff and special interests.

In Liz’s view,

New Hampshire Republicans who voted against repealing gay marriage made the right call. Gay marriage doesn’t represent a threat to any individual liberties so long as robust conscience protections are in place, whereas the repeal of it would undermine a prior expansion of individual liberties (even if civil unions were permitted).

“Maybe the conservative alternative to Romney is Romney”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:24 am - March 22, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Conservative Ideas

One of our loyal readers has accused me of having a “man crush” on Mitt Romney because of my largely favorable postings on the Republican frontrunner (in recent days), yet I too have my doubts about the man.  Interestingly, Rush Limbaugh offered views quite similar to my own in a monologue linked yesterday by the Washington Examiner‘s Campaign Roundup.

Rush thought Romney’s Illinois victory speech . . .

. . . was his best, and it reminded me again of Daniel Henninger’s column last year in the Wall Street Journal, which said that Romney was going to have to be nudged to the right. And he was clearly nudged to the right.

He spoke about the economy and Obama’s stewardship of it, and it was really good.

. . . .

And this long primary process has done that [nudged Romney to the right], at least as far as Romney’s public statements. What he really thinks, we’ll find out.

The talker went on to excerpt much of the address, cheering the candidate’s words, but adding a note of caution,

So maybe the conservative alternative to Romney is Romney.  Let’s hope so.  It all boils down to whether he means this.

Indeed.  Now the issue is to make sure Romney sticks to the principles he has been expressing in the campaign.  And there are some grounds for hope.  Should he win election, he won’t face some of the problems he faced in Massachusetts.   He won’t have an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature.

And the Republican Congress he will face will have a far more Reaganesque complexion than has any Congress governing with a Republican president — in my lifetime or even in Romney’s lifetime.  There was no Tea Party in 2000 or 2004.  And the chair of the House Budget Committee wasn’t a thoughtful conservative pushing bold reforms.

Paul Ryan may well be our ace in the hole, the assurance we have that Mitt Romney will stick to his campaign promises.

Mitt Romney, Meet Erick Erickson

In the course of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney has shown a level of grit and determination that few politicians have matched.  He has withstood attacks from the mainstream media and the emerging conservative media as well as his fellow contenders.

He has seen his poll numbers plummet and the possibility of his nomination dismissed.  And yet he kept on fighting.  Not only did the former Massachusetts governor show how much he wanted to win, he also showed how attuned he is to the criticisms of conservatives, progressively spelling out a bolder and more Reaganesque economic agenda.  That hasn’t satisfied everyone on the right, but it does seem to have moved a number, including Rush Limbaugh (more on this in my next post).

That said, he still has to tend to a lot of “coalition maintenance.”*  He needs to reach out to conservative leaders, activists and bloggers, chief among them RedState’s Erick Erickson, one of Mitt Romney’s harshest critics in the blogosphere — but a principled enough man to acknowledge the conservatism of Jon Huntsman’s economic plan (even as he frequently criticized and ocasionally criticized the man).  In fact, I would recommend that when Romney schedules meetings with conservative bloggers, he sit down privately with Erickson so he can hear the full measure of the blogger’s message.

To show you just how well Erickson, himself quite sympathetic with social conservatives, understands the movement, let me quote from his piece acknowledging that Romney will be the nominee, in particular, his remarks on Rick Santorum’s failure to rally enough conservatives to his cause:

The Santorum campaign stumbled badly in Puerto Rico, gave up a lead in Illinois, and the candidate proved horribly undisciplined. Like Dug the dog in Up getting distracted by every random squirrel, Rick Santorum loses all ability to focus when social issues come up. (more…)

Once again, please* keep the comments civil

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:43 am - March 22, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse

I understand that the commentary in the thread of a recent post (The smallness of the haters on the left) has become pretty acrimonious.  I have not followed the thread nor do I intend to, but have heard from readers on both sides of the political aisle (some of my acquaintance) about the supposed quality of the discourse there.

I don’t write to allocate blame, but merely to make another plea for civil discourse — as I have seen both our defenders and our critics say some things about their ideological adversaries which have no basis in reality.

I just returned from a pleasant evening with the entertainment group of my alma mater’s alumni association and had a spirited debate with a wavering Obama supporter.  He criticized conservatives; I found fault with his assumptions and arguments.  I may not have changed his mind, but I did make him more open to the possibility of opposing Obama seven months (and a few weeks) hence.  (The prospect of Rick Santorum not being the nominee makes my task a lot easier.)

Please, my friends, adopt the same goal as I have adopted — to change the minds of those who are now your ideological adversaries — and make them your allies in the struggle for freedom and prosperity.

Don’t engage in name-calling.  Don’t use the comments to make assumptions about the private lives of those who criticize our arguments.  Take issue with their points.  You often compromise your own strong arguments when you stoop to the level of the Bill Maher wing of the Democratic Party.

And to our critics, know that we put forward our ideas in good faith.  When you act in the manner of Mr. Maher you make it a heck of a lot easier for us to make our points.

* (more…)