Three Wins, Three Speeches

It seems as though everyone had something to celebrate from last night’s primaries (except of course, Ron Paul. Doubtless he had a moral victory). I watched most of the speeches last night, and these are the impressions they made on me:

  • Newt Gingrich came across as a bulldog, but a bulldog that spent way too much time talking about the past. No one cares about 1994 right now. We know your record, that’s the only reason you’re in this thing at all. And making specific reference to your debate skills sounds like desperate resume-plumping (even if he managed a decent quip about Obama’s teleprompter).
  • Santorum, speaking off the cuff, came across as sincere, but wandering. When Santorum is on, he speaks with great clarity about fundamental liberty and the looming tyranny of the Progressive Leviathan. But he needed the focus and passion of a Presidential candidate. Last night sounded more like the warm-up speech at a PAC dinner.
  • I went to bed before I was done watching Romney’s speech, but what I saw was good, by the standards of the evening. He drew sharp contrasts between the President and himself, and made the hard sell of himself as the relief for working Americans. Santorum talked about this too, but Romney’s lines were polished, and for Romney, sincere. Best line of the night: “I say to these Americans, that you have not failed. I say that you have a President who has failed you.”

So what’s the upshot? There isn’t one. Romney grabbed more delegates but didn’t put either guy away. Santorum is prepared to go to the convention if need be, and Gingrich, with a win in Georgia and an endorsement from Sarah Palin, has what he needs to keep going.

Which means that . . .

The Yawning Chasm of the GOP Primary Season

Gingrich is likely to win Georgia and Tennesee. (h/t Memeorandum)

What that means, I have no idea. But neither does the media:

Gingrich increased his lead slightly since a poll conducted earlier in February, receiving 38 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum received 25 percent, Mitt Romney 19 percent and Ron Paul 4 percent in the poll.

Numbers were similar when broken down by men and women. The number of undecided voters remains at 13 percent before the March 6 primary.

“That essentially says they’re not right now in Newt Gingrich’s camp so they’re either going to break for Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney,” said Channel 2 political analyst Bill Crane

Pardon me, but how do you know that, Channel 2 Political Analyst Bill Crane? Maybe they’re hoping that someone else will impress them, and if no one does they’ll follow the bandwagon and pull the lever for Newt.

I at least recognize my ignorance.

a man’s+got+to+know+his+limitations pics on Sodahead

Bob Dole Stumps for Romney, Denounces Gingrich

The former Senator from Viagra claimed that nominating the Newtzilla would result in a “sweeping victory” for President Obama.

There are two reasonable responses to this information.

  1. Bob Dole is still alive?
  2. What the *$^% does Bob Dole know about sweeping victories?

Maybe the guy who ran a colorless, gutless campaign against the Man from Hope in 1996 shouldn’t be consulted on behalf of the man laboring to run a colorless, gutless campaign against Hope Made Flesh.

And yes, I voted for Dole.

What the Hell is a Moon Base For?

If there’s an economic reason to go to the moon, then private companies should finance it. If there’s not an economic reason to go to the moon, then what — aside from sci-fi frisson — is to be gained by going there?

I’ve heard it as a practice run for Mars. Bollocks. Mars is an entirely different situation than the Moon: different distances, different environment, different mission altogether. If we want to go to Mars (assuming there’s some purpose for that), let’s go to Mars. Why the pit stop?

A view of the earth and moon from Mars, courtesy of NASA

Why Newt Won.

Erick Erickson casts everything in terms of the base in revolt (h/t: memeorandum) against “a milquetoast moderate from Massachusetts” (a phrase so good, Erickson can’t resist repeating it).

In every way in the last two weeks, Romney has signaled he won’t fight for the base. He looks like a lost child when trying to answer the taxes issue. He couldn’t stand up to Santorum in the debate. He sounds every bit like Gordon Gekko, not Milton Friedman, when he talks Bain and free markets.

Basically, today’s vote is about Republican grassroots giving the Washington Republican establishment the finger. The base is angry, and right now, only Newt is left to fight for them, as imperfect as he is. We may still end up with Romney, but voters aren’t going to let him have it easily.

He then links to this piece by Ben Domenech, which collects an informal polling of South Carolinians into a trice of reasons that all amount to the same thing.

Gingrich initially rose, and Perry fell, due to the overabundance of debates this cycle. Everyone – and again, Thursday’s debate was in Charleston – cited this as significant, and Gingrich’s performances in the past two debates have impressed them even as Romney (hounded by Santorum on Romneycare, meandering on his tax returns) turned in arguably two of his worst performances. Consider: both Gingrich and Romney saw the questions coming – Gingrich on his ex-wife, Romney on his tax returns. One was prepared to defend himself, and one seemingly was not.

What this, and his weathering of media attacks, amounts to is that Newt Fights. He fights to defend himself and conservatism. He does so with passion and intelligence. And GOP voters may decide that such is the very thing to finally exorcise the spirit of George W. “Strategery” Bush.

Now, in Florida, or anywhere else, Newt’s bulldog style may cause him more trouble. Stacy McCain remains unconvinced after reading Erickson’s piece that Newt is really the Last Man Standing.

While nobody has appointed me the Omniscient Arbiter, authorized to write articles titled “What It Means,” I can summarize what one of Santorum’s supporters told me last night about what he expects: Newt and Mitt are going to attempt to destroy each other, and all the while Santorum will keep on campaigning, arguing that he is the “conviction conservative,” steadily accruing support from those conservatives who don’t like either Newt or Mitt.

That may indeed be how it works out. Santorum, now the acknowledged winner in Iowa, made a decent if not stunning third-place showing in South Carolina. Which means, although he hasn’t yet done it for me, that he is managing to overcome some of the So-Whatness of his candidacy. By many accounts, his debate performances have been solid if not explosive. In the end, Solid Santorum may find himself the nominee over the Explosive Gingrich.

But none of that matters right now. What matters right now is that the Inevitability Express has been shut down due to lack of interest. What matters now is that my primary vote just might matter. What matters now is that a certain milquetoast moderate from Massachusetts will recieve the message that if he wants to be the President of the United States, he’d best grow a pair.


Dan Rhiel has had enough.

For conservatives, I’m a might tired of the weenies who prance around on the Internet as if they’re spoiling for a fight, then when someone with a little fight in them comes along, they start sounding like pussified Republicans. Oh, God, no, we can’t have that go on!!

This argument makes him rather late to Jeff Goldstein’s party, but still. Heh.

For myself, Santorum or Gingrich would be fine as nominees. Romney would be a clothespin vote, and I’m working myself to the position that Ron Paul, daffy ideas and all, would be too.

Read the Whole Thing.

The Republican Party Returneth, Like a Dog, Unto its Own Vomit. But it Doesn’t Matter.

Stacy McCain links this damning comparison of the 2012 primary election to the 2008 primary election.

I’m thinking of a Republican primary. It starts with a candidate (John McCain/Mitt Romney) who ran once before, came in second place, and won over the party’s elite class without winning over its base. Other candidates, understandably unwilling to accept this, line up: An under-funded social conservative (Mike Huckabee/Rick Santorum), an elder statesman who’s walked to the altar three times (Rudy Giuliani/Newt Gingrich), a libertarian who wants to bring back the gold standard (Ron Paul/Ron Paul).

Read the Whole Thing, of course, but remember this: last time the Annointed Nincompoop had to run with the Shroud of George Bush hanging on his shoulders. This time he gets to run against the Shroud of Emperor Golden Dancer. McCain was an old man running on his war record against the Shiny New Candidate of Hope. Mitt Romney may excite no man, but he exudes managerial competence from every pore of his being. We should not pretend that such will not matter against #OccupyResoluteDesk, whose supposedly masterful campaign has been sputtering of late, and in any case only won 52% of the vote last time.


In Which I Argue Against Every Point I Just Made About the Election

Just because I’m cynical about the remaining forlorn hope for a Not-Mitt doesn’t mean I’m any more pleased about it than say, the gang at Protein Wisdom.

Let’s consider some other possibilities.

  1. Either of the Ricks (Perry or Santorum) Might Win South Carolina. New Hampshire has an open primary. That means Democrats and Independents voted. This explains why Huntsman came in third and Ron Paul came in second. South Carolina is not like that. Evangelicals matter in South Carolina. An upset win could stop Romney’s momentum and end his sense of Inevitability.
  2. Gingrich Might Land a Punch. The insidious thing about Gingrich’s Bain Capital remark is that it got people talking about it. It’s the kind of argument that Obama could easily use against Romney, and if enough people notice that, Romney’s main argument — his electability — could be seriously damaged. And if not, Newt’s still mad enough to come at him another way. He might yet find something that will actually turn off people who’re are lukewarm for Romney.
  3. Ron Paul Might be Stronger Than We Think. Paul is the “to hell with everything” candidate in a “to hell with everything” year. We shouldn’t underestimate that. Nor should we overestimate the importance of foreign policy to voters, especially in a “to hell with everything” year. Remember, for the past several years, Barak Obama has been sending robot bombers to blast away at people around the world and no one, left or right, seems to care very much. And even if Obama and the media attempt to cast Ron Paul as Bull Connor, Paul seems perfectly willing to play the race card on behalf of blacks, especially as regards things like the Drug War. And, as we’ve noticed, he possesses sufficient fortitude to punch back twice as hard in debates. The disappointed Obama Youth might just not care about stuff that was written before they were born.

The deeper question is, given a choice between Obama and Paul, could I vote for Paul?

Read this blog and tell me the answer.

The Bearable Tedium of Mitt Romney

Apparently “Santorum” is Catholic for “Huckabee.”

Personally, I don’t expect much to change in South Carolina. Last time ’round, South Carolina was supposed to be the last bastion against John McCain.

South Carolina makes a good last bastion.

Fred Thompson Will Rise Again!

More to the point, Gingrich has once more demonstrated his tactical incompetence. Who the hell told him that going after Romney’s business record was going to play well in a Republican primary? (h/t: Instapundit) Layoffs are part of the business cycle. Republicans are supposed to understand the business cycle, or at least, not attempt to make hay out of it. Apparently Gingrich got it into his head that if he made lefty-ish noises about unemployment, he could poach some of Ron Paul’s Occupier mob. Gingrich is just smart enough to be that stupid.

So now Mitt Romney is the champion — no, really — of capitalism. And it only took three years of Barack Obama to make capitalism look awfully nice.

So Santorum has no carrying power, Gingrich is intent on blowing himself up, which leaves Rick Perry to stand athwart party tradition yelling “Stop.” Perry’s gotten better in the debates, but I don’t think he’s gotten good enough. He hasn’t made the case for himself in a compelling way. He may have done himself too much damage to really recover from.

And if that’s true, then barring a sudden, sad, final groundswell for John Huntsman, Mitt Romney is gonna be our guy. Unless we all decide to go full-Goldwater for Ron Paul, in which case, we should start practicing our curtsies.