Monday, January 23, 2012

OK, so I'm a yutz.........

January 23, 2012

As wrong as wrong can be: I was dead wrong in my forecast for South Carolina. I expected Newt to crumble. I should have foreseen that, if there is one place where petulance won't turn people off, it's South Carolina, where they like their politics on the rough-and-tumble side. I expected South Carolina to be the place where a "social conservative" would put a real chink in Romney's armor. I just expected that guy to be Rick Santorum, given his strong showing in Iowa and better-than-expected results in New Hampshire. No doubt Mitt gave Newt plenty of help (firing people, marginal tax rates, etc.), but Santorum could have benefited just as much. He just doesn't seem to have a hook. Newt seems more focused and able to stay on point. Newt is also starting to co-opt themes from Ron Paul - before his acceptance speech, I don't believe I had ever heard the words "sound money" roll off Newt's tongue. And whether you like him or not, NO ONE would do a better job debating Obama than would Newt.

On to Florida: Strongly recommend John Heilemann's piece regarding lessons from South Carolina ( Couldn't agree more about Newt really being the front runner in Florida. Having lived in south Florida for several years, I don't see Romney connecting with conservatives there, especially in the Cuban community. Florida today is like the Wild West 125 years ago - seems like a place for Newt to make a mark. Looks to me like a 3-man race after Florida (what would be Santorum's raison d'etre?). After some minor caucuses in early February (look for Ron Paul to pick up some delegates at these), the next critical mass seems to be February 28, the date of the primaries in Arizona and Michigan. Could Newt take his new "populist" look to Michigan and beat Romney there? Would a loss in Michigan be the death knell for the Romney campaign?

John Heilemann: This guy has a sharp intellect and can write as well as anyone out there. He's made my list of daily reading. Any guy who can use the phrase "stale bong water" in a legitimate news article must have something going for him. John, you're making me question my feelings for Chuck Todd.

You want to WHAT?: Props to Sen. Rand Paul for refusing a TSA patdown this morning. Seriously people? I know we want to be fair and politically correct and all that good stuff, but can people use some common sense once in a while. The TSA doesn't want to profile people. Really? What do you think police do every day? It's what keeps them from chasing dead ends and focused on the likely suspect. That behavior leads to a higher rate of actually solving crime. Um, does anyone know that the FBI has people on the payroll who are..............PROFILERS! Gosh, when my child is kidnapped, I hope the cops don't resort to profiling - that would be so mean. Oy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Daily Reading/Viewing

January 13, 2012

Better with Ezra: I strongly urge all to read Ezra Klein's January 11 article on just how much a President can really impact the economy ( Well-written as always, and a topic very long overdue for discussion.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: Saw the Rev. David Atkins of the South Carolina Baptist Convention on television yesterday explaining that the people who founded this country did so in the pursuit of religious freedom, not economic freedom or opportunity. Rev. Atkins, I am so sorry that you had nothing but horrible history teachers during your education. While it is true that the first pilgrims (and some subsequent generations) came to escape the religious stranglehold of the Church of England, by the early 18th century reasons for immigration were both religious and economic. And by the way, the first pilgrims did not found our country. That wasn't their goal. They were still citizens of England, and none of them were "talkin' about a revolution." The impetus for rebellion, and subsequently for independence, was economic, specifically taxation. Does the Reverend know that many of the actual "founders" were Deists? Time to return your diploma.

And Now For Something Completely Different: On a completely non-political note, may I recommend viewing Jimmy Fallon as David Bowie ( Fallon is the best impressionist this side of Frank Caliendo. As the biggest Neil Young fan in America, I can tell you Fallon's Neil is absolutely spot-on.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hangover into Haze

January 12, 2012

Oh no he didn't: Really Ron Paul? After an impressive showing in NH, you had to thank the Manchester Union-Leader for not endorsing you? If you want to run as the anti-establishment guy, fine. If you want to point out that you performed so well without any major endorsements, fine. You had to mention them by name and thank them for not endorsing you? For what purpose? What was your desired result? You've been spending too much time next to Newt in these debates - he's rubbing off on you through osmosis.

I'm calling Shenanigans: ...on Chris Cillizza (whom I happen to like). Newt isn't a populist, Santorum may be one (sort of), but the only true populist in the Republican race is Rick Perry? Couldn't one make just as strong a case for Ron Paul then? Was the HPV vaccine thing a populist move?

More Cillizza: On Hardball last night, Cillizza stated that he felt the theme of the 2012 election will be "how much government do we want and when do we want it?" While that's one theme running through the Republican primary, will it really be a theme in the general? Does Obama want to have that conversation? I hope you're right, Chris, but I'm not holding my breath.

The 11th Commandment: ...has been thrown right out the window in the Republican primaries. Not long ago, it was prerequisite for a Republican candidate to evoke Ronald Reagan. Has the veneer gotten duller over the years? Are people remembering the introduction of massive new federal agencies and increasing deficits? Ronnie we hardly knew ye.

Rachel Rachel: Couldn't help but be struck by the Rachel Maddow commercial regarding Social Security. She claims that since the financial meltdown, one group that's holding its own is senior citizens. REALLY? What about all those people who had to put off their retirement because their 401k's tanked? What about the impact of a falling dollar (because of runaway debt) on those with fixed incomes? Do you have any idea of how expensive drugs are for seniors, even with government assistance? Is Social Security going to fill those gaps for them? Ms. Maddow says Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme - agreed. She says it is not bankrupt - agreed. She says it works - REALLY? With all due respect, how the heck do you  KNOW that? you're 38 years old and you have NO idea. I'm 50 and I have no idea. I can tell you what I've heard from some seniors, anecdotally. But I don't KNOW. Shame, girl.

Mr. Listerine: Yes, I'm talking about Chris Matthews. I love him but I hate him. While discussing the Adelson Super PAC ads regarding Bain, Matthews asked Andrew Ross Sorkin if running these ads is fair? Seriously??? How about asking if they're true??? Did that woman really work for a company that had been bought by Bain? Which company? What really happened to the company? Was it a ridiculously bloated organization that need to trim its competitive sails? What did this woman do there? Was she a performer or was she dead weight dragging the organization down? I'm not saying anything in the ad was false...I'm saying that someone needs to check some facts. Someone like a journalist. Maybe someone who spent several years as a JOURNALIST (not commentator) for the SF Examiner??? Sorkin was honest in his answer (he wasn't sure if the ads would work or not); Matthews again scaled the heights of intellectual dishonesty. I can't believe they taught that at the College of the Holy Cross.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Hampshire Hangover

January 11, 2012

Feels like Rains, mmmmmmmmmmmm, it feels like Rains: Watching Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O' Donnell discussing and lamenting Sheldon Adelson and Super PAC's, I couldn't help but feel like Claude Rains: I was shocked...SHOCKED that the name George Soros wasn't introduced into the conversation.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Matthews: Last night I got the Chris Matthews I've come to know and love. You know, the one with the blatant agenda; the one who never lets anyone answer a question because it would take time away from demonstrating his awesomeness; the one who puts words in people's mouths and twists the ones that do come out. THAT Chris Matthews. I don't know what hotel he stayed at last night, or what they've introduced into their water supply, but we got a different guy on Morning Joe this morning. A Chris Matthews who came across as sincerely congratulatory toward Romney, and who pointed out some potential weaknesses in the Obama re-election effort.

I'm not sure I like this. Do I really want a fair and measured Chris Matthews? I'm starting to pine for the golden days of 2008 when Chris and Keith Olbermann couldn't mask their utter disdain for each other. Give me the Chris Matthews who gets challenged to duels.

Go Out on a High Note: Apparently Jon Huntsman is not a Seinfeld fan, or he missed the episode where George learned about going out on a high note. He needed to finish no worse than a reasonably competitive third, and he did. He needed to crack double-digits, and he did. He needed to claim/spin some sort of victory in New Hampshire and try to get some sort of bounce (as Santorum got post-Iowa). His speech last night is going to run the Unisom people straight out of business - why pay for sleep aids when you can watch that speech for free on the web? A very lackluster delivery (yes, I know they're all tired) filled with meaningless cliches. The guy has some good credentials and some good ideas, but he's got to start parlaying that into some enthusiasm.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not into "inspirational" speeches (OK, I admit, watching Kenneth Branagh deliver the St. Crispin's Day speech in Henry V makes we want to grab the nearest broadsword). In a game where it's about money and enthusiasm, Huntsman is creating a deficit for himself in the latter department.

Unconventional Wisdom: The Romney camp has beaten the "electability" drum since the beginning, and justifiably so. Having the party routinely hijacked by an internal faction whose vision does not match that of the majority of Americans hasn't served the party particularly well. I get the point - "if we can just stop carping about abortion and gay marriage for one election cycle, we can actually win this thing." So the message to the party is the right one, and the polls show it. Exit polls show (some) people voting for Romney based on electability. Why has everyone assumed Romney is the one guy who can beat Obama??? Why do they assume he can beat him at all? They're both bad in unscripted, impromptu moments, but I can see Obama wiping the floor with this guy in a debate format. Am I the only one who sees the Obama campaign painting Romney as a one-percenter? Another brie and arugula-eating rich white guy who made a fortune on Wall Street by manipulating a bunch of funny money and loves firing people and handing out pink slips? Unfortunately, whether any of this spin would actually be true or not is irrelevant - it WILL sell. Obama will turn this into Main Street v. Wall Street. Republicans who take Romney's "electability" to the bank may be disappointed when it comes time to tap into that account.

And speaking of debates....: There is no question that the most entertaining debate would be Obama v. Gingrich. Yes, I would pay to see it on pay-per-view. Of course, it will never happen. Newt will be gone before Florida. His little schoolboy, "I've-been-wronged", "Oh no he didn't" vindictiveness doesn't play well - anywhere. Nobody really wants Eric Cartman as their President, no matter how funny he may be at times. (Oh God, I just had a thought....can I please hear Newt say, just once, "you will respect my authoritah!"?)

Without God on his Side: Confession time....I did not watch every minute of every speech last night. But I did see Ron Paul close his speech WITHOUT saying "God Bless America." Good Lord (pardon the pun), even the Democrats feel compelled to include that phrase in every speech now. I can't remember the last time I heard a Republican fail to utter those words. Could that be another reason why Paul's support continues to grow? Are even Republicans getting tired of all the God stuff? Are people starting to care more about things they can actually impact here on Earth?

Love at Last???: I can't believe I'm starting to hear coverage of Ron Paul's campaign without words like "fringe" or "nutty". Even Rachel Maddow showed the doctor some love. Are there people out there who actually believe in ideas and have principles that are not trumped by temporal concerns? People who base their voting decision not on political party but on a set of political/philosophical ideals? FREE THINKING people???? Sure. Now whose water supply has been spiked????????