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2012 Election Richard Falknor on 10 Nov 2012

UPDATED! Neil Parrott’s [Spurned] Neglected Gift To A [Willfully Deaf] Confused GOP

UPDATE NOVEMBER 11!  For the record:  two of our sources, one at the state level, one reflecting conversations with her county committee, believed that the Maryland GOP did not take a position on Questions 4, 5, 6, and 7 leaving the matter of endorsement (or not) to county committees; after press time yesterday, we heard from another solid voice that the state GOP did take a position against Questions 4, 5, and 6 leaving only Question 7 on gambling expansion to the county committees for endorsement (or not).  These are all good-faith reports from careful Maryland Republicans. One friend of the Maryland GOP leadership emailed today pointing to a button entitled “Repeal O’Malley’s Laws” on the state website as evidence that the state GOP opposed Questions 4, 5, and 6. Our take is that this link to a different website is no substitute for a clear GOP website statement that “The Maryland GOP Urges You to Vote Against Questions, 4, 5, and 6.” Later today, the state chairman declared the “MDGOP absolutely did officially vote to oppose Questions 4, 5 and 6.” (Highlighting Forum’s.) We certainly accept the chairman’s report about the official vote. But there was clearly confusion among the faithful about the state GOP’s position. Was the executive committee vote a secret of state? Far more important than this inside baseball: how much did the Maryland GOP visibly campaign against Question 4 (‘Dream Act’) and Question 6 (same-sex marriage) during the time running up to last Tuesday? || Readers, don’t forget Veterans Day this November 11!

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The dominant wing of the Maryland state GOP leadership failed, by not taking a position on any of this November’s statewide ballot questions, [effectively] to support the repeal of the Maryland “Dream Act” (Question 4) and the repeal of same-sex marriage (Question 6) referred to the voters by grass-roots conservatives.

They thereby showed how deaf they are to their base who can reach out to a much wider and more likely market.

In presumably deep-blue Maryland, a political cross section of citizens of the Old Line State opposed the illegal-immigration-friendly “Dream Act” and the same-sex marriage law. 

These citizens successfully petitioned the two measures (Questions 4 and 6) to referendum (along with the “Congressional Districting Plan” –Question 5) on this month’s general-election ballot.

These successful petition drives, enabled by delegate Neil Parrott’s imagination and software, were grass-roots conservative efforts. 

Had the Maryland GOP leadership chosen to embrace and support them [effectively], they would have helped extend the GOP’s credibility and influence to working-class Maryland, and to African-American Maryland.

They would also have reached out to a faith-based community which had become estranged from the GOP during former governor Bob Ehrlich’s time in office.

Instead, the state party leadership crawled into its shell and chose to take no position on any of the ballot issuesthereby giving [gave] no [effective] institutional support to the repeal of these two measures — Questions 4 and 6 – on the November ballot.

In our view, [very visible] full-fledged endorsement of repeal by the state GOP would certainly have resulted in a rejection of the same-sex marriage law and probably the Maryland “Dream Act” as well.

In the event, the same-sex marriage law (Question 6) was approved by a small percentage of voters, and the Maryland “Dream Act” (Question 4) by a somewhat larger one.  Click here, and note here to see that Prince Georges County rejected same-sex marriage.

Gambling Expansion Takes Precedence Over Protecting Society’s Institutions

“Lotteries constitute an implicit tax similar to excise taxes on goods like cigarettes and alcohol. They are generally considered poor tax policy because they are regressive, not transparent to taxpayers, and aren’t neutral and therefore distort economic behavior.” – – Tax Foundation

Instead, a number of GOP state legislators very visibly supported the gambling-expansion initiative on the general election ballot.

They were:  state senators David Brinkley, Richard Colburn, George Edwards, Joseph Getty, J. B. Jennings, and delegates Wendell Beitzel, Robert Costa, Richard Impallaria, Michael McDermott, and Leroy Myers. 

In a mailer entitled “These Republicans Put Question 7 on the Ballot”, they wrote —

“We worked hard with our Republican colleagues to craft a gaming bill that would insure the long term viability of the gaming industry in Maryland….”


The “gaming industry” – what a euphemism! — generates a tax on poor people in addition to the heavy social costs it engenders.  

Running from Illegal Immigration

Maryland is already a sanctuary state.  Encouraging more illegal immigrants runs public costs way up

Illegal (and some legal) immigrants moreover often bring with them a culture of strong governmentalism.

Revealed Heather MacDonald (NRO) last Wednesday —

  • “It is not immigration policy that creates the strong bond between Hispanics and the Democratic party, but the core Democratic principles of a more generous safety net, strong government intervention in the economy, and progressive taxation.”
  • “The demographic changes set into motion by official and de facto immigration policy favoring low-skilled over high-skilled immigrants mean that a Republican party that purports to stand for small government and free markets faces an uncertain future.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

The Costs of Ignoring the Attack on the Traditional Family Structure

Same-sex marriage in Maryland has nothing to do with “fairness” and everything to do with the eventual destruction of marriage and the traditional family. In addition to the foregoing link, click here and here.

Liberty-oriented Americans, moreover, understand that same-sex marriage is a grave threat to free speech and to our religious liberties.

Here are lamentable Maryland adumbrations of what will come.

Where Do the Loyalties of These GOP Leaders Lie? Where Are Their Hearts?

And what exactly do conservatives have in common with this dominant wing of the Maryland GOP leadership?

Today we see Old Line State conservatives seeking an alternative voice to a Republican party that opposes only some tax hikes (chiefly Democratic ones), that is deaf to its base, that flees its responsibilities for strengthening our culture and our freedom, that has recklessly increased the state’s pension burden, and two of whose leading figures felt free to endorse — without a word of apology — one of the most dangerous of president Obama’s appointments.

Will conservatives be there in 2014 when the Maryland GOP comes looking for campaign volunteers and money?

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 06 Nov 2012

UPDATED! Daniel Horowitz Today Predicts “295-243 Romney Victory”

UPDATE NOVEMBER 6! A presumably final (and clinical) pre-election perspective today from Transom editor Ben Domenech – – “I stand by my prediction of a narrow Romney victory through a Midwestern path.  http://vlt.tc/jzw That being said, the overwhelmingly likely scenario according to the polling data today, accepted at face value, is a narrow Romney electoral vote loss, a Senate where Republicans pick up one or perhaps two seats, and a House where they pick up 4-6 seats. Should that be the result of the evening, I expect the long knives to come out rapidly in rejection of the viewpoint he represents from the perspective of the conservative base. Their most ideologically confrontational elected officials, House Republicans, will not have been rebuffed at all. Instead, they will look at Romney’s closing argument – a unifying message of uplift, bipartisanship emphasized in even the ruby red counties, with a ‘bring everyone together’ message – as one that was out of touch with the rough and tumble times and only delivered because of Romney’s own crippling defects as a candidate. The questions will be obvious: How is it possible that Republicans nominated the one person in their party unable to criticize Obamacare? How is it possible they chose someone who had to climb out of the deepest hole of unpopularity in order to even compete? How did they nominate someone in a time of demographic transition least capable of appealing to non-white voters?”

* * * * *

Top Madison Project analyst (and Marylander) Daniel Horowitz declares – –

“The punditry, analysis, and ‘who was right horse race talk’ is secondary.  Moreover, the real fight for our country will begin in earnest when Congress returns next week, irrespective of who wins the election.  We are committed to fighting for limited government, free markets, an America-first foreign policy, and traditional American values here at the Madison Project.  That is something that will not change with the outcome of the elections.”

With that said, I’m predicting a 295-243 Romney victory.”

Read it all to see key state details, and click on Horowitz’ map below.

Cautioned Horowitz: “… I recognize, as all my colleagues do, that this is a very murky pre-election period.  Anything could happen.  As conservatives, we must be prepared for any result.”

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 05 Nov 2012

UPDATED! Ben Domenech’s ‘Undertow Election’ Bodes Ill for President

UPDATE NOVEMBER 5! John Fund warns (NRO) “As Ohio Counts, So Waits the Nation” – – “Cincinnati, Ohio-If the presidential election goes into ‘overtime’ — if no winner is known on Wednesday morning after the election — the culprits may be procrastinating absentee voters in Ohio. If it goes on beyond that with no decision, it may be due to lawyers from both parties’ fighting trench warfare over individual ballots in a bloody recount. It could easily happen in other states, but the danger of an ‘overtime’ election is perhaps greatest in Ohio.”

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We are not pollster junkies, nor even would-be pollster junkies, but we found Ben Domenech’s analysisObama’s Failure With Whites, Independents Will Sink Him” (RealClearPolitics) yesterday (click here) both insightful and well worth considering – –

“I believe this election has turned, as I argued last week, into an undertow election. Romney’s support has remained remarkably consistent since his selection of Paul Ryan healed any remaining rift with the conservative base. There is no great wave of support rising up from the previously undecided to elevate Romney to a definitive win. However, Obama’s base of support has shown signs of being less engaged, less active, and less eager to vote. All indications are that turnout is going to lag the heights of 2008, falling closer to the levels of 1996 and 2000 – a distinct advantage for the Republican, no matter the election. It is also looking like turnout will break the string of decreasingly white electorates, again a bad sign for the president. As Josh Kraushaar points out, Team Obama may have the better ground game – but they also may have made a significant error in deciding which states could function as a firewall against Romney’s appeals:

‘The Obama turnout machine isn’t quite as valuable in the more homogeneous battleground states—Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire—that make up the president’s firewall. These states have older, whiter electorates. The name of the game for Democrats here is persuasion as much as mobilization. In Ohio, Obama’s campaign strategy is clear: making Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout a central part of the bid to hold onto enough working-class whites to win the state. But it’s also becoming clear that it’s not just Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin that are looking winnable for Romney—it’s the entire swath of competitive Midwestern and Rust Belt states that share demographic similarities, and where Republicans made significant gains during the 2010 midterms. Obama holds a small lead in Ohio thanks to the auto bailout, but the issues driving the electorate in neighboring states are more favorable to Republicans.

Team Obama may have successfully made Romney toxic in Ohio, and indeed, my electoral map below shows him failing to win there, but other Midwestern states have not experienced that same level of thermonuclear ad attack, and there the ground may prove more fertile.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Don’t fail to read all of Domenech’s Real Clear Politics post here.

The Barone View

Today Transom editor Domenech adds – –

“As many have noticed, I have Wisconsin as the deciding state on the map – a far closer race than Michael Barone predicts. http://vlt.tc/jwm  I’m rather stunned by how far out on the limb Barone’s gone with this, but no one knows this part of the country more than he does, and even if he’s wrong, I can’t see him being wrong by that much. Here’s a map of my prediction. http://vlt.tc/joz  And here’s a map of Barone’s. http://vlt.tc/ju6” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

This is substantial food for thought on election eve!



2012 Election Richard Falknor on 01 Nov 2012

Tea Party Express Chief Flies In To Endorse Bongino,Timmerman

TPE chief Amy Kremer, Blaine Young, Ken Timmerman

(Update — scroll to bottom for videos.) Tea Party Express (TPE) chief Amy Kremer conducted an enthusiastic rally at lunchtime today at Chik-fil-A in Frederick, Maryland in behalf of Dan Bongino the GOP candidate for United States Senator, and Ken Timmerman the Republican challenger running against Democratic incumbent Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District.

TPE declares – –

“Propelled by millions of Tea Party supporters across the country, Tea Party Express has become the most aggressive and influential national Tea Party group in the political arena. We are committed to identifying and supporting conservative candidates and causes that will champion tea party values and return our country to the Constitutional principles that have made America the ‘shining city on a hill.’”

Eighth Now A Competitive District

Long-time investigative reporter and author Timmerman explained – –

“The Tea Party Express organizers told us that they picked my challenge to out-of-touch career politician Chris Van Hollen because they consider Maryland’s 8th District to be a competitive race.”

Amy Kremer and Dan Bongino

Less Government, More Citizen Control

Former Secret Service agent Bongino pitched patient-centered health reform decrying Obamacare.  He underscored the importance of parental choice in education pointing to his own experience where parochial schools had given him a lifelong command of the language.

Frederick County Commissioners president (and gubernatorial candidate) Blaine Young introduced Timmerman who related the positive feedback he had received from Montgomery County Democrats in early voting.

Both Dan Bongino and Ken Timmerman are highly presentable candidates for the next Congress.  They represent a newer Maryland GOP face and send a sophisticated message of reform. The 2012 election could well begin a game change for Maryland — as well as result in a national repudiation of the current president. Consequently Maryland conservative networks should put forth their maximum effort for these two promising challengers over the next four days.

 UPDATE NOVEMBER 2! See two videos by AIM chairman Don Irvine here (Amy Kremer endorsing Ken Timmerman) and here (Blaine Young explains why Timmerman will be a strong voice in Washington, D. C. that “won’t quit.”)




2012 Election Richard Falknor on 12 Oct 2012

The VP Debate: Ben Domenech’s and Other “Takes”

“After all, many politicians lie and demagogue every day before they even get out of bed. And last night Ryan ran into one of the consummate liars and demagogues of our political age in Joe Biden, a blustering boisterous blowhard of a man who careens forward, capped teeth flashing in the sun, through inaccuracies and conflations of all shapes and sizes with reassuring emotional appeals and tough-sounding rhetoric. His entire career is built on his ability to tell blatant falsehoods and sound convincing while he does it. I actually enjoy Biden’s style – he is the ideal modern specimen of Senator qui absurdum est, his DNA strands traced to the very first braggadocios of Rome, clad in the toga candida, who so enjoyed interrupting the stammering Cicero.” – – The Transom today.

Ben Domenech who edits the subscription-available Transom today makes available to everyone his Vice Presidential Debate Edition.

The Transom is far more than just another right-center news ‘aggregator’.  Editor Domenech presents his own substantial insights.  And, of course, the very acts of seeking out and selecting what news or analyses to include in The Transom are editorial, not mechanical decisions. In The Transom’s case, these judgments are exercised with discernment and genuine intellectual curiosity.

We don’t necessarily agree with every one of Mr. Domenech’s selections – but when frank yet constructive disagreements arise among the voices of the right-center, conservatives can often learn much from them.

So click here for The Transom’s Vice Presidential Debate Edition!

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 26 Sep 2012

Romney & The Big GOP Money:Ben Domenech’s Challenging Take

“My [Domenech’s]original point was the irony that the Tea Party seems more comfortable with this ‘it’s his turn’ arrangement for Mitt Romney in the aftermath of the Paul Ryan pick, more pragmatic and less fickle than they were described in the months ahead of the nomination when they were chided for toying with the idea of Rick Santorum far past the point of politeness. They’ve made their peace that this is the only way to beat Obama, they’re sanguine about Romney’s technocratic sins, and they’ve swallowed most of their pride. The insiders are more frustrated – and their criticisms of Romney and his campaign today sound remarkably like investors in a stock that’s headed in the wrong direction. Because for them, in some cases, that’s exactly what he is.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Today Ben Domenech in his invaluable Transom (click here to subscribe) makes some essential points about governor Mitt Romney, the campaign, and the “establishment.”

This is a post about understanding the real forces shaping the Republican Establishment. It is not a post against voting for Romney nor for sitting out the election. After all, conservatives can both think and deliver at the same time. And of course, there is no question that president Obama must be defeated on November 6.

But the Domenech insights — a few of which we list below — merit serious consideration by grass-roots conservative leaders who also understand that we will be on a very long march after November 6.

(Highlighting below is Forum’s throughout.)

  • “Bear with me as I return to a point I’ve made before, but it’s been long enough that I should repeat it for all the new subscribers: the DC/Manhattan establishment, the one that really matters, is not the punditocracy. This is not to say such voices have no influence – they do. The opinion of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page in particular holds a great deal of sway. But the opinions of the people who focus on the other sections of the Wall Street Journal matter more, because they communicate those opinions in dollars and cents. What’s more, decisively winning the establishment money primary typically dictates the direction of the DC/Manhattan punditocracy in Republican primaries – they see the money, they see the team, they see that he’s the guy whose turn it is, and their expectations form about who can matter and who can’t. Expectations of inevitability are hard to shake, particularly in Republican primaries.”
  • “And of Romney’s $87 million, a mere 13 percent came from small donations. (If we’re talking about the limits of populism, that’s it: you don’t need to be populist at all in order to win a GOP primary, and you can’t afford to run as one any more in my view. Except on immigration, because it’s the litmus test that matters now.) Romney’s combined warchest lapped the field, and his ability to self-fund effectively scared away a number of potential candidates as well – no one wanted to go up against that Death Star: not Barbour, not Christie, not Rubio, not Ryan, and not Daniels, who got a shot across the bow warning about it first – and we saw what happened to those who did.”
  • “And that doesn’t even count the $40 million Romney’s Super PAC spent against Republicans in the primary – including over $21 million against Santorum alone, about as much as Santorum’s entire campaign raised (by comparison, Santorum’s Super PAC spent $700k on anti-Romney ads – 10% of their total budget). What we’re talking about, in political terms, is a metric ton of cash. With the exception of the odd Sheldon Adelson and Foster Friess types, the big donors got on board with Romney early and gave big, not just to him but to his Super PAC. Funded exclusively by big donors and corporate funders, Romney’s Super PAC spent more to defeat Republicans in the primary than it has spent thus far to defeat Obama.
  • “Nor do these numbers include the sideline benefit of the other activist groups that sat on the sidelines to avoid angering their biggest donors, or the benefits of crossover fundraisers between American Crossroads and Romney’s team. These donors don’t just give to campaigns and PACs: they also fund organizations in Washington and have exerted enormous pressure on Romney critics within those organizations to hold their tongue, spend their money differently, hold off on endorsements, and tamp down on criticism – the sort of push that carries a lot of weight when it comes from someone with their name on buildings. These insiders, not the pundits, were the ones doing the ‘foisting’ from my perspective. They also fund a few pundits, too, though no one likes to talk about that.”
  • “This is the way the process is, it’s unlikely to ever change, particularly in the wake of the process changes at the most recent convention. While the Tea Partiers and the conservative base can unite to toss out Senators in their own party, they lack the sophistication and the invested capital to beat anyone whose turn it is. And if Romney wins, I’d expect more foisting, not less, in the foreseeable future. Establishment, establishment – you always know what’s best.”

Subscribe to the Transom and read editor Domenech’s entire post on Romney and the campaign.

And the future? Conservative leaders drawing their post-election road maps should revisit (or visit for the first time) one of the best manifesto’s of recent time: Angelo Codevilla’s  “America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution,” here.

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Related Article: Open our post “Phyllis Schlafly: Rove ‘Toxic’ By His Loose Talk About Todd Akin” here for questions about “Karl Rove’s Donors and The Serious Resources of American Crossroads.”

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 11 Sep 2012

The Romney Campaign and The Swing Voters

Daniel Horowitz (Madison Project) declared today (highlighting is Forum’s throughout)

“Convinced that swing voters want to see a banal presentation, Romney’s consultants obdurately ran the convention as a touchy-feely ‘everyone has a story’ Oprah show, which was devoid of ideas or acerbic attacks on Obama.  They could have ripped apart every aspect of his fiscal, social, and foreign policies while showing how it is his socialism that is raising the cost of goods on consumers and destroying jobs; how it is his appeasement of foreign enemies that is making the world dangerous; how it is his Hollywood values that are destroying families and exacerbating poverty.  They could have charted a specific conservative, free market approach, most notably, by attacking Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and Cap and Trade.  We heard almost nothing of that during the entire convention, and especially during Romney’s speech.  Someone watching the convention would not have seen exactly how it is Obama’s policies that are bankrupt and bankrupting the nation.  They would not have seen a strong united message of counter-culture forces that are unabashedly disseminated from the convention lectern.  They didn’t even see a typical challenger’s convention.  They saw weakness.

He continues – –

“If you subscribe to the postulates of the GOP consultant class, you would have expected the DNC to turn off swing voters in droves.  In reality, not only did their convention energize the liberal base, it won over swing voters.  Does this mean that the majority of people support their ideas or associate with the lunatic fringe that populated that convention center?  Of course not.  But as we noted, swing voters don’t vote rationally.  They want to vote for a winner – someone who evinces decisiveness and confidence.  The DNC looked like a winner to them; the RNC looked like a loser.”

Why does the GOP keep giving up? Marylander Horowitz cites chapter and verse – –

“We defeated the left in 32 out of 32 state fights over gay marriage.  Yet, Republicans inexplicitly ceded the issue and stopped fighting.  They are acting like losers, as if they are resigned to the other side winning.  That creates a self-fulfilling doomsday for us.  The polls reflect that.  The same thing goes for amnesty.  This was the biggest losing issue for Democrats just 5 years ago.  Republicans have given up on it for no reason.  The polling reflects that.

The biggest proof of all?  Obamacare.  All sides agree that Obamacare was a huge loser for the left.  But Romney has completely ceded the issue, refusing to bring it up for most of the campaign.  Now he is agreeing to major portions of the law.  What message does that send to swing voters?  Believe it or not, the Rasmussen tracking poll shows Obamacare gaining a lot of momentum on that issue.”

Horowitz is right citing these examples. But ‘given up. . . for no reason’ may not be just the phrase. Many in the GOP Establishment favor what amounts to immigration amnesty; few want to fight against the homosexual lobby or undertake any cultural-reform initiative; and some are certainly sensitive to the wishes of large insurance companies for the House leadership has a record of hesitation with respect to an outright repeal of Obamacare. Horowitz correctly says “there is no law saying that you just have to ‘focus on the economy’ – whatever that means.”  We believe that idea is a deliberately crafted escape clause allowing GOP politicians to avoid addressing immigration or cultural issues no matter how well they poll, nor, Heaven forbid, the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Madison Project’s Horowitz — after warning that “When Obama is beating Romney to a pulp and Romney fails to counter attack, all the negativity is projected on Romney” – – does have some words of hope:

“I am not presenting this information and analysis to dispirit you.  A five point lead can easily be overcome in a matter of two months.  Moreover, the convention bounce can easily fade.  However, the real question is why Romney never got a bounce; why Romney never led?  He can easily win this race, but is he willing to do what it takes?”

Indeed.  But a further question is can governor Mitt Romney break out from his habitual use of consultants and, in this campaign at least, their groupthink?

A worthwhile read: analyst Horowitz’ entire ‘The State of the Race’ here.


2012 Election Richard Falknor on 09 Sep 2012

UPDATED! Andy McCarthy Decries The GOP Leadership’s Near Fatal Course

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 11! Last Friday Jonah Golberg through his “The Campaign of Wrong Ideas vs. No Ideas” (NRO) explained – – “Meanwhile, the Republicans seem to have become Dukakified. It was Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, who insisted that the election should be entirely about ‘competence, not ideology.’ Romney has avoided saying that in so many words, but it’s certainly how he’s campaigning. After running to the right in the primaries and boldly picking Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney bizarrely seems to have retreated to an ideological and even intellectual crouch. Though he doesn’t say it explicitly, the tone and tenor of Romney’s convention speech suggested that Obama failed because didn’t have the right resume, not because he has the wrong ideas. Stuart Stevens, Romney’s top strategist, has dismayed many on the right by operating according to the theory that Romney mustn’t do anything to offend the delicate sensibilities of some statistical abstraction of a female voter in the Ohio suburbs.” * * * * * But yesterday morning Ben Domenech (The Transom) has a different take – -“The likeliest explanation for Obama’s standing in the polls and his continued slight sub-50 percent edge is also the simplest one: Republicans chose to nominate a candidate who is disliked by voters to an unprecedented historical degree who has continued to be disliked by voters. Making him even slightly less disliked is hard. Making him slightly more disliked is easy. http://vlt.tc/gk2  Whether voters will swallow their dislike given the state of the economy is an assumption of a rationale that we can’t predict on such a large scale. It’s a roll of the dice that the Republicans took, convinced it was the safer path. Perhaps it was! But we won’t know that til November.” .” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
* * * * *
“It’s like the Obamacare debate in Congress: They’re [the Democrats] not worried about what it looks like; they’re worried about winning. Today’s Republicans are worried about what it looks like. Winning is secondary. What matters most is that they not appear too mean on a stage they’ve allowed their bare-knuckles opponents to set. Their consultants tell them: ‘It’s not what you stand for; it’s how you get to 50 percent plus one. So soften your edges, drop the philosophy crap, and if you need to show the media some backbone, find a conservative to bash.’” –Andrew McCarthy

We want to emphasize what we said Friday about the necessity for the Romney campaign to drop the flawed Rove Strategy:

This is no political game, no sporting contest. As Rush Limbaugh points out, “these are real people’s lives that are being affected here.” The Republican candidate (and perhaps even the Rove crowd) likely have resources enough to ride out the next four years of Obama and several terms of his successors, and to shield themselves from the growing intrusions of government power.  Most Americans do not.

We suspect that the McCain and Romney handlers also drew back, and now draw back from a full bore attack on Mr. Obama as a socialist because they might create an environment unsympathetic even to their own vanilla brand of governmentalism.  

A nationwide mandate for rightsizing government would be much more complicating for this crowd than a nationwide mandate purely for administrative competence.

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy in his “Double-Minded Republicans” (NRO) made some crucial points along similar lines —

  • “We have lost a third of the country and, as if that weren’t bad enough, Republicans act as if it were two-thirds.”
  • “The lost third cannot be recovered overnight. For now, it is gone. You cannot cede the campus and the culture to the progressive, post-American Left for two generations and expect a different outcome. “
  • “ The people coming of age in our country today have been reared very differently from those who were just beginning to take the wheel in the early 1980s. They have marinated in an unapologetically progressive system that prizes group discipline and narrative over free will and critical thought.”
  • “In America, at least until now, the avant-garde has never been able to tame the public. It has always been possible to run against elite opinion and win — if you make a compelling counter-case.Today’s Republicans do not. Indeed, they cannot, because they have accepted the progressive framework. Their argument is not that the welfare state, deficit spending, federalized education, sharia-democracy promotion, and the rest are bad policies. Their argument is not that Washington needs to be dramatically downsized. It is that progressive governance is fine but needs to be better executed.
  • “There is a big conservative base out there — bigger than the third of the country we’ve lost. But they’re left to scratch their heads and say, ‘I’m supporting this guy . . . why?’ The response comes a little less quickly after each fit of pique: ‘Oh, right, because he’s not Obama.’That’s a lot, but will it be enough?” (Underscoring and highlighting throughout are Forum’s.)

As always, we urge you to consider the entire Andrew McCarthy post here.

Do you find McCarthy’s and similar diagnoses both accurate and troubling?

Then get together with like-minded activists to try to help put the Romney Campaign right, very quickly. 

There will be no consolation prizes in any coming Obama years because we respected GOP ‘group discipline’ — nor stayed, docile, ‘in our place’ limiting ourselves to uncritical campaign cheering. 

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 30 Aug 2012

College Suburban Swing Voters, ‘Clerisy’ Now In Obama’s Pocket?

Policy polymath Stanley Kurtz warned yesterday (NRO) here — 

“For decades, our college classrooms have steadily been converting the study of history, the reading of our finest novels, and the practice of philosophy into little more than a debunking of the supposed race, class, and gender ‘domination’ hidden within. Now our politics pulls the same reductionist nonsense on a brilliantly successful businessman, some of our finest religious institutions, and Americans who hope to build a pathway from welfare to work.

The college-educated suburban swing voters critical to Obama’s coalition are susceptible to this sort of nonsense, in no small part because they went to college. I’ve been arguing that these suburbanites are going to be the targets of the president’s second-term redistributive schemes. They’d rethink their support for Obama if they knew that. Yet these same suburbanites are part of a great inversion of the American electorate in which college-educated voters have migrated over time to the Democrats.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

If the cores of our universities (apart from their necessary business, professional, and technical schools) are once more to be genuine centers of learning “producing citizens who can exercise their political liberty responsibly,” state governors, legislators, and, not least, grass-roots conservatives must start paying attention. 

Otherwise our already badly diminished civic culture will simply disappear.

Joel Kotkin (Newgeography) in turn reveals  “The Unseen Class War That Could Decide The Presidential Election” here. 

Consider these excerpts from master geographer Kotkin:

“The Patrician Left”

  • “’The “patrician left’ — a term that might have amused Marx — extends as well to Silicon Valley, where venture capitalists and techies have opened their wallets wider than ever before for the president. Microsoft and Google are two of Obama’s top three organizational sources of campaign contributions. Valley financiers are not always as selfless as they or their admirers imagine: Many have sought to feed at the Energy Department’s bounteous ‘green’ energy trough and all face regulatory reviews by federal agencies.”
  • “The Republicans have turned increasingly to those patricians who depend on the more tangible economy. If you make your living from digging coal or exploring for oil wells, even if you don’t like him, Romney is your man. This saddles the GOP with the burden of being linked to one of America’s most hated interests: oil and gas companies. Almost as detested is the biggest source of Romney cash, large Wall Street banks. (In contrast, Democratic-leaning industries, such as Internet-related companies, enjoy relatively high public support.)”

The Obama “Clerisy”

  • “Obama’s core middle-class support, and that of his party, comes from what might be best described as ‘the clerisy,’ a 21st century version of France’s pre-revolution First Estate. This includes an ever-expanding class of minders — lawyers, teachers, university professors, the media and, most particularly, the relatively well paid legions of public sector workers — who inhabit Washington, academia, large non-profits and government centers across the country.”
  • “This largely well-heeled ‘middle class’ still adores the president, and party theoreticians see it as the Democratic Party’s new base. Gallup surveys reveal Obama does best among ‘professionals’ such as teachers, lawyers and educators.”

The GOP ‘Yeomanry’

  • “The GOP, for its part, now relies on another part of the middle class, what I would call the yeomanry. In many ways they represent the contemporary version of Jeffersonian farmers or the beneficiaries of President Lincoln’s Homestead Act. They are primarily small property owners who lack the girth and connections of the clerisy but resist joining the government-dependent poor. Particularly critical are small business owners, who Gallup identifies as ‘the least approving’ of Obama among all the major occupation groups. Barely one in three likes the present administration.
  • “The yeomanry diverge from the clerisy in other ways. They tend to live in the suburbs, a geography much detested by many leaders of the clerisy and, likely, the president himself. Yeomen families tend to be concentrated in those parts of the country that have more children and are more apt to seek solutions to social problems through private efforts. Philanthropy, church work and voluntarism — what you might call, appropriately enough, the Utah approach, after the state that leads in philanthropy.”
  • “The nature of their work also differentiates the clerisy from the yeomanry. The clerisy labors largely in offices and has no contact with actual production. Many yeomen, particularly in business services, depend on industry for their livelihoods either directly or indirectly. The clerisy’s stultifying, and often job-toxic regulations and ‘green’ agenda may be one reason why people engaged in farming, fishing, forestry, transportation, manufacturing and construction overwhelmingly disapprove of the president’s policies, according to Gallup.”

The End Game

And how does author Kotkin view the current order of political battle?

  • “Ultimately this division — clerisy and their clients versus yeomanry — will decide the election. The patricians and the unions will finance this battle on both sides, spreading a predictable thread of half-truths and outright lies. The Democrats enjoy a tactical advantage.  All President Obama needs is to gain a rough split among the vast group making around or above the national median income. He can count on overwhelming backing by the largely government dependent poor as well as most ethnic minorities, even the most entrepreneurial and successful.”
  • “Romney’s imperative will be to rouse the yeomanry by suggesting the clerisy, both by their sheer costliness and increasingly intrusive agenda, are crippling their family’s prospects for a better life. In these times of weak economic growth and growing income disparity, the Republicans delude themselves by claiming to ignore class warfare. They need to learn how instead to make it politically profitable for themselves.(Underscoring and highlighting throughout are Forum’s.)

Good advice.  But is the Romney Team flexible enough to act on it? In time?


Forum background posts – –

Metrorail to Loudoun: Kindling for “Burn[ing] Down the Suburbs’?

Radical University Empires vs. Clueless State Lawmakers

A Sobering AEI Report on Teaching Civics

Are Your GOP Politicians Ruling Class? Or Country Class?





2012 Election Richard Falknor on 11 Aug 2012

UPDATED! A Faltering Campaign Soups Up Its Engine With A Policy Guy

UPDATES! AUGUST 11 — Mark Steyn declares (NRO) in his Milquetoast Mitt: Romney needs to get serious about the crisis we face –“Half the country is entirely unaware of the existential threat Obama-sized government represents, and Mitt seems in no hurry to alert them to what’s at stake, save for occasional warnings that if we’re not careful America will end up like Europe. We should be so lucky. The more likely scenario is something closer to the more corrupt and decrepit fiefdoms of Latin America.”
AUGUST 11 –Stanley Kurtz (NRO) explains (click here) – –  “What the public still doesn’t understand, despite the president’s somewhat more open left-turn of late, is just how far left his second-term agenda aims to go. I’ve laid out some of it here, and Americans are simply not prepared for what is about to hit us should Obama win.” . . . . . “Although a Romney victory would be taken by conservatives as proof that we are still a center-right nation, the fact is that the mainstream media and our key cultural institutions are now in the hands of an increasingly ambitious Left. . . . The Obama presidency has given the Left a taste of the transformations it might achieve, and defeat will be dismissed as a merely temporary setback.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

* * * * *

“Ultimately, Romney may have made this decision because he knows that he is behind in this election, and that his likeliest path to victory is on big ideas and fiscal seriousness, not small ball and playing it safe. He has tried the safe path, and it hasn’t worked. “ (Underscoring Forum’s.) – –  The Transom: Ryan Primer

Benjamin Domenech’s The Transom has an exhaustive and balanced analysis of the Paul Ryan selection as the presumptive Republican vice-presidential nominee.

(This on-line publication is well worth the $20 annual subscription. Whether conservatives agree with all pundit Domenech’s insights and selections or not, they should not ‘leave home’ before eyeballing the day’s Transom.)

Two more points from Domenech today – – then readers should consider the entire piece themselves:

  • “Because I do think Romney is behind—in the sense that if the election was today, I do believe he would lose—I think it is a selection worth the risk. But I also think commentators may be underestimating the value of the relationship Ryan had with Romney during the primary, one formed over the course of a year, which brought the two politicians closer together in ways that escaped the notice of most observers.”
  • “As an aside: one wonders how Romney would’ve treated Ryan as an opponent, as opposed to a legislative ally. Had Ryan run for president, his Medicare plan would’ve been the least of his problems in my view: everyone in America would know he voted for the auto bailout, TARP, and his pro-union votes within a week of Romney slash and burn ads. If you don’t think they would’ve done this, I think you’re fooling yourself. http://vlt.tc/ez2  Ryan’s voting record has more in common with that of a pragmatic Midwestern moderate, not the hard-edged conservative he’s painted as by the left. The Tea Party would’ve turned on Ryan very quickly in my view, and his support from the intellectual elite would not have mattered much. This is a reminder that the real problem with the 2012 primary was not that the conservative base couldn’t decide who they wanted, but that they wanted someone who didn’t exist.”  (Underscoring Forum’s.)

For even more detail, readers can visit the Paul Ryan biography in the authoritative 2012 Almanac of America Politics.

Two excerpts – –

  • “In 1998. . . Ryan campaigned against tax increases and in favor of gun-ownership rights.” 
  • “He backed versions of the DREAM Act giving  some children of illegal immigrants a potential path to citizenship.  But he refused to support the version that the Democratically-controlled House passed in December 2010, saying it went too far.”( Underscoring Forum’s.)

Our initial reaction: providentially, governor Mitt Romney picked neither New Jersey governor Chris Christie (see Andy McCarthy’s post in the foregoing link for just one of the governor’s non-conservative postures) nor former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice as his choice for running mate. Whatever their popularity among the GOP “cheer-leading set”, either would have been markedly unacceptable to most conservatives.

Big Unsolved Romney Problems: “Those are not things that are part of my campaign.”

As Cliff Kincaid  (AIM) has pointed out here, the Romney Campaign’s arrogance in dismissing so many families’ support for “freedom of speech that led to the Chick-fil-A Day” is simply breathtaking.

The Campaign’s message to what Angelo Codevilla calls – – click here — the country class:  “we can’t grasp your concerns and don’t want to”.

These concerns (click here for Cliff Kincaid’s catalog) range from fear of “Ruling Class” action mainstreaming homosexuality (in this case, the Campaign’s position on the Boy Scouts) to “Ruling Class” reluctance to track Islamist penetration of our government – – and our schools.

Representative Paul Ryan cannot fix the Romney Campaign’s attitude on these matters with persuasive discussions of reforming entitlements — as critically important as his work will be.

This is a problem Mr. Romney needs to address himself – in person. Doing so may help to repair his serious ‘likeability’ problem.


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