Monday Reads: Republican Knock Down, Drag out, Slap Fight EditionPosted: February 20, 2012
How’s that for a great mix of holidays? Losar is the Tibetan New Year and it’s celebrated on the 22nd this year. It’s Lundi Gras today. That’s the day before Mardi Gras. President’s Day is officially today too. Plenty of holiday revelry to give us a break from the Civil War in Syria, the continued attack on Tibetans, the war on US women, and a still fragile economy. Meanwhile, the Republican primary season is turning into a Slap Fight Club. Which of the four stooges will be still standing after Super Tuesday?
Rick Santorum continued to provide evidence of exactly how far out of the mainstream his views seem to be. He attacked prenatal testing as something that leads to abortions and continued to lecture Protestants and the President on phony theology. I think he must be running for Pope and we missed the announcement.
Campaigning in Ohio on Saturday, Rick Santorum displayed his culture-warrior side in full force, as he harshly attacked President Obama by suggesting the president wanted to see more disabled babies aborted and accusing him of projecting his values – which Santorum claimed were not rooted in the Bible – on the Catholic Church.
Santorum recalled his prominent role in the 1990s debates over the controversial procedure that critics call partial-birth abortion. He lambasted the president’s health care law requiring insurance policies to include free prenatal testing, “because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.”
“That, too, is part of Obamacare, another hidden message as to what President Obama thinks of those who are less able than the elites who want to govern our country,” Santorum said.
Prenatal tests are a standard part of modern medical care. The Department of Health and Human Services says such tests “help keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. It also involves education and counseling about how to handle different aspects of your pregnancy.”
Paul Ryan suggested that Obama’s goal to provide universal access to birth control in private insurance plans was “paternalistic” and “arrogant”. Something tells me that Ryan’s not got a very good grasp of vocabulary. He seems to have those definitions upside down. Since when is it the role of government to enforce the Bishop’s views on the rest of us?
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday blasted the Obama administration’s moves to mandate religious affiliated groups to provide contraception coverage as “paternalistic” and “arrogant.”
“What we’re getting from the White House on this conscience issue, it’s not an issue about contraception, it’s an issue that reveals a political philosophy the president is showing that basically treats our constitutional rights as if they were revocable privileges from our government, not inalienable rights from our creator.” said Ryan on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“We’re seeing this new government activism, paternalistic, arrogant, political philosophy that puts new government-granted rights in the way of our constitutional rights.”
“That’s really not about contraception,” said Ryan of the mandate. “It’s about violating our first amendment rights to religious freedom and conscience.”
Ryan was asked by host David Gregory to respond to GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s comments Saturday, saying that President Obama’s political agenda was based on “some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.”
“I wouldn’t characterize it that way,” said Ryan. “I would simply say that he has a political philosophy that believes he can mandate certain benefits and activities of the American people that conflicts with their constitutional rights. He believes that these new government-granted rights trump our constitutional rights such as our first amendment right to conscience, to freedom of religion.”
While these guys keep pushing the religious freedom meme, they certainly forget to mention all those supreme court cases that have ruled out specific religious practices. This includes human sacrifice, smoking pot and peyote as sacraments, bigamy, denying children life saving blood transfusions and vaccines, and a host of other things.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul thinks all this focus on social issues is a “losing proposition”. However, Pauls’ religious obsession with an extreme interpretation of state’s rights doesn’t seem too far off the marks of the other nitwits. Paul thinks Santorum is a liberal. Back in the day when political labels were consistent, we would call Santorum a “theocrat” and Paul a “dixiecrat”. I don’t see any thing remotely conservative about any of these Republicans. They’re all extremely radical in their own right.
Paul seemed almost baffled that everyone has been talking about social issues at a time when he and others are more concerned with preserving basic civil liberties and the economy. But specifically where Santorum was concerned, Paul argued that he’s been a hypocrite for years now.
“He wants to control people’s social lives. At the same time, he voted for Planned Parenthood. I mean, I don’t see how anybody can get away with that inconsistency pretending he’s a conservative. And his voting record is, I think from my viewpoint, an atrocious voting record, how liberal he’s been and all the things he’s voted for over his many years in the Senate and in the House.”
Paul Ryan is one of those Republicans that also make up American History. There’s no mention of a creator or “inalienable rights” in the Constitution. That’s the Declaration of Independence. He also must thing that it’s okay for any remaining Incas to practice human sacrifice, for Rastafarians to use pot as a sacrament, for Jehovah’s witnesses to deny their kids access to blood transfusions and vaccines, and for Mormons to practice bigamy under that reasoning. I wonder if he’s even read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any Supreme Court decisions. But all this Santorum surge has cheered up the Obama campaign.
“The one who can beat Obama: Rick Santorum,” the television commercial proclaims. That boast brings cheers from two quarters: the faithful followers of the conservative Republican presidential candidate, and the Democratic president’s political strategists.
The former Pennsylvania senator is on fire in the Republican contest, threatening the front-runner, Mitt Romney, in the critical Michigan primary next week and nationally.
Still, President Barack Obama’s campaign, the super-PACs supporting it and the Democratic National Committee are targeting Romney. They still believe the former Massachusetts governor is the likely nominee, though they are less certain than they were a few weeks ago. And they calculate, despite the shortcomings Romney displays as a candidate, that he would be more competitive than Santorum in the general election.
Santorum, on the other hand, is a more natural Republican primary candidate, singing the same conservative economic song as the party’s other aspirants, and layering it with hardcore social and cultural views, such as hostility to gay rights, contraception and feminism.
He’s a more problematic adversary for Romney than is Newt Gingrich, who has been savaged for his lucrative links to the federally backed home-mortgage company Freddie Mac and his checkered career as House speaker.
Newt Gingrich? Is any one talking about him at all? Well, just Callista, the Newster, and Fox News. The rest of us have figured he moved his campaign to the moon.
WALLACE: Let’s start with the rollercoaster that is the Gingrich campaign. Just three weeks ago, after your win in South Carolina, you were leading — just three weeks ago — leading the Real Clear Politics average of national polls at 31 percent. Now, you’re a distant third all the way back at 14.5 percent.
I would like you to put on your political analyst hat that you used to wear here at FOX News. What happened?
GINGRICH: Twenty million dollars of Mitt Romney negative ads. I mean, it’s not complicated. Look at Florida, outspent five to one. Many of the ads factually false, as the Wall Street Journal and National Review and others have reported. Now, you got to work your way back up again.
As you pointed out, I’ve twice been the front runner — both times over big ideas, developing positive solutions. The first time I was ahead 15 to 21 points in the national polls, we hadn’t bought a single ad yet. So, we’re back doing what I think I do best, which is focusing on things like on energy policy, $2.50 a gallon gasoline, big breakthrough ideas, and we’ll see what happens over the next three or four weeks.
Newt still has the worst negatives of any politician in the country. However, that’s not stopping him at all.
Public Policy Polling is showing a tight race in Michigan. Romney’s gaining and probably due to all of Santorum’s religous rants.
The Republican race for President in Michigan has tightened considerably over the last week, with what was a 15 point lead for Rick Santorum down to 4. He leads with 37% to 33% for Mitt Romney, 15% for Ron Paul, and 10% for Newt Gingrich.
The tightening over the last week is much more a function of Romney gaining than Santorum falling. Santorum’s favorability spread of 67/23 has seen no change since our last poll, and his share of the vote has dropped only 2 points from 39% to 37%. Romney meanwhile has seen his net favorability improve 10 points from +10 (49/39) to +20 (55/35) and his vote share go from 24% to 33%.
What we’re seeing in Michigan is a very different story from Florida where Romney surged by effectively destroying his opponent’s image- here Romney’s gains have more to do with building himself up.
Groups Santorum has double digit leads with include Protestants (up 47-30), union members (up 43-23), Evangelicals (up 51-24), Tea Partiers (up 55-20), ‘very conservative’ voters (up 54-23), and men (up 40-28).
Romney is leading the field with women (38-34), seniors (42-34), moderates (35-24), ‘somewhat conservative’ voters (40-34), and Catholics (43-31).
Newt Gingrich’s continued presence in the race is helping Romney a lot. If he dropped 45% of his supporters would go to Santorum, compared to only 29% for Romney and it would push Santorum’s lead over Romney up to 42-33. 47% of primary voters think Gingrich should drop out while only 40% believe he should continue on, but he’s certainly not showing any indication he’ll leave.
These are the primary dates to watch. Arizona and Michigan have primaries on the 28th. Washington State has a caucus on the 3rd that comes directly before Super Tuesday on March 6. There are ten primary/caucus states holding elections on that day. I’m wondering if it can get any more insane. The Arizona Debate appears to be the only scheduled event prior to all these elections.
In no particular order, here are four things you should watch in this week’s desert debate: Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich.
The final four have not shared a stage in almost a month: Not since Romney won Florida, Nevada and Maine. Not since Santorum triumphed in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado. Not since Paul won — well, Paul won nowhere, though he told me on CNN’s “State of the Union,” “It all depends on how you measure winning … the bottom line is who is going to get the delegates … and we think we’re doing pretty good.”
Also not winning anywhere since the last debate is Gingrich, who retains his down-but-never-out storyline. The former House speaker promised recently, “I have been front-runner twice. I suspect I’ll be the front-runner again in a few weeks.”
It is at least arguable that since the last debate on January 26, Gingrich has faded and Paul has hit a ceiling. Still, all four Republican presidential hopefuls have jointly suffered from an increasing Republican anxiety about the field.
Frankly, I’m just going to try to stick to this week’s celebrations. It has to be less insane than watching politics these days. The biggest screaming lie of the weekend was Michelle Bachmann’s insistence that the Republican Party was pro-women. Between that and Sarah Palin’s offer to rescue the party via a brokered convention I spent most of the weekend cleaning my computer screen.
Former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on Sunday railed against critics who say the recent birth control controversy reflects a Republican Party that holds suppressive views toward women.
“There is no anti-women move whatsoever. The Republican Party is extremely pro-women,” Bachmann said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What we saw was President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, which is ‘Obamacare,’ demonstrated 3-D tragedy.”
Yeah, right. It would be so awful if every woman got birth control, prenatal care, and other preventative services with no add-on costs. That’s a real 3-D tragedy, isn’t it?
So, any good news in your neck of the woods? Let’s hear what’s on your reading and blogging list these days!