Category Archives: Elections

Why Does She Do That?

From Captain’s Quarters, where Ed Morrissey obviously paid closer attention to the Democratic debate today than I did, comes this bit of Hillary:

HC: We’ve got to enlist the American people the way we did in a previous generation for the Apollo program. As a little girl, I remember being thrilled about that, and feeling there was something I could do. [Shrugs] My fifth-grade teacher said it was to study math and science, but it gave me an idea of actually contributing to my country.

What a nice and inspirational anecdote. There’s only one problem with it, as Morrissey points out:

Hillary Clinton was born in 1947. Assuming she started the first grade as a six-year-old as most kids do, she would have been in the fifth grade in 1957-1958. The Mercury program didn’t start until 1961, and Apollo started in 1966. John Kennedy didn’t even make his speech about going to the moon until she was a teenager, not a “little girl”.

Why spew out a BS story like that when it’s so obviously a fib? Does she think nobody knows how old she is or when the Apollo program was going? Good grief. Maybe she thinks her audience consists of the people in this video. Keep in mind she’s done the same thing before when she claimed she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, famous for climbing Mount Everest in 1953 when Hillary was 5 years old. You’d think she’d learn her lesson and stop doing that!

This reminds me of something Maureen Dowd did in her column the other day. There was a discussion of the piece at Ann Althouse’s place when I decided to look around to see what other people were saying about it. I found this over at Instapundit:

CAUGHT YOUTHENING: Maureen Dowd’s latest column begins:

When I was a kid, we used to drive on the Beltway past the big Mormon temple outside Washington. The spires rose up like a white Oz, and some wag had spray-painted the message on a bridge beneath: “Surrender Dorothy!”

But if you’re imagining Dowd as a pigtailed six-year-old in the back of the family station wagon, think again. The temple was finished in 1974. Maureen Dowd was born in 1952. So she was a “kid” who was old enough to vote and drink. (According to this source, the graffiti first appeared in 1973, when Dowd would have been 21.)

Granted, Maureen Dowd isn’t a politician running for office and some people might write it off as just a woman lying about her age, but come on – does she not realize people know how old she is?

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Filed under debates, Elections, Lame Campaign Tactics

More Debate Reactions

As has been the case for most of the debates, most of the chatter is about how the event was handled instead of what we actually learned from the candidates. Dean Barnett at the Weekly Standard has a scathing column at the top of memeorandum:

HERE WE WERE on Wednesday, a nation of political junkies gathered around our televisions to watch the candidates debate each other one last time, and we had as a moderator one Carolyn Washburn, the editor of the Des Moines Register. I don’t mean to go all East-coast-elitist on you; I’m sure there are people in Iowa who could capably moderate a presidential debate. Unfortunately, and obviously, Carolyn Washburn is not one of them.

The bulk of the post-debate analysis will probably focus on how maladroit Washburn was at the job. She did the impossible–she moderated the last Iowa debate between the Republican candidates before caucuses and yet saw to it that none of the candidates engaged each other. In other words, the moderator ensured that the debate would be as lively as a 12 part PBS series on “How Grass Grows.” A personal aside to the Des Moines Register–“boring” is not synonymous with “serious.”

The problems went beyond Washburn’s lack of mad moderating skillz. From the outset, Washburn announced that the candidates would not be discussing either Iraq or immigration. Swell! It’s the biggest debate of the season, so let’s take the two biggest issues off the table. For what it’s worth, Washburn brought all the charm to her assignment of a latter-day Nurse Ratched.

Ouch, I sort of feel sorry for Ms Washburn because her performance has received nearly universal derision. Barnett goes on to give his opinion of who did best in the debate, such as it was. He thinks Fred Thompson came out the winner and he liked Romney’s performance, which is pretty much the consensus. However, I see that Rick Klein at ABC news is still pushing Huckabee: ANALYSIS: Huckabee Shines in Lackluster Debate

Well, that was … thoroughly uninteresting. And that is fantastic, spectacular news for new Republican front-runner Mike Huckabee, and a giant missed opportunity for Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and all the rest of the would-be Iowa contenders.

[…]

Winners:

Mike Huckabee: Nothing happened to slow his momentum, and plenty happened to suggest that it will continue.

Ron Paul: Loved the focus on questions of national debt, the Constitution and an overreaching federal government.

[…]

Losers:

Fred Thompson: Provided a highlight of the ho-hum debate by slapping down the debate moderator, refusing to raise his hand or answer a yes-or-no question. Guess he can kiss that Des Moines Register endorsement goodbye …

At least he agrees the format was awful, but honestly, how in the world can his take on the winners and losers be so off?

Oh, I should mention at least one reaction to the debate format, as well as the host, was positive. Moderator wins Iowa GOP debate:

Well, much to my surprise, I made it through the whole thing and found the format if not perfect, at least far improved from the circus atmosphere that usually has me reaching for the clicker. Since it’s customary to do so, I’m declaring the winner to be Carolyn Washburn who did a great job on the moderation. She was unobtrusive, but asked good serious questions and kept the time hoggers gently but firmly in line.

[…]

To the extent that any of them ‘won’, I’d say Huckabee came off as the most confident, no doubt due to his rising poll numbers and Ron Paul came off as sane and serious, rather than shrill, probably because he was treated with more respect by Washburn than is customary at these events and he wasn’t forced to compete for face time. This was a good format for him.

This was a good format period. It’s not that it was all that much more informative. Politicians being what they are, ignore the questions to make their preferred talking points and I imagine many will find it boring without the glitz. But for me, it beat the hell out of watching Chris Matthews preen for the cameras for the better part of two hours, while he decides who gets to talk.

I should note that comes from a blog that apparently just sees what righties are saying and immediately disagrees, but it’s interesting that there’s agreement with Rick Klein about who did the best in the debate.

Oh, I almost forgot! Watch the video of Charles Krauthammer at Hot Air. Excellent. “The worst debate in western history.”

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Oh, There Was Another Debate Today

Perhaps as an indication of the degree of debate fatigue I have, I wasn’t even aware that the Republicans were debating in Iowa today.

Here’s a cursory roundup of information I’ve been able to glean on short notice:

Michelle Malkin is liveblogging.

The Des Moines Register’s Carolyn Washburn (a.k.a. Schoolmarm) is the moderator of the debate. She’s no plant, but she sure is a stick in the mud. Her line of the debate so far: “A little snappier, gentlemen!” An hour into the debate, there’s no pile-on on Huckabee. There’s no time for one. Schoolmarm won’t allow it! She did, however, find time to show time-wasting videos of the candidates answering questions from Register reporters–even though the candidates are standing in front of her on the stage.

Congratulations, Schoolmarm: Washburn managed to suck all the life and color out of one of the most contested, exciting, unpredictable campaign fields in recent history. She stamped out any attempts between the candidates to engage each other. Not a single question on immigration.

I think, quite frankly, I preferred the plants!

Over at The Corner a consensus is developing that Romney and Thompson did well, but McCain and Giuliani didn’t get much in because Ron Paul and Alan Keyes were so disruptive.

Hot Air has video highlights, including Alan Keyes as his usual unhinged self.

The following video, from Hot Air, is great. I now wish I would have watched the whole thing.

Yikes. Malkin was right about the moderator, and BRAVO to Thompson for saying NO to yet another stupid “show of hands” question.

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Romney, Huckabee, and Religion

Much discussion has swirled recently about the role of religion in politics, particularly in the race for the Republican nomination. Of course the main focus has been on Romney and his Mormonism, but what of the religious beliefs of Huckabee? In 1998 he was party to this:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A full-page ad in USA Today Aug. 26 voiced the affirmation of 131 evangelicals to the Southern Baptist Convention that “you are right!” in holding forth the Bible’s teachings on marriage.
“At a time when divorce is destroying the fabric of our society, you have taken a bold stand for the biblical principles of marriage and family life. We thank you for your courage,” the ad stated. The ad also appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of WORLD, an evangelical magazine based in Asheville, N.C.

[…]

The SBC article describes marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” It also notes, “The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. … A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. … A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.

(emphasis mine)

How does such a religious belief, specifically as it relates to women, compare to the beliefs of Mormons? Huckabee is a Southern Baptist who believes in Creationism, has declared homosexuality sinful, and made some controversial statements about AIDS patients in the past.

Also, mention has been made of how his foreign policy thinking is informed by his religious beliefs:

This is the kernel of Huckabee’s foreign policy. He wants to anthropomorphize (sic) international relations and bring a Christian commitment to the Golden Rule to our affairs with other nations. As he told the Des Moines Register the other day, “You treat others the way you’d like to be treated. That’s to me the fundamental issue that has to be re-established in our dealings with other countries.”

I’m bringing all this up mainly to illustrate that a candidates religious beliefs have an impact on how he or she can be expected to govern. Plenty of people are put off enough by Huckabee’s beliefs that they’d refrain from voting for him.

Compare this to the reasons often given for not voting for Mitt Romney, based on his religious beliefs:

1)It’s a cult, 2) “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”, 3)Mormons are not Christians.

In my post from the other day about how I was offended because Romney felt obliged to give a speech to reassure people that his Mormonism shouldn’t be a disqualifier, an interesting comment thread developed around my assertion that it’s silly for voters to write Romney off simply because he’s Mormon. It was suggested I’m arguing that his religion doesn’t matter, or that a candidates religious beliefs in general shouldn’t be part of the calculus in deciding for whom to vote.

Well, I have big problems with Mike Huckabee’s religious beliefs and how they have and presumably will inform his policies in office. Naturally, if anyone else voiced the same objections to Huckabee based on his religious beliefs I wouldn’t disagree.

While I understand Mitt Romney shares many opinions with Huckabee and Southern Baptists in general (some would say belatedly and conveniently), these aren’t derived uniquely from him Mormonism. To the extent Romney holds the same beliefs Huckabee does on the various issues outlined above, I disagree with him as well, but that’s an entirely different argument from that made by those opposed to Romney simply because his religion is different.

In my view, to argue effectively that Romney’s religion should disqualify him from the office of President, one would have to explain how his beliefs would impact his policies and decisions from a Mormon point of view that’s unique in comparison with other religious traditions.

So far the only reasons I’ve seen given are those I’ve listed above. Given that, I’ll state once again that it’s silly and, in my opinion, un-American to write Romney off simply because he’s a Mormon. I don’t think this is a relativistic point of view, and I don’t believe what I’m arguing is that religion shouldn’t matter, because it obviously does matter.

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Filed under Elections, religion

National Review Endorses Romney

There’s dispute about how much influence NR really has these days with the Republican base, but I think this is an important endorsement. Key paragraphs:

Uniting the conservative coalition is not enough to win a presidential election, but it is a prerequisite for building on that coalition. Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

Two other major candidates would be able to keep the coalition together, but have drawbacks of their own. John McCain is not as conservative as Romney. He sponsored and still champions a campaign-finance law that impinged on fundamental rights of political speech; he voted against the Bush tax cuts; he supported this year’s amnesty bill, although he now says he understands the need to control the border before doing anything else.

Despite all that and more, he is a hero with a record that is far more good than bad. He has been a strong and farsighted supporter of the Iraq War, and, in a trying political season for him, he has preserved and even enhanced his reputation for dignity and seriousness. There would be worse nominees for the GOP (see above). But McCain ran an ineffectual campaign for most of the year and is still paying for it.

Fred Thompson is as conservative as Romney, and has distinguished himself with serious proposals on Social Security, immigration, and defense. But Thompson has never run any large enterprise — and he has not run his campaign well, either. Conservatives were excited this spring to hear that he might enter the race, but have been disappointed by the reality. He has been fading in crucial early states. He has not yet passed the threshold test of establishing for voters that he truly wants to be president.

[…]

For some people, Romney’s Mormonism is still a barrier. But we are not electing a pastor. The notion that he will somehow be controlled by Salt Lake City or engaged in evangelism for his church is outlandish. He deserves to be judged on his considerable merits as a potential president. As he argued in his College Station speech, his faith informs his values, which he has demonstrated in both the private and public sectors. In none of these cases have any specific doctrines of his church affected the quality of his leadership. Romney is an exemplary family man and a patriot whose character matches the high office to which he aspires.

(emphasis mine)

I’m glad they confronted the anti-Mormon stuff head on. I still think Giuliani is the best bet, but Romney is more acceptable to me than either Huckabee or McCain.

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Filed under Elections, religion

Romney’s Mormonism Is Only A Problem For Other People

Via Allahpundit: Polls: 80% say they’d vote for a Mormon — but only 45% say most people they know would

In other words, bias against Mormons is real — but it’s nowhere near as prevalent as people think it is. Just look at the spread as of June, before the sharp uptick in the Times poll. It’s an almost 50-point swing between people’s willingness to vote for a Mormon and their confidence in whether others are similarly willing. Any other explanation here besides the media blowing the Mormon issue out of all proportion?

I put in my two cents on the supposed controversy surrounding Romney’s religion a few days ago. I was offended that he felt the need to reassure people that’s it’s okay to vote for a Mormon, although I later heard that part of his speech was dedicated to assuring religious voters that he disdains atheists and secularists as much as they do, which I thought was counterproductive. Speaking of atheists – according to the polling Allah highlights most people wouldn’t vote for one. Oh, well. As for the media’s role in hyping Romney’s religion, may I suggest it’s the beginning of an availability cascade?

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Democrats Heart Huckabee

Me on December 5th:

He’s (Huckabee) been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. My inner cynic leads me to believe that maybe they’re pushing him because they know he’s an easier mark for the Democratic nominee.

Drudge Report today:

Democrat party officials are avoiding any and all criticism of Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, insiders reveal.

The Democratic National Committee has told staffers to hold all fire, until he secures the party’s nomination.

The directive has come down from the highest levels within the party, according to a top source.

Within the DNC, Huckabee is known as the “glass jaw — and they’re just waiting to break it.”

In the last three weeks since Huckabee’s surge kicked in, the DNC hasn’t released a single press release criticizing his rising candidacy.

The last DNC press release critical of Huckabee appeared back on March 2nd.

Add to that this story from CNN today:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — While presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is surging in new polls of GOP candidates, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday shows he would lose to all three leading Democratic candidates by double digits in hypothetical contests.

In head-to-head matchups — the first to include Huckabee — the former Arkansas governor loses to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by 10 percentage points (54 percent to 44 percent), to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by 15 points (55 percent to 40 percent) and to former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina by 25 points (60 percent to 35 percent).

The poll comes on the heels of a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday that showed Huckabee doubled his support nationally among likely Republican voters in the last month and is in a statistical dead heat with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Okay, so it wasn’t really that difficult to see what’s going on. We’ll see how this plays out in the media over the coming weeks.

Update: I should note that via Politico the DNC is denying Drudge got his information from them. Allahpundit at Hot Air isn’t all that convinced that Drudge is on the right track either:

I’m skeptical. Granted, he often appears not to know what he’s talking about, and the claim from Drudge’s source that the past week’s fiascos “ain’t even scratching the surface of what we’ve got on him” is all too credible, but he’s got a lock on the south in the general and chumps like me are bound to hold our noses and vote for him, especially if he’s matched up with Hillary.

[…]

Or maybe I’m wrong. Could be; read this. Exit question: When exactly did Drudge become to the anti-Huckabee camp what Hugh Hewitt is to the pro-Romney camp?

Me: It doesn’t matter if Huckabee does well in southern states. I mean, haven’t the Democrats written them off anyway? Huckabee is a dream for the Democrats because he’s got all baggage (Horton moments) as well as his comments about AIDS and homosexuals to use against him in the general election. I agree with Allah that if Huckabee is nominated by the GOP he’d be better than Hillary and I’d hold my nose and vote for him, but I believe Giuliani is the best hope for picking off purplish states.

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