Various & Sundry, 4/15/15

– Cancel the primaries, folks, Walker has it all sewn up. I jest, but the horserace stuff really bothers me. I’m as guilty as anyone, and I’m not helping matters with four different links to stories related to the presidential election in some way, but is it too much to ask that we wait a little while before digging seriously into poll numbers?

– I’m extremely critical of Rand Paul, but if he is able to turn the abortion narrative on its head, then kudos.

But Wasserman Schultz’s feigned confidence on the issue of abortion politics was betrayed when she channeled Mitt Romney just a few seconds later. “At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that voters are going to be deciding who they’re going to vote for for president and whether a candidate has their back on this issue,” the DNC chairwoman said of abortion. “It’s more going to be on jobs and the economy.”

You know we are witnessing a tectonic shift in American politics regarding right to life issues when the progenitor of 2012’s War on Women and a self-described champion of “reproductive justice” sounds more like a Republican than Republicans. Wasserman Schultz would rather take the issue of abortion off the table entirely than be faced with the prospect of alienating her party’s rabidly pro-abortion base.

I’m not as sure as Rothman that the tide has turned yet. I’ll note that the polling data has always been more favorable to pro-lifers, and has consistently shown that those whose primary issue of concern is abortion tend to vote pro-life rather than pro-abortion. What has stung Republicans is the, ugh, narrative. It’s about time someone took the fight to the Democrats and put them on the defensive, where they should be, as they are the ones truly on the fringes when it comes to this issue.

– Jonah Goldberg says its only a matter of time before we hear from the Hillarycons.

Since then, the caliber of defectors have proved to be less and less impressive. That’s not to say that some weren’t sincere, but generally speaking their public arguments for switching to the other side were not very persuasive and often at odds with their real motivations. Douglas Kmiec is probably the most notorious example of an “ObamaCon,” at least among pro-lifers (he famously defended Obama’s vote in support of partial birth abortion, a hard case to make for someone calling himself a Catholic pro-lifer). Obama rewarded him with an ambassadorship to Malta, inspiring any of us to quip that it profits a man nothing to trade his soul for the whole world, but for Malta . . . ? Anyway, it will be interesting to see if Hillary Clinton can inspire similar conversions this time around.

Speaking of old Dougie, how is his vice presidential candidacy coming along?

– Hilllary Clinton: faux champion of the poor. I’m not sure that stories like these, which accurately reflect the hypocrisy of Madame Clinton, really have much of an impact on the electorate. By now most people know she’s a phony, and the LIVs who don’t are lost causes.

– David French wants to bring some common sense to the topic of police shootings. This is absurd of course. We demand nothing short narrative-based journalism steeped in ideological hand-wringing.

We live in some scary times. The media are more invested in digging up dirt on ordinary joes (and janes) expressing opinions than they are in vetting actual candidates for the highest office in the land.



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  1. Re Jonah Goldberg’s thesis: Oh, dear Lord, no. I had a snootful of her, and him, and the whole rancid entourage after eight years of “vote for him, get her”. I think I might sooner go to the stake than suffer even four years of “vote for her, get him”.

  2. The ‘Obamacon’ phenomenon was manufactured by the media. Descriptive statistics on the preferences of Republican voters showed that Obama was no more likely (if any thing, slightly less likely) to garner their support tha any of his predecessors as Democratic nominees. You have an irreducible minority of soi-disant Republicans who break ranks; it runs to about 9% of the total.

    What you had instead was a small collection of academics, opinion journalists, and retired politicians engaging in social signaling in front of their circle. Some of the explanations of why they were doing what they were doing were sufficiently poorly formulated that a reasonable inference would be that the actual reason was one to which they were too embarrassed to admit. (Or, as one wag put it, “How many of these guys have liberal wives or girlfriends?”. Yes, Prof. Kmiec, I’m looking at you). Christopher Buckley is a humor and travel writer who has likely never had a serious thought in his head on policy matters, Jeffrey Hart gives evidence of senility, Charles Fried gave everyone a demonstration of what stupefyingly unselfconscious social snobbery looks like, and Kenneth Duberstein evidently figured there’d be Democratic administrations in office for a while, so his fees depended on their hacks returning his phone calls. Kathleen Parker is a downmarket version of Fried. Julie Eisenhower needs to ask herself why soi-disant ‘moderate Republicans’ produce no books elaborating on their preferences, found no policy shops with variegated interests, and cannot even put together a stable corps of opinion journalists and publications.

  3. Mr. Zummo.

    Would you allow me the courtesy to plead for a wrongly convicted priest on this thread?

    I am hoping one of the contributors of TAC might look at this case closely, and possibly offer help, at the very least prayers. I have been following this priests disappointments and once one becomes aware of the facts in this saga one might be able to help. In some way, help the hopeless. His name is Fr. Gordon Macrae.

    Paul Zummo. If you can not post this plea on your thread it’s okay. I just know that there are many qualified exceptional law practitioner’s that participate on TAC, and possibly one of them could view this link.

    Thank you for your considerations.

  4. In my life time (almost 50 years) of voting, a moderate, squishy RINO has never beat a liberal D for President. Think Dole, McCain, Romney, and other RNC establishment types, etc. People with my values disgust and scare the RNC to death. In our state, the RNC, working through the Republican state party, makes sure that no one the RNC can’t control ever gets above the position of state rep/state senator.

    If the RNC gets its way and a moderate, squishy RINO (i.e. an establishment candidate) is nominated as the presidential candidate–Hillary will be president of the US. I told folks if Romney & McCain, who are a moderate, squishy RINOs, were nominated against Obama–that Obama would be elected both times. However, no one of importance listened to me.

    Yes, I know that Dole had all of the personal warmth of a fish, McCain’s campaign was split right down the middle with his staff working to undercut his vice presidential nominee in every way possible, and Romney’s get out the vote efforts were a joke.

    I also told folks that Osama (aka Obama) is who he has turned out to be before he was ever elected as president the first time around. No one of importance listened to me on that issue either. Again, I will say this re: the upcoming election with Hillary–she is a true believer–if she wins, it is going to get VERY ugly–even uglier than we have it now with Obama.

    In all honesty, I expect the Rs to nominate a squishy, “moderate,” establishment type based on the national party’s consistent past history. It is very depressing.

  5. As far as Hillarycons go, I think David Frum is safely ensconced in the Bush camp.

    David Frum presented himself as a libertarian ca. 1994, then as the foreign policy militant and scourge of the alt-right ca. 2002, then as the recrudescence of the 1950s modern Republican ca. 2009. I’m not sure what he’s flogging now. I think he shut down FrumForum and I never read it anyway. Antecedent to all this, he went to law school and, on graduating, set himself up as a journeyman writer, landing a position in the public relations apparat of the elder George Bush. The man’s had as many incarnations as Dr. Who (though, as a character, I’d liken him more to The Rani). Wet that finger and stick it in the wind…

  6. If you say so, Barbara. I’d describe Richard Nixon and the elder George Bush as opportunists and the younger George Bush as a man with commitments (but not convictions). I seem to recall they defeated Democratic candidates several times (five, in fact). I’d describe Mitt Romney as an opportunist as well, though one with many talents and, unlike Richard Nixon, quite accomplished outside the world of law and politics. His opponents were more principled than he was, but I cannot see Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich improving on his performance in November 2012. With Santorum, who knows for sure; he’s generally underestimated and has been for 25 years.

    I cannot figure what the point of the RINO discourse and it seems a peculiarly stupid term to apply to a succession of Republican Presidential nominees (including one who was also the caucus leader in the U.S. Senate). These guys define what an authentic Republican looks like, not opinionated people in comboxes, who have their differences as well with rank-and-file Republican voters. That aside, you have one set of informed opinions who might take issue with your taxonomy re McCain and Dole: the American Conservative Union.

    People familiar with that sort of thing (R.S. McCain) have reported that John McCain’s campaign manager and his press agent were very dubious characters and that the latter has been particularly hostile to Gov. Palin, to the point of beclowning herself by trafficking in a lie that campaign aids were discussing whether or not she should be sworn in if elected. Nicolle Wallace may be ignorant of constitutional provisions to a stupefying degree, but that’s likely not that common among political professionals (and others who worked for the campaign promptly said she was lying). McCain’s an impetuous man motivated by personal dealings, so it’s not all that surprising he made bad personnel decisions. The thing is, its a category mistake to refer to Schmidt and Wallace in ideological terms. “Hustler” or “grifter” would be more appropriate. “Don’t hire grifters” is sound, if jejune, advice.

  7. I’m glad Art brought up Rick Santorum. It reminded me of this Wall Street Journal article from 2012:

    Social conservatism, Mr. Bell argues in his forthcoming book, “The Case for Polarized Politics,” has a winning track record for the GOP. “Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964,” he observes. “The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix—I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections.”
    The Democrats who won, including even Barack Obama in 2008, did not play up social liberalism in their campaigns. In 1992 Bill Clinton was a death-penalty advocate who promised to “end welfare as we know it” and make abortion “safe, legal and rare.” Social issues have come to the fore on the GOP side in two of the past six presidential elections—in 1988 (prison furloughs, the Pledge of Allegiance, the ACLU) and 2004 (same-sex marriage). “Those are the only two elections since Reagan where the Republican Party has won a popular majority,” Mr. Bell says. “It isn’t coincidental.”

    As for folks like Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, and Mitch McConnell and John Boehner too, I suppose “defin[ing] what an authentic Republican looks like,” all I can say is that I agree with Mark Levin; the Republican party is a liberal party opposed to a socialist Democratic party.

  8. Patricia.

    Yes! He is a “political” prisoner. His impact has reached far beyond the serpentine wire, and those within the wire boarders have been witness to a faithful priest. One that has the patience of Job, and the love of Christ.
    Thanks for taking a look.
    I found “these stone walls” three years ago. I apologize for NOT bringing Father Gordon to TAC sooner.
    May our prayers and activity help him to justice.

  9. all I can say is that I agree with Mark Levin; the Republican party is a liberal party opposed to a socialist Democratic party.
    The point of political terminology should be to communicate in shorthand, not to use shorthand as an epithet. Levin’s not getting the job done.

  10. I believe Dorothy Rabinowitz has written about Fr. MacRae’s case. Lee Podles has called Fr. MacRae a con man/sociopath, which leads me to believe he may very well be innocent.

  11. Art Deco said, “I cannot figure what the point of the RINO discourse and it seems a peculiarly stupid term to apply to a succession of Republican Presidential nominees (including one who was also the caucus leader in the U.S. Senate). These guys define what an authentic Republican looks like, not opinionated people in comboxes, who have their differences as well with rank-and-file Republican voters.”

    Why is it that you cannot allow others to disagree with you in a blog without b
    resulting to personal insults? Personal degradation in such a setting shows that you have no rational argument to back up your thoughts.

  12. Art Deco,

    As I have said before on more than one blog post where you have stated that you don’t believe what I am saying or think it is stupid or so forth–your opinion of me personally does not impact me in the least–all it does is make me doubt your genuineness.

  13. Why is it that you cannot allow others to disagree with you in a blog without b
    resulting to personal insults?

    I’m tempted to offer a personal insult, Barbara, but the descriptor ‘peculiarly stupid’ modifies the noun ‘term’.

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