Republican activists who attended the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this past weekend don’t seem too thrilled with the 2012 contenders they saw:
NEW ORLEANS — Southern Republicans wrapped up a three-day meeting in New Orleans on Saturday unified in fervent opposition to President Barack Obama, but wide open at this early stage about whom they want to challenge him in 2012.
Party activists at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference cheered potential presidential candidates such as Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, as well as absentee Mitt Romney.
But they also readily volunteered objections to the same names: Gingrich has personal baggage, Palin’s too inexperienced, Romney pushed Obama-like health care while governor of Massachusetts and Pawlenty lacks charisma.
Given those commonly heard objections among rank-and-file party workers, it appears that no potential Republican candidate can yet claim to be the heir apparent and the race could be wide open.
Everyone one of them has flaws, some of them, like Palin, flaws that make the prospect of being able to win a General Election seem remote at best. However, this is the field the GOP has and, while others may come along over the coming year, there isn’t going to be a GOP superstar:
I confess. Ever since the passage of healthcare-hell on March 21, I’ve been torn between the two conflicting extremes of despondency on the one hand, and hilarity on the other.
Thus, it’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote anything for this site, or even had an inkling to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were). And while I had some real-life situations interfering with writing – a death in the family, a particularly vicious and fatigue-inducing virus – for the most part I just couldn’t think of anything to say that wasn’t being said already and ad infinitum on every talk show and by every conservative pundit in the known world, and for the first time in a long time I found myself asking, “What’s the use?”
For a week I didn’t read anything online, including Mark Steyn’s columns, which for anyone who knows me well suggested symptoms of deep depression. I barely even glanced at the Wall Street Journal, again a sure sign of an impending retreat to recluse-land.
Being a Randian (Ayn Rand, that is) intellectual and philosopher of the first order, I figured now was as good a time as any to say to heck with freedom-fighting and do the John Galt thing: Stay off the radar and watch the economy collapse. That is, after all, what Rand’s superman did through most of his fictional life before Mulligan established Galt’s Gulch. He worked as a track walker for Taggart Transcontinental at some hideous minimum wage, all the while developing his super-motor in a dilapidated tenement in New York City.
Over at 538, Nate Silver says the generic ballot polling data could mean a takeover of the House of Representatives by Republicans and then some:
[L]et’s look at the state of the generic congressional ballot. The Real Clear Politics average now shows Republicans with a 2.3 point lead. How does that translate in terms of a potential loss of seats for the Democrats?
Their bad news is that the House popular vote (a tabulation of the actual votes all around the country) and the generic ballot (an abstraction in the form of a poll) are not the same thing — and the difference usually tends to work to Democrats’ detriment. Although analysts debate the precise magnitude of the difference, on average the generic ballot has overestimated the Democrats’ performance in the popular vote by 3.4 points since 1992. If the pattern holds, that means that a 2.3-point deficit in generic ballot polls would translate to a 5.7 point deficit in the popular vote — which works out to a loss of 51 seats, according to our regression model.
Newsweek’s Jon Mecham explains in today’s New York Times what Confederate symbolism really means today:
Since Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Confederate symbols have tended to be more about white resistance to black advances than about commemoration. In the 1880s and 1890s, after fighting Reconstruction with terrorism and after the Supreme Court struck down the 1875 Civil Rights Act, states began to legalize segregation. For white supremacists, iconography of the “Lost Cause” was central to their fight; Mississippi even grafted the Confederate battle emblem onto its state flag.
But after the Supreme Court allowed segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, Jim Crow was basically secure. There was less need to rally the troops, and Confederate imagery became associated with the most extreme of the extreme: the Ku Klux Klan.
In the aftermath of World War II, however, the rebel flag and other Confederate symbolism resurfaced as the civil rights movement spread. In 1948, supporters of Strom Thurmond’s pro-segregation Dixiecrat ticket waved the battle flag at campaign stops.
Then came the school-integration rulings of the 1950s. Georgia changed its flag to include the battle emblem in 1956, and South Carolina hoisted the colors over its Capitol in 1962 as part of its centennial celebrations of the war.
As the sesquicentennial of Fort Sumter approaches in 2011, the enduring problem for neo-Confederates endures: anyone who seeks an Edenic Southern past in which the war was principally about states’ rights and not slavery is searching in vain, for the Confederacy and slavery are inextricably and forever linked.
Here’s Ron Paul’s full speech yesterday at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference:
Yesterday while speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) explained President Barack Obama’s economic beliefs to attendees:
“In the technical sense, in the economic definition, he is not a socialist,” the Texas Republican said to a smattering of applause at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.
“He’s a corporatist,” Paul quickly added, meaning the president takes “care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country.”
Republican talk show hosts, such Neal Boortz, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, often call Obama a socialist (or Marxist), citing health care or some other policy as proof. Corporatism isn’t as well known socialism, a word that brings out a reaction from people, so that’s probably why they choose socialism. Either that or talking about corporatism would make people realize that Republicans are as bad as Obama.
The death this morning of Polish president Lech Kaczynski and First Lady Kaczynska is a tragedy that will touch the heart of many Americans. President Kaczynski was a Polish patriot of the first order, whose life exemplifies the meaning of courage, sacrifice and commitment to his family, his country and the Polish people.
From his early days in the legendary Solidarity movement, President Kaczynski fought for the independence, sovereignty and self-determination of his country. And in the two decades since the fall of the Soviet Union, President Kaczynski has been at the forefront of his country’s transition from an impoverished and Soviet-dependent economy, to a bright and vibrant regional leader. Poland is now a key member of NATO and a serious player within the European Union. As Commander-in-Chief, President Kaczynski has also overseen deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan where Polish troops serve bravely alongside American and British servicemen and women in defense of liberty and freedom.
America is home to a large Polish Diaspora, who will feel President Kaczynski’s passing keenly. There were few others who worked as hard as he to maintain the Polish-American relationship, which President Kaczynski saw as integral to the future of his country. Tributes are pouring in from across the world, including a touching remembrance from The Prince of Wales who made a royal visit to Poland last month as guest of the President and First Lady. Americans will be looking to President Obama to strike an equally appropriate tone as Americans join with the world in mourning the passing of a Polish hero and patriot.
Republicans are readying themselves for a fight over the upcoming Supreme Court nomination hearings, but appear to have already taken the filibuster option off the table:
Conservative judicial activists say they won’t ask their Republican allies to go to the mat over President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens by pressing for the ultimate weapon in a court fight – a filibuster.
Instead, they say the nomination of a Democrat to the court will be an opportunity to cement the support of the tea party movement, broaden their base, and motivate supporters to turn out to support Republicans in the mid-term elections in November.
Taking the filibuster off the table is a smart idea. To put it bluntly, it’s unlikely that the 41 Republicans in the Senate will be able to stick together to filibuster the kind of “liberal but not controversial” nominee that we’re likely to see from Obama. At the very least, I would expect to see most if not all of the nine Republicans who ended up voting for Sonia Sotomayor to walk across the aisle to vote to invoke cloture should there be any attempt to filibuster. Moreover, unless Obama does surprise everyone and select someone with a controversial record, which I find unlikely, Senate Republicans would likely lose the public relations war over the nomination. Not a smart thing to do only months before a crucial mid-term election.
During a recent conference on Mexico’s drug war at the New America Foundation, Alberto Islas, founding partner of Risk Evaluation, talked about how, in order to obtain American sneakers and other products, he had to have a friend smuggle them in after going to the United States. That changed with NAFTA.
Thanks to free trade and the opening of markets throughout the world, we have access to information and goods from all over the world. Multiculturalism, which the Left often opines about, has actually been accomplished through the remarkable availability of such things as sushi in Virginia and McDonald’s in India.
Why this is regarded as bad is beyond me, but it is. Clay Jenkinson, the Oxford-educated host of the public radio show Thomas Jefferson Hour, is a good representation of this paradox. In the latest episode “If We Did Those Things,” Jenkinson ridiculed the American indifference to global affairs (which I can certainly sympathize with), while then taking on the wide abundance of goods and its subsequent consumer culture, which he saw as “toxic.” He entertained the idea set forth by Michael Pollan of having a “benevolent Stalin figure” set forth a lifestyle for us - water fasting for weeks and giving up cable. It was very strange.