Back in 2008, Jonah Goldberg explained that Mike Huckabee’s brand of conservatism was inconsistent with traditional conservatism, in that the former Arkansas Governor believes that government exists, not to protect individual liberty, but to make people live moral lives in accordance with his personal beliefs:
When it comes to economic issues, [Mike Huckabee] is hard to distinguish from all sort of different brands of liberals. He is hostile to free trade. He is very friendly to raising taxes. He believes in regulation wherever necessary. He thinks abortion must remain a federal national issue, can’t send it back to the states. And that’s what I mean by “right-wing progressive.” He wants to use government towards conservative ends. He says it’s a biblical duty to fight global warming. The problem with someone like Huckabee is that he much like, in my mind, a liberal sees no dogmatic constitutional limits on the “do-goodery” of the federal government. Whatever he thinks is the right thing for the federal government to do, if he thinks there’s a good thing that can be done by the federal government, he wants the federal government to do it whether it’s constitutional or in accordance with principles of limited government. And maybe what he wants to isn’t what a cultural liberal would want to do but he still wants to use the government the same way. It’s big government conservatism. And that, I think, is the real threat these days to conservatism.
It’s no secret that the editors of the National Review, a highly influential conservative publication, aren’t fans of Newt Gingrich. Back in December, they came out against the former Speaker’s bid for the Republican nomination, despite his lead in GOP primary polls at the time. They weren’t finished. Just last month they slammed Gingrich for his for his anti-capitalist attacks on Mitt Romney’s wealth.
And yesterday, the National Review called on Gingrich to get out of the race and endorse Santorum, using Gingrich’s own logic from last month against him:
At the moment Rick Santorum appears to be overtaking Newt Gingrich as the principal challenger to Mitt Romney. Santorum has won more contests than Gingrich (who has won only one), has more delegates, and leads him in the polls. In at least one poll, he also leads Romney. It isn’t yet a Romney–Santorum contest, but it could be headed that way.
We hope so. Gingrich’s verbal and intellectual talents should make him a resource for any future Republican president. But it would be a grave mistake for the party to make someone with such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity its presidential nominee. It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.
Politico reports that Mitt Romney has won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll over Rick Santorum, who has been surging in recent days in the race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
While official results have not been released on CPAC’s official website, here is what Politico and other outlets are reporting:
- Mitt Romney: 38%
- Rick Santorum: 31%
- Newt Gingrich: 15%
- Ron Paul: 12%
Romney, who spoke at the conference yesterday, also won in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Ron Paul, who declined an invite to speak this year (though his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), spoke on Thursday), won the straw poll in 2010 and 2011.
We received bad news yesterday as the Fox Business Channel canceled Freedom Watch, the show hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano that focuses features libertarian commentary on the news and issues of the day:
FOX Business Network (FBN) will debut a new primetime schedule featuring encore presentations of the channel’s top post-market programs, announced Kevin Magee, Executive Vice President of the network. Starting February 20th at 8 PM/ET, viewers will find additional airings of The Willis Report (5PM & 8PM/ET), Cavuto (6PM & 9PM/ET) and Lou Dobbs Tonight (7PM & 10PM/ET). The new lineup will replace FreedomWatch with Judge Andrew Napolitano, Power & Money with David Asman and Follow the Money with Eric Bolling.
We look forward to Judge Napolitano, David and Eric continuing to make significant contributions to both FOX Business and FOX News. In addition to daily branded segments, each of them will be showcased throughout future programming on both networks.”
While Newt Gingrich has high aspirations to start an American colony on the moon (or something), a recent poll from The Hill shows that voters are, well, not as far out there as the former Speaker:
Newt Gingrich’s proposal for a lunar colony still has a long way to go before it meets with voters’ approval.
The Hill Poll found that just 1 in 5 likely voters support the idea of a permanent American base on the moon. By contrast, 64 percent are opposed to the idea.
Gingrich said on Jan. 25 that there would be a permanent U.S. base on the moon by the end of his second term, if he were elected president.
He has defended the idea since then, arguing that the United States should pursue bold projects. He has implied a parallel between his belief in this realm and the actions of past presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, who advocated, respectively, for a transcontinental railroad and a manned mission to the moon.
For someone that gained so much support from conservative and Tea Party-minded voters, Gingrich is sure willing to spend a lot of money to see his odd and, frankly, aburd proposal come to fruition. But Gingrich’s high hopes for a moon colony has given the cast from Saturday Night Live some fodder:
The ad Chrystler ran during the Super Bowl featuring Clint Eastwood — dubbed “Halftime in America — has prompted some criticism from conservatives who see it as an endorsement of the auto bailout and President Barack Obama.
Eastwood, who describes himself as a libertarian, denied that the ad was meant to lend any support to Obama, rather to promote the Detroit. According to Eastwood, earnings from the making of the ad went to charity.
It sounds innocent enough on Eastwood’s part, and I think making his part out to be anymore than it was is misguided. However, the criticism of Chrysler, which was bailed out by taxpayers, is understandable as they are running an ad with a name and face familiar to Americans to make us feel good about the fact that they took billions from the government because they couldn’t compete on the open market.
Over at Reason, Remy gives the ad the humorous treatment that only he can give:
While the media focus in recent weeks has been the on the battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich — and more recently Rick Santorum, as he begins to pull some conservatives into his camp, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that Ron Paul is now second in the field (though within the margin of error).
- Mitt Romney: 29%
- Ron Paul: 21%
- Newt Gingrich: 20%
- Rick Santorum: 18%
I spoke to a friend last night about the race. He just happened to be in Nevada over the weekend and he explained that it’s a “likeability” factor. Even though he’s not a supporter, he thinks Paul comes across as the most consistant, most genuine with the clearest convictions of the remaining four candidates. Aaron Blake caught this in the entrance polls out of Nevada, showing that caucus-goers viewed Paul as the “true conservative” in the race.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this will translate into primary or caucus wins. Clearly and unfortunately, it hasn’t. But it does show that the libertarian-leaning message Paul presents to Republican voters, even at this late moment in the race, is gaining more traction and may be difficult to ignore in this and future elections.
Yesterday, I noted that members of the DC chapter of the AFL-CIO were planning on protesting CPAC, the annual conservative conference, this Friday for what they call “Occupy CPAC,” a play off the unpopular Occupy Wall Street “movement.” It looks like there will be more than just labor goons and thugs protesting this weekend as Lachlan Markay reports that Occupy DC, which was recently booted from McPherson Square, is planning a separate protest on Saturday:
The “Occupy DC” protest group is planning to disrupt the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference using a range of potentially illegal tactics that could even include violence against participants, Scribe has learned.
During a Thursday meeting at McPherson Square, until Saturday the epicenter of the protests, Occupiers brainstormed tactics for shutting down or disrupting the conference, according to a source who was present at the meeting.
The protesters suggested pulling fire alarms in the hotel where the conference will take place, screaming “fire” during conference activities, “glitter-bombing” participants, cutting electrical power, and barricading entrances to the hotel, according to the source, who requested anonymity.
“Speakers will be physically assaulted, not just verbally confronted,” the source told Scribe in an email. Two Occupiers, who the source also identified as members of the New Black Panther Party, “said they would be disappointed if they didn’t get arrested and planned to ‘make it count.’”
With a win in Florida under his belt, Mitt Romney is looking west to the caucus in Nevada tomorrow where the latest poll shows him leading his rivals for the Republican nomination by a large margin.
The poll, sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ) and the local CBS affiliate, shows Romney taking 45% of the vote among likely caucus-goers, with a substantial amount of support coming from Mormons. Romney also performs well with “strong supporters” of the Tea Party movement, taking 27% of the important faction in the Republican base. Gingrich takes 37% of Tea Party voters.
Here is how the rest of the poll shakes out:
- Mitt Romney: 45%
- Newt Gingrich: 25%
- Rick Santorum: 11%
- Ron Paul: 9%
Gingrich’s numbers have fallen off since the last LVRJ poll, which was conducted just before Christmas. At that time Gingrich was down four points to Romney — inside the margin of error, so they were essentially tied — in a state where many observers didn’t expect much of contest. Fast-forward to today, Romney is enjoying his highest level of support in Nevada.
The poll is disappointing (and surprising) for Ron Paul, who largely skipped out on the primary in Florida to focus on caucus states. As you can see, Paul is set to finish last, despite being “deeply organized” in the state, according to the LVRJ. He finished second there in 2008, though the process was controversial.
As had come to be expected in days prior, Mitt Romney took Florida easily last night over Newt Gingrich, who defiantly promised to press on for the forseeable future despite the struggling to win a state where he had a lead a week before the primary.
Here are the results of the Florida Republican primary:
- Mitt Romney: 46%
- Newt Gingrich: 32%
- Rick Santorum: 13%
- Ron Paul: 7%
Romney wins all of the state’s 50 delegates, which was cut by 50% per Republican National Committee rules due to the Florida GOP holding its primary before March 6th (Super Tuesday). Gingrich wins nothing and the momentum he had built after South Carolina has been squandered after a couple bad debate performances, particularly the one in Jacksonville last Thursday.
So where is the race as it stands now? It appears that Gingrich doesn’t have high hopes for the Nevada and Minnesota caucuses. You’d have to expect Ron Paul to be a factor in both of those states, where his campaign directed its focus instead of competing Florida. However, Super Tuesday, which will include his home state of Georgia, may offer more to Gingrich. We’ll get a clearer picture of what to expect next month in the coming days as polling firms will no doubt provide us with plenty of numbers.