National Review

A look at the latest ads out of Iowa

Via the National Review comes a look at new ads on the air in Iowa from Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both of whom are hoping to raise their numbers in advance of Tuesday’s caucus.

Newt Gingrich’s latest ad touts his jobs plan, which he says would lower taxes on small business and promote energy independence:

And Ron Paul’s latest ad strike familiar themes of targeting Washington and criticizing Gingrich and Mitt Romney as “serial hypocrites” and “flip floppers.” The ad also promote Paul’s plan to cut spending by $1 trillion and balance the budget:

Some pundits already dismissing a possible Ron Paul win in Iowa

With Gingrich falling in the polls, the very real prospect of Ron Paul winning the Iowa caucus has some, including Chris Wallace of Fox News, saying that it will cheapen its significance. None of that is to say he will win, but it’s clear that there is an element in Republican politics that is going to downplay Paul’s impact in the race.

Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf explains that downplaying Paul and his views — as so many, including the National Review, are trying to do — is a mistake:

Dismissing the burgeoning number of Americans on the right who are suspicious of interventionism and hawkishness is intellectually suspect and unwise. A majority of Republicans now think that the Iraq War was a mistake. The general non-interventionist impulse on the right has never completely gone away. Paul is by no means the ideal vehicle for non-interventionism. But insofar as he plays a significant role in the GOP primary, it will be partly due to the fact that the legitimate concerns he articulates are taken up by no other viable candidate. One needn’t be an ardent Paul supporter to suspect that National Review would rather that no viable GOP candidate spoke up to challenge the hawkish impulses on the elite right .

National Review comes out against Newt Gingrich

Despite his rise in the polls, not all conservatives are sold on Newt Gingrich. In recent days, Gingrich’s shortcomings as Speaker, his inconsistencies, and support for a bigger, more intrusive government have been the focal point of many in the right-leaning blogosphere.

In recent days, Gingrich has been rightfully criticized by Fred Barnes and George Will for comments about Mitt Romney’s time in the private sector. While Gingrich passes these off as a “joke,” it’s clear that he doesn’t understand the difference between capitalism (the concept of profit and loss) and corporatism, which he engaged in during his time as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac.

To make his growing problem worse, the editors of the conservative National Review came out strongly against Gingrich’s candidacy yesterday:

Ryan to Gingrich: “This is not the 1990s”

Yesterday, Stephen Slivinski wrote a excellent piece on how Newt Gingrich betrayed conservatives in the 90’s on issues ranging to budget battles and intra-caucus politics. The long and the short of it is that the Republican Revolution succeded not because of Gingrich, but in spite of him.

There has been a conservative alternative presented by the current crop of House Republicans. Though it may not be perfect, it represents a clear, distinct alternative to the agenda of President Barack Obama, who is trying to expand entitlements and domestic spending as much as possible.

As you no doubt remember, Gingrich knocked Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan back in May during an appearance on Meet the Press; calling it “right-wing social engineering.” This set off a fire storm against the former Speaker that led many to believe his candidacy was dead in the water.

And during a interview last week with Coffee & Markets, Gingrich may have again stepped in some controversy regarding Ryan and his budget. Here is the relevant part of the interview (emphasis mine):

C&M: You know, in terms of your critique of sort of the dangers of forcing people into this, of making it mandatory, I certainly agree with you. But isn’t the problem with that sort of an approach that you don’t have predictability when it comes to the costs of the program in the future? And if you could explain to us, I’d love to hear it, why you’re confident that a public option versus a private option in Medicare will bring these costs down.

We can finally focus on race for the GOP nomination

As you know, Herman Cain suspended his campaign on Saturday, effectively ending his bid for the Republican nomination and the strange ordeal that he put his family through. Many are wondering what is next for Cain, whether he’ll go on to form a PAC and/or endorse another candidate in the race. Both seem likely, and we already know which way Cain is leaning (and it’s not a surprise):

A top Cain adviser tells us the former candidate plans to endorse in the next few weeks – certainly this month, in order to affect the Iowa caucuses – and is most likely to go Gingrich. They have a personal relationship that goes back to Gingrich’s days as Speaker, a much longer relationship than Cain has with any of the others. And they disagree on few issues. Cain can offer some Iowa organization and his power as a surrogate in the African-American community (including churches), a weakness for the GOP.

Despite his potential to be a “kingmaker,” some conservatives are taking issue with Cain. Over at the National Review, Rich Lowery very pointedly says that Cain should give back money he received from donors. Some of you may say that this isn’t a big deal, but it has been noted that since Cain hasn’t formally ended his campaign, merely suspended it, he would still qualify for federal matching funds, which he may be able to transfer to whatever PAC he creates with leftover campaign dollars.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan continues to come under fire

If you watched the Republican debate last night, you noticed the increased scrutiny on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. The criticism isn’t without risk. If they hit him too harshly, they risk victimizing him and emboldening his base of support. If they’re too lenient, the quick-witted Cain wll turn make sure that it blows up in their face.

But Cain has tipped his hand in what he has to come back with as conservatives lay out very serious concerns about the proposal; and it’s clear that he isn’t ready to argue on substance. His staff has responded to criticism with a simple line, “the problem with that analysis is that it is incorrect.” Cain’s own recent defense of the plan laid out in an editoral leaves more questions than answers.

Even the editors at the conservative National Review are unconvinced that Cain’s good intentions will bring the benefits that he claims:

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan a road to a VAT

The criticism of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan has been ramped up over the last couple of days. It had already been knocked by Kevin Williamson of the National Review as unrealistic Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks explains that it could be used as cover for a VAT, and Grover Norquist also notes the problems with the proposal.

The possibility that Cain’s tax plan could be lead down this road is also bothering Cato Institute economist Dan Mitchell, who had already expressed an issue with the proposal:

it seems that I was too nice in my analysis of Mr. Cain’s plan. Josh Barro and Bruce Bartlett are both claiming that the business portion of Cain’s 9-9-9 is a value-added tax (VAT) rather than a corporate income tax.

In other words, instead of being a 9 percent flat tax-9 percent sales tax-9 percent corporate tax, Cain’s plan is a 9 percent flat tax-9 percent sales tax-9 percent VAT.

Ron Paul Could Do It

I really do think that, if he took the nomination, Ron Paul could potentially win the general. He couldn’t have done it in ‘08—he was simply too far out back then—but there is a slim chance that if he got there this year, he could do it. It’s definitely not a 100% possibility; I’m not saying he would, I’m saying he could. Why do I think so? Because of things like this, which I found in National Review Online last week:

On this Monday night, there is already a long line of people winding down an East Village street waiting to be admitted into Webster Hall, which brands itself as “NYC’s largest and longest running nightclub” and boasts that it has hosted Green Day, Prince, and Mick Jagger. There are college students drinking Four Loko out of a plastic water bottle; everyone is carded at the door; the bar in the middle of the venue is hopping; and when I identify myself as a reporter, an event organizer hands me a voucher for a free cocktail.

But this isn’t a concert. This is an event featuring a keynote speech by GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Gibson CEO will attend Obama’s speech

National Review reported yesterday that Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz will attend President Barack Obama’s speech this evening. You may remember that his company, which makes some really fantastic guitars, was raided by the federal agents recently due to the imported wood they use:

Sources tell National Review Online that Gibson’s chairman and chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, will attend President Obama’s joint address to Congress on Thursday. Federal agents recently raided Gibson’s manufacturing facilities, suspecting that the company was using illegally-imported wood.

Juszkiewicz has vocally defended Gibson’s practices and denied the allegations. “There’s no doubt we’re being persecuted,” he said in an interview with the Tennessean. “But while I was sitting in my conference room, while agents blocked the door to my office, I decided two things. One, we were going to try and fight this in court. Secondly, we were going to give this issue visibility.”

Juszkiewicz will be the guest of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican. Blackburn represents numerous Gibson employees, many of whom reside in the Nashville suburbs.

Will Ron Paul impress in Ames?

We’re coming up quickly on the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday, August 13th, arguably the most important event for these presidential hopefuls yet (or at least the ones actively campaigning in Iowa). It looks like Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) may be candidate to beat there right now, according to the National Review:

The Paul campaign has aggressively laid the groundwork for an impressive showing at Ames, including buying the priciest (and best) location by the arena where the straw poll is held for $31,000. In a fundraising letter last month, Paul wrote, “I’m counting on you to help me send shockwaves throughout the national political establishment with a strong finish at the Iowa Straw Poll.” His “Ready, Fire, Ames” appeal resonated: The campaign raked in $600,000. The Paul campaign is running TV ads, and Paul himself has been actively campaigning in Iowa.

Earlier this week in Iowa, he openly speculated about winning at Ames. “I wished I could say I’m the frontrunner and nobody’s ahead of me and it’s a shoo-in. But the truth is that we can do and will do very, very well and hopefully come in first,” Paul said, according to Radio Iowa.

Drew Ivers, Iowa chairman of the Paul campaign, is cautiously optimistic. “All things are possible,” he says of a first-place finish at Ames. But he is also realistic, pointing out that while Paul has had significant poll movement (an American Research Group July poll showed Paul at 14 percent, up from the 3 percent he had in April), Bachmann has had even more movement (in the same poll, Bachmann went from 9 percent in April to 21 percent in July).

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