Monday, January 2, 2012

Are There Too Many 'Dark Horse' Candidates in the 2012 GOP Stable?

Running for President of the United States is, historically, a next-in-line game. National name recognition, a successful elected-office history, a fairly baggage-free reputation, a party-line supporter, and a can-raise-money magnetism are generally all that is required.

Contrary to popular belief, a dark-horse candidate is not one who suddenly gallops out of the mist late in the election cycle to capture the candidacy at his or her party’s convention. John McCain tried that little trick with his vice presidential nominee in 2008. It didn’t work very well.

One could call Barack Obama the 2008 Democratic ‘dark horse,’ otherwise known as the accidental or unlikely candidate. Although the names of many Democrats were tossed around during the last four years of George W. Bush’s administration, by very late 2006 it was Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards who were thought to be the most likely to be embraced by party voters, and it was assumed that these three would be the primary contenders. In February 2007, however, then-Senator Obama announced his candidacy, and we know how that turned out.  

The 2012 Whack Pack

But somehow the mold has been broken on selecting candidates for the presidency. It seems that for the 2012 election cycle, there are more unlikely (to put it mildly) candidates in the Republican contest than any one party – or nation – should have to endure. The GOP has declared a moratorium on intelligence and honesty this election cycle. Their party has offered Americans a lineup comprised of religionists, crooks, liars, hypocrites, adulterers, right-wing extremists and, except for Jon Huntsman perhaps, just about every other political misfit that a democratic system of government tolerates. This is an assemblage of candidates who take direction from one or more points in an unholy trinity: Wall Street, God, or Charles Koch (who they believe is God).

They have shown themselves to be so completely ignorant of politics, economics, geography, history and international relations that they sound much like my 1957 seventh-grade class when we had to stand at the front of the room and present our weekly Current Events reports.   Does the GOP have an “app for that?”

In an overzealous effort to garner upcoming primary votes, most of the current candidates have tilted so far right that they’re in constant danger of rupturing their spleens. The rest cling stubbornly to their peculiar convictions on how this country should be run. And while the candidates try hard to beat each other in their race to be the most ridiculous in the pack, Americans are forced to put up with the freak show with open-mouthed fascination, wondering with dismay what the daily “coming attractions” will be from this bizarre herd of contenders. Every day one or the other of them steps knee-deep into a steaming heap of Equus ferus caballus residue.

Monthly Flavors: Romney, Gingrich, and Perry

Mitt Romney has more positions than can be found in the thirty-six chapters of the Kama Sutra – and most are just as implausible.  But if you don’t like one of today’s opinions, he’ll flip it faster than your local firehouse cook on Shrove Tuesday.

Although this is only a partial list, Romney has switched his stand on: climate change, Ohio’s anti-collective bargaining law, the flat tax, whether or not he has ever hired illegal immigrants, health care, a woman’s right to choose, the Recovery (Stimulus) Act, and Ronald Reagan’s policies.   He has even changed his position on whether or not he has “changed positions.”  This hardly supports his assertion that he is "a man of steadiness and constancy,” as one of his recent campaign ads alleges.    

And then there’s the issue of Romney’s murky business practices.  As the Chicago Sun Times reported in November If Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination for president, the narrative for his 2012 run is pretty clear. He will tout his credentials as a savvy businessman who knows how to create jobs.  What Romney won’t tell you is that what he really knows how to do is create massive amounts of wealth for himself and his partners. Jobs are another matter.  

An excellent look at Mitt Romney’s business dealings, including who funds his Super PAC, was written by Politicalgates’ regular contributor, Nomad.

Romney’s solution to the staggering foreclosure crisis in America is decidedly anti-middle class.   His idea is to let the problem "hit the bottom," have banks proceed against homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages, and allow “new investors” to rent out the homes until markets adjust.   Are Americans so dumbed-down that they think it’s a good idea to allow Wall Street and the banking industry, who were responsible for the situation in the first place, to get their hands on foreclosed properties?   It would never occur to Romney to encourage the President’s jobs bill as a way to curb foreclosures.

Ben LaBolt, President Obama’s reelection campaign spokesman, had this to say about Romney’s “solution:”  Mitt Romney's message to Nevada homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage bills is simple: You're on your own, so step aside. This is just one more indication that while he will bend over backwards to preserve tax breaks for large corporations and tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, Mitt Romney won't lift a finger to restore economic security for the middle class. 

There is one issue on which Romney remains resolute.   During the Iowa State Fair straw poll frenzy in August, he declared in no uncertain terms, “Corporations are people, my friend.”  This proclamation didn’t seem to set too well with the hooting crowd, one of whom wanted to know why he would not ask corporations to share part of the deficit reduction burden, so Mitt continued:  “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets?  People's pockets. Human beings, my friend."   And his ultimate retort?   "If you don't like my answer, you can vote for someone else."

In his obvious quest for any kind of support he can get, Romney is proudly touting his recent endorsements from failed senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware and Tea Party darling Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina.   Don’t you love the smell of desperation in the morning?

At a recent event in Iowa, Romney explained to the audience the differences between Medicare and Medicaid, saying You know, I have to admit, I didn’t know the differences between all these things until I got into government.   Then I got into it and I understood that Medicaid is the health care program for the poor, by and large.

The blatant ignorance makes me weary.

Newt Gingrich is toting around more baggage than a fully loaded Boeing 747.  With a history of personal and political/business disasters tucked into his well-traveled Samsonite, he’s also shown himself to be another flip-flopping jowl-flapper, capable of doing a one-eighty on any of his pseudo-intellectual opinions somewhere between inhaling and exhaling.

In his personal satchel, Newt has tucked away a history as a serial adulterer and thrice-married scoundrel.  He divorced his first wife after nineteen years of marriage and dumped his ill second wife after nineteen years of less-than-wedded-bliss.  Of course, his love of country is to blame for these actions.   Given his financially tightfisted and callus attitude toward his former wives, Callista is playing it smart by hoarding diamonds from Tiffany’s; if his past record is any indication, she has only seven-and-a-half years left on Newt’s matrimonial contract.   In the most recent debate with the other GOP jokers, Newt acknowledged his promiscuous “mistakes,” adding, “But I’m also a 68-year-old grandfather.”   In Newt’s mind, this grandfatherhood obviously absolves him from all his trespasses and qualifies him to be President of the United States.

Callista had a seven-year adulterous relationship with her now-husband and was instrumental in his conversion to Catholicism.  In light of the fact that this religion frowns rather harshly upon adultery and “putting-asunder,” one has to wonder why the Church thought these two people could forge a lasting marital bond.  Of course, only a real cynic would suggest that there was a rather large contribution made to the Roman Catholic Church.

And Newt, never one to miss a money-making opportunity, embraced his new religious switcharoo with a decided dollar-sign and political passion after he left the House of Representatives in disgrace.  As the New York Times reported recently, During his years in the political wilderness, though, Gingrich found religion – both as a convert to the Roman Catholic Church and as a born-again champion of socially conservative causes. He’s spent the last decade producing books and documentaries about America’s Christian heritage. He raised money for a referendum to recall the judges who legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa. His public rhetoric borrows the tropes of the religious right — emphasizing the dangers of secularism, attacking the usurpations of activist judges, and so on. And when he talks about his checkered personal life, it’s always in the language of sin, repentance and redemption. 

Another bulging suitcase is crammed with Newt’s dark troubles of the political-and-business variety.  With Newt, it’s hard to separate the two categories; everything “business” is based upon his experience with, and desire for, “politics.”   In both cases, a close inspection of the contents is revealing for their hypocrisy, treachery, dirty dealing, complete lies, and general nastiness.

Gingrich’s time in Congress and his tumultuous tenure as Speaker of the House have been so widely chronicled that it is needless to rehash it here.   Briefly, in early 1997 he was charged with, and disciplined for, eighty-four ethics violations.  His resignation as Speaker occurred just after the 1998 elections, when the House lost five seats and Gingrich was held responsible for this disaster for the Republican party.

Interestingly, of his colleagues during that period, there are few champions and many detractors.   Tom Coburn, currently the junior senator from Oklahoma, was a representative during that time and said in early December of this year that Gingrich’s leadership was “lacking.”

In a November radio interview, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu was much harsher, saying that Gingrich is “not stable,” and that the Republican candidate is focused on himself and doesn’t think through the consequences of his actions.  “Tom Coburn, Susan Molinari, Mickey Edwards – all these folks that were part of his inner circle, who watched him on a daily basis, said, ‘Enough is enough, this man is not stable.’”

Asked explicitly if he believed Gingrich is not a stable man, Sununu responded: “I believe that he cannot resist spouting off, making rash decisions that he cannot believe, reacting quickly and emotionally rather than analytically. He is the artist of the bumper-sticker statement that sounds good in a debate. But there is no depth.  There is no deep analysis.  There is great rhetoric but no execution.  He’s got a great mouth.  His mind isn’t so hot and his discipline and commitment are terrible.” 

As if Coburn’s and Sununu’s negative opinions weren’t enough, Gingrich got blasted by an unlikely source.   Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist who spent three-and-a-half years in jail for fraud, corruption, and conspiracy, called Newt’s consulting deal with Freddie Mac “an example of corruption in Washington.”   Of course, Newt contends that he merely acted as a “historian,” and was paid only $300,000 for his history lessons.   Those familiar with the “deal,” however, put the estimate of Newt’s earnings at between $1.6 and $1.8 million.  As Joe Klein of Time Magazine states, “It's hard to sell yourself as a sensible budget cutter in a government gone mad when you're taking seven-figure payments to promote the madness.” 

Newt also failed to register as a lobbyist when he will shilling for the health industry for at least $37 million.   They were promised “access to Newt Gingrich” and “direct Newt interaction” in exchange for their cash. Also in exchange for their cash, perhaps, Gingrich took some interesting positions on health care reform: He supported the “individual mandate” that Americans buy insurance (or post a bond to cover unanticipated illness) as well as measures to encourage “end of life” planning. He ditched both positions, of course, once he realized they were unpopular with the Republican base. 

Of his flip-flops, here are just two of his more flagrant position changes.  Speaking about Libya on March 7, he said he would Exercise a no-fly zone this evening ... Provide help to the rebels to replace [Qaddafi] ... All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening. And we don’t have to send troops. All we have to do is suppress his air force, which we could do in minutes. 

By March 23rd, however, he had flipped his position, saying I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi ... I would not have used American and European forces.

Then on May 15, talking about Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Newt flatly stated that I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. .... [Paul Ryan's Medicare proposal] is too big a jump.

Two days later, he backtracked and said I made a mistake.  And I called Paul Ryan today, who's a very close personal friend and I said that.  The fact is that I have supported what Ryan has tried to do on the budget.

And of course, he tried to make the Democrats tremble by warning them in an interview with Greta Van Susteren that,  Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate. 

Gingrich showed himself to be a faithful member of the GOP Ignorati in a November speech at Harvard when he proclaimed that “Child labor laws are stupid.”   That’s right: Newt wants schools to rid themselves of unionized labor and put children to work cleaning toilets so they won’t become pimps, prostitutes, and drug dealers. 

One of the most chilling, anti-American, and outrageous statements Gingrich has ever publicly made is from 2008.   At a shilling-his-book event, Newt opined that the Bush administration shouldn’t haven’t been so successful at intercepting and stopping terrorist attacks after September 11, 2001.   “It’s almost like they should, every once in a while, have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us.

Does America really want – or deserve – a president who would deliberately permit a terrorist attack on this country?   This is the reasoning of a truly deviant mind.  

In mid-December 2010, Rick Perry was saying he absolutely would not run for president in the 2012 election.  He told an interviewer from Reuters, I don't want to be president of the United States. I'm not going to run for the presidency of the United States.

 By May of 2011, he was going to think about running for president.   And on August 13, 2011, he declared that, indeed he would run, because I will not sit back and accept the path that America is on. 

Barely a month had passed after his announcement when Perry flew to New York to kiss, ring of the self-appointed “Godfather of Politics,” Donald Trump.   The Donald professed to be very impressed with “Jim” Perry.   Uh huh. 

While Perry’s “flavor” has lost much of its zest, he must still be categorized in the top group of what passes for the GOP’s this-is-all-we’ve-got for 2012.   The fact is, Perry has a lot of influential and deep-pockets support, both in Texas and in other areas of the country.  Matt Taibbi said it best in his excellent profile of Rick Perry: 

In an era when there's exponentially more money in politics than we've ever seen before, Perry is the candidate who is exponentially more willing than we've ever seen before to whore himself out for that money. On the human level he is a nonpersonality, an almost perfect cipher – a man whose only discernible passion is his extreme willingness to be whatever someone will pay him to be, or vote for him to be. Even scarier, the religious community around which he has chosen to pull his human chameleon act features some of the most extreme end-is-nigh nutcases in America, the last people you want influencing the man with the nuclear football. Perry is a human price tag – Being There meets Left Behind. And sometimes there's nothing more dangerous than nothing at all. 

In order to satisfy his Christian right fan base, Perry makes it very clear (for some reason) that he is more “Christian” than the President.  Does he really need to be reminded that America will elect the forty-fifth Commander-in-Chief in 2012, and not the first Pastor-in-Chief? 

Even though this idea has been roundly denounced, Perry had no problem remembering and defending an assertion in his book, Fed Up, that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme and a monstrous lie.”  Notably, when a spokesperson for his campaign tried to soften this stance to media outlets that Perry's book was intended as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto, the governor  snapped back when questioned if he had flip-flopped on this opinion.  "I haven't backed off anything in my book. So read the book again and get it right." 

At a bizarre November campaign speech in New Hampshire, Perry giggled, joshed, and fumbled through his speech in front of a prominent and influential conservative group.   His behavior led many to wonder if he was drunk or on some sort of drug.   This is still being debated as there have been nearly three hundred thousand hits to watch it on YouTube. 

As an obvious counter to Herman Cain’s “9-9-9 Tax Plan,”  Perry developed his own 20 Percent Flat Tax Plan.   This has not engendered much of a following, as the 99% would pay higher taxes than in the current graduated tax plan, and it would, naturally, significantly reduce taxes for the wealthy 1%.  

In debates, press conferences, and interviews, Perry suffers from what can be called, at best, brain cramps.  At worst, it can be said that he is simply unable to put his ignorant mind in gear before opening his silly mouth.   Most of his “unfortunate” instances of tongue slips and gaffes have to do with issues about which he supposedly feels very strongly, i.e., these are no “gotcha” questions.   Perhaps his debate-preppers should take him to McCain’s ranch in Arizona, eh?
In his eagerness to make the federal government inconsequential in our lives when he moves into the White House, Perry’s presidential campaign website informs anyone who actually gives a damn just how he will Uproot and Overhaul Washington, primarily by eliminating three key departments: Commerce, Education, and Energy.  However, it’s obvious that Perry has never even read his own website, as he was unable to name all three departments in a November debate.  Oops! 

For a candidate who promises to curb the government’s meddlesome ways, he has an outrageously hypocritical way of demonstrating it.  Since the beginning of 2011, Texas has had devastating forest fires that, to date, have destroyed nearly four million acres of land. On September 1, Perry signed a budget that slashed the volunteer fire department grant program from $23 million to $7 million, leaving it with only one-third of its 2010 allocation.  On September 12, he demanded that the Obama administration declare Texas a disaster area so the Lone Star State could receive federal emergency funds, declaring in no uncertain terms, I full well expect the federal government to come in to do their part.  

During an interview on December 9, Perry could not remember Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s last name, referring to her as Montemayor.   When speaking his opinions about whether the Supreme Court had the right to make decisions about prayer time in public schools, he stated that he trusted  those independent school districts to make those decisions better than eight unelected, and frankly, unaccountable judges.  (I believe any fifth grader knows there are nine Supreme Court justices.)  Oops! 

At a South Carolina campaign stop in early December, Perry was asked his views on current U.S. military operations and how they compare to the nation’s role in World War II.  He responded by speaking about the wars with Afghanistan and Iran until someone in the audience corrected him.  Oops! 

Perry’s latest, but surely not his last, gaffe came when he recently stated, No greater example of it than this administration sending millions of dollars into the solar industry, and we lost that money.  I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country, Solyndra.  Of course, Solyndra is a solar energy company that went bankrupt after receiving over $500 million in federal loan guarantees; it is NOT a country.   Oops! 

Perhaps Rick Perry should walk his Tony Lamas back to Texas where his ignorance is appreciated, and not inflict his Yahoo, Buckaroo Cowboy ideas on the rest of America.

Novelty CandidatesBachmann and Paul

There is one thing that can definitely be said for Michele Bachmann: she is never conflicted.   No flip-flops for her!   She is unmovable and unapologetic for every far-right position she gratingly espouses.   Her self-confidence would be truly commendable were she not so conspicuously ignorant of history and government, and so appallingly off-the-charts when it comes to the liberty-restrictive convictions she would impose upon the citizens of this country.  Bachmann is about fifty-five years too late and a million neurons short of a functioning brain.

But let’s be clear about one thing: the ridiculous statements that Bachmann so frequently utters are neither gaffes, nor brain cramps, nor slips of the tongue.   Though often wrong, she is never in doubt.  She selects her words very carefully, and delivers them with a passionately measured precision that is punctuated by dramatic hand gestures.   It makes one wonder if her fact-checker is Sarah Palin.

Although she is in her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Bachmann comes to the race for the White House with the weakest of legislative records.  As Politico reported in late June, Steve Schier, a professor of political science at Carleton College, said that Bachmann "has defined herself during her political career as a public advocate, not an executive or legislator. Her goal has been to draw bright rhetorical lines and marshal support for her purist conservative positions."

In sticking to her conservative values, Bachmann wants far-right Christian dogma taught along side Darwin in America’s public schools.

Ever the submissive wife, Bachmann followed her husband’s command to earn a degree in tax law and subsequently went to work for the IRS.   Of course, she has an excellent reason, as she told an audience in South Carolina last August:  I went to work in that system because the first rule of war is ‘know your enemy.’  So I went to the inside to learn how they work because I wanted to beat them.  One has to wonder why she didn’t suggest that Marcus earn the tax law degree.   Oh, right.   He was too busy hustling Medicare with his ‘pray away the gay’ clinic.

Almost six months before she formally announced her candidacy,  Bachmann began her unique assault on American history while speaking at an event sponsored by Iowans For Tax Relief.   After calling slavery an evil, a scourge, and a stain on our history, she declared in no uncertain terms that, We also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States,” Bachmann added, claiming “men like John Quincy Adams… would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.

Just for clarification, the U.S. Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, while John Quincy Adams was still a student at Harvard.   Although he was adamantly against the practice all his life, he did nothing to stop slavery.  In fact, he died thirteen years before the beginning of the Civil War.  I guess Abraham Lincoln didn’t get the memo.

And yet while denouncing slavery, Bachmann seemed to think that children born into that shameful situation were better off than they are now.   She signed a pledge that read, in part, Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.

Speaking in Iowa during September, she stated, There is[sic] reports that have come out that Cuba has been working with another terrorist organization called Hezbollah. And Hezbollah is looking at wanting to be part of missile sites in Iran and, of course, when you are 90 miles offshore from Florida, you don’t want to entertain the prospect of hosting bases or sites where Hezbollah could have training camps or perhaps have missile sites or weapons sites in Cuba. (Note: There is no credible evidence that Cuba is “hosting” S’hia Muslim bases or sites in Cuba.)

Bachmann is spending an inordinate amount of time in Iowa.  In November, she promised yet another audience in the first-caucus state that if elected president, We wouldn’t have an American embassy in Iran.  (That’s extremely reassuring, since we haven’t had diplomatic ties with Iran since 1980.)

Bachmann's stance on finally bringing home our troops from Iraq defies logic and pains a sane person's sensibilities.   I certainly don't get it, but then the Congresswoman rarely makes much sense.  "President Obama was given a war that is won in Iraq, and he’s choosing to lose the peace,” she claimed on Meet the Press.  “That’s a desecration of the memory of forty-four-hundred Americans that gave their lives to liberate Iraq.”

Bachmann clings to her “win” in the Iowa straw poll and the Tea Party vote like salvation itself.   Never mind that she paid for the straw poll vote and the Tea Party has virtually passed the way of the Edsel; both got a lot of attention during their limited life – not all of it positive.  In the numerous polls conducted since the Iowa poll in August, Bachmann has received votes only in the low-double digits, and most were in the single digits.   Sorry, Michele, but “gasping at straws” is your exercise in futility. 

UPDATE:  Seems that Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, state senator Kent Sorenson, suddenly turned traitor right after appearing with her at a campaign stop on December 28.  He’s now in with the Ron Paul campaign.  Ouch!

Ron Paul has recently achieved Monthly Flavor status, but he remains a Novelty Candidate because he cannot become the GOP presidential nominee for two specific reasons: he is a strict Libertarian and he will be seventy-seven years old by the time the 2012 election rolls around.  But Paul is suddenly getting the scrutiny that comes with high poll numbers as the media is actually investigating and analyzing his political history, which is proving to be less than stellar.

Paul’s Libertarian views are hard-line and, in many cases, so extreme that Matt Barber, the Associate Dean with Liberty University School of Law, recently warned about the menace of Ron Paul’s positions:  “Mr. Paul is many things, but conservative is not one of them. He’s a died-in-the-wool libertarian. That’s one part conservative, two parts anarchist.” Barber concludes that Paul is dangerous.

And it must be emphasized that the Congressman is not exactly one of the flip-flopping politicians: he merely lies or denies.  And yes, gentle readers, in the Republican Party, that’s entirely acceptable.
Ron Paul has been shown to be racist, homophobic, and anti-Israel.   He admires David Duke (the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan), wouldn’t use the bathroom in the home of an devoted, but openly gay, supporter, and believes the State of Israel should be abolished and handed over to the Palestinians.

In a speech at a John Birch Society meeting some years ago, he warned that the United Nations had a plan to confiscate Americans’ personal weapons.

Paul’s plan for how Americans should deal with their own Health Care is almost as ludicrous as a Chickens-for-Checkups plan.  While he firmly believes in making health care more affordable, his solution to the problem is to hand it over to the insurance companies because, free market competition will put pressure on the providers and force them to lower their costs to remain in business.   I think that’s what we’ve had in the past, and it is NOT affordable.  He proposes that we pay for our medical expenses out-of-pocket and deduct the costs from our taxes.  This sounds fine and dandy at first blush, but ordinary American families cannot afford to pay for even the most minor of procedures out of their ever-dwindling budgets. I recommend that Mr. Paul relinquish his own tax-payer subsidized health care plan and buy one on the “free market” before he decides that the rest of us should do it. 

Paul suggested during a November debate that Iran should be allowed to have a nuclear bomb, saying that it is natural for Iran to want such a weapon as it is surrounded by countries such as India, Pakistan and Israel which all have one and with China, the United States and Russia all involved in the region. He said the U.S. should not get involved in the country’s internal affairs. Naturally, he was attacked by his fellow presidential wannbe hawks for that stance.

Rep. Paul has the distinctly conservative hostile attitude toward regulations of any kind – except, of course, those that control a woman’s right to her own reproductive system. 

UPDATE:  Newt Gingrich said on Thursday, December 28, said that if Ron Paul became the Republican presidential nominee, he would not vote for him.  Ouch!

Bottom FeedersHuntsman and Santorum

Jon Huntsman’s campaign  to become the GOP presidential candidate can best be described in one word: lackluster.   You know when there are so few mocking cartoons about you that you’re either doing everything right or you’re too humdrum to waste pen and ink on.  In Huntsman’s case, it may be a little of both. 

No scandals, no controversies – and no new ideas.   Huntsman has taken his  Restoring Trust campaign on the road throughout New Hampshire in search of a win in that state’s primary on January 10.  Reading the seven-point plan is strictly for insomniacs; it’s full of nothing but rhetoric, rehashed talking points, and milquetoast hubris; Huntsman can’t even manage to be convincingly arrogant.   At times, he seems to be using the let’s-run-it-up-the-flagpole-and-see-who-salutes method of campaigning.

There are those who ask, hopefully, if the GOP will accept this candidate with some “sanity” in his positions.  The short answer? No.

On one hand, I’m sure Huntsman endeared himself to hawkish conservatives when he proposed a preemptive war with Iran to ensure that they never developed a nuclear weapons arsenal.

On the other hand, he’s flippy-floppy on climate change and the accompanying EPA regulations, no doubt to be more appealing to the flat-earth group.   In July, Huntsman said, We will be judged by how well we were stewards of those (natural) resources. Conservation is conservative. I’m not ashamed to be a conservationist. I also believe that science should be driving our discussions on climate change.   We have a huge opportunity in the years ahead to make energy independence a centerpiece issue in this country.

But by November, he had changed his tune somewhat, saying, We don’t make things anymore in this country. We need to start making things in this country. And in order to do that, we need serious regulatory reform, not just repealing Obamacare, but ending the EPA’s regulatory reign of terror.

On the anti-gay law, the Defense of Marriage Act,  Huntsman seems rather wishy-washy, saying that it “serves a useful purpose” by allowing states to decide the issue of marriage.  Then he made comments advocating for “fairness” — without an explicit mention of LGBT people.  Questioned by a Blade reporter if he would pursue a similar strategy upon taking office, Huntsman replied “getting our house in order” in treating each other in the United States with fairness will encourage other countries to do the same.

One issue that has not been explored extensively, but certainly will if Huntsman somehow earns Monthly Flavor status, is his family’s Iran business.  In June, Politico reported that just after Huntsman began his tour as President Obama’s ambassador to China, an irately reproachful letter from an anti-Iran nuclear watchdog group arrived at Huntsman Corp., the chemical company founded by his father.  The bluntly worded missive singled out a Tehran-based subsidiary — purchased when Huntsman worked for the company — for selling polyurethane that could be used in solid fuel for Iranian missiles, among other things.

“How can it be that Ambassador Huntsman could persuade the Chinese government to impose further economic sanctions on Iran when his namesake former company continues to do business in Iran?” read the letter from United Against a Nuclear Iran, a nonpartisan group founded by the late diplomat Richard Holbrooke and veteran Mideast envoy Dennis Ross.

According to how well (or poorly) Huntsman fares in the early primaries, there is speculation, which he as not ruled out, that he might run as an Independent candidate in 2012.  It is unclear to me if he would be able to get on the various state ballots if he waits too long.   We shall see.


Rick Santorum is so far-right Christian on social issues that he should consider the priesthood as a vocation rather than politics. He’d strongly support regulating the sanctity of your bedroom, but not the safety of your workplace, saying in 2003 that he did not think that consenting adults have a constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts.

In 2005, Santorum wrote It Takes a Family, in which he supported a more family values oriented society focusing on monogamous, heterosexual relationships, marriage, and child-raising.  He would restrict or prohibit abortion and homosexuality, stating the American public and their elected officials should decide on these incredibly important moral issues, rather than the Supreme Court, which consists of nine unelected, unaccountable judges.

He has described contraception as a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.

And what is Father Rick’s position on climate change?   Why, it’s all a liberal conspiracy.

Santorum rejects the notion that Americans die because they do not have healthcare insurance.   When responding to a college student’s assertion that fifty-to-one hundred thousand people a year die in this country due to a lack of affordable insurance, Santorum said, People die in America because people die in America. And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their healthcare.  And they don't go to the emergency room or they don't go to the doctor when they need to. And it's not the fault of the government for not providing some sort of universal benefit.  However, a 2009 Harvard Medical School study showed that 45,000 deaths per year are associated with a lack of health insurance, and uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts.

When Santorum quit his job to run for president, he lost his healthcare insurance and had to go out and buy it on the “free market” for his family.   Oddly enough, the “Obamacare” he so despises and would repeal should he become president, allowed him to purchase insurance for his terminally ill daughter, Bella, even though she has a pre-existing disease.   Hmmm…. 

Not enough of Santorum’s duplicity for you yet?  He has proclaimed that doctors who perform abortions should be criminally charged, and further stated that exceptions to protect the life of the mother are phony.  And yet, in 1997 he authorized a partial-birth abortion to keep his own wife from dying from a twenty-week old infected fetus.   The life of his wife is obviously more valuable than the life of any other woman in this country.   I guess God granted them a special waiver in this instance, right?

Have any of the other candidates, particularly Paul, Bachmann and Perry, ever challenged Santorum on his hypocrisy?   No, I didn’t think so.

While Santorum's McCain-style "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran" rhetoric may be a winning strategy in Iowa, it will not go far with most Americans.   Didn't impress to many folks in 2008, did it?

And now Father Rick finds himself nearly in the Flavor of the Month category – which won’t last long, I wager.  Erick Erickson got his Jockeys in a jumble about Santorum’s sudden spike in the Iowa polls that have put him on the same level with Paul and Romney, saying on his website:  Rick Santorum will not be the nominee. That’s the reality. But his rise hurts Bachmann, Gingrich, and Perry in Iowa — all of whom have better organizations and better shots beyond Iowa.

Enjoy it while you can, Rick.   Fifteen minutes of fame can be a long time when you are suddenly thrust into the investigation spotlight. 

Toast:  Herman Cain

The Koch Brother’s brother by another mother was last seen boarding Flight 999 to Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan. 

Not the Finish Line for this Horse Race

Some Republican “elites” are not at all happy with this current herd, and are especially ticked about the apparent front-runners, Romney and Gingrich.   So even with eight – oops, make that SEVEN – candidates from which to select, just when the thinning of the pack should be occurring, GOP leaders want to crowd the corral by rounding up another nag or two.   
Names that have to be considered are, alphabetically speaking: 

Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida.  (Do we really need another Bush in the White House?)

Chris Christie, current governor of New Jersey.  (He’d have to lose some weight and gain some charm.)

Mitch Daniels, current governor of Indiana.  (Just another far-right governor, making his list and ticking off his restrictive accomplishments.)

Jim DeMint, current U.S. senator from South Carolina.   (All anyone needs to know: he’s the top member of the Senate Tea Party.)

Rudy Giuliani, former two-term governor of New York.  (He once took a cell-phone call from his wife during a speech to the NRA, explaining to his audience afterwards, “It’s a lot better that way.”   Can you say “Hen pecked?”)

Bob McDonnell, current governor of Virginia. (Among other atrocities he’s committed, McDonnell decided that slavery was an insignificant issue in the Civil War.)

Sarah Palin, failed VP candidate and quitter governor of Alaska.  (Or from planet DrillBabyDrill, no one is really sure.)

Marco Rubio, U.S. senator from Florida.  (At only 40, he’s rather young and inexperienced, plus he may have concocted some fantasies about his ancestors’ immigrant past.)

Paul Ryan, current U.S. Congressman from Wisconsin.   (He wrote the counter to President Obama’s Healthcare Plan, which Newt Gingrich dissed by calling it “right-wing social engineering.”)

Donald Trump, businessman un-extraordinaire.   (He’s the Birther Bozo who was verbally taken down by a broadly smiling President Obama.) 

End Note:  There’s a Crazy Plague out there, folks, and the only antidote is the ever-reliable preventative AVD Vaccine:  Always Vote Democratic.

UPDATE: Sunnyjane's post has been added to dig. 

Please give her article the thumbs up at the following link. Thank you.

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