Friday, November 18, 2011

5 things we learned this week in politics

We began this week with one Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry, reeling from a brain freeze. Another Republican candidate, Herman Cain, was fighting sexual harassment allegations and himself. That left some Republicans turning their lonely eyes to a new/old name, Newt.

What are five things we learned five days later?

5) Perry is in the final stage of campaign irrelevance

This is the stage where the candidate starts making what he thinks are bold proposals to refocus the cameras his way - but which instead are so nutty that they affirm why people have moved on. This week, Perry proposed a part-time citizen Congress, then wrote Democrat Nancy Pelosi a letter that challenged her to a debate.

Said Pelosi: "Well, he did ask if I could debate here in Washington on Monday. It is my understanding that the letter has come in. Monday, I’m going to be in Portland in the morning. I’m going to be visiting some of our labs in California in the afternoon. That’s two. I can’t remember what the third thing is.”


4) Cain's campaign will be remembered as one of the worst in modern political history

As the week began, Cain actually seemed to have a chance at weathering allegations of sexual harassment when he was president of the National Restaurant Association. But this week, America got a look at a painful (and therefore viral) video in which he floundered when answering a question on Libya in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board. Then he inexplicably blew off the editorial board of the politically powerful and conservative Manchester Union Leader, New Hampshire's largest newspaper.

Together, the incidents illustrate most everything that's wrong with this candidate. He doesn't know policy, and he doesn't know how to run a campaign.

3) Gingrich might have more staying power than people think

Unlike Perry and Cain, Gingrich might not flounder when the attention turns his way. Voters already know that he has ethical issues at home and the office. They know he's a grouch. But those who've heard him on policy panels and in longer-form debates also know he is likely the smartest Republican in the field - no matter what someone would like you to believe.

Gingrich will go through the ringer this coming week as the media reminds everyone why we didn't used to like him much. It's a right of passage for every serious candidate - if you think Obama got a pass in 2008, you just weren't reading - but if he survives and can get into one-on-ones with Mitt Romney, watch out.

2) Barack Obama might have a bigger "who is he?" problem than Mitt Romney

The most scathing political essay this week was penned by a liberal writer at the New York Times - about the President.

Drew Westen, a frequent political writer and professor of psychology at Emory University, is unhappy that Obama put off a decision on plans to lay a high-pressure oil pipeline from Canada. But that decision, Westen says, is one of many perplexing choices Obama has made.

The money sentence:

No modern American president has ever managed to make it through nearly three years in the White House with so few people really having any idea what he believes on so many key issues — let alone what his vision for the country is.
Don't dismiss this as a liberal who feels Obama isn't liberal enough. Independents, who propelled Obama to victory in 2008, are collectively shrugging, too. That's not the emotion you want from supporters come November, especially if the economy continues to drag along.

1) It's Mitt as the nominee. Deal with it.

He's got the money. He's got the organization. He's got the intellectual chops. And right now, he's doing a brilliant job of staying in the political conversation while staying out of everyone else's political messes. That's what you get to do when you're one of the front-runners. You let the process sift the others out.

Republicans are running out of candidates to put next to Romney at the top of the polls, and if Gingrich also flames out, we'll finally land where most people thought we would all along - Obama vs. Romney.

True, Romney still hasn't connected to the electorate, in part because of those nagging flip-flopper issues. But if he ends up the GOP nominee, voters will get to pick from the candidate who might not be who you think he is, and the candidate that you already know isn't.

Peter St. Onge


Skippy said...

It probably would have been a good idea if just one of genius's in the liberal press would have just asked one tough qeustion to Obumbler while he was lying right up to his election. So now you are whining about this?

Garth Vader said...

Ron Paul is in a dead heat for FIRST in Iowa and is a strong SECOND in New Hampshire. What is the reason the Observer continues to ignore him?

Anonymous said...

Where are all the Observer articles about their beloved OWS movement's classy showing yesterday? Yelling at kids, blocking people from getting to work, flicking cigs on cops - the arrests? I'm sure there would've been a front page story had this been a Tea Party event. Not surprised since they openly back this ridiculousness.

Anonymous said...

"Cain's campaign will be remembered as one of the worst in modern political history."

D you actually think that Cain has run a worse campaign than Gary Hart, Walter Mondale, George HW Bush '80 or George McGovern? Seriously????????

"if you think Obama got a pass in 2008, you just weren't reading"

Excuse you, I was reading, and watching, and Obama got a free pass many times. Oh, sure, the "birthers" tried to make an issue out of a non-issue, but this statement completely ignores the disgusting double-standard the ultra-liberal traditional media outlets treat political campaigns. ABC's Terry Moran said that Obama was such a great man that he was "taking a step down" to be President. Evan Thomas of Newsweek said Obama is "sort of a God." Obama got a complete free pass on Jeremiah Wright. You know full well that if the pastor of a church that had the name John McCain on its church roll were to say "God damn America" from the pulpit, the vilification of McCain would have been so intense that no man could stand it. It would not have been enough for McCain to stop going to that church; ABC, NBC, CBS, the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, NPR and the like would have daily demanded McCain drop out of the race and resign from the Senate.

Obama is getting a free pass right now. Everyone is having a cow over Perry's brain freeze and Cain's "Libya?" moment. Barack Obama recently said in a speech that the US had 57 states. Where is the outrage? We would read about it every day if a Republican had said it.

The bias is sickening. Every day for the last 2.5 months we have been inundated with stories with a favorable view of Occupy Wall Street. The favorable stories have continued despite members of the occupy movement killing a man in Oakland, deficating on police cars in New York, and throwing a 78-year-old woman down a flight of stairs in San Francisco. This all after 1 stupid idiot spit at a black Congressman at a Tea Party rally, and every column, article and editorial since has called the Tea Party racist, terrorist and "preying on the fear of the people."

So yes, Obama, and everyone else that espouses a liberal ideology, gets a free pass from the media.

kantstanzya said...

In order:

5) Nancy Pelosi of "let's pass the bill first and then read it" and "paying more unemployment helps economic growth" fame calling someone else stupid? Funny stuff.

4) Maybe Herman Cain isn't running good campaign because he's not a professional politician. Is that a bad thing?

3)Funniest line of today's Observer: "If you think Obama got a free pass in 2008 you weren't reading." Wow. It was extremely hard for the average person to cut through the MSM protective shield around Obama and learn anything substantive. Newsweek referred to him as our messianic deliverer.

2)"No modern President has ever managed to make it through years with so few people really having any idea what he believes." See #3. The media is only catching up to what most people who eren't star struck on 2008 already knew. He believes exactly what we already big government, European socialism, and presiding over America's well deserved decline.

1)If Romney gets the nod "Voters will get to pick from the candidate who might not be who we thought he was and the man we already knew wasn't." See #2.

And Romney or whomever cannot possibly be worse. Obama is exactly who he told us he would be and the real nightmare could be a lame duck Obama without fear or restraint of a re-election. For voters who didn't want to believe he was the left wing radical he clearly is...their chickens have already come home to roost. Let's hope they have had enough.

The Observer Editorial Board said...


We mentioned the troublesome OWS behavior Thursday in our lead editorial this morning.



The Observer Editorial Board said...


I said one of the worst, not the worst. But yes, it's been a campaign that was a bigger mess than most, if not all, of the ones you mention.

On Obama: You seem to be forgetting that along with significant reporting from NYT and WashPost on Ayers and Wright, those stories also appeared frequently on FOX, which happens to be the most-watched cable news operation in the U.S., and large, more conservative newspapers like the Wall Street Journal. They count as media, too. So a free pass? Not even close.

On Occupy, we agree to a degree. The coverage, while not as excusively positive as you claim, has been much more affirming than coverage as a whole of the tea party.


Nipsey said...

Uh, J, Obama made the "57 states" comment while on the campaign trail ... in May 2008. How does that qualify as something he said "recently?" And exactly how long should the "outrage" over that slip of the tongue persist in order to ease your overwhelming sense of victimhood?

Garth Vader said...


I appreciate the time you took to speak with me. Good luck w/your weekend deadlines. Party on.


The Observer Editorial Board said...

Sure thing, Garth. Appreciate your perspective.


Anonymous said...

Are you referencing this? The last paragraph in the DNC article? If so that hardly compares to the dozens of stories in support of OWS. If its another article, I still don't see it. Thanks.

On Thursday, Occupy tried a troubling new strategy, clashing with police near Wall Street and tearing down barricades at Zuccotti. It’s a reminder that demonstrators don’t always follow the choreography that governments set out for them. Our public officials should plan for those possibilities next September, but they should do so without stifling the freedoms that the convention nearby will celebrate.

Read more:

Nipsey said...

Frank, this whining about media is just so tiresome. If a media outlet isn't accusing Obama of being a coke-snorting homosexual Kenyan, you right-wing crybabies will scream "librul bias" -- if not over the media's actual coverage, then over what you IMAGINE their coverage would have been in some theoretical scenario that you've dreamed up. Like, "Oh if this had happened to the Tea Party, the Observer would have done this or that" ... well, whatever you think they would have done is not the CO's problem. It's just pathetic that this is what the right has been reduced to; be a man for five minutes and stop blaming all of your woes on the mean ol' mainstream media.

Anonymous said...

Tiresome to you, Nipsey - who obviously love the cheerleading.

The Observer Editorial Board said...


Yes, that's the paragraph. Now show me the "dozens of stories" supporting OWS.

As I said to J, I think the coverage of OWS was more affirming than coverage of the tea party, but not to the degree you're saying. In our editorial pages, for example, we've published columns examining how much the message will resonate - some say it will, some criticize the movement. George Will has been especially hard on the Occupiers, and we've published his columns here.


Anonymous said...

Just a quick search of your site shows these articles - and they are just about OWS - Charlotte. Come on - people are not stupid and know that you (Observer) are pushing this along with the rest of the media.

Anonymous said...

Would this "newspaper" hire a conservative, Rush Limbaugh listening columnist? Didn't think so. But they sure have their share of MSNBC types writing. In their minds that thinking is mainstream - while it disgusts 50% of the readers. Probably why McClatchy is in the toilet.

pstonge said...


You're proving my point. The articles you cited include stories about arrests, rifts and the city contemplating an ordinance. It's a mix of coverage that covers different perspectives, and that doesn't include conservative columnists Will and Krauthammer on Occupy.

We try to provide different perspectives on our editorial pages, and Ip think we've done that.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Pete - You are proving mine, not the other way around. Despite your statement that majority of people agree with OWS points (I'm sure that was some non-biased polling you are citing) - people wouldn't care about this story unless you guys hyped it. And your statements below show your support for this - and the end game - new energy and voters for the DNC. Class warfare is a DNC tactic and we both know that. I haven't seen a OWS protester mentioning crony capitalism like Solyndra or the donor that runs a company of 1 person - receiving stimulus money.

Pete's words..
It won't be enough to survive, however, because overnight camping was critical to the movement. It gave Occupy an identity that attracted participants and prompted initial and continued media coverage. Take that away, and the larger movement goes with it.

That's not a bad thing, necessarily, because Occupy already has had its success. The disparity between affluent and poor has become part of the national political discussion, and polls show Americans largely agree with the roots of the Occupy message, even if they've grown weary of the Occupiers. That message will play a role in the 2012 election.

Read more:

Peter St. Onge said...

I don't believe stories that brought you the good and not-so-good of Occupy (and those are the ones you cited) are "hyping" it. You don't care - I get that. But others do.

On the polls - we're talking several, and by reputable pollsters, that show Americans agree with the foundation of what Occupy says about income. Do they like the Occupiers? Not so much at this point. We've written that, too.