Friday, December 2, 2011

This week in politics: Newt and Trust.

We began the week with two frontrunners for the Republican nomination for president. We ended the week the same way - yet there are lots of folks still not ready to believe it.

It's not that any other candidates are threatening to make a run at Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Rick Perry is still being Rick Perry. Herman Cain is finally thinking about taking a knee under the weight of his alleged past. (You know it's time to go when previous scandal-ridden politicos say "It's time to go.")

As for Michelle Bachmann - voters nationally may be fickle in the flings they have with candidates, but once they knock you from double to single digits, they rarely give you another good look. Ask Ron Paul, who had his moment four years ago.

So that leaves Mitt against Newt to run against the very vulnerable Barack Obama. Obama did get some good news this week - his approval ratings rose slightly in November, putting him better than where Jimmy Carter was in his third November as president, but worse than everyone else.

Romney, who has run a textbook primary campaign, had his first stumble this week, offering testy answers on immigration and health care in an interview with Brett Baier of FOX News. Worse, he complained to Baier about the aggressiveness of the questions (which were, by the way, fair and representative of what FOX's largely conservative viewership would have asked.) Romney will have to do better, because with the GOP field narrowing, the focus will intensify on policy and how his conservatism differs from Gingrich.

Still, some prominent conservatives are wary of Gingrich's politics and demeanor. The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer speculates that Gingrich might be a moderate who came late to conservatism. And, said Krauthammer:
Gingrich has a self-regard so immense that it rivals Obama’s — but, unlike Obama’s, is untamed by self-discipline.
That leads to the biggest question on Gingrich. Yes, he's smart and has legitimate conservative chops (despite his occasional forays across the ideological aisle), but can Republicans trust him not to say something politically lethal next September?

Here's Newt on poor children this week, via FOX News:
“Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed.
“They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.

That might fly with the far right of his party in December 2011, but it will hand the White House back to Obama 11 months from now.

Peter St. Onge


Goddess of the River said...

Like other political commentators display, it may seem that if you ignore Ron Paul's momentum, it will go away. I would prefer to read news that actually represents the American political climate instead of a fabricated, "Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain" attempt at swaying the populace. I realize that this blog is based on opinion, but please - you get paid for this stuff. At least make an attempt at accuracy.

jdshaw said...

Republcan nominee: Mitt Romney
President: Barack Obama

jdshaw said...

Republican nominee:Mitt Romney
Next President:Barack Obama

Phil said...

I work with 2 ladies that are Obama voters. One told me how she worked hard on her dads farm growing up and the other said she work as kid at local Food Lion. They said that these folks that just live off the Gov. and don't want to work are the ones that have the chips on there shoulder and someone owes them something and it make no difference who is POTUS Their hope and change is hoping for a bigger hand out and change back in the pocket. They said, this does need to change. I don't know if they would go so far as just cutting those people off. But they do agree with me that these folks need to find something to do to justify a Gov benefit

Archiguy said...

Maybe those underprivileged kids Newt is disparaging need a gig like his most recent one: Get paid millions of dollars to be a lobbyist, then claim it wasn't lobbying but "historical perspective" he was offering. Nice work if you can get it.

Those kids just need a little different historical perspective than the hand they've been dealt, seems to me. Like, maybe, a history of equal opportunity rather than racial injustice and economic discrimination. Maybe if Newt had grown up with such limitations, his "historical perspective" might be a wee bit different.

At the very least, maybe he wouldn't have grown up to be such a clueless, classless jerk. He likes to write about alternative history; sure would be nice if he had one.

Archiguy said...

Goddess - The reason this column is ignoring Ron Paul's momentum is that he doesn't have any. And there is good reason for that. He's an extremist who's views appeal to a relatively narrow range of the electorate.

He has no chance in the GOP primary and would have even less of one in a general election, as he proved 4 years ago. He's just part of the sideshow, and it's getting time to get serious about the nominee, don't you think?

Garth Vader said...


People are on to your transparent smear campaign against Ron Paul.

FACT: Paul is TIED FOR FIRST in Iowa in the latest Bloomberg poll.

FACT: The governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, told RealClearPolitics yesterday that "Ron Paul has got probably the best organization" of any campaign.

FACT: Brent Budowsky of "The Hill" wrote "Ron Paul can win Iowa because his supporters are very highly motivated and his campaign is very highly organized. He will outperform his rising poll numbers. The media has always underestimated the premium of passion, conviction and organization in the Paul campaign.”

FACT: Peggy Noonan (Reagan speechwriter) said on "This Week" that "I would not be surprised at all that Ron Paul wins the Iowa caucuses".

So tell me Peter, how can you lie about Paul in the face of these FACTS? Why play the "his moment was four years ago" card on Ron Paul but not on Mitt Romney (who also lost in 2008)? Recall that John McCain lost the 2000 nomination but won the 2008 nomination. Al Gore lost in 1988 (Thanks, Rick Perry!) but won the 2000 nomination. Ronald Reagan lost the 1976 nomination but won in 1980.

So explain the lies, Peter.

Aubrey Moore said...

The one with the great self-regard is Newt, far surpassing Obama's, but neither has anything on Mitt. He has an arrogance that presumes a superiority that I find very distasteful. Newt and President Obama may have found wealth but they also know the street. You could turn either loose on any street in America and they would more than survive. Romney would be crying for his mama in two minutes. His boardroom demeanor would crumble into pure hysteria if he had to face what most Americans face every day of their lives. It is that arrogance that denies the ability of the street to give one a backbone and a rooting in life that I find so repulsive in him.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Hi Garth,

Good to hear from you again.

You left out an important word that was in my post: "nationally."

Nationally, Paul remains in single digits, despite his potential progress in Iowa. Nationally, those single-digit numbers hardly budge no matter who moves up or down in the Republican race. That suggests that while his supporters are loyal (and, as we know, passionate), he's not bringing in new supporters across the country.

Does that change if he roars to victory in Iowa? Maybe. Lots of folks will be watching. But as of now, he has been unable to find any momentum nationally, suggesting that voters gave him a chance and have largely made their decision on him.

Hope that answers your question.



Garth Vader said...


Thanks for replying but quit moving the goalposts. "National" polls are irrelevant. On December 2, 2007, the "national" leaders were Giuliani (27.7%) and Thompson (14.8%). How'd that "national" lead work out for Rudy?

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Thanks, Garth, but I've never moved the goalposts. On Rudy and Fred: As the post said, voters may be fickle in how they flirt with candidates, but once they knock them from double to single digits, those candidates rarely come back.


FFTBrave said...

Just what the GOP needed was another old white haired, white man to run for president. Hermain Cain was way too much of a breath of fresh air for people who seem to prefer to breath each other's flatulance.

David I said...

Oh come on Peter. You media people are constantly moving the goalposts. The Observer, like almost every other media outlet thus far during this campaign, and those in the past, constantly tout half-truths about Ron Paul's ability in this race.

Here you state Ron Paul has no chance since he at one point was in double digit "national polling numbers" but now has slipped to single digit "national polling numbers". When in reality these "national polling numbers" are simply polls asked of somewhere between 500-1000 random voters, which may or may not be Republican voters, and you guys tout them as though they were the pulse of America. It's no wonder the candidates at the top of these so called "national polls" are the candidates the media focuses all of their attention on.

Just like after the Iowa Straw poll, where Ron Paul (4671 votes for 27.7%) came in a very close 2nd to Michelle Bachmann (4823 votes for 28.6%). Every major media outlet told the entire country there was this "top tier" after the results were known. That supposed "top tier" was Bachmann, who won Iowa; Romney, who came in 7th with 567 votes for 3.4%; and Perry, who didn't even take part in the poll but did announce his candidacy the day the vote happened. The only other candidates that were mentioned by the national media at the time were Rick Santorum, who received 1657 votes for 9.8%, and John Huntsman, who received a whopping 69 votes for 0.4%.

When Ron Paul wins a straw poll, the media touts them as having no value since they are non-binding. Ron Paul has won 18 of the 51 straw polls thus far. Also coming in 2nd in 7 additional straw polls. Yet when Bachmann won her first straw poll she was instantly vaulted to the "top tier". When Cain won his first straw poll, he too was vaulted to the "top tier". And now that Gingrich has won his first straw poll, he too gets in the "top tier".

Almost every single televised debate has been heavily slanted away from Ron Paul since day 1. The CBS debate on 11/12/11 only allowed Ron Paul a grand total of 89 seconds of time during the hour it was televised. By far the lowest amount of time of any candidate on the stage. The only time the Observer mentions Ron Paul in any of these articles is with a short line which always states he has no chance, just as you did here.

If Ron Paul had received a "fair shake" as all the other candidates that have been in the "top tier" thus far, his "national polling" numbers would more than likely be a LOT higher than what they have been. Obviously the only way he will get coverage by you guys is if, and when, he does win the Iowa Caucus. He has to win it to get any coverage, since we all saw how the media treated him when he came in a very close 2nd back in August.

America is waking up to the fact that "news outlets" don't really report the news anymore. You guys have lowered yourselves to the point where all you do is give a very slanted view of what you want people to believe. Which is truly sad.

Bill said...

This is Ron's second run at President. At some point, he and his supporters will be forced to admit that his message isn't resonating with right wing of the GOP. The "it's all the fault of the media" argument is getting old.

David I said...

You do realize Mitt Romney also ran, and lost, in 2008 don't you? No one is stating, "it's all the fault of the media". But only a blind person can't see the extremely biased coverage Ron Paul gets in comparison to every other candidate in not only this years race but also 2008. His supporters would have no issue if his ideas didn't resonate with the People because they didn't agree with him. But the truth of the matter is most American voters don't even know who he is, or that he is running. Only the People who are paying close attention to the race at this point, which is a very small number in comparison to the total amount of voters who will be voting in 2012, know about him.

If his message is not resonating with the People, how do you explain him winning or coming in 2nd place in almost half of all straw polls to date? Why does he have the most campaign contributions of any candidate from either Party from the military? I bring this up since most people who don't support Ron Paul love to talk about how his foreign policy is supposedly so bad. Why is he in 3rd of all GOP candidates in fund raising, trailing only Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, if his message does not resonate with the People? Out of the 5 people who have supposedly been in this "top tier", he has raised more money than Gingrich, Bachmann, and Cain. And he has done this with no help from big corporations, which is where Perry and Romney get the vast majority of the funds from. And also while getting absolutely no coverage from the main stream media outlets.

kantstanzya said...


I don't know if you intentionally misrepresented the intent of Gingriche's comments about poor children or not. Your partial and selected quotes make it seem as if he is simply making a callous and disparraging remark towards poor and underprivaledged children.

Having listened to his entire comments Gingrich is proposing a way for these children to learn discipline and learn values of working at their schools. He suggested working in libraries, cafeterias and even as janitors. Naturally other liberal outlets siezed on that to misrepresent things as "Newt wants underaged minorities to work as janitors in the public schools."

Even though information is much easier to get in the internet age it seems it is harder and harder to actually learn the truth.

Archiguy said...

Good grief, what is wrong with all these Ron Paul fanatics? What part of "he's polling in single digits nationally" don't they understand??

These early primaries are geared to the party fringes. The more extreme a candidate's views, the more he/she appeals to the highly partisan participants in these early events. They in no way indicate a candidate's strength in a national race. Peter has patiently explained this once in the article and two more times since then. Yet these people don't seem to listen, which is why they consistently think there's a big conspiracy against them and their favored candidate. No, it's simply that LESS THAN TEN PERCENT OF VOTERS CARE ABOUT HIM. Geez. Get over it already.

Paul is being rejected in exactly the same manner he was 4 years ago. His message appeals to essentially the same people now as it did then, and that's not enough to get him elected president. He's done; stick a fork in him.

David I said...

Why do you feel the need to refer to Ron Paul supporters as fanatics? That's a bit over the top. I already explained how "national polls" are conducted in my first post (paragraph 2), yet here you are acting as if those polls have any bearing on what the true pulse of the nation is actually going to be come voting day.

If these early events have nothing to do with who will get the eventual nomination, please explain why you think both parties have them every single presidential election that their nominee hasn't already been decided? If none of the straw polls mean anything, why did Bachmann, Cain, and now Gingrich all of a sudden jump to the "top tier" the second they won one? The 1st 2 haven't been able to hold on to that spot for more than a month. Newt's clock just started ticking. We'll see how long it takes his 15 minutes to run out.

As far as "stick a fork in him", not one primary has happened yet. In Dec of 2007, the "national polls" for the Democratic nominee was Hillary Clinton with 34%, John Edwards 20%, and Barack Obama 19%. All 3 had received massive media exposure for several months. Would you also have said Obama was "done; stick a fork in him"? Or is it because he was in double digits in the "national polls" that would have you take a different stance?

The point most of us Ron Paul supporters are trying to make is that the way we select who is going to be the next President of this country, is far from a fair process. Whether or not you support Paul is not the issue. The issue is not only why does the media do this in such an important decision, but more importantly why do the vast majority of People in this nation have no problem with it. Or do you think Ron Paul has been given the same amount of time to express his opinions to the American People as the other candidates have? If he lost because People didn't agree with him, so be it. But if he looses just because he wasn't allowed to get his ideas out to the People, that is a very different beast all together.

Laser Guided Loogie said...

Ron Paul
Ron Paul
Ron Paul

Yeah I know, you establishment media goons hate Ron Paul, but thank goodness we have the internet.


Scott said...

People who don't support Ron Paul are simply uninformed and ignorant about his message. It's pretty sad when a guy like Jon Stewart is more honest about something as serious as the FED giving away $7.7 trillion to banks than the rest of the mainstream media is. What none of the idiots who support any of the other candidates don't get is that they're being robbed on a daily basis and before long the dollar will be worth absolutely nothing. When that happens they'll be wishing they had voted for Ron Paul and not been so utterly stupid. If you actually did your research and tried to understand why Ron Paul takes the positions he does, as opposed to attacking him and his supporters, then you would see that he's the only viable candidate running for president. Sadly, I fear that most of America is just too stupid to vote for Ron Paul.

As far as the Charlotte Observer goes, good luck getting objective journalism from them. The guy who wrote this article doesn't understand how he should be reporting on government matters with respect to the constitution. Then again, if the media actually did their job and held politicians accountable to a constitutional standard, we wouldn't have the current crop of idiots in office running our country into the ground.

By the way, Newt Gingrich is a piece of trash. It will be truly entertaining watching "conservative" evangelicals try and defend an adulterer who's had 3 marriages. Not to mention a guy that supported the bailouts, supported cap and trade, supported a single payer govt healthcare system and last but not least, supports our bloody wars of aggression. He sure does give his "conservative" supporters a lot of credibility... but, to any educated outsider, they just look like a bunch of ignorant retards.

Archiguy said...

David - Trying to compare this primary with the Democratic primary of '08 is apples to oranges. The Democrats had a strong, qualified slate of candidates as they usually do, compared with Republicans who tend to nominate the tired & elderly (Dole, McCain); the hopelessly unqualified (Palin, Quayle) or the flat-out incompetent (Bush Jr.).

Obama was a relative unknown when that process started. What the American people saw in him was a capable and highly intelligent individual that emerged during the primary process. They saw him as the guy most qualified to get America on the right track again. Given another 4 years and another Democratic majority, he may well succeed.

Nobody in the Republican primary inspires anything close to such confidence with the THINKING half of America. And it is that half that will elect the next president. Ron Paul has absolutely no chance with that segment of the electorate, whether you are willing to admit it or not.

FrankWIll said...

There is Pete - finding another reason to trash a R and root for Obama. Glad I checked this DNC cheerleading site disguised as a newspaper today - so much different than every other day.