Monday, December 12, 2011

Cruising the Web

Perhaps the Mitt Rommey $10,000 bet will be a major turn-off for voters. Certainly the analysts on TV are all asserting it is. I watched the debate and my reaction at the time was that it was a mark of Romney's confidence in his position and I didn't take it seriously as a real-money bet since there was no way that Perry was going to take him up on it. However, if this is what people are talking about, then they're not talking about something that Romney would like them to be talking about. And since most people don't watch the debates, the spin is what matters. John Podhoretz puts his finger on why Romney might still benefit from the debate. Iowans may take a second look at Paul, Santorum, or Bachmann after the debate and such voters are more likely to come from those who have newly switched to Newt Gingrich than from those who have been supporting Romney all along. Romney is back to his original hope that the other candidates will split up the non-Mitt vote instead of coalescing around Newt.

James Joyner explains why establishment-types of Republicans are appalled at the idea of Newt Gingrich as the GOP nominee. It is very close to where I'm am on Gingrich.
I was a big Gingrich fan in 1994. While, in hindsight, I find some of the tactics used to get attention for himself and bring discredit on the Democratic House leadership of the day unsavory, he was a shrewd tactician. And he was as articulate a spokesman for core Republican principles as any national politician since Reagan.

But, like many a revolutionary, he was a lousy leader once he took power. He was constantly maneuvered into corners by Bill Clinton, who managed to use Gingrich as a foil in his triangulation policy. Gingrich alienated most of his own caucus and the country within a few months and became the bogey man of the 1996 elections, with every Republican morphing into his likeness in all the ads.

As to the issues, Gingrich makes Mitt Romney look like a pillar of consistency. At least Romney has an excuse, even if he can’t use it: he was running to govern and then governing one of the most liberal states in the union back then and is now looking to run the whole country now. It’s hardly surprising that he’d take different policy stances under those vastly different circumstances. Gingrich, on the other hand, has been a public intellectual for the past fifteen years and has been known to flip-flip on an issue in the space of a weekend.

Whiton’s specific examples illustrate the other major problem I have with Gingrich: he’s an unserious wonk who likes to throw ideas against a wall and see what sticks.

Here's a very nice take-down of Thomas Friedman. But Andrew Ferguson's is still one of the best.

Tina Korbe links to this excellent Reason TV to explain why the 2009 stimulus didn't work to bring down unemployment using the stimulus spending in Silver Spring, Maryland as a case study of why the stimulus was such a failure.
This is what the GOP candidates should be talking about instead of re-hashing the same arguments over and over. Of course, having the breathy, yet oleaginous Diane Sawyer ask questions at the debate guarantees that they won't be talking about what is wrong with Obama's policies.

Jeff Jacoby has the real reason why the US Post Office is failing.

Could this be the end of the model
that presidential hopefuls had since Jimmy Carter won Iowa in 1976 of having to campaign in person throughout the state?

The pictures and stories coming out of Russia to protest Putin's cheating in the election are stunning. The government has had to resort to tricks like scheduling tests for Saturdays to keep young people in school and from attending the protests. Not a good sign.

Which candidate would be the William Jennings Bryan of 2012?