Thursday, January 05, 2012

Cruising the Web

Here is some interesting data on how many voters each candidate got in Iowa per money spent.
Votes received per $1,000 spent:

1. Rick Santorum, 49
2. Newt Gingrich, 11
3. Ron Paul, 10
4. Mitt Romney, 6
5. Rick Perry, 2
You can also check out the money spent on advertising for and against candidates. You can see why Gingrich is so ticked off. However, as Major Garrett at the National Journal argues, it's his own dang fault and he lost due to his own political malpractice.

Noemie Emery is also fed up with the idea that there is some Republican establishment that was out there to prop up Mitt Romney. As she points out, it wasn't the fault of this mythical establishment that its preferred candidates chose not to run or that so many less-than-optimal candidates did choose to run. And this really only became a line of argument when people started speaking out against Newt Gingrich. This is the sort of vetting that party leaders would have done before the reforms of the McGovern Commission changed how party nominees were chosen. We should be glad to have them speak up about what they knew about Newt Gingrich before voters, through their ignorance, went further in choosing him as the nominee.
For one thing, this Establishment includes Rich Lowry, Ann Coulter, Tom Coburn and others, a collection of squishes if ever there was one, along with useful idiots such as George Will.

For another, it was a welcome attempt to revive the tradition of peer review in selection of nominees to be president, which has been in eclipse since the "reforms" of the McGovern Commission. Those were the reforms that eliminated the process of candidate-vetting by the professionals, and let the candidates in effect vet themselves.

As Robert Merry explains, the system in which pros asked themselves if nominees had scandals, were honest in dealing with others, or had weaknesses that would reveal themselves under the pressure, gave way to one in which "candidates emerge based on their own judgment of their overwhelming talents and virtues, rather than those of their political peers."

When this system, which nearly gave us Presidents Gary Hart and John Edwards, seemed in danger of producing a nominee, Gingrich, his peers and his cohorts jumped into action, and committed out loud and in public the dimension of vetting once done in private, and behind closed doors.
Ilya Somin gives a well-argued defense of negative campaigning, especially in nomination battles. And he has a good response to those who complain that such campaigning turns voters off from politics and inculcates cynicism in government. Perhaps a bit of cynicism about our government is a good thing.
If voters have a more negative view of politicians and government, it might lead them to be more hesitant about entrusting those same politicians with ever-greater power. The dubious nature of most politicians is one of the reasons why it is important to restrict the size and scope of government.

Leon Wolf at Red State chides his fellow conservatives for their over-the-top enmity to Mitt Romney by pointing out that he is more conservative than any other GOP nominee since Reagan and that all his flip-flops have been to the right, something conservatives should celebrate.

Obama wins two "awards" for the worst product failures of 2011. Way to go. And the high-speed train for California will join that list if the California decides to allocate the money to build this billion-dollar boondoggle.

If you want to know what liberals will be saying about Rick Santorum if he stays at the top, here is a dump of accusations against Santorum. And here are some more ethical complaints against Santorum. These are the attacks that Santorum avoided by being below the radar until this week.

Meanwhile, Daniel Henninger posits that the votes for Santorum and Paul in Iowa indicate that voters rewarded consistency in those candidates. Not Romney's forte.

John Steele Gordon takes us on a walk through the history of negative campaigning in America.