Of Fools and Faith

Of Fools and Faith

Part I

1/18/12

As everyone has realized the political primary season is in full swing. This is the time of year when everyone has an opinion over who not only is the best candidate but who will win the general election. These opinions are held by pundit and voter alike and all of them are most likely to not get one correct lottery number on a Saturday night.

From candidates to pundits to voters, the fools come in various forms and flavors. Candidates like Herman Cain promoted simplistic slogans he could not explain. He got in big trouble when he could not simply explain the Libyan adventure or his exploits with women who were not his wife. Yet, slobbering journalists like Robert Stacy McCain and pundits who have lost their conservative moorings, like Ann Coulter, professed their love and admiration. You see, in their minds, Herman was the one. Cain sold a lot of books to folks who thought he was the one. These books will keep them warm on these cold winter nights.

Michele Bachmann promoted tough rhetoric on defeating Obama. She built her following by playing the victim of Democrat attacks and showing up on any stage promoting herself at TEA Party functions. She was one of us. The problem for Bachmann is the love she felt could not overcome her lying, demagoguery, and an overall lack of legislative accomplishment. She was a show horse, not a work horse. This may explain why she has a problem maintaining a congressional staff. However, before she left the stage, she took down Tim Pawlenty and tried to take down Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich through a series of dishonest lies and demagoguery. The funny thing; she made no such attacks on Mitt Romney. Other than being on her being a prima donna, exactly whose side was/is she on?

John Huntsman ran on his record as a fiscal conservative governor of Utah. He was pro-life and he used to be Obama’s ambassador to China. He also appealed to secularists who mocked evangelicals as Huntsman put science over Faith. Huntsman found financial support from Hilary Clinton supporters. It appears his father has formed an investment partnership with a former CEO of Bain Capital. He basically ran in one state (New Hampshire) and came in third. This was his ceiling and he dropped out a few days later. However, he dropped out just after receiving the endorsement of South Carolina’s largest newspaper, The State. A lot of folks were fooled by the false ascendancy of Huntsman.

The GOP is now down to 5 candidates. I will discuss the five in greater detail later but I want to focus on the Social Conservative leaders who last weekend endorsed Rick Santorum for President. I do not really care who these folks endorse but they are presumably smart people. However, when you take into account Rick Santorum has no money and no organization to run a 50-state race. When you take into account Santorum was trounced by 18 points in his last political race in 2006. When you take into account Santorum has been a big government guy but who is staunchly pro-life and pre-family in an election cycle where big government is the biggest concern of the American voter. When you take into account the rehashed story of Santorum’s wife having a 6-year affair with an abortion doctor before she met and married Santorum. In light of all of these factors, you have to ask; what are you all thinking? Is this wishful thinking based on Faith or some realistic plan to make Santorum viable before Super Tuesday in March? Did you properly vet the candidate or is the idea to have your guy play for the VP slot under Romney?

The funny thing is both Bachmann and Cain (perhaps Huntsman–he wanted to be the anti-Romney but endorsed him upon his exit) seemed to take it easy on Romney during the campaign. There was speculation that both were angling for the VP job. What will Santorum bring to the campaign? PA? The South? The West? Any blue states?

Sometimes, I wonder who is fooling who in this matter; Santorum who is a social conservative but seems to be clueless on economic matters or the Social Conservatives who have put all their credibility on the line on a candidate who is behind in money and organization? When reality strikes both, I wonder what it will do to their reputations?

This is what happens when you abandon Faith in the search for power.

Spartan

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The Conservative Crack-Up Part III

The Polls, The Electorate, and My Prediction

In all my years of working in and observing politics, I have never seen such fluctuations in the polls as I have seen in the last few months. First, Bachmann, then Perry, followed by the erstwhile Cain, now Gingrich. I think there are three reasons beyond ‘anyone but Romney’: 1) the people are looking at who is the smartest person at the time (in very much the belief that Obama is a smart man), 2) the polls are a reflection of the positive media coverage for whatever candidate is presumed the leader and the negative coverage of the other candidates (a combination of lazy analysis and a lack of caring), and 3) perhaps, the polls are wrong (not in the data but the methodology).

I believe there is deception in the promotion of Obama as a very smart person. Outside of the flowery words (which never seem memorable-like JFK) and party and ideological hacks telling us how bright he is, there is very little data to prove Obama is smart. No academic records are ever produced and no dissertations are ever released. Yet, the perception that Obama is smart remains. However, instead of demanding evidence of scholastic achievement, opponents of Obama seek to find someone who is as smart as Obama. This leads to a unhealthy vetting; not as to policies and beliefs but as to whether the candidate is smart enough to take on Obama. I think the polls reflect this dynamic.

I believe the media coverage has a lot to do with the up and down nature of the polls. The media has a nasty habit of building people up in order to destroy them later at their convenience. They also focus on minor issues as though they were major catastrophes and treat major catastrophes as mild irritations. They realize that most people are too lazy to go behind the headlines.

There seems to be two competing narratives from two different directions concerning Obama. The narrative from the MSM is that Obama is smart and a tough opponent to debate. The other narrative is Obama is the anti-Christ. Both narratives are patently false, but persistent.

The former is two fallacies; Obama is neither smart nor tough to debate. Let’s face it, when you listen to Obama, you do not get a feeling of brilliance. As for the ‘tough to debate’, that is some of the best sleight of hand the media has ever foisted on the public. Ask yourself a question; how many times have you watched a debate and thought Candidate A won the debate but only have the pundits after the debate say that Candidate B won the debate? I am not sure why the electorate allows itself to be led around by the media.

The latter is just plain ridiculous. There is no such entity as an ’anti-Christ’. It is not possible that there exists an equal and opposite entity of Christ. It is possible for people to be ’against Christ’ but no entity can have the same power and stature of Christ; but for evil.

Nonetheless, the electorate is looking for the candidate who can address these two narratives. When one does not properly vet a candidate; perceptions matter. Positive media coverage increases perceptions, negative media coverage causes a negative perception.

I believe the current polls are a reflection of the emotional angst of the electorate seeking an easy answer to the current political situations. The one thing polls can not accurately define is the real support for the candidate. When one adds the dynamic of a top-down campaign, even the candidate has no idea what is his real strength.

Supposedly, Cain was raising tons of money when the allegations of the mistress came to light. When Cain ’suspended’ his campaign, he did not mention the strength of any donations or his neophyte campaign. The question now becomes; who deluded who?
This is why I believe the polls are wrong.

The perception now has become Newt is up in the polls; followed by Romney and Paul. Yet, there is no data of fundraising or any status of his current campaign and GOTV efforts. It eerily reminds me of Cain.

My Prediction

I strongly believe the adage that successful campaigns have three things in common: money, organization, and luck. It is often said that money is the mother’s milk of politics. As of this 19th day of December, only Romney and Perry have any real money. Santorum, Bachmann, Huntsman, Gingrich have little to no money. Gingrich is the latest beneficiary of the emotional electorate but his support is beginning to crater. The money will soon crater.

As for organization, Santorum has very little, if any, outside of Iowa. He may do well in IA but will not be able to capitalize anywhere else.
Huntsman, is playing for NH. He will get a little traction from IA, but if he does not do well in NH, he is finished. Even if he does well in NH, he has little to no organization in SC and beyond.

Bachmann has a little organization in NH and is starting to put an effort in SC. In SC, she has hired the Wes Donehue as her spokesman. He proclaimed Gingrich was buying Tea Party votes in SC. The problem is, Newt is not. This is an odd way of advancing Bachmann’s political campaign. Either she is not a serious candidate or she is not a serious conservative. At this point, I remain convinced she is in the race to help Romney. I am not sure what she has to gain other than the title of Ambassador to Malta.

Gingrich is finally putting together a campaign staff but it is small and most likely unable to fill the needs of a front-runner. If Gingrich continues to crater, they will be looking for work elsewhere.

Romney has organization in IA, NH, and SC. Perry has an organization in IA and SC. Ron Paul continues to have his merry band of idealists run his organization. I think these three will win, place, and show in IA. A fourth place showing by Newt will end his front-runner status. Romney and Perry will both claim the “Comeback Kid” status. Their battle royalé will begin in SC.

I see Romney and Perry being the only two who can fight a fifty state primary battle. Paul will be able to compete but his ceiling will be very low. Will either candidate avoid a brokered convention? Whether that happens or not, consider Perry lucky to survive.

Spartan