So now it’s the Rick Santorum boomlet.
Of all the mini-surges within the GOP race, this is the least consequential – and yet perhaps most destructive – one of the bunch.
Santorum coming in third with 16 percent in Iowa doesn’t translate to any national success, and it can’t. Santorum has zero money and zero organization outside of Iowa. Santorum has also been to all 99 counties in Iowa, something he won’t be able to do anywhere else.
Santorum’s support also comes mostly from religious conservatives, who are a fine group of folks but not the ones controlling what needs to be the GOP agenda this time around – it’s widely accepted that if this country doesn’t get a handle on federal spending and the size and scope of government, we’re finished as a great nation. Santorum might be able to talk the talk on fiscal conservatism, but he was a member of the Senate from 2000 to 2006 when federal spending exploded (though hardly at the pace it’s currently exploding). Santorum wasn’t Mike Pence; he went along with all of the expansions of federal spending. And worse, in 2004 Santorum endorsed Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in the Republican primary when it was clearly time for Specter, the very definition of a RINO who proved it five years later when he switched to the Democrats and gave them a filibuster-proof majority, to go. Santorum obviously didn’t think Toomey could win; he was wrong, and the irony is awfully thick when you consider Toomey is now in the Senate and Santorum lost his re-election bid in 2006 by 18 points.
The idea that the best Republican candidate in the race lost re-election in his own state by 18 points is pure insanity, and it’s frankly amazing that Iowans would even consider giving him a top-tier finish. Perhaps Buddy Roemer, another minor candidate who was roundly turned out by voters in his own state in his last time in electoral office, should have camped out in Iowa rather than New Hampshire; Iowans appear to be perfectly happy to support candidates with no chance to win the election as a whole. New Hampshire has some of that as well given their flirtation with John Huntsman, but nobody’s flirting with Buddy. He’s obviously in the wrong place.
But Santorum’s boomlet is a disaster for conservatives. Because he can’t win, he’s in the way of candidates who can – most notably Rick Perry. And it’s going to require the combination of Santorum and Michele Bachmann’s support behind Perry for a real challenge to Mitt Romney to take hold. Put Perry, Bachmann and Santorum together and you have somebody who will beat Romney – most of Gingrich’s vote probably goes to Perry in that case as well. And then we can have an argument about whether Romney can beat Obama and Perry can’t, or whether Perry’s bad debate performances are a worse sin than Romneycare, which Mittens still won’t admit was a crappy idea.
The fact is, Iowa has been exposed in this cycle as a lousy place to decide a nominee from. That was already fairly obvious given that Iowa went for Mike Huckabee four years ago, when Huckabee had no chance to win the nomination. Now they’re about to go for Ron Paul, who has no chance either. And if two of the top three in Iowa are Paul and Santorum, which it appears might be the case thanks to Santorum’s having bought Bob Vander Plaats and his Christian conservative group and Paul’s having bought Michele Bachmann’s Iowa chairman (that’s not why Paul is likely to win Iowa, but it’s a sign of the times there), somebody needs to explain how an inconsequential state whose two driving issues are corporate welfare through ethanol subsidies and abortion and which isn’t even running a primary but instead a caucus should even be in the conversation. And since the Iowa caucuses aren’t even closed to ringers from the Democrat Party – it appears that a huge portion of Paul’s support comes from non-Republicans who say they’re going to the caucuses for Paul – they’re not even running an event which expresses the will of the Republican electorate.
Iowans are extremely defensive about how they need to be first. It’s time for the rest of the country to reject that idea. Iowans don’t know any more about this stuff than the rest of us do, and it’s clear they’re no more responsible than anyone else in terms of picking viable candidates to send on to the rest of the primaries.
Jim Geraghty at National Review has a much better idea about how to run the primaries than is currently practiced. The only thing we’d add to his plan is that the schedule should be rotated every cycle so the early primaries don’t center on a few states every time – for fear you’d have spoiled-children voters and local political crooks on the take like Iowa has.
NON-TOM BONNETTE-DRAWN CARTOON OF THE DAY
THERE’S A NEW HONEY BADGER SONG
They’ll never stop. You realize that, right?
A TALE OF TWO FOREIGN POLICIES
Can anybody make sense of what we did in Libya? From this vantage, it appears we decided to bomb a leader with whom we had normalized relations in return for legitimate considerations (elimination of Qaddafi’s nuclear program, intelligence sharing, etc.), without Congressional authorization in violation of the War Powers Act and on behalf of what turns out to be functionally the local Al Qaeda affiliate.
Muammar Qaddafi was a piece of camel dung. Nobody’s arguing that. And he deserved a Tomahawk enema for what his stooges did to those poor people over Lockerbie in 1988. But for better or worse Qaddafi was actually on our side during the previous administration’s War On Terror.
One wonders why Qaddafi has to go and yet the Obama administration opposes regime change in Syria, a country allied with Iran who just three years ago was attempting to build a nuclear weapon with North Korean help (until an Israeli bombing raid took down the facility housing that program) and which serves as a conduit for Iran’s proxies Hamas and Hizbollah to torment our ally Israel. There is a fervent effort within that country to topple the hated, brutal and anti-American Assad regime from within – and yet America is nowhere to be found.
It’s even worse than that. From an Israeli report about the Syrian freedom fighters…
A few weeks ago, Amar met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He presented to her, among other things, information about soldiers who defected and plan to launch a guerilla fight against the army. “To my surprise, she asked that the defectors lay down their arms,” he says. “That’s an odd request. Why didn’t they ask the rebels in Libya to lay down their arms? How can they do it if at any moment they can be fired at and murdered? It’s impractical.”
“I can’t understand why the Americans are silent,” Amar says. “We expected them to intervene. Militarily. To bomb the Syrian army from the air. They intervened in Libya and managed to prompt Gaddafi’s removal, and that is what we expect them to do to Assad now. Thus far, more people were killed in Syria than in Libya at the point where Obama decided to launch a military offensive in order to avert a greater massacre. NATO also bombed in Kosovo when it was necessary. Why this hypocrisy?”
“Obama urged Assad to leave, but he won’t leave out of his own accord. He’s a coward, he’s naïve, and he is convinced that he has support. He boasts that his children support him. His wife benefited him greatly over the years by providing, with her very presence, a moderate image in the eyes of the world, yet people who met her said she is very shallow and we don’t count on her to influence him to leave.”
Why wouldn’t we want to take out Assad? He helps our enemies. He brutalizes his own people. He gives sanctuary to two of the three most prominent jihadist terror groups in the world.
You can make a convincing argument that we have no business going into Syria. That’s not what’s being argued here; we ought to be supplying the rebels with guns and grenades, not sending in the 82nd Airborne. You could argue we don’t have any business even doing that. But you can’t make that argument after we went into Libya earlier this year. To intervene in Libya and not in Syria means you only intervene in countries where the regime isn’t hostile to American interests. How is that consistent or smart?
OH, AND THEN THERE’S THIS
From an e-mail going around…
First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.
First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.
First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States.
First President to violate the War Powers Act.
First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
First President to defy a Federal Judge’s court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.
First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.
First President to spend a trillion dollars on ‘shovel-ready’ jobs when there was no such thing as ‘shovel-ready’ jobs.
First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.
First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.
First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.
First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.
First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space.
First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.
First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.
First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke-out on the reasons for their rate increases.
First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which State they are allowed to locate a factory.
First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).
First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.
First President to fire an inspector general of Ameri-corps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.
First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office.
First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office.
First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records.
First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.
First President to go on multiple global ‘apology tours’.
First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends; paid for by the taxpayer.
First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.
First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.
First President to repeat the Holy Qur’and tells us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.
First President to take a 17 day vacation.
So how is this hope and change working out for ya?