Down the Ballot? Down the Toilet.

Rick “Tim Tebow” Santorum. It has to be said, and said now, to clear the record. I know, Rick Perry tried to capitalize on Tebowmania, and the young quarterback himself has shown remarkable dexterity in avoiding getting involved with politics, which is a good thing. Now that Rick Santorum has left the race, in retrospect, the comparisons are almost scary. The hard-line Christianity that, actually, upon closer examination, looks heartfelt and sincere. Then there’s unexplainable winning from behind when everyone had counted him out, despite awkward throwing, or in Santorum’s case, campaigning, mechanics. And of course, both met their demise in favor of a presumptive winner who has some serious flaws that may prove to be fatal by the beginning of next season. Oh, and Bill Maher hates them both.

Well now that the Tebowmania of the primary is over, Mitt “Peyton Manning” Romney had better have something up his sleeve. He has had a couple of good zingers during the debates, and he has been comparatively stable behind the podium, but that alone does not a good candidate make. (Write like Yoda, today, I shall) He had better hit the downfield passes, not just hand the ball off. He had better run the offense, not just adjust to the defense the media sends his way. For example, his response to the accusation that Romneycare is Obamacare’s ideological predecessor has been, so far, “You should have called me to see what worked and what didn’t”. I’ll say it for all of us: Governor Romney, that is not enough. “Why didn’t you call me and ask what worked” is not a rebuttal that sinks in with voters, its what you ask your neighbor when they buy the same grill as you did, and screw up setting it up. Don’t tell me how you would make socialism work, tell me how you would make it gone.

To be fair, which is totally unnecessary, Mitt has said he will repeal Obamacare. That is not enough, not in the light of what Rick Santorum has experienced. When I was helping to prep my station’s local morning show today, I came across an interesting video clip from November of last year. In the clip, Rick Santorum talks about the struggles and triumphs of dealing with a daughter who suffers from Trisomy-18. In one clip, the Grand Inquisitor of Catholic wing of the GOP erases everything  that has ever been said about him being a religious nut, and vindicates the image he tried to construct of a family man. It’s not a construct. Rick Santorum believes the family is the central and essential unit to the preservation of liberty. But there’s one moment, one joyous and tragic moment, where Rick Santorum talks about his daughter’s health care, that transformed my image of the man in a minute. The moment begins at 1:35 and goes to about 2:30.

I cannot tell you how much the line, “And then Mama Bear stood up” choked me up. Here is a doctor, telling a parent, that you have to come to grips with the imminent death of your child. To be fair to the doctor, they are required, far too often, to deliver such news. But to be fair to Karen Santorum, I am glad there are those out there that refuse to hear it. This is why Rick Santorum said “we cannot let them have this issue”. Imagine if the doctor, having the actuary tables on Trisomy-18 in front of him, was not allowed to prescribe the oxygen, and had to give the painkiller instead. Sound familiar?

This is why Rick Santorum was better prepared to take on Obama on the healthcare mandate debate. Let’s say he and his wife recieved Bella into the world after the full implementation of this law. What then? Are we to lay down and die when told, as the Secretary shall direct? Are we to let our children, precious and defenseless as they are, lay down and die, as the Secretary may direct? This was the crux of the Santorum campaign. Whether he got that message out or not was his responsibility, but nobody questioned whether he believed it. And what did the GOP have to say about Rick Santorum? Well, John McCain called Rick’s campaign “irrelevant”, and when John McCain says something about irrelevant, I trust him. He is the subject matter expert on irrelevant campaigns. (McCain’s quote here)

And Romney appears to not be too far behind. And this is the not-so-secret fear of the GOP Establismment. Santorum’s exit may prove a double-edged sword. It’s now Mitt’s show, and show he must. There is speculation that Romney was backed as a non-offensive candidate to try and prevent voters from souring to the possibility of a GOP President come 2016, and that Romney is the candidate who gives the party the most strength “down the ballot”, since Obama’s re-election is a fait accompli. This is actually the opposite of what has happened, though. The prevailing sense among the conservative and TEA Party rank-and-file is that Mitt Romney, as Santorum prophesied, is being shoved down our throats, and instead of bringing in independants, may drive away conservatives forever if he fails to win. The GOP might not be able to win with conservatives alone, so the thinking goes, but it will fail without them. And the GOP elite clung so hard to him during this primary season, they have effectively placed all their political chips on one space of the roulette wheel.

And now it is spinning fast. If the conventional wisdom around Romney being the Least Objectionable Loser (LOL) turns out to be true, the GOP has a bigger problem: They will appear to have forgotten how to win, or how to fight, and they may have spurned the spirit of the most powerful populist movement since The Progressives. Bad mistake, on both counts. The GOP, for all its bluster, seems to be capable of picking the perfect candidate for four years ago, every election cycle. McCain, being stong on national defense and moderate on economics, and, well, just about everything else, would have been perfect as a GOP candidate in 2004, if George W. Bush weren’t already on the ballot. Mitt Romney would have been better than McCain for 2008. About six months ago, we should have set the clocks at GOP headquarters ahead to 2016, and maybe we would have received an Alan West, or a Paul Ryan, or a Mitch Daniels, or a Rand Paul, and possibly a Ron Paul again (those people are dedicated).

But this game is different. Mitt is not the candidate who should give us the most in defeat. Instead, the voters are expecting him to win. That’s why they told us we should vote for him, wasn’t it? He has the greatest chance of beating Obama. GOP leaders have either underestimated how badly we want to win, or simply don’t care, at their own peril. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, as someone once said. This President has proven to us time and again what is down the ballot does not matter. When he had a majority in both houses, he blamed the Republicans. When he got shellacked in 2010, he set the House up as the villain, even though legislation to solve his problems is waiting there, along with his opportunity to “bury the old politics of the past”. He has demonized, publicly, the Supreme Court, for the possibility that it actually did its job! This is the real danger of the Least Objectionable Loser stratagem: If the GOP Etablishment backs a losing horse here, they may not get invited back to the track. For real American conservatives, the question is not what Romney can provide the party as a loser, but where should we go for a winner?

Joseph Kurt will bear the banner of conservatism, and he realizes now more than ever, it is for life. He has found his calling, and he is happy.

Culpable and Capable

“Has the TEA Party become a GOP Liability?” -Washington Post headline, April 6th, 2012.

First of all, a big thanks to all who R&R’d (Read and recommended, and if that’s not slang on the sites where I post yet, it is now.) my last post. Like most conservatives, I wish the media would do its job, so I wouldn’t have to. I would like to apologize to my wife for the spit-take that occurred when I saw that headline on a friends’ facebook post. (Article here) For a little backstory, my wife diligently saved her money before we got married, and bought our couch and bed for us as a wedding present to me. I spat the coffee I was drinking all over the couch, upon which I am now sleeping until I get the aforementioned beverage out of it. If any of you have a little room in your budget for a radio show host/blogger, I am available. Please send help and prayers to iamjosephkurt@gmail.com. While that request enters the ether, we have other matters at hand.

As a member of the Charleston TEA Party, and a conservative in good standing, I was forced to wonder if there was any legitimacy to the charge. That lasted for all of a few seconds. We have an innate “distrust reflex” for most everything in media. When Fox News came along, it was a welcome relief just to watch someone try to show our side. Fox News rapidly became the Israel of broadcast journalism. Neighbors fired at it on a daily basis. The rest of its world tried to smear and demean it, and entire hate groups were built around it, like MSNBC and Current TV. In the spirit of Easter, I am going to try to be nice for a minute. Giving WaPo the benfit of the doubt, maybe they are just trying to explore another angle on the election. Maybe, just maybe, Pravda on the Potomac (Can’t take credit for that, Google search…-JK) is trying to give this election a fair shake.

Welcome back. I know you spent a little time doubled over laughing, and I don’t blame you. When I wrote that line, I nearly lost control of certain bodily functions that would have made the coffee spit-take debacle pale in comparison. But I digress, for the last time, I promise. Washington Post presents its standard evidence, which is polling data. Remember how polls are used to shape public opinion, not record it? Check this out:

“A recent Fox News poll showed just 30 percent of Americans had a favorable view of the tea party, compared to 51 percent who viewed it unfavorably.

A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll may be more illustrative, though. It showed Americans were more evenly split on the tea party, with 44 percent supporting it and 43 percent opposing it. But just 15 percent of Americans supported the tea party “strongly,” while many more – 26 percent – were “strongly” opposed to it.

That suggests opposition to the tea party is more strident than the tea party itself, which means the movement may be doing the GOP more harm than good.”

The article then goes on to quote a Democrat strategist who states that the TEA Party has become a dangerous group that no longer reflects the values of the American middle class. That’s a curious observation from the party of Occupy Wall Street, especially when the President has something like a 60-70% disapproval rating on how he’s handled the economy. And in my humble opinion, the President’s approval numbers factor into the whole scheme quite a bit. Follow me on this logical journey, if you will. The President is planning to run against Mitt Romney, the TEA Party, and the Republican Party as one cohesive unit whehter they are or not. We are going to be hit with the “do-nothing Congress”, “GOP Extremism”, and “Republican obstructionism” from all sides, whether the topic is relevant or not. Birth control, anyone? President Obama blamed Republican obtructionism in the pages of Rolling Stone before they even held the House! So in light of a -17% Presidential Approval Index among likely voters (See that here), President Obama’s team has thrown another dart at the Democrat re-election strategy board, hoping it resonates. The problem is, it only has one target: Run against a straw man. “It could have been worse”, “saved jobs”, and “profitable green industry” all spring from this political Narnia where President Obama has done a marvelous job, Obamacare is clearly constitutional, and a bunch of working-class voters in tricorn hats have ruined it all.

It just doesn’t jive. According to Rasmussen, the Tea Party’s approval rating as of November last year was 30%, and the Occupy movement was 37% unfavorable. Remember that Rasmussen polls likely voters. That poll should not exist, if the media is to be believed. Democrat Representatives marched with the Occupy movement, and it was supposed to revitalize the left. However, given the reality on the ground, and the grotesque images and video that turned up during the height of the movement, Occupy should have been called Communists Rallying for American Progressivism. Worse still, the polls on the TEA Party show Republicans view it favorably. And the worst yet? The numbers on the TEA Party bounce around like crazy. They are as nebulous as the group itself. In an attempt to pin it down and define it, the Democrat Party Media Relations Divsion has found itself herding politcal cats, or grasping at shadows. They vacillate from “it doesn’t exist”:

http://videos.mediaite.com/embed/player/?content=D3KZGG1MLH3H9XKX&content_type=content_item&layout=&playlist_cid=&media_type=video&widget_type_cid=svp&read_more=1

To, “It’s a dangerous, racist, anti-everything, economic terrorist organization that’s responsible for the failures of the Obama administration and Congress’ bad poll numbers”:

Stupidity like this is actually amusing as can be. This “comprimise” rhetoric leads me to another point, though. Ever since the GOP took over the House in 2010, we have been mercilessly pilloried with the notion of how willing Republicans once were to comprimise. According to left, even as seen in the clip above, we used to lay down our arms and negotiate. Paul Begala wrote a column in The Daily Beast/Newsweek that he longed for a time when Republicans knew their place, and were kept under close watch by strong leaders, who would force them to comprimse when necessary. His ideal Republican: Bob Dole. Then we get drivel about Ronald Reagan raising taxes, and working to comprimise with Democrats. Even the President has jumped in to say Reagan could not win today’s GOP nomination. You know what Mr. President? JFK could not have won a Democrat primary since 1976.  But since the Imperial Scribes, not the Emperor, are the ones we are going after in this segment, let’s see what they have to say. From Leonard Pitts Jr. of The Miami Herald, Imperial Idiot of the highest order:

No, it is the GOP that has abandoned the center and embraced ideological extremism as a virtue. It is telling to hear its candidates use “moderate” as an epithet and argue over who is the most “conservative,” as if the word contained some pixie dust of common sense and moral rectitude. It is sobering to realize that Ronald Reagan, patron saint of modern conservatism, would be unelectable by the standards thereof: He raised taxes and was known to compromise with political opponents — not “enemies” — to get things done.

That was then. His party has since engaged in a 30-year flight from the center that reaches its nadir — at least, let us hope it’s the nadir — in this era of tea party incoherence, faith-based policy, fear mongering and tax pledge tyranny. This era when compromise is both lost art and dirty word and some Americans see other Americans as enemies — an era in which there is something lonely and foregone about pleading with an angry nation that this is not how it is supposed to be.”

You want to see a clear and obvious difference between the character of Reagan and Obama? If Obama had just half the character of Reagan, we would have seen him sign cuts into law, real cuts, at least two times by now. Look at how Reagan handled not having congressional support compared with how Obama has handled it. To quote a famous comic book writer: ‘Nuff said.

And about this whole “too far to the right” business? Quick, name for me a social welfare program that has been cut. No? Name for me a year when we cut goverment spending. No again? OK, name for me a government agency that has exceeded its budget or risked insolvency. That one was too easy, you say? There’s a reason. When you look at government through that frame, its simple to see why the left says we are moving to the right. There’s a principle known as relative motion. If you walk past someone standing still, and you keep walking, and they keep standing still, the distance between you keeps growing, Only one side has to move to have “motion” between the two. The GOP of the years since Reagan has stood in place, mostly. If it has moved anywhere, it has moved to the left a little (Lindsey Graham). But when seen from the vantage point of a Democrat Party scrambling to introduce us to a National Health Care system, a more progressive tax system, and even seeking to take goverment control of private retirement accounts, it must look like we are moving to the right quite a bit. The notion that any powers not expressly granted to the Federal Goverment are granted to the States or the People (all capitalized on purpose) must seem like whacko Michigan Militia talk. That idea comes from the constitution, where our core position rests. How far has the Democrat Party gone when the heart of the American ethos is considered right wing extremism?

Finally, I have to add this: The TEA Party is starting to look more and more like they were hiding a crystal ball somewhere in their midst. The predictions made about the intrusion of government, the destruction of liberty, and the dire economic consequences of this President’s policies all seem like the eerie ramblings of a white-wigged soothsayer that somehow became true. The NDAA? Obamacare? Deficits? The list goes on. And the “do-nothing Congress” has tried to stop a President who does not respect his own constitutional limitations and responsibilities, much less theirs. They have had precious little succes. Liability, in legal terms, is synonymous with culpability and responsibility. The TEA Party sent the Congress to slow the machine, and they have somewhat, but when you are dealing with such an idealogue, culpability and capability do not always align. How do you stop a President that refuses to constrain himself or his signature legislation to the limits of the very document that grants him the Office? How do you stop a President that sees destroying the constitution as keeping the oath he took upon inauguration? It isn’t enough to vote a congressional counterbalance in. You must vote him out. That’s why the TEA Party is being framed like this. We are not the GOP’s responsibilty, we are not its liability, and we are not its culpability. We are the reason it has any capability. Time to put the tricorn hat back on and saddle up.

Wherever Joseph Kurt travels, a liberal on horseback rides out ahead of him screaming , “The Liars are coming!”. It never works.