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August 31, 2011

Yes, Rick Perry headed Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign in Texas, but…

[7 September UPDATE: Maybe he didn’t.  See note at bottom of post.]

There are many on the right who see something sinister in the fact that 2012 presidential contender Rick Perry chaired then-Senator Al Gore’s campaign in Texas.  But there is a very important truth that must be understood: the 1980s were the beginning of the end of a century-long era when Texas was essentially a one-party state. 

To be elected in this state in this era, there was no question about the necessary party affiliation – you simply had to be Democrat.  The state party did, however, have its liberal and conservative wings.

The Great Realignment began with the improbable election of Republican Bill Clements as governor in 1977, and gained momentum with the switch of congressman Phil Gramm to the GOP after he was punished by the Democrats for helping Ronald Reagan push conservative budgets through Congress.

Throughout the 80s, more and more conservative Democrat politicians came to the realization that the GOP represented their true values much more than the Democratic Party did.  Voters were starting to come to this realization as well, and more and more Republican candidates were being elected.

Perry says that he joined Gore’s campaign because the latter was then considered to be a southern conservative.  The conservative wing of the party (which still existed back then) saw Gore as their strongest candidate.  Keep in mind, this is several years before Gore left those roots behind to join the Gaia cult.

Ironically, it was Perry’s experiences during that campaign that finally persuaded him that the Democratic Party was no longer his home.  Disillusioned with nominee Dukakis, Perry voted for George H. Bush in November, 1988.  Then, bucking family and friends, he publicly switched to the GOP in 1989 before scoring a stunning upset in the state Land Commissioner race.

Here’s how Time Magazine described Perry’s 1988 experience in a July 16 article:

A decade later, Perry said the 1988 presidential primary election helped push him to his party switch. In the fall of 1988, he voted for Bush over his party's nominee, Dukakis. "I came to my senses," he told the Austin American-Statesman in 1998. Perry's efforts for Gore left few public footprints, and contemporaries on both sides of the aisle have few memories of the alliance. A longtime Hobby staffer suggested it was likely that Perry's co-chair title in Gore's 1988 Texas campaign was little more than an honorific, not a recognition of any organizational responsibility. His role was limited to a single appearance, Perry told the San Antonio Express-News in 2001, adding that he had served at the request of Lewis. But it was a fact of his political biography that would be waved in his face in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary race by Tea Party candidate Deborah Medina and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and it likely will be raised again if he chooses to seek the GOP presidential nomination. Perry has never denied the association but has treated it as a road-to-Damascus moment. "On the surface, Al Gore appeared to be the more conservative of the candidates," Perry told the Express-News, adding, "Fortunately, we found out who the real Al Gore was, and I was long on the side of the angels by then."

The point is: joining Gore’s campaign in 1988 seemed consistent with Perry’s west Texas conservative values.  Serving on the campaign opened his eyes to the reality that the Democratic Party had become.  His response was the only logical one.  This is a non-story.

7 September UPDATE: Politifact reports September 7 that the accepted story about Perry’s involvement in Gore’s 1988 campaign is for the most part a legend made up by his political opponents.  While he was in fact a vocal supporter of Gore (who was in fact the most conservative Democrat running that year), he did not serve on the campaign in any capacity, in either a formal or an honorary role.  I’m curious to know why Perry never made a serious effort to counter the false narrative.

August 30, 2011

If Romney is an “outsider”, it’s because the voters made him one

It looks like destined-to-be-also-ran presidential candidate Mitt Romney has settled on his main line of attack against current front-runner Rick Perry.  The Hill reports August 30 on a speech Romney gave to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in San Antonio:

Romney also decried "career politicians," a subtle shot at Perry, who's held public office continuously since 1985.

"I am a conservative businessman. I have spent most of my life outside of politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy," Romney said. "Career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don't know how to get us out!"

This strategy is laughable, given that Romney has spent years trying to become a career politician, with a prior stint as governor of Massachusetts and failed senatorial and presidential campaigns under his belt.

August 26, 2011

Quick Quote: Barack Obama v. Thomas Edison

“When Thomas Edison repeatedly came up short in his quest to create a working light bulb, he contended he hadn't failed but rather found 10,000 ways that didn't work. In his quest to fix the economy, Obama has found one way that doesn't work but seems determined to try it 10,000 times.”

Patriot Post Digest, August 26

August 23, 2011

If Sarah Palin runs, I’ll have a tough choice to make

Conventional wisdom says that if Sarah Palin doesn’t jump into the race within the next few weeks, her opportunity will be gone.  But, as CBS reports today, Palin’s style is anything but conventional.

I’ve been a member of the Blogs for Palin blogroll for a very long time, and I would absolutely love it if she is the GOP nominee.  The problem is, I like Texas Governor Rick Perry as well.  I think either one of them would serve our country honorably and capably, with much more fealty to the Constitution than any of their recent predecessors.

At the moment, when choosing between the actual candidacy of Perry and the possible candidacy of Palin, I am leaning toward Perry.  But if Palin jumps into the race, I’m not sure yet what I’ll do.

Why John Huntsman is a member of the 1% Club

Howard Dean, darling of the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party, has nothing but praise for supposed Republican John Huntsman, reports The Daily Caller today:

“Jacob [Weisberg, of Slate] wrote this was ‘the thinking man’s candidate,’” said Dean. “There aren’t any thinking people in the Republican Party. I’m serious. Name a few thoughtful policy analysts in the Republican Party — not Rick Perry, not Michele Bachmann. Look at all these people. Huntsman is the real deal.”

Note to the uninitiated: When a Dem calls a Republican a “thinking man’s candidate”, he means the Republican’s world view agrees more with the Democratic Party than with the Republican Party.   Dean eventually comes right out and says it: 

“I learned that Jon Huntsman is a great candidate for president but he is in the wrong party,” Dean said. “I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear that from me.”

Maybe Huntsman would be happy to hear that.  I suspect that he might take the compliment as evidence that he’s more “electable” than any of this GOP opponents.

Huntsman is polling at about 1% among likely GOP primary voters, so I wonder where he thinks his base is.   The Democrats?  They already have their candidate, and I doubt they’d exchange him for a candidate who seems to agree with them but doesn’t have the courage to affirm this by changing his party affiliation.

The Republicans?  Huntsman used to work for Obama.  That’ll whip up enthusiasm among the GOP masses in the general election.

Enjoy the spotlight while it lasts, Mr. Huntsman.  When the Dems and the media are done with you, you’ll suddenly find that nobody will return your calls any more.

A Perry you can believe in

August 22, 2011

Bachmann’s $2 gasoline pledge

The Hill, August 22:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is doubling down on her vow to drive gasoline prices to less than $2 per gallon if she’s elected president, a pledge that 2012 GOP rival Jon Huntsman said isn’t rooted in the “real world.”

Bachmann drew attention last week when she pledged at a Tuesday campaign stop that “Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 per gallon again.”

It’s one thing to express confidence that gasoline prices would drop significantly (without naming a specific amount) under a Bachmann administration.  But to pledge that prices would fall below $2?

Gasoline prices are governed by three factors, mainly: supply, demand, and government regulation. 

A Bachmann administration could definitely affect supply by rolling back domestic drilling restrictions.  Of course, much of the increased supply would probably be snapped up immediately by the insatiable emerging economies of China and India, so it seems that the effect on global oil prices might end up being a wash, especially if OPEC decides to adjust its own production to keep prices steady.

Prices could be driven down by killing demand for oil, but I don’t think Bachmann has any intention of doing that.

She could also get gasoline prices moving in the right direction by decreasing the tax and regulatory burden on the oil and gas industry.  Good luck with that, because she’ll need the cooperation of a Congress that, regardless of which party is in control, will be driven by their perception of public opinion on environmental issues.  Again, there may be some downward movement in gasoline prices, but not enough.

The United States does not set oil prices, and it is horribly naïve for Rep. Bachmann to pledge that, simply on the strength of “’can-do’ America”, a global market will bend to her will.  Such a promise would be an albatross around her neck throughout her administration.  And no, the Democrat-controlled media would not let her forget it.

As I said the other day, I like Bachmann a lot, but it’s ill-considered statements like this that lead me to rank her lower than certain other GOP candidates.

Of course, this gaffe is light years away from suggesting that upon one’s election the “rise of the oceans” would begin to slow, but still…

GOP base begs NY ex-gov Pataki to jump into 2012 race

Not really, but he may do it anyway, according to an August 22 AP article:

A spokesman for Republican former New York Gov. George Pataki says he's taking a harder look at running for president in 2012.

But what makes him think he could pull this off?  The only one he'd likely rob votes from is Romney. And maybe Fred Karger, if anyone had been planning to vote for him.

Au contraire, says the former governor.  Here’s how his triumphal march through the primaries would begin:

He cites his own moderate views that could attract independent voters in the important New Hampshire primary.

In other words, apparently he thinks that garnering the favor of enough of "important" New Hampshire's independent voters will trigger a groundswell of support for his "moderate" views in other parts of the country. 

Good luck with that.

August 19, 2011

GOP Nomination 2012: The Good, the Bad, and the [YAWN!]

Back in May I sorted through the various announced, likely, and potential candidates for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.  A lot has happened since then, so I thought I’d have another look at the list (once again, culled from this site).  This time around, I will disregard altogether the candidates who (IMO) have little or no chance of scoring in the double-digits.

Also this time, I will attempt to quantify my opinion of each candidate on a scale from +5 (awesome) to 0 (meh) to –5 (nononononono).

Rick Perry
Sarah Palin*
Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain
Paul Ryan*
Rick Santorum
Newt Gingrich
Mitt Romney
Rudy Giuliani*
Ron Paul

* Considering, but not yet announced

As you can see from the above, the candidates I am most excited about are Perry and Palin.  In their rhetoric, I see two candidates whose views track closely with mine (with Perry getting a slight edge for his constitutionalist views).  In addition, I see two people who are fearless in the face of the withering Democrat/Media assault that has been hurled their way.  Their political instincts are good, they stay on message, and the message is a good one.  I have no proof of this, but I have a feeling that Palin will defer to Perry as long as he stays the course.  Perry does have some negatives, and perhaps I’ll deal with them in a separate post, but I don’t believe that any of the currently-known negatives fatally compromise him.

I like Bachmann a lot, but I’m not sure she can hold her own in the major leagues.  The MSM has been laying one trap after another for her, and she keeps walking into them.  This is sad, because her constitutionalist views are great.

Cain is another one I consider to be very smart and likable, and he has a good businessman’s sense of what ails our country.  But the media is casting him as a sideshow attraction (which they absolutely must do, because to them there’s no such thing as a black conservative), and he doesn’t seem to know how to take the initiative away from them.

Ryan… good budget plan a few months back, but that’s about it.  His plan made him a tea party celebrity for a while, and that is the only reason he seems to be considering a run.  What makes him good presidential material? [August 22 UPDATE: He’s out]

Santorum… good on the pro-life issue and some social issues, but that’s about it.  He has little to offer the masses regarding the current economic/constitutional crisis.  He peaked back in the 90s.

Gingrich… another guy who peaked back in the 90s.  He’s damaged goods, showing an appalling lack of judgment in his personal life as well as in his public life.

Romney… elitist northeastern Republican who—SURPRISE!—is the choice of the party establishment (and HEY—did you hear he’s currently far ahead of everyone else in New Hampshire?).  No matter how much he tries to pass himself off as a conservative, the fact remains that the voters of Massachusetts would not have chosen him as their governor if he was as conservative as he’s pretending to be now.  Outside the northeast, the GOP base isn’t really buying what he’s selling.  Plan B: spend tons of money in an attempt to drown out the true conservatives.

Giuliani… not much different from Romney.  I seriously doubt that he will jump in, because he’d be competing for Romney’s base, along with a few others who remember favorably his strong leadership in the weeks following 9/11.  He has little to offer that Romney isn’t already offering.  Oh, and Romney already got his hands on the campaign donations of those who might be persuaded to vote for Giuliani.

Paul… I was actually a fan of his back in the 90s, when I sympathized greatly with his constitutionalist views.  Today, I still agree with him on many issues (mainly related to domestic policy), but he’s dangerously kooky on many other issues (mainly related to foreign policy).  In some ways, he’s become the Lyndon LaRouche of the right, drawing the conspiracy-obsessed fringe in like flies to fly paper.  I shudder at the thought of Mr. Paul being at the helm.  Even Romney would be preferable, and that’s a painful admission coming from me.

So, what do you think?  Feel free to make the case for your favorite or against my favorite(s), but if you do, please keep it civil.

August 12, 2011

Quick Quote: Thomas Jefferson on the immorality of passing the public debt from one generation to the next

"I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and incumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence."

— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to James Madison (September 6, 1789)

Via The Federalist Papers (on Facebook)

August 8, 2011

Ministry of Propaganda ramps up for Obama’s reelection campaign

Hollywood, currently serving as the Ministry of Propaganda for the Obama administration, is wasting no time putting together a movie celebrating the assassination of Osama bin Laden. 

Although it appears the movie will focus on the heroics of SEAL Team Six, I’m certain that directors Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal will make sure we won’t miss the fact that it happened on Obama’s watch (even if his involvement amounted to nothing more than approving the operation)*.

Oh, and the projected release date for the Osama movie is – wait for it – October, 2012.  Coincidence, I’m sure.

If you doubt that this is a joint enterprise of Hollywood and the White House, consider the following, which merited a raised eyebrow from lefty NYT columnist Maureen Dowd:

It was clear that the White House had outsourced the job of manning up the president’s image to Hollywood when Boal got welcomed to the upper echelons of the White House and the Pentagon and showed up recently — to the surprise of some military officers — at a C.I.A. ceremony celebrating the hero Seals.


Via Townhall

* By the way, I’m still waiting for the big-budget Hollywood movie celebrating the capture of Saddam Hussein.