31 January 2008

BYU Mock Presidential Primary

We received the following email from our friends over at BYU Political Review:Eventsters and Politicos:

Want to watch the Presidential Candidates duke it out?...Well, you'll probably have to go to California for that. But at BYU we have representatives of the campaigns who are willing to debate all the top issues.

This Thursday from 7-9 PM we'll be holding BYU's Presidential Primary Debate in MARB 445.

Democrats will be debating from 7-8
Republicans will be debating from 8-9

Half of the debate will be moderated questions and debate, the other half will be unfiltered audience questions.

Come prepared to learn more and/or catch them off guard.We're sure we don't know what the "Democrats" are going to debate, but it will probably the same as their big brother and sister. You know, who's going to raise taxes faster and bring the troops home sooner: different degrees of the same thing.

Chris Matthews: From the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California, I'm Chris Matthews and this is the final Democratic debate before Super Tuesday!
Matthews: I'm here with Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and strangely, John Edwards.
Matthews: My first question is for Edwards. (directs self to John Edwards) I thought you dropped out of the race?
Edwards: Thanks, Chris. You clearly don't know the meaning of the word "suspend." I just
suspended my campaign, I didn't drop out. (laughs nervously)
Matthews: Okay, whatever. Senator Clinton, how did you feel when Senator Obama wouldn't shake your hand at HitlerBush's State of the Union?
Clinton: Frankly, Chris, I was hurt. I mean, Senator Obama knows I'm sensitive and have feelings, we all saw that in New Hampshire, right?

Anyway. Go, if you can.

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30 January 2008

Tyrone Willingham and UW Football

Last week at the Sundance Film Festival we met up with an old high school friend (and UW alum) for dinner. We discussed, among other things, the current state of University of Washington football. We both agreed that we liked Tyrone Willingham and hoped the fans, boosters, and university would give him enough time to succeed.

Winning shouldn't be everything, though sometimes some decisions are made as though that were the case. Some UW fans wish for the good old days of Rick Neuheisel, who, incidentally, was recently hired by UCLA to be their head coach.

In case they forgot what winning at any cost actually costs, the Seattle Times recently published a tremendous special report about the costs of UW's 2001 Rose Bowl winning team. Among the highlights (or lowlights, as the case may be) were rape by the start tight end, armed robbery by a linebacker, and a felon/safety. These were the most notorious among a team with numerous arrests.

Victory & Ruins - Overview
Chapter 1 - Jerramy Stevens
Chapter 2 - Jeremiah Pharms
Chapter 3 - Curtis Williams
Chapter 4 - Anthony Kelley
Epilogue - Win, and win properly

We hope this series of articles will remind the aforementioned people--fans, boosters, administrators--that sometimes the cost of winning is too high. And that as they remember that, they will give Ty Willingham enough time to continue the turnaround of the program and prove he can win.

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29 January 2008

Harry Reid's Nuts: A Report On The Contraction, Not The Possessive

(hat tip: our brother Matt)
Been looking for a gimmicky feature for the blog and after listening to Senator Harry Reid on the Doug Wright show on KSL this morning on the way up Little Cottonwood Canyon, Matt suggested using Harry Reid. Done and done.

Never thought we'd see the day where we missed Tom Daschle. Okay, still don't miss Daschle. But love the picture.

On KSL, in the midst of a heartfelt memorial about the impact President Gordon B. Hinckley had on the public perception of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Doug Wright asked Harry to recall his favorite moment with President Gordon B. Hinckley.

The moment Reid chose to recall? One that makes him look like a crybaby. He said that he attended a meeting in Las Vegas and despite being one of the highest ranking somethings, he wasn't given a seat at the head table. So President Hinckley, apparently reading Reid's mind about the perceived slight, spoke for a few minutes about Reid.

In Harry's mind, Hinckley's mention of Read amounted to a "chastise[ment]" of the event organizers (and anyone else who has a problem with Reid's Democratic politics, so there) for their un-Christian-like behavior in denying him a seat at the big table. Puh-lease. Seems more like a case of Harry projecting his own inferiority complex plus a healthy dose of narcissism.

Remember, this is the same Harry Reid who, when looking at polling data about Iraq in early spring 2007, was practically jumping for joy about the future prospects for Democrats if America lost in Iraq. Yup, Dems, this Senate leader makes you proud to be an American. Who else could be cheerleader to America's enemies? Who else could be gleeful that a loss for America would mean an electoral win for his own party?

Yup, Harry's nuts. And you'll hear all about it, all the time, here at OL&L.

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28 January 2008

State of the Union

We know our position isn't a popular one, but we'll miss President Bush when he's gone. You may not agree with his policies or politics, but you must agree that he is a man who does what he says he will do.

We haven't always agreed with his positions--immigration, Harriet Miers, early steel protectionism, signing McCain/Feingold--but we understand as well as anyone the difficulties he has faced.

Regarding Iraq, we only wish he had promoted General Petraeus sooner. The ongoing success of the surge and the future viability of Iraq will ultimately decide Bush's legacy and reputation among American presidents.

Ultimately, we must measure his performance against our highest order political priorities:
  • the War on Terror (including Iraq)
  • courts (Supreme Court nominees, etc.)
  • taxes.
Despite the slow change of generals because of personal loyalty--remember, Lincoln was guilty of the same--Bush worked tirelessly and consistently to win the war and defend America from future attacks. It's important to note there have been no successful terror attacks against the US since 9/11. That's got to count for something.

During his second term, President Bush successfully nominated Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Roberts is a judicial minimalist and Alito is described as a justice similar to Scalia and Thomas. The important point is that they are not judicial activists, overturning laws and precedent based on their own or the latest popular morality or opinion. They understand that the role of the courts is not to legislate from the bench. With these two nominees, President Bush knocked the ball out of the park. Now if we could just get one more conservative justice.

On taxes, Bush has done very well. His tax cuts helped America recover from the "dot-com bubble" and the 9/11 attacks. The only failure was his inability to persuade Congress to make the tax cuts permanent. If a Democrat wins the Presidency, allowing those tax cuts to expire plus increasing taxes (as they have all proposed) would amount to the largest tax increase in history. And this is part of their plan to help the American economy.

Democrats, the MSM echo chamber have been bashing Bush for so long it's been considered a foregone conclusion that Bush will be remembered as one of the worst Presidents in history. Well, folks, history will have the final say. With any luck, it will be a fair review by a fair-minded academic historian.

Harry Truman, another of our heroes, received some of the lowest approval ratings on record. Opinion of Truman's presidency seems to rise every year. It helps that he was a Democratic president being reviewed by liberal academics, but we have faith in the historical discipline--faith that good historians will be able to get past their personal distaste for President Bush and tell the tale the evidence supports.

(At least, that's our idealized vision of history)

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27 January 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley, RIP

From the Deseret News, without commentary:

President Gordon B. Hinckley, who led The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through explosive growth during his more than 12 years as president, died at 7 p.m. today of causes incident to age, surrounded by family. He was 97.

He traveled the world during his tenure, which was marked by a number of significant milestones, including the "Proclamation to the World on the Family," construction of dozens of small temples and the creation of several new quorums of the Seventy. He called for increased fellowshipping of new converts and reaching out to other faiths. Church membership has grown from 9 million to more than 13 million members during his administration.

His ministry was characterized by a strong desire to be out among the people. He traveled more than half a million miles and spoke to hundreds of thousands of members in more than 60 nations, employing his mastery of electronic media to bring unprecedented press attention to the church.

Under his leadership, the 21,000-seat Conference Center, north of the Salt Lake Tabernacle, was built and dedicated, and the portion of Main Street between Temple Square and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building was turned into a plaza. Online computer access to church information as well as online and CD access to family history resources grew exponentially.

A young man of 25 and just home from his mission when he went to work for the church in 1935, he remained an employee, administrator and general authority for almost seven decades, an eyewitness — and key contributor — to what he called, with the approach of the 21st century, "a great season in the history of the world and a great season in the history of the church."

His proposal to build small temples launched what some have termed the most ambitious temple-building program in world history. Some 122 temples are now in use and nine more have been announced, or are under construction. His goal of having at least 100 temples in use, authorized or under construction by Jan. 1, 2000, was accomplished with the dedication of the church's 100th temple in Boston on Oct. 1, 2000.

Three of the temples were at major sites in church history. The Nauvoo Temple was rebuilt to 21st-century standards, a temple was dedicated at Palmyra, N.Y., and another was dedicated at Winter Quarters, Neb.

Area Authority Seventies, essentially replacing regional representatives, were called in the late 1990s to help handle the church's growing leadership burden at the local level. The First and Second Quorums of the Seventy also grew.

At the 171st Annual General Conference in the spring of 2001, he announced creation of the Perpetual Education Fund, a loan program to help young Latter-day Saints in Third World countries.

President Hinckley, who spent nearly 14 years as a counselor in the First Presidency, was set apart as 15th church president on March 12, 1995, three months before his 85th birthday. He was sustained in solemn assembly at the 165th Annual General Conference that April 1.

He then set out to visit as many church members as possible in their homelands. He continued an ambitious travel schedule throughout his stewardship, urged the members to get their houses in order and warned against pornography and maltreatment of spouses and children. The "Proclamation to the World on the Family," that he announced in September 1995 gave Latter-day Saints a ready reference for their beliefs on family life, and has been used as a model by international organizations seeking to preserve the traditional family.

With the death of President Hinckley, the First Presidency was dissolved and the Quorum of the Twelve became the governing body of the church. President Hinckley's counselors, Presidents Thomas S. Monson and Henry B. Eyring, took their places — first and 11th — within the 14-member quorum. Until his death in August 2007, President James E. Faust served as President Hinckley's second counselor for 12 years.

Sometime soon, following President Hinckley's funeral, quorum members will sustain a new church president. If historical precedent holds, the quorum's senior apostle and president, President Monson, will succeed President Hinckley.

President Hinckley's initial call to the First Presidency came July 23, 1981, as a counselor to President Spencer W. Kimball. He was set apart as second counselor to President Kimball on Dec. 2, 1982, following the death of President N. Eldon Tanner. In November 1985, following the death of President Kimball, he was called as first counselor in the First Presidency, serving with President Ezra Taft Benson and President Monson, the second counselor. Presidents Hinckley and Monson continued in those positions under President Howard W. Hunter.

*Update 9:23PM MST:
**Update 29 January, 12:58AM MST:
In the NYT, Gordon B. Hinckley, Mormon Leader, Is Dead at 97, by Laurie Goodstein (subscription required) From the article, quoting President Hinckley: The best thing you can do is just keep busy, keep working hard, so you're not dwelling on it all the time. Work is the best antidote for sorrow.
Tribute to late LDS President Hinckley, by Glenn Beck

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Barack Hussein [Bad Satire] Obama

Thanks to those of you returning to OL&L after a long absence and for adding your comments to the ongoing and building dialogue.

Yesterday's post prompted a castigating response in comments. We were taken to task for always using Senator Obama's full-name--Barack Hussein Obama. The commenter assumed, as many of you may have as well, that we do so to inflame populist conservative opinion against his candidacy. We don't mean to scare away negative critique of our blog or those who disagree with us, but if this particular commenter had read our posts for any length of time, he would know we don't buy or sell any of that nativist, anti-Muslim rhetoric.

No, rather our use of Senator Obama's middle name is an admittedly lame attempt at satire. Those following the campaign will know that liberal pundits use Obama's middle name at least as much as conservative ones. Click here, here, here, here, here, or here if you don't believe us. We even used ultra-liberal website Media Matters to further prove the point.

We find it mildly amusing, bordering on humorous, that liberals--the open-minded, enlightened half of American society--pound on the Hussein key as much or more than Rush Limbaugh (we only found one Limbaugh reference to Obama's middle name). We believe this has something to do with the fact that liberals tend to take their politics a little more personally than Republicans do. [huge generalization alert]

What's even more interesting is the fact that both frontrunners (if we can call them that, now that the gap has narrowed) in the Democratic primary have middle or third names they'd rather voters forgot. Does anyone remember that Hillary always used to be Rodham-Clinton? But now that she wants to get elected, it's simply Clinton AND, according to Drudge, "love" drove Bill bat-crazy in South Carolina, prompting his latest outburst. All of this to prove their mutual love and affection, and the normalcy of their marriage (hasn't it been disproved beyond a shadow of a doubt? Clinton Marriage, read: union of political, power-grabbing convenience).

Therein lies the satire and by explaining it all, it's completely lost its amusement. That's the thing with humor, once explained, everyone kind of says, "oh, how nice." If you look back at our posts, we refer to Senator Clinton as Hillary Rodham-Clinton and Senator Obama as Barack Hussein Obama. Again, not because we want to inflame populist conservative opinion (longtime readers know we detest populist politics) but rather to satirize the two candidates and their party's supposedly enlightened, open-minded moral condescension. Our friend the commenter further proves our point with his own name-calling.

Readers would be justified in saying that our humor was lame or too subtle, but mistaking it for anti-whatever is baseless. We wouldn't care if Barack's name were Barrack Saddam Hussein Osama bin Laden Adolf Hitler Joseph Stalin Obama, and neither should anyone else. Our point in using his middle name is not to conjure up an image of Saddam Hussein and scare the Republican base. If reading or hearing his middle name makes you think he's a Wahhabist terrorist/sympathizer, you've probably been watching too much 24.

And besides all that, we're tired of liberals thinking that conservatives are stupid enough to believe anything based on Barack's middle name. We don't know any conservatives who believe Barack is some 5th cousin of Saddam or a closet islamofascist.

We'll continue referring to Senators Clinton and Obama by their full names, now not simply for satirical purposes (though they remain) but more in protest of those who take it personally. If they want to dredge up Romney's or any other Republican candidates' sacred, personal religious beliefs and make fun of them, well, we'll let the reader decide who is acting in poor taste.

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26 January 2008

New York Times: Playing (Republican) Politics

The big theme of this election is identity politics. Whether the voters is a woman, African-American, or Evangelical, it is automatically assumed that the voter will vote for the candidate that matches their minority profile. (we've mentioned it here and here)

But only some of these assumptions are somewhat true. As with any generalization, these broad brush strokes miss many of the other factors that play into a voters decision for whom to vote.

African-American voters in this election will tend to vote for Barack Hussein Obama to a greater degree than women will for Hillary Rodham Clinton or Evangelicals will for Mike Huckabee. MSM focuses many of their articles on the supposed breakup of the conservative coaltion less because it is an actual reality than because it is what they see in their own party of choice. If there is this much discontent and dissension in the Democratic party, then there must be the same thing going on with the Republicans. And even if it's not, they will play up any little bit of drama they can because, well, they can't afford to lose another Presidential election.

This is the same reason they play up an overblown division between the Republican presidential candidates. It is no secret that Mitt Romney is not John McCain's favorite person. Supposedly Mitt forgot to call McCain after his win in New Hampshire, or something. You'd think this was the party of teenage girls. It's also worth noticing that supposedly the "ill will" was precipitated by Mitt's money. This is taking populist class warfare to a whole new level. Now, not only do we have John Edwards "two America's," but we also have the New York Time's "two Republican parties." Right.

With the Democratic parties propaganda machine, er, the New York Times, even if there is no smoke, there's still a fire. And if they can report that money or religion or whatever is splitting Republicans, they will.

What they forget (and this is where we get back to indentity politics) is that most Republicans are not just social conservatives or fiscal conservatives or foreign policy hawks. Many, if not most, fit more than one of these categories. We, for example, fit all three. That said, when it comes time to vote, people will naturally gravitate to the party that answers the call of their highest order political priorities.

Peggy Noonan may be right; George W. Bush may have frayed the Reagan coalition.
At the very least, they were disillusioned during the 2006 Congressional elections. But this does not mean that those principles ceased being important or that they wont turn out when they find a conservative candidate strong fiscally, socially and on social policy.

John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney are all capable of rallying these three groups. On one or more issues, they may have less appeal than another of the candidates or conservative pundits would like, but by and large they will be able to do what is necessary to appeal to those voters--especially when matched up against Hillary or Barack.

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24 January 2008

Here's Romney!

With the ineffable Fred Thompson out, the Mitt Romney surge is on. And the pundits said it couldn't or wouldn't be done.

Real Clear Politics shows Romney in a close second behind John McCain in Florida
. And the thing to keep in mind here is the trend: Romney is trending upwards while McCain is holding steady or declining slightly.

Looking ahead, it seems Romney may win simply because of his wide appeal:

Giuliani and McCain both appeal to foreign policy conservatives (read: hawks), fiscal conservatives (McCain to a greater extent than Giuliani), and independents.

Huckabee appeals to social conservatives.

Romney appeals to foreign policy hawks (less so than either Giuliani or McCain). All three would follow similar courses in Iraq and the War on Terror.

Romney's business experience and tax cutting ways while governor in Massachusetts make him appealing to fiscal conservatives--maybe moreso than either McCain or Giuliani.

Perhaps most importantly, Romney established his social conservatism bona fides. Pro-lifers and the defense of marriage crowd may not believe him the way they believe Mike Huckabee or believed Fred Thompson, but they will certainly prefer him to either Giuliani or McCain (less so with McCain).

On Hannity and Colmes tonight, Alan Colmes asked Romney if he felt like emphasizing his social conservatism had been a waste of time. 'With the economy on a precipice,' Colmes asked, 'wouldn't it have been wiser to have highlighted his business acumen as a unique qualifier?' Romney pointed out that social issues were important in early states, but admitted the economy may be the dominant issue going forward and, fortunately, he was strong there.

We agree (and wrote as much last week) that saving the economy could be a winning message going forward. But it was important to Romney's campaign that he distinguish himself from Giuliani (the longtime frontrunner) and to a lesser extent McCain as a social conservative. By splitting the social conservative vote and winning the fiscal conservatives, Romney might be able to winnow off enough of the foreign policy independents to win the Republican nomination--especially in states which limit voting in the Republican race to Republicans.

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23 January 2008

Farewell Fred

Yesterday, we were sad to learn that Fred Thompson had exited the race for the Republican nomination. Fred Thomson, we hardly knew thee.

Of course, part of the reason we hardly knew Fred Thompson was because he didn't do a very good job of selling himself to voters. That part, we wont miss.

Thompson held the promise of being the conservative Republican voters could rally around once they soured on the politics of Rudy Giuliani or John McCain. It was not to be.

We read almost daily that the current crop of candidates is a poor one. We heartily disagree. John McCain, the "maverick" (the MSM loves Republican "mavericks") Senator from Arizona brings strong principles (with which we sometimes disagree) and a strong track record of leadership on foreign policy and fiscal policy. He was a war hero.

Rudy Giuliani is America's mayor. When 9/11 shook us to the core, we took strength from his strength.

Fred Thompson was on TV. Ronald Reagan was also an actor. We loved his traditional conservatism.

Mike Huckabee is an incredible speaker and dynamic politician.

Mitt Romney, well, Mitt saved the Salt Lake Olympics, rejuvenated Bain & Co., and brought health care to the masses in Massachusetts, whatever.

The Republican field is a talented one. And, feeling generous today, so is the Democratic field. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, (not John Edwards) and Bill Richardson all strike us as more capable and talented candidates than John Kerry, Vietnam war veteran.

(true, that is not saying much).

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21 January 2008

Our Hero, Clarence Thomas

On this day, the officially recognized day to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we celebrate another courageous African American, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thomas' book, My Grandfather's Son, was our favorite book last year and won the innaugural, On Life and Lybberty Book of the Year Award.

Frequent readers of OL&L may recall that Thomas' book prompted this post about Rudy Giuliani, abortion, and the Supreme Court.

In honor of MLK Jr. and Clarence Thomas, we post the following excerpt from Thomas' book. This section, regarding his personal philosophy and "adverse impact" theory is fascinating. Like Dr. King, Clarence Thomas has the courage to break with popular opinion and stand up for what he believes.
In the seventies you rarely had to look very far to find a theory, or a black person on whom it was being tried out. Like every other black law student, I was uncomfortably aware that blacks failed to pass the bar exams at a much higher rate than whites, and that the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund had filed lawsuits alleging that the exams they took were racially discriminatory. Lani Guinier, one of my classmates, was involved with the Legal Defense Fund, so I asked her to supply me with information about the extent of the problem and the strategy that the Legal Defense Fund was pursuing. At first I assumed that the disproportionate black failure rate was conclusive evidence of racial discrimination, but the more closely I looked at the facts, the more apparent it became that I was wrong. At that time each question on the bar exam was graded separately by a different scorer and each completed exam identified solely by number, thus making it impossible for the graders to tell which examinees, if any, were black. Some claimed that blacks wrote in "black English" and thus could be identified from the syntax of their responses, but in addition to finding that unlikely, I didn't think it unfair to expect lawyers representing their clients in a court of law to be able to write in standard English. IN any case, the inability of a black law student to write and speak English properly wasn't evidence of discrimination by the graders--it was an indictment of the quality of the education he had received. This left only one argument, the Legal Defense Fund's "adverse impact" theory, which held that if a neutral examination produced disparate results among the races, then it could be considered discriminatory. But I didn't buy that, either, knowing that no measurement of any part of our lives ever produced identical results for all racial or ethnic groups. To argue otherwise, I thought, diverted attention from the real culprits, the people who were responsible for the useless education these young people had received.

The problem with my analysis, of course, was tht it was of no help to those black students who had already finished school and now found themselves unable to pass the bar exam. But the adverse impact theory had its own built-in problem, which was that its advocates appeared to be suggesting, knowingly or not, that blacks could never catch up with whites. Neither alternative was attractive to me, and I had no easy solution of my own to offer, but at least I'd thought the problem through for myself instead of jumping to a quick and easy conclusion that might be emotionally satisfying but failed to fit the facts. This, I decided, was the right way to approach any problem that excited my passions, and if it led me to disagree with the solutions that were generally accepted, or to advocate positions that would make me unpopular--especially when it came to matters of race--then so be it.
(Thanks to our brother who read the book after we did and marked some of the best parts--including this one)

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We suggest you purchase and read My Grandfather's Son to celebrate.

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19 January 2008

Show me the money

From MSNBC to CNN and Fox News, much ado about the lack of donations to Republican Presidential candidates. Supposedly this indicates a certain Democratic inevitability--despite the fact that John McCain leads Hillary Rodham Clinton in polls.

We suspect that once the field narrows and the general election approaches, that the donation margin between Democratic and Republican candidates will also narrow. A President Obama or Clinton is not a foregone conclusion.

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South Carolina, Nevada, &c.

- We watched Mike Huckabee on Hannity and Colmes today and were impressed, again, with his articulate affability. This guy can talk. And he's friendly. Our brother, who had not heard him speak before, was equally impressed. If only he were a truly conservative candidate.

- A friend called today and informed us that she is a precinct captain for Mitt Romney. She was proud to report that she had persuaded 7 friends to go with her to her caucus in Nevada. It's good to see that not everyone is jaded about presidential politics.

- We'd actually like to see Fred Thompson win South Carolina. Like everyone else, we had great hopes for candidate Thompson--thought he might be able to channel some sort of inner/actor-Ronald Reagan mojo and unite and galvanize Republicans everywhere. He didn't. Instead he constantly reminds us in word ('I don't really care to be President, but if I made it, it'd be cool') and deed (seemingly lazy/lackadaisical campaigning) that he doesn't seem serious about the whole thing. If Fred would actually show that he wants this thing, people might take him seriously and vote for him. Maybe.

- Good to see Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. CNN showed him berating some poor reporter. Doesn't he know that the MSM loves Democrats--especially him? We suppose the reporter was probably guilty of straying from the usual questions:

Reporter: Why are you so awesome?
Bill Clinton: [affects southern accent] When I was President the economy was strong and the world loved us.
Reporter: [dog-begging-for-food look]
Bill Clinton: No more questions?
Reporter: Would you sign my book? [hands over well-worn copy of "My Life"]
Bill Clinton: [signs "Bill Clinton, & "vote for me", scratches out "me" writes "Hillary" ]

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17 January 2008

So you say you want a Ron Paul Revolution?

Yesterday as we drove through the greater Provo/Orem area here in Utah, we saw people in the process of putting up three garage-door size signs for Ron Paul. This added to an already large number of signs for the libertarian Presidential candidate.

Full of Mormons, Utah is generally considered to be a for-Mitt, by-Mitt, of-Mitt redstate. Not so. A quick google-search revealed a number of ardent Ron Paul revolutionaries (examples here and here). And a second look at the results from Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan, showed good results for Paul--when compared to the amount of attention he gets from the MSM.

We believe Ron Paul has a generally positive influence on the Republican Presidential Primary. To us, his foreign policy beliefs seem irresponsible. Additionally, many of his domestic and economic politics appear extreme. But his positions force every other candidate to reconsider the importance of the small-government, libertarian wing of the Republican party.

Winning 10, 8, and 4% of the vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan, respectively, shows how much his beliefs resonate with Republican and in some cases, Independent voters. He may be used as a punching bag in debates, but however ridiculed, much of what he says finds enthusiastic believers. His one day record take of over $5 million USD shows his supporters are willing to back up their votes with cash.

None of this would be possible if Paul were to run as a 3rd party candidate. He might take votes from the eventual Republican candidate, aiding in a Democrat win, but more people would resent him for that (Ross Perot) than remember fondly how he reminded Republicans of conservative fiscal policy.

We wouldn't vote for Paul and we disagree with those who predict a break-up of the Reagan coalition (fiscal & social conservatives, foreign policy hawks). George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, and George W. Bush collectively were not carbon copies of Ronald Reagan politically. In each instance, different wings of the Republican party were more or less satisfied with each President's (or candidate's) positions on a host of issues. But each time, the majority of each part of the coalition voted for the Republican candidate because they best matched their beliefs.

Such will be the case in 2008. By and large, each of the major candidates more closely matches the beliefs of fiscal/social conservatism & foreign policy hawks better than any of the Democratic candidates. The only concern is that one or more of these groups stays home on election day--not that they vote for the Democratic candidate. But the same thing that happened before will happen again--the Republican nominee will do what is necessary to solidify the support of the Reagan coalition. In the meantime, the longer than normal competitive primaries will help Republican candidates and voters alike to sort out what matters most.

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16 January 2008

Hillary beat nobody!

We've been pounding on this pretty much all week (here, here, and here) because the issue just wont go away. Al Sharpton has weighed in (thank goodness for that) and according to Bill Clinton, a truce has been declared, but black voters don't seem to agree.

From James Taranto's 16 January Best of the Web, per the exit polls:
Mrs. Clinton won big among whites (63% to 31%) but lost even bigger among blacks (30% to 68%). Among white voters, Mrs. Clinton did better among women (71% to 25%) than among men (54% to 38%). But among nonwhite (mostly black) voters, she did better among men (45% to 54%) than women (34% to 64%).
Running against nobody, African-Americans voted overwhelmingly against Hillary Clinton. As we've written before, we're glad to see black voters reject the white-liberal-knows-best non-sense. We wish they wouldn't reject it in favor of identity politics, but as has become of the theme of this election, any change is good.

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Mitt Romney Going Forward

Big win for Romney last night. He needed the win and he got it. According to the numbers we've seen, he did well among Republicans and Independents and split the Evangelical vote with Huckabee. With Michigan's economy in the tank, Mitt won because he finally highlighted his greatest strength--his business/economic, call-it-what-you-will background.

In Michigan, his message met the needs of the voters. In the Republican debate ahead of the primary, both he and Senator McCain answered questions about auto industry and other jobs that have been lost. Senator McCain, ever the realist, left that debate with the sound-bite that 'the jobs [were] gone, and they [weren't] coming back.' He went on to say that they needed to get new and better jobs, but the damage was done and his line was out there.

McCain may be right. This blog doesn't believe in the protectionist measures it would take to "revitalize" the American auto industry. We agree with McCain and his free-trading ways. But realism doesn't win elections.

We don't think Mitt is a protectionist either, but he understood (better than McCain) that Michigan voters didn't want to hear that their jobs were gone and not coming back. Mitt's message of "optimism" had substance because of his successful business background. He has turned around failing enterprises--Bain & Co, the Salt Lake Olympics, and Massachusetts.

As the year and presidential primaries progress, this is a message that might just do it for Romney. Stocks and real estate prices are down and sub prime mortgage problems have everyone worried. If the economy enters a slowdown or recession, Mitt might just resurrect Bill Clinton's old message that it is "the economy, stupid."

This might be the one issue that overcomes questions about his pro-choice past and his religion. If he can present himself as the candidate with the most know-how and best plan, he might just win the Republican nomination.

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15 January 2008

Article VI

We just received the following email (3x) about a screening of the film Article VI. Go, if you can.

I wanted to invite to you a screening of a wonderful movie tonight! I saw it last night and it's really worth seeing. I know the people who put it on (Hugh Hewitt, among others) and they did an excellent job. It discusses Religion and Politics, mainly the concept of religious tests that is the basis of Article VI of our Constitution. It is an extremely pertinent message with the presidential election right now and the fact we have a Mormon, a Baptist Preacher, a possible Muslim, and a Catholic who can't take confession all running together. Please go see it! If anything, it will open your eyes and mind to a huge social issue that our country faces today.

Living Biography Media and Wiley Rhodes Productions in association with Outside Eyes
invites you to a complimentary V.I.P. screening of the feature-length documentary ARTICLE VI: Faith. Politics. America

ARTICLE VI is an intense discussion of the role of faith in politics and has already generated significant political and media buzz. This is an exciting opportunity to see the film, which will only be released in select cities. You will also have the chance to speak with the filmmakers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Marcia and John Price Museum Building
410 Campus Center Drive
Salt Lake City , UT 84112
Dumke Auditorium
At the University of Utah
(801) 581-3123

Guests should park in Lot #11, which is directly east of the Museum.

CHECK-IN begins at 6:00 p.m. MST. Show time is 7 :00 p.m. MST.
Following the screening, the host and filmmaker will take questions from the audience. (7:30p.m. MST)

Reception to follow.

Please RSVP no later than Monday, January 14, 2008 to rsvpslc@outsideeyes.com or call 949-296-1520.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there!

Bryan Hall

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John McWhorter on Race & Al Sharpton

This afternoon Juan Williams and John McWhorter were on From Fox News with Laura Ingraham discussing the ongoing racial-tinged spat between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (we first blogged about it here), what we called yesterday, the Democrat Dust-up. McWhorter had some particularly interesting things to say about the 'old racial guard black leaders' (read: Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson):
I love this interesting idea people seem to have that Al Sharpton will somehow help determine the black vote as if he were a boss, a white boss in some old city. I mean the fact of the matter is there are no new Al Sharptons, if you think about it. And certainly an Obama presidency would presumably be one where we got beyond that sort of thing. It'd be interesting to see if nobody actually kowtowed to him, they'd notice that everything went exactly the same. The man is an entertainer, not an actual thinking person.
It's nice to see that not all African-Americans look to Sharpton and Jackson as the arbiters of black America. If only patronizing white liberals were so open minded.

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World Oil Prices

From Drudge:

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14 January 2008

Democrat Dust-up: Race and School Choice

For years, Lincoln's Republican party, by virtue of having freed the slaves, was the party of newly enfranchised black Americans. Just as African-Americans now vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, they once voted for Republicans.

This began to change under FDR as his social programs appealed to many ethnic minorities--not just those of African descent. This shift was solidified during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s under President Lyndon Johnson--as Hillary Clinton pointed out.

It appears many African-Americans finally tired of liberal patronization. After decades of liberal self-congratulation and credit taking for Civil Rights gains (look at us! see how enlightened and open minded we are!), blacks finally see it for what it really is--supremely condescending nanny-statism. Hillary's statement is just another example of what President Bush called the "soft bigotry of low expectations."

From Drudge
  • RASMUSSEN: Clinton leads Obama among white voters 41% to 27%
  • Obama leads Clinton among African-American voters 66% to 16%
Could this be a break-up in the liberal-Democrat coalition? And if black Americans finally see Democrat's true colors, is it possible other traditionally Democrat-voting minorities will also break from stereotype politics?

For a long time we've wondered about what type of conservative message might appeal to minorities who typically do not vote Republican. One strong possibility is school choice and vouchers. (We wrote about it here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Public education overwhelmingly fails minority students. Given the opportunity, minority parents--especially African-Americans--have taken their child and voucher and gone to better schools. With the Democrats and adversarial teachers' unions joined at the hip, this is an opportunity where Republicans are uniquely positioned to capitalize. What's more, it would not be a case of pander-politics. Conservatives already believe in vouchers and school choice, they simply need to explain how they benefit minority students.

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13 January 2008

Hillary Clinton is a racist

Or at least, she'll use race or anything else to her political advantage. This much we know.

This morning, while getting ready to leave, we watched Fox News Sunday with Brit Hume, Juan Williams, Mara Liasson and hosted by Chris Wallace. We were particularly interested when they turned their attention to the latest spat between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Quick review: Hillary said Obama was no Martin Luther King Jr., and that anyway, it was Lyndon Johnson who passed important Civil Rights legislation.

Drudge is carrying the most recent headlines:
Chris Wallace and Brit Hume got Juan Williams to admit that Hillary and her surrogates were trying to "remind" people of Obama's race. But to what end? They tried to push him to follow his thinking to its logical conclusion, but he would not. Bill Kristol stepped in and filled in the blanks: it was, simply, because Hillary thought she could gain from this bigoted "reminder." The same way Mike Huckabee gained from mentioning that, 'well, don't Mormons think that Jesus and the Devil are brothers?'

Was it because she thinks Democratic voters are racist? Maybe.

Did she do it because she is racist? Probably not overtly so. She does seem to believe that they need "taking care of." That, like her MLK allusion, she thinks blacks are capable only of making nice speeches but that it's left to the whites--like her and Lyndon Johnson--to do what's best for the African-American community.

This last point seems most likely to us. It fits the overall narrative of the nanny state Hillary would try to create were she (oh, the horror) elected President.

And if this is the case, where is the outrage from the unelected "leaders" of the black community? Where's Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson with sanctimonious calls for Clinton's withdrawal from the race?

We have no time nor patience for this type of racism (or any type of racism for that matter)--that Lyndon Johnson did what MLK Jr. could not or even that the same is true today--that blacks somehow need Hillary Clinton. That they need her to tell them what to think and how to vote.

What must independent minded African-Americans like Clarence Thomas be thinking? If only more people would take their cues from he and Thomas Sowell rather than following the liberal Clinton/Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson stereotype.

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12 January 2008

How we got here

With our Seahawks down big, we figured we'd focus our energy elsewhere. Back to the blog.

Earlier this week we posted that we had been included in a blog competition. Starting this week, our blog will be evaluated by a panel of judges through the first week of April. We've told a number of our friends about this honor and they've been universally perplexed about how were fortunate enough to be considered.

Just before Christmas break, while working on an essay for one of our grad seminars, we were surfing the infernet and happened to come across the America's Future website. On the website we discovered a blog competition and decided to give it a try. Among other things, the application asked us to submit our 3 best posts. The first two were obvious--we felt passionately about the topic and they invited passionate response. But the last one took a little bit of thought.

To give it a little context, we'll post links to those posts here so you can evaluate for yourself whether or not our writing merited consideration.

The first post we submitted was one written in Feburary 2006. At the time, many BYU students, including many of our friends, got caught up in a ponzi scheme called 12daily Pro.
In March 2006, BYUSA (the BYU student leadership/representative organization) concluded something like their 4th consecutive election with a winner by default. A well-meaning BYUSA employee wrote to the student newspaper, the Daily Universe, regarding a few changes that could be made to avoid similar problems in the future, and was subsequently terminated. This prompted another post.
Our third submission should have been 2 or 3 for one. First, consider one long-running theme of this blog: our love of Senator Joe Lieberman. We disagree with most of his politics, but have long admired his unpopular support of the War on Terror. In the midst of a primary fight against the Angry-Left candidate, Ned Lamont, we blogged in support of Lieberman.
Posted on this blog and in the BYU political publication, BYU Political Review, in October 2006, we blogged in favor of voting Republican even when it was clear the tide was turning in favor of the Democrats. Follow-up: The Dems were all-talk and never did follow through on their threat to pull out of Iraq. And The Surge? It worked. General Petraeus? Your Man Of The Year.
Finally, in July 2007, we channelled our inner Peggy Noonan (style, not quality) and wrote about being an American grad student in London. This one was picked up by our hometown paper, the Tri-City Herald.
Tell your friends and family. Link to us in your blog. And visit OL&L early and often. The competition is stiff and we'll need all the help we can get. Thank you, dear reader, for your continued support.

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11 January 2008

In Defense of Long Primaries and Attack Ads

When Thomas Jefferson ran against John Adams for the presidency, they both professed, in letters to each other, that they did not seek the office--that their surrogates were pushing them against their will. Jefferson, especially, repeated this line. Then, less than now, active pursuit of public office--especially one like the American presidency, was viewed as unbecoming.

But Jefferson and Adams and those who succeeded them were not so different from candidates for President now. There continue to be glaring hypocrisies in candidates' politics. Ambition continues to be a driving force. A certain do-gooder idealism is a must.

Maybe the biggest difference between now and then is that we have done away with the facade of indifference and disinterest. Hillary Clinton, John McCain and co., probably don't want the presidency any more than Jefferson or Adams. That we have idealized these men, stripped them of naked ambition, and made them saints of the American past does not change what history has taught us--that they were imperfect men who did the best they could.

Nostalgia for the past should not make us apathetic about the present. The current crop of Republican candidates for President is very talented and capable. The long primary season continues to serve its purpose by highlighting their strengths and weaknesses in a variety of settings. If there is a problem with it, it is that they must spend so much of their time fundraising--we have Senator McCain to thank for that one.

And the supposedly negative, "attack" ads serve their purpose too. Were we to follow the confrontation-averse Iowans' preference, we would have a bunch of candidates talking only about themselves and past their opponents.

Negative attack ads are a proud American tradition. These, too, we can trace back to Jefferson and Adams and further. There never was a non-partisan time of political peace in which gentlemen politicians abstained from attacking each others records or demonizing each other's politics. It has always happened and will continue to happen. The back and forth dialectic this type of debate produces clarifies each candidates positions. Is John McCain against tax cuts and amnesty? If it weren't for other candidates "attack" ads, we might never know. Would voters prefer that each candidate speak only in the most glowing terms about his/her opponents? How would we ever learn anything about anyone?

Questioning other candidates' positions and politics is how we go about getting at the truth. And no, happy compromise and consensus will never be the order of the day. Not in this country, anyway. Not when American is so sharply divided on immigration, abortion, gay marriage, taxes, education, social stratification, race, etc., etc. In some cases, there is room for political compromise, but in many, as in abortion, one is either for or against. Where, for that matter, would a 3rd party candidate fit in? On every major question that faces the American electorate, Democrats and Republicans take opposing positions. There is no middle ground for a 3rd party candidate to claim.

We, for one, are glad to be done with Iowa and the state's attack-ad-allergy. We don't even have a problem if every or most voter(s) do not pay attention to every debate and primary. Let them tune in to the parts that particularly interest them or when the primaries reach their state. In the meantime, the candidates with their attack ads, reporters with their (hopefully) close examination of records, and pundits with their endless speculation will sort things out. The advantages of a long primary with sharp debate far outweigh the minor annoyance of having to sit through yet another report on how a Barrack Obama supporter made Hillary cry.

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Sir Edmund Hillary, RIP

Before knocking off for bed we did our usual news scan to see if anything was happening in the world. Seattlepi.com told us that Sir Edmund Hillary, first ascender of Mt. Everest, had recently passed away.

We first learned about Sir Edmund when we read Jon Krakauer's (self-exculpating) Into Thin Air, his personal account of tragedy atop Mt. Everest. This was followed by a quick reading of Dick Bass' (self-glorifying) Seven Summits. Everyone who attempts to climb a mountain anywhere knows about Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the sherpa who, with Hillary, ascended Mt. Everest on 29 May 1953. Unlike these books, Hillary didn't even admit that he was the first (of he and Norgay) to reach the summit of Everest. And even then, the confession was in a sort of by the by fashion. From his book, View from the Summit:
We drew closer together as Tenzing brought in the slack on the rope. I continued cutting a line of steps upwards. Next moment I had moved onto a flattish exposed area of snow with nothing but space in every direction.

Tenzing quickly joined me and we looked round in wonder. To our immense satisfaction we realized [we] had reached the top of the world.
Though we had long admired Hillary, reading his obituary, we learned even more of his principled approach to life. He was a conservationist, sought after lecturer, and philanthropic supporter of the Everest region and it's native Sherpas. He even called for "honest-to-God morality" during the political debates in New Zealand in the 1960s.

This summer, when we (what? remember with horror?) remember USA, summer 1968, we should also remember that there were principled people like Sir Edmund Hillary who spoke up for morality--even when it wasn't popular.

*Update 16 January, 12:52PM MST: For more on the horrors of 1968, read Thomas Sowell "Myths of '68."

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10 January 2008

A Little Friendly Competition

Today, on our way up Little Cottonwood Canyon we received a bit of good news. It seems we've been chosen as one of 10 finalists in the America's Future Foundation College Blogger Contest. Per the email:
Dear college blogger,

Thanks for entering the America's Future Foundation College Blogger Contest. I'm happy to let you know that you've been chosen as one of ten finalists. You are now eligible to compete for the $10,000 grand prize. Contest judges will now regularly monitor your blog through April at which point they'll announce a winner.
As our father said as we read the email aloud, "What? Were their only 10 entrants? How did you make it in?" Doses of humility are never in short supply in our family.

Other blogs in the competition:
Granted, if they are listed in order of first to last in, we are bringing up the rear. Congratulations to our fellow conservative competitors. May the best man/woman/group thereof win.

We're gratified that columnists we've read for years will serve as judges for the competition. Surf on over to their respective websites and give them a read:
Thanks to all our faithful readers whose kind words and criticism keep us working hard. Don't forget to pass the good word about OL&L.

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08 January 2008

Roger Clemens, the Seahawks & New Hampshire

- In the '99 season, the Seahawks played the Packers at Green Bay in what was Mike Holmgren's first homecoming game. The Packers committed 7 turnovers with Brett Favre throwing 4 picks. If they win this Saturday, that's how they'll do it again--pressure the passer and force turnovers. Football Outsiders does a good job of analyzing the NFL at a macro level, but it breaks down at the team level because they simply can't devote enough attention to each team. The best Seahawks analysis used to come from Mike Sando at the Tacoma News Tribune's Seahawks Insider blog. Since Mike moved on to espn.com, the torch passed to John Morgan at fieldgulls.com.

- Robert Novak is reporting in Human Events (hat tip: Drudge Report) that Romney may be "rallying" in New Hampshire. Probably the best chance for Romney to over take McCain's advantage is, ironically, Barrack Obama. If Independents, McCain's key voting block, vote for Obama (in New Hampshire, they can vote for candidates in either party) Romney may win New Hampshire, as he leads among Republican voters.

- Roger Clemens is a bully and a cheater. Brian McNamee testified to George Mitchell that he personally administered drugs to Clemens. In his posterior. Clemens, in addition to being a cheater, is a bully, and thus, filed a lawsuit against McNamee. He knew that McNamee could ill-afford a fight against Clemens' largesse--especially since there doesn't seem to be a book deal in the offing.

All this places McNamee in a lose-lose situation. He faces criminal charges regardless of whether he withdraws his assertion that Clemens took steroids. This lawsuit, coming at a time when he also has a sick child, threatens to break him financially. Jail, financial ruin and a sick kid? That's a tough 1, 2, 3 punch.

Then, today, Clemens played a recorded phone conversation between he and McNamee. Who is handling Clemens' PR? This was clearly a staged conversation in which Clemens repeated prepared comments about his innocence and McNamee, well, McNamee is clearly distressed about his son's sickness and his place in the spotlight.

This might have been news if Clemens had gotten McNamee to confess that he had lied about injecting Clemens with steroids. McNamee confessed nothing of the sort. Instead, it smacked of a contrived attempt by Clemens and his big money lawyers to get out from under his alleged steroid use. Clemens repeatedly stated his innocence in the recorded phone conversation, while trying to come off conversational, inviting McNamee to admit that he lied. Clemens' attempt to talk McNamee into a confession seemed like bad writing for a bad cop show. Do yourself a favor, Roger, play less baseball and watch more TV.

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04 January 2008

Romney's 20 to 1 Spending Advantage

MSM analysis of Romney's loss in Iowa has everyone raving about how you can't "buy elections." They point to the huge amount spent by Romney vs. the pittance spent by Pastor Huck and wax poetic about the "wise Iowan voters" who proved money wasn't everything. Whatever.

Romney may have had an incredibly well-financed and well-organized campaign. We grant all that. But it's not as though Huckabee simply showed up, filmed an ad with a floating cross, and won. This narrative ignores the ginormous elephant in the room: Evangelicals. It wasn't just that, for the first time in our memory, Republicans played identity politics, it's that Evangelicals leaders in Iowa actively campaigned for Mike Huckabee. Here was Huckabee's well-financed, well-organized campaign. And this one has been in place for decades.

It's ironic that the same group (Evangelicals) who made bigoted statements about Romney's religion and worried about how it would affect his Presidency, so blatantly played politics with their religion. Huckabee has been a part of this hypocrisy--making overt statements about Romney's religion, while riding his own to electoral success in Iowa. What's even more ridiculous is the fact that Romney's politics (if you believe his current position) more closely mirrors the priorities of social conservatives than do Huckabee's politics. Huck raised taxes, expanded government, and freed convicts (many of them murderers) at a terrific rate. No, Evangelicals voted for Pastor Huck because he and their leaders insinuated that God wanted them to.

And they did so illegally. The IRS would never go after these church'ss, but just because they wouldn't doesn't mean it's right.

This would never happen in an LDS Church. Mormon doctrine and official church position proscribes the endorsement of candidates or the use of church buildings, rolls, etc., for use by any campaign. Can you imagine the uproar if Mitt or his surrogates went from LDS chapel to LDS chapel, getting out the vote and trying to garner donations?

Say what you will (and our friends have) about Mormons voting for Mitt, but at least his politics (again, if you believe him to be sincere) match conservative Mormon beliefs. Here, there is no hypocritical contradiction between his positions and their politics as there is with Huck and the Evangelicals.

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Another take on Romney's "big loss"

From a Drudge Report-linked article (hat tip: Matt Lybbert) at a Washington Post blog comes this interesting take on Romney's performance in the Iowa caucus (note: scroll to the first comment).
Turn Rich Lowry's numbers around and you'd see something very interesting - if Utah was the first caucus and 60% of caucusers were Mormons and Mitt only got 1/3 of the vote and only won by 9 points, you'd say he lost. You'd say that even if his opponent had spent millions more. I hate to sound like a sore loser, but the media response doesn't make sense to me. Given the favorable circumstances, I think Huckabee lost and Mitt won.
No, we're not drinking the kool-aid, we just thought this was an interesting way of giving context to the outcome. Furthermore, and importantly for all those of us who were angry with the evangelicals and homeschoolers, this seems to indicate that evangelical voters are not blindly following Huck. Romney got nearly 20% of the Evangelical vote, Huck got 45%, and the remaining 35% was spread among the other candidates. Despite what will undoubtedly be the MSM company line, sanity and rational thought do exist among the religious right.

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03 January 2008

If Jimmy Carter Were Running Today

He'd be a Republican and his name would be Mike Huckabee. Huckabee holds Democrat-like positions on foreign, domestic, and fiscal policy. It's one thing to nominate a principled conservative who ends up losing to a Democrat, it's something else altogether when the candidate wins simply because he's a (former) Baptist minister.

Mike Huckabee is a loser in the general election.

- Congrats to Ron Paul for winning 10%. We don't agree with many of Paul's positions, but his presence in the race forces the rest of the candidates to make sure they are true to conservatism's small-government roots.

- The big winner is John McCain, a candidate we admire, not Mike Huckabee. McCain was already trending well in New Hampshire polls, and Romney's performance in Iowa can only help him.

- The big, big story tonight is not the 3rd place finish by Shrillary, but the win by Barack Hussein Obama--the first black man to win a Presidential primary. We don't like his politics or even the candidate, but this is moment is good history. Congratulations, Senator Obama.

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