ACU Announces Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain to Address CPAC 2012

For Immediate Release: January 20, 2012

Contacts: Kristy Campbell, (202) 347-9388, KCampbell@conservative.org

 

ACU Announces Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain to Address CPAC 2012

ACU Preparing to Host 39th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced former Presidential candidates U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain will both be featured speakers at CPAC 2012 – the 39th annual Conservative Political Action Conference. America’s largest gathering of conservative leaders and activists will be held Thursday, February 9 – Saturday, February 11, 2012, in Washington, DC.

 

“We are proud to welcome Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain to CPAC 2012 next month in our Nation’s Capital. Congresswoman Bachmann is one of the House Chamber’s fiercest advocates for constitutional conservatism, and Herman Cain remains a favorite among many of our supporters across the country. Both are great additions to our exciting CPAC agenda,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “In less than one month, the American Conservative Union looks forward to hosting 2012’s premier venue for highlighting and advancing conservative leaders, principles and polices.”

 

Every year, the ACU brings thousands of grassroots conservatives and conservative leaders together in Washington, DC for three days of blockbuster speeches, policy discussions and networking opportunities – all celebrating the shared principles of smaller government, a strong national defense and traditional values. Based on this year’s theme, “We STILL Hold These Truths”, CPAC 2012 will feature grassroots training and strategizing to strengthen the conservative movement and ensure conservatives have the resources and tools necessary to defeat the Obama agenda in November.

 

CPAC 2012 features an all-star line-up that also includes former Governors Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, Ann Coulter, Senators Jim DeMint and Marco Rubio, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Laura Ingraham, Congressmen Jim Jordan, Steve King, Paul Ryan and Allen West, Colonel Oliver North, former Senator Rick Santorum, Governors Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker and many more.

 

The American Conservative Union is America’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization and was founded in 1964. The ACU has hosted CPAC in the Nation’s Capital since 1973.  Admission tickets and hotel accommodations for CPAC 2012 are going quickly. Online registration for CPAC 2012 ends February 3, so reserve your space today at www.cpac.org.

 

 

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Newt’s Ex…So What?

Am I crazy?  Maybe.  But I don’t think the Marianne Gingrich affair will end up materially changing this race.  If you remember, I wrote earlier this week about campaign fatigue.  It is January, not last July.  Nobody woke up this morning and discovered that Gingrich is in his third marriage.  So what do voters think when Newt’s bitter ex-wife decides to tell all to the media with the goal of ending his candidacy?

We saw a signal from the audience in the CNN debate when John King decided that was the number one issue Americans are concerned about and made it his top topic for the candidates.

Honestly, serious voters who are going to raise money, go to the polls, get friends out to the polls, are too busy living their own lives to watch the mainstream news media deteriorate to a level previously occupied by TMZ and Inside Edition.  Even CNN admitted that Gingrich won the debate simply based on his response to the first question.  I think even CNN realized just how stupid a question that was.

Oh, and Herman Cain, if you were watching that debate from home…That’s how it’s done.

Newt Handed the Debate Win by CNN

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CNN handed the debate to Newt Gingrich on the opening question about his ex-wife’s allegations. With an economy in the toilet, millions out of work, a debt that is out of control and so many other issues facing us, CNN decided that the old allegations dredged back up by ABC were the top issue to debate about. Newt hit back hard and brought even more cheers than he did in the last debate. The audience was with him regardless of who they had originally come in supporting and that is all he needed to roll up another debate win and very likely a win on Saturday as well. It was a massive media gaffe, the likes of which the GOP can only hope to have in a debate against Obama in October.

Beyond the wild start, the debate was mainly between Romney and Gingrich with Santorum shoehorning his way in whenever he could find a chance. At one point, Ron Paul even had to tell him that he wasn’t referring to him in an answer and “I think you’re too sensitive.” Speaking of Ron Paul, he continued to lose out in the debate format by only occasionally being asked a question while the ‘chance to respond’ rule mainly kept the entire debate between the other three who kept attacking each other. At one point the audience actually booed and demanded the moderator let Ron Paul answer a question when he was about to be skipped over yet again. They ought to bring out an easy chair for Paul to relax in during the 20 or so minutes he has to wait before getting a chance to speak.

Santorum is showing no signs of dropping out and has only stepped up his attacks against Gingrich. He feels that he beat Gingrich twice and deserves to be the one conservative candidate. On that measure, he has a point. The problem with Rick is that he always sounds like a whining spoiled child arguing with his parents. Even when he is making really good points, he is about as unlikable as Romney. You have to give him credit for not caring what others think and being willing to stand by his convictions. Unfortunately, his convictions don’t line up well with the majority of Americans when weighed across all issues. America may be generally more conservative than it is liberal on key issues, it isn’t in favor of government meddling in the internet, the bedroom and a number of other places Santorum thinks are fair game for federal agents to dictate.

Romney had one of his best performances. He tried to channel a little Newt-ness with a couple quick one word answers – particularly when asked if he would follow the example of his father and release a dozen years of tax returns. Unfortunately for Mitt, he doesn’t play the part of jokester well. Those failed attempts to have a personality aside, he did a far better job articulating his positions than he has in the past few debates. He managed nearly whole audience support several times, although he did get heckled once. All in all, Romney seems to have refound his footing and should be able to prevent any further backslide in support for awhile. He may have to accept the fact that he isn’t going to win South Carolina and the nomination isn’t going to be easy to obtain.

No one collapsed in the debate. In fact, all four candidates turned in better performances they they had previously. The lines are becoming more clearly drawn. That makes Ron Paul the real loser of the debate as his inability to clearly articulate his ideas seems worse than it did when Perry was around doing an even worse job. If Paul can’t find a way to make salient points without drifting off-point constantly, he’s going to see his percentage of support drop over the next several contests as undecided voters don’t connect with him.

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President of the A.V. Club

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Whoopidee doo, Ricky Santorum maybe, kind-of, possibly won in Iowa, but we’ll never know. We’re in South Carolina now and voting in Florida in less than two weeks. Those are big league primaries. No offense to Iowa, but who cares what they think? (Actually, I guess that is an offense to Iowa – but given their track record, they only have themselves to blame.) The froth may have floated to the top in Iowa, but Santorum had few champions in New Hampshire and isn’t exciting many in South Carolina either.

Sure, Rick can now tout maybe having won in Iowa. Of course, that will sway about as many voters as saying he was elected President of the A.V. Club back in grade school. No one in South Carolina really cares. The only people who might care are that small segment of the population who think sweater vests are hip. Oh, wait… The only people who think that are already Santorum lovers: hipsters voting for Obama and people who have already lined up to support Rick Santorum. (Just read it again and you’ll get it and if not, just Google Santorum).

Anyway, my point is that Santorum isn’t going to the White House unless it’s as an invited guest. It doesn’t matter if he maybe, possibly won in Iowa. The only thing that matters out of the Iowa story is that the GOP in Iowa can’t figure out who won. It raises doubts about how effective they’ll be in helping the GOP in the general election if they are that disorganized as to mess up the only thing anyone pays attention to Iowa about.

When Santorum finally drops out of the race, he can rock gently back and forth in a darkened closet clutching a sweater vest repeating to himself, “I maybe won Iowa. I maybe won Iowa. I maybe won Iowa.”

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Hell Hath No Fury

Viral Ex?

Newt’s daughters are coming to his aid as ABCNews has made the decision to disregard ethical concerns and air an interview with Newt’s second wife the night before the South Carolina primary.  His ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, has said that she could end his candidacy with one interview, and this may be it.  But can an obviously angry ex-wife really end a candidacy by claiming her fifteen minutes of fame in order to air out dirty laundry ABCNews/Springer style?  Let’s be honest, only because he is a Conservative Republican.

Split Decision

Meanwhile, Romney’s 2-0 primary record took a hit when Iowa finished certifying the votes and discovered that actually Santorum came out on top, making him the official Huckabee of this race.  In fact, as Santorum indicated yesterday, he doesn’t plan on going anywhere.  We will see if that changes after third or fourth place finishes in South Carolina and Florida.

Romney’s Retirement in the Caymans

It is being reported that Romney has millions stashed offshore in a stereotypical tax haven, the Cayman Islands.  Romney insists that these funds are not being used to avoid his 15% capital gains tax, but this story continues to grow legs.  The question continues to be whether or not Romney can play it safe and still win.  Pro-lifers may have second thoughts after Romney snubbed the first ever pro-life personhood forum that even Ron Paul managed to make by video conference.

Time to Stand

Bookmark and Share    One of the greatest problems plaguing the political scene is cowardice. More particularly it is ideological cowardice. It is an admitted fact that candidates run to the fringe during primaries and then run to the center for the general election. That is considered good politics. Unfortunately, it makes for bad government.

The level of disgust with our elected government is astonishing. If it were just political partisanship, we could expect that approval ratings would be somewhere around 50%. Yet that is not the case. Approval ratings have dropped into the single digits numerous times for Congress and into the 30s for Presidents. Clearly the people are disappointed even in their own party’s elected officials.

The reason is simple. Politicians are cowards. They are for something one second and against it the next. Recently we’ve seen an uptick in the “I’m for it, but not for how it is being done” or “These are special circumstances that require measures I wouldn’t normally support.” They are two different ways of saying, “I don’t want to look like a flip-flopper but I want to be on the side of political expediency.” It is as if almost our entire elected government has become filled with Arlen Specter clones.

It is difficult to find a candidate that you can really believe will do what he or she claims. It is difficult to find a candidate that consistently speaks from an ideological foundation that is firm. The one thing all our “greatest” Presidents had in common was their willingness to stick to their principles and govern as they promised. Granted there were some Presidents who were equally consistent and failed, but at least the people knew what they were getting and they could decide whether or not to support those men. Today we treat ‘political conversion’ or ‘position adjustment’ as some sort of normal behavior.

Let’s look at this from another perspective. Is it normal to convert from Catholicism to Islam and then again to Lutheran? Such a thing would be considered absurd. But how are ‘political conversions’ any different? Sure, decades ago someone might go from Democrat to Republican because the parties themselves were transformed – BUT the reason for the change in party affiliation was based on a desire to be in the party that represented that person’s UNCHANGED positions on issues. Such changes are more like a member of the Episcopal Church becoming a Lutheran because that person did not support changes in the Episcopal Church doctrine (such as ordaining gay clergy). The person’s beliefs never changed, but the group to which he belonged changed in a way that was incompatible with those beliefs. That is not what is happening in politics today.

What we have today are people who are claiming to have changed their beliefs or to have found exceptions to their beliefs. That’s like a man saying he’s straight, but another guy at the gym was unusually attractive and in that extraordinary circumstance it made sense to have gay sex. Be it abortion or government bailouts or foreign affairs, it seems that ‘anything goes’ is the new normal. Whatever the political winds of that day happen to be, so too are that candidate’s “convictions”. It is disgraceful.

What will a candidate do if elected? Who knows? Maybe their record will shed some light on that and maybe it won’t. Maybe their previous positions will shed some light on that and maybe they won’t. It all depends on which parts of those they agree with today and which ones they see as ‘mistakes I’ve learned from’. Of course, today’s convictions may be tomorrow’s ‘mistakes I learned from’.

These ideological void candidates are not the only problem. We, the people, are equally to blame. We are cowards ourselves when we fear our beliefs might bring us criticism. We allow critics of our beliefs to bully us into silence about them rather than be labeled ‘extremists’. We end up supporting a candidate based not on what they truly believe and whether that matches our beliefs, but rather on who we dislike least of those ‘who can win’. We sell ourselves out first and then are upset when the person we supported does the same thing. We feel betrayed that the candidate that didn’t really share our views governs in a way that is contrary to our views instead of in the way promised during a campaign.

I have been one of those cowards this year. I have strong ideological beliefs. Yet, I refused to support the candidate that most reflects those views because I didn’t think he could win. I bought into the lie that we should support the one who can win over the one who is right. I took the side of those who refused to support Goldwater in ’64 and Reagan in ’76. I tried, in vain, to find another candidate who could serve as a ‘good enough’ choice and that ‘could win’ according to the pundits. I was an ideological coward.

Today that changes. Today I set aside my indecision between candidates I don’t really agree with who pundits say can win and throw my support behind the candidate with whom I am in the most ideological agreement. Maybe he can’t win the nomination. If he doesn’t, then I’ll support who does as any of them are better than Obama. But, this is my vote. This is my party. This is my ideology.

My endorsement for the 2012 Republican Nomination goes to Congressman Ron Paul.
Congressman Ron Paul

I fully recognize Ron Paul’s limitations. He has never been a chief executive. He’s not supported by the leadership of his party. He’s not a great speaker. His foreign policy scares the establishment. All those things were said about Barry Goldwater in 1964 but history proved that he would have been far better than what we got. His campaign sparked a movement that eventually brought us Ronald Reagan and the Republican Revolution of 1994.

We live in a different world than in the days of Reagan. An evil empire is not our chief concern and primary security risk. Today we face isolated terrorist cells around the world and the threat of economic destruction through control of energy, currency manipulation and cyber attack. Our national debt is greater than our GDP and our economy is built upon pushing money around more than actually creating anything of real value. Our entitlement system has grown so precariously huge that it threatens to bankrupt us within the foreseeable future.

There is only one candidate who sees that these issues are the greatest threats facing us. There is only one candidate who will use the power of the Presidency to force real cuts in spending and not just in the rate of spending growth. There is only one candidate who will rethink the old Cold War era military thinking and re-position us for responding to the threats of the 21st century. There is only one candidate who has been ideologically consistent for decades and who has correctly predicted the problems we are faced with today. There is only one candidate who won’t be corrupted by polls or pundits or lobbyists. There is only one candidate who believes more in governing within the confines of the Constitution than in finding excuses to circumvent it. There is only one candidate who put his life on the line for his country. There is only one candidate for me.

That candidate is Ron Paul and he has my endorsement and support.

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Paul’s Miscalculation

Ron Paul seems to think his base is mainstream conservative Republicans.  His message to other social conservatives?  Drop out.  Paul’s third place Iowa finish and second place New Hampshire finish is giving him and his supporters a lot of hope.  But what Paul fails to realize is that social conservatives are often also pro-security and pro-life conservatives.  Ron Paul is not the anti-Romney that he thinks he is.  Paul would have a better chance if all his rivals including Romney dropped out of the race.

Seriously though, Paul has seen his support double in this election cycle.  However even with that doubling, no one is taking votes away from him.  Mitt Romney could have taken 50% in New Hampshire if Huntsman was out.  Santorum would have ran away with Iowa if Gingrich was gone.  If Gary Johnson dropped out of the race and ran as a thir…oh wait, he did already?  Hadn’t noticed.

The point is that Ron Paul has his support base, and he will have them even if he loses all 50 states.  They are that solidly for him.  On the other hand, people who are not Ron Paul supporters are not going to become Ron Paul supporters because their favorite candidate, second favorite candidate and third favorite candidate drop out.  When Huntsman drops out, his supporters will tend towards Romney, and the others can count on each others supporters as the anti-Romney EXCEPT Paul.

So what would happen if Ron Paul dropped out?  Honestly, his support would only drop to about 10%.  Where would his other 10% go?  I think many of them, the ones who have padded Paul’s numbers this time around, are devout Protestant Christians who are willing to sacrifice a socially conservative President for smaller government in the hands of their socially conservative governor or local governments.  They are constitutionalists, and Paul’s rhetoric appeals greatly to them, even if it means giving up a strong morality bully pulpit from the Whitehouse.  For the freedoms and decentralization, it is a sacrifice they are willing to make.

These supporters are very socially conservative.  Typically they homeschool, exercise their 2nd amendment rights, know what the founding fathers stood for and have read the constitution.  They represent Paul’s TEA Party support as well.  By and large, they don’t like Newt or Romney, but will settle for Newt if pressed.  They do like Santorum and Perry.

So Much for the New Newt

Many years had passed since Newt Gingrich served as Speaker of the House. In those years, Newt told us that he had matured. He had seen his mistakes, found religion and was ready to put policy solutions and a positive vision for America at the center of his campaign. He refrained from fighting with the other candidates during debates and cited Reagan’s ’11th commandment’. His strong positive vision, clearly presented solutions and generally revamped image propelled him from the bottom of the pack to the leader. Then came the attack ads against him and everything changed.

The Newt we all remembered came back from exile and the professorial solutions image was chucked into the dumpster. The old Newt is backThe scrapper from the past is back and his debate appearances and interviews are now completely devoid of policy or vision. He’s even gone so far as to attack from the left and make the case that Obama was right when he claimed there is some limit to when someone has made enough money.

Where once it was feared that Ron Paul would be the one to fracture the party and set up an Obama victory, the truth is that Gingrich has assumed that role. In his effort to salvage his campaign, he’s not only attacked the character of his opponents, but also attacked bedrock beliefs of the Republican Party. The Free Market he championed when he was ‘new Newt’ is now in his cross hairs as he asserts that shutting down a failing business is immoral “looting”. That sounds like something Obama would say and it will be something he does say and a soundbite he will use in November. Even if Romney is not the nominee, Newt’s attacks on free enterprise are ammunition for the Obama campaign because Obama hates free enterprise and will want to weaken whoever is the Republican candidate by undermining that person’s support for free markets through Newt’s arguments.

There were many things I liked about Newt Gingrich and he was in my top three from which I expected to pick who I would finally support. I called his rise in the polls and was offered a spot campaigning for him in my State (which I declined at the time due to still being undecided) because of my praise for his ideas and character. Yet now, I regretfully add his name to the sort list of candidates I will not support. His leftist attacks cannot be forgiven. The ammunition he has handed to the Obama campaign cannot be forgiven. That he would be a man of positive vision and solutions can no longer be trusted due to how quickly he abandoned those characteristics when he faced difficulty. The Presidency is inherently difficult. The opposition from the Democrats, the Washington machinery and the liberal media will be far worse than the attack ads that drove him to destructive retribution.

I am sorry to see the ‘new Newt’ gone. I liked him. I could have happily supported him. He gave me confidence and inspired me. But, he’s gone now and I wouldn’t trust a reemergence of him as genuine. The field has thinned by one. Most people may not know it yet and may need to see what happens after SC and FL, but Newt has killed his own campaign. Had he stayed positive and solutions oriented, he could have come in third in NH and won SC and FL. By making leftist attacks on Romney and belittling Santorum as a ‘junior partner’, he has alienated the voters he needed. SC will not be the turning point of his campaign. It will prove his campaign is already finished.

32 Years Ago Today, Ronald Reagan Showed Us What a Difference a Debate Can Make

Bookmark and Share  Tonight the Republican presidential candidates will be gathering in New Hampshire for a presidential debate and in a matter of hours, they will be having another one on Sunday morning.

Both of the debates may not change the outcome of the New Hampshire primary being held on Tuesday, but they will have effect on it and the momentum that is established will play a role in the  South Carolina primary that follows New Hampshire’s contest.  How much af an effect is the big question.

My opinion is that of all the candidates still running, Newt Gingrich is the candidate skilled enough to maximize these two forums and use them to his advantage in ways that far exceed the others on the stage with him.

But the right opportunity could just prove to be pivotal to any of the participants.

Exactly 32 years ago today, Ronald Reagan literally established himself as a man  to reckon with in  politics when the moderator of another New Hampshire debate tried to silencehim.  When that man asked that his mic be turned off, Reagan turned to him and shouted, “I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green”.

From that point on, in the minds of voters, Ronald Reagan established himself as fighter who will stand up to anyone and say it like it like it is.  He also established himself as a determined man who will stand up for all that he believes in and who was not afraid to do so.

As seen in the video below, Reagan’s forcefulness received not only a rousing standing ovation of shouts, cheers, and applause, you might also note that the men he was running against, stood behind Reagan and were giving their own energetic round of applause to their opponent.

Such a moment may not come up tonight or tomorrow morning, but you can rest assured that each man on stage tonight will be looking for the just the opportunity to repeat history and follow in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps.

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Watch One Iowa Caucus Precinct Via Live Stream

Bookmark and Share    Take the time to see the Caucus process live via a live stream feed of  one Iowa Caucus precinct.

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Just What on Earth is a Conservative?

A New Conservatism is needed to stop America going down the road of Welfarism

Iowa is upon us. 2012 is upon us. How will it all end? It may just all end in tears. Tears because Obama wins, or tears because the GOP did    not offer a viable alternative. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: this is a time to stand up for conservative principles.

But, just what on earth is a conservative, and can one win the White House this year?

To answer this means agreement on just what a conservative is, and your answer to the second part of my question depends on the answer to the first part.

Simply put, Conservatism is a set of instincts and principles guiding decisions, which are applied according to historical context. Today’s conservative may discuss different situations and policy options then an 18th Century conservative, but then they will adhere to some broad principles as if there had been no intervening centuries. The conservative whom is central to American modern conservatism is Edmund Burke, and he spelled out some core conservative elements of thought:

  1. People are basically religious, and religion is the foundation of civil society. A divine sanction infuses the legitimate, existing, social order.
  2. Society is the natural, organic product of slow historical growth, with institutions drawing on the wisdom of previous generations.
  3. People are creatures of instinct and emotion as well as reason. Prudence, prejudice, experience, and habit are better guides than reason, logic, abstractions, and metaphysics. Truth exists not in universal propositions but in concrete experiences.
  4. The community is superior to the individual. Rights derive from duties. Evil is rooted in human nature, not in any particular social institutions.
  5. Apart from an ultimate moral sense, people are unequal. Social organization is a complex of classes, orders, and groups. Hence, differentiation, hierarchy and leadership are the inevitable characteristics of any civil society.
  6. A presumption exists “in favor of any settled scheme of government against any untried project.  “Man’s hopes are high, but his vision is short.”  Thus, efforts to remedy existing evils usually result in even greater ones.

We find echoes of these elements in the influential 1953 essay “The Conservative Mind”, where Russell Kirk offered what he called “six canons of conservative thought”. Like Burke, the divine plays a foundational role:

  1. Belief that a divine intent rules society as well as conscience
  2. Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional life
  3. Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes
  4. Persuasion that property and freedom are inseparably connected and that economic leveling is not economic progress
  5. Faith in prescription and distrust of “sophisters and calculators”
  6. Recognition that change and reform are not identical

In 2012, how many of these foundational canons of thought are taught in our educational system? Again the answer is simple: none. What does happen is that these foundational principles are undermined and dismantled at every level of education and public life. To be a conservative is to swim against the cultural tide, against the consensus which is taught in schools and parlayed by the chattering media.

Winning a political election means appealing to the consensus, and today’s consensus is not tolerant of principles, or even thought for that matter. In today’s climate, a conservative cannot win the election. You can only look at the GOP field and vote for the consensus candidate, in other words the nearest thing to an electable conservative. This is not a ringing endorsement of Mitt Romney, but he is the only candidate who can compete with Obama.

But then in the grand scheme of things the presidential election is a mere sideshow, because the real battles lie ahead in establishing a new conservative agenda for an America systemically in doubt and unsure. The enlightenment trajectory of Europe down the road to Welfarism, with its self-destructive repudiation of civilized principles, is the trajectory America is now following.

The answer is not to be found in this election, a new conservatism that tackles the causes of decline in enlightenment civilization is needed. A new Burke or Kirk is needed, because conservatives cannot simply look at Obama as the cause of America’s identity crisis, he is a symptom of the decay of the principles these thinkers set out so clearly.

Lessons From History

There is a saying often attributed to Mark Twain that goes, ‘History does not repeat itself but it does rhyme.’ Any fools with a nostalgia for the late 70’s learned the truth of that in the past few years. Being President is about more than smiling and speaking in grand platitudes. It is a harsh reality of perpetual crisis both foreign and domestic – many of which the American people never really learn about unless they spin out of control.

We like to look at candidates for the office and project onto them the mantle of some previous President. It gives us a false hope of how they will handle the unknown future. Sometimes the candidates try on the mantle of a previous President themselves and try to convince us that they wear it best. Call me crazy, but Michele Bachmann doesn’t look convincing in her Reagan costume.

For all the best hopes of pundits and packaging of candidates themselves, rarely are the mantles draped upon candidates accurate. Obama is no Kennedy nor FDR as claimed in his campaign in 2008 nor a TR as he claims now. He’s a Carter. It’s no wonder he is seeking a different comparison.

The Republican field is not full of Reagans nor does it have a Jefferson or Jackson in its midst. However, if we look closely at the candidates, their records, the political reality of today and history – we may be able to figure out which President each would most likely resemble once actually in office. Here in short form is my take on who each candidate actually would be most like if elected:

Mitt Romney – Romney claims to be Reagan. Romney is not a hard core anything. He is a pragmatist. He has a track record of working across the aisle and changing his position to side with prevailing opinion. He is slick, managerial and focused more on accomplishing something than on getting what he wants. Gerald FordRomney strikes me as being most like Gerald Ford. Government would probably hit a few bumps with him in office, but he’d learn to navigate the prevailing political moods and generally make things better. He wouldn’t distinguish himself or ever really connect with the American people. Congress would get more credit for any success than he would and while no one would really hate him, few would champion him.

Newt Gingrich – Gingrich claims to be Reagan and Jackson. Newt is mercurial, knowledgeable, an insider who sees himself as an outsider, not the ally of many in his own party and has a drive to prove he is better than his reputation from Congress. He was written off by most, yet inexplicably manages to keep hanging around. Richard NixonGingrich strikes me as being most like Richard Nixon. He is likely to fight with his own party and even go against the popular will of the American public to do what he thinks is the right thing to do. He’d use use his ability to speak plainly to the people to rally just enough support to maintain his ability to assert his agenda. Yet, his insecurities and anger at a media that jabs at him would detract from an ability to even enjoy his successes. He would likely have difficulty maintaining an administrative core.

Ron Paul – Paul claims to be Jefferson. Paul is a stubborn yet principled politician who would rather be right by his own views than compromise on anything. He has no real friends in Congress and is the enemy of the very machine he would seek to operate. He is constitutionally astute. Andrew JohnsonPaul strikes me as being most like Andrew Johnson. He’ll fight not only the opposing party, but the leaders of his own in Congress. The machinery of the bureaucracy assembled by previous administrations would be his main target as it would be something he thought he could change. A long train of vetoes, overrides, wiggling free from Congressional attempts to wrangle him and generally four years of being right, but equally disliked by all.

Rick Perry – Perry claims to be Reagan. Perry is a man of great ego, personality and amorphous convictions. He surrounds himself with advisers who define most of his actions and control access to him. That limits his ability to see more than just one side of an issue and sometimes puts him in a predicament. George W. BushPerry strikes me as being most like George W. Bush. He’s as likely to expand government to be ‘compassionate’ as he is to cut some part of it. He would likely be often caught misspeaking as the policies of his staff would not be his own and his answers to questions about them would lack grounding. He’d make numerous gaffes that pundits on both sides would wonder how he could have ever been able to be so stupid, but those gaffes would come as a result of the bubble his advisers would keep him in.

Rick Santorum – Santorum claims to be Reagan. Santorum is a strong social conservative who believes in using the power of the federal government to dictate domestic issues that were previously State and local matters. He is a party man who went along with government expansion and big spending when his party committed it – although he claims he realizes that was a mistake and wouldn’t do it again. John AdamsSantorum strikes me as being most like John Adams. He would likely push his ideology fiercely and fail to see when he had gone too far. He would surround himself with advisers and policy makers who once worked for or around his beloved mentor (in this case Reagan) but lack the wisdom of that mentor to know when those advisers and policy makers had drifted too far from the will of the people. He would not understand why his administration would become unpopular and instead entrench himself further.

Michele Bachmann – Bachmann claims to be Reagan or Jefferson. Bachmann is a wannabe ideologue. She clings to the banner of the Tea Party, yet is easily dragged towards neoconservatism whenever she feels that she needs to sound tough. She is generally over-matched by the enormity of the Presidency even as a candidate. While she can spew soundbites, she is slow to hit the mark when thrown an unexpected question. Barack ObamaPolitical ideology aside, Bachmann strikes me as being most like Barack Obama. She would most likely struggle to find effective ways to get her big ideas turned into actual policies even with GOP control of Congress. She’d feel the need to embark on military adventures to prove she wasn’t weak on defense. She would reverse herself on executive orders and start issuing many of them as an alternative way to implement her agenda.

Jon Huntsman – Huntsman claims to be a Reagan. Huntsman has great executive experience and deeply understands the geopolitical and economic position of the Unites States in the world in relation to past, present and emerging world rivals. He is measured, reasonable and yet considered an outsider by even his own. Dwight EisenhowerHuntsman strikes me as being most like Dwight Eisenhower. He would likely chart a course that looked far more into the future than the leaders of Congress. He would be strategic rather than tactical in military and foreign affairs. He would challenge the status quo and risk rebellion from his own party when he put pet projects on the chopping block. He would be seen more as a fatherly President than a partisan one.

I could be very wrong in these associations, but I think they are fairly accurate. We just can’t really know until they sit in that office. But, we do have their histories and personalities as well as those of the men who already held the office and how that office changed them. From those, we can construct better guesses as to which President they will not repeat, but most rhyme with. In all cases, it is not the one they think they are – at least in my opinion.

In doing this exercise, my views of the candidates have changed a bit. Thinking not of who I would like them to be or who they sell themselves as, but who their history and personality most aligns them with has left me questioning my leanings in this race. I don’t accept the general media criticisms of our candidates or the wild histrionics by the champions of one candidate against opponents. However, viewing these candidates in an historical light and how their strengths, weaknesses and personalities would likely mix with the current economic, political and international reality does raise some new questions for me. Of Ford, Nixon, G. W. Bush, A. Johnson, J. Adams, Obama or Eisenhower, who could not only best beat Obama in 2012 but best address the foreseeable problems? Would stagnation and infighting in Washington be worse than misguided progress or the other way around? Is victory today and four years a stability worth backing a candidate that could probably be beaten in 2016? When there is no Reagan clone, on whom can we settle?

I don’t have the answers to those questions for you. They are for each of us to decide on our own when choosing a candidate. I don’t even have the answers for myself which is why I remain undecided and uncommitted. I’ve ruled out three of the seven, but have a long way to go before I get down to one.

Ron Paul: Foreign Policy Radical?

Below is a video with highlights from the 2000 Presidential Debates by George W. Bush on his foreign policy ideas. If I’m not mistaken, he sounds a lot like Ron Paul when it comes to being over-deployed, being overly involved in the internal affairs of other nations and getting into fights we have no exit strategy from. Who knew that George W. Bush was unelectable and completely impossible to sell as a candidate to the conservatives of the Republican party with such a weak, isolationist foreign policy?

I guess it doesn’t matter if you have a more non-interference based foreign policy (as George W. Bush campaigned upon and Ron Paul does now) so long as you are for other big government things like expanding Medicare, expanding the Department of Education, etc. as Bush campaigned and delivered upon. I wonder who the real conservatives are in this party if Bush could win in 2000, but Paul is unelectable in 2012?

Architech of Massachusets Healthcare calls Romney a liar

This morning on CNN, M.I.T. professor of economics  Dr. Jonathan Gruber stated Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is  “a liar” with regard to Obama’s national healthcare law and Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare.   In an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he openly expressed his discontent with Romney’s attempts to mislead the public and distort the effects of the healthcare law.  How would Gruber know?  He is the core architect of Romney’s healthcare bill.  He used his extensive knowledge of supply side economics to compile a theory into practicum.  While no direct answer has been given to the complex issue of creating affordable healthcare, his approach is self-described as a “spaghetti tactic.”   This requires  “throwing all things possible at the wall and seeing what sticks.”

Gruber states that based on the large reduction of uninsured persons in the state and lowered cost, Obama selected him to design the same on a national level.  Gruber says that Romney is purposely misleading the public.  When asked to discuss the misleading statements he pointed out two particular issues that visibly annoyed him most.

As in other  publications and his interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Gruber discusses his current disdain with Romney’s political amnesia.  He states Romney’s claim that the bill national law raises taxes is a complete fabrication.  He insists it will work in the same fashion as it has in Massachusetts.  Gruber points out that most of the Massachusetts program was paid for by the federal government, not the state.

Romney often attempts to distance himself from what many in Massachusetts have called part of his legacy.  He says the largest distinction in the Massachusetts law and the national healthcare law is that there is no individual mandate required by the state of Massachusetts.  “Not true,” said Gruber.  The state and federal law both have individual mandates.  Gruber suggested and stands by the need for an individual mandate reasoning that it eliminates the “free rider” issue when ill, uninsured individuals turning to emergency rooms for treatment.

Part of the motivation to separate himself is political.  Another would be the not often discussed negative issues that resulted from the law he governed.   As with the Obamacare, the healthcare law in Massachusetts has not been free of controversy.  Boston Medical Center sued the state because the bi-product of the state sponsored universal healthcare law placed the hospital in dire financial straits.  The hospital stated that it was only reimbursed for about .64 per every dollar it spent caring for the poor.  It left them in a deficit of $38 million dollars.  Gruber feels that these issues can be corrected by removing the pay-by-fee service doctors currently charge patients and move toward a more universal fee to stabilize pricing and services.  In order to get to these issues, the state had to first accept the starting process.  For Gruber, the starting process is universal healthcare.  He touts how well it has worked in the stated, even with a few outliers.  One thing he is clear about is Mitt Romney’s full understanding of the law and how it works in Massachusetts.  He is also poignantly aware that Romney is, in his opinion, purposely not being forthright about his role, his design and his approval of all parts of the law, how it works and why it would be beneficial nationally.

Tonight’s Republican Presidential Debate: What Each Candidate Needs to Do to Seal the Deal

Bookmark and Share   Tonight’s Fox News Republican presidential debate in Iowa is going to be the most watched of all the debates that have been held up to this point in the 2012 election cycle.  With its timing making it the last debate before the  voting in Iowa begins, and the tightening of polls in the first caucus state, it could prove to be a pivotal lasting impression that will significantly influence many Iowa voter’s final decision.

So what do the candidates have to achieve in order to make this debate count?

First, they must avoid any gaffes.  There can be no forgetting of their domestic priorities or any carefree gambling away of tens of thousands of dollars.   Such embarrassing missteps and lapses in judgement must be avoided as best as possible.  While the candidates may only be human, voters hold their political candidates up to a standard that most mere mortals can not withstand.  American voters may forgive an American Idol contestant for hitting a wrong note and call in to vote for them twice to make sure they appear on the next episode, but when a politician hits a sour note, there is little if any mercy shown.  And a misstep in this debate will be rebroadcast between now and New Hampshire more times than the 1983 classic, A Christmas Story is re-aired between now and the new year.

Beyond that each of the candidates need to achieve different things in this debate:

Mitt Romney:

Romney needs to convince voters that he is conservative, gets things done, and in addition to proving that he is the most electable candidate to run against Barack Obama, he must also provide that special moment which gives Republicans good reason to want him to be the most electable candidate.  And he must do so in a way that is believable and seemingly natural.  Romney needs his Reagan moment.  The type of moment that had people saying “Go get ’em”, when in a 1980 debate, a moderator asked that Ronald Reagan’s microphone be turned off, and with a terse turn of his head and a glaring look of disgust in his eyes, Reagan stared directly at the moderator and angrily declared “I am paying for this microphone” .  Romney needs to pay someone ten grand to have someone set up a moment like that for him.

Newt Gingrich:

Newt must win people over with his ability to not only demonstrate that he knows how to apply conservative principles to government, he must again show that in addition to being  better at articulating the conservative cause and message than any other candidate on the stage, he is also far more electable than anyone expected he could be. Newt needs to publicly point out to his rivals, that despite the darts and arrows they have been throwing at him, he is still standing and that is in part due to his strategy to run a campaign of substance, on the issues, not on the flaws of his opponents.  Newt needs to stand up and say, “I have taken the fire you have all thrown at me and I will withstand the fire that President Obama will throw at me because I will continue to run a campaign on issues, ideas, and solutions, and the people will not fall for President Obama’s tactics of political distraction and personal destruction”. 

Ron Paul:

Ron Paul may not need to do anything much differently than he already has.  An apparently divided Republican base is giving him the chance to actually win Iowa, something which is now very possible.  But such a win may not help Ron Paul very much beyond Iowa.  Look at where it got Mike Huckabee in 2008.  But if Ron Paul wants to try to win Iowa and become a viable candidate beyond the Hawkeye State, he needs to appear, sound, and act presidential.  I am not suggesting that he drop his hadrcore conviction to isolationist policies and lack of drive for a decent national defense.  However I am suggesting that many voters may take him more seriously, even as a candidate to cast a protest vote for, if he acted more like a President than the crazy old man throwing stones at the neighbor’s cat to chase it away from his tomato plants.

Rick Perry:

This is a tough one.  At this point, Perry needs to build himself up and knock down Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich all at the same time.  He must also shine in a way that makes people believe he can hold his own against Barack Obama.  The best way for him to do that is to be as natural and confident as he is in numerous, scripted, 30 second ads and eloquently contrast the conservative failings of the two frontrunners with his record in Texas. “You guys want to talk about creating jobs?  Then let’s do that.  How many Americans lost their jobs when you and your investors got filthy rich while hurting ordinary workers by buying companies, jacking up their profits at the expense of workers and then reselling them, Mitt?  And Newt, how many jobs were created when your government shutdowns in the 90’s as Speaker of the House cost Americans over $1.6 trillion?  I am the only one on this stage who has actually shaped a government environment that has allowed businesses to flourish and for the free market to create jobs.  I am the only one on this stage who has actually limited government’s involvement in people’s lives and that’s a message that I can take to the American people as they compare my record to President Obama’s record”.  Statements similar to that in nature, may not make Perry the winner of the Iowa caucuses but they will help keep him in the race and give him the chance to reshape his image as the long campaign continues.

Michele Bachmann & Rick Santorum:

While all the candidates are trying to speak to the large evangelical vote in Iowa, these two need to aim their words far more directly at them than all their rivals.  If they intend to see their campaigns survive past New Hampshire, both Bachmann and Santorum need to surprise the political world with a Huckabee-like finish in the caucuses that is hammered together by a coalescing of evangelical voters behind them. Both of them must convincingly argue that they are consistent in their beliefs and their politics and that they are both reform minded conservatives who can defeat President Obama.  The problem is that Santorum and Bachmann are seemingly cancelling one another out.  So one of them must try to somehow land a knockout punch on the other.  The one who can take the other out in this debate, will make themselves quite competitive in the remaining weeks of the Iowa caucus campaign and will have the best shot of seeing their campaign last until at least South Carolina.  Consider Bachmann and Santorum as having to use this as a debate within a debate to win the caucus within the caucus.

Jon Huntsman:

Huntsman has written off every early primary state except for New Hampshire.  While Giuliani pinned his presidential hopes on Florida in 2008, in 2012, Huntsman is pinning all his on New Hampshire.  More specifically, he is pinning his hopes on beating Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.  Given that strategy, Huntsman is the only candidate on the stage who can afford to ignore Iowa voters and instead address New Hampshire voters.  That means Huntsman has to paint himself as a John McCain type of maverick, who is willing to go against the grain of his own Party and be the consistent conservative that mainstream Republican politicians are not.  Like Rick Perry, Huntsman must try to give answers that all lead back to his conservative management of Utah when he was Governor.  All of that is going to be a hard sell, but that is the only way he can go now that his campaign bought a one way ticket to New Hampshire.

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The  debate will be held at the Sioux City Convention Center Today, Thursday, December 15th from 9:00-11:00 PM/ET, in conjunction with the Iowa Republican Party.

It will be moderated by Special Report anchor Bret Baier on FOX News Channel (FNC) and live-streamed on YouTube.com/FOXNews, in addition to FOX News Radio, FOX News Mobile, and FOXNews.com.

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Paths to Victory

I have heard recently several conservative commentators marvel about how Newt has risen to the top and stayed there and how Mitt has never gotten over 30%.  It shouldn’t be a surpriseI explained it all months ago.  I’ve said as long ago as this that Mitt is in deep trouble.  He looked pretty good when there were six candidates splitting the other 70% of the vote and 40% were still undecided.  But Romney has always only appealed to fiscal conservatives.  He coasted through the first several months of this election and many in the establishment, now including George Will and Ann Coulter, assumed that his steadiness and assumed front runner status had something to do with him being the best candidate.

So can Romney win?  What about Paul and his recent rise in the polls?  Does he have a shot?  Here is a strategic look at where the candidates stand right now.

Newt Gingrich

Newt has managed to be that candidate who attracts social and fiscal conservatives.  It is his nomination to lose.  So far he has handled attacks perfectly.  Consider Nancy Pelosi’s claim that if he runs she will have a field day spreading every secret from his ethics investigation.  How does he respond?  By stating that out of 84 counts, 83 were dismissed and the 84th was a simple mistake he made and how if Nancy Pelosi is willing to spread secrets from the ethics committee investigation that proves just how corrupt she was in that investigation.  That’s Newt 2, Pelosi 0.  Those type of responses will continue to bolster him.

Next, he has to keep making speeches like he did to the Republican Jewish Coalition.  Newt showed the intelligence and wit that makes conservatives like me giddy about him opposing Obama.  Newt has to keep running on those ideas, setting the record straight, and not going after fellow Republicans who attack him.  I think he slipped up a little when he said Bachmann is factually challenged.  Newt’s message has to stay positive and focused on undoing and being the opposite of Obama.

Mitt Romney

As I said before, Romney’s only prayer in this race is to come out strongly to the social conservative side in a big, public way.  Maybe he needs to go protest in front of an abortion clinic, spend some of his Newt attack ad money on an ad clearly denouncing Obama for making bibles illegal at some military hospitals, or something like that.  Romney will never win this election with only DC establishment backing and fiscal conservatives.  Right now he barely has better electability to run on.  And the attacks from his surrogates are easily being linked back to him.  His smooth Reaganesque style and kindness on the debate trail is getting ugly with people like George Will calling his opponents book selling charlatans and Ann Coulter accusing Newt Gingrich of wanting to do something similar to teaching school kids how to masturbate.  None of this reflects well on Romney.

Romney has to do very well in this next debate at highlighting better ideas, but definitely smaller government ideas.  Newt tends to talk about ideas that he could not do as President but would help the country.  Romney needs to jump on that and be the smaller government alternative.  Romney needs to win the 10th amendment fight in this next debate, while still appearing to be a stronger social conservative than everyone thinks he is.

Ron Paul

Paul’s biggest liability is himself.  His second biggest liability is his supporters.  One of the reasons Ron Paul hasn’t gotten higher in the polls is that people don’t want to support him if they think he is their enemy.  Paul has worked very hard to make himself the enemy of anyone he considers to his left.  In the debates he comes across as abrasive and angry.  His pet issues cloud many great issues that most conservatives would agree with him on.  Hint hint, Ron Paul, constitutionalists want to like you.  But when I sit there and think about my life, I really can’t think of what I did to cause 9/11 or why terrorists can kill Americans because of Jimmy Carter’s foolish foreign policy and what every President has done since then.

Part of Paul’s problem is that his foreign policy approach reflects history, but not reality.  Paul can pontificate all he wants on how we got here, but most conservatives don’t like his solution for how we get home.  In a quick draw, when you drop your gun turn around and walk away, Bin Laden types usually just shoot you in the back.  Who cares if it’s your fault you got in that situation in the first place.  Personally, I don’t want to be shot in the back.

Ron Paul was his best this year when he was talking about domestic policy and when he showed even an ounce of grace in the debates towards his fellow Republicans.  One last thing, Paul will never win over conservatives with his states rights approach to abortion.  No true pro-lifer is going to vote for a guy who is going to ensure that abortion stays legal in most of the states.

Rick Perry

Perry really needs to reassess his chances.  His only shot is a good showing in Iowa, as in 2nd place or better.  He needs to nail every debate going forward.  Perry needs a “My Fair Lady” transformation.  For starters, he can learn how to pronounce Nukuler.

His ideas are not bad.  His tenth amendment stance is very good.  But he has a lot of competition among candidates who are pro-tenth amendment, and his HPV vaccine debacle ruins his credibility on personal freedom.

Jon Huntsman

Huntsman could easily be in the 2012 Presidential race.  All he has to do is switch parties.  I’m being completely serious.  Jon Huntsman could guarantee that Obama does not have another four years by changing to Democrat and running against Obama in the 2012 primary as a moderate.  Of course, he would have to kneel before Pelosi/Reid to get the necessary credibility.

Michele Bachmann

In order for Bachmann to win, two things have to happen.  First, Obama has to get so low in the polls and believe it or not do even more stupid things so that anyone could beat him (even Trump).  Then, Bachmann would have to convince TEA Partiers that she is their candidate more than Newt, Perry or Santorum.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, if absolutely anyone could defeat Obama and electability wasn’t an issue, there is another candidate who would still take the TEA Party vote before she would.

Rick Santorum

If the TEA Party is going to come home to anyone, it would be Rick Santorum.  Get ready, it could happen in Iowa.  Santorum has never been taken seriously because people doubt his electability.  He lost in Pennsylvania.  Of course, that year every Republican in Pennsylvania lost.  Not only that, but some of our best Presidents won after losing senate races.  If you listen to Newt, you know two famous historical names, Lincoln and Douglas.  Did you know Lincoln’s victory was a rematch of their senate race two years before?  Guess who won that senate race.

If one more star is going to rise before this primary is over, it will be Santorum and it will be because the TEA Party takes Bachmann’s advice and says screw electability.  If that happens, Santorum has to be ready for the vetting process with ideas that will knock our socks off and make Romney and Newt look like morons.  Santorum has to not be George Bush II on the war and he has to convince fiscal conservatives that he can get spending under control.  He also has to convince libertarians that he will stay out of their homes.  That’s a tall order for Santorum.

Ron Paul: The Only Flawed Candidate?

Ron Paul can’t win. That’s the going theory, right? He can’t win because he’s soft on national security. He can’t win because he’s soft on drugs. End of story.

The question that remains is how it is instant that Ron Paul’s issue flaws are fatal but every other candidate’s issue flaws are explained away? We are all well familiar with the flaws of Romney, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, etc. What should be fatal flaws for conservative voters are set aside because ‘on most issues’ the candidate is correct. They are not “un-electable” even if they supported big government medical takeovers, massive failed bail-outs, rewarding illegal immigrants with perks, siding with ultra-liberals in the Global Warming scam or voted time and again for massive increases in spending and deficits. Yet, somehow Ron Paul is “un-electable”.

Just what is it about Ron Paul that makes him an exception to the rule? Why can’t he be judged by the same standard, i.e. being correct ‘on most issues’? One could argue that his position against preemptive war is a fatal flaw because Republicans prize national security above all else. But, at least half the time Paul and the rest of the field have agreed on not taking action in various military actions over the past few decades. So is he soft of national security or is he just not a team player when his party is for a military action similar to those they opposed when a Democratic President was launching it?

My goal is not to tear down any of the Republican candidates but to question why Ron Paul is the only one who all the conservative pundits have written off even though he has a stronger record on fiscal conservatism, protection of life, illegal immigration, limited government and pretty much every other conservative issue than any other candidate. Disagree with him on national security or the drug war as vehemently as you want, but go after the big government, big spending, soft on illegal immigration and such issues vehemently on the other candidates. Let the voters decide if, at this point in time, someone strong on pre-emptive war but pathetic on fiscal conservatism or supportive of big government programs or soft on illegal immigration is better than someone weaker on defense but strong on fiscal conservatism, strongly against big government and tough on illegal immigration. Isn’t that our choice to make?

I am an undecided voter. I see flaws with all of the candidates and I need to weigh them all to decide which flaws must be overlooked for the greater good. But, I get to make that decision and no candidate is “un-electable” simply because of one or two issues out of dozens. Ron Paul is as legitimate a candidate as any of the others and should be treated as such. The belittling of his candidacy and of him is a disgrace to the party and a disservice to the Republican voters who need to be trusted to weigh the good and bad of each candidate and make their own decision.

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