Defamation and Felony

While a felony can land you in court, slander and libel can get you in legal trouble too.  However, in the dirtiest of political campaigns, defamation is the name of the game.  That is what Obama is running: the dirtiest of political campaigns.    Even still, cries of one’s opponent being a “felon” are usually relegated to the third party shenanigans of an “issues” candidate who has no hope of winning.  Such charges could also be associated with peanut gallery observers and shock personalities like Sean Hannity or Bill Maher.  However, now it is also a tactic of the Obama campaign.

Can Obama sacrifice all credibility and still win?

Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for the Obama campaign, suggested that Mitt Romney is either a liar or a felon and could face criminal prosecution.  Why?  Because either she is a liar, or the Obama administration is incompetent when it comes to corporate structures and SEC filings.

At issue is whether Mitt Romney was running the show at Bain Capital after 1999.  Everyone at Bain Capital, including Democrat Obama supporters, say no.  Everyone at the Olympics say Romney was there.  The only people who think Romney was at Bain after 1999 are in Obama’s campaign.  They blame Romney for everything that happened in Bain up to 2002.  Kind of like how they still are blaming Bush for 8.2% unemployment.

So why do Cutter and Obama think Romney is a felon?  The Boston Globe came out with a story showing that Romney signed SEC documents as the President, Director and CEO of Bain Capital up until 2002.  The Washington Post, Fortune Magazine and Factcheck.org explain this.  Romney left to save the Olympics before any sort of replacement could be found and remained listed as President and CEO until his shares were passed on.

Typically liberal Washington Post embarrasses Obama even more with a follow up fact check story, giving Obama another three Pinocchios.

Obama’s outright false and defamatory Bain attack is designed to get Romney to release more tax returns.  Obama believes he is gaining ground by highlighting the low percentage Romney pays in taxes.  However, another Washington Post factcheck story shows that even this line of attack is dishonest.  In fact, one of the reasons Romney’s tax rate is lower is because he gives as much to charity as he pays in taxes.

Media organizations have not been able to back Obama up on this one.  Even CNN’s John King backed up Romney’s side of the story.

In addition to exposing himself as a liar and a dirty campaigner, Obama has exposed himself to an easy rebuttal from the Romney campaign.  In fact, while Obama’s campaign is cheering any unfair negative press they can get on Romney, the result is Romney sitting in front of CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC cameras, on their dime, explaining how Obama is wrong and not living up to his promises of running an issues centered campaign.

In fact, as John Sununu pointed out, Obama’s bringing up things like felonies and outsourcing is really a liability for Obama.  Obama can be tied to Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojavich, Bill Ayers, and more recently Eric Holder and the Fast and Furious scandal.  You want to talk about secretive.

Here is my challenge to the Obama campaign.  Bain executives, Olympic executives, and anyone who knew Romney in 1999 knew that he was no more running Bain Capital than Bush was running a timber company in 2004.  So why doesn’t Obama send Eric Holder to arrest Mitt Romney for listing himself as CEO of Bain in 2002?  It wouldn’t be a waste of Holder’s time, he’s busy not turning Fast and Furious documents over to Congress and not enforcing Congress’s vote of contempt against him.  Send Holder to arrest Romney for supposedly committing the felony of being the president of a company he wasn’t running or involved with.  Then we can all have a good belly laugh at Obama and get on with our lives.

Obama has been consistently dishonest in this election season.  Eventually more people than just the political junkies like you and me will figure this out.  When a President lies several times during a campaign, the average joe on the street might miss every instance.  When a President lies continually, eventually every American will experience his dishonesty.  And when not even CNN and the Washington Post can backup Obama, his credibility is gone.  Can Obama win with no credibility?

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In Bachmann’s Mind

I would think Michele Bachmann would be more gentle with some of her Republican competitors.  She herself has faced everything from the bigotry of the Left against conservative women to the watchfulness of the one-eyed media who has gleefully remarked on her every gaffe while turning the blind eye to the Obama/Biden circus.

Yet, to hear from Bachmann at the Foxnews debate, you would think Newt Gingrich was a pro-choice, pro-partial birth abortion candidate who used to run Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and will be a President to the left of Obama himself.  This is no exaggeration.  However, her characterizations were.

Now, Newt and Bachmann come from different perspectives on the Republican party.  Bachmann would have done well to note that clearly.  Newt is not going to close off the Republican party and say ‘no pro-choicers, homosexuals, immigration reformers, anti-war candidates allowed’.  Bachmann, as a TEA Party activist, seems to lean more towards that hardline stance.  There is definitely a point to be made there.  There are many Republicans who desire party purity to the point of ditching the big top and settling for a camping tent.  Newt is not one of those.  Such a point is sufficient to distinguish Bachmann from Newt.

Newt Gingrich is not pro-choice.  He is not pro-partial birth abortion.  His firm took an average of $225,000 a year from Freddie Mac in consulting fees over  an 8 year period.  That is not a whole lot for high end consulting by a multi-member firm in Washington DC for a multi-billion dollar company.  Think about it.  Freddie Mac represented about 3% of the Gingrich Group’s total revenues.  It was an exclusive group with about 300 clients.  Clients paid on average $200,000 a year for membership.  Newt himself did not do any lobbying for Freddie Mac.

But that isn’t what she said.  Bachmann’s characterization was so outlandish that she lost all credibility.  What could have been an intellectual differentiation turned into a wild and false assault on one of the two best hopes of defeating Obama in 2012.

Bachmann will not win her way back into the hearts and minds of the Republican majority with this sort of outlandish hyperbole.  She certainly won’t win with a kill ’em all attitude towards Republicans who don’t fit her cookie cutter.  For this reason, I will make the same call on Bachmann that I have for Huntsman and Johnson:

Michele, you are not going to win.  You have done too much already on your own to destroy your own campaign.  As far as destroying other candidates campaigns, your attacks are effective only on the ignorant.  Now you are no longer contributing value to this primary.  You are not contributing fresh ideas, you are not drawing new blood into the campaign.  It is time to end your campaign.  Whether or not you realize it, it’s already over.

Rush Hits Newt Again

Six months ago, I wrote an article about Newt Gingrich’s attempt to clarify his views on healthcare.  Newt had gotten himself in trouble when it came out that in 1993 Newt agreed with the Heritage Foundation on an insurance mandate.  At the time, Newt said that he felt there should be a law that made it so that people would need to either buy health insurance, or post a bond when they receive medical care as a guarantee that they will in fact pay for that care.

At the time, I warned Newt that this would cause problems.  Of course, we didn’t have as large a readership back then, so I’m sure he didn’t get my warning.  Shortly before that, Newt was secretly my number one pick to eventually win it all.

With great influence comes great responsibility

Sure enough, right about that time Newt called in to Rush Limbaugh’s show and tried to explain exactly what I said in the first paragraph here.  Rush didn’t buy it, and the godfather of Social Conservatism cast doubt on his blessing of Newt’s candidacy.  Listen to the interview here.  The result was that a couple weeks later I was writing about the rubble of Newt 2012.  In that article, I said that it would take a miracle to revive Newt, that miracle being upward movement in the polls.  Hallelujah, we now know the political gods did not forsake us after 2008.

Today, Rush once again expressed his reservations about Newt.  In what he framed as analysis of Newt’s rise to the top, Rush once again mentioned Newt’s baggage including his support of a mandate in 1993.  While doing his best not to appear against Newt, Rush laid out everything Conservatives should be careful about with Newt.  To be fair though, he did the same for Mitt Romney at the same time.

In the end, Rush chalked up Newt’s rise to the top as two things.  Newt doesn’t defend his mistakes (like Romney does with Romneycare), and he does go after the media for their bias.

It’s a little bit more than that.  Newt has a proven fiscal conservative track record.  He balanced the budget for four years in a row.  The Federal budget, not just one of the 50 states.  That doesn’t even seem in the realm of reality these days.  It would be like saying he walked on water in the context of today’s deficit.  But speaking of walking on water, Newt has the social conservative credentials as well.

In a speech in Jacksonville, Florida yesterday (that yours truly had the privilege of attending), Newt said that under his education reforms, teachers who could not adequately explain what it meant to be endowed by your Creator with certain inalienable rights would be asked to resign.  This was in response to a question from the audience regarding a neighboring county where the government was putting pressure on a pastor there to stop school flagpole prayer meetings.  Newt said that he would seek to end funding for Planned Parenthood and use that money to help promote adoption.  He is pro-school choice.  He has well rounded conservative credentials and unlike Romney, conservatives trust Newt when he says things like supporting a mandate and sharing a couch with Pelosi were stupid.

Frank Luntz on Sean Hannity’s show this afternoon said that everyone was shocked about Newt’s resurgence.  It wasn’t a surprise for me.  I predicted that as the Cain-Gingrich debate received acknowledgment and replay, Newt would rise.  On November 3rd, I said that people were taking a fresh look at Newt Gingrich.  But even better than that, on October 13th, I laid out the path to victory for Newt Gingrich going through South Carolina and Florida.  In a blog titled “Yes He Can”, I analyzed how Cain was preparing to fall on his 9-9-9 plan and how Newt would take early states Iowa and South Carolina, leading to a showdown in Florida between Newt/Mitt.  So no, it wasn’t a shock.  If you’ve been reading this blog, it wasn’t a shock to you either.

In that same article, I said that Newt’s dirty laundry has been airing out for a long time.  It doesn’t smell as “fresh” as Cain’s or Perry’s.  The same is true for Mitt, although Newt knows when to admit to a mistake.  Therefore, in this up and down race where nothing is certain and things change every minute, I am sticking to what I said over a month ago.  Newt/Mitt, for the championship, the second to last GOP debate in Florida in Jacksonville.  Newt will be carrying South Carolina and maybe Iowa to the table, Mitt will have New Hampshire under his belt.  Then the two smartest, most articulate, and strongest leaders will have one last significant chance to make their case.

Rush, Coulter, and any other big-time rightwing players who still think Bachmann, Cain, or Santorum could come back and win, keep dreaming.  It’s more likely that Tebow would win the Superbowl.

PS, I have absolutely nothing against Tebow.  In fact, after Thursday’s game against Rex Ryan and the Jets, Tebow is my second favorite quarterback.

Can Christians Forgive Newt?

Newt is quickly moving up in the polls, which means it is time to re-vet the longtime Washington politician.  That means its time to rehash Newt’s past.  Newt has come out saying that he has reconciled with God and has worked to put his family issues in the past.  The question is if that will be enough for the remnants of the Moral Majority and the Christian Right.

Newt may square up pretty well against Romney and Cain right now.  Cain is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal with three possible outcomes, only one of which can benefit him.  The first outcome, Cain slips up and is proven guilty.  This will end his Presidential ambitions.  Second outcome, there is no clear resolution and the Cain decision comes down to public opinion.  This could hurt Cain’s chances if Newt continues to emerge as a strong contender on ideas.  Third outcome, the facts come out and completely discredit Cain’s accusers.  The mere injustice of the attempt to destroy Cain could easily rocket him to the top of the Republican field as a martyr of the racist left.

Romney’s religious status may not be the nail in his coffin in a matchup with Newt.  While Romney’s Mormonism turns off many conservative Protestants, Newt’s Catholicism will have the same affect on that same small portion of conservative Christian Republicans.  Overall, Mormonism and Catholicism won’t change the score for either of them.  However, Romney’s fidelity and family life is a major point in his favor.

Conservative Christians can be a funny breed.  Morality and grace are a constant tension for Christians.  I John 1:9 says that if Christians confess their sins, Christ is faithful and just to forgive them.  Therefore, if Newt has truly confessed and repented of his infidelity and divorce, he is forgiven.

Can Christians forgive Newt?  Can they overcome his past?  The question Newt has been facing over and over as he rises in the polls is whether character matters.  Newt’s answer is pretty good.  Yes, character matters.  Yes his past has not demonstrated the character he wants to see in a President, but that past is 30 years ago.  Newt’s mention of himself as a grandfather drives home the point that he is much older, and much more mature.

Newt can win, but he has to win over social conservatives first.  This means Newt has to find forgiveness from more than just God.

Libertarian “Golden” Boy/Bachmann Tebow Complex

Ron Paul’s Golden Portfolio

Ron Paul is well known for his pro-gold policies.  He is a little less well known for his golden portfolio.  While most Americans have been watching their retirements quickly shrink, Ron Paul is doing OK.  He might not be as rich as Mitt Romney, but he could buy Tim Pawlenty.

Is Paul ready for the leftwing media meat grinder?

The question is if this will become an issue for Ron Paul down the road.  Unlike half the GOP field this year, Ron Paul had not been considered a threat so no vetting (as the left calls it) or smear (as the right calls it) has taken place yet.  Still, could Paul’s golden investments and golden ambitions of a gold backed currency be viewed by liberal opponents as a conflict of interest?  Already liberal bloggers are pointing out Paul’s use of earmarks, so more “vetting” may be on the way.

One question that had me scratching my head is why Paul would advocate fixing the debt ceiling deal by having the Fed write off the QE1 and QE2 loans it had printed and made to the Treasury.  Of course, this would make the hundreds of billions involved unrestricted cash and could result in inflation. At the same time he voted (contrary to his son Rand) against Cut, Cap and Balance.  Ron Paul’s constant votes against any appropriations bill that doesn’t adhere strictly to the constitution should be viewed as a principled approach to representing the people who sent him to DC.  But it sure hasn’t hurt his portfolio either, as imperfect but more conservative bills fall to more liberal compromises that can pass without him and others who vote like him.  Paul has bet on instability and it has paid off.

By the way, Paul’s holdings don’t include major stockpiles of gold, but are actually all in gold mining companies.

Should Bachmann Be Third String?

Meanwhile, on the mainstream side of the GOP Michele Bachmann is suddenly finding herself where Pawlenty was just a couple weeks ago: a solid third place.

This made me think of Tim Tebow who was recently put at the Broncos’ third string behind Brady Quinn and Kyle

Tebow was local hero as a Gator

Orton.  I love Tim Tebow.  When he gets the ball and runs, or dumps those short touchdown passes over the defensive line’s heads, we all go nuts here in Florida.  Bronco’s preseason makes Floridians happy because we get to see Tebow.  He was a local champion who got everyone on fire for him, and when he went pro his Broncos’ #15 jersey was the number one seller in the whole NFL.

But Tebow is not a polished player.  His faith endears him to Christian NFL fans.  The excitement he brought to the Gators with his competitive and unpredictable playing style built him a huge fan base.  But his accuracy is off.  He is no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.  He might fill the stadium, but he is not the quarterback to bring the Broncos to the Superbowl this year.

Can Bachmann be the GOP starter?

So why does he make me think of Michele Bachmann?  Bachmann has a huge fan base.  She became a national sensation as the darling of the TEA Party.  She fills stadiums and is exciting to watch and listen to.  But she is unpolished.  Her accuracy is off.  She’s no Mitt Romney or Rick Perry.

So for now, like Tebow, Bachmann is going to remain third string until she can prove she’s a starter.

Debate Recap

The commentators in the Iowa debate finally succeeded in getting the Republican candidates to go after one another, and the result was a distinction between the boys, the girl, and the men.  Here is my assessment:

Newt Gingrich

I would name Newt as the winner of this debate.  He presented something the other candidates could not, a clear record on the economy and government with the exact results Americans want today that was left mostly unassailed.  Newt vented his frustration early at Chris Wallace over what came across as unfair questions, but was able to then produce reasonable responses.  Gingrich had a better grasp of history and economics and managed not to contradict himself.  I doubt it will be enough to kickstart his campaign again, but he looked and sounded most like the candidate who could turn our economy around.  Newt said what every American was thinking, the supercommittee part of the debt deal is a stupid idea and Obama should call Congress back to fix it.

Mitt Romney

Romney proved once again how effortless this race has been for him.  When Pawlenty shot across his bow with a jab at how much property he owns, Romney shrugged it off like Michael Jordan would if he wasn’t picked first in a neighborhood game of pickup basketball.  Romney looked and sounded like a professional and did not allow Wallace, Pawlenty or anyone else to shake his demeanor.  In fact, he made almost everyone else look like amateurs, especially Pawlenty and Bachmann.  Romney positioned himself as the successful businessman, accomplished politician, and leader.  In fact, when Cain touted his independent business success, when Pawlenty talked about balancing his budget and cutting spending and taxes, and when Pawlenty and Huntsman talked about leadership, Romney kept coming to mind.  He ignored interparty skirmishes and focused on Obama, which is a key in this race.  His only slip up was trying to discuss the semantics of state versus federal constitutional restrictions.  I think his point was a good one, especially when he asked Wallace what he knew about Massachusetts constitution, but ultimately the point was lost on the other participants.

Ron Paul

Republicans still don’t like Ron Paul, and he is still abrasive.  However, he came in third in this debate because he toned down the abrasiveness and instead mixed in some well earned “told ya so”.  Paul made key points on the Fed, the debt, the debt ceiling deal, the precariousness of our currency, and the costs of war.  These were timely points and made well.  He did not leap into easy traps on military spending that he has fallen into before that come across as disrespect for men and women in uniform.  Paul was also able to better articulate his views on social issues.  In the past he has come across as more liberal than libertarian.  This time he was able to articulate what be actually believes about gay marriage and abortion, stating that our liberties come from our creator, not government.  He may not win over the mainstream religious right, but will win over some more religious libertarians and constitutionalists.

Rick Santorum

Yes, believe it or not, Rick Santorum is fourth on my list.  His performance will most likely not change anything, but as a second tier candidate he exceeded expectations.  He was well prepared, made logical answers to the questions asked, and avoided harmful entanglements with other candidates.  He continues to represent George Bush neo-conservatism and will continue to bring useful balance to the debate.  He still has no chance of winning.

Herman Cain

Cain came across as the most unknowledgeable of the candidates.  He presents a good story of a businessman outsider seeking to change Washington’s business side.  However, Cain does not present a well rounded candidate that voters would trust on issues of foreign policy or domestic social issues.  Until he can get past soundbites to real plans and strategies he will not garner the needed support.   He was the only candidate to drive home the growth aspect of turning our economy around in a real and tangible way.

Jon Huntsman

Who?  His late entry, semi-liberal credentials, and lack of energetic or unique performance make Huntsman an afterthought.  He was like an off-brand candidate.  Aside from cyberwar with China, nothing he said really stood out.  If Huntsman was not at the next debate, I doubt most viewers would even realize it.  For example, remember that candidate from New Mexico, the Ron Paul wannabe?  What was his name again?

Tim Pawlenty

Chris Wallace was able to get under the candidates skin and even inspire direct confrontations between candidates.  Mostly though, the culprit ended up being Tim Pawlenty.  In a role usually occupied by the perennial anti-GOP establishment candidate Ron Paul, Pawlenty went after Bachmann, Romney, and whoever else got in his way.  He came across as a third place candidate trying to remind people why he is in this race, or at least that he is in this race.  I did not enjoy listening to him.  When he wasn’t on the attack, he was apologizing for cigarette taxes or highlighting things he did as governor that both Romney and Huntsman have on their resume.  In a race where the focus needs to be on Barack Obama, Pawlenty allowed himself to fall into the hands of the commentators and make for some great controversial TV.  Personally, I think this primary would come to a much better result without Pawlenty.

Michelle Bachmann

The loser of last night’s debate was Michelle Bachmann.  When Pawlenty attacked her, she fought back and lost.  Pawlenty managed to paint her as more of an ideologue than a successful conservative champion.  Pawlenty highlighted her lack of results, and she let that stick.  I believe she did receive some of the more unfair questions, including the one about submitting to her husband, but instead of recognizing those questions for what they were, she showed why she is not the caliber of Newt or Mitt and engaged the questions as though they were credible concerns.

Honestly though, what earned Bachmann the F was when she failed to return to her podium on time after the commercial break.  She is trying to overcome this idea that she is an unprofessional activist, not a serious contender.  However, her tardiness, fumbling over major points such as combining pro-life and taxes in bills, and engaging Pawlenty in unscripted arguments show why Bachmann’s runner up status has been purely on the substance of her popular TEA party beliefs, not because she is a polished candidate.  Conservatives may like her in the polls, but when they go to vote I think we will see them be more likely to send a quarterback than the mascot in to play.

Mr. President, Are You A Flake?

As Michelle Bachmann approaches the top of the Republican field, she is facing even more intense scrutiny.  In the same week as Obama’s medal of honor gaffe, an unlikely interviewer has proven among the most unfair to Bachmann.  Chris Wallace of Fox News asked her directly: “Are you a flake?”

Is Bachmann a serious candidate? Iowa seems to think so.

Wallace was giving credibility to those who seem to hold this bias against Bachmann, whether he realizes it or not.  But an even more serious question is if Wallace would ask any other candidate that?

Joe Biden could have been living in a cave for the last two and a half years and no one would have known it.  There is a good reason for that.  Biden had more gaffes per month in his campaign than Bachmann has had in a lifetime.  And Obama, the great orator, is not immune either.  From following his teleprompter off a metaphorical cliff on more than one occasion to making his appearances before the British royalty look like something out of a comedy movie, Obama has embarrassed himself over and over again on both national and international stages.

I don’t recall Bush ever having to sit down to have a beer with a cop because he put his foot in his mouth.

Bachmann’s answer was brilliant, giving Chris Wallace her history as a tax attorney, state senator and House representative, her education history and her family history.  Remember the good old days when we got to compare Bush and Kerry’s college transcripts to see who got more Ds?  And Obama, for being a Harvard constitutional law professor really doesn’t seem to know anything about the constitution.

So what is it about conservative women that seems to earn them “flake” status in the media, even as an acknowledged and valid perception?  Is this sexism pure and simple?  Palin and Bachmann seem to be treated interchangeably in the media, especially on the conservative side.  Remember George Will saying Palin was unpresidential because she watched her daughter in Dancing with the Stars?  Funny how Obama is amazingly Presidential when he not only kisses babies, but rocks them to sleep on the campaign trail.

 

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