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He was the elephant in the room, so to speak, at the CNN Debate in Mesa, AZ. And this issue is why Campaign 2012 on the Republican side is so depressing.The he is George W. Bush. And the issue is that Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney spent most of the debate campaigning against George W. Bush without using his name.They went after each other on earmarks, spending, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the debt ceiling, and on and on. Santorum apologized for some votes. He defended some votes. Mitt Romney had the temerity to suggest he would have opposed some or all of that legislation even though, at the time, he was quite supportive of it all — including raising the debt ceiling. All of these were George W. Bush approved, adding also TARP and the auto bailout. They are also issues about which many conservatives and conservative organizations sold their souls to the Republican Party in the name of team work, damn the principles at stake.Relatedly, it was entirely laughable for Rick Santorum to claim courage as the word that describes him best when he then went on to say he cast his votes against his principles because he was a team player. Just listen to the audio right here. At least he did not do what Romney did and try to claim himself an advocate of school choice, which Mitt Romney did not support as Governor of Massachusetts. Santorum, at least, is willing to recount his political sins honestly.And that is what is so awful about this election season for so many conservatives. Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich are campaigning against major accomplishments of the Bush Administration that they, at the time, supported, and now have the audacity to lie to us — yes they are lying — and have us believe they would never have supported such big government programs.Please click here for the rest of the post.
It is time for me to get focused again on House and Senate races. With redistricting, we’ve got to make some tough decisions in races where two incumbents are situated. Likewise, we’ve got new people running. It is time. Here’s my initial list of support and focus. I’ll add to it over time.One of the big races up front is going to be Manzullo vs. Kinzinger in Illinois. We supported Adam Kinzinger in 2010. He ran as a tea party candidate. In his term so far, however, he has done nothing to distinguish himself as someone willing to stand up to House leaders. A simple review of his and Manzullo’s Heritage scores make it no contest. In fact, if you have a tough time deciding who to pick in these sorts of races, the Heritage Action for America score card should be the default tool to break a tie. In the Manzullo v. Kinzinger race, there really is no contest on who is more conservative — Manzullo has an 84% score and Adam Kinzinger has a 63% score.And if you have doubts about the Heritage Action scorecard as an arbiter for who is the better candidate, consider that Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard was reflecting the concerns of congressional Republicans as recently as December that the Heritage Action scorecard is a bad idea. But just recently even Fred Barnes admitted they were doing it the right way.Please click here for the rest of the post.
OK, if you followed the debate in Arizona last night then you got to see Newt Gingrich consume a moderator’s liver for what may be the last time. The topic? Double standards in the media, particularly when it comes to ‘extremist’ positions. The transcript is as follows:GINGRICH: But I just want to point out, you did not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. OK? So let’s be clear here.(APPLAUSE)GINGRICH: If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion. It is not the Republicans.Note the (APPLAUSE). That’s because the audience of Arizona Republicans and conservatives knew exactly what Newt Gingrich was talking about; he was talking about Obama’s voting record against the Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) – which, by the way, was and is appalling of the President. As those voters know quite well, as a state senator Barack Obama voted against an Illinois state bill that would have extended legal protections to children who survived a botched abortion. An almost-identical version of the same bill passed on the federal level in 2002, and not even “FactCheck.org” can quite take seriously Obama’s claim that he would have supported that bill because it was significantly different*.Please click here for the rest of the post.
At the CNN GOP debate in Arizona, the candidates were asked this question:”Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?”The question was roundly booed by the audience. Republicans hated this line of questioning when it was aired in a debate a few weeks back by former Democratic White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulos, at a time when it seemed to have nothing at all to do with the issues in the campaign. Since then, President Obama has forced the issue into the public debate with the HHS mandate that all employers, even those with religious objections, include contraceptive coverage in employer-provided health care plans, so the subject can’t be avoided entirely. And in fact, for various good reasons, Republicans will probably be talking a good deal about the assault on religious liberty in general and the Catholic Church in particular in the months to come. But there’s a simpler way of framing the right answer to this in a debate.Please click here for the rest of the post.