Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Republican Nomination Process in 2012

Today I start a new category of posts: "Election 2012." Although this is not a political blog, part of its leavening consists of commentary on the contemporary scene -- and that certainly includes politics. And since this will be a decisive election year for our country, I will do my small part to illuminate the various forces which are at work even now, eleven months ahead of the election, to shape our future.

Some disclosures at the outset: I am registered with neither major political party, but vote as an Independent. That being said, I am very much against allowing Barack Obama another four years in which to wreak his particular brand of havoc more than he has already.

As for the current crop of Republican candidates, I have to say I am not yet enthusiastic about any of them. At the same time, one of my most strongly held beliefs is that January or February is way too early to settle upon a candidate who will oppose Obama in November.

To do so simply plays into the media's hands. For make no mistake, the media is desperate to control the outcome of the forthcoming election. And the sooner the Republicans pick a candidate, the sooner the media can send out their legions to pry into every nook and cranny of his or her life -- in a manner they have never inflicted upon Barack Obama -- and never will. That is the scandal of the present-day hacks who populate the "media" in this country.

Thankfully, to counter such blatant partisanship, we have the Internet as an equalizer. On the Internet, the media's gross partisanship is exposed every day, for all to see. Anyone can dissect a so-called "story" or column by E. J. Dionne, or David Brooks, or Paul Krugman -- only those already fully indoctrinated, and who still pay to read those folks in their printed versions, are incapable of perceiving their bias.

And it's not really their bias that I am attacking. Bias I can easily deal with -- as an attorney, I am trained in techniques to expose it, and thereby to neutralize it. All of us, frankly, are biased in some sense -- because it is impossible to make any choices without exercising some bias. So bias, per se, is not the problem.

Instead, the problem is the products of their bias: their opinions, their criticisms, their recommendations as to what should be done. Paul Krugman, for example, is mentally incapable of conceiving a government subsidy which he would actively oppose. And E.J. Dionne is mentally incapable of evaluating objectively anyone who bears the label "Republican" -- just as is Maureen Dowd, or Eleanor Clift, or Jonathan Alter.

I read copiously from a wide spectrum of opinion every day. And given my own bias, I of course prefer those writers with whose opinions or criticisms I most agree. "Even a dog, however, knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked," said Oliver Wendell Holmes. And while I see a good deal of stumbling on both the right and the left, it is in the media --mostly populated by the left -- that I am struck by the continual kicking that goes on.

Where but on the left, for example, did we see the criticisms of the Santorums' treatment of their short-lived infant son as "ghoulish"? And where but on the left have we seen the smear pieces proliferate, from Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas all the way down to Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain? No, the left specializes in kicking; it even kicks those who dare to publish hard facts about their own. Rep. Darrell Issa, for example, has done a yeoman's job of exposing the hard facts about Attorney General Eric Holder's "Fast and Furious" gun-running operation, but the only ones who have accused him of "racism", and who otherwise have tried to smear him, have been the left's attack dogs. The rest of us can tell the difference between exposing inconvenient facts for evaluation on their own, and slanting the facts to produce a smear -- just as a dog can tell when he's been kicked.

So I come back to the 2012 Republican primaries. It is not, I humbly suggest, in any Republican's interest to have a clear choice of nominee settled upon before this summer's convention. The sooner a nominee emerges from the pack, the sooner will the attacks, or what I call "the kicking", commence on the left. To be sure, there is a lot of that going on already, but it has been diffused among the eight primary candidates, and has yet to gather any force, or achieve any lasting effect.

And look at how Mitt Romney has largely escaped most of the kicking from the left to date. Herman Cain was sunk after a few outings; Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and now Rick Santorum have each suffered in the voting from smears directed their way as each seemed to surge momentarily ahead. But Mitt Romney, who has been at the top of most of the polls from the outset, has largely been immune from the left's attacks -- why is that?

The answer is patent: the left wants to see Republicans select Romney as their candidate, and wants to see it happen as early as possible. They see Romney, with his Mormonism, his backing of universal healthcare as governor of Massachusetts, and his Wall Street ties, as the ideal opponent for Barack Obama to defeat. In the liberal media, the fix is in for Romney in 2012, just as it was in for John McCain in 2008. Better the mincemeat they know they can make from what they are given, than the unknown ingredients of an upstart, or black horse. So fear not -- once Romney (or whoever) becomes the Republican nominee, the gloves will be taken off.

As the coming weeks of the Republican primaries unfold, therefore, I am all for every candidate placing first or second at least once, and preferably several times. That is the only guarantee that Republicans will be able to make a free and unhurried choice at their convention in August. Everyone talks of a "brokered" convention, but that nineteenth-century phenomenon is a dinosaur in these days of the Internet. There will be no smoke-filled back rooms where destines are settled, so long as everyone at the convention has access to the Internet and can report what is going on for instant assessment and reaction.

Therefore I say: bring it on, and let everyone have their day in the sun! A convention with no clear winner at the outset will be a far more effective means of solidifying the opposition to President Obama than will someone who makes it into August so battered and bruised by the kicks they have received in the media that the overall perception they can generate by that point is little better than one of damaged goods.

Meanwhile, back on the hustings -- is anyone for directing a few kicks Obama's way -- without hesitating for fear of being called a racist? (I know, I know -- there will be those who will readily jump on any combination of "kick" and "Obama" in the same sentence as being racist per se. But we have to live with what we have, and Obama is what he is. So get over it, and focus on his policies that need to be attacked for the disasters that they are.)

Whatever criticisms of President Obama are made from the right, no matter how factually based or objective they may be, will never be viewed as anything but "kicking" on the left. So the candidates should not let that reaction deter them. And for heavens' sake, cease letting the media set the goal posts! Today's "debate" in New Hampshire should be the very last one which the media is allowed to stage just so they can try to embarrass the candidates with questions they would never dream of directing at President Obama. Enough already -- nothing productive is gained on either the right or the left by such mismatched spectacles. The gulf between the two sides just gets wider and wider.

Whatever positions and priorities can usefully be staked out in the 2012 campaign at this point will most likely have to be reshaped once we know what the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare will be. That will not be announced until the end of June, after most of the primaries are over; the Republican convention will begin on August 27. Republicans have more than enough time to choose a candidate wisely and deliberately, without being rushed into it by the media's manipulations. Here's a toast, therefore, to a wide-open field come August!


  1. I naively hope for a new contender to ride through the Republican candidates' cloud of smoldering campaigns and emerge as a popular Conservative standard bearer with little fear of the media. Is there such a person? And if such a person existed, could she put together a team to address the requirements for eligibility in the remaining primaries?

    Alas, I must comfort myself with the possibility that the Republican Old Guard go to convention tethered to Mitt "Mr. 25%" Romney, and realize their error. Ha.

    I'm looking forward to your updates.

  2. Alan,
    Thanks for explaining the process. As an immigrant, I had thought that it was to shoot themselves in the foot until someone was left.

  3. So why do you not consider Fox news a part of the media? So far as I can tell they are not exactly promoting the President's election by all means fair and foul.

  4. I agree that Romney appears to be the main stream media's favorite. I suspect this is a set up.

    Currently I am in the ABR (anybody but Romney) crowd. With 24% of the vote thus far, that must mean that I am with the remaining 76%. It has been so long since we have had a good convention fight, I kinda like having a horse race.

    Too bad we don't study our congressional candidates so thoroughly.

  5. rick allen, I did not specifically mention any media other than the New York Times -- it's interesting that you would read a bias in favor of Fox News into my remarks. Could that be because I point out the liberal media's smears against the Republican candidates, but do not say anything about the coverage of Obama on Fox? (Perhaps you could point us to a smear there comparable to the one I linked to at the Times on Rep. Issa.)

    I think the relative ratings of Fox vs. the liberal media say far more about just who is seen as delivering smears versus who the public sees as dealing in news.

  6. "I did not specifically mention any media other than the New York Times."

    Mr. Haley, indeed you didn't--in fact, I don't think you mentioned the New York Times by name, only a few of its columnists.

    But, please, re-read your fourth and fifth paragraphs. You talk only about "the media," presumably as a whole, as if there were some general media hatred of the right, when, in fact, as you point out in your link, by far the the most popular news outlet in the country is the very anti-Obama Fox news network.

    That liberal columnists write against the right is as unremarkable as convervative columnists writing against the left. That hardly establishes that the "media," as some sort of collective whole, has an anti-conservative slant.

    So far as I have ever been able to tell, everyone feels like their candidates, their convictions, their points of view, don't get a fair shake in the media. This is normal.

    My own view is that the national media is biased toward selling their sponsor's products, and that national news therefore tends toward the sensational and the sentimental, with a great deal of embarrassingly outright pandering.

    So, as you can see, I don't have a high opinion of the national media, myself, but I see its drivers as much more commercial than political. For what it's worth, the two national media figure I think most highly of are Christiane Amanpour and Fareed Zakaria. Ms. Amanpour seems on the way out at ABC for not garnering ratings, and Mr. Zakaria, whom I find unusually thoughtful for a television journalist, is hardly a household name.

  7. Rick Allen, thank you for making your point clear, but I can't quite follow you. If the content of the news media (especially in an election year) were driven more by commercial concerns than political ones, then one would have to wonder what commercial profit motives drive the liberal-left media (i.e., the non-Fox outlets) to adhere to a recipe that is obviously losing their readers by the droves.

    My original point was not that the Republican candidates do not get a "fair shake" in the media; if that were the only complaint, there would be nothing new, and nothing to write about as we head into the heavy primary season. Instead, I noted the consistent double standards which the non-Fox news media apply to the Republican candidates -- standards which they refuse to apply to Obama himself. I suspect that the resentment which many feel toward Fox News is precisely that it does subject Obama to the very kind of criticisms, and holds him to the standards, which their own media refuse to employ. And my principal point is that the leftist media is doing this not across the board to all Republicans, but is giving Romney and Huntsman a pass for the time being, because those are the candidates whom they would most like to have the Republicans nominate.

    Yes, it's politics as usual, but with a twist this time that I for one find particularly cynical.

  8. There is a reason for the difficulty in getting a conservative nominated in this day and time, because many of the Republican leaders and electorate have swallowed copious amounts of the PC agenda propaganda over the decades until they believe it with a passion, without having looked at actual evidence.

    Having followed the Episcopal Church hijacking, we know how that works. If the same mechanism is at work, the GOP has undergone the same renovation of doctrine and standards with conservative political personalities and conservative pundits.

    Here is an analysis of how and why it is difficult to get a social/fiscal/defense/constitutional conservative nominated:

    I'd be interested to hear any of you agree or disagree with it and why.

  9. I don't think the founding fathers or the conservatives of long ago would recognize the people who claim to be conservative today as such.

    Most of the GOP/Republican voters and leaders along with Coulter, Drudge, Breitbart and even American Thinker have swallowed the paradigm of 'sexual orientation' 'straight/gay dichotomy' and 'sexual rights' 'it's ok if it's between two consenting adults' pap that has been promulgated over the decades by the pansexual agenda.

    Obama is pugilistically pushing the LBGTQ and abortion agenda full steam ahead. This week the state of Hawaii decreed that all churches must allow their facilities to be used for SS unions - no exemptions. This week the Obama administration decreed that medical and health care personnel must be indoctrinated into understanding the 'gay' culture. Obama gave Kevin Jennings 400+ million dollars to promote LBGT culture in the schools. Obama wants to strip pharmacists, doctors and nurses of their conscience in the service of his ungodly agenda...all the while claiming to do this is for the sake of justice and health...having conditioned the mind of the public to accept this as true...despite all the evidence of the unhealthy, even deadly outcome of abortion and sexual promiscuity.

    Mr. Haley, your article 'Debasing the Currency of Truth' comes to mind more and more these days.

    Brainwashing and conditioning is like a gas leak or smoke in a home. We don't realize what has happened until it is too late or we are very sick from its effects.

  10. What irritates me the most is that the dunderheaded, Establishment leadership of the Republican party in the state of South Carolina was so anxious to be "first" in the primary states, that it violated its own rules to move the primary date from March back to January.

    Of course the other "wannabe first" states all moved theirs back.

    Hence, we have this glut of primaries in January and then it is pretty much over.

    I am to the point where I don't like either party and view them both as extremely detrimental to the economic and governmental health of this country!

  11. The peculiar evaporation of Gloria Alred and her stable of victims underscores your point. She 'Borked' Whitman with that poor Guatemalan maid's story....then she managed to 'Thomas' the Cain candidacy with an assembly of peculiar female personaliies and clumsy media co-ordination.
    Certainly there are many reporters working behind the scenes to find out exactly how deeply these Cain accusers were emotionally scarred.
    Your analysis of this political situation is a carbon copy of my personal thoughts and feeligs. (Is is still legal to say "carbon copy"?)