Is President Obama A Christian? Santorum? Gingrich? Romney?

It’s always comforting to know that there is someone you can turn to who can provide answers to the perplexing spiritual problems that we all face on a daily basis. Someone with wisdom and insight and experience in the ways of the Lord.

Such a person is Rev. Franklin Graham, at least in his own mind. He is the son and heir to the Billy Graham evangelist empire, and he appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today (video below) to discuss the personal faiths of some national leaders. Here is what transpired:

Willie Geist: Do you believe that Pres. Obama is a Christian?
Graham: You have to ask Pres. Obama.

After that dodge, Graham spent several minutes evading the question by repeating the excuse that he doesn’t know what is in another person’s heart. Throughout the segment he pointedly refused to simply say that he believes that Obama is a Christian. However, he does say that he thinks Obama bends over backwards for Muslims and he finds it significant that some Muslims regard him as one of their own.

So what about Rick Santorum? Is he a Christian? Geist posed that question to Graham and got this response:

Graham: Oh, I think so. Because his values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it.

So he cannot answer the question about Obama because he can’t see into another person’s heart, but apparently he can see into Santorum’s heart. And that’s not all. Graham then volunteered this about Newt Gingrich:

Graham: I think Newt is a Christian. At least he told me he is.

Well, Obama also told Graham that he is a Christian, but that didn’t seem to stick. Graham said that what matters most is not what people say but how they live their lives. So of course he would be suspicious of an assertion of faith from Obama, a devoted husband and churchgoer, but he would accept Gingrich’s testimony, despite being a thrice-married, admitted adulterer who left his congressional post in disgrace for ethical violations.

Which brings us to Mitt Romney. When Alex Wagner asked Graham if Romney is a Christian, Graham wiggled this out:

Graham: I like him. He’s a Mormon. Most Christians would not accept Mormonism as part of the Christian faith.

Nevertheless, Graham praised Romney as a candidate. So there you have it. According to this Christian leader, being a serial sinner or a practitioner of a false religion is not an impediment to either the White House or Heaven. But God has much stricter standards for heathens like Obama who are faithful to their families, charitable to others, and ethical in their profession. It really makes you want to sing the praises of whatever brand of Christianity Graham is peddling.

Donald Trump To Endorse Mitt Romney? Gingrich Dodges A Bullet

[Editor: If this article looks familiar, it’s only because everything in politics looks the same]

The InterTubes are buzzing with the news that tomorrow morning carnival barker Donald Trump has scheduled a press conference to make an “important” announcement concerning the presidential race.

Donald Trump

Some reports are already disclosing that their sources say that Trump will give his uncoveted and toxic endorsement to Mitt Romney. This is further affirmation of Trump’s political acumen as the gold-plated Trump casts his lot with the candidate who doesn’t care about the poor.

Trump’s support, if it pans out, would follow the endorsements of lunatic fringers Ann Coulter, Michael Savage and Jon Voight. The good news for Romney is that none of these epic losers managed to dampen his showing in the Florida primary this week. That may prove fortuitous because a Trump endorsement is potentially far more damaging.

As it turns out, Trump’s seal of approval could be the most severe test yet for Romney’s electoral prospects. The Pew Research Center surveyed voters last month and found that 20% said that they would be “less likely” to vote for a candidate that Trump had endorsed. Indeed, the survey showed that Trump would scare off more voters than any of the other people tested.

However, we must not assume that Trump doesn’t have an ulterior, self-serving motive. In fact, we should always assume that he does. In this case it might have something to do with his oft-stated threat that he would consider launching an independent campaign for president if his preferred candidate did not prevail in the GOP primary. Thus, by endorsing someone who the establishment has embraced, Trump provides himself the perfect excuse to stay out of a race he knows he can’t win, and to continue to earn the only income he has as a television game show host.

In the meantime, it would be useful to recall the planks in the Trump platform. When Romney accepts Trump’s endorsement and praises him for stepping forward to support his fellow one-percenter, he should be called on to comment on these issues that Trump has focused on so intently:

1) Obama’s Citizenship: This is without a doubt the cornerstone of Trump’s campaign. He talks about it at every appearance – even those where he pretends to not want to talk about it. Obama has shown the only document that the state of Hawaii issues for births. If Trump wants to continue to believe that the Obama family (and assorted communists and Muslims) hatched a plot almost fifty years ago to raise a mixed-race, foreign-born child to become an illegitimate president, that’s between him and his racist, delusional followers.

2) Obama’s Religion: Despite the fact that the President has repeatedly affirmed his devout Christianity, Trump suspects that he is secretly a Muslim and the proof may be on his birth certificate. Never mind that any religious designation on a birth certificate would be irrelevant. Obviously the baby Barack did not select his faith, but the adult has been clear and consistent.

3) Obama’s Authorship: Trump has embraced the WorldNetDaily crackpots who believe that Bill Ayers was the ghostwriter of Obama’s autobiography “Dreams From My Father.” The evidence of this fraud is the observation that both used certain phrases like going “against the current.” Well, that settles that. Trump also believes that Obama was born Barry Soetoro and later changed his name, despite the fact that he was named after his father, Barack Obama, Sr., and it wasn’t until he was four years old that his mother was remarried to Lolo Soetoro.

4) Obama’s Academics: Trump is fond of questioning Obama’s academic credentials, insisting that he was too stupid to get into Harvard. He says he is investigating this (are they the same investigators he sent to Hawaii?). Of course it is documented that Obama had graduated from Columbia before getting a scholarship to Harvard where he became the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude.

5) Foreign Policy: Trump has advocated declaring a trade war with China. He also proposed addressing the deficit by stealing the oil from Libya and Iraq. This is the sort of bravado that Trump likes to display with his own business enterprises, which have resulted in four bankruptcies. In addition he has expressed support for an actual shooting war with both Iran and North Korea. However, with international relations between sovereign nations with standing armies, he may produce even worse outcomes than he has with his failing hotels and casinos.

6) Economic Policy: While he doesn’t have a 999 plan, Trump has proposed a tax increase that might inflame the sensitivities of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party:

“I would impose a one-time, 14.25% tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth over $10 million. For individuals, net worth would be calculated minus the value of their principal residence. That would raise $5.7 trillion in new revenue, which we would use to pay off the entire national debt. […] Some will say that my plan is unfair to the extremely wealthy. I say it is only reasonable to shift the burden to those most able to pay. The wealthy actually would not suffer severe repercussions.”

That actually sounds pretty good. Too bad he has disavowed that plan that appeared in his book, and now thinks he can appropriate billions of dollars from other countries to pay down our debt (he doesn’t say how).

We’ll see tomorrow if the speculation proves to be correct and Romney is boosted by burdened with the curse of Trump love. But the one thing we know for sure is that the Gingrich camp, now in Las Vegas in advance of the Nevada caucuses, will be scrambling to explain to his Tea Party contingent why it’s really fantastic that Trump jilted him. Whether he knows it or not, he dodged a bullet, and Romney is the one who should be worried.

Donald Trump To Endorse Newt Gingrich? Champagne Flowing At Romney HQ

[Editor’s Note: This article has been superseded by this one]

The InterTubes are buzzing with the news that tomorrow morning carnival barker Donald Trump has scheduled a press conference to make an “important” announcement concerning the presidential race.

Donald Trump

Some reports are already disclosing that their sources say that Trump will give his uncoveted and toxic endorsement to Newt Gingrich. This is further affirmation of Trump’s political acumen as he casts his lot with the fastest sinking ship on the sea.

Trump’s support, if it pans out, would follow the endorsements of Wrangler Rick Perry and pizza magnate Herman Cain, as well as the plea from fading Tea Hag Sarah Palin, who made it clear that she just wants to keep the hamster wheel spinning. None of these epic losers were able to boost Gingrich’s showing in the Florida primary this week.

As it turns out, no one should expect Trump’s seal of approval to have any better effect on Gingrich’s prospects. The Pew Research Center surveyed voters last month and found that 20% said that they would be “less likely” to vote for a candidate that Trump had endorsed. Indeed, the survey showed that Trump would scare off more voters than any of the other people tested.

However, we must not assume that Trump doesn’t have an ulterior, self-serving motive. In fact, we should always assume that he does. In this case it might have something to do with his oft-stated threat that he would consider launching an independent campaign for president if his preferred candidate did not prevail in the GOP primary. Thus, by endorsing someone who is almost certain to lose, Trump positions himself to step in as the savior that he envisions himself to be. And all I can say about that scenario is “please, please, dear God, please!”

In the meantime, it would be useful to recall the planks in the Trump platform. When Gingrich accepts Trump’s endorsement and praises him for stepping forward to grab some Newt-mentum, he should be called on to comment on these issues that Trump has focused on so intently:

1) Obama’s Citizenship: This is without a doubt the cornerstone of Trump’s campaign. He talks about it at every appearance – even those where he pretends to not want to talk about it. Obama has shown the only document that the state of Hawaii issues for births. If Trump wants to continue to believe that the Obama family (and assorted communists and Muslims) hatched a plot almost fifty years ago to raise a mixed-race, foreign-born child to become an illegitimate president, that’s between him and his racist, delusional followers.

2) Obama’s Religion: Despite the fact that the President has repeatedly affirmed his devout Christianity, Trump suspects that he is secretly a Muslim and the proof may be on his birth certificate. Never mind that any religious designation on a birth certificate would be irrelevant. Obviously the baby Barack did not select his faith, but the adult has been clear and consistent.

3) Obama’s Authorship: Trump has embraced the WorldNetDaily crackpots who believe that Bill Ayers was the ghostwriter of Obama’s autobiography “Dreams From My Father.” The evidence of this fraud is the observation that both used certain phrases like going “against the current.” Well, that settles that. Trump also believes that Obama was born Barry Soetoro and later changed his name, despite the fact that he was named after his father, Barack Obama, Sr., and it wasn’t until he was four years old that his mother was remarried to Lolo Soetoro.

4) Obama’s Academics: Trump is fond of questioning Obama’s academic credentials, insisting that he was too stupid to get into Harvard. He says he is investigating this (are they the same investigators he sent to Hawaii?). Of course it is documented that Obama had graduated from Columbia before getting a scholarship to Harvard where he became the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude.

5) Foreign Policy: Trump has advocated declaring a trade war with China. He also proposed addressing the deficit by stealing the oil from Libya and Iraq. This is the sort of bravado that Trump likes to display with his own business enterprises, which have resulted in four bankruptcies. In addition he has expressed support for an actual shooting war with both Iran and North Korea. However, with international relations between sovereign nations with standing armies, he may produce even worse outcomes than he has with his failing hotels and casinos.

6) Economic Policy: While he doesn’t have a 999 plan, Trump has proposed a tax increase that might inflame the sensitivities of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party:

“I would impose a one-time, 14.25% tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth over $10 million. For individuals, net worth would be calculated minus the value of their principal residence. That would raise $5.7 trillion in new revenue, which we would use to pay off the entire national debt. […] Some will say that my plan is unfair to the extremely wealthy. I say it is only reasonable to shift the burden to those most able to pay. The wealthy actually would not suffer severe repercussions.”

That actually sounds pretty good. Too bad he has disavowed that plan that appeared in his book, and now thinks he can appropriate billions of dollars from other countries to pay down our debt (he doesn’t say how).

We’ll see tomorrow if the speculation proves to be correct and Gingrich is boosted by burdened with the curse of Trump love. But the one thing we know for sure is that the Romney camp, now in Las Vegas in advance of the Nevada caucuses, will be exhausted by the time Trump has delivered his announcement. They will have been celebrating all night in Sin City. With all the vintage champagne flowing in those luxury casino suites, who knows, Romney may have a couple of new wives by morning.

The End Of The Romney Campaign, Courtesy Of George Soros

The Tea Party contingent of the right-wing Republican set has long regarded George Soros as the mastermind of every evil they imagine has been perpetrated in America for the last half century. It is full-on fixation that connects Soros to everything from the Holocaust to Global Warming. And, like most psychotic fixations, it has no basis in reality.

Consequently, what could be a more damning allegation against a Republican than that they are allied with Soros? It’s the knockout punch. It’s the death blow. It’s the Newtron bomb. And it’s what Mitt Romney is staring down this morning. In an interview in Davos, Switzerland, Soros finished Romney off with these words:

“Well, look, either you’ll have an extremist conservative, be it Gingrich or Santorum, in which case I think it will make a big difference which of the two comes in. If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference except for the crowd that they bring with them.”

That settles it. Romney is toast. How could he possibly survive such a wound?

But there must be more to this than what is observable on the surface. After all, if Soros is the evil genius the right believes him to be, then to what end would he make such a comment? He certainly knows how his opinions are magnified through his web of media minions. There can be only one possible answer. Soros is deliberately sabotaging Romney. He wants Gingrich to be the GOP nominee because he knows that Gingrich will not only lose the race for president, but he will also likely cause the loss of the GOP control of the House and much of their power in the states.

It’s a devious plot that has already taken in Gingrich, who quickly jumped on the story and is excitedly pushing this quote to the press. It will probably become a part of his stump speech, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it featured in his next TV ad. It’s just too juicy a plum to leave dangling.

The Soros Fixation is so toxic that it causes hallucinations in those infected. For instance, conservatives are convinced that Soros commands a media empire that blankets the planet despite the fact that he has zero interest in any prominent media enterprise. He may have donated large sums of money to Media Matters and NPR, but he has no editorial authority over them, and they are not exactly the equivalent of Time Warner or NBC News. That is starkly distinct from the influence of a mogul like Rupert Murdoch who is directly in charge of a worldwide criminal … I mean media conglomerate.

The depths of the Soros fixation are nearly immeasurable. Cliff Kincaid, the director of the right-wing Accuracy in Media actually argues that Soros is pursuing an acquisition of Fox News and that he is “getting his way.” Kincaid believes that it was Soros who pressured Fox to dump Glenn Beck, and he is now trying to launch an effort to force the network to rehire Beck. Says Kincaid…

“It’s time for Glenn Beck, now on Internet TV, to return to the cable channel so that he can continue his investigative journalism into the rapidly expanding influence of the Soros network of organizations.” […He continues…] “Fox is moving to the left and filling its ranks with the kind of shallow commentators we have come to associate with the little-watched cable channel MSNBC.”

That quixotic fantasy reveals just how severely the fixation has damaged some sufferers. When someone can seriously portray Beck as an “investigative journalist” and Fox as “moving to the left,” you know it’s time to increase the dosage. And the notion that any of the brass at Fox want Beck back is belied by the fact that, in their separation announcement, they said there would be specials and documentaries from Beck, but none have materialized.

The question is: Will the right be fooled by this attempt by Soros to deep-six Romney and, subsequently, Republican hopes for retaking the White House? And the answer is: Of course they will! Once the name Soros has entered their psyche they lose what little cognitive ability they had. For Romney to recover from the devastating impact of this blow will take superhuman strength (which Romney lacks) or buckets of cash (which Romney bathes in).

Either way it affirms the mental and strategic superiority of George Soros who is capable of upending his enemies anytime he wants. Other political players could learn from this example. Nancy Pelosi, for instance, could doom the career of any Republican she chooses by simply endorsing them. And if President Obama were to come out against raising taxes for the rich, there would be a GOP drafted bill to do just that on his desk by the next morning.

Retch Against the Machine: Sarah Palin vs. Stalinist Cannibals

Now you’ve done it. Yeah you, you Republican presidential primary contenders. You’ve gone and made Sarah Palin mad. This is a day you will live to regret. After all, Palin is still the leader of a fearsome army of Facebook fanatics that worship her despite the fact that she hasn’t done a damn thing since she lost the campaign in 2008 and quit her job as governor half way through. That’s over three years as a professional slacker, leeching off of her PAC contributors and phoning in her insipid commentaries to Fox News.

Palin’s latest Facebook harangue is aimed squarely at her fellow Republicans vying for the GOP nomination. And she doesn’t like what she’s seeing. The tirade titled “Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left,” commences with a blistering assault on the lack of civility that she has always cherished:

“We have witnessed something very disturbing this week. The Republican establishment which fought Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and which continues to fight the grassroots Tea Party movement today has adopted the tactics of the left in using the media and the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent.”

Yes, the Rogue Warrior is not about to sit still for the Republican establishment, which embraced the Tea Party so tightly, and has elevated Reagan to sainthood, as they sink down to the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent. The woman who charged that her opponent was “pallin’ around with terrorists” would never behave so abysmally.

Palin invokes the sacred creed of Reagan’s “11th Commandment” which deemed that Republicans never speak ill of other Republicans. To sane outsiders that always seemed to be a call for self-censorship, but to GOP partisans it was simply an edict to coordinate their propaganda and speak with one robotically undifferentiated voice. While Palin says that she has “no problem with the routine rough and tumble of a heated campaign,” she never explains how to tumble roughly in a campaign limited to reciprocal pleasantries.

Palin further asserts that she has never before seen the equivalent of this past week’s political brawl in a GOP primary race. For a woman who could not answer a question about what she reads, I suppose we can forgive her for not knowing about some famous incidents in the not-to-distant past. For instance when George H. W. Bush called Reagan’s economic plan “voodoo economics.” Or when his son George W. Bush spread rumors that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child. Or when McCain likened Mitt Romney’s position on waterboarding to Pol Pot’s. Palin even resorts to the sort of incivility about which she is complaining in this Facebook post:

“What we saw with this ridiculous opposition dump on Newt was nothing short of Stalin-esque rewriting of history. It was Alinsky tactics at their worst.”

Stalin-esque? Palin is comparing Republican criticisms of Gingrich to a brutal dictatorship that was responsible for the deaths of millions of its own people. And she wants to lecture others about the politics of personal destruction? Then she throws in an Alinsky reference for good measure even though there is nothing in her remarks that is associated with any “tactic” advocated by Alinsky. Right-wingers just like to say his name every few minutes. Following that they like to pretend that they are anti-establishment crusaders. Palin asserts that…

“…this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party.”

The poor pitiful Tea Party is being persecuted by the big, bad GOP establishment. You know, the one that created it, funded it, and pandered to it during the last election cycle. And it’s now up to Palin to defend the Tea Partiers who are nothing more than a widely disliked, far right faction of her own party. She expanded on that whining in an appearance on the Tea Party Network (aka Fox News) where she inexplicably connected herself to the leftist punk rock band Rage Against the Machine. And her manner of raging means “vote for Gingrich.” The former members of Rage are surely retching upon hearing this.

Fox Nation

But Mama Grizzly isn’t through yet…

“[T]rust me, during the general election, Governor Romney’s statements and record in the private sector will be relentlessly parsed over by the opposition in excruciating detail to frighten off swing voters. This is why we need a fair primary that is not prematurely cut short by the GOP establishment using Alinsky tactics to kneecap Governor Romney’s chief rival.”

There’s Alinsky again. But more to the point, Palin is at once advocating prolonging the primary contest so that Romney’s record can be picked apart by Republican rivals, while lambasting the party for “crucifying” Gingrich. She really needs to pick an argument and stick to it. But the best part of Palin’s Facebook frenzy comes at the close:

“We will not save our country by becoming like the left. And I question whether the GOP establishment would ever employ the same harsh tactics they used on Newt against Obama. I didn’t see it in 2008.”

If she didn’t see it 2008 it was because she was blinded by the right. Her campaign was amongst the harshest purveyors of attacks on Obama that ran the gamut of absurd allegations casting him as a communist, a Muslim, a Kenyan, and more. But now she questions whether the GOP establishment would ever employ such harsh tactics against Obama. Furthermore, she resorts to portraying Romney as the establishment’s favorite son and even uses the phrase “chosen one.” Hmm, where have we heard that before?

Finally, in this Facebook offensive Palin helpfully admits that Fox News is not the fair and balanced news enterprise it pretends to be. She reminisces wistfully about “a time when conservatives didn’t have Fox News.” I wonder if her boss, Roger Ailes, minds that she is spilling her guts about the intentional bias of the network that employs her. And I wonder if he minds that she is bashing the party that the network was created to promote.

Endorsement News: Herman Cain And Jon Voight Declare

The shape of the Republican campaign is getting more abstract by the day.

At a Newt Gingrich rally today in Florida, Herman Cain popped in to announce that he was “officially and enthusiastically” endorsing the former House Speaker. This was an entirely predictable event. Who else would Cain, a serial sexual harasser, endorse other than Gingrich, a serial philanderer? If Gingrich gets the nomination he could pick Cain as his running mate and be the misogynistic ticket. The Cain endorsement also produced one of the best headlines of the season in the Los Angeles Times: “Cain endorsement could boost Gingrich campaign.” Yeah, right. Gingrich said in a statement. “I’m honored to have Herman’s support, and I look forward to working with him to help put the American people back to work…” …delivering pizzas. In order to pledge his support for Gingrich, Cain must be revoking the endorsement he gave previously. He must no longer be in favor of “The People.”

Elsewhere, Angelina Jolie’s estranged and disturbed Tea Partying father, Jon Voight, gave his support to Mitt Romney. Voight praised Romney as “strong, honest and wants to bring the country back to its exceptional place where we have been for hundreds of hundreds of years, until President Obama decided to follow his father’s footsteps and take us to socialism.” Romney was actually on the stage with Voight as he delivered that lunatic screed that managed to lie about Obama and insult his dead father whom he never knew. That’s just what Romney’s campaign needs: more Glenn Beck inspired dementia to pull in the Tea Party crowd that isn’t yet convinced by Cain’s endorsement of Gingrich.

This is just too much fun, and we haven’t even gotten started yet.

The New GOP Base: Rich, Philandering, Terrorist Symps

This election, like any election, is a contest of persuading targeted blocks of voters to support your candidacy. It’s a deceptively complex game of identifying groups of people with characteristics that are in harmony with the theme of your campaign and getting them to the polls.

Democrats typically solicit union members, middle-income families, senior citizens, and minorities, and attempt to cobble together a coalition. Republicans have been known to make appeals to business people, the white working class, and evangelicals. But this year there is something happening that is curious and perverse. This new development is observable in a couple of recent comments by GOP leaders and media.

Newt Gingrich, in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, was asked about his his multiple affairs and marriages. He responded with a rather unique justification for why behaving like a rutting pig would make him a better candidate:

“It may make me more normal than somebody who wanders around seeming perfect and maybe not understanding the human condition and challenges of life for normal people.”

Apparently Gingrich thinks that cheating on your wife, and/or wives, is “normal” and humanizing. He actually believes that his moral indecencies make him a superior candidate. And conversely, that marital fidelity exposes one’s arrogance as attempting to pass off a facade of phony perfection. By Gingrich’s ethical standards Romney would be wise to shag a BYU cheerleader if he really wants to connect with America and win the presidency.

Another peculiar comment came from Sen. Jim DeMint (Tea Party, SC). He spoke with Neil Cavuto on Fox News in response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech and the issue of tax fairness and whether the wealthy are paying their fair share:

“Well, Neil, we’ve got a challenge in America because about half the country is getting something from government, and that message is going to appeal to them. Republicans have got to appeal to the half of Americans who are paying income taxes, who are working and know better. And it’s not a matter of kind of watering down our message to appeal to those who want more from government, we’ve got to unite that part of America that understands what makes us great. It’s not going to be easy, because it sounds good to say: Let’s tax the rich.”

DeMint is suggesting that the GOP disregard the portion of the electorate that he says are not paying taxes. First of all, he is regurgitating a false argument that people who do not pay federal income taxes are not paying any taxes at all. They do, of course, pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, and state and local taxes, in amounts that raise their effective tax rates to levels comparable to the national averages. But more importantly, the “half of Americans” that DeMint is writing off are, by and large, senior citizens, students, and the working poor, because that is who generally qualify for exemptions from federal income taxes. Perhaps he’d like to tax them more to make up for the tax cuts he has given to his rich pals.

Finally, Fox News chimed in with a segment on their business network. Regular contributor Liz Trotta was called upon to offer her impressions of the State of the Union speech. What struck her was the news released after the speech about the rescue of an American held hostage by Somali pirates:

“How many times is he going to use Seal Team 6 to get out of trouble?” […] “They are becoming political operatives. I don’t trust this guy at all.”

Seriously? Trotta is appalled that the President is sending elite commando squads to save the lives of American citizens. She is implying that it would have been better if the hostages had been left to rot in the pirates’ lair. And if her indifference to the suffering of the victims weren’t bad enough, she goes on to insult the heroes who risked their lives, freed the captives, and dispensed with the terrorists.

So yesterday was a day that saw the Republican Party cast aside vast amounts of voters who are average citizens and retirees. They rejected voters who dare to be faithful to their spouses. And they insulted heroic soldiers and the patriots who support them. Consequently, it appears that the GOP has staked out a claim for the upper-class, philandering, terrorist sympathizer vote. That’s a unique campaign strategy, to say the least. And if that’s the case, I say let them have it, and good luck in November.

Wall Street Journal On The GOP: If They Don’t Want To Lose, They Shouldn’t Run With Losers

Bret Stephens, the deputy editorial page editor for the Wall Street Journal, published an article this morning that begins…

“Let’s just say right now what voters will be saying in November, once Barack Obama has been re-elected: Republicans deserve to lose.

The column is an indictment of the whole Republican field, but with an emphasis on Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Stephens is no fan of President Obama either. He leads off with a litany of laments having to do with things that Stephens says don’t matter, but conveniently leaves out any of the administration’s accomplishments. And it all leads up to this…

“Above all, it doesn’t matter that Americans are generally eager to send Mr. Obama packing. All they need is to be reasonably sure that the alternative won’t be another fiasco. But they can’t be reasonably sure, so it’s going to be four more years of the disappointment you already know.”

Stephens goes on to compare the GOP field to a “terminal diagnosis” and says that neither Romney nor Gingrich are fit to be a serious Republican nominee. Then he turns his animus to Republicans who declined to enter the race (Daniels, Ryan, Christie, etc.) and blames them for the loss looming in November. It’s a loss that Stephens regards as inevitable. And he is crystal clear as to what he believes is the reason that Obama is certain to be reelected:

“…the U.S. will surely survive four more years. Who knows? By then maybe Republicans will have figured out that if they don’t want to lose, they shouldn’t run with losers.”

That is uncannily close to my own analysis of the GOP race. However, I’m not a deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal. Conservatives of all stripes are bemoaning their presidential slate this year. They know that Romney is a poor representative in an election year where the wealthy 1% are considered aloof and out of touch. And Gingrich is regarded as toxic to Republican’s hopes for both the White House and their hold on the House of Representatives.

You know it may be time to pack it in when Rupert Murdoch has come out against both GOP campaign leaders:

Uh oh. Who does that leave for Murdoch to support? Santorum? Paul? Obama? Or are we headed for a brokered convention? That would be sweet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Laugh-Track Republicans Need Debate Audience To Tell Them What To Think

The Republican Party has made a pariah of Hollywood, which they regard as a bastion of liberal propagandists bent on manipulating public opinion. But after the reaction to last night’s debate in Tampa, Florida, it is apparent that it is the GOP that is wedded to Tinseltown’s tactics.

Commonly known as “laugh-tracks,” the procedure used to “sweeten” the audio of television productions has conditioned audiences to rely on the cues they receive from other audience members. These emotional prompts serve to make certain the audience gets the intended message. And now the long-term effect of this technique has resulted in Republican debate audiences becoming dependent on such cues to inform them of what their own own reactions ought to be to candidates’ remarks. Absent these signals they become lost and don’t know what they are supposed to think. And this morning they are very upset about that.

As evidence of this, note some of the Twitter responses from Republican partisans to NBC’s request that the audience in Tampa refrain from interrupting the candidates with demonstrations of approval or disapproval:

Rich Lowry: if the SC debates had been like this (dull, no audience reaction), gingrich wouldnt have the SC primary

Adam Perine: wow the audience is really missing in this debate… Hurts Newt… probably intentional by NBC #FIDebate

S. E. Cupp: Wow, way to suck the air out of the room, NBC. #NoApplauseIsNoFun

Gateway Pundit: Taking the crowd out of the debate hurts Newt. Brilliant move NBC. Look for this technique in the fall. #FLDebate

Without question, most of the GOP debates thus far have allowed a raucous environment that encouraged the candidates to pander to the crowd, as opposed to articulating more substantive positions. As a result there were some notorious moments that are remembered more for their insight into the character of the GOP audience than the character of the candidates. For instance:

  • The audience gleefully cheered the mention of Rick Perry’s record-breaking number of executions.
  • The audience booed an American soldier on duty in Iraq when he asked a question about gays in the military.
  • The audience applauded when Ron Paul answered that he was content to let an ailing man die because he had no health insurance.
  • The audience went wild when Newt Gingrich evaded a question about his ex-wife’s allegations of adultery and open marriage, and instead attacked the moderator for asking the question.

Newt Gingrich has been the most aggressively solicitous candidate in the GOP field. He is adept at stirring up an audience, and he feeds off of the reactions he incites. Consequently, he is the most concerned about any effort to mute audience response. On Fox & Friends this morning, Gingrich was asked about this by host Gretchen Carlson:

Carlson: What was your reaction to last night’s debate? The audience was taken out of it and up until this point, the audience has been your fan.

Gingrich: I wish in retrospect I’d protested because Brian Williams took them out of it. I think it’s wrong. And I think he took them out of it because the media’s terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they’ve done in every debate. And we’re gonna serve notice on future debates, we’re not going to allow that to happen. That’s wrong.

The fact that Gingrich sees the Republican primary debates as a contest between the candidates and the media, rather than the candidates themselves, is telling. The media is an easy target as it has an approval rating with the American people that is almost as low as the congress from which Gingrich emerged. No wonder he would rather debate the media than his GOP opponents. Gingrich is, in effect, admitting that he wants to use the debate audience as a weapon to advance his candidacy.

It will be interesting to see if Gingrich is successful in getting the debate sponsors to comply with his self-serving demand. Needless to say, it would be utterly irresponsible for the press to buckle under to such bullying tactics. There may be reasons, pro and con, for permitting the audience to be openly demonstrative, but it should always be a decision based on journalistic principles, not candidate preferences.

What’s more, the press should not be taking sides in the debate over whether debate audiences should be heard. But, of course, Fox News has already done just that. They have already published at least two stories that slant in favor of Gingrich’s position.

Fox Nation - NBC Debate

As an aside, audience response is also a factor during State of the Union addresses. One of the most annoying parts of these affairs is the constant interruptions and fidgeting by members of congress that can’t stay in their seats for more than two minutes. I wish that Brian Williams could drop by and tell them to sit still and listen respectfully until the speech tonight is completed.

[Update] Mitt Romney appeared on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning and affirmed my point about the media being an easy target and Gingrich’s exploitation of that fact:

“It’s very easy to talk down a moderator. The moderator asks a question and then has to sit by and take whatever you send to them. And Speaker Gingrich has been wonderful at attacking the moderators and attacking the media. That’s always a very favorite response for the home crowd. But it’s very different to have candidates going against candidates, and that’s something I’ll be doing going against President Obama if I get the chance to be our nominee.”

Fox News Adopts Newt Gingrich’s Alinsky Rhetoric

At today’s White House press briefing a question was asked that illustrates the press corps’ dedication to the news that America cares about most:

Fox Nation - Alinsky

The question that pushed this item to the top of Fox Nation was asked by none other than Fox News White House correspondent, Ed Henry. So what we have here is a Fox News reporter being featured on a Fox News web site for asking an ignorant question that nobody cares about. Here is the actual transcript:

Henry: I wonder if you could clear something up. Newt Gingrich keeps saying on the campaign trail that the President’s vision comes from Saul Alinsky, the community organizer. I haven’t heard you asked about that but I was wondering … Is there some kind of portrait of him in the White House that people look up to or is this BS?

Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary: Have I said how much fun I had as a reporter covering Congress from 1996 to 1998? There was a certain bombast to it at the time. A lot of colorful things to cover.

The President’s background as a community organizer is well documented in the President’s own books. His experience in that field obviously contributed to who he is today. But his experience is a broad-based one that includes a lot of other areas in his life. So I’ll just leave it at that.

Perhaps the reason that Henry has not heard Carney asked about an Alinsky portrait in the White House is that no one else would ask such a stupid question. This is an obvious attempt to legitimize the wing-nut rhetoric of Newt Gingrich (which he picked up from Glenn Beck). Gingrich has taken to disparaging President Obama as a European socialist and Alinsky radical in order to suck up to the Tea Party dimwits who are still suffering withdrawal symptoms since Beck was booted off of Fox News.

In fact, it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between Gingrich and Beck. A couple of years ago Gingrich was pontificating on Obama as a “Kenyan anti-colonialist” who only became president as the result of “a wonderful con.” And he featured the same subject matter in his South Carolina victory speech. Not that Romney is any better. In a 2008 campaign ad he actually preceded Beck’s insane fear-mongering of an Islamic caliphate bent on taking over the world.

The GOP candidates are desperately trying to leapfrog each other to see who can spew the most ludicrous right-wingisms, and Fox News is valiantly stepping forward to prop up their lunatic pandering. Too bad Fox can’t even accomplish that act without misspelling the name of their designated demon (Alinksky?). And their transcript of the exchange between Henry and Carney erroneously quoted Carney as saying “[Obama]’s experiences abroad also included alot of other areas in his life.” What Carney actually said was that “[Obama]’s experience is a broad-based one that includes a lot of other areas in his life.” I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Fox’s mistaken version fits nicely into the Birther fantasy that Obama is a foreigner.

The more Fox News and their inbred candidates focus on irrelevancies like Alinsky, the more cheering can heard from the White House. Not because they have succeeded in concealing from the nation their secret plot to invoke Sharia law, but because they know that the American people are more concerned about jobs, income inequality, and the sort of real national security that brought about the demise of Osama Bin Laden and an end to the war in Iraq. Most Americans have no idea who Saul Alinsky is, nor could they define socialism (much less Kenyan anti-colonialism). So if these are the themes of the Republican campaign in 2012, the Democrats can rest easy as they cruise to a landslide victory in November.