It’s official: Bye bye, Newt Gingrich – hello, Mitt Romney

The Gingrich campaign took its last gasp today – and a Romney endorsement is most likely forthcoming:

Newt Gingrich officially suspended his GOP presidential campaign Wednesday – though it was more like another episode in the long goodbye that started weeks ago.

“It has been an amazing year for me and Callista,” Gingrich, the former House speaker, said at a Hilton Hotel in northern Virginia. “Today, I am suspending the campaign, but suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship. Callista and I are committed to be active citizens. We owe it to America.”
Delivering a roughly 20-minute address, Gingrich vowed to, with his wife, remain “active citizens,” as he looked back on the primary campaign and looked ahead to what challenges remain in America.

But he also declined to endorse Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination — meaning another announcement could still be on the way and potentially giving Gingrich another chance to deliver one of the extended monologues he is known for.

Even so, Gingrich has slowly slipped away from the limelight in the Republican race.
The campaign suggested in March that Gingrich might quit should he fail to win Mississippi or Alabama, but the campaign limped on. Aides then revealed last week that the candidate would be calling it quits – but pushed off the day of the announcement itself until Tuesday, then delayed that announcement until Wednesday afternoon.

Despite not endorsing Romney, Gingrich did make clear that his doubts during the primary campaign about Romney’s conservatism are dwarfed by his concerns about President Obama winning another term.
“This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan – this is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in American history,” Gingrich said.

Well, Mitt Romney was not my first, second, or even third choice. Perry was my original choice, then Newt, and now … well, we have Romney. Not ideal for me by a long shot, but as the old saying goes, we have to go to war with the army we have. I won’t be viscerally pro-Romney because I’m not, but I will always be staunchly anti-Obama. Time to put the shoulder pads and helmets on and get to work, peeps.

Are you with me?

Donald Trump to endorse Newt Gingrich?

Confirmed: The silly season really IS upon us!

Oh well – at least this means Trump will stop talking the silly talk about possibly throwing his hat into the ring as an “Independent.”

Next?

Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich

Donald Trump smiles at left as Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talks to media after their meeting in New York, Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. Photo: - Seth Wenig/AP

Florida GOP Primary Open Thread (UPDATED: ROMNEY WINS)

The polls close in most places in Florida now – in the panhandle they’ll close at 8 Eastern.

Political pundits are predicting a “big” Romney win in FL.  I haven’t been following the polling numbers  closely, but apparently there’s been a double digit shift to Romney in the last week.   Here’s Drudge’s headline:

 

SOURCES: NETS TO CALL ROMNEY WINNER AT 8 PM ET; NEARING MAJORITY OF VOTES

This perhaps will be the most interesting primary yet, considering Florida’s primaries – unlike the previous three this year – are “closed” which means that only Republicans can vote in the Republican primary (same same for Dems, obviously).

Please use this thread to post your thoughts on tonight’s primary results, and on the overall state of the GOP race.

Let me just state for the record that a year ago I did not imagine – couldn’t imagine – that we’d be sitting here with Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney being the frontrunners for the nomination. How on earth did we get to this point??

You can watch the results as they come in here.

Update – 8:10 PM: As predicted, Romney has won the Florida primary – pretty handily, in fact (results are still coming in – the gap may narrow a bit).  Will be interesting to see how many pundits keep saying that a Mitt win means it’s “over” for Newt when just a week or more ago they were talking about how Romney had suffered a “huge setback” in SC …

Memo to the GOP Establishment: STOP trying to manipulate conservative voters (UPDATED)

Most people who know me understand that I rarely ever use the terms “RINO” and “establishment” seriously.  And in the instances I do, it’s usually sarcastically to make fun of someone one who has mistakenly interpreted my disagreement with other conservatives as a sign of my alleged “RINO” tendencies.   The terms “RINO” and “establishment” have both, sadly, become the GOP’s version of the left’s “racism” cry – that is to say that I believe the terms have become meaningless because, like the left with the word “racism”, many on the right accuse someone of being a “RINO” or part of the “establishment” over simple disagreements that usually rise no where close to the level of someone being a “RINO” or “establishment” type.   As an example, I was frequently called a “RINO” during the immigration debates during the Bush era because I was more in the middle on the issue than most conservatives were.

Yeah, ME – a RINO.  Hopefully for most of you, it doesn’t even compute that I could possibly be an ACTUAL RINO. If it does, you clearly haven’t been reading me long enough. Get glasses or something. ;)

In any event, in this instance, I’m using the word “establishment” to mean exactly what I understand it to mean: old guard, Beltway-type politicos who have forgotten why they got started in politics in the first place who have gotten used to their positions of power, privilege, wealth, influence and the perks of political office, who don’t want to see the apple cart rocked – and who will fight anything and anyone who seeks to change the rules of the game … by any means necessary  I’ve never for a second believed their wasn’t an “establishment” in existence –  but I often got tired of seeing people so frequently misuse the term, especially those who blamed “the establishment” for things problems they had little to nothing to do with.

A couple of days ago I posted my commentary alongside a pretty scathing piece about Newt Gingrich’s time in Congress during the Reagan years that was written by Reagan’s assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams.  In the piece, Abrams painted a picture of Newt that was not flattering nor complimentary and made Gingrich appear to be someone who was anti-Reagan’s bold plan to defeat Communism – a plan we know was immensely successful.  In fact, it made Newt Gingrich hardly look like the Reagan Republican he makes makes himself out to be.   Later in my blog post, I noted in an update that another Reagan-era official, Jeff Lord, had written a piece in the American Spectator arguing that Gingrich was in fact a Reagan Republican – but it was a piece that didn’t persuade me much at all to his point.  All that I could see and hear in my mind was Newt Gingrich blasting one of the greatest Presidents we’ve ever had about how what he was doing was going to ultimately fail – and doing so at a time when Democrats in Congress were turning up the heat on Reagan’s plan to defeat Communism as well.

Since that time, Lord has been one of a few people who have responded forcefully to Abrams recollection of events during the time Newt served in Congress during Reagan’s two terms in the WH and it’s become pretty clear to me that Abrams piece was a snow job on Gingrich that took quotes out of context.   I’m still not comfortable with how Newt expressed that disagreement, but at least now I – and others – know that the context was a lot different than Abrams presented it.  Lord wrote today:

Due to the diligence of one Chris Scheve of a group called Aqua Terra Strategies in Washington, Mr. Abrams has been caught red-handed in lending himself to this attempted Romney hit job.

Mr. Scheve, you see, is himself a former foreign policy aide to none other than Speaker Newt Gingrich in his days as Speaker. While now out on his own and not working for Gingrich, Scheve is considerably conversant with the Gingrich foreign policy record.

Uh-oh.

That’s right. Mr. Scheve, incensed at what he felt was a deliberate misrepresentation of his old boss by Abrams and the Romney forces, specifically of Gingrich’s long ago March 21, 1986 “Special Order” speech on the floor of the House, and aware “that most of [Abrams’] comments had to have been selectively taken from the special order” — Scheve started digging. Since the Congressional Record for 1986 was difficult to obtain electronically, Scheve trekked to the George Mason Library to physically track down the March 21, 1986 edition of theCongressional Record. Locating it, copying and scanning, he was kind enough to send to me.

So now I’ve read the Gingrich speech that is the source of all the hoopla. All seven, fine print pages worth of it exactly as it appeared in its original form.

I can only say that what Elliott Abrams wrote in NRO about Newt Gingrich based on this long ago speech is not worthy of Elliott Abrams.

Specifically, Abrams implies that Newt Gingrich was spewing mindless vitriol about Reagan on the House floor. Not only not so, it was quite to the contrary. Of President Reagan, Gingrich says:

• “Let me be clear: I have the greatest respect for President Reagan. I think he personally understands the threat of communism.” Gingrich then goes on — at Newtonian length — praising Reagan for Reagan’s understanding of Lenin, Reagan’s understanding of the real “purposes of a Soviet dictatorship” and much more. He lists and applauds Reagan repeatedly for the President’s appreciation of “the threat in a more powerful Soviet empire” and the threats posed by Communist Cuba and Nicaragua. He ranks Reagan with the great cold war presidents in protecting freedom.

In short, time after time after, Newt Gingrich — true to form — is there on the floor of the House relentlessly praising and crediting Ronald Reagan. Is it any wonder that years later Nancy Reagan would speak so publicly and warmly about “Ronnie” passing the conservative torch to Newt? Is there any wonder that Michael Reagan has stepped into the middle of this current brawl to endorse Newt?

Not only has Abrams misrepresented (deliberately?) Newt Gingrich’s Reagan-era remarks, but a whole host of longtime GOP politicos like Tom DeLay and Bob Dole have come out of the woodwork to say Gingrich isn’t who we need, isn’t a Reagan conservative, yada yada.  The pile-on has come on rather, pardon the pun, fast and furious which almost makes me think it’s a coordinated attack by GOP power players who don’t want to see that apple cart tipped over and who – shockingly – apparently would rather see a snake in the grass like Mitt Romney, who has spent his every moment as a Republican apologizing for it, take on Barack Obama in the fall election instead of Newt Gingrich, someone whose conservative accomplishments during the Clinton years were and are legendary.

It boggles the mind, when you really, really think about it.

We’re at a time right now when a lot of Republicans are still trying to make up their minds about who they want to take on Obama, and the information flowing out there about the candidates is coming in rapid fire and, frankly, is hard to keep up with even for people who make their living writing and commenting on politics, let alone people who work 40+ hours a week who simply can’t keep up with it all – and who have precious little time to devote to fact checking, especially on PEOPLE THEY SHOULDN”T HAVE TO (hint: I’m looking at you, Elliott Abrams).   It’s expected that you can’t trust the mainstream media at all but especially this time of year, because their mission shifts from propping up Democrat politicos during non-election years to trying to keep them in office during election years (especially Presidential election years) by writing misleading piece after misleading piece about their GOP opposition (case in point).  And, yes, even though you’re not supposed to put your 100% trust in just anything written by Republicans and conservatives about politicos and policy you have reasonable expectations that what they say isn’t going to be almost 100% deliberately misleading and/or fact-free.  After all, we ALL as Republicans have the same goal and that is to have as our primary winner someone who has more often than not demonstrated conservative principles over the course of his or  her political life, right?

Wrong.

For whatever reason, establishment types like Abrams, Dole and others have decided that Newt Gingrich is too conservative for their tastes and they’ve put their money on Mitt Romney instead.    I have no idea what – if anything – they’ve been promised in return for their endorsements and hit pieces but whatever it is it’s a sell-out of the highest order that Reagan himself probably would have frowned on if he were alive and cognizant of what was going on today.  Though Reagan was a strong proponent of the 11th Commandment, that didn’t mean he wasn’t beyond taking his own side to task when he felt it was necessary – and at a time like this when the opportunity to defeat a radically far left President like Barack Obama has presented itself, he more than anyone else would be aware that it was time for “all hands on deck” and not a time to be playing around and misrepresenting the facts and lying about your Republican opponents.  Vigorous debate, yes, but misrepresentations and lies, no.

I still find Newt, like Mitt Romney, is a deeply flawed and untrustworthy candidate (most of what I wrote in this post still applies – he’s done a lot of questionable things the last 20 years that make me wonder about his conservatism and opportunistic side) and yes, he’s made some of the same unfair attacks on Romney that Romney has on him.  But Romney wrote the book on slandering opponents and I don’t anticipate Gingrich coming anywhere near that level in his campaign.  I’m satisfied thanks to what Lord and his ilk wrote in defense of Gingrich and his relationship with Reagan in the 80s.  At least on that issue, Newt’s not being dishonest.  His opposition most certainly is, and on an issue that is very near and dear to every conservative: Reagan conservatism.

Related to all this, ST reader Great White Rat wrote a comment yesterday that I think is worth repeating on the issue of Reagan and our current crop of candidates:

Look, the fact is, Reagan is NOT running, and NONE of the candidates measure up to his legacy. Out of the candidates left, I’d prefer whichever one has the strongest track record of holding to, and fighting for, conservative principles of smaller government, and a robust capitalist economy. Romney is probably very good on the second, but he’s by far the worst of the lot on the first.

I’ve also seen another good point made by others that not even Reagan himself could measure up to the legacy many of us have built up of him in our minds.  So while it’s ok to be nostalgic about Ronaldus Maximus and hope that candidates of the future share his love of country and passion for conservative ideals, perhaps now is as good a time as any to stop comparing our current candidates and any future candidates who run to him and focus instead on who they are and where they stand – even though so many of them will try to claim the Reagan mantle themselves, as we’ve seen happen so often.

As for GOP establishment politicos like Abrams, to see what they’re doing this week in an effort to put Romney over the top is deeply disappointing and in some ways disgusting, considering – again – the man has been an apologetic Republican practically his whole political life, something no one can say about Newt Gingrich.  Now more than ever we need someone who can give conservatism a foothold in the White House again at a time when socialistic left wing policies are becoming the norm.   Unfortunately, though, many establishment politicos have drawn their line in the sand and expect conservative Republican voters just to fall in line with them as they have so often in the past.   These people clearly don’t understand that the more they argue in favor of Mitt Romney, the more conservatives will push back against him and them – so in effect, the Abrams and Doles of this country are effectively doing what Newt has had trouble (up until recently) doing: getting conservatives to support the Gingrich candidacy.

And on that note, Newt gets my official endorsement at this stage of the game – for better/for worse (for what it’s worth – which is not much).  I will NOT pull the lever for Mitt Romney unless I absolutely have to – which means only if he wins the primaries.  The thought of him being President makes my stomach queasy, but the thought of Obama winning another term frightens the hell out of me and I will use whatever little influence I have to try and make sure that doesn’t happen.  That doesn’t mean I’ll be a shill for my candidate, but it does mean I won’t be so quick anymore to believe what I read about my candidate and even his opposition from GOPers who should damn well know better.

Update – 6:14 PM:  Sarah Palin takes on the establishment GOP here.

Newt a “Reagan conservative”? Not so fast (UPDATED)

Was just on Twitter a few minutes ago and clicked on a link that my co-blogger Phineas Tweeted, which talked about how Newt Gingrich, who has claimed the mantle of “Reagan conservative” perhaps more so than any other GOP presidential contender this election cycle, was in fact not someone who always stood shoulder to shoulder with Ronald Reagan on key issues of the time – especially on Reagan’s signature accomplishment: his brilliant strategy for bringing down the Communist Russian empire.

This may not be a big deal to some of you, but it should be because, as part of the vetting process we’re all engaged in right now, it represents yet another example of a Newt’s near-pathological habit of misrepresenting himself and where he has stood on the issues – and with whom he has stood. For all of his notable accomplishments during the Clinton years, like welfare reform and a balanced budget, there is also a side of Newt that some of us are rediscovering: The shamelessly opportunistic side that sees him saying what he knows conservatives want to hear when it benefits him either politically, professionally … or both, regardless of whether or not it’s the truth. And while it’s accurate to note that most politicians have this unfortunate characteristic in common, Newt Gingrich could patent his ability to persuade skeptics to his side just by the power and conviction of what he says and how he says it. This is unlike Mitt Romney who, while being a serial flip-flopper when it suits him – and who you can see through like a cheaply made suit, wasn’t blessed with the gift of being able to tame the “beast” known as “the base.” (It’s true; Romney’s not winning the conservative base right now – it’s more “moderate” Republicans who have kept him in the race.)

The referenced piece was written by Elliott Abrams, who was an assistant Secretary of State during the Reagan years. Here’s what he had to say:

The claims are misleading at best. As a new member of Congress in the Reagan years — and I was an assistant secretary of state — Mr. Gingrich voted with the president regularly, but equally often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides, and his policies to defeat Communism. Gingrich was voluble and certain in predicting that Reagan’s policies would fail, and in all of this he was dead wrong.

The fights over Reagan’s efforts to stop Soviet expansionism in the Third World were exceptionally bitter. The battlegrounds ranged from Angola and Grenada to Afghanistan and Central America. Reagan’s top team — William Casey at CIA, Cap Weinberger at DOD, and George Shultz at State — understood as he did that if Soviet expansionism could be dealt some tough blows, not only the Soviet empire but the USSR itself would face a political, technological, and financial challenge it could not meet. Few officials besides Ronald Reagan predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union entirely, but every one of us in positions of authority understood the importance of this struggle.

But the most bitter battleground was often in Congress. Here at home, we faced vicious criticism from leading Democrats — Ted Kennedy, Christopher Dodd, Jim Wright, Tip O’Neill, and many more — who used every trick in the book to stop Reagan by denying authorities and funds to these efforts. On whom did we rely up on Capitol Hill? There were many stalwarts: Henry Hyde, elected in 1974; Dick Cheney, elected in 1978, the same year as Gingrich; Dan Burton and Connie Mack, elected in 1982; and Tom DeLay, elected in 1984, were among the leaders.

But not Newt Gingrich. He voted with the caucus, but his words should be remembered, for at the height of the bitter struggle with the Democratic leadership Gingrich chose to attack . . . Reagan.

The best examples come from a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986. This was right in the middle of the fight over funding for the Nicaraguan contras; the money had been cut off by Congress in 1985, though Reagan got $100 million for this cause in 1986. Here is Gingrich: “Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.” Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.” But of course “the burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan.” Our efforts against the Communists in the Third World were “pathetically incompetent,” so those anti-Communist members of Congress who questioned the $100 million Reagan sought for the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels “are fundamentally right.” Such was Gingrich’s faith in President Reagan that in 1985, he called Reagan’s meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.”

Gingrich scorned Reagan’s speeches, which moved a party and then a nation, because “the president of the United States cannot discipline himself to use the correct language.” In Afghanistan, Reagan’s policy was marked by “impotence [and] incompetence.” Thus Gingrich concluded as he surveyed five years of Reagan in power that “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.” Reagan did not know what he was doing, and “it is precisely at the vision and strategy levels that the Soviet empire today is superior to the free world.”

There are two things to be said about these remarks. The first is that as a visionary, Gingrich does not have a very impressive record. The Soviet Union was beginning to collapse, just as Reagan had believed it must. The expansion of its empire had been thwarted. The policies Gingrich thought so weak and indeed “pathetic” worked, and Ronald Reagan turned out to be a far better student of history and politics than Gingrich.

The second point to make is that Gingrich made these assaults on the Reagan administration just as Democratic attacks were heating up unmercifully. Far from becoming a reliable voice for Reagan policy and the struggle against the Soviets, Gingrich took on Reagan and his administration. It appears to be a habit: He did the same to George W. Bush when Bush was making the toughest and most controversial decision of his presidency — the surge in Iraq. Bush was opposed by many of the top generals, by some Republican leaders who feared the surge would hurt in the 2008 elections, and of course by a slew of Democrats and media commentators. Here again Gingrich provided no support for his party’s embattled president, testifying as a private citizen in 2007 that the strategy was “inadequate,” contained “breathtaking” gaps, lacked “synergism” (whatever that means), and was “very disappointing.” What did Gingrich propose? Among other things, a 50 percent increase in the budget of the State Department.

Now, before anyone says it, let me borrow a phrase from our celebrity President and make something very clear: The issue here isn’t that Newt Gingrich dared to disagree with and criticize Reagan. Far from it – fellow party members are allowed to and should disagree and express those disagreements in public if they find it so necessary (but hopefully they’ll do it without sounding like the opposition, though!). The issue here is Newt’s, to put it charitably, exaggerations when it comes to his “close” relationship with President Reagan. Gingrich d*mn well knows that the base of the Republican party has yearned for years for Reagan-like leadership, especially in the deeply troubling era of Obama/Pelosi/Reid, and he’s taken advantage of that desire by saying what he knows will go over well with staunch conservatives, and he’s hoping that no one will dig into the Wayback Machine to see if his words from then match his rhetoric from today.

On Reagan, it clearly does not.

Unfortunately, this is not just a one-time thing but a pattern of behavior with Newt Gingrich that is worrisome going into the primary season, which is now in full swing. He’s stood shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Nancy Pelosi and other liberal Democrats (including notorious race-hustler Al Sharpton) when it has suited him professionally. He’s stabbed hard-working GOP Congressmen like Paul Ryan in the back at a time when conservatives in the party could have used his [Newt’s] support. Most recently, his campaign ran a nasty ad in Florida which falsely accused Mitt Romney of being “anti-immigrant.” Haven’t we had enough race-baiting on this issue from the left without having to put up with it from the right, too? And don’t even get me started on Newt’s bizarre attacks against capitalism.

He’s also got some well-known personal failings, such as the issue of him cheating on his first two wives, that I could forgive him for if I felt he was sincere when he says he regrets his behavior – but when you couple that high level of dishonesty with his continued penchant for “cheating on the truth”, the willingness to move beyond the affairs diminishes. As I’ve said many times before: If you can’t be faithful to your spouse, why should I trust you to be faithful to America and the voters who put you in office?

A lot of us have latched onto to Newt Gingrich’s campaign more or less out of desperation; the GOP presidential field – once broad and promising even though flawed – has dwindled, and the thought of Mitt Romney being our nominee scares the hell out of us. Fortunately, not very many of us expect absolute perfection – such a thing doesn’t exist (and if you believe it does, I’m sorry to disappoint you). But the more you learn about Newt Gingrich, the more you realize that he’s not as different from Mitt Romney as he’s made himself out to be. In fact, in some ways Romney is more the “devil we know” than Newt Gingrich is. We know Romney is a moderate to progressive in Republican clothing, no matter what he says to the contrary. Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, can be as conservative as they come one minute, and the very next minute openly sides with Democrats over his own party … and then later hopes everyone forgets about it in the interest of “unity.” Gingrich has become highly unpredictable except when he’s being predictable – in front of conservative audiences whose votes he wants in the primaries.

Just words, just speeches? Yeah, we’ve been down this road before. Recently, in fact.

Both Romney and Gingrich have proven themselves to be profoundly dishonest people when it comes to their political history. At this point, all that’s left for us undecideds to do is to figure out who we distrust the least, who we hope has the best chance of defeating the man whose picture should be right next to the word “dishonest” in the dictionary: President Barack Obama.

The lesser of two evils curse strikes yet again.

Sigh. :-<

Update – 6:35 PM: Several Twitter readers have pointed me to this piece published today by Reagan WH political director Jeffrey Lord, describing Newt as one of Reagan’s “lieutenants.” I read the article in full but it’s failed to persuade me that Newt had the “close” relationship with Reagan he’s claimed to. Again, the deception is clear, regardless of whether or not Newt was willing to work with Reagan some of the time. BTW, this shouldn’t be mistaken as a call for blind loyalty, either. Just that the level of vitriol displayed by Gingrich at the time is a far cry from the loving way he describes Reagan today. A genuine reversal in opinion, political opportunism, or a little of both?

I report – you decide.

Newt’s South Carolina victory speech

**Posted by Phineas

Former Speaker Gingrich won a smashing victory in South Carolina, yesterday, shattering Mitt Romney’s aura of inevitability and, I think ending any idea that this is anything other than a two-man race between him and the former governor. (1)

So, I think it’s worthwhile to see how Newt acts in victory. The short version: I was impressed. He was gracious toward his opponents, seemed presidential, and was right on the money when attacking the Obama administration’s radical and stupid energy policies. But whether he can carry on a national campaign for the nomination with an organization best described as “bare bones” remains to be seen.

For now, at least, he’s a real contender. But I’ll shut up and let the man speak for himself:

Footnote:
(1) Harsh toward Paul and Santorum, but I think nonetheless true. And I really do feel sorry for former Senator Santorum; if the Iowa Republican Party had been at all competent at counting votes, who knows what difference this might have made for his fundraising and later efforts?

PS: Go, 49ers!

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Stuck On Stupid Watch: Rep. Jackson Lee says Newt using racist “code words”

Someone buy this woman a big giant CLUE. Please:

[CNN’s MARTIN BASHIR]: Let me play something that you said about the current GOP debate on the floor of the house on Wednesday. Just listen. I think what you said and what I was hoping to run is we find candidates like Newt Gingrich who simply want to throw fuel and matches on fire to develop sort of an explosiveness in this country that is unnecessary. To suggest that president Obama is the food stamp president has underlying suggestions. What did you mean by underlying suggestions?

LEE: These are code words. It’s inappropriate.

BASHIR: Did you mean racist?

LEE: Let me say that the code words, as far as I’m concerned words that generate and signify race. Comments made by someone other than the president when he was a candidate caused him to make a significant speech on race to say race is a factor in the United States, but I work and will represent all people. Here we have Newt Gingrich, taking the opposite road, if you will. It’s I will use race to divide. I will call the president the food stamp president not knowing that food stamps are utilized by our soldiers, utilized by Kau Kaig caucasians more than African- Americans. Telling the us a janitor who makes $37,000 would be in a better position to give his job up so that the children of the poor in New York, I think he used the example, the school district Latino and African-American can pick up a broom and work. We know those children should have an opportunity to be an astronaut, scientist. we’re not against work. these children want work. They are fighting for summer jobs. That’s a code word to, if you will, portray poor children and poor school districts that they have seen no one work legitimately. That they don’t have a work ethic and these janitors are overpaid unionized workers who don’t have family and not making $37,000 a year. I think Mr. Newt Gingrich should be ashamed of himself and we should not want to win at any cost. Let’s bring the country together. Let’s not destroy Mr. Obama. Let’s talk about helping the American people.

What a complete idiot! It’s a shame so many Democrats are not only stuck on stupid in this country, but they’re also stuck on race … and that only gets amplified in an election year, especially an election year where they are extraordinarily desperate. I think it says more about Jackson Lee and other Democrats that think “food stamps” is a “code word” for “racism” and “black people” than it does someone like Newt speaking with brutal honesty about the situation the nation’s poor – no matter their color – find themselves in today as a result of, in large part, decades of disastrous, devastating Democrat policies -including ones put forth by President Obama – that have kept generations poor people in the poorhouse.

BTW, Bashir – who is supposedly an “anchor” at MSNBC, really isn’t much better than Jackson Lee when it comes to beliefs about Newt Gingrich. The supposedly “non-partisan” journalist weighed in here on Gingrich’s epic takedown of CNN’s John King at last night’s debate, and – unsurprisingly – believes Newt is a “hypocrite” on “poisonous rhetoric” in politics.

Of course, he would never have thought to ask Jackson Lee about her own poisonous rhetoric, would he? Heavens, no. That doesn’t fit the “established narrative” about “racist” Republicans.

Move along here, nothing to see …

World Gone Mad: Romney sings Happy Birthday to Gov. Haley (VIDEO)

Fortunately, Nikki Haley doesn’t to worry about my vote since I’m not in her state –  at this point, my respect for her is dropping fast.  With that said, I have to wonder how South Carolina voters view this kind of sugary sweet suck-up BS?

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Mitt Romney added a festive air to an end-of-the-campaign rally today, singing Happy Birthday to one of his top backers: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Romney noted that it’s an especially big day for Haley: “She turns 40 years old.”

The Republican candidate also produced a cake for Haley and invited backers to partake after the rally.

Haley told the crowd: “All I want is President Romney for my birthday.”

Earlier, Haley told supporters to make sure they crank out the vote for Romney on Saturday, as he tries to fight off Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. Haley said the race is an important milestone in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.

“We’ve got to end this,” Haley said.

Here’s the video (CBS compared Romney’s singing voice with that of Obama’s):

(Obama wins that contest, IMO!)

Of course, Romney endorsed Haley in her 2010 bid for SC Governor, so no doubt she is returning the favor – but to the extent she’s doing so has got to rub a lot of loyal South Carolina Tea Party types the wrong way.

To make matters worse, Virginia Governor and GOP darling Bob McDonnell endorsed Romney also, saying:

“I’m a Southern governor endorsing Mitt Romney in the first Southern state primary,” McDonnell said on CNN’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”

“The governor of South Carolina has endorsed him as well. I think hopefully that will help him some. He’s the one that’s been consistent. Other candidates have been up and down. He is the consistent, results-oriented conservative who has the best record and the best message on jobs and on cutting spending,” McDonnell said.

“Consistent” and “conservative”?!?  Please don’t insult our collective intelligence, Governor.  As I said on Twitter, if a GOP politico wants to endorse Romney, fine – but for the love of all that is good and decent please do NOT go overboard because you risk losing a lot of credibility with many of the people who helped put you in office.

SC’s GOP primary is tomorrow.  The MSM has delighted in making this into a horse race.  The polls have tightened up between Newt and Mitt. The Powers That Be have predicted that most of Perry’s support will go to Newt and most of Huntsman’s support will go to Romney.  While both Huntsman and Perry polled in the single digits in SC, just one or two percentage points could make a big difference in this primary – much more than the few votes difference did in Iowa.

As they say: Stay tuned.  And don’t forget the nose plugs.

In which Newt eviscerates CNN’s John King

**Posted by Phineas

There’s no other way to describe it: John King, moderating last night’s debate in Charleston, SC, opened with a question about salacious allegations made by Gingrich’s second ex-wife. The former Speaker then gutted King and the MSM in front of the entire nation, calling them out for their biased coverage. It was a thing of beauty, an instant classic. The only thing missing was King falling to his knees in tears to beg for mercy.

Enjoy, my friends:

Now, I’m not much of a fan in Gingrich, though I admire his intellectual acuity; he has a lot of good ideas (and a lot of bad ones). But, were he to become the nominee, I would so look forward to the debates with Obama. The president would be reduced to a quivering mound of Jello.

And I’d need extra popcorn.

PS: Shoot. I screwed up the timing. It was supposed to be 8AM PST/11AM EST. Oh, well…

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Rick Perry drops out; I pout and move on

**Posted by Phineas

As I wrote on Twitter, I never get what I want.

From Legal Insurrection, Governor Rick Perry has ridden off into the sunset. The race is down to Romney and Gingrich (1), now.

While I’m disappointed, I can’t say I’m surprised; after starting with tremendous momentum, Perry blew it all in some terrible initial debate performances. And though he did much better in later debates, one only gets one chance to make a first impression, and he couldn’t overcome his. (In spite of having a tremendous video shop. Really, Newt or Mitt should hire these guys.) But this election is not only practical – fix the economy, stupid! — but ideological, a stark choice between American conservatism/classical liberalism and progressive statism. And Perry just couldn’t articulate the conservative case.

And while I’m not surprised, I can say I’m disappointed. Perry had far and away the best overall record of anyone running as well as the right governing philosophy. I’m still convinced that he’d make a great president, even if he isn’t a champion debater.

While 98% of the blame must rest with Governor Perry in this case, the debate process and the ridiculously outsized influence of two or three small states play are broken. The debates are too crowded, reducing the candidates to seeking soundbites and reciting slogans. (Newt being sometimes an exception.) And why in Heaven’s name they let liberal MSM figures moderate debates for conservative candidates, I’ll never know. The questions are designed to make the candidates look bad and they’re almost never on crucial issues (Really, how many times did Fast & Furious or the European debt crisis come up? *crickets*). The AEI debate was the only good one; coincidentally, that was moderated by conservatives.

And the influence of Iowa and New Hampshire? Gee, people in later states once again get to enjoy a meaningless choice on their primary ballot based on the results in a couple of states with electorates smaller than some congressional districts. The primary system is desperately in need of reform, and I suggest the RNC look carefully at alternatives, such as Jim Geraghty’s suggestion.

Ah well. No use crying over a spilled martini. Reports are that Governor Perry has endorsed Former Speaker Gingrich and will campaign for him, especially on 10th amendment issues:

I’m told reliably that Governor Perry will head up a 10th Amendment project for Speaker Gingrich to rally Governors and state legislators toward a plan of devolving power from Washington. This project will include helping shape the Republican platform for the general election, something small government conservatives have been concerned about.

Hopefully this will draw Newt more strongly to the federalist, limited-government side of the Force.

As it is, I can’t get excited about either Romney or Gingrich, each for different reasons. I’ll of course vote for whichever wins the nomination, because getting rid of Obama is the overriding priority. But, from now through November, I may concentrate my efforts on getting as conservative a congress as possible elected, to drag the new president in the Right direction. Sign me up for Operation Counterweight.

Footnote:
(1) Sorry, sweater-vest fans, I just don’t see Santorum going anywhere.

UPDATE: Here’s Governor Perry’s withdrawal speech. Very nice; he’s clearly a classy guy, in the most genuine sense. I wish more people had seen this part of him early on.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)