Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Isn't It Over Yet!

UPDATE XII:  He's not the best candidate or the most conservative candidate, but the Republi-cons now believe with some of their heart that, now more than ever, someone should run, and after checking if "anybody else jumping in, no, did you check, last chance, okay," the settle on Obamney.  Watch The Colbert Report, Settling for Mitt Romney:

UPDATE XI: Obamney "is ahead in the Republican delegate race. But what does he need to do to clinch the nomination? Use the interactive calculator below to determine how well Mr. Romney must do in order to get a majority of the delegates or to just prevent anyone else from getting a majority of delegates," at The New York Times, Romney’s Magic Numbers.

UPDATE X: When "asked on CNN whether he is concerned that Romney might be forced by his Republican opponents to take extreme positions during the primary that could alienate moderates in a race against President Barack Obama [Eric Fehrnstrom, a trusted Obamney advisor replied:]

"I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign, everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again."

Read the Washington Post, 'Etch a Sketch' comment creates new doubts about Romney.

"After talking to Satan about Rick Santorum, [WaPo] was lucky enough to secure an interview with an Etch a Sketch about Mitt Romney." Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney and the Etch a Sketch.

UPDATE IX: Jeb Bush is tired of the whole thing also. Read Read The New York Times, Jeb Bush Backs Romney and Urges End to G.O.P. Battle.

UPDATE VIII: So much for the hope of a brokered convention.

"Mitt Romney’s big victories in Illinois and Puerto Rico this week have expanded his lead over Rick Santorum by roughly 60 delegates, putting him ahead by 300 delegates over all.

Increasingly, the nomination race is entering an endgame stage in which it is less a two-man contest between Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum than one that pits Mr. Romney against himself. How certain is Mr. Romney to get the 1,144 delegates required to clinch the Republican nomination? And if he gets them, how soon will he do it?"

Read The New York Times, G.O.P. Nomination Becoming a One-Man Race.

UPDATE VII: "Whatever weaknesses people ascribe to Romney or Santorum as candidates, the Republican race is turning on the economic and religious divides in the GOP coalition. That’s why states like Illinois, Michigan and Ohio are difficult for Santorum and states like Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee were hard for Romney." Read the Washington Post, Santorum-Romney battle reveals stark divide in the GOP.

Read also, USA Today, Contention, confusion mar Missouri caucuses.

UPDATE VI: "Now that the Republican presidential field has been effectively whittled to two, each of the front-runners has laid out a detailed plan to beat the other.

This much is clear: Whoever wins is going to win ugly."

Read the Washington Post, Whether Romney or Santorum wins, the road to the nomination will be ugly.

UPDATE V: Obamney "is still the Republican front-runner by virtue of the delegates he relentlessly piles up. But [Obamney] keeps failing to bring this slugfest to a close. No matter how much he panders and grovels to the party’s right, its supporters will never see him as one of their own.

One senses that the conservative ultras are resigned to having to vote for [Obamney] in November against President Obama. They are determined not to vote for him twice, using the primaries to give voice to their hearts and their guts. They will keep signaling their refusal to surrender to the Romney [Obamney] with its torrent of nasty advertisements and its continuing education courses in delegate math designed to prove that resistance is futile.

The more they are told this, the more they want to resist. . .

But having decided to run, [Obamney] must wage a campaign of denial. He buries his old Massachusetts self and misleads about what he once believed. He even tries to run to Santorum’s right. Recently, he denounced Santorum for voting in favor of federal support for Planned Parenthood, a group to which [Obamney]’s family once made a donation. It is an unseemly spectacle.

Bush’s efforts to craft a 'compassionate conservatism' friendlier toward those in the political middle collapsed into ruins years ago. This year’s Republican candidates almost never speak Bush’s name. It is to Santorum’s discredit that he did not dare defend his perfectly defensible vote in favor of Bush’s No Child Left Behind education program. Santorum, too, fears the pitchforks wielded by those who see any exertion of federal authority as leading down a road to serfdom.

And so it is on to Illinois, the next place [Obamney] has to win to keep the resistance at bay."

Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney meets 'peasants with pitchforks'.

UPDATE IV: From the Washington Post, 5 lessons learned from the Alabama and Mississippi primaries:

“Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s dual wins in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday night hands his campaign some real momentum although he continues to fall further behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the race for delegates.

What did we learn — or, more accurately, re-learn — from the votes last night in the South as well as in Hawaii and American Samoa? The five biggest lessons from the votes are below. . .

1. It’s a two-man race . . .

2. The math is the math . . .

3. ...But perception matters . . .

4. Illinois=Battle Royale . . .

5. It’s a game of 'Survivor' now . . .

Santorum is already pointing to the March 24 Louisiana primary where he will now be heavily favored and, as we have written before, April looks to be Romney's best month yet in terms of the state’s set to vote. May holds good news for Santorum. June looks to be a good Romney month.

In short, the next three months could well amount to the equivalent of two boxers standing in the middle of the ring exchanging haymakers with neither man able to knock the other one down much less out. Both will have to weather bad patches in which a series of losses will force them to live off the political land for a time. Both will have streaks in which they appear to be unbeatable."

UPDATE III: What should The Great Lecherer do? He "lost the only chance he had at creating a rationale for his candidacy. [He] is a great rationalizer, so it will be interesting to see how he explains his current circumstances. Unless he admits he is staying in the race to help Romney, there is no point to his campaign."

Read the Washington Post, Is Mitt Romney still inevitable?

UPDATE II: "Once again, Americans are waking up to headlines about multiple primary-night victories for Rick Santorum over the man who is still widely considered to be the most likely Republican nominee this year, Mitt Romney.

But Mr. Santorum’s victories on Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi raise a pivotal question: Can he build on his night of triumph to emerge as a true alternative to Mr. Romney and a credible standard-bearer for his party, or will he remain just an obstacle for Mr. Romney to maneuver past on his inevitable path to the 2012 Republican presidential nomination?

The answer will in no small part depend on what Newt Gingrich does from here. Late Tuesday night, at least, Mr. Gingrich indicated he would not drop out, vowing to continue on “toward Tampa,” where the party will hold its convention in August. In that case, Mr. Santorum will continue to share the anti-Romney vote and see his chances dim that much more.

If Mr. Gingrich changes his mind in the light of day — or is marginalized in the remaining primaries by conservative voters who judge that their cause is better served by rallying around a single rival to Mr. Romney — Mr. Santorum will get the “two-man race” he says he can win.

Even then, his chances of stopping Mr. Romney could come down to difficult delegate math."

Read The New York Times, Road for Santorum Depends on the Next Move by Gingrich.

UPDATE: "Ever since he swept three contests on a single night in February, Rick Santorum has argued that the Republican presidential nomination battle is effectively a two-man race between himself and Mitt Romney. Tuesday’s primaries decisively turned that claim into reality. Now Santorum must prove that ideology can trump electability with GOP voters who are hungry to defeat President Obama in November.

Santorum’s victories in Alabama and Mississippi once again shook up the Republican contest, although they may not have fundamentally altered its trajectory. Even in losing the two primaries, Romney has still won more states and still holds a significant lead in the race for delegates.

But with former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) unable to win either state in his home region, Santorum clearly earned the opportunity to try to consolidate the party’s conservative base, which has been resistant to Romney’s candidacy. The former senator from Pennsylvania must now convince Republicans in other regions that his brand of conservatism would make him a stronger nominee against Obama.

Santorum will have three chances in the next week to demonstrate that he can win that argument and that he can defeat Romney. The most important will take place on Tuesday in Illinois. The primary there could become a rerun of the battles Romney and Santorum waged in Michigan and Ohio. Santorum fell just short in both. That makes Illinois pivotal to his hopes of overtaking his main rival.

Before that, caucuses will be held Saturday in Missouri, where the former senator won a beauty-contest primary last month. On Sunday, Puerto Rico will hold its primary. Santorum and Romney will both campaign there beforehand."

Read the Washington Post, Rick Santorum hoping ideology will trump electability.

It's all part of the Republi-CON civil war between the establishment and the angry base (AKA 'peasants with pitchforks').

"It’s hard to say who is going to win in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday night. Polls in these states have a poor track record, and they project a close race anyway, although Rick Santorum is somewhat off the lead lap in Mississippi.

But if the confusing polling situation makes pre-election analysis more challenging, it ought to make analysis easier after the fact. Tuesday night’s contests are mostly about who wins — and not who clears some arbitrary bar based on pre-election expectations.

There are six possible permutations of the winners in these states, assuming that we regard victories in Alabama or Mississippi as being interchangeable. We will consider each possibility briefly down below.

Permutation #1: Mitt Romney Wins Both States . . .

Permutation #2: Newt Gingrich Wins Both States . . .

Permutation #3: Rick Santorum Wins Both States . . .

Permutation #4: Romney and Gingrich Each Win a State . . .

Permutation #5: Romney and Santorum Each Win a State . . .

Permutation #6: Santorum and Gingrich Each Win a State . . ."

Read The New York Times, What’s at Stake in Alabama and Mississippi.

Which Poltical Party Maintains That a Health Care Responsibility Law Is Unconstitutional, But Torture Is Not

Can you say Republi-CONs.

To understand why, read the Washington Post, The Supreme Court vs. the Commerce Clause, which notes:

"Wickard v. Filburn is the case in which the federal government fined Roscoe Filburn for growing wheat in excess of the quotas set out in the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. They also forced him to destroy the excess wheat, even though he said it was only for personal use. The Supreme Court backed the government. Key quote:

    Even if appellee’s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as ‘direct’ or ‘indirect.’

This is, I think, the most honest way to present the argument. Based on existing precedent, the individual mandate is clearly constitutional. Free riders in the health insurance market clearly have 'a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.'"

The read The New York Times, Bush-Era Torture: A Dissenting View, which comments on a memo that Bush administration ignored, and later "tried to collect all the copies of [the] memo and destroy them":

"We know that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and their lieutenants did not like dissenting viewpoints. The justification for the invasion of Iraq depended on the muzzling of anyone who doubted the existence of weapons of mass destruction, and for the most part political appointees fell into line—Jack Goldsmith excepted.

Now there’s evidence that another important voice in the Bush administration resisted certain, shall we say, constitutional excesses. Philip Zelikow, a high-ranking State Department lawyer, argued in a Feb. 15, 2006 memo that international law prohibited waterboarding and other so-called 'enhanced interrogation techniques' by any American official – whether he was a military interrogator at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, or a C.I.A. operative at a 'black prison' hidden in some foreign country."