January 20, 2012

Reuters: Gingrich ‘Canceled Appearance,’ Showing He May Not Be ‘Disciplined’

In the final three paragraphs of a report that was primarily about Mitt Romney trying to lower expectations concerning the results of tomorrow’s South Carolina Primary voting, Steve Holland of Reuters told readers that Newt Gingrich canceled an appearance.

Holland then used that appearance as an opportunity to build on a meme the press has been working on for some time about the former speaker:

Gingrich missed a chance on Friday to follow up on his strong debate performance when he canceled an appearance at a Republican Party conference in Charleston because of a small crowd.

Although only a minor blip in a long campaign, the cancellation again raised questions about whether Gingrich is disciplined enough to win the nomination and then go on to beat Obama in November.

“He gave his word that he was coming here and at the last second, something better came along,” said Ann Sullivan, a Republican from North Carolina attending the conference.

At the PJ Tatler, Bryan Preston, who was there, ripped into Holland’s horrid take (paragraph breaks added by me):

Gingrich was the first speaker on the slate for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference at TD Arena this morning, followed by … J. Christian Adams and then Ron Paul. The SRLC has been eclipsed by the primary all week, and it is struggling badly to hold audiences for any speaker.

Media cameras were on hand, but little audience, when it was time for Gingrich to speak, through no fault of his own.

His choice: Go ahead and speak, and hand the media footage of him addressing a large and mostly empty arena on a crucial campaign day; or cancel and annoy the ten people who happened to be there. He and his campaign made the rational call, and canceled.

Seems pretty smart to me.

As Bryan noted, photos of a relatively empty room would have been used by media types thirsting for revenge at Gingrich’s standing up to John King of CNN at Thursday night’s debate. He wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.

Yes, Holland ripped Gingrich anyway, but the impact of his words is nothing compared to the damage negative photos could have done.

Rather than demonstrate lack of discipline, it would seem that Gingrich’s decision demonstrates its presence, and the ability to adapt to circumstances when enemies chomping at the bit to take you down are present.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Cartoon at Cincinnati Dems’ Website: GOP ‘Protecting America’s Voting Whites’

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:56 pm

The related post and cartoon are at the PJ Tatler (HT The Daily Bellwether).

Ohio: Good News, Not-So-Good News

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:52 pm

From the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services:

Ohio and U.S. Employment Situation (Seasonally Adjusted)

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in December, down from 8.5 percent in November, according to data released this morning by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment decreased 3,300 over the month, from the revised 5,109,900 in November to 5,106,600 in December.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December was 469,000, down from 496,000 in November. The number of unemployed has decreased by 91,000 in the past 12 months from 560,000. The December unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 9.5 percent in December 2010.

Local radio news said that the one-month drop in the unemployment rate is the biggest in about 30 years, but I can’t confirm that. The rate has dropped by 0.9 points in two months. The last time there was a steeper rate drop was in July 1983, when Ronald Reagan’s supply-side “magic” drove a 1.7-point drop from 13.1% to 11.4% in a single month. When he left office in January 1989, the unemployment rate was 5.5%.

The small employment contraction noted above isn’t good news, but for the year, Ohio’s economy added over 72,000 jobs. The annual improvement needs to be a lot stronger going forward, but 2011 had the bst result since 1999.

One can’t help but notice that there are a lot of nationally-imposed barriers to job growth in Ohio, particularly in utilities and mining, so in a sense for the state to do as well as it did in 2011 is pretty impressive.

More detail will go up when Uncle Sam issues the report for all states next Tuesday.

Reuters on Romney: ‘Losing Steam’ (Gallup Editor: Romney Lead ‘Collapsing’)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:09 am

In a report following Thursday’s debate:

Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney is losing steam ahead of the South Carolina primary Saturday, with his poll numbers in the state dropping and his conservative credentials under fire by rival Newt Gingrich in a Thursday debate.

Mitt Romney is still the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, but if he wins the South Carolina primary on Saturday, he might be limping across the finish line.

Romney turned in another uneven debate performance at best on Thursday, failing to keep main rival Newt Gingrich at bay and again making remarks that suggest he is out of touch.

The debate came after a bad few days, with his poll numbers dropping in South Carolina and Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsing Gingrich after giving up his own presidential bid.

Romney was way ahead in polls in South Carolina until a few days ago but Stuart Stevens, one of his top aides, sought to play down expectations late on Thursday night.

“I mean the idea should be, does he have a chance in South Carolina?” Stevens said. “These things are always going to close. I think it’s very competitive.”

Romney’s run to grab the Republican Party nomination to oppose President Barack Obama in November, thought inevitable a few days ago, is now less certain.

Well, it never really was inevitable, but it has been Romney’s people, the GOP establishment, and a press which can’t wait to pick him apart in the general election who have been promoting that meme for at least three months. If that meme explodes in tomorrow’s balloting in the Palmetto State, the consequences for his candidacy could be (and hopefully will be) devastating.

What has come across in recent weeks is how utterly unprepared Romney has been for questions and issues anyone should have known would come up. Here are just a few:

  • Tax returns — He’s had five years to come up an explanation as to why he won’t release them. Failing to come up with one that’s convincing, he’s now doing yet another flippity-flop on the subject, with the Reuters report indicating that “Romney first answered ‘maybe,’ then changed his response to a ‘yes’” when asked about whether he’d release returns for multiple years.
  • Offshore money — He’s had five years to take this issue off the table by moving the money. If you really want to be president, you have to realize that there’s no way you can make this look good.
  • Bain — On this one, he’s had seventeen years, because attacks on Bain go back to Romney’s 17-point slaughter at the hands of Ted Kennedy after leading in some polls in mid-September 1994. Not coincidentally, that was the year Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America set the stage for a November landslide which gave Republicans control of Congress for the first time in 40 years. Gingrich gave Romney the single best chance Republicans had to defeat Ted Kennedy, and Romney blew it. Yet in 2011, he only defends Bain in general terms, and is still not ready to discuss why particularly egregious-looking deals worked out so poorly for the companies, employees, and other stakeholders involved (but not Bain, which always seemed to do just fine). He seems to believe that he can get away with making generic arguments about the wonders of capitalism while others in the conservative punditry attempt to do the heavy lifting for him. That’s not how it works, Mitt. Your name is the one on the ballot.

Despite all this time to think things through and to get ready for obvious avenues of attack, and even with no other distractions — like having a real job or holding a full-time political office — Romney and his team have proven themselves so unprepared that it’s making voters wonder if he’s really prepared to lead America.

More and more of them are concluding that he’s not.

That’s because he’s not.

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UPDATE: At Newsmax

Gallup’s top editor told MSNBC this morning that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s lead in the polls is “collapsing” across the nation, citing polling numbers that have changed dramatically over the last few days.

This is what has been inevitable. Hopefully it will continue through the primaries, because we can’t afford to experience it during the general.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (012012)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Spanish officials allow pro-life play, despite criticism

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Madrid:

Jan 16, 2012 / 05:53 pm

Officials in Merida, Spain have rejected a request by local Socialist party leaders to ban the theatrical production “Vidiana. An Abortion Clinic,” which opened Jan. 14.

The play tells the story of eight women who decide not to go through with their abortion plans.

According to Europa Press, the United Left political party in Merida was the first to call for the play to be banned. Socialist party leaders quickly followed suit, as party representative Marisa Tena issued a press release calling on the city to stop the debut.

Tena also criticized local city council member Angel Pelayo, who called Spain’s new law on abortion “unjust and unnecessary.” Pelayo should “put aside his personal opinions and beliefs” and as a public official not support “actions contrary to the law,” Tena argued.

A spokesman for the city government, Fernando Molina, told reporters that city officials have “never” enacted “this kind of censorship” of “theatrical works, no matter what their content.”

“We are not going to veto any work because of its content,” as that would “be against freedom of expression,” he said.

The play is being promoted by the Pro-Life Madrid Association and will be performed in various venues in Spain. During a press conference on Jan. 10, members of the association, together with the director of the play, Isidro Leyva, and city council member Angel Pelayo, said the play recounts the stories of eight pregnant women.

All are willing to have an abortion except one, who in the end convinces the rest not to do so, thus “casting a spotlight on the new abortion law.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.