January 21, 2012

Too Good to Be True? (Updates: Nope; Fox News Calls It for Gingrich, Beating Romney By 13%; Ericksen: ‘Giving the Establishment the Finger’)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:36 pm

Too good to be true? Hope not:

The American Research Group poll, conducted Thursday and Friday, shows Gingrich leading Romney by a 40%-26% margin. ARG’s last poll, released Thursday, showed a virtual tie with Gingrich at 33% and Romney at 32%.

Without ARG’s poll, Gingrich’s lead is five points at Real Clear Politics. Four days ago, Romney had double-digit poll leads in the five most recent polls.

A blowout by Gingrich would be a nice thing.

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UPDATE, 7:45 p.m.: Fox News has called it for Gingrich. Now the question is the degree of the margin. I’m not going to bother looking at that until midnight.

UPDATE 2, 9:15 p.m.: Okay, I couldn’t wait, and I didn’t think they’d count so fast. With about 70% counted, the results are virtually mirroring the final ARG poll — Gingrich 40%, Romney 27%, Santorum 18%, Paul 13%.

That’s a blowout.

Oh, and Gingrich is getting all 17 delegates, which I would think means that he leads the delegate race. Update 2A: Nope — Romney has 19, Santorum has 12, and Paul has 3.

UPDATE 3, 9:20 p.m.: Erick Ericksen’s analysis

If you read a lot of the Republican commentary coming out of Washington even before the polls closed, suddenly South Carolina is irrelevant and the hick rubes of the Palmetto state are just petulant children.

… They are flocking to Newt not because they think he’s a great guy, but because right now, he’s the only one fighting for conservatism and GOP voters are looking for a vessel to channel their anger with Obama and their complete disappointment with the GOP establishment which is now embodied perfectly by Romney. They want a conservative fighter because most conservatives look back at Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, and McCain and see only the ones taking a conservative path against the Democrats actually winning.

Newt has taken the worst the media, Romney and the left can dish out, and he’s still standing and fighting with passion and eloquence. Sure, he’d probably be an erratic President, but right now Republican voters don’t care about his Presidency. They care about the fight with the left both Mitt Romney, and the Washington Republican leaders like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell don’t seem inclined to engage in.

In every way in the last two weeks, Romney has signaled he won’t fight for the base. He looks like a lost child when trying to answer the taxes issue. He couldn’t stand up to Santorum in the debate. He sounds every bit like Gordon Gekko, not Milton Friedman, when he talks Bain and free markets.

Basically, today’s vote is about Republican grassroots giving the Washington Republican establishment the finger.

No one deserves it more — especially the disgusting attitude seen here, which is probably more typical than we’d like to believe, and which deserves both middle fingers.

UPDATE 4, 9:45 p.m.: Looking at the 46 counties, Santorum beat Romney in five. Romney beat Gingrich in two. Paul finished second in one. Only a few counties haven’t reported yet. Gingrich broke 50% in ten. UPDATE 4A: FINAL —
Santorum beat Romney in five counties. Romney beat Gingrich in three. Paul finished second in one. Gingrich broke 50% in ten.

UPDATE 5, 9:50 p.m.: Roger Simon (“Will Newt Gingrich Grow Up — and Win?”) — “… But this is his last chance. He blows it this time and it’s over. And not only for him…. possibly for us as well.”

UPDATE 6, 10:25 p.m.: With 99% of precincts in —
- Gingrich — 240,527 (40%)
- Romney — 166,195 (28%)
- Santorum — 101,421 (17%)
- Paul — 77,563 (13%)

UPDATE 6A: With 100% of precincts in —
- Gingrich — 243,153 (41.0%)
- Romney — 167,279 (28.2%)
- Santorum — 102,055 (17.2%)
- Paul — 77,993 (13.2%)
- Perry — 2,494 (0.4%)

UPDATE 7, 11:30 p.m.: Looking at the Florida polling, Gingrich has to repeat the tall mountain climb he just pulled off in a state which is over five times as populous.

UPDATE 8, Jan. 22, 8:30 a.m.: From a Gingrich email –

In the Sunshine State, Newt 2012 has 14 paid staffers, seven offices, and a county chair in all 67 counties.

After last Monday’s debate, the number of volunteers doubled.

State Director Jose Mallea was Marco Rubio’s campaign manager and former Attorny General Bill McCollum is a co-chair.

AP on DOJ Prosecutor Taking the Fifth in Fast and Furious: The Problem is With the ‘Investigation’

Pete Yost’s Friday evening story at the Associated Press, also known to yours truly as the Administration’s Press, on the latest development in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal (that’s my word, certainly not Yost’s) has a “this is a boring story, don’t read it” headline (“Prosecutor intends to take 5th if called in probe”), followed by an opening sentence which acts as if it has nothing to do with at least 300 Mexican citizens, a slain Border patrol agent, and thousands of disappearing guns.

Yost’s opening sentence: “A federal prosecutor in Arizona intends to remain silent if called for questioning in a congressional probe of a problem-plagued gun smuggling investigation.” Yep, Yost wants readers who don’t get past the first paragraph to believe that it’s only the “investigation” that’s messed up beyond all recognition, not what happened in the Fast and Furious operation. Here’s more from Pete’s pathetic piece (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Patrick Cunningham’s decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious was disclosed Friday after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenaed him.

Republican committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said congressional investigators have information that Cunningham played a role in approving a controversial law enforcement tactic, resulting in federal agents losing track of weapons that later turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S.

In a letter to the committee Thursday, Cunningham’s lawyer said his client wasn’t even working at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix until 2010, months after Operation Fast and Furious began there.

According to Issa, senior Justice Department officials have told the committee that Cunningham relayed inaccurate and misleading information to department superiors insisting that no unacceptable tactics were used.

… The evidence shows that “my client is, in fact, innocent,” (Cunningham attorney Tobin) Romero wrote.

Cunningham, chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, is resigning his government post effective next Friday to take a job in the private sector.

Note the following:

  • Yost really wants to make sure we know that Darrell Issa is a Republican, tagging him as one twice in one phrase.
  • The use of the term “law enforcement tactic.” What laws are being “enforced” when you give out guns which you know you won’t be able to track?
  • “Weapons” just sort of “turned up” at “crime scenes.” Yost doesn’t mention what was also “turned up” — as noted above, hundreds of dead Mexican citizens and slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
  • There’s also no mention of who used the “weapons” at the crime scenes, i.e., Mexican drug cartel members, gangsters, and other criminals.
  • Regarding Cunningham’s resignation, does this mean that he will conveniently end up being out of the reach of congressional investigators, and that he is invoking the Fifth to play stall-ball until he is? Yost doesn’t say.

At PJ Media, Bob Owens provides a number of chronological facts Yost could have and should have used if his intention were to inform readers instead of to create an uninteresting story from which no one would learn anything. Owens also recounts how the administration’s story has changed over time, something in which Yost and the AP also have demonstrated little if any interest:

Cunningham’s defense seeks to portray him as an innocent man caught in a conflict between the legislative and executive branches of government. He also seems to be the designated “fall guy” in the Obama administration’s recent tactical shift.

Previously, administration officials claimed they were unaware of the gunwalking plot and had no involvement in it. That excuse fell apart when evidence was presented that Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota/Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee/Acting ATF Director B. Todd Jones, and the top federal prosecutors in the Southwestern border states were all privy to information about Operation Fast and Furious.

The administration has since shifted to what can only be described as an “incompetence defense,” where they are asserting that rogue Phoenix operatives initiated the massive gunwalking plot without their supervisors in Washington, D.C., knowing anything about it — even as the “rogue” agents worked across directorships with DOJ, DHS, the IRS, and the required authorization of the State Department.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s defense seems to hinge upon the theory that he’s a detached boss more interested in pursuing heavily politicized racial justice schemes than enforcing the law or knowing what his direct reports are engaged in. One has to wonder about how serious the criminal crimes are that the attorney general is attempting to avoid by claiming gross incompetence.

It will be interesting to see if an immunity arrangement can be worked out for Mr. Cunningham so that he can share what he knows about Operation Fast and Furious.

With Cunningham’s departure from the Department of Justice, that would seem less likely.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (012112)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

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

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Positivity: The Center for Neighborhood Enterprise

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Washington, DC, via Heritage:

The greatest tribute to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., is not to name a street in his honor or celebrate a national holiday. It is to recognize and support those who are working to carry out his vision, those who empower those facing the greatest obstacles through personal relationships that restore the fabric of civil society—without the need for federal government intervention.

As former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp once said, “We need an anti-poverty agenda based on democratic capitalism, not socialism and on private ownership, not government control. Our definition of compassion is not how many people live on the government welfare plantation, but how many of our people are liberated from government dependence.”

Among those ranks of individuals who are carrying out Dr. King’s vision are three young men—Curtis Monroe, Michael Toland, and Roger Marshall—who give their time, talents, and earnings from their day jobs serving as coaches and mentors of at-risk youths in the Benning Terrace public housing development in Washington, D.C.

The investment by this trio of volunteers is, in fact, an act of longstanding gratitude and reciprocity. Two of them grew up in Benning Terrace, and their childhood and adolescence was spent in a war-torn environment in which a familiar face would vanish from the neighborhood nearly every other month as the victim of gang violence.

Fifteen years ago, the lives of Monroe and Toland were salvaged and their futures reclaimed when a cadre of friends who called themselves the Alliance of Concerned Men felt called to intervene after the violence reached a shocking climax: The body of a 12-year-old boy who had been shot execution-style was discovered in a frozen ravine.

The members of the Alliance had at one time been involved with crime, drugs, and violence, but each life had been transformed. Because they were familiar with the day-to-day dangers of life in the inner city and were well-versed in the gang subculture, they readily won the youths’ attention and respect. Through meetings at theCenter for Neighborhood Enterprise, they developed a plan of action. They shared information with grassroots counterparts who had successfully worked with gang members in other parts of the country. They also connected with David Gilmore, the D.C. housing director at the time, who saw the potential of the intervention and offered to provide jobs for youths who would lay down their weapons.

Warring gang members seized the opportunity to exit the cycle of violence and willingly took on jobs ranging from graffiti removal to landscaping and building repairs. The neighborhood was transformed from a wasteland into a thriving community. There was not a single gang-related death for the next 10 years.

Today, Monroe, Toland, and Marshall, who experienced that transformation firsthand, are investing in a third generation of Benning Terrace kids. Their coaching goes far beyond how to pass a football or block a defender, as they serve as moral mentors and confidantes. Their investment is critical for the futures of each of the youths they work with.

These volunteers also hold weekly group counseling sessions. At a recent gathering, seven of eight participants reported that their fathers were in jail. Statistics show that adolescents who do not live in intact families are more likely to engage in crime and delinquent activity and risky behavior and are less likely to succeed in school. But Monroe, Toland, and Marshall have refused to relegate the young people of Benning Terrace to the ranks of a “lost generation.” They are available on a 24/7 basis for kids who are in need, and they serve as surrogate big brothers and dads, taking them out for pizza after their football games and going to their schools to consult with their teachers.

These men are rebuilding civil society, demonstrating the concern and care for individuals at a personal level that is most effective in transforming behavior and meeting people’s needs. …