February 5, 2012

Could WaPo Op-Ed Writer Be A Romney Plant?

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:50 pm

“So it’s clear to me that Romney is running against the Tea Party.”

Rush Limbaugh; July 6, 2011

Exactly what has changed in the intervening seven months to disabuse any reasonable person of Rush’s assertion?

Nothing.

PottedPlant

Has anything changed in the belief most recently expressed by Romney adviser and former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman that ObamaCare won’t be repealed? No.

Has Mitt renounced his love for the individual mandate, which if preserved or reintroduced will really mean that ObamaCare really wasn’t repealed? Nope.

Has he stepped away from his fling with the idea of a VAT (value added) tax, with apparently no other taxes repealed to offset their impact (as was the case with Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan which would abolish the payroll tax)? Nope.

Most important, has he given any indication of remorse or regret for serially violating the Massachusetts Constitution and the oath of office he swore to in early 2003 when he unilaterally imposed same-sex marriage in the Bay State in the wake of the Goodridge opinion? No way; he continues to falsely claim that doing so was the only option available. He’s wrong. Rick Santorum courageously pointed to most of the history in the final Iowa debate, including mentioning the fact that Romney did what he did to keep a promise to the Log Cabin Republicans.

Thus it is that the timing of a Washington Post op-ed from far, far, left field today by Theda Skocpol should be looked upon with extreme suspicion.

You see, Ms. Skocpol, who has allegedly studied the Tea Party movement, contends that Mitt Romney is a stealth Tea Party candidate who, if he wins the presidency, will give the movement all it wants without its name and its supposed associated negatives never having to be mentioned during the presidential campaign During the campaign, he is supposedly “endorsing the essence of the movement while remaining unburdened by its public label.” She claims she really believes that after over a year of researching the movement. She can’t possibly claim to be doing legitimate work if she hasn’t heard Tea Party-sympathetic people express frequent heated disdain for Mitt Romney, RomneyCare, and his other big-government and constitution-betraying tendencies for months on end.

So I’m not buying your sincerity, Ms. Skocpol. To me, this look like a transparent attempt to do two things directly relating to the presidential election:

  1. Cement the nomination for Romney by moving the one constituency with whom, despite your claim that he got half of Tea Partiers in Florida, he has made little headway into his corner (“hey, if this far lefty says this, we need to go to Romney”). If enough Tea Partiers bite, it finishes off Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
  2. Begin the “scary, dangerous conservative” campaign against supposed nominee Romney in the fall — just like John McCain was turned into a dangerous scary conservative by the press in the fall of 2008. Romney is in no way conservative; just ask him.

There is a third agenda item which is longer-term in nature: Labeling a squish Republican left-leaning moderate as a conservative means that every one to the right of him — even if it’s really a majority of the nation — can be tagged as an unreasonable extremist by the press and the RINO establishment, and thus people whose voices should be marginalized out of the political process.

The fact that Ms. Skocpol is from Massachusetts is enough to make you wonder if Team Romney or someone close to them in the GOP establishment who is too worried to resist Item 1, too dumb to recognize Item 2, and doesn’t at all mind Item 3, put her up to it. Readers will find more than enough inanity in her column to raise questions about what she thinks she knows and how she thinks she knows it.

State GOP Establishments Attack Their Base

Filed under: Activism,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:59 am

Not going after the real enemy.

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Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday.

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Across America, state Republican parties and legislators are pursuing the opponents they most despise with renewed vigor.

You would think that the targets of these efforts are President Barack Obama and Democratic Party officeholders who are hell-bent on turning America into a financially broken, post-constitutional, Washington-controlled playground safe only for crony capitalists and regulators gone wild. You would be wrong.

In Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Utah, to name just four, state GOP establishments are laboring mightily to marginalize the millions of constitutional conservatives whose activist energy (but not their outlook) dates back to the beginnings of the Tea Party movement three years ago. By their behavior, it’s clear that those who run many state parties and quite a few incumbent moderate Republican lawmakers are more threatened than pleased at the results of the 2010 elections, when the GOP took back the U.S. House and significantly improved its representation in statehouses and state legislatures. Oh, they’re happy with the majorities they have, and want to pick up control of the U.S. Senate this time around. They just don’t like many of the people who won the races which gave them those majorities, would rather not see any more interlopers come in and try to upset the status quo, and are targeting several newbies for political extinction.

Six-term Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, intent on preventing another coup like the one which ousted incumbent Bob Bennett two years ago at the party’s primary convention, has been Tea Party posing ever since. “Out of the blue,” Hatch, who has been notoriously unreliable on fiscal issues (lifetime Club For Growth score: 74%, which suddenly went to 97% during calendar 2010), has taken an interest in public pension reform. Though he has two conservative challengers, Michelle Malkin noted several months ago that “vendors, pollsters, and campaign literature printers in Utah have all been scared off doing any work” for anyone not named Orrin Hatch.

In Florida, Congressman Allen West, a Tea Party favorite, has seen his name floated as a potential vice presidential nominee. That clearly hasn’t impressed the state’s legislature, which has redrawn West’s district “to include substantially more Democrats within it … many more than other Republican incumbents.” The “inspiration” for this move is state representative Will Weatherford, who just so happens to be Mitt Romney’s Sunshine State spokesperson. Why am I not surprised? In response, West announced that he will run for “reelection” in a different district.

In heavily Catholic Pennsylvania, Democrat Senator Bob Casey is extremely vulnerable, both for generally hewing to the Obama agenda and for his support of ObamaCare, which among other things has led to regulations effective next year which would force all hospitals to provide contraceptive services with no conscience exceptions. Sadly, the Keystone State’s GOP, which stuck with Democrat-turned Republican-turned Democrat Arlen Specter for decades while treating conservative stalwart Pat Toomey like a leper, is on track to blow it. Under intense pressure from Governor Tom Corbett, who seems to have forgotten that he owes his job to Tea Party supporters who latched onto his promise not to raise taxes, the party has endorsed Steve Welch over three other far more acceptable contestants. Welch voted for Obama in 2008 and supported Toomey’s far-left U.S. Senate opponent Joe Sestak (4% lifetime Club For Growth rating) in 2010. From all appearances, based on after-the-fact complaints I have read and an advance warning that it would happen from Christopher Friend, the party which opposes “card check” in union organizing failed to hold a secret endorsement ballot.

I hope that Welch’s challengers and their supporters appreciate what they’re up against. They should seriously consider uniting on one candidate, because the state’s party apparatus has surely taken notes on how to fend off status quo disrupters from Kevin DeWine and Ohio’s establishment Republicans. Having more than one candidate besides Welch will virtually guarantee the others’ defeat. Readers will see why shortly.

In 2010, DeWine, chairman of the Buckeye State’s Republican Party (or, as I prefer to call it, ORPINO, the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only), successfully fended off Tea Party-supported primary insurgents in two statewide races. At the same time, he orchestrated a campaign to protect State Central Committee supporters from Tea Party challengers which was so dishonest that it might make even Team Obama blush. It included largely false claims in flyers and ads that ORPINO’s favored candidates had “Tea Party Values,” and dispatching poll watchers throughout the state on Election Day to hand out slate cards supporting the establishment’s statewide ticket and individual Central Committee members.

Because of ORPINO’s extraordinary related primary spending spree, Kevin’s coffers were apparently so low that according to House Majority Leader Bill Batchelder, DeWine asked potential donors to steer their money to the party instead of to individual candidates. On top of that:

A source close to (now-governor John) Kasich said that DeWine, a month before the 2010 elections, asked donors not to give to Kasich, and instead to give to the candidacies of Republicans Jon Husted and Dave Yost, who were running for secretary of state and auditor, respectively.

Everyone knew that Kasich was in a tightening race against incumbent Governor Ted Strickland. Kasich won by only 2% of the vote.

This sordid saga has led me and many others in Ohio to believe that DeWine wouldn’t mind if the generally Tea Party-sympathetic Kasich becomes so damaged that he decides not to run for reelection in 2014, clearing the way for ORPINO golden boy Husted. That Husted lived illegally outside of his district when he was a state rep and state senator (my opinion, and sadly not that of the courts) and did a complete about-face on the need to require voter identification at the polls once he was safely elected (now he thinks that voter-ID is a really bad idea) seem not to matter. Husted is currently attempting to visit all 88 Ohio counties because he claims it will help him perform better in his current position. Sure, John.

Some people I have spoken to believe that it was naive of Kasich to expect that DeWine would become constructive after giving in to a purge of most of his staff after the 2010 elections. Really? When was the last time Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz openly and bitterly criticized the Obama administration? Unfortunately, DeWine hasn’t mellowed a bit, and the two are openly feuding. Kasich is attempting to run an opposition Central Committee slate in this year’s primary which I fear is destined to suffer the same fate as the attempt two years ago. Just in case my prediction is wrong, DeWine is trying to rewrite the Central Committee qualification rules at the last minute to prevent insurgent winners who haven’t voted in the last three statewide primaries from being seated.

A state party chairman who is at serious loggerheads with his governor should recognize the need to step aside in favor of someone who will cooperate. Kevin DeWine won’t do that. Unless something changes, and quickly, the center-right atmosphere in this most important of swing states in next month’s primary and the fall general election will be quite acrid.

This leads to potentially the biggest problem of them all, which is that the GOP establishment and its pundit class constitute the sorest of sore losers. They have expected genuine conservatives to swallow their pride for decades and vote for moderate squishes who were in some ways barely better than their Democratic brethren (e.g., John McCain, Bob Dole, and Gerald Ford nationally, as well as more state and local candidates than one can hope to count). But as was the case in 1980 with Ronald Reagan, it appears that there is no establishment desire to reciprocate and provide meaningful resources to the winners if their people lose, starting with Mitt Romney and his acolytes at the national level and moving on down from there — even if it leads to Barack Obama’s reelection.

Please, people. Say it isn’t so.

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (020512)

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: An Unexpected and Unusual Ordination of a Priest

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:56 am

By J. Christian Adams, from Virginia (bold is mine; the full column recounts astonishing events after Father Dyer’s ordination):

This is a true story about Rich Dyer, a Virginia man who never expected to become a priest, but became one sooner than he expected. Dyer, 48, left behind a successful career in business after hearing a calling to the priesthood.

Some of you don’t believe in miracles, and others are certain they exist. But, this is a story for the multitudes who still wonder. C.S. Lewis, in Surprised by Joy, his autobiography of his journey from atheism to faith said, “You may take any number of wrong turnings; but keep your eyes open and you will not be allowed to go very far before the warning signs appear.”

Naturally, it would be easy if bushes regularly burned and spoke, erasing all doubt. But revelations so cheap and easy, dispense with human freewill. How difficult would moral choices be when faith has no role? If the answers were so obvious, goodness and grace would not be human choices, but rather servile obedience to a revealed omnipotent.

Instead of miracles, many have experienced a weighty and unmistakable synchronicity, where seemingly impossible events occur. Answered prayers fall into this category. But so do smaller revelations, joyous moments when blessings reveal themselves in hindsight, blessings that once seemed ordinary, or even dreadful. Those who have experienced this weighty synchronicity know there is no such thing as a coincidence.

C.S. Lewis described moments of revelations as being “surprised by joy.” Sometimes they are as gentle as an unseen sparrow’s song that reminds you spring has arrived. Other times, they are as bold and unforgettable as a grand pastel sunset.

Last December, the unusual ordination of Father Rich Dyer took place in Virginia.

For those unfamiliar with the Catholic priesthood, a brief aside. Holy orders, when a priest is ordained, is one of the seven Catholic sacraments. Seminarians study for years before being ordained. Beyond study, seminarians seek to discern whether they are truly called to the priesthood. After they complete their studies, conclude that they are committed to the vocation, and are called to orders by their local bishop, priests are ordained by the bishop of the diocese. In the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia), this occurs in June of each year in a celebratory mass. Canon law vests the bishop with authority to alter the date of the ordination, but use of this power is not common.

In the summer of 2011, Rich Dyer learned that his father was sick with cancer. His fellow seminarians asked him if he considered asking Bishop Paul Loverde for special permission to be ordained early.

The week before his December finals at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland, Dyer had his regular meeting with a representative of Bishop Loverde. He wondered if anyone had ever been ordained ahead of schedule. He wrote to Bishop Loverde: “I seek God’s will. I do not know what His will is regarding the date of my priestly ordination, but I know and trust that He speaks through you. I am not asking that you accelerate my ordination date, only that you prayerfully discern God’s will regarding it and then communicate this will to me.”

It appeared to Dyer, and anybody else, that a December ordination was impossible, and January was unlikely because the bishop would be in Rome. An early ordination, if it were to occur, could only be in February.

Then on Tuesday, December 20, Dyer received a telephone call. The bishop had read and considered the letter. Dyer was given the choice to be ordained as regularly scheduled on June 9, 2012, or, if Dyer wished to be ordained earlier, the Bishop was available … the following Tuesday, December 27. …

Do not fail to read the rest of Mr. Adams’ column.