Thursday, January 19, 2012

Here Comes Newt

On the eve of the South Carolina primary the Republican race has been turned on its head by two developments that may have a profound impact on the campaign. The question now is can frontrunner Mitt Romney beat off the surging Newt Gingrich to win his party's nomination?

Texas Governor Rick Perry withdrew from the presidential race because he was not getting any traction with South Carolina voters and he didn't want to help split the conservative vote and hand Romney a sizable win Saturday. Instead, he threw his support to Gingrich saying, "I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country."

Perry acknowledged that he and Gingrich have "had our differences," but he went on to say, "I have no question that Newt has the heart of a conservative... with the ability to rally and captivate the conservative movement." This was a clear message to voters that he believes Romney is not a true conservative.

Gingrich's record as Speaker of the House has been under assault by negative Super PAC ads in support of Romney. And questions have been raised about Gingrich's personal life, including a claim by his second wife the he asked for an "open marriage." Perry seemed to address these criticisms in his remarks. "Newt is not perfect, but who among us is," Perry said. "There is forgiveness for those who seek God, and I believe in the power of redemption for it is a central tenant of my Christian faith."

Propelled by his recent debate performance, Gingrich has been closing the gap in recent polls taken among South Carolina voters. On the other hand, Romney has been seeing his lead erode over the past few days. To make matters worse for the former Massachusetts Governor, on Thursday the Iowa Republican Party revised their final caucus totals giving Rick Santorum a 34 vote lead over Romney. No longer can Romney claim he won an unprecedented victory in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Game on!

Gingrich wasted no time in embracing Perry's endorsement and in enlisting Perry to lead a "10th Amendment Enforcement Project" that, if successful, would ultimately restore more power to the states while curtailing the role of the federal government. The 10th Amendment says that, "Powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the States by the Constitution are reserved to the States." This is a key issue for many conservatives who may see this as bold and imaginative leadership. But taking power away from the federal government and giving it back to the states is a most controversial and complex issue.

While Gingrich and Santorum both received a big boost to their campaigns on Thursday, Romney has suffered largely self-inflicted wounds over the past few weeks. For example, he fumbled his handling of when and if he will release his tax returns. Under immense pressure he finally admitted on Wednesday that his income tax rate was about 15%, or the rate paid on capital gains that is largely the source of his income from his Bain Capital investments. But are any of those investments parked offshore?

Romney supporters, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, have urged the former Massachusetts Governor to release his tax returns as soon as possible. But the always-opportunistic Newt Gingrich seized the moment by releasing his tax returns on Thursday.

Republican voters in South Carolina now find themselves with a horse race. Will Romney be able to hold on? Will Gingrich be able to rally enough support to pull out a victory? Will Santorum be helped by is narrow victory in Iowa? Will Representative Ron Paul be able to capitalize on the chaos?

There is no question that Romney is now feeling intense pressure and he is on the defensive. In a heated exchange with a protestor on Thursday in South Carolina he called for unity and emphatically denounced those who were dividing the nation. Perhaps he should take a closer look at himself.


Superb Jon said...

The Associated Press

June 26, 2011 Sunday 02:28 PM GMT

Israel's Vatican envoy backs off WWII pope praise



LENGTH: 615 words


Israel's ambassador to the Vatican on Sunday backed off his praise of Pope Pius XII, the World War II-era pope blamed by some Jews and historians for having failed to speak out enough against the Holocaust.

Ambassador Mordechai Lewy said in a statement that his personal judgment about the role of Pius, the Vatican and Catholic Church during the war had been "premature" since the issue is still being researched

Superb Jon said...

Social Conservatives are Socialist Conservatives: The Associated Press January 17, 2012 Rick Santorum … said he voted against right-to-work legislation only because his state was against it. United Press International January 25, 1989, Organized labor and mainstream religious leaders vowed Wednesday to renew and revitalize their old coalition, acknowledging vast changes in the workplace and the international economy. ''This is a propitious moment for a new alliance between labor and religion,'' said Roman Catholic Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee at the outset of a three-day conference for representatives of both camps looking at ''social and ethical concerns in a changing economy.'' McClatchy May 19, 2011 New Hampshire Union Leader Gingrich says President Obama's individual health insurance mandate is terrible, even unconstitutional. But in 1993 he was in favor of an individual mandate. That's not inconsistent, he says, because back then he was opposed to Hillary Clinton's health care plan, and this time he's opposed to Obama's. The Associated Press January 27, 2010 Democrats got encouragement Wednesday from groups as diverse as the nation's Catholic bishops and the head of the largest labor union federation. In a letter to members of Congress, the bishops urged lawmakers to "recommit themselves to enacting genuine health care reform." For Her He Became a Catholic Polish Daily News August 31, 2011 we are blessed to know the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. The Sisters are from Poland and kindly bake us a babka each Christmas and Easter. . . My family’s strong Catholic faith most definitely came from my Polish grandmother.. Newt and I worship in that same tradition. . . Newt and I strongly favor the Visa Waiver Program for Poles. The Associated Press May 26, 1993, Citing concerns about Lorenzo's past management, more than 50 members of Congress, including House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich and other conservative Republicans, have urged the Clinton administration to block Lorenzo's bid to re-enter the industry.