The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

#VVS11: Campaign Spin Wars Follow Values Voters Summit Straw Poll

Posted on | October 8, 2011 | 38 Comments

Following up on the earlier post about the Values Voters Summit presidential straw-poll results, we continue to the spin phase of the event, where people tell us what it means. Most interesting to me was a story in the liberal New Republic by Simon van Zuylen-Wood:

The story from Day One of the Christian conservative powwow was not merely that Cain killed it and Perry underwhelmed. That was a foregone conclusion before either of them spoke — when Texas megapastor Robert Jeffress introduced Perry onstage, he tried to exhort the crowd with the unfortunate question, “Do we want a candidate who is skilled in rhetoric or one who is skilled in leadership?” (Confused applause.)
The bigger takeaway was this: Perry, the GOP frontrunner most attuned to the persuasions of the Christian right, completely blew his opportunity to win them over. . . . Instead it was Cain, not known for his religious views, and in fact targeted at the event by the National Organization for Marriage for not having signed a couple of their pledges (the other frontrunners have), who galvanized a ballroom full of Evangelicals and born-again Christians with rousing promises to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and protect unborn children.

Just to give you an idea of why, when it comes to public speaking, Herman Cain stomps the competition like Godzilla stomped Tokyo, here’s a brief clip from his Friday speech. He had just criticized the “Occupy Wall Street” protests and the crowd leapt to its feet cheering:

With impeccable timing, Cain followed up by reiterating and expanding the point, drawing another round of applause. Nobody else in the 2012 presidential field can fire up a Republican crowd the way Herman Cain can. And you’ll excuse me for thinking that getting Republicans fired up is a big part of what will be needed to beat Obama in 2012.

Cain’s critics like to talk about his gaffes — the Muslim thing, the “brainwashing” comment, etc. — but grassroots Republicans seem to understand that such politically incorrect moments are to be expected from a guy who makes a point of being “Not a Politician.” There is less forgiveness for Perry’s gaffes, including such unforced errors as this:

A Texas pastor introduced Rick Perry at a major conference of Christian conservatives here on Friday as “a genuine follower of Jesus Christ” and then walked outside and attacked Mitt Romney’s religion, calling the Mormon Church a cult and stating that Mr. Romney “is not a Christian.”
The comments by the pastor, Robert Jeffress of Dallas, injected a potentially explosive issue into the presidential campaign: the belief held by many evangelicals that Mormons are not Christians.
And it raised immediate suspicions that the attack might have been a way for surrogates or supporters of Mr. Perry, the Texas governor, who has stumbled in recent weeks, to gain ground by raising religious concerns about Mr. Romney. Mr. Jeffress similarly attacked Mr. Romney and his faith during the 2008 campaign.

For the sake of decorum, let’s not consider whether Pastor Jeffress was theologically accurate in his description of Mormonism as a “cult.” Rather, let’s ask the less esoteric question of whether Rick Perry benefits from having one of his proxies raise the issue of Romney’s heterodoxy. Perry’s trying to win an election, not leading a seminary discussion. Playing the Mormon card against Romney is, at the very least, going to cost Perry points for poor sportsmanship.

Keep in mind that evangelical Protestants aren’t generally big fans of popery, either, but that didn’t stop the Catholic candidate, Rick Santorum, from placing third in the Values Voter Straw Poll.  The Santorum campaign was celebrating in their press release:

October 8, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Matt Beynon – 703.307.8633


Values voter straw poll results once
again show Santorum on the rise

Verona, PA — Continuing a trend that started at the Ames Straw Poll, and continued in both Pennsylvania and Florida, Rick Santorum proves once again that the combination of the right message, right candidate, and hard work is the clear path to winning the Republican nomination. Senator Santorum’s total — 16% — was double that of media anointed frontrunners Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) and Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and quadruple that of 2007 Values Voter Summit Presidential Straw Poll winner Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA).
Senator Santorum said: “Values voters know me very well. We fought together and we won together on important issues like ending partial birth abortions, welfare entitlement reform, and protecting traditional marriage between one man and one woman. The legislation we fought for changed this country for the better, but we blinked and this President has changed this country for the worse; however, the values voters know we can restore the foundation of America and do great things because we’ve done them before. I thank them for their support in the past, their support today, and their support in the future.”
Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director, said: “Values voters got to see every candidate side-by-side, including the media anointed frontrunners, and the differences were clear. It’s no wonder Senator Santorum’s vote totals doubled-up Governor Perry’s and Representative Bachmann’s, and quadrupled Governor Romney’s. Rick Santorum is the only one who has led and recorded victories on the issues across the spectrum — social, economic, and defense — and the voters know it.
Senator Santorum’s strong third place finish at the Values Voter Summit Presidential Straw Poll — ahead of Governor Rick Perry, Governor Mitt Romney, and Representative Michele Bachmann — is another in a string of momentum building and expectations defying finishes. In May, Senator Santorum won the only statewide straw poll in the First-in-the-South state of South Carolina. In August, Senator Santorum, though outspent 10:1 by his opponents, finished a surprising 4th at the Ames Straw Poll. And then in September, Senator Santorum again surprised prognosticators by finishing 4th at the Presidency 5 Straw Poll in Florida and winning the only statewide straw poll in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania.

Santorum keeps out-performing expectations, chugging along as he says like “The Little Engine That Could” and — with Perry weakened and Bachmann now obviously fading — he’s in better shape than ever. ABC News makes a point in this article:

Santorum is not running in place like Jon Huntsman, but it’s unclear when his moment will come? His national poll numbers remain low, although the candidate says he does not pay any attention to the dismal numbers.
“I don’t want to be depressed by watching national polls,” Santorum said. “I just tend to focus on what we’re doing on the ground and know, just like in the Ames Straw Poll where no one gave us any chance, every poll said we were way, way back in the back and we finished a pretty strong fourth.”
Santorum’s campaign has held more than twice as many events in the Hawkeye state as any other 2012 candidate.

Iowa has become practically a second home for Santorum. For now, he and the other GOP candidates are heading to New Hampshire, where they’ll debate Tuesday at Dartmouth College.


38 Responses to “#VVS11: Campaign Spin Wars Follow Values Voters Summit Straw Poll”

  1. MrPaulRevere
    October 8th, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    With apologies to Booker Jones, it seems as though Rick Perry was born under a bad sign. If it wasn’t for unforced errors, he would have no errors at all.

  2. Rabid Conservative!
    October 8th, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

    Join the Draft Sarah Palin movement

  3. Eliza
    October 8th, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    This former (sad and understanding) Palin fan  is on the Cain train! I watched his entire speech at the VV Summit and it is wonderful. Articulate, passionate, and right on about everything. Would love to see him debate Obama! He gets it. Stacy was right all along – Go Cain!

  4. smitty
    October 8th, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    Yeah, Draft Sarah Palin Movement: yeah.

  5. smitty
    October 8th, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    Heck yeah, Cain!

  6. maxi
    October 8th, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe the Republicans are on the verge of electing their own version of Obama: another inexperienced candidate with a good line of “feel good” BS. Another big-government pol who would increase the size of government… just what we can’t afford.
    To all the value voters who were screaming about closing down the department of education- Cain in not what you want. Cain is on RECORD against school volchers, the same as all the libs who want to protect the current state of the public school system.
    If only people would do their homework before falling for all the red meat Cain is shoveling.

  7. Anonymous
    October 8th, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

    Cain is “on the verge” of winning the nomination? Does that mean that all the heavy establishment money that was flowing to Perry and now is shifting to Romney will simply be transferred to the Cain campaign?

    Also, I’m unfamiliar with Cain’s experience as a “big-government pol.”  

  8. Guest
    October 9th, 2011 @ 12:01 am

    …Really I agree and further ….Reading the post….

    Cain gaffes good—-and forgiven! ( Muslims, brainwashing, right of return)

    Perry gaffes bad!!! (No heart + ) Plus responsible for what other guy said!!!!

    Um ok…. but where’s the logic? 
    Cain Being a business man for over 30 years, I dare say he’d be playing politics all the time.

  9. Guest
    October 9th, 2011 @ 12:19 am

    What is CAIN care? I read earlier in a NYT’s article that Mr Cain is going to do away with Obama care and implement Caincare which would allow for healthcare for all.

    I haven’t heard anything about this. Is it simgle payer? Is it private insurance? 

    I know that medical insurance is a big issue for him so I am very interested in knowing just what Caincare is? 

  10. CO
    October 9th, 2011 @ 1:04 am

    Did Perry or his people choose Robert Jeffress to introduce him?

    If the Values Voter Summit chose the Robert Jeffress should not the onus be upon them and not Perry?  Is it not disingenuous to transfer unwarranted blame to your adversary?

  11. Adjoran
    October 9th, 2011 @ 2:08 am

    All Cain is “on the verge” of becoming is a contender.  But the first time he served as an assistant manager in a pizza joint he had amassed more real-world experience than Obama.

    Not that it is saying so much – anyone reading this blog who has had to supervise and manage people in private industry or the military has more executive experience than Obama had on being elected President.  His resume wouldn’t have justified being reelected to his Senate seat.

  12. Adjoran
    October 9th, 2011 @ 2:10 am

    He was recommended by VVS to the Perry campaign; Jeffress is on record supporting Perry, so they approved.  Typical amateur mistake, surprisingly enough: failure to vet the introducers, or supply them with scripts.

  13. Rabid Conservative!
    October 9th, 2011 @ 2:50 am

    If Cain becomes a threat to Romney they will take him out. Mark it down. Romney will be the nominee unless Palin reconsiders or Perry catches fire. Cain is in on the fix saying that he would accept VP. Something is up.

    October 9th, 2011 @ 2:57 am

    all that clapping for Cain proved Republicans are racist 

  15. Rabid Conservative!
    October 9th, 2011 @ 4:00 am

    Stacy love your blog even though I am not a Cain supporter at all and would vote 3rd Party or write-in Palin instead of Cain. I admire your excellent work covering Sarah Palin and the scumbags that try slime her. You impressed this Palin supporter. You are right up there with the greats Breitbart, Malkin, and Dan Riehl and the good folks at C4P and Hill Buzz. Thank you for standing up for Palin when she needed it.

  16. Anonymous
    October 9th, 2011 @ 5:21 am

    Hey, RC: I know a lot of hard-core Palin people are going through the Kubler-Ross grieving process right now, so the “ain’t gonna vote for” [insert name here]” sentiment is perfectly understandable. It is up to the Republican Party to deserve your support, and we’ve got about 13 months to see if they can do so.

    Bookmark this comment and remind me of it in November 2012, and tell me then what you finally decided to do.

  17. Anonymous
    October 9th, 2011 @ 5:23 am

    The “inevitability” of Romney is one of those media-generated myths that conservatives need to resist, instead of repeating it as if we were helpless to resist it.

  18. Michael Smith
    October 9th, 2011 @ 5:26 am

    Rock You Like a Herman Cain…

    With apologies to the Scorpions and hair bands everywhere, of course…

  19. Anonymous
    October 9th, 2011 @ 5:31 am

    Right: For $17 million, you’d think maybe the Perry campaign could have afforded a little vetting, eh?

    And this puts the Perry campaign in a horrible predicament: Bible-believing evangelicals do think of Mormonism as a “cult,” so Perry can’t disown Jeffress without looking like he’s caving in to political correctness. On the other hand, failing to disown Jeffress makes Perry look as if he’s tolerating bigotry. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t — and all because somebody on Perry’s $17 million staff couldn’t be bothered to do a bit of basic research.

    Didn’t I try to warn people about the “Phantom Menace”? And aren’t my prophecies coming true? Yet you don’t see the people who jumped on the Perry bandwagon crediting me with having been right, right, right when they were wrong, wrong, wrong. Why? Because giving me credit would diminish their prestige, and they are too insecure to accept the embarrassment they deserve.

  20. ThePaganTemple
    October 9th, 2011 @ 7:53 am

    People make way too much out of things. Why couldn’t Perry just say something like the following-

    “I thought Mr. Jeffres remarks were out-of-line, but in all honesty, in a sense he was correct. Mormonism is by no definition “mainstream” Christianity, which is why some people might term it a cult. But I want to be clear, Mormons are still American citizens and they have the same religious freedoms as mainstream Christians, and that includes the right to run for and hold public office. As such they have the right to honesty consideration for that office by all Americans who want the best for their country. So long as their religion, however out of the mainstream it might be, does not interfere with the duties of their elective, or their appointive office, then their chosen faith should not be an issue.”

    Of course there’s one big problem with all that. Right after Jeffres got through speaking, Perry shook his hand, hugged him, slapped him on the back and with a toothy grin said, “you knocked it out of the park.”

    Which tells me that Perry not only approved, he probably knew it was coming.

  21. ThePaganTemple
    October 9th, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    One thing we should do is send mass e-mailings to Fox News telling them to either knock it off or to come clean with their support for Romney.

  22. ThePaganTemple
    October 9th, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    One thing that seems to have escaped everyone’s noticed is that Michelle Bachmann won the poll for favorite VP candidate. Frankly, she’s my favorite for the top spot right now, for no other reason than I just can’t get solidly behind a fair tax movement or any kind of national sales tax, other than possibly replacing the capital gains tax with a sales tax on the sale of stock.

  23. The Awful Burden of Influence : The Other McCain
    October 9th, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    […] category, the Mormonism-is-a-cult remarks of a Perry-endorsing pastor, Adjoran made a comment that prompted me to respond with a reminder:Right: For $17 million, you’d think maybe the Perry campaign could have afforded a little […]

  24. Anonymous
    October 9th, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    Yikes…not a good look for Rick Perry.  The day he got into the race appears to be his high water mark.

  25. Anonymous
    October 9th, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    I have to agree…I’ve been reading for a couple of months and am impressed.  Much better than the blogs that have a bit of  financial support such as Redstate.

  26. Anonymous
    October 9th, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

    Ah Robert, you remembered when you voted for Barr, instead of her, in order to spite your cousin, how well did that work out again,

  27. Anonymous
    October 9th, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    Conservative for Cthulhu concurs with your assessment.

  28. just_another_voice
    October 9th, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    I hate to be the only one stirring the pot here, but at the top of this page there is a slogan saying “One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up.” — Arthur Koestler
    Should I assume that actual truth is not important as long as it is not believed? I’m not asking people to agree with him, but this article is dishonest on it’s face. Where is the mention of the WINNER. Not a single word!!! This is utterly disgraceful. You could easily explain why you aren’t happy with the results, but you choose to imply that Cain won, while not even making a passing mention of the actual winner.  THAT IS A LIE… implying it is the same as saying it. If the readers don’t know who won, then please search “Values Voters Summit Straw Poll”. You’ll find that Cain was 2nd. Then ask yourself why this “honest” post never even offered a mention of the winner. The only thing “ruthlessly true” here, is that propaganda trumps honesty.

  29. Teeing it up: A Round at the LINKs | SENTRY JOURNAL
    October 9th, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

    […] THE OTHER McCAIN: #VVS11: Campaign Spin Wars Follow Values Voters Summit Straw Poll   […]

  30. Bob Belvedere
    October 9th, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

    I thought he voted for Burr.

  31. Tennwriter
    October 9th, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    I suspect its because he thinks Ron Paul bought the election by paying for his people to come on Saturday.  Now that’s smart, but tis hardly ‘winning’ except by Mr. Sheen’s view of things.

  32. Rabid Conservative!
    October 9th, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

    You voted for Bob Barr, he is terrible and has a hitler look about hit. Barr worked with the ACLU. No thank you. I voted for McCain largely because of Sarah Palin.  Herman Cain will be a disaster. I think Newt Gingrich would be better butter there are forces working against him.

  33. Anonymous
    October 9th, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

    I voted for Burr.

  34. Adjoran
    October 9th, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

    The choice next November will be between Obama and the Republican nominee.  Every vote not cast for the GOP pick – who will have been democratically selected through a long primary process – is in effect a vote for Obama, since one or the other of them WILL be the next President.

    That’s your choice.  Neither suits you perfectly?  Welcome to the adult world.

    But you WILL choose between them, with a vote or by failing to deliver one.  Understand that, with all its long term implications, before making a final decision that will profoundly impact your country.

  35. Adjoran
    October 9th, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    Yes, he blundered.  My way was much better:  vote McCain, and then GO to a bar.

  36. maxi
    October 9th, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

    You are either uninformed or dishonest; i’ll let you choose which. Jeffres did NOT make the remark on stage. Perry did NOT hear him say it. The remark was made when a Political reporter ASKED for Jeffres’ opinion on the subject- this was a setup by Political, they knew what he would say; and they got just what they wanted.
    And, it is sickening to see so many so-called conservatives jump on the band wagon against one of their own.

  37. Bob Belvedere
    October 9th, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

    Adobe: You are a burr in the arse of the Left!

  38. ThePaganTemple
    October 9th, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

    My way beat even yours. First go to the bar, then if you couldn’t make it to the polls to vote for McCain, no big loss.