The Other McCain

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

Slouching Toward Cedar Rapids

Posted on | December 20, 2011 | 18 Comments

One of the hardest things about blogging is maintaining morale during times of discouragement. And so I’m grateful to the readers who responded to last night’s emergency request for contributions to the Shoe Leather Fund for my rapidly approaching Iowa trip: Jeff in Walla Walla, Richard in North Hollywood, and Glen in Dubai — yes, I said Dubai.

There were other bits of encouragement: Mike Rogers at Granite Grok promoted my fundraiser, and used some “points” to arrange for me to have a nice hotel room near Des Moines for Jan. 2 and 3. So that’s two days of the eight-day trip coverage, and Dan Collins’ Romanian friend in Cedar Rapids (who will unfortunately be out of town when I arrive Dec. 26) will nonetheless permit me use of his home during his absence. That covers another day or two, and so we approach the minimum feasibility horizon.

I’ve already paid for my airfare to Cedar Rapids, as well as the Jan. 5 flight from Des Moines to Boston to cover the New Hampshire primary, so that’s covered. It’s the first few days of the Iowa trip that have me worried right now. Because it takes three or four business days for PayPal transfers to clear the bank, and because the banks will take a long holiday weekend, unless you hit the tip jar in the next 24 hours – by midnight Wednesday — there’s no way I’ll have that money available to rent a car or pay other expenses when I land in Cedar Rapids the day after Christmas.

Online fundraising during the holiday season is, of course, a difficult prospect. Blog traffic slumps this time of year and people understandably are busy shopping, but if any reader is feeling the urge to kick in $10 or $20 right now — hey, don’t fight the feeling!

UPDATE: Now, speaking of discouragement, I feel bad about this story from Politico:

Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats called Michele Bachmann and urged her to drop out of the race and endorse Rick Santorum, a source with knowledge of the conversation told POLITICO Tuesday . . .
Bachmann declined, the source said, noting to Vander Plaats that she has consistently polled ahead of Santorum in the race and still does. . . .

This was ill-advised on Vander Plaats’s part, especially because it gives Allahpundit an excuse to crap all over Rick Santorum by way of sneaking in another “second look at Perry” twist.

Of course, Vander Plaats shouldn’t have been telling Bachmann to quit. I’ve met Bachmann, I like Bachmann, and I expect to cover Bachmann when I get to Iowa. But she got her “Flavor of the Month” moment in June and couldn’t push it past 14 percent nationally, whereas Rick Santorum never got that shot, and I’m naturally partial to the longest longshot, the lowest underdog in the race. (Which is where Herman Cain was when I jumped aboard the Cain Train a year ago.)

Furthermore — and this is something a lot of Sarah Palin fans saw at the time — much of the media hype that Bachmann got in June was driven by the hope of liberals that, if Bachmann did well, her success would discourage Palin from entering the race and fighting Bachmann for the “Tea Party woman” vote.

Allahpundit is being completely bogus in trying to spin this Vander Plaats thing against Santorum, initially seeming to do so in favor of Bachmann, while ultimately using it to plug Perry:

How come Vander Plaats didn’t ask Bachmann to drop out and endorse Perry instead? Like I say, it makes perfect sense for social conservatives to want to unite behind a champion; what doesn’t make sense is uniting behind Santorum instead of a guy with loads of executive experience and a dynamite jobs record to throw in Obama’s face. Perry’s also much likelier to parlay an Iowa upset into a sustained campaign against Romney than Santorum is, I think.

Bachmann endorse Perry? Oh, hell, no. It was Perry’s bigfoot entry into the race that deprived Bachmann of the bump she would otherwise have gotten from her Ames straw poll win. The candidates who had spent weeks campaigning in Iowa prior to Aug. 13 are united in despising Perry’s campaign for that South Carolina publicity stunt.

Santorum’s surprisingly strong fourth-place finish at Ames was another story that got buried in the Perry hype. Despite the fact that he and Bachmann are both competing for the same social-conservative votes in Iowa, Santorum has always spoken well of Bachmann. A lot of Bachmann voters have Santorum as their second choice, and vice-versa. With the way the caucuses work, there will be some voters who go in Jan. 3 planning to vote for one of them who end up voting for the other.

And as for Allahpundit’s praise of Perry’s record, I agree wholeheartedly with Bachmann: Using government to force injections on “innocent little 12-year-old girls” isn’t my idea of “dynamite.”

UPDATE II: More encouragement: Dan Collins links at the Conservatory, and Kathy in Longmont hit the tip jar for $5.

UPDATE III: There’s more encouragement, but in the interest of balance, some more discouragement: Instapundit is hyping the Perrybot blog bandwagon.

Has Insty linked anybody’s endorsement of Rick Santorum? I don’t think so. And why not? Because Insty hates Rick Santorum with that special kind of hate that the vast majority of the conservative blogosphere reserves for Santorum.

What’s that all about? Santorum is a social conservative, and everybody seems to have convinced themselves that social conservatives are a dead weight impeding the Republican Party and therefore no one should ever express support for any social conservative anywhere, under any circumstance.

OK, if you feel that way, fine. It’s a free country, but hasn’t Rick Perry also been rather desperately trying to convince Iowa Republicans that he, too, is just as much a social conservative as Rick Santorum? Wasn’t that the whole point of this TV ad?

Perry deliberately contrasts “gays in the military” vs. “prayer in school” — a rather obvious play for the social conservative vote, don’t you agree? And yet Santorum isn’t acceptable because he’s a social conservative?

Perry is acceptable because, I suppose, the bloggers endorsing him figure he’s just engaged in insincere hypocritical pandering: Perry doesn’t really mean this stuff, so it’s OK to support him. Perry’s not going to lift a damn finger to actually implement any kind of social-conservative policy, he’s just talking up this stuff to fool those hicks in Iowa.

Also, as any Perry supporter will tell you, mandatory Gardasil injections are cool! All the kids in Texas, they love them some Gardasil.

UPDATE IV: Further encouragement in the form of tip-jar hits from Jeanne in Drexel Hills, Mark in Horsham, Lisa in Kentucky, Ross in Lakeland, and from our libertarian friend Tom Knapp, whom I suppose will expect me to get some good Ron Paul coverage while I’m in Iowa.

Actually, covering the Ron Paul campaign is easy because whenever there’s an event, the Paulistas are all around the place waving signs. A lot of the major media types covering the GOP campaign tend to ignore the Paulistas, mainly because the sign-waving hordes are such a commonplace feature of every event but also because — until quite recently — nobody thought the Paulistas would actually have an impact on the outcome.

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Comments

  • Pingback: Don’t Fight the Feeling

  • Anonymous

    Stacy, I just hit yer freakin’ tip jar.  Have a great trip!

  • Anonymous

    I’m in for enough to cover a pint of Kentucky Tavern — should take the Iowa chill off.

    But this — “Because it takes three or four business days for PayPal transfers to clear the bank” — concerns me.

    You should get a PayPal debit card. You don’t have to wait for money to move from your PayPal account to your bank account, you get cash back on purchases, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/TriciaNC1 TriciaNC

    Wow!  I’m sorry but that last line is uncalled for. 

  • Anonymous

    Its not that Santorum is unacceptable because he is a social conservative.  He’s whiny, boring, and has zero charisma…fair or not, thats needed to win in this day in age

  • Anonymous

    What, the Gardasil line?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    I have to hand it to the Santorum people, campaign team and backers.  They have had little or no money, nothing but shoe leather to work with while at the consistently low standing in the polls which would discourage most, yet they have plugged on.

    Now, when Gingrich began his inevitable fall back to earth, they recognized they were the only candidate left who hadn’t had the surge, the timing was perfect and they went out and seized the initiative.  They claimed the surge before it was there and created it in the imagination of the media and voters.  And just now, the rapid fire endorsements from people who carry weight with the most dependable Republican caucus-goers, the evangelicals, appears to be a bandwagon.

    And just about the time his rise hits the point where the media would hope to take him down a peg, it is Christmas, football, New Year’s, and then Caucus Day.  Oops, sorry, no time to derail Santorum before Iowa votes . . .

    You have to respect people who fight against the odds and stay ready to seize their opportunity.

  • Anonymous

    If you have to slouch toward anywhere in Iowa, you could do a lot, lot worse than Cedar Rapids. It’s a nice little city, and if it weren’t for the fact that most of my friends and family are in the DC area, I’d be sorely tempted to look for work there.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Who the hell does Van Der Plaantz think he is. He must be one of these fucking Neanderthals who think a woman’s place is in the bedroom or the kitchen. There’s just no other explanation. He might find out the hard way a lot of conservative women and men will disagree with his assessment.

    On the plus side, it sure was nice of him to take such a “freakin’ huge” shit on his little endorsement practically the minute he pissed it out.

  • Silentcal

    Stacey, the reason many of us conservatives aren’t backing Santorum, and really why no one is backing Santorum(voters anyway), is because he’s only a social conservative. He isn’t a fiscal conservative despite any claims he might make.

    He did vote for Medicare Part D and all the other ridiculous spending during the Bush years. He did endorse Arlen Specter in 2004 over Pat Toomey. Toomey barely lost the primary that year.

    Santorum lost his home state by 19% points. Even in a wave year, senators don’t get beaten by that much.  He wouldn’t win his home state in a general election.

    I’m sorry brother, you jumped on a sinking ship.  Santorum will be out by Florida. He’s essentially running his campaign on the tip jar as well.

  • Anonymous

    You seem to be forgetting that PA is a unionized blue state.  The last time PA voted for a Republican Presidential candidate was in 1988.

    In fact, one could make the case that Santorum winning statewide twice (with Bush on top in 2000) was impressive enough.

    You also seem to be forgetting that year the Republicans lost control of both House and Senate, and the anti-Bush sentiment of the time ruled the day.

    When conservatives go around panning a good conservative like Santorum who won in a blue state and continued to do so as a full throated conservative (unlike a Christie or a Scott Brown for example) perplexes me.  The political environment you describe in your post is not cut and dry. Since, we was my Senator 12 years, I can honestly state, he didn’t win blue PA by “just” being a socon.  His elections in  Dem-heavy western PA and statewide negate this blogopshere talking point.

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  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    Sure, Philly leans blue as does Massachusetts.   Perhaps that’s why it’s best we not draft GOP candidates with shaky at best fiscal conservative credentials from those states.    He  may have won as a full throated conservative, but he didn’t vote that way once he got into office.  Maybe if he had, he would have done better when he was up for reelection. 

  • Anonymous

    Interesting argument.  Are you suggesting we should nominate folks like Orrin Hatch, John Cornyn, and Saxby Chambliss b/c they are from “red states?”

    I would argue that Santorum is far more conservative than some Senators from red states.

    If you are referring to his record during the Bush years, well, he was part of the Senate Leadership, and generally speaking, no Senator has a perfect voting record.  That’s the nature of legislative beast.  But, he does score marks for legislation on Iran, and leading the charge to end welfare as an entitlement.

    Lastly, Santorum did get re-elected. (2000)  And, his voting record had nothing to do with his loss.  He was a conservative R in a blue state during a Democratic tidal wave.  It’s really that simple.

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  • http://zillablog.marezilla.com Zilla of the Resistance

    Linked here:

    Christmas with the Sickies of the Resistance

    http://zillablog.marezilla.com/2011/12/christmas-with-sickies-of-resistance.html
     

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