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 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.