The Other McCain

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

The Familiar Pattern Emerges Again

Posted on | January 2, 2012 | 66 Comments

JOHNSTON, Iowa
Today I published another column from the campaign trail here in Iowa:

Rick Santorum made a bold prediction here Friday night: The Pittsburgh Steelers will go all the way to the Super Bowl for a rematch with the Green Bay Packers.
The former Pennsylvania senator was enjoying a rare moment of relaxation on the campaign trail here in Iowa, where voters will gather Tuesday night to cast the first real votes that count toward the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Santorum was wearing a University of Iowa Hawkeyes cap at the Okoboji Grille, where he gathered with supporters to watch the Hawkeyes play the Oklahoma Sooners in the Insight Bowl. When he arrived at the restaurant in Johnston, a suburb of Des Moines, Santorum was swarmed by reporters, photographers, and TV cameramen who have swooped down on his campaign in the past week as polls began indicating that he was surging ahead in the pack of GOP candidates.
Most of the reporters had left the restaurant (and the Hawkeyes were well on their way to a 31-14 loss to the Sooners) by the time I had the chance to ask Santorum about his beloved Steelers. “We will beat the Browns this week,” he said, sitting in front of a half-finished platter of nachos. “My prediction is, both the Patriots will lose to the Bills and the Ravens will lose to the Bengals and we will be the Number One seed in the AFC playoffs.”
But while the underdog-turned-contender was willing to risk prognosticating the NFL all the way to the Super Bowl, he has remained hesitant to predict how he’ll finish in Tuesday’s caucuses. Santorum obviously wants to exceed expectations, but the poll numbers and media buzz surrounding his campaign are making it hard to suppress those expectations. . . .

You can read the whole thing at The American Spectator, and I hope readers are not offended by my practice of linking my columns here, but I sometimes get the feeling that if I didn’t link and quote my own columns, no one would. Here, for the record, are my previous four columns from Iowa:

God knows that, having started reporting the “Santorum Surge” weeks before anyone else noticed it, I certainly don’t deserve any credit for my foresight now that the surge is headline news all across the country. In fact, conservative bloggers who ridiculed me for writing about Santorum a month ago are now linking and quoting MSM reports about the Iowa caucuses rather than quoting anything I’ve written.

Even before Tabitha Hale made a point of excluding me from the BlogCon agenda, I began to suspect that rather than being hated for anything I’d done wrong, I was being hated for my successes. One might think that a track record of success would count for something in the political blogosphere, and yet the more often I’m right, the more profoundly I’m hated. This problem was once more brought to my attention last night when Smitty e-mailed me a post Professor William Jacobson wrote at Legal Insurrection, which touched a raw nerve.

It seems there are people who resent my very presence in the conservative blogosphere, who feel that I am an unwelcome interloper, intruding on a private party to which I was not invited. These people apparently hope that, if they can ignore me long enough — and persuade others also to ignore me — maybe I’ll just go away. Being treated as persona non grata by those who profess friendship is a bewildering experience, one which permits only two possible explanations:

  1. The professions of friendship are false and these people who say they harbor no animosity toward me are concealing a profound hatred toward me which, for some reason, they are unwilling to admit; or
  2. My work is utterly worthless, and therefore undeserving of recognition.

Neither explanation is comforting, for either I have spent the past 25 years pursuing a career for which I lack any aptitude, or else I have somehow managed to inspire intense hatred from these people who, for some unexplained reason, prefer to conceal the motives of their hatred. Such relentless discouragement from my “friends” is particularly distracting at a time when I have traveled to Iowa in hopes of doing some work that might be regarded as useful.

In the case of Professor Jacobson, I suppose his evident delight in heaping scorn on me is related to his undisguised opposition to the candidacy of Rick Santorum. And thus does the bearer of bad news (from the perspective that good news for Santorum is bad news for the professor’s favored candidate) become persona non grata.

People who tell you that honesty is the best policy are wrong, if the object of your policy is to become popular. To say honestly what one believes is viewed by sophisticated people as foolishness, and to admit doubt or discouragement is considered an expression of self-pity. So it is that, desiring to be thought wise and strong, we are led to care more about seeming virtuous than actually being virtuous.

Bite your tongue and hide your motives, for this is wisdom. Never acknowledge that you have been hurt, for there is strength in denial. Such are the implicit maxims of the Cult of Seeming.

The incentives to be concerned chiefly with seeming are very powerful, in a world where people are often judged more by perception than reality. Yet that temptation must be resisted, because it can lead to a life based on falsehood, and those who attempt to live a lie are never completely successful in their deceptions.

Take a step down that path, and then another and another and, before you know it, you’ll be lobbying for Freddie Mac, recording a video with Nancy Pelosi, running up a million-dollar tab at Tiffany’s and cruising the Aegean with your third wife, all the while expecting the good people of Iowa to support you as an “outsider” who is going to clean up the mess in Washington.

I believe it was a Republican who once observed that you cannot fool all the people all the time. And we have reason to believe that not many Republicans in Iowa have been fooled this time.

Yet to point out the imposture, to say that the transparent phoniness of Newt Gingrich is the direct cause of his failure, is to alienate those who believed that Newt could get away with it. I think they underestimated the good folk of Iowa.

Maybe Professor Jacobson doesn’t like me, and certainly he doesn’t like Rick Santorum. But at least Santorum is who he is, and doesn’t try to substitute seeming for being.

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Comments

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Thanks, Richard.  You saved me from having to write the explanation a-frigging-gain.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Thanks to you, too.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I’d love to read the whole thing, as I’ve given quite abit of thought to the two schools of thought you cite.

    If possible, please send it to:
    Robert[dot]Belvedere[at]gmail[dot]com.

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

    Stacy I’m sorry its just kind of hard to feel sorry for a guy who gets as man hits in one hour as I get in a day.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Hey, his visits are barely TWO orders of magnitude better than mine.

    I like to think of it as measured progress.

    Then I drink.

  • Lloyd Albano

    I’m not Rob, but while Santorum’s endorsement of Specter sickened me at the time, there were at least some rational arguments for it, unlike the Scozzafava deal.
    1. As a Junior Senator from the same state and party, taking on Specter would have meant severely sacrificing Santorum’s relationships and effectiveness in the Senate.
    2. The likelihood of a Toomey loss tipping control of the senate to the Dems. 2004 was not 2010 and Toomey’s win this past cycle was no cakewalk.
    3. Santorum reportedly secured Specter’s agreement to support Bush’s nominees to the SC, which turned out to be Roberts & Alito.

    Now, I’d still say that endorsing Toomey, or at least staying on the sideline would have at least torpedoed Specter and Toomey MAY yet have won the general. But I see why Santorum felt he had to bite that particular bullet.

  • Anonymous

    This “young hussy” is a 49-year-old mother of 1 who’s been happily married to a hottie for 26 years.

    I can’t recall, but I may have mentioned it in a post on this site that I wrote a paper on TOM, the excerpts from which made my liberal prof spit nails.  That was the same point I made at LI–it was fun to rankle the liberal status quo.

  • Dcmick

    Do you know how many staffers to House members there are, how many employees for the various committees and subcommittees in the House?

    The role of Speaker extends way beyond mere party leader in the House.

    You need to be better informed about what the Speaker does, what the Speaker is privy to in addition.

    Santorum by the way didn’t work the floor in the Senate, he wasn’t Whip.  He was right hand man to a guy many of you remember, but don’t like, Trent Lott.

  • Dcmick

    I didn’t say he ran the state well.

    I merely said he ran it.

    Everybody who has perused this blog knows that I’ve got serious probs with Romney, and with the Bush clan behind Romney.

    But all that being said, not every moment of his Presidency would he be cutting deals with Democrats.   Even I know that.

  • Dcmick

    I’m glad you liked “quantum;” I knew some would.

    It wasn’t hyperbole mentioning that Cain was vastly ignorant of many things that anybody who read this blog for instance, would be aware of, such as the right of return.  That wasn’t foreign policy trivia……….

    As I observed, and others observed long before me, Cain had serious probs once outside the hash marks of his 999 plan.

    What did he run?

    A business.

    But I don’t think business experience automatically translates to government.

    Doesn’t anyone here recall the infamous Whiz kids brought in by JFK’s administration, and kept in LBJ’s.

    Does no one here recall the disaster that was Robert McNamara as Sec Def, who tried to run the Pentagon, who tried to manipulate foreign policy similar to ways in which he would manipulate his workforce.

    He was from Ford Motors.

    And he was a disaster.

    And he knew a hell of a lot more than Herman Cain.

    Nor am I impressed that Herm ran a lobbying group inside Washington.

    Herman Cain had nothing to offer to me.  Usually had nice ties though……..  But then again, always wore yellow.   No imagination, no flexibility,  just like his stage persona.

  • Dcmick

    Actually there was someone defending him, ————-that was Santorum.

  • Dcmick

    I know that.

    Knew it at the time too.

    I was just asking Rob to address it, because he often brings it up when going off on a tear about Gingrich.

    And by the by, Gingrich’s efforts in NY 23 were not in any way decisive.

    But the same cannot be said for Santorum’s efforts for Specter.  Had Santorum not gone to bat for him, and Santorum worked long and hard to gain Specter that nomination, then Specter would have gone down hard to defeat, and for Specter, Snarlin’ Arlen, that would have been a well-deserved, ignominious defeat.

    The very evening of the primary, prior to the results coming in, Specter was already singing his swan song of defeat. He clearly thought he was going down.

    THAT’S how close it was.

  • Dcmick

    Specter didn’t help Santorum.

    That’s a crock, many think there’s something to Specter having helped Santorum, but that wasn’t the case.

    The men didn’t even like one another.

    Snarlin’ Arlen was a jerk, a jerk to his staff, a jerk to anyone who has ever worked around him.

    Santorum never got along with him.

    Moreover, the ONE issue upon which Santorum is most passionate is that of abortion.  And there’s no way Santorum could get along with a guy who saved Roe by trashing the reputation of a legal titan like Robert Bork.

    And you clearly have little understanding of Santorum’s persona when he was a young turk in the House.

    I’m not gonna’ bother taking a journey down memory lane here for you, but Santorum was so fierce going after moderates and liberals, that it was his own party leadership that begged him to water down.

    Once in the Senate, the same thing happened, and it was his own Senate leadership begging him to come into conformity with the comity that prevails in the Senate. 

    Santorum’s manner, which hasn’t gained him much support as yet, even though he usually says the things that Conservatives want to hear, doesn’t wear well.  Somebody I read termed it his “acidic” manner, and there’s certainly truth to that.

    Santorum is a fighter.

    He’s another guy who has to restrain himself from going after his opponent.  And often that restraint that he exercises is discerned by those observing him.

  • Anonymous

    I get your point.  However, whether Santorum was effective or Newt was not .. isn’t really the point I was trying to make.

    Santorum had to endorse Specter while Newt had no obligations to Dede what’s her name.  That’s my point. As to what Rob, says, I obviously don’t speak for him, but for me, a PA voter.

    Politics is not clean … Palin endorsed McCain and people had a cow over that .. not to mention her endorsements in CA and NH …. I just don’t like the nit picking.  Santorum has his weaknessess, but who doesn’t?  We have to weigh the pros and cons of each candidate.  Santorum’s “sin” as compared to Romneycare, global warming, support of a mandate, TARP etc. is “forgivable” in the bigger picture.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I don’t know about that.  I suspect Romney will be a turncoat of epic proportions.  

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