The Other McCain

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

I’VE BEEN BLINDED BY HATE!

Posted on | March 15, 2012 | 35 Comments

So says Bill Quick at Daily Pundit, who says I’m “spouting arrant hooey” in observing that Newt Gingrich’s campaign is doomed.

Quick says my ”visceral hatred of Gingrich” accounts for my hooey. Even if accurate, this accusation completely misses the relevant point that Newt’s campaign faces financial ruin after Tuesday’s double defeats in Mississippi and Alabama.

As I’ve said repeatedly in the past week, while we have had announcements of February fundraising totals from both Romney ($11.5 million) and Santorum ($9 million), we haven’t heard a peep from Team Newt, which is a very bad omen for Gingrich.

Perhaps I was the only one who noticed the report (and I could look it up if I had to) of what Gingrich was doing while his campaign in Nevada was stumbling toward its Feb. 4 disaster. Newt was reportedly “dialing for dollars,” phoning up contributors who hadn’t yet maxed-out and asking them to give more. If you know anything about elections, you know that the most valuable resource in any campaign is the candidate’s time. The report that Gingrich was dialing for dollars in Nevada, at a time when he evidently didn’t have time to attend a scheduled meeting with the state’s popular Gov. Brian Sandoval, was therefore something I saw as highly significant.

Remember: On Jan. 21, Gingrich had defeated Romney in the South Carolina primary, following two televised debate performances that many conservatives hailed as triumphant for Newt. Yet here he was, less than two weeks later, his campaign evidently in such dire financial straits that his time had to be devoted to fundraising phone calls.

What that tells me is that the Gingrich campaign’s “burn rate” got out of control in Florida: They weren’t merely spending the money as fast as it came in, but they were spending it so fast that they outpaced even the bumped-up fundraising they had after their South Carolina victory. (Remember, also: Rick Perry endorsed Gingrich on Jan. 19, which should have made all of Perry’s big-money Texas donors fair game for Newt.)

Quick furthermore accuses me of “wishing and hoping that Gingrich supporters will move en masse to Santorum without Newt urging them to do so,” a mistake that I can assure him — and anyone else — that I have not made. But neither do I suppose that Newt’s endorsement would have any magic benefit for Santorum. In case Bill hasn’t noticed, the endorsements of Newt by Perry and Herman Cain have not magically transferred their supporters to Newt’s camp.

Politics doesn’t work that way: People support who they support for very idiosyncratic reasons, and people who have spent the past few months staunchly supporting Newt Gingrich — most obviously including Bill Quick — do so in part because they have rejected the available alternatives.

If they wanted to support Rick Santorum, the Newtoids might have jumped aboard the Santorum Express after Iowa, or after Santorum’s Feb. 7 trifecta in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. The fact that they are still supporting Gingrich now, when his campaign is so plainly hopeless (e.g., attendance at his Illinois events numbered in the dozens) tells me that Newt’s remaining diehards have strong objections to Santorum’s candidacy which might deserve the term “hatred” far more than my own attitude toward Gingrich does.

As a sort of Rorshach test, let me ask Bill Quick what he thinks of this inkblot quote that Newt gave Greta Van Sustern last night:

I’m third among the three, but we’re continuing to campaign, continuing to develop ideas.
And I have a hunch that just as has happened in the past, the more we watch Romney and Santorum fight, the more attractive I’ll look and the more I will regain strength as people look at my solutions, rather than politics as usual.
I don’t pretend to be a traditional politician. I’m somebody who wants to really have very large-scale change in Washington.

To borrow Toby Harnden’s excellent phrase, this is ”so far removed from reality that calling it delusional seems like an understatement.” And once again, I’ll quote myself:

Unfortunately, some Gingrich supporters want to blame people who explain to them that Newt can’t win, as though he could win, if only we’d be quiet and pretend he could.
Lashing out at scapegoats is not a useful substitute for success.

You can kill the messenger, but the facts are still the facts, and I do not rule out the possibility that we may be doomed to Mitt Romney. However, if conservatives were really serious when they said they wanted “Anybody But Mitt,” they must understand that their only hope now is to rally behind Rick Santorum.

(BTW: Bloggers should observe how well Bill Quick has understood my Rule 4 adage: “Love me, hate me, as long as you link me.” What’s the point of having an argument, if it doesn’t boost our traffic?)

UPDATE: Bill updates to say that I’m “mischarecterizing [his] arguments,” and maybe I am. But the point is that I’m linking his arguments, and anyone can compare what I’ve written and what he’s written and make up their own minds as to whether either of us is right. I don’t rule out the possibility that we’re both completely wrong, or that we’re each clinging blindly to some comforting small piece of the truth while both ignoring something very large that we don’t want to look at too closely, i.e., the likelihood that we’re doomed beyond hope of redemption and should be praying for the swift arrival of the Sweet Meteor of Death.

Maybe we should both stop blogging about the 2012 GOP campaign and start blogging about Whitney Houston’s dysfunctional family.

If you think about it, there are similarities . . .

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Comments

  • paulzummo

    Newt dead-enders have become just as far removed from reality as Paul supporters.  That said, Newt can still play king-maker.  People just need to accept that he’s not going to be the nominee.

  • robertstacymccain

    Isn’t “acceptance” the last stage of Kubler-Ross?

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  • gerardv

    It’s wonderful to see all these folks going through all these stages of blather. It only confirms, if confirmation were needed, my own ancient truth: “REPUBLICANS. THEY THIRST FOR DEATH.”

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

    You talk about your “visceral hatred of Gingrich” as if it were a bad thing.

    The guy’s a two-faced, backstabbing self-promoter who has betrayed everyone who ever trusted him, a serial adulterer, and such an unreliable and incompetent Speaker that conservatives were already considering throwing him out in 1996.  He’s turned his back on every conservative principle at one time or six. 

    It’s just hard to love a cad like that.

    I think he is marginalized now, the only votes he will get are the diehard Newties who have some sick and perverted view of history that sees Newt as some sort of hero, as if the years after 1994 never happened.  They pretend he was part of the Reagan Revolution when all he was was a loudmouthed critic whining from the outside.  You cannot reason with those who drink the Kool Aid.

    But I think he stays in as long as he can afford a ticket to wherever his next speech is.  Not just for his ego, but because he was only running for the free advertising in the first place.  The more they wail about how he should withdraw, the more his face and name are on the air.  For free.

  • sheryl

    So, I guess I am a Newtoid. Silly made up names for American voters who prefer a certain candidate. I like Rick well enough too, I guess that make me a member of the “God Squad”.

  • Studley WanKenobi

    Could you please tell Rick to stick to the economy when asked any questions? He just came out and said he would “vigorously enforce pornography laws”, remind me if that is an issue during this election cycle, no it isn’t.

    If he could just stick to talking about how useless our current president is and how he plans to fix the economy he could win this. I respect his positions but he really should do nothing but talk about the economy and obamacare…

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

     The angry shouters need a candidate too…

  • Finrod Felagund

    Rick can’t help himself, he’s a Social Conservative first, last, and always, which is why he’s doomed; because if the general election becomes about social issues instead of how Obama has wrecked the economy and healthcare, Obama will be re-elected.

    If Rick could stick to those things, he wouldn’t be Rick, just like Mitt wouldn’t be Mitt if he didn’t flip-flop, and Newt wouldn’t be Newt if he didn’t have way more ideas than he could ever explain.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Where are the libertarian-leaning types going to go?  Mitt?  He’s on both sides of every issue.  Rick?  He hates libertarians.  Their choice is between Newt and Ron, and the ones with an IQ above 90 won’t go to Ron.

  • Finrod Felagund

    The last time the Republican Party had a contested convention (1920), Warren Harding went into the convention 6th in delegates, and emerged as the nominee and was elected President.

  • paulzummo

    Harding would be an apt historical comp.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Hm, what you were referring to is even more extreme than I thought.  If Rick Santorum campaigns to get pornography off the Internet, he will lose 40 states.

  • paulzummo

    Yes, because Republicans do so poorly on social issues.  Except abortion.  And gay marriage.  And the HHS mandate.  But other than that it’s a sure loser.

    Generally, there’s just a false dichotomy between social and fiscal issues.  Doesn’t welfare hit upon both, for example?  And how often do “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” politicians wind up showing their true colors as being more loyal to the former rather than the latter?

  • smbren

     I hear you..Like that is important now. That would entail some sort of online censorship I presume.

  • Finrod Felagund

    It’s not that social issues are a loser, it’s that it’s Not What Is Hurting People Right Now.  Unemployed people will vote GOP if the GOP runs on fixing the economy and ending Obamacare, but they’ll go WTF and stay home if the GOP ignores these issues to focus on stupid crap like getting porn off the Internet.

  • paulzummo

    First of all, you’re buying into the fiction that Santorum is ignoring the economy.  You hear one press account and suddenly you make a strawman argument about that being the centerpiece of his campaign.
    Second, people aren’t going to refuse to vote for Santorum because he off-handedly mentions the evils of porno while simultaneously vowing to repeal Obamacare.  Voters are fickle, but they’re not that fickle.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Well, he’s lost me.  I will not vote for Santorum in the general election; if Santorum can’t win the state of Georgia without me, he’s doomed anyways.  I will vote Libertarian or some other third party if Santorum is the nominee.

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

     Yes, they are.  The swing voters are dumb as rocks, which is why they can’t decide until the last week who to vote for.  They have no core principles and fewer brain cells.  They drift with the wind and are easily fooled.

    That said, we need to vote for our nominee because any other vote helps Obama.  Even in a dark red/blue state, your vote counts toward national totals and may help build the narrative in case of a close win for our side. 

  • Confutus

    If this were fiction, it would be written thus:

    You fools, who won’t vote for me! Isn’t it obvious that I’m the guy with the big ideas? Help me, Santorum! Throw your support to me, and we can still save the country from Mitt Romney! You fools!

    One does not expect to to encounter a  melodramatic caricature of insanity in a real-world campaign for the US Presidency.

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

     We coulda called y’all ‘Figs’ but that woulda been mean. *g*

  • Adobe_Walls

    oh

  • Asian_chic

    He was beloved…unlike Newt. Not gonna happen.

  • http://iSnark.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    as though he could win, if only we’d be quiet and pretend he could.

    That’s pretty much been the pro-Romney position since before the Iowa caucuses, and if he’s the nominee it’ll only get more strident as November approaches.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady
  • Quartermaster

    We are doomed.

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

     Santorum must be a fool. Actually, that’s a very simplistic statement. He’s letting his recent successes go to his head and possibly letting slip his true character. That’s why I can’t support him any longer at this stage, and if he does somehow get the nomination, then only reluctantly at best. I hate to say it but I’m starting to think he actually believes God is on his side. I’ve suspected that for some time but never said anything, but the more I hear about ignorant fucking bullshit like this from him, the more it starts to seem like an inescapable conclusion.

  • http://www.leftbankofthecharles.com/ Charles

    “Newt can still play king-maker” is just a new layer to Newt dead-ender.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    “but because he was only running for the free advertising in the first place.”.

    I’m a Santorum guy but I have to say in Newt’s defense, that the above statement is nonsense.  Newt a.) doesn’t need the free advertising enough to drown himself in debt. He was getting plenty with his various organizations and Fox spots. b.) Adjoran has to be the only guy on the planet that thinks that Newt doesn’t desperately want to be president. That he would do practically anything to get the job because he KNOWS that he was born to be the best president evah.

    So, in this respect, I tend to put Adjoran in the same delusional category as the Newtster himself.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    This assumes that the average libertarian is ideologically black or white. Most conservatives have a bit of libertarian in them and vice versa.  Yes, there are hard-core libertarian purists but those numbers are not enough to help either Santorum or Romney as I would think that their vote would be split between the two men or not go to anyone. Meanwhile, the remainder will be smart enough to vote for the more conservative of the remaining two and that benefits Santorum.

    And by the way, Santorum doesn’t “hate” libertarians. He said he didn’t like Paul’s strain of libertarianism which was a direct criticism of Paul’s foreign policy views.

    I’ve listened to both Romney and Santorum and whereas Rick speaks about returning to Constitutional governance, Mitt never does (except when he is claiming how “severe” his conservatism is).

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    Ad hominem attacks like this don’t become you Pagan.  And furthermore, let’s examine what is “ignorant f**king, bu***hit” for a moment shall we?

    So you would assure a victory for either a the current Marxist-in-Chief or the liberal RINO? – the guy whose church is even MORE anti-porn than Santorum is? I’d post the link to the LDS church’s position on porn but it’s ridiculously long so I’ll just quote part of the relevant paragraph: 

    “Members of the Church should avoid pornography in any form and should oppose its production, distribution, and use.” 

    Romney served as ward bishop and stake president in his area which means that either he is a devout Mormon who would fight porn as mandated by his church or maybe he won’t because he doesn’t believe what his own church requires of him. Maybe you believe that Mitt is just as cynical about his religion as he is his politics.

    Of course, Obama is all about porn so maybe that’s better. Political porn, green energy porn, Fast and Furious Mexican cartel gun running pr0n, ad infinitum. 

    So I guess not voting for the most conservative viable candidate at this juncture will get you your wish for endless porn for everyone. 

    Hooray!

    Heck, ObamaCare will even make sure you get your $1000 annual contraceptive reimbursement should all that virtual sex turn into something real.

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

     Is Mitt going to make the Mormon doctrine on porn a centerpiece of his administration, and an arm of the Justice Department? Because that’s what Santorum seems to be implying.

    Stacy has attempted to address this issue in his latest post, so maybe he is being misrepresented, but its starting to look like a gaffe a minute from this guy. He goes from insulting the Tea Party, to Libertarians, to women who use birth control, to flat out anybody who uses birth control while outwardly stating that Christians who practice birth control are to all intents and purposes heretics.

    And now this?

    And as for me wanting “free porn for all”, no I do not want that. Like most things, I think porn is good for you in moderate amounts, but I rarely use porn. I rarely even read Rule Five posts unless I see something that catches my eyes, a name I recognize, etc.

    My “ad hominem” isn’t a defense of “free porn” it’s a screech for some common sense.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    Okay, so “screech” may be a more apropos term.  But “gaffe a minute”?  Can we please avoid the hyperbole for just a bit?

    How is promising to enforce the law a “gaffe”?

    Please, I’m interested in how one comes to such an extreme position on this subject as yours appears to be.