The Other McCain

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

GOP Presidential Primary Apocalypse

Posted on | August 20, 2011 | 44 Comments

Tim Pawlenty’s former campaign staff is reportedly hoping to join the campaign of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. This is amusing: Who wants to start their campaign with a team of losers? It’s also pathetic: Unemployed campaign staffers pinning their future hopes on a guy who has repeatedly said he is not running for president. And the ex-Pawlenty staffers are trying to make themselves seem more desireable by asserting that they’ve “resisted overtures” from Paul Ryan’s prospective campaign.

Longtime Red State contributor Josh Trevino says Michelle Malkin is “insane”  and “fringe” to criticize Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller wrote: “Some conservatives, of course, weren’t happy with Malkin’s criticism. When it comes to covering conservative primary candidates, some people think conservative writers should just turn a blind eye — or  solely focus on attacking Obama.”

The problem here is that Perry’s fans — and the Red State crew seems to be leading the charge — have portrayed their guy as All That and a Slice of Cheese and now seem to expect everyone else to cede the nomination to their anointed candidate. As I have explained, I was offended by the Perry campaign’s roll-out, a deliberate diss to the Ames Straw Poll. (Iowan sources told me that Perry’s people had approached the Iowa GOP about getting in on the straw poll and evidently didn’t like the terms offered.) My out-front support of Herman Cain might suffice to explain my resentment of the Perrybots, but really: Don’t supporters of other candidates — Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, et al. — also have a legitimate grievance at being told that Perry is beyond criticism?

They’ve been out out there getting chewed up every day for months, and suddenly they’re just supposed to acclaim the Anointed One?

Because Red State says so? Dan Riehl eats Red Staters for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Dave Weigel has a good piece exploring the possibility of an endless primary fight that results in a brokered convention at Tampa.

I had raised this same possibility Thursday, with the caveat that it’s probably wishful thinking: A brokered convention is every political journalist’s dream. It was what we’d all hoped the Hillary-Obama battle would lead to in 2008. Yet the crowded GOP field and the new RNC rules about delegate apportionment — prohibiting winner-take-all primaries before April 1 — do permit the glimmer of hope that we could witness a multi-ballot Armageddon at the Republican convention. (Theme song: “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.”)

And while you wrap your mind around the idea of a Tampa apocalypse, consider this: The Sept. 3 Iowa “Restoring America” rally featuring Sarah Palin has switched its site to Indianola to handle a larger crowd:

There has been speculation that Palin, a former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, could use the event as an opportunity to announce whether she plans to run for president in 2012.
“I don’t know if she’s going to announce or not,” said Charlie Gruschow, co-founder of Tea Party of America. “But whether or not she announces, we’re going to have a huge event.”

Everybody who knows anything about presidential politics has already decided that Sarah Palin is not running in 2012.

But has Sarah Palin decided yet?


44 Responses to “GOP Presidential Primary Apocalypse”

  1. Matt Lewis
    August 20th, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    The new rules should be interesting.  In 2008, by the time my state (VA…formerly Gentleman Jim’s district, but no longer) had its primary, it was obvious who the nominee was going to be.  So I voted against Obama the first time (I was participating in Operation Chaos before there was Operation Chaos).

    I’d say a primary voter’s dream is to cast a meaningful vote, which usually means being in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.  Maybe we’ll get to this…err…next year.

  2. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

    You know who this Apocalypse would benefit?  BO!  Fore more years.

  3. JeffS
    August 20th, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

    If Perry and his crew (I’m not going to say “Perrybots”, but I reserve the right to do so in the future) can’t take criticism from fellow conservatives, then they should take a hike. 

    No one is beyond criticism.  No one.  Michelle Malkin raises reasonable concerns about Perry, and Perry needs to address those concerns.  If he doesn’t, that in itself is telling.

  4. ThePaganTemple
    August 20th, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    Oh I don’t know, I think Herman would make a good Treasury Secretary for Perry. What do you guys think?

  5. ThePaganTemple
    August 20th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

    Anytime you hear some “expert” say Sara isn’t going to get in, the first thing you need to do is see who they are hoping *will* get in. Why is Jeb Bush and other Bushies pressing so desperately for other people to get in? Floating trial balloons about Paul Ryan, for example. Also, how many times does Chris Christie have to say no. I’ve seen that guy’s temper, he would have to tell me one time, and one time only.

    This brokered convention deal worries me too. How long has it been since it was set up that way. This could be a means of making sure that the GOP is “united” behind a “unity” candidate.

    You know, a RINO. Running mate-Paul Ryan.

  6. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    Perry has to explain his actions and views on several subjects, Islam and Islamists and immigration. The political rational for a Texas politician trying not to alienate Hispanics that doesn’t make squishy views on the subject acceptable. His notion that Islamics are fundamentally peaceful is truly alarming.

  7. steve benton
    August 20th, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    Count me in as a Perry bot. Maybe if we all keep throwing dirt on Perry, we can count on Mitt Romney to “fix” healthcare like he did in Mass. Or maybe we can all enjoy Romney saving the World from global warming. I have read Malkin’s blog for years, and have only been really pissed once – when she slammed Perry. 

  8. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

    This notion that it’s unacceptable to question Perry’s views or actions reminds me of Obama supporters.

  9. WyBlog - Tax hike, toll hike, po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe
    August 20th, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    Tax hike, toll hike, po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe…

    Chris Christie, who still isn’t running for president, says that raising tolls on our Hudson River crossings is not a “tax hike.”…

  10. Matt Lewis
    August 20th, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

    Yep.  And we’re never going to find a candidate that isn’t worth criticizing for some reason or other.  The key is to weigh the pros and cons of all the candidates and pick the best.

    Plus, get this stuff out there now for fewer surprises next October.

  11. Lawrence Kent
    August 20th, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    Since when was Criticism ever a bad thing?  Only to the Lib-tards, of course.  But those that have to think for a living, will and should always remain critical of any Politician.

  12. Bob Belvedere
    August 20th, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

    ..and some Palin supporters.

  13. Chris Wysocki
    August 20th, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    It is not unacceptable to question any candidate, including Rick Perry. (But us bloggers question Ron Paul at our own peril…) It is however counterproductive to make mountains out of molehills.

  14. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

    I don’t think the delegates are going to sit still for that after the nomination of Stacy’s Crazy Cousin John last time around. The Party is in no mood for moderation, business as usual, or any of the other Establishment crapola this time around; the grassroots want heads on pikes, pitchforks/torches/rifles in the streets, and a complete rout of the Democrats.

  15. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    Maybe if we all keep throwing dirt on Perry, we can count on Mitt Romney to “fix” healthcare like he did in Mass.

    Here’s the problem, Steve: We already had multiple candidates — Bachmann, Cain, Santorum — offering themselves as the conservative alternative to Romney before Perry even seriously hinted at an interest in a 2012 campaign. And I do not think it’s an accident that people pushed Perry into this only after it became clear that the GOP grassroots weren’t on the verge of succumbing to “T-Paw Fever.” (The May 5 debate in South Carolina — when Cain stole the show from Pawlenty — was the iceberg that sank the T-Paw Titanic.) The people pushing the Perry bandwagon are by-the-book thinkers who know that a successful two-term governor has proven the winning formula for Republicans in the past.

    The conventional wisdom, however, has already failed once (Pawlenty), and I think people are missing the fact is that Obama’s 2008 election re-wrote the rules: How does a first-term senator — whose signature legislative agenda seemed to be missing votes — rate as presidential timber? The key is now grassroots organizing behind a candidate who excites True Believers, and you see how Bachmann stomped Pawlenty in that department.

    My concern about the Perry campaign — a concern I’ve expressed before — is that he will flame out after several months, in the meantime having soaked up a lot of money and media that otherwise would have gone to other conservative alternatives to Romney. Thus, the Perry candidacy could lead indirectly to the one thing that Perry’s supporters least want, namely the nomination of Romney. However, if Palin gets in, the whole narrative changes again and we’ll see what develops from there.

  16. ThePaganTemple
    August 20th, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    That’s what the rank-and-file Republican voter wants, in other words. But what does the establishment party bosses want? I submit that they want to make sure they keep their positions of power over the party, with all the perqs that entails. That could be why they set this system up. Do you really think they want a Tea Party presidential candidate for President? They are looking at their preeminence fading in the face of what they see as the common mob, and they aren’t going to sit still for it. I honestly believe they would prefer to lose the election.

  17. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

     The Party is in no mood for moderation, business as usual, or any of the other Establishment crapola this time around; the grassroots want heads on pikes, pitchforks/torches/rifles in the streets, and a complete rout of the Democrats.

    Not just “yes,” but HELL, YES!

  18. Zilla of the Resistance
    August 20th, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Daniel Greenfield have all been viciously attacked by Perrybots for voicing legitimate concerns about Rick Perry being an islamoblow. They are as bad as Ron Paul fanatics, Obamazombies, and islamic supremacists. That is very telling.
    To paraphrase something Stacy said a while back,
    If Pamela Geller says you have an islam problem, then chances are, you have an islam problem.
    If Geller, Spencer, and Greenfield say that there is an issue with Perry and islamic supremacists, then I am willing to bet that there is an issue with Perry and islamic supremacists that people need to know about. 
    It has been almost ten years since jihadis came and killed us by the thousands one bright and sunny morning here in America, can we PLEASE get someone in the Oval office who will not bow down and kiss the raised asses of the people who are trying to KILL US?

  19. Daily Pundit » My Pomeranian Could Beat Obama, So Let the Bloodletting Begin!
    August 20th, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    […] GOP Presidential Primary Apocalypse : The Other McCain Tim Pawlenty’s former campaign staff is reportedly hoping to join the campaign of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. This is amusing: Who wants to start their campaign with a team of losers? It’s also pathetic: Unemployed campaign staffers pinning their future hopes on a guy who has repeatedly said he is not running for president. And the ex-Pawlenty staffers are trying to make themselves seem more desirable by asserting that they’ve “resisted overtures” from Paul Ryan’s prospective campaign. […]

  20. Zilla of the Resistance
    August 20th, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    n  would be a great treasury secretary, but for President Rick Santorum, not islamoblow Perry. And the evidence that perry is INDEED and islamoblow is piling up, contrary to what his obamazombielike supporters want everyone to believe.

  21. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

    Robert your preferance for Cain is overwhelming your nutrality…he isn’t gonna win. But like HotAir you deparage Palin for whatever reason.
    She is gonna win.
    All the others are like metorites soaring high then collapse…remember when Daniels was the sure thing?

  22. TR
    August 20th, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

    Thank you Zilla for reminding us of the well known Charles Johnson (Lizard) tactics Matt Lewis was using in his daily Caller piece.  He says Michelle Malkin quotes so-and so and then Matt Lewis,  the ‘reputation arbiter’ makes his conclusions all about these associations and barely touches on rebuttal of any facts. 

  23. ThePaganTemple
    August 20th, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    It’s going to be Perry, Romney, or Palin. If Palin doesn’t get in, it’s going to be Romney, unless Bachmann withdraws. If she does get out, say after the SC primary, then it will be Perry. Bachmann getting out early is also the only way Herman has a snowball’s chance in hell. And if she does get out, that’s exactly what he’s got. A snowball’s chance in hell. Rick Santorum has roughly twice as good a chance of getting the nomination as I do.

    Er, see you in about a week, maybe.

  24. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    Sorry but Perry is as much a crony capitalist as Mittwit. The Tea Party is not about crony capitalism. No white Texas boy is going to beat Obama either. I’m sticking with the one who got us recognized, the Thrilla from Wasilla who will dismantle the Fedzilla. Your boy Perry wouldn’t even have won another term if it wasn’t for the kind Lady from Wasilla. I didn’t think that southern gentleman were capable of dishonor. Is that how your boy repays a lady.? If he could do that to his friends I shudder what he is capable to do to “We the People.” Perry is also a liar. He told the people of Texas that he wouldn’t run for POTUS if he was elected to another term as governor. Being true to your word means something. Perry won’t even beat Palin in Texas.

  25. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    That’s exactly what we want.

  26. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    Thus far I’ve not heard the charges of being “fringe” attributed to Perry himself, he needs to nip this now rather than later. While I take issue with Geller myself on her characterizations of the EDL as “crypto fascists” her fight against dhimmitude is right on the money. Some of Perry’s defenders point to his strong support of Israel, while that position is correct it’s not the same as having his mind right on Islam. One thing this country cannot afford is another president whose policies are the same as the last two administrations on the threats posed by Islam and immigration. It matters not if we save the economy but surrender to our enemies within and without. This is our last chance to save this Nation we have got to get this one right.

  27. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    Palin supporters get shrill when “conservatives” question her electability, competence or whether or not she will run. Many of the people who call those asking questions about Perry fringe, will fight Palin tooth and nail.
    I wrote in another thread that if Palin is nominated and looses the Republican party is toast. That probably applies no matter who is nominated. If Palin is nominated and looses the establishment will blame the “Wingnuts” in the grass roots for forcing the party to run an extremist. The grassroots will blame the establishment for tepidly support or undercutting her. If Romney is nominated (God help us) and looses, the conservative base will accuse (correctly) the  establishment of making the same mistake of trying to appease liberals, they make every time. Win or lose if a moderate is nominated the grassroots goes another route.
    This cycle isn’t just another nomination fight this is a battle for who and what is the Republican Party.

  28. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

    It’s going to be Perry, Romney, or Palin. If Palin doesn’t get in, it’s going to be Romney, unless Bachmann withdraws.

    I’m loath to make such specific predictions. I’m willing to discuss various potential scenarios, but there are too many variables at play for me to predict any specific outcome. We are still 24 weeks away from the Iowa caucuses. There are currently 11 official candidates (including McCotter and Roemer) or 12 if you count the gadfly Karger. Three others (Ryan, Christie and Palin) are being discussed as potential late entries.

    If someone is willing to stake their bets on anyone other than Romney at this point, they’d be able to ask for odds. I guess I reiterate once more that I’m not anti-Perry or really anti-anybody. If Romney or anyone else got the nomination in a fair fight, I’d shut my mouth and roll with the team to beat Obama next November. But if the GOP picks a loser, my doubts and criticisms are going to be registered publicly in advance, because I’m getting sick and tired of being sick and tired, IYKWIMAITYD.

    Nominate a turkey over my objections, in other words, so that we replay the debacles of 1996 and 2008, and I’ll be here when all is said and done to remind all the genius “strategists” and pundits that I was right, right, right while they were wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s about damned time conservatives stop listening to people who are very good at pretending to know what they’re talking about, including some of these insider consultant types who “predict” things as pundits while also secretly working behind the scenes to make their own political prophecies come true. They can do that if they want to — I’m not necessarily one to complain about other people’s conflicts of interests — but if the end result is the nomination of a turkey loser, their credibility ought to be questioned going forward.

  29. Anonymous
    August 20th, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    Who is disparaging Palin, dude? I’m merely annoyed by the interminable “wait-and-see” act, and also pissed off that her campaign staff has treated me like a virus lately, e.g., failing to give me a heads-up on her plans during her Iowa trip. I don’t like being treated like a mushroom — kept in the dark and fed bullshit — by my friends. Palin’s people have my phone number, and if they didn’t know I was Iowa, that’s certainly not my fault.

    Whenever I bring up stuff like this, people say, “You shouldn’t take it personally” and accuse me of being butt-hurt. But it’s more than that: A campaign that doesn’t know who its friends are in the media, and doesn’t occasionally give its media friends a break, will soon have no friends at all. It’s obvious to me that the insiders on Team Palin think that Fox News is all they need. OK, fine — go with that and see how it works out for you. But don’t come crying to me if that simplistic strategy fails, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  30. Adjoran
    August 20th, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    The whole “brokered convention” scenario is especially stupid this cycle, because several states haven’t finalized their primaries yet.  Those in February and moving up their dates into March must, by party rules, award delegates on a proportionate basis.  However, later states may go the winner-take-all route.  The question of how many do this and which ones is critical to the race, and it is a sheer waste of time speculating on “brokered convention” theories before those have even been set.

    I find a lot of RedState stuff to be shortsighted and frivolous, sometimes even nutty, but I owe nothing to Malkin, either.  Riehl is a joke, not an influential thinker and certainly not an authority.  All the infighting serves the main purpose of helping Obama.  If anyone has actual evidence against one of our candidates, present it.  Don’t hint around about penumbras and do the smear-on-background crap we’ve come to expect from Democrats.


    Disparaging the people who signed up with Pawlenty is STUPID and unjustified.  His campaign didn’t fail because of the staff, the candidate was weak.  They were well-thought-of Republican people and sought after when he hired them, just as those who worked on the losing campaigns of others in the past (Romney, Giuliani, Forbes, Gramm, etc.) were good and capable workers and continued to be after their first job in a given cycle failed.

    Similarly, Bachmann didn’t surge to the front because she hired some sharpies.  She’s done well in the debates and on the trail so far.  If she falters now that Perry is in or if Palin gets in, it won’t be because of her staff then, either.

  31. KG
    August 20th, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    No, the problem is that Malkin, et al are viciously smearing Perry and twisting, or flat out leaving out, the facts. So screw them.

  32. Zilla of the Resistance
    August 20th, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

    AND he’s an islamoblow. Mustn’t forget that! 

  33. Zilla of the Resistance
    August 20th, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

    Yeah, they are leaving out the facts that Perry is an islamoblow, which is THE worst thing a “Conservative” can be! How quickly people forget who came and killed us by the thousands only ten years ago. 

  34. Mark Goluskin
    August 20th, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

    First, Sarah is running. And why not? You know who made a run two years after he was elected governor of a large state? Ronald Reagan in 1968. Yeah, he took three bites of the apple but eventually won. Does any one not realize that so many are willing to take this chance shows the vulnerability of the Dear Leader, President Obama? I like a lot of the candidates. Glad T-Paw is out for only one reason. He was the first sitting Republican governor to support Crazy Cousin John in 08. But seriously, Palin is going to shake the race up. And, if Republicans are true to form, she is in reality the logical choice. Because we do have a bad habit of picking the next in line so to speak. But Palin would be an excellent candidate. She has been beyond vetted. All the laundry-clean and dirty-is out there. She is not conventional. She is a lot like that Reagan guy. Yes, I think that she is running and the event in September is the kickoff.

  35. TR
    August 20th, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

    And true to form, Pamela Geller takes up her own defense
    from Israel (!) where she is visiting now for the Aqsa Parvez Memorial Grove Dedication to Honor Killing Victims Worldwide, Jerusalem, Aug 24. 

  36. Daily scoreboard « Don Surber
    August 20th, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    […] From Robert Stacy McCain: “Tim Pawlenty’s former campaign staff is reportedly hoping to join the campaign of New […]

  37. ThePaganTemple
    August 20th, 2011 @ 9:59 pm


  38. ThePaganTemple
    August 21st, 2011 @ 12:27 am

    RSM, you seem like you are very annoyed with her. The irritation shows in your wording. Maybe their reluctance is due to you coming out with that info from your “inside source”. Palin probably did not know about that until she read it, or heard about it second hand. I still say your source spent a few nights on the sofa over that one. If I’m right about that, how do you think she’s going to react towards you? Also, though you say you are her friend, you have made it abundantly clear you are a supporter of Herman Cain, so there’s a chance her people might think you don’t have her best interests at heart.

  39. ThePaganTemple
    August 21st, 2011 @ 12:32 am

    Something was
    wrong with your comments for a while, that’s why my comment from Yahoo didn’t show anything but my name, I guess. Luckily I saved what I wrote.

    I think most people feel the same way. They want Obama defeated and
    they want to make sure they pick a candidate who can do that. That, his
    money, and his name recognition is the only reason Romney has done so
    well. He’s seen as an expert on business matters and the economy who can
    appeal to a broad base of support from Independents as well as Republicans, and even some Democrats.

    is a successful governor of a red state with a positive overall record,
    and he is conservative across the board as well as a master of retail
    politics, so by definition he’s a compelling candidate. 

    has a core of support nationwide that puts the others to shame, but at
    the same time a core of equally devoted detractors that gives everyone
    some pause. Nevertheless, the nomination is almost hers for the taking.

    why I said it will probably be one of them three. Cain is too much of
    an unknown factor, and Bachmann has a reputation as too much of a loose

    of the others, including Giuliani whom you forgot to mention in your
    list, have much of a chance of being anything other than a spoiler for
    those top three. That includes Cristie and Ryan, in my honest opinion.

    by the way, I bet if you asked the average American voter what they
    thought of Chris Christie, the response of a large percentage of them
    would probably be “who’s she?”

  40. AngelaTC
    August 21st, 2011 @ 2:58 am

    “Who wants to start their campaign with a team of losers?” — I hope you’re right.  Didn’t the rumors say that Newt’s staff were fleeing to the Perry camp?

  41. Bob
    August 21st, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    Nobody is beyond criticism, but the Iowans need to fracking get OVER themselves. I don’t understand why a bunch of decidedly idiosyncratic voters (yay: farm subsidies, ethanol mandates! boo: government interference in the private sector! WTH? ) pretend to play such a huge role in presidential politics, and the rest of us are supposed to pretend they matter.

    Oh, well — they represent the early activist conservatives?  Uhm, no — we’re talking about a state that legalized gay marriage, here. One of only six — and one of only three that did it via a vote, rather than a judge.

    Iowa needs to shaddup, siddown, and take a backseat to a state that (a) actually matters, or (b) is actually, really, conservative and not just “pretend” conservative but keep those gubmint dollars comin’.  In the former category, how about a big swing state like PA or FL?  In the latter, how about GA or TN? Or TX?

    But Iowa? Pul-leeze.

  42. Bob Belvedere
    August 21st, 2011 @ 11:49 pm


  43. Bob Belvedere
    August 21st, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

    Damn…that’s some fine analysis, Stacy.

  44. Bob Belvedere
    August 21st, 2011 @ 11:58 pm


    But I’m a supersticious man. And if some unluck accident should befall him, if he should be shot in the head by a police officer, or if should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he’s struck by a bolt of lightning… then I’m going to blame some of the people in this room… and that, I do not forgive. –Don McCaineone