What did we learn at the Thanksgiving Family Forum?

posted at 1:00 pm on November 20, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Since the Thanksgiving Family Forum wasn’t available on television for most of the nation, we hosted a discussion in the comments section here at Hot Air where the live webcast was embedded. The generic description in the media thus far has been that it was a “focus on social issues.”

I suppose that’s at least a somewhat fair conclusion, though far more heavy on the social and not really so much on the issues. I’m not registering this as a complaint, mind you. This really wasn’t a “debate” per se, and it was undoubtedly still useful for some viewers because character, values and “big picture” vision are also important, and that’s largely what we were treated to. Candidates were asked questions about their faith, the challenges they had faced in life and how these things informed their ideology and theory of government. There were a lot of very personal moments shared and more than a few tears shed.

Two of the candidates we’re used to seeing at these meetings were notably absent: Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. Looking at the list of attendees on the sponsor’s web site, it appears (can’t confirm at this time) that Huntsman wasn’t even invited. Romney was, but chose to host a town hall in New Hampshire instead. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone. Honestly, why would Romney bother to show up at an event which was focused pretty much entirely on religion which would have likely turned into two hours of him defending Mormonism? And aside from that, Luntz spent part of his time making thinly veiled, derogatory jokes at Romney’s expense, yukking it up with Newt. (And Herman Cain chiming in with “Mitt who?”)

Also, the voters they were trying to win over – along with the moderators – weren’t making much of a secret about their feelings.

“You have more that you agree on than the small things you disagree on,” said Luntz. But that lack of disagreement at the evening forum left the evangelical voters in attendance unsettled on a clear favorite.

“It does make it tough,” said Warren County Republican Chairman Rick Halverson. “These guys are vying for the votes of people like me … They’re gonna divide the not-Romney vote. Somebody’s gotta break out of the pack.”

Before the show even began there was a moment which seemed to threaten some later fireworks, but they never developed. The moderator noted that there were people in the crowd who appeared to be prepared to protest. I believe he made a reference to Occupy Wall Street, and invited one of them to take the mic and speak freely in exchange for a request that they not disrupt the event once it began. But the speaker turned out – I believe – to not be an OWS type so much as he was a Ron Paul supporter exhorting the candidates to talk about ending the Fed. In any event, it was well handled by the moderator and the rest of the event took place in a polite, civil fashion without notable disruption that I noticed.

Given the lack of substantive policy discussion it’s not surprising that there weren’t many gaffes or notable moments, though people are trying to spin some gold from a few bits of straw. Toward the end, Herman Cain responded to a question about what he would do if the Supreme Court shot down DOMA by saying he would, “lead the charge to overturn the Supreme Court.” That one set me off immediately, but upon reflection, it was really just a verbal stumble as opposed to some fundamental lack of knowledge. I seriously doubt that Cain actually believes that the SCOTUS can be “overturned” once they rule on a particular case.

Newt snuck in a few comments on definitions of personhood which could lead one to think he was talking about legislative dominance over the other two branches of government, but upon listening to the replay, he actually parsed all of his answers in ways which wouldn’t let him be pinned down.

For the most part, I would say that there was nothing particularly explosive coming out of this meeting, and in the end it was precisely what it was billed as being. The candidates who showed up spoke about faith, family and vision to a largely like minded audience who seemed to appreciate the sentiments on display. If nothing else, it lent a more human face to some of the candidates who we normally only get to see being grilled on their jobs plan, foreign policy or competing to show which one of them opposes Obama the most.

Edit: Per se? You don’t per say.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

..this post getting turned in to a Romney slam fest in 5..4..3..2..

The War Planner on November 20, 2011 at 1:09 PM

I really enjoyed the forum.

Paul/Bachmann 2012!

FloatingRock on November 20, 2011 at 1:09 PM

And aside from that, Luntz spent part of his time making thinly veiled, derogatory jokes at Romney’s expense, yukking it up with Newt. (And Herman Cain chiming in with “Mitt who?”)

My respect for Luntz dropped.

There’s a good reason why Mitt didn’t show up. This isn’t a debate hosted by MSM media where you have to battle with a biased moderator.

Here, the moderator is a conservative who is supposed to be neutral and unbiased.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Yes, Jazz, SCOTUS decisions can’t be formally overturned, but they can be ignored. Most of SCOTUS’ authority comes from a combination of a power grab in Marbury v. Msdison and a tradition of Congressional cowardice when they could have put the Court in its place. The Constitution doesn’t give SCOTUS the power it presumes to weild these days.

OhioCoastie on November 20, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Oops. I meant “wield.”

OhioCoastie on November 20, 2011 at 1:15 PM

I’m not a Christian, and I really enjoyed the forum. Great answers, a lot of insight into the candidates, and it helped me understand what shapes their thinking and decisions.

Far more valuable than the stupid leftist-led debates.

beatcanvas on November 20, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Romney missed a golden opportunity to let people know “what makes him tick”.

You know the guy has run for President twice and I had to go to wikipedia to learn about all that his wife has gone through. Forums like this help people relate more directly to a candidate. While not the most important thing in the world – they do play a part.

I understand why he didn’t go but I think he should have.

gophergirl on November 20, 2011 at 1:26 PM

You know the guy has run for President twice and I had to go to wikipedia to learn about all that his wife has gone through. Forums like this help people relate more directly to a candidate. While not the most important thing in the world – they do play a part.

I understand why he didn’t go but I think he should have.

gophergirl on November 20, 2011 at 1:26 PM

..excellent point; thank you. Not what I had in mind when I posted my snarky comment above.

The War Planner on November 20, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Jazz,
you pretty much nailed it. What’s scary now is that Ron Paul is gain traction. If Ron Paul wins Iowa, we have truly entered the Twilight Zone.

By next November we may discover that we’re all just a bunch of dolls living in a giant barrel.

NickDeringer on November 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I’m not a Christian, and I really enjoyed the forum. Great answers, a lot of insight into the candidates, and it helped me understand what shapes their thinking and decisions.

Far more valuable than the stupid leftist-led debates.

beatcanvas on November 20, 2011 at 1:17 PM

You should look at this as a personal learning experience. The secular landscape gives you madd max style debates while the religious landscape gives you a civil forum from which to get deeper meaning and far larger thoughts.

astonerii on November 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

I thought it was very very good, and would like to see one of these EVERY election.

golfmann on November 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Plus, Perry vaulted in my estimation about a mile up. :)

golfmann on November 20, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Newt proved his phoniness with one answer, and lost 1 million votes.

Some here might understand what I’m talking about, as it proved beyond the shadow of doubt that his “facts” are not always facts.

Kermit on November 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM

What’s scary now is that Ron Paul is gain traction.

NickDeringer on November 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Have to fear, the Constitution is here.

FloatingRock on November 20, 2011 at 1:38 PM

We learned that the GOP hates women and children? I mean, isn’t that just a known fact already, though?

/

SouthernGent on November 20, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Far more valuable than the stupid leftist-led debates.

beatcanvas on November 20, 2011 at 1:17 PM

I think they are both valuable tools for gauging the candidates, I just wish the forum had been televised nationally and hyped like the other debates so that more might have watched.

FloatingRock on November 20, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Per se, Jazz, not per say. It is a Latin term!

herm2416 on November 20, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Toward the end, Herman Cain responded to a question about what he would do if the Supreme Court shot down DOMA by saying he would, “lead the charge to overturn the Supreme Court.” That one set me off immediately, but upon reflection, it was really just a verbal stumble as opposed to some fundamental lack of knowledge.

What would make you think that? What has Cain ever said that would lead you to believe that he understands a thing about our Constitution and our system of government?

MJBrutus on November 20, 2011 at 1:45 PM

What did we learn at the Thanksgiving Family Forum?

What is that thing in front of the desk? It looks a walrus crawled onto stage & died before they decorated it with fake pumpkins and leaves…

englishqueen01 on November 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM

You should look at this as a personal learning experience.

astonerii on November 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

I also enjoyed the Gingrich / Cain (Lincoln / Douglas) discussion for the same reason I enjoyed this. Less combative, more substantive discussion.

Here’s how I read it: the leftist media will use every opportunity to Palinize our candidates. Both the Gingrich / Cain forum and this forum were sponsored by those in the right-leaning base. The missing element was the leftist media in both instances.

I’ll say this: my decision about Christianity is well-considered, and it’s one with which you’re entirely unfamiliar. If your motive was to encourage me to consider my religious views, that’s best done in a personal setting when you have knowledge of me and my life. Instead, your glib reply comes off pretentious and arrogant, and that’s probably not the impression you wanted to commit.

beatcanvas on November 20, 2011 at 1:53 PM

The secular landscape gives you madd max style debates while the religious landscape gives you a civil forum from which to get deeper meaning and far larger thoughts.

astonerii on November 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Excellent point.

rrpjr on November 20, 2011 at 1:56 PM

..this post getting turned in to a Romney slam fest in 5..4..3..2..

The War Planner on November 20, 2011 at 1:09 PM

I hate Romney.

SLAM! ! ! ! !

listens2glenn on November 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM

????

It is, in fact, possible to “overturn the Supreme Court.” The Constitution provides for the impeachment of justices. It also provides for Congress to limit what the courts, including SCOTUS, have jurisdiction over. Congress uses the latter power with comparative frequency on a variety of kinds of legislation. (See Mark Levin’s Men in Black for a discussion of this.)

Of course, it’s unlikely that a president or Congress will ever have the supermajority cooperation from the other branch of government that would be needed to enact these measures.

In theory, if Congress had a veto-override majority in both houses, it could act without the president’s approval. But doing so would still provoke a crisis of government if the president were not in agreement, since there are many executive-agency functions that are intertwined with the routine operation of the courts.

I don’t know that Cain is specifically aware of these facts. (See Article III of the Constitution.) But he’s actually the one who is correct here. It is possible to effectively overrule a decision from the federal courts. It takes the other two branches acting in concert, and we haven’t done it yet in this explicit form. (It can be argued that amending the Constitution is an indirect means over overruling the judiciary.) It would be uncharted territory to try it, but the mechanisms are there.

J.E. Dyer on November 20, 2011 at 2:13 PM

My respect for Luntz dropped.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 1:10 PM

You mean you had respect for him in the first place? Him and people like him are the enemies of democracy.

Rainsford on November 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

i’m worried about Ron P. I really think that the left is involved here somewhere. He paid big money in the IA strawpoll to get his votes, and he’s done that in the past.

I’ve seen End the Fed signs at OWS (hardly the main focus of the ows).

here’s the setup for barry. First, divide the R party into deficit v. tax hikes factions. Second, hang deficit around R neck Third. Run R. Paul, or Trump as third party….barry wins with 45 of the vote.

third party money to come from Soros, etc.

Axelrod is the master of astroturf. Deval Patrick did this in MA.

And Paul and Trump are both vain enough to try it

r keller on November 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Romney missed a golden opportunity to let people know “what makes him tick”.

You know the guy has run for President twice and I had to go to wikipedia to learn about all that his wife has gone through. Forums like this help people relate more directly to a candidate. While not the most important thing in the world – they do play a part.

I understand why he didn’t go but I think he should have.

gophergirl on November 20, 2011 at 1:26 PM

I wish Romney and Huntsman would have gone to the debate.

However, a candidate should have to defend his position, not his religion to the voting public.

They can discuss how their faith makes a difference in their lives and how it influences their decisions.

However, I think both candidates were correct that they would ultimately have to defend their religion simply because they are members of that religion. This is something that no candidate should ever have to do regardless of what faith they belong to.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 2:28 PM

I hate Romney.

SLAM! ! ! ! !

listens2glenn on November 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM

..hate is such a strong emotion.

The War Planner on November 20, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Him and people like him are the enemies of democracy.

Rainsford on November 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

How so? Their job is to conduct poll and voter research. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

What I don’t like is when his abandons his position of neutrality at a conservative debate forum.

He should stick to polling people, not being a biased moderator.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 2:30 PM

“No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.”
― Samuel Adams

ebrown2 on November 20, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Herman Cain responded to a question about what he would do if the Supreme Court shot down DOMA by saying he would, “lead the charge to overturn the Supreme Court.”

It was immediately clear to me, that what Cain meant by “leading the charge to overturn the Supreme Court”, he meant we need to elect the kinds of presidents who will appoint justices that respect and revere the Constitution.

I think the fad to parse the minutia of Cain’s words is leaving people blind to the broader ideas he is trying to convey. That’s why policy wonks don’t ordinarily make bold visionary leaders. The big idea, broad thinkers, the leaders that come up with a plan and inspire people to follow it, usually have large staffs to manage the details. (See the military) You rarely get a visionary and a highly detailed wonk in the same person.

Maybe it’s because my dad is a visionary leader type that I am puzzled at why Cain is so often misunderstood. I’m not staying he doesn’t need improvement communicating his ideas as a political candidate- he does. But how Cain could be misinterpreted as in the example above is just downright confusing to me.

parteagirl on November 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Had they done this first, maybe they wouldn’t have gone after each others throats in the earlier debates.

ctmom on November 20, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Of course we can overturn the Supreme Court, Jazz. It’s right there in the Constitution. It’s called a Constitutional amendment and We the People have done it a number of times.

The Supreme Court rules on the Constitution. If We the People amend the Constitution, they are bound by the amended Constitution. If We get pissed enough about some ruling they come up with, we can explicitly change the Constitution to deny them. That’s how this government was formed.

Herman Cain, that silly man. You’d think he was educated or somethin’.

bonnie_ on November 20, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Santorum demonstrated demonstrated why he’s not going to be top of the pack.

MeatHeadinCA on November 20, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Newt proved his phoniness with one answer, and lost 1 million votes.

Some here might understand what I’m talking about, as it proved beyond the shadow of doubt that his “facts” are not always facts.

Kermit on November 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Go ahead and fill us in there, champ. Tell us why you think Newt lost 1 million votes with an answer he gave.

I love to be entertained.

nickj116 on November 20, 2011 at 2:44 PM

I love to be entertained.

nickj116 on November 20, 2011 at 2:44 PM

I’m curious too. Please entertain us to explain what Newt said that will cost him so many votes.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Newt proved his phoniness with one answer, and lost 1 million votes.

Kermit on November 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM

I read over at Kos that he lost 200,000 million votes. :-(

Punchenko on November 20, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Correction: 200,000,000,000 votes + 300,000,000 votes in Guam and Puerto Rico. :-(

Punchenko on November 20, 2011 at 3:07 PM

It was immediately clear to me, that what Cain meant by “leading the charge to overturn the Supreme Court”, he meant we need to elect the kinds of presidents who will appoint justices that respect and revere the Constitution.

Maybe it’s because my dad is a visionary leader type that I am puzzled at why Cain is so often misunderstood. I’m not staying he doesn’t need improvement communicating his ideas as a political candidate- he does. But how Cain could be misinterpreted as in the example above is just downright confusing to me.

parteagirl on November 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM

There are several components to Herman being misinterpreted:

-He has a particular sense of humor where he uses words in a different way from normal usage to make a joke.
-When the question isn’t entirely clear to him, he exposes his thought process of interpreting the answer.
-He does sometimes use imprecisely delineated answers where it’s not entirely clear what he means by “overturning” the Supreme Court.
-He does know relatively little about foreign policy, so his answers are often quite general.

Those of us who support him, need to emphasize the likely effects of his policies vs. the opposition instead of parsing his answers.

-Who is more likely to stop and REVERSE the illegal invasion of the United States: Herman or Romney/Gingrich/Perry ?
-Who is more likely to stop any “adjustments” for Global Warming: Herman or Romney/Gingrich?
-Who is less likely to initiate new federal spending programs: Herman or Romney/Gingrich?
-Who is likely to eliminate federal agencies and departments: Herman or Romney/Gingrich?

Why are people so superficial? Why can’t they evaluate a candidate based on substance and not meaningless details?

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Correction: 200,000,000,000 votes + 300,000,000 votes in Guam and Puerto Rico. :-(

Punchenko on November 20, 2011 at 3:07 PM

That’s a noot point.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Thanks. I agree. At first, Cain’s communication style had the breath of fresh air element of a true non-politician outsider. And I don’t think he could or should completely get rid of that. But at the same time, he needs to work on conveying his ideas better so that he’s not always clarifying. There’s a balance somewhere, and I hope he finds it soon.

parteagirl on November 20, 2011 at 3:38 PM

First you have this:

This really wasn’t a “debate” per se, and it was undoubtedly still useful for some viewers because character, values and “big picture” vision are also important, and that’s largely what we were treated to.

And then you have this:

Honestly, why would Romney bother to show up at an event which was focused pretty much entirely on religion which would have likely turned into two hours of him defending Mormonism? And aside from that, Luntz spent part of his time making thinly veiled, derogatory jokes at Romney’s expense, yukking it up with Newt. (And Herman Cain chiming in with “Mitt who?”)

First off: were the derogatory comments towards his religion or towards his not showing up?

Why is that important?
Second off: notice the bolded part in the first?
This was about the ‘big picture’ stuff and values.

Does it really matter where your values come from so long as you have them and stick by them?

Does any religion preclude one from having a ‘big picture’?

If those running the forum believed, as the Founders did, that there should be a tolerance of different religions (which they had numerous sects of different religious backgrounds already present spanning the native religious types through a variety of orthodox and non-orthodox Christian to Judaism) then why would ANY forum for candidates run by any religion want to mock or openly castigate any other religion? Any organization running such an open forum in that way would LOSE esteem in the eyes of the public as it was not serving a public good to have a discourse on topics of value to the public as a whole.

The Nation has run through this multiple times and there has been a notable INCREASE in tolerance amongst believers since the Founding, with some exceptions notable for Taft and Kennedy. Yet I’ve seen no increase in religious intolerance for those running for public office amongst the religious and spiritually minded organizations in the Nation.

When one is providing a forum for public candidates on issues of interest to the public, then the talking of religion is of how it guides one as a person. If you try to side-track it into doctrinal disputes or thinly veiled attacks on any sect of any candidate, then the loser is not the candidate (who braves such fire) but the institution doing it as it is not allowing for tolerance in such a forum. A god of reason would not instruct followers to do that but to allow others to come to their beliefs through reason guiding their passion and quest to understand the meaning of their life. Romney would only BENEFIT FROM THAT not lose stature.

By not showing up to discuss ‘big picture’ and values, the loser is Romney as the expectation is that it would be a fairly run forum and Frank Luntz would know that was expected of him. And since the questions are provided in advance, Romney would have a chance to see if they were slanted or not and bring that up as a TOPIC. He can do that only by showing up.

He didn’t.

Is Newt eating so badly into NH that he needs to skip a major forum to give his ‘big picture’ and values outlook? Because, as of right now, it is hard to see what those are from him and this is something that would help him to explain himself and firm up that area of his campaign… no matter HOW the forum was run he would do BETTER by showing up. By skipping out he is seen as afraid to address such topics and having a campaign that is in damage control mode because of where he went to. That isn’t a good indicator for a candidate no matter how much cash he has behind him.

ajacksonian on November 20, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Romney is too afraid to do interviews let alone a full two hour forum discussing *gasp!* core beliefs. Romney is weak, can’t take the heat, and is completely unelectable if he can’t even sit down among friends and discuss the issues.

Punchenko on November 20, 2011 at 3:57 PM

By skipping out he is seen as afraid to address such topics and having a campaign that is in damage control mode because of where he went to. That isn’t a good indicator for a candidate no matter how much cash he has behind him.

ajacksonian on November 20, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Incisive point. It is why his absence here serves as an augury. Romney will run a reflexively risk-averse and defensive campaign, one which essentially begins with the mindset of “damage control.”

rrpjr on November 20, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Thanks. I agree. At first, Cain’s communication style had the breath of fresh air element of a true non-politician outsider. And I don’t think he could or should completely get rid of that. But at the same time, he needs to work on conveying his ideas better so that he’s not always clarifying. There’s a balance somewhere, and I hope he finds it soon.

parteagirl on November 20, 2011 at 3:38 PM

My advice to him at this point would be to do the following:

-Pick a foreign policy topic, really study up on it, propose some plan in that area, and hold a press conference. If he can answer detailed questions that will go a long way to shore up and/or restore his reputation.
-Stop any joking references to 999 in any context.
-Instead of walking back, ever so slightly, his anti-amnesty positions, come ups with a detailed plan and in particularly emphasized self-deportation as well as unacceptability of granting citizenship to the vast majority of those already in the country. His recent statements on relying on the states for enforcement and a few others only muddied the issue. If he goes into an attack mode on this issue, a la Perry on “Obama the Socialist” he can really contrast himself to the rest of the field (at least the top three). With Newt’s inevitable loss of momentum soon coming to the theaters near you there will be another inflection point real soon, and that may be his last opportunity to change the slope of his own approval curves.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Incisive point. It is why his absence here serves as an augury. Romney will run a reflexively risk-averse and defensive campaign, one which essentially begins with the mindset of “damage control.”

rrpjr on November 20, 2011 at 4:00 PM

You are saying this as if it’s a bad thing. Worked for Bamster who doesn’t like to take questions he has not seen in advance. Plus if you look at the negative consequence of all the supposed gaffes recently, not creating potential gaffes may not be such a bad thing. The lessons are clear: do well in debates, don’t create gaffes, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor on the road to the nomination.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 4:11 PM

You are saying this as if it’s a bad thing.
Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Not bad, the worst. The worst possible strategy against Obama. The worst possible positioning for conservatism.

Confident, proactive attack — the assumption not of apology, defensiveness or tacit acceptance of existing narratives but of constant, bracing challenge to those narratives — is the only way to approach this election and the political/cultural monolith of the Left. Merrily and confidently embrace the risk and the conflict. The only way.

But Romney wouldn’t even know what I’m talking about. He’s that hopeless a case.

rrpjr on November 20, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Not bad, the worst. The worst possible strategy against Obama. The worst possible positioning for conservatism.

Confident, proactive attack — the assumption not of apology, defensiveness or tacit acceptance of existing narratives but of constant, bracing challenge to those narratives — is the only way to approach this election and the political/cultural monolith of the Left. Merrily and confidently embrace the risk and the conflict. The only way.

But Romney wouldn’t even know what I’m talking about. He’s that hopeless a case.

“is the only way”? I beg to differ. Trump (who is about as “conservative” as Romney, but with fewer flip-flops) employed that strategy, and it was working until it stopped. Much as any reasonable person would want to unload on the America-hating Soros puppet, being steady and avoiding gaffes may very well be the right strategy. The worst possible strategy for positioning of conservatism isn’t necessarily the worst strategy for winning for a non-conservative candidate. People seem to care a bout irrelevant facts, like gaffes and salacious allegations instead of substance. If human nature was different, we would never get Obama in the first place.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 4:52 PM

What SCOTUS does is set precedence. They are the last arbiter of precedence. They can overturn any precedence that has already been set. But they make precedence. Therefore, it makes law.

A law would have to be passed by Congress that would oppose their precedence and sustainable. Just not easily done. In fact, almost impossible.

Voter from WA State on November 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

SCOTUS is an obvious joke. While it has some merit as an arbiter of last resort, it’s application of the Constitutional law is anything but. Any liberal that manages to get there acts as a predictable partisan with total contempt for the Constitution. Overall, even when considering the Conservatives on the court, it’s extremely reluctant to act as a check and a balance against the overreaching Congress.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 4:52 PM

A misplaced emphasis. No one recommends making gaffes. But the overweening fear of a gaffe is symptomatic of a deeper timidity and inferiority at the root of conservative decline and represented perfectly by Romney and his risk-aversion. Romney’s whole political being is a kind of characterized testament to it.

The fear of a gaffe, as the fear of “baggage” we see expressed here so often, illustrate a failure of confidence and an unconscious internalization to the narrative of republican “second-classness”, a pathetic subordination not unlike those adapted to life under an occupied hostile force.

The Left frazzles in the face of confident proactive conservatism. Figure it out and the world is yours. Trump’s failure wasn’t one of strategy but of sloppiness, laziness and poorly regulated ego.

rrpjr on November 20, 2011 at 5:17 PM

You are saying this as if it’s a bad thing. Worked for Bamster who doesn’t like to take questions he has not seen in advance. Plus if you look at the negative consequence of all the supposed gaffes recently, not creating potential gaffes may not be such a bad thing. The lessons are clear: do well in debates, don’t create gaffes, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor on the road to the nomination.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 4:11 PM

It was my understanding that the TFF gave the questions to the participants prior to the event. The order of them and any by-play would be unknown, but the main topical questions would be known. This is why it is a critical meeting and discussion: people really do want to hear the candidates on these issues with some discussion, not a debate.

If a candidate can’t handle something where the questions are known… that is a problem.

ajacksonian on November 20, 2011 at 5:26 PM

I fail to see how the debate last night would have turned into Romney defending his religion. This debate was more about personal values than individual forms of religion. I think we learned a great deal about the candidates last night — well, the candidates who showed up. We learned Ron Paul is actually very shallow (yes he has his good points), but he is shallow. I think we really didn’t learn a lot new about Bachmann or Santorum, Cain actually gets worse with each debate lately, last night it appeared this campaign may be wearing him down emotionally, because the story he related about his cancer is the same story he told a few debates ago with absolutely strength and clarity, last night he became overcome with grief trying to tell it; I don’t say this as a put-down, but an observation. Newt……. well, Newt is Newt. Brilliant. But, I noticed he doesn’t really “answer” questions, he turns all questions into a lecture and/or a history lesson. He has a place, but POTUS? He remains my #2 and an excellent choice for Veep to my #1 — Rick Perry, who outdid all expectations last night. He was funny when it was appropriate, serious when it was appropriate and showed why he would make excellent presidential timber. Maybe the debate lessons he has been getting from Mrs. George Will are working or maybe he is finally relaxing, but he was excellent last night.

Rapunzel on November 20, 2011 at 5:29 PM

A misplaced emphasis. No one recommends making gaffes. But the overweening fear of a gaffe is symptomatic of a deeper timidity and inferiority at the root of conservative decline and represented perfectly by Romney and his risk-aversion. Romney’s whole political being is a kind of characterized testament to it.

The fear of a gaffe, as the fear of “baggage” we see expressed here so often, illustrate a failure of confidence and an unconscious internalization to the narrative of republican “second-classness”, a pathetic subordination not unlike those adapted to life under an occupied hostile force.

The Left frazzles in the face of confident proactive conservatism. Figure it out and the world is yours. Trump’s failure wasn’t one of strategy but of sloppiness, laziness and poorly regulated ego.

rrpjr on November 20, 2011 at 5:17 PM

There are probably tens of thousands of confident proactive conservatives in the country that could do a better job than the ones running in terms of making a good, coherent argument. However we have who we have. I could personally defend conservative principles in a way that makes sense to people, and often do in my own life with a lot of success. But I repeat, we have who we have in the field. I like Cain the best by far, and Bachmann is also fine in terms of being acceptable although I can’t help disliking her. Cain is now almost destroyed by gaffes, and Bachmann’s gaffes played a significant, although now forgotten part in taking her down (although she now denies making gaffes at all). I’ve been arguing for a long time that gaffes should be ignored, but the reality is such that MSM lives for those moments and replays (and plays them up) incessantly. Even conservative commentators pay a lot of attention to them, and it frustrates me to no end that they don’t even attempt to paint a complete picture while doing it, taking the likely policies of each candidate into account.

You can’t deny reality, things end badly when you do. For Romney, a cautious strategy is the best, and he knows it. He is a pretty smart guy, lacking in principles that he is.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Rapunzel on November 20, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Our founding fathers answered this Nation’s needs by reviewing history and puting those lessons together to create the Declaration of Independence, the failed Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States of America. You did not see answers because you do not understand the points Newt was trying to make.

Now think about Newt as president. Smart, articulate, and certainly going to want to be seen as a success, more so as pertains to the long thought of history as opposed to the short thought of the 24 hour news cycle. Do you think he would govern more conservatively, as history has proven that conservative ideals perform better than progressive ones?

astonerii on November 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Now think about Newt as president. Smart, articulate, and certainly going to want to be seen as a success, more so as pertains to the long thought of history as opposed to the short thought of the 24 hour news cycle. Do you think he would govern more conservatively, as history has proven that conservative ideals perform better than progressive ones?

astonerii on November 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Newt can articulately argue every side of every issue. He is also capable of defending fiscal conservatism and within five minutes explaining how the government needs to do this or that. Newt’s vote made the Department of Education possible. Just think about it: we have a Conservative leader who voted for this monstrosity. That’s a contradiction in terms. If you think that’s an isolated incident, he wants to partner with Al Sharpton on “education reform”. I can give you tens of example of how Newt is a big government guy. What I hate about him the most is that he is pro-amnesty. Overall, he is likely to govern like Woodrow Wilson rather than some conservative ideal.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 6:09 PM

There are probably tens of thousands of confident proactive conservatives in the country…
Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 5:42 PM

In actual politics? Candidates who challenge the media and its narratives, call out the left and put them on the defensive as the Left routinely does to the Right, and simply, cogently and exuberantly communicate conservative principles?

Not even close. They’re rare as hen’s teeth.

Of course you’re right otherwise — we’re down to a few people. Perry, Bachmann and Gingrich would all perform serviceably, I’m sure. The former two have demonstrated no real ability to deal with the media. Gingrich has, and shows potential to do much more. But he’s also higher risk. Cain has worked hard to prove his unfitness. Romney is a pure disaster in the making — the least suitable candidate to take on the Left one could ever imagine.

rrpjr on November 20, 2011 at 6:15 PM

What SCOTUS does is set precedence. They are the last arbiter of precedence. They can overturn any precedence that has already been set. But they make precedence. Therefore, it makes law.

A law would have to be passed by Congress that would oppose their precedence and sustainable. Just not easily done. In fact, almost impossible.

The Supreme Court can REVERSE itself, and has on several occasions in our history.

keats5 on November 20, 2011 at 6:24 PM

In actual politics?

No, not in actual politics of course. If you read conservative forums you can see how many people can formulate a coherent conservative argument and apply conservative principles to a wide variety of situations. Cain didn’t come from politics, although he has tried in the past, and there’s got to be tens of thousands of people who could do better than him when placed in his situation.

Perry, Bachmann and Gingrich

I disagree with you there. I’ve been accused of being an anti-Newt troll, which I guess I could be, but to me just based on their amnesty positions neither Perry nor Gingrich are acceptable, and as I mentioned in the previous post there are tens of examples that lead to believe that Newt would govern as a big government guy. Of course I would vote for Kim Kardashian, my left shoe, or a goat if there was a choice between them and Obama, so everything is relative in this area.

I also still don’t think that Cain is unfit.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Mitt Romney may have better things to do like picking up an endorsement from Kelly Ayotte.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Mitt Romney may have better things to do like picking up an endorsement from Kelly Ayotte.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 7:02 PM

I may be seeing things, but doesn’t Mitt look just like Bush Sr. in that picture?

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 7:07 PM

I don’t see anything of Mitt looking like Bush Sr. in that picture.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 7:26 PM

I don’t see anything of Mitt looking like Bush Sr. in that picture.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 7:26 PM

I guess that means I’m seeing things.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 7:32 PM

You mean you had respect for him in the first place? Him and people like him are the enemies of democracy.

Rainsford on November 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Good grief.

Cindy Munford on November 20, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Good grief.

Cindy Munford on November 20, 2011 at 7:33 PM

I’ve watched his focus groups on Fox for years but I never realized he was an enemy of democracy.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Me,to either. Up until this piece of information I thought his bad toupee was his biggest crime.

Cindy Munford on November 20, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Me,to either. Up until this piece of information I thought his bad toupee was his biggest crime.

Cindy Munford on November 20, 2011 at 8:25 PM

I didn’t even know he had one. :) To be honest, I’ve always thought his quest to find words that influence people was kind of tacky and perhaps A LITTLE against the spirit of democracy, but an “enemy”?

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 8:34 PM

I think the listener controlled meters are interesting but I think I would forget to use them. It’s a gimmick, it’s interesting but like you “enemy” is silly. And I am assuming that the commenter was being snarky.

Cindy Munford on November 20, 2011 at 8:52 PM

I think the listener controlled meters are interesting but I think I would forget to use them. It’s a gimmick, it’s interesting but like you “enemy” is silly. And I am assuming that the commenter was being snarky.

Cindy Munford on November 20, 2011 at 8:52 PM

I think he was serious. Luntz is a propagandist. You can look at what he is doing as a deliberate attempt to shape opinion, he wrote a book about that. He happens to be of a somewhat conservative bent, but the whole philosophy of attempting to shape public opinion through the careful use of words is a bit suspect. On the other hand, all candidates use surveys and focus groups, so singling him out, or anyone who is doing something perfectly legal, as an enemy of democracy is going overboard.

Igor R. on November 20, 2011 at 9:14 PM

Great, a Mittbot begins the comment thread with a “you’d better not attack Mitt” comment. Talk about trying to shut down dissention…

Well, here’s my Romney “slam.” I think his showing up had absolutely nothing to do with his Mormonism. There is no possible way that any of the candidates would have attacked Romney’s faith. Anyone remember what happend to Huck when he said something about Mormonism? That pastor who introducted Perry.

I believe Romeny didn’t show up because he would have been expected to express core beliefs that inform his policy decisions — and he doesn’t have any. Well, except for his core belief that he should be elected president and that it’s okay to say whatever he needs to say to accomplish that.

That’s it, plain and simple.

But the Mitt supporters managed to turn this fact into a “poor pitiful Mitt, the others made fun of him for not showing up but if he had shown up they just would have made fun of his religion.” So it was a good thing that he chickened out. It was a good thing that he didn’t have to answer questions about what he believes. And the other candidates are just anti-Mormon jerks.

29Victor on November 20, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Great, a Mittbot begins the comment thread with a “you’d better not attack Mitt” comment. Talk about trying to shut down dissention…

29Victor on November 20, 2011 at 10:24 PM

I don’t think he was trying to shut down dissention. He didn’t issue a warning to attack Mitt. He just predicted it would happen. Thanks for overreacting it falsely accusing he was trying to shut down discussion.

But the Mitt supporters managed to turn this fact into a “poor pitiful Mitt, the others made fun of him for not showing up but if he had shown up they just would have made fun of his religion.” So it was a good thing that he chickened out. It was a good thing that he didn’t have to answer questions about what he believes. And the other candidates are just anti-Mormon jerks.
29Victor on November 20, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Nobody is arguing that Mitt supporters are intentionally turning this into a pity party for Mitt. Lets not forget Huntsman didn’t show up either.

Regardless, Mitt had good reasons not to show up.

Conservative Samizdat on November 20, 2011 at 11:27 PM

Another take on this terrific event is here.

Dr. Mercury on November 21, 2011 at 12:28 PM