Quotes of the day

“Whether Mitt Romney wins or loses the Michigan and Arizona primaries on Tuesday, his advisers are warning donors and other supporters to prepare for a longer, more bruising and more expensive fight for the Republican presidential nomination that may not be settled until at least May…

“Mr. Santorum is likewise preparing to fight on for weeks or months, enticed by new party rules that award delegates in early primaries and caucuses based on each candidate’s share of the votes. ‘The race is going to go a long time,’ he said as he left the stage, promising to ‘fight fire with fire.’…

“There is a growing sense among party leaders that the primary fight has gone on long enough and that continued attacks by the candidates and their allies have steered the conversation away from the economy and could damage the party’s prospects in the fall. But several Republicans said a diversion to social issues threatened to turn off independent voters, who will be needed to form a winning coalition in the fall…

“In Michigan, some Republican leaders expressed worries about the effect of an extended battle on the party’s prospects of winning the White House and suggested that the time had come for the party to rally around one candidate, however imperfect.”


“The most disturbing aspect of this election is that despite the parlous condition of the country and the profound vulnerability of the incumbent, the best Republican candidates — Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Haley Barbour — have sat it out. As I keep lamenting, in the terrible year 1968, with assassinations, riots, 550,000 draftees in Vietnam and 200 to 400 of them returning in body bags every week, at one time or another, Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan were all running for president, and all of them were more impressive than the present contestants.

“Of the surviving Republican contenders, Ron Paul is a sound monetarist and a doughty libertarian, but he is a 76-year old kook who, like President Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, thinks 9/11 was the chickens coming home to roost. Newt Gingrich is a completely unfeasible flake. Rick Santorum is consistent, courageous, and believably argues for fiscal encouragement of families and the creation of jobs that add value to the economy and not just more lawyers and consultants and service-industry leeches. But he has his feet stuck in cement on abortion and same-sex marriage, and early in the campaign even criticized contraception. These shouldn’t be partisan issues at all, and any candidate who gets into them has self-detonating grenades strapped to his torso, front and back. Mitt Romney is more presentable and has a successful private-sector career behind him, but is afflicted by plasticity and has faced in all four directions on most issues…

“It is all as ludicrous as Fidel Castro, the world authority on misrule, claims. If Obama loses, it will be because the Republicans jump the rails on this corrupt, farcical nominating process and draft a serious candidate on a serious platform. If he wins, it will be a disaster to delight America’s critics, and will be repealed by a nation chastened back to its senses in 2016.”


“Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage told POLITICO Saturday he hopes to see a ‘floor fight’ at the GOP convention in Tampa this summer, giving the party an opportunity to nominate a ‘fresh face’ rather than one of the battered members of the 2012 field.

“‘I’m pushing for a floor fight … I’d like to see a good old-fashioned convention and a dark horse come out,’ LePage told my colleagues Dave Catanese and Alexander Trowbridge at the National Governors Association winter meeting. ‘I think the candidates, in my mind, have injured themselves and injured the party by not following Ronald Reagan’s ‘never speak badly of another Republican.”…

“‘It’s been too messy. I just believe we ought to go to the convention and pick a fresh face,’ LePage said. ‘They beat themselves up so badly that I’d think it’d be nice to have a fresh face.'”


“The most interesting [convention] scenario, however, is the case where the unpledged delegates would be sufficient to give a candidate a majority, but his claim to the nomination was somewhat tenuous. Suppose, for instance, that Mr. Romney had 43 percent of the delegates, Mr. Santorum 37 percent, and about 8 percent of delegates had not yet pledged to a candidate…

“If Mr. Romney’s plurality lead seemed to be built upon structural advantages in the delegate selection process rather than popular support — say, for instance, that Mr. Romney had the most delegates, but Mr. Santorum was 10 points ahead in national polls at he time — some delegates might conclude that it was not in the best interest of the party to give him a helping hand…

The aesthetics of how a candidate performs could be important in a case like this. If in addition to trailing in national polls, Mr. Romney had lost key states like Michigan and Ohio, it would be harder for him to claim that his nomination reflected the collective will of the Republican electorate.”


“By performing his aloofness from and contempt for the radical right, even as he fakes solidarity with it, Romney is doing exactly what he needs to do. He is keeping the radical right close to him for the general election by seeming to bow to its power, even as he is signaling to everyone else that he knows how miserably inadequate the support of the radical right will be in the general election.

“So let’s all calm down and stop getting so excited about a deadlocked convention, and a dark-horse nominee introduced at the last minute, and an imploded Republican opposition. Beyond Super Tuesday lie delegate-rich states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California that are not top heavy with Tea Partiers and evangelicals and that will almost certainly enable Romney to arrive at the convention with a strong hand. And beyond that are the party elites, who were content to use the radical right-wingers but who never liked them, and who tremble at the thought of Candidate Santorum. Finally there are the Tea Partiers and evangelicals who, though hostile to Romney at present, would rather vote for a golden retriever than give Obama another four years in the White House.

“What seems like a circus now is serious business, so let us look beyond the circus instead of exaggerating it.”


“Whatever risks it might pose in the general election, the controversy over contraceptives, the Catholic Church, and the Obama administration has been an unalloyed blessing for Santorum in the Republican-nomination fight. Popping up unexpectedly, it has shifted what the political sharpies call the ‘issue matrix’ in an awkward direction for Romney and a comfortable one for Santorum, and is likely to help the latter further solidify his already firm hold over a voting bloc with which his rival is notably weak…

“If Santorum can consolidate the support of these groups as Gingrich did momentarily in South Carolina, the battle between him and his amalgam of red-hots and Romney and his army of regulars will be pitched—and, depending on what happens on Tuesday in Michigan, maybe bloody and protracted

“The reality is that even winning Michigan (and Arizona the same day) may not be enough to rescue Romney from the rough. ‘Every money guy I know thinks Romney can’t win a general election,’ says a respected Washington player and presidential-campaign veteran. ‘Our guys on Capitol Hill are moving into survival-of-the-fittest, only-worrying-about-themselves mode. They think the damage to Romney may be done and may be irreversible—and now he might not even be the nominee. So Romney not only has to win Michigan and Arizona, but he has to have a resounding knockout on Super Tuesday or he’s gonna be in real, real trouble.’…

[I]f Obama prevails, precisely the opposite dynamic is likely to kick in: a period of bitter recriminations followed by a reformation (or counterreformation) of the GOP. This, please recall, was what many Republicans were counting on to happen in the wake of their party’s loss of the White House and seats in the House and Senate in 2008. Instead, Republicans seized on a strategy of relentless opposition to Obama, which proved politically effective in 2010 but left the party as bereft of new ideas, a constructive agenda, or a coherent governing philosophy as before. With Obama having looked beatable months ago, a botched bid to oust him—especially if coupled with a failure to take over the Senate—would usher in a full-blown Republican conflagration, followed by an effort to rise from the ashes by doing the opposite of what caused the meltdown of 2012.


Via Mediaite.


“‘Well, I think it is important to appeal to the independents, certainly as I’ve described, Ronald Reagan did,’ she said. ‘We will not win by getting only the people who voted for John McCain. So, yeah, we need moderates. We need my gender. We need independents. But I don’t even know what he is talking about — playing to fears, particularly. When I make that point I have specific criticisms. I don’t think we should be prattling nonstop about contraception in the middle of an economic meltdown. I don’t think we need a candidate who proposes child janitors and then turns around and opposes worker comp requirements in the welfare reform. That is Newt Gingrich. I think you need an appealing candidate. But conservative positions are appealing and the more conservative a candidate is, you know the better off you are, which is why I support Mitt Romney.'”


“GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said today that watching John F. Kennedy’s speech to the Baptist ministers in Houston in 1960 made him want to ‘throw up.’

“‘To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?’ Santorum said…

‘I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country,’ said Santorum. ‘This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square. Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960,’ he said.”

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