The 2012 GOP nominating contest has witnessed the final triumph of an unlikely figure. I say “unlikely” because his name hasn’t been invoked much (if at all) by any of the candidates, nor has he been mentioned frequently by the press in its campaign coverage. What’s more, he died in 2007.
Jim Wilson opted to spend his last couple of years at Boston College, and I, and all my colleagues, were enriched by his presence. Jim, of course, was a conservative, and I am a liberal. But before I go on about how we nonetheless saw eye to eye on this issue or that, there was something else he represented that I both admired and, to the best of my ability, tried to emulate.
Maggie Haberman reports on the personal animosity between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry: Perry thinks "Romney stands for nothing,” said a Perry confidante. “He’s got no spine, no backbone.” ... Perry, people familiar with his views said, sees Romney as expedient, overly ambitious and unpalatable to the conservative base. Likewise, people close to Romney said he has unflattering opinions about Perry. “I think he had a few exasperating experiences with Perry, and he’s not alone in that,” said one source close to Romney. “I think Mitt thinks Perry is not that bright.” Stop it, you two!
At almost precisely the minute that Michele Bachmann was declaring her presidential candidacy in Iowa at the end of June, I was interviewing Tim Pawlenty in a borrowed conference room in a midtown Manhattan financial firm. For much of our interview, the long-faced, dark-haired-flecked-with-gray, 50-year-old Pawlenty sat tall in his chair, rarely fidgeting, his hand gestures confined to occasionally pointing for emphasis. Though he maintained steady eye contact, many of his answers were campaign boilerplate, and his mind sometimes seemed miles away.
God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right By Daniel K. Williams (Oxford University Press, 372 pp., $29.95) From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism By Darren Dochuk (W.W. Norton, 520 pp., $35) In the presidential election of 1976, the Democrat Jimmy Carter split the votes of American white evangelical Protestants almost evenly with the Republican Gerald Ford. With a clear plurality of at least ten percentage points, Carter did even better among the nation’s white Baptists.
The saga of Rush Limbaugh and his failed attempt to acquire a piece of the St. Louis Rams may be the quintessential postmodern American racial incident. When word first leaked of Limbaugh's potential ownership, a couple of sportswriters, joined by a handful of cable news talking heads, repeated what turned out to be totally unsubstantiated quotes by Limbaugh praising slavery and James Earl Ray.
Remember the period between the 2008 Republican Convention, but before the Katie Couric interview, when Sarah Palin was widely seen as a new politico dynamo who had breathed life into the McCain campaign? I wrote a column pointing out the the reaction to Palin eerily recalled the early reaction to Dan Quayle in 1988: [S]omewhere in the recesses of my mind, this admiring appraisal of the prospective veep's intellect struck a familiar chord. With a quick search, I discovered that, indeed, the same was said of Dan Quayle in 1988.
Reader JP just alerted me to an email blast from a group called "The Pray In Jesus Name Project." It suggests that ObamaCare will not only pull the plug on grandma, but also result in a gay and transgendered takeover of the entire health care system.
The more right-wing cronyism changes, it seems, the more it stays the same. Last night's episode of Nightline revealed that the DOJ's juvenile justice office has been awarding massive federal grants--meant to help seriously at-risk children--to a circus of right-wing groups with the "right" connections, abstinence campaigns, and the like. (Video here.) Shocking? Kinda. Everyone knows that the Bush administration rewards political hacks with federal patronage.