October 26, 2011
During a Republican presidential forum in South Carolina on September 5, the conservative Princeton political philosopher Robert George asked the candidates a provocative question. George, the intellectual architect of the campaign against gay marriage and abortion rights, has long argued that Congress should declare war on the Supreme Court by passing a federal ban on abortion that clearly violates Roe v. Wade. Would the candidates be willing to sign such a ban—intentionally provoking a constitutional crisis?
Herman Cain’s Debate Loss Is Nobody’s Gain
October 12, 2011
With former pizza magnate Herman Cain suddenly running second to Mitt Romney in most national polls, a Cain Mutiny was as inevitable as the Iowa caucuses moving into the Christmas season. The rebellion against Cain as a top-tier candidate was led by three lagging GOP contenders who must know that they will never be president—Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. The occasion for the rhetorical caning of Cain by his jealous rivals was Tuesday night’s forgettable theater-in-the-round Dartmouth debate featuring the candidates all seated at the same circular table.
Et Tu, Iowa?
October 11, 2011
[Guest post by Ed Kilgore] Until yesterday, all the recent public opinion surveys of the Republican presidential campaign showing a shocking collapse of support for Rick Perry and an equally surprising surge for Herman Cain have lacked one key data point: Iowa, where the “invisible primary” will turn into actual voting in January or even earlier. September came and went with no public polling in the First-in-the-Nation Caucus state. Now both NBC/Marist and PPP have polls out on likely Iowa caucus-goers, and they are thinking much like Republicans everywhere.
The Secret Behind Herman Cain’s Success
September 30, 2011
Former pizza magnate Herman Cain’s upset victory in the September 24 Florida Republican straw poll, and his subsequent rise to a competitive third place position in at least one national poll, are being generally interpreted as a function of GOP voter unhappiness with previous “top-tier” candidates (Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and arguably Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul).
Is Perry Debate-Proof?
September 26, 2011
Take a look at these results from a CNN poll conducted Sept. 23-25 (i.e., after the most recent GOP presidential debate).
Texas Dispatch: How Ron Paul Sparked a Movement—Only to Lose his District
September 22, 2011
Ron Paul doesn’t like Rick Perry. And if Thursday’s debate is anything like the last two, you’ll hear about it tonight. At the first GOP debate to feature Perry, Paul pointed to the governor’s past as a Democrat and cited his support for Clinton-era efforts at healthcare reform. In an ad earlier this month, Paul’s campaign dredged up Perry’s 1988 support for Al Gore.
Five Things All the GOP Candidates Agree On. (They’re Terrifying.)
September 19, 2011
By the very nature of political journalism, the attention of those covering the 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest tends to be focused on areas of disagreement between the candidates, as well as on the policy positions and messages they are eager to use against Barack Obama. But there are a host of other issues where the Republican candidates are in too much agreement to create a lot of controversy during debates or gin up excitement in the popular media. Areas of agreement, after all, rarely provoke shock or drive readership.
Why We Don't Let People Die
September 16, 2011
The big drama of this week’s Republican debate was over whether front-runner Rick Perry would stumble. But the most interesting moment turned out to involve a man nobody thinks can win the presidency: Ron Paul. CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked Paul whether he was prepared to let an uninsured 30-year-old with cancer die, just because that 30-year-old could not afford the treatments. Paul gave a long, convoluted answer about responsibility. But a handful of audience members were less ambivalent.
The Idiot Box
September 14, 2011
It was a self-inflicted, eye-glazing marathon—50 hours in late August spent watching a full sampling of the Fox News lineup. Looking back, it seems like a nine-day hallucination of strident voices, blonde hair, and more pitchmen hawking gold coins than at any time since the heyday of King Midas. Why did I volunteer for this ordeal when a rational person would have been at the beach? Not to belabor the predictable liberal lament that Fox News fails to uphold the high TV journalistic traditions of Edward R. Murrow and Eliot Spitzer.