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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 12/11/2011

Morning Bits

Other conservative pundits have joined the anybody-but-Newt club. “The conservative opinion elite has reached a consensus on Newt Gingrich: He’s not the one they’ve been waiting for. In the days since Gingrich leaped to the forefront of the Republican presidential race, the nation’s most prominent right-leaning commentators — many of whom have spent the last year pining for alternatives to Mitt Romney — have rendered a swift and caustic judgment on their party’s latest out-of-right-field challenger.”

They hope more voters join the anybody-but-Newt club. “They’re trying to figure out why the former House speaker is supported by GOP voters who think he’s not particularly honest and [he] doesn’t share their values. They’re puzzled that Iowa evangelical Christians are flocking to a man who was unfaithful to two wives, paid $300,000 in House ethics fines and converted to Roman Catholicism. They’re surprised that Republican voters say that they value Gingrich’s experience far more than that of his rivals. Gingrich’s record of earning millions of dollars in the government influence business, after 20 years in Congress, seems to upend the notion that this election cycle is driven by tea partyers’ hostility to Washington insiders.”

Mitt Romney is trying to get the Des Moines Register editorial board to join the anybody-but-Newt club. “Mitt Romney portrayed himself today as a sober, seasoned alternative to Newt Gingrich in the Republican race for president. The former Massachusetts governor suggested to the Des Moines Register editorial board that he has had more experience leading organizations than the former U.S. House speaker has had. When asked to compare himself to Gingrich, Romney said: ‘Tell me about the person’s capacity to lead. Has the person been a leader before, and how do they lead? What kind of job did they do? What did the people around them think about that job? What is the enterprise that they led? How did it do under their leadership?’”

The far right and left are joined at the hip in their anti-Israel rhetoric. James Taranto’s “Democrats for Buchanan” is a must-read.

Rick Perry has joined poor Gerald Ford and Dan Quayle — the press will never miss a slip-up. “In yet another campaign day marred by a slip-up, Texas Gov. Rick Perry produced headlines today during an important editorial board interview with the Des Moines Register — not for his impassioned defense of a controversial new TV ad about his faith, but instead for a mealy-mouthed screw up. ‘Montemayor?’ he said, struggling to name one of the nine Supreme Court justices. He went on to blast the court as ‘eight unelected and frankly unaccountable judges.’ There are nine.” Three, nine . . . maybe he’s just not good with numbers.

When Egypt joined together to oust Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring, hopes were high for a secular democracy. Not so much any more. Samuel Tadros is understandably glum: “The most important story of the runoff elections is that blood has been spilled between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. . . . [A]s part of the Salafist alliance, two members of the terrorist organization Gamaa Islamiya won seats in Asyut’s 1st and 4th districts. While the State Department does not consider the Muslim Brotherhood nor the Salafists terrorist organizations, Gamaa Islamiya, whose spiritual leader is the Blind Sheikh, is officially designated a terrorist organization by the State Department. Bonus News of the Day: The Muslim Brotherhood candidate Alaa Hamza has been elected president of Ain Shams University in Cairo.”

Too bad Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal joined the Rick Perry campaign team. The GOP could use a presidential candidate like him. “Louisiana was in far worse shape than Massachusetts, Utah, or Texas when Jindal took over in 2008. And that’s why his reforms have been more sweeping and dramatic. ‘We’ll run out of time before we run out of things to do,’ he says.”

Stuart Rothenberg joins those who realize the lefty pundits had it wrong and that “the OWS movement is a potentially bigger problem for Democrats, many of whom can’t quite figure out how to deal with a movement that reflects some of their concerns about economic inequality, environmentalism and the evils of big business but too often appears radical, confrontational and unkempt.”

Gingrich joins a long list of pols hoisted on their own petard. “Self-serving. Self-aggrandizing. Anti-conservative. Anti-principled. Hints of corruption, hypocrisy, and bizarre and destructive behavior. These were brutal descriptions, and yet there was something poetic about the belated Romney assault on Gingrich. The attacks used terms that were popularized by Gingrich himself in his rise to power.”

Despite the GOP’s difficulties finding Mr. Right, Barack Obama still may join the list of one-term presidents: “Less than one year out from Election Day 2012, voters remain overwhelmingly pessimistic about the economy, and their concerns are taking a toll on President Obama’s re-election chances. Just 41 percent of Americans think Mr. Obama has performed his job well enough to be elected to a second term, whereas 54 percent don’t think so. . . . . Views of how he has handled the economy is the obvious drag on the president’s ratings: While just 33 percent approve, 60 percent disapprove. Similarly, just 35 percent approve . . . his handling of job creation while 58 percent disapprove.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 12/11/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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