Friday, January 20, 2012

South Carolina Preview

Good day all!

The third primary of this early election cycle is upon us. After a week of debates and campaigning, the Evangelical Christian dominated state of South Carolina will vote tomorrow for who they want to represent the Republican Party in 2012.

And what a week it's been! Two debates, two candidates drop out, a tawdry sex scandal ripe for the media circus, and major moves in the polls. Let's break it down.

  • First of all, the debates. This is the Evangelical Bible Belt right? So the golden rule ought to play well down there, right? WRONG!

    So let me get this straight South Carolina, and for that matter the rest of the American Christianity. . . The Golden Rule applies when you are interacting with another individual. It applies when you are interacting with a group. It applies when your group is interacting with another group. But when your country interacts with another country, the Golden rule is nowhere to be found?


    See, that video is a microcosm of what is wrong with American Christianity. American Christianity has become a social club on Sunday. Largely (and I admit this is a generalization) Christians don't want to put their beliefs in action. For most Christians, God is sovereign over how they spend their Sunday morning, but not sovereign over their minds, over their emotions, over their behavior in the workplace, nor or their choice in the voting booth. We've become like the Laodiceans in Revelation 3. It would be a useful exercise for Americans to concentrate on Revelation 3:14-22, especially Rev 3:16.

  • Rick Perry ended his campaign on Thursday. The one thing I can say about Rick Perry is that the guy was the only Presidential candidate in recent memory that overwhelmingly proved he wasn't capable of being President. The guy was a terrible debater and unable to think on his feet. He again and again demonstrated a complete inability to grasp the issues facing America today. There is hope for the American electorate yet, I suppose, as we watched Rick Perry burst onto the scene on the day of the Iowa straw poll only to precipitously drop into relative obscurity with each and every dumb gaffe and demonstration of his less than stellar IQ.

  • Speaking of a less than stellar IQ and relative obscurity, John Huntsman dropped out earlier in the week. I ask this in all seriousness: What in the world was the John Huntsman campaign about? He completely ignored Iowa, concentrating on New Hampshire. While in New Hampshire he tried to showcase his libertarian roots. Yet, every time someone asked him a tough question, he turned the question into a story to tell that not only didn't answer the question, but didn't even address the point!

    "Mr. Huntsman, you want to run against President Obama, but you accepted his invitation to serve as his ambassador to China. Can you tell us why you would choose to work with the Obama administration despite your desire to end it?"

    "Well, when I was ambassador of China, I saw this country from a different prospective. When I looked this country, I saw that it was the greatest country in the world! It is full of hardworking and patriotic people who want to see success for all people everywhere."


  • Who benefits? Perry dropping out probably benefits all the others equally. Perry's base of support might have been the most vanilla and uninspired base of any candidate ever. I wouldn't be surprised if half of them forget to vote on Saturday. Huntsman, despite his endorsement of Mitt Romney, should help Ron Paul a little bit. Last time we talked politics, I said that I though Huntsman would help Ron Paul in a big way. I no longer think that it will be huge, but I do think it will be helpful nonetheless. Huntsman is endorsing Romney because he wants a position in the cabinet if he wins. Huntsman attracted leftist libertarians as a large part of his base. Libertarians are not going to support Romney, and if they support anyone, they'll support Ron Paul. It's a shame that they have to be leftists, but the Paul camp will take every vote it can get.

  • The polls have been interesting. Romney was pushing 40% on Monday and has dropped steadily after a week full of negative ads targeting him. Meanwhile, Newt is said to have done well during the first debate and rose steadily throughout the week making this a real race at the top. Personally, I think that Newt's debate performance was more hype than anything. Rush Limbaugh (the king of the Republican Establishment Media) fell all over himself to tell us how Newt Gingrich was exhibiting conservatism in the debate. I love how we're supposed to all believe that a guy who rattled off some talking points is suddenly the conservative Messiah despite a career of stabbing conservatives in the back.

    Meanwhile Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have been battling for third place. It seems Ron Paul has it according to the polls. Not good news for Rick Santorum.

  • Newt Gingrich wanted to have an open marriage with his last wife. Yes, you read that right. ABC aired the report last night about how the marriage broke up. It seems that Newt wanted to have a mistress on the side and so he went to his wife and asked if they could have an open marriage. She said no and the marriage ended.

    Good grief.

    It's funny that the party that is supposed to stand for family values still tolerates a guy like this. The Republican Establishment Media is falling all over itself defending Newt today. Newt himself is trying to play hardball by painting it as a vicious attack by the left wing media to take down the conservative in the race. I'll say it right now, it's not going to work. Herman Cain tried the same thing and it didn't work. Newt Gingrich is done, and if he's not then Christians ought to leave the GOP with all haste. It will have shown itself once and for all that it does not reflect our values.

  • So what do I think is going to happen? I think Mitt Romney will win but like Hillary Clinton in 2008, the "inevitable" facade is starting to crack. He'll not have a good showing. Most people won't talk about it, but he will show that he just can't appeal to anyone beyond a certain group of Republicans.

    I also think that second place is up for grabs. Two phenomenon are in play here. First is Newt's open marriage. Despite the 11th hour spin job by the Republican Establishment Media, Newt isn't going to be able to get out of this one. Christian conservatives aren't going to vote for this guy. Enough people will be slow to come around that Newt will still have a good showing, but he won't touch the 31% he was seeing in the polls yesterday.

    Ron Paul might be able to grab second place. If he does, he will put an end to the competition below him. The sooner he does, the better chance he has of beating Romney. The second phenomenon in play is Paul's ability to score more votes than he gets in the polls. I haven't been able to explain this yet, but in Iowa and New Hampshire, Ron Paul finished with more of a percentage than he was polled to finish with in those states. In New Hampshire it was as much a 12% higher in some polls, and 8% higher in most polls. If Paul can tack another 8% to his 15% average in South Carolina, he'll finish in second place. The question will be if enough Newt supporters will go to him as the anti-Romney.

  • I also think that Santorum is done. This was supposed to be his bread and butter state. Santorum paints himself as the social conservative in the race. The guy every God fearing American can trust. He's not and once you look past the facade, you see that. Americans are beginning to see our debt and budget as a moral crisis AND they are (in smaller numbers) starting to tire of rhetoric without teeth. Santorum isn't the answer to that problem, HE'S PART OF THAT PROBLEM. He's terrible on fiscal issues; voting to raise the debt ceiling 5 times, voting for unbalanced budgets, voting for war after endless war pushing us further into debt and despair. All the while telling us how pro-family and pro-life he is and yet doing nothing to show us. Santorum is being exposed for the fraud he is. If he can't win one of the most socially conservative states in the union, then what can he win? He's done.

    Which leaves us to what this race is, and always was . . . Ron Paul vs. Mitt Romney.

I'll have a recap of the results and analysis on Monday.

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