Rick Perry drops out

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry participates in the ABC News, Yahoo! News, WMUR Republican Presidential Debate on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on January 7, 2011. New Hampshire will hold the first-in-the-nation primary on January 10. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Rick Perry’s embarrassing foray into national politics will end today according to multiple press reports. In one of the worst fields of presidential candidates in modern political history, Rick Perry stood out as one of the chief yahoos in the confederacy of dunces.

This shouldn’t have been a surprise, as Perry’s main claim to fame leading up to 2012 was his suggestion that the State of Texas might secede from the union.

His debate “performances” have become legendary. He made George W. Bush sound like Lawrence Olivier. He consistently made outrageous statements, like this past week when he suggested that the leaders of NATO ally Turkey were “Islamic terrorists.”

Perry hoped that right wing hysteria might sweep him to the nomination, but Republican voters recoiled at his utter incompetence. You can’t rally voters if you can’t manage a coherent sentence. This week, Erick Erickson of RedState.com urged Perry to drop out. Understandably, conservatives do not want Mitt Romney as their nominee. Newt Gingrich is also a disaster for the GOP, but at least he has some credibility among conservatives and can handle himself in a debate.

Rick Perry finally realized that he had no chance in South Carolina and conservatives needed to stop splitting the anti-Romney vote. Perhaps he’s not quite as dumb as he sounds.

The “oops” candidate now leaves the national stage as one of the biggest laughing stocks in American politics.

  

The Radicalism of Newt Gingrich

How crazy is this guy?

Newt Gingrich loves to accuse his political opponents of being “radical,” and yet he tosses around radical statements on a regular basis. His latest comments on judges even have conservatives howling.

Now he’s talking about using the capital police or U.S. Marshals to arrest judges that he deems to be out of line. Here’s a statement to FOX News from Michael Mukasey, a former U.S. Attorney General under George W. Bush, who said Gingrich’s comment were “dangerous, ridiculous, totally irresponsible, outrageous, off-the-wall and would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle.”

The man is a complete buffoon, and it’s easy to see why the conservative establishment is horrified at the thought of this clown becoming the nominee.

  

George Will is getting desperate

Donald Trump (L) speaks to members of the media after a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at Trump Towers on 5th Avenue in New York, December 5, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Burton (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS BUSINESS)

Newt Gingrich spent some time today kissing the ring of reality TV star and goofball birther Donald Trump. Meanwhile, establishment conservatives like George Will are recoiling in horror watching these clowns hijack the conservative movement.

This past weekend, George Will actually suggested that conservatives ought to take a second look at Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman given the prospect of Newt or Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee. Yes, he’s desperate. Rick Perry sounds like George W. Bush after downing a 12-pack, and Huntsman is stuck in single digits in the polls after trying to run as a moderate.

But Will has to turn somewhere, as he has no use for flip-flopper Romney and he can’t stand Newt. With his usual rhetorical flair, Will eviscerates the former Speaker:

Gingrich, however, embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything.

Granted, his grandiose rhetoric celebrating his “transformative” self is entertaining: Recently he compared his revival of his campaign to Sam Walton’s and Ray Kroc’s creations of Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, two of America’s largest private-sector employers. There is almost artistic vulgarity in Gingrich’s unrepented role as a hired larynx for interests profiting from such government follies as ethanol and cheap mortgages. His Olympian sense of exemption from standards and logic allowed him, fresh from pocketing $1.6 million from Freddie Mac (for services as a “historian”), to say, “If you want to put people in jail,” look at “the politicians who profited from” Washington’s environment.

His temperament — intellectual hubris distilled — makes him blown about by gusts of enthusiasm for intellectual fads, from 1990s futurism to “Lean Six Sigma” today. On Election Eve 1994, he said a disturbed South Carolina mother drowning her children “vividly reminds” Americans “how sick the society is getting, and how much we need to change things. . . . The only way you get change is to vote Republican.” Compare this grotesque opportunism — tarted up as sociology — with his devious recasting of it in a letter to the Nov. 18, 1994, Wall Street Journal (http://bit.ly/vFbjAk). And remember his recent swoon over the theory that “Kenyan, anti-colonial” thinking explains Barack Obama.

Gingrich, who would have made a marvelous Marxist, believes everything is related to everything else and only he understands how. Conservatism, in contrast, is both cause and effect of modesty about understanding society’s complexities, controlling its trajectory and improving upon its spontaneous order.

Most people would agree with Will, as Newt is widely regarded as a mean-spirited buffoon. But in today’s Republican Party, the fear and loathing caucus calls the shots, and contempt for Obama and the left is by far the most important quality. In that area Newt is unmatched and he has a long track record, so his flaky deviations from conservative policies are more easily forgiven by those eager to see someone stick it to Obama in the debates.

Perry is toast, so Will won’t get his wish there. As for Huntsman, Will and other writers like Erick Erickson of RedState.com have been pointing out how conservative Huntsman is when it comes to policy. Yet Huntsman shows more contempt for the far right than he does for Obama, and that’s why he’s been going nowhere. Perhaps he can change the tone of his campaign, but he has mocked conservatives for not believing in global warming, and stuff like that will make it difficult for him to win GOP primaries.

I think Will is stuck with Mitt or Newt.

  

The Buffoonery of Herman Cain

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain waves as he arrives on stage before the start of the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 18, 2011. REUTERS/Richard Brian (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

Few people if any thought Herman Cain could be a viable candidate for the GOP nomination. I certainly didn’t think so, particularly when he made some early gaffes.

Yet he’s leading the polls, presumably because he’s a Tea Party conservative with a sunny personality who has been pushing a simplistic 9-9-9 plan. How long will it last? Who knows when you consider some of the candidates that the Tea Party supported in the 2010 Senate races.

Even before Cain’s embarrassing debate performance last night, Joe Klein called him out in response to this Cain quote:

When they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know.

Klein wasn’t impressed:

Let’s say Cain was just joking, which is his all-purpose excuse on the myriad of occasions where his ignorance erupts into public view. Let’s say he actually knows that the name of the country is Uzbekistan. Does a prospective President of the United State really want to make fun of that? I mean–and I hope, Herman, you’re listening–there is a major airport in southern Uzbekistan that NATO has been using as a crucial transfer point for troops and materiel headed into Afghanistan. Wouldn’t want to tick off the Uzbek president, Islam Karimov…because it might make life significantly tougher for our troops over there. Not the sort of thing one jokes about, Hermanator.

I know what I’m about to say is impolite, but Herman Cain strikes me as something of a jerk and an ignoramus. He has made absolutely outrageous statements about Muslims, immigrants and homosexuals; he takes the most extreme position imaginable on abortion. Indeed, I have never, ever seen him acknowledge the idea that complexity exists in the world…or that an ability to weed through complex issues might be a qualification for the presidency.

No, the guy is a marketer. He had other people handle administration and finance at Godfather’s; he was all about the pies. Hence, we have his 9-9-9 plan, a truly rancid scheme to benefit the rich at the expense of the rest of the country, a scheme that would tax a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.

As if to make Joe Klein look like a genius, Herman Cain had one of those days yesterday that would make normal people cringe. First, he stated on CNN before the debate that he would be open to trading all the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for an American soldier held hostage by al Qaeda. He was called out on this idiotic statement by none other than Michele Bachmann. If Bachmann makes you look stupid, then you really have problems.

He also sounded like a buffoon as he tried to explain his 9-9-9 plan by using fruit metaphors. The other candidates were not impressed, and I doubt that anyone other than die-hard Tea Party fanatics thought me made any sense. The candidates pretty much ignored Cain after that.

Who knows what happens next. I think Romney took some serious shots yesterday and Rick Perry is obviously going to keep on swinging at him.

  

Can money save Rick Perry?

Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS PROFILE)

Rick Perry has been taking a beating, and not from Democrats. Perry has been pounded by his rivals for the GOP nomination and also by other conservatives after a string of humiliating debate performances. His comments on Social Security along with past positions on issues like HPV vaccines and permitting illegals to get in-state tuition rates in Texas have made him a target. He’s plunging in the polls and his wife is complaining that they’re being targeted for their religious beliefs.

But it’s still too early to count Rick Perry out, mostly because he has a ton of money. He raised $17 million last quarter, and he has a ton of cash on hand to go after Mitt Romney. Of course this is bad news for Romney and good news for Barack Obama, as it raises the possibility that Perry will use his money to weaken Romney and hammer him for his countless flip-flops.

The rise of Herman Cain and Romney’s flat poll numbers suggest that the GOP electorate is desperate for a conservative to emerge to take on Obama. Again, this is great news for Obama. This should also give Perry some hope, as Cain says things on a daily basis that disqualify him as a serious candidate.

That said, we can’t count Cain out either. We’ve seen that the Tea Party wing will nominate anyone as long as they come across as pure enough (see Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell), so maybe Cain will last longer that we expect.

In the end, the entire field is looking more and more like a confederacy of dunces. We knew we would have some wackos like Michele Bachmann and some earnest yet strange candidates like Rick Santorum, but this field looks worse and worse each day.

  

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