How about Ron Paul, after all?

With one after another Republican presidential candidates rising to the top, then flaming out, it is time to seriously consider Ron Paul.

He’s libertarian, but he’s also pro-life, a devout Christian by all accounts (raised Lutheran, no less,  in the ELCA, but now Baptist–from an LCMS point of view, is it better to be a liberal Lutheran or a conservative Baptist?).  Anyway, he is anti-war (conservatives now taking the lead in that department).  No one doubts his commitment to small government.  Yes, he believes in legalizing drugs and prostitution, but would you take that in return for what else he offers?

I know some of you are already Ron Paul fans.  (Feel free to state your case.)  Would the rest of you now consider him?

It’s all true about Gingrich

Peggy Noonan has a good column about the promise and perils of Newt Gingrich:

I had a friend once who amused herself thinking up bumper stickers for states. The one she made up for California was brilliant. “California: It’s All True.” It is so vast and sprawling a place, so rich and various, that whatever you’ve heard about its wildness, weirdness and wonders, it’s true.

That’s the problem with Newt Gingrich: It’s all true. It’s part of the reason so many of those who know him are anxious about the thought of his becoming president. It’s also why people are looking at him, thinking about him, considering him as president.

Ethically dubious? True. Intelligent and accomplished? True. Has he known breathtaking success and contributed to real reforms in government? Yes. Presided over disasters? Absolutely. Can he lead? Yes. Is he erratic and unreliable as a leader? Yes. Egomaniacal? True. Original and focused, harebrained and impulsive—all true.

Do you want evidence he’s a Burkean conservative? Start with welfare reform in 1996. A sober, standard Republican? Go to the balanced budgets of the Clinton era. Is he a tea partier? Sure, he speaks the slashing lingo with relish. Is he moderate? Yes, that can be proved. Michele Bachmann this week called him a “frugal socialist,” and there’s plenty of evidence of that, too.

One way to view this is that he is so rich and varied as a character, as geniuses often are, that he contains worlds, multitudes. One senses that would be his way of looking at it. Another way to look at it: In a long career, one will shift views, adapt to circumstances, tack this way and that. Another way: He’s philosophically unanchored, an unstable element. There are too many storms within him, and he seeks out external storms in order to equalize his own atmosphere. He’s a trouble magnet, a starter of fights that need not be fought. He is the first modern potential president about whom there is too much information.

via Gingrich Is Inspiring—and Disturbing –

Noonan goes on to say that those who have worked with him in the past tend not to support him.  But that those who do are pointing out that he was the last one to actually reform the government.  Her whole essay is worth reading.

Where do you come down on Gingrich at this point?

Obama’s Teddy Roosevelt strategy

President Obama gave a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, in which he wrapped himself in the mantle of Roosevelt.  Teddy Roosevelt, that is.  And, according to liberal columnist E. J. Dionne, laid out the strategy that will bring him re-election.

President Obama has decided that he is more likely to win if the election is about big things rather than small ones. He hopes to turn the 2012 campaign from a plebiscite about the current state of the economy into a referendum about the broader progressive tradition that made us a middle-class nation. For the second time, he intends to stake his fate on a battle for the future.

This choice has obvious political benefits to an incumbent presiding over a still-ailing economy, and it confirms Obama’s shift from a defensive approach earlier this year to an aggressive philosophical attack on a Republican Party that has veered sharply rightward. It’s also the boldest move the president has made since he decided to go all-out for health insurance reform even after the Democrats lost their 60-vote majority in the Senate in early 2010.

The president’s speech on Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kan., the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s legendary “New Nationalism” speech 101 years ago, was the Inaugural address Obama never gave. It was, at once, a clear philosophical rationale for his presidency, a straightforward narrative explaining the causes of the nation’s travails, and a coherent plan of battle against a radicalized conservatism that now defines the Republican Party and has set the tone for its presidential nominating contest.

In drawing upon TR, Obama tied himself unapologetically to a defense of America’s long progressive and liberal tradition. The Republican Roosevelt, after all, drew his inspiration from the writer Herbert Croly, whose book “The Promise of American Life” can fairly be seen as the original manifesto for modern liberalism. Thus has the tea party’s radicalism encouraged a very shrewd politician to take on a task that Democrats have been reluctant to engage since Ronald Reagan’s ascendancy.

Obama was remarkably direct in declaring that the core ideas of the progressivism advanced by Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were right, and that the commitments of Reagan-era supply-side economics are flatly wrong. He praised TR for knowing “that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can” and for understanding that “the free market only works when there are rules of the road that ensure competition is fair and open and honest.”

A White House that just a few months ago was obsessed with the political center is now not at all wary, as a senior adviser put it, of extolling “a vision that has worked for this country.” But this adviser also noted that Obama implicitly contrasted the flexibility of the Rooseveltian progressivism with the rigidity of the current brand of conservatism. The official pointed to Obama’s strong commitment to education reform, including his critique in Osawatomie of “just throwing money at education.”

“You can embrace it [the progressive tradition] if you can make the point that philosophies and political theories can evolve as facts on the ground change,” the adviser said. The liberalism Obama advocated thus contains a core of moderation that the ideology of the tea party does not. Finally, Obama has realized that the path to the doors of moderate voters passes through a wholesale critique of the immoderation of the right.

via Obama’s New Square Deal – The Washington Post.

First of all, I keep hearing Teddy Roosevelt, who was indeed a Republican,  being praised by conservatives.  But wasn’t he the leader of the ‘Progressive” movement?  Or did he represent a kind of conservatism that preserved free markets by reining in monopolies and trusts that destroy free markets?  Or what?

Second, do you see anything to prevent such a strategy of running against conservatism from working?

Payroll tax cut conundrum

An issue is before Congress that has both Republicans and Democrats tied up in ideological knots.  Republicans oppose deficit spending.  They also are in favor of tax cuts.  Democrats are usually fine with government spending, which they are willing to finance with higher taxes.  So what do they do about extending the payroll tax cuts?

Part of President Obama’s stimulus package was to cut the amount people have to pay into social security, thus adding some dollars to their paychecks.

Now that provision is expiring, and the Obama administration wants to extend it.  But some Republicans are arguing that social security is already being starved and is headed for bankruptcy.  So it isn’t responsible to just take even more out of social security funding.

So now Democrats, including the President, are accusing Republicans of wanting to increase taxes!

See Republicans split on Democratic plan to extend payroll tax cut – The Washington Post.

What would be the statesman-like thing to do, as opposed to the political-rhetoric thing to do?

Liberal vs. Conservative television tastes

How do political beliefs relate to taste in TV shows?  A study has found some patterns:

In the findings, “sarcastic” media-savvy comedies and morally murky antiheroes tend to draw Dems. While serious work-centered shows (both reality shows and stylized scripted procedurals), along with reality competitions, tend to draw conservatives.

Focusing on well-known cable and broadcast original entertainment series (rather than, say, sports, music, news, repeats), here’s who wins the 2011 prime-time primaries:


– The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report (Comedy Central): As you might expect.

– 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation (NBC): Literate media-savvy comedies score high among Dems in general, notes Experian-Simmons senior marketing manager John Fetto. “Sarcastic humor is always a hook for them,” he adds.

– The View (ABC): Shows that skew female tend to do better among Dems, while male-friendly shows tend to do perform higher among Republicans.

– Glee (Fox)

– Modern Family (ABC): Last year, the progressive Glee and Modern Family scored surprisingly strong among both political leanings. Among conservatives this year, the shows still do fairly well, but have dropped out of their top ranks.

– It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)

– Treme (HBO): GOP Kryptonite. Not only a Dem favorite, but so unpopular among Republicans that the report scores the show with a “*” because not enough conservatives in the study group had actually watched it.

– Cougar Town (ABC)

– The Late Show With David Letterman and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS): Dems favor late-night programming, with one big exception that we’ll see below.

Also in the mix: The Soup (E!), Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Adult Swim), Raising Hope (Fox), Saturday Night Live (NBC), The Office (NBC), Project Runway (Lifetime), Shameless (Showtime), Parenthood (NBC), Conan (TBS).


– Swamp Loggers (Discovery) and Top Shot (History): Gritty documentary-style work-related reality shows on cable index really strongly with conservative Republicans. Swamp Loggers is particularly polarizing.

– The Bachelor (ABC): They also tend to gravitate toward broadcast reality competition shows.

– Castle (ABC): Ranks fairly high among Dems, too.

– Mythbusters (Discovery)

– Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Swamp People (History): If you’re a Republican candidate looking to raise money, put ads on History.

– The Middle (ABC): Does well among libs, too.

– The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC): “Did you hear about this? Yeah, this is true: Jay Leno is the late-night choice among conservatives… “

– The Biggest Loser (NBC)

– Hawaii Five-O, NCIS, The Mentalist (CBS): Popular crime dramas — except the left-wing Law & Order franchise — tend to draw a conservative crowd.

Also: Dancing With the Stars results show (ABC), Man vs. Wild (Discovery), Auction Kings (Discovery), Wheel of Fortune (syndi), Top Gear (BBC America).

via Republican vs. Democrat survey: Who watches the best TV shows? | Inside TV |

What does this tell us about both liberals and conservatives?

Does this track with your tastes, one way or the other?  Are there other shows that would seem to exemplify a liberal or a conservative aesthetic?

Cain drops out

Herman Cain has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination:

In a long awaited announcement Herman Cain stood with his wife Gloria before a crowd of supporters at his campaign office in north DeKalb County, Georgia to say that he will suspend his campaign due to the continued hurt suffered by his family from “false allegations.”

“So as of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” he said.

Following revelations that he allegedly sexually harassed several women while head of the National Restaurant Association, and most recently, businesswoman Ginger White’s charge that she had an affair with the candidate for 13 years, Cain’s poll numbers have dramatically declined.

via Herman Cain | Suspends | Campaign | The Daily Caller.

Cain fans, who will you support now?