Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome Back Peeps! :)

Welcome back! We’ve missed you! Hopefully everyone had a nice Christmas?! Anyhoo, here’s a quick update on what you missed followed by a brief discussion of negative campaigning. This will all be on the year-end test...

Wha’d I Miss?
● The big news is that Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska announced his retirement. This is great news for several reasons. First, I suspect Nelson had a solid chance of getting re-elected. Nelson was down in the polls, but polls this far out are unreliable because they are little more than a means of registering a protest. And come election time, people rarely look at the past but instead focus on the future. That’s where things like seniority, client services, and comfort level with candidates all come into play and Nelson scored well in those. Secondly, if Nelson had won, then the MSM narrative would have been that ObamaCare obviously wasn’t a problem with voters. This cuts that off.

● Speaking of ObamaCare, the Supremes have agreed to hear the ObamaCare case, and they’re giving it an unprecedented three hours for oral argument. Except in rare instances, each side normally gets 30 minutes.

● Still speaking of ObamaCare, there are more problems arising. Remember how the plan calls for subsidizing everyone’s healthcare? Well, it turns out the bill was written poorly and this may not be possible. Even the Obama people admit it will require a Congressional fix to solve this problem. That ain’t happening. So even if the Supremes don’t strike it down, ObamaCare may collapse under Obama/Reid’s incompetent drafting.

● Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum and Perry all failed to get their names on the Virginia ballot. This shows a lack of seriousness as candidates which should alarm their supporters. Gingrich then doubled-down on stupid by blaming one of the people he hired to get signatures. Apparently, this individual submitted 1,200 fake signatures. . . like ACORN. But this shows Gingrich’s stupidity. First, everyone knows you hire people to cross-check the names against voter rolls. What competent candidate could let someone get away with making up 1,200 fake names? Secondly, Gingrich played too fast and loose with the rules by only giving himself about an 11% margin of error. This is stupid. Romney and Paul gave themselves 50% margins. In any event, Gingrich sued and apparently will be let on the ballot if he agrees to stop crying.

● Rick Perry also sued Virginia for not protecting him from his own stupidity. Nice conservative values there, Rick: when you don’t follow the rules and things don’t work out. . . sue. Perhaps a homosexual/teletubby conspiracy slipped Rick litigious pills? In any event, recent reports have his whining working and he too will be let on the ballot.

● American Idol Kelly Clarkson endorsed Ron Paul. While I would have preferred she picked a different Republican, I am thrilled that a young, single female in the pop music world would endorse a non-leftist.

● A new video has emerged of Gingrich praising RomneyCare when it was passed and saying it would lead to great things.
Negative Campaigning
Negative campaigning is a tricky thing. Almost everyone professes to hate negative campaigning and it’s pretty clear that truly negative campaigns backfire on the candidates who wage them. But on the other hand, negative ads do work.

In fact, negative ads can be so effective, that some blame them for bringing about the current cynical state of our politics. I understand the logic in this -- if everyone attacks everyone else, then everyone is brought down in the public’s estimation and there’s nothing positive to latch onto -- but I don’t actually buy this argument. I think the cynical state of our current politics is a reaction to the lack of clear ideological choice, deep-seated corruption in both parties, and Democrats and Republicans blatantly lying about their intentions.

But what constitutes a negative ad? The Economist just wrote a stupid little piece in which they “worried” (read: hoped to promote the idea) that the Republican candidates were becoming so negative that no one would support them in November. Interestingly, the ad they discuss is a Ron Paul ad about Gingrich which shows:
● Gingrich sitting with Pelosi “warning of the dangers of climate change”;
● Gingrich bragging about receiving “speaking fees of $60,000 a pop”; and
● A voiceover pointing out that “Gingrich once supported the individual health mandate.”
This is hardly “going negative.” These are legitimate policy questions. Does Gingrich or does he not support global warming legislation? He did before and he’s hazy on it now. That’s a pretty important issue. Gingrich claims to be an outsider, yet he’s bragging about his speaking fees at large corporate gatherings. Is it not valid to question who his supporters are? And how can Gingrich’s support for the central abuse of ObamaCare not be a policy issue? (Also, isn’t it funny that supporting a Democratic agenda is “going negative”?)

The reality is none of this is negative. Negative is false statements, distortions of records, and baseless smears hinting that someone is a racist, a harasser, a philanderer or a bigot. Negative is repeating isolated, context-less quotes from decades ago and pretending they represent a lifetime record. Negative is smearing a candidate’s family or invading their bedroom. Negative is suggesting Barry Goldwater is unstable and will start a nuclear war, suggesting Ronald Reagan is old and senile or that he cut a deal with the Iranians, and publishing fake rumors about affairs that never happened, spreading lies about military records, and springing stories about a drunk driving arrest 40 years prior. Negative is NOT pointing out that your opponent supports political policies with which you disagree.

I am not a believer in negative campaigning. I think it cheapens your victory and destroys your mandate, and positive candidates will always be better leaders. But I also think we need to stop calling the pointing out of policy disagreements negative campaigning. And we really need to stop letting the MSM spin any criticism of another candidate as negative just so they can drive the narrative that Republicans are all negative.

(P.S. Don't forget, Star Trek Tuesdays start tomorrow morning at the film site.... 9:00 AM, be there.)

61 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

glad you are back; felt like an addict in withdrawal. Hope you had great holidays and remembred your black eyed peas yesterday. Important in this critical election year :)

Patti said...

Happy New Year!

Great first post back. Was it as weird for y'all not posting as it was for me?!

I feel a renewed fire in my belly, and it ain't the jalapeno tamales!

let's do this thing.

LawHawkRFD said...

Nice take on "negative" campaigning. I hope whoever the Republican candidate understands the concept. It's not "negative" to point out Obama's total lack of leadership skills, his socialist agenda, and his contempt for constitutional government. Obama can't run on his record, so his campaign will be entirely negative. That leaves the field wide open for the Republican candidate to point out his record. The Democrats will call that negative campaigning because they can't distinguish between negative campaigning and simple truth.

T-Rav said...

Nobody told me there would be a test! Man, you'd better let me pass, because if I don't, I'm gonna sue you. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed, Glad you're back too. There was a bit of withdrawal, but I got into my vacation pretty quickly. :)

This is probably the most critical election in my lifetime, let's hope it goes the right way.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti! Happy New Year to you too!

Yeah, it was weird not posting, but it was very nice to get some time away. Very refreshing. :)

100% agree... let's do this thing! November here we come!

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Sadly, I have my doubts because the Republicans never get this. They always say something stupid and over the top and then need to backtrack and then simultaneously end up too afraid to say things they should be saying. But we'll see.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, You can take the class pass/fail if you want, but you still need to do the homework.

As an aside, doesn't it strike you as amazing that these same people who will complain about society being too litigious will then sue when they don't get on the ballot because they screwed up? That should tell people a lot.

DUQ said...

Andrew, Nice start back. I'm happy Nelson is leaving, I also thought he would sneak through and then we would hear how the Democrats lost because they didn't do enough rather than they lost because of Obamacare.

I agree with your take on negative campaigning. It's not negative to point out the other guy's record. It's just negative when they go in for the theater/childish aspects and the personal attacks.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks DUQ, It's good to be back. I agree, and that's why I think it's important that Nelson quit. I'm not worried about winning the Senate, but I think this would have been a bad loss politically for us.

Yeah, Republicans aren't great at handling negative campaigns or much of campaigning frankly. It can be very frustrating.

Ed said...

Gingrich bothers me more every day. The whole crying thing annoyed me. Of course, Romney's response annoyed me too. He said he wouldn't cry in public, but he does cry. Oh give me a break. Why do they need to tell us these stupid things?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I agree. This whole Oprahization of politics is ridiculous. It's like the Olympics where they can't talk about a candidate without pointing out how someone they knew had cancer when they were 12. It's pathetic.

AndrewPrice said...

UPDATE: Virginia's Attorney General is now backtracking and says it would be unfair to let in the other candidates since the ones who made it on the ballot followed the rules.

Ed said...

Andrew, I'm surprised the attorney general changed his mind. Did he give a reason?

Nancy (San Fran Nan) P. said...

So even if the Supremes don’t strike it down, ObamaCare may collapse under Obama/Reid’s incompetent drafting.

Ooh, don't forget me! But I had to have it passed to see what was in it. Oopsy!

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, He said he thinks Virginia's requirements (10,000 signatures) is too hard (second hardest in the nation), but he now suddenly believes that it would be unfair to the people who followed the rules if the others would be let on when they hadn't followed the rules. That sounds nicely principled, but if he really believed that, then why did he say the rules should be ignored when he first spoke?

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks for being such a horrible legislator San Fran Nan! You may have saved the country from your own horridness. :)

BevfromNYC said...

Does anyone have a sinking feeling that we may nominating our own John Kerry with Romney? I'm just throwing that out there...

BevfromNYC said...

Oh, btw, HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone! It looks like this will be a vintage year for politics.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It's a new year and I'm trying to be positive, so no... I won't have that feeling... but yes, yes I do. :(

Or worse, he's our Mike Dukakis and he's one helmet away from irrelevance.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, "vintage year" -- good way to put it. This will definitely be one for the books... good or bad!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"So even if the Supremes don’t strike it down, ObamaCare may collapse under Obama/Reid’s incompetent drafting."

I dunno. On the one hand, it depends on how well the republican opponent hammers him on this.

OTOH, I've learned that although most folks say they are against pork they sure don't seem to mind their congressional critters bringing them those "free" juicy pork chops.
So, in effect they're against other voters having "free" pork.

However, it depends on how principled the conservatives are in Nelson's area.

Based on Nelson's past record I thought he was a bluedog and principled, conservative democrat, and I don't even live in Nebraska (is that a state yet?).

I think Nelson may have once been principled and somewhat conservative but obviously that's not the case as of Obamacare.

In fact, I do believe the bludogs are now extinct. Ever since Zell Miller to be precise.
Will we ever see one again?

Perhaps in the next Jurassic Park book, if Michael Crighton were still alive to write it, we could see how future scientists extracted bluedog DNA from an honest lobbyist trapped in amber to bring back the bluedog...

Naw. That's too far fetched even for me.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

BevfromNYC said...
Does anyone have a sinking feeling that we may nominating our own John Kerry with Romney? I'm just throwing that out there...

At least Romney wasn't in Cambodia during Christmas. And to my knowledge he hasn't backstabbed Vietnam vets with horrendous lies before Congress.

Other than that, I do see the resemblance. :^)

Individualist said...

"Negative is false statements, distortions of records, and baseless smears hinting that someone is a racist, a harasser, a philanderer or a bigot. Negative is repeating isolated, context-less quotes from decades ago and pretending they represent a lifetime record. Negative is smearing a candidate’s family or invading their bedroom. ........ "

Oh is that what negative campaigning is Andrew. Here, all along I thought that was just a normal day's news cycle for the Associated Press. My Bad!

Great to see you back! Honestly though, tell the truth, would you like youur only choices in VA to be Romney and Paul... doesn't this say something about our own side....

Happy New Year Everyone

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think the Blue Dogs were largely myth already and I think it will be incredibly unlikely we will ever see another genuinely conservative Democrat. Their party is drifting further left all the time and they have zero tolerance for conservatives in their ranks.

On the ObamaCare thing, this may be something which happens automatically. From what I've read, there are problems with the funding mechanism and the only way to fix those would be to amend the law. There is no way the Republicans will agree to that. Thus, they can let most of the law die without doing anything. That means it's doomed.

And no, Nebraska is not a state. It's a farm. (Just don't tell trynamax! ;) )

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, That's true, there's no reason to think that Romney is a coward or a traitor. He's just kind of an effete liberalish Massholer -- which isn't something that plays well in the rest of the country. BUT Obama is no better and this election will be about Obama, so I don't think it matters for the election, it only matters for after the election. And I suspect he'll be ok (not great, but ok) at that point.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Note to GOP candidates:

In reference to the stupid crying game you guys feel you need to play,

I don't want a President that's "in touch" with his or her (or its) feelings.

I want a President that's in touch with our Constitution.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Isn't it strange how that does sound like the typical MSM newscycle? Imagine that.


On Virginia, I'm more concerned that the other bozos couldn't figure out a way to hire someone to find 10,000 signatures. And these people want to be President???

Also, I think suing afterward shows that these people lack genuine conservative principles because they knew the rules, they didn't follow them, and now they are suing to get their way. That's everything conservatives hate about modern America.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: The Washington Times asked the same question about Romney being 2012's Kerry. It's a serious concern. I also touch on the subject in this afternoon's post, though I compared him to Nixon in 1960.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Well said.

Also, frankly, crying is not consistent with leadership qualities which involve making rational decision according to your principles and having the nerve to stick with them.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I actually see Romney as closer to Clinton that Nixon or Romney, but we'll see.

Individualist said...

"So even if the Supremes don’t strike it down, ObamaCare may collapse under Obama/Reid’s incompetent drafting."

Well Andrew, Nancy P said we had to pass the bill to see what was in it. Guess what was in in it. Nonsense that is not workable.

{Channeling my best Gomer Pyle} Surpirse! Surprise! Surprise!

On that note however I am not so sure the fix can't get put in place. Remember this bill does not start until 2014. If it is not struck down or even if it is left in place in part, if Dem's maintain the Senate and
Obama stays in as POTUS they will put a fix in that is supposed to be a travesty (Publicly for the left) as they had to agree to NEOCON wishes. Reality is that what they will do is put in the fix. water down the taxing provisions, set it up so that Healthcare Insurance rises and pretend they did a conservative thing.

They might do this even if the GOP takes things. It saddens me but I think this is where this goes. They make these things happen in four years so that they have time to tweak them to find a way to put in place what they really want by tiring out the electorate.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: In a way, I hope you're right. Clinton was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I seriously worry that Romney might do the opposite.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That is sadly a possibility. Unfortunately, the Republicans equate "give the system to insurance carriers" with "conservative." They are as a big of a problem as the Democrats, only in a different direction.

Nice Gomer! LOL! This is what comes of drafting bills in secret without public scrutiny and broad support in the legislature.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I'm really not worried about Romney because he's bland and the election will be about Obama unless our candidate is wild (e.g. Paul). And in a referendum on Obama, Obama gets killed. Also, Romney has learned a lot about fighting in the past 6 years and he's gotten much better at it. He doesn't have a firm backbone, nor is he a principled conservatives, but he's able to defend himself at least.

The Clinton comparison is really for after the election.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I found it interesting a few years back (okay, several years now) that negative campaigning has been around since pretty much our inception as a country.

If memory serves, I think the first one I saw was a cartoon making fun of Jefferson for living in France for so long and implying he was effete (or however you spell that french word).

I'm not for baseless personal attacks (or anything baseless for that matter) but it's nothing new.

For the media (or democrats, but I repeat myself) to lecture us on negative campaigning is so rich with irony I'll be crapping magnets for a week.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

LawHawkRFD said...
Bev: The Washington Times asked the same question about Romney being 2012's Kerry. It's a serious concern. I also touch on the subject in this afternoon's post, though I compared him to Nixon in 1960.

I look forward to reading that. Apparently, Romney has learned something from Nixon (not saying Romney did anything illegal) because he did have the computer records of his time as gov destroyed.

BTW, can Romney get in trouble for that? Destroying computer records (or was it a hard drive?). Sounds kind of fishy to me but hey, it is Massachusetts we're talking about.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, You have a way with words... crapping magnets. LOL!

Yeah, negative campaigning has been around forever. In fact, many of the elections way back in our "golden ages" were brutal with all kinds of nasty sexual and criminal allegations.

I think the difference today is that people's sensibilities have changed a bit and they now expect politicians to be a bit "above" that. So you need to be more careful in how you do it. And the problem lately has been that few of them are good at being careful about it. So they end up alienating people.

And then you mix in the idiot politicians who really believe 1950 was the way it always was and still is, and they get run over by the people who know better and are willing to get dirtier in the fights.

The key IMO is to understand the lay of the land so you don't let yourself get caught unprepared, and to stay as positive as possible. A solid, positive campaign can rise above the other guy's negative campaign unless you come with too much baggage.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, My understanding is that state law allowed them to buy the harddrives, so that would mean they could effectively wipe out whatever was on them. So no, he couldn't get in trouble. But I'm not sure if there is some other requirement that everything be archived somewhere first?

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I'm in basic agreement with you. But my response about Clinton referred to his run for the second term. Less than a year before the election, Clinton was defending himself against charges (from the left and the right) that he was "irrelevant." Dole was absolutely incapable of hammering Clinton. At least Romney doesn't speak about himself in the third person, and I doubt that Romney will ever do a TV commercial for Viagra. LOL

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, That was an election we should have been able to win if we hadn't picked Bob Dole. He STUNK as a candidate. Wow was he awful.

"I'm Bob Dole.... it's my turn."

Ug.

Tennessee Jed said...

I am no longer accepting criticism of Mitt. He is going to be the G.O.P. nominee so I want to start mentally preparing to get behind him. I suggest reading Ann Coulter's piece to help do so. I agree with Ann that the two things she mentions are the biggest issues in this election, and he gets both of them right. Like you, Andrew, I don't see Mitt as exciting, but he has shown he can avoid the big mistake. The lame stream media will try and make this about Bush's policies, class warfare, and the do nothing congress blocking B.O.'s eforts to help the victims. I think Romney can help keep focusing on Obama's failures. At least this is my hope.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I suspect Romney will be the nominee and I'm prepared to accept that. And I do think he will be out best candidate.

I'm actually working on a piece giving reasons why he might be a good president.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Jed: I think Romney's biggest weakness is his (seemingly oblivious) knack to alienate conservatives. More than he has already, that is.

He doesn't seem to realize that just because we don't have a choice (at least thus far) we will all vote for him automatically.

I know I will vote for him but I know many libertarians and conservatives who won't if he keeps poking them in the eyes.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, There's a lot too that. He doesn't need to pander, but it would help if he didn't keep poking conservatives.

Honestly though, I still think his biggest problem is that he hasn't put forth a solid "marketing" plan to sell himself. He needs focus. He needs something people can latch onto and say, "yeah, I want him to do that."

Tennessee Jed said...

Ben and Andrew - as Don Corleone once famously said to Amerigo Bonasara (sort of) "I need you to use all your powers" to convince ANY of your friends who are even joking about sitting this election to remember they MUST vote against Barrack Obama. It is that important. We must have every possible arrow in our quiver to destroy Obamacare. Second, as Coulter also points out, we cannot cave on illegal immigration. If we let up on that issue, the country will soon look just like California. Say hello to complete total Nannyism.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree with that. And I definitely plan to remind everyone I can why Obama must go. :)

Plus, as much as it may kill T-Rav to hear this, I suspect Romney may prove to be an excellent President... strangely.

Doc Whoa said...

Glad to see the place up and running again. Like Jed said, it felt like I withdrawal symptoms!

I also agree with Jed that I'm done with disliking Romney. I've got it out o f my system and now I plan to move forward happily.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, Glad you're back.

I still dislike them all, but I'm coming to terms with the fact one of them will be our nominee.

CrisD said...

Hi Andrew,
I am very interested to hear you are writing an article on why-strangely- Romney might actually make a good POTUS. I'm looking forward to your take.

Its funny, when I read Coulters article I felt like it was a very difficult mathematecial problem of non-A, non-B or C, B=a Therefore non C. or something confusing like that. Definitely not Rah! Rah! Go Romney, he's our man. People like me) secretely love that, even if we know that in reality politiciams and Presidents are not cheer-worthy!

AndrewPrice said...

CrisD, I'm definitely putting something together on that. I also felt the Coulter article was a little more mechanical than inspirational. I'll see if I can make a stronger case because I do think there is actually a good case to be made FOR him rather than just by process of elimination.

T-Rav's Grieving Parents said...

Dear Andrew: Now you've done it. Our son really has stuck his head inside an oven, and then jumped off a tall building. We're not sure how he managed to do that with his head still inside the oven, but we're too grief-stricken to think about that right now.

He also wanted you to know he agrees about the stupid candidates who couldn't meet the VA requirements, even though that narrows the choices to his two least-favorite people. Rules have to be followed.

AndrewPrice said...

Dear T-Rav's Grieving Parents,

My condolences on your loss. T-Rav will be missed, almost as much as the oven. Boo hoo hoo.

At least you can rest assured that T-Rav has been spared the horror of the Biden Years, the Michelle Obama Do As I Say Diet Laws, and the return of the Mayans and their Machine of Perpetual Horrors.

Still, he will be missed.

// sigh

tryanmax said...

Sorry I haven't checked in sooner. I was busy verifying my home's statehood.

We'll never know what Nelson's internal polls showed, but I don't think his chances for reelection were anything near resembling solid. All the "negative" ads ;) against him so far have been all about the "Cornhusker Kickback," something I'm sure he thought would have blown over by now.

I'm not saying Nebraskans are different than anyone else when it comes to pork. But it seems that Nelson tested the limits and found them.

AndrewPrice said...

It's very possible he was finished and he knew it. But history suggests that he still had a pretty good chance of pulling it out, especially if the Republicans picked a bad candidate. It's possible he just didn't like the idea of blowing a ton of money on a very hard election which he might have lost. Or maybe his polling really did show that people had already made up their minds? In any event, I'm glad he's gone because it avoids a lot of potential problems.

So Nebraska IS a state? Who knew?!

tryanmax said...

All I can tell you for certain is that various Democrat PACs have already dumped a couple million on our state to bring Ben's poll numbers above 50% and they couldn't do it. Two of the three main GOP contenders were polling above him, albeit within the margin of error, and the third, relatively unknown candidate was living in the margin of error as well.

Also, for the first time in my memory, the GOP contenders don't seem to be factioning the vote. It is totally normal among NE Republicans to get all pissy if their guy doesn't win the primary. However, this year I keep hearing "Anyone but Ben." Frankly, I thought I'd hear Jane Kleeb saying, "Drill, baby, drill!" before I heard that.

AndrewPrice said...

I think it's obvious he knew he was in for a fight or he wouldn't have quit. But I wouldn't believe he was done until we got a lot closer to the election. I've seen this time and again over my life where some incumbent looked like he was finished and then as the election got close, everything shifted back to them.

But like I said, for whatever reason, I'm glad he's quitting. If he'd won, then we would have faced the crappy false-narrative that ObamaCare must have not have been a problem.

Anonymous said...

Newt is the bomb and he's going to be our next president no matter what anyone says.

tryanmax said...

When Newt is president, he's going to use the bomb? What?

Sounds like Goldwater.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Sounds like Goldwater! LOL! Very nice.

AndrewPrice said...

anon, I guess it could happen that Newt becomes the next president, but I honestly don't see how. Care to elaborate?

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