Note to Jen Rubin
February 16th, 2012

Jen Rubin does not seem to understand the reasoning behind Catholic opposition to artificial contraception: “The impression that Santorum finds the prevalent practice of birth control ‘harmful to women’ is, frankly, mind-numbing.”

I’d recommend she read John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. (She could either order it from Amazon or get the individual speeches free from EWTN.) She might not end up agreeing that a regime of artificial contraception diminishes the dignity of the human person and fosters a culture where women are increasingly objects to be used. But I suspect she’d be struck by how many of the predicted social evils have followed it. (There are, of course, many reasonable counter-arguments she could make–beginning with correlation/causation and ending with lesser-of-two-ills.)

Even so, at least she’d understand the theology and theory of the position and wouldn’t be so confused.


Thought Experiment
February 13th, 2012

Mitt Romney’s big calling card is his experience taking over troubled enterprises with underperforming assets and laying off all the workers selling them for component parts turning them around. I wonder what Bain Romney would say about Campaign Romney if he were brought in as a consultant.

Would Bain Romney think that the campaign, as an organization, is using resources wisely and efficiently? Would he think the management structure was sound? Would he like the way the campaign’s product line has been reshuffled, while the management team remained mostly intact? What would he make of the campaign’s HR-side of the house–which keeps Norm Coleman but fires the worker who coached the candidate to two winning debates?

Most of all, it would be interesting to know what the famously data-driven Bain Romney makes of Campaign Romney’s leadership.

I’m not asking this to be snarky–honestly–but because I’d love to read someone smart (Megan McArdle? Avik Roy?) do something along these lines. If he was still with us, my friend Dean Barnett (a Romney guy, through and through) would have crushed this piece. Just one more reason to miss him.


“Money-Infrastructure 2012”
February 11th, 2012

Romney’s entirely predictable attacks on Santorum.


The Time for Mindless Repetition Is Over
January 25th, 2012

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The Rich Really Are Different
January 24th, 2012

A look at Mitt Romney’s speaking fees and what, exactly, he did to create 89,000 jobs at Staples Inc.


Tebow 3:16
January 18th, 2012

I’m two weeks late to everything and the next full game of tackle football I watch this season will be my first. But I’m still digesting the awesomeness of Denver’s Tebow 3:16 game in the first round of the playoffs, which will probably be part of sports lore in that town for a really long time.

The Tebow hype phenomenon is a little strange and I understand why people push back against it. But that said, the Tebow itself is kind of interesting. He’s a gimmick quarterback, and gimmick quarterbacks tend to do poorly in the NFL over time. That said, if you don’t root for gimmick quarterbacks (like Jake the Snake, Jeff George, or the great Randall Cunningham), then you don’t have a heart. Tebow isn’t Tom Brady. He isn’t Alex Smith, even. But it would be neat if someone devised a way for non-traditional quarterbacks to succeed over the long-term.

But the most exciting thing about Tebow is that he is positioned for the greatest heel turn in the history of professional sports. Tebow going heel would be like Christian Laetner’s stomping married to Tiger’s downfall, then cubed and times a million. Just close your eyes and picture it:

It’s 2013 and the Detroit Lions have made it to the Super Bowl. The Motor City is awash in good feeling and Michigan’s favorite son, President Mitt Romney, is presiding over the game, decked out in Lions gear. There’s talk about how a Super Bowl win could signal a comeback for Detroit the way the Saint’s championship did for New Orleans. The only thing standing in their way: The Denver Broncos.

It’s a hard-fought game that begins to get a little chippy when, during a kick-return, a Lions player is pushed out of bounds and clotheslined by a waiting Tebow. Mysteriously, the referees miss it. Then, with the game winding down, and Detroit up 6, Tebow runs the option and scores after Ndamukong Su falls to the ground with a ruptured Achilles’. Tebow sprints out of the endzone to where Su is writhing on the ground in pain, the crowd and the announcers cooing about his great sportsmanship when suddenly, someone on the sideline chucks two cans of Coors to Tebow!

Tebow stands over Su, shakes the cans, then mashes them together and pours Rocky Mountain refreshment all over the downed Detroit player! He looks into the camera as a nervous Leslie Visser approaches him and snarls, “Tebow 3:16–I just whupped your Nigerian ass.”

In the booth, the announcers go nuts.

Chris Collinsworth: “Son of a bitch, Bob!”

Bob Costas: “This is a disgusting act! Su isn’t even Nigerian–he was born in Portland!”

It would rank with the greats.


Noted Without Comment
January 13th, 2012

An email from Galley Reader X on Ezra Klein

Ezra in October:  Economists thought that we needed a bigger stimulus; it’s Republicans’ fault that Obama could deliver it.

Ezra today:  Economists “scoff” at the notion that Presidents create jobs, so let’s not go blaming Obama.
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Drawing Contrasts
January 5th, 2012

Team Romney previews their line of attack on Santorum.


Report from Iowa
December 30th, 2011

A long, long day.


December 14th, 2011

Jonah Goldberg has a typically astute column today about the push-back against Gingrich, here’s his kicker:

Mitt Romney is still the sensible choice if you believe these are rough, but generally sensible, times. If, however, you think these are crazy and extraordinary times, then perhaps they call for a crazy, extraordinary — very high-risk, very high-reward — figure like Gingrich.

This helps explain why Newtzilla is so formidable. In order to stop him, you need to explain to very anxious GOP voters that the times don’t require him.

As a strategic matter, I think this is probably correct, but at the tactical political level I suspect it’s still possible to stop Newt. If someone were to drop, say, $30M in negative ads on him between now and Feb. 1, it might build up his negatives enough to matter.

P.S.: Josh Kraushaar makes the best-case argument for Newt–that he’s Steve Jobs.


George F’in Will
December 12th, 2011

For the first, and assuredly last, time, my name crossed George Will’s lips this weekend:

GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: It reinforced it in the sense that we now have a solid front-runner in Newt Gingrich. And he’s arguing with Mitt Romney over who is the most electable. So it comes down to this right now with the clock ticking and as you say, favoring Newt Gingrich, Newt Gingrich was a shooting star in this town, the most prominent Republican from 1994 to 1998. He was at that point he was the most disliked politician in America. He says I’m the most electable

Mitt Romney said that he’s the most electable. I refer people to Jonathan Last in the Weekly Standard today, says Mitt Romney has been in 22 contested elections, not counting caucuses — primaries and general elections. He’s won five. He has lost 17.

Well, cross that off the bucket list. Next up: Dinner with Stan Lee and Tricia Helfer . . .


November 17th, 2011

I understand that you quibble with Ann Coulter at your own peril because she’s wicked smart and very funny. And she makes a perfectly sensible argument in favor of Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee.

She does, however, oversell two points concerning his electoral powers:

* “Among Romney’s positives is the fact that he has a demonstrated ability to trick liberals into voting for him.”

That’s true enough–he won a single state-wide election in a very Democratic state. However, I’d remind people that Romney won this race with less than 50 percent of the vote. And also that it isn’t entirely unheard of to have Republican governors in Massachusetts. Romney was elected in 2002. At that point, Massachusetts had had a Republican governor for 11 years.

Romney was preceded by Jane Swift, Paul Cellucci, and Bill Weld.

Weld was elected in 1990 with 50.19 percent of the vote. He won reelection in 1994 with 70.85 percent.

Cellucci, who stepped in for Weld, won his own term in 1998 with 50.81 percent of the vote.

Swift, who stepped into office for Cellucci, did not run because the state party pushed her aside for Romney in 2002.

I’m not suggesting that a Republican winning the governorship of Massachusetts isn’t impressive–it is! But it’s worth understanding that Romney’s 49.77 percent of the vote in 2002–a generally very good year for Republicans nationally–was the worst showing for a Republican gubernatorial candidate in the state in a decade.

* “He came close to stopping the greatest calamity to befall this nation since Pearl Harbor by nearly beating Teddy Kennedy in a Senate race.”

Depends on what you think “close” is. Romney lost by 17 points in a mammoth Republican year nationally. And he ran 30 points behind a popular Republican governor on the same ballot.

I keep having to say this–I’m not anti-Romney. Maybe he’d make a good nominee and be well-positioned to fight Obama. Maybe his experience and intelligence would make him a really great president. And if Coulter is on that bus, then good for her.

I’d just caution that Republicans should have their eyes wide open about Romney’s electoral track record. And that, whatever his other merits, Romney’s electoral experience suggests more bugs than features.