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Virginia AG Intervenes in Ballot Mess

Saturday, December 31st, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Ken Cuccinelli to the rescue.

Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified for the Virginia primary, a contest with 49 delegates up for grabs.

The failure of other candidates to qualify — notably Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry — led to complaints that the 10,000-signature requirement is too stringent.

Cuccinelli, who is a Republican, shared the concerns.

“Recent events have underscored that our system is deficient,” he said in a statement. “Virginia owes her citizens a better process. We can do it in time for the March primary if we resolve to do so quickly.”

Cuccinelli’s proposal is expected to state that if the Virginia Board of Elections certifies that a candidate is receiving federal matching funds, or has qualified to receive them, that candidate will upon request be automatically added to the ballot.

Two former Democratic attorneys general are also backing the move, along with a former Democratic state party chairman and a former Republican state party chairman.

But…we keep hearing that the problem was entirely the fault of the campaigns…?

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Saturday, December 31st, 2011 - by Ed Driscoll

 

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Ron Paul is MAD as Hell…

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Bosch Fawstin

…& “I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore!” 

Check out my latest PJ Media piece, “Commander-in-Chief Ron Paul?”

And to see more of my cartoons, please visit My Blog.

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Previous Psychiatrist Pens Presidential Pardon Petition.

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Dan Miller

No, not for trying to help Chávez appear to be sane, something Chávez has rarely if ever managed.

Instead, it was reported here that

CARACAS – Psychiatrist and former university chancellor Edmundo Chirinos, who says that President Hugo Chavez was his patient, asked the Venezuelan head of state for a pardon to avoid serving the rest of a 20-year prison sentence for homicide.

“I’ve been detained for more than a year in Yare III (prison), in a cell unusually inadequate for a person of 77, very sick,” wrote Chirinos in an open letter to Chavez and Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz.

The well-known psychiatrist and academic, who was also a presidential candidate in the 1988 elections, was sentenced on Sept. 29, 2010, for the July murder of one of his patients, 19-year-old college student Roxana Vargas.

“Open letter?”  Seeking public sympathy to move el Thugo? Well, elections are coming soon.

One must wonder what beans el Doctor Chirinos could spill if given the requested pardon and permitted to blab about Chávez’ state of mind. Or, maybe better, why he didn’t off Chavez.  In jail, there seems to be little chance of either. Out of jail as well, for that matter.

Still, it could be even more interesting than what Chávez’ cat or former mistress(es) might have to say.

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PJ Media Goes to Iowa

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

The Tatler is going to Iowa! I’m heading out next week to cover the Iowa caucus on Jan 3, so keep us bookmarked for breaking news, photos and video from what’s shaping up to be a wild finish in the Hawkeye State.

If you’re an Iowa blogger and would like to be a part of our coverage, shoot me an email to let me know.

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Obligatory ‘Newt Weeps About His Mom’ Post

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

I have to admit, cynic that I am, that upon seeing the headline my first thought was “So, he’s pulling a Hillary. How’d that work out?”

Seeing the actual video doesn’t really crack off any of my cynicism, but let’s allow that the incredible stress of the campaign, the loved-yesterday-hated-today nature of the electorate and the polls, the attack ads that in Newt’s case get particularly personal, plus the chance to get a bit nostalgic about something nice for once, can have their effects. And while for Hillary, crying as she was the first serious female candidate from what is perceived as the softer party on national security did not project the image she needed to project, for Gingrich, it does show a more human side than we tend to see out of him. And it seems genuine.

Besides, we’re in the holiday season and he’s talking about his mom singing in a choir. Who can blame the guy for getting a bit weepy?

Now, if he dips into history and ends up comparing this moment to the tears shed at Gethsemane, I’ll be back with a righteous hammering.

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Ron Paul Spins Out Another Trutherish Hit (Updated: Paul Wonders Whether a Terrorist Attack was Really the Work of the Jews)

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Campaigning in Iowa, Ron Paul slammed using drone strikes to kill terrorists including Anwar al-Awliki, and then made this curious statement.

“Nobody will ever dare attack us,” Paul said. “They’re not about to invade this country any time soon.”

Really? Nobody will ever dare to attack us? Is that your final answer?

Then what happened in September 11, 2001?

Or on February 26, 1993?

Or on November 5, 2009 at Ft. Hood? Or the other lethal attacks on US military recruiting centers? What about the dozens of attacks that have been thwarted over the years?

Haven’t we already been attacked, several times?

Or is Ron Paul suggesting that something else happened?

It’s either that, or his misunderstanding of the terrorist threat is fundamental and not fixable.

Update: On the 1993 WTC bombing, we have an answer…

Whether [the 1993 World Trade Center bombing] was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.

1 – That’s simultaneously clever and insane. 2 – It would matter a whole lot if the Mossad staged a terrorist attack on US soil.

 

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Current TV Bathtubs Olbermann for Iowa Caucus Coverage

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Algore’s channel has sent the bathtub boy back to drain plug watch on the biggest night of the coming new year:

Despite being the biggest star on the fledging channel, Mr. Olbermann is not scheduled to anchor Current’s coverage of the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary in January. Instead, Current’s other prime time anchors, Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm, will be joined by the channel’s chairman, the former vice president Al Gore, according to the channel’s TV schedule.

Mr. Olbermann also was noticeably absent from two special reports that Current produced after Republican debates in mid-December. Those, too, were anchored by Mr. Uygur.

Evidently the megawattage that some middling HuffPoster and a failed governor bring to bear outshine the latter day Edward R. Murrow. Or, he’s been up to his usual shenanigans.

In the television industry, Mr. Olbermann is well known for fights with his bosses; stories abound about his refusal to speak to managers and executives. At Current, this behavior has continued, according to four people with knowledge of the situation, one of whom described Mr. Olbermann as “disgruntled.”

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because speaking publicly could jeopardize their jobs. Current’s president, David Bohrman, did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday, on what is traditionally a holiday week. A spokeswoman for Current said that Mr. Bohrman was traveling and was unavailable for comment.

“Traveling and unavailable for comment.” Heh. The CEO of Current TV doesn’t have a cell phone? Can’t get on email or twitter for a sec? Can’t IM?

Right.

More fun at the link. It seems the Current suits never really broke the news to Olby.

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America Deserves Answers on the Obama Administration’s Decision to Outsource the Next Generation of Light Attack Aircraft

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Kansas-based Hawker Beechcraft is going to court to get some answers from the US Air Force concerning its decision to disqualify Hawker’s AT-6 from competition to produce a new light attack aircraft for the US and allied militaries. The court case comes on the heels of the Government Accounting Office’s decision not to review the Air Force’s disqualification of Hawker Beechcraft. Until the Air Force abruptly announced the disqualification in November, the AT-6 was considered by many to be the frontrunner in the Air Force’s Light Air Support program. The USAF so far has not explained its decision, which leaves just one competitor in the field, Embraer and its Super Tucano. That competitor carries significant and possibly disqualifying baggage in the form of connections to the Iranian government, and a new bribery investigation. Embraer is not only controlled by the Brazilian government, it is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That Act prohibits companies from bribing foreign officials or making other illegal payments to gain or retain business.

That investigation began in November 2011, and appears to still be in the early stages. Embraer is accused of engaging in bribery in three countries, none of which have been identified publicly. If found guilty, the company could be banned from doing any business with the US government at all. The SEC’s investigation of Embraer went public about three weeks before the Air Force disqualified Hawker Beechcraft without explanation.

Additionally, while outsourcing the contract to Embraer would create just 50 jobs in the United States, Hawker Beechcraft says the AT-6 would create about 1,400 jobs at 181 companies across 39 states. It would also keep the manufacturing and parts and supply chains all within the United States. Awarding the contract to Embraer puts most of the platform’s ecosystem outside the US. The AT-6, meanwhile, is built on the proven T-6 platform, which is currently in use by the USAF and other allied air forces. More than 700 T-6 aircraft have been built to date, and Hawker Beechcraft has built more than 14,000 aircraft for the US military overall.

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Report: Obama Admin Outsourcing Sensitive Negotiations to ‘Egypt’s New Hitler’

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Could this be the reason the Obama administration hasn’t said much about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?

Radical Islamist cleric and longtime Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide Yusuf al-Qaradawi serves as a “key mediator in secret talks between the U.S. and the Taliban,” according to unnamed government sources referenced in a report published late Wednesday in The Hindu.

In early December, the report said, “Qaradawi helped draw a road map for a deal between the Taliban and the United States, aimed at giving the superpower a face-saving political settlement ahead of its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan.” The United States is expected to begin pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014.

The Qaradawi-brokered deal calls for significant American commitments, including “the release of prisoners still held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, the lifting of United Nations sanctions on its leadership and its recognition as a legitimate political group.” In return, the Hindu‘s sources say, the Taliban would be “expected to sever its links to transnational organisations like al-Qaeda, end violence and eventually share power with the Afghan government.”

More at the link. Qaradawi isn’t just a run-of-the-mill Islamist. He is a major mind behind the effort to globalize sharia law. He also has a genocidal streak.

In January 2009, during a Friday sermon broadcast on Al-Jazeera, he prayed that Allah would kill all the Jews: “Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one.” He also declared: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler.”

For all the talk that despite her boss’ antics Hillary Clinton has been a competent Secretary of State, outsourcing negotiations to the likes of Qaradawi would have had to have been approved by both her and the Secretary of Defense. If he is indeed party to any negotiations, his presence taints everyone involved.

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Krauthammer on Why We’re Alone in the Universe

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Dave Swindle

Here’s a snippet but really this is one to read the whole thing:

It’s called the Fermi Paradox, after the great physicist who once asked, “Where is everybody?” Or as was once elaborated: “All our logic, all our anti-isocentrism, assures us that we are not unique — that they must be there. And yet we do not see them.”

How many of them should there be? Modern satellite data suggest the number should be very high. So why the silence? Carl Sagan (among others) thought that the answer is to be found, tragically, in the high probability that advanced civilizations destroy themselves.

In other words, this silent universe is conveying not a flattering lesson about our uniqueness but a tragic story about our destiny. It is telling us that intelligence may be the most cursed faculty in the entire universe — an endowment not just ultimately fatal but, on the scale of cosmic time, near instantly so.

This is not mere theory. Look around. On the very same day that astronomers rejoiced at the discovery of the two Earth-size planets, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity urged two leading scientific journals not to publish details of lab experiments that just created a lethal and highly transmittable form of bird-flu virus, lest that fateful knowledge fall into the wrong hands.

Is Krauthammer correct that the reason we have not yet encountered intelligent life is because none has lived long enough to reach us without destroying itself?

I’m sympathetic without having the same pessimistic spin. My hypothesis for why we haven’t yet replicated the scene where they meet the Vulcans in First Contact (and why we never will because such creatures do not exist): by the time any extraterrestrial race would have sufficient technology to travel to earth via Star Trek-like star ships the rate of technology’s exponential growth for their species would be moving so fast already that the rate of change would be so drastic they would not resemble us at all. I don’t know how many of the technological predictions I should take seriously in Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology and its documentary counterpart Transcendent Man. But the starting point for Kurzweil’s analysis — Moore’s Law which observes that technological progress builds on itself, perpetually doubling the strength and halving the cost of technology — is not controversial. It seems to me that any discussion about intelligent life beyond the stars needs to also include this insight about the nature of technological growth.

Or is this principle only applicable for carbon-based life on our planet? Just because we do not yet know how to perceive other forms of life it does not mean they are not perhaps out there watching us…

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New NBC Iowa Poll: Santorum and Perry Surge as Gingrich’s Support Collapses, Dropping Him Back to 5th

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Dave Swindle

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NBC reports:

Romney drew the support of 23 percent of likely caucus-goers in Iowa – identified based on interest, chance of voting and past participation – ahead of Paul, at 21 percent.

They are followed by Santorum at 15 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 14 percent, Gingrich at 13 percent and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at 6 percent.

Most analyses of GOP presidential primary 2012 have assumed that Romney would not win Iowa. What if that isn’t the case, though? Romney was already picked to be the shoe-in to win New Hampshire. And polls there show that he’s still solid – beating Ron Paul by 15 points.

E.J. Dionne spells out what an Iowa-New Hampshire double victory would of course mean:

The key to wrapping up a nomination quickly has always been an Iowa-New Hampshire one-two punch, and the Granite State, which votes Jan. 10, seems to be a Romney fortress. Romney’s headquarters here on Elm Street was bustling with activity on Tuesday night, as if Iowa didn’t matter. Leaving nothing to chance, Romney made campaign stops that day in Londonderry and Portsmouth before he left for his final Iowa push. If Iowa is Romney’s venture capital, New Hampshire is his nest egg.

Given how rough and tumble the primary season has been so far — with new front runners rising and falling on an almost monthly basis — could the actual voting process yield less tumultuous results and a smooth victory for Romney? Or is this going to be a drawn-out fight going all the way to the convention with Gingrich, Paul, Santorum, and Perry hanging on for months? Which would be better for the country, the party, and the effort to defeat Barack Obama?

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Friday, December 30th, 2011 - by Ed Driscoll

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Philly Councilwoman to Retire and Collect $478,000 Pension, Then Start Back To Work On Monday

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Duane Lester

A woman described as “as one of Philadelphia’s most influential, politically savvy, and pro-active public officials” is about to prove the description true.

She’s about to play the system and pocket a cool $478,000:

Marion B. Tasco, who has been described as being “politically savvy,” will retire from her sixth term as councilwoman, collect $478,057, and then be sworn in on Monday to serve her seventh term, Catherine Lucy and Chris Brennan of the Philadelphia Daily News.

How does she get away with this?

Tasco, along with many of her fellow Council members, is enrolled in Philadelphia’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). DROP allows city workers to collect salary and build up pension money during the last four years of their employment, writes Aaron Kase of Philadelphia Weekly.

Naturally, when DROP was originally introduced, it was touted as being “revenue neutral.” It’s been anything but that. SInce its introduction, Philadelphia’s DROP program has cost the city $258 million in extra pension costs over a decade, according to a 2010 Boston College study.

I love it when politicians describe something as revenue neutral.  It’s a great indicator of their arrogance.  It tells me they believe they have considered every possible scam millions of criminals could imagine and built in safeguards to prevent them from happening.

What makes it worse is when the criminals are passing the bills…

Hat Tip:  Doug Ross

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Ron Paul: Yeah, I Wrote Some of the Newsletters, Just Not the Bad Stuff That’s Causing Me Problems Now

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Ron Paul morphs into the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s former parishioner right before our eyes.

In 1995-96 Ron Paul actively promoted the newsletters that bear his name as representing his views. In 2008 and again this year, as the racist language in them drags his presidential campaign, he has disavowed them. And earlier this week, he claimed in a CNN interview not to have even read much of them for a good 10 years after they were published.

Well, on a radio show today he changed the story again, admitting to having written some of them. Just not the most racist stuff, which by the way he minimized to “about 10 sentences out of 10,000 pages for all I know.” Here’s the video:

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PAUL: Well, the newsletters were written, you know, a long time ago. And I wrote a certain portion of them. I would write the economics. So a lot of what you just mentioned… his would be material that I would turn in, and it would become part of the letter. But there were many times when I didn’t edit the whole letter, and things got put in. And I didn’t even really become aware of the details of that until many years later when somebody else called and said, you know what was in it? But these were sentences that were put in, a total of eight or ten sentences, and it was bad stuff. It wasn’t a reflection of my views at all. So it got in the letter, I thought it was terrible, it was tragic, you know and I had some responsibility for it, because name went on the letter. But I was not an editor. I’m like a publisher. And if you think of publishers of newspapers, once in a while they get pretty junky stuff in newspapers. And they have to say that this is not the position of that newspaper, and this is certainly the case. But I actually put a type of a newsletter out, it was a freedom report, investment, survival report — every month since 1976. So this is probably ten sentences out of 10,000 pages, for all I know. I think it’s bad that happened but I disavowed all these views, and people who know me best, people of my district, have heard these stories for years and years, and they know they weren’t a reflection of anything I believed in, and it never hurt me politically. Right now, I think it’s the same case, too. People are desperate to find something.

Is anybody buying this? The newsletter wasn’t a “newspaper,” it was staffed by at most three or four people beyond Paul, and he hired them all. If he didn’t write the worst stuff, he incompetently managed the enterprise in ways that suggest he is not capable of managing the executive branch of the government.

The newsletters included a lot more than 10 sentences of offensive material. A whole lot more. They included a theory that the US government created AIDS at a secret Army lab. They included a theory that the $50 bill was being engineered to allow the government to track all of us. And more.

We don’t even have to go back to the newsletters to find Ron Paul saying batty things. Here’s an interview he did with Iran’s English-language propaganda channel in 2009. He compares Israel’s handling of the Gaza Strip to a “concentration camp,” using those exact words. And he blames all of the ills of the Middle East on the US and Israel, not the genocidal jihadists who have tried to destroy Israel more than once and continue to desire that end.

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Relevant? Ron Paul just picked up some vital support…from Klanner David Duke. That goes along with the love he gets from Truther Alex Jones and the folks at Stormfront.

Frankly, I’m sick of writing about Ron Paul. In Congress he has been a mostly harmless backbencher, with no evidence of having productively led or done anything. He passed one bill in two decades, and otherwise brought home the bacon to his district. If he remained there or retired he would be of no interest. As long as he’s in the campaign and a factor crowding out better candidates, though, there isn’t much choice but to continuing to expose his record. The mainstream won’t do it until he is actually the nominee. And by then, it will be too late.

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Ron Paul and Moi

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Michael Ledeen

It goes back several years, when Paul slimed me in a speech on the House floor.  I responded in several ways, and wrote it up for NRO, which has been kind enough to repost it.  As you will see, his little sortie in neocon bashing is old hat, and a few of the comments (today’s) show that his acolytes have swallowed it whole.

Dangerous man.  And never admits to error, apparently.

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Ron Paul Sides With Iran

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Basically.

Defending himself against charges of isolationism, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul told voters in Iowa on Thursday that western sanctions against Iran are “acts of war” that are likely to lead to an actual war in the Middle East.

Paul, one of the leading contenders to win next week’s Iowa caucuses, said Iran would be justified in responding to the sanctions by blocking the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.  He compared the western sanctions to a hypothetical move by China to block the Gulf of Mexico, which Americans would consider an act of war.

He also said he would not respond militarily to keep the strait open—because he would not consider it an act of war against the U.S.  But if he were president, he would report to Congress on the issue, leaving it up to lawmakers to declare war if they wanted.

“I think we’re looking for trouble because we put these horrendous sanctions on Iran,” Paul told a midday audience at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa.  He said the Iranians are “planning to be bombed” and understandably would like to have a nuclear weapon, even though there is “no evidence whatsoever” that they have “enriched” uranium.

Apparently alluding to Israel and its nuclear-weapons arsenal, Paul said that “if I were an Iranian, I’d like to have a nuclear weapon, too, because you gain respect from them.”

The Iranians threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz yesterday, an act that would choke the flow of one-sixth of the world’s daily oil supply. It’s pretty clear from the above that a President Paul wouldn’t do anything about it. At least the current administration bothered to issue a credible counter threat. On foreign policy, Ron Paul is to the left of the Obama administration.

If you like a depressed economy, paying around $10 a gallon for gas, and welcome the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran dominating the post-US influenced Middle East, then vote RON PAUL. He’s your man.

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New York Times Minimizes Anti-Christian Aspect of Nigeria’s Christmas Day Jihad

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Raymond Ibrahim

For years, it has seemed that not a few days pass without a new story of Boko Haram jihadi attacks on Nigeria’s Christians (search for “Boko Haram” on Jihad Watch, for example). Despite all this documentation, a New York Times report appearing soon after the Christmas Day church attacks that killed some 39 Christians absurdly informs us that “Boko Haram, until now mostly targeted the police, government and military in its insurgency effort, but the bombings on Sunday represented a new, religion-tinged front…”

The report, written by one Adam Nossiter, also engages in other apologetics and obfuscations — for instance, the canards that poverty-causes-terrorism and “heavy-handed” governments provoke jihad.

See here for complete details.

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Video: Perry Goes for the Outsider Mantle, Hopes for ‘Surprise’ in Iowa

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Gov. Perry appeared on Fox last night opposite Kimberly Guilfoyle. He promoted his plan to turn Congress into a part-time job, which to this Texan sounds like a very good idea. Difficult to implement, but worth trying. Less time in Washington should equal less time to make mischief. The part-time Congress idea also figures in Perry’s latest ad now running in Iowa. We do have a problem of people getting elected to Congress and then behaving as if they’re part of some aristocracy. Making them part-time would fix that, and fewer of the more megalomaniac types would be attracted to political office in the first place.

For an allegedly inarticulate person, Perry seems to get through this interview deftly as Guilfoyle moves from one topic to the next, covering economic policy, the Texas record, Obama’s regulatory state, and needling The Five’s Bob Beckel for not knowing that Perry was a volunteer who flew C-130s in the US Air Force. He also hammers President Obama for failing to honor our troops returning from the war in Iraq with a parade.

 

Perry also addresses the ballot situation in Virginia:

PERRY: Obviously the Virginia situation is a very difficult one for everyone. When there’s only two people that were able to get on the ballot that tells you that there may be a structural problem in the Virginia process. That’s one of the reasons that we filed suit against them. You know, I don’t want the hundreds of thousands of people that are my supporters in Virginia to be disenfranchised because their party mechanism has made it so hard to be on the ballot…It ought to be a substantially simpler process in Virginia…

In other news, Rick Perry watches The Five. It’s one of Fox’s best shows and always entertaining, but for me at that time of day it’s usually a toss-up between The Five and SportsNation. The Five doesn’t always win.

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PJM online poll: 94% not satisfied with current Republican field; Palin, Ryan, West and Rubio should enter race

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Zombie

Yesterday, as part of my depressed rant about the disappointing array of declared Republican presidential candidates, I included an online poll asking PJM readers their opinions about the campaign. There were a surprisingly large number of votes (well over 2,000), and the results — though entirely “unscientific” in the manner of all online polls — were shocking even to me:

87% of voters specifically said they were dissatisfied with the current crop of Republican candidates, with an additional 7% who were “too depressed to even vote in this poll,” for a grand total of a 94% dissatisfaction rate.

Only 5% said they were satisfied with the current field, while 1% liked it because they preferred Obama anyway, for a total of 6% who were happy with the selection of declared candidates.

The second half of the poll asked voters which alternate Republican candidates they’d prefer instead of the ones already in the race. Sarah Palin (45%), Paul Ryan (40%), Allen West (39%) and Marco Rubio (35%) were neck and neck in what was essentially a statistical tie for first place (considering that it’s an online poll), while Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal failed to generate as much excitement. Voters were also allowed to suggest their own candidates, but the “Other” write-in option only garnered 3% of the vote.

(The polls are still open, so these percentages may change as more votes roll in; they are current as of the time of this writing.)

Interestingly, the commenters on the post were much more favorable toward existing candidates (Romney, Paul, Gingrich) and more critical of my suggestion that new candidates join the race; but it seems (as is usually the case) that the active commenters are a small percentage of the most engaged readers; while the “silent majority” of non-commenting readers overwhelmingly expressed their disappointment with the current field.

As polls go, this one is hardly likely to make national headlines, and only reflects the views of the PJMedia readership, but the incontrovertible percentages should make some people (especially with first names like Sarah, Paul, Allen and Marco) sit up and take notice.

(Technical note: The polling software prevents multiple voting by checking IP addresses and cookies; while it is of course possible for determined hackers to bypass these safeguards, there is no evidence that this was done extensively [or at all], so I’m pretty confident that the 2,163 votes represent the opinions of 2,163 different people.)

If you want to see the latest totals, and/or have not yet voted and would like to do so, click here and scroll to the bottom of the post to view and/or vote in the (still-open) polls.

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Michael Reagan: Ron Paul is the Only ‘Unacceptable’ Candidate in the Field

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Michael Reagan, adopted and ideological son of the late president, appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox show today. Reagan supports Newt Gingrich’s candidacy, but Kelly asked him if he found any of the other GOP candidates to be unacceptable if they were to become the nominee. Reagan said that, based on his foreign policy, he would find Ron Paul to be the only unacceptable candidate. He would support all of the others.

Though Reagan is supporting Gingrich, he hinted that his wife supports Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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Virginia GOP Says it Notified Campaigns of Ballot Standards Change Twice

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Ed does a solid run-down of the Virginia GOP’s official take on how only Romney and Paul managed to meet the threshold to appear on the commonwealth’s primary ballot. But I think he’s also missed a couple of salient facts. The note that the VA GOP chairman sent out admits that the party changed the ballot standards. If the party did in fact notify the campaigns of the change in March, as they say, then which campaigns actually got that notice? Rick Perry wasn’t even in the race yet and would not be for another five months. He was presiding over the Texas legislature’s session. Newt Gingrich was in the race, but barely. He didn’t announce until May and then lost his core organization in June. Ron Paul didn’t officially announce his run until May, and Romney waited until June, but both had been building their organizations for years prior. For campaigns that didn’t yet exist, there was no place to send the note.

The party also says that it sent out another notice of the change in October. Ed says that that is “ample warning of the verification process,” but at least in the Perry campaign’s case, they didn’t even have a chairman in Virginia until November (which isn’t unusual). That’s when former state AG Jerry Gilmore signed on. Now, it was Gilmore’s job to ensure that his candidate got on the ballot in his state. He obviously failed. But where did the state party send the October memo, if there was no Perry organization in Virginia at the time?

I’m not absolving any of the campaigns in this. I just don’t think the entire problem can be chucked onto the campaigns or their organizational prowess. State parties have a duty to be very clear and consistent in communicating about the filing deadlines and requirements, just as the campaigns all have a duty to understand and meet those requirements. It’s notable that this problem has only occurred in one state, while the campaigns are up and running in several states. The root of the problem just might be in that one state, not necessarily or solely in the campaigns. I’m not saying that I think “the fix is in” here, far from it. State parties don’t work that way, or at least, they’re not supposed to. There’s no reason to think that corruption has played any role. Just, having worked in a state party, I know how chaotic things can be both for candidates and the party as the former seek ballot access while they’re staffing up and the latter have small staffs tasked with very big and often complex statutory responsibilities. Rule changes at any point in the process can create a whole lot of havoc. Nobody on either side wanted this story to be headlining right now. For one thing, both the party and the campaigns wanted to avoid giving the Washington Post the opportunity to publish drivel like this.

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Whoa: Rasmussen Says Romney Would Beat Obama By Six Points

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

It’s one poll, not something to hang an entire worldview on, but still. Whoa.

Mitt Romney has now jumped to his biggest lead ever over President Obama in a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup. It’s also the biggest lead a named Republican candidate has held over the incumbent in Rasmussen Reports surveying to date.The latest national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the former Massachusetts governor, while 39% prefer the president. Ten percent (10%) like some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)  A week ago, Romney trailed Obama 44% to 41%.  The week before that, he held a slight 43% to 42% edge over the president. The two candidates have been essentially tied in regular surveys since January, but Romney remains the only GOP hopeful to lead Obama in more than one survey.

This couldn’t come at a better time for Romney, as it comes on the heels of Obama’s latest “comeback” and when two of his  rival campaigns are squabbling over the political corpse of a turncoat in Iowa. Voters who actually answer pollsters seem to be giving Flavor of the Week to Rick Santorum, a candidate with little money and no organization, and therefore a weak prospect to survive to Super Tuesday regardless of which way Iowans vote. Next week’s vote will winnow the field, some, the question is by how many. It seems assured at this point that Romney gets one of the four or five tickets out of the first caucus. A shrunken field plus this poll result point to inevitability, which up to now has been his strongest argument. And the next stop is his back yard, New Hampshire, where he leads by double digits and his nearest rival, Newt Gingrich, is probably fading already.

More grist for the mill: Another poll reveals that Americans see President Obama as the farthest candidate from them ideologically, in either party. All of the Republican candidates beat him on this score.

A provocative new poll out this morning indicates that Barack Obama has a whole lot more convincing to do for Americans to see him as the centrist kind of candidate they historically prefer electing to the White House.

On the flip side, the new national Gallup survey finds many Americans already see Republican Mitt Romney as a political moderate. This won’t do him any good in the upcoming GOP nominating contests but would stand him in excellent stead if he makes it to the podium in Tampa at next August’s national convention to start the general election campaign.

It’s a bit incoherent in that the poll respondents see Romney, Huntsman and Ron Paul (?) as closest to them ideologically. That tells me that many don’t know what Ron Paul’s actual ideology, at least on foreign policy, really is. He’s out there with Obama and Jeremiah Wright and Dennis Kucinich on that stuff. But overall, the poll result is yet another help to Romney.

 

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James Kirchick’s Important Take-Down of Ron Paul: Spread it Wide and Far

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Ron Radosh

In today’s extra opinion pages—I believe only on the New York Times web page—James Kirchick dissects and takes down Ron Paul, better than any other commentator has done. The man who is responsible for finding Paul’s newsletters in 2008, and updating his findings a few weeks ago, Kirchick now ties together his findings in a dazzling put-down of the would-be libertarian.

Here is one of his main findings and conclusions:

As Paul told The Times last week, he has no interest in dissuading the various extremists from backing his campaign, which is hardly surprising considering he’s spent three decades cultivating their support. Paul’s shady associations are hardly “bygone” and the “facts” of his dangerous conspiracy-mongering are very much “in evidence.” Paul has not just marinated in a stew of far-right paranoia; he is one of the chefs.

Paul will not be the Republican nominee.  But the gathering attention and momentum might lead Paul to believe he should run as a third-party candidate in 2012, either on the Libertarian Party or some other ticket. If Paul does that, his candidacy could throw the election to Barack Obama.

It is disgraceful enough that voters in a major party’s caucus would even consider the candidacy of Ron Paul. Kirchick shows us why, and his article should be widely distributed.

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Did the Ron Paul Camp Really Pay Bachmann’s Iowa Chairman to Switch? (Update: Paul Campaign Responds, Sort Of)

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Last night’s bizarre Judas act is picking up steam. Iowa state Senator Kent Sorenson was Michele Bachmann’s chairman in the state until, three hours after appearing at a campaign stop with her, he suddenly defected to the Ron Paul camp. Bachmann’s camp accused him of being bought by the Paul camp; Sorenson and the Paul camp have both denied.

But now, Sorenson’s own former campaign manager says that he told her that the Paul camp was indeed offering him a lot of money to switch. She says Sorenson told her this as recently as a month ago, according to the New York Daily News:

Susan Geddes, a veteran operative in conservative GOP political circles who managed Sorenson’s 2008 and 2010 legislative races, said Sorenson had told her several times, as recently as last month, that the Paul campaign had offered him money to leave Bachmann’s campaign for the Texas congressman’s.

Geddes said Sorenson had damaged his political future in Iowa by abandoning Bachmann’s campaign less than a week before the caucuses.

“He just committed political suicide,” she said.

To that last part, yes indeed he has, as I noted last night. Nothing says “reliable” like knifing your candidate in the back within days of the vote you were supposed to be helping them win. Any candidate or party would be foolish to seek Sorenson’s support after this.

That said, there is something fundamentally weird about the Bachmann campaign. She hired Ed Rollins to run the show, a move that I noted at the time was going to turn out to be a mistake. It has. Rollins overshadows his candidates and without fail, says things that end up hurting them. He doesn’t seem to know the difference between being a pundit and a campaign manager, the same problem Michael Steele exhibited as RNC chairman. Rollins doesn’t seem to realize that the campaigns he works for aren’t about him, they’re about the candidate and the voters. No longer working for the campaign, Rollins has become a bete noir for the Bachmann camp. Also, given his history, predictable. Now, this Iowa defection embarrasses the Bachmann campaign at a horrible moment. Just when she needs to look credible and viable to find some way to get into the top four, her state chairman jumps ship amid allegations that he did it for payola. What a mess. I don’t think it creates a sympathy vote for her. It makes her look incompetent, and a poor judge of political talent and character. Iowa is truly her Waterloo.

As for the Paul campaign, Sorenson’s defection doesn’t really help them either. Sure, they’ve undermined the candidate who owned Paul on foreign policy in a debate or two, but to what gain? Their shiny new advocate looks like a total flake. He looks dirty after doing this to Bachmann, and so does the Paul camp. If the Paul campaign really bought him, and an apparently knowledgeable source says that may have happened, it was a stupid expenditure that opens the Paul campaign up to charges of corruption. I’m not sure the Paul camp is capable of being embarrassed by anything, but what happened here could be illegal.

Nobody in this story looks good, except for every candidate who is not Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul.

Update: The Paul campaign emails a statement from Wes Enos, who is Bachmann’s political director, which says the following:

I won’t say much about the situation or the conflicting statements beyond this; I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson’s decision was, in no way financially motivated.  His decision had more to do with the fact that the Ron Paul supporters have been something of a family to him since he was first elected in 2008 and here in the end, as it becomes more and more apparent that the caucus cycle is coming to an end, Kent believed that he needed to be with them as they stand on the cusp of a potential caucus upset.  While I personally disagree with Kent’s decision, and plan to stay with Michele Bachmann because I truly believe in her, I cannot, in good conscious [sic] watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a ‘sell-out’ ….That is simply not the case, and it was not the basis of his decision.

Question: Why is Bachmann’s political director handing a statement to a rival campaign that just did this to his candidate? How many other Bachmann staffers are in communication with Paul’s campaign? This is weird stuff.

If we’re keeping score, that’s two people who say Sorenson switched for money, based on him telling them that he did — Bachmann and Susan Geddes — to two who say he didn’t, and one of those is Sorenson himself. I don’t know whether he did or not, but it’s a sure thing that he is making a mess of two campaigns.

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Hugo Chavez: I’m Not Saying the US Gave Me Cancer with a Cancer Ray, But the US Gave Me Cancer with a Cancer Ray

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Sure, Thugo. The chain smoking had nothing to do with it.

Chavez prefaced his remarks at a military event in Caracas by saying, “I don’t want to make any reckless accusations,” but the Venezuelan president said he was concerned by something he finds “very, very, very strange.”

“Would it be strange if (the United States) had developed a technology to induce cancer, and for no one to know it?” he asked.

Chavez cited the revelation this year that the United States, between 1946 and 1948, had carried out human experiments in Guatemala where subjects were exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.

That was 50 years ago, Chavez said. Will it be discovered 50 years from now that the United States was infecting presidents with cancer, he posited?

“I don’t know. I’m just putting the thought out there,” Chavez said.

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Could Romney Be the Next Reagan?

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Myra Adams

Certainly Mitt Romney has the hair and the movie star looks, but more important is a new attitude of optimism a Romney presidential victory would usher in that should not be underestimated.

Small and large business owners alike would be breathing a sigh of relief once a businessman occupied the White House — someone who knows the stress of meeting a payroll and what it’s like to risk precious capital to expand, or invest in a new product or service for a greater reward, often years away (or maybe never).

As president, Romney would make business fashionable and profitable by injecting confidence into the marketplace, while stripping away all the unnecessary regulations and roadblocks that keep businesses large and small from starting, growing, and thriving.

Reagan made people feel good about business, about themselves, about American exceptionalism and maintaining our place at the center stage of the world.

Recently when I heard Romney speak at a gathering he reminded me of Reagan as he commanded the stage. He was likable, eloquent. and heartfelt in his explanation about the present state of America which he frames as the opportunity society vs. the entitlement society. Do Americans really have a choice but to go full throttle towards building a new opportunity society? Continuation of our present entitlement society will only hasten our decline as a top-tier nation with the ability to react to and/or shape world events.

With his background at the highest levels of business investment and then as a governor, Romney has the experience to direct and manage an enterprise that is currently a broken, unmanageable mess, and growing more broke by the day. That enterprise, known as the U.S. government, but more akin to a train wreck, is over $15 trillion in debt with $61.6 trillion of unfunded benefits for its aging population.

A serious course correction is needed.

Romney, more than any other Republican candidate, has the leadership potential and communication skills along with a steady, disciplined personal demeanor to make that course correction. He also has the capacity to be the leader of the free world, commanding respect from our allies and enemies alike.

Now if only the Republican base could realize this, they would come together, offer their support, and help deliver Romney to the White House with coattails strong enough to win the Senate and keep the House.

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Ed Schultz Video: Tea Partiers are Sewer Rats

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Dave Swindle

Via the Right Scoop:

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And for some reason it still turns heads (even amongst conservatives) when I insist on using the descriptor “Marxist” instead of “liberal” when discussing the President and his most passionate supporters.

Vladimir Lenin:

Thousands of practical forms and methods of accounting and controlling the rich, the rogues and the idlers must be devised and put to a practical test by the communes themselves, by small units in town and country. Variety is a guarantee of effectiveness here, a pledge of success in achieving the single common aim—to clean the land of Russia of all vermin, of fleas—the rogues, of bugs—the rich, and so on and so forth.

I propose Tea Partiers embrace and celebrate the Marxists’ slurs. After all, rats can accomplish great things when they put their minds to it. Examples:

The Secret of NIMH:

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Ratatouille

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Lessons on the Long Road to Hijab

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Raymond Ibrahim

This caricature, which first appeared on CagleCartoons.com, has been making the rounds on the Arabic blogosphere, and points to how democratic elections are serving to Islamize Egypt: average women enter the ballot box—”overseen” by the Muslim Brotherhood—only to emerge thoroughly veiled, thoroughly Islamized.

Speaking of veils and the Brotherhood, here’s an interesting video of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1956-1970), showing just how much times have changed.

Speaking before a large assembly, Nasser told of how back in 1953 he wanted to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, and met with its leader. (Nasser eventually learned that the only response to the Brotherhood is suppression, not cooperation, a lesson John Kerry and others in the current administration would do well to consider.)

According to Nasser, the very first demand of the Brotherhood leader was for the hijab to return to Egypt, “for every woman walking in the street to wear a headscarf.”

The audience erupted in laughter at this, then, ludicrous demand; one person hollered “Let him wear it!” eliciting more laughter and applause.

Read the rest, and see how that turned out.

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 - by Ed Driscoll

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Bachmann’s Iowa Chairman Appears With Her, Endorses Ron Paul Three Hours Later

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

And there’s an allegation of bribery or some such to boot. Swell.

Hawkeye State Sen. Kent Sorenson jumps to the Texan’s camp hours after he attended an event in Indianola to support the MN Congresswoman.

Sorenson: “When the Republican establishment is going to be coming after Ron Paul, I thought it is my duty to come to his aid.”

Bachmann camp responds: “Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign.”

Sorenson denies the payoff, about which Ed Morrissey is skeptical. I also wouldn’t put much stock in anything coming out of the Bachmann camp. This is the candidate who claims a mysterious person come up to her and told her their daughter was rendered mentally handicapped thanks to a perfectly safe anti-cancer vaccine. That’s as irresponsible as it is nutty.

Bachmann performed well in a single early debate but otherwise hasn’t shown much to offer as a serious contender. She has no record of leading or succeeding in Congress. She’s currently polling sixth in Iowa, the state in which she was born. I wonder if we’ll ever learn as a party that records in office matter a whole lot more than what candidates say in debates.

As for Sorenson, he went from one candidate who won’t win Iowa to another who might but probably won’t, and won’t win the nomination. Interesting choice. Allahpundit speculates that he might have done it to give himself an in with whatever organization Paul ends up leaving behind in Iowa. Perhaps, but that seems to be fairly far-ahead thinking for a man who flipped candidates in the span of three hours. It seems more likely that he either had some sort of falling out with the Bachmann camp or panicked once he realized that he was on a sinking ship. Or he’s nuts. Whatever turns out to be the case, and we may never know, he may go down as the man whose flip sunk one and maybe two campaigns, along with his own credibility.

Consider, you’re running for office in Iowa in a couple of years. Are you going to seek out Kent Sorenson’s endorsement or aid?

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If you’re on Facebook, please take a minute to report a truly vile page

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 - by Bookworm

The truly vile page I referenced in my post title is Hundred Million Person Hate Israel. Thankfully, so far it’s only got 30,000 people (out of a 100,000,000 goal) “liking” this incitement to destructive antisemitism, but cancers like this shouldn’t be allowed to grow.

If you have a Facebook page, you can report the site by clicking the above link, which will take you to the page. On the far left hand side of the page, near the bottom, you’ll see a link saying “Report Page.” Click on the link and go for it. I submitted two reports on the page, one for anti-religious hate speech and one for racial/ethnic hate speech.

Also, if you scroll down the left hand side of the page, you’ll see two more related hate sites, one in French, and one directed against Zionism. Feel free to zap those too.

Once you’ve reported the page, please ask your friends to do the same.

Cross-posted at Bookworm Room

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Nothing to See Here. Just an Analysis Showing Health Care Cost Trends in Three States Whose Governors are Running for President

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Why did you click on the headline? I told you there was nothing to see here.

No matter how the figures are sliced and diced, it is clear that health spending, relative to the national average, rose more quickly during the Romney administration than during either the administrations of Governor Rick Perry or Governor Jon Huntsman. For example, ambulatory healthcare spending per capita was declining relative to the national average when Governor Romney first took office, but has steadily increased every year since then, climbing from 19 percent above the national average in 2003 to 29 percent above the national average by 2007 (figure 12.6c).

In contrast, ambulatory health spending in Texas was steadily declining prior to the arrival of Governor Rick Perry and continued to do so for the first four years of his term. Subsequently, it has risen only slightly, from a low point of 8.8 percent below the U.S. average in 2006 to being 6.3 percent below the average by 2009. Jon Huntsman inherited a somewhat similar situation except that relative spending already had begun to rise slightly before he took office and continued to rise for his first two years, followed by a noticeable relative decline.

Governor Rick Perry inherited relatively stable health facilities expenditures (i.e., rising at about the same rate as the rest of the nation). Relative spending has declined in subsequent years. Governor Huntsman inherited a stable pattern of health facilities expenditures which continued throughout his tenure.

I’m not suggesting that anyone click on the link above, but they do have some graphs and more data to back up this non-story that’s clearly totally irrelevant to the GOP primary. Figure 12.6c is the one you should most avoid looking at. It doesn’t suggest that doing nothing is preferable to doing something the big government way.

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Top 10 Gifts for Liberals This Season from The Looking Spoon

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

I’ve said it before and I’ll stay it again — Jared H. McAnderson is a wicked, wicked man…
liberal

H/T The Looking Spoon

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Tatler Exclusive: DOJ Source Says Texas Attorney General Abbott Is Blowing the State’s Voter ID Defense

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 - by The Tatler

Justice Department sources report to Tatler that DOJ lawyers are flabbergasted at the ineptitude of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on a variety of election related issues.  The latest example is yesterday’s Fort Worth Star Telegram story about voter ID.  In it, Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean says Abbott will defend Voter ID, but only after DOJ objects to the law.  The Star Telegram says:

“The Department of Justice’s decision to deny pre-clearance to South Carolina’s Voter ID law is inconsistent with its own previous decisions and flies in the face of U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” Bean said.

The DOJ sources report that Texas seems unaware that the Georgia preclearance was conducted using an old legal standard, no longer in effect.  A new standard was passed by Congress in 2006 and Texas’ misplaced reliance on the Georgia Voter ID approval by DOJ is making Texas seem out of touch with the environment they face.  They also say there is nothing in Supreme Court rules that are inconsistent with the South Carolina objection, and Texas doesn’t seem to understand that.  More from the story:

“The Texas attorney general’s office is prepared to take all necessary legal action to defend the voter ID law enacted by the Texas Legislature,” spokeswoman Lauren Bean said.

The DOJ source reports that “if that were really true, then Abbott would have filed in federal court against us after the South Carolina objection.  They have no clue what they are doing and the damage they are doing to Texas Voter ID.  They think they can win after an objection.  Good luck.  They have no idea what is about to happen.”

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