Misc Commentary For Jan 17, 2007

According to Dick Morris, none of the top tier Republican contenders for the nomination in 2008 are going to make it to the finish line:

“I think you’ll see one of the minor leaguers win it [the GOP nomination],” Morris told Fox News Channel.

Morris thinks the leading Republican candidates – Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich – are “too flawed” to win the hearts and votes of conservatives in the early primaries.

“The top four candidates for the Republican nomination can’t win,” Morris said. “Rudy Giuliani, John McCain . . . Romney with all of the flip-flops on abortion and Newt Gingrich, who I don’t think gets into it.”

That leaves a cast of lesser-known Republicans in line for a surprise run toward the nomination.

“I think that the Republican nominee is going to be one of these minor leaguers: [Tom] Tancredo, [Mike] Huckabee, [Sam] Brownback, [Jim] Gilmore from Virginia, Duncan Hunter from California,” Morris said. “It’s like the pitching rotation is all going to be injured at the World Series and the Triple –A pitching staff, one of them is going to pitch the opening game.”

Could Morris be right? Yes. Would I like for Morris to be right? Yes, because the guy who would make it out of that 2nd tier (assuming no one else jumps in) is my number one choice at the moment, Duncan Hunter. Is Morris right? Well, to tell you the truth, Morris has an awful track record on political predictions, so it’s hard to say. But, I do still believe there is room for a 2nd tier candidate to rocket up the charts. Time will tell.

Rasmussen Reports has done some polling and has found that McCain and Rudy beat Hillary and Gore, but Newt and Mitt Romney both lose to them.

Interesting stuff, but keep in mind that these candidates haven’t even started campaigning against each other, so these poll results are of minimal value and they become totally useless when you try to compare candidates with high recognition to people like Mitt Romney, whom a lot of people are still unfamiliar with. When people don’t know a lot about candidates, they tend to go against them.

It’s a little more disturbing to see Newt losing to Hillary and to Gore, who has a 52% disapproval rating, since Gingrich is a known quantity.

— When Bush originally selected Mel Martinez to be the new head of the RNC, I was less than thrilled not only because Martinez is a diehard amnesty supporter, but because I don’t like the idea of having a part timer in charge of the RNC which is, if anything, a more demanding job than being in the Senate. But, I just sort of shrugged my shoulders and figured that if Bush nominated him, it was a forgone conclusion that he would get the spot, and there was nothing that could be done about it.

However, apparently that’s not the case. Some of the members of the Republican National Committee are up in arms about Martinez and intend to fight tooth and nail to stop him:

“Rebellion is brewing among conservatives on the Republican National Committee over President’s Bush’s attempt to “impose” Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida as “general chairman” of the party, who favors “amnesty” for illegal aliens.

“I will be voting against Senator Martinez if he is nominated for any chairmanship of the RNC,” Tina Benkiser, Texas Republican Party chairman, told The Washington Times yesterday.

Bill Crocker, the elected national committeeman from Texas, says that when the RNC convenes here tomorrow, “Absolutely, I will vote against Martinez.”

The conservatives — one of whom accused the Bush White House of “outsourcing” party leadership — say the general-chairman post does not exist under RNC rules, which can be changed only at the party’s presidential nominating convention.

Unhappy committee members say that, in the past, Republican presidents and RNC leaders have successfully run roughshod over the rules, because the RNC officer presiding over votes at committee meetings have simply overruled points of order and other objections from the floor, with no accredited professional parliamentarians to exercise a check.

This time, the organizers of the rebellion say, their strategy will rely in part on having a parliamentarian present. And violations of Robert’s Rules of Order and of the RNC’s written rules — adopted at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York — could result in legal challenges.”

…”Martinez’s support of [Arizona Sen. John] McCain’s immigration bill on amnesty for illegal aliens is causing a lot of concern among our base,” said Mr. Pullen. “I happen to know that people — our $25 and $35 donors — are writing on the back of our RNC solicitations for donations: ‘When you close the border to illegal aliens, we’ll open our checkbooks.’

How many members feel like this? I don’t know. Do they have a real chance to stop Martinez? I don’t know. Either way, other than being generally supportive of the people trying to block Martinez, I don’t know that there’s much blogs like RWN can do. This is more like the Congressional Leadership races where a select group of people who are going to be hard to sway will decide the issue rather than a primary, where you have a chance to reach out to conservative voters who are more inclined to listen.

In any case, I think this is just another example of how George Bush has allowed an antagonistic relationship to develop between him and the people who should be his big supporters. Once George Bush got to the big dance, he acted as if he didn’t need the support of the people who brought him there anymore and he, along with the rest of the Republican Party, are paying one hell of a price for it.

— Speaking of illegal aliens, a federal immigration raid at a chicken-processing plant in Georgia is proving some of what people opposed to illegal immigration have been saying for years. Here’s the rundown from Michelle Malkin’s blog:

“Now here’s a fair and thorough look at the aftermath of a federal immigration raid at a chicken-processing plant in Georgia that sent hundreds illegal workers packing. The plant, Crider, was forced to hire Georgians–many of them black, and many from off the welfare rolls:

…for local African-Americans, the dramatic appearance of federal agents presented an unexpected opportunity. Crider suddenly raised pay at the plant. An advertisement in the weekly Forest-Blade newspaper blared “Increased Wages” at Crider, starting at $7 to $9 an hour — more than a dollar above what the company had paid many immigrant workers. The company began offering free transportation from nearby towns and free rooms in a company-owned dormitory near to the plant. For the first time in years, local officials say, Crider aggressively sought workers from the area’s state-funded employment office — a key avenue for low-skilled workers to find jobs. Of 400 candidates sent to Crider — most of them black — the plant hired about 200.

Interestingly, there was a lot of friction between these new workers and the Crider management. Two sides to the story, I suppose, but it seems to me that Crider was disappointed to work with actual employees who could demand their rights and speak up and who expect an ice pack when they get injured on the job. It’s much easier when your processing plant is staffed by powerless, compliant drones who you can threaten to send back to Mexico and who therefore dare not organize or even gripe.”

Well, lookie, lookie, Americans are taking jobs that illegal aliens once held. But, I thought those were, “jobs Americans won’t do?” Of course, the truth is that there are no such jobs, there are only jobs Americans won’t do at a certain price and what we had here was illegal aliens driving down the wages for a job and thereby taking jobs that Americans would have otherwise done.

— The fact that border patrol agents Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos are being railroaded into jail for shooting a scumbag illegal alien who was trying to run drugs into the United States is a disgrace and a miscarriage of justice. These guys deserve to have medals pinned on their chests for risking their lives to prevent a drug shipment from hitting the streets instead of being sent off to the slammer. I’m not sure there have been two men in the last 20 years more deserving of a pardon than Compean and Ramos.

— Blogger/liberal radio host Taylor Marsh had this to say about the Fairness Doctrine:

“But the Fairness Doctrine is back or at least being talked about again, with Congress set to challenge the FCC. The thought is already driving conservatives nuts, with more here, here, here, here, here, with Jeff Goldstein his usual obtuse self. QandO offers more. One blogger calls it Free Speech’s Abu Ghraib. They’re all nuts. They’re also very happy with controlling the radio waves.

But frankly, I’ll believe it when it’s law and not before.

The short version of the Fairness Doctrine is that in 1987 Reagan had it scuttled. Shortly after that Rush Limbaugh began his journey and right-wing radio was created and gradually took over the airwaves, with the help of their corporate friends, while the Democrats were still trying to figure out direct mail. I’m exaggerating, but Democrats were so dense about radio for so long it’s amazing there are still any progressive hosts out here working every day to get back on radio. As I’ve written many times, the Republicans have used radio to pump up emotion and GOTV. In case you haven’t noticed, radio works. Just ask Karl Rove, who has worked and worked and worked it. It’s about getting control of all the little stations in all the little towns so that you can influence all those people. The host gets to know his/her audience, they trust him/her, so when this host tells them to vote for Right Wing Randy/Roxanne, they likely will. After all, they’ve built up a trust. Republicans will do anything to get ratings, which includes leaving the facts out and plying their audience with daily doses of emotion instead. Democrats are still behind in radio, trying to reinvent the wheel instead of using their donor base to help hosts who could hold their own. Creating Democratic business consortiums that help hosts get on the air, with the best of us staying on and eventually catapulting to syndication. The Fairness Doctrine could really make a difference. Why do you think conservatives are screaming like crazy?”

First of all, hasn’t the stunning failure of Air America proved that conservative success on talk radio isn’t about “business consortiums,” it’s about who draws an audience and who doesn’t? Rush Limbaugh has an enormous audience, hence people want to carry his show. Al Franken draws flies, which is why Air America is bankrupt.

Next up, there’s a good reason for conservatives to be “screaming like crazy.” The Fairness Doctrine is nothing less than an attempt to censor conservative hosts by knocking them off the air. If a “Fairness Doctrine for the internet” were introduced that said that the Daily Kos couldn’t have any more visitors per day than Right Wing News, my guess is that people like Taylor Marsh would be “screaming like crazy,” too. Yeah, I understand that’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s close enough. Because liberals can’t successfully build competing talk radio shows, they want to stop the conservative shows that are working. That’s what the Fairness Doctrine is all about.

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