I’d love to know how many Catholic women have not voted, or have stated they would never vote, for Newt Gingrich because of his past marital infidelities, but are so ready to believe that Monsignor Ricca must now be “reformed” and “chaste”.
Santorum Continues To Surprise
“There has never been a conviction politician, an insurgent Christian conservative, who has won this many (primaries) since Ronald Reagan in 1976,”
I think this passage of a Washington Post article well gives the idea of what is happening (for those who were too young, in 1976 Ronald Reagan fought an extremely strong campaign, in the end losing against Gerald Ford for a handful of delegates. Gerald Ford was, must be remembered, the President), and it appears to me that Santorum is rapidly gaining not only momentum, but mainstream credibility. As the money keeps flowing – though certainly in small measure compared to the Romney aircraft carrier; apparently Romney has outspent Santorum 10 to 1 up to now and still can’t close the game, this really says it all) and Santorum gains more and more TV time and media attention, he is seen as a real alternative rather than the flag candidate. I must say I am surprised; extremely pleasantly surprised as this always was my favourite candidate, though I thought – with most others, I must say – he would be massacred after the first success in Ohio, which for me was already a miracle and something to thank God for.
We are now – incredibile dictu – at nine victories, and counting. Whilst the largely proportional system puts the concept of “victory” in perspective, I think it is fair to say Santorum is now the number one opponent of Romney, and Gingrich a strong third contender but nothing more than that.
It seems to me Gingrich is unwittingly helping Romney, and his rather stubborn decision to go all the way to Tampa – or so at least does he say now – might, even with the proportional system in place, help Romney to the nomination as a clear “non-Romney” does not emerge or, at least, does not translate in enough delegates to stop him.
What I also find notable is the enthusiasm with which Evangelicals support Santorum. What at the beginning might have looked like a sympathy vote for a nice, outright Christian candidate is now rapidly becoming all-out organisational and financial support. Kudos to them. Let’s hope Santorum will inflame so many of them that the one or other decides to convert…. 😉
I might be wrong (again) but at the moment I’d say the biggest obstacle in front of a non-Romney nomination is Gingrich, who is doing too well to force him to retire his candidature, but at the moment not well enough to compete with Santorum. If he decided to leave, methinks the clear alternative Romney-Santorum would mobilise the party to choose the Republican candidate (pun intended), but if he stays he might drain precious blood from Santorum’s campaign and, in fact, aid the nomination of a man he doesn’t like a bit.
We will see how this pans out. I find Santorum’s ascent exhilarating, and as he has proved me wrong in his ability to attract enough Republican candidates, he could prove me wrong again in his ability to attract the vote of mainstream America; at least considering that mainstream America would still confronted with the thought that the alternative to Santorum would be another four years of Obama.
After Supertuesday, A Time For Choosing.
At this point, it seems to me the logic of the electoral contest does not leave much time for hesitation.
We know this year the distribution of the delegates is of a more “proportional” nature. This allows candidates who considers themselves credible to keep their hopes for longer. Look at Gingrich winning in Georgia (playing home, granted), when with the winner-take-old system he would probably have finished the money a long time ago. I also note Romney has won six of the ten Supertuesday races and still is if not nowhere – which would be ungenerous – rather far away from imposing his presence and charisma – if any – as the Republican candidate. The way he continues to outrageously outspend his opponents for a summa summarum rather disappointing return (a win of around 1% in Ohio; really?) goes to show an awful lot of Republicans just don’t like Romney and they might vote for him – obtorto collo – only for the sake of getting rid of Adolf Hussein.
I had said in the past that the new proportional system doesn’t make it so decisive to have a quick decision between Gingrich and Santorum, as they continued to accumulate delegates who wold unavoidably vote for the one of them who remained. This was when Santorum and Gingrich together had around the same delegates – acouple more, in fact – than Romney alone.
This does not seem to be the case anymore, though. Last time I looked, Romney had 380 delegates and Gingrich/Santorum together less than 200. Basically, this means the clock is ticking fast and if they go on this way, by staying in the race Gingrich will only manage to destroy Santorum’s hopes of winning the nomination, without even a hope of being picked up as vice president because he and Romney are not exactly best friends, and Romney would probably prefer to pick up Santorum to give himself a conservative virginity.
Romney must, then, now hope Gingrich stays in the race as long as he can, because this is the only way he can avoid the emergence of a candidate the Republican people can really perceive as Republican, and as the alternative to him. It seems to me the time for choosing has now come, and Gingrich should very seriously consider quitting and supporting Santorum, sharpish. It is true he might do better in places like Alabama and Mississippi, but again Santorum could do better than him anyway. Santorum appears to be just better at mobilising the clearly conservative electorate, whilst the more moderate Gingrich cannot profit from his more expendable profile to take away many votes from Romney. If you are distant third after now many races, and could only win in your own state on Supertuesday, how realistic are your chances?
Romney won Ohio for around 1%, but in Ohio Gingrich got around 15%. In Alaska, Santorum lost for only 3 percentage point, and Gingrich got 14%.
What does this tell us?
I still think Gingrich would have better cards than Santorum in November but hey: he will not make it to November, one way or the other.
The time for skirmishes is coming to an end. I think it is now time for Gingrich to admit Santorum has the better cards (or alternatively: that he can damage Romney’s chances more if he quits the race) and supports Santorum.
Scorned Woman Loses, Gingrich Convincingly Wins In South Carolina
Newt Gingrich convincingly won in South Carolina. Unfortunately, I do not think this was primarily due to interventions like the one posted by me a few days ago, but rather to brilliant answers like the one I post above.
Which leads me nicely to my argument: whilst Santorum is – for all of us Catholics I think – by far the best candidate, I think Gingrich is the one with the best cards to defeat Obama. As always in politics, the choice is – in the end – not between our ideal candidate and the enemy, but between the enemy and the candidate who can defeat him.
I am fully conscious that this is the mentality which has brought Romney so far, and I am not ashamed in saying that if there was no better candidate to defeat Obama, my personal support – though not my sympathy – would go to him. But I do think that there is a candidate who can – easily, I think, unless he makes something very stupid – defeat Obama by presenting a radically – if not completely – different world view than the one of the inadequate git brought to the White House on a huge wave of political correctness, coupled with a toothless and flip-flopping opponent.
Santorum is, if you ask me, by far the best. Not only because of his extremely coherent Catholic stance, but because of his extremely clear ideas in matters of foreign politics. He may not have the same tea-party credentials of Gingrich, but he wouldn’t be a squanderer unable to count like the present occupier of the White House.
My problem with Santorum is that I think it is highly improbable that he may ever defeat Obama. Why? Because of his very same extremely coherent Catholic stance, and extremely clear ideas in matters of foreign politics.
I can’t imagine Santorum suddenly converting to his right-wing stance the mainstream of the American voters. I try not to confuse my own preferences with whom I think is electable. I like Santorum’s stance on Iran like few others, but it would be foolish for me to say this is a platform on which you can be elected President. Kudos to him for being so honest, but frankly I can’t see this candidate winning a presidential race. Not in 2012 at any rate.
The results in South Carolina are, I think, an important – though not definitive – confirmation of this, with Gingrich taking away the clear majority of the conservative wing and Santorum performing extremely well all things considered, but still widely behind Gingrich.
Importantly, Gingrich seems to have been the most voted among those who consider both economy or ability to defeat Obama the main motivators of their vote: this is a candidate able to unite pragmatists who would have voted Romney in the absence of better alternatives, and hard-liners who would prefer to lose with a real Republican than running the risk of winning with a fake one.
If you add the votes, Gingrich and Santorum together got around double as much as Romney’s votes. Granted, South Carolina is more conservative than the average, but I’d dare to say the anti-Romney fraction only needs to coalesce around Gingrich and Romney will become, in time, history.
What I hope will happen now is that Santorum stays in the race for as long as money and organisation allow, and then graciously retires and supports Gingrich’s candidature, suggesting his delegates vote for him at the convention. This way the way would be paved for a strong Gingrich campaign against Romney, but at the same time stressing the robust socially very conservative component behind him.
Santorum achieved a half-miracle through his own personal qualities and the fact that his ideas resonate particularly well among a certain part of the electorate. But I still can’t imagine him becoming the candidate able to defeat Romney, much less Obama. Too Catholic, too conservative, too much of a hawk in foreign politics matters, I don’t think he can make it, not in 2012.
What I do think is that scorned women do not have the grip on the electorate they used to have. Thank God for that.
Hell Hath No Fury: Marianne Gingrich
On the day Perry makes way for him and Santorum is declared (more or less) the winner in Iowa, Gingrich’s ex-wife does (really not) surprise us with alleged “revelations” about what her former husband said to her around, let me think, twelve to thirteen years and a conversion ago. Interesting.
Nothing new of course as generally this kind of things finds its way to the media without waiting for a presidential race; but one remains with the impression that the private side of Gingrich is the one chosen by his opponent to put an end to the public one.
This is one of the rare days when I am glad I grew up in Europe, and particularly in a country where private mistakes are left to the confessional and, when they find their way to the media, are not considered the metre by which the work of a politician is judged. You may say that it has his risks (as seen recently), but I still think it reflects a more mature political culture.
I’m not sure in modern times Godfrey of Bouillon, or Richard the Lionheart, would be elected to run a crusade, as their private life probably gave rise to many questions. Rather, some inept chap with irreproachable private life would be chosen, and bye-bye Jerusalem. If you don’t like these two examples, pick whichever else you like, from the drinker Churchill to the gambler Cavour.
Alas, I doubt many will be of my opinion, which is why if the public reacts badly to this interview in the run up to the primary in South Carolina it is now not unlikely the American people will have to decide, come November, between a godless affirmative action idiot and a flip-flopping RINO Mormon.
The private life of a politician is a matter for the confessional. Don’t let a good candidate go to waste because he would have never make it as a Protestant pastor. Most people don’t, and I’m not sure Protestant pastors have such a good record, either.
Life begins at… what?
One day I might write a post about the US Presidential election as seen from a European. It might be a bit off topic, though.
For the moment, I will be content with commenting about some rather strange remarks from Newt Gingrich: the man who, after a rather sleepy start – and one which let me and others think he was not really serious about the race – has now risen to become the most serious contender of Adolf Hussein Obama, The Nazi Menace.
Well, our (rather) newly converted candidate had surprised pretty much everyone by saying that he thinks life begins at… implantation. “Are we in front of a mini-Pelosi?” I was already thinking. In the end, Gingrich looks like he is peloso (=hairy) enough as it is…
Thankfully, the Catholic candidate has now issued a clarification and unambiguously made clear that life begins at conception. No ifs, no buts, no hairy things.
The statements of the candidate are a joy to read:
As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception
I believe that every unborn life is precious, no matter how conceived. I also believe that we should work for the day when there will be no abortions for any reason, and that every unborn child will be welcomed into life and protected by law.
That is why I have supported, and will continue to support, pro-life legislation that not only limits, but also reduces, the total number of abortions, with a view to the eventual legal protection of all unborn human life.
This is very, very good news and I think it very wise from Gingrich not to be cowed by his advisers and strategist into a “mainstream” position and water down not only what he believes, but what clearly mobilises a growing number of – often, young – American voters.
Always from LifeSite news, I notice that Gingrich has signed the Pro-Life Pledge, and Mitt Romney hasn’t. Shall I, now, add a passing remark about Mormons and Christians? Or shall I leave it at that?
One of the many beauties of Catholicism is that, if properly intended, it doesn’t leave much room for self-made theology. A Protestant can immerse himself in the Bible until he finds something vaguely resembling what he wants to find, and chances are the “church” with the corresponding creed is not so very far away. A Catholic will know what is right, and will not have anywhere to hide. Unless of course he is, how should I put it….. hairy.
Kudos to Newt Gingrich for his clear positioning in matter of abortion, then.
Newt Gingrich Says It Straight
The CNA has an interesting article about some remarks of the 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
First, there is this interesting remark:
“Any leader should seek God’s guidance,” he said. “The teachings of the Church inform my thinking about solving earthly problems.”
I do not know to what extent Gingrich practices what he preaches, but I can’t say he is preaching badly. The idea that a Catholic could be allowed to forget his faith when voting or taking political decisions is certainly being challenged more and more often.
Please also note that Gingrich correctly says “the Church” instead of, say, “my Church”.
The most interesting part is, though, the following one:
Gingrich said that he would “listen” to the concerns of those who feel threatened by his views and values.
“In many cases better communications and clarification will eliminate their worries,” he said.
“In some cases they are right to feel threatened because we have incompatible values and fundamentally different visions of the future.”
It is the first time that I read of a Presidential candidate saying to the anti-Christians fraction such open words, “you are right to feel threatened”. They are right to feel threatened because they are a threat to Christianity and their right to damage Christianity would therefore be taken away.
He is basically saying that there will no namby pamby slogans about everyone not having anything to fear, and a Christian society being able to be Christian and at the same time accommodate everyone’s whims, like, say, your British bishop would do.This kind of open talk is very, very rare in Europe and is probable to have one accused of being an extremist.
If a conservative President is elected, a march toward the curtailing of legal right will be set in motion, either through direct presidential action or through legislative action – if the President disposes of the necessary majorities in Senate and Congress, which I consider rather probable – or more long-term with the attempt to appoint decent Supreme Court judges instead of, say, left-wing lesbians.
It is good and honest that these things are said loud and clear, and become an integral part of the electoral campaign. It is also refreshing that Gingrich doesn’t try to use the usual European tactics of “do not worry, we’ll make everyone happy anyway” and says instead that, legislatively speaking at least, there will be blood.
Please do not use the combox to write your opinion about Mr Gingrich as a candidate, as I think that such discussion belong elsewhere – I might make a poll in future about this -. The matter here is, as I see it, not whether Mr Gingrich is a good candidate or even a good man, but whether the debate is going to go in the direction of frontal assault to anti-Christian legislation. If anyone could provide a parallel statement of other candidates, this could be very interesting.
Newt Gingrich: Why I Became Catholic
I do not follow enough US politics to be able to judge whether Newt Gingrich is a Catholic a’ la Tony Blair, or a sincere one instead.
Still, I found this article with his reflections about his own conversion path both inspiring and indicative.
It seems to me that what happened to him is what happens in the majority of cases; not – or not only – a dramatic moment of enlightenment on the way to some personal Damascus, but a gradual approach – in this case clearly helped by the beautiful example of his wife – at the end of which one doesn’t experience conversion, but rather takes notice that it has already happened.
I also found rather moving that a Southern Baptist – probably, though I can’t be sure of that, raised up in the condemnation of the pomp and splendour of the Papacy – would come to the first powerful realisation of his already happened acceptance of Catholic truth within the walls of St. Peter’s. I liked this, because I have always believed – and have often written about this – that the symbolism of the Catholic church is very powerful, and the splendour of her churches are one of the most striking aspects of this symbolism.
Also please notice that Mr. Gingrich had the humility of studying the catechism for one year even after having followed the catholic mass for one decade and a half and having been – one wants to hope – already subject to more Catholic doctrine than most western cradle Catholics alive. This is the right attitude, and it is beautiful that he mentions it with a natural humility that does him honour.
I do not know how sincere or orthodox a Catholic Mr. Gingrich will be. But I think that it can safely be said that he would be – in case – an infinitely more Christian President of the United States than “punished with a child”, no-bible-in-the-office, late-abortion-as-first-priority Hussein Obama.
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