Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor with the alliterative Stan Lee-inspired name, made the following ringing endorsement of presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Iowa:
“If you’re looking for a candidate who agrees with you on everything, buy a mirror,” Christie told a crowd of about 150 at the headquarters of the Kum & Go convenience store chain. “I’m out here to tell you that I’m supporting him because I believe he’s the best qualified person to be president, and I believe he’s the only Republican who can win.”
The Romney campaign’s concern is that GOP primary voters’ passion is drifting toward Newt Gingrigh, who is surging in recent polls of early voting states. This is problematic as Gingrich is a trainwreck of a candidate — saddled with the baggage of an aging drag queen going on a two-month cruise to the Bahamas. A polarizing figure, he regulars ranks as “Republican Democrats Least Want to Have a Beer With Unless It Contained Arsenic” and that includes George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, whose “folksy” charm he lacks. Considering that defeating the incumbent president would involve persuading a good number of the people who voted for Obama in 2008 to switch camps, that’s an issue.
Although Christie trumpets Romney’s electability, GOP primary voters have consistently rejected it at the polls. And while it will serve as no consolation to the former Massachusetts governor, the reality is that as fickle as primary voters have been with their passions — initially playing footsie with Michele Bachmann, then flirting with Rick Perry before moving on to Herman Cain — they have been consistent in their lack of amor for Romney.
I never really got why Romney was dubbed the front runner in the race. Maybe he bought the title from the media at a silent auction. He’s never boasted the double digit lead and sense of inevitability that Hillary Clinton possessed prior to Obama’s Iowa upset in 2008. There was also a lot of passion among Clinton supporters for their establishment candidate. They didn’t just want to win. They believed in her. Does anyone really believe in Romney?
Romney can probably blame Obama for his current predicament. Christie is currently singing a similar tune to those Clinton supporters who warned that Obama would never win in the general election, especially against likely nominee John McCain. This advice was ignored and Obama eventually triumphed. So conservatives now might think there’s no need to settle. Their dream candidate, once they get around to settling on him or her, could actually win.
That’s insane, of course, because as everyone but the staunchest right-winger realizes is that Obama had appeal to the mainstream, independent voters who ultimately decide elections. They are the ones who candidates spend the general election trying to convince. They voted for Reagan. They voted for Clinton. They voted for Bush. And they voted for Obama. Meanwhile, primary voters are usually registered members of their respective parties who would not cross party lines even if the oppossing candidate were Jesus Christ. That’s your base, though, and you’ve got to win them over first before you can make it to the general election.
Romney’s hope all along has been that the GOP base’s hatred of Obama is so great that they will overlook their antipathy for him and put him forward because he’s the most electable candidate. The flaw in this thinking is that the candidate with the limp base has never sealed the deal. That was McCain’s problem. It was also John Kerry’s, which might also be a case study for GOP voters: Democrats turned from Howard Dean toward the more establishment and arguably more electable Kerry, and it didn’t get them anywhere.
Obama can also rely on a fairly solid base. The GOP primary has been one long horror movie in 3-D that will prove more effective in getting Obama supporters to the polls than his most soaring speech. Is there some disappointment among the liberal base regarding Obama? Yes, but disappointment is dfferent from dislike. The former is usually reserved for your son who keeps bringing home women who pop their gum when they speak. You’ll still support him in the end. Dislike is what McCain faced in 2008 and Romney might face in 2012.
Looking back at the Democrat’s 2008 primary race, you could argue that a protracted, bruising path to the nomination is not necessarily fatal. However, I think that fit the Obama narrative. Romney can never lay claim to being the underdog. Clinton vs. Obama was historic. Romney vs. Anyone But Romney is hardly that, but I am glad I have my free pair of 3-D glasses.
Sebelius vs. Science…
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday and stopped plans for the Plan B morning after pill to be sold over the counter. It is still available without a prescription but only to women (and I suppose men) over 17 who show proof of age, which at 17 would mean sulleness and a propensity for texting. Explaining her decision, Sebelius says she was “worried about confusing 11 year olds.”
Forget the 11 year olds; I’m 37 and her actions confuse me.
“I don’t think 11-year-olds go into Rite Aid and buy anything,” much less a single pill that costs about $50, (said American Academy of Pediatrics) member Dr. Cora Breuner, a professor of pediatric and adolescent medicine at the University of Washington.
Plan B is emergency contraception but not an abortion pill; it won’t affect an existing pregnancy. The FDA believed no age limit was necessary, but is there an actual risk to minors who take the pill? Sebelius isn’t talking but Greg Pfundstein at the National Review explains his support for the decision.
The general outline of the controversy is familiar enough. Plan B and similar drugs are controversial because in addition to their contraceptive effects they are known to have abortifacient effects by preventing fertilized embryos from implanting in the uterine wall. Advocates for wider availability of the drug decry those who stand in the way of a simple means of decreasing the number of abortions and out-of-wedlock births, all for the sake of very early fetal life. Imagine the “scramble — often in late-night or weekend panics after having sex without protection.” Opponents of trivializing sex, on the other hand, think that we should be concerned about how we treat all, even inchoate, human life, and, moreover, wonder why on earth we would want to decrease the caution in that late-night scenario. Do we really want to make it easier to have irresponsible sex and then run along to the nearest 24-hour retailer to pop a pill?
The sentiment here would not confuse an 11 year old. This is the standard, generally offensive judgment of women who are sexually active. Plan B wouldn’t make it “easier to have irresponsible sex.” Irresponsible sex is already easy. It’s an absolute. You can’t improve its simplicity. However, birth control — even when responsibly used — does fail. When that occurs, it’s responsible to take action.
This decision forces a minor to go to her parents if she wants the pill, which removes the choice over its usage and potentially her own pregnancy from her. Forcing women over 17 — presumably even those twice that age — to show proof of age and purchase behind the counter also restricts their privacy and needlessly so without a compelling medical reason.
Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the head of the FDA, disagreed with Not-a-Doctor Pfundstein, saying in The New York Times that the “studies and experts all agreed that young women would benefit from having easy access to the pill and did not need the intervention of a health care provider.”
The agency’s scientists, she wrote, “determined that the product was safe and effective in adolescent females, that adolescent females understood the product was not for routine use, and that the product would not protect them against sexually transmitted disease.”
A mandate to purchase health insurance is a constitutional crisis, but the Obama Administration placing an age restriction on the purchase of a health-related item that’s proven safe is met with applause from the same people who thought the administration overreached with health care. You’d think they were the guy from “Memento.”
I suppose it’s important to ensure that women don’t have irresponsible sex but if they do, they become irresponsible mothers and eventually raise irresponsible kids who can walk into an Arizona gun show and buy semiautomatic pistols without a background check.
Arizona is the state where a punk with a gun almost assassinated a congresswoman. It’s also where you can carry a concealed weapon into a bar or a school. There have ben no recommendations for sensible changes to our gun laws since then. The Second Amendment is inviolable in this country, but a woman’s autonomy apparently is not.
Posted by Stephen Robinson on December 8, 2011 in Political Theatre, Social Commentary
Tags: Kathleen Sebelius, Margaret Hamburg, National Review, Obama, Plan B