It’s getting really hard to be topical. In the issue of New Yorker magazine dated January 9, 2012 – that’s today -- the lead article is about the rise of Newt Gingrich.
Newt who? Newt Gingrich? Is he the guy who thought that if he stuck four fingers between the buttons in his shirt, he actually became Napoleon?
(By the way, America, Newt Gingrich is very disappointed in you. I just thought you should know that.)
But this note is not about Newt Gingrich; it’s about Rick Santorum. Who remains topical until 8 p.m. tomorrow, when the polls close in New Hampshire. Because New Hampshire Republicans are finding it difficult to square a Santorum state ban on contraception with the motto “Live Free or Die.”
I think that I figured out what happened in Iowa. Here’s what I think.
Results of the Iowa Republican Caucus, Jan. 3: Romney 25%, Santorum 25%, Paul 21%.
Reliable earlier polling results:
Dec. 18: Paul 24%, Romney 18%, Perry 16%.
Nov. 28: Gingrich 28%, Paul 13%, Romney 12%.
Oct. 16: Cain 37%, Romney 27%, Paul 12%.
Aug. 31: Perry 29%, Bachmann 18%, Romney 17%.
July 11: Bachmann 29%, Romney 16%, Cain 8%.
May 29: Romney 21%, Cain 15%, Gingrich 12%.
So the lead went from Romney to Bachmann to Perry to Cain to Gingrich to Paul and back to Romney. That is waaaaaaaaay more complicated than Tinker to Evers to Chance. Seven leaders in seven months. And that doesn’t even count the boomlets for Donald Trump at the beginning, and Rick Santorum at the end.
Yesterday was a federal holiday honoring a religious celebration; if there is a War on Christmas, Christmas is winning. So this is as good a time as any to discuss Mitt Romney’s religion, and the separation of church and state.
One of the unwritten rules of American politics is that you should never express disappointment with the voters. They can express their disappointment with you, each time you’re on the ballot. But it’s strictly a one-way street.
Nevertheless, I was disappointed to read last Thursday that a Mason-Dixon poll found that 26% of all American voters would be “uncomfortable” with a Mormon as President. Last month, a Public Religion Research Institute poll put that figure at more than 40%. In June, a Quinnipiac poll put the figure at 36%. And a Gallup Poll in June found that 22% of all voters would not support any Presidential candidate who is an active Mormon.
The Constitution could not possibly be clearer on this point. The penultimate sentence of the Constitution states: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Note that this was in the original Constitution; the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights came later.
Ed Schultz: “Let’s turn now to Alan Grayson, former Congressman from Florida, who is running again. Alan, good to have you on. You know, if you look at every poll in this country, the American people in a majority want the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more. But yet the Democrats now have taken the millionaires tax increase off the table. What’s your reaction to that?”
Alan Grayson: “It’s more hostage-taking by the Republicans, as Congressman Israel [who preceded Alan on the Ed Show] just said. And who are the hostages? Who actually suffers by the threat of a government shutdown? Who gets hurt by that? The people who get Social Security, the people who get Medicare, the people who get Medicaid, the people who get unemployment insurance. So the Republicans are holding hostage the old, the sick and the poor -- for the sake of whom? The billionaires. Because they know if the government shuts down, the billionaires laugh all the way to the bank. So we’re going to see this over and over again.”
We need someone in Congress who understands what is really going on. We need someone who will protect the old, the sick and the poor. We need someone who has the courage to stand up to the billionaires. WE NEED ALAN GRAYSON!
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As remarkable as it may seem, we can no longer exclude the possibility that the Republican Party will nominate Newt Gingrich for President. And it’s remarkable for this reason: that apart from Sarah Palin, there is no major public figure in America today with such an attenuated connection to reality.
Many people have flailed Newt for being a philanderer; a corporate shill; a crass greedhead; an egomaniac; and a cranky, crabby, crotchety, caustic, cantankerous, choleric cus. All of that may be true, but I think that it may miss the point. The point is that Newt is wrong, wrong, wrong. Consistently wrong. Shockingly wrong. Newt Gingrich is the Emily Litella of politics.
Not exactly what we are looking for in a President.
A few weeks ago, the Florida Democratic Party invited Alan Grayson to be the keynote speaker at the first meeting of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida. At 8 a.m., it was standing-room-only, as hundreds of people tried to squeeze into the event.
Alan spoke for almost half an hour, without any notes. Our campaign didn’t record it, but some brave soul in the audience did, and then posted segments of it on YouTube. So we can offer you Twenty Minutes of Grayson, in pieces, starting here.
Alan began by talking about the Republican presidential candidates. Here is some of what he said:
Alan Grayson exposes just how out of touch the Republican presidential
candidates really are when it comes to the economy. The interview on
MSNBC's The Ed Show occurred on October 18, 2011.