Rick Santorum Wrong About George Washington Statement In Michigan Concession Speech

Rick Santorum made a historical error Tuesday night when conceding the Michigan Primary to Mitt Romney.

Santorum was speaking about the foundations of America and referenced George Washington as a model for one who led from a position of respect and understanding for those below him, and said Washington viewed all as important to the process.

While it is true that Washington had many admirable qualities, it would not be accurate to state that Washington viewed those under him as equals when it came to governing.

In fact, and this is where I find Santorum lacking in his knowledge of history, and why he should not be home-schooling his children.

In 1789 Washington and others like him were part of an elite, white, male crowd who owned land and were able to vote and make decisions.  They thought by the very nature of who they were that it allowed them a unique position to form government, and govern.  In fact, in 1796 Washington wrote “the people”(which he meant white men who were qualified to vote) had “the power and right to establish… government,” but “this presupposed the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”

Washington did not, nor did Federalists as a group, identify with those not among their own.  One can talk about the philosophical underpinnings of the republic, but when it came to governing it was clear that a structured republic, and not an uncontrollable democracy, was the intent of the white men with money.

Rick Santorum has lots on his mind these days, but for Pete’s Sake, if he is going to place himself in front of the nation while invoking images of the Founding Fathers he could at least get the themes of history correct.

Santorum should just stick to talking about wafers and wine.

Chris Matthews Warms My Heart With Teddy White Reference

It does not take much to make me smile.  It never has.  The best smiles are the ones that come when least expected.

Earlier today I was musing about the excitement generated by the Republican Primary in Michigan.  I mentioned Teddy White, who seems to always be on my mind on Elections Day, and hoped somewhere tonight he was able to look down and watch the action.

With that in mind as I watched MSNBC’s coverage (flipping along the various news channel options for this and that interview, etc.) I landed on Chris Matthews talking with longtime newsman and political watcher Tom Brokaw.  As they discussed the political landscape of Michigan, and the various components of the contentious nominating process this year, it was Matthews who invoked the name of White, and how much he would have enjoyed this night.  Matthews added that it was White who talked about “the primitives” in the GOP during the 1964 Goldwater election.

I was sitting in the living room, and just smiled.

Yeah, I know there is a huge segment of the younger viewers that have no idea who Matthews was referring to, and no idea what the “Making of the President” series is all about.

But for the segment of the audience who recalls the curious and informative man who loved politics, and had forgotten more than anyone around him ever knew about elections and campaigns–it was a great moment.

Thanks Chris!!


Emily Mills Interviews Kathleen Falk

Emily Mills should be working for a major newspaper in Wisconsin.  I have always liked her style.

And Kathleen Falk should be Governor of Wisconsin.  (Ditto.)

Certainly, one of the big reasons Falk has won the support of labor groups is both her history of negotiating with them and her recent pledge that, if elected, any budget bill that came before her without restoring collective bargaining rights for public employees would get her veto pen. That declaration has gotten her both praise and criticism, but Falk is unequivocal in her stance:

“I think it’s not only important to answer that question, because one of the reasons people are so cynical on politics in general is because politicians say they’re for something and then they don’t do it,” she explains. “It’s real easy to say you’re for collective bargaining, but how you gonna get it done? So over this last year as I’ve been going around the state at the behest of people sending me here there and everywhere to be helpful to the cause, people would regularly, and understandably, say well Falk, how will we restore collective bargaining? How, procedure-wise, will you do it? And I’d say, well, the governor can’t do it by executive order, doesn’t have that power. You could introduce a bill but the Assembly Republicans aren’t going to schedule it. You could call a special session and Assembly Republicans don’t have to convene – they decide whether to come to a special session, a governor doesn’t.”

So, what then? “The only bill that has to pass every two years is the budget bill – that’s why Walker eliminated collective bargaining through it, and that’s how you restore it. And unless you’re willing not only to say that’s how you’ll do it, but go to the mat by saying you will veto a budget bill without it, then you have no leverage. That’s how you get. It. Done.”

In the face of rampant criticism from her opponents for allegedly being a “big labor puppet” Falk is not shy about her union endorsements – she is, in fact, downright proud of them. She talked about dealing with the market crash and recession in ’07-’08, about creating a balanced budget in Dane County that relied on what she calls shared sacrifice.

“What I did was three-fold approach to the budget,” Falk explains. “Yes, we had to do cuts, but one of the things that I held dear was this levy sealing goal that I had created that I tried to keep the county to, because it made me have to reinvent government so that we would be more efficient so that we could deliver more services to people, especially in a growing population. Also it’s important because property taxes are your most regressive form of taxation and that’s what local governments do.”

When she approached the unions about doing their part, she offered to deviate from that governmental standard so long as the unions agreed to sit down at the bargaining table, open their contracts, and reduce wages or benefits as needed.

“They knew this was a big deal to me, and to their credit—I brag about them all the time—we sat down and we got it done.”

Update On Scott Walker John Doe Probe

There was a little news today about the ongoing John Doe probe into the political past of Scott Walker.  This is all interesting in light of what might appear an eagerness on the part of Walker to move the recall election forward in a more speedy fashion following his decision yesterday not to challenge any petition signatures.  Walker may want to get ahead of the potential bad news that may well result from the proceedings of the probe.

Walker stated todat that….

* He hadn’t yet met with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm in the John Doe investigation into Walker’s current and former aides.

* He will eventually announce how he is financing his legal bills in the John Doe  but declined to detail it on Tuesday.



GOP Establishment Will Not Allow Rick Santorum The Nomination

There is no way Rick Santorum can drive his theocratic message to the White House, and most Republicans know that.  I am also confident most Republicans would not want that to happen, even if it could.  The establisment will act if there is a threat Santorum could mess up the GOP plans to win against Preident Obama this fall.

They might have to start acting sooner rather than later.

Another pundit and political professional has offered insight on what might happen (and it could–though I am not predicting it) if Rick Santorum were to win the Michigan Primary.

“If Rick Santorum wins tonight it’s the equivalent of a 9.0 on a Richter scale. I mean it is going to shake Washington, it’s going to shake Republican establishment it’s just going to shake things to their very core,” Dowd told me. “And I think what you’re going to see are the conversations that have been going on behind quiet doors saying we need another candidate in this race.”


Big Night For Political Junkies As Michigan Republians Vote

It is such a big night we are even brewing coffee at our home for the election returns!!  (Chocolate Raspberry)  My dietitian tells me that less coffee would be to my benefit, and so I limit my intake but tonight I am sure she would agree that the national story merits something special.

The fact remains a strong mood of unease claims the Republicans as they search for a presidential nominee, Democrats are just eating this food-fight up with delight, and political junkies of every stripe are just hoping it continues until summer.

So, yeah, this is a night for good coffee.  James made brownies too.

So what are we looking for tonight?

My gut tells me that Mitt Romney takes a very narrow victory in Michigan.  I have long felt that even when Santorum was well ahead in a number of state polls.  Romney narrowed those numbers, and even slightly moved ahead until this past weekend when internals started showing a Santorum rebound, of sorts.

So tonight do not expect an early evening–but lots of drama.  The type Teddy White would have loved, and I know somewhere he is looking down and smiling.

Hopefully with a hot cup of coffee.

Here is one of the best, Nate Silver, providing some insight.

However things turn out on Tuesday, this has been a dramatic enough sequence that it demands some explanation. It is unlikely that Mr. Santorum’s last-minute rebound is purely a statistical fluke. There is a fairly rich amount of polling in the state and, importantly, Mr. Santorum has gained ground in consecutive polls issued by the same survey firms. In the Baydoun Consulting poll, for instance, which had him down by two points on Monday, he had trailed by eight points just days earlier. So the rebound is probably real.

There are about eight plausible explanations for what might have caused it:

1. Mr. Santorum has the better closing message. His campaign has been more positively oriented, although not uniformly so.

2. Voters are rallying to his side after he took some harsh treatment in news media coverage.

3. His voters are more enthusiastic and starting to come home as likely voter models become more accurate.

4. Mr. Santorum is picking up support from Newt Gingrich supporters who have concluded that Mr. Gingrich is not viable.

5. A set of minor gaffes by Mr. Romney, related to the staging of his Ford Field speech and a remark he made about Nascar, hurt him at the margins, as well as the fact that he took part of Sunday away from the campaign trail to attend the Daytona 500.

6. Mr. Romney had some temporary momentum from last week’s debate — in my view it was a “win” for Mr. Romney but not an overwhelming one — which has since evaporated.

7. Mr. Santorum, whose “super PAC” bought a fair amount of advertising inventory in Michigan about a week ago, has equalized the advertising gap in the closing days of the campaign, having been disadvantaged by it before.

8. Mr. Santorum is benefiting from Democrats, some of whom are crossing over to vote in an effort to create chaos in the primary, and some of whom are responding to robocalls that were placed by Mr. Santorum’s campaign.

Take your pick from this menu — I tend to think that Nos. 1, 6, 7 and 8 are probably more salient factors than the others, but there is no way to tell.

One word of warning: factors like early voting, crossover voting and the relatively large amount of demographic diversity within Michigan will make it tricky to call the state based on exit poll results and the first few precincts that report. For instance, if early and absentee results are reported before those cast on Election Day, as is common in some states, Mr. Romney could initially emerge with a lead that proves ephemeral. I generally take the view that the news networks are too quick to call a race — shouldn’t have we learned something from Florida in 2000 or Iowa this year? — but there is reason to be especially cautious here.

Santorum Song By Sandy and Richard Riccardi