Newt stumbles, Obama surges and Ron Paul exposed
A handful of political developments to get us started in the last week of 2011:
Newt Gingrich — at this point a longtime resident of Virginia, not Georgia — has failed to qualify for the Republican ballot in his home state, which holds its primary on March 6. That’s important in purely practical terms, because Virginia is a big state with a lot of delegates, and because Gingrich was expected to do well there. Instead, only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will appear on the ballot there, because they were the only ones to collect enough valid signatures.
The failure is also important as a symbol of the former speaker’s lack of discipline and competent leadership. He likes to talks a big game — he and his advisers have likened the ballot failure to the attack on Pearl Harbor — but grand rhetoric is no substitute for execution.
Gallup has confirmed what earlier polls have reported as well — President Obama is having a good holiday season. His job-approval rating of 47 percent is now higher than his disapproval rating of 45 percent. The test will come in trying to sustain that kind of support. Congress, in contrast, will end the year with an approval rating of 11 percent, which is really mind-boggling if you think about it. And what’s truly dismaying about that number is that it is so well-deserved.
With the Iowa caucuses exactly one week away, Ron Paul continues to do well in the polls. But with success comes greater scrutiny, and in Paul’s case it has focused on the contents of an “investment newsletter” that Paul produced and profited from back in the ’80s and ’90s. The publication — titled the “Ron Paul Investment Newsletter” or the “Ron Paul Survival Newsletter” — contains a series of racially biased attacks, whacked-out conspiracy theories and anti-gay rhetoric.
The newsletters were long been known, but have become more relevant as Paul attempts to break out of his cult-figure niche into the mainstream. Paul himself claims that he didn’t write the pieces published under his name, which a., I find difficult to believe and b., doesn’t matter even if it’s true. If you allow such pieces to be published under your name, for your own personal profit, they become your responsibility.
– Jay Bookman