Who should Iowa GOP caucus choose?....
Who Can Win? Now, on to The One's putative challengers: Start with TAS contributor Quinn Hillyer, whose sterling prediction track record gives weight to his forecast of a "Santorum Surge" or "Jindal Jig" 2012 forecast. QH writes that Gingrich's character, Perry's debate flops, Bachmann's "not quite ready for prime time" aura and Ron Paul's foreign policy isolationism disqualify them for much of the GOP base. Romney could survive, but conceivably be kept below 50 percent of the delegate count before the August GOP Convention in Tampa.
QH taps Santorum as a dark horse because his credentials are good enough, he is a superb, informed debater, his social issues credentials are impeccable, and he is the only candidate to date who has not made a gaffe. Jindal is, quite simply, the best governor in America, having lifted the basket-case state left in ruins by Hurricane Katrina and an imbecile Democratic governor, and sent it soaring. Before Rick Santorum became front-page news, Robert Costa at NRO noted that western Iowa could provide a Santorum surprise not reflected in polling. In a later piece last month, Costa detailed Santorum's rise in Iowa, and his Jan. 1 piece updated Satnorum's now very public surge. And (t/h "Right Turn" blogger Jennifer Rubin) Santorum showed genuine skill in parrying "gotcha" questioning from NBC Sunday anchor David Gregory; this is an essential survival skill for any GOP Presidential candidate. Stephen Hayes sees Santorum in full stride, with a chance to surge and win Iowa, as Mike Huckabee & Barack Obama did in 2008.
Re Gingrich, George Will's withering scorn for Newt's loopy idea to subject judges to legislative majoritarianism well expresses conservative disenchantment with the idea. It is yet another example of Gingrich espousing ideas that are far from conservatism, whose central principle, Will notes, is prudence. One can add that does Newt think, were his proposal to subject judges to direct pressure from Congress, that Chuck Schumer would not go after conservative judges?
Dan Henninger sees a gap between Ron Paul & his voters. RP voters who support him were running at 5 percent six months ago. His gains since then are among the 15 percent who reject the current GOP field, and are angry enough to stay home or vote third-party come Nov. 2012. Either, DH (correctly) writes, would mean re-election of President Obama.
Peggy Noonan sees Romney pulling himself together & lapping a weak field. Kim Strassel sees Romney as "Mr. Good Enough" but still in need of a believable general election voice, if he is to win the White House. Unless the GOP can draw sharp distinctions between its candidate & Obama, voters may stick with the devil they know.
Voter ID Trump Card? A-G Eric Holder is vigorously challenging state voter ID laws, despite a Supreme Court ruling, (Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008) upholding Indiana's voter ID law. His latest voter ID lawsuit is against South Carolina's voter ID law, despite the law providing for free voter ID for those who do not have it. As reported in the Washington Times, SC's A-G described past voter ID abuses:
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson rejected Mr. Perez’s math and explained on Fox News why the law is necessary. The state Department of Motor Vehicles audited a state Election Commission report that said 239,333 people were registered to vote but had no photo ID. The DMV found that 37,000 were deceased, more than 90,000 had moved to other states, and others had names not matched to IDs. That left only 27,000 people registered without a photo ID but who could vote by signing an affidavit as to their identity.
Further, a Presidential Commission on Federal Election Reform headed by former President Jimmy Carter & former Bush 41 SecState James Baker found in 2005 that such laws do not suppress minority turnout. Its recommendations on voter ID (pp. 18-22) suggest using state REAL ID driver's licenses, with supplementary aid for those who cannot drive, and protection from misuse of ID data. The WT article notes that 99 percent of voters already have ID.
Bottom Line. Until GOP primary voters speak, we are all guessing. Beginning tomorrow, our guesses will become better informed. But in Voter ID challenges that keep in place defective procedures during lengthy litigation, may lie Obama's top trump card, if the 2012 election is close.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics