January 15, 2012 |
When the Republican presidential candidates took the stage at the NBC News/Facebook debate on "Meet the Press" on Jan. 8, it was their last big chance to make an impression before the New Hampshire primary last Tuesday. They may have strayed from one another in terms of political issues throughout the event, but there was something unmistakably uniform about the six candidates. Lined up side by side under the bright lights, each wore a plain dark navy suit, solid light-colored shirt, subtle tie and, except for Ron Paul, a lapel pin of some kind (in most cases, an American flag)
December 20, 2011 |
The attack on the federal judiciary by Republican candidates for president has reached a new low and should be denounced by liberals and conservatives alike. In November, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced that if elected president, his "appointees to the federal bench will not receive a lifetime appointment. "Now Newt Gingrich has pledged that if he were elected he would defy Supreme Court rulings with which he disagreed and that judicial review to ensure that the government complies with the Constitution has been "grossly overstated.
December 8, 2011
Does being a self-promoting blowhard disqualify you from hosting a presidential debate? Some critics of Donald Trump seem to think so. They argue that his planned Dec. 27 debate for Republican presidential candidates, co-sponsored by the conservative magazine NewsMax, is a bad idea because it would demean the participants and turn what should be a serious dialogue into an episode of "The Apprentice. " A spokesperson for Ron Paul said: "The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the presidency and flies in the face of that office's history and dignity.
December 8, 2011 |
Is it just me, or does the GOP candidate pool remind you of "We Are the World," the 1985 charity single made under the name USA for Africa that featured dozens of pop artists singing about how to "make a brighter day" and "stand together as one"? I'm not talking about the message itself — though, admittedly, both the "We Are the World" lyrics and most of the Republican talking points lean more toward platitude than poetry — but rather about the way nearly every candidate has had a chance to grab the mic and spend a minute in the spotlight belting out a semi-intelligible solo before retreating back into the chorus or disappearing altogether.
December 7, 2011 |
In a closely-knit Mormon congregation, Ronnie Catalano was a problem Mitt Romney wanted to solve. As bishop — a position akin to priest or pastor — Romney presided over a fast-growing flock that included Catalano's wife, Sandy, a new convert. Ronnie, a cigarette smoking, wine-drinking Catholic, had accused Sandy of ruining their family by becoming Mormon. He tried to prevent her from attending church and from donating their money in the Mormon tradition of tithing. Sandy was thinking of leaving her husband and moving to Utah with their two children, an anathema in a faith in which families come first and church leaders are encouraged to bring non-Mormon spouses of church members into the fold.
December 1, 2011 |
Is Mitt Romney a thin-skinned candidate who dislikes being challenged on his record? That's the impression left by Bret Baier, the Fox News Channel anchor who interviewed Romney this week about Romney's complaints about the exchange. Baier showed up on Bill O' Reilly's show on Fox on Wednesday night to say that Romney had, when the interview was over, groused about Baier's “overly aggressive” tone, which he said was "uncalled for," and that he was particularly unhappy about being quizzed yet again about the healthcare plan he helped enact in Massachusetts.
November 28, 2011
Backward thinking Re "Clueless candidates," Editorial, Nov. 23 Your editorial exposing the clueless, arcane, 19th century policy positions of GOP presidential candidates — focusing on Newt Gingrich's call to roll back child labor laws — was brilliant. It reminded me of the famous scene in "Blazing Saddles" in which the Waco Kid explains this kind of folly to Sheriff Bart: "What did you expect? 'Welcome, sonny'? 'Make yourself at home'? 'Marry my daughter'?
November 19, 2011 |
There are certain prerequisites for presidential candidates competing in Iowa: Greet voters in the Pizza Ranch restaurants that dot the state. Recruit volunteers to make your case on a bitterly cold night when the caucuses are held. And meet with Bob Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats, 48, is an influential leader among Iowa's social conservatives and evangelicals, a key voting bloc that can deliver a victory in the first voting contest in the nation. He was the state chairman of Mike Huckabee's ragtag 2008 campaign, which surprised many with its first-place finish here.
November 17, 2011 |
When Richard M. Nixon ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968, he faced a daunting problem: A lot of voters just didn't like him. Nixon had made his name in politics as an angry, partisan hatchet man, famous for lashing out against Democrats and the news media. To win the presidency, he needed to find a way to soften that too-harsh image. In the months before the 1968 primaries, Nixon's campaign staged gauzy television segments that showed the candidate gently answering questions from ordinary citizens, not pesky reporters.