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Showing posts from December, 2007

Here's what that negative ad Huckabee won't run said

Here's part of the text of that negative ad Mike Huckabee first said he wasn't going to run, and then- to compound the blunder- played for the assembled journalists at the press conference he called to announce that he wasn't going negative after all:

I'm Mike Huckabee, and I approve this message, because Iowans have a right to know the truth about Mitt Romney's dishonest attacks on me and even an American hero, John McCain.

Romney's record? Over $700 million in new taxes. Left office with a deficit. No executions. Supported gun control. And Romney's government mandated health plan provided a $50 co-pay for abortion.

I'm Bob Waters, and I approved this post because no matter what Mike Huckabee says,
you need to know what that ad would have told you.

BREAKING NEWS: Huckabee gives up in Iowa

Mike Huckabee has just effectively thrown in the towel.

I just received this email from his campaign:

Pastor -

I want to be the first one to encourage you to commend Governor Huckabee for doing the right thing by working ever harder to get out the vote on Caucus Night 2008 ... and share this with your friends and neighbors who are supporting or considering to support him.

I was at a press conference during the lunch hour at the Marriott in Des Moines where Huckabee's campaign had originally intended to show a couple of Romney's negative attack ads against Huckabee, and then launch an attack ad of our own. After some more consideration this morning, however, Governor Huckabee personally chose to pull the attack ad against Romney down, and at the last minute, change the format of the press conference from a "tit-for-tat response to Romney's negativity" theme to a "let's change the flavor of discourse from negative to positive" theme.

And then, to prove to …


Well, there's a new Iowa poll out: the Reuters-Zogby, which shows Mike Huckabee with a two point lead over Mitt Romney.

Since the most recent poll has Huckabee leading- and since Romney's newly-minted RCP average lead (owing to at a poll with yet another pro-Romney result so out of step with the others to be suspect) has shrunken overnight to .04%- I guess we must be witnessing a Romney implosion.

Or at least that's the conclusion one reaches if one uses the logic pro-Romney folks have been using over and over and over during the past two weeks to demonstrate that a "Huckabust" was underway ("Yes! Huckabee is imploding!...uh, ok, NOW. Now Huckabee is imploding... well, OK. Now. Now for sure....")

Have to congratulate them on one thing, though. Just before this most recent poll- the one that shows Huckabee in the lead- the Romney folks finally managed, after two weeks of proclaiming that their candidate had recovered and that Mike Huckabee was history-

Make that the '72 Dolphins, the '07 Patriots- and the '34 Bears!

Not to quibble or anything, but everybody is saying that the New England Patriots last night became only the second team in NFL history to go undefeated during the regular season.

While I join football fans everywhere in congratulating the Pats for this feat, it needs to be pointed out that what everybody is saying is, in fact, wrong. The 2007 Patriots are not the second, but the third team to do so.

The 1934 Chicago Bears had a regular season record of 13-0, losing for the only time to the New York Giants in the NFL championship game. The Bears led at halftime, 10-3, on a field so badly frozen that nobody wearing cleats could get any traction.

But the Giants' coach, Steve Owen, had a brainstorm. He sent equipment manager Abe Cohen over to Manhattan College, where Cohen found a supply of sneakers for the New York players.

The Giants wore the sneakers during the second half, while the Bears continued to slip and slide around the ice-covered field in their cleats.

Final score: Giants 30,…

Time to take off the gloves and hit Mitt

This post asks a real good question: where are the anti-Romney attack ads?

We're beginning to see them in New Hampshire. Good. Serves "Slick Mitt" right. And just listen to Romney whine when he gets a taste of his own medicine!

Trouble is, in attempting to be the "Christian leader" he's been so abused for claiming to be and turning the other cheek, Mike Huckabee has made himself the Michael Dukakis of 2008.

Being outspent twenty to one will hurt Huck here. And the Romney ground game will be devastating. But in the last analysis, if Huckabee loses in Iowa, it's because he didn't challenge the Romney lies with a negative counterattack pointing them out for the lies they are.

Romney's truthfulness is becoming an issue in this campaign. And if Huckabee doesn't address that issue- as hard is it may be for him on religious and ethical grounds to do unto Romney as Romney has done unto him- he's going to be in trouble on Thursday.

A reply to a lie

Just had a comment from a Romney supporter who claimed that Gov. Huckabee is unable to name the lies in those attack ads Romney has been running against him here in Iowa these past several weeks.

Here- in slightly expanded form- is my response:

Which is, of course, itself a lie- as you'd know if you'd simply been reading this blog.

The bill which Huckabee brought before the Arkansas legislature on meth sales, which the Romney ad claims showed how weak he is on crime, had a minimum penalty of ten years for a first offense.

The bill which Romney brought before the Massachusetts legislature, which the Romney ad claims proves that he is tougher on meth sellers than Huckabee is, had a minimum pentalty for the first offense of two and a half years.

What's more, Romney couldn't even get his bill passed!

Now, it's true that the Huckabee bill lowered the penalty- at the request of Arkansas prosecutors, who had to deal with catastrophic overcrowding in the prisons- for first …

Face it... Huckabee has already won the race that counts in Iowa

All over the internet, a gallant corps of wishful thinkers (headed by Bob Novak- who, to put it mildly, doesn't like Mike Huckabee) are trumpeting a so called "Huckabust," i.e., the end of the "Huckaboom."

The idea is that Mike Huckabee's catching and passing a candidate who has outspent him twenty-to-one here in Iowa, and maintaining a solid second-place ranking among the Republican candidates nationally, is somehow a fluke... and we know that it's coming to an end because one poll or another shows Huckabee losing support.

By definition, of course, polls which show Huckabee gaining support- like the Quad City Times poll that shows Huckabee's lead over Romney at seven points- aren't mentioned. Nor is one apt to be directed in "Huckabust" articles and blog entries to recent Iowa polls in general, in which a anomylous American Research Group poll showing Romney with a nine-point lead has pulled Huckabee's average lead down to two point…

'Atta boy, John!

John McCain- unlike Mike Huckabee- has decided not to turn the other cheek in response to Mitt Romney's dishonest and misleading negative advertisements:

Note the Romney whine here.

He just lies about the other guy. Nothing personal, or anything.

ADDENDUM: Here is an interview with Mike Huckabee in which he addresses the prediliction of the Romney campaign for misleading attack ads. Among other things, Huckabee says of Romney's negativity:

It's dishonest toward me, it's dishonest toward John McCain. That's really what, I think, this race comes down to, is the integrity and honesty with which we are approaching it... (Romney is) being dishonest about my record and John McCain's, and Rudy Giuliani's, and I think he's certainly being dishonest about his own record... (Romney has) spent millions and million of dollars.I'm sure there's a feeling of frustration. You're not supposed to be behind when you're spending that kind of money.
And while yo…

Romney doesn't drink, but he does like his whine

Slick Mitt- the upscale version of Bill Clinton, the only other politician I know who parses the truth as artfully as Clinton does- doesn't mind attacking his opponents with false and misleading ads.

Mitt, unlike Clinton, is doubtless certain as to what the meaning of "is" is. He's just isn't certain of the meaning of "saw."

Face it: Romney has an authenticity problem. He comes across as a robot- a robot nobody is quite sure has any particular convictions about anything.

Like Clinton, he also has a truth problem. One thing he does well, though- and in that, too, he resembles Bill Clinton: Mitt Romney whines.

Mitt has attacked just about everyone though, not just Huck and McCain- and done it in a singularly nasty fashion which is quickly making him a pariah among the candidates and- in the unlikely event of his nomination- will assure that a great many people who will vote for him to keep Hillary out of the White House will not be disposed to lift a finger f…

2008 101: a Republican primer

How we got here

Once upon a time, a party's presidential candidate was chosen by professional politicians whose primary motivation in making the choice (beyond any personal agendas) was to win.

Party primaries were "beauty contests," which really meant very little. Occasionally- as in the failure of the "Draft MacArthur" campaign in the Wisconsin Republican primary of 1952- they served as a kind of informal test of a potential candidate's viability. That same year, Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee actually defeated President Harry S Truman in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, and won twelve of the fifteen primaries he entered in the process of going exactly nowhere; primaries had nothing to do with delegate selection, and the Democratic Party turned to Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson instead of Kefauver. In 1960, a victory by Roman Catholic Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts over Congregationalist Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota in the highly Prot…

Caucus Day Minus Seven: If you have trouble buying Iowa, will paying a higher price work?

Mitt Romney took a seemingly insurmountable lead here in Iowa a year or so ago by spending an astronomical amount of money largely raised by folks very anxious that the United States have a Mormon president.

For nearly a year, Mitt Romney has been marketed to Iowans on TV to the point that we automatically look for him on the shelves every time we visit Hy-Vee or Dahl's or Wal-Mart. Without the deep pockets provided by Romney's wealthy and highly motivated contributers, it's hard to see how Mitt could have established himself as a leading candidate here in Iowa. He'd almost certainly be in the same place here that he's been all along in the national polls: somewhere around fourth or fifth, with no real prospect of playing with the big boys.

But even the big bucks and the omnipresence on the TV screen wasn't enough to keep a relatively obscure and underfunded guy from Arkansas named Mike Huckabee from catching and passing him here in Iowa. Mitt- unable to close th…

Romney defends his own lack of expertise in foreign affairs

I'm sure it was an oversight that Mitt Romney didn't offer his condolences when he learned of the assassination of Pakastani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto (he did that later).

But I'm a little puzzled by his response to being challenged over his lack of foreign policy experience: “The president is not an expert. The president is a leader who guides America in making the important decisions which must be made to keep us safe.”

Now, it's certainly true that any president relies on the advice of others who are specialists in their various areas of expertise; the Chief Executive himself is best served by being a generalist. And it's also true that many times presidents with little foreign policy experience have grown into the job. Perhaps one or more of those things, or both, were what he meant to say.

But the words he chose might be interpreted to mean that Mitt doesn't think that a lack of foreign policy credentials is something that needs to be addressed. It'…

Remember November- and forget Mitt Romney!

Here is a fascinating article- admittedly only one man's opinion- on the prospects of each of the declared candidates for the White House actually to win a general election.

Steven Stark's rankings:
1) John McCain
2) John Edwards
3) Rudy Giuliani
4) (tie) Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee
6) Barack Obama
7) Mitt Romney
8) Fred Thompson

I don't necessarily agree with Stark in every detail (he fails to give due weight, for example, to the utter unacceptability of Rudy Giuliani to far more Republicans than support him), but I think he's pretty much on the mark. I've said for years that Hillary has far too many negatives to be nearly as formidable as her supporters inside and outside the MSM would have us believe. And while I disagree with him on stem cells, I do agree that in November John McCain would probably be the strongest candidate we could nominate- with Mike Huckabee being the most electable candidate I find totally acceptable on the social issues which are most import…

Christmas Eve at St. Mary

Finding a confessional Lutheran congregation in the Des Moines area is tough. My ex-wife and I had to join an LCMS congregation in Knoxville, Iowa- half an hour away- some time back, and our attendence wasn't what it should have been.

So I recently joined a young independent confessional congregation, St. Mary, on the North Side of Des Moines. It's a truly tiny little band of believers, with about five family units, mostly composed of refuges either form the Missouri Synod's ongoing methobapticostalization or the plunge of the ELS into a Wisconsin Synod-style denial of the divine origin of the pastoral office.Our budget is just fine, thank you, and we have quite a few resources, talent-wise. We're keeping our synodical options open, being in communication with the Association of Confessional Lutheran Congregations.

Somewhere along the line we decided to do a full-court neighborhood press to encourage visitors at our Christmas Eve candlelight service. We burned a rather p…

"How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv'n..."

O Lord, You have created all!
How did You come to be so small,
To meekly sleep in manger bed,
Where lowing cattle lately fed?

Were Earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold, and jewels rare,
Still, such a cradle would not do,
To rock a Prince as great as You!

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Prepare a bed- soft, undefiled
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

--Martin Luther

A blessed Christmas to you all!

The vindication of Bloody Mary

Tony Blair became a Catholic the other day. Given the spiritual cesspool the Anglican communion has become, no wonder!

Of course, Blair married a Catholic woman, and their children have been raised Catholic. And the former prime minister has attended Mass regularly for some time.

Still, as a Lutheran, I find a little sad that half a millennium after the Reformation in England, the Roman Catholic church has replaced the Church of England as the British denomination with the highest weekly church attendance.

N.H. paper gives Mitt an 'anti-endorsement'

Newspapers in primary and caucus states often issue endorsements for presidential candidates. But the Concord (N.H) Monitor has broken with tradition in running an editorial explaining why former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney should not be elected president.

Romney campaign officials ascribe the editorial to the liberal mindset of the Monitor's editorial staff.

The Bears redeem their season

Going to the Super Bowl last year was nice, but losing it was a bummer. I don't know whether it was worth the trip. And up until now, this year has been nothing but one long disappointment for my Bears.

But no longer.

No season in which the Bears beat the Green Bay Packers twice is a complete failure.

The Ursine Warriors' 35-7 thrashing of the Snot 'n' Pus today ended all hope of a number one seed for Green Bay in the NFC playoffs. Taking satisfaction from that would be small-minded of me. I rejoice, rather, in knowing that, no matter how bad the Bears have been throughout the rest of the season, two of the Packers' three loses have been to the boys from Halas U.

Bear down!

This blog once was an item on CNN!

I just came across a CNN transcript from back when they were getting ready to elect the current pope in which Jacki Schechner of CNN quotes this blog (even while getting both its name and its URL wrong... but who's complaining?).

Anyway, here's the text:

Then, Bob Waters over at WatersBlog, and that's at He's got a whole post about the process that's going on right now, a lot of what we've been hearing elsewhere. But he's also got some links to the odds on the election of the various candidates. And you can either check out for the pope odds, and the Cardinal Arinze from Nigeria is actually in the lead right now at three to one odds. You can also place your bet on the name that the pope who is chosen will choose to take. Benedict being the top one over there, right now. Watersblog, though, by the way -- Bob is weighing in on what he pick would be and he thinks it's going to be Cardinal Ratzinger. He thinks it is g…

The word "liar" can come back to haunt you

It should be stipulated that Mike Huckabee never completed his "theology degree".

But if his referring to it as such was a lie, what's Mitt Romney's false statement about he and his father marching with Martin Luther King?

ADDENDUM: Here's the Washington Post on the subject of Romney's "figurative" seeing of his father, George- whom nobody doubts was a great champion of civil rights- march with Dr. King.

ADDENDUM II: More on the question of whether Romney's campaign- even if not Romney himself- deliberately tried to deceive the media and the public in its handling of the former Massachusetts governor's claim.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Romney's terrible record of judicial appointments

One of the problems with going negative on a fellow former governor is that that turnabout is fair play.

As related here, while governor of Massachusetts Romney advocated minumum sentences of two and a half years for first-time meth producers- and then had the effrontery to accuse Mike Huckabee in a current Iowa TV ad of being soft on crime because Huckabee agreed to a request by Arkansas prosecutors, forced to deal with catastrophic prison overcrowding, to support lowering the minimum sentence in Arkansas to a "mere" ten years!

While criticizing Huckabee for issuing too many pardons and commutations of sentences, Romney also bragged that he himself had never commuted a sentence or issued a pardon as governor of Massachusetts- a record which, absent a blind faith on his part in a superhuman degree of perfection in the Massachusetts judicial system, argues a lack of attention to the possibility that human judges and juries even in the Bay State sometimes make mistakes.

A watchdo…

In defense of the Archbishop of Canterbury (believe it or not!)

That Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a gentleman of dubious orthodoxy presiding over a communion large parts of which have teetered into open apostasy cannot be denied. But as strange as this seems, I have to side with him over his allegedly 'controversial'remarks concerning the Christmas story.

Scripture is silent as to the number of Wise Men; the original legend seems to have been that there were twelve. They almost certainly did not visit the manger, but some subsequent Bethlehem residence of the Holy Family, quite possibly after a period of years (Herod's decision to kill all children under the age of three- which may have been based on mere conjecture on his part as to the Child's age - is literally the only biblical evidence that the Wise Men arrived while Jesus was even a toddler). The Wise Men most likely were Mesopotamian astrologers, just as Williams suggests. Scripture does not give the date or the weather or even the time of year that Jesus …

'Romney surge' in Iowa and nationally appears to have been a polling glitch

Yesterday the news was full of a new poll showing Mitt Romney coming from nowhere to tie Rudy Giuliani for first place among Republicans nationally. The surprising NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted between Dec. 14 and Dec. 16, showed Romney and Giuliani with 20% each, Huckabee with 17%, and the resurgent John McCain with 14%.

Combine that with an Insider Advantage poll taken on Dec. 16 and Dec 17 showing Romney recapturing the lead in Iowa,with 28% to Huckabee's 25, and a Rasmussen Poll taken on Dec. 17, showing Huckabee's Iowa lead over Romney cut to only one per cent, and Romney's folks are fantasizing that the Huckabee "honeymoon" has worn off and that their man is rocking and rolling.

Alas, not so. Another national poll came out today-one from Fox News- showing Giuliani with 20%, Huckabee and John McCain tied for second, with 19%- and Romney back in the pack, where he's been all along, with a one-point lead over Fred Thompson for third (11% to 10%)…

Romney attack ad on crime is a pack of lies

The reputable Annenberg Fact Check website, which serves as a watchdog on the truth of charges and claims made by political candidates, has rather thoroughly torn apart Mitt Romney's ad here in Iowa attempting to make Mike Huckabee look soft on crime, and Romney tough.

Says the site:

Romney launched another negative ad in Iowa this week, where the Republican presidential candidate has been battling the new front-runner, Huckabee. This time, Romney attacks Huckabee's record on methamphetamine laws and the clemencies he granted as governor of Arkansas. We found that:
1)The ad says Romney "got tough on drugs like meth" while governor of Massachusetts, but the legislation he supported never passed, and his state's laws are much weaker than Arkansas'. Convicted meth dealers face both minimum and maximum prison terms in Arkansas that are four times longer than those in Massachusetts.
2)The ad misrepresents news articles, implying that they supported Romney's actio…

Either Massachusetts is perfect, or Romney was an unjust governor

Mitt Romney brags that he never commuted a sentence of issued a pardon during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts.

This would seem to indicate one of two things. Either the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has an absolutely perfect judicial system, which never convicts the innocent or assigns penalties out of proportion to the deserts of the criminal, or Mitt Romney did not do his job as governor of Massachusetts- part of which was to correct judicial mistakes of this kind. This also does not speak well of Mr. Romney's sense of either justice or proportion, and would seem to recommend his candidacy only to those who also lack these qualities.