Another GOP Debate: Focus on the Failure Family

So, looks like we front-pagers here at Balloon Juice failed to set up a timely liveblogging post for yet another GOP debate. I would say that we ‘missed’ it, except I don’t feel like I missed very much, nor that many of you cared about the omission, either. Per Steve Benen, at his Washington Monthly Political Animal blog:

The “Thanksgiving Family Forum” was organized and sponsored by three groups: the James Dobson-founded Focus on the Family, a religious right powerhouse known for its bizarre cultural agenda; the National Organization for Marriage, perhaps best known for its unintentionally hilarious anti-gay commercials; and The FAMiLY Leader, an Iowa-based group of extremists that put together “The Marriage Vow” for GOP candidates, which argued, among other things, that slavery wasn’t that bad for African-American families.
Despite — or more likely, because of — the radicals behind the forum, six GOP presidential hopefuls showed up to pander to the religious right voters, each vowing to be more pious than their rivals. The only two candidates who weren’t there were Mitt Romney, who declined an invitation, and Jon Huntsman, who wasn’t invited at all.
The result was an event that was tough to watch.

Looking to court this state’s critical voting bloc of evangelical Christians, Republican presidential candidates sharply attacked secularism and the Supreme Court while calling for greater restrictions on abortion and gay rights at an event here on Saturday.
At a forum on moral values, which was held at First Federated, an evangelical church in Des Moines, the six candidates in attendance largely stuck to Republican orthodoxy and avoided criticizing one another. Instead, they called for dramatic changes in current law to achieve conservative aims…

Evan McMorris-Santoro at TPM has more detail on the “Doomiest And Gloomiest Debate Of All“:

DES MOINES — The Republican candidates for president (with the exception for Mitt Romney who declined and Jon Huntsman who wasn’t invited) met at a large church here Saturday night for a debate aimed at Iowa’s social conservatives.
For the most part, the debate stood our for its focus on doom, gloom and widespread Christian persecution. Except for the part when Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and new frontrunner Newt Gingrich teared up under some personal questioning from Frank Luntz. That was different.
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A place in the sun, or maybe the misfits

Nate Silver says the Gingrich boom may be real:

[T]he biggest piece of news here is Mr. Gingrich and his rise in the polls: he, Mr. Romney and Mr. Cain may now be in a rough three-way tie for the Republican polling lead. Polls certainly aren’t everything in a presidential primary, and for reasons I outlined earlier this week, Mr. Gingrich might have trouble maintaining his momentum as his campaign begins to receive more scrutiny. Still, it looks as if he’s going to enjoy his moment in the sun.

Conservative political analyst Stu Rothenberg sums this all up pretty well:

OK, I give up. I don’t know what the heck is going to happen in the Republican race.


Gingrich is the ultimate entrepreneur, which is not a bad thing in the Republican Party.

I still remember trailing him and former White House spokesman Tony Snow as the three of us walked to take our seats on a small stage at a speaking event a number of years ago.

Gingrich, as I recall, was giving advice to Snow, who had left government service because of his cancer, about the kinds of business deals that the former White House press secretary should consider. Gingrich rattled off a mind-boggling number of ventures and ideas, all of which he had already put into place for himself. I couldn’t help but be impressed by his creativity, but I recall being more than a little uncomfortable by his wheeler-dealer “Gingrich Inc.” approach.

Imagine who much grifting Newt can do in a prolonged primary. This could be the stuff of legends.

Open Thread – I think she wants something from me but I’m not sure what it is

From this morning’s email:

If I donate, Michele, would you spend the money on a decent copy-editor?

I can’t wait to not read the book.

Got no love for players without dubs

A seamless transition between hippie punching and winger fleecing. Griters gonna grift:

HANNITY: I went back and I looked at some of the charges against Bill Clinton, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, et cetera, et cetera. You know, and there was so many things, Eleanor Smeal for example, president of the Feminist Majority Fund said at the time. We’re trying to think of the bigger picture, think about what’s best for women. This is why they didn’t go after Clinton. So, if you are pro-choice, if you are democrat, you get a pass, right?

MORRIS: Well, go back to 1990, ’92 when Bill Clinton was first running for president. He got a black woman fired from her job in Arkansas and got flowers hired in that job instead. And after he left office, the civil rights commission ruled that it had been illegal. And the only reason they didn’t rule, it was harassment was that they didn’t know that he’d had sex with her, which he later admitted he did.

HANNITY: And you are doing a children’s book.

MORRIS: That’s right.

HANNITY: “Dubs Goes to Washington?”

MORRIS: That’s right. My dog Dubs, our golden retriever, and my wife Eileen McGann and Clayton Liotta who did the illustration. What we want to do Sean was that, we — there is no book that kids can buy that shows our heritage and our heroes in a positive light. Everything is P. C. So, what we do in this is we take the like the Iwo Jima Memorial, and we have a poem attached to it, which is the battle was won by the U.S. marines in one of history’s most famous scenes and when we meet the men who kept insured the freedom never fails, people say thanks and dogs wag their tails.

HANNITY: Very good.

Another Grifting Scheme

Not even pretending anymore, these Republicans:

Republican presidential contender Herman Cain used campaign funds to buy his own books from his motivational speaking company, Federal Election Commission records show.

Although his autobiography was published by a division of Simon & Schuster Inc., Cain paid Stockbridge, Georgia-based T.H.E New Voice Inc. $36,511 for books. His campaign spent $4 million through Sept. 30, including more than $64,000 paid to his motivational speaking company for airfare, lodging and supplies, as well as the books.

“They are buying my books and my pamphlets,” Cain said in an interview in between appearances in Arizona yesterday. “The campaign is buying them from T.H.E New Voice.”

Cain’s autobiography, “This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House,” made its debut over the weekend in fourth place on the New York Times bestseller list. Cain said the sales are in compliance with FEC rules because the campaign is paying the going rate for the material.

I guess everyone has figured out the GOP base is an easy mark. It used to be just the religious frauds like Jim and Tammy Faye who took them to the cleaners, but the pols figured out where the money is.