There's not much to fact-check in this week's Jack Kelly column though that doesn't mean there's nothing worth writing about in it.
What I find interesting is who's in it, who gets criticized and who's left out of it. The title of the column tells you what you need to know about this week's topic:
The search for 'Not Romney' goes onHe starts by pointing out who he thinks will win/place/show in the Iowa horserace, Romney, Gingrich and Paul. Then he opts out of supporting each:
Santorum is the best of the Iowa bunch
Rep. Paul has zero chance to win the nomination. His libertarian positions on economic issues are popular, but his anti-military, anti-Israel foreign policy views appeal mostly to crackpots.And:
Conservatives fret that Romneycare in Massachusetts was the model for Obamacare, and we're uncomfortable with a candidate who seems to change his positions nearly as often as he changes his underwear.And finally:
So we've searched desperately for someone else. One Not Romney after another has rocketed up in the polls, then plummeted when their flaws were exposed. First was Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota; then Texas Gov. Rick Perry; then businessman Herman Cain.I am curious if the "underwear" metaphor is an anti-LDS dog-whistle. Might be, might not be, though Jack's usually not that subtle. Let me explain. Jack could have written, "...change his positions nearly as often as he changes his socks." but he didn't he mentioned Romney's underwear. Given the hullabaloo over LDS "Temple Garments" Jack might be blowing a dog whistle by subtly reminding his readership of Romney's membership in the LDS Church. Or not.
Mr. Gingrich seems to be on the same trajectory. He had a big lead a month ago. Then he got hammered by negative ads, and by vitriolic criticism from prominent conservative pundits. His lead in Iowa is gone.
Back to Jack. He says the interesting result would be who comes in fourth; Bachman, Perry or Santorum. Whoever comes in fourth, he writes, survives. The other two won't make it to New Hampshire.
This part I found most enlightening:
Gov. Perry had a big lead in national polls ... until he opened his mouth in debates. If he finishes close behind the top three, or breaks into it, Republicans may give him a second look. But once you've convinced so many that you're a moron, it's hard to come back.See that? Jack Kelly just called Texas governor Rick Perry a moron. Now take a look at what he wrote waay back in September:
Liberals often say Republicans are stupid, but they really believe it with regard to Gov. Perry. For liberals, credentials and holding fashionable opinions are more important markers of intelligence than knowledge or accomplishment.And then:
"Liberals revere high SAT scores," Mr. Shapiro wrote.
Gov. Perry scorns their opinions, and he went to Texas A&M, not Harvard or Yale. So when a new book said his is "the brainiest political operation in America," liberals were shocked.
So expect lots of name calling. That may not work either. The "Texas cowboy" frightens Eastern liberals, but other Americans may find Gov. Perry's decisiveness a refreshing change from the wuss in the White House who's been described -- cruelly but accurately -- by New Hampshire's Manchester Union Leader as "the Last Responder."Isn't calling someone "a moron." some sort of name-calling? Just askin'.
At the time, we wrote that that column marked some sort of change for Jack:
In his column this week, the P-G's Jack Kelly has officially switched his support from the Sarracuda to Governor Secession and in doing so whines about how unfair the media's been to his newest BFF, Rick Perry.Which leads to the question, In his own search for the great "Not Romney" Republican, why no mention of Sarah Palin? His search for the great Not Romney leads him past Santorum:
I'm not for any of them, but I object least to Mr. Santorum. He's intelligent, articulate, a solid conservative. He has plenty of experience in government; his personal life is unsullied by scandal. The knock on Rick is that he got drubbed when he ran for re-election in 2006. That's not a small thing, but it seems trivial when compared to the flaws of the others.So according to Jack, Jindal's too honorable to run against the moron he's already endorsed.
I'm not alone in wanting another candidate. Quoting Thomas Paine about "summer soldiers and sunshine patriots," Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol again this week begged an A list conservative to enter the race. National Review editor Rich Lowry reported Monday on a conversation he'd had with "a pretty prominent conservative officeholder who's constantly been discussing with people around the country the possibility of a new entrant or a push to draft someone."
The candidate that "pretty prominent conservative officeholder" has in mind is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The prospect thrills Quin Hillyer of the American Spectator, who's been beating that drum for months.
Trouble is, Gov. Jindal endorsed Gov. Perry early on, and is too honorable to become a candidate while Mr. Perry is still in the race. Gov. Jindal campaigned in Iowa with Gov. Perry, where he had to correct Gov. Perry on the details of Gov. Perry's tax plan.
Jack's not happy. So it's a pretty good day for me.