Archive for January 30th, 2009

January 30, 2009

RNC: The Man of Steele

UPDATE 5:45 p.m. ET: Well, it’s over, and now the MSM takes over to distort everything. Michael Steele is predictably misidentified as a “moderate” by the Associated Press. Sigh. And here’s Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post seeking the Pulitzer Prize for non sequiturs:

Asked about the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh and his back and forth with President Barack Obama, Steele was careful not to wholly embrace the controversial conservative talk radio host. “Rush will say what Rush has to say, we will do what we have to do as a party,” said Steele.

Eh? What does that have to do with anything? When was Howard Dean ever asked about any “controversy surrounding” Keith Olbermann or Randi Rhodes or Dan Rather?
Thanks to Dan Riehl for the linkage. A good roundup at Hot Air.
After the fifth ballot, I went outside to have a smoke and found myself chatting with Sally Atwater, widow of former RNC chairman Lee Atwater. Wow.
UPDATE: Hey, get your DNC talking points via Politico.

UPDATE 4:15 p.m. ET: Sixth ballot:

  • Steele 91
  • Dawson 77

A hard-fought battle. Steele just gave his acceptance speech. Will update later with sundry notes.

UPDATE 3:40 p.m. ET: Fifth ballot:

  • Steele 79
  • Dawson 69
  • Anuzis 20

Anuzis announces his withdrawal but does not endorse. If Steele can get just one-third of the Anuzis vote, Steele wins.


UPDATE 2:50 p.m. ET: Fourth ballot:

  • Dawson 62
  • Steele 60
  • Anuzis 31
  • Blackwell 15

Hmmm. Looks like 28 of Duncan’s votes went to Dawson, so my friend who warned earlier to watch out for Katon might have been onto something. If Steele and Anuzis could join forces, that’s it. Next vote set to begin at 3 p.m., results probably by 3:20.

BTW, of all people, guess who I just bumped into? Vanderbilt Professor Carol Swain.


FOLLOW-UP 2:31 p.m.: Welcome Michelle Malkin readers. After the 3rd ballot, Blackwell, Steele and Duncan were seen conferring in a corridor. That conference apparently was related to Duncan’s subsequent withdrawal. In his withdrawal speech, Duncan said, “Obviously, the winds of change are blowing at the RNC.” He got a standing ovation, but did not endorse any of the other candidates. Members voted down a motion to delay the 4th ballot. Will update with the results. If Duncan’s people back Steele, that’s it. We shall see.

EARLIER: Third ballot:

  • Steele 51
  • Duncan 44
  • Dawson 34
  • Anuzis 24
  • Blackwell 15

Hmmm. Steele takes the lead, but Dawson slightly closes the gap. Somebody pointed out that if Duncan were to drop out now, he could throw his support to another candidate and probably be the kingmaker. But if he keeps losing votes on successive ballots, he won’t have that power much longer.

An RNC staffer (and Duncan supporter): “Off the record? I think you’ve got to watch out for Katon.” All manner of crazy speculation among the press corps. We shall see.

Second ballot:

  • Duncan 48
  • Steele 48
  • Dawson 29
  • Anuzis 24
  • Blackwell 19

Duncan held onto most of his first-ballot support, but Steele moves into a tie. Blackwell dropping below 20 is ominous for him. Just talked to John LaBeaume, who points out that Blackwell endorsing Dawson (or vice-versa) would produce a bloc of 48 votes. A combo of Anuzis and Steele would control 72 votes. Too early to tell yet which way this will swing.

First ballot:

  • Duncan 52
  • Steele 46
  • Dawson 28
  • Anuzis 22
  • Blackwell 20

Steele was stronger than expected, and Blackwell weaker than expected. My best source had predicted 55 for Duncan on the first ballot, so he came in lower than predicted. A Blackwell supporter just said it’s 1997 all over again, when Nicholson got 23 votes on the first ballot but pulled out to win in six ballots.

Assume: 52 votes is the ceiling for Duncan. As someone in Press Row pointed out, that’s 116 votes for change.

They just gave the call for members and proxies to vote for the second ballot. Expect further updates . . .


January 30, 2009

Obama and the tipping point

A conservative friend e-mails to share his concerns:

I am already quite sick of this prattling adolescent; this man-child who has never produced anything of value in his life but who presumes to tell us how the most productive engine the world has ever seen should be run.
So he is to be the arbiter of who may make a profit, and when? His entire existence is that of a parasite, leaching off those profits. Such arrogance, and without foundation of any sort.
The ascendancy of this slick little (grand)mama’s boy is a sign of cultural suicide.
I am truly, truly worried, more than I ever have been, about the future of freedom. We have talked for years about “tipping points,” as in, “once [insert leftist agenda item backed by 3/4ths of the GOP caucus here] is enacted, there will be too many people dependent on government for us ever to turn back.”
But the “tipping point” talk has always been prospective. According to this form of punditry, we have been on the verge of tipping over for at least 30 years.
Well, buddy, this is what the world looks like on the other side of the tipping point. There is no going back from this (thank you, GWB, for your “compassion” in presiding over the descent into socialism). We now accelerate on our long slide into cultural and economic decrepitude. Welcome to the Eurpoean Union of American States. Look forward to standing in lines just to fill out forms to apply to get on a list to be part of the waiting pool for your gallbladder operation when you are 65 and, if you are lucky, living in your child’s basement apartment.
Time to brush up on your Old Testament. Only the sort of faith exhibited by those who wandered deserts and faced anihilation at the swords of very personal, local enemies is of any use in this scenario.
That’s my sunny, cheerful, message of the day!

Thanks for cheering me up, buddy!

January 30, 2009

Ready to rumble at the RNC

The American Spectator owes me combat pay for the five hours I spent in the hospitality suites last night to get the report I filed at 3 a.m.:

Just got back from the Capitol Hilton and, after five hours of heavy schmoozing with attendees at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, I can say with a high degree of certainty that anyone who tells you they know the outcome of the RNC chairman’s vote is lying.
As to Chris Cillizza’s claim that Katon Dawson’s got the mojo — didn’t see it. Maybe the Dawson faction is playing possum, but if the South Carolinian is a “force to be reckoned with,” it’s a stealth momentum so hush-hush as to be undetectable to an outsider. . . .

Please read the whole thing. My brain’s sore from all the hard work of trying to figure this thing out. I’m looking around on the Web this morning, and nobody’s got any more idea of how it’s going to turn out than I do, which is to say, none at all. The Politico‘s Alexander Burns:

GOP insiders say Friday’s contest to elect the next chairman of the Republican National Committee will be a long and drawn-out affair, with multiple ballots necessary to determine the winner. In part, it’s a reflection of a party that, even after a nearly three month-long chairman’s race, remains deeply uncertain of which candidate can best lead the GOP back to power.

See? That’s Objective Journalese for “I don’t have a freaking clue.”

UPDATE: The American Spectator‘s Jim Antle mentions the RNC chairman’s contest on the way to a vicious fisking of David Frum’s “New Majority.”

UPDATE II: American Spectator managing editor J.P. Freire was also at the RNC meeting last night, but he apparently went to the meeting, as opposed to the hospitality suites, where all the real deep investigative journalism takes place.

UPDATE III: If you’re on Facebook, here’s video of an interview I did last night with Saul Anuzis’s sister.

UPDATE IV: Video now on YouTube: