Monday, January 23, 2012

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

COUNTDOWN TO VICTORY: 288 DAYS TO THE 2012 ELECTIONS

Newt Takes South Carolina

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich convincingly won the South Carolina primary Saturday, taking 40% of the vote. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was second with 28%, followed by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (17%) and Texas Congressman Ron Paul (13%). The race is now anyone's to win!

I think it is clear from these results that conservative primary voters are looking for a "fighter" for conservative values, and Newt struck a nerve in the debates. He clearly stole the show at the last debate, refusing to be cowed by the liberal media.

It's also worth noting that Gingrich won 44% of self-identified born-again/evangelical Christians and he won a plurality (38%) of female voters. That's not surprising in many ways. Gingrich and Santorum have talked extensively about religious liberty and religious persecution. Both men, but Newt especially, have made reining in rogue judges a key issue.

People of faith also believe in redemption. While Gingrich acknowledges his past failures, he also says that his faith is more important to him now, and the voters of South Carolina chose to take him at his word that he is a changed man.

Lastly, here's some encouraging news: There was a huge spike in participation in Saturday's primary compared to four years ago. In 2008, roughly 430,000 people voted. This weekend, more than 600,000 went to the polls despite terrible weather that included tornado watches over 18 counties.

Race Down To Three Serious Candidates

Iowa and New Hampshire winnowed the field from seven candidates to four. But no one is dropping out after South Carolina. Rather than anointing a front-runner, the early primary states have given each of the top three contenders a victory -- Santorum in Iowa, Romney in New Hampshire and Gingrich in South Carolina. As Rick Santorum put it, "Three states, three different winners. What a country!"

In Saturday's South Carolina primary, Rick Santorum once again outpolled expectations. The RealClearPolitics.com average had Santorum running fourth at 12%. One pre-primary poll even put Santorum in single digits, with Paul pulling ahead. Yet Santorum finished well above that mark and Paul faded as more voters focused on his appeasement foreign policy.

What happens next? Romney and the GOP establishment will do everything they can to stop Gingrich's momentum. Gingrich has to demonstrate that South Carolina wasn't a fluke. If the two savage one another in the days ahead, Santorum could well emerge from that battle as the conservative alternative without the "baggage" that Gingrich carries.

Electability Is Subjective

I know conservatives want to win in November, but I hope we don't fall for some oft-repeated myths. One of them is electability and the notion that we should support Candidate X because he/she is the most electable.

Electability is a completely subjective concept. Polling data can be useful, but it is only a snapshot of what conditions are now. It tells you little about what the landscape will be in November.

The GOP establishment argues that the more moderate the candidate is, the more electable they are. There is no evidence of that at all. Just ask President Dole or President McCain. A lot of pundits and the party establishment said Ronald Reagan was too extreme and unelectable. The rest is history.

The conventional wisdom says that you have to get independent voters in order to win. That is true. But the media and the establishment have convinced themselves that independent voters and moderate voters are the same, and that is not true. Many independents are in fact disgruntled conservatives who left the GOP in recent years because it was not conservative enough!

I believe this is going to be a brutal campaign -- one of the most vicious we have ever seen. In such campaigns, turnout often goes down because many people get disgusted and tune out. That makes turnout by the base even more important than usual, and it is essential that the base is fired up and enthusiastic about the nominee.

Many political observers question whether Mitt Romney can energize the conservative base, which begs the question: Is he the most electable candidate? A serious case could be made that Santorum or Gingrich would be stronger candidates in November.

Obama -- The Abortion President

Today thousands of pro-life activists gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 39th Annual March for Life. Typical for this time of year, the weather is miserable -- 40s and raining. But their spirits are not dampened.

I know because I had the honor of addressing the Kentucky Right to Life delegation this morning on Capitol Hill. Thirty-nine years after Roe v. Wade, their commitment to the sanctity of life is as strong as ever. And with good reason. As you can read in my latest Human Events column, we are winning the battle for hearts and minds!

Yesterday, as millions of Americans observed Sanctity of Life Sunday, Barack Obama issued a statement from the White House celebrating "this historic anniversary" of Roe v. Wade and reiterating his commitment to protecting abortion-on-demand.

Obama also had the audacity to suggest that our daughters can "fulfill their dreams" thanks to abortion. Most politicians know better than to adopt the label "pro-abortion." But it's hard to define Obama's remarks in any other way.

How perverse is it to suggest that the ability to terminate life leads to the fulfillment of dreams? Then again, this is the same man who said he would not want his own daughters "punished with a baby." Yet, women who have experienced the anguish of abortion often speak of shattered dreams, of dreams lost and unfulfilled. They are often the most effective pro-life advocates.

Obama vs. The Church

Religious liberty suffered another blow Friday when the Obama Administration mandated free contraception coverage, including the abortion drug "ella." Religious groups had sought a waiver from this mandate, but the Administration refused. Instead, the Washington Post reported that they will have "a one-year delay before they must comply with the new rule."

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, blasted the mandate and the Obama Administration's disregard for religious liberty. Here is an excerpt of his statement:

"In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences. To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. …The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs."

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity in this "End of Day" report to remind folks once again about why politics is so important. It is literally a matter of life and death. The men and women we elect to public office appoint and confirm the justices who sit on the Supreme Court.

There are four justices on the high court who realize Roe v. Wade is terrible law. There are four justices who will fall on their sword to defend abortion-on-demand. The deciding vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, seems to have no firm philosophical convictions. If Barack Obama gets four more years and one or two more appointments to the Supreme Court, he will tip the balance on the high court. And abortion-on-demand, not to mention a radical redefinition of marriage, will be enshrined in our laws for generations to come.
 

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