Rules For Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, by Steve Deace with Forward by David Limbaugh. Purchase Your Copy.

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The Final Phase

By Steve Deace

The final two Republican presidential debates before the Iowa Caucuses have come and gone, giving voters their lasting impression of the candidates on the same stage together.

Given the high viewership of both the ABC debate on Saturday and the Fox News debate on Thursday, not to mention their proximity, I believe voters will see these debates as one event and lump them in together, along with the rest of the late-breaking news on the campaign trail. That’s especially the case when you consider how little time is left between now and January 3rd, and how several candidates do not have the resources to go all-out on the air with the advertising that gives them a captive audience with voters.

So as we enter the final phase of the campaign with the Iowa Caucuses just 19 days away, here’s where I believe each candidate stands:

Michele Bachmann

She did a better job of stating her case as a presidential candidate in the first debate with her stinging “Newt Romney” references, and then following that up with why she should be the alternative. In the second debate her attacks against Newt Gingrich (Fannie/Freddie) and Ron Paul (foreign policy) were even sharper and more effective. She drew blood from both, and hurt both of their chances of winning the Caucuses. However, by dropping her effective “Newt Romney” catchphrase she might have actually helped Mitt Romney more than herself on Fox News. That’s because she was so much on the attack that I wonder if voters missed her selling them on why she was the alternative to who she was attacking, as opposed to her just telling voters how weak Gingrich and Paul are in certain areas. People prefer something to vote for, not something to vote against. If Bachmann had the resources to go back on the air and runs ads about herself similar to the ones on the debt ceiling issue she ran before the Straw Poll, she could better capitalize on these attacks. Barring that I fear she did more to hurt the frontrunners then help herself. If I was Romney, I was an especially big fan of Bachmann’s aggressive debate performance on Thursday, because she softened up my competition and left me out of it while Willard got to take the high ground for the most part. Bachmann needs to sell herself as much – if not more so – then she attacks the frontrunners.

Newt Gingrich

Other then when Bachmann struck a nerve on his Fannie/Freddie connections, Gingrich was stellar in both debates. His second hour on Thursday was particularly outstanding, and he got some of the loudest applause you can get in Iowa when he touched on an out of control judiciary branch. Nonetheless, with no more debates this now becomes about retail politics and advertising. If I were Gingrich, I would try to have about 10 more debates between now and January 3rd, because he’s at his best when directly contrasted with his peers and Gingrich is behind on the ground in Iowa. Gingrich’s first TV ad was very good, but he needs to roll up his sleeves and do an aggressive town hall tour in Iowa. If he loses Iowa to anyone other than Paul it will be seen as a mortal wound to his campaign. He needs to organizationally put a firewall around the state, and get out there and let people see him as a person—not just the guy in all the attack ads flooding the airwaves.

Ron Paul

Any other candidate would be toast after the past 72 hours Paul has had. First there was his refusal to sign the Personhood pledge signed by Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, and Rick Perry—despite the fact he signed the Susan B. Anthony pledge. Then there was getting the endorsement of homosexual activist Andrew Sullivan, followed by the revelation of Paul’s close relationship with a family that owns one of the largest infanticide chains in California. But the coup de grace was Paul’s naïve pre-War of 1812 foreign policy views that were sadly on full display Thursday night. Paul’s chances of winning January 3rd were definitely diminished, but it’s hard to tell to which degree because he has a coalition that operates outside the traditional Republican framework and still has the best organization in the state. He’s got such a cult of personality that has abandoned all critical thinking that at this point he could name a unicorn as his running mate, and his hardcore supporters would just latch on all the more. It’s too bad, too, because on the stuff Paul is right about he can’t possibly be more right. One thing is for certain, if a candidate with Paul’s foreign policy views wins the Iowa Caucuses that will be the final nail in Iowa’s first in the nation status. Like it or not, the media and the Republican Party itself will simply discredit the results and start the process over in New Hampshire.

Rick Perry

Perry helped himself by signing the Family Leader and Personhood pledges, and he’s finally getting some traction with the television ads he’s running. His debate performance on Saturday was okay considering how low his standards are, but then on Thursday night I thought he was not just good compared to what we’ve seen from him, but objectively good in general. For the first time I could actually envision Perry being the President of the United States, and people are starting to see him as a likeable, folksy fellow again—not just the gaffe-ridden bumbler of his first few months on the campaign trail. There is no doubt the situation is still very fluid, and he still has a lot of access to resources, which is why I think Perry may be the only candidate in the race in position to substantially help himself the final 19 days.

Mitt Romney

Like Paul, Romney is playing by a different set of rules. His support is largely set in stone. He’s probably not going to win Iowa, but he doesn’t have to. He just needs to soften up Gingrich the rest of the way and hope Perry stays down, because in Romney’s gameplan those are the only two candidates with the resources to take him on over the long haul. Besides that, anything Romney gets out of Iowa is gravy.

Rick Santorum

Was way too passive on Saturday night, and then was really good on Thursday night in the limited time he had. He does the one thing Bachmann often neglects to do, which is show why he is the alternative to the skepticism conservatives have about “Newt Romney.” However, he wasn’t as assertive as Bachmann in the final two debates, so he often seemed left behind. It’s almost like Santorum does well what Bachmann doesn’t, and vice versa. Together they’re the ideal candidate, but separate they split the baby in half. It’s very difficult to foresee a path to victory for Santorum minus an endorsement from the Family Leader and/or Steve King. But regardless of what you may think of Santorum’s chances, he did the nation a favor by finally being the first candidate to confront Romney directly on what he did to marriage in Massachusetts. Everything Santorum said was correct.

Discussion

57 Responses to The Final Phase

  1. JoelKurtinitis says:

    You are aware that Ron Paul is polling 2nd in New Hampshire too, right…?

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Together they’re the ideal candidate” - - absolutely!  If you want a candidate who is for more government, more spending, military bases on every corner of the earth (don’t worry, the countries where we have them LOVE us to be there), and a Federal government who has no qualms passing legislation to take liberties away from people, and quietly wish Prohibition was never repealed.   

  3. Peter Heers says:

    Mr. Deace, as a Christian, you should be focused on the issues and the
    principles and not falling into this trap of playing pundit with the
    future of America, pontificating and prophesying from a “high-chair”
    such that you presume to take the power out of the hands of the people and gives it
    to the media and the party!
    You do release that your comments come across as a threat to Iowans: vote Paul and become irrelevant! What? As a Christian, I thought we wanted to be faithful, “relevant” to God and His Truth, not to the media and the party!
    And your reporting on those pro-abortion supporters of Paul is reminiscent of a tabloid, not a serious Christian man. What has the man SAID. YEA-YEA, NAY, NAY is what the Lord said. Do you really think Paul is dishonest, “hiding something,” or not principled? C’mon, he’s the most principled of them all. If you do think this, you are a poorer judge of character than I thought – and you’ve incurred even more responsibility upon your shoulders for nearly slandering the man because of his associates. I seem to remember the Pharisees saying something to Christ once along these lines: “he keeps coming with sinners!”
    Steve, this year is not about one man or even one election. This year is about avoiding the imminent disintegration of America and rise of tyranny here, on our soil. We NEED Paul’s voice in this race and in public life, because no one is bringing what he does to the discussion and because he is exposing our own hypocrisy, inconsistencies, delusions – which is VERY NECESSARY.
    A win for Paul in Iowa IS NOT a lose for Iowa, at all. It means that the Iowans are thinking for themselves, really searching and not being led by the hand of “the party” and “the media” which you have unfortunately exalted to the status of judge and jury! Lord have mercy.

  4. Steve Wilson says:

    Why the Ron Paul hate? Agree or disagree with him, he gives a logical explanation for all of his   policies with a heavy emphasis on the non-aggression principle in both economics, social issues and foreign policy.  It would be very easy for him to cave or give vague policy answers. He is the only candidate (besides Gary Johnson, who is polling at 0%) who sticks to his core beliefs. 

    And a big lol at his lukewarm endorsement by a homosexual being this monstrosity.  

  5. Jay says:

    Steve, unfortunately Paul isn’t good when it comes to Defense and Culture War issues. But if we lose the true conservatives in this race (Santorum, Bachmann) he is the last Republican I would even consider.

    After 2004 I promised myself never to vote for a Progressive Republican ever again.  I didn’t in 2008 and despite all that Obama has done I am glad I didn’t.  We would have never had a Tea Party movement had McCain won.

  6. blakeadamssooners says:

    The neoconservative influence (more accurately called the Wilsonian liberal influence) in Republican Party foreign policy has been a disaster.  

    Mr. Deace seems unaware of this.  

    The Republican Party will have to fix that problem.  Ignoring it or denying that it exists will result in continuous and indefinite weakness for the Republican party particularly at the Presidential level.

  7. sailing says:

    I responded to the hit on Ron Paul’s thirty year 100% pro life credentials by virtue of his ‘knowing someone’ on the linked article.

    Regarding his position on Iran, you may disagree, but we disagree with you, so that is just an area where we differ, I guess. 

    Take care.

  8. sailing says:

    …and first in South Dakota….

  9. Pingback: Iowa Politics Insider: Endorsement Day — News To News

  10. Pingback: Iowa Politics Insider: Endorsement Day

  11. Bobbygray67@yahoo.com says:

    Deace your a douche Ron Paul owns

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ron Paul is a more open supporter of SS Marriage than Romney!

  13. Ken Egervari says:

    Steve Deace, I’ve ignored you because I thought you might engage your faculty of reason and choose Ron Paul. But you know what? I’m going to write a hit piece on you, exposing you for the irrational man you are. Unlike you, I’m going to use logic, reason and actual facts to support the arguments in my hit piece, and it’s going to be so devastating that by the time I am done, you won’t have an intellectual leg to stand on.I just can’t believe the neocon wing of the party is this irrational. It was only 12 years ago you supported a candidate like Bush, who campaigned on basically the same foreign policy as Dr. Paul. All of a sudden, the Republicans turn into a war-monger party… and you guys somehow think there is a religious war brewing between Christianity and Islam… and you guys have gone coo-coo-for-coco-puffs.Expect my hit piece by the end of the day.

  14. Jay says:

    I never realized what a smear mongering gossip Steve Deace was.

  15. Greatscott says:

    Mr Deace,

    After RP takes first in NH, then how will you spin the story?

  16. R says:

    What a tragedy, to loose the good grace of the establishment media that took our fine men and women in uniform into a lie of a war in Iraq so the power elite could profit on the backs of military families and the middle class. To cow tow to the very people that used TARP to take from the middle class and give to the most wealthy among us, using We the People as a safety net destroying the futures of untold millions. Killing innocents and lies are two things God considers blasphemy, like homosexuality, but you claim moral high ground how? You cant have it both ways, and true conservatives and true Christians see through this facade of lies, and theft of what they have saved their entire lives, now gone. It is time for extreme change in Washington in a positive manner, not the extreme change that will inevitably occur when our currency collapses. The question America is asking today is who do they want to lead us out of the depression, a war mongering neo conservative in need of funds for their wars and their rich friends, or someone who will protect the United States, her people, and her sovereignty no matter how bad times get. 

    The entire state of the nation was brought about by supporting the status quo who only seem to be able to pass a bill like the detention of American citizens in a bi partisan fashion in only a week, while we cannot balance a budget for over three years? They have directed our military at the people, collapsed our financial sector, stolen trillions of dollars from the people, and you dare advertise for the status quo? I must simply ask, whats in it for you? 

    A sad sad day when someone would use religion to pull the wool over the eyes of the -people in support of those with forked tongues. As a life long bible toting, right wing GOP supporter I can honestly say that I have seen the light, and it is not following the criminal element in Washington  during such dangerous times, nor be blinded any longer with partisan politics. With principals that have done us well like having the best defense to repel any offense, not torturing, not  sending our military in harms way based on a lie, not creating laws that point our military at the people, and not shredding our constitution that all purport was to design our Christian nation, everything in this article goes against it. I certainly support your right to have your opinion, but day to day it becomes more obvious that the people do not agree with doing the same thing over and over and expecting change, it simply will not work any longer just like supporting a party no matter how destructive and dangerous it has shown itself to be. 

    May God bless our nation, our flag, our people, and Ron Paul.. 

  17. Ken Egervari says:

    This is false. Ron Paul doesn’t support government involvement in marriage at all. How can someone be in favor of government-endorsed gay-marriage if he doesn’t want the government to endorse and license any marriage at all? It would be a contradiction in terms.

    If churches don’t want to marry gay people, Ron Paul would do absolutely nothing to stop that.

    Please learn some information about Ron before you smear him. Also, don’t just take talk-show hosts and the media pundits at their word. They are often wrong, and will lead you to the wrong conclusions. Please consider that maybe they are getting paid to lie and smear.

    Ultimately, it comes down to you doing your actual homework.

  18. Zeljko Romanovic says:

    Beautifully put!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Breaking News:
    Fox News’ Chris Wallace revealed after the Sioux City debate: “Well, the Ron Paul people are numerous beyond measure, and, to a certain degree, it will discredit myself and the rest at Fox News because, rightly or wrongly, I think most of the Republican establishment hopes he is not going to end up as the nominee. So, therefore, my opinion, and those of us who share that opinion at Fox News, and the Main Stream Media, won’t count as it will go on.”

  20. Zeljko Romanovic says:

    The Constitution has nothing to say with regards to “culture war ” issues, so hopefully you understand why Paul isn’t good with such issues, and as such, if you want to fight culture wars wouldn’t it be easier in your own state, and thats how it would be under a Paul Presidency

  21. loni says:

    So…Because Dr. Paul has a Picture with some people whos…Dead Father…long ago was a supporter of Abortion. You sir are trying to suggest that Dr. Paul is Pro-Abortion?

    Even though You…KNOW..that Dr. Ron Paul not only has a…30 Year Record…showing hes PRO-LIFE but that he has been a Doctor who has worked his entire life to bring Gods Children into this world. (with over 4,000 live Births to his personal credit!)

    God tells us….”Thou shalt not bear False Witness !”… and its very clear to my Family and I that you Sir have with your comments here.

  22. Anonymous says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OlDKQr8_EM

    In Case the link does not work, question to Ron Paul. “Should gays be allowed to be married?”
     Ron Paul answer “Sure they should be allowed to do want they want and call it what they want, as long as they don’t impose on others” 
    Changing the definition of marriage imposes on those who have entered the contract Ken. The research showing that children who grow up with a mom and a dad in their life have fewer problems is undeniable.
    Ken, the idea that Government should have no role in marriage is even more ridiculous! No more joint property or joint tax returns? Children will not inherit from parents without a DNA test and a court battle? After all, in Ken’s world any marriage done by any priest or judge is a marriage, so polygamy is going to happen under Ron Paul, and when a child has multiple fathers DNA will be needed to see who inherits.
    Under Ron Paul there will be so many definitions of marriage, marriage will mean nothing. Which is what the left in this country wants. They believe it takes a village to raise a child. Most republicans believe it takes a mom and a dad.  

  23. Anonymous says:

    Aggressive is what the left is Steve! Destroying the definition of marriage is aggressive. Teaching young children that they might be female one day and male the next is an aggressive means of destroying their childhood.
     Israel is getting rockets shot into it almost every day by aggressive neighbors, and Ron Paul’s idea of not supporting them where they need it most is dangerous.  
     I want a president who will aggressively enforce the tradition that is marriage one man and one woman and so do most Iowans. 

  24. Turlyhop says:

    Thats right. I’m leaning towards Ron Paul these days and I got in an argument with a gay person about him…they were angry that anybody would consider voting for him because he won’t declare gay marriage to be a Constitutionally-protected civil liberty! For Ron Paul, he just wants more power in the hands of the church and less in the state altogether. I guess when you’ve walk the thin golden line of principal, you get run over by traffic on both sides.

  25. Ecorob says:

    steve deace is NOT a christian! he is another DEVIL supporting WAR and DEATH…go ahead, steve devil, support WAR and DEATH and MURDER…God has a special place for you as you are on the wrong side of heaven…you are a fool, deace!

  26. Ecorob says:

    who gives a care? steve devil is already irrelevent as he has chosen to side AGAINST the American people

  27. Ecorob says:

    in his “personal” life he is a strong supporter of christian values but he can separate this from his professional life as he wants the government to have NO HAND in legislating morality

  28. Guest says:

    You people are sick.

  29. Ecorob says:

    I can tell you this…I walk AWAY from a church who has this type of man in the pulpit.
    Right after I tell him how WRONG he is to abuse his God granted position, I walk really, really far away from him and STOP supporting him!

  30. Tim Kiser says:

    I think I might serve a different GOD than Steve Deace. No wonder people are defecting from organized religion by the truckloads.  Mr. Deace has forgotten the scripture that states emphatically, “it is for FREEDOM that Christ set us free.”  We weren’t set free to be entangled in the bondage of man-made religion and tradition. Ron Paul 2012.

  31. Dave Elfers says:

    We would never have a tea party movement if not for Ron Paul, in my humble opinion

  32. Gregory Gay says:

    1. Paul is staunchly pro-homeschooling, and is 100% sincere about abolishing the Dept of Education, so that you can have more influence over what your children are taught.
     
    2. Why has Israel not vigorously retaliated against its aggressive neighbors? Primarily because of U.S. “support” that comes with strings attached. Paul’s radical idea is simply that Israel would be better off without our money – which is also sent to her enemies in the region –  and our meddling.

    Finally, you simply cannot give one president the power to define marriage and enforce that view, and then deny it to the next - any such power will become part of the OFFICE of the president, including future holders of that office who may use it in ways that would horrify you. Please do not hasten to offer up such an intimate and sacred thing for politicians to control.

  33. Your problem is the only thing you understand is state power.  The whole of society is politicized, and look at what it has become. 
    The government is not going to impose morality upon the masses, when it is only supposed to protect life, liberty and property.  It can only try to impose morality by force, which will lead to division. 
    This gay marriage thing has nothing to do with morality; it has everything to do with the legal system, fringe benefits, and tax issues. These are things crafted, and regulated by government.
    For example I know you wouldn’t be supportive of a church say founded by gays to get a 501c3 (tax exempt) status, but the main reason that is so. Is because it gets this status and  recognition by government.  But if there was no tax status to be gained, because there is no longer a tax code, then it would be nothing more then a private club really. 
    You might still want to oppose it of course on other issues. Well that is your business, your money and your time.  And you are free to do with you want with those things, since they are your property, but please don’t expect the government to coerce by law and force others to your cause.  For that would make you a statist.

  34. Tom Larson says:

    You’re no spokesman for Christ. Shame on you, sir.

  35. Jeff Rowberg says:

    Wait, more power in the hands of the church? Power in the hands of the church and power in the hands of the government are two very different things. Government power is backed by aggressive force. Church “power” is not, and this is a VERY critical distinction.

    Marriage is primarily a religious institution. The aspects that are not religious can be adequately dealt with by contracts and existing contract law, which don’t require any special consideration “defining” marriage on a federal level. This includes inheritance, joint property ownership, tax returns (though eliminating the income tax and IRS would greatly simplify things).

    A marriage without a contract shouldn’t automatically give the parties involved any special legal standing concerning property, inheritance, or anything else. Of course such an arrangement, whether between a man and a woman or any other conceivable combination, would require more testing and consideration to settle disputes. Ron Paul doesn’t advocate marriage without contracts per se. He advocates contracts on their own, and marriage on its own. If people want to combine them for everyone’s best interest, great. Just don’t give the state control of marriage.

  36. Rothbardian says:

    What about people who don’t believe in the state-sponsored definition of marriage?  You can’t keep trying to impose your views on others by using the state.  Marriage is a private matter, and it should be treated that way.  

  37. if a candidate with Paul’s foreign policy views wins anything that will be the final nail in theneocon GOP’s status. Walter Block for VP anybody?

  38. Susan says:

    EXCELLENT, couldn’t have said it better myself!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Enjoy the ride, Stevie.

    Check Ebay, I have a parachute for sale.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Ron Paul vs Supporting the Troops

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj_H5di12wM

  41. Jeff Smith says:

    so when paul wins new hampshire too then what’ll the gop do?

  42. James says:

    You’re no Chuck Baldwin.

  43. Erikmalin says:

    Exactly. This is an evil and ignorant guilt-by-association rant by Steve Deace. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”  - Matthew 7:15

  44. Erikmalin says:

    George and Martha Washington did not have a marriage license. Look into the history of marriage licensing. This is another example of the government taking over a private institution, and then, after a few years pass, people assume that the government has been in control of the institution from the beginning of time and can’t conceive of how it could exist without the government being involved.

    What came first, marriage or government? If government was abolished, would no one get married?Imagine if the government started getting involved in baptisms. It would then have to decide whether or not to hand out baptismal licenses to gay people. A huge and useless debate would erupt across the country about what should be done concerning “gay baptisms.” People like Ron Paul who said that the government should not be involved in baptisms would get confused looks from people like you and Steve Deace.

  45. Erikmalin says:

    I was a Rush 24/7 member neo-con Republican a few years back. Google my PowerPoint “Why Do They (Terrorists) Hate Us Slideshare” It should be the first link at the top. I tried to put most of my orihginal objections to Ron Paul’s foreign policy views in it. NY Times bestselling historian Tom Woods called it a “very good presentation” on his blog and another guy added “You made this PowerPoint?  Someone linked me to it a while back and it really had a big impact on my foreign policy views.  That was very good work–thanks for putting it together.”

  46. Anonymous says:

    God defined marriage or Nature if you don’t believe in God.

  47. Anonymous says:

    In this country we decided slavery was immoral. Should we not have gotten rid of that?
    Ron Paul uses the words “States Issue” in the same ambiguous way Obama uses “hope & change” the people of Iowa did not vote on gay marriage, the elected representatives did not vote on gay marriage.
    The Iowa Supreme Court said it violated the “Equal Protection Clause of the Iowa Constitution”
    Problem, the words “Equal Protection” do not appear in the title of any clause of the Iowa Constitution!
    The judges lied and disobeyed the oath they took! Try telling your mortgage holder the words “monthly payment” actually mean “yearly payment”.
    The point being when you vow to follow an agreement you can’t change it to suit you without being a liar.

  48. Anonymous says:

    God defined marriage or Nature if you don’t believe in God.

  49. Anonymous says:

    In other word Ron Paul would leave it up to the judges. That is how we got gay marriage in Iowa. See, anyone who believes that our rights come from God cannot believe God meant for SS couples to be considered married.

    Ultimately, it comes down to you opening your eyes.

  50. Rothbardian says:

    Exactly. The state does not define marriage, and the state should not enforce God’s rules.

  51. Anonymous says:

    By that logic slavery is O.K. also.

  52. Rothbardian says:

    Your comment is ironic. You want everyone to abide by your definition of ‘marriage’, and then blame ME of supporting slavery. Forcing people to abide by your rules and do what you say is the definition of slavery, the very thing you are advocating!

  53. Vosje says:

    I think the perfect candidate is some mixture of Michelle B. and Ron P, not Santorum and Bachmann. But neither are perfect. I’d like Bachmann to move in Paul’s direction on foreign policy. I think many of us are guilty of projecting our “ideal” views on the candidates we are supporting. Some of Paul’s comments on Leno were terrible. He’s got no good excuse to not signe the personhood pledge as far as I can see.
    There, I rambled. Happy now?

  54. Tony4516 says:

    Wow, you have really got the RP people mad at you Steve! On another note I have really enjoyed some of your thoughts on Newt and the courts. The courts have long been a problem in this country! Those people over-stepping their constitutional boundaries. I’ve had a hard time deciding who I should support on Jan 3rd., but you are helping me with my decision. Also I love hearing Jen with you on the show!

  55. Anonymous says:

    And yet he will not sign the Personhood pledge.

  56. Anonymous says:

     Not my rules. the Declaration of Independence. You know teh Organic law of our country. The reason’s we gave for seperating from England.