Ramesh Ponnuru

Enough Said

From the Heritage Foundation comes this little tidbit:

Ramesh Ponnuru had the best applause line of the Thursday night roundtable when he observed that the passage of Obamacare demonstrates that liberals are willing to risk losing in order to enact something they believe in, and he asked: When was the last time a conservative politician took any risks for something he believed in?

An excellent point. True leadership requires risk, and there are too few true conservative leaders in America.

That said, great leaders do something that is lacking among all the political camps in America — they persuade. There is a lot of yelling among the political class, but when was the last time you heard a politician of any kind try to persuade someone of something they truly believe in? Of course, persuasion requires that politicians have intellects that can handle more than sound bites, and it requires an audience that has an attention span something beyond a cantaloupe, neither of which seem in vogue today.

But a guy can dream . . . .

Washington Post's Ponnuru: "Desperate Deeds"

We don't have a News Stand for you today, but if you take a look yesterday's, you will see a link to a post entitled "Desperate Deeds" from Right Matters, a blog at the Washington Post, by conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru (here). He concisely explains in six points why Democrat Creigh Deeds' sudden, politically  eccentric attack on Republican Bob McDonnell's pro-life positions won't work. Here it is:

Democrat Creigh Deeds, down in the polls in the race for governor of Virginia, has decided to campaign against Republican Robert McDonnell for having spent too much time during his career trying to restrict abortion. Here are five reasons why this tactic is unlikely to work:

1) Most people don't enjoy discussions of abortion, and react negatively when people bring it up. The people who vote on the issue already know where the candidates stand and aren't going to be swayed by ads.

2) Virginia isn't a strongly pro-choice state. Its current governor, after all, is a nominally pro-life Democrat.

3) A lot of voters know that governors can't ban abortion — and that Democrats have the White House, the House, and the Senate, and have just made an appointment to the Supreme Court.

4) Voters have other things on their minds, such as the economy, and will find it odd for a gubernatorial candidate to be talking about something else.

5) This campaign tactic puts Deeds in an impossible position. He has to persuade the voters that the candidate who isn't talking a lot about abortion is the one who is dangerously obsessed with the issue. Good luck with that.

So what do you think? Is Deeds making a big mistake?

Update: I should have added another one. 6) McDonnell is on the right side of public opinion on the specific legislative issues Deeds is pointing at, such as a ban on late-term abortion and a requirement for parental consent.

One can imagine the Deeds team on a conference call last week, depressed by the poll numbers, frantically searching for in issue with traction. Finding none, someone yells, "I've got it! Abortion!" "Right," the others would say, "the abortion card! Let's play it!" But it's no winning hand, as documented here.

It's funny: Liberals always talk about conservatives "taking us back to bad times." But this demagoguery is the real time warp.

Virginia News Stand: August 11, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Answer Is . . . Abortion!

If Virginia's gubernatorial campaign was modeled after the game show Jeopardy!, where the answers are the clues and the questions are the answers, Democrat candidate Creigh Deeds' response to the word "abortion" would be, "What is the winning campaign issue?" It may be, but not the way he's going after it. First, he's the one way out of touch. As a well -publicized poll showed earlier this year, a majority of Americans now consider themselves pro-life. But a super majority of Americans always have been against partial-birth abortion and for parental consent. So, who's the extremist here?

But what makes this a particularly odd move by Deeds is that he has simply proclaimed it! That is, out of nowhere, he has flat out declared this is the issue of the campaign. As if he declares the ground rules. Okay, maybe he does. So at the first and only debate, thus far, with Republican Bob McDonnell, Deeds said the "social" issues wouldn't be a big part of his campaign. Talk about decisive leadership!

Still, it remains funny that Deeds thinks he can make up the rules of the campaign (being far down in the polls does not dictate a position of strength); that he blurts it out of nowhere; that he contradicts himself; and, after all that, picks a losing issue.

Enjoy your briefing today from the News Stand. We are pleased to start off with video from WTVR/CBS6 in Richmond, which interviewed our very own Chris Freund about the Deeds gambit.

Video:

*Deeds goes after McDonnell on abortion (2:34) (WTVR-TV/WTVR.com)

  

The Family Foundation's Vice President-Policy and Communications Chris Freund is interviewed by Richmond CBS affiliate WTVR-TV/6.

News:

Economy, abortion rights focus of gubernatorial race (Richmond Times-Dispatch

Deeds picks off political scab: abortion rights (Roanoke Times

Deeds targets abortion issue (Washington Times)

Deeds Throws Abortion Gauntlet (Washington Post)

Commentary:

Desperate Deeds (Ramesh Ponnuru/Right Matters Washington Post Blog)

Virginia News Stand: December 4, 2008

Here's today's News Stand. Pretty straight forward stuff. However, of particular interest is the opinion piece we've included from Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review. It is one of the best analyses regarding the relationship between social conservatives and the Republican Party. Though it is more from the negative perspective (why those who criticize social conservatism are wrong) rather than from the positive (concrete evidence of how social conservatism wins) it is still a valuable piece. We particularly appreciate the statement made by nationally recognized policy leader and author Maggie Gallagher that appears toward the end of the column. Many of you will recall that she was our keynote speaker at the 2006 Annual Gala; she also is a member of our marriage commission.

News:

Kaine in the running for U.S. education secretary? (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Republicans Must Determine Whether Democrats Have Hit Their Ceiling in N.Va. (Washington Post)

AG Eyes Election Reforms (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Gridlock (The Daily Press

Democrats choose political newcomer for 81st District (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Opinion:

Scapegoating the Social Right (National Review