Brief comments on Jindal, Bush and Carson

I’ve surprised myself by not picking a presidential candidate yet. I usually jump on board with someone early. I’m starting to lean, which is to say I’m down to three names. Maybe four.

A few things about current candidates have come to mind this week.

  • With Gov. Bobby Jindal at Red State Gathering, 2013.
    With Gov. Bobby Jindal at Red State Gathering, 2013.

    My best wishes to Bobby Jindal, who has just suspended his campaign. (By the way, candidates, enough with this “suspended” business. Just once I’d like to hear a departing candidate simply say “I’m outta here.”) I’m interested in what’s next for the man who met Planned Parenthood protests by publicly showing the Center for Medical Progress videos on the lawn of the governor’s mansion in Louisiana.

  • I am not a Jeb Bush partisan at this point, but I hope the people who are pounding him – have you seen his poll numbers? – recall his refusal as Florida governor to participate in the starvation of Terri Schiavo in 2005. I honor him for that, whatever real or perceived defects he might have as a presidential candidate.
  • …which brings me to Dr. Ben Carson, who as near as I can tell is a fine and gifted man who spent decades saving children’s lives. Full marks for that. He’s off my short list, though – until and unless there’s a retraction – thanks to these remarks he made a few days ago about the death of Terri Schiavo, as reported by the Washington Post:¬†“‘We face those kinds of issues all the time and while I don’t believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out….Your job [as a doctor] is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.’ When the reporter asked whether Carson thought it was necessary for Congress to intervene, he said: ‘I don’t think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing.'”
Dr. Ben Carson at CPAC 2013. Photo by Ellen Kolb.
Dr. Ben Carson at CPAC 2013. Photo by Ellen Kolb.

Let that one roll around your brain for awhile. “That condition,” for Ms. Schiavo, was a brain injury. “Not treat everything that comes up”: you mean like removal of her feeding tube? That isn’t something that “comes up.” It’s something that was imposed. Schiavo died 13 days after her nutrition and hydration were withdrawn. (“Take them out,” indeed.) I’m not a fan of the death penalty, least of all when disability is the reason for imposing it.

True confession: I’m not likely to pick up a Democratic ballot in February (indie voter, open primary), unless I see a tactical advantage in doing so. Requiring humans to be “wanted” before a right to life attaches, promoting compulsory public support for abortion providers, opposition to Little Sisters of the Poor in their resistance to the HHS mandate: I’ll pass. Don’t preen, GOP; two words: “capital punishment.”

Notes from CPAC 2014, day 1

The frugal blogger (c’est moi) saves money by flying into the Conservative Political Action Conference the day it opens, instead of spending money on a hotel room the night before. Unfortunately, the frugal blogger is subsequently wiped out by mid-evening, having gotten up at 4 a.m. to catch the morning flight, and has no energy to make a proper post at day’s end. I offer a few photos instead, leaving proper posts to the people who got more sleep.

Arriving at 8:45 a.m. with Ted Cruz scheduled to make the first speech at 9? Tough luck. Here’s what the media registration line looked like:

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But that’s OK, because Sen. Cruz later offered to sit down with some bloggers for a short Q&A session.

Sen. Ted Cruz (all photos by E. Kolb)
Sen. Ted Cruz (all photos by E. Kolb)

And by the way, if I were handing out awards to politicians who really seem to love meeting people without using staff as a buffer, Sen. Cruz would be a contender, as would Sen. Rand Paul and former Congressman Allen West.

Rep. Michele Bachmann at CPAC 2014
Rep. Michele Bachmann at CPAC 2014

Michele Bachmann can stop traffic just by showing up. She didn’t have a slot as a mainstage speaker today. She didn’t need one. She just stood by Radio Row and immediately drew a crowd.

Chris Christie surprised me – and a lot of other people, based on what I overheard around me – when he proudly identified himself as “prolife.” I was pretty sure someone nearby was muttering¬†hey, that’s no way for a moderate to talk!¬†But good for the Governor. He added that prolife means caring about people after birth as well as before, which is not exactly a news flash. Then he cemented his credentials as a Republican pragmatist when he pointed out, “We don’t get to govern if we don’t win.”

Congressman Paul Ryan
Congressman Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal both tore into the HHS mandate. We haven’t heard nearly enough about that lately from elected officials. It ain’t settled.

CPAC draws a youthful crowd; I’m guessing half the attendees are college students – most with a strong libertarian bent, if the students I spoke with today are representative of their peers.

Senator Tim Scott deserves more mic time than he got today.

The swag haul at CPAC can be huge. The dozens of exhibitors give away everything from bags (here’s a tip: get one of those first) to pins and shirts. Plenty of books are there to be purchased as well, with several authors holding book-signings during the conference.

One of my favorite authors, who was also one of my favorite speakers at last year’s CPAC, is Eric Metaxas. He’ll be speaking on the main stage tomorrow before moving to the exhibit hall to sign copies of his fine book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s on my Kindle, which probably rules out an autograph.

Phyllis Schafly was on a panel discussing Common Core and education. We should all hope to be that sharp at age 89.

More tomorrow, probably in several short posts, with tweets along the way @leaven4theloaf.