Misc.

Announcements from Lou Markos

by Lou Markos on July 5, 2013

Dear Friends,

I’d like to share with you some exciting news:

FOR EVERYONE

I have just published a new book titled Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition. Here is a quick synopsis of what it covers:

For thousands of years, philosophers, theologians, and poets have tried to pierce through the veil of death to gaze with wonder, fear, and awe on the final and eternal state of the soul. Indeed, the four great epic poets of the Western tradition (Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton) structured their epics in part around a descent into the underworld that is both spiritual and physical, both allegorical and geographical. This book not only considers closely these epic journeys to the “other side,” but explores the chain of influences that connects the poets to such writers as Plato, Cicero, St. John, St. Paul, Bunyan, Blake, and C. S. Lewis. Written in a narrative, “man of letters” style and complete with an annotated bibliography, a timeline, a who’s who, and an extensive glossary of Jewish, Christian, and mythological terms, this user-friendly book will help readers understand how heaven and hell have been depicted for the last 3,000 years.

This book is my follow up to From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics (IVP, 2007). It can be purchased through my amazon author page.

FOR THOSE IN TEXAS

The Honors College at Houston Baptist University (for which I’ve taught the Greco-Roman freshman curriculum for the last four years) is about to make an exciting change. We will be moving to an Oxford/Cambridge model in which I will give nine 100 minute lectures per semester on literature-history-philosophy to supplement 4 hours per week of intense Socratic dialogue in classes of 15 or fewer students. I will be giving my lectures on Tuesdays from 4:20-6:00pm. We have chosen that late time to accommodate high schools (especially classical Christian academies) and homeschoolers who would like to sit in on one of my lectures. In the Fall, I will lecture on ancient Greek myth, epic, tragedy, and history with specific lectures on the Iliad and Odyssey; in the Spring, I will lecture on Roman myth, epic and history with specific lectures on the Aeneid and the Metamorphoses.

FOR THOSE IN HOUSTON

SPEAKING AT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS IN HOUSTON

On Thursday, July 18, at 6:30pm, I will give a talk titled “The Foundation of Rome: The Frescoes of the Capitoline Museum” for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The speech is part of the MFA’s artful Thursday program and is free and open to the public. In the speech I will tell the history of ancient Rome from Aeneas to the Punic Wars, illustrating the stories with slides of Renaissance frescoes housed in the Capitoline museum in Rome.

A CLASS ON THE LORD OF THE RINGS

In the Fall of 2013, I will teach a special class on The Lord of the Rings at HBU. Here is a description:

Although The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia are both undergirded by a Christian worldview, the links to Christianity are less clear and direct in Tolkien’s great epic fantasy. In this class we will explore how Tolkien, while reviving the reputation of the fairy tale and sub-creating a medieval-like world that runs by its own codes and values, found a way to integrate his rich creativity and love of language with his deep Catholic faith. We will further discuss how The Lord of the Rings, together with The Silmarillion and The Hobbit, were influenced by Norse mythology, Beowulf, and Tolkien’s friendship with C. S. Lewis.
Because the class will be raising issues of broad and perennial interest, HBU has granted me special permission to open up the class to the wider Houston community. The class will meet every Monday from 4:00-6:30pm from August 26 to December 2; however, there will be no class on September 2 (Labor Day) or October 21 (when I will be giving my midterm).

Sign up for the class at a cost of only $150 (which is 1/3 the normal auditing price).

A CLASS ON THE ILIAD

On Wednesdays, October 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2013, from 7-9pm, I will offer a four-week class on The Iliad for the Rice School of Continuing Education. Register for my class online. (note: the catalog for the Fall is not yet up on the website but should be by August).

Thanks and blessings for the summer,

Lou Markos

 

Live Blog the Southern Primary

by John Mark Reynolds on March 13, 2012

The heart of the old CSA votes . . .in a GOP primary. Weird world. My great-great-uncle was mustered out of the Union army in Northern Alabama having fought for Mr. Lincoln. We haven’t been back since.

Here is the situation as I see it:

Romney has been the only national candidate, but cannot win in the base Southern states. That is a sign of weakness. He needs a win tonight . . . though in a four way race a win will not finish things off. A sweep will eliminate the bottom candidate not named Ron Paul.

[click to continue…]

The Old Order Changes

by John Mark Reynolds on February 27, 2012

Outside my family, Torrey Honors is the best thing to happen to me so far. The chance to start Torrey and work with the chums has been the greatest honor of my life.

Jesus built Torrey and it was a miracle that I could be involved. I am so thankful to Biola University for taking a risk on an early thirty-something philosopher and making a dream come true. Men like President Cook, Provost Sherwood Lingenfelter, and Dean Shanebeck were role models in allowing innovation and risk.

That dream was for a dialectic experience with no boundaries. This education would be skeptical, but true skepticism would, we trusted, bring us back to Jesus Christ. Al Geier taught me the quest, my Mom and Dad showed me the end, and Phil Johnson the spirit of an ancient approach to education.

It was joyful. And I could always trust the students, the chums, to join the quest.

So I loved every moment of class for almost twenty years.

A team gathered to share that vision and they took it and made it better. Paul Spears, Thomas Llizo, and Fred Sanders were the first co-workers. Fred and Paul improved everything and contributed new ideas as they tempered my passions.

There was no Torrey before them and because of them Torrey continues.

And yet I am reminded of a poem that has always haunted me.

In “Idylls of the King” Arthur says:

The old order changeth, yielding place to new,

And God fulfils himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?

Torrey isn’t Britain and I am not even a poor man’s Arthur, lacking even a barge let alone Exacalibur, but there is a lesson here even for me. There comes a time for leadership to move on lest it become hidebound and stale.

[click to continue…]

Live Blog of NBC Florida

by John Mark Reynolds on January 23, 2012

Pre-debate-

Mitt Romney must turn the tide. Newt has the momentum.

Here we go.

Newt gets to go first. Why?

Reagan as Newt. Washington establishment is uncomfortable.

Newt is not going to respond because he is above it.

Mitt got under Newt’s skin. “You are a bad historian . . .” That is a lame response.

Santorum says he has the right plan. It strikes me as irrelevant in the discussion.

Paul just confirmed that Newt made a mess of the House and that he left because forced.

Santorum talked about allowing banks to go under. This is a good point. He is very sharp.

Gingrich is now explaining how he got paid to lobby, but he is not a lobbyist. “It is sad that it gets personal and nasty. . . ”

“I have never, ever done any lobbying . . . ”

Mitt and Newt are going at it. Newt is denying he was a lobbyist. He was probably technically not a lobbyist, but he got paid to lobby.

I cannot see how Gingrich escapes this mess. Folks: don’t blame Romney you are going to hear this again and again and again. Obama is going to go at it.

Newt is now trying to claim that he has never lobbied . . . and relying on Clinton-esque definitions to avoid the charge. He cannot escape this because he made his money in this “consulting” with no real business knowledge.

Forty-percent of homeowners are underwater in Florida. Santorum is attacking the Democrats for holding back reform.

Santorum: Banks must fail. Deductions must be given for the sale of a home.

Ron Paul is pointing out the government made the mess. The whole bubble was easily seen. The government made it with politicians. Prices will have to come down. Ron Paul says, “Let the puppies die.”

Romney gives three points in his plan. Unemployment is a problem.

Newt “repeal Dodd-Frank.” I at least have no idea what he is talking about.

Newt: the financial system is over-regulated.

Mitt Romney is awesome on this banking issue. He points out that we are not over-regulated, just badly regulated. Regulation is necessary.

Cuba . . . Romney gets a good response on his talk about Fidel Castro.

Newt sounds lame. He tries to one up Mitt. Fails.

I think Romney rocked him.

Paul suggests talking to Cuba. Somebody is going to get to smack Paul down. It is not 1962 anymore says Paul. He gets applause.

Cuba is close and China is far away . . .says Santorum. This was based on the most idiotic question of the debate that if we had many “Chinese” in a key state would we embargo China. . .

Why don’t they just let these people talk? Why does the newspaper guy interrupt? Let them fight.

Romney: keep the sea lanes open. We need more ships.

This is just true, I think, it is the one area of the military where we must dominate.

Gingrich and Romney agree.

Gingrich says, “Dictatorships respond to strength.”

Should we talk to Taliban? Romney: we must beat the Taliban, transition over to Afghan army. The President has made it hard to win.

Paul: no hot war in Iran.

Paul is a good guy to have around in some ways. He gives the other guys a foil. Otherwise there would be too much agreement.

Evaluation at the break:

Gingrich is on his heals. He looks boring and for some reason has developed Weird Hair.

Why?

Newt tried to demagogue the whole lobbying thing, but Romney actually silenced him. Gingrich looked bad, I think.

Santorum is winning by being able to avoid the fray and give his point of view. Rick Santorum is a good candidate. I don’t always agree with him (or anyone else), but he knows his stuff.

Santorum schools the college journalism major that asks a question about off shore drilling.

The college journalism major asks why English. Gingrich is right. He points out that is not just Spanish . . .

Romney points out that he helped bring English immersion. Learning English is a great thing.

Gingrich and Romney were a good team here. Gingrich is the problem. His oversized personality and problems drown out his message.

It all ends up being about Gingrich and not the issue. He big foots his message.

Romney: give them transition period and then if you don’t have the documents, you can self-deport.

Santorum on self-deportation. “It is happening now.”

Romney/Santorum? Is that a ticket?

I hear Matt Anderson saying to me, “Santorum/Romney.”

Sugar subsidy. Should it go?

Gingrich: admits total failure on agriculture.

Romney: we should get rid of subsidies. What is really going on? People hurting, homes under water. Everything Obama has done has made it harder.

This President has failed the people of Florida. Romney lists how Obama has failed.

We come to another break. Is Gingrich playing not to lose now? Does he think he has it won?

If so, I think he has misread things. Gingrich on “sugar” was not so hot. Obvious point: Gingrich is in trouble without a “red hot” crowd. He is an actor and not a statesman so feeds off the energy of the audience. The audience is quiet and so there is no energy.

He has not been able to attack the questioner and so he is left paddling about saying innocuous things or looking like a lobbyist.

I think Santorum benefits by Romney becoming the “pit bull,” but I wonder at this point if most don’t find him a distraction.

This is Ron Paul at his best. He presents a foreign policy alternative. It is not my point of view, but foreign policy is one where good people can disagree easily. Is he most prudent?

I don’t think so, but unlike corruption or demagoguery is not disqualifying. I disagree with Paul so I will not vote for him.

The Florida Council of 100 sounds like a weird Masonic group sponsoring this debate.

Terry Schiavo question? Really?

What?

Santorum argues for “respect for human life.”

Looks for judicial oversight . . .

Santorum does a good job here.

Newt does a good job with a “bias in favor of life” as opposed to a criminal on death row. You have a right to a “living will.”

Ron Paul points out that we should all have “living wills.” It is better to have a “living will.”

The decision should have been made at a state level.

Romney is asked about NASA and gets to miss the Schaivo question. He is happy about that I bet.

Romney: president has no mission or vision for NASA.

NASA needs a mission. President should draw people together and get the private sector involved. Mission to excite young people about space.

This is a good answer. NASA is something that government can do and do well.

In that way, it is like the army.

Should there be more money in the space race?

More money in prizes would stimulate development. Really?

The college journalism major says, “Why didn’t the Bush tax cuts work?”

Gingrich: they stopped a deeper slump. Romney gets no response?

Thanks for the questioners. They were a waste of time. “All Gee-Whiz!”

It is hard not to think that Romney pasted Gingrich so badly in the first round that Gingrich has shrunken in his suit to become Good and Sensible Gingrich.

Note to those who think Gingrich is the great debater: as a rhetorician he has one trick- anger. This anger can be bemusement or scorn, but without a target he has nothing to say. He ends up nattering.

Romney can talk all on the details of any issue and in a calm room is doing best. He is winning the debate.

I often forget that Paul is here, except when he is lovable like a Care Bear in a debate with sharp objects.

Santorum? Rick Santorum should be getting his third of the vote, but I do not know why he is not.

Isn’t the take away so far the smack down on Newt?

That is all they have done that is new. Newt got flummoxed. Can Newt recover in the close?

I don’t know.

Romney (what have you done for conservatism):

1. Romney had a family
2. He was business leader
3. He took a blue state and made it better.

Newt:

The entire twentieth century is the result of Newt.
Newt made Reagan president.

Newt talks, but cannot do.

Obama will spend one billion dollars. I can beat Obama in a debate.

Santorum:

Obamacare is Romneycare.
Gingrich rejects conservatism when it is hard to stand.

Santorum has won this round.

Santorum takes a Tea Party route.

Ron Paul: smaller government, more liberty.

Rhetoric is good, but we need the Constitution. We should be protect liberty, not be a welfare state, and foreign aid. More wars.

The government should be out of our personal lives. Follow the Constitution.

Romney: return the states to craft their own programs.

Gingrich is asked “what scares you.” We will face big problems. He gives a shout out to Santorum and Paul, but none to Romney.

I will never vote for Newt Gingrich. It is humbling and sobering to get America on the right track despite our elites.

Is Gingrich going to do this?

Romney points out seven things we should do. Perry could not name three. One has to laugh.

Romney won the close.

That debate was more like those early on. Congressmen point out that Gingrich lobbied in all but name, he knows it.

Look, I appreciate the good that Newt has done and his good words . . . but he was a disaster as leader. Go look at newspapers. He went toe to toe with Clinton and reelected Clinton.

Let’s face it: Gingrich will not be the nominee, because he can get harmed by Romney, who agrees with me, on this kind issue and he cannot respond.

It is true he was paid to “consult” the government agencies that brought on the housing crisis. It is also true that the only thing Newt has or knows that is worth that kind of money is influence.

We all know it. Denying it is loser talk. He cannot admit it, however, because it is toxic.

Ask yourself: will Obama let it go or one billion dollars force it down our throats.

Romney is very rich because he earned it.
Gingrich is rich because he joined government.

Period.

Is that good?

Santorum wins by not being in the fray, if he seems relevant. I am not sure.

Paul is Paul. I send him hugs and wish him well. His son has a future in this party.

South Carolina: Live Blogging the Primary at Dad’s House

by John Mark Reynolds on January 21, 2012

The long time reader of these primary pieces will know our family has not been keen on the Gingrich candidacy. We think him unfit to serve in the office of President, but that doesn’t mean we do not appreciate the good he has done. The family rule has been that if we oppose a person to think of ten nice things to say about him. We owe him that as a brother in Christ.

So before what looks to be his day of triumph here are:

Ten Nice Things About Newt Gingrich

First, he believed in a Republican House majority when few others did. He has vision.
Second, he likes to read in an age when few politicians do.
Third, he is willing to consider ideas others ignore.
Fourth, he has been willing to take unpopular stands.
Fifth, he has been generous to several good causes.
Sixth, he is willing to call his misdeed wrong in an age of excuse making.
Seventh, he is a powerful stump speaker.
Eighth, he is willing to profess Christianity in a secular city.
Ninth, he is an excellent teacher.
Finally, Speaker Gingrich is beloved by his daughters. That says a lot good about him.

Having done that my family reminds me to say:

Ten Nice Things about Our President

First, he took the risk to take out Bin Laden.
Second, despite risks to his own friends he did not allow minors access to abortion drugs.
Third, he is a stellar family man: a good husband and father.
Fourth, he is a reader and engages ideas.
Fifth, he has a coherent philosophy of government.
Sixth, he has tried to implement the program on which he ran.
Seventh, he appointed his foe, Mrs. Clinton, to office.
Eighth, he is one of the best “set piece” (convention) speakers of my lifetime.
Ninth, despite encountering hostility he stays pretty upbeat. (Listen to him sing!)
Tenth, he was willing to become an adult convert to Christianity.

Good.

It is always good for my soul (and our family!) to do this. Before the returns come in I will also remember:

The Family Ten Commandments for Politics:

First, God is not an American. The Kingdom of God is not the United States. While I must be a good citizen, my first allegiance is to Christ.

Second, the Republican Party is not “pure” and never will be. I pick a party and work in it, but the Party is not the end. Loving my neighbor requires criticism of my party.

Third, I am not going to vote for Jesus. I cannot trust any “prince.”

Fourth, God loves the poor. A Christian mandate in this life is to argue for Biblical justice.

Fifth, God loves the rich. A Christian mandate in this life is to avoid coveting.

Sixth, I must love my political enemy.

Seventh, Jesus used “salty” language to describe opponents and so I can, but I am also not Jesus so I must be sure to use it well. All humans are created in God’s image.

Eighth, no election is that important. Right now someone is reading Plato for the first time. That is more important. Second, someone is finding Christ. That is much more important. News does not drive importance.

Ninth, being informed does not require super saturation. I can quit reading the returns at some point.

Tenth, I will remember that politics is an art not Revelation or a science. I will be frequently wrong and must change my mind.

Predictions:

And now for my predictions:
Gingrich 39
Romney 33
Santorum 16
Paul 15

As usual, I give my best case scenario for the candidate. That means they don’t add up to 100, but I put them in the order I think they will finish.

If I am right:

Gingrich: He must win. The bigger the win, the bigger the bounce. To be a real candidate, he must win by more than five.

Romney: If he wins, he is the nominee. If he loses, he will live to fight another day, but a bad loss means he will have to fight hard in Florida. Every CSA state could be a Gingrich win.

Santorum: Must place third or be under great pressure to drop out.

Paul: Faces no pressure whatsoever about anything.

Exit polls showing huge Gingrich win. More than ten points? If so, then Romney will have to sweat for the first time.

We blog the returns.

FOX calls it for Newt the second they can. Exit polls show him winning by 11. If that is so, then Romney will have a challenge.

Gingrich won all the key groups. Gingrich was picked as the guy who could beat President. I have to say that this is insane.

You might think Newt should win, but electable? Newt is the least electable Republican alive. Maybe he can win. Maybe.

Friends keep telling me the “debates” will do it. Why would Obama debate Gingrich? He will have a huge initial lead and can find many reasons to miss out on debates. He is under no obligation. Second, look at the visuals if he does debate. I will not list for you how bad Newt looks in Hi Def.

Gingrich is the Southern conservative candidate. Can he win outside the CSA? We will see.

My own belief: Gingrich will not wear well. He is now “winning” in his own mind and so in the next three days will bless us with a “Newtism.”

Can I vote for Newt?

Newt is not a competent leader and is unfit for the “bully pulpit.”
Obama is a competent leader, fit for the “bully pulpit,” but I don’t agree with his policies.
There will be a libertarian running. It might be Paul. I don’t see how he could govern and would be a mixed bag on policies.

I could also not vote for President.

Romney played not to lose in debates. He needs better performances.

We are back to the myth of the debates. Somebody needs to make the point that Obama:

1. does not need to debate at all.
2. is a good debater and would destroy Newt visually.
3. the base is not the only group watching a national debate.

So what would I do?

I must be careful not to overreact to one night’s bad news.

At the moment, I would either not vote for President or hope for a viable third party candidate.

Why?

I am not suddenly going to find that Gingrich is competent or fit.

He has never run anything well. He is not a conservative in the traditional sense, but seems unstable.

I don’t know. I am thankful that I don’t think I will have to decide.

Dad says that he cannot stomach seeing Gingrich. The women of the house have left.

Religion played an overwhelming role. Everything hinged on it. South Carolinians thought sharing religion was important and overwhelmingly supported Gingrich. Why?

I do not get that at all.

Romney concedes. Very gracious. He is a gentleman. He is taking on Gingrich now. It is a good assault, but he will have to release his taxes.

Gingrich is now at 40%. If that holds, then that is a huge victory. Romney looks tired, but he vows to fight on.

Should Santorum drop out and endorse Romney? Santorum knows that Gingrich is unfit. What should he do?

Lead is over ten now for Gingrich. Romney must release taxes now.

Ron Paul speaking. Paul is a fine fellow. He is fit for office, but I don’t agree with too many of his views. If he ended up being the last one standing between Gingrich and the nomination, I would vote for Paul.

I think Ron Paul’s wife is awesome. He also has a cute grandchild at every rally.

Santorum speaking.

He looks good. Romney looked tired, Rick looks charged up.

Rick is homespun. He is effective. We felt sorry for Romney, but Rick is charging up the room.

We must have an anti-Gingrich. If Rick were it, then good.

Where is Newt?

If you want a perfect image of why Newt is a horrid nominee, then look at the fact that he has not appeared yet. Where is he? Why is he moving out of primetime by waiting? Why is he making me blog past when I could stop? My wife is being forced to watch the news now when she wants to watch something else.

Newt on. Rumpled. Tired looking. Low key. It is smart to be low key. Newt is dull. We are seeing good Newt.

“The American people feel they have elites that . . . I articulate the deepest felt values of the American people . . . ”

“This is a remarkable system. . . ”

Newt gives a shout out to Santorum. Gives a shout out to anti-Federal Reserve issue. Newt is anti-Federal reserve?

What?

This is wise. We are seeing good Newt.

He gives a shout out to Romney.

USA. USA. USA.

I will never vote for this man. He believes he is an “oracle of the people.”

He will run an American campaign.

We will move on to Florida and beyond: the angry old man with his half moon eyes laughs.

This is the most delusional man in America. He has disdain for Obama’s intelligence and puts out the fantasy of Lincoln-Douglas debates.

American exceptionalism versus (Fox News buzz word) Saul Alinsky.

More proof of the disaster: half our room had no idea who Saul Alinsky is. Newt is appealing to a small group (40% of the South Carolina party).

Anti-religious bigotry? Anti-religious bigotry is fueled by hypocrites who do not practice what they preach. One person in the room: “How does he have the gall to bring up this subject?”

Red meat for those who care more about words than deeds. Saul Alinsky?

Really?

Can he talk to anybody outside the base?

Final Thoughts

What did I get wrong?

First, South Carolinian Evangelicals will not vote for a Mormon. That explains most of the margin and looking at the counties in the map of South Carolina.

Second, hating on the media is more powerful in a GOP primary than I thought. I overestimated content and underestimated pyrotechnics. Stupid of me.

Third, South Carolina votes really don’t like Mitt Romney. Period.

Fourth, I was wrong about Sarah Palin. Not only has she not grown over the last four years, she has regressed. As a commentator she has nothing to say. Rod Dreher: you were right and I was wrong.

Newt over-performed.

This is not my Republican Party if Newt is the nominee. I will not have left the party, the party will have left me by nominating a man convicted of Ethics violations in Congress (!).

What did I get right?

The order of finish.

Where is the race?

Romney is still the front runner. Gingrich is a horrible general election candidate that would cost the GOP control of Congress. The delusion he is not has yet to be shown empirically.

Gingrich is about to face a whirlwind of opposition research to save the party.

A Debate at Our House

by John Mark Reynolds on January 19, 2012

(I watch this debate with the family ranging from 73 to 17. We opine. Live blog, pardon many errors!)

Marriage

Newt is asked about his marriage.

He argues that it is not an issue and that it is a network problem for bringing it up. Newt answered the question calmly during the day and then ramped it up for the audience.

His “rage” is for the camera. (This was confirmed when later he backslapped with CNN after the debate.)

Newt Gingrich was a world class hypocrite. He is unfit to serve in the “bully pulpit” in the White House. The women in this Republican house will not vote for Newt Gingrich. This room, divided over other candidates, will vote for any person on the stage before Newt Gingrich.

Taxes

Romney gets booed by a few over a refusal to say how many years of taxes he will release. This is his weakest moment. Just. Release. The taxes.

You must Mitt. You must.

Newt’s Standing Ovation

Newt might have gotten a standing ovation today, but my children rightly asked, “How could he speak for family values and then hold himself to a different standard?”

Republicans rightly rejected a water-tight public/private distinction at the time of Bill Clinton.

Newt Gingrich betrayed the people who trusted him while he was looking to impeach Bill Clinton. He behaved in a reckless and irresponsible manner.

We move to other issues. Santorum made it clear that he thought Gingrich unfit to serve, but his gentlemanly demeanor kept him from saying it directly. My children are now asking me why “private” evil can be kept watertight from public.

Another asked me today why people keep pointing to other president’s problems when voters at the time did not know those problems. It is one thing to cause public scandal by voting knowingly for a man and another to do it unknowingly.

Second, while the prodigal should be received, for which I thank God personally, one need not put the prodigal in the White House. The father, in the prodigal parable, after all left the ranch to the elder brother while forgiving the younger prodigal son. Newt wants to be sorry and made president.

Finally Jobs

Romney talks about creating jobs and what to do with the economy. He indirectly talks about Gingrich. He defends free markets.

Santorum plays the working man card. This is the Huckabee position, but Santorum does it with more detail and less charm.

Gingrich is clueless about the nature of venture capital. Will anybody say that? Still, the visual is of Newt getting a standing “O’ by blasting the “liberal media.” Is that the whole debate? Will Newt get a win just to stick it to the media?

Safe Stuff

Paul and Santorum defend veterans. Safe Republican task.

Nobody says anything of interest.

Obamacare

Romney discusses Obamacare carefully.

He gives state waivers first, then he will go to Congress and persuade, and finally he will replace it with an idea that he has on the table. This will include coverage for pre-existing conditions. “He is wrong . . . ”

Newt is in his most jowly smiling mode on this question. “If you watch Washington and you are not skeptical . . . ”

We have. You Mr. Gingrich are part of the problem and we are skeptical of you.

Santorum takes on Romney on “Romneycare.” Well done. Santorum does well here. “He stands by it . . .” Most of his attacks are on Romney. Newt is also the record, he says, for personal mandate.

Newt is thrown some bon mots, but does not argue.

Newt finds Santorum’s views “mildy amazing.”

My Dad says of Newt’s Lincoln/Douglass offer, “Newt is the most obviously arrogant man to run for President.”

Ron Paul is at his best on medical care. He has knowledge and credibility.

Newt thinks speaking and debating well solves everything. Paul’s plan to get rid of government care is interesting.

One person in the house, “Newt is ruining the Republican Party.” Another compared him to the unctuous Slope in Trollope.

On Reagan and Newt

Evidently Newt released his taxes. Will anyone care a poor man grew rich on his government service?

“Grandiosity” has never been a problem with Newt Gingrich. We cannot afford a guy we have to “worry about.”

Newt says, “How big a scale of change do we want in Washington?” Newt takes credit for the Reagan administration.

Santorum just destroyed Newt. Destroyed him. He pointed out that Newt was humiliated as a leader in Washington. Those are facts.

He got under Newt’s skin.

Romney says we should vote for someone outside of Washington. Romney says that Reagan mentioned Gingrich once. He points out that Newt never helped him as a business man. The last few minutes were horrific for Newt.

Mitt and His Taxes

Mitt handles the tax record better. He now has a question about his Dad. We will get Romney’s taxes for multiple years around April 15. He wants no “dribs and drabs.” This is smart, though he might take a hit in South Carolina.

We listen to Rick Santorum on taxes. Weird plan that picks winners.

We all hate SOPA.

“SOPA is bad,” says Newt in the most meandering answer ever.

Romney agrees. Paul agrees. Santorum agrees, but then says “anything goes” on the Internet is wrong.

SOPA is terrible, but Santorum has a point. Something needs to be done, but SOPA is not it. Free trade and piracy are not the same thing.

A Break

Break consensus in the room: Newt took a worse hit than we have ever seen in a debate. Santorum destroyed him. Come on South Carolina the room said . . . it was not the liberal media that removed Newt as Speaker. He was an incompetent leader.

A Stupid Question on What You Would Change in Your Campaign

Newt just admitted he cannot beat Obama. He would run an “Internet campaign.” What? Great, that would beat a billion dollar campaign from the President.

Romney makes a decent joke and goes after Obama. Nice.

Santorum would change “nothing.” Bad start, humble finish weirdly.

Paul also wouldn’t change anything. Paul is a jolly old man. I like him. Our room will not vote for him, but he is aging well.

Sigh and Immigration

Gingrich has lost energy.

Sigh.

I just have to say as a Dad that it is discouraging when during a debate my kids have to ask WHICH WIFE Speaker Newt offended (of three).

Great Newt, banks never commit fraud. Bank of America did not give me a fraudulent mortgage. Newt invents several new things for government.

Look! Romney gave a clear answer compared to Gingrich. Good! He is listening to Ian.

Santorum talks about immigration on a more heartfelt manner. Santorum never changes his mind? That strikes me as being an ideologue not a statesman. He needs a better approach.

Romney turns the issue to legal immigration nicely done. Paul points out there are economic incentives to illegal immigration. He also points out the many incentives

Romney looks like he is thinking: “Darn it to heck, what is that nice old guy talking about it?”

On Abortion

Everyone is pro-life.

People here laughed out loud when Newt says, “On the day I am inaugurated . . .” One said, “that is a counter-factual, less plausible than a brain in a vat . . .”

Newt is nasty.

Romney argues to Newt “This is no time to question someone’s integrity . . . ” and Newt passed. Newt now cannot talk about anybody’s integrity.

Santorum hammered away at Romney and Gingrich. The audience forces Paul to be able to respond.

Paul has a good response as a doctor to abortion. Morality must change and then law changes. He invites government medicine. Nicely done, Dr. Paul.

Paul accuses Santorum as being overly sensitive. Santorum looks at Paul and thinks: “You are crazy.”

Why? Paul seems to think that crime (see treason for example) is never taken up at the Federal level. That would be news to 200 years of American history.

They Sum Up

Dear Dr. Paul: South Carolina not famous for liberty, but for treason in favor of slavery. Really.

Newt: he talks about principles and everybody laughed out loud in our house.

Romney: refers to the Declaration and gives a good sum up.

Santorum: who is the best person to take on President Obama? We need a clear contrast. “vote for me”

Romney is consensus winner of conclusion.

Bottom Line

This debate was less well run than the Fox Debate.

Newt Gingrich was embarrassingly grandiose reminding me of Mr. Toad on a wild ride politically . . .Newt said he was grandiose, which doesn’t mean what he seems to think it means.

Undecideds here, including some chums, in the room said: “We will not vote for Newt.” Period. Ever.

Will South Carolina keep Newt alive?