Reader: Perry has ‘most at stake’ in debate, Establishment pick usually wins, Cain vs. Clinton, Nuke apology?

Welcome to the Lunchtime Reader, where we assemble important stories to keep your eyes on.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has the most at stake in tonight’s GOP debate. Perry has slipped for three straight weeks in the polls and Herman Cain’s support has skyrocketed. Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker noted that Perry was not on the campaign trail at all yesterday. “But the candidate with perhaps the most at stake in the Washington Post-Bloomberg News debate at Dartmouth College was nowhere to be found. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was holed up somewhere — studying, rehearsing and hoping for a performance to breathe new life into a campaign beset by a series of unsteady debate performances in September.”

The Establishment candidate always wins the GOP presidential nomination, says Ramesh Ponnuru. (Or at least, since 1984.) But the Republican Establishment of today is not the same as it was during the days of Nelson Rockefeller, Ponnuru says. “In particular, [the Establishment] has avoided clashing with conservatives on issues of intense concern to them. The first president Bush turned against abortion. Bob Dole, after losing the 1988 nomination fight partly because conservatives distrusted him on taxes, signed a pledge to oppose any further tax increases to get the 1996 nomination. The second Bush spent much of 1999 assuring Republicans he was more conservative than his father. McCain, too, moved to the right to win the primaries, pledging to keep in perpetuity tax cuts he had previously voted against.” Ponnuru noted that Republicans elected to Congress these days are substantially more conservative than the liberal Republicans like Sens. Chuck Percy and Lowell Weicker. And here are five things to watch for in the debate.

I remain surprised that Herman Cain’s campaign has not done more to highlight this exceptional clip of him debating Bill Clinton on health care back in 1994. He shows a command of the health care issue from the perspective of a restaurant owner. (Cain was the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.)

President Obama offered to apologize to Japan for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but Japan called the offer a “non-starter.” (I won’t criticize Obama for this. I think Truman was wrong.)

Other articles of interest:

Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society writes on a ruling that protects religious employers.

Conservative columnist Matt Lewis quotes the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus on whether it is fair to ask if Mormons are Christians.

Another casualty of war: There is not a single, public church left in Afghanistan.



  • Andy Kirchoff

    Just speculation, but some diplomatic “under the radar” item may be the REAL reason Obama offered to apologize to Japan. Why else would his offer be a “non-starter”? It sounds as if they are trying to bargain for something.

    I am looking forward to the debate tonight, and the passage of the Protect Life Act on Thursday in the House.

  • Michael F

    First, I’ll say that I’m not criticizing Obama on whether Truman was right or wrong. I don’t want to start that discussion right now. Okay, now I’ll start——— Why is Obama apologizing now? If he thinks the decision to drop the atomic bombs was wrong, that’s fine, but an apology won’t do a whole lot, this long after the event. He wasn’t even alive at the time. Sure, he’s the president, and as such can be connected to the decisions of previous presidents, but how can he, at the same time, say “it wasn’t my fault” and “I’m sorry”? If it was his fault, why would he say it wasn’t? And if it wasn’t his fault, why does he offer an apology (by the way, what is the difference between apologizing and “offering an apology”)? It seems to me that there are plenty of current, more relevant issues to deal with. Is he going to apologize for the millions killed by abortion since he took office? Or even those that were killed just by government funding he approved? I seems he has a rather lopsided view of life in general.—- I’m sad to hear that about Afghanistan. I have little doubt, however, that in this case as in all cases, the Church is operating underground (figuratively speaking). Just like they did in the Roman Empire before Constantine, and just like they did in the USSR before it’s fall. Where there’s a will, there’s God (a bit of a paraphrase, but I think it’s appropriate).

    • Joshua Mercer

      Michael, without getting too far into the debate, it is worth noting that Pope John Paul II apologized for the mistreatment of the Jews, as well as the Church’s response to Galileo. And the treatment of Galileo clearly was done well before his time.

      • Michael F

        Joshua, I have not heard of an apology by Pope John Paul II concerning treatment of Jews (although I believe your comment, and have no doubt it took place). What was the time period he was apologizing for? I do not wish to discuss Galileo, since that would require an entire post on the subject. I do see a fundamental difference, in this respect, between the Pope and the POTUS. The Pope stands in the place of St. Peter, and is chosen by the Lord, through prayer. as such, he is tied to all popes before him. The President does not stand in the place of George Washington, but rather in the place of the people who elected him. I see a sufficient difference in these positions to hold them separate in this regard (if you think otherwise, you are by all means free to explain why).

    • Joe M

      I’m still waiting for the Greeks to apologize to the Trojans.

    • enness

      That’s just what I was thinking. This is odd! “Offering to apologize,” what is that? If an apology is warranted, you either do it or you don’t. I don’t think this would fly with anybody who had a legitimate grievance with me, and we’re not even talking nuclear bombing.



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