Forward Thinking

Perry Drops Out, Boosts Newt's New Surge

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

getty images

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, throwing his support to Newt Gingrich.

Perry, who was trailing the rest of the Republican field in national and South Carolina polls, received less than 1% of the vote in the January 10 New Hampshire primary. But Perry did pull about 5% in South Carolina polls and, perhaps more importantly, was seen as dividing the social conservative vote that is steadfastly opposed to frontrunner Mitt Romney.

“I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform this country,” Perry said.

Perry’s exit still leaves Republicans with two conservative alternatives to Romney: former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich was already closing in on Romney in South Carolina in several polls before Perry’s announcement and maintains a strong lead over. South Carolina’s primary is scheduled for Saturday, January 21.

“It’s helpful to Gingrich,” said Kyle Kondik, an analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, of Perry’s decision. “Perry didn’t have much support, although I do think that in the last few debates Perry became sort of a more likeable, endearing figure, even if that didn’t translate into political support.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: south carolina, rick santorum, rick perry, republican, newt gingrich, mitt romney, gop

'I'm Not Ashamed To Say That I'm a Jew...'

By Gal Beckerman

Getty Images

We too were taken aback by Rick Perry’s new campaign video — the swagger, the Christian language, the denigration of gays, and America described as feminine with Perry posing as its shining defender.

He was, for certain, trying to appeal to evangelical voters, and perhaps he’ll be releasing the Jewish version of the ad in a few days. But until he does, let’s be thankful for Rabbi Jason Miller who has given us a taste of what it might look like:

To see the original Perry ad, it’s after the jump.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: evangelical christians, jewish, jewish vote 2012, parody, rick perry, strong, video

For Rick Perry, 21 Is New 18

By Jane Eisner

getty images
Rick Perry

So Rick Perry stands before a town hall meeting at the Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm’s College in New Hampshire and, on his own, with no prompting or sneaky questioning, made it clear that he thought only Americans 21 years old and over are allowed to vote. This may be one of the stupidest statements this presidential candidate has uttered so far, and you know that he has set a high bar for himself.

He obviously hasn’t read the U.S. Constitution. Or my book.

A few years ago, I published “Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in our Democracy.” Okay, so it never made it on Oprah’s must-read list, but the book was appreciated by many who believe that our society and our government can do more to encourage youth voting and civic engagement. In fact, the good people at Saint Anselm’s invited me to speak there on just this subject.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: voting age, taking back the vote, rick perry, 26th Ammendment, 21, 18

Perry Does Letterman With 'Top 10 Excuses'

By J.J. Goldberg

getty images
Rick Perry

David Letterman just presented an amazing Top Ten list: “Top Ten Rick Perry Excuses,” presented by Texas Governor Rick Perry (for real). He actually did a pretty good job - got some outright laughs, hammed it up just right. If anything could save his candidacy, this might have been it.

No. 10: Actually, there were three reasons I messed up last night. One, the nerves. Two, the headache. And three – uh – um - oops.

No. 9: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I think things went well.

No. 8: Hey, I was up late last night watching Dancing With the Stars.

No. 7: I thought the debate was tonight.

No. 6: Hey, listen – you try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: jewish vote 2012, top ten list, Rick Perry, 'Top 10 Rick Perry Excuses', David Letterman

Texas Death Row Snares Americans in Iran, Cuba

By J.J. Goldberg

You’ve probably heard by now of Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, the American students imprisoned and abused in Iran for two years, virtually incommunicado, on flimsy espionage charges until they were finally “bailed out” (read: ransomed) by Oman and released last month.

You may also know about Alan Gross, the ailing American computer specialist arrested in Cuba in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years on sedition charges for helping to set up Internet access for the Cuban Jewish community. He too has had very limited access to the outside world — only four consular visits in two years — despite Cuba’s treaty obligations under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which requires that imprisoned foreign nationals be allowed access to and assistance from their country’s diplomats.

Unfortunately, as NYU political scientist Louis Klarevas pointed out in a post this week on ForeignPolicy.com, it’s been hard for the United States to insist on its right to defend its citizens abroad, because we are one of the major violators of that very treaty. Our law enforcement authorities routinely ignore their obligation to inform prisoners of their consular rights, despite repeated protests — not just from Iran and Cuba but from Britain, Canada, the European Union, Germany, Mexico, and Paraguay. In fact, we lead the world in executing foreign nationals without allowing them access to their consular representatives. According Klarevas, a counter-terrorism expert,

out of at least 160 capital cases in which a foreign national was sentenced to death in the United States, only seven — less than 5 percent — were in full compliance with the VCCR’s requirements.

What’s more, Klarevas reports, citing the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center,

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: U.S Supreme Court, Vienna Convention on Consular Representation, Shane Bauer, Ronald Reagan, Rick Perry, Joshua Fattal, Jose Medellin, John Roberts, Humberto Leal Jr., George W. Bush, Alan Gross

Rick Perry's New Best Friend

By Jane Eisner

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BFFs: Perry and Danon

Now that Republican presidential wannabe Rick Perry has waded into the sticky-wicket of Middle East politics, it’s only fair to examine the influences on his thinking. After all, while Texas is a big state to govern, and he could probably see Mexico from the border, Perry doesn’t have much foreign policy experience, in the Mideast or elsewhere.

Not to worry. The governor has plenty of tutors. As Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev wrote after Perry’s press conference yesterday, the supposed GOP front-runner is sounding like a hard-line Likudnik with a southern twang.

And he’s following not just any Likudnik. Perry’s new BFF, it seems, who stood next to him at the press conference, who says he’ll usher him around Israel later this year, is deputy Knesset speaker Danny Danon.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rick Perry, Danny Danon, Republicans, Election 2012




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