Newt the Unprepared

So.  Newt didn’t read the rules carefully enough and despite having a Republican Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and a legislature, he will not be on the Republican primary ballot in Virginia.  It was just the other day that he left campaigning to go gather signatures in his adopted state

Virginia is probably the most difficult state on which to get on a primary ballot.  Signatures have to come from all 11 Congressional Districts, at least 400 from each.  Those who gather the signatures must be registered to vote in Virginia.  There must be at signatures from at least 10,000 registered voters.  In other words, you have to have a ground organization to succeed.  I believe that Newt actually paid people per signature and still didn’t make it. 

The Virginia Republican primary will now be between Mitt Rommey and Ron Paul.  50 delegates elected on March 6.  Gingrich was leading the polls, but who knows where his support will go now.  And what will the fallout be for the rest of states on Super Tuesday.  Maybe he can lose Virginia and still get delegates elsewhere.  Or maybe voters will see the disorganization and look elsewhere.

But on Newt would announce he will run a write in campaign before reading Virginia election law which prohibits write-ins in primaries.  The reaction of his campaign:  This is Pearl Harbor.  Wrong, Newt.   No one will die because you couldn’t read the rules and get on the Virginia ballot. 

This from the Governor of Virginia quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia’s rules regarding qualifications for the ballot in statewide elections are clear, said Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell.

“Prior candidates for president, governor and senator, from both parties, have needed to meet the same requirements as are in place for this election. It is unfortunate that a number of candidates did not submit enough verified signatures to qualify for the March primary, but the system has been in place for a long time and the ballot requirements well-known,” he said.

“The governor, however, is certainly disappointed that Virginia will not have a more competitive primary,” Martin said. “He would have preferred to see more candidates make the ballot.”

Gingrich, McDonnell



So what are the options. Getting the Virginia Legislature to allow all the candidates on the ballot?  Not exactly fair to Romney and Paul.  Gingrich going to court?  I would say his changes aren’t good given that even the Republican Governor says the rules are clear and well known.  And they have been in place since the 1970’s. 

I think that Newt along with Perry, Bachmann, Huntsman, and Santorum are just out of luck. 


P.D. James and Jane Austen

I need to explain that I re-read Pride and Prejudice at least once a year.  I loved the early PBS version of the book, but that has been replaced now by the Colin Frith version which I own on DVD.  I’ve also dipped into some of the sequels and expansions (most are horrible) to feed by habit.  

P.D. James is one of my favorite writers.  I have read all of her mysteries. One of my favorites is An Unsuitable Job for a Woman which introduced the young Cordelia Gray.  Adam Dalgleish her primary detective is not only a police inspector, but also a published poet.  Her books are literate and the mysteries complex and interesting.  So when I saw that James had written a kind of sequel to Pride and Prejudice I ordered a copy immediately.  And I was not disappointed.

Death Comes to Pemberley

With her usual elegance, James tells brings us to the Darcy estate six years after Elizabeth Bennet married her Mr. Darcy.  They now have 2 children and Elizabeth has clearly taken hold as mistress of Pemberley.  All the other characters make their appearance including George Wickham who is still a wild neer do well and his wife, Elizabeth’s sister Lydia is still tends to hysteria.  They are at the heart of the mystery.

Liesal Schillinger in her review last week in the New York Times book review writes

James clearly understands that many readers feel as close an attachment to Austen’s characters as they do to their own relatives and friends. So she cannily begins by furnishing answers to the natural question: “Where are they now?”

How right it feels to learn, as James informs us, that Bingley and Jane moved away from Netherfield soon after their marriage, wanting to put distance between them and the ever-querulous Mrs. Bennet at Longbourn. What a delight to read that tone-deaf, humorless Mary Bennet has married a “thin, melancholy” rector, “given to preaching sermons of inordinate length and complicated theology.” How apt that the evil seducer George Wickham, after marrying Lizzy’s frivolous sister Lydia, worked as a secretary for the foppish baronet Sir Walter Elliot (a character from Austen’s novel “Persuasion”) until Lydia’s “open flirtation” with the baronet and Wickham’s simpering attempts to ingratiate himself with his employer’s daughter met “finally with disgust.” And what a treat to see Bingley’s snobbish sisters, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, get their comeuppance — and Harriet Smith (of “Emma”) her reward.

Above all, James will delight Austen’s devoted fans by showing Darcy and Lizzy to be (if anything) more in love and better matched than anyone might have hoped, six years into their marriage.

If you love Austen and you love James or you love one or the other, I think you will love this book.

(Illustration by Skip Sterling)

Accept the tax increase and defeat the Republicans

I was eating my lunch at my desk today as I often do (I know a bad habit) and the Republicans were voting down the Senate bill in several complicated procedural moves I don’t pretend to understand.  I do know the bottom line:  Increase in payroll taxes, no unemployment extension, and funny things happen to reimbursements to doctors for Medicare.  Anyway, I posted on the New York Times comment section on the story of the Republican vote, that maybe we should accept the tax increase as a way of contributing to the Republican’s defeat in 2012.  Last time I check it had over 300 recommendations!  Maybe I’m on to something here.  But I have to give credit to my husband at FortRight who said at breakfast, “it might be worth $1000 to see the Republicans go down.”

Stand firm, Harry Reid.  Stand firm, Mitch McConnell.  You made your compromise as the House asked and just because John Boehner can’t herd his cats or maybe squirrels (Ana Marie Cox on her Guardian blog quoted a friend who called them squirrels because “[they] are panicky and prone to irrational running into traffic.”) doesn’t mean you have to save him.  Here is John with his squirrels.

Now they want the President to order the Senate back.  Stand firm, Mr. President.  Yes, not passing the bill will hurt briefly, but the Republicans will get the blame and will be forced to come back in January and be serious about a real bill, with real funding to pay for it.  As Ana Marie Cox said, “Congressional Republicans are roadkill.”