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As of yet Mitt Romney has failed to demonstrate any significant level of national support–yet he has as good a chance as anyone to emerge as the Republican presidential nominee for 2008. There are two major reasons for that: money and Rudy Giuliani.
Thus far, Romney has raised around $63 million, more than any other GOP candidate, and thanks to his personal wealth he isn’t likely to be running low on campaign funds any time soon. Hence, he’ll be able to keep paying for the flood of TV ads that pushed him to the top of the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Romney’s strategy is to outlast John McCain, Fred Thompson, and Mike Huckabee, to become the “conservative” alternative to Giuliani, who many on the right just can’t stomach. In my November magazine article on Romney’s campaign (now available online for free), his South Carolina consultant, Warren Tompkins, told me: “If it’s Romney versus Giuliani, we win if we do our job right. Social groups, right to life organizations, the Bob Jones crowd are all sitting on the sidelines but Rudy scares them and when a conservative alternative comes to the top they will move there.”
That’s probably a smart bet, as seen in last week’s decision by Dr. Bob Jones III, chancellor of the fundamentalist Christian university, to endorse Romney. “This is all about beating Hillary,” he told The Greenville News in making the announcement.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”