Orthodontist 12, Psychologist 12; Playoffs Start Thursday

So, four days into 2012, we have our first election results: Romney 24.6%, Santorum, 24.5%, Paul 21.4%, Gingrich, 13.3%. I generally enjoy the electoral civic carnival, but like any carnival, it has a proper season. In 2008, I made a point of not paying attention to the various campaigns until after New Year’s Day. Before 2008, I didn’t need to make a point of not paying attention. Following my 2008 pattern this time, the show has started without me.

Specifically, I have no idea who Rick Santorum is. I couldn’t pulling him out of a police lineup. I think he is a Senator from Pennsylvania, but I may be thinking of someone else. If anyone wants to educate me go ahead. And if anyone has any hope to offer for elimating primary elections in January and February, please go ahead with that too.

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About John Mansfield

Mansfield in the desertA third-generation southern Nevadan, I have lived in exile most of my life in such places as Los Alamos, Baltimore, Los Angeles, the western suburbs of Detroit, and currently the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. I work as a fluid dynamics engineer. I was baptized at age twelve in the font of the Las Vegas Nevada Central Stake Center, and on my nineteenth birthday I received the endowment in the St. George Temple. I served as a missionary mostly in the Patagonia of Argentina from 1985 to 1987. My true calling in the Church seems to be working with Cub Scouts, whom I have served in different capacities in four states most years since 1992. (My oldest boy turned eight in 2004.) I also currently teach Sunday School to the thirteen-year-olds. I hold degrees from two universities named for men who died in the 1870s, the Brigham Young University and the Johns Hopkins University. My wife is Elizabeth Pack Mansfield, who comes from New Mexico's north central mountains and studied molecular biology at the same two schools I attended. We have four sons, whose care and admonition, along with care of my aged father, require much of Elizabeth's time. She currently serves the Church as Mia-Maid advisor, ward music chairman, and choir director, and plays violin whenever she can. One day, I would like to make shoes.

22 thoughts on “Orthodontist 12, Psychologist 12; Playoffs Start Thursday

  1. I am not getting the orthodontist, psychologist references. Am I the only one?

    In any case, as a Ron Paul supporter, his not winning Iowa is disappointing. He more than doubled the vote total from last year, so that is encouraging, but I truly thought he would win in Iowa.

    You will hear a lot of spin about how the Iowa win is not enough for Romney and shows weakness, blah, blah, blah, but Romney never expected to do well there and at one point was polling in the teens, so getting more than 24 percent is good for him. He is in a good position to win in NH and perhaps SC and FLA and then cruise to the nomination with RP consistently getting between 10 and 20 percent. The RP strategy, btw, has to be to get as many delegates as possible so he has a strong voice at the convention and push establishment Republicans to accept truly small govt principles.

    As for Santorum, he will not do well in NH but may consolidate the “social conservative anti-Romney” vote in the South and elsewhere. He could potentially be the Huckabee to John McCain from 2008, but he doesn’t have any money or organization nationwide, so it will be a real “seat of the pants” operation. Santorum is a horrible candidate for the Republicans, dour and judgmental, hectoring and lecturing. He is not as conservative on fiscal issues as he claims to be (he voted for many of the big govt Republican stuff of the Bush years). He does have a certain “working class” appeal that contrasts nicely with Romney’s Wall Street persona. Expect to see a lot of “Wall Street vs. Main Street” comparisons. In terms of religion, Santorum is a very strict Catholic, so expect a lot of people to make fun of that in the weeks ahead.

    Romney will win, RP will last until the convention and will try to force changes in the Republican party platform, and there will be a lot of noise about Santorum being the true conservative, but it won’t fly. RP has already called him a big spending liberal. Gotta love it.

  2. I believed that if Romney wins Iowa and NH, that he would be the nominated candidate in the end no matter how contested. I also believed that if he got second or third in Iowa and won NH, he could still lose the primary. Now, with him and Santorum virtually tied for first, I don’t know what to believe no matter if he wins NH. There is a huge Republican base that hates him. I will be completely surprised if he wins any Southern state. South Carolina isn’t even in the equation and Florida a toss up. My view is that you are seeing the U.S. Civil War reenacted in the Republican primaries. If Santorum catches and remains on fire, then Romney is toast.

  3. “Orthodontist 12, Psychologist 12” comes from the Bob Newhart Show. Bob’s wife, Emily, has been inviting professionals to give presentations to the third-grade class she teaches. She didn’t invite Bob because his profession, psychology, would be boring to children. In his office, visiting with Jerry the orthodontist, a regular series character whose office is on the same floor, and who was invited by Emily to present to her class, Bob says he’s a little bothered that Emily didn’t invite him. Jerry says that what Bob does would be hard for children to understand, and he writes psychologist on a notepad on Bob’s desk and counts the letters and writes that down. “See, twelve letters. It’s a big word.” Bob writes down orthodontist and counts the letters: twelve. Emily comes in to see Bob in his office, and Jerry steps out. Bob assures her that he doesn’t mind that she didn’t invite him to her class. She notices the notepad. “Psychologist 12, orthodontist 12. What’s that, Bob?” “Oh, that’s, uh, just the score of last night’s intramural game. Psychologists 12, orthodontists 12. The playoffs start Thursday.” The joke comes back a couple minutes later as Emily is about to go down the elevator. Someone asks what the score of last night’s game was, and before the doors close, Emily helpfully answers “Orthodontists 12, Psychologists 12.” A great half-hour of entertainment.

    This morning I feel a bit like Emily.

  4. I am old enough to have seen the Bob Newhart show being broadcast, but i don’t remember that one.

  5. Geoff, off topic a bit, but I think RP would be more credible to me, a libertarian-leaning conservative, if:

    a. He wasn’t just this side of crazy. Maybe that’s a cheap shot, but just like Mitt’s used-car-salesman aura, that’s how RP comes off to me.

    b. He hadn’t colluded with Barney Frank and several Soros henchmen last year to gut our military. Downsizing is one thing, but if we’re to judge a man by the company he keeps, well…

    c. He hadn’t allowed some pretty terrible things to be published in his name over a decade, defend them in ’96, then pretend he was unaware of them when they reared their ugly head again this year.

    Finally– and I can’t really include this in the list above, but I’ve got to make mention:

    1. If his ardent supporters weren’t so gosh dang annoying! Bible bashing with Jehovah’s Witnesses is nothing compared to debating with a Paul supporter.

  6. John,
    You spoiled the title for me. I thought you were being witty and I was having to interpret it… here’s what I came up with: some kind of Wednesday morning quarterbacking that involved the proverbial “pulling teeth” and “psycho-analysing” to explain last nights results.

    But in general, it seems nothing has really changed as far as I can see based on the evangelical line-up in IA. The same people who were against Romney then, are against him now. Only they claim it to be for conservative reasons that they shifted to Santorum, when Santorum is only quasi-conservative and at most just another culture warrior of yester-years. The IA folks had some lame excuses why they didn’t support Romney last time, when the hidden reason for a lot of them (not all of course) was his religion, and now this time, the reasons shift again to Romneycare, which they didn’t complain about last time… Once again, shifting reasons to cover up their mistrust of his religion.

    There, now I’ve successfully worked really hard (akin to extracting teeth) in order to squeeze that bit of pyscho-analyzing babble out of the result.

  7. As far as Paul is concerned, Geoff, I can’t help but think a bit of “economic” thinking on the libertarian position would be helpful. Conservatives, and especially libertarians, often point out that incentives matter. And understanding incentives is one of the key foundations of economics. Another foundation is resources and scarcity.

    So I think if libertarians want less government, less military involvement, less entanglement in foreign affairs and alliances, then what the US needs is less money and influence.

    So in that sense, the best hope for a libertarian would be a decline in American power. Because the opposite is surely true. If America has power, it will use it. You may get a principled leader like Paul, but the next won’t be, and in general our leaders will be no more principled than we are… and we tend to abuse power and seek to exert influence with the threat of force or coercion.

    I think the only way libertarians could realize the “best case” of their system would be for the US to decline to the point of where we just “can’t” have any influence because we don’t have the resources, and we just “can’t” have massive bureaucracies, regulations, etc. because we no longer have the resources to afford them, etc. We may be approaching that point in the next decade or so…

    Or the opposite, and wished for solution, is that we just become so virtuous (in the classical sense, not necessarily chaste sense) that we can use our liberties wisely and still seek to build up a great nation using our own agency.

    The first option really seems more likely than the last option, and the world would be much worse off with a weaker USA so I don’t like the first option at all. However, the prophet’s have plainly stated that if the USA takes a course contrary to God’s will it will have to be put down before Zion can be established. So the “Decline option” also seems the most likely from a religious perspective.

    Of course, I do want to point out, in general I am appalled when I look at so many Republicans who are quick to beat war drums and castigate those who do not wish to rush to endless wars. If there is one thing the BoM shows us, it’s that from the very outset of the writings of Nephi their people were engaged in wars, with only various interludes of peace. And the longer they engaged in wars, the weaker they became. Consider it the inverse-missionary effect. Sending scores of people to go on missions and convert others strengthens faith and increases the righteousness of the people. If you’re not only not engaging in missionary work, but engaging in destruction of your neighbors or even in the best case, focused on defense so heavily that you aren’t fully consecrating yourself to God then you will be worse of spiritually, and you won’t be able to lay the same foundation for your kids, and the effect will increase unto the next generation as they received even less “spiritual training” then you. I actually think the pride cycle only tells part of the story. Just as you can seek after riches and to build yourself up, seeking after destroying your neighbor or endlessly preparing a people for war (and then engaging in it) also resulted in their destruction.

    To Romney’s credit (or perhaps my erroneous perception), I get the sense that he engages in this rhetoric only half-way and he tries to walk the line in the middle of not being a warmonger, but also recognizing that if he doesn’t say certain things he’ll be rejected out right.

  8. Tossman, #7, there is probably not much I could say to change your mind except to encourage you to listen to some of his speeches and perhaps read his book “Liberty Defined.” In 2007-2008, I despised Ron Paul without knowing much about him based on his performance in the debates. After the housing crash (which he predicted in 2001), I started listening to his speeches and read several books and articles, and, well, he is the best candidate we have. He is far from a perfect candidate. It would be nice if he were 20 years younger, and it would be nice if he were a better speaker. He definitely is not smooth. I get what you mean about his supporters — some of them do have a kind of JW feel to them. In addition, there are a LOT of really fringe RP supporters out there — the Alex Jones Infowars types who see a conspiracy everywhere. I will be OK with a Romney candidacy because Romney is a good man, but Ron Paul’s message of smaller government and fewer wars is important to the country. I truly feel as a country we are on an unsustainable path and we need somebody to reign in government spending, and Romney will only nibble around the edges, and of course if Obama wins get ready for us becoming Greece.

  9. Chris,

    “Of course, I do want to point out, in general I am appalled when I look at so many Republicans who are quick to beat war drums and castigate those who do not wish to rush to endless wars. If there is one thing the BoM shows us, it’s that from the very outset of the writings of Nephi their people were engaged in wars, with only various interludes of peace. And the longer they engaged in wars, the weaker they became.”

    Exactly right.

  10. Geoff, #11, I hear you. Thing is, RP will not win the GOP nomination, and a third party candidacy guarantees an Obama victory.

    And to water RP’s flaws down to a universal human imperfectness that the unconverted should simply get over in order to take back America is the wrong approach. No, I don’t know much about RP. I’ve never watched the videos or clicked on the links that my suddenly zombified Facebook friends incessantly post.

    But I will never trust my country to somebody with Soros connections, nor will I vote for somebody who allowed a decade of racist and homophobic commentary to be published in his name. Or somebody who hints at 9-11 trutherism, or is anti-Israel. If it came down to Paul and Obama, I’d have to write somebody else in.

  11. Geoff, I just watched the whole thing (which I only did because I have respected you for a long time), and I find my position on the matter unaffected.

    After confirming racist content in the RP newsletter archives, his main is that the percentage of racist content in content total is smaller than one might think. So the newsletter was only kinda racist, and not most of the time. Like a movie that’s mostly wholesome with just a few graphic sex scenes.

    The secondary argument is authorship. The assumption that RP did not write this content holds water. But the fact that any of it (no matter how small the percentage) made it to press at all is indicative of tacit approval or extreme ignorance on RP’s part.

    So I can only draw two conclusions about the newsletter– 1) Ron Paul was aware of the racist content and allowed it to be published, or 2) That the man doesn’t have control of his media outlets or the wherewithal to spot problematic content. More to the point, the man is either a subtle racist or an idiot. How can I draw any different conclusion?

    Further, the video only addresses the racist content, leaving the homophobic stuff out completely. I believe the word ‘homophobic’ is overused to the point where its meaning has been watered down. Discrimination does not equal homophobia. But read the homophobic content (I have). It is indeed rather homophobic.

    Not having read the newsletters in their totality, I can’t speak to the percentage conspiracy-related content, but from what I have read there’s plenty of it there. RP’s message about small government is a good one, and it needs to be heard. But in my opinion, RP is a flawed enough conduit for that message that his presence in this race only damages it.

  12. Those italics in my post above should have been exclusive to the word “kinda,” and the statement in the second paragraph should read “his main corollary is that…”

    If somebody could fix those things for me, I’d appreciate it.

  13. On the newsletter thing, I knew about this four years ago when it was first disclosed. In addition to the New Republic, several other outlets did some in-depth investigating. I just can’t get excited about it. My key metric in determining how much to care about such scandals is, “how would it affect how he would govern in terms of policy” and secondarily, “how would it affect his ability to be elected.” So, with Obama and Jeremiah Wright, I simply didn’t care about the first because his having a racist pastor really doesn’t say much about how he would govern. The Bill Ayers thing was more important because it showed some pretty dangerous influences. And of course the media cooperated to make sure that these issues were pushed aside. I didn’t care about Clinton’s dalliances because they simply didn’t matter to me (I voted for him twice) until they began to affect how he could govern effectively, and then I began caring. I didn’t care about Bush’s cocaine use because again it was in the past and had no affect on his ability to govern. So, I think I am pretty consistent on this issue.

    What do the newsletters say about RP’s governing? There would be no affect at all. Even if you buy the fact that somehow he is a secret racist, what is he going to do, reinstitute Jim Crow? Nobody, even the worst RP critic, believes that these newsletters will have any affect at all about policy. If you want to argue that he was a bad manager, well, I would have to agree, but I would reiterate that there were just a few newsletters with this stuff and only one that had most of it (as the video shows). So, if you want to base your opposition to RP on the fact that he was a bad manager for a short period 20 years ago, there’s probably not much anybody could say that would change your mind, but compared to some of the horrific things coming out of politicians these days, I think that’s a pretty mild basis to oppose a candidate. But again, arguing people out of such positions never works, so I will simply state my case and move on.

  14. Tossman, on the defense cuts issue, Barney Frank and Soros, none of this is new. RP has long sided with Dennis Kucinich, one of the most liberal members of Congress, on civil liberties issues and on defense cuts. He often sides with Ralph Nader on similar issues. So, if you want to oppose him because he works with some people you find distasteful, there is plenty to dislike there. But here’s the thing: it is the ignorant left that plays the game of character assassination, and conservatives/libertarians should not fall for this tactic. Remember the ridiculous Bush hatred that the left engaged in just 4-5 years ago? It was WAAAAY over the top. So even when Bush did something the left liked (like immigration reform), the left refused to give him any credit at all. I simply think this is an ignorant and short-sighted way of approaching politics. Bush is not 100 percent bad (no matter what Rachel Maddow says), nor are Kucinich, Nader and Barney Frank and Soros. Sometimes they are right on some issues. And the need for defense cuts is an area where we truly need some out-of-the-box thinking. Do you really think that there is NOTHING in the Defense department that can be cut? How about all those troops in Germany and Japan? How about all the troops we have in South and Central America? How about the dozens of bases in the Middle East? Do you really think in your heart of hearts that we need ALL of those bases? So, we should be happy RP is willing to work with other people, even people on the left, to find ways to cut govt spending. I for one applaud him for doing it, and I refuse to play the game of “hate person XXX” just because they are wrong 80 percent of the time, or even 90 percent of the time. Even Harry Reid is right 1 percent of the time.

  15. Geoff, please don’t infer that my criticisms of RP constitute a no-cuts-at-all stance. Not every non-RP supporter is a warmongering neocon. I believe cuts need to be made across the board. I just would rather RP have consulted a group of non-partisan military experts and/or current department heads rather than a Soros cohort.

    The Soros saga is a long and complicated one, and a subject best suited to a separate thread. I do not believe Soros is good (or well-meaning toward the U.S.) even 1% of the time, and I distrust any group he funds. Character is important, as are associations. I consider the argument that they have nothing to do with how somebody will govern a cop out. I think Obama’s associations with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers are extremely damning, and it amazes me that they were so dismissed. I’m equally amazed at the absolute unwillingness of Paul supporters to consider the skeletons in his closet.

    At the moment, Santorum is my guy. But if questionable associations were to be revealed with him, I’d make a serious reassessment of my support for him. Distaste for a person (or their associations, views, policy stances, etc.) does not preclude working with them. But it’s foolish not to factor those things into the equation. In RP’s case, these associations and the racist newsletter content are just a few of the things that cross the line with me. Sorry.

  16. George Soros is one of the most patriotic Americans there is. Read his many economic writings, which, if heeded, would have done much to avoid the worst of the financial crisis as well as mitigate its damages. Soros also funded a great many pro-democracy efforts in the former Warsaw Pact, when the State Dept. couldn’t be bothered to do so at sufficient levels. All your conspiracy talk is a bunch of arrant nonsense.

    If you want questionable associations, Santorum was neck-deep with Jack Abramoff and his merry band of thieves and criminals:


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