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Climbing Romney Ridge

[ Posted Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 – 17:09 PDT ]

I'm going to be honest, here. I'm just as bored with the Republican nomination race as everyone else is by now. The mainstream media pundits have done a mighty job of trying to keep the excitement alive, but it's just not working anymore. I can do math, and Mitt Romney has been the obvious winner for at least a month now -- which even the pundits are beginning to sheepishly admit.

So instead of dwelling on "what Mitt's Wisconsin win means" today, instead I'd like to invite you to look backwards with me, and recall the journey we've already made up to this point. Because I was bored, I created a semi-artistic image to chronicle the highs and lows of the 2012 Republican nomination race. I did this by taking a snapshot of the RealClearPolitics.com graph of the Republican polling for the whole field so far, and then filling it in to resemble a majestic range of mountains, stretching off into the distance (I left the original colors and lines intact, and also left the logo and color key to give full credit for my "artistic inspiration").

GOP mountain range

[Click on image to see full-scale version.]

When the 2012 race began, the Republican voting public was faced with a daunting range of sharp peaks ahead, but these were mostly obscured by the nearest foothills. The first steps on the journey to the nomination peak were across the gentle, rolling swell of Huntsman's Hill. This ridge was a breeze to get over, as its long and low profile required little effort to ascend.

Upon entering the valley beyond, Bachmann Knob stood out along the skyline. While the hillsides were a bit steep, and the gullies to be crossed ran off at crazy and bizarre angles at times, it presented no real difficulty to surmount. From Bachmann Knob's modest heights, the first truly challenging mountain on our climb dominated the view -- Perry Peak. Also from this elevation, Romney Ridge became visible off in the distance, as did the Ron Paul Piedmont in the foreground.

The Ron Paul Piedmont is one of the more regular features on the entire landscape, it should be noted. The ridge is low, due to its advanced age compared to the surrounding mountains, and while parts of the Piedmont are thrilling to get over, other areas are dangerously unstable ground. Figuring out which was which wasn't too hard, and we crossed the Piedmont behind Bachmann Knob, on our way to our first daunting high point.

Perry Peak was a sharp and steep climb. Expert equipment was required to scale its lofty sharp peak. The lack of oxygen in the air became more and more noticeable, as Perry Peak demanded our full attention. This anoxia is dangerous, because it can dull your brain to the near-vertical cliff on the other side of Perry Peak. The falloff after Perry Peak is brutally lethal, if you're not fully prepared for it.

Once over Perry Peak, and safely down from that deadly dropoff, Mount Cain hove into view. Cain was actually a rather fun climb to make, as while the angle upwards was steep, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to walk the wide path to the top. Mount Cain, it should be noted, is exactly 999 feet lower than the elevation of Perry Peak. The walk back downwards off of Mount Cain was also mostly pleasant, although the crosswinds were so fierce it did blow a number of skirts awry among the female members of the climbing party, which led to some embarrassment.

This would be the last chance we'd have for such levity, as this was the point on our expedition when the peaks shot upwards to cleave the sky. The twin peaks of Gingrich's Graveyard were the first brutal heights to conquer on our way upwards. The first of Gingrich's Graveyard to be surmounted is Inevitability Point, and the winter snows howled while we inched our way upwards. When we finally made the top, the view was spectacular, but we didn't linger long. The wide open mouth of Newt Gorge was a rollercoaster ride steeply down into the depths, while crazy echoes bounced off the walls around us. From the bottom of Newt Gorge, we headed straight back up again to the lesser heights of Southern Strategy Pillar. This would be the most technically challenging climb of the entire expedition, but once over the top we used the well-known Fundamentally Cracked route down, to exit Gingrich's Graveyard for good.

We did not descend all the way down to the rocky depths of Gingrich's Graveyard though, where it almost meets the Ron Paul Piedmont, as instead we turned right to go through Rick's Canyon (a cul-de-sac, really), where we could see the Santorum River below us, ending at the brownish and frothy Santorum Falls.

Once through the gap, Mount Santorum loomed above us. Coming upon Mount Santorum is always somewhat of a surprise, as this ridge is quite low at the start, and does not climb for such a great distance that it remains hidden for the whole time behind the more mighty peaks of Gingrich, Cain, and Perry. But once across the crazy escarpments of Gingrich, Mount Santorum shows its true majestic face. Although springlike, the air turned a bit cold here, so we all donned sweatervests for the push to the top of Mount Santorum.

The ascent is a steep one, so we climbed as conservatively as possible at this point. Once on the top, however, Mount Santorum becomes quite disappointing, because it never really rises as high as it looks like it should, and we could see from this vantage point the long and lingering dropoff along the cold shoulder in front of us.

Luckily, we didn't have far to climb down before we were able to traverse to our true objective all along, Romney Ridge.

Romney Ridge, while it climbs ever higher, is the most boring climb since we started out on Huntsman's Hill. The view downwards is spectacular, as the lesser heights of Santorum and Gingrich are clearly visible, and even the Ron Paul Piedmont is discernable off on the horizon. But Romney Ridge, as we said, is a dull and predictable mountain, offering no challenges and soon boring us all with its monotony.

Which is kind of where we started, so that's a good place to end this fanciful spring daydream.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at Business Insider
Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

29 Comments on “Climbing Romney Ridge”

  1. [1] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Chris,

    I've posted this link on your site several times before, re. dealing with Michale's verbiage; but if you've never bothered checking it out before, here it is again:

    https://wwwx.cs.unc.edu/~hays/humor/crawling_up_everest.html

    Sorry for the redundancy, but your piece today reminded me of it yet again :-)

    (For what it's worth, David liked it too).

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Kevin -

    OK, that was funny, but the all-time model for columns like this is the "Into Thick Air" website, which hilariously documents the ascent of Mount Sunflower, highest point in Kansas.

    http://www.bettingers.org/air/ks000.htm

    Look at the background of those photos (click on Part I and then scroll through the pages) -- "Mount" Sunflower looks exactly like you'd expect the highest point in Kansas to look (with apologies to Thomas Friedman): hot, flat, and uncrowded.

    Heh.

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since we're off on tangents already (Thank Kevin.. :D) allow me to repost something that might have been missed in a previous post..

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/04/new-rnc-obamas-same-tired-rhetoric-119649.html

    Regardless of ALL partisan BS, ya'all just have to admit.

    That's a pretty effective ad.... :D

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The interesting thing about this election is that I think it's going to be a test. A test to see if enough of the public can be convinced to vote "against" rather than "for".

    It may work. Romney and conservative SuperPACs certainly have the money.

    It's a good strategy to go with though. Because I don't think enough money exists to get people excited about Romney :)

    Anyways, the Mt. Sunflower site was nice, Chris. Hadn't seen that before.

    For all the trekkies out there ... a quick other random change of subject that made me smile.

    -David

    [Ed. Note: Your link appeared broken (the ! in it, I think), so I tried to fix it...]

  5. [5] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Whups, that link didn't do so well ...

    http://twitpic.com/95b6ki

  6. [6] 
    Annui wrote:

    Your version of the graph chart is much clearer than the original - good idea!

    I like the mountain metaphor. At first glance your graph reminded me of the kind of chart one sees when editing musical sound (don't know proper term), so I imagined the peaks as solo performances, which soared then disappeared, against a steady drone of voices below. Funny thing though, even as illustrated here, Romney's never had a solo - he's more like the ever-present annoying person in the chorus oversinging, and a wee bit pitchy.

    Another thought: It looks to have been almost an arrangement....could we possibly suspect......?

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    For all the trekkies out there ... a quick other random change of subject that made me smile:

    Priceless!!!

    Thanx for sharing...

    Michale.....

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    While I don't give Obama credit for much, it is undeniable that Obama DOES get the credit for making STAR TREK cool.... :D

    Michale...

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    On another note...

    I am very anxious to read Obama's "homework assignment" after the Federal Appeals court whacked his wee-wee over his statements attacking the courts. :D

    I have to wonder if it will be sufficiently groveling to appease the Judicial Branch..

    Somehow, I doubt it.

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Regarding the Judicial Branch smackdown of the Obama Administration...

    "the power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute, though it should only be exercised in "appropriate cases."
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/05/obamas-supreme-court-comments-become-political-football-as-justice-preps/#ixzz1rBksoq8o

    And it's the COURTS that decides what those appropriate cases are.

    NOT the Executive Branch...

    I predict a follow-up homework assignment from the Judiciary Branch ordering the Obama Administration to state who decides what cases are appropriate...

    "Who run BarterTown?"
    -MasterBlaster, MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME

    :D

    Michale.....

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun. Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise. Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5. You’d be a little embarrassed, right? You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.

    Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”
    http://truthonthemarket.com/2012/04/03/my-professor-my-judge-and-the-doctrine-of-judicial-review/

    And the hits just keep on coming...

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me relay a little personal anecdote, if I may.

    While attending OCS I was assigned armory duties while the platoon was at chow.

    It sounds glamorous, I know ( :D ), but it consisted of sitting in a parking lot guarding a bunch of weapons while everyone was in eating..

    Anyways, a group of TIs were down a ways from me, shootin' the bull.. A two-star walked by and the TIs snapped to attention and saluted, saying, "Good evening, sir"...

    Of course, I hadn't noticed the general, because I was busy making sure my weapons didn't run away. Hearing the TIs, I turned, snapped to attention, saluted smartly and said, "Good evening sir!"....

    After the general had past, Captain Saunders yelled over at me, "Hey Worley!! Would you have even noticed the general if we hadn't said anything!"...

    I yelled back, "Yes sir! I just thought ya'all being of a higher rank, you should salute first!!"...

    Saunders yelled back, "You tap dance better than any candidate I have met to date!"

    I yelled, "THANK YOU SIR!!!"

    The reason I bring all that up is this...

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/04/05/carney_obama_not_understood_because_he_spoke_in_shorthand_since_he_is_a_law_professor.html

    Carney tap dances better than ANY Press Sec I have ever met.... :D

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    in a comment thread full of nonsequiturs, allow me to throw in another. i just encountered an amazing article by Carl Haefling about the political cycle and the nature of human opinions.

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/04/a-willingness-to-be-influenced/

    "Now the biggest issue in our political system and most likely for most of us in our lives is being open to influence. It is a skill. It is hard to do. It means listening."

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Now the biggest issue in our political system and most likely for most of us in our lives is being open to influence. It is a skill. It is hard to do. It means listening."

    The problem is, everyone CLAIMS to listen...

    But most only hear what they want to hear..

    Facts???

    Facts are only for peons who have no ideology....

    Michale....

  15. [15] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The problem is, everyone CLAIMS to listen...

    did you read the article?

    "Being open to influence also means that we are fully aware of the very human dynamic of confirmation bias. Sometimes we like to think we are open to being influenced when what we are really attempting to do is to confirm what we believe."

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Being open to influence also means that we are fully aware of the very human dynamic of confirmation bias. Sometimes we like to think we are open to being influenced when what we are really attempting to do is to confirm what we believe."

    Which is exactly what I said.

    Which is exactly what I have been saying for months...

    Political ideologues/fanatics start with a conclusion.....

    "Republicans/Democrats are always wrong"

    .... and then only pay attention to the evidence that supports this established conclusion.

    It's why I get so frustrated with a lot of people here.

    They claim to honor and cherish "facts" but the ONLY facts they want to hear are the facts that support their pre-established conclusion.

    That, on issues where the two Partys are on oppisite sides, Democrats are always right and Republicans are always wrong.

    Me??

    I start with the facts and then go where they take me.

    Sometimes (often) they show me that Republicans are wrong. Sometimes (often) they show me that Democrats are wrong..

    It's fact-based positions, as opposed to a position-based facts.

    Michale....

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    They claim to honor and cherish "facts" but the ONLY facts they want to hear are the facts that support their pre-established conclusion.

    [snip]

    Me??

    I start with the facts and then go where they take me.

    isn't this a pre-established conclusion too? just because you think you do doesn't necessarily mean you do all the time, or that you have any particular time. your habit is to make assertions and claim them explicitly as factual, without adequate proof to establish their truthfulness. if conclusions are based on "facts" that may be incorrect or incomplete, then the conclusions may be flawed.

    ~joshua

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    just because you think you do doesn't necessarily mean you do all the time,

    Absolutely... I DO try to do that, but I readily admit that I fail once in a while..

    if conclusions are based on "facts" that may be incorrect or incomplete, then the conclusions may be flawed.

    And then I (again, usually) adjust my conclusions accordingly...

    I really don't want to dredge up this Trayvon Martin issue (I really don't) but it's a perfect example. Early on, it was reported that TM had been trespassing on private property. I said as much to CW when he asked about it.. But then it was learned that TM's father was staying with a GF on the property. And I never mentioned the trespass issue again..

    My beef with a lot of people here (present company excepted :D) is that the refuse to change their positions, even when the FACTS clearly show they are wrong..

    This latest issue with Obama's attack on the SCOTUS is a perfect example of this..

    Obama frak'ed up. He said some things that were simply and unequivocally NOT TRUE..

    Yet very few here can admit that Obama was wrong and that the Republicans who are calling him on it are right...

    I make a concerted effort to see all sides of a debate or issue..

    With very few exceptions, no one here can make the same claim..

    Michale....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    I make a concerted effort to see all sides of a debate or issue..

    With very few exceptions, no one here can make the same claim..

    Want another example??

    "Ya know, Fox News has a good point here.."

    When was the last time you heard that around here?? :D

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I really don't want to dredge up this Trayvon Martin issue (I really don't) but it's a perfect example.

    i really don't want to write any more about that either. the media manipulation was pretty bad. the phone call without the 911 operator asking what trayvon looked like, made it seem like zimmerman was being explicitly racist. i still believe he used poor judgment and that the police seemed too quick to grant him the benefit of the doubt (perhaps due to his dad's position). to me, both "sides" of the story seem extremely suspect.

    as to obama's comments on Florida v HHS, i fully admit i haven't read the transcript and don't really know whether he overstepped or not. i suppose the measuring stick would be to compare his comments to those of other presidents in history, a comparison which i think CW is probably most qualified among us to conduct.

    ~joshua

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "Ya know, Fox News has a good point here.."

    When was the last time you heard that around here?? :D

    i believe i did mention that they had insightful coverage of the earlier republican primaries... sometimes it can be difficult to divorce the actual point they're making (the heart of the point) from the propaganda in which it's dressed. i think fox intentionally invites confirmation bias.

    ~joshua

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    I *REALLY* don't want to do this, but I just can't help it..

    i still believe he used poor judgment and that the police seemed too quick to grant him the benefit of the doubt

    I can assure you, both from personal experience and from recent events that Sanford PD would not have ANY inclination to give GZ the benefit..

    Personal Experience: Cops have a special disdain for "cop wannabe"s.. Sanford PD would likely be HARDER on GZ, not easier.

    Recent Events: A while back, GZ was instrumental in pushing punishment on Sanford PD officers who covered up when the son of a SPD officer wantonly attacked a homeless man who was black. GZ organized the black community and handed out fliers to push for a public referendum on the assault and SPD's lack of responsiveness to it.. Matter of fact, two of the officers that GZ had a hand in getting punished actually responded to the TM shooting incident..

    The fact that these officers ignored this and still did their jobs is a testament to their integrity...

    (perhaps due to his dad's position).

    His dad's position was, for all intents and purposes, a "Justice Of The Peace" position in rural Virginia a decade or more ago.. It's doubtful that SPD had even HEARD of GZ's father, let alone have it influence their treatment of his son.

    Like I said, I don't want to revisit this issue and I am sure you don't either. But I just had to correct the record on these points.....

    If you DO want to follow up on this, I'll be happy to provide you links that substantiate everything I just said...

    i believe i did mention that they had insightful coverage of the earlier republican primaries...

    I had you in mind when i mentioned those "few exceptions"... :D

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I *REALLY* don't want to do this, but I just can't help it..

    i know, it's like a train wreck, one really doesn't want to keep looking at it but it's near impossible to look away. i certainly don't have your experience in military or law enforcement (7th graders notwithstanding), so i'll have to take your word on that one. you'd also know better than i how police respond to the sons of former judges.

    two questions though, you can answer them and i'll let the situation stand. first, if those officers did know zimmerman from previous encounters and had been disciplined as a result, does that not generate the alternate theory that they were over-cautious in investigating him because they knew he was legally savvy and might cause them problems (as opposed to an unknown, dead teen who looked to them like a perp)?

    second, how does any of this relate to zimmerman's judgment in carrying a concealed firearm in the first place? are concealed firearms not generally against the guidelines for neighborhood watchmen? and if he hadn't been carrying, would he have been as quick to leave his vehicle and continue to follow, instead of backing off as the police dispatch suggested?

    ~joshua

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    i certainly don't have your experience in military or law enforcement (7th graders notwithstanding),

    You DO get HDP (Hazard Duty Pay) right?? :D

    two questions though, you can answer them and i'll let the situation stand. first, if those officers did know zimmerman from previous encounters and had been disciplined as a result, does that not generate the alternate theory that they were over-cautious in investigating him because they knew he was legally savvy and might cause them problems (as opposed to an unknown, dead teen who looked to them like a perp)?

    It definitely could...

    The investigative process (or at least MY investigative process in the day) was to create a "chain of evidence". Each piece of evidence is a link in the chain. Each evidence "link" supports or corroborates the "link" on either side of itself.

    Some pieces of evidence (the GFs phone call, the initial ABC video, etc etc) have no corroboration. Those "links" are not discarded, merely put in an "Outlier" column to see if they will "fit" later on..

    While it's entirely possible and even "plausible" that SPD handled GZ with kid gloves because of this earlier racial incident, there really doesn't seem to be any supportive evidence..

    At the risk of sounding arrogant (too late!! :D), what you see as a "rush to judgment" on behalf of the SPD, my training and experience tells me that it was a logical and rational decision based on the available evidence..

    SPD had a beaten and bloodied victim. They had a "thug" (in a cops eyes, a young male with tats and teeth grill = thug) on the ground and several eyewitnesses attesting to what occurred.

    It's a pretty reasonable conclusion the SPD came up to..

    second, how does any of this relate to zimmerman's judgment in carrying a concealed firearm in the first place? are concealed firearms not generally against the guidelines for neighborhood watchmen? and if he hadn't been carrying, would he have been as quick to leave his vehicle and continue to follow, instead of backing off as the police dispatch suggested?

    GZ was a cop wannabe. He also had the authority to pursue and he knew it.. But the 911 call shows that GZ said "OK" at the suggestion and DID break off pursuit...

    As to GZ's "judgement"... All I can say is that it's a GOOD thing that GZ was carrying that night. Chances are w/o a weapon, GZ would have done the exact same thing as he did, but the incident would have likely ended with GZ being dead (or worse) and not TM...

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    If you DO want to discuss the TM case in more detail, I recommend checking out this site:

    http://wagist.com

    Lots of really good, really indepth information there...

    Fair warning, it's 70%-80% people who think like I do.. :D

    Michale...

  26. [26] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    If you DO want to discuss the TM case in more detail, I recommend checking out this site:[wagist dotcom]

    the editor in chief's remarks on march 28 actually do provide good balance to the earlier reporting. also, the april 4 hypothesis of 2 confrontations, one subsequent to the other, seems to explain the accounts coming from both sides. stripped of all other motivations or assumptions, it goes thus:

    1. GZ follows TM, TM starts running.
    2. TM approaches GZ (in truck) and asks if he's being followed. GZ says no.
    3. TM goes home, but stays outside.
    4. GZ gets out of his truck and tries to locate TM on foot.
    5. TM sees GZ coming and doubles back to confront him.
    6. all hell breaks loose.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    That looks like a reasonable scenario.

    I don't have a problem with that, per se...

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    But just keep in mind... Even if it can be shown that GZ, by commission, instigated the altercation, he would still have the right to employ deadly force and it would still be ruled a "good shoot" via self-defense.

    Michale....

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's also interesting to note that, of the many states that have STAND YOUR GROUND style laws, these laws were created with DEMOCRAT majorities in the State Legislatures and signed into Law by Democrat Governors... Including our own DHS Secretary, Janet Napalitano...

    Michale.....

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