John Fund’s talk in Little Rock 4-27-11(Part 5):

Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund discusses the stimulus bill during Missouri Chamber Day at the Capitol Part 2

Last week I got to attend the first ever “Conservative Lunch Series” presented by  KARN and Americans for Prosperity Foundation at the Little Rock Hilton on University Avenue. This monthly luncheon will be held the fourth Wednesday of every month. The speaker for today’s luncheon was John Fund.
John Fund writes the weekly “On the Trail” column for OpinionJournal.com. He is author of “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy” (Encounter, 2004).

He joined The Wall Street Journal as a deputy editorial features editor in 1984 and was a member of the editorial board from 1995 through 2001. The articles he has written have appeared in Esquire, Reader’s Digest, Reason, The New Republic, and National Review. He became an editorial page writer specializing in politics and government in October 1986 and was a member of the Journal’s editorial board from 1995 through 2001. Next month’s guest speaker will be Andrew Breitbart.

In his talk he mentioned that the Republicans pick individuals who have paid their dues to run as their presidential nominee. However, he did mention that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty  was a man that we should keep our eye on even though he hasn’t been around for a long time. After the Republicans first Presidential Debate on May 5, 2011 in Greenville, SC, Fund wrote the article “A Preview Presidential Debate: There were two winners and a loser in last night’s first debate among Republican presidential contenders in South Carolina. Call it a preview of coming attractions” Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2011. Here it is:

There were two winners and a loser in last night’s first debate among Republican presidential contenders in South Carolina. But because most of the big-name potential candidates were absent, the impact of the debate will be limited. Call it a preview of coming attractions.

Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, was a hitherto unknown candidate before he stepped onto the Fox News stage last night. The last time he had been in the spotlight was in 1994, when as head of the National Restaurant Association he had been a leader in the campaign against Hillary Clinton’s health-care plan.

But the fact that there were only five candidates in last night’s debate allowed Mr. Cain to shine. A Fox focus group of GOP voters held after the debate showed that he picked up the support of voters who wanted a no-bull businessman who wants to take on Washington. The focus group’s antipathy toward Donald Trump—who did not attend the debate—and Mr. Cain’s success with pithy one-liners, make me more convinced than ever that Mr. Trump won’t be running for the GOP nomination.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum helped himself modestly by articulating his brand of social conservatism. Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson kept their libertarian base satisfied but got trapped in rhetorical cul-de-sacs by questions on their support for the decriminalization of drug use.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was the other big winner last night. He clearly had the most stature and took the opportunity to introduce himself to voters as the product of a blue-collar family who understood the pressures that a tough economy can impose on families. He also shone in the way he repudiated his earlier support for legislation to cap carbon emissions, a stance he now says would impose undue burdens on the economy. “I was wrong,” he told viewers. “It was a mistake and I’m sorry. I just admit it. I don’t try to duck it and bob it and weave it. I look the American people in the eye and say, ‘I’ve made a mistake.'”

Mr. Pawlenty’s forthrightness stands in contrast to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who hasn’t come up with a plausible story line for why he embraced a state-level health-care plan that strongly resembles ObamaCare. Indeed, Mr. Romney’s decision not to attend last night’s debate has to be viewed as a mistake, albeit a minor one. While most of the candidates avoided direct attacks on him, he left many voters in the Fox focus group wondering why the front-runner in polls had skipped the event.

But any damage that Mr. Romney suffered by his absence will be limited, given that Washington insiders are still focused elsewhere right now. House Speaker John Boehner opted to spend time at a steakhouse rather than in front of a TV set. “I’ll read about it tomorrow,” he told the newsletter Hotsheet.

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