Happy Birthday, Counter Cultured!

Today marks a year since my sister Anna Maria launched the popular culturally conservative blog Counter Cultured. She enlisted me to help her manage the blog, and I couldn’t be more proud of what we and our contributors have accomplished this past year.

Below is our anniversary video featuring yours truly, Caleb Parke, Claire Chretien, and Anna Maria Hoffman.

From interviews with Ryan T. Anderson and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum to viral vlogs to grassroots video projects, we’ve succeeded in adding the young conservative perspective to the culture war.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed, participated in our videos, and supported our blog along the way. Here’s to many more years. Stay counter cultured!

Santorum is First Candidate to Agree to Student-Led Presidential Symposium at Hillsdale

Late last night, the Hillsdale Collegian broke a story about Rick Santorum confirming his spot in the first-ever student-led presidential symposium. The event will take place at Hillsdale College on Monday night.

Santorum had these words to say about Monday’s event:

“I am excited to share my  vision for a brighter America, and the life experiences that have helped shape those  positions,” Santorum said.

Hillsdale senior Elliot Gaiser, who will moderate the symposium, shared his thoughts about the event and its goals.

“My hope is this will shine a bright light on what candidates believe about the Constitution, and influence the presidential race to focus on the document we expect our next president to protect and defend,” Gaiser said.

The three other presidential candidates have not confirmed nor denied their participation. Nevertheless, Hillsdale College plans to make history next week with this event.

Pray for Bella Santorum

This past evening, the Santorum campaign released an official statement regarding Bella Santorum’s health.

Pro-life blogger and Santorum supporter Lisa Graas wrote about the development here:

Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director, said: “Rick and his wife Karen are admitting their daughter Bella to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this evening. The campaign will cancel Rick’s upcoming Sunday morning Florida campaign schedule. However, Rick intends to return to Florida and resume the campaign schedule as soon as is possible”

Bella Santorum, 3, suffers from trisomy and was not expected to live past her first birthday. Miraculously, she is alive today.

She is in the hospital tonight. As a result, Santorum cancelled campaign events in Florida and flew to Pennsylvania to be by her side. What a noble and virtuous thing to do. He is a great example for men to follow; I hope more young men aspire to be great fathers and husbands like him.

Please put aside your candidate preferences tonight and extend prayers for Isabella Santorum.

Earlier in the campaign season, Rick Santorum released this video about the importance of family and love for his daughter.

If you’re like me, you were brought to tears by this video. It is so touching and powerful. It goes to show that every child is a precious gift. It is amazing how beautiful the gift of life is.

Please have the Bella and the Santorum family in your thoughts and prayers tonight.

Newt Gingrich Rising in the Polls

Newt Gingrich

Image via Wikipedia

With consistent performances at GOP debates, Republican presidential hopeful and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is surging in the polls.

Gingrich is impacting voters, given his knowledge of politics and command of debate.

Fox Nation revealed more about Gingrich’s surge here:

Newt Gingrich has taken the lead in PPP’s national polling.  He’s at 28% to 25% for Herman Cain and 18% for Mitt Romney.  The rest of the Republican field is increasingly looking like a bunch of also rans: Rick Perry is at 6%, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at 5%, Jon Huntsman at 3%, and Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum each at 1%.

Dear GOP: Who will defeat Obama in 2012?

***Editors Note: This article was published in our May issue of the California Review.

Conservatives, Libertarians, Republicans, independents, and blue dog Democrats are coming to a consensus: American voters must oust President Obama from office in 2012.

With countless attacks on the Constitution, an exorbitant debt, a blatant disregard for laws in place, a third war in Libya, appeasement to our enemies, fabricated class warfare, posing roadblocks to fixing the budget, and prompting a host of other problems, Barack Obama has proven to be one of the worst Presidents in our nation’s history..

It is obvious that President Barack Obama has had his eyes glued to a second term from the beginning, so his bid for reelection was expected. However, rather than “hope and change,” he has arguably brought us “doom and gloom.” With this in mind, many signs point to Obama’s possible defeat in 2012.

In the coming months Republicans will have a pool of candidates to select from, but they must select one who will successfully challenge and defeat Obama.

A profile of prospective Republican candidates is outlined below:

Rick Santorum: A former Pennsylvania congressman and senator, Rick Santorum would be a candidate who brings legislative experience to the table. A strong fiscal and social conservative, Santorum would garner favorability among stalwarts on the Right. He is known for his opinionated and equally controversial remarks. Yet, his lack of name recognition could weaken his chances.

Newt Gingrich: As a former Speaker of the House, Gingrich has the political acumen to lead. He co-authored the Contract with America in 1994 during the Republican Revolution, and helped usher in a balanced budget amendment to the 1999 federal budget. Nevertheless, his three marriages, collaboration with Nancy Pelosi to combat climate change, and embrace of the Republican establishment will make it difficult for him to secure the nomination.

Sarah Palin: Former Alaska governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is slated to run for President. Her whit, beauty, and intelligence have resonated with conservatives and Tea Party activists. If she decides to run, she will have an advantage with her name, her likeability, and her firebrand speeches. Unfortunately, Palin will be scrutinized for her celebrity status and will be subject to vicious attacks from the liberal media if she decides to run.

Tim Pawlenty: As a popular two-term Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty has the executive experience needed in a candidate. He is a fiscal and social conservative liked by many. Unlike many prospective candidates in the GOP field, Pawlenty is adept in his extensive use of social media—a skill that is needed in order to win the White House in 2012. Challenges include his anonymity among Americans and his perceived blandness.

Mitt Romney: Dubbed the GOP “frontrunner”, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is undoubtedly running for President. Romney is known for his economic prowess and for managing the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Although he has a colorful record, Romney will have difficulty garnering the nomination due to RomneyCare, his religious affiliation, and his tendency to flip-flop on critical issues.

Mike Huckabee: A popular favorite among conservatives, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is likely to run in 2012. Huckabee could easily succeed with appeal from social and fiscal conservatives. He is an ardent supporter of Israel, and maintains the Fox News Channel Show Huckabee each weekend. Nevertheless, he will be challenged on his record for giving clemency to criminals during his tenure as Governor.
Mike Huckabee has decided he will not run for president in 2012.

Herman Cain: A popular radio talk show host and well-known businessman, Herman Cain is seen as a “wild card” candidate. Cain is a straight forward, yet equally polished orator. He is a popular speaker at events nationwide. He previously served in the Federal Reserve and ran for the Georgia U.S. Senate race in 2004.

Donald Trump: Real estate tycoon and Celebrity Apprentice star Donald Trump is expected to run in 2012. Lately, Trump openly challenged Obama over his birthplace. However President Obama discredited The Donald’s attack when Obama released his long form birth certificate in late April. In addition, there is substantial evidence to discredit his conservatism: exorbitant donations to Democrats, praise of universal healthcare, and his three marriages.
Donald Trump has decided he will not run for president in 2012.

Ron Paul: Seasoned Texas Congressman Ron Paul is a perennial candidate known for his libertarian beliefs. His most notable positions include disbanding the Federal Reserve and ending American occupation abroad. Paul is also an important Tea Party favorite. His shortcomings rest in his age and his remarks on a non-interventionist foreign policy that have irritated some Republicans and conservatives.

Michele Bachmann: House Tea Party Caucus founder and lawyer Michele Bachmann has expressed interest in running in 2012. She has already traveled to many key states, including Iowa and New Hampshire, which hints a likely presidential run. Additionally, Bachmann is very conservative in her beliefs and has served as a foster parent.

Mitch Daniels: Hailing from the Hooiser state, Governor Mitch Daniels is considering a bid for the presidency. He is responsible for balancing Indiana’s budget and has been praised as a fiscal hawk. This trait will be attractive to Republicans, with the deficit being the most pressing issue today. Nevertheless, his “truce” on social issues will possibly turn off some social conservative voters.

Gary Johnson: Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is slated to jump into the 2012 race. Like Ron Paul, Johnson has a pronounced libertarian streak. He is a proponent of marijuana decriminalization and school voucher programs. During his tenure as governor, Johnson slashed the size of New Mexico’s government and produced a budget surplus estimated at $1 billion dollars.

Gabriella is a junior in Eleanor Roosevelt College majoring in political science.