Change? Obama Worse than Bush

The verdict is in, and Barack Obama did not produce the change he promised.  In fact, as he blames all his ills on the last 8 years, it is interesting to compare the Bush years to the Obama years.  Consider the following:

Average Annual Increase in Public Debt (in millions):

Bush: $543,818        Obama: $1,497,601

Total Increase in Public Debt (in millions):

Bush (8 years): $4,217,261   Obama (4 years): $5,990,407

Average Annual Unemployment (Also see here):

Bush: 5.26%                    Obama: 9.2%

Median Household Incomes:

January, 2009: $55,198       August, 2012: $50,678

The Average Annual Price of Gas (not even including 2012):

Bush: $2.14                     Obama: $2.89

Cost of Higher Education (adj. for inflation, not even including 2012):

Bush 2008: $16,661     Obama 2011: $18,497

But isn’t health insurance cheaper now with Obamacare?  No.  In 2012 the amount a family with employer provided coverage pays in annual premiums has increased to about $16,000.  For families with private individual plans, the amount is up to $5,615.  And before you ask why families don’t all just switch to private individual plans, remember that Obamacare taxes medium-large businesses up to $3,000 per employee that they don’t cover.

But we know Obama has handled the economy terribly.  The other thing people elected Obama for was to end the wars.  Obama promised to close Gitmo, which didn’t happen, and to end the war in Iraq.  He ended the war in Iraq by sticking to Bush’s timeline, but that wasn’t the whole story.  Obama intended to continue the war and leave troops in Iraq, but Biden could not negotiate simple immunity for our troops.  Don’t look now, but the Afghanistan war isn’t ending in 2014.  The administration is already negotiating to keep up to 25,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

Let’s look at war by the numbers.

Involvement in Major Foreign Conflicts:

Bush: 2 countries           Obama: 3 countries

Military Spending as % of GDP:

Bush, 2008: 4.4%          Obama, 2011: 4.7%

Average Annual War Spending:

Bush: $99.3 Billion       Obama: $155.1 Billion

Obama boasts of ending the war in Iraq, but how is the peace President doing in Afghanistan?

Average Annual Troop Deaths:

Bush: 606                        Obama: 445

Iraq:  528                         66

Afghanistan: 78              379

But what about Bush’s handling of Katrina?  Surely Obama has done better than that, right?  Former NYC Mayor Guiliani says no.

What about taxes?  Obama boasts about cutting people’s taxes, but most of the tax hikes he passed don’t go into effect until next year.  Obamacare has 20 different tax hikes in it, and many of those affect the poor and the sick.

But Obama saved the auto industry, right?  Actually, the only Detroit major that survived was Ford.  Ford didn’t take Obama’s bailout.  Chrysler did, and is now owned by an Italian company called Fiat.  GM took Obama’s bailout and is now owned by the taxpayers.  This was after Obama spent billions to bailout the unions before letting the two companies go through bankruptcy.  If that’s Obama saving the auto industry, I hope he doesn’t do me any favors.

Add these factors to Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the Black Panther polling case, Solyndra, and the other various scandals and overreaches of the Obama administration, and there is no reason to re-elect Obama.  Except of course if you got an Obama phone and are afraid of losing it.

How Obama Could Still Win:

Several states in play are ties or tossups in the latest polls.  In some, Obama is leading by 3-5%, but 3-5% are either undecided or going third party.  Obama can still win, even with his horrible statistics, if people vote third party or stay home.

I know many out there are voting third party or not voting to protest Romney.  I, like you, am a very libertarian leaning constitutionalist.  I’d love to see us out of the Middle East.  I’d love to see government spending cut in half.  I’d love to see us hold to our 10th amendment.  But Mitt Romney is NOT Barack Obama.

If anything, Mitt Romney is far closer to Reagan.  Despite being hailed as a conservative hero, Reagan is not as conservative as I would have preferred.  In fact, many Ron Paul and Gary Johnson voters would probably not vote for Reagan either.  But Mitt Romney is not the candidate you should be protesting.  You should be protesting Barack Obama.

Consider your goals and which candidate will get us there:

Less involvement in the Middle East: Mitt Romney has a comprehensive energy plan that gets America using its own resources to lower our dependence on OPEC.  Obama spent billions of your tax dollars on green energy companies that went bankrupt, and we are no closer to independence from foreign oil.

Simpler, fairer tax system: Romney’s plan reduces rates in order to remove loopholes and deductions based on the government’s definition of what a good citizen looks like without raising taxes.  Obama’s plan is higher taxes, more redistribution and a more complex tax system designed to pick winners and losers.

Foreign wars: Obama has proven himself to be an interventionalist.  He is not the peace President people hoped for.  He hasn’t closed Gitmo.  He only left Iraq because he was too incompetent to negotiate a way to stay there.  But he is already negotiating to keep 25,000 troops in Afghanistan.  Romney’s approach is to show the kind of strength Reagan did.  What major war did we fight when Reagan was President?  The Cold War, where we sat across the ocean from each other and didn’t pull the trigger for eight years.  Finally, the Soviet Union collapsed under their economic system.

More personal freedom and responsibility: Nothing took us backwards further as a nation than Obamacare.  Obamacare mandates that every American buy private health insurance or pay a tax.  Obamacare takes deciding power away from doctors and patients and gives it to the government.  If you protest Romney, Obamacare is here to stay.  If you vote to protest Obama, we have a shot at repealing this monstrous tax on the sick and the poor.

Does My Vote Count?

If you are thinking of voting third party or not voting because Romney is not as conservative as you’d like, you could be part of the margin that gives Obama four more years to take us down the path towards socialism at hyperspeed.  So where does Romney need your vote the most:

Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Arizona.

But believe it or not, he also needs you in Oregon, Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maine. If nothing else, vote to tell the liberals in your state that they do not have a mandate.  The country is changing and is leaning to the right.  You will never get the conservative, limited government you want if you let the country fall off the socialist cliff because the most conservative candidate who can win is not conservative enough for you.

When you walk into the voting booth, consider what you want America to look like in 2016.  Do you want to move forward the way Obama does?  Do you really want four more years of this?

As I Asked Before, Does It Make Sense to Endorse the People You Want to Run Against?

Bookmark and Share    Last week I was criticized for criticizing now former Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson for endorsing Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination while at the same time seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination.  I made a bit of a stink about the stupidity of endorsing the candidacy of someone who you intend to oppose.

As it turned out, when Johnson made it official that he was changing his Party registration from Republican to Libertarian, dropping his bid for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, and seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination, he did not come right out and endorse Ron Paul.  That made sense.

However, this week, one day before the Iowa Caucuses, Gary Johnson lived up to expectations and came out with the following statement.

“While Ron Paul and I are both libertarians, we don’t necessarily agree on every single issue.

However, on the overriding issues of restoring our economy by cutting out-of-control spending and the need to get back to Constitutional principles in our government, Ron Paul and I are in lock-step.”

….I am hopeful that in urging my supporters in Iowa to vote for Ron Paul in the coming caucuses, a victory for the principles we share can be won.”

Thank you Gary Johnson.

Thanks for redeeming me and my previous post on this topic.  You have helped make my questions more relevant than ever and it is my greatest hope that you will in eventually  decide whether you want to be President or whether you want Ron Paul to be President. Once you make that decision, maybe you will finally be able to do a little good for either yourself or Ron Paul.  Until then you are  just being a fool and playing us for fools.

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Paul’s Little Johnson: Does It Make Sense to Endorse Someone You Want to Run Against?

Bookmark and Share  The question may sound silly but if reports are true, former New Mexico Governor and soon to be former Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson is about to make it a very pertinent question.

In a press conference scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, Gary Johnson is expected to withdraw from the race for the Republican presidential nomination, register as a Libertarian, and declare his intention to seek that Party’s presidential nomination.   Then he is reportedly going to endorse Ron Paul.

Given the lack of attention that Johnson has been able to direct to himself, the move is one driven by the desire to have some relevance in the 2012 election, something which up to now, Johnson has not been able to pull off.  It is an attempt at political survival that in Johnson’s case, is now highly unlikely to work.

Part of the reason Johnson did not gain any attention in the Republican nomination contest is due to his own lack of charisma and inarticulate messaging.  Johnson is about as inspirational as a pallbearer, but if that wasn’t bad enough, he was overshadowed by another very uninspiring figure……..Ron Paul.

As the two most Libertarian candidates in the field, not only are both men out of touch when it comes to their unrealistic and dangerous foreign policy stands that put them out of touch with mainstream America, they also have both tried to compete for the small but increasing Libertarian voting bloc within the G.O.P.  And it is that competition that ruined any glimmer of hope for attention that Johnson may have had because the cult of personality surrounding quadrennial presidential candidate Ron Paul, simply sucked what little oxygen that did exist in  Johnson’s campaign, right out of it.

Given the circumstances, if Johnson wants to continue with any kind of legitimate campaign for President, then seeking the Libertarian Party nomination is the only logical decision for him to make.  It is a decision which he should have made long ago.

But now come reports that Johnson is about to diminish even that small glimmer of political hope by coupling his announcement to seek the Libertarian presidential nomination with an endorsement of Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination.

This leads me to ask, is Johnson going to also endorse Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination too?  Why not come out and also endorse Ralph Nader for the Green Party, Ross Perot for the United We Stand Party, Cynthia McKinney for the Socialist Workers Party, and Lyndon LaRouche for the “Only Other Living Candidate to Run for President as Many Times as Ron Paul Party” nominee?

In a previous post, I offered some praise of Gary Johnson and stated that based on his record of accomplishments as a governor, he was a superior candidate when compared to Ron Paul.  Ron Paul has done little more than preach and participate in acts of political hypocrisy for close to two decades.  But Gary Johnson actually put his Libertarian beliefs to work and applied them to state government.  I continue to stand by that belief.  However, if it is true that Johnson is changing his Party registration from Republican to Libertarian and subsequently announcing his quest for the Libertarian presidential nomination while simultaneously endorsing Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination, than I have only one thing to say to Johnson………… Give it up!

I could respect Johnson for coming to the realization that because of his reckless foreign policy and national security sentiments, he is out of touch with Republicans and will therefore seek the nomination of a Party more in tune with his poor judgement on those issues.  But I cannot respect him if he is actually going to do so while endorsing someone who, if he wins the Libertarian, he will be competing against.  That is just plain stupid and is further evidence of just how poor Johnson’s judgement is.

Of course it is all probably just one big game.  Another round of political BS coming from another holier than thou politician who is too proud to to admit that they are not good enough, but too ambitious to not kiss the rear end of a fellow career politician.

Most of us know that Ron Paul will not be the Republican presidential nominee, regardless of where he finishes in next week’s Iowa Caucuses.  Not being  a stupid man, Gary Johnson probably knows this too.  So his endorsement of Ron Paul is most likely a gesture designed to entice those who are supporting Ron Paul during the Republican presidential nomination process, to turn around and support Johnson for President when Paul is out of the race.  The problem is that Ron Paul may not ever drop out of the race.  When he loses the Republican nomination, he might just turn around and run as an independent candidate or compete against Johnson for the Libertarian nomination.

If Ron Paul does either of the two, Johnson is dead meat.  How can he possibly wage a realistic race against the man he endorsed?

That is why, if these reports are true, and Johnson does announce his Libertarian presidential candidacy while also endorsing Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination, I will be forced to label him a true political clown, because it all comes down to this, either you believe you are the best, most qualified, person for the job of President and believe that you can do a better job than all the others, or you don’t.  And if you don’t think you are the best person for the job, than you have no right wasting our time by seeking the position and whining about how you deserve time in nationally televised debates that already offer precious little time to legitimate candidates.

In many ways, the point is moot.  Gary Johnson did already endorse Ron Paul back in early December, as seen in this clip.  So whether Johnson reiterates this support for Paul during his announcement today, or not, I will congratulate him for finally  realizing that he has a snowball’s chance in hell at becoming the Republican presidential nominee and for deciding to give that campaign up.  But  I suggest that he make another decision too.  He should decide whether he wants to be President or whether he wants Ron Paul to be President. Once he makes that decision, maybe he will finally be able to do a little good for either himself or Ron Paul.  Until then he is just being a fool and playing us for fools.

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Hero Worship of Ron Paul Gives Birth to the Third Party Candidacy of a Proven Libertarian Leader

Bookmark and Share   On Wednesday,December 28th, six day before the first voting takes place in the first presidential caucus, the Republican presidential field will take a new turn.  It is on that day that former Governor Gary Johnson will be making a major announcement about what he describes as his plans for insuring that his message of liberty and freedom is heard in the 2012 presidential election [see the press release below this post]. It is expected that he will use the opportunity to declare that he will seek the Libertarian presidential nomination and hope to continue to spread his message while carrying the banner for that third party.

Up to now, the message he wants to deliver has been muted by low poll numbers and a lack of media exposure and financial resources.

Unfortunately for Governor Johnson those three attributes feed in to each other and have been responsible for a vicious cycle that placed his candidacy in a state of virtual obscurity.  And it is pity that he fell victim to that cycle.

As a two term Governor of New Mexico, Johnson proved himself to be quite an effective leader.

He is about as anti-government as you can get and as a self described Libertarian-Republican, when he was in charge of New Mexico’s state government, he vetoed 750 bills and stood by his belief that less government is better government.

But where he did see a place for government action, he acted quickly and unapologetically.

In addition to vetoing more bills than all the other 49 Governors of the time combined, Johnson shrunk the size of government by 1,200 employees, left the state with an all time high bond rating, cut government spending by 30%……. just through welfare reforms, eliminated the state’s deficit, reduced taxes $123 million annually, shifted state Medicaid to managed care, brought the New Mexico state government and the Navajo nation leadership together to finally resolve century-old disputes over water, gaming, and other issues, privatized half the prisons in the state, shot down campaign finance legislation., repealed an act that prevented non-unionized labor the ability to be employed in construction of new schools and other public works, and oversaw the construction of 500 miles of new, four-lane highways that were designed, financed, built, and guaranteed by the private sector.

Gary Johnson did not just talk about limited government, he ran one. And he did so by adopting Republican principles and incorporating them into the application of Libertarian beliefs.

Were it not for his Ron Paulish foreign policy and national security designs, even I would have given Johnson serious consideration for the Republican presidential nomination.  However; aside from those very dangerous shared views of the two men, Johnson is in truth, the superior candidate.  Neither man is an exciting speaker and neither have outstanding personalities but on the issues and their individual records, Johnson is head and shoulders above Paul.  While Ron Paul has preached the virtues of limited and small government, Gary Johnson actually practiced and applied those virtues to government.  While Paul talked the talked for over four decades, Johnson actually walked the walk as a successful Governor for eight years.

Those facts should have made Gary Johnson the most successful Libertarian candidate in the Republican presidential field.  But with the third time presidential candidacy of Ron Paul, it became impossible for Gary Johnson to compete for the Libertarian market available within the G.O.P.

Unlike Ron Paul, Johnson lacks the cult of personality that Ron Paul has achieved through his decades of rhetoric and distortions.  That cult of personality has blinded his cult-like followers from even giving another candidate a fair and decent hearing.

Blinded by the glow of the messianic light that Pauliacs cast on Ron Paul, the small but significant 10% to 18% of those who are staunch supporters of Paul’s message, refuse to believe that anyone else can have a similar message and for them, whether they realize it or not, the issues are actually overshadowed by Ron Paul.

If for no other reason than the fact that Gary Johnson has proven himself and Ron Paul has yet to prove himself, true believers in Libertarian policies who are sincere about the issues, would have and should have been far more appreciative of Gary Johnson than they were.  Instead, Gary Johnson and his record of accomplishment was overshadowed by Ron Paul’s use of propaganda and mass media outlets, that created a heroic public image through unchallenged praise and flattery.

The reality is that if Ron Paul fanatics were more consumed by the issues than hero worship, Gary Johnson might still be trying to influence the Republican Party and general election through the primary process.  Instead, he will now spend most of his time running against the only opposition to President Obama that has a realistic shot of defeating him.

The greatest irony here though is that the cult of personality following that surrounds Ron Paul is astonishingly antithetical to the Libertarian ideology and its sincere roots in liberty.  Cults of personality are most often associated with dictatorships whose success relies primarily on unquestioned loyalty to the dictator and a Pallovian reaction to their charismatic authority.

While Ron Paul is far from charismatic, his message has a charisma of its own and it has led to the unhealthy hero worship which has left Libertarians with one man as their sole, unchallenged leader.  In may ways it is more similar to the following of Kim Jong-Il  than it is to the support of an American politician.  Even Ronald Reagan faced criticism from fellow Republicans, but does a Libertarian dare criticize Ron Paul?  As I stated…….hero worship.

Many Pauliacs will of course disagree with me but the true test of my analysis will quickly come once Ron Paul loses the Republican Presidential nomination.

When the inevitability of Paul’s loss of the nomination becomes undeniable, we will wait to see if Ron Paul runs his own independent candidacy for President.  If he is a true Libertarian, there is no reason why he shouldn’t pursue the Libertarian Party nomination as he did in 1988. In fact one must question why he has not already to do so.  Nothing precludes him from accepting multiple Party nominations.  So there is no apparent reason why he isn’t already seeking the Libertarian nomination. But if he doesn’t seek it, will Pauliacs finally give Gary Johnson a decent hearing and flock to him?  Or will hero worship of Ron Paul suddenly reduce enthusiasm for the message and cause of liberty and freedom?

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In Bachmann’s Mind

I would think Michele Bachmann would be more gentle with some of her Republican competitors.  She herself has faced everything from the bigotry of the Left against conservative women to the watchfulness of the one-eyed media who has gleefully remarked on her every gaffe while turning the blind eye to the Obama/Biden circus.

Yet, to hear from Bachmann at the Foxnews debate, you would think Newt Gingrich was a pro-choice, pro-partial birth abortion candidate who used to run Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and will be a President to the left of Obama himself.  This is no exaggeration.  However, her characterizations were.

Now, Newt and Bachmann come from different perspectives on the Republican party.  Bachmann would have done well to note that clearly.  Newt is not going to close off the Republican party and say ‘no pro-choicers, homosexuals, immigration reformers, anti-war candidates allowed’.  Bachmann, as a TEA Party activist, seems to lean more towards that hardline stance.  There is definitely a point to be made there.  There are many Republicans who desire party purity to the point of ditching the big top and settling for a camping tent.  Newt is not one of those.  Such a point is sufficient to distinguish Bachmann from Newt.

Newt Gingrich is not pro-choice.  He is not pro-partial birth abortion.  His firm took an average of $225,000 a year from Freddie Mac in consulting fees over  an 8 year period.  That is not a whole lot for high end consulting by a multi-member firm in Washington DC for a multi-billion dollar company.  Think about it.  Freddie Mac represented about 3% of the Gingrich Group’s total revenues.  It was an exclusive group with about 300 clients.  Clients paid on average $200,000 a year for membership.  Newt himself did not do any lobbying for Freddie Mac.

But that isn’t what she said.  Bachmann’s characterization was so outlandish that she lost all credibility.  What could have been an intellectual differentiation turned into a wild and false assault on one of the two best hopes of defeating Obama in 2012.

Bachmann will not win her way back into the hearts and minds of the Republican majority with this sort of outlandish hyperbole.  She certainly won’t win with a kill ’em all attitude towards Republicans who don’t fit her cookie cutter.  For this reason, I will make the same call on Bachmann that I have for Huntsman and Johnson:

Michele, you are not going to win.  You have done too much already on your own to destroy your own campaign.  As far as destroying other candidates campaigns, your attacks are effective only on the ignorant.  Now you are no longer contributing value to this primary.  You are not contributing fresh ideas, you are not drawing new blood into the campaign.  It is time to end your campaign.  Whether or not you realize it, it’s already over.

Gary Johnson Preparing to Bolt from the G.O.P. and Seek the Libertarian Presidential Nomination

Bookmark and Share  The Independent Political Report recently revealed that former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will be withdrawing from the race for the Republican presidential nomination,  and instead, begin pursuing the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

While this news is dramatic, it is really more personaly dramatic for Gary Johnson than it is for most American voters.  To them the real news is that Gary Johnson was running for President in any Party.

Johnson was one of the first candidates to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, but few ever knew.  His lack of nationalname ID and seeming lack of personality made it quite hard for Gary Johnson to ever really have a chance to catch on with the public.  In addition to scant media coverage of his candidacy, little to no interest in his candidacy gave few media outlets any desire to cover his campaign.  White House 2012 contacted Gary Johnson several times in an attempt to give him the opportunity for such coverage, but apparently, he decided that no coverage was better than any coverage by White House 2012.

Now it would seem that Gary Johnson has come to accept the vicious cycle of political anonymity that he exists in and is ready to to try to become a big fish in the little Libertarian pond, instead of being a Guppy in a big lake.

While news of any aggressive moderate or right of center candidacy can significantly harm Republican chances of defeating President Obama,  Gary Johnson’s third party candidacy will have little effect on the election even if he wins the Libertarian nomination.  Whereas such a campaign by Ron Paul could doom any chance of beating President Obama 2012, the same does not hold true for Johnson,  whose Libertarian bid for the presidency will only prove to generate the same kind of voter attention and enthusiasm that his failed campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has generated.

In many ways, Johnson’s inability to run a campaign that could get his message out is a very sad state of affairs.

As a popular two term Governor, he became one of the few people to actually deliver on limited government and reducing the size of  government.  He is also one of the few elected officials who has actually governed in accordance with the fiscal conservatism that he preaches.  Compared to Ron Paul, Gary Johnson is actually a much better leader.  While Paul preaches, Johnson did what he preached.  While Ron Paul has accomplished little to nothing in his attempts to reform government, Gary Johnson has actually achieved reforms.

Truth be told, if I had the opportunity to elect Johnson governor of my state, I would.  He is a true small government, fiscal conservative.  However, like Ron Paul, he and his policies lack any merit when it comes to what is the federal government’s main constitutional repsonisibility…..foreign affairs and national security.  Sadly, this is a disqualifier.  It is also one of the reasons why no one has taken Gary Johnson seriously as a presidential candidate.

Ultimately, Johnson’s potential third party candidacy is the best thing for him and for the Libertarian Party, he is the next best thing to Ron Paul for them and it is probably what Johnson should have done from the very beginning.

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As Predicted

Newt is finally getting to taste the view at the top.  In the latest Public Policy Polling poll, Newt has climbed to the top, edging out Cain and Romney.  In fact, in this poll Newt was the only candidate with noticeable upward mobility.  Both Cain and Romney saw declines, while Perry slipped far closer to 5% oblivion with fellow candidates Bachmann, Paul, Santorum, Huntsman and Johnson.

Newt's turn as king of the hill

Newt’s ascension is no surprise to this staffer after Cain’s sexual harassment troubles refused to go away, his 9-9-9 plan came under scrutiny, and he gave a foreign policy debate performance where he may as well have said on a clear day he can see advisers who know something about foreign policy from his front doorstep.  Ok, low blow.  But you have to admit his debate performance was not up to Newt/Mitt standards.

Mitt Romney continues to occupy his base of supporters, but this poll may indicate that many who supported him as the only viable candidate are also giving Newt a second look.  This is especially true considering things like the latest Whitehouse12.com poll that shows high negatives for Cain and Romney, but relatively low negatives for Gingrich.

What Newt Gingrich needs to do now is avoid saying anything stupid.  The top spot in the GOP race is precarious.  And Newt is not spotless.  At times he means well, but is misunderstood.  While he has chalked up his couch time with Pelosi and his weak campaign start as stupid mistakes, such an excuse will not carry him through January.  Gingrich needs South Carolina and Florida to go his way before he can start feeling at all comfortable, and that is a ways away still.

Newt Gingrich: Phoenix Rising or Leader Emeritus? Can Newt be the Next Frontrunner?

  Bookmark and Share  While Mitt Romney maintains a steady 25% in most Republican presidential polls, the polling numbers for other candidates have seen wide fluctuations that provide them with five minutes of fame in frontrunner status. That has been a phenomenon mainly to the desire of the G.O.P. base to find a viable alternative to Romney that they can get excited about. For a while that alternative was Mike Huckabee Mitch Daniels, and Donald Trump.  Then it was  Michele Bachmann, and soon after her it was Rick Perry.  When Perry stepped in and did not meet expectations, the enthusiasm shifted back towards the hope that a new name would jump in to the race.  Paul Ryan again declined and then Chris Christie spent an hour in a press conference convincing people that he was not running.  Soon after that, Herman Cain catapulted to the top.

At the moment, Cain still remains in the lead in several state and national polls, but it is a slim lead that seems to be slowly fading.  Meanwhile Romney stays mired in the mid twenties.

So what’s next?

Will Cain build on his lead?

It is possible but not very likely.

Herman Cain has had a few hiccups such as his contradictory remarks regarding abortion.  These bumps in Cain’s road to the White House have stalled his momentum a bit and it provides a little space for a new name to move up in the polls.  And while Cain can certainly recapture that momentum, he is still quite limited in the sense that he has not been able to coordinate any significant organizational strength on the ground in any of the early states.  Without such organizational strength, high poll numbers are in truth artificially inflated.  Coordination of an operational organization that keeps a close track on voters is the only way to insure that those high poll numbers translate in to actual votes.

But between now and when the first votes in Iowa take place, perception is the name of the game.  Voter perceptions will continue to be the driving force behind the polling numbers and if I am right, I believe that perceptions will soon find Cain being viewed in a much dimmer light and cause Newt Gingrich’s name to the forefront.

As Rick Perry focusses on tearing Romney down instead of building himself up, and as Herman Cain is forced to waste time correcting and explaining himself, candidates like Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Ron Paul will continue to look for opening that will let them get in to contention.  Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich has recently found his opening.  An average of polls as indicated by Real Clear Politics, shows that Newt Gingrich is practically tied with Ron Paul for third place.  Paul’s numbers are basically as high as they can go in a Republican primary or caucus.  That essentially leaves Newt as the candidate in third place and that ultimately gives Newt Gingrich the best chance to become America’s next new Top Model………….,  I mean candidate.

Up to now, Newt has been running g a low-key campaign.  That is mainly due to the fact that he has had no choice in the matter.  His fundraising has been relatively meager, many conservatives have not wanted to give Newt much of a chance because of his personal marital infidelities, and the establishment has not wanted to give Newt much consideration because of what they see as a general image problem that makes Newt unelectable.

But all that may change and Gingrich is ready to force that change upon voters.

Mitt Romney is eventually going to have to move in one direction or another.  He will have to break out of the mid-twenties and break in to the at least the low  to mid-thirties.  Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen until Romney wins a primary or caucus other than New Hampshire, where he is an obvious favorite.  Until Republicans who are apprehensive or unhappy with Romney have concrete reasons to resign themselves to an inevitability of Romney winning the nomination, they will either remain on the fence or commit themselves to another candidate.  Right now, Rick Perry, the candidate seen as having the most potential to be the alternative candidate,  is not picking up many votes and he is not having an impact on the 25% that Romney steadily maintains.

Perry also has many troubling hurdles.  While his Republican rivals will continue to chip away at his strong suit……..job creation, and hammer away at his unpopular illegal immigration positions, Perry is stuck with other problems.  He is not good on the stump.  Perry does not do well in unscripted environments.  Whenever he is left to his own devices, he fumbles and stumbles and does not portray the type of command of the issues and confidence that is necessary.   While in time, he may improve, right now there is little room for on the job campaign training.

As for the others, Herman Cain faces the same problem and I believe that he and his cornerstone 9-9-9 plan are not going to hold up to the scrutiny that comes with being a frontrunner for very long.  Ron Paul has hit his usual 8 to 14 percent ceiling of support, Bachmann will fight for her life and exhaust her resources in Iowa to compete for a stop spot and in the end, she might pull off a win in Iowa but that is becoming increasingly unlikely and even if she does take the Iowa caucuses, she will have little ability to translate that in to a victory in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada or any other contested races.

In regards to Rick Santorum, while he will campaign well, he has not demonstrated an ability to catch on with voters and without any significant money available to him, it is not possible for him to become a contender for the top spot.

This leaves Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson.

Johnson is just not a factor and will not be.  He is investing all his time and very limited resources in New Hampshire where he is counting on pulling off a miraculous upset victory over Mitt Romney and suddenly become the man to beat.  But that won’t happen.  Huntsman may be able to surprise many with a second place finish in the Granite State but that too is unlikely.  And regardless of how well he does, he will not gain the type of momentum from his New Hampshire finish that can  propel him to a top spot in South Carolina, Nevada, and/or Florida.

This leaves Newt Gingrich with multiple windows of opportunities to become the next best alternative to Mitt Romney and the next flavor of the month, or at least the week and he knows it.  He already believes that he has a chance to do well in New Hampshire, and states that Romney does not have a lock on that state’s primary. And he may be right.  That is why Gingrich is finally building an organization in New Hampshire.  More so than any of the other candidates, Newt has the potential to sneak up on Romney, a state which recent primary history has shown to be the scene of many surprises.  If Newt has the resources, he could take advantage of New Hampshire by pulling off a surprise second place showing.  That would be a great start to the firewall Newt has stated that he will build in South Carolina.  With a good showing in New Hampshire, Gingrich may be able to build what could more accurately be called a large sand dune in South Carolina, but not a firewall. Nonetheless, he can establish himself there and turn what is currently a campaign to talk about in passing, in to a campaign that grabs the headlines——positive headlines.

Leading up to the first nominating contests, in order for any of this to be possible, Newt can and must begin to take control of the agenda through successful strategic messaging.  By turning his numerous ideas in to the topics of discussion, he can quietly rise in the polls, as he has already been doing, but at a significantly faster rate.

If and when that happens it will be quite possible for Newt Gingrich to make his move and turn the nomination contest in to a two or three man race between himself, Mitt Romney and either Herman Cain or Rick Perry.  If that does occur, all bets are off because Newt can not be underestimated.  He is a man of superior intellect and his ideologically passion can be infectious among conservatives.   Add to that the undeniable fact that Newt is a  figure who has helped shape contemporary conservative thinking and what you have  is a candidate who in a mano y mano environment, will allow Newt to score many points and finally begin to tap in to all that is needed to unite critical factions of the electorate into a winning coalition of voters, a coalition that even includes the TEA Party.

While Newt is not considered a darling of the TEA movement he has the ability to tap into them and win them over. In New Hampshire he has already begun to tap in to the TEA Party.  He recently hired Andrew Hemingway, a Tea movement activist and former state chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, as his state campaign director.  In line with his potential TEA movement appeal, while Newt was once part of the establishment, he is far from an establishment thinker or player and that bodes well for him in an anti-establishment electorate.  When it comes to the conservative base of the Party, few true conservatives can turn their back on Newt if he positions himself as “the’ alternative to Romney.  Social conservatives may still put their noses up at Newt, but their vote may be end up being divided between players like Cain, Perry, Bachmann, and even Santorum.

Of course none of this is definite.  Newt has been reluctant to demonstrate a willingness to allow his campaign to operate in carefully structured environment, and while that may be refreshing and have a degree of popular appeal, it prevents Newt from avoiding pitfalls and from organizing the type of ground game that is needed to keep support once you get it.  However, as demonstrated by his new hires in New Hampshire and the opening of 5 offices in  New Hampshire, there are signs that he is resigning himself to the reality of the need to employ some type of  basic and traditional campaign structure.

All of this leads me to suspect that Newt is the next name to become the focus for the Republican presidential nomination.  The question is, will he have the ability and resources to keep his name at the top once he gets his turn, or will he fall back into the ashes like others have done?   The answer  will either start a new chapter for Newt as President or close the book on his political career and forever remain simply, the former Speaker of the House.

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Is Cain Trying in Iowa?

No, if you believe his now former Iowa director Tina Goff and Kevin Hall who was in charge of coordinating for the Iowa straw poll in just over a month.  Jim Zeiler has also left the Iowa staff and Cain lost his New Hampshire director earlier this week.  When it comes to managing a campaign, things are not looking good for Cain.

On the other hand, Cain is looking good in the Iowa polls.  Most recently he came in second only to perpetual front runner Mitt Romney and remade Michelle Bachmann.

Will the Guiliani gamble work for Cain?

The problem is that Cain has not done or said anything to differentiate himself from Michelle Bachmann.  Going into this race he had perhaps set himself apart as a more “serious” candidate, and certainly took on early momentum from the TEA Party.  But Bachmann easily out-shined him in the debate and continues to make the right steps even in the face of extreme character assassination.  Bachmann’s successes have made her detractors appear to be less “serious”.

In the meantime, Cain is reducing himself to soundbite worthy quips and small government platitudes while his substance seems to be a foggy mirror of the clarity Bachmann has produced.  The result is that Cain is quietly slipping into the shadows where other candidate copies, like Gary Johnson (generic brand Ron Paul) and Jon Huntsman (Mitt Romney clone only the media is excited about) reside.  Bachmann is quickly taking the TEA Party energy.

In some ways, Cain brought this on himself.  His radio host style speeches leave little substance to hang one’s hat on and his brief handling of gay marriage in the debate has alienated him from the religious section of the TEA Party.  In addition, at times he has seemed clueless on some of the more detailed issues such as right of return for a Palestinian state.  This still puts him miles ahead in knowledge from someone like Joe Biden who wanted a three state solution for Iraq.

Cain does have one demographic that still turns out strongly in support of him, and that is the African American conservatives, moderates, and independents.  Many of these who helped turn Florida blue for Barack Obama and are now disenchanted with his policies are indicating strong support for Cain.  Whereas Iowa is turning out to be a fiscal versus social conservative battle between Romney and Bachmann, all important Florida may end up being a fiscal versus social conservative battle between Romney and Cain. Real Clear Politics shows Cain in second place to Romney in Florida out of current candidates, but large percentages going to Huckabee and Palin.  It will be interesting to see how those Palin and Huckabee supporters break by the time we reach Florida.  It won’t be for Mitt Romney.

If Cain can survive until Florida and then capitalize on it, losing Iowa might not be that big a deal.  Then again, perhaps he should talk to Rudy Guiliani about that strategy.

For Republicans, There Are No Favorite Sons or Daughters Except for One ……Gary Johnson

Bookmark and Share  Public Policy Polling, a left leaning outfit, has put out some interesting results from a survey of how well the Republican presidential contenders are liked by the voters in their own states. The surprising winner here is former two term, New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. The losers ………3 term Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

If one intends to run for national office, it is often taken for granted that the state they come from, supports them. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter only won 6 states and the District of Columbia. Fortunately for him, two of those states were his home state of Georgia and his Vice President’s home state of Minnesota. In 1984, Carter’s Vice President, Walter Mondale, was the Democrat presidential nominee and aside from the District of Columbia, the only state that he carried was Minnesota ….…..his home state.

But such favorite son or daughter results are not always the case.

In 1972, Democrat South Dakota Senator George McGovern won his Party’s presidential nomination, but in the presidential election, McGovern’s state of South Dakota voted for Richard Nixon.

And look at Al Gore in 2000.

The man had once represented Tennessee in the U. S. Senate and that same seat was once held by his own father. Yet in the infamous 2000 presidential election, Tennessee voted for George W. Bush. Had Gore been able to win his own state, the result in Florida, the state that was governed by G.W.’s brother at the time, would not have mattered.

So being the favorite son or daughter of your state is not just a good thing, sometimes it is a must.

Yet the PPP survey shows that only one candidate has a higher favorability rating than unfavorable rating. That is the understated, underdog of the 2012 presidential field ….. Gary Johnson. And not only is he the only one with a higher favorable to unfavorable rating, his favorability numbers are dramatically higher than his unfavorable numbers. Twelve percentage points higher to be exact. As seen in the graph from PPP below, 32% of New Mexico voters have an unfavorable opinion of their former Governor and 44% have a favorable opinion of him. Compare this to Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman who’s unfavorable number among Minnesota voters is 26% higher than her favorable numbers, 33% favorable 59% unfavorable, and Sarah Palin who among Alaska voters stands at 33% favorable to 58% unfavorable.

What accounts for Bachmann’s bad numbers in her state is the fact that she is a national conservative voice from a relatively conservative district in an otherwise liberal state. What accounts for Palin’s bad numbers in Alaska is not quite as obvious. But much of it could be due to the fact that Alaskan’s who once gave Palin favorable ratings that were the highest of any Governor in nation, were very disappointed and angered by her decision to resign midway through her term in office. Another factor is overexposure and the disruption of  life in the state that came with Palin’s sudden rise to national and international fame. On the flip-side, part of the reason for Gary Johnson’s still high positive numbers from New Mexico voters, may come from his lack of attention.

Johnson is a rather mild mannered, understated man. He was elected Governor as an outsider with no prior political experience, did a good job with no scandals or media circus scrutinizing his every move, and went on to win a second term that went much the same way. Since leaving office, unlike Palin, Johnson, stayed out of the fray avoided controversy and allowed his last impression among New Mexico voters to be a lasting impression. Those are some reasons that account for why he still is more liked than disliked.

Unfortunately, while these numbers show that Johnson could probably do well in his state’s Republican presidential primary, it does not look like Johnson will do that well elsewhere. It’s a shame too. With New Mexico being a swing state, it could be critical to reaching the magical number needed to reach the electoral vote required to win the presidency . Of course nothing is to say that President Obama has a much higher approval rating than any of those mentioned in most of these states. Still, it would be encouraging to know that you could count on your own state. The only potential Republican nominees that we should legitimately expect to lose their own state in the general election would be Mitt Romney in the case of liberal Massachusetts, and if he really was delusional enough to run again, Rudy Giuliani in adark blue New York state.

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Tim Pawlenty Could Stand To Gain While The Big Names Sit On The Sidelines

Bookmark and ShareThe 1st GOP Presidential debate is in the books. There are those who feel it lacked the “Wow” factor that it would have had if the top polling candidates had taken part. With Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin all declining to attend, the field was filled with candidates whose names are not well known on a national scale. Texas congressman Ron Paul is probably the exception to that statement but his public persona and Libertarian views have never played well to most in the GOP.

Of the remainder of the field that included former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and conservative talk show host Herman Cain, Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, it may have been Pawlenty that came out with the most to gain from the absence of the big name candidates.

Most of those polled said that they came away with a better opinion of Herman Cain than any other candidate. I agree. Cain came away as the non-politician’s politician but he is an unknown to most voters and will need much more than this debate to get the recognition he will need to mount a serious run. Santorum is known to a certain degree through his work on Fox News but has established himself as the social issues candidate so far in a time where the economy will likely reign supreme. Gary Johnson is the poor man’s Ron Paul and did little to move up the ladder in the debate and at points looked uncomfortable on the stage. Ron Paul is simply Ron Paul. Most Republican’s tend to agree with his economic stances and most independents with his social stances but he has difficulty communicating them in a manner that helps him in a conservative GOP primary.

That leaves Pawlenty, who did little to “Wow” the audience but came across as a solid candidate when put next to the CEO with little experience, the Libertarian’s with little communication skills and the evangelical social issue guy, as a possible challenger to the big name candidates who themselves have issues that will be exploited if and when they decide to enter the race. Romney has to answer for his health care program he implemented while Governor of MA. Gingrich has had marriage issues that have haunted him for years. Huckabee has issues regarding his stances on crime while Governor of Arkansas and Palin, well she has always incurred the wrath of the media and I expect if she decides to run in 2012 it will be no different.

So although he may have not brought the “wow” factor with him to South Carolina last Thursday night, it could be Tim Pawlenty who very well takes away the most from the debate. Although Herman Cain may have hit the “wow” factor it was Pawlenty who by reason of recognition stands to gain the most from the decision of the big names to sit this one out. If he stays on message and the more recognizable names continue to sit dormant, Tim Pawlenty has one up on the other candidates.

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Airtime for the backups

Aside from Tim Pawlenty, going into last night’s debate I think most pundits considered these to be second tier candidates. After last night, I will admit that the perception that most of these candidates don’t have a viable shot probably hasn’t changed. However, there were clear winners and clear losers. Here is my take on the debate, which at times will be blunt and harshly honest:

Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty demonstrated why he is a top tier candidate. He was professional, studied, and Presidential. He took clean shots at Obama and did not make missteps. However, his answer to Cap and Trade may come across to the base as a weak answer. Cap and Trade is already widely unpopular with the TEA party and conservative right. It is almost as unpopular as humbling yourself before the media and admitting a mistake. I think it was the best answer Pawlenty could give, but it highlighted that unfortunate decision to initially support Cap and Trade. Pawlenty’s other disadvantage coming into last night was that everyone expected a polished performance. He will be judged at a higher standard. I was pleased to see Pawlenty show some charisma and get the crowd motivated. However, when it came to charisma, Pawlenty was not the candidate who stole the show.

Herman Cain

Cain provided the night with a dose of Donald Trump charisma mixed with Sean Hannity conservatism. Cain was unequivocal and commanded the stage. He was a crowd pleaser who handled each question without a gaffe or misstep. I think Cain’s performance brought many conservatives to believe that he could be the conservative answer to the straightforward, no nonsense approach that Trump had become so popular for. My prediction is that we will begin to see Trump wane in popularity now that the birther issue has run its course and Cain stands to benefit. We will see if Cain can capitalize on his performance.

If Cain’s popularity does grow, he will need to find answers to a lot of questions on issues that have not seen the light of the mainstream media yet. For example, Cain defended his support of the Fairtax by mentioning the concept of a “prebate” paid to every family at the beginning of the month for essentials. But is Cain prepared to face scrutiny on the prebate idea? The IRS paid out billions in fraudulent stimulus checks as a one time deal. Kiplinger says that the IRS estimates that 25% of earned income credit payouts were incorrect and fraudulent. Can the government cut a check to every family in America at the beginning of every month without an Internal Revenue Service, individual tax returns, and massive fraud? Also, getting rid of the IRS sounds nice, but who is going to make sure businesses remit the fairtax and prebates are paid out without a revenue department in the government? Perhaps we will see in the course of this primary if Cain is running on answers or populism.

Rick Santorum

Santorum did a good job as a whole, and will appeal to the same conservatives that Bush appealed to. The question is if Santorum can position himself as more likely to win than Obama. Santorum’s message resonates with social conservatives, and he made it clear last night that his message hasn’t changed. Will conservatives vote for Santorum? While presenting himself as a solid candidate, he did not say anything last night that distinguished himself or rocketed him into the top tier. Santorum’s win for the night was the fact that he showed up, while Gingrich, Huckabee and others did not. But he is still overshadowed by other conservative heavyweights, including Gingrich, Bachmann, Huckabee, and now Cain.

Ron Paul

Paul hasn’t changed since 2008. While he says many things that make sense to conservative constitutionalists and libertarian Republicans, Paul still comes across as the enemy of all things Democrat and Republican. This is great for wooing independents and libertarians, but will not win Paul the Republican primary. For most of the night, I felt myself agreeing with and cheering Paul, but he will once again be the martyr of the protectionist, states rights conservatives. They understand what Paul is saying, they just can’t figure out why non-Paul Republicans don’t. Here’s a hint, Ron Paul still comes across as abrasive, obnoxious, and anti-Republican. This man could be President if he could figure out how to sell himself and explain why what he believes would actually work. I spent a good part of the evening asking myself why Republicans don’t support Ron Paul, but the answer is the same as last time he ran. He is an uncompromising and radical philosopher campaigning in a world of soundbites, and soundbites are not kind to Ron Paul.

Gary Johnson

Picture a more abrasive and whiny version of Ron Paul, but without the name recognition. With Ron Paul in the race, who needs Gary Johnson? He did not distinguish himself, except to come down on the traditionally liberal side of Iraq, Afghanistan (supported it before he was against it), and drugs. His “cost/benefit” approach to drug legalization portrayed a dollars above principles approach to policy. Whether his views on the cost benefit of the war on drugs are right or wrong, such a calloused approach to a moral question will not win him a conservative majority. Johnson only made matters worse by dismissing the conservative majority in the Republican party as unnecessary in the primary and guaranteed to be loyal in the general election. He should ask John McCain if Republicans need social conservatives to defeat Obama.

Johnson’s moment of charisma showed itself in the form of scolding the moderators for not asking him enough questions, a move that screams “I am unpolished, second tier, and everyone knows it but me”. He will find his frustrations at not being taken seriously will continue to grow, mainly because he is not a serious candidate.

Summary

After last night, I think Herman Cain moved up, Santorum, Paul and Pawlenty remained unchanged, and Johnson moved down. Gingrich was probably hurt the most by not showing up, Romney was hurt the least. Gingrich could have used the exposure and chance to showcase his debate skills. Romney sofar has seemed to transcend any primary activity in early polls as an assumed front runner by most whether he shows up or not. Mitch Daniels was probably the most unfairly represented absentee at the debate itself. In the end, the only lasting effects of this debate will be a bump for Herman Cain.

The First Presidential Debate. How’d They Do?

Bookmark and Share The first Republican presidential debate of the 2012 election most likely did little to influence the electoral fortunes of any of its participants. The forum did however provide many concerned voters with a decent introduction to candidates like Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty and Gary Johnson. As for the fifth debate participant, Congressman Ron Paul, many already know him and for those who do, Paul provided the consistency of his mix of true fiscal conservatism and Libertarian isolationism.

If one had to name a winner of the night, that decision might range widely. Initially, Herman Cain seems to have had the most impact among viewers who got their first real look at him. As I predicted in a previous post, Herman Cain did produce some of the wow factor that he has come to be known for. But in the final analysis I would have to say that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty got the most out of the night. While each of the candidates were gaffe free, Pawlentys performance was poised, polished and presidential. He demonstrated a clear level of confidence and comfort that helped convey both a command of the issues and the capacity to be a formidable force as the 2012 presidential campaign moves forward. Igt wasn’t the showstopper that he needs to become an automatic frontrunner, but it was the type of performance that keeps him in the top tier of the field.

The opening question was thrown to Governor Pawlenty who was asked about the statement he made a month ago in which he called President Obama weak. Moderator Brett Baier asked the Governor if he thought President Obama still looked week after the successful mission that killed Osama bin Laden? Governor Pawlenty made sure to give the President credit for his decision but he added that moment is not the sum total of Americas foreign policy.

In a similar question, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum bluntly stated that all the things President Obama has done right in foreign policy are continuations of Bush policies He cited the Presidents continuation of the Gitmo policy, finishing the mission in Iraq, and continuing our efforts in Afghanistan, as proof of his point.

On Afghanistan, Herman Cain claimed to not necessarily be willing toannouncea final decision on the war in Afghanistan until he was in a position where all the facts that only a President is privy to, are before him. Pointing to his successful business career he added that he takes pride in making an informed decision. Cain did however make some good points in insuring that wemust define our mission in Afghanistan more clearly than it currently is.

As for Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, they shared the position that the United States should pull out of Afghanistan no later than tomorrow. Paul did however go further by claiming that now that bin Laden has been taken care of, we should end our efforts in Afghanistan because it hasnt helped us or anybody in the Middle East. That statement will be seen by many as a slap in the face to the men and women who continue to keep the Taliban and Al Qaeda on the run and are insuring that Afghanistan does not again become a breeding and training ground for the type of terrorism that was responsible for 9/11 and triggering the War on Terror.

The sharpest exchange of the evening came when the issue of enhanced interrogation came up.

Tim Pawlenty offered support for such extreme measures and in an impassioned defense of his position, explained that if possible, the terrorists would havekilled not 3,000 Americans, not 30,000 Americans but 300,000 Americans if they could have on 9/11 and in response to that harsh reality, harsh policies may at times be necessary.

When all the candidates were asked to indicate, by a show of hands, if they would support the use of enhanced interrogation tactics under certain circumstances, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum raised their hands. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Congressman Ron Paul did not. When moderator Chris Wallace pointed this out, Ron Paul stated that such tactics dont achieve anything. To which Rick Santorum interrupted with Paul thats just not true. Santorum proceeded to argue that the information obtained through enhanced interrogation tactics of detainees at Gitmo was responsible for the information that led to the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. He then punctuated the point by reminding the Congressman we wouldnt have been able to make the raid in Pakistan had we not been in Afghanistan

At that point, Herman Cain chimed in and recalled the remarks of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who two months after 9/11 said that the terrorists objective is to kill all of us, and in what turned out to produce one of the nights most rousing spontaneous round of applause added so yes I support using whatever means possible to protect the people of this nation.

On the economy, the budget and taxes, all agreed that President Obama is helplessly lost on the issue and generally agreed upon reforms to Medicare and reductions in spending. For his part, Herman Cain called for an elimination of all taxes in exchange for a 28% Fair Tax. Both Cain and Governor Johnson called for the elimination of all Corporate taxes.

In total, most all the candidates performed adequately. Probably the least inspiring though was Gary Johnson. Johnson seemed a little awkward and failed to distinguish himself from Ron Paul by demonstrating that unlike Paul, as a Governor, Johnson didnt just preach the virtues of his Libertarian-Republican philosophy, he actually implemented it. Beyond that, Johnson did find it necessary to at one point step out of order to remind the debates questioners, that he was there and that maybe they should not direct all their questions to just his four opponents.

For his part, Herman Cains first appearance to the nation, within the context of a presidential campaign, was a success. While it may not have been the breakout performance he really needs, the particular debate format he was kept to, gave no one a real chance to achieve such a thing. Ultimately, he proved himself to be exceptionally worthy of consideration for the job he is seeking.

Ron Pauls participation in the debate allowed him to offer his usual compelling arguments but continued to put forth his policy positions with a type of rigidity and extremism that make them seem unrealistic to most voters. And while there were some obnoxious yells from the crowd that are typical of some within the Paul fan base, he did little to expand his base of support and to pull himself out of his normal single digit or low teens election returns.

As for Rick Santorum, while he showed himself to be viable, the greatest benefit that he got from the debate was a definite shoring up of the social conservative base which at the moment, is all that is really keeping his fledging campaign in the game.

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The First Presidential Debate: What Difference Will It make?

Bookmark and Share Tonights first actual debate between candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination is garnering more attention for who isnt participating than who is participating. It was the hope of the debates two sponsors, the South Carolina Republican Party and Fox News, to hold the type of spectacle that would have attracted a full compliment of the anticipated candidates and therefore, by its very nature, draw an extremely large national audience of anxious voters interested in getting a good, first time look at the individuals that seek to unseat President Obama. Unfortunately, the scheduled timing of the debate seems to have been way ahead of the schedule that most of the G.O.P. presidential field is on.

As a result, many of the most prominent and widely anticipated top tier candidates will not be in attendance.

This has produced a backlash among South Carolina Republicans who vow to hold the absence of those candidates against them when it is time to vote in their critical early primary. The disappointment they feel is understood, but the blatant bitterness of their vindictive sentiments is immature and irrational. It will also be forgotten by the time South Carolina Republicans go to vote in the Republican Primary. These voters who are anxious to see President Obama defeated in 2012, will be more concerned about the issues and how the candidates address them, than they will be with their absence from a debate that took place a year earlier.

That said, tonights debate still offers a chance to have a significant effect on the shape of the Republican field.

Participating in it will be former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, businessman Herman Cain, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. While each of those five candidates have either relatively low name ID or relatively low support, this forum will provide an opportunity for any number of them to make news and gain a degree of attention that could propel them from perceived long shots, to significantly viable candidates.

Here is a rundown at what it at stake for the five debate participants.

Tim Pawlenty:

Up to now, Tim Pawlenty has been a back up choice for many. He is the candidate who many people currently see as the guy they might be able to support if their first choice stumbles or drops out. Tonights debate affords Pawlenty the opportunity to go from being just one of those guys running, to being one of the candidates to seriously consider. For that to happen, Pawlenty needs for two things to happen. First, he must win this debate. He is considered one of those few top tier candidates, and in a debate that consists of others who are bottom tier candidates, if any one of them dominates over Pawlenty, he will remain just one of those guys running. The second thing he must do is catch on. Pawlenty needs to walk away from this debate having said something that allows him to connect ideologically with the Republican base, quotable, newsworthy, and memorable.

Rick Santorum:

Former Senator Santorum probably has the most at stake tonight. If he does not land a few knock out punches while at the same time emanating a presidential aura, he risks remaining a bottom tier candidate for a long time to come. This debate could be a breakthrough of sorts for Santorum. If he connects, it could persuade many likely voters and financial donors to take his candidacy more seriously than they currently do. More than any of the others in the debate, Santorum must demonstrate that he is in serious contention for the nomination.

Ron Paul:

There isnt much more that Ron Paul can do to boost his support in this debate than he has done in any of the debates he has been in during past presidential elections. If Paul hopes to become someone who is truly in contention for the Republican nomination, he needs to convey his beliefs in a way that are not perceived as unrealistic and unachievable. One thing that also might help him is a convincing way to maintain his beliefs but not seem to be a total isolationist. For many, some of Pauls foreign affairs view are attractive but for many more, there is a belief that the United States has a need and responsibility to play a role in world events that is bigger than Ron Paul supports. And while many find it acceptable to debate how big a role we should play, they do not agree with Ron Pauls seeming desire to totally detach us from the world. If Paul can demonstrate that he is not an isolationist, he will make it possible for his campaign to finally receive election results that are higher than his usual single digit or low teens.

Gary Johnson:

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson probably has the lowest name ID of all the participants. For that reason, the bar need not be very high for him tonight. But he does have two things he can and should do. As self-described Libertarian-Republican, he is in a natural fight for the same pool of voters who are attracted to Ron Paul. But the hardcore Ron Paul fan base is not likely to jump ship. His fans are like the followers of a cult or Jim Jones in Jamestown. So the best he can do with them is prove to be worthy of consideration. But at the same time, for the rest of the voters, Johnson has to convince people that he is more capable of applying his beliefs to the practical application of government than Ron Paul can. As a former governor, unlike Ron Paul, he has successfully translated his beliefs into legislation that he had to actual carry out. If Gary Johnson can get that point across, take advantage of his outsider image, and present innovative ideas that seem realistic, he will come out of this debate ahead the game.

Herman Cain:

There is no doubt that Herman Cains superior oratory skills will allow him to dominate in this debate. From him will come the headlines that are written the day after the event. Cain will undoubtedly articulate his positions on the issues in a way that many will strongly agree with. He will appeal to voters and make a very favorable first impression on the general electorate in this, his first national audience. Those are givens. So what Herman Cain really needs to do is prove that he is a viable candidate who can actually attract enough broad based support to defeat President Obama. This will be difficult to achieve in one debate, but for Herman Cain, while many will be inspired by what he says, his electability will be the biggest hurdle for him to overcome. That hurdle is so high for Cain, that he must exploit every opportunity he has, to demonstrate that he has a realistic shot at winning. I am absolutely certain that everyone will love what Herman Cain has to say, but he must leave them not focusing on any the perception that he has a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected.

The debate will take place in Greenville, South Carolina at 9:00 pm EST and can be seen on Fox News Channel and FoxNews.com.

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Gary Johnson Shoots the Moon in NH

Gary Johnson is in. He announced Thursday morning outside the New Hampshire statehouse that he intends to run on a platform of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, cutting defense, Medicaid and Medicare by 43% each, raising the retirement age for Social Security, and legalizing marijuana.

Johnson stated that he has never supported the Iraq war, and while he once supported the war in Afghanistan, now believes that it is time to bring the troops home. AP reports that Johnson made the official announcement to about a dozen supporters.

Johnson is a relatively obscure candidate who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. He received a mix reception at CPAC earlier this year and is generally viewed as outside of the Republican mainstream. However, he is sure to turn some independent heads. In addition to calling for a repeal of Obamacare, Johnson also called for a repeal of the Republican passed Medicare Part D prescription drug subsidy.

Johnson is not considered by most to be a contender, but he hopes to change that with a strong showing in libertarian leaning

Gary Johnson puts it all on the line in New Hampshire

New Hampshire. Johnson feels that New Hampshire can rocket him “…from obscurity to prominence overnight with a good showing in New Hampshire.”

Another Republican Ready To Decalre Their Presidential Candidacy

Bookmark and Share On Tuesday, Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson ent out a press release decaring that he will be decaring his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. The announcement will come on Thursday, at 9:00 am, on the steps of the New Hampshire State Capitol Building. (See Press release below).

Governor Johnson is a self described Libertarian-Republican and possibly even more so than Ron Paul hehas the ability to force issues such as the legalization of drugs on to the table. WhileJohnson is himself opposed to recreational drug use, it is his belief that a nanny state which tells adults what they can or cannot use, is not inlline with the Constitution of the United States. In fact, although Johnson does not intend to make this a competition betweenjust him and Ron Paul, he will be indirect competition with Ron Paul and the libertarian mantlethatRon Paul has held for many years now. While the two have many similiar posoitions on the economy drugs and foreign policy, the real competition willl be which one has the ability to turn their beliefs in to the mainstream beliefs of the Republican Party.

Having had the executive leadership of governing a state, Johnson may have the the advantage their. Especially since unlike Ron Paul who promotes his beliefs through proposing and supporting or opposig legislation, Governor Johnson has actually implemented his beleifs and successfully applied his belief system to the everday governance of a state. And he did so by winning two back to back elections to the office of Governor in a state that is not ususally very friendly to Republicans.

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Governor Gary Johnson set to make major announcement in New Hampshire

Former Republican Governor of New Mexico to discuss future plans, 2012 campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sue Winchester
801.303.7924

April 12, 2011, Santa Fe, NM Gary Johnson, former Republican Governor of New Mexico will hold a news conference on Thursday, April 21st at 9:00am EDT at the New Hampshire State Capitol Building in Concord (location: Capitol front steps: 107 North Main Street, Concord), to discuss his plans for the 2012 election.

Governor Johnson, who has been referred to as the most fiscally conservative Governor in the country, believes the highest priority for America is a balanced federal budget. He calls the national debt the greatest threat to our national security.

Since launching the OUR America Initiative in late 2009, Governor Johnson has traveled to 38 states, participated in hundreds of media interviews and addressed a wide range of organizations all across the nation. He is vocal in his opposition to U.S. involvement in Libya, and has called for an end to American military involvement in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He supports marijuana legalization and advocates common-sense immigration reform.

Following the formal news conference, Governor Johnson will be available for media opportunities through Saturday, April 23rd. Details and locations are provided below:

Thursday, April 21

9:00am: Gary Johnson news conference at New Hampshire State Capitol Building in Concord
10:00am 12:00pm: Media availability in Concord
12:00pm 1:00pm: Lunch reception with NH Legislators (location: Barley House downstairs, 132 North Main Street, Concord).
2:00pm 4:00pm: Media availability in Manchester
6:30pm: VIP Reception/Photos with Governor Johnson (location: Executive Court, 1199 South Mammoth Road, Manchester)
7:00pm: Public kick-off event (location: Executive Court, 1199 South Mammoth Road, Manchester)

Friday, April 22

9:00am 6:00pm: Governor Johnson to visit local businesses, meet with residents and various political groups in the Southern New Hampshire/greater Manchester area.

6:00pm: Depart Manchester for North Conway, NH.

Governor Johnson will be available for live TV/Cable segments (throughout the day on Friday, and subject to availability on Thursday) from the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St Anselms College in Manchester. Please schedule in advance if possible.

Saturday, April 23rd

Governor Johnson will be skiing Tuckermans Ravine on Mount Washington. Media are invited to cover the event and/or ski with the Governor. Tuckermans Ravine is an extreme skiing endeavor. Interviews can be conducted at Hermit Lake Shelter (a two hour hike from the trailhead) or at the trailhead following the run. If interested in covering or skiing, please contact Sue Winchester or Lizz Renda at media@ouramericainitiative.com for details and credentials. For more information on Tuckermans Ravine click here.

8:00am: Meet at Pinkham Notch trailhead (location: AMC Pinkham Notch Camp on US Route 16, eighteen miles north of North Conway, NH). Begin 2.5 mile hike to Hermit Lake Shelter
11:30am (approximately): arrive at Hermit Lake Shelter
12:00pm 3:30pm: Ski Tuckermans Ravine
3:30pm 6:00pm: Hike back to Pinkham Notch trailhead
6:30pm: Depart for Manchester

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