Michele Bachmann Smells Something Foul

John McCain blasted Michele Bachmann allowing the Left to have some fun as they mount yet another smear campaign against the Minnesota representative. Their spin, that Bachmann is on a witch hunt aimed at Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and wife of former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, isn’t very accurate. Naturally.

The actual issue at hand is a little more serious and certainly, if true, far more sinister. Namely, as presented by Bachmann and several other lawmakers, there is growing evidence that the Obama administration is allowing Muslim Brotherhood members and “front” organizations access to federal government departments and officials. As a result, they feel this is worthy of an investigation.

When Bachmann first brought her concerns to light she was immediately confronted by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota). Ellison is a Muslim, one of two serving in Congress (Andre Carson, D-Indiana is the other), and demanded justification for her posture. In a detailed and well referenced 16-page reply, Bachmann basically stated the following concerns:

Why did the State Department not only allow a member of an Egyptian terrorist group a visa to enter the country (against the law) but then allowed that individual to meet with national security officials at the White House?

Why does the State Department continue to interact regularly with known Muslim Brotherhood “front” groups?

Why has the Obama administration, according to the White House Director for Community Partnerships, had hundreds of meetings with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and actively worked to conceal these meetings? As background, in 2008 the Holy Land Foundation was found guilty of funding Islamic terrorist organizations. Named as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the trial were CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Both organizations are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

How exactly did Ms. Abedin avoid security clearance disqualification given that there is a documented connection between her father, mother and brother and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Contrary to the McCain rant and the Left’s spin, it is not Ms. Abedin as an individual that has Bachmann concerned but rather, the apparent bump and grind behavior between the Obama administration and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Infiltration is nothing new. Spies attempt to infiltrate governments and organizations routinely. DEA agents attempt to infiltrate drug cartels. Socialists and Communists have attempted to infiltrate our government since it was founded. One can present a case that Obama, Hillary Clinton and other hard-Leftists have successfully infiltrated the Democratic party. And if you believe in the saying, ‘where there is smoke, there’s fire’, then we all have reason to be concerned. Because there is some smoke.

Early last year a Department of Justice representative leaked the idea that although the Holy Land Foundation case was a success it was miss-directed. Individuals, not the organizations, were the original focus of the investigation and it should have been these individuals that were prosecuted, not the organizations. The actual quote from the source read,

That’s why this decision came from the top down. These individuals who were going to be prosecuted are still the administration’s interfaith allies. Not only would these Muslim groups and their friends in the media be screaming “Islamophobia” at the top of their lungs and that this is a war against Islam, but the administration would look like absolute fools. It’s kind of hard to prosecute someone on material support for terrorism when you have pictures of them getting handed awards from DOJ and FBI leaders for their supposed counter-terror efforts. How would Holder explain that when we’re carting off these prominent Islamic leaders in handcuffs for their role in a terror finance conspiracy we’ve been investigating for years?

It was simple sleight of hand. Issue last minute directives to prosecute the organization rather than individuals. As a result, although the organization’s identity has been spoiled, the individuals are still free to roam government corridors and establish new “front” organizations to send cash to terrorists.

Look, it’s understood that many find Michele Bachmann grating. Others find her approach to government representation irritating. She is a supporter of the Tea Party movement and a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus. She has stood tall and railed against Obama-care, Dodd-Frank, global warming, the bailouts, tax hikes, Obama being anti-American, the debt ceiling and much more. She is no establishment Republican. As a result, she has many enemies on the Right and the Left.

Further, Obama and Holder are no angels, in fact, they have proven to be as dirty as they come — with them anything is possible.

As a member of the the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Bachmann is doing her job. The committee is charged with the oversight of the United States Intelligence Community. If they smell something foul, they damn well better investigate the rot, whether establishment Republican McCain and his cousins on the Left like it or not.

The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

A Populist CPAC, but where are the ideas?

Bookmark and Share Meeting Donald Rumsfeld today, the man who knows his knowns from his unknowns, he saw my media badge saying WhiteHouse12 and asked me “You’re from the White House?” I explained I was not, and we are a website covering the election, but I can’t be sure whether he was disappointed or not.

Being an election year, you would expect CPAC 2012 to be a populist fest of election themes, peppered with attacks on the Obama administration, and today’s line-up did not disappoint on that front. The worrying thing is that the slate of speakers, while inspiring the crowd, did not have ideas to inspire the folks with outside the conference hall. The speakers were long on broad principles but short on specifics.

CPAC 2012 Kicked off with a populist energy, but are speakers offering enough?

Marco Rubio got the crowd all whipped up, ready to be severely unwhipped by a windbag speech from Mitch McConnell. The House Senate Majority leader did the math well when he said that if you lose your job in the Obama economy it will take you 40 weeks to find a new one. However, his math failed him when he exceeded his 10 minute slot by some 20 minutes. Some disciplined editing down to 10 minutes would have given him a better speech. When he got a cheer at the end I couldn’t work out whether it was for his message or the fact that he had finished.

The schedule ran 30 minutes late for the rest of the day, and Michele Bachmann followed. Her speech was probably the most detailed of the day, focused on the series of foreign policy failures by the Obama administration. The former candidate launched a sustained attack on the policy failures, and blasted the president for not backing Mubarak, saying “Obama failed to stand by Mubarak and that helped fuel the revolution in Egypt … The president spurned the President of Egypt when he took his first foreign trip to Cairo. In an absolutely shocking move, he invited the Muslim Brotherhood to hear his speech when Mubarak’s policy was to keep the Brotherhood at arm’s length.”

Bachmann attacked the president for not standing by Israel, “Before Obama was elected, no one had ever heard of a United States president saying to the world that the United States is not a judeo-christian nation.  I am here to say we are.” She concluded “The president’s foreign policy does change the history of the world, which is why Barack Obama cannot have a second term as president.”

Rick Perry got the crowd going as well, focusing on the economy he said “Success on Wall Street shouldn’t come at the expense of Main Street.” With the crash on the way, Perry said “Folks on Wall Street who saw it coming, they made millions; folks who didn’t see it coming, they got bailed out.” His parting shot was intended to strike an ominous note, saying “I’m fearful of what the score’s gonna be if we let the president start the second half as a quarterback.”

More populist notes were struck by Herman Cain, who told CPAC “A lot of people thought that after the character assassination that was launched against me that Herman was going to shut up and sit down and go away… Ain’t going to happen.” On his 9-9-9 plan, Cain told conservatives to press candidates for federal office to embrace his flat-tax solution before they are elected. He also invited “Joe The Plumber” Samuel Wurzelbacher, who is running for Congress in Ohio’s 9th District, to take a bow.

None of the main speakers offered endorsement messages for the 2012 GOP nominees, preferring instead to talk more generically about the need to stop a second Obama term. A late addition to the speaker slate was Rand Paul who arguably matched, perhaps exceeded, the rapturous applause received by Cain. Paul asked if the President hated rich people and poor people with jobs, but then went on to state “The president doesn’t really hate all rich people, just those who don’t contribute to his campaign.” He then rallied “If you’re a crony, if you’re a buddy, just stop by the White House.”

Paul rightly reminded attendees of Ronald Regan’s “optimism,” a president who he said “turned a whole generation of Democrats into Republicans.” His parting shot was “Who will be that next Ronald Reagan?” This gets to the heart of what folks are feeling, which ran though this whole first day, feeling the need for inspiration, the need for a positive approach, the need for American exceptionalism.

What was lacking was any real depth to the conservative messages today, and it will take more than the invocation of the name of Ronald Reagan and repeating the wrongs of the incumbent to put a conservative into the White House. Reagan brought more than sunny optimism to the White House, he brought some strong and deep ideas on the economy and foreign policy as well. I didn’t hear the equivalent depth of ideas today.

Tomorrow will see Gingrich, Romney and Santorum take the stage, but will they bring any more than today’s speakers? I may not know the knowns or unknowns of what tomorrow holds, but I know I won’t be holding my breath.

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Surprise! Michele Bachmann Announces She is Running for a Fouth Term to Congress

Bookmark and Share   Less than a month after ending her bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Minnesota Congresswoman Michel Bachmann announced that she will  seek a fourth term in Congress.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Bachmann stated;

“I’m looking forward to coming back and bringing a strong, powerful voice to Washington, D.C.,”

The announcement hardly came as a surprise and was anticipated by White House 2012 as far back as October of 2011 when I wrote “while Bachmann may indeed be sincere about her desire to run only for President, she knows very well that she will probably be running for reelection to the House.”

Despite being a little slow, even Ken Martin, chairman of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer Labor Party, who admitted the announcement wasn’t a surprise and he told the Associate Press  that his Party would take advantage of the time that Bachmann spent campaigning for President and attack he attack her for being absent from the district and for missing votes in Washington as she she pursued higher office.

Meanwhile, Bachman’s decision to drop out of the President race and run for reelection to her Minnesota congressional seat also came as little surprise to Minnesota Republicans.  Several likely likely successors had been preparing to replace her as the Republican nominee for her House seat, but none had actually officially declared their candidacies because they all accurately anticipated the set of circumstances which lead to Bachmann’s running for reelection.

As for who Democrats will run against Bachmann, that is still unclear.   While the Congresswoman has proved quite formidable in the past, she did only win by 53% in her last election, but at the same time she raised $13.5 million, a sum larger than that of any of her fellow House colleagues.  Another advantage Bachmann will have in her reelection effort is that her 2010 Democratic opponent, Tarryl Clark, has decided to challenge freshman Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack and will not attempt a rematch with Bachmann.  On the flip side, one disadvantage that Bachmann will have in 2012 is redistricting.  Her current district will have to shrink in size and how that is done through Gerrymandering could make her new district a more liberal one than she currently has.

In the final analysis, I think conservatives will be able to count on Michele Bachmann having their back in the next Congress.  Between her name I.D., fundraising strength, and tenacity as a campaigner, Bachmann should win at least a fourth term.   The question is, will she actually get sworn in, or might she just accept a cabinet position in the next Republican presidential Administration?

Bachmann is not very liked by the establishment Republican leadership in the House and it is quite possible that John Boehner might push the idea of appointing Bachmann to a semi-high position in the next Administration for no other reason than to get her out of their hair and avoid her rocking establishment boat.  It’s the type of thing that happens all the time and which I can easily see President Obama or President Gingrich saying to John Boehner, “alright, but you owe me big time for this one”.

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These Debates Could Be Game Changers

Come on.  We’ve heard these candidates in just over one million debates so far this year.  Another one?  Another two actually, this weekend leading up to the New Hampshire debates.  And these two debates could definitely wreak havoc on the standings going into New Hampshire.

Mitt Romney is the undisputed front runner.  Ron Paul and Rick Santorum fans at this point are dreaming if they think their candidates are on a solid trajectory to win.  Not winning Iowa should be a clear sign to heavily religious social conservatives like Bachmann, Perry, Santorum and Newt that getting past Romney is going to be nearly impossible with a crowded field.  Bachmann got the hint, and Perry almost did.  As for Ron Paul, maybe if he runs two more times he can win enough support to break out of his traditional 5-10% polling finish.  Look, he’s already doing better this year than last time, and last time he did better than the time before.  That was Ross Perot’s and Ralph Nader’s problems.  They quit trying too soon.

Back to Mitt Romney.  You know he is back on the punching bag hook tonight, a place he hasn’t been since the very first debates.  Santorum wants a piece of him, Newt wants a piece of him, Jon Huntsman finally qualified for another debate and you know he wants to take Romney down a peg.  I think Perry will try to just get through the night and might take a few shots at Santorum.  As far as the #1 conservative attack dog of other conservatives, Michele Bachmann will not be there tonight to claim that Perry is in bed with pharmaceutical companies,  Newt Gingrich is pro-partial birth abortion and the number one Freddie Mac adviser responsible for the economic collapse, and whatever she might cook up about Rick Santorum while mostly leaving Paul and Romney alone.  So I think Romney will be taking the hits and the other candidates can relax their guard a little bit.

Now, on to the x factor in debates.  Newt Gingrich was finished this summer after his campaign collapsed and he proved he was in the top 1% by buying his wife jewelry.  I mean how out of touch can you get.  But, he has climbed back into contention through powerful and commanding debate performances.  Just two weeks ago, Gingrich was the front runner.  The difference between Gingrich’s fall and other candidates falls is that their demises can be tied directly to debate performance.  Bachmann with her claims about HPV and other wild attacks on the candidates, Perry with his glaring gaffe, Cain who offered 999 and 999, oh yeah and 999.  It wasn’t enough substance to save him when scandal gave nervous supporters a reason to doubt.  Huntsman affirmed his global warming stance.

Gingrich hurt himself with his illegal immigration stance, but his downfall can be attributed to the harsh attacks he faced over the last two weeks from Romney’s friends, paid allies, and former foes.  Ron Paul also attacked Newt, not Romney, with harsh ads in Iowa.  Paul has probably done the same math I have, but mistakenly thinks he has a shot with Newt’s base over Romney’s.

The debates are ad free.  They are also friend free.  The only way Romney can attack another candidate tonight without attacking that candidate directly is to pay off the moderator or a fellow candidate.  On that stage, it is going to be Santorum’s “what smells” debate face versus Perry’s memory versus Huntsman’s out of touch moderate stances versus Paul’s old shaky finger wagging versus Romney’s slick hair and nice demeanor versus Newt’s heavy hitting and quick wit and ideas.

If these debates garner an audience, this is all upside for Newt, and downside for front runner Mitt Romney and social conservative front runner Rick Santorum.  In an instance of incredible luck for the candidates in this New Hampshire debate, the New England Patriots get this weekend of playoff action off.

Iowa Recap

Romney won, Bachmann quit, Santorum is rising, Paul is maintaining his status quo, Newt is struggling, Perry has faith, and Huntsman….who?  Iowa recapped:

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney won in Iowa. Honestly?  No big deal. Romney will gain momentum from winning, but when people look at the numbers they will realize that if Michele Bachmann wasn’t in the race, Santorum would have won comfortably.  If Santorum wasn’t in the race, Newt and Perry probably would have both outpolled Romney.  In Iowa, he got his fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives split the rest.  But it’s not all bad for Romney.  In fact, while Romney may have come to a predictable finish, he won by choosing his opponent.  Gingrich was a shoe in to win Iowa barely more than a week ago.  Instead, Santorum now has the social conservative momentum and Romney should easily win New Hampshire and could win South Carolina.  So Romney’s win is:

Good for: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum      Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman

Rick Santorum

A shocking surprise to some, a mild surprise for others, Santorum has Huckabee’d Iowa.  With a great ground game, time, hard work, and the luck of Newt Gingrich being destroyed by Romney, Inc, Michele Bachmann, and the Republican establishment, Santorum is finally getting his shot at vetting.  Already, he is being called a war monger and “big government conservative”.  But Santorum’s rise may be too late in the game for a vetting process to destroy him.  Many social conservatives have been waiting for a reason to believe that Santorum could win.  From the day he started running the narrative has been that Santorum is simply unelectable on a national scale.  So, Santorum’s second place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney   Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann

Ron Paul

Paul’s third place finish is certainly not what the Paul camp was hoping for.  Ron Paul came very close to breaking free from his libertarian ceiling, but in the end social conservatives showed they would rather take a gamble on the unvetted Rick Santorum instead of giving Ron Paul the ‘turn’ he was starting to experience.  Paul has been passed over as the anti-Romney.  He may be able to turn things around in New Hampshire, but a third or worse finish in New Hampshire should be a clear signal to Paul that the revolution is over.  Paul’s third place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney  Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Even if Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race and split their votes on a pro rata share, Newt would still not have passed Mitt Romney.  The fact is, Romney ran an incredible, strategic dismantling of Newt without even breaking a sweat.  In the meantime, Newt refused to go dishonestly negative, but managed plenty of headlines saying “Newt Goes on the Attack”.  Newt is realizing in time for New Hampshire, he won’t win with a positive campaign.  Can he win with a negative one?  New Hampshire will probably go Romney’s way.  But Newt needs South Carolina.  Without South Carolina, he won’t have the momentum to take Florida and Florida is the key.  So Newt’s dismal fourth place finish is:

Good for: Mitt Romney   Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann

Rick Perry

Perry’s fifth place win got him to re-think his campaign.  But with Michele Bachmann choosing to drop out, perhaps Perry thinks he still has hope.  He should have decided to stay in Texas.  Perry’s placing is:

Bad for: Rick Perry

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann barely registered.  Iowa was her last hope to connect with social and evangelical conservatives and she failed.  Fortunately, this provided the wake up call she needed to see the end of the race.  Bachmann has decided to drop out of the race and return to Minnesota.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, she has not built the cult following that Sarah Palin did.  Hopefully she will continue to be a strong voice for the TEA party.

Good for: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry   Bad for: Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney

As for the other contender, Jon Huntsman’s disrespectful snub of Iowa, especially in light of Romney’s stronger finish in the state and momentum, seals Huntsman’s irrelevancy.

Bachmann’s Presidential TEA Party is Over

  Bookmark and Share    After canceling a planned campaign swing to South Carolina, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann scheduled a press conference in which she announced that she was suspending her campaign.

Bachmann who won the Ames Straw Poll several months ago, lost the state in it’s first in the nation caucus to all of her rivals except for one, Jon Huntsman, the one candidate who did not campaign in Iowa.

Bachmann began the announcement to suspend her campaign by discussing the great responsibility to defend our republic is and explained that she decided to take responsibility by running for President and that her decision was made on the day that Obamacare was passed.  She described Obamacare as one of the greatest threat to the very foundation of our Republic and that its repeal is her greatest goal.

She promised to consider to fight against President Obama’s socialist agenda, as well as capital cronyism, family, life, and religious liberty.

But Bachmann said that on Tuesday, the people of Iowa spoke loudly and as now she will step aside and support the Republican whom we must all unite behind in order to defeat Barack Obama in November.

What Bachmann did not do is throw her support behind any particular candidate yet.  However her departure from the presidential race begins to cut down on a critical factor behind Mitt Romney’s success in the Republican contest.  With her in  the race, Bachmann helped divide the social conservative voting bloc among at least 4 candidates.  That dilution of the vote helped Romney hammer together his frontrunner status.  But now with her out, a candidate like Rick Santorum who essentially tied with Mitt Romney in Iowa, may benefit the most as he begins to become the candidate that social conservatives begin to coalesce around.

While Bachmann may not immediately throw her support behind a single candidate right now, her own future will probably consist of her filing the paperwork that will make her a candidate for reelection to her Minnesota congressional seat.

While a  prospective Republican candidate to replace Bachmann in the House did step forward, Bachmann supporters and the Minnesota G.O.P. have largely been anticipating a Bachmann reelection effort.  According to the deadlines established on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, the filing deadline for Bachmann is May 5, 2012, a date that gave Bachmann plenty of time to pursue her presidential ambitions and still file her candidacy for reelection to Congress if that pursuit failed.  That scenario was predicted by White House 2012 back in October of 2011.

Last night it became clear to Bachmann that her pursuit for the White House did fail, but you can rest assured that Bachmann will not fail the conservative cause as she moves forward.  While her campaign may not have been a been a big success from a strategic standpoint, she performed valiantly and was a ferocious defender of our founding principles who most definitely kept the other candidates on their toes and deserves credit for a job well done.

Bachmann now becomes the second Republican presidential  candidate from Minnesota to fall victim to the voters of neighboring Iowa.  Back in August, when Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s own poor showing led him to end his presidential campaign a day later.

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Gingrich Predicts His Own Loss in Iowa and Bachmann Hopes for a Miracle

Bookmark and Share   After more than six weeks as the candidate with the target on his back and nearly 10 million dollars in negative ads against him, New Gingrich saw his Iowa poll numbers fall from a near 30% to his current standing in the mid teens.

The loss of just about half of his support has led Newt to admit now that he is not likely to win the Iowa Caucus but at the same time, he believes that a likely third or even fourth place showing will still it make him possible for him to remain competitive beyond the Hawkeye State’s nomination contest.

That assessment is actually true, but short of a first or second place showing, Newt’s future viability will rely on two things.  First, he must hope that if Mitt Romney wins, he does not win by very much.  Then Newt must hope for a third place showing.  While a fouth place finish will not derail his candidacy, it will make fundraising and the establishment of momentum quite an uphill battle as he moves ahead.

If Newt can fisinsh third or second and keep Romney from winning by a very large margin, he will remain competetive and may be come the benefiicary of an anti-Romney phenomenom.

If opposition to Romney is as strong among conservatives as many believe, victories in Iowa and New Hampshire could finally force the anti-Romney vote to charge behind one final alternative to Romney.  Newt is in the best position to be that alternative candidate but anything less than a fourth place finish in Iowa will make that impossible.

Meanwhile Michele Bachmann says “We’re believing in a miracle because we know, I know, the one who gives miracles,” .

At Oral Roberts University, Bachmann’s alma mater she told ABC ;

“We’re going to see an astounding result on Tuesday night — miraculous,”

Current polling has apparently forced both Bachmann and Gingrich to be unconditionally honest about the results tomorrow, for under the circumstances, Bachmann does in fact need a miracle to pull off a finish above 6th place.  For Gingrich, given the nearly 41 percent of Iowa caucus goers who remain undecided on the eve of the contest, a better than expected showing is not out of the question and as a Gingrich supporter a biased optimism has me still believing that he could surprise everyone with a third or second place finish.  However, when factoring in current voter trends, Newt’s poorly run campaign and lack of an organization on the ground, along with the undeniable momentum behind Rick Santorum, logic would dictate that Newt is right.  He will not win the caucus tomorrow night.

As for the other candidates, Ron Paul is seeing the helium in his balloon be overwhelmed as the weight of the oxygen in the atmosphere surrounding the reality of his reckless national security views and general unelectability brings his number back to the floor.  In an early afternoon speech to supporters, Paul reminded his fans that the Caucus will involve small numbers of people but the message they send will be a big one and he urged his supporters to stick together and be sure to show up at their proper caucus locations.

Mitt Romney spent most of the day trying to remain focussed on the one person which unites him and his rivals together in their desire to defeat in  November…..Barack Obama.  That focus was designed to play on the perception that he is the one Republican who has the best chance of actually being the one who can defeat Obama.  The hope there is that as Romney solidifies his frontrunner status in Iowa, there is a good chance that the large undecided bloc of voters will break in his favor and provide him not only with a win, but a bigger than expected win that could make it  possible to wrap up the nomination sooner rather than later.

Rick Perry, the wildcard going in to tomorrow night, spent his time on the campaign trail trying to make sure that his supporters don’t jump ship and while trying to also give those caught up in the surge for Rick Santorum  reason to think twice about actually casting their ballots for the wrong Rick.  A new Perry ad attacks Santorum for his willingness to defend pork barrel spending.

Perry goes in to tomorrow night as the spoiler.  Between his heavy ad buy and a good deal of retail political campaigning in Iowa, he remains the one candidate left who could perform better than expected and could benefit from a surge that has gone undetected by the polls.  The strength of such an undetected surge will not be enough to allow Perry to finish in one the top two or three positions, but he could pull the type of numbers that may prevent people like Sanoturm and Gingrich from outpolling Ron Paul.

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Iowa’s Mold Breaker Might Matter

We are discovering the 2012 election cycle dynamic every day.  One thing we have learned already is that things that didn’t matter last week are crucial this week.  The thing we are learning this past week is that money matters, as Mitt Romney surrogates bought waves of negative airtime, Ron Paul bought Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, and Newt suddenly began to realize what a nice thing it would be to have campaign staffs, ground crews, or even counter advertising money.

To Huntsman’s dismay, we may be discovering that Iowa matters.  Let me put it this way.  If Newt Gingrich wins Iowa, it doesn’t really matter.  If Santorum wins Iowa, it will give him some false momentum but Iowa alone won’t matter.  If Bachmann wins Iowa, we will all drop our jaw and then move on with the real race.  If Paul wins Iowa, mainstream Republicans will spend the next few days complaining about how he did his usual ballot stuffing tricks, but then move on.

However, if Mitt Romney wins Iowa, that will be huge.  Iowa has typically stuck to mainstream, evangelical, more conservative than moderate candidates.  Iowa has granted hope to Mike Huckabee in recent years, and Michele Bachmann this year.  Now, with Mitt Romney leading in the polls, it appears that more conservative, evangelical voters are accepting that Romney will win the nomination.  In fact, in this case I wonder what type of dynamic Ron Paul is attributing to Romney’s rise.  Are Iowans viewing Gingrich, Perry and now even Santorum as third party spoilers?

I think with the Iowa dynamic, voters may actually prefer Santorum in the current field.  Instead, it appears that Iowa may end up being about who can beat Barack Obama, or more immediately, who can beat Ron Paul.  At any rate, if Mitt Romney wins, Iowa matters.  As McCain proved in 2008, voting for a candidate primarily because of electability is a tough paradigm to crack once it is set.

One thing is for sure.  If Romney does win in Iowa, Newt is dreaming if he thinks he can turn everything around in New Hampshire.

Lessons From History

There is a saying often attributed to Mark Twain that goes, ‘History does not repeat itself but it does rhyme.’ Any fools with a nostalgia for the late 70’s learned the truth of that in the past few years. Being President is about more than smiling and speaking in grand platitudes. It is a harsh reality of perpetual crisis both foreign and domestic – many of which the American people never really learn about unless they spin out of control.

We like to look at candidates for the office and project onto them the mantle of some previous President. It gives us a false hope of how they will handle the unknown future. Sometimes the candidates try on the mantle of a previous President themselves and try to convince us that they wear it best. Call me crazy, but Michele Bachmann doesn’t look convincing in her Reagan costume.

For all the best hopes of pundits and packaging of candidates themselves, rarely are the mantles draped upon candidates accurate. Obama is no Kennedy nor FDR as claimed in his campaign in 2008 nor a TR as he claims now. He’s a Carter. It’s no wonder he is seeking a different comparison.

The Republican field is not full of Reagans nor does it have a Jefferson or Jackson in its midst. However, if we look closely at the candidates, their records, the political reality of today and history – we may be able to figure out which President each would most likely resemble once actually in office. Here in short form is my take on who each candidate actually would be most like if elected:

Mitt Romney – Romney claims to be Reagan. Romney is not a hard core anything. He is a pragmatist. He has a track record of working across the aisle and changing his position to side with prevailing opinion. He is slick, managerial and focused more on accomplishing something than on getting what he wants. Gerald FordRomney strikes me as being most like Gerald Ford. Government would probably hit a few bumps with him in office, but he’d learn to navigate the prevailing political moods and generally make things better. He wouldn’t distinguish himself or ever really connect with the American people. Congress would get more credit for any success than he would and while no one would really hate him, few would champion him.

Newt Gingrich – Gingrich claims to be Reagan and Jackson. Newt is mercurial, knowledgeable, an insider who sees himself as an outsider, not the ally of many in his own party and has a drive to prove he is better than his reputation from Congress. He was written off by most, yet inexplicably manages to keep hanging around. Richard NixonGingrich strikes me as being most like Richard Nixon. He is likely to fight with his own party and even go against the popular will of the American public to do what he thinks is the right thing to do. He’d use use his ability to speak plainly to the people to rally just enough support to maintain his ability to assert his agenda. Yet, his insecurities and anger at a media that jabs at him would detract from an ability to even enjoy his successes. He would likely have difficulty maintaining an administrative core.

Ron Paul – Paul claims to be Jefferson. Paul is a stubborn yet principled politician who would rather be right by his own views than compromise on anything. He has no real friends in Congress and is the enemy of the very machine he would seek to operate. He is constitutionally astute. Andrew JohnsonPaul strikes me as being most like Andrew Johnson. He’ll fight not only the opposing party, but the leaders of his own in Congress. The machinery of the bureaucracy assembled by previous administrations would be his main target as it would be something he thought he could change. A long train of vetoes, overrides, wiggling free from Congressional attempts to wrangle him and generally four years of being right, but equally disliked by all.

Rick Perry – Perry claims to be Reagan. Perry is a man of great ego, personality and amorphous convictions. He surrounds himself with advisers who define most of his actions and control access to him. That limits his ability to see more than just one side of an issue and sometimes puts him in a predicament. George W. BushPerry strikes me as being most like George W. Bush. He’s as likely to expand government to be ‘compassionate’ as he is to cut some part of it. He would likely be often caught misspeaking as the policies of his staff would not be his own and his answers to questions about them would lack grounding. He’d make numerous gaffes that pundits on both sides would wonder how he could have ever been able to be so stupid, but those gaffes would come as a result of the bubble his advisers would keep him in.

Rick Santorum – Santorum claims to be Reagan. Santorum is a strong social conservative who believes in using the power of the federal government to dictate domestic issues that were previously State and local matters. He is a party man who went along with government expansion and big spending when his party committed it – although he claims he realizes that was a mistake and wouldn’t do it again. John AdamsSantorum strikes me as being most like John Adams. He would likely push his ideology fiercely and fail to see when he had gone too far. He would surround himself with advisers and policy makers who once worked for or around his beloved mentor (in this case Reagan) but lack the wisdom of that mentor to know when those advisers and policy makers had drifted too far from the will of the people. He would not understand why his administration would become unpopular and instead entrench himself further.

Michele Bachmann – Bachmann claims to be Reagan or Jefferson. Bachmann is a wannabe ideologue. She clings to the banner of the Tea Party, yet is easily dragged towards neoconservatism whenever she feels that she needs to sound tough. She is generally over-matched by the enormity of the Presidency even as a candidate. While she can spew soundbites, she is slow to hit the mark when thrown an unexpected question. Barack ObamaPolitical ideology aside, Bachmann strikes me as being most like Barack Obama. She would most likely struggle to find effective ways to get her big ideas turned into actual policies even with GOP control of Congress. She’d feel the need to embark on military adventures to prove she wasn’t weak on defense. She would reverse herself on executive orders and start issuing many of them as an alternative way to implement her agenda.

Jon Huntsman – Huntsman claims to be a Reagan. Huntsman has great executive experience and deeply understands the geopolitical and economic position of the Unites States in the world in relation to past, present and emerging world rivals. He is measured, reasonable and yet considered an outsider by even his own. Dwight EisenhowerHuntsman strikes me as being most like Dwight Eisenhower. He would likely chart a course that looked far more into the future than the leaders of Congress. He would be strategic rather than tactical in military and foreign affairs. He would challenge the status quo and risk rebellion from his own party when he put pet projects on the chopping block. He would be seen more as a fatherly President than a partisan one.

I could be very wrong in these associations, but I think they are fairly accurate. We just can’t really know until they sit in that office. But, we do have their histories and personalities as well as those of the men who already held the office and how that office changed them. From those, we can construct better guesses as to which President they will not repeat, but most rhyme with. In all cases, it is not the one they think they are – at least in my opinion.

In doing this exercise, my views of the candidates have changed a bit. Thinking not of who I would like them to be or who they sell themselves as, but who their history and personality most aligns them with has left me questioning my leanings in this race. I don’t accept the general media criticisms of our candidates or the wild histrionics by the champions of one candidate against opponents. However, viewing these candidates in an historical light and how their strengths, weaknesses and personalities would likely mix with the current economic, political and international reality does raise some new questions for me. Of Ford, Nixon, G. W. Bush, A. Johnson, J. Adams, Obama or Eisenhower, who could not only best beat Obama in 2012 but best address the foreseeable problems? Would stagnation and infighting in Washington be worse than misguided progress or the other way around? Is victory today and four years a stability worth backing a candidate that could probably be beaten in 2016? When there is no Reagan clone, on whom can we settle?

I don’t have the answers to those questions for you. They are for each of us to decide on our own when choosing a candidate. I don’t even have the answers for myself which is why I remain undecided and uncommitted. I’ve ruled out three of the seven, but have a long way to go before I get down to one.

Early Demises and Second Chances

Mitt Beats Obama in Rassmussen Poll

Over the past week, Rassmussen conducted three Presidential matchup polls, the most recent being between Romney and Obama.  Romney easily won the poll contest by 45% to 39%.  What is significant is who struggled in the polls earlier that week.  Bachmann lost with 35% to Obama’s 48%, and Gingrich only did a little better with 37% to Obama’s 47%.

One more element deserves recognition in this polling.  Obama himself had an up and down week according to Gallup.  Around the time Rassmussen was polling the Bachmann and Gingrich head to heads, Obama’s approval rating had climbed to 47% only to fall back down to 41% by the end of the week.  What would explain such a wild swing?  I’m guessing a little too much holiday eggnog putting people in a generous mood.

Virginia’s Florida Moment

Ah the good old days of hanging chads and voter intention.  Like when Democrats argued that people in Florida intended to vote for Al Gore because they had also voted for good ole’ boy NASA astronaut Democrat Bill Nelson.  Now in Virginia, we have the case of signatures being tossed out enough to get both Perry and Gingrich off the ballot.  Perry’s campaign is fighting back, but Gingrich is getting help from an outside source: the TEA Party.

Attorney and TEA Party activist Jonathon Mosely is suing Virginia over signatures that may have been incorrectly invalidated to put Newt under the 10,000 signature requirement.  If he wins, a potentially campaign ending gaffe could be turned into a vindicating legal victory.

Iowa Last Minute Insanity

Ron Paul Buys Bachmann’s Campaign Chair

Bachmann campaign chair in Iowa, Kent Sorensen, has jumped ship as Bachmann becomes the latest candidate to contract the deadly disease AIDES.  AIDES (former aides to be exact) have already helped bring down Herman Cain’s campaign and have hurt Newt Gingrich’s campaign.  Now, with Sorensen opting for the bigger paycheck at the Paul campaign, Bachmann looks like a jury member on Survivor trying to pontificate about injustice, honor, lies and blindsides.  Welcome to politics.

Huntsman Disses Iowa

“They pick corn in Iowa. They pick presidents in New Hampshire.” Who would say something like that? Obviously a candidate who knows they have no hope of winning the Iowa caucus, and doesn’t seem to really care about Iowa in the general election either.  Huntsman would have done much better for himself to just say “We are focusing our efforts on New Hampshire.” and leave it at that.  Of course, this may help explain why Huntsman, an only slightly more moderate clone of Mitt Romney on most issues, is barely surviving on the crumbs that fall from Romney’s feast in the polls.

Coulter’s Temporary Insanity

Ann Coulter is in love with Mitt Romney.  And she obviously is no fan of Newt Gingrich.  In recent articles, she has accused Newt of being everything from pro-choice to big government, to being behind the bailouts of Freddie Mac.  Of course, all of this is Bachmann style campaign hyperbole and exaggeration at best.  Then Coulter let out a real shocker: she prefers Ron Paul to Newt Gingrich.  What??

Somewhere in a closet, the real Ann Coulter is tied up with duct tape over her mouth mumbling for this evil clone to let her out.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama and the media, who have convinced us that only Mitt Romney can beat Obama in 2012, are laughing all the way to re-election while Republicans fall for the same premise they did in 2008: vote for the candidate you think can win, not the candidate you really want.

What else would explain Coulter’s blanket acceptance and love for a former Massachusetts liberal who ran on a pro-choice platform, gave Massachusetts Romneycare, and voted for Paul Tsongas while she is treating a conservative who reformed welfare, reigned in Bill Clinton, and led Republicans to their first majority in the House in 40 years as a raving liberal.  What is it that the rest of us don’t know about Newt Gingrich?

Newt v. Virginia

You might be waking up this day after Christmas, pulling out your political websites and discovering a much different landscape than last week.  If I didn’t know any better, I would think Romney has this wrapped up from reading the headlines today.  I would also think Newt was incompetent.

Newt Gingrich did not qualify for the Virginia ballot.  The reason that is the big headline is because while you were eating Christmas turkey, wrapping presents, and watching NORAD radar for Santa Claus, the headline was that neither did Santorum, Perry, or Bachmann.  In fact, Virginia will be a race between Romney and Paul.  So the question is, does this say something about Newt’s relevance?  Or Virginia’s?

Actually, what it does speak to is Virginia’s exclusivity. Some of the candidates may have been caught off guard when Virginia changed their ballot requirements in December.  So far even the media hasn’t seemed to catch up with developments in Virginia’s balloting situation, except that Virginia won’t allow for write ins.

This does speak though to the irrelevance of candidates who do have a ground game in Virginia, and to the folly of candidates who are shooting from the hip and choosing to forgo the developed ground game.  It also shows the disadvantage of a political movement like the TEA Party which is not affiliated with any specific candidate, but might have preferred options in Virginia beyond Centrist versus Radical.

Gingrich can afford to lose Virginia.  What he can’t afford is a threat to his front runner status.  That status is propped up by its own existence.  In other words, part of the reason Newt is the front runner is because he is the front runner and he is not Mitt Romney.  Nothing could be more detrimental to Newt’s campaign right now than headlines saying Newt is too incompetent to get on to the Virginia primary ballot.

Merry Christmas, Mitt Romney.

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.

Paths to Victory

I have heard recently several conservative commentators marvel about how Newt has risen to the top and stayed there and how Mitt has never gotten over 30%.  It shouldn’t be a surpriseI explained it all months ago.  I’ve said as long ago as this that Mitt is in deep trouble.  He looked pretty good when there were six candidates splitting the other 70% of the vote and 40% were still undecided.  But Romney has always only appealed to fiscal conservatives.  He coasted through the first several months of this election and many in the establishment, now including George Will and Ann Coulter, assumed that his steadiness and assumed front runner status had something to do with him being the best candidate.

So can Romney win?  What about Paul and his recent rise in the polls?  Does he have a shot?  Here is a strategic look at where the candidates stand right now.

Newt Gingrich

Newt has managed to be that candidate who attracts social and fiscal conservatives.  It is his nomination to lose.  So far he has handled attacks perfectly.  Consider Nancy Pelosi’s claim that if he runs she will have a field day spreading every secret from his ethics investigation.  How does he respond?  By stating that out of 84 counts, 83 were dismissed and the 84th was a simple mistake he made and how if Nancy Pelosi is willing to spread secrets from the ethics committee investigation that proves just how corrupt she was in that investigation.  That’s Newt 2, Pelosi 0.  Those type of responses will continue to bolster him.

Next, he has to keep making speeches like he did to the Republican Jewish Coalition.  Newt showed the intelligence and wit that makes conservatives like me giddy about him opposing Obama.  Newt has to keep running on those ideas, setting the record straight, and not going after fellow Republicans who attack him.  I think he slipped up a little when he said Bachmann is factually challenged.  Newt’s message has to stay positive and focused on undoing and being the opposite of Obama.

Mitt Romney

As I said before, Romney’s only prayer in this race is to come out strongly to the social conservative side in a big, public way.  Maybe he needs to go protest in front of an abortion clinic, spend some of his Newt attack ad money on an ad clearly denouncing Obama for making bibles illegal at some military hospitals, or something like that.  Romney will never win this election with only DC establishment backing and fiscal conservatives.  Right now he barely has better electability to run on.  And the attacks from his surrogates are easily being linked back to him.  His smooth Reaganesque style and kindness on the debate trail is getting ugly with people like George Will calling his opponents book selling charlatans and Ann Coulter accusing Newt Gingrich of wanting to do something similar to teaching school kids how to masturbate.  None of this reflects well on Romney.

Romney has to do very well in this next debate at highlighting better ideas, but definitely smaller government ideas.  Newt tends to talk about ideas that he could not do as President but would help the country.  Romney needs to jump on that and be the smaller government alternative.  Romney needs to win the 10th amendment fight in this next debate, while still appearing to be a stronger social conservative than everyone thinks he is.

Ron Paul

Paul’s biggest liability is himself.  His second biggest liability is his supporters.  One of the reasons Ron Paul hasn’t gotten higher in the polls is that people don’t want to support him if they think he is their enemy.  Paul has worked very hard to make himself the enemy of anyone he considers to his left.  In the debates he comes across as abrasive and angry.  His pet issues cloud many great issues that most conservatives would agree with him on.  Hint hint, Ron Paul, constitutionalists want to like you.  But when I sit there and think about my life, I really can’t think of what I did to cause 9/11 or why terrorists can kill Americans because of Jimmy Carter’s foolish foreign policy and what every President has done since then.

Part of Paul’s problem is that his foreign policy approach reflects history, but not reality.  Paul can pontificate all he wants on how we got here, but most conservatives don’t like his solution for how we get home.  In a quick draw, when you drop your gun turn around and walk away, Bin Laden types usually just shoot you in the back.  Who cares if it’s your fault you got in that situation in the first place.  Personally, I don’t want to be shot in the back.

Ron Paul was his best this year when he was talking about domestic policy and when he showed even an ounce of grace in the debates towards his fellow Republicans.  One last thing, Paul will never win over conservatives with his states rights approach to abortion.  No true pro-lifer is going to vote for a guy who is going to ensure that abortion stays legal in most of the states.

Rick Perry

Perry really needs to reassess his chances.  His only shot is a good showing in Iowa, as in 2nd place or better.  He needs to nail every debate going forward.  Perry needs a “My Fair Lady” transformation.  For starters, he can learn how to pronounce Nukuler.

His ideas are not bad.  His tenth amendment stance is very good.  But he has a lot of competition among candidates who are pro-tenth amendment, and his HPV vaccine debacle ruins his credibility on personal freedom.

Jon Huntsman

Huntsman could easily be in the 2012 Presidential race.  All he has to do is switch parties.  I’m being completely serious.  Jon Huntsman could guarantee that Obama does not have another four years by changing to Democrat and running against Obama in the 2012 primary as a moderate.  Of course, he would have to kneel before Pelosi/Reid to get the necessary credibility.

Michele Bachmann

In order for Bachmann to win, two things have to happen.  First, Obama has to get so low in the polls and believe it or not do even more stupid things so that anyone could beat him (even Trump).  Then, Bachmann would have to convince TEA Partiers that she is their candidate more than Newt, Perry or Santorum.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, if absolutely anyone could defeat Obama and electability wasn’t an issue, there is another candidate who would still take the TEA Party vote before she would.

Rick Santorum

If the TEA Party is going to come home to anyone, it would be Rick Santorum.  Get ready, it could happen in Iowa.  Santorum has never been taken seriously because people doubt his electability.  He lost in Pennsylvania.  Of course, that year every Republican in Pennsylvania lost.  Not only that, but some of our best Presidents won after losing senate races.  If you listen to Newt, you know two famous historical names, Lincoln and Douglas.  Did you know Lincoln’s victory was a rematch of their senate race two years before?  Guess who won that senate race.

If one more star is going to rise before this primary is over, it will be Santorum and it will be because the TEA Party takes Bachmann’s advice and says screw electability.  If that happens, Santorum has to be ready for the vetting process with ideas that will knock our socks off and make Romney and Newt look like morons.  Santorum has to not be George Bush II on the war and he has to convince fiscal conservatives that he can get spending under control.  He also has to convince libertarians that he will stay out of their homes.  That’s a tall order for Santorum.

Positively Entertainment?

Earlier this election season, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain sat down in a one on one debate that displayed Newt’s intellectualism and fast thinking, and Cain’s graciousness.  It’s starting to look like Newt will have a shot at another one on one debate as only he and Rick Santorum have agreed to The Donald’s debate on Ion Television, sponsored by Newsmax. 

Mitt Romney politely declined, Paul said no and Huntsman inferred that the whole thing was about Trump’s ratings.  George Will has also infamously declared that the Trump debate is below Presidential politics.  Perry and Bachmann have not confirmed, although Bachmann said she believes Trump will be biased because he is already leaning towards a candidate.  How that makes this debate different from any MSNBC or CNN debate where the moderators are already in the bag for Obama, I’m not sure.

Who is going to be hurt from backing out of the Trump debate? Trump has already declared his position on many things.  Huntsman and Paul would both find themselves on opposite sides from Trump.  Romney probably won’t be hurt by snubbing Trump.

Will Santorum or Gingrich be hurt by accepting the debate?  For Newt, probably not.  For Santorum, the possibility for damage to his campaign is pretty big.  While he will be getting a great deal of facetime, Santorum will be answering questions from a very strong willed and strongly opinionated Trump while going up against Newt one on one.  It is a very risky move.  The risk will be compounded if Trump then endorses Newt.

Bachmann and Perry’s non-committal stance currently is only making them more irrelevant. It also comes across as indecisive.

Or is it helping to make Trump more irrelevant?  Trump has said that if the candidate he wants doesn’t get in the race, he will run as a third party candidate.  Is it better to cater to the crybaby?  Or ignore him?  And honestly, would Trump get any votes as a third party candidate, when four more years of Obama is on the line?

Mark Levin’s Either Or, Bachmann or Santorum Endorsement

Bookmark and Share    While most individual endorsements have only varying degrees of minimal effect on the success or failure of a candidate, the collective endorsements of like-minded leaders can have significant effect on voter’s behaviors.  At the very least, a united front of endorsements from those associated with a particular cause or ideology, can easily force the faithful to look at the candidate behind those endorsements and open the door to their own support for that candidate.

In Republican politics, one group that falls in to this category of influential endorsements are those who share a seat at the table of conservative columnists and radio talk show hosts.

Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Tammy Bruce, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Neal Bootrz, Michael Gallagher, Mark Levin and the King of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, these are just some of the most influential commercial conservative opinion shapers.  As lone voices, they may not be able to swing and election one way or the other, but collectively, if these leading figures, or a vast majority of them were to support a particular candidate, their listeners who comprise an audience of activists Republican who make up the base of the G.O.P. , would not be able to avoid considering their endorsement.  At the very least, such a coordinated effort would force them to at least reconsider their own candidate of preference.

In 2008, most of the conservative talking heads rallied around Mitt Romney.  When the 2008 primary came down to a clear two man race between McCain and Romney, McCain was the candidate that conservatives wanted an alternative to.  Ironically, in 2008, that candidate was Romney.

So far, in the 2012 election, the conservative talking heads have not yet been able to coalesce around a single alternative to Mitt Romney.  But as the first voting in the nomination process approaches, these conservative hosts are beginning to dash to the corners of certain candidates.  However they are doing so based  on a process of elimination that has them picking the candidate they least dislike.  They have written Romney and Huntsman off as too liberal, they wrote Perry off as incapable of campaigning effectively,  Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer as flakes who are not significant enough for them to consider, Ron Paul for not being sane enough,  and now they are writing Newt Gingrich off as a candidate who is too liberal, commercial, and personally flawed.

With Herman Cain now out of the running, that process of elimination would leave them with Bachmann, Santorum.

Evidence of that process was recently demonstrated by Mark Levin who on his radio show, gave listeners an either or endorsement.  Either Michele Bachman or Rick Santorum [listen to the clip in the video provided below this post].

Levin did however state that he is not trying to tell people what to do.  He said that what he thinks doesn’t really matter because the voters will decide for themselves.  But Levin stated that for himself, if the primary was coming up in his state anytime soon, his vote would come down to Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum.  His reasoning behind his preference of them is due to what he described as their history of being consistent conservatives.

Before he offered his personal view, he did also stipulate that he will be supporting whoever is the ultimate Republican nominee.  Levin also added that the first priority is defeating Obama.

I can appreciate Mark Levin’s either or endorsement and what’s more is, I can appreciate the way he did it.

Mark Levin has been careful not to assassinate the character of all of the other candidates.  With the exception of Ron Paul, unlike some, Levin has not tried to hobble any of the other candidates and he has criticized others in his field who have stated and written things about the other candidates which will simply play right in to the hands of President Obama and the liberal establishment.

As Levin himself states, his endorsement is probably not going to effect who the nominee is and he does not intend for it do so.  He states that it is merely his personal decision.  But with the seeming desire to write-off Newt Gingrich by others like Ann Coulter and Michele Malkin, and with the general dislike for Romney from the rest of the conservative talking head circuit, there is a very plausible scenario which could see all these opinion makers slowly follow Levin’s lead and make this nomination come down to a choice between Romney and either Santorum and Bachmann.

They did this in 2008 when they lined up behind Romney.  But it didn’t work.  John  McCain went on to win the nomination and lose the presidency.  And in 2012, if that type of process of elimination were to again play itself out, I believe we will see the similar results for Republicans in the 2012 general election.

Hopefully this can be avoided, but I am only slightly optimistic.

While I have personally chosen to endorse Newt Gingrich, like Mark Levin, I have also chosen not to close the door on any of the other realistic choices for President.  In the end, when all is said is said and done,  I believe that Mitt Romney will be our nominee and unlike some who have painted Romney as a flaming liberal, I have come to accept the fact that the vision that Romney has proposed for our nation is in fact a conservative one and a vast improvement over what we currently have.  Furthermore, in Romney I see a leader with a record of proven success, a man who is a true manager who has shown his ability to take the reigns of a chaotic situation and tame it, as he did with the 2002 Winter Olympics.  That doesn’t mean I that I won’t promote Newt.  But it also doesn’t mean that I will spite myself and the Party if I do not get the pcik of litter.

I  understand that whoever the nominee is, when the dust settles, people’s opinions will change.  Conservatives will find many things to like about the ultimate nominee but by then it may be too late.  When that time comes, if they continue to go on record with their character assignations and the denigration of those who are not their first choice, the Democrats will have been provided all that they need to make it hard for changed minds to achieve their goal of beating Obama.

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