Romney Still Winning the Election in the Electoral College But Wisconsin and New Hampshire Are Becoming Critically Important

Bookmark and Share   The latest White House 2012 analysis of polls, conditions, and circumstances in individual states projects a slightly smaller Electoral College vote total for Governor Mitt Romney than he had last week, but Romney still remains above the magic number of 270, that he needs to win in the Electoral College.

This week, WH12 has seen the battleground states of Iowa and Nevada taken out of Romney’s column and designated as toss-up states.  This switch has taken away 12 electoral votes from the Romney-Ryan ticket and brought  them from last week’s total of 291 electoral votes , to 279 electoral votes this week.  But as Mitt Romney sees 12 votes go from him to the undecided column, President Obama sees his previous Electoral College projection decrease by 10 votes as WH12 now takes Wisconsin out of the President’s column and classifies it as a toss-up state.  So President Obama now finds  his Electoral College vote drop from 247 last week, to 237 this week.

But the big story here ends up not being the new numbers projected in White House 2012’s analysis.  The real story here is the increasing importance that these numbers places on New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and probably most of all… Wisconsin.

Based upon WH12’s  current level of confidence in Mitt Romney having solid leads in all his base states* and strong leads in the once very competitive states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, combined with our increasing confidence in Romney’s ability to at least squeak out a win in Ohio, what we find ourselves with here is a race that really hinges upon Romney’s need to win any combination of New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and or Wisconsin.

With former toss-up states like Colorado, Virginia, and Florida projected to be solidly behind Romney, as seen in the map below, all the Romney-Ryan tickets needs to secure victory is Ohio.    With Romney’s base states, and locks on the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina,and Virginia, if Romney can squeak by in Ohio, he can lose New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and  Wisconsin and still win with 5 more electoral votes than he needs to secure the presidency.  That would produce an electoral vote of 275 for Romney, to 263 for President Obama.

But Ohio is too close for comfort for Romney to count on.  So the Romney-Ryan ticket must secure an optional path to victory to rely upon.  Based upon the current projection which gives Romney the battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire, ,  if President Obama wins Ohio, the only state that Romney needs is Wisconsin.   In that scenario, even if the Obama-Biden ticket won the remaining battleground states of Iowa and Nevada, Mitt would still win in the Electoral College with 271 electoral votes to Obama’s 267 electoral votes.

Without Ohio, this New Hampshire plus Wisconsin combination to victory for Romney is currently the best and most logical strategy to pursue.

In New Hampshire, the Romney-Ryan ticket is behind Obama-Biden by only approximately 1%.  That is well below the 2.2% margin of error that WH12’s projection formula adds to Romney’s numbers in an attempt to compensate for the erroneous turnout models that pollsters are using in their polls.  So by WH12’s standard, Romney is actually ahead of President Obama in New Hampshire by approximately 1.2%.    Then there is Wisconsin.

While Real Clear Politics has Obama ahead of Romney by approximately 2.8% in Wisconsin according to White House 2012 that is only a .06% lead for the President.  It is a lead so small that that it could easily by overcome.  Especially if its favorite son, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan,  focusses on Wisconsin during this last two weeks of the election. That is a point White House 2012 made last week in a post entitled  “Checkmating Obama with Wisconsin: A Romney Win in the Badger State Dooms Obama“.   Furthermore, Ryan’s focus on Wisconsin could also produce an overflow effect that impacts the close contest in Iowa which borders Wisconsin and possibly provide the margin of victory for the G.O.P. ticket there.

What this all means is that if projections that give Romney his base states and the critical battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, but he losses Ohio, the Romney-Ryan ticket can still win the election if they take Wisconsin and either New Hampshire, Iowa, or Nevada.   But under this situation, if Romney does not win Wisconsin,  Romney would have to win all three states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada.

So it becomes clear to us that while several states remain quite important in this election, if Mitt Romney’s momentum  continues to hold, Wisconsin and New Hampshire may be the states that offer him the best assurance of a victory in the Electoral College. Especially if Ohio remains as tight as it currently is and goes down to the wire as a state so close that its results might not be known until days or even weeks after they are litigated in the courts.  However, the outcome of such litigation would be meaningless  if Romney can put New Hampshire and Wisconsin safely in his final Electoral College vote total.

In the meantime, while White House 2012’s current projection classifies 22 electoral votes as toss-ups, no matter which way they ultimately go, the most Barack Obama could get is 259 electoral votes.  That would leave and Romney with at least 20 more electoral votes than Obama and nine more than Romney needs to win in the Electoral College.

Meanwhile, if Barack Obama fails to curtail the Romentum that we currently see, it won’t be long before White House 2012 finds itself issuing the very best but still realistic projected outcome that Mitt Romney could see.  That projection may end up with a far more lopsided Electoral College than anyone is expecting.  As seen in the map below, existing trends may soon establish a projection that looks like th e map below.  It’s a Romney led Electoral College result of of 302 electoral votes to 236 electoral votes.

Right now, that is the best case scenario for Romney but if current trends to continue, it is the result we are most likely to see.  It is also a result that would include something new… the splitting of Maine’s electoral vote between Romney and Obama.  Maine, like Nebraska splits their electoral vote between their congressional districts.  Some recent polling has shown that in  Maine’s second congressional district, Romney was leading Obama 49 to 44%.  If that holds up, it would be the first time Maine ever actually split it’s electoral vote.  And it would also give Romney at least 1 electoral vote from a region of the country that Romney has been all but written off in.

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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.

Is Mitt Bouyant? Or Santorum Sinking?

The day before Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney is looking good.  It’s looking like he will take the key state of Ohio and could take Tennessee.  Both of these are very close races.  But Romney’s ascendency back to the top is marked by Santorum’s dive in the polls, and Newt’s resurgence again.  Newt will win Georgia, which has the most delegates of any Super Tuesday state.  Newt is also now tied with Santorum and within one point of Romney in Tennessee according to one poll.  Just last week, Santorum was looking good in both Ohio and Tennessee.

If Santorum is suddenly seen as faltering, we may see the polls seesaw back to Newt on fears of unelectability.  However, at this late stage that may serve to only help Romney, unless Santorum loses big time.  If Santorum comes in third in Tennessee or Ohio and Gingrich easily wins Georgia, the shift back to Newt could be significant.

Consider this, if Santorum was not in the race and his voters went to Newt, Newt would sweep Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.  On the other hand, the same could be said for Santorum if Newt dropped out and his votes went to Santorum.  In either case, Romney is the beneficiary of the social conservative split.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul is fleeing from social issues as he descends back into below 10% irrelevancy.

This could be short lived however, as Republicans revisit the myth that social issues are losers in elections.  As I pointed out the other day, a one dimensional economy candidate is going to struggle against Obama.  Republicans are more likely to be inspired to go to the polls for a bold conservative, and Romney is all pastels.  If Santorum falters tomorrow and Newt remains on message, this one could be far from over.

Bloomberg’s Joke of a Headline Hides True Story

Obama wins in poll as investors resist Gingrich

What does that headline say to you?  The description below the Bloomberg headline was “U.S. investors are rooting for Mitt Romney and those overseas are for Barack Obama. Newt Gingrich is generating little enthusiasm anywhere. ”

From reading that, you might be fooled into thinking Bloomberg ran a poll of investors where Newt lost and Obama was the big winner.  But if you read the story, and parse their words, you will discover a completely different story.  Mike Dorning skips back and forth from the global stage to US investors to create some great quotable lines, while obscuring the real story behind dishonest turns of phrases and ambiguity.

Mixed in with all sorts of good news for Obama, the real story can be found here:

In a potential election match-up between Obama, 50, and Romney, 64, a former private equity executive, global respondents are split, with 41 percent choosing each as better for the world economy. U.S. investors sided 3-to-1 with the Republican and those outside the U.S. 2-to-1 with Obama.

Pay attention.  While investors on the global stage are split evenly between Romney and Obama, Obama looses 3 to 1 with American investors.  Now, let’s look at what they had to say about Newt who was “generating little enthusiasm anywhere” and being “resist(ed)” by investors:

Faced with a choice between the Democratic incumbent and Republican Gingrich, 68, on who would be better for the world economy, global respondents back Obama 52 percent to 25 percent. Those in the U.S. give Gingrich a 44 percent plurality against 35 percent for Obama with 21 percent unable to tell how they would resolve the dilemma.

Did you catch that?  Among US investors Gingrich wins 44% to 35%. Or, as Bloomberg put it, a “44 percent plurality”.  It should be no surprise that foreign investors like Obama better.  In addition to supporting European economic policies, Obama has also done a great deal to bail out European banks and don’t forget when he gift-wrapped Chrysler and sold it for a huge discount to Fiat, an Italian company.  If foreign investors didn’t like Obama, we would have to call them ungrateful.

So what should the headline have been for this story?  Here are some thoughts.  Feel free to add your own suggestions:

Romney and Newt Kick Obama’s Butt in Poll of US Investors

US Investors Prefer GOP, Non-US Investors Like Obama

America Likes Romney and Newt, Europe Likes Obama

Three Times As Many Investors Like Romney Over Obama in US

US Investors Like Newt Over Obama, Like Romney Even More

There Will Only Be One American Running for President In 2012

 

A Populist Agenda?

There will only be one American for president in 2012, and I am not talking about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

The 2012 election is in effect a Referendum on American Capitalism. If the Republicans choose Mitt Romney, as they surely must, he will represent American Capitalism. President Barack Obama will represent Europeanized State Capitalism. Go ahead America, make your choice.

President Obama wants the decision about who is too wealthy and who is not to be made by government. He wants a universal healthcare system. He wants a government-sponsored state capitalism to engineer poverty reduction. His “populist” agenda is nothing of the sort, it merely appeals to the lowest common denominator and will lead to European-style dependency and an entitlement culture.

What he doesn’t seem to want to do is create wealth. Who will create the wealth? His program can in no way be financed by the current parlous state of the nation’s finances, after all you can only print so much money and make so many promises. Look at the current state of Europe, do you want an America where states will be forced to bail out other failing states; a new republic of economic basketcases?

In President Obama’s “State of the Campaign” address, he sought to deflect from the campaign that on his watch there are now more than 13 million people out of work and the government debt stands at a record high of $15.2 trillion, up from $10.6 trillion when he took office. State? A complete mess!

Yet, conservatives in America have joined the baying OWS crowd in calling for equality, but in so doing they are asking the government to control the economy. There is a cultural shift which lies behind the attack on “big business”, “Wall Street” and “Fat cats.” This shift is best described as “resentment,”a well known emotion in Europe.

Whoever you support for the GOP nomination, the attack by conservatives on Romney’s wealth is the most absurd aspect of the current debate. I always thought doing well was to be admired in America. There was a good piece by David Brooks in the New York Times recently, where he made the wise observation of Romney: He may have character flaws, but he does not have the character flaws normally associated with great wealth. His signature is focus and persistence.The wealth issue is a sideshow.

Indeed, it is a sideshow! Front row spectator, with a wide grin, is President Obama. Think on that my friends.

The practical outcome is that “big business” becomes state-owned business instead, as it is in China, Russia, and the Middle East. The free market if not reaching an end becomes state-controlled markets. Who will defend the world against this State Capitalism if America, the paragon of liberal Capitalism, does not?

President Obama, OWS, and conservative attacks on Mitt Romney are all part of weakening America’s ability to ensure free markets, but, hey, if that’s what you want America, it’s a free country…but not for much longer.

The issue at the heart of the 2012 election will be whether America wants to continue with American Capitalism, in spite of its flaws, or embrace the intellectually flawed and alien European style State Capitalism. Get it right folks, President Obama is not a Socialist, and Europe is not Socialist. Communism and Socialism have failed, and they have been replaced by coalitions of single issue groups and state power interests.

President Obama is a statist. Europe is statist. The economy is the tool of state power and control over our lives, not in the interest of the working classes, and certainly not the middle class, but in the interest of the elite statists who “know better”.

The Italian Marxist writer Antonio Gramschi stated: “The revolutionary forces have to take civil society before they take the state, and therefore have to build a coalition of oppositional groups united under a hegemonic banner which usurps the dominant or prevailing hegemony.” What he argued was that leftists don’t need a revolution, they need to get their hands on the levers of power, which they have done in Europe for a number of decades…and now in the White House.

The constant whining “civil society” approach of Leftists is the tactic they use, and it is being used to usurp American Capitalism. President Obama has been reading Gramschi’s playbook, and conservatives are falling for it.

 

Effect of Debates vs. Campaign Fatigue

South Carolina is within reach for Newt.  However, he must now combat something other than superpacs and media.  Newt now has to overcome campaign fatigue.  I’m sure that all of the candidates are tired and have been traveling a lot, but that isn’t what I was referring to.  You probably noticed about a month ago that every time there was a new debate, you were sure to have a friend who commented “Really?? Another one??”

Add to the non-stop debates at least 5 major lead changes among social conservatives, a growing, wearying Ron Paul movement, and the constant drum-beat from the establishment that Romney always was going to be the candidate and it is purely undeniable fate, and Romney gets the advantage among Conservatives who are tired of the infighting and want to get on to the main event.

Romney has flaws.  In fact, as I watch his superpac advertise Newt’s baggage (more than an airliner, according to the ad), I have to wonder why Romneycare, running on a pro-abortion platform, and all that does not count as baggage for Romney.  He has not yet been able to get the social conservatives to give him the unanimous thumbs up.  But one thing he has been flawless at has been this particular campaign.  His biggest missteps seem like manufactured class warfare attacks that only make him stronger among conservatives.  For example, he tried to bet $10k in a debate.  Who cares?  So he has $10k to throw around.  Duh, he’s rich.  Not only that, but only a moron, leftist, or member of the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) would think that Romney was actually trying to get Perry to make a financial wager, not just making a point that Perry was off his rocker.

Romney’s comment that he would like to fire his insurance company led to dishonest attacks from fellow conservatives, and perhaps one of the most boring Saturday Night Live opening sketches in history.  Attacks on Bain capital have left most conservatives scratching their heads, wondering if suddenly supporting small businesses and risk taking is no longer GOP approved.  The funnier thing was Obama attacking Romney’s record at Bain, after Obama used our tax dollars against our will to do the same thing with Chrysler against their will.  At least with Bain they were using investor’s money willingly given to help companies who came to them for help.  I can’t imagine the Chrysler bond-holders were hoping Obama would steal Chrysler, sell it to Italy and give the proceeds to the unions.

A couple days before South Carolina, Gingrich’s biggest advantage in the debates may become his worst liability.  Yes, the New Hampshire debate earned top ratings.  But Romney remains unflappable.  On the other hand, in Huckabee’s South Carolina forum on January 14th, the viewership was not quite so wide but Gingrich’s attack on Bain and the crowd’s booing response can be quickly found on youtube.  Going forward, more average voters are going to start relying more on soundbites and replays than taking time away from the playoffs to watch these debates from start to finish.  Without something to rally behind, Newt will not be able to recover the lost ground.

Romney won Iowa and New Hampshire, continuing to cement his front runner and assumed nominee status.  A South Carolina win will make it nearly impossible for any other candidate to catch up despite the fact that Romney continues to come no where near grabbing a majority of Republicans.  By the time Santorum and Perry drop out, Romney may have enough momentum to convince conservative holdouts to stop fighting him and start fighting with him against Obama.

Where New Hampshire Leaves Us

Bookmark and Share    The results of the Live Free or Die State’s first in the nation primary, did little to change minds or establish any great degree of certainty about the final outcome when Republicans gather to nominate a President in September.  Yet despite all the hand ringing, flavors of the many different weeks, sniping about who is to liberal, and general exasperation over the lack of perfection in the presidential field, I do believe that just as was the case in Iowa and now New Hampshire, Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee.  However, nothing is set in stone and as masterfully noted in a recent post by MDuminiak, there are a number of unique circumstances facing the now undeniable Republican frontrunner, Mitt Romney.

As I have mentioned in the past, there is a significant possibility for Republicans to see their first brokered convention since 1976.  In his post “Hollow Victories”, MDuminak cites several factors that could lead up to such an event.  They include the penalties which strip several states of half their delegate counts for holding earlier than allowed primaries and the proliferation of states that have moved to a proportional allocation of their delegates rather than the usual winner-take-all system that dominated the process in the past.

Even so, while right now it does look like there is a good possibility for a brokered convention , I am convinced that all the speculation will be proven wrong and by the time September comes along, many will find it hard to remember just how contested the nomination seemed to be, or that most of us tried to make it out to be.

Many may find that hard to believe, but if history is any indication, that is exactly the way it will be when Mitt Romney accepts the nomination and nominates his running mate.  To believe that though, requires an interpretation of exactly where New Hampshire leaves us.

 Mitt Romney:

Romney finally cracked that 25% mark that has helped many to question his electability as a Republican.  But it was in a state friendly to Mitt and that is seen as less conservative than many other states.  Nonetheless, he did exceed his 25% high watermark and achieved what can only be called a landslide victory.

But there is more to consider as Romney moves on to the next battleground.

Mitt has played it safe.  He has not offered a single bold initiative or major reform other than his promise to repeal Obamacare.  This has made it difficult for him to win over the reform minded TEA movement wing of the G.O.P. and nearly impossible for him to tap in to the general anti-establishment mood that permeates the electorate.  His lack of innovative, revolutionary, ideas have left many uninspired by him, myself included.   Yet all that Romney has carefully proposed can not be considered anything less than conservative.  They are just not things that could easily be painted as “extreme”.  That may not be a big hit with conservatives, but it does give Romney an advantage in the general election and that is exactly what Romney is trying to do…….run a general election campaign.  It was, and is a calculated risk that he decided on many months ago. when it became clear that conservatives were not going to have a single conservative alternative to Romney  to unite behind.

So Romney has been playing it safe, and for good reason.

While the rule of thumb is that Republicans must run to the right to get the nomination and then run to the middle to win the election, that old concept may not apply in 2012.

With Barack Obama accumulating a war chest of more than a billion dollars, Romney knows that if he runs too far to the right to get the nomination, Obama’s money may make it impossible for him to run back to the middle.   Obama’s historic spending could go a long way in painting Romney as the extremist who is more out of touch with Americans than the President himself is.

Then there is the fact that Romney is not exactly quite as condemned by conservatives as many would like you to believe.  Here is a man who for several years  priors to 2011, was elected the favorite conservative by CPAC.   In 2008, Mitt Romney was also the conservative alternative to John McCain.  And since then, Romney has only become more conservative, not more liberal.

This is probably why recent exit polling showed Romney beating all other candidates among even conservatives.  In many ways, according to the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is the conservative alternative that conservatives were looking for.

Add to that the most well financed and organized campaign, combined with significant endorsements from people like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and what you have is candidate who can buy,  organize, and win over all the delegates he needs to win the nomination.

Then of course there are all the factors working against each of  Mitt Romney’s rivals;

Ron Paul:

Ron Paul is performing far better than he ever has before.  Some may see this as a sign that his rhetoric is resonating.  And it is.  But not with Republicans.

While Republicans agree with much, if not all of Paul’s fiscal ideas and platitudes about the Constitution, they know that he is really not quite as unique as some of his worshippers think he is.  Many Republicans understand that Paul is more rhetoric than action and that when it comes to foreign policy and national defense, he is just irresponsible.  This is why polling, including exit polls from both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary, show :

a).- Ron Paul losses among self identified Republicans.

 b).- Ron Paul loses among self identified conservatives.

c).- Ron Paul, the mythological father of the TEA Party, even loses among those who identify themselves as TEA Party members and supporters.

Which leads us to the electoral irrelevance of Ron Paul.

Ron Paul’s inflated vote totals are arrived at through a unique coalition of liberals, independents, and youth who look upon their parent’s  days as hippie, love and peace, revolutionaries,  with nostalgic admiration and see it as the days when America had meaning.

Some suggest that we must thank Ron Paul for bringing these people in to the Republican Party.   Some do, but I don’t.

First of all, I have no need for liberals in my Party.  It’s bad enough that as a New York born resident of New Jersey, I am living among far too many Rockefeller Republicans already.  But more than that, none of these people are going to stay in the Republican Party, and none of these Paul fanatics are going to ever vote Republican.  They will either cast their lot with President Obama, vote for a third Party candidate, or not vote at all.  No matter which one of those three alternatives they choose, none of them were or are ever going to vote Republican.  Not unless Ron Paul becomes the nominee and that is just not ever going to happen.

So when it comes to Ron Paul, relax.

He has little to do with the G.O.P. and this is still the Republican presidential nomination we are talking about.  Will Ron Paul continue to get his message out?  Yes.  Will it change the results of the Republican presidential nomination contest?  No.

So Ron Paul is merely a distraction.

Jon Huntsman:

Huntsman did well in New Hampshire, but third place behind Ron Paul does not make him a rock a star and while he claimed that third place was his ticket to South Carolina, he better hope it’s a roundtrip ticket.  His 3rd place finish will not swing big money his way as it did for Rick Santorum after Iowa,  and with the lack of money that he has to invest in South Carolina, what you get is a candidate with no momentum and not enough tread on his wheels to get the type of traction he needs in South Carolina.

Huntsman like Paul, is now merely a distraction.

Rick Perry:

At this point, the only reason Perry is still running is because he wants to be there if the other candidates trip and fall as badly as he did.  Perry does not want to miss the chance to become the nominee by default if Romney or any combination of the others become the next Gary Hart and fall out of favor because of “Monkey Business”.

Perry is not even a distraction. He is just standing by and waiting to fill a vacancy that may never open up.  His only other hope is that the field stays relatively muddled until he can rack up a significant number of delegates from Texas and the rest of the deep South, West of Florida.  And even then he has to hope that fate provides him  with a brokered convention that make his delegate count important enough for him to have a big say as to who the nominee is.

Rick Santorum:

Santorum still has a chance to show some life in South Carolina.  Like Iowa, it is dominated by social conservatives and no one else has really  established themselves yet as the social conservative candidate.  On top of that, he now has money.  After raising significant amounts of money following his virtual tie with Romney in Iowa,  he could not spend it in New Hampshire because its primary was so close to Iowa’s caucus, that all the air time was already bought up.  That is not the case in South Carolina.

However, that is about all the momentum Santorum has left going in to South Carolina.  He was unable to turn his strong Iowa showing into a strong New Hampshire finish and coming in behind Newt Gingrich did not help at all.

So Santorum is not likely to defeat Mitt Romney in South Carolina but he could still emerge as a conservative alternative to Romney in Florida.

Newt Gingrich:

Gingrich is fading fast.  He really needed to at least beat Jon Huntsman if not Ron Paul too.  Instead he now goes in to South Carolina as an underfinanced, unorganized, bottom tier candidate. Yet if there is  any place he could turn things around, it is South Carolina.  Sadly though, I do not see him doing that.  Gingrich failed to ever accept the fact that although he may be an unconventional leader, there are some conventional aspects of a campaign that are so basic, that even he, Gingrich the Great, needed to employ them.  But he didn’t.  between that, a lack of structure,as well as a lack of a clear theme and message, and his experiment with attacking Mitt Romney from the left, it looks like South Carolina may be Newt’s last stand.

Even if Newt does surprise us all in South Carolina, I am afraid it is too late for him to do much with it.  Florida will be tougher for Newt and easier for Mitt than South Carolina, and with Newt’s lack of funds and Romney’s abundance of funds, Florida is where the inevitability factor may settle in for Mitt and help to dry up any remaining opportunities that his rivals might still have.

Does this mean it’s all over?

Not at all.

The game will still be played.

If  for nobody other than Ron Paul, the race will remain contested at least until Super Tuesday and probably beyond.  But the game won’t  be a very serious one.  It will mainly be talked up by political junkies like myself and rating starved talking heads who will claim Ron Paul is tearing the G.O.P. in half, and that he may go to the convention with enough delegates to change the Republican platform or determine who the presidential and vice presidential nominees are.  But such talk will be mere fantasy because in the end, Mitt Romney will reach the 1,128 delegates he needs for the Republican presidential nomination by March 20th or earlier.  And if he happens not to get it by then, he will do so no later than Tuesday, April 24th, when 231 delegates are up for grabs in the Mid-Atlantic version of Super Tuesday that will see the Romney rich states of Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all hold their primaries.

Then, mark my words, all this talk about about how incompetent the Republican field was and how competitive it was, will all be a part of a hard to remember past, and no matter how much you dislike Mitt Romney now, you will not be disliking quite that much after he delivers his acceptance speech in September at the Republican National Convention.

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Hollow Victories?

One aspect of the Republican race for the nomination that may yet become a serious issue is the penalty assessed on NH, SC, FL, AZ and MI because they held their primaries before February. It has been the case that no Republican has won the nomination without winning SC and either IA or NH. Yet, this year those victories are more a public relations victory than ones that really build a delegate base. Even if Mitt Romney swept the January primaries, he won’t have amassed the type of delegate count candidates would have historically had by Michigan. When he is only polling on average at 25% across the country and a couple other candidates still with money and a national campaign staff, Romney could be unexpectedly wiped out on Super Tuesday.

While the traditional conservatives are split right now between three candidates, there is time to unite even after Michigan and still effectively challenge Romney. That was not the case four years ago when the split among the conservatives allowed McCain to build not just a list of victories, but a strong foundation of delegates. With half of the delegates stripped from the early primary States and the proportioning of delegates splitting them even further, Mitt Romney will not have the lead that McCain had by Michigan even if he runs the table. That has to be cause for concern.

Complicating the issue is the candidacy of Ron Paul. He’s not going anywhere. He can raise the money and has the grassroots network to at least maintain his current percentage of the votes. As the conservatives coalesce around a single candidate, this will become a three man race. Even if the final conservative candidate cannot fully consolidate all of the support currently spread across three, he will only really need around 40% of the electorate to win the election if Paul stays around 20%. Romney voters are not energized for him, generally speaking. Already he is tied with Ron Paul when they are polled against Obama – meaning Romney’s ‘best candidate to defeat Obama’ pitch is already losing its power. When the conservatives finally settle on a single candidate (probably after Florida), that person will likely also pull even with Romney and Paul on head to head match-ups with Obama. With the moderates split, a conservative could cruise to victory.

Super Tuesday could also redefine the election from the current Romney vs. non-Romney into Paul vs. non-Paul. This is possible because the conservative candidate will battle Romney mainly as the main rival, leaving Paul to his 20%. Once the delegates get tangled up between Romney and the eventual conservative candidate, Paul’s slowly accumulating delegate count will become an issue. More moderate Republicans could begin to shift from Romney to Paul as Romney’s chances of victory wane. Gingrich, Santorum and Perry are all polarizing figures. Unifying each others’ supporters will be hard enough, but winning over the more moderate voters could be very difficult, especially if the kinds of attacks on Romney that have been made by them recently continue over the next six weeks. Disgruntled Romney supporters (the elderly in particular) may shift over to Paul giving him both the elderly and the youth. If the vitriol between the eventual conservative and Romney were bad enough, Romney could even endorse Paul just to stick it to the person who ‘robbed him’ of his nomination.

Of course, the conservatives uniting may not happen. An angry Perry or Santorum or Gingrich could pull out and endorse Romney rather than join with a conservative they are angry with. That would give Romney more conservative credentials and be just enough to let him steamroll over the final conservative candidate. With Paul pulling out at least 20%, Romney doesn’t need to be stellar so long as the conservatives don’t fully unite.

Certainly this is all speculation. However, the stripping of half the delegates from the early primary States has bought time for the conservatives to unify that they lacked in 2008. Combine that with a stronger Ron Paul who has gone all in this year (abandoning his seat in the House) and the early primaries just don’t hold the power they normally do. A third party run in the general election is very unlikely. But the dynamics of such a race playing out for the Republican nomination is not only possible but probable. The conservatives will unite. Paul will continue on. Romney will not be safely ahead in the delegate count after FL. How that plays out just can’t be predicted right now. Just don’t think that it is over even if Mitt sweeps right through FL. The victories are hollow when it comes to actual delegates gained. He’ll still be vulnerable. There are States that only Romney and Paul are on the ballot and conservatives could support Paul in those just to weaken Romney, complicating the delegate picture. This isn’t over and won’t be over for quite some time.

Capitalism a Casualty of Campaign

What is happening to the Republican field?  It made some sense when Cain was attacked for being a businessman with no foreign policy experience and no political experience.  That was perhaps a fair shot at an outsider businessman candidate.

Then came the attacks on Newt for having Freddie Mac as a client.  Newt not only had Freddie as a client, but his firm made over a million dollars.  Suddenly, it was like Newt himself had caused the economic collapse.  Reasonable conservatives told me that this was insurmountable.  How could Newt, a high level business consultant, have Freddie Mac as a client?  His fellow candidates tried to make it sound like Newt was on their payroll.  Suddenly populism had overtaken the Republican party.

Then came the attacks on Romney for his time at Bain Capital.  Romney’s company created new businesses, reorganized and saved businesses, and occasionally tried to save businesses and failed.  As with any free American enterprise, Bain Capital sometimes downsized and let people go.  Romney’s opponents have seized on this, especially with the ignorant populist anti-wall street sentiment in the country today, and have tried to use this against Romney.  They have painted him as an out of touch, insanely rich “Mr. Burns” who would go in, take over small companies, and fire everyone just to make a buck.  Here’s an idea, how about a millionaire’s surtax on evil rich people like Romney?  Oops, we just became liberals.

I know, political rhetoric is political rhetoric.  You say whatever it takes to win.  But then came the really disappointing moment.  GOP rivals jumped on Romney’s statement that he likes to be able to fire people.  Romney was not saying that he likes to randomly fire people, or likes to fire employees like Bain Capital did.  Huntsman attacked Romney directly for the comment, while Newt released a video exploiting workers who had been fired as a result of Bain Capital’s work.  Romney was actually talking about the ability to not have to buy insurance, or to drop an insurance company that isn’t serving his needs.  But what does context matter in politics?  Shame on them for this line of attack.  You know it’s bad when you are attacking a moderate Republican, and even Ron Paul is standing up for the moderate.  In fact, my hat is off to Ron Paul for defending Romney against this dishonest line of attack.  Newt also eventually came to Romney’s defense about the misquote.

Newt at this point will likely lose Florida, which means he will lose the primary.  Up until this week, at least he had the opportunity to exit with his head held high.  Up to now he had run a very honest, positive campaign.  When he did go negative, it was with honesty.  His best shot at salvaging the honor in his campaign at this point is a humble apology for attacking Romney for being a capitalist.

One final note, may the best capitalist win.  Since when has populism won over conservatives?  Heck, what’s the point?  If Newt is evil for having Freddie Mac as a paying client and Romney is evil for what he did with Bain Capital, then we need to re-elect Obama.  Imagine if Trump had stayed in the race.

 

Editors note: correction from the originally posted article.  Newt did defend Romney against the attack based on his statement about firing insurance companies.  However Newt has attacked Romney for the jobs lost through Bain Capital.

Live New Hampshire Primary Election Result Updates

286 of 301 Precincts Reporting – 95%
Name Party Votes Vote %
Romney, Mitt GOP 94,252 39%
Paul, Ron GOP 54,511 23%
Huntsman, Jon GOP 40,388 17%
Gingrich, Newt GOP 22,518 9%
Santorum, Rick GOP 22,292 9%
Perry, Rick GOP 1,668 1%
Roemer, Buddy GOP 898 0%
Total Write-ins GOP 788 0%
Bachmann, Michele GOP 341 0%
Karger, Fred GOP 331 0%
Rubash, Kevin GOP 246 0%
Johnson, Gary GOP 175 0%
Cain, Herman GOP 148 0%
Lawman, Jeff GOP 122 0%
Hill, Christopher GOP 103 0%
Linn, Benjamin GOP 82 0%
Meehan, Michael GOP 46 0%
Story, Joe GOP 39 0%
Drummond, Keith GOP 35 0%
Betzler, Bear GOP 29 0%
Robinson, Joe GOP 26 0%
Greenleaf, Stewart GOP 22 0%
Callahan, Mark GOP 18 0%
Swift, Linden GOP 17 0%
Martin, Andy GOP 16 0%
Wuensche, Vern GOP 15 0%
Brewer, Timothy GOP 14 0%
Davis, John GOP 13 0%
Crow, Randy GOP 12 0%
Cort, Hugh GOP 2 0%
Vestermark, James GOP 2 0%

Dixville Notch Opens the New Hampshire Primary With a Win for Romney and Huntsman

Bookmark and Share   With all the pomp and circumstance and meaning of Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire has seen their first in the nation primary begin with the first voting in the state out of Dixville Notch.

Out of the 9 voters in the small town, 4 are Independent, 3 are Republican, and 2 are Democrats.  As is expected, most of the the Independent voters chose to vote in the Republican Primary and so out of the 6 votes cast in that contest, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman tied with 2 votes each.  Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul each received 1 vote.

On the Democratic side, President Obama won in a landslide, receiving all 2 of the registered Democrat voters and 1 Independent voter Dixville Notch.

Historically, Dixville Notch is about as good an indicator of voter sentiments in New Hampshire as Ron Paul is an example of responsible national security…………not at all.  But it is a good example of civic responsibility and participation in the democratic process and that is what’s it all about.  I would still have prefered that Independents were not allowed to influence the selection of who represents my Party but I am nonetheless glad to see that an end to the News Hampshire primary is in sight.  And short of a very unlikely surprise result in the Granite State, I am looking forward to the days leading up to the South Carolina Primary, a state primary contes twhich promises to provide a true proving ground for Mitt Romney and a real opportunity for any of his rivals who are still in the race after New Hampshire.

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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.

Groundhog Day Came to Iowa Early and Rick Santorum Saw His Shadow

Bookmark and Share   Iowa proved to be an incredibly dramatic opening contests for the Republican presidential nomination that even included the added suspense of missing and improperly recorded vote totals.  But by 2:30 in the morning, all was resolved and the results gave Mitt Romney a 8 vote victory.  The closeness of the race did not help Mitt Romney but it certainly helped Rick Santorum, the candidate who came from so far behind and so close to defeating Romney, that in the end Iowa really goes down in the books as more of a near loss for Romney than a real win.  And it was the incredible closeness of the race that changed everything, at least in the short term.

Several days prior to the Caucus, I correctly predicted the order in which the candidates would finish.  So the fact that Santorum finished second should not have been a total surprise.  But the fact that he came within 5 votes of winning is what changed everything.  As a result, contrary to other predictions, Iowa wound up mattering more than many expected, including myself. Exactly how much more though is up to Rick Santorum.

In addition to ending Michele Bachmann’s campaign and giving movement conservatives a chance to divide their vote up among fewer candidates, Iowa shifted the focus on to a new contender…..Rick Santorum.  But how much that matters depends upon Rick Santorum’s ability to capitalize on his new found fame.  If he fails to come out of New Hampshire and South Carolina stronger than he was going in to them, then Iowa’s impact on the nomination will prove to have been minimal.

The one thing we do know is that the strong showing they provided Rick Santorum with was a political version of Groundhog Day……not the movie, but the actual holiday.  Santorum, the former Senator from Pennsylvania, emerged from Iowa much like Punxsutawney  Phil, the famed Pennsylvania groundhog who the nation watches as he emerges from his burrow.  If he sees his shadow, it is said  to indicate that winter weather will last longer than we may want.  In Rick Santrorum’s case, his come from behind split decision in Iowa has cast a shadow on the Republican race which means that this nomination contest remains contested and will probably do so far longer than Republicans would like.

That situation was arrived at due to both Romney and Santorum.

In addition to running a strong campaign that was waged on principle, persistence, and elbow grease, Santorum never became the type of target that everyone who surged to the top found themselves to become. This helped him win voters over and keep them in his column.  Had Santorum surged to the top like Newt Gingrich did weeks before voting began, he probably would have fallen victim to the same circumstances of those before him and now he will have a hard time proving that he can withstand such scrutiny.

As for Romney, although he technically won, to really win, he needed to stun Republicans with a strong first place finish with 30 or more percent of the vote.  That would have changed the entire storyline coming out of Iowa.  Instead of Rick Santorum being the main focus of the results, the real headline would have been that Mitt Romney finally exceeded the 25% ceiling of support that has become his greatest hurdle.  And he would have done so in a state where he was hardly considered a favorite.  Instead, not only did Romney almost lose to someone who was in the single digits a week before the caucuses, he actually won with 6 votes less than he received in 2008 when he came in second to Mike Huckabee.  In 2008, Romney received 25.19% of the Iowa Caucus vote, just about the same as he did this time, but the raw total was 30,021 votes.  In yesterday’ s caucus Romney won with 30, 015 votes.

Given that this was Romney’s second time around and he actually lost support, last night was really  not a win for him.  In the end, all that Iowa did for Romney was confirm that Republicans are still not excited about him and would like a better candidate.

So the race goes on and Romney is poised to become the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to ‘technically’ win Iowa and New Hampshire.  The problem is that between the reality of his poor showing in Iowa relative to Rick Santorum’s near defeat of him, and  Romney’s win in new Hampshire being considered a given, those victories may not provide Mitt with the momentum he needs to assure himself of a win in South Carolina where Mitt may find himself either in his last stand or finally on course to winning the nomination.

Newt Gingrich, who currently leads in New Hampshire has been trying to build a firewall in South Carolina in the hope of finally establishing himself as the alternative to Romney.  And Newt is looking for a fight with Mitt and is ready to provide him with some payback for all the negative ads that he believes Romney is behind.

Then there is Rick Perry.

Perry had time to sleep on his fifth place finish in Iowa and while he headed to bed with thoughts of ending his campaign dancing in his head, he woke up ready to fight and even Tweeted a battle cry that declared he is moving on to the Palmetto State.

And not to be Rick-rolled will be the other Rick, Rick Santorum, the new great conservative hope.

If Santorum can run strong enough in South Carolina to prevent Perry and Gingrich from getting out of the single digits or mid teens, at least one of the two will drop out and give Santorum the opportunity to bring their numbers in to his vote totals in the Florida primary which immediately follows South Carolina.

As for Ron Paul, given how far out of the mainstream his national security policies are and given his lack of  legislative accomplishments in almost two decades in Congress, in order for him to have a major impact on future primary nomination contests, he needed a big win in Iowa.  Add to that the buzz about polls which showed him actually in first place over the course of the weekend prior to the Caucus, and what you have is a candidate who failed to live up to expectations, and failed to meet a level of support that would have helped him overcome his perceived electability problems.  Although Ron Paul ran well and his strong showing can not be denied, it was not strong enough to help him gain the type of traction that he needs.   As a result, Ron Paul’s 22% percent in Iowa was probably his high watermark and from here on out, while he will remain a presence in the race, his impact on it will be about as significant as it was in his previous two runs for President.

Meanwhile the immediate effects of Iowa are apparent.

Since last night, interest in Santorum reached such heights that his website crashed and he collected $1 million in donations.   That is a good indication of just how his strong showing in Iowa has indeed provided him with the opportunity to become the real viable alternative to Romney that many have been looking for.

Another good sign for Santorum is that several national evangelical leaders have decided to get together and determine which of the remaining candidates they can all get behind in an attempt to be certain that Romney is denied the Republican nomination.  Given the circumstances, at the moment, Santorum would seem to be the most likely beneficiary of such an alliance.

At the moment I am not sure what will happen.  I have a feeling that while Rick Santorum may now be considered the Great Conservative Hope, he will ultimately be like another great hope……Duane Bobick, the 197o’s boxing star who was jokingly refered to as the “Great White Hope”.   Back in 1977, the biggest sporting event of the year became a much anticipated match between Bobick and future legend Ken Norton.  Bobick had a a 38-0 record with 32 KO’s and when he entered the ring with Norton, millions were anticipating an epic fight between two extraordinary athletes.   Less than 40 seconds in to the first round, Norton landed  an overhand right to Bobick’s throat and after just one minute into the fight Bobick was counted out.  A large part of me believes that this is Romney’s nomination and that Santorum will be the Duane Bobick of presidential politics.

Romney is still best poised to lock up the nomination soon after Florida.  However; if the inevitability of a Romney candidacy becomes so obvious, and triggers the far right base of the G.O.P. to finally unite behind one candidate in an attempt to stop Romney, this could be either a long, drawn out battle or a quick turning of the tables.  My biggest fear is that if conservatives really can not accept Mitt Romney and do not settle on who his one opponent should be, we could just find ourselves with the first brokered convention since 1976.

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A Political Week Like No Other

Bookmark and Share    This first week of the new year is probably one of the most politically important of this entire year. At least for Republicans.

In many ways it will be an unprecedented week of decisions and opportunities. Most of the decisions are likely going to deal more with who can’t become President, than who will become President and the opportunities that will be made available deal with candidates establishing themselves as frontrunners or as the alternative to the frontrunner.

In addition to Iowans making their choice for the Republican presidential nomination known on Tuesday, several days of interpretations of what those results mean will lead in to not one, but two presidential debates………..one on Saturday night and the other on Sunday morning.

The existing dynamics of the week will be unlike that of anything we have seen ever before in a presidential election.

Not only will the results of tonight’s Iowa Caucus have a significant impact on the Republican presidential field, win or lose, each of the candidates will have two highly publicized chances to either redeem or discredit themselves. Despite the lack of prime time placement of both these debates, they will be held in an echo chamber of instant and constant news cycles, that will reverberate far beyond the size of the actual live audiences that view them on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

The possible scenarios coming out of the Iowa Caucus are infinitesimal, but you can rest assured of three basic storylines. One is of a frontrunner playing it safe enough to to assure them of not making a blunder that can steal their thunder. Another is of a significant challenger to the frontrunner trying to land the type of political punches that can allow them to perform better than expected in New Hampshire and the final scenario which is several candidates like Bachmann, Huntsman and at least two others, struggling for relevance and the hope to survive long enough to make a final successful in South Carolina.

So buckle up my fellow Republicans. This is going to be one hell of a week in politics and the Iowa Caucuses are merely going to be the first big climb of many on this rollercoaster ride.

Saturday’s debate will be sponsored by WMUR, the ABC-affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire. It will be held at 9 p.m. ET on the January 7th, and will be moderated by ABC’s Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos and WMUR anchor Josh McElveen.

Less than 12 hours later, NBC News, Facebook will hold a debate on morning of Sunday, January 8, during a special edition of “Meet the Press”. It will be moderated by host David Gregory, who will be assisted in the questioning of the candidates by reporters from The New Hampshire Union Leader. The debate will air on NBC and MSNBC, and stream live as part of a unique experience on Facebook.

Viewers and users can go to facebook.com/MeetThePress and facebook.com/USPolitics to share questions for the debate and interact with others interested in the event.

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Architech of Massachusets Healthcare calls Romney a liar

This morning on CNN, M.I.T. professor of economics  Dr. Jonathan Gruber stated Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is  “a liar” with regard to Obama’s national healthcare law and Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare.   In an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he openly expressed his discontent with Romney’s attempts to mislead the public and distort the effects of the healthcare law.  How would Gruber know?  He is the core architect of Romney’s healthcare bill.  He used his extensive knowledge of supply side economics to compile a theory into practicum.  While no direct answer has been given to the complex issue of creating affordable healthcare, his approach is self-described as a “spaghetti tactic.”   This requires  “throwing all things possible at the wall and seeing what sticks.”

Gruber states that based on the large reduction of uninsured persons in the state and lowered cost, Obama selected him to design the same on a national level.  Gruber says that Romney is purposely misleading the public.  When asked to discuss the misleading statements he pointed out two particular issues that visibly annoyed him most.

As in other  publications and his interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Gruber discusses his current disdain with Romney’s political amnesia.  He states Romney’s claim that the bill national law raises taxes is a complete fabrication.  He insists it will work in the same fashion as it has in Massachusetts.  Gruber points out that most of the Massachusetts program was paid for by the federal government, not the state.

Romney often attempts to distance himself from what many in Massachusetts have called part of his legacy.  He says the largest distinction in the Massachusetts law and the national healthcare law is that there is no individual mandate required by the state of Massachusetts.  “Not true,” said Gruber.  The state and federal law both have individual mandates.  Gruber suggested and stands by the need for an individual mandate reasoning that it eliminates the “free rider” issue when ill, uninsured individuals turning to emergency rooms for treatment.

Part of the motivation to separate himself is political.  Another would be the not often discussed negative issues that resulted from the law he governed.   As with the Obamacare, the healthcare law in Massachusetts has not been free of controversy.  Boston Medical Center sued the state because the bi-product of the state sponsored universal healthcare law placed the hospital in dire financial straits.  The hospital stated that it was only reimbursed for about .64 per every dollar it spent caring for the poor.  It left them in a deficit of $38 million dollars.  Gruber feels that these issues can be corrected by removing the pay-by-fee service doctors currently charge patients and move toward a more universal fee to stabilize pricing and services.  In order to get to these issues, the state had to first accept the starting process.  For Gruber, the starting process is universal healthcare.  He touts how well it has worked in the stated, even with a few outliers.  One thing he is clear about is Mitt Romney’s full understanding of the law and how it works in Massachusetts.  He is also poignantly aware that Romney is, in his opinion, purposely not being forthright about his role, his design and his approval of all parts of the law, how it works and why it would be beneficial nationally.

New Polling May Indicate That Gingrich Peaked Too Early and that Romney is the Consistent Candidate

Bookmark and Share   Some recent state polls in Iowa and News Hampshire offer mixed results for Newt Gingrich, encouraging news for Jon Huntsman, and great news for Mitt Romney.

A new Rasmussen Iowa 2012 GOP Caucus Poll  shows Mitt Romney slipping in to the lead in  Iowa, a state where he has been consistently in the top two but rarely in the number one spot.  Iowa has also been considered a relatively weak state for Romney and he has only recently begun to focus any attention on it.

In that Rasmussen Poll, Romney has gained 4% points since last month, but Newt Gingrich dropped 12% since November, and Ron Paul jumped up 8 percentage points during that same time frame.

1. Mitt Romney 23% (19%)
2. Newt Gingrich 20% (32%)
3. Ron Paul 18% (10%)
4. Rick Perry 10% (6%)
5. Michele Bachmann 9% (6%)
6. Rick Santorum 6% (5%)
7. Jon Huntsman 5% (2%)

These results would seem to indicate that the onslaught of negative attacks on Newt Gingrich from both the left and the right have taken their toll on his meteoric rise to the top of the field and that he possibly peaked too early.  Quite interestingly, Newt was the only candidate to have lost support in Iowa between this month and last.  Everyone else increased their numbers to one degree to another.  The rise of those candidates accounted for a shift of 23%, nearly twice the amount of support that Gingrich lost during  that same time period.   That means that undecided voters are not flocking to any one specific candidate and it is not quite clear who former Newt supporters are bolting  to.  The obvious choice may be Ron Paul, but if you add the rise in the poll of Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, and Huntsman, what you come up with is an 11% shift that could account for where most of Newt’s 12% went.  From all of this, the only thing one can assume  is that a significant portion of Iowa Republicans are still in a state of flux when it comes to who they want to be the Republican nominee and are changing their minds often.  However, Ron Paul clearly has the momentum behind him in Iowa as we go in to the final days prior to the caucus.

Another important thing to note here is how tight the race has now become between the top three candidates.

A tight race in Iowa between Romney, Gingrich, and Paul, would tend to be very bad news for Gingrich.

In close elections, organization tends to be a decisive factor in the final results.  The candidate with the largest and most coordinated organizational ground game, tends to get their people to the polls, or in this the case, the right caucus location, in far greater numbers than the candidate with a lack of organization.  Newt has a very poor organization in Iowa.  However Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have Get Out the Vote operations that are being manned by, in Ron Paul’s case, aggressive, dedicated supporters, who are passionate about their support for Ron Paul, and in Romney’s case, are manned by experienced, well financed, well organized ,staffers and volunteers.  It should also be noted that Michele Bachmann is another candidate with a sharp organization in Iowa.

All of this means that Newt is now less likely to pull off a first place finish in Iowa.  It also means that Mitt Romney may finally be coalescing support based on the electability argument and ultimately proving that among Republicans, the consistency of his candidacy in regards to the polls is becoming more important than his consistency as a conservative.

In New Hampshire a new poll again shows Mitt Romney remaining consistent in his placement on top.

A Suffolk University/7NEWS New Hampshire 2012 GOP Nomination Poll found the following results:

  1. Mitt Romney 38% (41%)
  2. Newt Gingrich 20% (14%)
  3. Jon Huntsman 13% (9%)
  4. Ron Paul 8% (14%)
  5. Michele Bachmann 3% (1%)
  6. Rick Santorum 2% (3%)
  7. Buddy Roemer 2% (1%)
  8. Rick Perry 1% (2%)
  9. Gary Johnson 1% (0%)
  10. Fred Karger 0% (1%)
  11. Undecided 11% (9%)

Here, while Romney lost 3% since the previous month, he still maintains a large double digit lead over all his rivals.  However Newt has picked up 6% and would seem to have some momentum in New Hampshire.  At the same time, John Huntsman is making decent gains and Ron Paul lost 6% of his support.

This is all good news for Romney.  A loss in New Hampshire would essentially hobble his campaign and at this point in time, that does seem likely.  But it could easily change if Romney fails to finish well in Iowa.  Anything less than a third place finish there could have an impact on New Hampshire.   But as we see, the Rasmussen poll would seem to indicate that anything less than a third place finish in Iowa for Romney is unlikely.

As for Jon Huntsman, he has pinned his entire campaign on New Hampshire and the outside chance of beating Romney there.  He is hoping to  play David to Romney’s Goliath and then ride a shockwave to victories in South Carolina and Florida.  But his gains in the Suffolk University would seem to be like President Obama’s monthly jobs numbers, his increasing numbers of are not growing at a pace fast enough to do the job.

Overall, while these numbers remain quite fluid, they do offer us a glimpse of current trends, trends which are quickly turning into final results and which makes tonight’s Fox News debate more important with each approaching hour.  Personally while, Romney may not win Iowa, he will do better than expected and I suspect that he is still the likely Republican presidential nominee.  While I am rooting for Newt, all indications lead me to maintainmy long held belief that Romney is the candidate with the greatest endurance, organization, and in the best position.

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