Too Bad The Debate Won’t Matter

It is way too late in the game for the groundswell of Santorum supporters to turn back and take a gamble on Newt.  At stake is handing the Republican nomination to an establishment Republican with a liberal tax plan, timid economic plan, and nothing more than a strong business reputation to run on.  But after last night’s debate, the choice for the Republican nominee is as clear to me as the day I endorsed him.

I was proud of Newt for making a supremely important point in the debate over contraception.  The issue isn’t a debate between someone who wants to keep birth control pills legal and someone who wants to ban all contraception and chain women to the kitchen sink.  The debate is between someone who voted to make it legal for doctors to kill babies after they are born and the eventual GOP candidate who simply wants to protect religious organizations from having to pay for abortion pills.  The radical here is most definitely Obama and both Newt and Mitt pointed that out.

Santorum struck out more than once.  He came across as arrogant, angry and mean.  He has already taken a great deal of heat for dismissing unprincipled votes as “taking one for the team”.  This is the opposite of what anti-establishment Republicans are looking for.  I will give Santorum one very good mark though for making clear that when he talks about what is wrong with the family in America, he id not proposing that we use the government to solve it.  I mentioned that a couple days ago as something Santorum has not done a good job making clear.

Romney did a poor job connecting.  He has put up a conservative facade, but his opponents consistently poked holes in it.  In the end, he will keep his diehard supporters and establishment Republican allies, but he continues to disappoint.

Ron Paul continues to live in a time machine fantasy world where we supposedly can ignore what Iran is doing because we made them do it in the first place and ignoring them will make them go away.  Ron Paul does not seem to understand that on a scale of rationality, radical Islamic terrorists make the communists and fascists seem like Locke and Des Cartes.  Mutual guaranteed destruction is no great incentive for peace when offered to suicide bombers.

Unfortunately, Newt does not have the ground organization to convince Santorum voters to switch back.  But after last night’s debate, we may be kicking ourselves for a long time for overlooking him in 2012.

What if Santorum Wins Michigan?

Rick Santorum is polling just slightly ahead of Romney in Romney’s home state of Michigan.  This is significant for more than just that reason.  Michigan is a blue state that has seen what the Democrat party can do to an economy.  So why is Santorum leading billionaire successful businessman Mitt Romney in a state that is starving for economic turnaround?

If Santorum does win, I think one thing it will demonstrate is how much Romney hurt himself with his scorched earth approach to his competitors. Romney has not set himself up as a policies or ideas candidate.  Instead he has set himself up as the “not the other guys” candidate.  Romney has correctly calculated that Ron Paul supporters would rather see four more years of Obama than vote for someone who has insulted Ron Paul.  So he hasn’t.  On the other hand, Romney knows conservatives will suck it up and vote for him if their guy loses.

What Romney didn’t seem to calculate was what effect his being the presumptive nominee and Ron Paul’s disappointing finish in Iowa and South Carolina would do.  Or what vetting Newt to death would do.  Now Social Conservatives, unburdened by the fear of a Ron Paul ascendency and no longer split now that Newt has descended into irrelevance, are freer than ever to vote their conscience.  It’s no longer about electability.  If you want to know what Social Conservatives with nothing to lose look like, look at the polls in Michigan.

But here is where it gets interesting.  Romney may be on the verge of losing Maine to Ron Paul.  Santorum is capitalizing on the mandatory abortion pill provision Obama has decreed.  Newt is all but finished with no momentum and the March 1 debate canceled.  Suddenly, Santorum is looking more viable than ever.  If Mitt loses Michigan, we could see the impossible: Barack Obama versus Rick Santorum.

The Republicans’ fading colours – The Spectator Magazine

Link to the original article:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/7648068/web-exclusive-the-republicans-fading-colours.thtml

 

Web exclusive: The Republicans’ fading colours

11 February 2012

CPAC Review essay by White House 2012 writer David Cowan published on The Spectator magazine website

 

Growing up in the 1960s, my primary school in Cambridge had an outdoor roofless boy’s toilets, and we happily enjoyed urinating up the wall. It was a sign we were getting further up the school when one day we were able to urinate over the wall itself — much to the annoyance of people on the other side. This memory came to mind this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington DC over the weekend, the annual gathering of some ten thousand political activists. This year CPAC was a pissing contest to see who was the most conservative.

The three Republican frontrunners, Santorum, Romney and Gingrich, in that order, sought to reach the base and convince activists about their conservative qualities. The themes they all offered were: what’s wrong with the Obama administration; a shopping list of what conservative policies would work better; an appeal to American exceptionalism; and a return to the founding principles of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The three candidates are looking for the right to fight an Obama administration seen as somewhat Carteresque, from failed election promises through to the ideological infighting. Obama, though personally liked (Ann Coulter joked he would make a nice neighbour, unless you’re Chinese, then he’d keep borrowing stuff), is seen as ineffective and evasive.

To reenergise America, the candidates laid claim to the mantle of Ronald Reagan, frequently invoking his name and sunny disposition. Yet herein lies the rub. Reagan defeated Carter with ideas for the economy and foreign policy, successfully combining a conservative vision and charm to appeal to swing voters. At CPAC 1974, Reagan gave his famous ‘bold colours, not pale pastels’ speech, asserting conservative principles. This weekend showed that some of the colours have long since faded.

Things were certainly off-colour last time I was here, back in 2009, as defeated activists sought to pick themselves up after Obama’s coronation. The biggest cheers then were for Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, as they offered succour. Newt entered to his incongruous theme tune ‘Eye of the Tiger’, but instead of entering stage right he walked in through the crowd, parting them Moses-like, shaking hands and hugging supporters.

The danger three years on is, of course, an election that will see CPAC 2013 take place after a second Obama inauguration. Expect then a sinking sense of what might have been. For many American conservatives a Republican failure this year will exacerbate what they fear most: n irreversible dependency culture and Europeanisation. Daniel Hannan flew into DC to warn on just this point, expressing his amazement to rapt delegates that while Europe is driving off the cliff they can see America in their rear-view mirror, overtaking them.

Back in 2009 something else happened at CPAC. Sarah Palin was slated to speak, but failed to appear either in person or via a hastily announced satellite link. This was the signal that Sarah was taking the celebrity high road, rather than the political low road. This year, however, she did appear as closing speaker to offer the benediction — but not the one most people expected. She did not endorse Gingrich, as he himself alluded to in his own speech by quoting her husband Todd. She called for unity, but convoluted as ever, Palin said ‘whoever our nominee is we must work together to get him over the finishing line, and then next year we will have a true conservative in the Oval office’ — only to go on Fox news on Sunday afternoon to say she is still to be convinced Romney that is indeed a conservative.

Despite this, and despite the Santorum surge, Romney will see this conference as mission accomplished — reinforced by the CPAC Straw Poll narrowly backing his candidature. Out of the three candidates it looks seemed that Romney pissed the highest this weekend. And, while still divided, all the delegates would agree about who should be standing on the other side of the wall, on the receiving end.

Why Newt Gingrich? Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The pressure is again being mounted by some in the conservative media for former Speaker Newt Gingrich to withdraw from the GOP race. I sound a word of warning to conservatives against any such move and in fact, urge them to support Speaker Gingrich in whatever way possible going forward and will explain why.

Today, the influential conservative magazine National Review called for Newt Gingrich to leave the Republican primary contest. Repeating its past criticisms of Gingrich the magazine’s editorial said “it would be a grave mistake for the party to make someone with such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity its presidential nominee.”

I refute this call for a variety of reasons but above all, Republicans need to be careful what they wish for. This GOP race has perhaps being the most widely covered, and without doubt volatile in presidential race history. The reasons for this are many; the introduction of the Super Pacs, the media war between liberal and conservative media outlets, the vast amount of debates and finally social media have transformed this race.

This 2012 election race is I believe, a final opportunity for Americans to divert their great nation away from decline and direct themselves back onto a course of recovery, restoration and once again be the world’s leader in all sphere’s of influence.

If you believe commentators growth, consumer spending, manufacturing, house prices and stock prices are all on the upward trend and unemployment is coming down and the green shoots of a recovery are starting to gather steam. This may on paper be all true at present however; it is the unforeseen and often, quickly dismissed issues, that will determine the real future outlook for most American’s in the coming generations.

The primary function of government has come to be understood as being the protection of the people’s rights from foreign nations and the government itself. These rights, as we all know, are the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. This function of government could not be clearer. It is this failure of government and the lack of an individual with a proven track record to address the issues of the national debt, spending, entitlement reform and pursue a strong foreign policy that are the real threats.

I will state, that I do not believe these very real threats and dangers facing America are all down to President Obama; they have been decades in the making. President Obama however; has failed to halt the decline and above all, has been unable to get all branches of government working for the people effectively under his stewardship that has been his biggest failure.

The U.S. National debt is approaching $15.4 trillion dollars; $4 trillion dollars of this debt has been added in three years under President Obama alone. Commentators in the U.S. often cite Greece as the potential end result for the U.S. if it fails to alter course. I say forget Greece, total European Union debt stands at around $14 trillion dollars however, its 27 nations account for a bigger share of global gross domestic product, possesses a much larger internal market and has a population of over 500 million compared to the U.S. population of roughly 310 million people. The debt burden per person (capita) stands at $48,258 for every American with the U.S contributing 37 per cent of the increase in global debt from 2007 – 2011 and 40 per cent from 2011 to 2016, it is only a matter of time before these financial constraints strangle America’s future and prosperity.

In recent years, all too often have U.S. recommendations or initiatives become to be ignored or dismissed by other leading nations on issues ranging from trade negotiations, military threats, peace efforts,  right through to addressing the recent global economic crisis.

I respect Mitt Romney, and if he is the eventual nominee for the GOP, he’ll have my total support in the race and I believe America will improve to an extent economically under a Romney Presidency. Respectfully, Ron Paul has some very valid and excellent ideas and arguments on a domestic level however; his approach to foreign policy concerns many and justifiably so. Then there’s the latest rise of Senator Rick Santorum. I think he is a strong valued & principled man however; putting the very real challenges of ineffective government, economic and global threats together, I do not believe he is capable of being the type of president America needs at the present time. Santorum is well versed on the issue of Iran however; like Governor Romney, when you take them onto broader international issues and threats, they simply haven’t got the depth of knowledge or experience to hit the ground running from the start.

Conservatives and independents need to be honest with themselves and ask, if they really want to defeat President Obama in the coming fall election. The GOP as a party needs to offer a strong platform and contrast to President Obama and the Democratic Party in terms of policy and vision.

The election is not about personality or an American Idol type contest, this is a decisive moment in history, and as I’ve always maintained, a turning point for America and its future. Don’t be swayed by populist media commentators and partisan coverage. In order for the U.S. to remain the global leader it has become, the entire manner in how the government in Washington operates needs to be addressed.

I’ll say something controversial here, regardless from what side of the political divide you come from, entitlement reform needs to be addressed urgently and fundamental changes made. There needs to be wholesale change of the tax system at all levels and finally, spending needs to be brought back under control and a balanced budget achieved within the next five years.

This leads me onto former Speaker Gingrich, who I’ve always believed substantively, to be the candidate with the most potential. He’s an individual whose strong conservative arguments and mastery of the issues are sometimes ignored due to past behaviour. He’s already been carpet bombed with negative advertisements from the Romney campaign in Iowa and Florida already. Attacked like no other candidate by the mainstream media in this election cycle, and then by many from within his own party. People need to ask why this is? It is not coincidence, or is it due to any past behavourial mishaps on his part. It is because Gingrich has the ability to communicate a sharp contrast between conservative policies and values against the Obama Administration’s better than any other candidate in the field.

Gingrich poses a real threat to the opposition and status quo, he has many achievements during his long political career, playing a key role in passing welfare reform in the 1990’s. He not afraid to upset members within his own party to pursue a vision, a vision he has laid out in his “21st Century Contract with America,” better than any other candidate in the field. It is an organic plan containing some bold but substantive ideas and solutions to the nations’ problems and challenges.

He wants to remove regulatory barriers to boost economic growth understanding fundamentally that less government is the key, not bigger government. He has also worked to and achieved balanced budgets and a budget surplus with former President Clinton.

Gingrich has the proven ability to work across party lines in the national interest, even if it costs him personally and politically. He wants to provide a healthcare system that works; he values and recognises the need for a well educated young nation and values entrepreneurship and innovation. I don’t perceive a candidates’ willingness or preparedness to work with the other party as a weakness, I see it as a distinct positive in these most of crucial times. Above all, I believe he possesses the desire, passion and enthusiasm to lead America from the front and get Washington working effectively again for the people.

I believe any of the other three candidates could be a good Vice-President however; in order to defeat President Obama in the coming election, it will require someone who has the experience, proven ability and vision to transform America and secure its future. America needs a strong president and someone in the Oval office who will not shirk the difficult decisions, and who will ensure a strong and powerful military exists to defend the nation and its people. This is an election of opportunity, and my fear is that conservatives and independents won’t see it in the all important context of securing America’s future for generations to come.

This presidential election race is more about the future and the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Only by choosing a capable and confident leader can America’s future be won! The nation needs strong leadership and a person willing to work with everyone in its interest and Newt is that candidate.

CPAC’s Conservative Message

Despite Romney’s strawpoll win, the anti-establishment message of CPAC came through loud and clear from various speakers.  Alan West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and even at times the Presidential candidates: the only way we can truly be free is by reclaiming the role of the church and community from the Federal Government.

For several years now the conservative movement has allowed private charity to flirt with and even get in bed with the Federal Government under the understanding that private organizations can use federal dollars much more efficiently than government bureaucracies.  Then along came Barack Obama.  It makes me think of Star Wars and Darth Vader’s line “Pray I don’t alter the deal any further”.

The problem is that conservatives abandoned their principles.  Trusting a pro-family, pro-conservative President in George W. Bush, we signed on to faith based initiatives.  Perhaps we never expected a President who would leverage those relationships to gain control over Christianity and use Christian institutions to spread liberalism.  We never expected a President who in three short years would be to the point of forcing Christian institutions to provide abortion pills or suffer the consequences.

The Government cannot protect our sacred institutions.  The government is using our tax dollars to control our sacred institutions.

The problem is that only one candidate in this has talked about the sort of shrinking of government necessary to get the government out of the charity and faith business altogether.  While he has appeared impotent when pressed, Ron Paul is the only candidate who will actually say that the government doesn’t belong in the insurance business or the charity business.  Mitt Romney would bring us back to the George W. Bush days when faith based initiatives allowed faiths to still manage themselves.  Newt and Santorum would certainly respect religious freedom, but would also strengthen the ties between government and faith based organizations with the same deadly good intentions W had.

This is not an endorsement for Ron Paul, but it is an acknowledgement that when it comes to the responsibility of Christians and community, Paul is more in line with the 2010 freshmen, and older wise sages like Huckabee, who must rise to the top if conservatism and freedom of religion is to survive in our country.  Perhaps Newt, Mitt and Rick will be persuaded by Paul on this like they were on the Fed.

Romney Wins CPAC Straw Poll But Who Do You Think Made the Best Case?

Bookmark and Share  CPAC’s 39th annual conference concluded with a bang as keynote speaker Sarah Palin, fired up the forces with a speech that tore apart the Obama Administration with accurate characterizations of his actions, policies, and thinking, in a series of sharp and memorable one liners.  Her speech, which you can see here, did not only focus on the president though.  Palin offered some strong words of advice to Republicans and even sent a few warning shots over the bow of the Republican establishment as she reminded them why they were elected in 201o and indicated that in the future, we expect some new conservative faces being appointed to leadership position, not kept open the back benches.

But Palin also reminded the audience that beating the President is the most important first step that Americans must take in their attempt to take government back from the political class.  However, she did make the point that whoever we replace with him, must be a true conservative, one whose every instincts stem from the conservative ideology and our belief in limited government.

After Palin brought down the house, the climax of the event, the announcement of he CPAC Straw Poll results was made.  It was done in a presentation that broke down conservative opinions on a wide range of issues and dissected the demographics behind the opinions.  This year CPAC did something different.  They took both a national online poll of self described conservatives and their traditional straw poll of registered guest at the CPAC conference.

The national survey gave Mitt Romney the win in what was essentially a close race that stood at;

  1. Mitt Romney          – 27%
  2. Rick Santorum       – 25%
  3. Newt Gingrich        – 20%
  4. Ron Paul                   –  8%
  5. Others/Undecided – 20%

But the actual CPAC Straw Poll which gauged the opinion of the over three thousand registered CPAC voters in attendance at this year’s conference, painted a similar picture but in much bolder colors.  The candidates finished in the same order but by much different margins

  1. Mitt Romney          – 38%
  2. Rick Santorum       – 31%
  3. Newt Gingrich        – 15%
  4. Ron Paul                   – 12%
  5. Others/Undecided –   4%

It’s important to note the level of intensity that was demonstrated in these two polls.  The difference between the national poll and the straw poll is that the straw poll reflects the opinion of the activists within the conservative base.  They are the opinions of the people who work hard at shaping opinions and who are part of the get out the vote efforts that can put a candidate over the top in an election.  As for the national poll, while it still reflects conservative opinions, it it more representative of the less active conservative base, those who would not necessarily drop everything and rearrange their lives to go to Washington, D.C. to be inspired by names like Jay Sekulow, Daniel Hannan, and other names that many Americans are less familiar with.  In these polls it would seem that less dedicated or to be honest, the less radical conservatives in the country, give Mitt Romney a little more approval than they do to his rivals, but with 2% separating first and second place and 5% seperating third placce from second place, you can gather that most conservatives are pretty divided on who the nominee should be.

However, the Straw Poll of CPAC conference goers would seem to indicate that conservative activists are far less divided and while it is still close between first and second place, even there Romney receives a majority that beats Santrorum by one point more than he did in the national poll.

But I am not quite sure these polls really offer an accurate sentiment of conservative opinions this year.  Straw Polls are easily influenced by the creativity of each candidates campaign and there ability to get a ballot in the hands of conference goers. Romney has typically had a great straw poll organization at CPAC, hence several previous wins there.  Last year it was Ron Paul who won though.  This year, Ron Paul did not attend CPAC and did not have any effort that coordinated his straw poll operation.  Which accounts for his last place showing this year.

So although Romney won, I still can’t help but get a sense from the greater body of conservatives that the closeness of the race that reflected in the CPAC national online poll is more accurate and maybe even closer than that.

It was clear to me that at CPAC, Mitt Romney was among a significant number of conservatives who are still apprehensive about him and I suspect that there will be some future primaries and caucuses that prove that assessment to be true and that will even produce results that do not always find Romeny in  first place.

Only time tell.

But in the meantime, tell us this. Of the three candidates who attended CPAC this year, who made the best case for why they are the best conservative to lead us and did so most convincingly. Below you will find videos of their CPAC speeches. If you haven;t seen them yet, take a listen to them and then vote in our White House 2012 Poll:



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CPAC and Sarah Palin mark a turn to unity

 

A vintage fiery performance: Palin told delegates we'll keep our guns, God and Constitution, and Obama can keep the change.

The most remarkable event of today’s CPAC was Sarah Palin endorsing unity. Instead of showing her support for any one candidate, she called for unity, saying that whoever the nominee is the GOP must defeat Obama. Whoever the nominee is conservatives must work together, she told an ecstatic audience, and the nation will have a true conservative in the White House.

The unity message, great!

It followed the announcement that Mitt Romney had narrowly won the CPAC Straw Poll, following his mission to the conference to prove his conservative credentials. It seems it may be mission accomplished. Certainly Romney will be feeling a lot better about his appeal to the conservative base after today.

The other remarkable performance came from the ever-popular Daniel Hannan, British Member for the European Parliament. Warning America not to go down the European road, he was amazed that while Europe is driving off the cliff they can see America in their rear-view mirror and overtaking them!

After his talk, I had a good conversation with him, as we walked through the hotel, including a detour through the kitchens! I asked him if he endorsed any candidates? He, just a little coyly, suggested it was difficult to choose, but stressed it was important for the party to unite behind a candidate and get Obama, who earlier in the day John Bolton called the “first post-American President”, out of the White House.

Daniel Hannan warns America not to follow Europe down a path and off a cliff

Hannan also urged me to write that the GOP must stop having so many debates, as it is only serving to divide the party. He also said Republicans need to focus on the budget, not all the side issues that divide conservatives. With that he headed for the airport, though many didn’t want him to leave and asked if he could be made an honorary American instead.

This has been an important few days for conservatives, and may finally signal the road to unity. Romney should start to pull firmly into the lead, and though Santorum and Gingrich will no doubt continue, they will see their numbers dwindle.

The New York Times carried a report ahead of Sarah Palin’s speech that she didn’t think a brokered RNC would be a problem. This is just a liberal wet dream. The reality is, Sarah Palin has signalled this important moment, and shown that there is less stomach for infighting.

I picked up my media credentials on Thursday at CPAC fearful of a divided party that would succeed only in rolling out the red carpet for President Obama. After three days, I happily left making my way through the handful of sorry-looking OWS protesters feeling that I can see November from here.

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