Reality Check

As we head into Michigan and Arizona, the Republican party needs a reality check.  Fortunately, here it is:

Rick Santorum

The media is doing their best to paint Santorum as some sort of radical conservative religious whacko.  Hardly.  Santorum on social issues is saying what most Republicans are thinking.  The thing is, conservatives are scared to death of Obama winning re-election and many will gladly sacrifice what they believe to take the candidate everyone is telling them can win.  But here’s the thing, Obama’s economy has about a 26% approval rating and any Republican looks amazing economically next to Obama.  If Obama wins, it will be because he runs an incredible marketing campaign, race bates, and paints his opponents as somehow more socially radical than he is.  It won’t be because Obama saved the economy, unless moderates and independents are even more gullible and stupid than we thought.

What should keep Republicans up at night about Santorum is his passion on Iran.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon.  I think they will use it on Israel if they do.  But America is not ready to commit to another war.  I think we would have to see another 3,000 US civilians die on one day before the majority of Americans get the stomach for what Santorum has been talking about.  That includes what he has talked about with central America.

Mitt Romney

Romney is uninspiring by design.  His economic plan is a mixture of timid populism.  In the end, what he is running on is his record of creating a great deal of personal wealth and success, as well as his management skills.  But Warren Buffett, another populist, has also made great personal success through good management, and I think he would be a terrible President.  If this election were solely about the economy,the DNC would be looking for a new candidate and Romney would already be the GOP candidate.  The fact is, as long as Romneyites continue to downplay social issues, they will continue to loose the support of the majority of conservatives who actually care about social issues.  Believe it or not, many Americans on both sides of the aisle hold the value of their social and religious issues higher than the economy.   For example, many pro-lifers would sacrifice a great deal of wealth to stop the murder of the unborn.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Mitt Romney is the fact that even his economic plan has been as malleable as his social stances.  What was supposed to be Romney’s conservative strength has instead turned into calls to raise the minimum wage and tax the rich to redistribute to the poor.  In each case, this was a reaction from the Romney campaign to criticism from the left.

Newt Gingrich

Newt is the smartest candidate and he has the best ideas.  It is no secret that I believe this.  But Newt is easily destroyed by opponents and the media.  He has tried to run a cheap campaign with little or no ground game, which makes victory as visionary as a base on the moon.  Part of Newt’s problem is that now his electability is questionable instead of Santorum’s.  Newt isn’t going to win anything until he re-establishes himself as the only electable anti-Romney.  Every time Santorum wins another state, Newt’s chances dim even more.  Get ready for things to start looking real bad as Santorum wins Arizona and maybe Michigan.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Newt Gingrich is how easily he is destroyed by negative campaigning and how weak his campaign structure is.  If Newt can’t beat the unelectable Santorum and uninspiring Romney in every state, how would he propose to beat Obama?

Ron Paul

No one ever thought Ron Paul would win, except maybe his 10% who also think that being obnoxious will win people over.  However, it has been noted that Paul seems to have a cozy relationship with Mitt Romney.  Perhaps Paul also thinks only Romney can beat Obama.  Or, as some have suggested, maybe Paul has a secret deal with Romney to secure a VP slot for him or his son.  Actually, a Romney/Rand Paul ticket would be an incredibly smart idea and might be the only thing that can bring the extremes of the Republican party back together.  The only thing, of course, other than Obama himself.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Ron Paul is his Iran policy.  Yeah, maybe we aren’t ready to go to war in Iran like we did in Iraq.  But I also don’t think most Americans are ready to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that Iran isn’t a threat.  I think fewer Republicans have an appetite to continue the World America Apology Tour under a different name.

Barack Obama

The real reality check for Republicans should be a refocusing on Barack Obama.  Believe it or not, there are people out there who support him.  After Solyndra, Fast n Furious, reversing Mexico City policy, forcing religious organizations to provide abortion pills, Obamacare, and everything else Obama has done, there are actually cars on the road with Obama 2012 stickers on them.  Somehow, Obama still has a shot in this race.

What should keep Republicans awake at night about Barack Obama is that despite all that he has done to this country and to the rule of law and constitution, there are people who still support him.  The media refuses to vet Obama, even ignoring his radical social positions on abortion.  Meanwhile, in desperation Santorum is releasing economic plans that are going ignored by the party and media.  GOP candidates are doing a great job of getting their message out.  Unfortunately, their message is that each other suck.  Let’s hope that Republicans will find a way to inspire the entire base, and expose Obama on fiscal AND social issues.

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.

A Populist CPAC, but where are the ideas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Obama Raised Taxes on Buffet’s Secretary!

Populism Gone Wrong

Last night, Warren Buffet’s secretary occupied  a place of honor as an invited guest of the Obama’s to the State of the Union address.  She got to sit with the First Lady, sort of like the Iraqi woman who was invited by Bush and showed off her ink stained finger for voting.  So what exactly did Buffet’s secretary symbolize?  The downtrodden middle class who somehow pay more taxes than billionaires like her boss Warren Buffet.

There is one glaring problem with Obama using Debbie Bosanek, Buffet’s secretary, as a prop for class warfare.  As Paul Roderick Gregory with Forbes Magazine calculates, Buffet’s secretary makes at least $200,000 a year.  Fortunately, she can still call herself part of the 99% because at $200,000 a year, she only made the top 3% of income earners, not the top 1%.

But here is the best part: Obamacare raises taxes on individuals making more than $200,000.  Because of Obamacare, starting next year Warren Buffet’s secretary will pay an additional 3.8% on investment income, and an additional .9% in Medicare taxes for a total tax hike of 4.7%.  And if Obama gets his way and the Bush tax rates are eliminated for individuals who make more than $200,000, Obama will have effectively raised Buffet’s secretary’s taxes by 7.7%, or possibly as much as 9.6% if she is in the highest tax bracket.

Good job, Mr. President.  Thank you for that ever-so-perfect State of the Union prop.

Speaking of Buffet

In case you were wondering why Obama canceled the Keystone pipeline, a move the Washington Post called “insanity”, we may get some clues by following the money.  According to Bloomberg, Obama supporter Warren Buffet stands to profit big time from cancellation of the pipeline.  Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway owns the rail companies who will transport the oil in lieu of a pipeline. Crony capitalism at its best, at the cost of thousands of American jobs.  Oh yeah, and for you environmentalists who opposed the pipeline, what sort of impact do you think transporting that oil on trains will have on the environment?  Maybe you should re-think this one.

Jacksonville TEA Party Straw Poll Picks Newt

In the first ever Angie’s Subs Caucus, TEA Party members from across the Northeast gathered at Angie’s Subs in Jacksonville, Florida to discuss local and national politics and have a straw poll.  323 votes were cast and the winner was Newt with 138 votes, or 43%.  Second place?  Ron Paul, gaining 26% of the vote.  Romney finished third.

Thursday, Jacksonville will be hosting the last debate before voters in this key state hold their primary.  Recent polls have wavered back and forth with Newt erasing a double digit deficit to now have a slight lead in most polls.

Rubio Flexes Influence

Newt Gingrich pulled an add calling Mitt Romney “anti-immigrant” after Marco Rubio called out the ad as deceptive.  What this shows is the incredible respect the current Republican godfathers have for the 2010 class.  And this is well deserved.  Marco Rubio, Alan West, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, and a host of Republican governors including Scott Walker, Rick Scott, and others, represent the type of conservatism that the TEA Party loves, but that also resonates with Americans.  Part of the reason the 2012 Presidential field has been disappointing for some is because the giants of 2012 pale in comparison to the greatness of the younger Republican generation.

 

Rand Warns Father to Chill

Update:

Ron Paul has not yet ruled out a 3rd Party run, but at least one of his best supporters is encouraging him not to.  Rand Paul warned in a New Hampshire radio interview that Ron Paul running as a third party candidate would be a bad idea.  Citing Perot’s failure and the TEA Party’s commitment to reforming the Republican party, Rand suggested that a Ron Paul 3rd party run would mean an easy Barack Obama victory in 2012.

Rand Paul, the Comedian

Bookmark and Share At a recent correspondenceDinner, newly elected Kentucky Senator Rand Paul tried to be funny by joking around about Fox News and Newt Gingrich. Unfortunately, for the freshman Senator, he proved that he needs to focus on his day job and leave the comedy to those with a sense of humor.

In Rand’s zest for typical Paul family isolationism, he tries to mock Gingrich for having more positions on Libya than he does ex-wives and tries to paint Fox News as apathetically partisan, war mongeringcable network.

Personally, while I am less offended by the good-naturedjab at Gingrich than I am at the desire to play in liberalhands by paintingFOx as the network with a bias problem, I am not at all pleased with Rand Paul. Perhapsnext time around, Rand might want to try to runon the TEA Party line and not on the Republican which he rode to victory in 2010. Or maybe Rand should just try to spend more timetrying to create persuasive arguments for his own positions than trying tomock others who would help him apply his message to the governance of the United States.

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25% Chance Rand Paul Will Run?

According to Rand Paul, there is a 50-50 chance that one of the Pauls will run for President in 2012. Will it be him? Only if his father, Ron Paul, decides not to run this year. That makes the chances of a Rand Paul candidacy closer to 25%.

Which Paul do you want to see in 2012?

Rand Paul has been considered a top contender for the 2016 primary, among other freshmen like Marco Rubio. But few expect him, Rubio, or any of the other 2010 Republican first time victors to step into the ring, especially after how much criticism Obama has received for his measly two years of experience. The fact that Obama’s inexperience continues to conspicuously display itself won’t help.

On the other hand, Ron Paul had little shot of winning the Republican primary in 2008. If he chooses not to run in 2012, will Rand run to highlight the same conservative constitutionalist issues his father did? Perhaps, but not all the same issues since Rand is more mainstream on foreign policy. In fact, the differences between the two Pauls could be the difference between a fringe candidate with an obnoxious group of libertarian outcasts and a mainstream candidacy by a conservative/libertarian hybrid who could garner a Republican majority in 2012. He could also scrap up some of the anti-war Democrats his father charmed in 2008.

One thing is for sure, if Rand Paul runs it will be a boon to debate buffs who are excited about the intellectual dialogue that a Newt/Romney debate already promises. Having Rand on the stage will also guarantee that conservative constitutionalist issues are well represented.

Rand Paul Visits South Carolina

Bookmark and ShareKentucky Senator and TEA Party favorite Rand Paul could be testing the 2012 presidential waters with a trip to South Carolina.

The son of Texas Rep., 2008 GOP presidential candidate and possible 2012 candidate Ron Paul, Rand is appeared this afternoon before the College of Charelston’s “Bully Pulpit” series to talk about Libya, his possible 2012 interest and the national debt. He is scheduled to appear this evening before the Charelston Meeting, a center right, invitation only organization that invites politicians to address it’s membership strictly off the record.

Paul, like his father a Tea Party favorite, who won his Senate seat last fall, is visiting several early presidential voting states independently of his father. The only answer he will give regarding his own Presidential aspirations is, “The only decision I’ve made is I won’t run against my dad,” he said, adding that he wants to see the Tea Party influence the 2012 GOP nominee.

So how many Paul’s will there be on the ballot come 2012? Just one according to Rand. Which one however remains a mystery.

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Will 2012 Ruin 2016?

In 1996, after Democrat President Bill Clinton had embarked on a regime so liberal that he swept Newt Gingrich and Republicans into power in 1994, it seemed for Republicans that it was Bob Dole’s time. However, with Republicans being frowned upon for shutting down the government and Clinton getting credit for reigning in spending, Bob Dole’s clear path became more and more difficult. It didn’t help that a third party candidate was stealing GOP votes or that Dole showed the charisma and enthusiasm of Fred Thompson at 3 in the afternoon.

In 2012 things may not be so different.

Noemie Emery writes in the Washington Examiner that the class of 2012 for Republican candidates may be the weak link in the GOP ascendancy. CPAC showed just how deep a divide exists between the different brands of Republicanism. None of the current field is an across the board favorite, and as I mentioned last week even Mitt Romney scares some conservatives.

Contrasted with the candidates who could be prominent in 2016, the 2012 class seems dull and divisive. As Emery points out, 2016 could see figures who have emerged as highly popular among conservatives and have already proven themselves as leaders. She mentions Marco Rubio. I would add Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Chris Christie, Allen West, Mike Pence, Jim DeMint, and Paul Ryan to that list.

Each of these politicians have become rock stars among the conservatives in their constituency and are starting to build national respect.

As wide as the 2012 field appears right now, it may end up being the year of lost potential. Many candidates who could have injected the young vibrancy of the conservative resurgence into 2012 have made other commitments. Mike Pence will likely run for governor of Indiana. Chris Christie is staying put in New Jersey. The candidate who best embodies the conservative values that swept into Congress in 2010 also happens to be one of the most divisive among conservatives in Sarah Palin.

So what about Emery’s suggestion that Republicans would be better off losing in 2012? Honestly I don’t think we can afford to lose in 2012. And when I say we can’t afford it, I don’t just mean the Republican party.

 

Thanks to a friend who posted the Emery article at u4prez.com

Rand Paul vs. Ron Paul. Are Two Pauls Running For President?

Bookmark and Share When asked during an interview with ABC news if freshman Senator Rand Paul would consider a run for President in 2012 he quite lightheartedlyclaimed that it was too early to consider that but his desire to shape the debate did lead him to keep the door open after stating “Come back and ask me in a few months,”. He also added that if nominated he will run.

Rand Paul also said that he does not see himself in the senate thirty years from now and trying to consolidate power through seniority. That is a big difference from his father, Texas Republican and leading libertarian Representative, Dr. Ron Paul. He has been in Congress for a total of more than 24 years.

Meanwhile, in considering a run for President, one must askRand if he would still see the need to shape the debate” by running for President if it meant competing with his father?

Congressman Ron Paul has himself finally made some moves that indicate, although he has not made a final decision about afourthrun for President, he is keeping the door open as he seriously considers it. Ron Paul has accepted an Invitation to address Iowa voters in a presidential lecture series for the social conservative activist group known as the Family Leader.

Former Minnesota Governor and soon to be Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is speaking before that same group as a part of their lecture series, today.

Some may initially think that, a run for President by Rand Paul, just two years after being elected to the first office he ever ran in, is too soon. But the possibility of such a candidacy is certainly not out of the question. One newly elected Senator has had to go out of his way to let to supporters know that he will not be running for the White House in 2012. Floridas Marco Rubio is largely viewed as a rising star and he certainly has all the makings of a President. In many ways he is the Republican version of the rock star-like status that President Obama had with Democrats. And while Marco has even more electoral and leadership experience than President had at this same point in his career, President Obama, essentially began running for President about six months after he was elected to his first term in the Senate.

Still, the likelihood of freshman Senator Rand Paul running for President in 2012, is not high but it is not impossible either. Rand is not up for reelection in the Senate until 2016, so it is not like he would have to choose between the presidency and the senate. And if he really sees a need to shape the debate as far as spending and our mounting deficit goes, he could make a difference if he runs. But would he really see the need to do that if others like deficit hawk Mitch Daniels enters the race? And would he see the need to shape the debate if his father enters the race?

Ron Paul on the other hand can easily take another stab at it. Texas allows candidates to run for President and other positions at the same time. So he does not have to choose between the House of Representatives or the White House. He could run for both and still get reelected to the House after losing the Republican presidential nomination.

Most of the so-called Subway Series interview in which Rand Paul made his remarks about the presidency in 2012, discusses his position in spending and passionate desire to settle our national debt.Rand discusses, among other things, his desire to cut “all” foreign aid. He addresses at length his want to remain strong allies with Isreal but to also include them in his plight to end foreign aide. According to Rand Paul, they are one one of the richest per capita nations in the world” and he adds, “we are giving them money that we don’t have”

The interview which is conducted by Jonathan Karlis held on the D.C. Metro subway train, hence the “Subway Series” name.

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Rand Paul – Sweet Spot or Easy Target?

Bookmark and Share    In 2008 we were introduced to the Ron Paul Revolution.  Everyone from right-wing libertarians to hardcore liberals were donning Revolution shirts.  Ron Paul, a staunch pro-lifer and limited government candidate, gained support from right-wingers who were tired of bailouts, debt and big government.  As an anti-war candidate, he drew in many Bush hating moderates and liberals whose biggest beef was the Iraq war.

Despite stocking conventions and straw polls with loud, rambunctious supporters, Ron Paul remained a second tier candidate throughout the primary and eventually refused a third party run.  The biggest hit Ron Paul took was from establishment Republicans and supporters of the war on terror.  Many of us viewed his protectionist ideas as nice on paper, but naive after 9/11.

2010 Kentucky Senate Candidate Rand Paul

Enter Rand Paul in 2010.  Dr. Rand Paul is running for the Kentucky Senate seat previously held by Jim Bunning.  Paul is running against state attorney general Jack Conway.  So is he a viable 2012 candidate simply because he shares the family name?

Rand’s family name will certainly help usher him into the spotlight and could attract many of the libertarians, independents and moderates who who loved his father,  however the very thing that made his father so popular with those groups will make Rand popular with his own party.  Rand is not as protectionist like his father.  Rand’s views on war and national defense may not match up with the so-called Neocon view of spreading freedom or the Bush doctrine, but he does understand the importance of winning the wars we are in.  He also supports a strong national defense as the number one constitutional job of the federal government.

Rand Paul’s doctrine is one of Conservative Constitutionalism.  With an eye on returning to the Constitution, staunch pro-life stance, and fiscal conservatism, Rand Paul will be a darling of the Right.  At the same time, his message of limited government, relegating social issues to the states, desire to shed light on the Federal Reserve, and anti-UN stance will continue to attract Libertarians.  Finally, just like his father, his genuineness and political prowess may capture the hearts of many non-political, average Americans.

So is Rand Paul a potential sweet spot candidate for the Republican party?  He must be doing something right because of the attacks he has already faced on a national level.  For example, Rand Paul believes in constitutional limits on the Federal government.  For him, that means the government cannot legislate racial equality in people’s minds and should not force private individuals with private businesses to serve people they don’t want to.  In the minds of his opponents, it means that Rand Paul is a racist who believes blacks should drink at different fountains, and they have been very effective at leveling this attack.

Rand Paul also opposes abortion, even in the case of rape and incest.  However, he supports use of the morning after pill.  These two views are enough to give everyone on every side of the abortion debate enough ammo to gun him down.  On the other hand, the average American who opposes abortion, taxpayer funded abortion, and especially taxpayer funding of overseas abortion still elected President Obama, and Obama supports all three.

It is too early to tell if this Conservative Constitutionalist will be a 2012 contender.  At this point he has less political experience than our current President.  My guess is that he will make an attractive Vice President pick.  Paul’s political future has two speed bumps before we can get a clearer picture.  The big one is winning his 2010 Senate campaign.  The second is Steve Beshear’s 2011 governor’s race.  If Democrat Beshear wins a second term, Rand Paul may not be willing to sacrifice his seat in a tightly controlled Senate.  In Kentucky, the governor fills Senate vacancies.

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Jim DeMint…… President or Kingmaker?

Jim DeMint headshot

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

Bookmark and Share   Jim DeMint is up for his first reelection bid this November, but his race is hardly a serious one. Not that Jim DeMint isn’t taking it seriously, he certainly is. But due to Jim’s popularity in South Carolina, Democrats never took this race seriously. That is why when a destitute man who was brought up on charges related to pornography ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against deMint, he won. So now a virtual unknown and by all indications, unqualified individual is in a race against DeMint that is hardly a contest of wits, no less than a race of ideas.

But the fact that Alvin Greene, the Democrat in this race, got the chance to challenge DeMint is testimony to the solid support that DeMint has received from his fellow Palmetto State voters. In his first term in office, Jim DeMint has proven himself to be a solid conservative leader. He is a movement conservative who is never missing from any battle that involves social and fiscal conservativism. His solid record is in perfect sync with the majority of South Carolinians. So much so that that Democrats never even tried to unseat him and instead allowed their nomination to fall into the hands of the  mentally challenged Alvin Greene.

Still no one can take an election for granted like Democrats did before they found out who their nominee was. So Jim is campaigning hard. But with the luxury of what is currently a 42 percent lead over Alvin Greene, Jim DeMint is sharing his clout among other conservatives. His Senate Conservatives Fund raised $4 million in the current election cycle, an amount greater than any other Senate leadership political action committee.

Some of that money has been used by DeMint in shaping the current class of conservative candidates that are running in November’s elections. More so than any other Senator, Jim has gone out on a few limbs and endorsed underdogs who were not the establishment’s choices. In most cases he supported TEA Party candidates and those whom he felt best represented conservative values as opposed to Party line allegiances.

He endorsed and donated over $58,000 to the candidacy of Washington state’s Dino Rossi who recently became incumbent Democrat Patty Murray‘s senate opponent.

14 months ago Jiom DeMint was one of the first Republicans to publicly endorse the young anti-establishment,  former Florida Republican House Speaker Marco Rubio, against the incumbent Republican Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist. Crist was the hands on favorite for the US Senate nomination and the establishment’s choice for the nomination. But when the young, conservative Marco Rubio took to the stage, DeMint threw his weight behind the better candidate instead of the establishment candidate, a man who has since turned his back on those republicans who supported and is now running against the GOP

Some of the largest donations DeMint has made have gone to; Marco Rubio, $421,000, Tea Party backed candidate for the US Republican Senate nomination, Ken Buck of Colorado, $375,000, $312,000 to former Nevada state legislator and Tea Party backed Sharron Angle, and $217,000 to Salt Lake City lawyer and Tea Party backed Senate candidate Mike Lee. All were underdogs in their respective races for their state’s Republican senate nominations, and all won. Other DeMint backed winners include Republican Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Rand Paul in Kentucky.

The Rand Paul endorsement came after DeMint’s boss in the senate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out and endorsed Paul’s opponent.  Being that Kentucky is the state that McConnell represents, his making a choice between Paul and his opponent Trey Grayson was not unusual. But DeMint’s endorsement of Paul, a day after McConnell’s endorsement of Grayson, was seen as a slap in Mitch McConnell’s face. But that did not stop DeMint from intervening in the Kentucky race and providing the kind of financial and public support that made Rand Paul the eventual nominee over McConnell’s choice for the job.

After defying McConnell the privilege of his preferred nominee in his own sate, many believe that Jim DeMint is preparing for a challenge to McConnell’s leadership role in the Senate. The idea is not unrealistic. McConnell has been a weak leader. While he has managed to keep Republicans from wandering off the reservation and remain in lockstep opposition to the Obama/Pelosi/reid regime’s agenda, McConnell has failed to offer bold alternatives that would allow Senate Republicans to run for cover from the charge of being obstructionists and the Party of “no” with no ideas. 

DeMint however campaigns against the Democrat leadership by taking a hard-line that claims the liberals leading the Democrat Party are taking us down a road to socialism.   But he also offers alternative solutions. Between that and his ability to sure up the conservative base, DeMint could give McConnell a run for his money in a leadership challenge. This is especially the case if many of those whom DeMint endorsed become freshmen senators in January of 2011. And if enough of them get elected to allow Republicans to take back control of the senate, you can more than likely count on many of those new faces to support DeMint for Senate Majority Leader.

Of course DeMint could forego a leadership battle and parlay the support of his newfound senate friends into support for a presidential bid.

That will be a tougher goal to achieve though.

DeMint is just right for the majority of the electorate in South Carolina and the  Southen U.S., but his conservative credentials might be too hard for many in the rest of the nation to swallow. The left will have a field day with his hard-line record. Still he could make quite a difference in the race for for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidency itself.

If DeMint ran in the GOP primaries, South Carolina would, for the most part be out of play. This would diminish the chances of Republican like Romney, Barbour, Palin and Gingrich, to begin to lock up the South in the South Carolina primary that is normally a precursor to primaries in Florida and then the influx of the rest of the Southern states on Super Tuesday.

Outside of the South though, DeMint may not be able to play as well as well as a candidate like Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, but he can leave a candidate like Barbour tattered as he enters contests against someone like Romney in the Northeast and Midwest.

DeMint’s greatest chance for success in the Republican presidential process could come in helping to choose who the next President is.

If DeMint comes out and endorses a candidate such as Romney, that endorsement could go a long way to help him do far better than he did in the South last time and it could make the difference between winning and losing the South Carolina primary.

No matter what though, Jim DeMint has positioned himself as one of the most influential Senators in the game of electoral politics that there is these days. His ability to raise money and sway conservatives makes him a very real contender for the GOP presidential nomination and without a doubt a kingmaker in waiting.

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Ron Paul to Announce in January

Ron Paul, Matt Collins and Rand Paul

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It was leaked late last evening that Ron Paul will be running for President and will announce in January 2011. The leak came from Paul insider Matt Collins. For those who don’t know, Matt Collins is the name behind much of the online success of Ron Paul and now also his son Rand Paul. A look through the bylines of Ron Paul articles will turn up Collins’ name again and again. So, a leak from Collins on Ron Paul is more than likely sound.

It’s the timing of this leak that raises questions. Why now? If it is a planned leak, then there must be a good reason to leak it now. So, what’s the plan? Paul is still running for re-election to his House seat and his son is campaigning hard for the open Senate seat in TN. Bringing up a run for the Presidency right now seems like a bit of a distraction from more pressing concerns.

With Ron Paul already being a politician and able to accept campaign donations, there is no need to leak intentions in order to raise money. He also still has his network in place, so a leak isn’t needed to prevent potential backers and supporters from getting sucked into a different campaign. None of the normal reasons for a planned leak seem to exist in this case.

The leak may indeed be true, but I have my doubts that Ron Paul directed Collins to make it. I doubt Ron Paul wants to steal any media coverage away from his son Rand at this time. It is more likely that all the recent candidate posturing was more than Collins could watch without saying something about his candidate. Now the story is out and it is buried by bigger stories and if it does get reported in the major media, it will be linked to Rand Paul’s campaign a serve as a distraction.

Ron Paul’s 2012 bid is being fumbled from the start. While his core supporters will cheer the leak and be oblivious to the poor timing, the vast majority of voters that Paul needs to win over will be that much harder to engage. A candidate’s announcement (leaked or official) is a key component in getting the message out and capturing a news cycle. Paul has lost that opportunity through this weak leak. He now has an even more uphill battle to capture the attention of the voters who will have that attention sought by more well-timed and packaged announcements from the other candidates.

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