Seven Versus One

The debate is over and there is a clear loser.¬† Whether by pact or we just got candidates this good, Obama was the only one with a target on his back last night.¬† Even Pawlenty wouldn’t take the obvious bait to attack front runner Mitt Romney.¬† The result was a debate of seven on one, and the One wasn’t there to defend himself.

The other loser in last night’s debate was CNN’s John King who amidst annoying grunts failed to turn the candidates on one another.¬† Even when he tossed Palin’s name out as an easy target for Republicans seeking to moderate, the response came from Tim Pawlenty and it was perfect.¬† Joe Biden has failed in every aspect as a Vice President, his views on Iraq were completely wrong, and Sarah Palin would be a better president than Biden or Obama.

Can Bachmann break through media created stereotypes?

The candidates handled tough hot button issues amazingly well also.  The shining example here was Michelle Bachmann who deflected an easy gotcha by making it clear that the role of the President and the role of the states in determining the fate of gay marriage is not equal.  She provided a balanced states rights view, while promising to protect the states from the courts if it came to that.  The other good answers on gay marriage were Ron Paul, leave it to the church and get government out, and actually Rick Santorum who explained that a constitutional amendment would require the approval of 75% of the states, something opponents rarely mention.  Cain appeared to struggle the most on the muslim staff question.

While there were no clear winners, I believe this debate showed two classes of candidates.¬† Michelle Bachmann led her class of fired up TEA Party approved candidates fighting for principled social and fiscal conservatism with unmeasured attacks against Obama and willingness to take heat for their views if deemed controversial.¬† Cain is included with this group, although he appears now more as a TEA Party candidate who jumped in feet first and now is searching for substance beyond catchphrases and buzz words.¬† He did not find that moment last night.¬† Ron Paul’s anti-establishment libertarianism may catch up to him this year when all the Revolution liberals realize that he does not support any federal entitlement programs.¬† Santorum failed to set himself apart as anything but a sacrificial lamb for 1st term George W. Bush style conservatism.¬† While they all performed well, Bachmann outshined this group.¬† Given the TEA Party’s success in 2010 and their conservative appeal, I would not write this group off.

The other group becoming apparent are the “intellectual”, restrained conservatives in Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty.¬† Their answers would not pass a soundbite test, but they were clear, well thought out, and flawless.¬† At the same time, these three touted socially conservative views and credentials which should make each one palatable for any Republican voter.¬† Newt was in a tough place and would need to be the only shining candidate last night to pull his campaign out of the rubble.¬† His performance was near flawless and enough to start the rebuilding process, but not good enough to bring him in from the dog house.¬† And while he may be right about ensuring that America is on board with the Paul Ryan plan, he is sure to take more heat for some of his comments last night.

Tim Pawlenty was perhaps the closest thing to a winner last night.¬† He made a great case for his pro-life record, perhaps settled some social conservatives with his call for his stance on homosexuality, connected with union and blue collar America, and magnanimously skipped a golden opportunity to play John King’s game and trash the front runner.¬† While the left-wing media rakes Pawlenty over the coals for his choice, conservatives should take a much closer look at a candidate who knows the enemy.

Mitt Romney will remain the front runner after last night.¬† The campaign has been nearly effortless for him sofar, and he made no mistakes that would cause him to lose his front runner status last night.¬† But he shouldn’t get too comfortable.¬† With Huntsman entering the race and with Rick Perry and Rudy Guiliani mulling Presidential runs of their own, the space Romney and Pawlenty occupy could get real crowded real quick.

In the end, the field last night did what they had to do.  They stayed focused on the economy and Obama.  They did not bite on questions obviously designed to turn them against each other and other Republicans.  They agreed with one another publicly and showed that any one of them is better than and can beat Barack Obama in 2012.

Rudy: Fresh Candidate or Romney Clone?

Some are convinced that Rudy is ready to step into the 2012 primary.  But is Rudy going to bring something fresh to this race?  Or will he simply join the race as one more fiscal conservative who will turn off social conservatives and join McCain as one more perfect GOP candidate who goes down to the Left?

Rudy is focusing on New Hampshire and recently used an opportunity in that state to rip Romney for Romneycare as the “inspiration” for Obama’s own unconstitutional healthcare mandate.¬† The idea for the Rudy camp seems to be that he lost last time because he bet the farm on Florida and was crowded out by Romney and McCain.¬† Will things be different this time around?

This time, Rudy is betting the farm on New Hampshire and perhaps a game changing late entry.  Even if Rudy Guiliani pulls off an upset in New Hampshire, will that mean he represents the GOP?  Hardly. Rudy will need to contend with the Southern/Midwest social branch of conservatism, and if 2010 is any clue, he may very well lose Florida again.  Both Rick Scott and Marco Rubio captured the swing state on a complete social and fiscal conservative platform.

More likely, Rudy will capture the fiscal conservatives who can’t abide Romney’s weak explanation of his healthcare plan, and Romney will capture fiscal conservatives who are not as socially liberal on issues like abortion as Rudy Guiliani.¬† Could this provide an opening for a strong social conservative even in New Hampshire?

Why Doesn’t Rush Like Daniels?

Rush Limbaugh has had his finger on the pulse of mainstream conservatism and mainstream media for decades. When the media said only McCain could beat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, Rush was sounding the alarm. So why is Rush now sounding the alarm on Mitch Daniels?

Daniels has received some pretty glowing endorsements, or as glowing as a Republican can get, from the Washington Post and others. He has been described as the candidate in 2012 who has a serious shot at beating Obama. No doubt, Rush is hearing echos of the media love McCain received right up until the end of the 2012 primary.

Best hope of the Right? Or the Left?

In many ways, Daniels has brought this on himself. Instead of going to CPAC and announcing that if a bill cutting off all abortion funding came across his desk he’d sign it, Daniels appealed to fiscal conservatives across the country calling on a truce on social issues so that we could solve our debt crisis. When he did sign the bill banning funding even for Planned Parenthood in Indiana, for the most part it was ignored by the media. When Obama was being praised for killing Osama Bin Laden and Daniels was taking questions on Obama’s foreign policy, Daniels admitted he wasn’t ready to debate Obama on foreign policy.

Remember when McCain said the economy was not his strong suit? Trust me, if Obama has his way the economy will not be a debate topic in 2012. Foreign policy will be. By continuing Bush’s foreign policies, Obama has found something he can campaign successfully on. By wavering on foreign policy, Daniels is certainly not setting himself up as the candidate who can beat Obama.

On the other hand, Daniels has been slowly and methodically implementing his very conservative (both socially and fiscally) agenda in Indiana. After cooling off a showdown with unions in Indiana when Democrats walked out, Daniels has quietly passed many of the same provisions including limiting teacher’s union negotiating to wages and wage related benefits. Compared to the messy protests in Scott Walker’s state over the issues, Daniels is enjoying anonymity in his war on public unions. Indiana has been one of the few fiscally sound states under Mitch Daniels.

Perhaps Daniels would be a great conservative President. It’s difficult to tell at this point if he is a silent leader who could change our country for the better, or if he represents everything that was wrong with McCain, Thompson, Guiliani and the rest of the 2008 Republican class.

The Neapolitan Party

Early on in this race, we are starting to see a clear breakdown in the Republican party into three distinct flavors. The question will be whether one candidate can unite the party once the others have melted away.

Can Republicans compromise on one flavor?

The social conservatives are known for their stances on family values, morality, and for some, Christianity. They are the candidates that the Family Research Counsel and American Family Association would love to see win. They are openly supportive of the TEA Party movement and are popular among talk radio listeners and Glenn Beck fans. They are big on national security, small government, and spending cuts, but these stances are drowned out by their social values. They are often controversial and pull no punches in attacking the Left. This flavor includes Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint, Herman Cain, Haley Barbour, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

Then you have the fiscal conservatives. They are proven businessmen. They have cut costs in government, they have balanced budgets, they have produced growth, and many of them have large personal fortunes. They have made the tough, controversial decisions having to do with the size of government, and they have produced incredible results. However, even though many of them are pro-life, pro-family, and generally socially conservative, this does not come out strongly in their campaigns. They are willing to work across the aisle, and sometimes alienate their own party by doing it. Social conservatives don’t trust them, but they enjoy a closet relationship with the TEA Party movement. They are strong on national security and foreign policy. These candidates include Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump.

Finally, there are the libertarians. Although they may live socially conservative lives and oppose things like abortion on a personal and state level, they will die by the principle that such things are beyond the scope of the Federal Government’s regulations. They oppose foreign wars and take a very cynical approach to free trade, the UN, and other foreign entanglements. They oppose the war on drugs and would take a chainsaw to the Federal Government’s authority without hesitation. Secretly, many conservatives love them, but most would not actually vote for them. These include Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

And then there is Newt Gingrich. Newt can be credited with helping bring about one of our nation’s most prosperous times as he worked both across the aisle and strongly against a Clinton administration to balance the budget.

Newt can win the general. Can he win the primary?

Newt also is a dedicated social conservative, who despite his own personal family issues from a decade ago is a strong advocate for socially conservative issues. Newt also advocates for limited government, but certainly not anywhere to the extent that Ron Paul does. Gingrich is smart on foreign policy and thinks outside of the box.

His American Solutions website and conservative crusade starting from when he was considering a presidential run in 2007 have helped to codify and establish the conservative brand going into 2012. He has been a strong TEA Party ally without appearing to be a one dimensional TEA Party candidate.

Could Newt be the candidate who can unite enough of the Republican Neapolitan breakdown to win in 2012? He could certainly defeat Obama in a debate and would have a strong showing in a general election. The question is if he can get enough of the social conservative, fiscal conservative and libertarian Republicans to abandon their favorite in order to unite behind him in the primary.

Republican Presidential Contenders React To President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Bookmark and Share Under an atmosphere that frowned upon the slightest hint of disagreement much more than in State of the Unions gone by, many potential Republican candidates for President had reactions to the Presidents address whichshowed that they were not timid in their desire to make clearwhere theyparted ways withthe President.

The often abrasive John Bolton who threatens to run for President for the purpose of focusing the nations attention on to international threats to our security Tweeted;

With no foreign policy victory of his own & many failures, bizarre that Obama would take credit for restoring America’s leadership in world.

Leading conservative deficit hawk, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint sent out a Tweet stating;

Our debt crisis demands spending cuts, not a freeze. When a car speeds toward a cliff, you hit the brakes, not cruise control.

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence sent out the following the email that described the Presidents speech as frustrating. In it he also sent a post SOTU interview he did with PBS.

Dear Fellow American, In last night’s State of the Union address,




President Obama called on Americans to take control of our destiny and take responsibility for the deficit.
He outlined plans to increase American competitiveness through education, infrastructure and innovation. And he encouraged members of Congress to put their differences aside and work together to restore this country to prosperity and greatness.So how does President Obama plan to achieve this transformation? More spending!

You and I both know that more spending and more borrowing is not the answer to get the economy moving. To hear the President call for more of the same stimulus spending that failed to turn our economy around for the last two years was very frustrating. That’s why I hope you will stand with me as I call on our leaders to give the American people a new direction.

Sincerely,

Mike Pence
Member of Congress

On his Free and Strong America PAC web site, Mitt Romney had the following statement posted;

President Obama knows where he wants to go, but he has no idea how to get there. Under President Obama’s economic leadership, more Americans have lost their jobs than any time in modern history. The on-the-job economic education of the President has cost American families almost a trillion dollars in failed stimulus schemes and, unfortunately, he’s still failing the course. Rhetoric, however soaring, does not put pay checks in pay envelopes at the end of the week. You can’t build a high speed rail system fast enough to outrun the President’s misguided regulations, higher taxes or lack of focus on jobs. Hopefully he is learning. American families are depending on him.”

South Dakota Senator John Thune issues a press release in which he decalred:

“After presiding over a staggering 21 percent spending increase during his first two years in office, the President’s proposal to simply keep spending at its current level for the next five years is too little, too late. In just two years, the government has grown at 10 times the rate of inflation.

“The president called for new spending, although he repeatedly called it investment,’ but this is nothing more than increased Washington spending in the style of the failed stimulus. With a $14 trillion national debt that is growing at a trillion dollars every year, we should reverse the out of control spending we’ve witnessed the past two years and begin to save taxpayer dollars.”

Herman Cain issued a statement that described the state of the nation as“fragile” and claimed that when the President spoke of “investment” we heard “spending” and when he spoke of job creation, we heard “but not in the private sector”. http://on.fb.me/gXSmwL

Ron Paul was unimpressed and in an interview seen below, said that he really didn’t hear anything he liked. He stated that he heard nothing regarding any real new cuts but did hear about more government programs.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told theNBC’s Today Show that there were “some good things” in the speech, but the president missed an opportunity “to take the deficit more seriously.” Obama “showed no leadership on that,” .

Freshman Florida Senator Marco Rubio told reporters “I had hoped to hear the president outline real solutions to fundamentally tackle our national debt crisis and help clear the way for urgently needed job creation,” “Instead, we heard him talk about more ‘investment,’ which is what most Floridians I know would simply call more government spending.”

Michele Bachman provided her Tea Party response to the State of the Union which was addressed here in a previous White House 2012 post. While it had plenty of visual props and offered some compelling factual comparisons, her performance lacked the poise and effectiveness of Paul Ryan’s official Republican response to the State of the Union address. That speech which can be seen here, was quite effective and offered a convicncing rationale for the challenges that they will present to Democrats as he and his fellow Republicans try to approach fiscal responsibility in ways that differ from the President and his Party.

In general, Republicans all heard the same things in President Obama’s State of the Union. They heard little that would dramatically tackle our national debt, curb government overreach and spending and very little in the way of inititatives that would help improve the near term condition of employment and the stagnant economy.

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Rudy Takes Subtle Swipes at Palin as He Considers Another Run for President

Bookmark and Share CNN reports that Rudy Giuliani once again confirmed he is considering a run for President in 2012, especially if Sarah Palin runs.
In an interview on “Piers Morgan Tonight”, that will beairing on Monday, Giulianialso sharply criticizes Sarah Palin for using the term “blood libel” in her video response to unfounded accusatuions chargingher withresponsibility for the recent Arizona shooting massacre. According to Giuliani, the term is too closely related to Jewish genocide to have been used inreference to her situation.
Regarding his possible run for President, Rudy opines that the more Republicans who run, the more he can contrast himself from all of them and the better his chances of winning will be. See a clip from the interviewhere.

The former New York City Mayor also indicates that if Sarah Palin runs, so will he.

Sounds like fightin words to me.

Apparently he not only seems to see the sharpest contrast of all to be the one that exists between him and Palin, it also sounds as though he has a big problem with her.

Could Rudy be trying to pick up the mantle for the Nelson Rockefeller wing of the G.O.P.? And if so, is he really banking on the ability of the establishment political class and the liberal wings of the Party to overpower the anti-establishment, TEA Party influenced and conservative wings of the Party? Either way, perhaps the best way for Rudy to approach things is via a more conciliatory tone that seeks to forge a path of common ground for the G.O.P to stand on.

One thing is for sure though. Hereto now, none of the possible Republican contenders have dared to ruffle the feathers of Palin admirers. None except for Rudy. He seems quite desirous to do so. Perhaps its way of distinguishing himself from the field early? But no one ever claimed Rudy was a particularlygreta campaigner and political strategist. His 2008 campaign effort provided us with a textbook example of how not to run for President. If he is seriously considering another run for the Oval Office in 2012, hopefully he hasfreshened up on that textbook. From the sounds of it, he hasnt.

Meanwhile a recent straw poll of New Hampshire State Republican Committeemembers places Rudy in 14th place with 2%. Palin stands infourth place with 7%. Neither received numbers worth crowing about.

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Rudy Ready To Run for Prez Again? Did He Ever Really Run for it Before?

Bookmark and Share The Page Six gossip column of the New York Post cites anonymous sources as claiming that former New York City Mayor and 2008 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Rudy Giuliani, has assembled his past top advisors for a look at another go at the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. It additionally claims that he has scheduled a trip to New Hampshire.

If true, the first thing Rudy would need to do is get a new team of top advisors together, not use the same ones who proved to make his last bid for the nomination seem like a campaign for a local school board position. The second thing he would need to do is campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada , not just Florida.

Based upon Rudys last half hearted and half assed run for the nomination, I find it hard to believe that he is trying again. But politicians egos never die and I am sure that Rudy is a legend in his own mind and believes that if anyone can beat Barack Obama, he can. But thats not saying much right now. At the moment anyone who can talk and add has a shot at defeating our economically challenged Commander-in-Chief. But that will change. Most U.S. Presidents are reelected more often than not and if President Obama is anything, he is a good campaigner, especially when it comes to rhetoric.

So if Rudy really is gathering his team together to take a look at running for President again, he better take a good long and hard look. And he better understand that being Rudy Giuliani alone is not enough. He will have to prove that he is willing to fight real hard and then somehow prove why he is more qualified than people like Haley Barbour, Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels and Newt Gingrich. At the moment, I cant think of any reason why he is more qualified. While he was undeniably a godsend for New York City and turned it around unlike anyone could have ever imagined, New York is unique. There, you are considered a conservative if you graduate from private school and the issues and problems directly confronting the five boroughs of New York City require a skill set and focus that is quite different from those that are borne of the collective problems and needs of the 50 states.

For now, I will take the Page Six column of the New York Post with a grain of salt. Wayne Semprini does.

Semprini is New Hampshires former state G.O.P. Chair and a close friend and political advisor of Rudys. When he was contacted about the rumor by New Hampshire reporters, he stated that he was unaware of either any trip to New Hampshire by Giuliani or any future campaign in New Hampshire by Giuliani. Semprini reportedly said, Maybe he is just going skiing.

In the end, you cant rule out a run by Rudy, but if he is really still interested in electoral politics, why did he not first try to run for U.S. Senate or Governor in New York . The state really needed a good candidate to run against either Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand or Andrew Cuomo. As far as I am concerned, he let both New York and the G.O.P. down by not stepping up to plate and challenging any one of them and his last campaign for president was hardly a campaign at all. So why should I trust him to effectively challenge Barack Obama now?

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