Romney’s to Lose

If you’ve followed recent polls, you might be tempted to buy into the media consensus that the race is over.  However, if you know whose side the media is on, it’s easy to figure out why they have come to this consensus.

Has Romney really lost?  Try this: conduct a poll of your own.  Do you know anyone who voted for McCain in 2008 who is voting for Obama in 2012?

Obama will argue in the debate that the economy is getting better because the stock market is over 13,000.  However, the high mark for the Dow is an expensive mask to cover the ugly economy we live in.  The government has borrowed more than a trillion dollars a year from our grandchildren and the Fed has deflated our future by $2.8 trillion to help get us to that 13,000 figure.

In the meantime, unemployment is over 8% and average wages have dropped.  So Wall Street is richer under Obama and the rest of America is poorer.  Where’s the 99% when you need them?

It has been pointed out that Obama cannot expect to receive the same levels of support among various segments of society that he did in 2008.  He has alienated many black voters with his support of gay marriage and failure to produce results that help them.  He has alienated many Hispanic voters as well by failing to keep promises on immigration reform and by selling weapons to Mexican drug lords.  Obama is not as cool as he was in 2008, which will hurt the youth vote, and many Americans have realized that assuaging their racial guilt is not worth the cost to the American economy.  The National Journal shows Romney with an 8% advantage among independents.  Obama cannot win if independents swing to Romney.

So how can Romney lose?  Simple: disaffected Republicans, Conservatives and Libertarians may stay home or vote third party.  Obama doesn’t need 50% of the country to vote for him.  He just needs his 47% and 7% to stay home or vote third party.  Even with the awful job Obama has done, it is still very possible that 7% will stay home or vote third party.

Many Christians will not vote for a Mormon.  They won’t vote for a Black Liberation theologian either, but Obama didn’t need them in 2008.  Obama knows this and has started push polling Catholics with robo-calls asking if they can vote for a Mormon.  Many Christian Republicans will avoid Romney because he is perceived as more liberal and a Mormon, whereas they might have voted for McCain in 2008 even though he was also perceived as more liberal.

Libertarians will feel free to vote for a third party candidate because they don’t see any difference from their perspective between Romney and Obama.  Many of these are idealists who support Ron Paul and Gary Johnson and see Romney as a big government Republican.

Conservatives may stay home if they believe Romney is going to lose.  Conservatives lean more realistic than idealistic, but are more likely to allow their vote to be suppressed by negative news and polls close to the election.

Romney’s key to success will be preaching the American Dream from a small government, individual responsibility perspective.  Believe it or not, his 47% “gaffe” may end up working in his favor.  Americans could use a healthy dose of optimism and a restoration of faith in the American Dream.  Even independents will vote for that.

Obama: Vote for Romney

Obama made a huge ecnomic policy speech in Ohio today.  He reiterated much of his Keynesian stump speeches from the last four years.  Then he gave a clear, unintentional endorsement of Mitt Romney.  Obama said “If you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney”.

Obama’s self-delusional miscalculation is that he thinks things are better now than they were 6 years ago.  In fact, Democrats in the House and Senate might really want Obama to just shut up now.  Let’s consider the “polices of the last decade”.

When Pelosi/Reid took over Congress, they inherited a 4.4% unemployment rate.  At the end of 2008, it was 7.3%.  The last time unemployment was under 8% was January, 2009.

Since 2002, George W. Bush had 27 months of unemployment under 5%.  Obama had one month, his first in office, with unemployment below 8%.

The last month Republicans controlled the House and Senate, December 2006, unemployment was at 4.4%.  The last month Democrats controlled the House and Senate, December 2009, unemployment was at 9.9%.

In fact, Obama has a job growth chart that he loves to show (right up until May) that shows jobs lost and gained.  But he only shows it since 2008.  I’ve included the graph below since 2001.  Note the correlation between job growth and who controls Congress.

Was Obama talking about Bush, or Pelosi/Reid?

Obama has attempted to hit Romney on job creation by saying Romney’s state was as low as 47th in job creation.  But what Obama does not mention is that at that point Massachussetts already had 4.7% unemployment.  It would be the equivalent of saying LeBron James is short because he grew fewer inches than any fifth grader this year.

While Obama cheers an unemployment rate that has dropped to 8.2%, real unemployment remains at about 14.5%.  This rate includes people who have dropped out of the workforce and people who have taken interim under employment.

The last time the deficit was under $1 trillion was 2008.  The last time the deficit was under $500 billion was 2008.  In fact, even adjusted for inflation, you would have to add up all of Bush’s deficits going back through 2004 to equal one of Obama’s.  The last time we had a monthly budget surplus?  September, 2008.

The message from Obama was clear.  If you want 4.4% unemployment, you need to elect Mitt Romney and Republicans to the House and Senate.  If you want deficits under $500 billion per year, you need to elect Mitt Romney.  If you want unemployment at 9-10%, give Pelosi/Reid control over Congress.  If you want another four years of trillion dollar deficits and unemployment over 8%, re-elect Barack Obama. If you want the policies of the last decade when we had a record number of months of job growth, then do what Obama said.  Vote for Mr. Romney.

Does He Have Their Back?

In Barack Obama’s mind, black people listen to gospel music mixed with a sort of 70’s techno-rap.  At least that’s what I got out of his recent ad targeting one part of America based on their skin color.  Obama’s divide and conquer strategy relies on race politics and getting people to vote for him because they share the same color skin.  After all, that’s what worked in North Carolina in 2008 when 95% of blacks voted for him.

But recent polls are showing that Obama’s racial politics may not have the same decisive effect in 2012.  Already his support among black voters in North Carolina has dropped to the mid 70s.  Perhaps it has something to do with minorities questioning if Obama really does have their back. 

Unemployment among blacks has soared to the highest level in 27 years.  In fact, while unemployment among whites has dropped slightly, it continues to rise for blacks.  Guess when the last time the unemployment rate was below 10% for blacks.  During the Bush administration.

Obama wants blacks to have his back. Does he have theirs?

In fact, despite Kanye West’s claim that Bush didn’t care about black people, they certainly fared much better under a Bush administration than they have under Obama.  In fact, from 2002-2007, the number of businesses owned by people who identify themselves as black rose by an unprecedented and historic 60%.  That was more than triple the overall rate of business growth for that period.  Economically, blacks did much better than their white counterparts under a Republican administration.

Aside from economics, Obama has come down on the wrong side of several social issues for blacks as well.  Blacks still oppose gay marriage by a large margin.  In fact, while blacks were helping hand Obama California in 2008, they were also helping California define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to oppose abortion than whites, but there is still an odd disconnect where pro-life blacks are more likely to vote for Democrats.  On the other hand, Obama and Democrats have been intensely pro-abortion.  They have not paused their agenda at the doors of religious institutions, but instead are working to force religious groups to pay for some forms of abortion for their employees.

Democrats have pursued blacks aggressively with identity politics.  But in 2012 the tide may turn.  The key is a little bit of pursuit by Republicans.  In the past, Republicans have written off the black vote as a waste of campaign cash.  This time around, Republicans should take the time and money to win back a segment of America who should be the natural allies of the party of Lincoln.

Part of the issue facing Republicans is that the racist attacks on black GOP members is nearly as intense as the anti-women attacks on female Republicans.  While Democrats accuse Republicans of using racial codewords, such as “cool”, to describe blacks, Democrats have openly used racially offensive language against black GOP members in order to diminish their roles.  How does calling the President too cool compare to calling Allen West an uncle Tom?

If Republicans can deliver on what Obama promised, national unity and healing, then they have a good chance at defeating the identity politics of the left.

The Student Vote

There is a truth that Obama will have to face in 2012.  The majority of reasons students voted for Obama in 2008 are irrelevant or evaporated in 2012.  He is not running for the historical title of first black President in 2012.  He did not close Gitmo or bring our troops home, in fact he started a war in Libya.  He did not provide free health insurance for all.  Most of all, he has done nothing to guarantee all these sociology and philosophy graduates jobs when they graduate.

John McCain was not inspiring for student voters.  He was old, determined to win the wars America got into, white, male, loved America, and he was a Republican.  Students have it drilled into their heads that this represents the great satan.

Romney may not be the next great satan to the educational institution, but he certainly isn’t the hip symbol of progressive diversity that Obama was.  However, Romney doesn’t need to win the student vote.  He just needs Obama to lose it.

Obama is still popular with teachers, who by and large are enslaved to their unions and engrained socialism.  But students now have a record to go on, and the novelty has worn off.  The funny thing about students is that they tend to be idealistic purists as often as they are naively ignorant.  The same student who would trade an A for a six pack might also skip the Avengers movie because certain details don’t conform to the comic books.  Obama is certainly not everything American students hoped and dreamed about.  In fact, students who are honest with themselves would realize Obama is nothing that they hoped and dreamed for.

Obama has a special sort of hypocrisy that attentive students will sniff out.  Obama might flash his environmental credentials to a crowd of students, but then in front of business owners he touts how oil extraction has increased under his Presidency even if he had nothing to do with it.  He might tell students how he is bringing our troops home, but then he celebrates excursions into Pakistan to kill terrorists and Libya to do nation building.  He may make overtones to the gay community and talk about equal rights, but look how fast his administration is throwing Biden under the bus for endorsing gay marriage.  Perhaps in 2008, young students might be fooled.  But now Obama has a record.

Obama can’t even win on student loan rates since he demonstrated those take second place to his healthcare legacy.  Republicans wrote a bill to keep student loan interest rates low, but Obama has opposed the bill since it is paid for by tapping a special fund created by his healthcare law.  Obama would rather pay for it by borrowing more from China, which will cause interest rates to balloon even more in the long term.

The difference between a student voter and nearly any other of Obama’s target groups is that as purists students will not vote for the lesser of two evils.  Students won’t vote for Obama just to keep Romney out of office.  They have been taught two things very well: follow your heart, and your vote doesn’t count.  This frees them to vote for Rosie O’Donnell, write in their dorm-mate’s name, or skip the voting booth altogether to stay home and put those free morning after pills to good use.

Can Obama afford to lose the student vote?  Not if you believe the statisticians who put the student vote at 1/5th of the population.  A significant decline in this voting block for Obama means Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia,  and Colorado, even if they simply stay home.

Obama’s Only Prayer: Forward

Forward.  Please, don’t look back at the last three years.  Look forward to a new set of baloney, magic wand promises, not back to failed bandaid solutions, corruption, out of control spending, and a political ideology that has favored friends and taken freedoms from many Americans.  This is the perfect campaign solution for a President who failed and wants a second chance.   In fact, I found it to be refreshingly honest.

Forward is a complete contrast to Obama’s last implied campaign slogan of “look at the last 8 years”, by which he actually meant look at the last two years.  Of course, look at the last two years was a great slogan in a Presidential race in 2008.  Looking at how Pelosi/Reid had run congress since 2007 turned out to be the Democrat party’s downfall in 2010.  In fact, it is telling that Obama appears to have abandoned his earlier plans to run against a do-nothing congress.

Romney would be wise to run a campaign on contrast.  Romney could contrast Obama’s bliss over 8.1% unemployment to Bush’s unemployment rates in the 4% range. While the media continues to stoke anti-Wall Street sentiment, Romney still connects when he contrasts his years of business experience with Obama’s youthful, socialist ideologies mixed with lack of experience.  On the same note, Romney might also mention the difference between the years of peaceful, clean and respectful TEA Party protests compared to the violent, ignorant Occupy Wall Street groups who caused millions of dollars in damage on May 1st of this year.

To start, Romney could simply contrast the lack of enthusiasm in 2012 with the fainting and worshiping masses Obama inspired in 2008.  For example, in Obama’s “first” campaign speech of this year, he couldn’t even fill a stadium in the swing state of Ohio.

The key for Romney in combating Obama’s “Forward” campaign is capturing the conversation and creating pictures for the American people of what forward will look like under Obama.  Contrast that with a picture of forward under Mitt Romney, and Obama’s best shot at a winning campaign could become his liability.

Obama’s Red Badge of Courage

From listening to the tale retold, you would think that not only was Obama on Seal Team 6, but that the choice to pull the trigger was as a more difficult decision then say giving military the order to shoot down civilian planes, as one President did ten and a half years ago.

Don’t get me wrong.  Obama deserves as much credit for giving the kill order as Bush does for letting the CIA waterboard the terrorists who eventually gave Bin Laden up through actionable intelligence.    In fact, the one thing the Bin Laden anniversary should do is bring the country together.  Instead, Obama has made a political blunder by seeking to use the Bin Laden killing for divisive political gain.

Obama has released an ad suggesting that the decision he made to allow Seal Team 6 to take out Bin Laden is a decision Mitt Romney would not have made.

The only word I could think of to describe this crazy political  attack is disgusting.  The next word that comes to mind is ridiculously unbelievable, which is a reputation that Obama cannot afford.  Obama won 2008 based on a fraudulent image of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin which was promulgated by an overzealous media and semi-unbelievable overselling of hope and change.  Now that 2012 is here and Obama’s hope and change have not materialized, he is in desperate need of credibility.  This idea that he is the hero of the Bin Laden raid and Romney would have flinched destroys Obama’s credibility even with the most ardent leftists.

But this blunder also highlights a bit of Obama hypocrisy that can only hurt his chances in 2012.  When things go bad, Obama finds a scape goat.  Three and a half years later, he is still blaming the last eight years.  When things go good, even if he simply gave the go on a plan that started with an invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, included waterboarding, and was only possible because of the intelligence community and strong military who he has sought to minimize and defund, Obama suddenly is riding a metaphorical victory chariot in full military garb through the cities.  Ironically, Obama campaigned on shutting down Gitmo and ending the wars.  I’m sure those are two promises Obama is pretty happy he failed to keep.

The two days of the Obama administration that we haven’t felt the full contempt of the left towards the military were the day Obama gave the order to take out Bin Laden, and the one year anniversary.  In fact, the Democrats used the military as a pawn in budget talks when Obama had spent us out of house and home.

Whether they approve or disapprove of military spending or war,  I would have to think that at some point news outlets would have their own reputations to think about.  Obama has skipped through this Presidency like a comic character in a movie, surrounded by straightmen who clean up after him.  The media has happily turned their heads as though the only reality is the one they report.  But moves like this that display unbelievability and hypocrisy will change American minds.

For those who continue to either blindly follow Obama, or put up with his gaffes for the “greater good”, I hope they at least pause for a moment and think: It would have been nice if the President used today to unite the country.  It would have been nice if he allowed liberals and conservatives to raise their glasses together and toast the death of one of the most infamous war criminals in American history.  Instead, Obama tried to make today all about his re-election.

Romney Outpacing Obama as Conservatives Relent

With Santorum out of the race and Gingrich out of money, social conservatives are beginning to embrace their fate.  The last man standing between us and four more years of the failed Obama administration is Mitt Romney.  Gallup and Rassmussen are giving Romney a lead over Obama, and the Gallup lead is increasing.  This has been an improvement over recent weeks for Romney.

Part of the shift in the polls can be attributed to an administration in a sort of free-fall as they are racked by scandal, gaffe, and misstep.  In recent weeks, Obama was caught on mic telling the Russians his current policies are a charade, a Democrat adviser declared mothers to be out of touch and unaware of economic issues, one of Obama’s biggest donors backed up the idea declaring that Ann Romney never “got her ass out of the house” and to work, Obama’s secret service is hiring hookers, the GSA is throwing extravagant parties, and Obama is joking about finding new spots for the wealthy first family to vacation.  While Democrats criticize Ann Romney for being too wealthy and out of touch to comment on economic issues that women face, Obama is defending his wife’s extravagant vacation spending by saying it’s not his fault they have to travel with secret service.  In the meantime, Obama is tossing out vague populism and praying that something sticks.

On the other hand, Romney is being helped by social conservatives who are less and less offended when the pollster acts like Romney is the only Republican left in the race.  Santorum supporters are less willing to have their heart broken twice and are accepting that Romney is the man.

Here is where Romney has to be careful.  He is making a good move by focusing wholly on Obama, but his quest to funnel independents into his big tent could result in a simple relocation of his big tent leaving conservatives out in the cold like 2006 and 2008.  Romney has recently said he supports eliminating certain tax breaks for more wealthy filers, which quickly blurs the lines in the sand between him and Obama.

Conservatives are not looking to associate their good name with a better candidate.  They are still looking for the best candidate.  If Romney makes himself unworthy of the title, some conservatives will stay home.  He needs them more than he needs wishy washy independents.

Florida Chooses Safe and Electable

In a repeat of 2008, Florida is betting on electability.  The only difference is that this time around Mitt Romney is the one who has been deemed “electable”.  After pouring millions of dollars into off the wall, and in some cases outright dishonest, advertising portraying Newt Gingrich as a disgraced philanderer, hated by anyone who worked with him, Mitt got one huge point across.  Newt can’t stand up to a multi-million dollar smear campaign.

The argument for Mitt in Florida seems to be, “if Mitt Romney can do that to Newt, imagine what Obama would do”.  The implication seems to be that Obama has more money and could even be dirtier and more dishonest than Romney was.  That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for Mitt Romney.

Romney made a bit of his own gamble.  He won Florida with a scorched earth campaign that pulled out all the stops.  Frankly, most Floridians have a sour taste in their mouths.  Forgiving Mitt and getting excited for him may end up being a tough pill to swallow for Newt supporters, and Santorum/Paul supporters are pretty well disgusted with both candidates. McCain used some of the same tactics against Romney in 2008 and many Floridians had a hard time getting excited for McCain.

Had Gingrich performed well in the last debate and won Florida, this race would be close to done.  Instead, Romney is now back in front and has a clear path to the Republican nomination.  He is once again the presumed nominee.  At what cost?  That is the question leaving Florida.

In an interesting development, Romney garnered more votes than Newt and Santorum combined.  Just further proof that Florida conservatives surrendered to electability.

My Endorsement

In the interest of full disclosure, today I voted for Newt Gingrich and I am officially endorsing him for President.  Newt has one thing the other candidates lack, bold accomplishable ideas.  Newt’s 15% flat tax plan is the best tax plan of the remaining candidates.  Unlike Paul who talks about how we should leave the Middle East alone, Gingrich actually has a viable American energy plan that would help us avoid the next war in the Middle East.  Newt has a proven track record of being revolutionary and putting better policies above political games.  He leashed Clinton and accomplished welfare reform and balanced budgets.  Newt also has the determination and vision to argue the 14th amendment in the abortion debate to protect the unborn.

I have forgiven Newt for his personal past, as I think all Christians should.  Newt testified against Freddie Mac, against giving them money, and in favor of reforming them.  Mitt Romney has a funny idea of what lobbying is.  I also have no issue supporting a conservative who has made enemies among establishment, middle of the road Republicans.  We used to call moderates RINOs before we started consistently nominating them.

Don’t get me wrong, I will support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.  I’ll even get a yard sign and show up at rallies like I did with McCain.  But Newt is my first choice, and Romney has greatly disappointed me with the way he ran his Florida campaign.  Shame on Mitt Romney for not having enough bold ideas and vision to keep him from having to resort to negative campaigning to get elected.

Rasmussen Shows Gingrich Over Obama

In what may be a bad sign ultimately for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich has overtaken Barack Obama in a hypothetical poll for the 2012 General Election.  Newt 45, Obama 43 is the Rasmussen headline.

Certainly this is bad news for Barack Obama.  Gingrich has a great deal of distance to cover in order to win over moderates and and establishment Republicans without losing the Social Conservative base.  He has already been attacked by watchdog/attack dog Michele Bachmann for not being conservative enough on illegal immigration.  Mitt Romney is trying to portray Newt as a Washington insider, and liberals like Bruce Bartlett and Paul Krugman are trying to feed a new portrayal of Newt as someone who only sounds smarter than them.  Even Mark Steyn got in on the action while filling in for Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday, saying essentially that Newt only sounds smart because he uses big words.  Yet Newt has accomplished something other flavor of the week Social Conservatives haven’t with this poll.  Falling to Newt this early in a national poll is very bad news for Obama.

So why might it be worse news for Romney?  How about some de ja vu.  Click here for a 2008 New Hampshire poll that might remind you of how the 2008 primary went down. Romney had been the clear choice until polls started showing McCain as being the best candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.  Up until now, Romney has consistently been the best candidate to beat Obama in 2012.

Let’s be honest.  The number one concern of most Republicans when determining who to vote for in this primary is who can beat Barack Obama.  Even though any of the candidates running should be able to beat Obama, many Republicans are basing their vote on that one key: electability.  If Newt continues to beat Obama in the polls, Romney could find himself watching the November results from home for the second time in a row.

Florida is Boardwalk…

And they know it.

Florida is preparing today to announce that they are moving their primary to January 31.  While this comes as no surprise, it still angers several other states who may now have to push their primaries up as well to get their early start.  I don’t blame them, Florida is kind of acting like it’s the big man on campus.

As a Floridian myself, I figured I would bring some local perspective to the issue.  Florida is a state that has called the election in all but one of the last 10 elections.  Florida went blue in 2008, red in 2004, narrowly red in 2000, and blue in 1996.  Each time, Florida helped pick the winner.

In 2008, Florida played a huge role as a game changer for the Romney campaign.  Romney went into the Florida primary expecting a slim win.  Instead he was handed a slim loss.  John McCain went on to be our candidate, and lose.  Despite the horrible first three years Obama has experienced, Florida will likely be a deciding factor again in this general election.

Florida could be a huge game changer in this election, if the Florida straw poll is any indication.  As far as the media is concerned, this is a two man race between the faltering Rick Perry and the polished fiscal conservative Mitt Romney.  But influential Florida Republicans said no.  Let’s take another look at Herman Cain.  Shortly afterward, a Rasmussen poll added weight to the Florida game changer.  Herman Cain went from a future has-been back to contender status in one afternoon.

Let’s face it.  We know Iowa will probably go to Rick Perry and New Hampshire will go to Mitt Romney.  I think South Carolina is a toss up right now.  Florida is a clear toss up.  By moving up, Florida will get the candidates to flood the state, court the voters, and could be an early change in the momentum of the race.

Of course, other early states like Iowa and South Carolina will no doubt move up their primaries.  But Florida will still get that early say and make sure we have a voice before it truly is just a two man race.  Considering the role Florida plays in the general election, maybe other states should just get used to our bully stance.  Then again, we were the deciding factor in tossing John McCain into the ring with Barack Obama.  So maybe not.

Gore/Clinton 2012 Fading, but Hillary is Golden

Back in mid June, I wrote this.  Al Gore and Hillary Clinton would be successful primary challengers to Obama.  I think this very early prediction may need some adjusting.

Al Gore has recently joined the quickly backfiring liberal trend of charging opponents with racism in any context.  Gore, whose own father voted against the Civil Rights Act, said that global warming deniers should be treated like racists.  So, Mr. Gore, as a global warming denier myself, I’ll be expecting a gift-wrapped tie on Father’s Day.

Of course, Gore’s timing is terrible.  This is also the week that Andre Carson declared that TEA Party members would like to see blacks hanging from trees.  The constant charge of racism, especially towards a multi-racial group like the TEA Party, is getting stale and ridiculous.  At this point, Democrats who make charges of racism every time someone disagrees with them have lost credibility.

Enter Hillary 2012.  Back in June I didn’t think Hillary would have success at the head of the ticket because she lost in 2008 and has worked for Obama ever since.  In fact, hiring Biden and Clinton were probably the smartest things Obama has done politically. Now, I think she may have a better chance.

The worse things get, the more nostalgia sets in.  People start to fool themselves into thinking Hillary could be as moderate as her husband became when Newt ran Congress.  Already, 32% of Democrats are admitting they need a primary challenger.

Hillary could pull a Rick Perry, riding a wave of anti-current field sentiment and quickly becoming the front runner.  By entering the race now, she would be a fresh face.  She would carry the excitement of being something new and different.  She would bring change, the only thing more distracting to a Liberal than a shiny object.  She could offer the Democrats everything Obama has failed to deliver on, even though her similar policies would produce the same results.

If ever Hillary was going to be President, 2012 would be her year.

 

Debate Recap

The commentators in the Iowa debate finally succeeded in getting the Republican candidates to go after one another, and the result was a distinction between the boys, the girl, and the men.  Here is my assessment:

Newt Gingrich

I would name Newt as the winner of this debate.  He presented something the other candidates could not, a clear record on the economy and government with the exact results Americans want today that was left mostly unassailed.  Newt vented his frustration early at Chris Wallace over what came across as unfair questions, but was able to then produce reasonable responses.  Gingrich had a better grasp of history and economics and managed not to contradict himself.  I doubt it will be enough to kickstart his campaign again, but he looked and sounded most like the candidate who could turn our economy around.  Newt said what every American was thinking, the supercommittee part of the debt deal is a stupid idea and Obama should call Congress back to fix it.

Mitt Romney

Romney proved once again how effortless this race has been for him.  When Pawlenty shot across his bow with a jab at how much property he owns, Romney shrugged it off like Michael Jordan would if he wasn’t picked first in a neighborhood game of pickup basketball.  Romney looked and sounded like a professional and did not allow Wallace, Pawlenty or anyone else to shake his demeanor.  In fact, he made almost everyone else look like amateurs, especially Pawlenty and Bachmann.  Romney positioned himself as the successful businessman, accomplished politician, and leader.  In fact, when Cain touted his independent business success, when Pawlenty talked about balancing his budget and cutting spending and taxes, and when Pawlenty and Huntsman talked about leadership, Romney kept coming to mind.  He ignored interparty skirmishes and focused on Obama, which is a key in this race.  His only slip up was trying to discuss the semantics of state versus federal constitutional restrictions.  I think his point was a good one, especially when he asked Wallace what he knew about Massachusetts constitution, but ultimately the point was lost on the other participants.

Ron Paul

Republicans still don’t like Ron Paul, and he is still abrasive.  However, he came in third in this debate because he toned down the abrasiveness and instead mixed in some well earned “told ya so”.  Paul made key points on the Fed, the debt, the debt ceiling deal, the precariousness of our currency, and the costs of war.  These were timely points and made well.  He did not leap into easy traps on military spending that he has fallen into before that come across as disrespect for men and women in uniform.  Paul was also able to better articulate his views on social issues.  In the past he has come across as more liberal than libertarian.  This time he was able to articulate what be actually believes about gay marriage and abortion, stating that our liberties come from our creator, not government.  He may not win over the mainstream religious right, but will win over some more religious libertarians and constitutionalists.

Rick Santorum

Yes, believe it or not, Rick Santorum is fourth on my list.  His performance will most likely not change anything, but as a second tier candidate he exceeded expectations.  He was well prepared, made logical answers to the questions asked, and avoided harmful entanglements with other candidates.  He continues to represent George Bush neo-conservatism and will continue to bring useful balance to the debate.  He still has no chance of winning.

Herman Cain

Cain came across as the most unknowledgeable of the candidates.  He presents a good story of a businessman outsider seeking to change Washington’s business side.  However, Cain does not present a well rounded candidate that voters would trust on issues of foreign policy or domestic social issues.  Until he can get past soundbites to real plans and strategies he will not garner the needed support.   He was the only candidate to drive home the growth aspect of turning our economy around in a real and tangible way.

Jon Huntsman

Who?  His late entry, semi-liberal credentials, and lack of energetic or unique performance make Huntsman an afterthought.  He was like an off-brand candidate.  Aside from cyberwar with China, nothing he said really stood out.  If Huntsman was not at the next debate, I doubt most viewers would even realize it.  For example, remember that candidate from New Mexico, the Ron Paul wannabe?  What was his name again?

Tim Pawlenty

Chris Wallace was able to get under the candidates skin and even inspire direct confrontations between candidates.  Mostly though, the culprit ended up being Tim Pawlenty.  In a role usually occupied by the perennial anti-GOP establishment candidate Ron Paul, Pawlenty went after Bachmann, Romney, and whoever else got in his way.  He came across as a third place candidate trying to remind people why he is in this race, or at least that he is in this race.  I did not enjoy listening to him.  When he wasn’t on the attack, he was apologizing for cigarette taxes or highlighting things he did as governor that both Romney and Huntsman have on their resume.  In a race where the focus needs to be on Barack Obama, Pawlenty allowed himself to fall into the hands of the commentators and make for some great controversial TV.  Personally, I think this primary would come to a much better result without Pawlenty.

Michelle Bachmann

The loser of last night’s debate was Michelle Bachmann.  When Pawlenty attacked her, she fought back and lost.  Pawlenty managed to paint her as more of an ideologue than a successful conservative champion.  Pawlenty highlighted her lack of results, and she let that stick.  I believe she did receive some of the more unfair questions, including the one about submitting to her husband, but instead of recognizing those questions for what they were, she showed why she is not the caliber of Newt or Mitt and engaged the questions as though they were credible concerns.

Honestly though, what earned Bachmann the F was when she failed to return to her podium on time after the commercial break.  She is trying to overcome this idea that she is an unprofessional activist, not a serious contender.  However, her tardiness, fumbling over major points such as combining pro-life and taxes in bills, and engaging Pawlenty in unscripted arguments show why Bachmann’s runner up status has been purely on the substance of her popular TEA party beliefs, not because she is a polished candidate.  Conservatives may like her in the polls, but when they go to vote I think we will see them be more likely to send a quarterback than the mascot in to play.

Believe it or not…Ron Paul could win

Ron Paul is notorious for stacking and winning straw polls.  So his latest victory at the Republican Leadership Conference comes as no big surprise.  In fact, national front runner Mitt Romney came in fourth behind Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann and John Huntsman, if that tells you anything.

But this time around it just may be too early to write off Ron Paul.  In the past he was rarely taken seriously as anything more than an ultra-libertarian issues candidate.  This time, his issues speak to America’s condition as an overbloated bureaucracy in debt up to our ears, in a new war with no meaning, a weakened currency, and a whole lot of social issues that would be a lot easier to live with if the government didn’t have to take a stand either way.

Third time a charm?

Unlike 2008, we are now wrapping up the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and they are no longer playing such a perceived crucial role in America’s defense.  Instead, we are now bombing our allies in Libya and fighting both sides of a civil war at a cost of a million dollars a day.  Unlike 2008, we are living with an administration whose deficits every year have nearly matched the entire 8 years of the Bush administration.  We have a Federal Reserve that seems out of control, especially after printing $500 billion to buy US debt under QE2.  And lastly, we have a weakening dollar which is helping to drive up commodity prices and inflation.

But in addition to the issues being more conducive to a Ron Paul candidacy, many of Paul’s liberal grass roots liberal supporters haven’t figured out yet where stands on the issues.  It never ceases to amaze me how many Obama voters would have made Ron Paul as their number one choice if given the opportunity.  My amazement stems from the fact that no two candidates could be further from each other when it comes to worldviews and ideologies.  Ron Paul’s anti-establishment, bring the troops home (something Obama promised and failed to deliver) and social libertarianism on issues like gay marriage seem to be his liberal aesthetic.  But this could give him the momentum he needs to be taken seriously.  Why?

Because there is no Democrat primary.  New Hampshire is a semi-open primary, meaning that the voters with no party affiliation can vote in either the Democrat or Republican primary.  This is sure to help Ron Paul this year as social liberals who would normally vote in the Democrat primary have the opportunity to use their vote to help decide the Republican nominee.  South Carolina is another early state with an open primary.

Many Republicans find Ron Paul to be abrasive, sometimes outright annoying, and he never seems to answer the question he was actually asked in a debate.  But with no Democrat primary this time around, it might not be Republicans who make the final decision on Ron Paul.

Cain’s Gain?

Mike Huckabee made it official over the weekend. He is not running. Huckabee was one of those candidates who was able to corner a specific share of the GOP market and turn them into a cult following. As the 2008 primary dragged on and Huckabee appeared on shows like Saturday Night Live to joke about how his mathematical chance of winning required winning every remaining state, Huckabee continued to campaign and siphon votes away from Mitt Romney in crucial states.

Even coming into 2012, Huckabee has maintained a Ron Paul-like base of support who will chide media outlets for not casting him in a bright enough light or leaving him out of 2012 primary analysis. To be honest though, I wasn’t surprised when Huckabee said no this year. Any Republican candidate is going to have a huge uphill battle facing their own divided party, the media, and then the Obama political machine. Who can blame Huckabee for wanting to sit this one out and make money hand over fist at his TV show?

Can Herman Cain pick up Huckabee's votes?

So who will get those voters who faithfully showed up and voted Huckabee even after his chances of winning evaporated in 2008? Only one candidate sofar has come out firmly for the socially and fiscally conservative platform, including the Fairtax, that Huckabee represented: Herman Cain.

Cain stands to pick up many of your neighbors who have the anti-IRS Fairtax signs in their yard and on their bumper stickers. He also will pick up many of Huckabee’s fans who are also mainstream Conservative media fans. There is a great deal of overlap between Foxnews talk show fans and Conservative radio fans.

Huckabee and Cain share another large support base among TEA Party candidates. Many of these small government conservatives who supported Huckabee in 2008 will look to Cain in 2012 as the most Conservative candidate who is not as radical as Ron Paul on foreign policy.

Will this be what bumps Cain into the top tier? It certainly is an opportunity sitting on the table. If Cain can make the connections in voters’ minds, he stands to be the one to gain.

Trump Has His Way With Obama

In Obama’s birth certificate speech, where he called on others to not be divisive and then called birthers a bunch of circus barkers, Obama claimed that he was releasing his birth certificate because that story was overshadowing the budget debate. But according to ABC’s Jake Tapper, a Pew Research study showed that the budget still outplayed the birther story in the media even over the past week.

So that leaves us with two very important questions. Why did Obama release his birth certificate yesterday, and of course the big one: why did Obama wait until yesterday to release his birth certificate?

Trump Did It (?)

Trump did not view the birth certificate release as a defeat. Instead, he took credit for it, claiming to be honored that he was able to do what others had not. While this may be Trump’s ego talking, he has a point. Trump gave this story legs and legitimacy that it had not enjoyed before. Trump even got the media to start scratching their heads and wonder why Obama wouldn’t simply release it.

Trump may not end up being a serious candidate for President, but he has a charisma that most deep intellectual GOP candidates lack. Romney, Gingrich, and Pawlenty may know that Obama is dead wrong in his policies, but they haven’t stood up like Chris Rock in Head of State and shouted “That ain’t right!” to a wildly cheering crowd who doesn’t really care if he knows what IS “right”.

The other question is why wait until yesterday? Let me offer this suggestion: the birthers provided Obama with a clear extreme to campaign against. Having that issue outstanding, and the ace up his sleeve, gave Obama the chance to paint the TEA Party and conservatives as lunatic fringe. Between that and the race card, this President and his supporters have already prepared their 2012 answers to the question of “why am I not better off than I was four years ago”. What the “last eight years” did for Obama in 2008, the title racist birther was going to do the same in 2012. Now the birther card is played. One less distraction, as the President himself called it, is laid to rest. We are getting dangerously closer to having to focus on issues in 2012.

Love or hate Trump, and whether this was for his ego’s sake or dumb luck, Donald Trump has done the GOP a huge favor by gambling on the birther issue. And perhaps Trump lost this gamble, but Obama has one less ace up his sleeve.

The Ten Point Rule

It’s time to do an experiment. You are a politically savvy person. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading a blog about a primary election that is almost a year away. Some might even call you passionate about politics. Chances are, you have friends who ask you for advice on November 1st about who to vote for.

Here is the experiment. Invite your ten closest friends over and engage them in a discussion of current events and their political impact on our lives. If you don’t have ten friends, invite some acquaintances. I am willing to bet that unless you and your ten closest friends all work for the same political thinktank, at least one of them has absolutely no clue about current events or politics, but they will be voting in 2012.

I call this the Ten Point Rule. In any given election, one out of ten voters votes based on the candidate’s looks, age, gender, race, name recognition, name, recommendation from a friend, or the last political sign they saw walking into the polling place.

This is great for the Democrat party. Both parties have grass roots, but the DNC has a bus.

In 2008, as I was filling out my ballot, an elderly black man came to the booth next to me. I could tell it was his first time voting. He called the poll worker over and asked her to help him find “the one with the ‘O’ in his name”. After filling out his vote for Barack Obama, he asked the poll worker what the rest of the ballot was for.

This was a very educational experience for me, and somewhat disheartening. My young civic mind that believed that our democracy was chosen by the informed will of a sovereign people was replaced by an understanding that at a very minimum, one in ten voters couldn’t tell the difference between Sarah Palin and Tina Fey. Actually, in that case it was more than 8 in 10 for Obama voters.

The last President to win an election by more than 10 percentage points was Richard Nixon with 67% compared to George McGovern’s 37%.

The lesson of the Ten Point Rule is that voter turnout really does matter. And voter education is empowerment. Republicans must come face to face with the fact that the most effective strategy for the left in the 2008 primary is now being employed in full force in the 2012 season. In 2008, amidst all the potential in Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Guiliani, the candidate who was sent to face the embodiment of young hope and change was John McCain. McCain won partially because the one in ten were told that only McCain could win a national election against whoever the Democrat candidate ended up being. I apologize to McCain fans, but an elderly career Senator who supported both wars and was part of the 2006 Republican Senate, who said business was not his strong suit and who alienated his own party through his bi-partisanship and immigration ideas, was not the candidate to defeat the fresh young Barack Obama. Obama was a political outsider who promised no new taxes on the poor and middle class, fiscal responsibility, to bring our troops home, to close Gitmo, to do all the things the left wanted while being all the things the one in ten wanted.

Now we are being told point blank which candidates cannot defeat Barack Obama in 2012 and exactly why. I highlighted an AP piece about a week or two ago that pointed out every flaw in every major Republican contender. Already they have their polls going showing which candidates cannot beat Obama. If we could educate that one in ten on what is going on right now in our country, the shocker would be discovering a candidate who Obama could beat.

When you think about your one friend in the room who is driving our country with his or her uninformed swing vote, think about this: he or she probably agrees with you on most issues already. In 2008, Obama won California (no big surprise) and swing-state Florida. However in both states voters decided to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The majority of Americans are pro-life. This was not the case 15 years ago. Demographics have shifted, and according to a recent Fox News poll even the majority of independents are pro-life.

These are the divisive issues that the national media and DC GOP instruct Republicans not to run on and not to talk about. This doesn’t even touch deficits, freedom, and shrinking the government; issues that swept the GOP into power in 2010.

If Republicans want to win in 2012, they must put forward the best candidate and must get out the vote. That means you need to identify that friend who knows nothing about politics, and teach them which candidate agrees with them.

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.

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