Republicans Unveil National Debt Clock Inside GOP Convention to Underscore Need for New Fiscal Leadership

Bookmark and Share   Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will unveil tomorrow a national debt clock mounted inside the convention hall of the Tampa Bay Times Forum – a compelling visual reinforcing the desperate need for new fiscal leadership in the White House.

The debt clock will be activated Monday at 2 p.m. when the convention convenes.

The national debt is at a record-high $15.9 trillion and has increased by $5 trillion during the Obama Administration. The last few years have brought the sharpest increase in the debt under any U.S. president.

“This clock reminds every delegate and every American why we are here in Tampa – because America can and must do better,” said Priebus. “Every American’s share of the national debt has increased by approximately $16,000 during the current administration.

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are the right leaders at the right time for America. They will turn this fiscal mess around, get people back to work and set our country on a strong foundation for generations to come,” Priebus added.

Upon his swearing in as Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney inherited a roughly $3 billion budget gap. He led an effort to balance the budget and left the commonwealth with a rainy day fund of more than $2 billion upon leaving office.

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Gary Johnson Preparing to Bolt from the G.O.P. and Seek the Libertarian Presidential Nomination

Bookmark and Share  The Independent Political Report recently revealed that former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will be withdrawing from the race for the Republican presidential nomination,  and instead, begin pursuing the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

While this news is dramatic, it is really more personaly dramatic for Gary Johnson than it is for most American voters.  To them the real news is that Gary Johnson was running for President in any Party.

Johnson was one of the first candidates to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, but few ever knew.  His lack of nationalname ID and seeming lack of personality made it quite hard for Gary Johnson to ever really have a chance to catch on with the public.  In addition to scant media coverage of his candidacy, little to no interest in his candidacy gave few media outlets any desire to cover his campaign.  White House 2012 contacted Gary Johnson several times in an attempt to give him the opportunity for such coverage, but apparently, he decided that no coverage was better than any coverage by White House 2012.

Now it would seem that Gary Johnson has come to accept the vicious cycle of political anonymity that he exists in and is ready to to try to become a big fish in the little Libertarian pond, instead of being a Guppy in a big lake.

While news of any aggressive moderate or right of center candidacy can significantly harm Republican chances of defeating President Obama,  Gary Johnson’s third party candidacy will have little effect on the election even if he wins the Libertarian nomination.  Whereas such a campaign by Ron Paul could doom any chance of beating President Obama 2012, the same does not hold true for Johnson,  whose Libertarian bid for the presidency will only prove to generate the same kind of voter attention and enthusiasm that his failed campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has generated.

In many ways, Johnson’s inability to run a campaign that could get his message out is a very sad state of affairs.

As a popular two term Governor, he became one of the few people to actually deliver on limited government and reducing the size of  government.  He is also one of the few elected officials who has actually governed in accordance with the fiscal conservatism that he preaches.  Compared to Ron Paul, Gary Johnson is actually a much better leader.  While Paul preaches, Johnson did what he preached.  While Ron Paul has accomplished little to nothing in his attempts to reform government, Gary Johnson has actually achieved reforms.

Truth be told, if I had the opportunity to elect Johnson governor of my state, I would.  He is a true small government, fiscal conservative.  However, like Ron Paul, he and his policies lack any merit when it comes to what is the federal government’s main constitutional repsonisibility…..foreign affairs and national security.  Sadly, this is a disqualifier.  It is also one of the reasons why no one has taken Gary Johnson seriously as a presidential candidate.

Ultimately, Johnson’s potential third party candidacy is the best thing for him and for the Libertarian Party, he is the next best thing to Ron Paul for them and it is probably what Johnson should have done from the very beginning.

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President Obama a one term president?

According to the CNN Poll of Polls, which is an average of the most recent national surveys, 45 percent of Americans approve of how the president is handling his job and 51% disapprove, a short term boost largely attributed to the recent success in Libya. 

It is now 364 days until perhaps the most economically important presidential election in generations both nationally and internationally. The president has already raised more money than all his GOP rivals combined. Obama hopes to raise nearly $1 billion for his 2012 re-election bid. There is no doubt, President Obama has enjoyed considerable success in the war on terror and in his pledges to drawn down American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan which many, believe to be politically motivated, rather than a matter of military decision making.

How would I rate President Obama’s re-election chances? I still see it as very much a 50-50 chance for the following reasons; while people may disapprove of his administration in many areas, President Obama is still personally very popular, especially among minority groups who are expected to have a big influence on the outcome in 2012. He will have considerable funds and the support of the liberal media on his side, which, cannot be under estimated and above all, it is the ability of the GOP to unite behind a credible and strong candidate that will ultimately have the biggest influence on the outcome in 2012. Don’t under estimate President Obama’s campaigning ability and rhetorical skills, he will prove an extremely determined competitor, and if his manages to get people to remember why they liked and voted for him in 2008, it will be difficult for any GOP contender to beat him.

President Obama following his many recent travels appears determined not to concede key swing states like North Carolina, Indiana, Virginia, Florida, Colorado and New Mexico.  A year is an extremely long time in American politics, and things could change the odds in President Obama’s favour.  Economic growth could exceed expectations, and the unemployment rate could start to turn on a downward trajectory restoring some of the much shattered economic confidence in American households. My own personal belief is that the current administration seem incapable of making the fundamental policy shift in curbing spending and lowering taxes, to really deliver a boost to economic growth and this has only been further solidified by Democratic support for the Occupy Wall Street protests of recent weeks, and the attacks on the entrepreneurial spirit which has made America a great nation for the last century.

James Carville the famous and respected Democratic strategist coined the phrase, “It the Economy stupid” when former President Clinton was running against former President Bush Snr. amazingly, President Bush Snr. enjoyed an astounding approval rating of 89% just over a year before the election and went on to lose. In this coming election the phrase for the GOP should be, “It’s Jobs stupid.” A record number of Americans, 49.1 million are poor, based on a new census measure that for the first time takes into account rising medical costs and other expenses. External debt now stands as % of GDP at an incredible 101.1% and unemployment is at 9%, higher then even the biggest sceptic believed it would be following the stimulus plan. Unfortunately, President Obama’s economic team have only created uncertainty surrounding healthcare costs, tax and regulation over the last three years, these three factors alone are the biggest reasons why job growth in American has come to a standstill practically.

A Washington Post/ ABC polling today showed only 38% of American’s approved of President Obama’s handling of the economy against a disapproval rating of 61%. The reality is, if people took out President Obama’s personal appeal and focussed on his job performance and implemented policies during the first two years of his administration, the outcome of next years election would be a foregone conclusion with a GOP landslide. However, this election is going to be unlike any other. Personally, I believe substantively only Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich really have the experience, credentials and ability to beat President Obama in a head to head with the exception of Ron Paul who may benefit from a failure by the international community to resolve the debt crisis. It is important that the GOP nominee sells the message that they are the person capable of restoring America’s economic prospects and focus on facts.

The strategy to an Obama victory seems set to be played out in the Midwest states where President Obama still enjoys popular support and on portraying an “Under Dog” tag. The Democratic Party machine will unleash the fiercest and most personal attack campaign American electioneering history has witnessed. The president has already tried to use class divide and emotional scare tactics to frighten voters into supporting him, the one fact which cannot escape President Obama is his record.

Don’t believe the “Under Dog” status, President Obama will be the best supported and financed “Under Dog” in political history. The choice for American’s like previous elections, “Are you better now then you were four years ago come November 6, 2012”.

The eventual GOP nominee will need to focus on President Obama’s record, which is partly why, I believe Speaker Gingrich may be the best bet for the GOP nomination due to his factual, precise and eloquent communication skills. It promises to be the mother of all contests that is for sure.

Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright Moment

Bookmark and Share On Friday afternoon, at a meeting of the annual Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C.,  Texas Governor Rick Perry found himself involved in a controversy not of his own doing.  Instead it was the man who introduced him to the evangelical audience that brought the controversy on  to Rick Perry.

At around 2:30 in the afternoon, in his introduction of Perry, Southern Baptist Convention leader Robert Jeffress, who recently endorsed the Governor, described Perry as “the most pro-life governor in the United States of America.” He also touched upon the gaffes made by Perry in the last debate by saying, “do we want a candidate whois skilled in rhetoric, or one who is skilled in leadership?”.  He went on to call him “a committed follower of Christ.”

But 45 minutes later, when speaking to reporters, Jeffress told reporters that Mormonism is a “cult” and that voting for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would “give credibility to a cult”.  He also stated that he endorsed Perry only as an individual, and that he would not tell his church members how to vote. But he further stated that he is planning to give a sermon this Sunday in which he talks about “how a  Christian should vote.” Jeffress added that among the criteria is that the person they vote for be a Christian.

According to a live blogger at the summit reporting for the Washington Post, Jeffress also told reporters that many evangelicals were afraid to talk about Mormonism but would have a hard time voting for a Mormon candidate.

At the same time Jeffress also confessed that as a pastor he was “not nearly as concerned about a candidate’s record on fiscal issues or immigration issues” as he is with their social conservative bona fides.

That however is a view which contradicts the political realities of the 2012 election. And as demonstrated by the highly motivated TEA movement, is not the most important aspect that they are seeking in a candidate.  In fact for many of them, it is just the opposite.  They are looking more for a Republican candidate who while having moral values, will stay out of people’s personal lives.

That fact was not missed by Governor Perry.  For he delivered a speech that focused less on faith and more on his record of job creation.

Despite the fact that the group he was addressing was gathered together to celebrate the fundamentals of the Christian faith and socially conservative values, Perry chose to make the point that he was running on a message of economic recovery.  Such was most likely a tactical campaign decision based on an attempt to not allow rivals to paint him as a religious fanatic who would take the same priorities as Jeffress, to
Washington in 2013.

Ironically though, the remarks made by Jeffress did little to help his endorsed presidential candidate.  In fact, Jeffress only did more to hurt Perry.

Evangelicals have no problem with Rick Perry.  They know all that Jeffress tried to convey to them about Perry at the Values Voters Summit.  However, Perry will have a problem with voters who are leery of having a President focused more on social issues than the economic and foreign affairs issues that the office of President was designed to addressed and which are in desperate need of being addressed properly.  For those people, Jeffress did little to win over any converts to Perry.   And at the same time, he pushed a very sensitive button regarding religious tolerance and bigotry.

But Jeffress is probably less concerned with getting Rick Perry elected than he is with selling a new book that he has coming out.

For his part, after Jeffress made his off the cuff remarks, Rick Perry had his campaign distanced the him from Jeffress.  They noted that it was the organizers of Values Voters Summit that chose Jeffress to introduce the Texas governor, not the campaign. However it was later confirmed that Perry approved of having Jeffress introduce him.  Based upon Jeffress’ longstanding and well publicized history of religious intolerance, Rick Perry should never have allowed Jeffress to have the opportunity to be an representative of Perry’s supporters.  Allowing Jeffress to introdcue him was indeed a big mistake.  Either that or Perry does not see much wrong with Jeffress’ intolernace and bigotry.

Perry spokesman Robert Black did released a statement that read “The governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult. He is not in the business of judging people. That’s God’s job.”

Whether that is true or not, no one can’t know for sure.  All we can do is take Perry at his word.  But interestingly enough the words that Jeffress speak do happen to be suspiciously scripted.

According to CBS, during Jeffress’ post Perry speech comments, he claimed “I did not talk about my Mormon views” with Perry, and added, “I’m not insinuating that the governor shares those at all — he may not.” described himself as only an acquaintance of Perry’s.  “I did not talk about my Mormon views” with Perry.   He continued, “I’m not insinuating that the governor shares those at all — he may not.”

Jeffress then said the following words which rang some alarm bells with me;

 “I haven’t gone coyote hunting with him,”.

They were the very same seemingly unrehearsed words he spoke in an MSNBC interview  on August 14th  [see the interview below] .  Personally, it sounds to me as though there is a lot more coordination between Jeffress and Perry’s campaign than some are willing to admit.

In another interview, this one on Fox News Live, back in June of this year, Jeffress expressed his disappointment in Mike Huckabee’s decision not to run for President.  He also stated that without Huckabee in the race, Chrsitians may be faced with having to hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two evils.  Jeffress then claimed  to being non-partisan and then professed that he is  only concerned with “the next President being committed to eliminating the tide of un-Godliness and evil that is sweeping our country”.  He even admits  “while Romney may make a good President”,  but adds, “we better understand that if we vote for Mitt Romney we are not voting for a Christian”. 

Observe the video for yourself.  I believe you will find this religious leader to be preaching a level bigotry that is so obvious, that is actually offensive.  I can only say that thank God most true Chrsitians are not as ignorant, bigotted, and intolerant as Robert Jeffress is.  And when I write “intolerant”, I do not mean it in the politically correct sense which is to deny the truth.  I mean it in the sense of trying to defy logic and closing doors based upon perceptions, not actual facts.

 The only way for Rick Perry to really nip this in the bud is to do more than distance himself from Jefresss.  In many ways this could be Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright moment.  That is why Perry needs to denounce Jeffress for his prejudices and defend Mitt Romney for having what may be religious differences but are most certainly Christian values.  If he does do not do so, Mitt Romney could turn what initially seems to be a relatively minor verbal hiccups, into a major issue that he could turn around to his advantage.

In this day and age, for Americans to hold prejudices against a political leader because of their faith, is nothing other than an example of backwards thinking and a contradiction to the very constitutional principles that the G.O.P. is trying to stress the need for our nation to return to.

As for Robert Jeffress, I am sorry to say this, but he is an ass.

I say so not neccessarily because of his beliefs but because of his obvious insincerity and the mixed messages that he as a religious leader, sends.  Personally, I think he is more concerned with selling his new book than he is with either whom our next President is, or Jesus.

But how does Mitt Romney feel about it all?  We may get the chance to find that out on Saturday, when Mitt is scheduled to address the Values Voters Summit himself.  His approach to the evangelicals gathered there will be quite interesting, especially in light of the assault made upon him and his faith by Perry supporter Robert Jeffries.

Trunkline 2012: Friday’s Campaign Trail News – 10/07/11

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Palin Will Still Be the Cause for the Next Big Media Driven Maelstrom of the Election

Bookmark and Share A day after Governor Sarah Palin made it official that she would not run for President in 2012, the leaders of Team Sarah sent out the following email to their extensive list of supporters.

Team,

We’re not retreating, we’re  reloading!

While the announcement that Governor Sarah Palin will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for the office of President of the United States came as a surprise and disappointment to many,  let’s not forget that we have all been called to “fight like a girl” in an effort to restore our country.  It’s a call to stand with Governor Palin and to continue fighting for the conservative values of smaller government, free markets, life, and family.

Team Sarah members will continue to march towards the 2012 elections advancing the values and principles that Sarah Palin represents in the political process.  We will join Governor Palin in the fight to secure many victories for commonsense constitutional conservatives at all levels of government.

The email seems to be representative of the sentiments possessed by most Palinistas.  While they are disappointed by the fact that there is no chance she will become President in 2012, they are not disappointed in her.

Palin’s supporters appreciate her seeming lack of ambition to hold political office.  That is why they understood the thinking behind her sacrificing the second half of her only term as Governor Alaska and did not hold it against her.  They understood that the political firestorm that came with the liberal assault upon her was going to make it easier for her successor to advance the agenda that she set, faster and further.  Palin’s lack of political ambition is what attracts most people to her.  They understand that her opinions and words are not driven by the political motives which are usually behind the  words and policies of your average politician.

That understanding and the enormous number of people who support Palin for her ability to articulate what they feel and think, and her desire to be honest and blunt about those sentiments, is the same understanding which gave birth to the TEA movement.  That is why for many, the two go hand in hand.  It is why Palin is a darling of the TEA movement.

It is also why Palin’s decision not to run, is likely to have as much of an effect on who will be the next Republican nominee, as she would have had if she decided to run for the nomination herself..

That is why pretty soon, the news will be dominated by another topic.

With names like Daniels, Barbour, Ryan, Christie, and Palin definitely out of the race, the endless speculation about who is running which kept many from getting behind any of the actual declared candidates, has finally stopped.  There is little talk about who can jump in and change the complexion of the race.  But with the front loading of the primary and caucuses actually forcing the first votes in the nomination process to begin taking place in as few as 12 weeks from now, the next media prompted maelstrom will be who Palin is endorsing.  There will be a similar media focus on who New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also endorses, but ironically and quite figuratively, the Palin endorsement will carry much more weight than Christie’s.  Her support of a candidate could open doors for candidates like Romney, Santorum or Gingrich, candidates who desperately need TEA activists to just consider them as viable choices.  Candidates like Herman Cain and even Rick Perry don’t need such an opening to the TEA movement.  They already have strong support from many sectors within the less spending, less government, more liberty cause.  But a leading candidate like Mitt Romney can ill afford Sarah Palin promoting one of his opponents.

That is why Sarah Palin is very likely to be pivotal in the Republican nomination contest. And probably more so in the nomination process than the general election contest where she will probably not be able to change the minds of those supporting or still considering supporting President Obama for reelection.

In the meantime, Palin holds the power to change the course of history.  If she so chooses, she can actually be a determining factor in who the next Republican nominee and subsequently the next President is.  Such an assertion is only made more evident by the above letter from Palin supporters which confirms their desire to stand with Sarah Palin through thick or thin.

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Even the “Average Joe” Knows President Obama Can’t Win in the Obama Economy

Bookmark and Share  Vice President Joe Biden is probably one of the G.O.P.’s best friends.  He has a real propensity for always saying the right thing ………..for Republicans.  His latest statements to verify that came Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum, an invitation only, two day forum for leading newsmakers at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The event is sponsored by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute.

During an appearance at the forum, Biden stated that  the shaky economy has left many Americans in “real trouble“, and made clear that the Republican Party is strong enough to beat President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.  Note how he said “President Obama” and not “us“.  Joe may be dumb but he is not without an ego that would prohibit him from sharing the blame for the economy that he said will be responsible for the defeat.

According to Joe, a significant majority of the American people don’t believe the country is moving in the right direction. You think?  He adds that such a public perception is never a good place to be going into re-election (no kidding), regardless of whether it is the current administration’s fault or not.

Biden defended the Administration though when he suggested that the economy has still greatly improved under President Obama.  He states that he is  counting on voters recognizing how deep the recession was and how much the economy has improved under the Obama Administration.

To be fair, credit must be given when it is deserved.  Joe is right about the strength of the Republican Party going in to the 2012 presidential election.  However, honesty is not always welcome in politics, especially if you are a liberal trying to promote the benefits of unsustainable spending, increased taxation, and socialist policies.  For that reason, the Vice President is not likely to get a pat on the back and hear a sincere thank you from the President for his honesty.  Instead he might hear something more along the lines of “Way to go, Joe.  Thanks for the encouraging words”.

The episode does demonstrate one thing though.  It shows us that the Administration sees the writing on the wall.  So much so that even the “average Joe” can read it.  That means that the Obama re-election team is surely preparing a campaign based on desperate attempts to run an extremely negative campaign against the Republican ticket, regardless of whose names are on it.  If they understand that voters will have very little reason to support the Obama-Biden ticket for reelection, there only chance will be to make the opposition look worse.  That means that while the President will try to resort to discussing issues with little detail and great flowery, rhetoric, His surrogates and ad men will be attacking attacking the Republican ticket with verbal assaults that are based on personal matters, and far-fledged distortions of records.

This conclusion is only verified by Joe Biden.

His comments on the 2012 election at the Washington Ideas Forum offer us a glimpse of the Administration’s mindset.  They know that they can’t win on the one issue that is likely to dominate the election…… the economy.  Oh they will try to wage class warfare, they will incite the anger of their big union base and take advantage of the underprivileged.  They will even play the blame it on Bush card and try to morph the Republican presidential nominee into Bush.  But in the end, the American people understand that saying that sat upon President Truman’s desk and read, “The buck stops here”.   And the fact that no bucks are flowing in to the economy, will only make most voters more aware of who is responsible for that.
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