It’s NOT About the Economy, Stupid

Republicans are preparing to come to a rugby game in their best golf pants.

The world is different than it was in 2008 when we were caught with a war candidate going into an election that was all about the economy.  This time we have the best business man money can buy and we are about to go into an election that is all about the constitution, social issues, personal freedom, and the size of government.

Yes, I know.  Today the economy still sucks.  However, with the expanded power of the Fed and the Presidency, we are going to see just how much the President actually can affect it in the short term.  For example, leading into the 2010 election, the Fed had over $2 trillion in stock securities on their balance sheet and Wall Street was inflated.  Mainstream Media and administration spokespeople called that Obama’s summer of recovery.  Obama also ramped up federal spending and provided tons of government jobs.  Unemployment, as it is in our current “recovery”, remained mostly unmoved.  Despite all the tax hikes hidden in Obamacare, Obama said he was a tax cutter.

So why did we win big in 2010?  Social conservatives, lead by the TEA Party, made the election about deficit spending, constitutional rights, social issues, and personal freedom.

I keep hearing that only Romney can win because only Romney is focusing on the economy.  But Romney’s solutions on the economy include a redistributive tax policy that hits up the top 1% and a plan to increase the minimum wage and price low skilled labor out of the work force.  So why is Romney the economic guru who can save us?  Because he is a successful businessman.  But that won’t get voters to the polls in 2012, especially when Obama sinks another trillion dollars in imaginary money into the economy this summer to make the election about what Americans really care about: social issues.

Think about it this way.  How much more would you pay in extra taxes if it meant abortion would be made illegal?  Or legal, if that is your preference.  Democrats are willing to pay a great deal to force everyone to cover birth control and abortion pills.  I don’t think most Democrats have realized yet just how much Obamacare is going to cost them in higher insurance premiums.  The only Democrats who don’t know that Obamacare is all about social issues and government usurpation of personal freedom are still waiting for insurance rates to magically fall.  I have bad news for them.

Obama and his energy secretary have openly admitted that they want to let oil prices keep going up so that Americans will stop using oil.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t put wind, solar, coal, nuclear, ethanol, or algae in my gas tank.  And I’ve already inflated my tires.  That’s ok though because it’s not about the economy, stupid.  It’s about social issues.  It’s about greenhouse gasses and global warming and Obama is going to win on that because Romney is focusing on the economy.  Instead of fighting Obama on the social issue of whether the government should steal our freedom to protect us from made up scientific threats, Romney will be talking about how he is the best guy to grow the economy.

When the economy is artificially inflated this fall and “I’m the best candidate to grow the economy” rings hollow, what will we have left?  Don’t be fooled, Obama is already running on social issues.  Obama and his party are fighting for big government that will take care of and coddle every poor voter they can get their hands on.  What will we have?  Someone who will promise those poor coddled voters that he will provide them with the opportunity to work hard and be successful?  That’ll get the moderates to the polls.

In general, Americans oppose taxpayer funded abortion.  They oppose federally mandated gay marriage.  They oppose federally mandated funding for abortion.  They oppose big government and big deficits.  They oppose the current size of government.  They oppose the President stealing their rights in the name of coddling them.  These are TEA party issues, not establishment issues.

2012 isn’t about the economy.  At least it won’t be.  We’re about to run the wrong candidate, again, based on January issues for a November election.  What will get people to the polls in November is whether we want a President who will prevent taxpayer funded abortion, or a President who once voted to let doctors perform abortions after the baby is born.  Where do you stand?

The worst possible scenario for Republicans in 2012 will be a race where a significant percentage of Americans don’t care who wins or think the candidates aren’t that far apart.  We saw that in 2008.  The only way Republicans will win in 2012 is if we run a distinctly conservative candidate who gives Americans a clear choice.  Vote for the radical Liberal or the radical Conservative.   The more moderate a candidate we run, the more moderate Obama will look in comparison.

If the moderates stay home in 2012 and the 40% of conservatives beat the 20% of liberals in the country, I’m ok with that.  The strategy of getting the moderate vote and praying the 40% of conservatives will hold their nose and show up is a sure loser.

Affair Story Could Change Minds

Herman Cain may not have impressed pundits with his handling of the sexual harassment and assault charges that were leveled at him with no proof, and in some cases no names attached to the victims.  But he has managed to keep many of his loyal supporters from losing faith.  Support from Cain’s wife and his own direct denials turned a potentially ugly situation into a he said/she said where his supporters had a reason to rally around him and his detractors simply had one more negative thing to say about him.

Now, someone who Cain describes as someone he thought was a friend is coming out and alleging a 13 year affair with Cain.  Cain apparently had knowledge ahead of time that she was going to come out and attempted a pre-emptive denial.  The big difference here is that Cain did know her, remembers that he knows her, knew she was going to come out with this allegation, and considered her a friend.  People who you think are your friends don’t usually make up stories about 13 year affairs.

The problem with this story is that if it changes peoples’ minds about Cain’s character, then every other dismissed accusation is back on the table.  If Cain did it and decides to come clean and admit to an affair, he can forget the support and especially the trust of his supporters.  If he continues to deny this affair, he will keep his loyal supporters but may not gain enough support back to regain relevance.

The best thing that could happen for Cain’s campaign at this point is for one of the women who made accusations to come out apologetically admitting that she made the story up.  Either that, or an alibi.

Why the Cain story is so big

Let’s be honest.  There really isn’t much to this Herman Cain story.  After a week of the media acting like Cain had raped a woman, had an affair with an intern or broken some federal laws or something, all we know is that he allegedly did something to someone a couple decades ago. In the grand scheme of things, the Cain story is the biggest non-story since we discovered that George W. Bush was a drunken AWOL airman because Dan Rather had a fake letter that said so.

The intensity with which the media has been following this story has consumed major media resources.  So let’s look at what the Cain non-affair story might be hiding.

– Administration scandals such as Fast and Furious and the Solyndra affair continue to get juicer as Congress subpoenas the administration for documents they have been slow about releasing

– Occupy Oakland protests show the true nature of the Wall Street Mob as protestors get violent and start destroying public property.  The movement is finally stooping to the level we have come to expect from liberal, leaderless mob protesters, especially union supported mobs.  Now the media is working hard to find OWS protesters who look enough like they are in charge of something who will disavow the violence.  Of course, poll that crowd and you are sure to get even responses either way.

– Speaking of union led protests, a story that has barely entered the Cain filled news cycle is yet another document shred drill at the ACORN offices in New York City.  ACORN is shredding documents and firing workers as fast as they can to cover up the extent of their involvement behind the scenes with the now Democrat bought and owned Occupy Wall Street movement.

– Wall Street meanwhile ended a winning streak on Friday after job growth came in lower than expected and downright anemic compared to what the economy needs to start making significant strides towards reaching reasonable employment levels.

– After taking millions in bonuses, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae execs are reporting billions in losses and Freddie Mac is asking for $6 billion in new bailout funds.

– Obama’s jobs tax hike bill continues to face bi-partisan opposition, though he is choosing to blame it all on Republicans.  Meanwhile, Democrats are blocking Republican jobs provisions that don’t kill jobs at the same time by raising taxes.

– And perhaps the biggest scandal fresh on the scene and being ignored by major media outlets is the Jon Corzine fraud story.  Remember Bernie Madoff?  He was the guy who tricked investors into giving him money in a grand pyramid scheme which worked great until he ran out of money.  Corzine did it the legal way.  Corzine’s investment company, MF Global, found a legal loophole that allowed him, without investor knowledge, to take funds out of investor accounts as a “loan” to fund business operations.  When the investors went to get their money, they found it wasn’t there.

So how is what Corzine did legal, you might ask?  Simple.  Jon Corzine is a well connected Democrat, former senator and New Jersey governor.  He was a star at Goldman Sachs where many administration officials cut their teeth.  When Obama regulators considered eliminating the loophole that allowed Corzine to steal from his investors’ brokerage accounts to fund business operations, Corzine himself personally lobbied them (all his friends), into not regulating out that loophole or even requiring proper accounting for it.

Throughout the 2012 campaign, we will continue to hear the same mantra about how we need regulation to prevent what happened in the past from happening in the future.  In this case, we have another example of the hand in glove relationship between Democrat politicians, Democrat corporate CEOs and Democrat regulators.  And as usual, the media ignores it.  Why?

Because a conservative allegedly did something offensive to a female employee 20 years ago.  For all we know, he picked his nose while she was in the room.  No names, no specifics, just enough to inspire the tabloid writers we used to take seriously.

Gingrich Preparing New Contract With America

Newt Gingrich has promised a new Contract with America to be revealed next week in Iowa.  Newt seeks to turn around his fortunes after stellar debate performances have failed to spark a surge in the polls.  While most will acknowledge that Gingrich is one of the smartest, if not the smartest person in any political room he enters, many are turned off by his low charisma, history with regards to the Clinton impeachment, and perceptions about a floundering 2012 primary campaign.

I wrote last week that there is a disconnect surrounding Newt’s campaign.  So here are my questions for the readers:  Will Newt’s new Contract with America help his campaign?  Do you like Newt?  Why or why not?  And this is an entirely different question: would you vote for Newt?  Consider this post a research project.

Is Paul Electable? Only As GOP Nominee

He came in behind Michele Bachmann.  And don’t be fooled, Ron Paul was actually trying in Iowa.  So is Ron Paul really a top tier candidate now?  Jon Stewart seems to think so.

Actually, Ron Paul probably would win in a head to head with Barack Obama.  For a second tier candidate, he polls pretty well in head to head matchups with Obama.  The problem is, in his own party primary he comes in a consistent fourth at best.  Add Perry, minus Pawlenty, no change for Ron Paul.  Real Clear Politics has Ron Paul in sixth place right now behind two candidates who aren’t even running.  And I hate to say it, but Guiliani doesn’t have a shot.  Still, he outpolls Paul in the GOP primaries.

Is the lack of media attention really because we are afraid of Ron Paul winning?

Is Paul electable?  Sure.  As the GOP candidate he would make up for lost Republicans he has alienated with independents he appeals to.  Unlike McCain who went after fiscal liberal independents, Paul would go after social and national security liberal dependents.  He would actually take these away from Obama.

Shoot, I’d vote for Ron Paul over Obama.  But I’d also vote for half the Democrats over Obama at this point.

Www.dailypaul.com has suggested that half the Republicans want a third party.  That’s great, throw in half the Democrats and half the Independents, get them to agree on Paul, and you might have a case for a third party Paul run.  As it is, polls show Paul would only play spoiler as a third party candidate.

So is it a big deal that Ron Paul came in second behind Michele Bachmann in Iowa?  I’m going to say no.  Now, if he wins the Iowa Caucus, that might be something to talk about.

Pawlenty’s Demise Focuses Crosshairs on Obama

Tim Pawlenty bowed out of the race  on Sunday morning.  He cited a poor showing in Iowa and no clear path forward.  In his exit statements, Pawlenty offered what had been missing from his campaign.  Pawlenty said:

“I’m doing this because I love this country and I want to defeat Barack Obama because I think he’s got it on the wrong course…but I don’t get my identity or my sense of worth or my values or my faith from politics. I get it from my personal faith in God, and I believe in this country, I love this country, I thought I would have been a great president.”

And with that he summed up what he should have been saying all along in this campaign.

Pawlenty's strategy of attacking frontrunners failed to rocket him to the front

Instead, Pawlenty became memorable for coining the term Obamneycare, attacking Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul for never accomplishing anything, while allowing himself to easily slip into the category of being a copy of another candidate.  Pawlenty was the governor who balanced the budget without increasing taxes beyond a cigarette tax.  But that didn’t separate him from nearly half the other candidates.  In fact, Pawlenty’s biggest differentiation was that he was the sole candidate outside of Ron Paul to go after his GOP rivals in a race that thus far has been mostly focused on Obama and liberal policies.

The loss of Pawlenty and inclusion of Rick Perry will help focus this race more on Obama as each candidate contrasts themselves with him instead of with each other.

Pawlenty was a good candidate with good credentials coming into this race.  However, after his performance in the last Iowa debate I was surprised that he did as well as he did in the Iowa caucus.  Pawlenty is making the right choice by stepping out of this race, and the tone of the race will be better without him.  The key to winning the 2012 GOP primary is becoming more clear.  Candidates need to contrast themselves with Obama and then win on ideas.  In this stage of the game, going after fellow GOP candidates is not yielding much fruit.

Ron Paul: Last Hurah? Or Serious Contender?

There is one place Ron Paul is not planning on being in 2012.  Paul has announced that he will not run for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2012.  However, Ron Paul says this announcement does not signal retirement.  It signals that he is ready to go the distance in the Presidential race.

To be honest, I have found the announcement puzzling.  Paul has run for President before, and then focused on his district once the primary was over.  He has done this and won.  So why not this time?  The campaign line is that he wants to focus more on the race, and I think the intentional signal is that he is closer than any of his previous attempts.

Ron Paul has been in this game for a while

Instead, two alternative messages are coming across with this early Congressional retirement announcement.  Message number one is that he is getting old and is ready to hang up his hat after one last primary battle.  I don’t think anyone doubts that Paul could win his district again after this primary.  This raises questions as to how much fight Paul actually has left in him.  Should we elect a President who is actually ready to get out of the business?

The other message, and perhaps a more disconcerting message, is that Paul may be considering a third party run at the Whitehouse if he loses the primary.  If he is not ready to exit the political scene, this option best explains his confidence that he will in fact be in the Presidential race next fall no matter what.

Romney Inspires Open Wallets

The April-June quarter numbers are in for the Romney, Huntsman, Cain and Pawlenty camps, and if donation figures are any indication, it is clear why Romney is still the front runner.  Romney has raised nearly twice as much as the other three combined.

Romney fundraising solidifies his front runner status

Romney has raised about $18 million.  Huntsman and Pawlenty have each raised about $4 million and Cain comes in with $2.5 million.  Romney is also conserving his funds, having more left in the bank at the end of the quarter than the other three have raised at about $12 million.  Things are looking good for the Romney camp.

Huntsman joined the campaign late, but AP speculates that half the money he has raised came from his own funds.

Bachmann, who has not released her figures yet, saw a big spike in May.  Her April-June contributions may confirm her current runner up status.

 

Update: Ron Paul beat out Pawlenty and Huntsman by raising $4.5 million in the second quarter, while Newt Gingrich raised a measly $2 million and is reportedly deep in debt.  Bachmann and Obama have yet to release their numbers.

Perry: Social and Fiscal Conservative?

Governor Rick Perry has set the standard for Republican governors when it comes to surviving this economic malaise.  In fact, rookie governor Rick Scott of Florida acknowledged Perry’s successes by attempting to start an economic competition with him.  In one sense though, Scott is winning.  Scott has already balanced his budget.

Obama has made abortion a US foreign export, says Rick Perry

On the other hand, Perry is struggling to fight a Democrat filibuster in his state in his attempt to close a $27 billion budget shortfall, second in size only to California.  Perry is finding himself  in the same boat as many Republican governors who have had to make cuts to education and other social spending in order to keep his state afloat.

While the Texas budget battle could make or break Perry’s short term future, his ardent pro-life and pro-states rights views will give him an easy in among social conservatives.  Perry recently spoke in Los Angeles to a pro-life Hispanic group and raked President Obama over the coals for expanding the destruction of human embryos for research and his reversal of the Mexico City policy which had prevented taxpayer funding of abortion overseas.  Perry said that Obama has made abortion a US foreign export.

Aside from the Texas budget, Perry’s biggest issue may be dealing with the ten point rule.  Perry is a conservative governor from Texas with that familiar southern drawl.  Though he surpasses Bush in articulation, the unfair charge of being a George W. Bush II is sure to rear it’s ugly head.   If Perry can anticipate and dismantle that argument early on, he may be able to contain such sentiments with the extreme left who wouldn’t vote for him anyway.

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.

Social War Threatens Daniels’ Truce

Governor Mitch Daniels has an opportunity to be a breakout star in the 2012 primary. He is seen by many to be reserved and quiet, but he has done an incredible job in Indiana and has caught the eye of many because of it.

Daniels has also caught the eye of independent groups as he has called for a truce on social issues to focus on the nation’s fiscal problem. This has caused many to see him as someone who can unite the country to face our debt head on. However, Daniels’ truce is about to receive it’s biggest test. In Indiana, state finances and social conservatism are about to collide.

The Indiana house and senate have overwhelmingly passed a bill that would end state funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, ban Medicaid from being used at facilities that provide abortion, and will require doctors to give women information on the abortion process from the fetus perspective before performing the procedure. The bill will save Indiana millions of dollars, but it will also turn social liberals sour on Daniels if he signs it.

Mitch Daniels faces a make or break decision

This is a moment of truth for this potential GOP nominee. The Indiana congress has the votes to override a veto. Mitch Daniels does not need to sign this bill. But whether he signs it or not, this decision will set the tone for a Mitch Daniels presidential candidacy. For someone who recommended a truce on social issues, Mitch Daniels has found himself standing in the center of the battle field with a gun in his hand. Which way will he turn?

This one decision has the potential to win or lose the TEA Party and religious base of the GOP. With that base, and the strong fiscal record he has already developed, Mitch Daniels would be lacking only a shot of charisma to sweep the 2012 primary. Without the TEA Party and religious base, Daniels’ best hope is a vice president spot on the ticket.

Considering his signature is not needed, this choice may seem inconsequential. With 2012 in view, this decision means everything. So far, Daniels has stated that he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether or not to sign the bill.

Surprising Results in Evangelical Poll

The Barna Group is perhaps the most respected Christian Evangelical research group. That makes their recent poll findings particularly startling when it comes to who Christians might support in 2012.

Perhaps not the results you expected

In a poll of Catholic and Protestant Christians, the candidates with the highest negatives were Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. This is especially surprising considering the incredible support these two have put behind traditional family values.

Newt’s unfavorable ratings in the mid 40’s very likely relate to his nagging marital infidelity issues from 16 years ago. While most political bases find such things to be easily forgivable, the Christian base is not so forgiving nor will they defend Newt’s actions. This could make a Christian grass roots support base difficult to build.

Palin’s highest negatives are even more surprising. When it comes to Evangelical Christians, most pundits would consider Palin to have that category wrapped up going into this race. However, this poll is reminiscient of the Family Research Counsel’s straw poll that put Palin behind Romney, Huckabee and Newt Gingrich in a straw poll won by non-contender Mike Pence.

This is not a mainstream media poll and it was not reported by mainstream media. Perhaps the message to Sarah Palin coming from Christians is that whether they agree with her or not, they don’t want her to run. At any rate, without the Christian vote, she does not have a prayer.

Perhaps what I found most surprising was the favorable rating for Mitt Romney. I don’t think anyone was shocked to see Huckabee do well in a poll of Christians. Romney on the other hand struggled to get Evangelicals to vote for him in 2008 due to his liberal history and Mormonism.

My suspicion is that many Christians have resigned themselves to the possibility that they will not be voting for their favorite candidate in 2012, but instead will be voting for the best candidate who can defeat Barack Obama. When this poll is viewed in that light, it makes sense that front runner Mitt Romney would get high ratings; as would Huckabee who Christians love but acknowledge will likely not even run.

George Barna suggests that no matter who the Republican candidate in 2012 might be, they will be “bloody and half-poor” coming out of the primary.

 

 

What do you think? Are you a Christian or values voter? Leave a comment and tell us if you are planning on voting for the candidate who most represents your values, or a candidate who is not Barack Obama but can beat him.

Debate Caliber

With Newt inches from running in the 2012 primary, the one comment I have heard most from Republican friends is much fun it would be to watch a Newt/Obama debate. Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent on McCain, I think most of us would admit that he was a great campaigner, but not the best debater.

George W. Bush was a good debater. So good in fact that I remember the conspiracy nuts saying that Bush had a hidden earpiece and a box shaped transmitter between his shoulderblades for one of his debates with John Kerry. I was always impressed that the guy who single-handedly planned and carried out 9/11 so that he could start a war for oil, couldn’t afford a small CIA wire instead of a large box-shaped transmitter. Come on now people.

Gingrich is an incredible debater. For example, in his debate with Mario Cuomo, he got Cuomo to admit that if Democrats ran on their actual agenda, they wouldn’t win elections.

Gingrich went to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention and debated Sharpton, who is also the founder of National Action Network. They debated among other things, race and education. He debated John Kerry on energy policy. Gingrich has not backed down, and has carried himself as an absolute gentleman in the debates.

Many have written Gingrich off before he leaves the gate. Liberals, who somehow manage to see through the plank in their own eye, have quickly attacked Gingrich’s 16 year old marriage infidelity. Some on the right fear that Gingrich will lack the energy and charisma to take on the Obama youth machine and will end up becoming the Fred Thompson of 2012.

But there is no denying that a Gingrich/Obama debate would be epic. Gingrich has more than quick thinking and intelligence on his side. He also has a vast knowledge of history, both recent and distant.

When McCain went on the View, Whoopi Goldberg asked him if returning our country to the US Constitution would mean that she should have to worry about slavery coming back. McCain couldn’t answer the question. Gingrich would have no problem quickly pointing out the folly of the question itself because Gingrich knows what the constitution says and why it says it.

Too many Republicans are facing 2012 with a fatalist attitude. Unfortunately, many have already written off the upcoming election. I challenge you to think this way: imagine a debate between Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama. If that doesn’t get you re-invigorated about 2012, I don’t know what will.

Palin polling strong…on issues

Can Palin Make a Comeback?

Sarah Palin has front runner Mitt Romney out polled on social issues and national security. She tops Gingrich on social issues, national security, and the economy. Her biggest weakness according to a recent Gallup poll is on Government spending and power, where she ranks behind Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich. Unfortunately for her, that was also the top issue according to respondents.

Huckabee wins the Government spending and power question with Romney right behind him.

Mitt Romney had a balanced performance in the poll, except when it comes to social issues. Here he only garnered 7%, where he still beat Gingrich by one point.

Gingrich took it on the chin in this poll, falling behind in every category except the Government spending and power category where he barely edged out Palin.

Gingrich Faces Uphill Battle

CPAC demonstrated that the issues that drive Republicans to the polls in 2012 will vary between libertarian, social conservative and fiscal conservative with surprisingly less overlap than the party has seen in the past. Romney will do well with fiscal conservatives, but may struggle to get enough of a majority if he cannot improve his social image among conservatives.

Palin’s low rating for Government spending and power surprised me a little bit. She was hit hard in this area when she ran with McCain and put herself forward as a standard for fiscal conservatism and smaller government. This standard was severely tested in the 2008 election and no stone was left unturned. Even her prominence in the TEA party has not helped her restore her image in this area.

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