These Debates Could Be Game Changers

Come on.  We’ve heard these candidates in just over one million debates so far this year.  Another one?  Another two actually, this weekend leading up to the New Hampshire debates.  And these two debates could definitely wreak havoc on the standings going into New Hampshire.

Mitt Romney is the undisputed front runner.  Ron Paul and Rick Santorum fans at this point are dreaming if they think their candidates are on a solid trajectory to win.  Not winning Iowa should be a clear sign to heavily religious social conservatives like Bachmann, Perry, Santorum and Newt that getting past Romney is going to be nearly impossible with a crowded field.  Bachmann got the hint, and Perry almost did.  As for Ron Paul, maybe if he runs two more times he can win enough support to break out of his traditional 5-10% polling finish.  Look, he’s already doing better this year than last time, and last time he did better than the time before.  That was Ross Perot’s and Ralph Nader’s problems.  They quit trying too soon.

Back to Mitt Romney.  You know he is back on the punching bag hook tonight, a place he hasn’t been since the very first debates.  Santorum wants a piece of him, Newt wants a piece of him, Jon Huntsman finally qualified for another debate and you know he wants to take Romney down a peg.  I think Perry will try to just get through the night and might take a few shots at Santorum.  As far as the #1 conservative attack dog of other conservatives, Michele Bachmann will not be there tonight to claim that Perry is in bed with pharmaceutical companies,  Newt Gingrich is pro-partial birth abortion and the number one Freddie Mac adviser responsible for the economic collapse, and whatever she might cook up about Rick Santorum while mostly leaving Paul and Romney alone.  So I think Romney will be taking the hits and the other candidates can relax their guard a little bit.

Now, on to the x factor in debates.  Newt Gingrich was finished this summer after his campaign collapsed and he proved he was in the top 1% by buying his wife jewelry.  I mean how out of touch can you get.  But, he has climbed back into contention through powerful and commanding debate performances.  Just two weeks ago, Gingrich was the front runner.  The difference between Gingrich’s fall and other candidates falls is that their demises can be tied directly to debate performance.  Bachmann with her claims about HPV and other wild attacks on the candidates, Perry with his glaring gaffe, Cain who offered 999 and 999, oh yeah and 999.  It wasn’t enough substance to save him when scandal gave nervous supporters a reason to doubt.  Huntsman affirmed his global warming stance.

Gingrich hurt himself with his illegal immigration stance, but his downfall can be attributed to the harsh attacks he faced over the last two weeks from Romney’s friends, paid allies, and former foes.  Ron Paul also attacked Newt, not Romney, with harsh ads in Iowa.  Paul has probably done the same math I have, but mistakenly thinks he has a shot with Newt’s base over Romney’s.

The debates are ad free.  They are also friend free.  The only way Romney can attack another candidate tonight without attacking that candidate directly is to pay off the moderator or a fellow candidate.  On that stage, it is going to be Santorum’s “what smells” debate face versus Perry’s memory versus Huntsman’s out of touch moderate stances versus Paul’s old shaky finger wagging versus Romney’s slick hair and nice demeanor versus Newt’s heavy hitting and quick wit and ideas.

If these debates garner an audience, this is all upside for Newt, and downside for front runner Mitt Romney and social conservative front runner Rick Santorum.  In an instance of incredible luck for the candidates in this New Hampshire debate, the New England Patriots get this weekend of playoff action off.

Bachmann’s Gamble

Michele Bachmann believes she is the best candidate for the job.  She should, she’s running.  However, unlike the two front runners, Bachmann has chosen not to differentiate herself based on ideas, but instead to attack the front runners as being more liberal as she is.  Her most recent target is Newt Gingrich, but she can also be traced to the fall of Rick Perry.

The two front runners, and Herman Cain, have done a very good job of not attacking other candidates.  The “attacks” between Romney and Gingrich over the last week have amounted to points scored on differentiation in back ground and complementary assessments of each others abilities with subtle hints as to who is better because of it.

So why does Bachmann think that attacking the other GOP candidates is a winning proposition?  Simply put, she does not believe Barack Obama can win.  In Bachmann’s mind, the GOP candidate could be Tom DeLay and Obama would still lose.  Technically, she should be right.

The administration got the best news it’s had in three years this past week.  Enough people dropped out of the job hunt to join Occupy Wall Street that unemployment (which only measures who is looking for a job) fell to 8.6%.  Now, Obama’s justice department has released a new round of incriminating documents on a Friday night to avoid the media cycle and Obama is skipping town for an extended Christmas/New Years vacation that us working schlubs could only dream of.

But Bachmann’s faith in Republicans’ will to vote for the lesser of two evils is unfounded.  Just look at how quickly Republican supporters are backing off of Cain after the most recent affair allegation.  Sure some of it is fears over electability, some of it is dislike for his 999 plan and foreign policy, but a good portion of it is different standards.  It’s the kinds of standards that make Republicans resign for tapping their toes in the men’s room while Democrats can shove a cigar in their young intern’s….well anyway.

Bachmann’s gamble is that since Obama is going to lose anyway, Republicans need to take this glorious opportunity to choose the best candidate for the job (Michele Bachmann) and not settle for a RINO (Mitt Romney), a crony capitalist (Rick Perry), or a flip flopping environmentalist (Newt Gingrich).  Instead, we should choose the TEA Party image of perfect conservatism, the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan mixed with Sarah Palin: Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann seems to think her negativity will make her be the first candidate to be a front runner, lose it all and end up in 5%ville, and then rise from the ashes a second time.  She needs to be careful that it won’t accomplish that for Obama instead.

Ann Coulter Rips Newt, Endorses Romney

In case you wanted to see the laundry list of reasons to stay home in 2012 if Newt gets the nomination, an influential member of the media provided them in a weekly newsletter last night.  No, I am not talking about George Soros.  Believe it or not, Ann Coulter’s signature is on the blade firmly implanted in Newt’s back.  Newt has been anticipating mainstream media attacks since his turn at the top began, and so far he has been handling them beautifully.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t looking over his shoulder.

Coulter, normally a reliable Reaganite, dredged up every non-rightwing conservative thing Newt has done throughout his career, and added her own arrows in the unfair Freddie Mac attack on Newt for consulting work he did over the last decade before the financial collapse.

Coulter stated that “…everyone knows the nominee is going to be Romney.”  While highlighting Newt’s couch moment with Pelosi, Coulter ignored Romney’s liberal past transgressions aside from Romneycare, whose relevance she equated to Romney being a Mormon.  Romney is a great candidate, but to hear it from Coulter, you would think he is the only viable candidate Republicans can find.

Ann, let me take a moment to address  you as one blogger to another.  First of all, if you’ve been reading my blog then you would know that Romney very well may not be the nominee.  Second, if you have been reading the polls, then you know that Romney is not the only person on planet earth that can beat Barack Obama.  Third, if you’ve been reading Obama’s record, then shame on you for even accepting the premise that he is any more electable than even Gary Johnson.  And fourth, if you had been listening to Newt Gingrich, you would know that such unfair attacks like the one you leveled against him in your newsletter will not help to defeat Obama in 2012.

The reason for the rise and fall of Socially Conservative candidates in this race is that the non-establishment wing of the Republican Party wants a Socially Conservative candidate who can beat Barack Obama.  They thought they had it with Bachmann, but it became clear she could not beat Obama.  They thought they had it with Perry, but he turned out to be an embarrassment.  They thought they had it with Cain, but his ideas on taxes and his mishandling of media attacks are threatening his chances.  They have never thought they had that with Romney.  Romney has been the man for the establishment, and he has done very well.  But he is certainly not cleaner than Newt when it comes to his record.

I have a great deal of respect for Ann Coulter.  Most of the time I agree with her.  Today, my advice to Ann Coulter is come back to our side.  If someone is going to attack Newt, let it be the enemy, not those who should be his friends.  And let the American people decide whether they want Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich to take on the worst President in our nation’s history.  If you need some ideas of things to write about, shoot me an email at whitehouse2012blog@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to talk about Solyndra, Jon Corzine, Fast and Furious, Occupy Wall Street’s assassination attempt, Obama thinking Hawaii is in Asia, UNICEF’s US funded war on foreign adoption, the debt super committee, or a whole host of other topics your readers would rather read about than a hit piece on Newt Gingrich.

As Predicted

Newt is finally getting to taste the view at the top.  In the latest Public Policy Polling poll, Newt has climbed to the top, edging out Cain and Romney.  In fact, in this poll Newt was the only candidate with noticeable upward mobility.  Both Cain and Romney saw declines, while Perry slipped far closer to 5% oblivion with fellow candidates Bachmann, Paul, Santorum, Huntsman and Johnson.

Newt's turn as king of the hill

Newt’s ascension is no surprise to this staffer after Cain’s sexual harassment troubles refused to go away, his 9-9-9 plan came under scrutiny, and he gave a foreign policy debate performance where he may as well have said on a clear day he can see advisers who know something about foreign policy from his front doorstep.  Ok, low blow.  But you have to admit his debate performance was not up to Newt/Mitt standards.

Mitt Romney continues to occupy his base of supporters, but this poll may indicate that many who supported him as the only viable candidate are also giving Newt a second look.  This is especially true considering things like the latest Whitehouse12.com poll that shows high negatives for Cain and Romney, but relatively low negatives for Gingrich.

What Newt Gingrich needs to do now is avoid saying anything stupid.  The top spot in the GOP race is precarious.  And Newt is not spotless.  At times he means well, but is misunderstood.  While he has chalked up his couch time with Pelosi and his weak campaign start as stupid mistakes, such an excuse will not carry him through January.  Gingrich needs South Carolina and Florida to go his way before he can start feeling at all comfortable, and that is a ways away still.

And that’s time

In a short hour and a half, made up of minute responses and thirty second followups, the GOP candidates once again took the stage to answer questions from semi-respectful moderators.  In a debate most looked forward to by Ron Paul fans, Paul received very little time. We have seen pretty much all there is to be seen about candidate style, and many of these questions were repeats.  So here are the winners and losers:

The Good

Mitt Romney won this debate.  His answers were calming, yet clear and determined.  He portrayed the very stature Americans are looking for in a Commander in Chief, and he highlighted American Exceptionalism.  This area is a strong suit for Mitt, and one that does not involve any sort of past flip flops or policy changes.  His answers should give him a bump among social conservatives who are inspired by terms like American Exceptionalism.

Newt at one point had to school the moderators on war versus criminal law.  In some ways this debate seemed frustrating for Newt, but that is an aspect of him his followers often like to see.  Newt brings the fight to the moderators and to the left and usually wins.  Many of his answers were right on, but others were somewhat vague.  One thing that Newt will lose points for is how loosely he called for covert operations in countries like Iran and Syria.  This is something Newt has brought up as a policy in debates and speeches in the past, but is something better left unsaid.

Jon Huntsman did well in the debate.  The question on a tradewar with China is a favorite of most media moderators because it gives them a chance to toss Huntsman an easy softball.    Foreign policy hits many of Huntsman’s strong points without touching many of the issues that conservatives hate him for.  It won’t matter though, Huntsman is done.

The Bad

Santorum did pretty well.  He has the unfortunate bad luck of being a candidate on the back end of two long wars and sharing a policy that sounds eerily like Bush’s.  On the other hand, Santorum seemed to be saying that we need to keep funding Pakistan and being their friend because they have a Nuke.  True or not, Santorum is not going to win American hearts saying implying that we must borrow from China to pay off Pakistan to be our friend.

I have a feeling that media moderators purposefully cut Paul’s debate time short on debates like this to get his supporters riled up.  Get ready, we are going to hear about that for the next week or so.  Paul didn’t do bad for most of the debate, but some of his stances are really not correct.  The idea that the United States must capture a citizen who has declared war on the United States and bring them in to face civilian court, or that non-uniformed terrorists have any sort of rights under US law is wrong and violates precedent.  Gingrich and Perry were absolutely right on those counts.  Paul’s supporters were being their typical selves in the debate as well, to the point where the mods had to admonish them to be respectful.  They are another liability of Paul’s with the overall GOP.

Herman Cain reminded me a lot of Rick Perry in recent debates.  Without 9-9-9 to fall back on, Cain was slow in responses, vague, and seemed as though he would happily defer to a future self, surrounded by knowledgeable generals and advisers.  That’s great, but that is not leadership.  In that respect, Huntsman showed up Cain, and even Gingrich, when he said if a nuke was loose in Pakistan he would secure it.  Cain really did not give a performance that screamed “I am a leader”.  Instead, each response sounded like “How can I answer this without ruining my campaign”.

The Ugly

Michele Bachmann continues to be unimpressive and unmemorable.  She scored some points rebutting Ron Paul, but seemed to spend most of the night trying to get the moderators to let her respond to other candidates.  She also seemed to get less time.  However, I will give her a great deal of credit for her answers on ways to trim military spending without hurting the military.

Rick Perry still doesn’t debate well.  And once again he found himself as the butt of several jokes, made both by the moderators, himself, and Senator Graham.  Perry’s idea of zero based budgeting for foreign aide is a great idea, but the only reason it’s his is because he got to say it first.  Gingrich and Romeny both articulated it better when Perry was done.

But allow me a Newt Gingrich moment to say this.  The real loser was Barack Obama.  The candidates made it clear, once again, that every single one of them would run foreign policy better than Obama.  Several drove home the point that Obama had a range of good choices and bad choices and made all the bad ones and none of the good ones.  The only ambivalent candidate who actually seemed to end up on Obama’s side for some things was Ron Paul.  This is one of the aspects of Newt Gingrich’s leadership because he has focused these debates on defeating Barack Obama, and when Newt sets the tone the other candidates usually follow.

CNBC versus the GOP

Last night the GOP candidates went into hostile Michigan to face a hostile set of moderators who were booed into sticking to economic issues by the crowd after an unfair detour against Herman Cain.  In all, the night turned into somewhat of a circus.  Hopefully, the GOP will shun CNBC in the future, as this was the worst and most unprofessional case of moderation we have seen.    But aside from that, let’s get to the winners and losers.  First up…

It floored me when they tried to ask if companies should be making a profit or growing jobs.  Excuse me, but how the heck do you create jobs if you aren’t making a profit?? Gingrich’s response was beautiful. Watching the moderator rolling her eyes when Gingrich said a 30 second answer on healthcare was ridiculous was fun to watch.  But my favorite answer of Gingrich’s was on education, where he offered a real life example of a real life solution that addresses the issue of education that is getting exponentially expensive with much cheaper results.  As someone who works full-time, is a full-time grad student and has been in college for a decade following various business and religious pursuits, I connected with Gingrich’s answer and could not agree more.  This morning Neil Boortz in a morning phonecall to WOKV implied that Republicans needed to worry about who could beat Obama, not who would be the best President speaking of Newt Gingrich.  Bull.  Gingrich keeps winning debates because he is the smartest man on that stage.  And he made a joke out of those bombastic, rude moderators.

Rick Santorum did well.  This doesn’t mean anything, he still can’t win.  But he did highlight his leadership on things like medical savings accounts and gave viewers no reason to mark him down.  He has struggled in debates, but performed well last night.  Ron Paul also did a good job.  He avoided saying anything outlandish and produced a solid, constitutionalist approach.  Bachmann did well, but was once again forgettable.  Huntsman also did pretty well, though his attempt at “answer this in 30 seconds?” humor sounded like a lame, screwed up retelling of a good joke.

Mitt Romney needs to understand his precarious position.  He is stuck at 30%.  The rest of the GOP voters are looking for not-Mitt-Romney as their candidate.  His smoothness, economic savvy, and gaffe free debate performances have gotten him this far (along with a great deal of establishment money).  He needs to figure out how to get himself the rest of the way.  He has to find a way to make Social Conservatives trust him. Mitt, if you are listening, make a major statement in favor of state personhood amendments.  Consider that step one to breaking into the 40s in the polls.

Herman Cain also has hit a roadblock, but it is a policy roadblock.  I think many viewers were left with the feeling that if nuclear missiles were airborne from China heading for the US, President Cain would be on the phone with the Chinese President telling him how his bold plan, the 9-9-9 plan, could solve their problems by growing China’s economy.  9-9-9 is to Herman Cain what Windex was to Tula’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  This one dimensionalism will leave him open to a Gingrich rise.  On the other hand, Cain did very well defending himself against accusations which are more and more looking like racist smears from the Axelrod/Democrat machine.

Rick, Rick, Rick.  By the way, if you want to see the sexism of the left, just watch how long Perry’s crash and burn stays in the media cycle and blogosphere compared to a Palin or Bachmann gaffe.  Talk about not being ready for primetime.  I think Perry likes to start talking and get rolling, and that’s why he sometimes forgets what he was talking about mid-sentence.  No excuses.  You are running for President of the United States.  Running before you secure the ball is how you lose games.  Running your mouth before you have your answer and grasp on the issues is what makes Presidents say stupid things.  E.g. Barack Obama talking about police officers who arrested his professor friend.

What Cain Has In Common With The Boyscouts

Cain may not be a current member of the Boyscouts of America organization, but he does share something in common with them.  Today Cain became the latest target of Gloria Allred, a liberal feminist lawyer who once sued the Boyscouts because they wouldn’t let a girl join.

This isn’t the first time Allred has played attack dog for the left either.  Allred represented Rhonda Miller in the 2003 sexual harassment case against popular GOP Gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzeneggor.  The case was eventually dismissed and Arnold won, despite admitting that in his youth he had “behaved badly”.  What that meant wasn’t revealed until after his time as governor came to a close.

Allred is the feminist version of an ambulance chaser.  She even went as far as to represent Kelly Fisher in a lawsuit against Dodi Fayed for breaking off his engagement with her to date Princess Diana.  How about that, fellas.  How would you like to be sued for breaking up with a girl?  Of course, Allred dropped the suit when the evil Fayed died with Diana in an infamous automobile accident.

There are some high profile cases of women being harassed, and even raped, that Allred has ignored. Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, and Juanita Broderick come to mind.

So now there is a name and a face to the accusations that have been coming up against Cain.  There are also two unreleased affidavits of unnamed friends who allegedly can corroborate her story.  Interestingly also, Bailek and the other accusers were all former employees, disgruntled employees, or employees on the chopping block.  Cain apparently was smart enough not to sexually harass any permanent employees.  Meanwhile, Cain continues to deny all of the accusations.  Is Sharon Bailek telling the truth?  Now that we have a name, and timeframe, it shouldn’t be too hard to check some of the details.  As more backstory comes out, the public will continue to develop their opinion of what is truth.

Meanwhile, this is not good news for the Cain campaign.  Cain has the unfortunate privilege of being a member of a party that still cares about morality.  If Social Conservatives begin to turn on Cain, he is finished.  However, if the story simply does not pan out the backlash against the media and the racist left will seal Cain’s victory.

Cain and Gingrich Capital Rise With Debate

Mitt Romney should take notice.  The Cain/Gingrich debate is EXACTLY what Conservatives are looking for.  It is something today’s liberals and Republican posers simply won’t do.  The two candidates from Georgia sat down with no time limits, no moderators, and no attacks on each other, they spent an hour and a half laying bold, smart, outside the box proposals on the table.  They complemented one another and tossed questions to each other that built each other up.  It wasn’t about me versus you.  There was no mud, no dirty politics.  It was pure and simple ideas and a clear demonstration why these two candidates deserve every Conservative’s consideration.  If Mitt Romney is smart, he will be begging to be part of the next debate, because his fiscal conservative, establishment support is not going to win him this primary by itself.

At the beginning of the debate, Cain and Gingrich stood side by side and joked about what the 2012 ticket might look like.  Actually, that’s not such a bad idea.

I got done watching the debate feeling much better about the GOP field this year.  Cain has been boxed in by his 999 plan in previous recent debates.  In this debate be broke out and showed that he is a far more complex and intelligent candidate.  He finally had a chance to explain his Social Security private option.  Their mutual respect and support helped lend Cain additional credibility.

Newt has been stellar in uncomfortable media run debates.  He soared even more in this debate.  Newt oozes leadership, and even in this debate was in charge.  It would be interesting to see if Newt would still rule the roost with Romney at the table as well.  At any rate, to the extent that this debate is replayed and seen by more Americans, Newt’s star will continue rise.  This debate highlighted Newt’s intelligence and communication skills.

Hopefully we will see more of these type of debates, and hopefully many more people will watch them.  And if the GOP wants to win in 2012, it would be great to see if Obama would step up and give this format a shot.

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.

RIP Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan

So much for simple.  After heavy criticism of his 9-9-9 plan, Herman Cain is retooling it to look a whole lot more like the current income tax code.  Cain plans on adding empowerment zones for poor neighborhoods, which is no surprise, but also adding tax brackets and exemptions.  Cain’s caving will not satisfy Republicans like Michele Bachmann who said everyone should pay taxes and then attacked Cain’s plan, or Democrats who have portrayed Cain as the devil for trying to come up with a fairer system.  What it does do is knock the legs out from under Cain’s campaign by removing the one base of support he could count on: the Fairtax, limited government crowd.

Another issue for Cain’s new progressive approach to his formerly flat 9-9-9 plan is that he proves himself wrong in his assertion that it would be a solid, unchangeable plan that future Presidents couldn’t tinker with.  One of the key elements to a flat tax is that it gets government out of the business of picking winners and losers, giving advantages to people in their districts, or buying votes through sin taxes and tax breaks for good behavior.  With Cain’s empowerment zone approach, there is a risk of taxes being a political selling point to the extent that they are now.

Rethinking Cain's effectiveness on flat and fair taxes

The complexity of empowerment zones, brackets and exemptions for good behavior will bog this system down in compliance issues.  The sales tax will basically replace the payroll tax on a business’s to do list, but with added complexities if that is possible.

Anyone with a “get rid of the IRS” bumper sticker may need to rethink Herman Cain.

Newt’s rebirth: Romney’s innocence: Cain’s oops

Give Newt a chance?

That seems to be the message coming from GOP grassroots following another commanding debate performance in Nevada.  Newt Gingrich is announcing on his Facebook page that contributions over the last four days have exceeded what he took in for the entire month of July.

With some of this campaign cash, Newt is making moves in New Hampshire and hopes to hit other early states as well.

To date, Newt Gingrich’s campaign was slowed by an apathetic start, low fundraising, and staff defections.  The general mood towards Newt Gingrich has been that everyone will admit he is the smartest man in the room, but nobody thinks he can get elected.  Un-electability has cost him financial support in a catch 22 situation where he has found it hard to raise the sort of excitement that gets people to fork over even small donations.  In many cases people like Newt in theory, but can think of better things to spend their cash on.

Newt also has the misfortune of having a public record far longer than any other candidate out there.  From the Clinton impeachment to his three wives, Newt has plenty of baggage.  However, none of this baggage is fresh.  This could prove to be an advantage over candidates who have made much more recent slip ups that are fresh in people’s minds.

Romney’s Illegal Aliens

Rick Perry may have made a critical error in attacking Mitt Romney for “hiring illegal aliens”.  This was a flimsy charge when it was made in 2008 and has not become any more serious since then.  Such a mean spirited attack on such a baseless charge is not what Republicans want to see candidates doing to each other.  Perry may be believing some of the religious conservative hype coming from his side of the ring: that getting rid of Romney is as high a priority as getting rid of Obama. 

Most conservatives would rather see Obama go, even if it means electing someone not as socially conservative.  Romney is not going to go down over this illegal immigration charge, and for a good reason.  Romney didn’t hire illegal aliens.

In fact, as an accountant myself, I would wager that under the criteria given by Rick Perry I could discover illegal aliens that Rick Perry has “hired”.  Romney hired a legal US company to perform services for him.  That company broke the law and hired illegal aliens without Romney’s knowledge or direction.  When Romney found out, he gave them one chance to fix it and then fired them.

So, has Rick Perry eaten at any restaurants along the border?  Has he ever used the services of any company that hired illegal aliens?  Give me unfettered access to his check books and credit records and I can easily find you the illegal aliens Perry has “hired” by this criteria.

Besides, did Nannygate in the Clinton administration change one voter’s mind?  Stick to the Issues, Rick Perry.

Cain talking himself out of contention

For two straight debates, 9-9-9 has played a significant role in tax discussion.  Cain is tapping the anti-IRS Fairtax group in the country with step one on the way to a national sales tax.  But the Fairtax has always overpromised on things it could not deliver.  9-9-9 actually makes the Fairtax look pretty good.  Cain has lucked out so far since no candidate attacking his plan seems to understand his plan.  But eventually word will get out on some of the real flaws in it, such as the basis for the 9% corporate tax.

The 9% corporate tax is on gross minus purchases.  For service  intensive industries such as consulting firms, temp agencies, and other such businesses, that 9% tax could easily turn into an effective 90% tax or even higher.  How?  Picture a company that makes $1.1 million gross per year.  They are a consulting firm with $100,000 in expenses and $900,000 in payroll costs resulting in $100,000 in profit.  Under Cain’s plan, it they leave the $100,000 profit in the business, they will be taxed on 9% of $1 million, or $90,000.  Of course, $90,000 tax on $100,000 net profit is a 90% corporate tax.

Now Cain has made another misstep on abortion.  At the same time, he practically handed out endorsements to his two biggest competitors, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Cain continues to establish his amateur status and lack of political savvy.  Some voters will find that endearing, especially in our polished political world.  Others will start questioning just how much they can trust Cain to hold the line on important principles and give fast, correct answers in one of the most demanding jobs on the planet.

Time to thin the herd

All is not lost!  Yes, it was an ugly night for several GOP candidates.  Newt’s frustration with the format is certainly understandable.  It made for great television, but it was a bad debate.  However, there were some glimmers of hope, starting with the Vegas Champ…

Newt Gingrich.  I didn’t give Newt the win last time because I didn’t think his campaign would see a boost.  After this debate, I think it will.  Newt once again is the adult in the room.  He puts himself above the fray and really acts as a second moderator.  Voters should give Newt a second look.  Give Newt seven debates with Barack Obama and Obama might even drop out of the race before November.  I would love to see these debates as more candidates drop out and more time is given.  Newt has been so supportive of other candidates that his questions of other candidates carried a great deal of weight and were therefore more devastating.  Cain will not survive the 999 barrage, look for Newt to pick up steam.  Newt’s statement on faith put him squarely in the majority of conservative thought.  Newt’s biggest slip up was on appearing weak on states rights.  Another candidate who performed well, but likely won’t see much change because of it was…

Mitt Romney.  Romney was once again the big punching bag, and once again hit back.  He continued to defend his healthcare program as a state program and did pretty well.  But here Newt hit him hard on the big government aspect of it.    Romney kept his cool when being shouted down by Rick Santorum and talked over by Rick Perry.  Romney screwed up on Cain’s 999 plan trying to argue that Cain’s plan would add federal taxes to state taxes.  Excuse me, Mr. Romney, but you already pay bushels of apples and oranges.  Don’t feel bad, every candidate but Cain and Newt seemed to forget that 999 would eliminate our current tax code.  In the end, especially with no Huntsman, Romney’s got his support base solidified and did nothing to hurt that. Unfortunately, this is the last good report on a candidate performance in this review.  Although, it wasn’t terrible for everyone, especially…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele, Michele, Michele.  First, Obama took us to Libya, THEN, he took us into Africa!  Oops, Libya is in Africa.  But again, if Joe Biden can be VP, we shouldn’t be too hard on Bachmann for her frequent misspeaks.  Aside from that, she did well in another forgettable performance/turned stump speech.   As a tax litigation attorney though, I am disappointed in her evaluation of Cain’s 999 plan.  A VAT because every corporation in the manufacturing process pays 9%?  What does our current corporate tax do?  Same thing.  Shame on you Michele.  But most people won’t figure that out, so you’re good.  We will see if the media picks up on Bachmann’s idea of a $1 poor tax.  Bachmann won’t see any uptick from this debate.  Another candidate with no uptick or downtick…

Ron Paul. Paul is good on state’s rights.  The other candidates would do well to learn some things from him.  On the other hand, we heard a lot of the same platitudes and fuzzy one liners that leave us scratching our heads about if Paul actually has a viable plan.  Get rid of the income tax?  Oh, ok.  Is that like repealing Medicare part D?  Would be nice, but not a priority?  Paul came out with a new economic plan that cuts a trillion in spending.  Worth taking a look at, but didn’t get much play last night.  He will maintain his small support base, but with his vagueness and legend over substance approach this debate won’t give him a bump.  But at least he won’t lose support, like…

Herman Cain.  Cain gave the media some pretty good quotes last night.  Would he shut down Guantanamo to negotiate with terrorists?  Kinda sounded like it.  Apples and Oranges?  Cain, that is simply not Washington speak.  Cain looked amateurish.    He is an amateur though, so he may get a pass for the inability to articulate his 999 plan in a way that Americans can understand and latch on to.  Fortunately, his opponents weren’t much better.  In fact, only Newt seemed to have a clue how 999 works, but he wasn’t about to throw Cain a bone.  Cain right now is riding on populism, but poor debate performances can sink that ship (Bachmann, Perry).  In fact, I think it did sink two ships last night, starting with…

Rick Santorum.  Rick continues to be an advocate for the family.  He continues to present strong conservatism.  But his discussion with Romney early on just set a bad tone.  He reminded me of an angry teenager.  It was unprofessional and amateurish.  It’s been good to have Santorum in these debates for the most part, but after last night he needs to drop out and endorse a social conservative who can still beat Romney.  You’re not going to win, Rick Santorum.  At this point you are hurting more than helping.  But at least Santorum did better than…

Rick Perry.  Geez.  I don’t want to sound politically incorrect, but Perry seemed…slow.  Can we still use that term?  When Romney was answering and Perry was slowly drawling over him and droning on, I couldn’t help but laugh.  But it got worse as the night went on.  Perry, who gave instate tuition to illegals and opposes a full border fence, went after Romney for hiring a landscaping company that hired illegal aliens.  And that wasn’t the only 2008 unfair attack that Perry dug up.  Even when Perry made a good point (We need to uh, look at, uh the…darn, which amendment was it again?  Oh yeah, tenth amendment for uh…issues) it was lost in translation.  Perry was put in his place over and over.  It was a complete dud.  Even his distancing from Pastor Jeffers was not believable.  The best we got from Perry was a promise that next week he will have a tax plan. The good news is that even Rick Perry had a better week than…

Barack Obama.  Rumor has it, after a bunch of his tour supplies were stolen, that his teleprompter is currently being interrogated by Iranian sponsored Al Qaida terrorists in Mexico.  Although, there have also been alleged sightings of his teleprompter in Zuccoti park, smoking a joint and displaying a message about being overworked and underpaid.

Yes, he can?

In the volatility of the Republican 2012 primary, one thing is for sure.  Calling this race now would be like predicting the Superbowl in September.  How ’bout them Eagles.  Of course, I called the Eagles faltering before the season started.  I’m usually pretty good with my football picks.  So, allow me to apply some of that prophetic magic here.  FYI, this post is not for the faint of heart.  I’m just giving it to you straight.

Romney is all set as the Republican establishment candidate.  He has had that spot locked up really since before Mitch Daniels dropped out of the race.  Now the one stable thing in this race is that Romney will get the establishment vote.  He will also get a lot of mainstream Republican votes.  But he is going to run into a real issue, and that is with the anti-establishment movement within the Republican party.  All that is about to blow wide open this week as the NYT releases a story about opinions among establishment Republicans of the TEA party.  The GOP is about to have a civil war on its hands.  Whether they can recover by next November will be huge in determining whether or not Barack Obama is President in 2013.  Mitt Romney absolutely must nail down his conservative support and soon, or he will lose Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.

Cain's 999 plan could be his undoing

I like Herman Cain a lot.  I think he would make a great Vice President.  I think he would be a star on the campaign trail.  I think he would bring a lot of conservatives to the table and would bring the TEA party and anti-establishment wing to the table.  Here’s the problem: Herman Cain’s 9 9 9 plan sucks.  He would do better to drop that plan completely and advocate a Fairtax, which I also oppose for various reasons you can find here.  But even the Fairtax is better than 9 9 9.  Cain’s 9 9 9 plan has several Achilles’s heels hidden in its simplicity.  Perhaps the worst is the 9% flat tax on corporation’s gross profits minus purchases and dividends.  Unless Cain plans to include payroll with purchases, his 9% flat tax could turn into an effective 99% tax, or even higher, on low margin service industries with high labor costs.  But simplicity and feel good soundbites are what drives the Cain campaign.  Sometimes those soundbites are the common sense we are all thinking, but nobody who represents us is saying.  In those times, I love Herman Cain.  Other times it’s not much better than the soundbites written on a Wall Street mob sign.  Great for riling you up, until you stop and think about it.

Right now, we are watching the French Revolution in the TEA party and anti-establishment wing of the Republican party.  And who can blame them?  I should say, who can blame us.  Our party had the President who initially signed TARP.  Now, of course I don’t think Bush ever imagined TARP would be used to give the treasury secretary ultimate powers to steal companies from their bondholders, sell them overseas and give the proceeds to unions.  But he should have.  Conservative Constitutionalists are praying, quite literally, that we don’t get fooled again.  The result has been the rise and fall of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now Herman Cain.  Each time, the anti-establishment establishment is looking for that perfect, conservative candidate that we can get behind and support.

Now, suddenly Newt Gingrich is inching back into the top three.  In fact, while Cain tops out the very volatile state of Florida, Gingrich has hit double digits.  As a matter of fact, Gingrich’s facebook page shows a photo of him on the Drudge Report with a story about how he is still in this.  And he definitely is.

The difference between Newt and the other candidates is that Newt’s laundry has been on the line for years now.  Everyone knows who Newt Gingrich is.  He isn’t going to come out with a plan that sinks his campaign a month from now.  No one is going to learn during a debate about him forcing 12 year old girls to get vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases.  Everyone knows how imperfect his past is.  That’s why he hasn’t been in this race up to now.  And that is why he will be very dangerous if Cain falls on 9 9 9.  Of course, I mean “dangerous” in the best way possible.  Newt versus Mitt with no specter of late arrivals and no more candidates left to shoot up to the top could solidify January’s primaries.

Newt can carry Iowa and South Carolina easily once the other social conservatives lose their votes to him.  Newt was the first in the debates to really highlight how Obama was preventing jobs from coming to South Carolina.  And Iowa will pick the social conservative every time.  In a Newt/Mitt race, it will all be about Florida.

Could the debate in Jacksonville, FL determine the next President of the United States?

On January 26th, Republicans will hold the last GOP debate that matters before the primary.  I know, there will be one in Tampa the night before the primary.  No one is going to change their mind because of the Tampa debate.  It will all come down to January 26th in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mitt Romney versus the TEA party favorite.  The last time the Superbowl was held here, the Patriots won.

Welcome to the top, Herman Cain

The most recent debate is over, and Herman Cain is discovering what Rick Perry felt like when he was the front runner.  The way the debate went, there was clear recognition of Cain, Romney and Perry as front runners.  The other candidates almost seemed to be helping in the vetting process as though they were seeking to help Americans choose from one of those top three.   So here goes, the latest debate in retrospect.  And the winner is…

Romney back in the driver seat

Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney had some good news today.  He picked up an endorsement from Chris Christie, which is huge.  He also had some bad news.  Rush Limbaugh questioned Romney’s conservatism compared to other candidates and gave the death knell that took down Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.  Rush called him the Republican establishment candidate.  Still, Romney was his usual comfortable self.  His adopting the Trump doctrine on China will help build that portion of his base.  Cain did Romney a huge favor by asking him about his 59 point plan and giving him the chance to explain it and expound on it.  In fact, the questioning session turned into an opportunity for the other candidates to seem to vet the apparent front runner candidate.  Romney’s own question to Michele Bachmann was very gracious and showed the kind of class that simply makes Romney likeable.  Romney’s answer on Dodd Frank was pure gold.  He was polished and Presidential.  Romney still has to get a little bit stronger on his conservative stances and lose a bit of that obvious shine in order to pick up more of the anti-politician minded rightwing, especially the TEA party.  But for this debate, Romney managed to edge out…

Newt Gingrich.  Newt Gingrich is the best debater.  As the best debater, Newt spewed pure common sense.  His best was when he bluntly spoke about how absolutely stupid the debt commission is.  His answers put him above the fray and he maintained his mantra that any candidate on that stage would be better than Obama.  However, Newt did not get enough face time.  He took no arrows, shot no arrows at the other candidates, but simply did not have enough chances to speak to make a difference.  Newt has won several of these debates, but winning these debates is not enough for him at this point.  He must so completely knock each debate out of the park that everytime a front runner falls he is there to pick up the pieces.  In this case, he did not even mention his campaign’s new contract with America.  It was a lost opportunity.   So far he has not accomplished what he needs to do in these debates.  I can’t give him first, no matter how well deserved.  But as a representative of the Social Conservative flavor of this party, he did outperform…

Cain has his work cut out for him

Herman Cain.  Cain’s 9 9 9 plan finally got the inspection it deserved.  A striking moment was when Rick Santorum polled the audience on who wanted a new 9% sales tax, and who thought a 9% flat income tax would stay at 9%.  Not a single hand in the audience was visible.  Santorum hit the nail on the head.  The result is Cain will be in trouble after this debate.  He must now find a way to explain his plan in a way that resonates with Americans.  He made a good start when he talked about how the 9% sales tax would replace a 15% payroll tax, which of course we all pay.  If he can hit that point and solve the question of how to prevent future Presidents from turning his 9 9 9 plan into a 35 35 35 plan, he can salvage his front runner (by my calculations) status.  Cain took a huge hit on the federal reserve when Paul questioned him too.  Later when he spoke about fixing the Fed, Paul made easy work out of Cain.  Still, his likeability level and pure down home realness will keep him afloat for at least one more round.  At this point, if Cain falters I predict voters will finally give Newt Gingrich a second look.  Another candidate they might be looking at is…

Rick Santorum.  Rick Santorum did very well.  He made a key point when he said he did not support the bailout.  He called out Cain’s 9 9 9 plan and struck a very strong blow on it.  He exposed Cain’s naivete beautifully.  But that was the extent of Santorum’s stunning performance.  Like Gingrich, he simply did not get enough other face time to make a huge difference.  No one is afraid of him becoming the front runner any time soon, so there wasn’t much interest in him among the debate moderators.  While Santorum did not make a strong case for himself as President, he certainly gave voters a lot to think about with the latest rising star in Herman Cain.  That may be his purpose at this point.  There is very little chance of his campaign being successful.  Almost as little chance as…

Jon Huntsman.  Jon Huntsman did not do bad for the most part.  His answer on China will not connect with Americans and for a good reason.  Being nice to China does not sell when as Romney pointed out we are already losing to them because they are cheating.  Two debates ago I said Huntsman’s campaign is over.  Nothing changed with the debate tonight.  Feeling our pain because he helped run the family business and was a good governor is so cliche at this point, it’s really forgettable.  But not as forgettable as…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele Bachmann did well.  She spoke on Obama’s failures and conservatism.  But mostly she was forgettable.  At one point, it sounded like she said she raised 28 children, 22 foster and 5 biological.  I could understand, with that many kids, how easy it would be to get the math wrong.  But it’s not good when that’s what sticks out in my mind.  No highlights, no major gaffes, and in fact her role in Congress became even more forgettable when Gingrich asked why the House has not made any move to repeal Dodd Frank or Sarbanes Oxley.  I was left wondering where her actual leadership has manifested itself.  The exchange with Romney was her one saving grace, proving that at least she is not one dimensional unlike…

Popularity off the debate stage won't save these candidates from earning low marks in this debate.

Ron Paul.  Ron Paul did ok.  He made it pretty clear he isn’t a fan of the fed.  But on the fed, especially Bernanke, Newt stole his thunder.  What else did Paul speak about?  Again, another forgettable candidate.  Paul fans, don’t hate me for saying that.  Step outside of the movement for a minute and ask yourself if he truly made a splash.  Did we hear anything new about Ron Paul that would make us want to make him in charge of everything the President of the United States is responsible for?  No, but I’d be happy to see him head up the Fed audit once we get a President who has that as a priority (which apparently is not Herman Cain).  But even Ron Paul did better than…

Rick Perry.  Rick Perry came across as a something between a walking cliche and a deer in the headlights.  He simply does not debate well.  He again was slow in his responses and his wording did not connect.  He came across as very unprepared once again.  His good answers were copies of other candidates, and his bad answers seemed to drag on with his drawl.  I’ve said before that I would love to see Newt Gingrich debate Obama.  I would not love to see Perry debate Obama.  I’m not sure I would be able to watch.  Can Perry turn things around?  Possibly.  I’m not ready to give him the Dead Candidate Walking title along with Huntsman just yet.

The Field Is Set: And Herman Cain Could Win

Sarah Palin has now announced she will not be running.  It appears the 2012 GOP Primary is ready to kick off.  So you heard it here first: barring a major disqualifying gaffe, Herman Cain will win the 2012 primary.  Here’s why.

Cain passes on the right to pull even with Romney

Ok, seriously.  No one knows at this point how this  is going to go down.  Candidates surge and fall, as Rick Perry has proven.  I don’t really know that Herman Cain is going to win the primary.  But he does have a clear path to victory.  Right now it is his race to give up.

But wait, isn’t Romney leading the polls??  Yes, but as I pointed out in my last blog Romney’s majority is an illusion caused by a split vote among social, TEA party candidates.  As Perry continues to fade and Cain continues to pick up his supporters, you will see more polls like the most recent CBS poll that shows Cain and Romney tied.  Perry’s demise is all upside for Cain while Romney maintains his solid base of support.

So why Cain?  Why didn’t Bachmann, Gingrich, or Santorum gain any momentum from Perry’s fall?  Perry dropped 11 points in this CBS poll while Cain jumped 12 points.  Gingrich and Santorum both got small bumps, but are still considered unelectable and still cannot shake their baggage from the last 20 years.  Santorum continues to come across as an unelectable champion of family values with a support base that loves what he says and believes but won’t vote for him because they’d rather have Obama gone than lose with the most socially conservative candidate on the stage.  For Gingrich, conservatives have already written the USA Today, Time Magazine and New York Times headlines in their heads about his failed marriages, hypocrisy in the Clinton impeachment, global warming commercials with Nancy Pelosi, and other things from his decades in the spotlight.

Bachmann, with a relatively small public history, is a different story.  Although her message, naivete on some issues, and ability to stir a TEA party crowd mirror Herman Cain, she somehow comes across differently.   While Herman Cain gets away with announcing that no future President will raise the rates on his 999 plan, Bachmann promises $2 a gallon gas and becomes the laughing stock of the mainstream media and even conservatives.  Bachmann tells stories of raising her kids and foster kids and is seen as homely and amateurish.  Cain tells stories of him and his brother sneaking drinks from the Whites Only drinking fountain as kids and the story simply tugs at anyone’s heart strings.  Bachmann embellishes Perry’s Merck connection and the potential health risks of the HPV vaccine and the media drags her through the coals on it.  The media tried to make hay out of Cain’s comment about blacks being brainwashed into voting Democratic and the story was dead on arrival.

Perhaps the greatest difference that speaks to American hearts is that Cain is not bitter or angry.  Yes, he is the first to tell us that Obama’s policies are destroying the country.  But he does it with an air of policy sincerity, not partisan gamesmanship.  Cain doesn’t seem to have a racist bone in his body, to the extent that some Democrats seem to think he is racist against blacks.  Cain simply comes across as a successful American who believes in America and in every American’s ability to become whatever they want to be.  Cain brings back with sincerity something that politicians have been falsely touting for years: a sincere belief in the American dream and the ability of Americans to achieve it.  His simple, Reaganesque faith in the American people and freedom will be enough to preserve his seat as the top social conservative.  As other social conservatives call it quits, Cain will continue to swallow up their supporters and surpass Romney.

Just a month ago Cain was barely on the radar.  With Perry’s self-destruction and the Florida straw poll, Cain now has the potential momentum to carry him through.  The key will be surviving early Romney primary wins until the race narrows to just Cain and Romney.  From there he can coast to GOP victory.

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