Change? Obama Worse than Bush

The verdict is in, and Barack Obama did not produce the change he promised.  In fact, as he blames all his ills on the last 8 years, it is interesting to compare the Bush years to the Obama years.  Consider the following:

Average Annual Increase in Public Debt (in millions):

Bush: $543,818        Obama: $1,497,601

Total Increase in Public Debt (in millions):

Bush (8 years): $4,217,261   Obama (4 years): $5,990,407

Average Annual Unemployment (Also see here):

Bush: 5.26%                    Obama: 9.2%

Median Household Incomes:

January, 2009: $55,198       August, 2012: $50,678

The Average Annual Price of Gas (not even including 2012):

Bush: $2.14                     Obama: $2.89

Cost of Higher Education (adj. for inflation, not even including 2012):

Bush 2008: $16,661     Obama 2011: $18,497

But isn’t health insurance cheaper now with Obamacare?  No.  In 2012 the amount a family with employer provided coverage pays in annual premiums has increased to about $16,000.  For families with private individual plans, the amount is up to $5,615.  And before you ask why families don’t all just switch to private individual plans, remember that Obamacare taxes medium-large businesses up to $3,000 per employee that they don’t cover.

But we know Obama has handled the economy terribly.  The other thing people elected Obama for was to end the wars.  Obama promised to close Gitmo, which didn’t happen, and to end the war in Iraq.  He ended the war in Iraq by sticking to Bush’s timeline, but that wasn’t the whole story.  Obama intended to continue the war and leave troops in Iraq, but Biden could not negotiate simple immunity for our troops.  Don’t look now, but the Afghanistan war isn’t ending in 2014.  The administration is already negotiating to keep up to 25,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

Let’s look at war by the numbers.

Involvement in Major Foreign Conflicts:

Bush: 2 countries           Obama: 3 countries

Military Spending as % of GDP:

Bush, 2008: 4.4%          Obama, 2011: 4.7%

Average Annual War Spending:

Bush: $99.3 Billion       Obama: $155.1 Billion

Obama boasts of ending the war in Iraq, but how is the peace President doing in Afghanistan?

Average Annual Troop Deaths:

Bush: 606                        Obama: 445

Iraq:  528                         66

Afghanistan: 78              379

But what about Bush’s handling of Katrina?  Surely Obama has done better than that, right?  Former NYC Mayor Guiliani says no.

What about taxes?  Obama boasts about cutting people’s taxes, but most of the tax hikes he passed don’t go into effect until next year.  Obamacare has 20 different tax hikes in it, and many of those affect the poor and the sick.

But Obama saved the auto industry, right?  Actually, the only Detroit major that survived was Ford.  Ford didn’t take Obama’s bailout.  Chrysler did, and is now owned by an Italian company called Fiat.  GM took Obama’s bailout and is now owned by the taxpayers.  This was after Obama spent billions to bailout the unions before letting the two companies go through bankruptcy.  If that’s Obama saving the auto industry, I hope he doesn’t do me any favors.

Add these factors to Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the Black Panther polling case, Solyndra, and the other various scandals and overreaches of the Obama administration, and there is no reason to re-elect Obama.  Except of course if you got an Obama phone and are afraid of losing it.

How Obama Could Still Win:

Several states in play are ties or tossups in the latest polls.  In some, Obama is leading by 3-5%, but 3-5% are either undecided or going third party.  Obama can still win, even with his horrible statistics, if people vote third party or stay home.

I know many out there are voting third party or not voting to protest Romney.  I, like you, am a very libertarian leaning constitutionalist.  I’d love to see us out of the Middle East.  I’d love to see government spending cut in half.  I’d love to see us hold to our 10th amendment.  But Mitt Romney is NOT Barack Obama.

If anything, Mitt Romney is far closer to Reagan.  Despite being hailed as a conservative hero, Reagan is not as conservative as I would have preferred.  In fact, many Ron Paul and Gary Johnson voters would probably not vote for Reagan either.  But Mitt Romney is not the candidate you should be protesting.  You should be protesting Barack Obama.

Consider your goals and which candidate will get us there:

Less involvement in the Middle East: Mitt Romney has a comprehensive energy plan that gets America using its own resources to lower our dependence on OPEC.  Obama spent billions of your tax dollars on green energy companies that went bankrupt, and we are no closer to independence from foreign oil.

Simpler, fairer tax system: Romney’s plan reduces rates in order to remove loopholes and deductions based on the government’s definition of what a good citizen looks like without raising taxes.  Obama’s plan is higher taxes, more redistribution and a more complex tax system designed to pick winners and losers.

Foreign wars: Obama has proven himself to be an interventionalist.  He is not the peace President people hoped for.  He hasn’t closed Gitmo.  He only left Iraq because he was too incompetent to negotiate a way to stay there.  But he is already negotiating to keep 25,000 troops in Afghanistan.  Romney’s approach is to show the kind of strength Reagan did.  What major war did we fight when Reagan was President?  The Cold War, where we sat across the ocean from each other and didn’t pull the trigger for eight years.  Finally, the Soviet Union collapsed under their economic system.

More personal freedom and responsibility: Nothing took us backwards further as a nation than Obamacare.  Obamacare mandates that every American buy private health insurance or pay a tax.  Obamacare takes deciding power away from doctors and patients and gives it to the government.  If you protest Romney, Obamacare is here to stay.  If you vote to protest Obama, we have a shot at repealing this monstrous tax on the sick and the poor.

Does My Vote Count?

If you are thinking of voting third party or not voting because Romney is not as conservative as you’d like, you could be part of the margin that gives Obama four more years to take us down the path towards socialism at hyperspeed.  So where does Romney need your vote the most:

Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Arizona.

But believe it or not, he also needs you in Oregon, Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maine. If nothing else, vote to tell the liberals in your state that they do not have a mandate.  The country is changing and is leaning to the right.  You will never get the conservative, limited government you want if you let the country fall off the socialist cliff because the most conservative candidate who can win is not conservative enough for you.

When you walk into the voting booth, consider what you want America to look like in 2016.  Do you want to move forward the way Obama does?  Do you really want four more years of this?

Romney’s to Lose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Trainwreck that is Obamanomics

The Economy is off the rails

American capitalism is the engine room of the global economy. Sadly, the guy in the engine room doesn’t know how the machine works. All he knows is how to toot his own horn. This is the real difficulty of the next four years if President Obama wins another term.

What should worry you is that Romney and Ryan are making little headway in the polls. Obama has the advantage of being the incumbent. George W. Bush had the same advantage, and in spite of negative perceptions abroad and demonization in the media at home, he still won in 2004. Obama has a lot less against him.

Romney needs to focus on the economic issues, not get himself embroiled and lost in skirmishes on foreign policy issues. He needs to do two things. First, he needs to clearly spell out the trajectory four more years of Obamanomics will take us through.

Spell it out:

Step by step.

Failure by failure.

Cent by cent.

The Fraser Institute in Vancouver points out that Canada is more economically free than America. Where is America? Between Qatar and Kuwait. If that is not a warning bell then I don’t know what it is.

Obama sold himself on the economic issues in 2008, which made the economy even worse. Investors and businesses took even more drastic decisions in response to the Obama gloom rhetoric. Having set up the premise that the global economy was in a more severe state than it actually was, he set himself up as savior. He promised he would come in on wings of angels, as Hilary herself told us, to save the world.

And it worked! As an election promise, as a selling point, it worked. As a presidency, it has failed miserably. He got four years and he’s blown it. The engine is going off the rails.

Does this look like a competent driver to you?

The debt piles up. The jobless are piling up. The government is bloated even more. People, as Romney rightly said, are increasingly dependent, and voting for Romney would feel to them like turkeys voting for Christmas.

If Obama stays in situ, then the engine will break down beyond repair. America cannot afford the load he is trying to pull, and nor can the global economy.

Romney and Ryan need to focus. If they can’t get this message home, and if they can’t inspire America to get this engine moving again, then they don’t deserve the job in the driving seat.

Fraser report can be found here: http://www.freetheworld.com/release.html

Barack Obama’s “Irresponsible” and “Unpatriotic” Presidency

  Bookmark and Share  Together, the Romney/Ryan ticket’s concentration on their proposals to put our nation on a path to prosperity will force voters to have a national discussion on the economic crisis we are currently struggling through and the cataclysmic economic cliff we are close to falling off of.  As seen in the video below, that discussion will make it impossible for President Obama to avoid being held accountable for his actions and his words.

The message in that video  focuses on several incontrovertible points;

  1. In 2008, Senator Barack Obama called George W. Bush “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” for accumulating a debt of nearly 4 trillion dollars.
  2. In 2008 that debt amounted to $30,000.00 owed for every man, woman & child in the nation.
  3. In 2012, President Obama has accumulated more debt than all 43 Presidents before him, combined.
  4. Now, in 2012, president Obama’s accelerated creation of debt  places a tax burden of more than $50,000.00 for every man, woman and child in the nation. That’s $20,000.00 more than under Bush.

Those undeniable points must force every voter to ask themselves whether or not they truly believe that in the next four years, President Obama’s liberal tax and spend  policies will produce results that are any different than the results they achieved during the past four years.

It also forces President Obama to have to explain whether or not he holds himself  to the same standards that he holds other to and if he does, can he explain exactly why voters should not conclude that his reckless accumulation of more debt than any President in history is anything but “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic”?

And while he’s at it, could President Obama please tell us exactly why in the name of all that is decent and good, Americans should reelect a President who is “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic?

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Why Obama/Biden are Scared of Romney/Ryan

The morning of the Ryan pick, Obama already had a graphic up from the “truth” team declaring that Ryan was going to raise taxes on 95% of Americans, ban birth control, end Medicare, end green energy, and so on.  The only things they left out were shoving Grandma off a cliff in her wheelchair and poisoning us with e.coli.  But why go overboard when Mitt Romney can already use cancer to kill people.

On the other hand, word on the street is that Biden had to change his pants after the 60 minutes interview with Romney and Ryan.

It’s not that Obama is the one that cut $700 billion out of Medicare.  It’s not that Obama’s green energy initiatives remind everyone of Solyndra.  It’s not that Obama is lying when he says Romney/Ryan would raise taxes on 95% of Americans.   It’s not that Most Americans don’t want to force pro-lifers to pay for other people’s $5 birth control that destroys after conception.  It’s more that Ryan is smarter and more articulate than the other three on the tickets.

Don’t hate me, Palin fans, but Ryan is not a cheerleader.  He is a teacher.  He turns platitudes into tangible facts that people can hold on to.  Obama and the Democrats are running around with the mantra that Ryan will get rid of Medicare.  But anyone who is paying attention knows that it was Obama who cut popular programs like Medicare advantage.

Ryan, on the other hand, wants to give seniors the same options for healthcare that Congress has.  He wants to put choices in their hands.  The scary thing about Ryan is that he actually is understandable on these points, and he has the credibility.  No one has worked more on the US budget and solutions to Medicare, Social Security, and healthcare than Paul Ryan.

Democrats aren’t scared that Biden is an inarticulate gaffe machine.  They have the media on their side.  All Biden has to do is coherently string ten words together in a debate without telling someone in a wheelchair to stand up or make an Indian 7/11 joke and the press will announce he exceeded expectations.

Democrats are scared because the media can only do so much.  Eventually Paul Ryan will be heard, and he speaks a language even independents can understand.

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Obama: Vote for Romney

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was Obama talking about Bush, or Pelosi/Reid?

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

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

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

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

Obama: For Tax And Spend…Before He Was Against It

Obama the penny pincher?

Obama has been exposed in yet another blatant campaign lie.  This one wasn’t even really his fault.  Rex Nutting, a writer for the mainstream/yet left leaning Marketwatch prepared a chart that shows Obama hasn’t really grown spending all that much.  The administration quickly ran with it, putting the chart on their facebook page, and announcing that Obama was a model of fiscal restraint.

So how does this economist at Marketwatch, and now Obama and media reporters who can barely add two and two, come to figure out that Obama is so thrifty?  Simple.  Their percentages make one major assumption that makes the percentages meaningless.  Every dollar of spending in the first year of a President’s term is directly a result of the budget the previous President wrote.

To put it simply, the $787 billion dollar stimulus bill that Obama ran on, lobbied for, pushed through the Democrat super majorities in the House and Senate, and signed was actually spending that should be attributed to Bush.  Of course once you do that you have majorly inflated Bush’s spending and deflated Obama’s spending so that percentages make Obama look like a champ.  I’m not making this up.  This is actually what Rex Nutter did.  He also included 2013 in Obama’s figures even though Obama’s budget lost in the Senate something like 99-0.

The footnote is misleading. Nutter means only $140 billion of the Stimulus (the portion passed in October) is attributed to Obama.

Nutter should be fired, but who is going to fire him?  Journalists rely on people like Nutter to be the “experts”.  That way they don’t have to actually do any work.

“I was for tax and spend, before I was against it!”

Obama’s budget cuts the deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years.  Of course, like Clinton’s last budget in office, it is simply words on a page that have absolutely no bearing on reality.  But nevermind the fact that $4 trillion over the next ten years wouldn’t cover Obama’s deficits for his first four years or that his numbers are probably about as accurate as the CBOs estimate of the costs of Obamacare.  Since when did Obama decide he was against tax and spend??

Obama, on the one year anniversary of what Nutter seems to think was Bush’s stimulus, praised the stimulus package as having saved us from another great depression.  So shouldn’t we be thanking Bush?  While Obama has been running as a tax cutting President who pinches pennies on his facebook page, just a couple weeks ago he re-affirmed his tax and spend stance in the upcoming debt ceiling debate.  Obama went from tax and spend, to proud tax cutting President when he was forced to extend the Bush tax cuts, to tax and spend when the debt ceiling debate rolled around again, and back to tax cutting for the 2012 election.  Even John Kerry was more consistent.

Biting the hand that feeds them

It is not coming up all roses for the Obama propaganda machine.  Obama is betting the farm on a populist attack against Bain Capital where Romney used to work.  But the Left has been heavily funded by private equity, and most private equity companies didn’t get the memo about Obama just saying whatever it takes to get elected.  Some of them are actually getting offended by the attacks.

Democrats are getting nervous too.  Apparently not every Democrat feels comfortable biting the hand that feeds them.  But what else does Obama have to attack Romney on other than the fact that he is successful and the “independent” liberal voting base is anti-success?

The attack on Bain is dubious anyway.  As a venture capital company, they may have had lots of layoffs on their watch in order to fix businesses, but Obama has seen 2.5 million net jobs lost on his watch.  Actually, let me borrow some Obama math and accuracy and adjust that number to 6.7 million jobs lost.  After all, if the net loss is 2.5 million, but Obama claims he added 4.2 million, then shouldn’t we be using the total jobs lost figure instead of the net?  Just trying to be consistent, Mr. President.

Obama is running as a conservative while acting like a liberal.  When conservatives force his hand, he is happy to take credit for the results.  When liberalism fails, he is happy to pass the buck to Congress or the previous administration.  He will say or do whatever it takes to win re-election and cannot be trusted.

Democrats Seeking to Neutralize Romney on Economy

An Improving Economy Means Republicans Need a ‘Plan B’ To Beat Obama

This is the headline of a Morgan Korn article at the Daily Ticker, where he explains exactly what I wrote on March 2nd, when I said It’s Not About the Economy, Stupid.  So despite the high gas prices, the lower homesales in February, the still anemic job growth, the still high unemployment rate, the story the media will be touting is how the economy is recovering and we don’t need Mitt Romney.

This is all part of the Democrat strategy playing out.  First they focused on Romneycare and Obamacare, trying to take away the biggest issue of the 2012 election.  In fact, they may have succeeded.  Romney both supported an insurance mandate and allowed the legislature to turn his healthcare plan into everything Obama has been dreaming of.  The state’s rights defense may calm the fears of his supporters, but the premise behind the plan doesn’t make most conservatives feel warm and fuzzy inside.

The question you may be asking yourself right now is how Obama is going to convince everyone the economy is fine when gas hits $5 this summer.  The jokes on you.

First, Obama and the AP have done plenty of groundwork to provide Obama with scapegoats.  Greedy oil companies, speculators, even you are at fault for high gas prices.  Have you inflated your tires?  Are you still driving that old gas guzzler?  It’s odd to think that this strategy will fool anyone, especially when Obama and Chu’s stated goal was European gas prices here in America.  But Obama only has to fool enough people to get re-elected.  He can say he has vastly expanded oil drilling, in fact he does say this, and anyone who doesn’t know any better believes him.

The second thing Obama is counting on is timing and the short memories of US voters.  What happens to gas prices in October every year?  I’ll give you a couple hints.  Summer vacations are over, half the country rolls down their windows and turns off the A/C, the kids go back to school, and the price of oil drops.  When this happens, mark my words, Obama will say that it is because he has done all the things that today he is saying wouldn’t work or make a difference.

Mitt Romney has to learn how to run on small government, the constitution and social issues.  It’s the only thing the media can’t take away from him.

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.

The Myth of the Obama Recovery

Depending on how you read the jobs report, you might think we are well on our way to economic recovery.  At least if you read the headlines.  Well, we should be.  In three short years, this President has increased the debt more than any President in the history of our country combined.

What do we have to show for it?

Think about it.  Think of all that we have accomplished with the last $6.3 trillion in debt.  We won two world wars, at various times brought unemployment down to 4.4% (most recently under the economic policies that supposedly got us into this mess), fought five other major wars, four major undeclared conflicts, and assisted in several other wars, gave hundreds of billions back in tax cuts, sent a man to the moon, maintained a shuttle program, bought over half the land in the country, rebuilt after a civil war, implemented civil rights, built socialistic retirement, healthcare and welfare systems, helped produce 5% and higher GDP growth, built every crumbling and non crumbling bridge in the United States today, and created a massive bureaucratic infrastructure covering roads, education, homeland security, and our entire regulatory system.

So what has Obama done with $6.5 trillion in debt?  He has brought 5.7% unemployment down to 8.3%.  Oops, I meant up to 10% and then down to 8.3%.  We have managed to get GDP just over 2% for a fleeting couple quarters.  We did continue two major conflicts which accounts for almost a trillion of Obama’s $6.5 trillion in debt.  But he didn’t do anything to stop the conflicts, and in fact started another one in Libya.

A lot of that money went in to funding failed green energy projects, such as Solyndra, which were owned by Obama’s supporters.  A lot of money went towards bailing out Wall Street and making the United States a shareholder in failed companies like Citigroup, GM and Chrysler.

One of Obama’s large debt contributions was in the form of extended unemployment benefits to make the victims of his economic policies comfortable enough to not complain.  This year when he runs on a platform of how he cut taxes, be assured that no member of the media will ask him about the taxes he has forced states to collect to fund their own broke unemployment compensation funds, and pay interest on federal loans of unemployment funds, all of which has been passed on to business owners of every size.

The amazing thing is that in his term so far, Obama has spent the equivalent of more than one full year of United States private sector GDP.  Nearly half of that has been in the form of debt.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  And yet, with more debt than every other President combined, Obama is ecstatic with an 8.3% unemployment rate?  There is something seriously wrong with this.

But it gets worse.  There is unemployment and real unemployment.  What’s the difference?  The 8.3% represents only people who are still looking for a job.  If you counted the same number of people who were looking for a job in 2007, the unemployment rate would be at 10.3% and that hasn’t changed  since 2009.

Ezra Klein at the Washington Post notes this disturbing trend which seems to show little variance in the unemployment rate when you consider people who have stopped working.  That means that with $6.5 trillion in new debt, more than all other Presidents combined, Obama hasn’t managed to increase job growth, he has just managed to increase the number of discouraged workers who are willing to settle for his extended unemployment welfare program.

In fact, although Obama will be running on the myth of jobs saved and created, in actuality there are 2.4 million fewer people working today than there were when Obama signed the stimulus in 2009. The number of people who have jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is down to 139 million from 141 million in 2009.

For those keeping score, it was 127 million in 2001.  Do the math.

An easy message

Is this race about to get dirtier?  The more crazy moves Obama makes, the greater the temptation will be for Republican candidates to start slinging mud at each other.  I’ve said since the start of this primary that Republicans need to focus on Obama, but so far Newt Gingrich is the only one who has been able to accomplish this.  The result is that he continues to post poor showings in the polls as few Americans are paying attention to anything he is saying.

So why are Republicans getting more comfortable attacking each other?  The right is getting more and more confident of a 2012 victory with every misstep this President makes.  I still maintain though that Republicans need to make this election about defeating Obama.  Already, Romneycare, Perry’s HPV order, and Bachmann’s gaffes are going to make it that much harder for the GOP nominee to win in 2012.  Obama has done plenty of things to run against, and I give credit to Newt Gingrich who has been pointing them out in his weekly newsletters.

I thought I would provide a refresher course to the Republican candidates to help them stay focused. For example, do they want to focus on jobs?  President Obama is the President whose policies have driven unemployment up to 9.1% while running annual deficits over a trillion dollars a year.

In the meantime, he is also the President who is blocking the opening of a US manufacturing plant in South Carolina because it is not a union factory.

He is the President whose federal agents performed an armed raid on a US manufacturing plant because they were buying materials overseas and manufacturing them here in the US instead of manufacturing them in India.  Yes, you read that right.

He is the President who took a public US corporation away from the company’s bondholders, sold the company overseas to an Italian company and gave the proceeds to the United Auto Workers union.

He is the President who unilaterally shut down US oil drilling in key areas of the Gulf of Mexico.  When a judge said his moratorium was unconstitutional and tossed it, Obama simply wrote another one.  In the meantime, he heavily invested US tax dollars into drilling operations in Brazil and promised the US would be one of their best customers.

He is the President who today proposed $1.5 trillion in cuts in private investment and consumer spending through higher taxes, after proposing $400 billion in tax hikes just a week and a half ago.  That’s $1.9 trillion in proposed tax hikes over a two week period when he was promising new policies to create jobs.  By the way, these are the same tax hikes his own party wouldn’t pass in 2009 or 2010.  All this and he is the one proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.

How about government waste?

He is the President who after taking $850 billion in stimulus dollars and funneling it to unions and pet projects such as duck ponds and skate parks is now asking for another $450 billion to fix the 152 bridges he neglected with the first stimulus.

Speaking of the first stimulus, Obama is the President who invested billions of our tax dollars into various “green energy” projects that have now gone bankrupt.  And it gets worse:

He is the President who gave a $529 million taxpayer loan to a company owned by one of his biggest supporters, multi-billionare George Kaiser, despite knowing that the company was failing.  Then he restructured that loan so that when the company went under Kaiser would get paid first and taxpayers would get what was left over.

Barack Obama says we need to cut private investment and consumer spending through higher taxes because the rich need to pay “their fair share”.  But when it came to Solyndra, Obama specifically made sure that the rich got their millions of dollars back at the taxpayer’s expense.

How about in Afghanistan?

As Obama slowly draws down forces and quickly pulls out of combat roles, he also keeps fighting for cuts in military spending.  He seems uncommittedly committed to the war in Afghanistan.  Could that have any correlation to there being nearly twice as many US deaths in Afghanistan in Obama’s three years in office as there were during the entire Bush Presidency?

What about Obama’s management of the Justice Department?

While letting the black panthers off the hook for voter intimidation when they showed up in military garb with clubs at the voting booths, Eric Holder took pro-lifer’s to civil court and sued them over standing too close to abortion clinic driveways.

And of course, Fast and Furious.  This was the operation where this President’s Justice Department sold guns to violent Mexican druglords.  Those same guns were used to kill border patrol agents.  Meanwhile, Obama has sued Arizona for trying to enforce immigration laws on their own.

All that, and I didn’t even mention Obama’s disastrous healthcare legislation.

If 2012 Republican candidates feel the urge to take a swing at a political opponent, might I suggest that Obama makes for an easy target?

Oh, and one last thing.  Report@whitehouse.gov might be a thing of the past, but if you disagree with what I wrote you can always report me to Obama’s new citizen watch website, http://www.attackwatch.com.

Did Rick Perry Threaten Ron Paul During the Presidential Debate?

Bookmark and Share  While most of the on air sparring in last night’s Republican presidential debate took place between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, apparently there was a little brouhaha during one of the station breaks. 

As captured in the photo shown here, it was during one of these breaks that Governor Perry strode up to Ron Paul, grabbed Paul’s wrist and raised his other hand to point a finger in Paul’s face in an attempt to make a point to the Congressman.

According to RonPaul.com, here’s how it went down:

“During a commercial break at Wednesday’s Republican debate, Rick Perry and Ron Paul continued their spirited exchange on stage. Suddenly, Perry grabbed Ron Paul’s forearm while aggressively pointing his index finger towards the Congressman’s face. Alerted by Perry’s menacing gestures, Ron Paul’s bodyguard (front left) was standing by, ready to protect the Congressman.”

What exactly was said is unknown but that won’t prevent Pauliacs from trying to use the image against their feeble three time presidential candidate.  So far they are on a campaign to try and claim that Perry was threatening and intimidating Paul. 

If the photo is capturing a truly heated exchange you can rest assured that Governor  Perry most likely urged Ron Paul  to stop the blatant lies Paul’s campaign has been promulgating about Perry, including the one about Perry having been a national chairman for Al Gore.

In past debates, live streams allowed internet users to catch glimpses of the candidates and how they were interacting during commercial breaks but MSNBC’s live stream of last night’s debate did not offer such an opportunity as they simply cut the  feed during commercials.  Had they not, we might have at  least seen the Perry-Paul exchange.

So far, there is no official comment from either Paul or Perry regarding what the exchange consisted of, but that has not stopped Ron Paul fanatics from trying to lift their messiah ever higher by alleging Rick Perry assaulted their guy. 

Until it is known exactly what was said, drawing conclusions is futile, but in the end, it my be in the best interest of Ron Paul that Rick Perry’s words remain unknown because if I know Rick Perry, his words probably did not provide for the type of praise that Ron Paul  would want to duplicate in an ad promoting his candidacy. And it will probably make many Paulbots look truly stupid for their exaggerations and lies.

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Update:  The truth comes out and the Ron Paul crowd does indeed look stupid.  See the conclusion here.

The Third Major Republican Presidential Debate Starts Setting the Tone for 2012

Bookmark and Share    Watch the entire debate below this post.

 

 Last night’s presidential debate was the first one of the 2012 campaign to actually began to shape opinions and sway voters.  While most voters have not yet placed their bets, the exchanges that took place on a stage in the Air Force One wing of the Reagan Library finally began to provide voters with a true sense of the candidates, their styles, their records, and their vision.  While the program did tend to be dominated by a Perry versus Romney narrative.   The other six did get brief opportunities to shine, but few did so in any signficant way.
 
 While I will leave an in-depth analysis of the debate to other White House 2012 posts entitled “A Two Horse Race” and “Quick Debate Recap“, I will offer a few points of my own about moments in the debate that I believe were quite notable.

NBC debate moderator could not help but begin the program by entering into a statement that suggested Americans blame conservative policies for all the economic problems we are experiencing and insinuated that at the same time, most Americans do not believe President Obama’s policies are as liberal as they should be.   Not only is this incorrect, it was also another subtle but blatant editorial opinion being interjected into a conversation by a member of the lamestream media who is suppose to be impartial and non-partisan. 

Another very memorable moment in the debate can be seen about 26 minutes into the  video of  debate that is proveded  below this post.

As Politico’s John  Harris pursued a line of questioning designed to inflame an internecine ideological debate over healthcare, he through the floor open to Newt Gingrich and said;

“Well I’m frankly not interested in your efforts to get Republicans to fight against eachother…….You’d like to puff this up into some giant thing.  The fact here is that every single person up here understands Obamacare is a disaster.  It is a disaster procedural, it was rammed through after they lost Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, it was written badly, it was never reconciled, it can’t be implemented, it is killing this economy.  And if this President has a concern for working Americans, he’d walk in Thursday night and ask to repeal it because its a monstrosity.  Every person up here agrees with that!”……….

At that point the audience broke out into one of the largest round of applauds of the night and once the clapping died down Newt went on to say……….

” And let me just say…since I still have a little time left……….let me just say, I for one….and I hope all of my friends up here —- Are going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama who deserves to be defeated, and all of us are committed as a team……. Whoever the nominee is we are all committed to defeating Barack Obama”

To which the audience again broke out into another round of applause but this was even louder than the last.

It was probably one of the best statements of the night and the most real display of anger offered by any of the candidates on the stage last night.  However, it was not enough to propel Newt into the race as an immediate threat to anyone in the front of the field that he trails.  But it did renew my appreciation for Gingrich and made me realize that when the election is over, he might just be perfect as the Republican national Committee Chairman or the new President’s Press Secretary. 

 Beyond that, I again suggest that you see theexcellent analyses provided in the two White House 2012 links above and also that you see the debate by clicking on the link below.  It is a good oner that should not be missed.

Click here to see the complete debate

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Quick Debate Recap

And the winner is:

Good night for Romney

Mitt Romney.  Romney was the adult on the stage.  When the moderators tried to pick a fight between Perry and Romney, Romney put a quick end to it.  When the candidates attacked each other, Romney said that any one of them would be better than Obama.  Romney drove home the point that Obama is in over his head.  He drove that point so well that it stuck out above the fray.  Instead of seeing animosity, disagreements or even easy shots from Romney, he gave honor to Reagan’s golden rule and even offered Perry a “mulligan” on mandatory vaccinations.  Romney, having just released his plan, had that to stand on in the debate.  Romney has also been paying attention.  After last debate, Obama complained that none of the candidates mentioned the middle class.  Romney responded by saying that the middle class has been hurt most by Obama, while not referencing the President’s criticism by name.  Romney also corrected the moderators on the myth of TEA party “membership”, and then followed up by spelling out exactly what the TEA party stands for and endorsing them.

Newt Gingrich is a great debater and did not disappoint.  His attacks on Obama and focus on Obama, not on other Republicans, showed why he is a great candidate for the GOP.  Gingrich showed a fire that I think most people have lost sight of as he has faded between major events like this.  Unfortunately, because Newt has struggled to gain national attention outside of the debates, this debate as well will probably not give him a bump.  But his performance was a solid 2nd place performance.

Michele Bachmann did not carve out a huge chunk of attention for herself or particularly stand out, but she didn’t make any mistakes either.  She was even able to field the $2 a gallon gas question by pointing out that it was below that when Obama’s presidency began.  I think Americans are understanding better than Huntsman and others what she means when she says she can produce $2 a gallon gas.  But the key for Bachmann was her expounding on why she would not accept a taxes for spending cuts deal.  I think she just beat Gingrich to the punch.  At the Reagan Library, Michele Bachmann reminded us of Reagan’s deal with Democrats where he was promised $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in taxes increased.  Instead, as she put it, he got $3 in tax hikes for every $1 in spending cuts.  This was a shining moment that explained away what could have been easily used in the general election as an attack on the Republican candidate’s uncompromising stance.  For the short amount of time she was given, she met expectations and in that one instance vastly exceeded them.

Rick Perry described himself as the pinata in the party, and as the front runner he could probably have expected this.  He also got a perceived majority of the time as the moderators and other candidates spent a great deal of time fleshing out his positions and attacking his record.  Some of the shine will certainly be gone after tonight.  At one point he seemed to stumble and go into slow motion on one of his responses.  He was beat up a lot and a lot of issues came into the spot light that perhaps he wishes hadn’t.  Perry didn’t back off of his social security rhetoric, which will win him some supporters and lose others.  In the end, Perry survived the night and still came out strong, but I think his front runner status is going to be in danger going forward.  Enter Sarah Palin?

Herman Cain focused on the word “solutions”.  He sounded like a CEO.  He mentioned some of his plans and ideas, but a great deal of it sounded very much like platitudes.  I think in a few weeks I will write a “Where are they now?” blog post about former candidates in this primary who had so much potential but then faded into the background and eventually out of the race.  Pawlenty, Gary Johnson, Mitch Daniels will all make that list.  Is Cain destined for the “Where are they now?” post?

Jon Huntsman did a pretty good job connecting for most of the debate.  A lot of his answers sounded pretty reasonable and brought him further from the edge of moderate liberalism that he had been occupying.  He was doing a pretty good job.  And then he started talking about global warming.  Perry’s slow motion, botched response with simple homey reference to Galileo still put Huntsman to shame on global warming.  Huntsman’s answer on science will distance him from a vast majority of the right base.  Even the vast majority of evolutionists on the right still wouldn’t destroy the economy over global warming science.  Mark my words, this is the death of Huntsman’s campaign, although I doubt he will figure that out for another month or two.

Santorum had an odd look on his face the whole evening.  It almost seemed like every time the camera pointed at him, he was asking himself “what the heck am I doing here?”  I had the same question.  Santorum is a great guy, but his ideas are stale and his campaign is stalled.  Most of his answers echoed Newt Gingrich and the ones that didn’t were the answers of a candidate from a different time than we live in now.  I think Santorum has done a good job of presenting his issues and making sure they are a topic in this primary.  He should gracefully bow out now.

Ron Paul was in rare form.  Well, not really rare form, just rare for what we’ve seen in this year’s more civil, tame campaign.  We didn’t see any of that civil, tame version of Paul tonight.  The moderators, between asking the right questions and denying him equal time, played Ron Paul like a fiddle.  The result was some gems, like Paul saying we should take air conditioners away from troops in the green zone, that gas would only cost a dime if our coins were still made with silver, and that if we put up a fence to curb illegal immigration eventually that fence would be used to keep Americans from leaving.  His performance was completely unpresidential, and he made Perry look like a moderate.  Paul will still appeal to about 10% of America with this debate performance, and they are a very loud 10%.  But he did a great deal of damage to the liveable campaign he had been building to date.  I think he will even lose many of the moderates and independents his anti-establishmentism had been attracting.

Libertarian “Golden” Boy/Bachmann Tebow Complex

Ron Paul’s Golden Portfolio

Ron Paul is well known for his pro-gold policies.  He is a little less well known for his golden portfolio.  While most Americans have been watching their retirements quickly shrink, Ron Paul is doing OK.  He might not be as rich as Mitt Romney, but he could buy Tim Pawlenty.

Is Paul ready for the leftwing media meat grinder?

The question is if this will become an issue for Ron Paul down the road.  Unlike half the GOP field this year, Ron Paul had not been considered a threat so no vetting (as the left calls it) or smear (as the right calls it) has taken place yet.  Still, could Paul’s golden investments and golden ambitions of a gold backed currency be viewed by liberal opponents as a conflict of interest?  Already liberal bloggers are pointing out Paul’s use of earmarks, so more “vetting” may be on the way.

One question that had me scratching my head is why Paul would advocate fixing the debt ceiling deal by having the Fed write off the QE1 and QE2 loans it had printed and made to the Treasury.  Of course, this would make the hundreds of billions involved unrestricted cash and could result in inflation. At the same time he voted (contrary to his son Rand) against Cut, Cap and Balance.  Ron Paul’s constant votes against any appropriations bill that doesn’t adhere strictly to the constitution should be viewed as a principled approach to representing the people who sent him to DC.  But it sure hasn’t hurt his portfolio either, as imperfect but more conservative bills fall to more liberal compromises that can pass without him and others who vote like him.  Paul has bet on instability and it has paid off.

By the way, Paul’s holdings don’t include major stockpiles of gold, but are actually all in gold mining companies.

Should Bachmann Be Third String?

Meanwhile, on the mainstream side of the GOP Michele Bachmann is suddenly finding herself where Pawlenty was just a couple weeks ago: a solid third place.

This made me think of Tim Tebow who was recently put at the Broncos’ third string behind Brady Quinn and Kyle

Tebow was local hero as a Gator

Orton.  I love Tim Tebow.  When he gets the ball and runs, or dumps those short touchdown passes over the defensive line’s heads, we all go nuts here in Florida.  Bronco’s preseason makes Floridians happy because we get to see Tebow.  He was a local champion who got everyone on fire for him, and when he went pro his Broncos’ #15 jersey was the number one seller in the whole NFL.

But Tebow is not a polished player.  His faith endears him to Christian NFL fans.  The excitement he brought to the Gators with his competitive and unpredictable playing style built him a huge fan base.  But his accuracy is off.  He is no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.  He might fill the stadium, but he is not the quarterback to bring the Broncos to the Superbowl this year.

Can Bachmann be the GOP starter?

So why does he make me think of Michele Bachmann?  Bachmann has a huge fan base.  She became a national sensation as the darling of the TEA Party.  She fills stadiums and is exciting to watch and listen to.  But she is unpolished.  Her accuracy is off.  She’s no Mitt Romney or Rick Perry.

So for now, like Tebow, Bachmann is going to remain third string until she can prove she’s a starter.

Debate Recap

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

Newt Gingrich

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

Mitt Romney

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

Ron Paul

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

Rick Santorum

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

Herman Cain

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

Jon Huntsman

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

Tim Pawlenty

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

Michelle Bachmann

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

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

The Disadvantage of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

Bookmark and ShareThe debt. The deficit. The debt ceiling. Default. Social security checks. Medicare payments. Balanced Budgets. Tax increases. Gang of six. Cut, Cap and Balance. Headlines all in the past week. Headlines that, for the most part, the Republican candidates for President have been able to take a stand on without actually having to take a solid position. That is unless you are Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann, the 2 candidates who are sitting members of the House Of Representatives.

2012 GOP Presidential leader and former MA Governor Mitt Romney has stated that “The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending and to put in place a balanced budget amendment.” “If the president were to do those things, this whole debt issue would disappear.” He has declined to say whether he would support a compromise.

Former MN Governor Tim Pawlenty said in Iowa this week, “Eventually you run out of money, but what you do is you buy yourself a bunch of time to have the debate about real reform.” A vague statement but one that allows him to offer an opinion without having to land solidly behind a plan.

Paul and Bachmann however are forced, through their House seats, to vote for or against the actual plans. They are not afforded the luxury to simply make broad statements without taking a position that the other candidates are. Both Paul and Bachmann were also among the nine House Republicans who voted Tuesday night against the ‘cut, cap and balance’ bill that would reduce 2012 spending by more than $100 billion, cap it over the next decade and prohibit more government borrowing until Congress passes a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Harry Reid has vowed it will not pass the Senate and the President has vowed to veto it if it does.

Ron Paul said it wouldn’t live up to it’s promises, passing the cuts off for years and Bachmann said it didn’t go far enough to cut spending.

So are candidates that hold seats in Congress at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to use the rhetoric on an issue? Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was a top economic policy adviser to Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 but not aligned with any of the contenders this time around stated, “What they would like to have is the issue and that’s the difference between them and the congressional leaders. They need an issue. The congressional leaders need a result.”

We will see in the coming days and months leading up to the Iowa caucus if the other candidates try to pull the votes of Paul and Bachmann into the fray. While the other candidates can rely on rhetoric and easily take the stance that the polls dictate are popular, sitting members of Congress have to take a solid stand on the bills before them. A disadvantage for sure in a large candidate field with a mere 2 current legislators in it’s ranks.

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