The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Newt Gingrich

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

Born: June 17, 1943, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Spouse(s):Jackie Battley (1962-1981), Marianne Ginther (1981-2000), Callista Gingrich(2000-?)

Children: Two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren.

Residence : Carrollton, Georgia (79-93), Marrietta, Georgia (93-99) McLean Virginia (Current)

Alma mater:Emory University,Tulane University

Profession:College Professor, author, Member of Congress

Religion: Roman Catholic

Political Career :

  • Two unsuccessful runs for Congress in Georgia’s sixth congressional district in 1974 and 1976
  • Elected to Congress in 1978 and subsequently served for 8 more terms until 1999
  • From 1989 to 1995 he served as the 16th United States House Minority Whip
  • From 1995 to 1999 he served as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Throughout his continuing career, Gingrich has proven to be a prolific and top selling author. Most of his novels are comprised of innovative, conservative policy initiatives and directions that are rooted in the founding principle of our nation. His first book was published in January of 1982. It was entitledThe Government’s Role in Solving Societal Problems and offered a solid foundation for conservative leadership in America. But his breakout book came in 1985 withWindow of Opportunity, a profound compilation of of path to prosperity in America.

Other works include:

  • Contract with America (co-editor).
  • Restoring the Dream
  • Quotations from Speaker Newt
  • To Renew America
  • Lessons Learned The Hard Way
  • Presidential Determination Regarding Certification of the Thirty-Two Major Illicit Narcotics Producing and Transit Countries
  • Saving Lives and Saving Money
  • Winning the Future
  • Rediscovering God in America
  • A Contract with the Earth
  • Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis
  • Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works
  • To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine

Newt has also written a substantial number of historical novels:

  • 1945
  • Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War
  • Grant Comes East Thomas Dunne Books
  • Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory
  • Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th
  • Days of Infamy

See a more detailed bio of Newt here on his White House 2012 presidential contender page

Newt is probably not going to be Mitt Romney’s choice as a running mate. While he is consistently considered the smartest man in the room, he is also one of the loosest cannon in any room and although he can easily bring some very positive qualities to the ticket, it his baggage that may  prevent us from every seeing how positive those qualities may be on the G.O.P. presidential ticket.

Newt would certainly be impressive in any vice presidential debates, although it is more than likely that the Obama ticket will only allow one vice presidential debate, if even that. Newt would also certainly be able to condense the election down to several very succinct and powerful words that the average voter would be able to relate to in a most convincing way.

But Newt will also shoot from the hip and in what will undoubtedly be a highly negative campaign waged with the near billion dollar campaign war chest of the Obama ticket, any stray bullets fired off by Newt could become lethal distractions that the Romney campaign can ill afford.  Just having Newt on the ticket will be a very distraction.  The left’s venom of Newt is so strong, that a daily rush of personal name calling and attacks will be discussed in a pro-liberal mainstream media to such a great extent, that the Romney-Gingrich message would be overshadowed and muted.

As a play it safe kind of guy, Newt is probably too much of a risk for Romney’s liking and Newt’s long and accomplished political career is most likely open to the type of criticism that Mitt Romney does not want to deal with. Therefore, despite Newt’s ability to compensate for several of Mitt’s shortcomings, such as a lack of innovation and boldness as well as a lack of any popular anti-establishment sentiments, Newt will probably not be Vice President anytime soon.  Add to that a bitter campaign between the two of them and what you have is a personal relationship that does not preclude the idea from consideration, but is not exactly conducive to the creation of an enthusiastic partnership at the top of the presidential ticket.

Pros:

  • Articulate and has a great capacity for shaping issues in a way that makes the conservative approach to our problems seem like common sense
  • Has an anti-establishmentarian streak that can appeal to independents and T.E.A. Party activists and compensate for Romney’s establishment image
  • Great in debate
  • Brings unappalled experience to the ticket
  • Would help Romney among Southern conservatives who are not comfortable with him

Cons:

  • Has personal baggage which can easily become a distraction in the campaign
  • Has been a harsh critic of Mitt Romney and his policies
  • Shoots from the hip and can be a very loose cannon
  • Has the potential to overshadow Mitt Romney

Overall Assesment:

In some ways, Newt would be the perfect Vice President. Having once been the second in line for presidency, his experience is invaluable. He is also incredibly articulate and dogged in his defense of conservative values and tireless in his efforts to find innovative solutions to our problems and ways to remove government from our everyday lives. But Newt has an ego problem and it often gets in his way and it is that ego problem which Mitt Romney will probably not allow to get in the way of his winning the White House.  So when it comes to Newt Gingrich, he would not be the perfect Vice President for Mitt Romney.

Furthermore; while Newt was relatively competitive in the first half of the primary process, he never quite caught on and proved that he can’t be even be counted on as a favorite son of the South who could motivate those Southern voters uninspired by Romney.  And that is an important factor because for Mitt Romney to win this election, he will need to have the Republican base come out to vote for him in near record numbers.

Overall, while the selection of Newt would be a good one from a policy, management, and issue oriented angle, from a political perspective regarding an election, Newt is not the best choice for Mitt.

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Some Past Key Votes

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article One

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – President Clinton was charged with willfully providing perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury concerning one or more of the following:: – …

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article Three

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – -Accuses President Clinton of obstructing justice by coaching White House Secretary Betty Currie in potential testimony, encouraging Monica Lewinsky to lie under oath and by …

H Res 611 – Impeachment Resolution: Article Two

Legislation-Resolution (Yea)

Dec. 19, 1998 – – Accuses President Clinton of committing perjury on December 23, 1997, during his testimony in a Federal civil rights action brought against him by Paula …

More Key Votes

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Gingrich on the Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Health Care
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Civil Rights Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Jobs Welfare & Poverty Corporations
Energy & Oil Environment Technology Principles & Values

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Today should be it

Mitt Romney should easily sweep a handful of blue states today, including New York and Pennsylvania.  If he does, I think the staunchest of conservative holdouts are ready to call it for Romney.  The only thing that will change the trajectory of the primary at this point would be if Romney’s performance is weak in any of these states.

Is that possible?  To a certain extent.  With Romney already the presumptive nominee, media coverage of the April 24th primaries has been minimal.  Additionally, any inhibition towards voting one’s conscience should be gone.   Romney’s refocusing on Obama is certainly not unwarranted confidence, but does signal an end to his scorched earth campaign that ravished his closest rivals.

Will Gingrich show any sort of proof of life in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, or Rhode Island?  Don’t count on it.  To be sure, there is a conservative underground in each of these states, most strongly in Pennsylvania.  But at the same time, they have been so marginalized by the liberal culture that “most conservative who can actually win” is deeply engrained.

My prediction is that Newt doesn’t break 40% in any of these states.  If that is the case, I am ready to call the 2012 primary for Mitt Romney.  However, if Newt can somehow mitigate his losses and mathematically survive today, he has some friendly states coming up in May.  He may still not survive to the convention fight he is counting on, but he would have a chance.  And something he hasn’t tasted in months: momentum.

Romney Outpacing Obama as Conservatives Relent

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

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

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

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

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

Bad News for Romney?

Romney declared today to be a good day for his campaign.  The media easily agreed, following their template that Romney is already the nominee.  However, the good news may end up being all for Gingrich.  The long dead in the water conservative finally has what he has needed for a second resurgence: no competition for the social conservative vote.

In fact, Newt made the point today that he would love to get Santorum’s delegates.  Newt is right, he is far closer to what Santorum’s delegates want than Romney.  While Romney is far away ahead of both candidates on their own, together their delegates number more than 400.

Gingrich’s next hope for a good day won’t come until May 8th, and Romney is sure to sweep the blue states that vote on April 24th.  In fact, nearly certain victories in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island could seal the deal.

On the other hand, Gingrich could start a come back in Indiana and could win North Carolina and West Virginia with some hard work.  In fact, May should favor the remaining social conservative, culminating with the 155 delegates in Texas.  May could be enough to provide Gingrich with the convention floor battle he’s been hoping for.

On the other hand, without a strong ground game, and with limited funds and no media recognition that he even still exists, Newt may never have a chance at realizing the potential the Santorum exit has given him.

It’s “Super Tuesday,” only Romney and Gingrich can emerge to challenge Obama

It is “Super Tuesday” in the GOP race to select the Republican nominee for November’s general election against incumbent President Barack Obama. “Super Tuesday” represents the biggest polling day so far in what has been an intense and sometimes bitter GOP race and will see contests in Ohio, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Oklahoma, Idaho, North Dakota and Alaska. There are 419 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the party’s nomination up for grabs.

The biggest fight of the day will see current front-runner Mitt Romney, and unexpected rival Rick Santorum battle it out in the State of Ohio. Romney’s new slogan of “more jobs, less debt, smaller government” is part of a broader strategy, to counter Santorum’s appeal for both working-class voters and conservatives. A win for Santorum in Ohio is crucial as his support and lead in the polls is gradually being eaten into by Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Santorum has most to lose of all the candidates going into Super Tuesday, a failure to meet expectations and grind out a significant state victory will only add to the resurgence of conservative rival Gingrich. Gingrich was applauded by many yesterday, for a string of brilliant appearances on the Sunday political shows. A Santorum victory in Ohio, would yet again, turn the race on its head, while he is also aiming for victories in conservative Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Romney has been gaining ground on Santorum in the Ohio polls all week, eliminating a double-digit lead for the former senator from Pennsylvania, with one poll giving Romney the advantage, one gave Santorum the lead and the third showed a virtual tie. Romney is expected to easily win in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Romney’s superior organization and establishment support, combined with his massively funded Super PAC, has enabled him to compete all across the Super Tuesday landscape and potentially pick up more than half of the 419 delegates up for grabs.

In the state of Virginia, only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul made the ballot, as both Santorum and  Gingrich failed to meet the strict state criteria. This contest virtually guarantee’s a Romney victory in the state where he enjoys prominent backing in the shape of notable Republicans Governor Bob McDonnell and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for the states 46 delegates.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who has yet to win a state primary or caucus despite his fanatical ground level support, is finally expected to pick up his first wins in Alaska and North Dakota’s caucuses.

Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, seeking a path to a comeback, leads his home state of Georgia. Gingrich anticipates doing well in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Ohio and intends to carry on in the race, even if he finishes third overall on Super Tuesday, behind former Romney and Santorum. Gingrich hopes a Georgia victory will kick off his Southern Strategy of taking Alabama and Mississippi on March 13 and possibly Kansas, resulting in his third comeback in the GOP race, as the conservative alternative to Romney.

Former Presidential candidate Herman Cain hailed Newt Gingrich’s promise to push the price of a gallon of gas under $2.50 as the new “9-9-9” of the presidential campaign, he said, that gives voters a concrete promise of action. Gingrich has estimated that Americans will see a whopping $16 trillion to $18 trillion in federal tax revenue from the energy explosion, wiping out the national debt in one fell swoop.

I expect Romney to meet his expectations and win Ohio. Santorum will just fall short in Ohio but while he has enjoyed a strong six weeks of momentum, the pendulum is starting to shift away from him. He simply cannot discipline himself on the campaign trail in terms of some of his rhetoric and his constant commentary on social issues is playing into Team Obama’s hands. Santorum has raised his profile and in my view, exceeded expectations in this race so far and I credit him for that. However, if anyone believes he is actually capable of beating President Obama in a general election they are delusional.

I believe Gingrich will exceed expectations by winning Georgia comfortably, but will turn in stronger than expected performances in some of the other states in contention today. Gingrich is the solutions candidate, anybody observing him deliver a master class on topic narrative with the liberal media on Sunday, can’t help but realise, he is the real alternative to Romney.

Santorum’s bid will start to flounder after today, Newt will surge again, and the only matter that remains to be seen is how Romney, will cope on the campaign trail once he comes out from under the “Mittness Protection Programme.”

Newt can win the race still however, it is Romney’s to lose at this point.

Is Mitt Bouyant? Or Santorum Sinking?

The day before Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney is looking good.  It’s looking like he will take the key state of Ohio and could take Tennessee.  Both of these are very close races.  But Romney’s ascendency back to the top is marked by Santorum’s dive in the polls, and Newt’s resurgence again.  Newt will win Georgia, which has the most delegates of any Super Tuesday state.  Newt is also now tied with Santorum and within one point of Romney in Tennessee according to one poll.  Just last week, Santorum was looking good in both Ohio and Tennessee.

If Santorum is suddenly seen as faltering, we may see the polls seesaw back to Newt on fears of unelectability.  However, at this late stage that may serve to only help Romney, unless Santorum loses big time.  If Santorum comes in third in Tennessee or Ohio and Gingrich easily wins Georgia, the shift back to Newt could be significant.

Consider this, if Santorum was not in the race and his voters went to Newt, Newt would sweep Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.  On the other hand, the same could be said for Santorum if Newt dropped out and his votes went to Santorum.  In either case, Romney is the beneficiary of the social conservative split.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul is fleeing from social issues as he descends back into below 10% irrelevancy.

This could be short lived however, as Republicans revisit the myth that social issues are losers in elections.  As I pointed out the other day, a one dimensional economy candidate is going to struggle against Obama.  Republicans are more likely to be inspired to go to the polls for a bold conservative, and Romney is all pastels.  If Santorum falters tomorrow and Newt remains on message, this one could be far from over.

Why Drudge is Headlining Newt

Romney barely eeked out a win in his homestate Michigan.  Newt barely registered.  Judging from Arizona and Michigan, which Newt conceded before they even started, Newt is less likely than Ron Paul to be the nominee.  So why is Drudge front paging a 2% Gallup poll increase for Newt as a third comeback?  Simple, Drudge wants Romney to win.

It’s no secret Drudge is a Romney supporter.  Santorum has Romney on the ropes, especially when heading into some of the southern more conservative states.  If Newt’s votes in Michigan went to Santorum, Romney would have lost.  What has kept Romney in this race is a split vote between Newt and Santorum.  Romney needs that split to survive.

I wish Newt would make another comeback.  He is the best candidate with the best ideas.  But don’t get your hopes up.  Romney wants a perceived Newt resurgence almost as much as Newt wants a real resurgence.

 

Wishful thinking?

Too Bad The Debate Won’t Matter

It is way too late in the game for the groundswell of Santorum supporters to turn back and take a gamble on Newt.  At stake is handing the Republican nomination to an establishment Republican with a liberal tax plan, timid economic plan, and nothing more than a strong business reputation to run on.  But after last night’s debate, the choice for the Republican nominee is as clear to me as the day I endorsed him.

I was proud of Newt for making a supremely important point in the debate over contraception.  The issue isn’t a debate between someone who wants to keep birth control pills legal and someone who wants to ban all contraception and chain women to the kitchen sink.  The debate is between someone who voted to make it legal for doctors to kill babies after they are born and the eventual GOP candidate who simply wants to protect religious organizations from having to pay for abortion pills.  The radical here is most definitely Obama and both Newt and Mitt pointed that out.

Santorum struck out more than once.  He came across as arrogant, angry and mean.  He has already taken a great deal of heat for dismissing unprincipled votes as “taking one for the team”.  This is the opposite of what anti-establishment Republicans are looking for.  I will give Santorum one very good mark though for making clear that when he talks about what is wrong with the family in America, he id not proposing that we use the government to solve it.  I mentioned that a couple days ago as something Santorum has not done a good job making clear.

Romney did a poor job connecting.  He has put up a conservative facade, but his opponents consistently poked holes in it.  In the end, he will keep his diehard supporters and establishment Republican allies, but he continues to disappoint.

Ron Paul continues to live in a time machine fantasy world where we supposedly can ignore what Iran is doing because we made them do it in the first place and ignoring them will make them go away.  Ron Paul does not seem to understand that on a scale of rationality, radical Islamic terrorists make the communists and fascists seem like Locke and Des Cartes.  Mutual guaranteed destruction is no great incentive for peace when offered to suicide bombers.

Unfortunately, Newt does not have the ground organization to convince Santorum voters to switch back.  But after last night’s debate, we may be kicking ourselves for a long time for overlooking him in 2012.

CPAC’s Conservative Message

Despite Romney’s strawpoll win, the anti-establishment message of CPAC came through loud and clear from various speakers.  Alan West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and even at times the Presidential candidates: the only way we can truly be free is by reclaiming the role of the church and community from the Federal Government.

For several years now the conservative movement has allowed private charity to flirt with and even get in bed with the Federal Government under the understanding that private organizations can use federal dollars much more efficiently than government bureaucracies.  Then along came Barack Obama.  It makes me think of Star Wars and Darth Vader’s line “Pray I don’t alter the deal any further”.

The problem is that conservatives abandoned their principles.  Trusting a pro-family, pro-conservative President in George W. Bush, we signed on to faith based initiatives.  Perhaps we never expected a President who would leverage those relationships to gain control over Christianity and use Christian institutions to spread liberalism.  We never expected a President who in three short years would be to the point of forcing Christian institutions to provide abortion pills or suffer the consequences.

The Government cannot protect our sacred institutions.  The government is using our tax dollars to control our sacred institutions.

The problem is that only one candidate in this has talked about the sort of shrinking of government necessary to get the government out of the charity and faith business altogether.  While he has appeared impotent when pressed, Ron Paul is the only candidate who will actually say that the government doesn’t belong in the insurance business or the charity business.  Mitt Romney would bring us back to the George W. Bush days when faith based initiatives allowed faiths to still manage themselves.  Newt and Santorum would certainly respect religious freedom, but would also strengthen the ties between government and faith based organizations with the same deadly good intentions W had.

This is not an endorsement for Ron Paul, but it is an acknowledgement that when it comes to the responsibility of Christians and community, Paul is more in line with the 2010 freshmen, and older wise sages like Huckabee, who must rise to the top if conservatism and freedom of religion is to survive in our country.  Perhaps Newt, Mitt and Rick will be persuaded by Paul on this like they were on the Fed.

Conservative Formula Plays Out

Imagine if you single-handedly picked Presidents.  The choice is up to you.  No need to consider electability, lesser of two evils, third parties, spoilers, or anything else.  Your choice is it.  Now, imagine you live in Montana, Minnesota, or Colorado and delegates aren’t rewarded based on your primary vote.  It’s pretty much the same situation.

The result?  Ron Paul got his standard 10-20% of libertarians and conservatives seeking radical constitutionalism, Romney got his standard 30-40% of fiscal conservatives who want a strong businessman, and the social conservatives split the rest.  Except in states where electability, lesser of two evils, third parties, and spoilers don’t matter, Newt Gingrich barely registered.  Instead, Rick Santorum, deemed unelectable from day one, swept bigtime.  It’s like “What’s My Line” where the points don’t matter.

Social Conservatives demonstrated what they really want, and it ain’t Mitt or Newt.  Mitt Romney is striking out with Conservatives, first with support of increasing labor price floors, then with information about his imposing abortion coverage on private companies like Obama is doing now.  Both of these are huge question marks on Romney’s record.

But Newt hasn’t done much better, with most of the country now thinking he was Freddie Mac’s number one lobbyist and had more sex partners than your average Mormon.  Romney has succeeded in dragging Newt down, and Newt hasn’t helped himself.

So does Santorum have a shot?  Probably not, but he does have something Iowa didn’t really give him: momentum.

Now Santorum can face the Romney attack machine for a while.  It started with the Donald saying that since Santorum lost in Pennsylvania he can’t possibly win the Presidency. Of course, that is a pretty funny standard to be judged by when it comes from a multi-billionaire business-owner who has declared bankruptcy four times.  I would think Trump would be able to relate to Santorum’s tenacity.

The problem with Santorum is that he doesn’t have that Presidentiality  that stupid, ignorant, and independent voters look for in a President.  He doesn’t have the hair or the chin.  Oh, and as Scarlett Johannson pointed out, he is unelectable because he wears sweater vests.  What Johannson underestimates is how many people out there who would take a bag of rocks wrapped in a sweater vest over our current President.

I pick on independents, but social conservatives aren’t much better.  When delegates are back on the table, don’t hold your breath for another Santorum sweep.  That would require conservatives looking themselves in the mirror and asking what they actually want in a President, not just who can beat Obama.  Tuesday’s message was loud and clear.

Romney Stumbles Right and Left

Perhaps we should call it the curse of the front runner.  Romney has made two gaffes and managed to put himself on the wrong side of the left and right.  But the second gaffe, the one to correct the first, should have conservatives thinking twice.

First, Romney was trying to explain how he was focused on the middle class.  But he didn’t say he was focused on the middle class, instead he said he didn’t care about the poor.  Reasonable people know what he meant, but not everyone in the political world is reasonable.  For example: Democrats.  But as Romneyites have pointed out over and over in this campaign, the Republican nominee is going to have to deal with the unfair media and lies from the Democrats and we can’t go nominating someone who is unpredictable and brash who is going to say something off the wa…oh wait.

I know what he meant.

But then Romney tried to fix things by proving to liberals that he cares for the poor as much as they do.  Romney promised to raise and index the minimum wage to inflation.  I wonder if Coulter will defend that one.  Raising the minimum wage is a great way to get poor people to vote for you.  It helped Democrats in 2006.  And then shortly after raising the minimum wage, unemployment among teenagers, college students, and single mothers skyrocketed to record levels.

The idea of the federal government telling states what they should impose on private businesses as a minimum wage should give any conservative, including Ann Coulter and Mitt Romney, pause.  Frankly, the idea that someone who parks cars in Burbank should make the same as a burger flipper in Mobile is pretty crazy by itself.

The proper response would have been something like this: No, I’m not going to raise the federal minimum wage.  I am going to raise wages for everyone by shrinking the size of government and growing the size of the private sector so that everyone can get better jobs for better pay because we will have a better economy.  And I will abolish the federal minimum wage and trust the states and local governments to handle that themselves like the constitution requires.

Mitt has a problem that needs fixing quick if he is going to be the nominee.  He is a panderer.  If he is not careful, Republicans will start asking the same question they did in 2006, no matter how stupid and irrational it is.  Wouldn’t it be better to let Democrats win so everyone can see how terrible they are than to elect a RINO so that Republicans can screw it up?  Hint, no.  We’ve had almost six years now of “wouldn’t it be better to let Democrats win” and it has nearly destroyed our freedoms and capitalist system.

So somebody please remind Romney what side he’s supposed to be on in the debate on the size of government.  This is important.

Romney & Florida an expected success – Can he stand up to the Obama machine?

As I sat up watching the results come in from the Florida primary last evening, two things came to mind once the result was called for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Firstly, was I surprised by the result or margin of victory? No! The second question is more crucial, what does Mitt Romney stand for?

Dealing with the first question, Romney’s victory in the Florida Republican presidential primary was inevitable and has got him his front runner status back for now. The manner of his victory though should concern Republican supporters going forward. In order to win any general election, Romney or any GOP Nominee will need to win over independent voters.  A recent Gallup showed 40% of Americans defined themselves as independent voters compared to 27% who said they were Republicans and 31% who said they were Democrats.

Romney’s victories in New Hampshire and Florida and his second place finishes in Iowa and South Carolina have come on the back of some of the most vicious, and down right nasty attack ads in presidential campaign history. Romney has tried to hide behind the manner in which his campaign has been conducted, saying he has no influence or connection with his Super Pac in this campaign, technically and legally true.

Those pro-Romney supporters have tried to point to his two debate performances as the reason for his Florida victory. Yes, he did have improved performances against a somewhat timid Gingrich in those debates. The truth is Rick Santorum was the stand-out candidate in my view for both debates. Romney’s performances were better, but hardly outstanding or presidential winning performances.

The real other factor in this presidential primary season has been the change in party rules and campaign financing schemes with the arrival of the Super Pac machine. Romney, as I previously wrote, simply carpet bombed Gingrich under a barrage of bitter, nasty and out and out negative attack ads in Florida, like he did in Iowa. What the conservative media commentators won’t tell you is that Romney’s Florida victory came because he overwhelmingly won in all seven of the media markets. The results were much different outside those media markets with Gingrich’s appeal and support proving a lot more solid.

The stats reveal a staggering effort on his behalf with Romney’s campaign and the pro Romney Super PAC “Restore Our Future” outspending Gingrich and his supporting Super PAC by a 5 to 1 ratio in the week leading up to the Florida Republican primary election on Tuesday, this involved a total of 12,768 television ads. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, 99% of them were attacks on Newt Gingrich. In the same period, Gingrich and his supporters bought just 210 TV ads. While the majority of them slammed Romney, some were positive advertisements for Gingrich.

Romney and his Super PAC combined to spend nearly $9.9 million on ads aimed at attacking Mr. Gingrich during the week that lead up to the Florida primary on Tuesday. CMAG concluded that, with 92% of the total TV ads going on the attack, the Florida primary set a new record for negativity. The total Florida spend was believed to be a combined total of $17.7 million for Romney versus $5.1 million combined for Gingrich.

I make no secret of my admiration for Gingrich, yes he is a controversial figure and has had personal issues in the past. The reason for my admiration of Gingrich, Santorum and indeed Ron Paul for that matter is that I can tell you what each man advocates, and where they stand in terms of economic policy, job creation, social values and foreign policy.  This brings me to the second question, what does Mitt Romney stand for?

I’ve tried in recent months to see the appeal and unique quality that the GOP establishment have touted in Governor Romney, but I’ve simply failed to find it. I even tweeted asking my followers the question, what does Romney actually stand for? The silence spoke volumes. Romney may be championed by his supporters on a lot of fronts and maybe very justifiably so. However, as I’ve been saying for well over a year, this is the most crucial presidential election in over fifty years. Make no mistake, America’s economy and role in the world is very much under threat, and in very real danger of being lost forever.

On a personal level, Romney seems a decent and likeable enough person. He’s polished in his appearance, has a great family background and has been very successful as a businessman. All these credentials should be very appealing when looking for a candidate yet, I still find myself asking what does Romney stand for?

My big concern about Romney is that he’s great at attacking and deriding President Obama and the other candidates on their records in political life. What Romney won’t stand up and firmly say is this is what I stand for with real passion and conviction. Romney, regardless on what side of the political divide you come from, has a long and tailored record of changing his position on issues, and not being able to defend them strongly when challenged. Gingrich strategically in my view made a fatal flaw in attacking Romney on his business record in New Hampshire and it hurt him in the polls there. I don’t believe in knocking success or the role of capitalism. I do believe however that Gingrich made an error in not focussing on Romney’s record as Governor instead when he wanted to attack.

The Romney team are trying to establish their campaign around Romney being a successful businessman. We hear very little mention of him being a successful Governor of Massachusetts. This brings me to the question, if he isn’t championing and pointing to his record as Governor of Massachusetts everyday on the campaign trail, why do GOP supporters believe he will be able to deliver and perform as President of the United States. Romney will have to decide to run as Romney the successful Governor & businessman, not be selective in what he runs his campaign on. The Obama machine will not afford him that luxury should he emerge as the nominee.

Romney doesn’t under take many interviews, he avoids the Sunday political shows like the plague and when he is challenged in interviews, he has shown himself to be prickly. I don’t doubt the man’s abilities as a businessman, but I want more then rehearsed lines, staged interviews and someone who has won the nomination by simply buying their way to it with attack ads. I want steely conviction and a determined dog like spirit, someone who is prepared to lead and fight for the ordinary person on all levels.

The questions American’s and others should ask is the following, what is Romney’s vision for America and how does he intend to get us there? Simple.

If his vision and message is right, then there’s a second question, has Romney demonstrated that he has the ability to be outspent on a 5-1 ratio and attacked himself and win?. It is on these two questions that I believe the GOP and establishment need to be certain before they coronate Romney  as would be nominee.

As President Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.

 

Newt’s No Strategy Stragey Is Playing Right In To His Rivals Hands

Bookmark and Share   As I have said over and over again, I am fully prepared to enthusiastically get behind Mitt Romney as our nominee, but when given the choice between Mitt’s meager tweaking of policies that steer things slightly more to the right of the liberal establishment, and Newt’s bold solutions that rewrite and reform policies, I am supporting Newt.  I believe that in this election, Republicans are at a crossroads.  We either commit ourselves to being like Democrats and affirm ourselves as being defenders of the status quo or we establish ourselves as the Party of reform.

In a race between Newt and Mitt, for me the issue is not so much which man is more conservative but which man is more representative of the status quo and the establishment and which one is more representative of reform and the anti-establishment sentiments that gave birth to a whole movement that was based in part on a an extraordinary anti-establishment sentiment.  Of the two, given that criteria, Newt wins hands down.  Which is why I have become so utterly disappointed in  Newt Gingrich’s campaign.

While I understand how much pride Newt takes in running an untradition campaign that does not focus on fundraising and consultant rich decision making that forces one to produce poll driven policy positions, I am incredibly frustrated by Newt’s unwillingness to accept the fact that any effective campaign requires a degree of proper planning and strategizing.  It does not necessarily have to be traditional planning and strategizing but it has to be at least a semi coordinated effort that covers some of the most basic aspects of the purpose behind any campaign.  One such purpose is that of delivering a message.

What is Newt’s message?

Well he has had quite a few and most all of them have been good.  But when asked that question, voters should not have to decide what a candidate’s message is.  They should clearly know one carefully crafted message that is clear and immediately resonates.  Unfortunately,  Newt’s message has not been clear.  For that to happen, Gingrich needs to strike a theme or a string of theme’s that easily tie together to form one message.  A smart campaign will use themes that creates a message which not only advance the candidate’s cause, but also takes the sting out of their rivals attacks.  In Newt’s case a perfect string of theme’s that create just the right message for him would consist of his being a reform minded, anti-establishment, leader.

Let’s look at each of these areas individually:

Leadership;

As Speaker of the House, Newt established himself as a true leader and America is yearning for one that can take them in the right direction.  Do they want the type of leader who can create a Contract With America that led America in to a Republican revolution that changed the way Congress does business and led to some of the most conservative reforms in generations while working with Democrats?  Or do they want the type of leadership that worked with Democrats to  create such things as RomneyCare and ObamaCare?

That is a theme not only works for Newt, it works against Mitt Romney?

Reform;

Here again, one can turn one of Romney’s weaknesses in to a Gingrich strength.

Do we we want the type of Gingrich reforms which led to the greatest reform of the last 30 years…..welfare reform, or do they want the type of Romney reforms which created Romney and Obama style government-centric healthcare?

This theme is probably the most fertile for Gingrich.

It allows him to remind people that when Newt became Speaker, he reformed the House and made many changes that forced its members to live by the same rules they create for others.  The scandal which saw members of Congress involved The House banking scandal when it was revealed that the United States House of Representatives allowed members to overdraw their House checking accounts without any penalties, prompted Newt to enforce rules that made it harder for legislators to live above the law.

But there is much more to point to when it comes to Gingrich’s proven record of reform.  Some of the most dramatic include:

All of these major changes offer Newt a wealth of issues to introduce in  to the election and provide all the evidence people need to establish just how reform driven he is and each one of them strike chords among the electorate that are just as important and topical today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow.

The Anti-Establishment Candidate;

In this anti-establishment, TEA movement environment, the status quo is out and the defenders of the status quo are the enemy.  People do not trust the establishment of either Party.  They believe that each Party has betrayed the ideologies they represent and have forgotten that the people are in charge in government and not the government which is in charge of the people. At this point in time, it seems that the people are having to answer to government, far more than government does to the people.

Meanwhile scores of establishment Governors, Senators, Congressman are coming out and endorsing Mitt Romney.  They are making it clear that the Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate………the defender of the status quo.  Meanwhile those members of the establishment are attacking Newt.  From Bob Dole on down, the establishment has soundly rejected Newt and if that is not enough to convince anti-establishment voters that Newt is one of them, than nothing is.

Add to that Newt’s willingness to stray from Party orthodoxy on occasion, and his instinctual desire to question traditional political thinking and approaches to problems and what you have is a candidate who represents anything but the status quo.

Combined together, all three of these qualities could provide Gingrich with the keys to the Republican presidential nomination.  In many cases,  despite poor messaging by Gingrich’s campaign, they have already been responsible for what success Gingrich has had.  But until and unless he can run a campaign that reinforces these themes with clear, consistent messages, the opportunity to exploit them will be lost.  And right now, Newt is losing.

In his desire to be unconventional, Newt is unwilling to be scripted.  And while there is a degree of political attractiveness to that, it also makes it impossible for Newt to stay on message and drive it home and the result is sometimes disastrous.

It is what led to his hurting himself a few weeks ago when he offended supporters of capitalism by going to far with an improper assault on Mitt Romney for his work as a venture capitalist.  It is also what led to Newt’s most recent blunder, claiming that he could not focus because the audience in the most recent debate was a distraction.

That off-the-cuff remark was so wrong on so many levels that it could very well cost him the winner-take-all, victory in Florida’s Primary.

That statement allowed Mitt Romney to undermine Newt by him seem week and it also allowed Romney to undermine Newt’s greatest strength, his superb debating skills.

Such results are bound to happen when a candidate is unwilling to stay on message and when they fail to settle upon a winning theme that they can build on.

Whatever the result in Florida, if Newt intends to remain in this contest to win, he better get his act together and admit to himself that he needs a competent organization that coordinates his ground game, and does things such as spearhead an aggressive absentee ballot operation in key states, and he must succumb to the fact that if he wants to win, he needs to focus on developing a winning strategy.

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Santorum Shines, Paul Respected

The only thing worse than endless political ads is political ads being tossed back and forth in a debate format with no fact checker.  Well, almost no fact checker.  Romney himself got caught when he tried to famously disavow any political negativity coming from his side only to discover that he had indeed approved an attack ad against Gingrich.

What was lost in the mix was serious debate.  The average listener might think that Romney and Gingrich’s stance on immigration actually differed.  What we discovered instead is that they really are basically the same, making their attacks on each others immigration policy pretty funny.  In fact, they all seemed to have the same view on illegal immigration except for Ron Paul who seemed to be saying that the problem is we have a bad economy and if we had a good economy we would all want illegal immigrants to come here and take the jobs Americans won’t.

Of course, with Paul sometimes it is difficult to differentiate his “this is what I would do as President” with his “this is the way things ought to be” with his “this is the way things are” rhetoric.  It keeps him safe with both the radical constitutionalists and the ignorant populists in his base.  Of course, I myself am a radical constitutionalist, but most of Paul’s constitutional rhetoric falls under the “this is the way things ought to be” column.  I couldn’t have any alcohol last night because of an early morning medical procedure Friday morning, but if I had a drinking game it would have been how many times Paul redirected a question by making his answer about the war, how bad the fed has made the economy, or how small a constitutional government should be.  The immigration question got both the war and the economy.

Paul did receive a great deal of respect from the other candidates.  It was the sort of respect Romney showed to Bachmann early on in the race.  It was that sort of “you have no shot of winning, but I would really like your supporters to like me down the road so I’ll smile and pat you on the back” respect.

Gingrich fell into a trap that I warned about a few months ago.  He has big ideas, but he has also become more and more of a states rights conservative.  Gingrich’s problem is communication in small soundbites.  I understood that he was speaking about encouraging private ventures to establish a moon colony, but the three candidates up there either willingly or ignorantly seemed to think he was talking about NASA doing it.

Gingrich also dropped the ball on something he has done very well at in previous debates, not taking media bait.  Blitzer played Romney and Gingrich all night long.  In fact, it was Rick Santorum who had to bring the debate back to the issues.  Unlike the early debates where Gingrich ran the show and the other candidates followed his lead, this time it was Santorum who reminded the other candidates what the debates and this whole process is all about.  Because of it, Santorum shined last night.

Mitt Romney has hired Bachmann’s former debate coach and it shows.  He laid down persistent attacks, mostly inaccurate, and was distracted from the issues all night.  Newt attempted to rebut, but his responses were too involved for the average American viewer.  Romney easily turned Gingrich’s responses on their head.  A good example was when Newt brought up Romney’s investments in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  I think Newt’s point was that Romney shouldn’t be attacking him for doing consulting work for Freddie Mac when in fact Romney himself is making money on Freddie Mac stock.  In the end though, both sides lost that debate and viewers were left with a disgusting taste in their mouth.

I said that Jacksonville, Florida would be the most important debate of this election if one candidate could shine like Gingrich has in the past debates.  In the end, Gingrich saw his shadow and this primary will continue far beyond Florida.  And unfortunately, it will continue to get nastier.  The candidates have already said many things about each other that they will not be able to take back in the general election.  So in the end, Santorum won the debate, but the Republican party was the big loser.

 

Bloomberg’s Joke of a Headline Hides True Story

Obama wins in poll as investors resist Gingrich

What does that headline say to you?  The description below the Bloomberg headline was “U.S. investors are rooting for Mitt Romney and those overseas are for Barack Obama. Newt Gingrich is generating little enthusiasm anywhere. ”

From reading that, you might be fooled into thinking Bloomberg ran a poll of investors where Newt lost and Obama was the big winner.  But if you read the story, and parse their words, you will discover a completely different story.  Mike Dorning skips back and forth from the global stage to US investors to create some great quotable lines, while obscuring the real story behind dishonest turns of phrases and ambiguity.

Mixed in with all sorts of good news for Obama, the real story can be found here:

In a potential election match-up between Obama, 50, and Romney, 64, a former private equity executive, global respondents are split, with 41 percent choosing each as better for the world economy. U.S. investors sided 3-to-1 with the Republican and those outside the U.S. 2-to-1 with Obama.

Pay attention.  While investors on the global stage are split evenly between Romney and Obama, Obama looses 3 to 1 with American investors.  Now, let’s look at what they had to say about Newt who was “generating little enthusiasm anywhere” and being “resist(ed)” by investors:

Faced with a choice between the Democratic incumbent and Republican Gingrich, 68, on who would be better for the world economy, global respondents back Obama 52 percent to 25 percent. Those in the U.S. give Gingrich a 44 percent plurality against 35 percent for Obama with 21 percent unable to tell how they would resolve the dilemma.

Did you catch that?  Among US investors Gingrich wins 44% to 35%. Or, as Bloomberg put it, a “44 percent plurality”.  It should be no surprise that foreign investors like Obama better.  In addition to supporting European economic policies, Obama has also done a great deal to bail out European banks and don’t forget when he gift-wrapped Chrysler and sold it for a huge discount to Fiat, an Italian company.  If foreign investors didn’t like Obama, we would have to call them ungrateful.

So what should the headline have been for this story?  Here are some thoughts.  Feel free to add your own suggestions:

Romney and Newt Kick Obama’s Butt in Poll of US Investors

US Investors Prefer GOP, Non-US Investors Like Obama

America Likes Romney and Newt, Europe Likes Obama

Three Times As Many Investors Like Romney Over Obama in US

US Investors Like Newt Over Obama, Like Romney Even More

Trent Lott Endorses Mitt Romney and Establishes Mitt as The Estasblishment Candidate

Bookmark and Share   CBS News recently posted an interview with former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in which he stated that he supports Mitt Romney over Newt Gingrich  because the former Governor of Massachusetts has a much better chance at defeating President Obama than Newt does [see the interview below this post]

According to Lott;

“I think we would be better off with Mitt Romney as our president.”

He added;

“We don’t need a good speech. We don’t need a good debater. We don’t need rhetorical passion, What we need is leadership and direction for our country.”

Last year Lott stated that he was backing  Romney, but he declined to openly criticize Gingrich.  But with Newt’s surge in the polls comes a new approach by Trent Lott who now aggressively seeks the opportunity to denounce Gingrich.

In addition to telling CBS that he just doesn’t think that’s what we need in a President, when asked if Gingrich could beat President Obama in the election Lott bluntly states;

“I’m sure he wouldn’t, frankly,”

The former Senate leader also went sfter Newtt for a reprimand rewgarding a ethics charge and says;

“It raises questions about management style, and it raises questions about why did he wind up with the result where you get punished by your ethics committee and wind up having to step aside,”.

He added

“People want to know what ended up happening there.”

Lott said the Ethics Committee wouldn’t have acted against him “if there weren’t some real problems.” He said the allegations and subsequent investigation gutted whatever hope Gingrich had to lead.

“We all make mistakes when you’re in leadership, we’re human beings,” Lott said.

“That was a very serious result and one that clearly undermined his ability to lead the House. “

Lott also accused Gingrich of taking too much credit for some of those things which were achieved during his four years as Speaker of the House, one of them being the balanced budgets that were passed.  According to Trent Lott, those balanced budgets were more the doing of former Ohio Congressman John Kasich and New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici.

The former G.O.P. Senate leader also claimed that the now infamous government shutdown during Newt’s Speakership, was a big mistake and that it was based on the political goal of beating President Clinton, not the policy goal of getting the buf=dget under control.

“He was the leader. He was really pushing it. He said, ‘We’re going to do it. We can take Clinton on and we can beat him on this,'”

Lott recalled.

“To me it wasn’t about beating Clinton, it was about getting things done without causing an uproar and a chaotic situation that was very unsettling to a lot of people. We could have gotten it done without that.”

Trent Lott’s assessment of the Gingrich years is certainly worthy of consideration.  I mean Lott was there and he was a part of the events which he speaks about.  But at the same time, as leaders of two different chambers of Congress, what Lott says needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Furthermore, while he may have been their when Newt was in charge and established that he did not like what he saw, Lott was not their with Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts, so it is a little hard for Trent Lott to judge Mitt Romney the same way he does Newt Gingrich.  If Lott were sitting in a leadership post within the Massachusetts state legislature, he might not have liked what he saw in Mitt Romney either.

Ultimately though, Lott’s endorsement of Romney does little to either help Romney or hurt Gingrich.

Trent Lott is seen as a former member of the establishment, and the establishment is not really appreciated by most voters.  In fact, what many anti-establishment voters conclude from Lott’s remarks is that Newt Gingrich is a fighter who unlike the establishment, doesn’t just go with the flow.  And they like that.  So if anything, Lott actually helps Newt Gingrich, because by endorsing Mitt Romney, Trent Lott simply reinforces the negative impression that Mitt Romney is forced to combat,……the negative impression of being the establishment choice for President.

Ultimately, Newt might want to actually send a little thank you note to Trent Lott.  By helping to put the establishment seal of approval on Romney, Lott did a lot of good for Newt.

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Newt Gingrich Issues A Response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Bookmark and Share  Shortly after the President delivered his 65 minute long, third State of the Union Address and set the stage for his reelection campaign, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, issued a rebuttal to the President’s remarks.

In his response, Gingrich aggressively characterized the President’s stated vision as one of big government, bureaucratic control, and as one strives to create a food stamp economy designed to make Americans dependent upon government.

Newt Gingrich’s SOTU Response

“We have a crisis of work in this country and tonight President Obama proposed nothing in the way of policy changes that will get us to robust job creation and dramatic economic growth. Instead, the president described his conviction that his big government is built to last and should be paid for with higher taxes. But bigger government and higher taxes will not lead to jobs and growth.

Bigger government and higher taxes will instead lead to more people on food stamps, a situation which the President and his party defend as a fair outcome. Here we have to confront the truth about President Obama.  Economic growth and prosperity is not really at the top of his agenda. He will always prefer a food stamp economy to a paycheck economy and call it fair. For the president and a large part of the political class, it’s about their power, their right to rule.  They just want to take money from Joe the Plumber – the small business people who makes over 90 per cent of the new jobs — and redistribute it to the government bureaucracy and their political friends and allies. 

That’s why so much of that nearly trillion-dollar stimulus didn’t create jobs but just went into the pockets of special interests who support President Obama and the leadership of the Democratic Party. No better example of this exists than in the crisis of American energy. President Obama and his political allies – not of few of whom love living in energy inefficient houses or driving gas-guzzling luxury vehicles – openly admit they want gas prices to remain high so that the rest of America will learn to live more modestly.

They think it’s good for rest of us.  Only recently, the president canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline that would have created countless new jobs and helped America on the way to energy independence because he wanted to appease the far left of his party.  And yet not a single word on the Keystone XL pipeline tonight. To create jobs and growth in this country, we must start with dramatic tax reform that lowers taxes and maximizes capital investment and job creation. We must return to a dollar as good as gold whose purchasing power is the same in thirty years as it is today.  We must dramatically expand American energy production. We must have smarter regulation at the same time we abolish destructive and costly regulatory systems beginning with Obamacare, Dodd-Franks, and Sarbanes-Oxley.

And finally, unlike the current administration, we must have faith in job creators.  With these policies the state of the union will be much better.  They will create an explosion in job creation and lead to robust economic growth and a return to prosperity.  Furthermore, a paycheck economy will put us on a path to balanced budgets and paying down our national debt.”

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