Newt v. Virginia

You might be waking up this day after Christmas, pulling out your political websites and discovering a much different landscape than last week.  If I didn’t know any better, I would think Romney has this wrapped up from reading the headlines today.  I would also think Newt was incompetent.

Newt Gingrich did not qualify for the Virginia ballot.  The reason that is the big headline is because while you were eating Christmas turkey, wrapping presents, and watching NORAD radar for Santa Claus, the headline was that neither did Santorum, Perry, or Bachmann.  In fact, Virginia will be a race between Romney and Paul.  So the question is, does this say something about Newt’s relevance?  Or Virginia’s?

Actually, what it does speak to is Virginia’s exclusivity. Some of the candidates may have been caught off guard when Virginia changed their ballot requirements in December.  So far even the media hasn’t seemed to catch up with developments in Virginia’s balloting situation, except that Virginia won’t allow for write ins.

This does speak though to the irrelevance of candidates who do have a ground game in Virginia, and to the folly of candidates who are shooting from the hip and choosing to forgo the developed ground game.  It also shows the disadvantage of a political movement like the TEA Party which is not affiliated with any specific candidate, but might have preferred options in Virginia beyond Centrist versus Radical.

Gingrich can afford to lose Virginia.  What he can’t afford is a threat to his front runner status.  That status is propped up by its own existence.  In other words, part of the reason Newt is the front runner is because he is the front runner and he is not Mitt Romney.  Nothing could be more detrimental to Newt’s campaign right now than headlines saying Newt is too incompetent to get on to the Virginia primary ballot.

Merry Christmas, Mitt Romney.

Positively Entertainment?

Earlier this election season, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain sat down in a one on one debate that displayed Newt’s intellectualism and fast thinking, and Cain’s graciousness.  It’s starting to look like Newt will have a shot at another one on one debate as only he and Rick Santorum have agreed to The Donald’s debate on Ion Television, sponsored by Newsmax. 

Mitt Romney politely declined, Paul said no and Huntsman inferred that the whole thing was about Trump’s ratings.  George Will has also infamously declared that the Trump debate is below Presidential politics.  Perry and Bachmann have not confirmed, although Bachmann said she believes Trump will be biased because he is already leaning towards a candidate.  How that makes this debate different from any MSNBC or CNN debate where the moderators are already in the bag for Obama, I’m not sure.

Who is going to be hurt from backing out of the Trump debate? Trump has already declared his position on many things.  Huntsman and Paul would both find themselves on opposite sides from Trump.  Romney probably won’t be hurt by snubbing Trump.

Will Santorum or Gingrich be hurt by accepting the debate?  For Newt, probably not.  For Santorum, the possibility for damage to his campaign is pretty big.  While he will be getting a great deal of facetime, Santorum will be answering questions from a very strong willed and strongly opinionated Trump while going up against Newt one on one.  It is a very risky move.  The risk will be compounded if Trump then endorses Newt.

Bachmann and Perry’s non-committal stance currently is only making them more irrelevant. It also comes across as indecisive.

Or is it helping to make Trump more irrelevant?  Trump has said that if the candidate he wants doesn’t get in the race, he will run as a third party candidate.  Is it better to cater to the crybaby?  Or ignore him?  And honestly, would Trump get any votes as a third party candidate, when four more years of Obama is on the line?

Is Ron Paul AntiSemitic?

Calling Ron Paul “misguided and extreme”, the Republican Jewish Coalition has elected to not invite Ron Paul to their candidate forum on December 7.  The other candidates who have attended recent debates will all be present.  Ron Paul’s views have been characterized as isolationist, despite his insistence otherwise, and he has made some statements in the past that are very offensive to Jewish groups, such as calling Gaza a concentration camp.

The Republican Jewish Coalition said that inviting Ron Paul would be no different than inviting Barack Obama when it came to policy on Israel and Israel’s enemies.

Occasionally, I invite comments on the blog and this is one of those instances.  I know plenty of Ron Paul supporters.  I consider most to be conservative constitutionalists and pretty normal.  But I also have acquaintances who are Ron Paul fans and anti-Semitic.  Aaron Goldstein at the American Spectator suggests that anti-Semitism runs rampant among Paul supporters.  Are you a Ron Paul fan?  Do you think Ron Paul is anti-Semitic?  Or is the Republican Jewish Coalition simply misunderstanding Ron Paul’s stance on Israel?

 

Cain’s Area 51 Response to Tabloid Reporting

Herman Cain may not be able to salvage his campaign after issuing a notice that he is reconsidering his run.  Nothing says you have skeletons in your closet more than jumping in front of the closet door and shouting “Ok, I’m done!” when people get close to it.  And it’s truly a shame.  Whether or not the accusations are legitimate, so far there is no credible evidence that they are.

Ginger White adds to the list of financially troubled, gold digging, sue happy women from Cain’s corporate past who have been bankrupt, sued their work place for frivolous sexual harassment claims, and of course have failed to provide any evidence of the alleged misconduct.  Her husband said her claims “wouldn’t surprise me, either way”.  If you’ve worked in the corporate world, haven’t you known that person that you decided right away you better leave your office door open when he or she comes in to protect yourself?

The mountain of accusations has come down to one woman, without even a hotel receipt to show for it, claiming that Cain grabbed her crotch in a car while taking her back to her room, one woman who claims Cain dared say she was as tall as his wife, and a woman with no money and several eviction notices who Cain thought was a friend, but who also has had about a month now of hearing why the other accusers might be financially motivated because of book deals.  I mean, imagine how much she could sell her autographed book she got form Cain that says something about friends being friends forever and everything else being bonuses?  We all know what that means.  He might as well have said “had a great time being friends with benefits”.

So suddenly every mainstream newspaper in America is reporting Cain’s affair like the black and white tabloids say that aliens exist.  The only problem is, Cain is getting ready to put electric, barbed wire fences up all around area 51.

Herman Cain has not been impressive in his handling of things like this, but let’s face it.  He is an amateur when it comes to smear politics.  He can’t even do it himself.  The poor guy has been nothing but respectful to most of his opponents, with the one exception being when he rashly called out Rick Perry and his former staffers for kickstarting the story since only they knew those sexual harassment claims existed.  So Cain’s decision to hold off and see if things blow over or not could just be a rank amateurish blunder.

That said, my evaluation is that Herman Cain may choose to continue, but the continuation will be short lived.  He has contributed a lot to this election process, but at this point his blunders have just made him a distraction from the main event.  If I had to predict, I would say that Cain will drop out, and will endorse the person who ends up becoming the GOP candidate.  Shortly after dropping out, the affair stories will quickly evaporate leaving only his most staunchest supporters and detractors wondering if they were ever actually true.

Ann Coulter Rips Newt, Endorses Romney

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family To The Rescue

What does Mitt Romney have that Cain and Gingrich don’t?  A clear 40+ year record of unchallenged fidelity to his wife.  On the right, that matters.  It’s something many of us respect Barack Obama for as well.  Cain’s sexual harassment story is one of the major things that can be attributed to his recent decline.  Gingrich is sure to face the same thing regarding his previous marriages.  In fact, Bill Maher has already set the distasteful tone for this line of attack, despite Gingrich’s years of faithful marriage to Callista.

But in Cain and Gingrich’s cases, both are receiving help from just the right place, family.  As reported yesterday, Gloria Cain has surfaced to stand by Herman Cain and refute allegations based on his character and her knowledge of him.  Still, without hard evidence and with such a late showing, it will be interesting to see if this has much effect.

Gingrich got a boost yesterday in a pre-emptive strike against the false message that he delivered divorce papers to his cancerous wife on her death bed.   His daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, wrote an article describing what really happened.  In a divorce that Gingrich’s wife had requested, Newt delivered the papers when he and members of the family drove to the hospital to visit her after she had a benign tumor removed. Gingrich’s daughter writes:

“For years, I have thought about trying to correct the untrue accounts of this hospital visit. After all, I was at the hospital with them, and saw and heard what happened. But I have always hesitated, as it was a private family matter and my mother is a very private person. In addition, for the four people involved, it was one of a million interactions and was not considered a defining event by any of us.”

Cushman also reiterated that her mother is a very private person and will not give media interviews, but that their family has healed and the two daughters have great relationships with both parents.

 

Cain Falls Back on the “B” Word

In a 5pm news conference on Tuesday, Herman Cain addressed the sexual harassment charges against him by saying there were groups trying to keep him out of the white house for one key reason.  He is a Businessman.  He is not an establishment politician.

Cain once again resisted the temptation to play the race card and accuse his accusers of racism, even though it’s pretty obvious in some cases.  Yesterday Martin Bashir interviewed Truther Toure and Karen Finney on MSNBC who both referenced Herman Cain as a “sexually aggressive” black man towards white blonde women.  They basically warned that GOP’ers should keep their women away from the black man.  Amazingly, these racist comments on MSNBC have not received much replay.

Cain stared America in the face today and said he did not recognize Sharon Bailek.  This is a risky move, since hotel records and other travel records may be dug up to show that she was in Washington at the time, which will just add more doubt for Cain supporters.  However, for now Cain has bolstered his position by addressing the accusations head on and flatly denying them.  Of course, Clinton did the same thing.  But Clinton had the advantages of a compliant mainstream media and compliant witnesses like Monica Lewinsky who he could illegally coach.

Cain did not attempt to downplay true sexual harassment or assault.  He called such things very serious and mentioned that he had dealt with those issues with his employees in past occasions.  Cain also pointed out that Mitt Romney had not agreed with the accusations, but had simply spoken about the nature of the charges which Cain agreed with.  He handled the press conference very well and demonstrated the sort of political competence that many had alleged was missing from his campaign.

What Cain did today was restore “innocent until proven guilty” to his corner.  But if he is proven guilty, the ramifications will extend far beyond his 2012 primary race.  It will hurt his family and his career, but it could also hurt the entire Republican party.

Yeah, but isn’t Social Security a ponzi scheme?

Talking about Social Security like it is just some government program that takes taxes from young workers and gives it to retired seniors as a ponzi scheme used to lose elections for Republicans.  But that was back when young, optimistic voters actually thought Social Security would be there for them.  Seriously, is there anyone out there still that gullible?

The height of our nation’s fiscal health came when Bill Clinton played a shell game with Social Security and called it a balanced budget.  Obama has cut Social Security taxes by 2%, despite the program’s fiscal uncertainty, and now wants to cut Social Security taxes in half and pay for it with taxes on the rich that even his own party wouldn’t vote for in 2009 when he last proposed it.  Meanwhile, as Newt Gingrich pointed out in last night’s debate, Obama has now threatened twice to cancel Social Security checks if Republicans don’t vote for his budgets.  What was an illusion of certainty to generation X is a joke to the youngest voters.

Who should be scared, seniors or future retirees?

When Rick Perry says Social Security is a lie and a ponzi scheme, believe it or not he resonates with my generation and younger.  We grew up being told that Social Security was a broken system and not to count on it.  We all got 401k plans and IRA plans because we knew Social Security wouldn’t be there for us.  Honestly, I don’t know a single person my age or younger who says “Boy, I can’t wait to retire and collect Social Security”.  We know it’s a lie, and if we get it, it will be icing on top of what we have saved for ourselves.

So let’s cut through the crap.  Who really has the best answer on Social Security?  Rick Perry wants to move it to the states and let the states run it.  Romney wants to increase the retirement age and change the way Social Security is calculated so that you don’t get paid as much.  But the majority of the candidates on last night’s stage want to offer private accounts for Social Security that future Presidents can’t dip into to balance their budget and future Presidents can’t cancel if they don’t get their way with the legislature.

In fact, of the candidates with scary language on Social Security, Perry and Romney are the ones whose stated plans would keep Social Security closest to what it is today.  Both have acknowledged affinity for private accounts, but both are looking to fix and make the current program solvent.  Cain leads the way on a fundamental overhaul of Social Security by turning it into private accounts, while Newt and Bachmann both support the idea.  Ron Paul’s view on social government programs seems a little up in the air after this last debate, going from a scrap it all approach to a we should get rid of it, but probably won’t approach.

Social Security will never be fixed until we are honest about it.  That much, Perry has spot on.  And Republicans who attack Perry for verbally assaulting Social Security may win senior Democrats, but will lose young Republicans.  Social Security is a ponzi scheme, and Perry isn’t the first person to call it that.  It is a lie, especially when it is slated to go bankrupt before most of us (including myself) will start collecting.  It is not a guarantee as long as the President can withhold checks or raid the fund in order to pretend he balanced the budget.  It is not supported by the Federal constitution.

Democrats can fear monger with seniors on this issue all they want, but anyone under 38 years old should think twice before voting for a party that can’t be honest and speak plainly about Social Security.

 

 

The GOP Debate Disconnect

Moments ago, the Republican candidates finished yet another debate.  This time, CNN and the TEA Party Express were the odd couple sponsors.  Blitzer was in liberal heaven, getting every question the left wanted the candidates to quarrel about on the record.  But there were some very bright spots, which brings us to our debate winner:

I call Newt as winner

Newt Gingrich.  The GOP debate disconnect seems to be how Newt consistently delivers stellar debate performances, and in fact directs the flow of the debate away from where the moderators want to go, and yet continues to flounder in the polls.  Other candidates were taking their cues from Newt, and Newt was again successfully making the case that every candidate on that stage was better than Obama.  At the same time, he was showing why at least in debates, he is the best candidate on the stage.  Newt hit a couple home runs.  The first was in the Social Security squabble between Perry and Romney where Newt reminded us that it was Barack Obama who threatened twice to cancel Social Security checks if Republicans didn’t vote for his liberal budget policies.  Gingrich’s second big home run came again when other candidates were arguing about job growth.  Newt pointed out that Americans create jobs, not government.  He then gave credit to other candidates for what they did to create job growth, but ultimately gave the credit to the American people.  Lastly, on green energy tax loopholes for GE, Newt destroyed Obama’s attacks on the oil industry.  Newt showed that he is the smartest and most studied candidate on the stage.  When asked about whether he would compromise with Democrats in power, his answer was perfect.  Whether or not that reflects in the polls will be seen.

Michele Bachmann was on the attack, but her strikes were good conservative strikes and they hit their

Bachmann had a good showing

targets.  Bachmann came across as the conservative constitutionalist on the stage with a balanced approach to getting our nation back to the constitution.  Her strikes landed on Perry with Social Security, and the HPV vaccinations, she struck Romney on the constitutionality of his healthcare plan, and she landed shots on Perry and Huntsman for their help to illegal aliens.  She did not come across as someone struggling to take down the frontrunners ahead of her, but more like a principled conservative attacking the liberal tendencies of her opponents.  And no one hit her back on anything.

In this debate, Santorum finished a solid third place.  I had a feeling Santorum would do well with the TEA Party audience.  He looked far more relaxed and in control than in the last debate.  He maintained his conservative credentials, but introduced a new element: how he won multiple times in a blue state.  He also was able to identify himself with some of Gingrich’s success.  Santorum hit hard on Perry’s HPV issue and delivered a deadly blow on it.  Santorum and Bachmann are key elements in where I score Perry tonight, and both walked away unscathed.

Mitt Romney took some tough shots.  But despite the tough shots, he continued to show class and to handle attacks.  He was hit hard on Social Security, and in fact his position on Social Security was easily exploitable in front of this TEA Party audience.  Overall, he did a good job at taking some clean shots and his seven things we need to do to fix the economy and budget were spot on.  Romney fell into the expected trap and tangled with Perry too much on Social Security, and Romney’s support for Federal Social Security won’t win him TEA party support.

Herman Cain did a good job, but he continues to look amateurish compared to some of the more experienced heavy hitters.  Cain did well to expound on his 999 plan this time around, and he picked up the Perry/Romney social security fumble and ran it back for a touchdown.  But other than that his performance was unremarkable.  When Newt talked about private accounts for Social Security, he connected far better than Cain’s repeating of Neal Boortz talking points on Chile and Galveston.

Perry took it on the chin

Rick Perry took another beating, and this was a good one.  On social security, HPV and illegal immigration, Perry seemed to slip into his deer in the headlights slo-mo’ mode.  Perry’s argument that his state’s version of the dream act for illegal aliens was somehow a states rights issue was off-base and will not sit well with the TEA party.  Santorum and Bachmann nailed him on HPV and that one will stick.  At the same time, Perry’s role as the attack dog against Romney has soured this race somewhat.  Perry looked kind of amused/detached for a good part of the debate.  That mixed with his slow, Texan accent will remind some voters of a previous Texas Republican Presidential candidate, however unfair that comparison may be.

Ron Paul redeemed himself somewhat from his last debate performance.  However, his dodge on the Medicare Part D question may spark some serious questions that have been lingering in the darkest cellars about Ron Paul.  Is he as much of a purist as he seems?  Instead of quickly putting Medicare Part D on the chopping block, Paul kind of hemmed and hawed about other programs that should be cut first, including his biggest applause getters of the wars, the department of education, etc.  Paul, who is normally eager to take on unconstitutional spending programs, seemed to give an “if I get to it” response on Medicare Part D, which was one of the biggest social spending programs under George W. Bush.

Jon Huntsman just has nothing left in the tank.  His good answers were echoes of other candidates, and his bad answers were echoes of Barack Obama.  His Kurt Cobain joke fell completely flat.  His tax plan sounds exactly like Obama’s.  His stance on illegal immigration was wrong.  His Afghanistan rhetoric was meant to sound like the Afghan people needed to take more responsibility, but instead came across like America just wasn’t strong enough to fight anymore.  The best thing that happened to Huntsman tonight was no one asked him about global warming.

If debates drove polls, Newt Gingrich would be the front runner after tonight.  How Perry remains such a strong front runner with debate performances like these speaks to his clout and ability to run a public campaign away from the debate stage.

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.

Newt and Palin Focus on Obama

The match seems to be set, Mitt Romney versus Rick Perry.  At least for the media, who thought Huntsman was the sure nominee, these two are it.  Fortunately, other candidates are maintaining their focus on Obama.  As I said from the beginning, the biggest disaster in this campaign would be for second tier and runner up candidates to so badly trash the candidate who ends up being our nominee that Obama will win.  Obama faces no primary challenger, though he is doing plenty of damage to himself.

Palin, who remains undeclared, took a chance to shoot a message directly to union workers.  Over the labor day weekend, Obama was introduced with Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. who now infamously called unions Obama’s “army”, declared them to be in a war on the TEA party and offered to “take those sons of bitches out”.  The President in the meantime, as part of his leading from behind strategy, has accepted Hoffa’s remarks and done nothing to tone down the union thug’s rhetoric.

Palin wrote directly to union members.  It reminded me of when Bush would address the citizens of Iran.  Palin highlighted her past union experience and current relations who are union members.  She then focused on the corruption in union leadership and how they are using union laborers to pad their own pockets and get Obama re-elected.  But, Palin points out, workers are looking for someone with a plan to save America, not just get the union guy re-elected.

Meanwhile, in his weekly e-newsletter, Newt Gingrich went after the administration for their armed assault on the Gibson Guitar factory.  For the second time since Obama’s administration took over, armed federal agents have raided Gibson for perceived violations of the Lacey Act, designed to prevent importing illegal materials.  In both cases, inventory and computers were seized.  Gibson has not been able to recover these materials because the Justice Department has yet to file any charges.  In fact, the owner says that one of the agents told him during the raid that he would have better luck moving his operations overseas.

Newt pulls no punches calling this armed raid on a law abiding American company insanity, especially when good jobs are so hard to find.  Newt also asks the question, why aren’t these armed agents protecting our border?

The media is doing their best to portray some sort of animosity between Perry and Romney, just like they tried to do with Bachmann and Palin a few months ago.  But the success of any GOP primary campaign in 2012 is going to come from having a real plan that Americans can take hold of and focusing any negative energy on Obama, not each other.  If they can’t manage that, they need to take the honorable way out like Pawlenty did.

Don’t Quit Your Dayjob

A Dayjob is what Rick Santorum might need to keep his campaign afloat after raising a measly $582,000 in the second quarter.  Though liked by many religious conservatives, Santorum has failed to convince voters that his candidacy is a good investment.

Santorum might do better with a job in the private sector

Part of the reason Santorum has not been able to make a money making splash is through pure attrition.  When the 2012 primary roles around, it will mark six years since Santorum has held a significant share of the GOP spotlight.  And his last stage exit was not flattering.

In addition to his own campaign weakness, Santorum remains a second tier copy of other religious conservatives like Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich.  He certainly has not been as exciting as either, which says a lot considering Newt himself has been more sizzle than flash.

Can Santorum make it back into the spotlight of this campaign?  My prediction is that it would take an act of sheer undeniable brilliance, utter stupidity, or an act of God to get Santorum back in the headlines.

Is Cain Trying in Iowa?

No, if you believe his now former Iowa director Tina Goff and Kevin Hall who was in charge of coordinating for the Iowa straw poll in just over a month.  Jim Zeiler has also left the Iowa staff and Cain lost his New Hampshire director earlier this week.  When it comes to managing a campaign, things are not looking good for Cain.

On the other hand, Cain is looking good in the Iowa polls.  Most recently he came in second only to perpetual front runner Mitt Romney and remade Michelle Bachmann.

Will the Guiliani gamble work for Cain?

The problem is that Cain has not done or said anything to differentiate himself from Michelle Bachmann.  Going into this race he had perhaps set himself apart as a more “serious” candidate, and certainly took on early momentum from the TEA Party.  But Bachmann easily out-shined him in the debate and continues to make the right steps even in the face of extreme character assassination.  Bachmann’s successes have made her detractors appear to be less “serious”.

In the meantime, Cain is reducing himself to soundbite worthy quips and small government platitudes while his substance seems to be a foggy mirror of the clarity Bachmann has produced.  The result is that Cain is quietly slipping into the shadows where other candidate copies, like Gary Johnson (generic brand Ron Paul) and Jon Huntsman (Mitt Romney clone only the media is excited about) reside.  Bachmann is quickly taking the TEA Party energy.

In some ways, Cain brought this on himself.  His radio host style speeches leave little substance to hang one’s hat on and his brief handling of gay marriage in the debate has alienated him from the religious section of the TEA Party.  In addition, at times he has seemed clueless on some of the more detailed issues such as right of return for a Palestinian state.  This still puts him miles ahead in knowledge from someone like Joe Biden who wanted a three state solution for Iraq.

Cain does have one demographic that still turns out strongly in support of him, and that is the African American conservatives, moderates, and independents.  Many of these who helped turn Florida blue for Barack Obama and are now disenchanted with his policies are indicating strong support for Cain.  Whereas Iowa is turning out to be a fiscal versus social conservative battle between Romney and Bachmann, all important Florida may end up being a fiscal versus social conservative battle between Romney and Cain. Real Clear Politics shows Cain in second place to Romney in Florida out of current candidates, but large percentages going to Huckabee and Palin.  It will be interesting to see how those Palin and Huckabee supporters break by the time we reach Florida.  It won’t be for Mitt Romney.

If Cain can survive until Florida and then capitalize on it, losing Iowa might not be that big a deal.  Then again, perhaps he should talk to Rudy Guiliani about that strategy.

Cain’s Gain?

Mike Huckabee made it official over the weekend. He is not running. Huckabee was one of those candidates who was able to corner a specific share of the GOP market and turn them into a cult following. As the 2008 primary dragged on and Huckabee appeared on shows like Saturday Night Live to joke about how his mathematical chance of winning required winning every remaining state, Huckabee continued to campaign and siphon votes away from Mitt Romney in crucial states.

Even coming into 2012, Huckabee has maintained a Ron Paul-like base of support who will chide media outlets for not casting him in a bright enough light or leaving him out of 2012 primary analysis. To be honest though, I wasn’t surprised when Huckabee said no this year. Any Republican candidate is going to have a huge uphill battle facing their own divided party, the media, and then the Obama political machine. Who can blame Huckabee for wanting to sit this one out and make money hand over fist at his TV show?

Can Herman Cain pick up Huckabee's votes?

So who will get those voters who faithfully showed up and voted Huckabee even after his chances of winning evaporated in 2008? Only one candidate sofar has come out firmly for the socially and fiscally conservative platform, including the Fairtax, that Huckabee represented: Herman Cain.

Cain stands to pick up many of your neighbors who have the anti-IRS Fairtax signs in their yard and on their bumper stickers. He also will pick up many of Huckabee’s fans who are also mainstream Conservative media fans. There is a great deal of overlap between Foxnews talk show fans and Conservative radio fans.

Huckabee and Cain share another large support base among TEA Party candidates. Many of these small government conservatives who supported Huckabee in 2008 will look to Cain in 2012 as the most Conservative candidate who is not as radical as Ron Paul on foreign policy.

Will this be what bumps Cain into the top tier? It certainly is an opportunity sitting on the table. If Cain can make the connections in voters’ minds, he stands to be the one to gain.

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