Is Haley Barbour Taking Sides In the Presidential Contest?

Bookmark and Share  Haley Barbour is one of the Republican Party’s most beneficial strategic leaders.  As the Governor of Mississippi, he also proved to be an effective and savvy executive leader.  As for his Party involvement, Barbour has been brilliant.  He led the G.O.P. as its Chairman when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress in 1992, oversaw the successful election of a majority of Republican Governors in 2010 when he was Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is a prolific fundraiser, and has a network of connections in the Party and government that is unparalled.  All of this gives reason for some to still wonder if he might jump in and run for President , even though he opted out of run several monmths ago.

While that is unlikely, who Haley Barbour does support for the Republican presidential nomination will be almost as important as if he ran for President himself.

That is why his recent remarks on the Laura Ingraham Show have many people raising their heads.

Barbour described rising star Herman Cain  by saying,  “He is likable” .

He then went on to say;

“He [Herman Cain], does not give you the impression that he is full of himself, but rather than he is a straight-talkin’ person who, will tell you, he call it like he sees them. He’s not trying to sugar coat anything and at the same time he is not trying to be shrill and a chest beater. He’s a straight talker and I think that makes him very, very attractive to people.”

Barbour then went even further and said of Cain;

 “If Herman Cain is our nominee against Barack Obama, I think he’ll sweep the South.”

At another point he added that if the election wereheld today,  his wife would vote for Herman Cain.

As laid out in this Talking Point Memo by Benjy Sarlin , Barbour’s high praise of Cain is a significant contrast to his less then enthusiastic referrences and descriptions of Mitt Romney and even Rick Perry, two men Barbour worked closely with when he was Chairman of the RGA.  TPM even refers to a White House 2012 post and video in which Barbour states “Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans.”

None of this is good news for Romney, who could really use some help in the South, where Barbour has a great deal of influence, particulary in the state he governms, and nearby Georgia and Florida.  A Barbour endorsement of Romney, would be a hinderance to Rick Perry and give Romney much more of a fighting chance for wins in Southern primaries.  But based upon multiple comments Barbour has made, an endorsement of Romney before the GOP settles on a nominee, is probably not in the forecast.  It could go to Rick Perry, but even that is now questionable.

All of this helps to make it seem that with many Republicans not totally sold on Romney, and with Perry unable to yet get his footing after stumbling in his second debate appearance, even the establishment might be willing to back Herman Cain.  I recently went out on a limb suggesting that a surprise endorsement of Herman Cain from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley could be possible.  If the two Haley’s  (Haley Barbour and Nikki Haley), happen to endorse Cain, it is quite possible that people will be talking about him being the presumptive nominee and not Mitt Romney.

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Is It Too Late?

Some very wise political analysts wrote that things have changed since 1992 when Bill Clinton got into the race late and managed to win. The need to build a national campaign network, raise money and meet the demands of 24/7 campaigning without making a single mistake are hurdles that put late joiners at a serious disadvantage. Mitt Romney has been raising money, performing in debates, bringing in endorsements and satisfying local political committees necessary for the early primaries. He can do it because he has a network in place to do most of the work for him, leaving him free to focus on interviews, debate prep and meeting with the big donors. Gov. Perry, as a relative late-comer, is floundering by comparison. The overwhelming demands on his time in places he has no network and from people with whom he has no intermediaries have strained his ability to focus on improving his debate abilities. His big lead has slumped and he is at risk of simply fading away. By the time he gets a full national campaign in place, his mistakes may have made him irrelevant. Soon Herman Cain will face the same problems. These were the reasons various pundits said Christie should definitely not get into the race. It was too late, even if he had changed his mind.

But is it too late? Being in early and ahead in the polls is no guarantee of success. The pages of campaign history are littered with the failed campaigns of big names, with national support and early planning. Perhaps the right question is not whether it is too late, but rather is it too soon? It is clearly too late to get into the race and compete against the established campaigns. There is not enough time to get a national campaign up and running effectively between now and the early primaries while simultaneously engaging in frequent televised debates. But, that doesn’t mean it is too late to get into the race at all. It just means it is too early to be a late entrant.

Look at the poll numbers Perry pulled in just due to hype. Christie saw the same, although he ended up not running. Cain made one great debate appearance and his numbers shot up. However, Perry and Cain now have to find a way to sustain that popularity for months before it can translate into votes. Just ask Michele Bachmann how that straw poll victory is treating her now. Frankly, getting in early opens the door to constant attacks by a vengeful media and the inevitable mistake that will get blown out of proportion just to have a news story to report. Romney and Paul are somewhat immune to these problems because they were already attacked in the last election and there just isn’t much new to attack them with. Their names are already out there and they have a base of support in place, so they don’t need the big performance to gain a position in the rankings. They just need to not trip over themselves and wait it out until the primaries get closer and they start spending the piles of money they built up. Everyone else has an uphill battle and has as much to fear from sudden success as from a major mistake.

With so many primaries happening so close together and so early in the year, a late entrant could ride the newcomer media hype to a handful of early victories. Then, by absorbing the staff and network of candidates who are forced to drop out, basically walk into a national campaign with enough time remaining to still effectively raise funds for the general election in November. This would not work for just any random candidate, but there are some big names who stayed out who have the skills, policy knowledge and connections to pull it off if they time it right. A December entry could steal the nomination.

I’m not saying that is what should happen, will happen or would be desirable. It is just that the old logic that there is a time after which a new campaign cannot succeed is very likely no longer valid. Like it or not, the media does manipulate public opinion in elections. Playing the media against itself may be a better strategy than traditional campaigning. After all, then Sen. Obama had nothing to offer on policy or experience, but the media carried him to victory. The media may be generally against conservatives, but they just can’t help themselves from hyping anyone new. Even if the hype is full of negatives, it raises the recognition of that candidate and usually results in a rise in the polls – at least until the hype dies down or the candidate withers under the spotlight.

A well-timed late entrant would face significant challenges, but could play the media hype into a surge in the polls just in time for it to translate into real votes. I’m sure Rick Perry wishes the early primaries had been in August when he was the talk of the town. Had they been, he’d probably be in this against Romney alone instead of falling back into a still crowded pack. The lack of consensus on a candidate and the infighting between them during the debates could be justification enough for one of the big names that decided not to run many months ago (when Obama looked stronger) to reconsider and come in to ‘unify the party against Obama’. While such an entry would never work if it came this month or in November, it could potentially play in December – especially if the field doesn’t slim down between now and then.

Second Thoughts?Who could pull off this last minute capture of the early primaries and the nomination? There are two that immediately come to mind: Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels. Conversely, two names that couldn’t pull it off are Sarah Palin and Chris Christie. They both bowed out too recently to change their minds so soon. Barbour and Daniels could be ‘drafted’ back in if they plan such an effort. They are not the only ones, but the ones with the best name recognition (Daniels) and existing connections (Barbour) to generate the necessary media hype and channel it into sudden victories. With the voters still divided, no real excitement for the ‘inevitable candidate’ and a compressed primary schedule, there may never be a better time than December to capture the race without having to face the withering pressure of public scrutiny of every minor decision they ever made. With so many of the big names that got out early still sitting silently and not endorsing anyone, one has to wonder if they are pondering the same thing I am. But, only one could pull it off. If two jumped in, they would both lose. If Barbour and Daniels go to dinner, Romney should start to worry.

Trunkline 2012: Wednesday’s Wit and Words from the Campaign Trail, 10/12/11

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Haley Barbour Says Mitt Romney is “Less Conservative than Most Republicans”

 Bookmark and Share  In a recent forum discussing political strategy for Republicans and President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke about the need for the G.O.P. to make the election a referendum on President Obama’s employment and economic policies, while Democrats will have to try to portray the Republican Party as unacceptable or disqualified. Afterward, he answered questions from John Harris of Politico and the audience.

In one of those questions, Barbour was asked why Republicans seemed to be uninspired by the candidacy of  Mitt Romney despite the fact that he seems to be the most electable candidate in the general election, especially among independent voters.

In his response, Governor Barbour began by stating;

“Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans”

He went on to explain that many Republicans remember Ronald Reagan so, in his words;

“they (Republicans) don’t accept the idea that nominating a moderate is the pathway to victory”

Governor Barbour added that there are a lot of soft Republicans and independents who vote Republican and want a more moderate nominee.  He writes it off as a “process you just have to work through.”

Whether Barbour intended it or not, his opening statement will make for a perfect soundbite in a thirty-second commercial spot for any of Romney’s opponents such as Perry, Cain, Santorum, and Gingrich.  Specifically in the South, where Romney will have some of his toughest primary challenges and where Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi has significant influence.  This is particularly the case in the important early, delegate rich primary state of Florida, where Barbour has significant sway.

Barbour who was himself almost candidate for for President, had been endorsed by Ohio Governor John Kasich, eleven days before Barbour decided not run.  After that decision it was said that Barbour was prepared to join with Chris Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in endorsing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for President.  But Daniels, a close friend of Barbour also declined to run for President.

Who Haley Barbour will endorse for the Republican presidential nomination now, is anyones guess.  For the time being, it would seem that he is remaining neutral.  But is Barbour’s description of Mitt Romney as “less conservative than most Republicans” a sign that Mitt is not on Haley’s short list?

If Mitt Romney hopes to avoid a long, drawn out nomination battle, he will need someone like Haley Barbour behind him.   Barbour’s support could help Romney do well in the South, or at least better than expected.  That is the only way to insure that none of his opponents come out of the Southern contests with enough steam and momentum to compete with Romney in the primaries and caucuses held outside of the South, where Romney should be the strongest.  The question now is, will Haley Barbour be willing to endorse a Republican who “is less conservative than most Republicans” for President?

One thing to consider is this.  If anyone has been listening to the candidates, not just reading the media’s interpretations of the candidates, they will find that Mitt Romney has not taken a single position that would indicate he is less conservative than any of the other candidates running.  It comes down to this  ……….. Is anyone listening and if they are, do they believe what Romney is saying?

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Mitt Romney : Which is More Important? His Midas Touch or His Flawed Candidacy?

Bookmark and Share   Having already left the starting gate, the Republican race for the White House continues to run down a long and bumpy track that is riddled with twists, turns, high hills, steep declines, and blind spots. The biggest blind spot of all exists among the voters.  With them it seems as though the perfect candidate in 2012 is always someone else.   Once it was Mike Pence, then it was John Thune. For the longest time it was Mike Huckabee and then for For awhile it was Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels and Paul Ryan.  For some it’s Sarah Palin, for others it’s Chris Christie.  The only problem is that none of these people have expressed a willingness to make the committment necessary to become President.

Then Texas Governor Rick Perry did make that committment.  He immediately vaulted to frontrunner status as the next near perfect and everyone finally had  the perfect candidate.  But after one month in the race, he fell out of favor and people quickly started to again ask Chris Christie to become the perfect candidate.  Now they are again turning to Mike Huckabee.

In Iowa Michele Bachmann was the perfect candidate for a while.  She even won their Straw Poll.  Now after her first place showing there, Mitt Romney is leading in Iowa and Herman Cain came in first in Florida.

So now, Herman Cain goes from bottom tier candidate to top tier candidate and some claim that he is now the perfect candidate.  But for how long will that be?

Through it all though, there has been one candidate who ever since he entered the race, has held steady among Republican voters.  He has never been seen as perfect.  But he has also never been viewed as a certain loser like Ron Paul and he has never been seen as a candidate who had no chance of beating President Obama if he were the Republican nominee.

That candidate is Mitt Romney.

While Romney has been denied be seen as a strong frontrunner, since the 2008 presidential election, he has consistently been a frontrunner nonetheless.   And for good reason.

While the creation of Romneycare will always make Mitt a flawed candidate, the success of Romney’s record in and out of politics, makes him without a doubt, one of the most impressive and promising candidates running.  The problem is, that he is not perfect and will not ever be seen as perfect.

The greatest knocks against Romney are that he has flip-flopped on several issues including abortion, and his creation of Romneycare.  But on these issues, Romney has indeed redeemed himself in many different senses.

Mitt has has remained true to his conversion from being a pro-choice Republican, to being a Right-to-Life Republican and as Governor he did the following;

  • Vetoed legislation that would have provided for the “Morning After Pill” without a prescription.
  • Fought to promote abstinence education in the classroom.
  • Vetoed legislation that would have redefined in Massachusetts the longstanding definition of the beginning of human life from fertilization to implantation.
  • Supports parental notification laws and opposed efforts to weaken parental involvement.
  • Supports adult stem cell research but has opposed efforts to advance embryo-destructive research in Massachusetts and he has not supported public funding for embryo-destructive research.

On the healthcare issue, while Romney admits that his healthcare plan had some things in it that he would change, he also turns it into a powerful example of state’s rights that can be used with great strength against President Obama.  But in addition to understanding that state’s should have the rights to legislate based on their own needs and desires and not a federal mandate force them in to  a one size fits all federal bureaucracy, it is important to realize the biggest difference between RomneyCare and ObamaCare.

Romney proposed universal insurance, not universal health care.

The difference is critical to not only the basic thrust behind the two healtchare approaches, it is essential to ideological purity.  What revolutionized the traditiona lstate health care sys­tem was that Romney’s plan attempted to empower individuals to buy and own their health insurance policies and keep these poli­cies with them regardless of job or job status.  ObamaCare goes beyond that, denying choices and creating a new humoungous federal bureaucracy that essentially allows bueraucrats to make healthcare decisions by determining what treatment Obamacare will allow one to get or deny them the opportunity to get it.  According to the leading conservative policy think tank, The Heritage Foundation, Romney’s plan “made significant strides in reforming their health insurance market, and other states can learn from the Massachusetts experience.”  Still it is clear that the plan leaves much to be desired.

Yet, many see the implementation of Romneycare in Massachusetts as a sign of Romney having a lack of limited government credentials and too much of a government-centric mindset.  This is where those within the TEA movement have the most difficulty with Mitt.

However, not only has Romney vowed to repeal Obamacare, he has promised to provide waivers that would allow all fifty states to be exempt from Obamacare.  This is a clear sign that Romney gets it.  Furthermore, given the strong doubts about Romney’s limited government credentials, one should easily be able to see that Romney will have to go out of his way to lead in a way that compensates for those doubts.  In other words, Romney’s hands are tied.  He will have little chance for political survival if he were to employ big government policies.

So it is safe to say that Romney not only gets it, he has no choice other than practicing limited government policies.

But beyond that, Romney’s overall record as a Governor, does support his being considered a worthy conservative.

Upon taking over Beacon Hill, Romney  issued an Executive Order reestablishing a Judicial Nominating Commission that reviewed resumes of applicants for state judicial positions and did so without any knowledge of the applicants  race, sex, or  political leanings.  The process, resulted in the selection of the judges based solely upon their qualifications as responsible interpretations of the law.  Furthermore; Romney appointed a chairman to the Judicial Nominating Commission that used the position to prevent the appointment of liberal activist judges who would legislate from the bench. That Romney appointee was Christopher Moore, a member of the Federalist Society, which fights against judicial activism. This helped move the courts of what is arguably one of the most liberal states in the nation, to the right.

Beyond his strict constitutionalist views, Romney has been a productive conservative on everything from illegal immigration, to economics.  He has fought for lower taxes,  practiced fiscal responsibility, been a longtime defender of Second Amendment rights, taken a hardline on border security, executing the War on Terror, and as Governor, he reformed government in ways that made it more efficient and effective as he cut wasteful programs, merged duplicate departments, and turned the state’s $3 billion deficit into a $700 million surplus without raising taxes.

But the most impressive example of Romney’s abilities still remain his turnaround of the 2002 Olympics in 2002.

Not only were the Olympic games a great example of his superior executive skills, as seen in the video below, it offered a great look at the character, determination, skills, positive attitude, and due diligence that is Mitt Romney. And in many ways, the Olympics of 2002 are incredibly analogous to the condition of the U.S. economy, the issue most critical to the election of a President in 2012.

In 1999 Romney took over what was a scandal-ridden Olympic organization committee that was in crisis, in debt, and in complete disarray, and turned it around by making it the most successful, well organized, and profitable Olympic games in history.

This was no easy accomplishment.  Romney’s massive operation, included the oversight, management and coordination of everything from the image of the Olympics, to the construction of the Olympic Village and top notch venues for Olympians to compete in, and even what was the most secure Olympics history.  After the events of 9/1/01, the Winter Olympics which took place only a few shorts month after that horror, suddenly became the place most vulnerable for terrorism in  the world.   With its worldwide audience, the high profile of the Salt Lake City Olympics made insuring it against acts of terror, the largest security operation of its kind .  And Mitt Romney coordinated it  all.

While Mitt points out that he did not do it alone, he is the person who hired the competent, committed people, that made it possible to turn the Games around and make them the most successful ever.  In the end, from both a sporting and business standpoint, the 2002 Salt Lake City set  broadcasting and marketing records with more than 2 billion viewers and 13 billion viewer hours.  Financially, Romney’s Olympic’s turnaround raised more money with fewer sponsors than any prior Olympic Games, and left Salt Lake Olympic Committee with a surplus of $40 million at the conclusion of the games.

Given Romney’s record, while he may be flawed, there is little to suggest that he is anything but conservative.  And beyond that, Mitt Romney is a by nature, a forward thinking, problem solver who does not seek quick, short term fixes.  He seeks to solve problems now and avoid them in the future.  He has done so be it in business or government.  Such leadership is lacking in the White House today, and not easily recognizable in the existing field of Republican presidential candidates.

This is why even though Mitt Romney has essentially been running for the presidential nomination since 2008, he is not trying to come on like gangbusters.  Romney’s campaign is one that is carefully pacing itself.  That is why while other candidates are bouncing back and forth in the polls, Romney has remained consistently towards or at the top.   All of this could ultimately mean success for Romney in  the Republican presidential race.  Romney’s steady position helps add to an impression of consistency, something which people like and trust.

Another thing to remember is this.  With a large field of Republican candidates that consists of a number of candidates who are splitting the hardcore religious right of the G.O.P., Romney can play safe and not move so far to the right, that he turns off Independent voters in the general election.  Instead he can remain, consistent and noncontroversial and benefit from a diluted concentration of a social conservative voting bloc that is divided among three or four candidates.   However, this does not mean that Romney will be a moderate Republican if elected President.

Case in point.  Back in 2009, I did not have a great deal of appreciation for Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie of New Jersey.  I was one of those New Jersey voters who has been fed up by moderate Republicans who try to be like Democrats for the sake of political expediency in a very blue state.  I had in fact favored an ardent conservative who challenged Chris Christie in a primary for Republican gubernatorial nomination.   During his campaign, Christie did little to prove to me that he would be a reliable conservative and that is what I wanted in a Governor. But not long after Chris Christie was elected Governor, I began to understand that if Chris Christie’s campaign sounded as conservative as his Administration actually proved to be, there would be no Christie Administration.

So it is reasonable to say that Romney is playing politics here.  Whether that is good or bad, elections are political and if you’re not willing to play politics, don’t  run for election.  That combined with the fact that Mitt Romney is no liberal and has a an incredible ability to lead, solve problems, and turn things around, allows me to keep the door open to him.   Be it Perry, Paul, Palin, or Ryan, Daniels, or Christie,  none of them are perfect and to keep waiting around for such a candidate will only get us a second term of a President who is as far from perfect as the sun is from the Earth.  And I for one am not going to wait light years to bring about the change we need.

This is not an endorsement of Mitt Romney, at least not yet.  But this is a reminder that Romney has given us no reason to believe that he won’t do as he says …………..

” I will press for full repeal of Obamacare, which will save hundreds  of billions of dollars. I will reduce the size of the federal workforce  and align the wages and benefits of federal workers with the private  sector. And I will set about the hard work of fundamentally  restructuring the federal government.”

If that is  not good enough for many Republicans, than they can throw their vote away on Lyndon LaRouche or Ron Paul.  As for myself, I believe there comes a time when one  has to start differentiate the rhetoric from the facts.  In doing so, I can see that Mitt Romney has a record that allows me to believe he will do what he says.  While he has not yet moved me enough to endorse him, I can tell you that I have closed no door on any Republican presidential candidate.  My door is open for all them to come right through and prove to me that they deserve my vote.  I just hope that many Republicans will leave the door open for Mitt Romney.  Not only is he the likely nominee, he is also the person who is most likely to be able to get this country back on track when 2013 rolls around.

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Will the Killing of bin Laden, Effect Mitch Daniels’ Decision to Run for President?

Bookmark and Share Although the recent events that led to the execution of Osama bin Laden are likely to postpone any announcement to run, they do not seem to have become a factor in Mitch Daniels’decision itself. In fact, the Indiana Governor isdefinitely still seriously considering a run for President and he is doing so in a way that is bit more obvious than in the past. During a Tuesday morning interview with Fox News, Daniels admitted to recently discussing the issue with former President George W. Bush, but he refused to divulge the details of that discussion.

In the same Fox interview, when asked if he would like to run, Daniels responded;

“Would I like to? No,” . “What sane person would like to? I’m not one of those peoplethat sat around scheming and dreaming [about running for President]. I’ve agreed at the behest of a lot of people to give it some thought.”

Daniels is a rather humble and understated gentleman. That being the case, it is more than likely true that he has not spent his adult life cutting throats and stabbing people in the back in an attempt to climb the political ladder of power. He has also probably not been carrying out his gubernatorial agenda in Indiana around the desire to craft a perfect platform to launch a presidential candidacy from. In other words, Mitch Daniels has been quite sincere in his politics. He has stood for what he believes in and what is best for the people of his state. Such sincerity is admirable and even desired. But does such sincerity allow one to be elected President?.

As noted by Governor Daniels close friend, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, you must have a real fire in the belly to run for President. Barbour claimed that he was unsure that he had a big enough fire in his belly to go for it himself. And by all indications, Mitch Daniels does not either. He openly admits that running for President is not a passion of his.

YetDaniels sincere passion for the issues still allows him to continue to contemplate a presidential run. He has made it clear that if the G.O.P. field lacks a candidate that he believes can address, prioritize, and advance the solutions to our dire debt and economic problems, that would force him to run. So the question becomes what factors would qualify for determining thatall the existing potential candidates lack the ability to address our economic problems? One must also ask that if he is still considering a run for President, does that mean that he is convinced that other likely and possible candidates such as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and others cannot properly address these problems? Or is he simply not convinced that any of these names can beat President Obama?

If Mitch Daniels is anything, he is a realist and as realist, his decision is more than likely a mix of both his sincere passion for the issues, along with politics. This is why he is consulting with people like former President Bush. Daniels must decide if what he brings to table canfill any needed voids and if he and his leadershipqualities can catch on to the type of popular enthusiasm that will allow him to consolidate the Republican base, and enough ofthe generalelectorate, to be not only competitive, but to win. Daniels character and apparent hesitance to run makes it painfully obvious that he does not want to run simply for any fame or fortunes. He is not considering a run to make a specific point or for the purpose of insuring that his name is considered for a cabinetposition in the next presidential Administration. It is clear that Daniels will only run if he is quite confident in his ability to not only win the Republican presidential nomination, but to win the presidency as well.

Given that Mitch Daniels has, out of fairness to his supporters, promised to make his decision sooner rather than later, the current indifference concerning the evolving Republican presidential field makes it quite possible for him to automatically become a frontrunner with strong odds for success. So between timing and the criteria he has set for a presidential candidacy of his own, the likelihood of Daniels presidential campaign seems quite good at the moment. However if such a decision to run is going to be announced anytime soon, it is not likely to occur this week when he makes a major speech on education at American Universityon Wednesday.

To announce that one will try to eventually oppose President Obama during a week when the nation is euphoric over President Obamas single greatest, bipartisan, achievementthe capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, would be an indication of a severe lack of good political instincts. If Daniels is to make announcement any this week, it would be to declare himself to not be a candidate for President. Anything other than that would be extremely poor timing. This week, politics is owned by President Obamas and the issue that makes it his, deserves to play itself out before we return to blatant partisan politics. For this reason, if Mitch Daniels has not yet made up his mind, he has more time to do so.And even if he hascome to adecision, do not expect it to be announced for another two or three weeks.

I personally believe Mitch Daniels will run. If he does not intend to run and knows it, he has nothing to gain from postponing the announcement of that decision. And within the self-imposed timeframe he has made to announce a decision, there remain few factors or conditions that could change the criteria which has caused Daniels to still continue consider a run for the presidency.

That, in addition to the promise of his candidacy gives me hope. The G.O.P. and the nation will only benefit from his candidacy. While there are in fact a number of competent and even promising candidates, the addition of Mitch Daniels in to the contest will force an intense debate on the issue that poses a greater threat to our nation than terrorism had. Our national debt is so severe that it has seeped its way in to therealm of national security . And it is on our national debt and the budget and economy that revolve around it, that Mitch Daniels is of the stature that makes him a leading national voice. For that reason, his input in the presidential election process is quite valuable.

But beyond that, the very qualities that may make Mitch Daniels an unlikely presidential candidate, are the same qualities which may make him the perfect person to run against Barack Obama. Unlike Obama, Mitch Daniels has not plotted a path to the White House all his life. He has not spent years of basing decisions and votes on positioning himself for higher office. He has not carried out his responsibilities, bethey as an aide to Ronald Reagan, as a national budget director, or as a Governor, for the purpose of obtaining the spotlight and getting national attention. Instead he has a lifetime record of committing himself to his beliefs and responsibilities, and doing a good job for the sake of the people he does the job for. Mitch Daniels lack of drive for self-promotion is uncharacteristic for a politician, but it is also the sign of a needed quality that many of our political leaders lack ..sincerity.

Mitch Daniels sincerity may just prove to be his most attractive quality as a candidate. He puts the issues before himself and brings more substance than flash to the table. Yet he has a capacity to appeal to people by connecting to them through his vision, his confidence, and a down-to-earth mannerism which makes people comfortable with him. Indeed these are the very qualities which allowed him to win a landslide reelection in Indiana. That despite the fact that his 2008 reelection as Governor occurred during a very anti-Republican year and in a state that went for President Obama at the top of the ticket.

All of this makes Mitch Daniels the true anti-Obama and if President Obama and his policies remain as unpopular as they have been till now, nominating a candidate that contrasts President Obama in as many ways as possible, may be the best way for the G.O.P. to go.

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Republican Morning Memo for Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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Why Haley Barbour isn’t running

How Haley Barbour’s moves shakes up the 2012 field

Nate Silver, “Schmuck of the Week”. And it’s only Tuesday

Santroum says health law fueled his possible presidential run

With gas prices on the rise, Pawlenty hangs energy policy around Obama’s neck

Surprise! Ron Paul to begin his third campaign for President today in Iowa

President Obama tries to make his campaign seem like the underdog rather than the incumbent

Jim DeMint. Not running for Prez, but headed to New Hampshire to make sure that a Republican President is elected

The potential First Spouses. A look at the spouses of the potential Republican presidential candidates

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The Pomposity of the New York Times’ Nate Silver

Bookmark and Share Wow. I believe pompous arrogance would be the most fitting way to characterize Nate. Silvers recent analysis entitled On The Largely Irrelevant News About Haley Barbour Not Running for President.

First of all, for Mr. Silver to characterize Haley Barbours decision not to run for the Republican presidential nomination as irrelevant, is mind numbingly ignorant. The Barbour decision is one of the most important decisions to have been made regarding the 2012 presidential election to date. As noted in White House 2012, Governor Barbours decision not to run, has freed up many supporters and much money. Furthermore; whether Silver wants to deny it or not, that decisions has increased the chances that one of the top tier Republican presidential contenders, Governor Mitch Daniels, will run. This is far from irrelevant.

But beyond this, Mr. Silver takes it upon himself to bestow great credit to himself for never having given much thought or ink to the possibility of a Haley Barbour presidential candidacy. This is not something which I believe he deserves either personal or public credit for. Perhaps part of the reason as to why Silver did not take the potential candidacy of Governor Haley Barbour seriously was because he is utterly blind to the art of political campaigning and its powerful ability to overcome some negative perceptions, and to accentuate positive ones. Perhaps another reason is because Mr. Silvers liberal biases do not allow his mind to be as open as he would have us believe.

Haley Barbour is conservative, a point that I am sure did not go unnoticed by the New York Times Nate Silver. And it is that point which more than likely accounted for his tendency to not take Barbours potential candidacy seriously.

The fact of the matter is that for Mr. Silver to give himself a Super Bowl ring for Monday morning quarterbacking a game that has not yet even begun, is a bit silly. For him to imply thepossesion ofsome greater political instinct or knowledge than others, including Jonathon Martin of Politic, simply because he had not given much ink to the possibility of a Barbour presidential candidacy, is utterly ridiculous.

Two days prior to Governor Barbours announcement, I made my own assessment here in White House 2012 and in it I questioned the certainty of a Barbour presidential campaign. The accuracy of that post did not give me license to arrogantly discount the opinions of others and claim or imply that I have shrewder political instincts than George Will, Charles Krauthammer or Jonathon Martin.

The truth is that Mr. Silver may not have wanted to advertise the possibilities that existed within a Barbour candidacy, but that didnt make him any more correct than those who refused to deny those possibilities. While Barbour had several obvious handicaps, most of which White House 2012 acknowledged, he also had the capacity to rise above them. His fundraising ability is almost unmatched, his organization reach and ability was endless, and his record, policies and vision were more than powerful enough to build a credible candidacy on. But Mr. Silver claims he never believed so, so he deserves credit.

Credit for what? Denying the potential that existed? I dont think so.

Although I tend to believe that Haley Barbour and his family, decided against a run for President because of the obstacles, I do not believe the decision was reached because they concluded that they could not overcome the obstacles. I believe they decided not to run because they did not know exactly how committed they were to insuring that they overcame those obstacles. It is that uncertainty of commitment that Haley Barbour cited as the reason for deciding not to run. Yet in his analysis, Nate Silver suggests that his colleagues would be best advised to not take what those they write about so literally. I suggest that Mr. Silver listen to what those he writes about have to say and instead of automatically discounting the truth in what they say, perhaps he should first be open to thepossibility of thetruth.

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Haley Barbour Will Not Be a Candidate for President

Haley Barbour

Barbour Out

Bookmark and Share In what is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions to date that has been made in the evolving Republican presidential nomination contest, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has today issued a statement announcing that he will not be a candidate for President in 2012. Barbour credits his decision to an uncertainty about the “fire in the belly” that he has for the job of President. He notes that the job requires a ten year committment “to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else.” He adds that his supporters deserve no less and without complete certainty for such a committment on his, he can not persue it in good conscience. (see complete statement below this post)

The announcement frees up much of the money and support that up to now how his by tied up by the possibility of a Barbour candidacy. As the ultimate political insider, Barbour’s ties to the G.O.P. establishment has helped to keep many from picking sides in the evolving race and fromplacing money behind any of the emerging candidacies.

WhileBarbour’s potential run has done little to keep any wiling Republicansfrom getting in to the race,this announcement will have a profound effect on Mitch Daniels, the popular, term limited Governor of Indiana.

Governors Daniels and Barbour are close personal friends. The two men go way back to the days of the Reagan Administration. With Barbour out, the chances that Daniels is in has increased ten fold.

Daniels has proven himself to be aneffective and exemplary conservative leader but his greatest quality is his prowess with numbers and budgets and conservative economics. He is a budget guru whois the total anti-Obama and a perfect potential Republican nominee. But Daniels has not been eager to declare his own candidacy. Instead he insisted that he is serious considering it and will essentiallymake who is or isn’t running, the determining factor. According to Daniels, if the right leadershipwith the right solutions to the greatest problems facing this nation, do not present themseleves, than he will be inclined to run. With his friend Haley now out of the race and out of the way, Daniels is free to decide that the right leadership has not yet presented itself in the emerging Republican field, and so he will in fact run.

In a recent post, I concluded that even if Haley Barbour runs, Mitch Daniels will too. The fact that Barbour is not running, makes it much more likely that Daniels will. According to Governor Daniels, that decision will come soon after the Indiana concludes its legislative session.

As for exactly why Haley Barbour has decided agaisnt his presidential bid,it is not likely that he doesn’t have the “fire in the belly” when it comes to the presidency. Barbour is a political animal who thrives on politics, both the campaining and the legislative and policy back and forth. Part of the decision has more to do with the lack of traction that his potential candidacy has been gaining. Despite aggressive behind the scenes campaigning especially in South Carolina and Forida, the Governor has not been racking up substantial support and his poll numbers have been unable to break the low single digits. As such, Barbour is most likely telling the truth when he calims he is uncertain about just how committed he is to a campaign. For while Barbour certainly has obsatcles in between him and the White House, they are not insurmountable. But Haley Barbour and his family have probably concluded that they may not have the desire to work as hard as it might require to overcome them.

Haley Barbour’s Statement

“I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.

“Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.

“I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.

“This decision means I will continue my job as Governor of Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.”

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Expect Mitch Daniels to Run for President

Bookmark and Share Like the countdown to a space shuttle liftoff, the month of April has been ticking down to the launch or aborted missions of several different Republican presidential candidacies. The most notable are Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and soon to be former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Jr.. Both Daniels and Barbour have promised to make their decision some time by the end of April. Gingrich has recently suggested a similar timeline and Jon Huntsman who cant legally make an announcement while still serving as an Ambassador is likely to make his intentions known shortly after his April 30th resignation takes effect.

I predict that at least three of these men will be declaring their candidacy.

While that is not a bold prediction insofar as Gingrich and Huntsman go, it is a bit of a stretch to be so definitive about Barbour and even more so concerning Mitch Daniels.

As for Huntsman and Gingrich, the secret is out. Gingrich has done little to keep his intentions hush and as soon as Huntsman announced that he was resigning from his post as the nations chief envoy to China, we all pretty much knew that he was going to act on his already stated intention to look at a run for president in 2012. In the case of Barbour, his intentions have been quite clear, but so have his hurdles to a successful run for both the Republican presidential nomination and the presidency itself. His history as a very successful lobbyist, the oozing of some unfair Southern stereotypes, combined with a few early verbal gaffes on race, and his reputation as the ultimate political insider, pose the potential Barbour campaign with some obvious questions that they have had to figure whether or not they can overcome.

In an attempt to do so, Barbour has been lighting up switchboards from California, to Florida and South Carolina, as he tests the waters. He has even politely suggested that potential supporters hold their powder, and their money, until he makes a decision. Given the extent of Barbours effort so far, I tend to believe that he has the fire in the belly that gives one presidential fever, a fever that has to be fed in order for it break. So I expect that hemaysoonannopunce the creation of his presidential exploratory committee. This will be for two purposes. One is to confirm both how much fire really is in his belly and how amenable his wife is to the idea, and two, to see that if it is at all possible for the fire in his belly to be quite enough to win the White House. As for Mitch Daniels, I am going completely out a very shaky limb when I say that he will be running.

Accept for the talk of others, Mitch Daniels has done little if anything to appear like a potential Republican presidential candidate. And while he has taken advantage of a few high-profile speaking engagements, such events are in many ways only natural for a highly successful, two term governor. At the same time, it has been no secret that like Haley Barbours wife, Mitch Daniels wife Cheri is not thrilled by the prospects of having to endure an invasive and inevitably harsh presidential campaign. So there is really very little to support my conclusion that Mitch Daniels will run.

Except for three things.

The lovely Mrs. Cheri Daniels

First is Cheri Daniels. While she is not a fan of the spotlight and is not excited about the possibility of having to join her husband on the presidential campaign trail, in this, Daniels last year as Governor of Indiana, Cheri has agreed to be the main speaker at a Republican State Party dinner. That is not exactly the sign of a spouse preparing to fade in to the obscurity of private life. It sounds to me more like an introduction of both her to the people, and of Cheri to the spotlight.

Another event having me lean more towards a Daniels run, than against it, is the timing of a major speech on education that the Governor is slated to give in Washington, D.C. at the American Institute. This event is five days after the Indiana state legislative session is scheduled to conclude. Daniels has promised to announce his decision regarding the presidency when that sessionis over. It is here that I do not expect Daniels to announce that he is running, but rather the start of either his exploratory committee or the very soon date to come when he will make a similar announcement.

The final reason I have for believing that Mitch Daniels is in fact running for President has to do with his dragging the question out. Mitch Daniels is an understated man. He is not about the drama. He is a nuts and bolts guy and he had nothing to gain by dragging out the possibility of a presidential candidacy. His whole reason for not announcing his interest in running was due to state politics. Daniels did not want the left to accuse the him of advancing policies that were good for his presidential aspirations but bad for the state. And if Governor Daniels would have been able to get rid of that suspicion altogether by announcing that he was not running for President, he would have done that long ago.

There are of course some caveats.

I do not yet sense that Mitch Daniels has the same fire in the belly that his longtime close friend Haley Barbour does. For that reason, I am suspicious of there beingsome friendly teamwork going here. As I described in a previous White House 2012 post entitled Is a Barbour/Daniels Ticket in the Works? , Daniels could become a candidate in order to help divide the vote outside of the South, between himself, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney. This split would allow Barbour to fare better outside of the South where he does not do so well. It would also help keep Mitt Romney from racking up big numbers. In that scenario, Daniels would eventually drop out of the race and try to swing his delegates over to Haley Barbour.

This may sound too Machiavellian to some but this is the big time. It is politics at the highest level and few know how to play politics better than the ultimate political insider, Haley Barbour. That combined with a well established, longstanding friendship between Barbour, Daniels and their families, makes this not quite as far-fetched as some might be inclined to think.

I for one hope that isnt the case. As someone who in 2008, supported Mitt Romney for President, was a part of the Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President movement, and is currently torn between them Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels and Newt Gingrich, I am looking forward to a genuine battle for my support. I am hoping for a contest that will force the eventual nominee to have to truly earn the nomination and allow us to discover who truly represents our conservative values best, can advance them the most, and is most capable of applying them to the practical application of government. I believe all of the above mentioned names are candidates who can do that. The question is, which one can do all three the best? It is my deepest wish to find that out through a well fought contest, that publicly tests all these skills among all the candidates.

But before that process begins, I expect this final week in April to be slow, in the sense of it being a slow build up to a very busy May.

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Huckabee 2.0

Bookmark and ShareIn an interview with The Daily Beast’s John Avlon, Ed Rollins, the 2008 campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, believes that the former Arkansas Governor will again be running for the Republican presidential nomination. Rollins tells Avlon, “Personally, it’s my sense that he’ll go for it this time.”

Rollins adds “Governor Huckabee is considering a presidential race seriously,.”

Currently it seems like there is no political reason in the world for Huckabee not to run. Just about every major poll has him either in first place or within the top three. And except for Mitt Romney who has a an extremely tenuous, titular, hold on frontrunner status, there is no one candidate that is obviously holding the keys to the Republican presidential nomination.

Huckabee is also a perfect candidate. He is not only warm and affable, he is quick on his feet and he knows how to coin a catchy phrase and convey a true understanding of the people he is addressing aswell as, if not better than,any top notch political speech writer or consultant, . Funny, warm, easy going, quick witted, down to earth, a Republican who won a heavily Democrat state, Mike Huckabee has it all. He is so good that it makes it hard for you not to get behind him even if you don’t want to.

So on paper, Huckabee has to be viewed as a top contender and obvious name to throw his hat in the ring. But turn the page and Huckabee has a number of reasons to resist the temptation of a run for President.

On a personal level, Mike Huckabee is making more money than he ever has in his life and is in the midst of having a rather expensive dream home built for him and his family in Florida. He has a lucrative contract with Fox News, is pushing great sales of his latest book and does not have the national media and a dozen perspective Republican opponents, prying into his life and relentlessly attacking his every word and action.

Such will not be the case if he runs.

But that still has little bearing on one who has politics pulsing through their veins. Politics is like a blood disorder that has a mix of power, ego, and invincibility effecting the brain in a way that impairs judgment. And the only cure for it is the certainty inability to get over political liabilities. Take Nevada’s John Ensign, please. Until a little more than a year ago, the two term senator was going to be running for President in 2012. Like Huckabee, he had a lot of the right stuff. Until it came out that he had an affair with the wife of one of his staffers and his mommy and daddy were paying off a settlement with the aide.

Of cause the former minister, Mike Huckabee, has no such problems that we know of. But he does have his share of political baggage. And while the polls that have him high in the sky right do not reflect it, when Mitt Romney alone gets done with the Huckabee record, those poll numbers will not be so high. Then throw in Newt Gingrich, Tim Palwenty, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Haley Barbour, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, and a number of other likely candidates, and what you have is a standoff between Huckabee and a negative insurgency of naysayers who will wear him down.

Then there is the payback factor.

In 2008, Mike Huckabee was the biggest thorn in Mitt Romney’s side. He chipped away at Romney in a tag team-like free for all with John McCain that helped assure McCain of the Republican presidential nomination.

Romney will not let that happen again and he will be gunning for Huckabee early. In fact, if Huckabee runs, his high standings in the polls will make him a key target of all the candidates. Each one of them will have Huckabee’s campaign in their crosshairs. Romney will just be the commander handing out the coordinates of all of Huckabee’s vulnerabilities, such as the paroles of violent criminals who raped and killed after Huckabee set them free, and his much to be desired record on taxes.

But are these weaknesses enough to flush out the politics that rushes through Huckabee’s veins? Probably not. Unless he knows that another candidate’s campaign has the silver bullet, the polls, the lack of an undeniable frontrunner, and the sick mix of power, ego, and invincibility will move Huck towards a run for the White House. Without that silver bullet, the only real way for Huck to get this out of his system is to go as far as he possibly can in the race and after being chewed up and spat out, retiring to his Florida estate with his tail between his legs.

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It’s Not Wise To Fool Mother Nature, Or Conservative Bloggers Either

Bookmark and Share I know that White House 2012 is not exactly as big a deal as Politico or National Review. I get it. But White House 2012 does have a minimum, thats a minimum, of 500 readers a day.A slow day. And those readers are not the type who accidentally stumble upon White House 2012 as theysearch hard for every morsel of news they can getregarding the latestgoings on in Snookys life or how far off the deep end Charlie Sheen went today. The average White House 2012 reader is amtivated conservative ranging from the age of 22 to 68 and looking to hang their hat on a candidate who stands for conservative valuesfiscal and moral, and who can beat President Obama in 2012. The average reader of White House 2012 is looking for information and news on the potential candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination and they want to find reasons to vote for one of them.

Readers of White House 2012 are your motivated activists who bend the ear of neighbors, friends, and colleagues as they try to convince them that socialism is not working for America and that unless we do something, this country is headed for trouble unlike any it has seen before. They are the type of people presidential candidates, and people who care about the issues, want to get their message out to. And both I and White House 2012 are here to do that. Yet it appears that people like Sarah Palin, Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson,and others, are too good for White House 2012. I know, I know. Youre thinking “yes they are.” Maybe so. But it is the job of a good campaign and candidate to make you at least feel special even if you are not. Yet, I can only assume that they dont care. Despiteendless calls, emails, and letters to these campaigns, they dont even bother replying. They dont even take a moment to say, ‘Hey, you know, White House 2012 is not really big enough for us to devote the candidate’s time to. We hope you understand and heres a bumper sticker for ya. Thanks for asking.

As I indicated, I know I am not Carl Cameron, Candy Crowley, Charles Krauthammer, George Will or even the intern for the local Penny Saver, but I am a fellow fighter in the conservative cause that the contenders for President supposedly share with us. That is why to not even get a quote,an acknowledgement of a request for information, or an interview, is disappointing.

Maybe I am sensitive to this because as a former chief of staff and campaign manager to state legislators in New York and New Jersey, I know the value of constituent services and communications. I know how people look forward to a response to their inquiries or suggestions. I also know that the elected officials I served, served the people, and if they did not serve them right, they were out of a job. It was their job to answer every phone call and letter. It was their job to respond to every suggestion, comment, and wish that someone went out of their way to send to them. Of course the actual elected official could not respond to every communication himself, but that was what his staff was for. A good staff did not let any communication go unrecorded and without a response.

But apparently, those folks who are planning on, or have already begun to run for President, do not have good staffs in place.

There are exceptions of course.

When White House 2012 sponsored a presidential straw poll of New Jersey Republicans at a gathering of GOP activists, Rick Santorum responded to our request for either a message or material to be given to the straw poll voters before they cast their ballots. Hat tip to Matt Benyon at Rick Santorums campaign. Rick stayed on top of the request and delivered a great letter from Senator Santorum.

Another example is Fred Karger. Fred Karger is the first candidate to have made his run for President, official. Now I know he is not necessarily the most well known candidate, but he is working at it and he does have a busy and tight schedule. Yet in between his interviews with MSNBC and his campaign stops in New Hampshire and Iowa, he took the time to sit down with White House 2012 and tell us about himself and where he stood on the issues.

Now I dont expect Sarah Palin to pull up to my door and sit on the patio with me for an interview. But I do expect to get a response from her organization even if just through a fellow flunky like me.

Recently I contacted the Political Action Committee of Judge Roy Moore, the judge who was kicked off the bench because he refused to remove a statue of the Bible from his courthouse. Surprisingly, I received an immediate reply. Some unnamed respondent asked me several questions in two separate emails. After answering their inquiries, they wrote back Great Ill see what we can set up. That was three weeks ago. I guess Roy Moore is in far greater demand than I thought.

Whether that is true or not, I really cant say. But I can say this. With the exception of Rick Santorum and Fred Karger, these peoples organizations are not impressing me and the next time one of their campaigns calls my home asking me for money or with polling questions, perhaps I should respond the same way that they respond to me? Yeah that’s it. That’s what I’ll do. That sounds good but it means nothing and gets neither me nor their campaigns anywhere.

However what will get us somewhere is if Republicans learn how to maximize theblogosphere to their advantage. Just as President Obama did in 2008, you know, when he ran a campaign that crushed the G.O.P..

Repubican candidates would be wise to get on board with a plan that incorporates blogs like White House 2012 into their campaign plans and communications directories. There will come a time when they have a message or an issue that the lamestream media wont want to give much airtime, cyberspace, or ink to. And when that time comes, alternative conservative media sources like White House 2012 will come in handy. Maybe not just White House 2012 alone, but certainly the full force of a few hundred blogs like White House 2012. The question though is, will blogs like us respond to them when that time does come?

We most likely will. After all bloggers—–I mean beggers, cant be choosers. But it would still behoove the Republican contenders for President to make sure that their campaign’s find a proper role for theblogosphere to play in their efforts. It is better to have a few thousands alternative blogs pushing their messages than ignoringthem, or worse, pushing against them.

That is why I have sent a proposal to all the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. It is a proposal that finds a constructive place for theblogosphere in their campaigns. Unfortunately though, I fear it will receive the same kind of attention that my previous contacts to them did. C’est la vie, I guess. I’ll still be here. Waiting.

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White House 2012’s Republican Morning Memo for Sunday, April 17th

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Guest lineup for the Sunday news shows:

This Week on ABC
  • Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
  • Reps. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., Steve Southerland, R-Fla., Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., and Allen West, R-Fla.

Meet the Press on NBC

  • Timothy Geithner
  • Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
  • Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
  • Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich.

Face the Nation on CBS

  • Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

State of the Union on CNN

  • Donald Trump
  • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
  • Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.
  • Former CIA Director Michael Hayden
  • John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil

Fox News Sunday

  • Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
  • Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
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Haley Barbour Finally Wins a Straw Poll

Bookmark and Share Iowa, New Hampshire, California, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey and countless other local county and statewide straw polls have been held and in them Haley Barbour has found himself in the back of the pack with numbers in the lower single digits. But Barbour has hardly been to many of the places where these straw polls were held. Except in South, where Barbours strength should be. There, the Mississippi Governor has blitzkrieged Florida and South Carolina with visits and phone calls to state legislative and Party leaders.

Yet last week, at a county convention in South Carolina, despite being one of only three potential candidates to personal speak at the event, Barbour again lost their political beauty contest. However; this past Friday night Barbour finally racked up a victory for himself. In a straw poll at a Republican County Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, Haley Barbour placed first with 22% of the vote. Far behind him was Mitt Romney with 12%. In third place with 11 percent was former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won another straw poll last weekend in socially conservative Greenville County. The rest of the field was as follows; Donald Trump, 10%, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tied at nine percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain tied at six percent, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took five percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton were in the back of the pack after scraping together only a few scattered votes.

Barbour was the only candidate to speak before those in attendance at the County convention. The Governor addressed the event during a two day swing of the state. While the win does not have any real impact on the shaping Republican presidential race, it does have implications that matter. Barbour has been running a Southern strategy and if his candidacy is to have any legs during the primary and caucus season, South Carolina is a must win for Barbour. It is a prelude to the delegate rich state of Florida which follows South Carolina but precedes the rest of the South, the region that should be strongest for Barbour. The Governor himself has been quoted as saying If I run I am going to run to win South Carolina. To win South Carolina in my opinion means winning the low country.

So winning this particular straw poll was quite a symbolic step in the right direction for Haley Barbour, one of the first steps in that direction, that we have seen yet.

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Ohio’s John Kasich Backs Haley Barbour for President

Bookmark and Share Although Republican presidential polls have not been kind to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, the people who appreciate Barbours efforts on their behalf are. After raising and spending more than $50 million to elect GOP candidates to statehouses as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association the first of one those newly elected Governors has come out and endorsed Haley Barbour for President.

Ohio Governor John Kasich recently stated I will be for Haley if he runs because he’s been so helpful to me,”.

Kasich is one of the 17 newly elected or reelected Republicans whose races Barbour targeted and played a big role in their victories. Some of those Barbour backed victories included the ousting Democrat Governors in Iowa, while wresting away open seats currently held by Democrats in Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming; and successfully defending Republican seats in Arizona, South Carolina, Florida and Texas. But Ohio was probably the sweetest victories of all. Not only did the G.O.P. defeat incumbent Ted Strickland, they replaced him with what is a true deficit hawk in John Kasich. Kasich also happens to be one of White House 2012s rising stars. But most important of all is the value of Ohio itself.

Ohio is one of the most important states in the general election and no Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio since Abraham Lincoln was elected in1860.

Prior to Lincoln, three Republican candidates carried Ohio, but they lost the national election. Those candidates were John C. Fremont in 1856; James G. Blaine in 1884, and Benjamin Harrison in1892.

In the last century, only two Democrats, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 and John F. Kennedy in 1960 won the presidency while losing Ohio.

In the presidential nominating contests, Ohios late date on the primary calendar makes it less pivotal and while this year, Ohios primary may not be held until March, it does carry 66, winner-take-all delegates, delegates that, if Haley Barbour makes it that far, could make or break his race for the presidential nomination. Which is why having the states Governor in your corner and putting the states party organizational effort behind you, could prove invaluable.

The Kasich endorsement is just one of the many examples of state and Party leaders who will throw their weight behind Barbour because of, as Kasich put it, how helpful Barbour has been to them. Governor Barbour has been racking up such chits ever since he was Chairman of the Republican National Committee during the Republican Revolution of 1994, when Barbour was credited with providing the margin of victory for Republicans on many different levels.

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Santorum Takes A Big Step Towards an Official Run for President

Bookmark and Share Earlier this evening in an interview with Fox News Greta Van Susteren, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced that after visiting 25 states and concentrating on Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, the first four states to hold Republican presidential nominations contests, he is encouraged enough to create a presidential exploratory committee. The purpose of this committee will be to find out whether or not the resources to mount a competitive campaign for the Republican presidential nomination are there.

With a great deal of encouragement from several quarters of the Republican base, Senator Santorum has been buoyed by the reception he and his message are receiving and as he explained, with many other questions answered, the only one remaining is whether or not he will be able to raise enough money to carryhis message over the finish line. Santorum told Van Susteren that in last campaign for the United States Senate he raised over $31 million and 40% of that came from out of state donors. So he is optimistic about what his exploratory committee will find.

There is no word yet as to when Santorum expects to know if he will be able to gather the resources to take his effort to the next stage and declare his candidacy for President.

Two days ago, Mitt Romeny announced that he is setting up an exploratory committee to see if and when he too will run for President. Others who have taken that same step include Minnesota’s former Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Speaker of the HouseNewt Gingrichis anticipating making a similiar announcement soon. On Thursday in New Hampshire, at 9:00 am, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will beannouncing that he is an official candidate for the Republicanpresidential nomination.By the end of the month Missisppi Governor Haley Barbour and Indiana Governor MitchDaniels have promised to announce their own decision onwhether or not they willtake any steps to move closer to a run for the White House. The only otherRepublican contender who has already made his candidacy official is FredKarger a political consultant and gay activists fromCalifornia.

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Where’s the Leadership?

Bookmark and ShareThere is little point even getting into the way many of us feel about the way the government funding situation was handled. Suffice it to say that only those who make their living fawning over the party leadership and never have an opinion until they are given one are happy with how things turned out. Everyone else is disappointed either because they feel the process made the party look bad or because after all that fuss we didn’t really get anything. Put all those feeling aside for the moment and ask yourself, “Did the Presidential hopefuls demonstrate leadership over this?”

With the exception of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, the Republican Presidential hopefuls all managed to avoid those press cameras in front of which they are usually jumping before the situation was basically resolved. Then a handful came back out of hiding to provide comments. Gingrich and Barbour tried to neither endorse nor condemn the deals by just saying we have a long way more to go. Huckabee basically parroted what Obama had been saying all along, i.e. the Republican proposals were too extreme and compromise was necessary and appropriate. Is this the field that will inspire us to victory in 2012?

It feels like a sick joke to have to always bring up Ronald Reagan not as a lesson to the Democrats, but as a reminder to the Republicans. How could people who profess such adoration of Reagan and conservative values so consistently turn their backs on both? Did Reagan go missing when major issues were being decided before 1980? No. We all know that. We all know that he went out and spoke for his conservative vision and principles without deviation for years without ever censoring himself for fear that he might be on the wrong side of something. He stood up for conservatism even when the country was lurching to the left and his views were not ‘what the voter wanted to hear’.

It was that dedication to principles he knew were right, even if they were not polling well, that inspired more than a generation of conservatives and shifted the country. There was the leadership. He didn’t shift his views or statements to fit the public sentiment. He shifted the public sentiment to his views by his statements. That is the kind of leadership we all want from a President and from those candidates who seek that office. Regardless of which way you may lean in your views, there is no denying that most of those who seek to be our Presidential nominee are not demonstrating that level of leadership.

Some apologists will argue that it is too early to begin campaigning for 2012 or that having the candidates go out and lead would undermine the position of Boehner in House. That is all nonsense. The candidates are more than happy to campaign for 2012 right now when all it involves is jumping on the bandwagon of whatever is popular. A show of leadership and strength from Presidential candidates would only help Boehner by deflecting some of the heat the Democrats are directly entirely at him and energizing the people to stand by the goals they voted for in 2010.

Taking a stand on principles is a risk. It could mean losing in 2012. But, if all we’re going to get to see from candidates is Obamaesque hiding out until things fall one direction and then jumping out to either claim responsibility or issue blame, then how are we to know who should lead us in 2012? Moreover, if that is what our candidates propose to do, are any of them worthy to lead us in 2012? It may sound harsh, but it must be said. Our nominee in 2012 needs to be a leader who can champion our values, not a politician who answers questions by saying nothing and avoids situations because they have risk.

We need to look beyond the image candidates cultivate and even beyond their records to see if they are leaders or simply followers who got lucky by being in the right places at the right times. Some of those running may not really share our values, but have been riding on the coat tails of conservative State legislatures. Their silence on issues on the national stage is a sign of their ideological emptiness. On the other hand, others have previously shown great leadership at the State level, but for some reason are gun shy on the national stage. To them go these words: step up. We have seen too many great conservative leaders fumble primaries by hiding what we admired about them under the cloak of campaign mundanity. We are looking for leaders who will champion conservative values, not facilitators to negotiate good with bad to give us less bad.

Despite all the bad that can be said about the Democrat leadership, the one thing that can’t be said is that they are spineless. They knowingly sacrificed an election to force through their agenda. You can’t negotiate with people who are willing to torpedo their own power in order to accomplish an agenda. That’s like trying to talk down a kamikaze. They have raised the stakes and shown they are willing to pay any price to gain their objectives. We need leaders who recognize that shift and adjust tactics and strategy to address it. So far such leadership has been conspicuously absent with but few exceptions. We need better.

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