The Disadvantage of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Fair” Game In Iowa

Bookmark and Share    The Iowa State Fair is for presidential contenders, what Christmas is for children. Every politician who dreams of becoming President, quietly envisions, headlines that read “So-and-So Wins Iowa’s First in the Nation Caucus”. Their dream scenario is a smooth vault to the White House that starts with wins in both Iowa and in New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary contests. They all know that unless you get your foot in the door with wins in one or both of theses contests, the rest of the primaries and caucuses are going to provide for one long haul on the way to their Party’s nomination and then on to Pennsylvania Avenue.

It is for that reason that with just one Iowa Sate Fair to go before the 2012 Iowa Caucus, attending this year’s fair is a must for those enthusiastic candidates who are just itching to announce their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

This year one candidate who is just dying to scream “I’m your man” couldn’t wait for the Iowa State Fair.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was so anxious that he was standing outside of the fairgrounds waiting for the gates to open.

On the first day of the fair, Pawlenty was there to flip pork chops and hamburgers, play a few games of ring toss, shake hands, and kiss babies. As well as delivering a speech at the boot h of the Iowa State Republican party, Pawlenty did a number of live radio and television interviews.

The anxiousness of the Minnesota Governor’s desire to be at the Iowa State Fair on opening was not missed on his interviewers. One live interview produced the following exchange;

Interviewer: “Let’s get to the politics thing, why do you want to be president ?”

T-Paw: “Well, I didn’t say I did… “

Interv iewer: “Yes ya did, you’re here in Iowa. You’re in Iowa, it’s the first day of the fair. (laughs)”

T-Paw: “In all seriousness I’m going to decide that early next year.”

Let’s put it this way, Palwenty’s running. Otherwise he would be back home governing Minnesota, not complimenting the corn bread being  baked by Iowa corn farmers who  hope to win a blue ribbonfor their recipes  in the corn bread bakeoff.

But Pawlenty certainly is not is not alone.

A recent trip by Newt Gingrich to Iowa’s State Fair makes that his sixth excuse for being in Iowa this year. And with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum buying his ticket to the fair, it is all but assumed that he is building an organization that he expects to propel him into the White House.

So far, many more names aren’t at the fair than are there, but this week Haley Barbour is scheduled to be in Iowa for an event and chances are you can expect him to be stopping by the ol’ fairgrounds. Mitt Romney has yet to make an appearance and so does John Thune, Ron Paul and the 2008 winner of the Iowa Caucus, Mike Huckabee.

People like Huckabee and Romney can forgo the fair this year. They have pretty significant organizations there from the last time around. But others have even more work to do than Romney and Huckabee .

A Recent poll conducted by the Iowa State Republican Party places Huckabee and Romney, once again in first and second place with Huckabee at 22% and Romney at 18%. The surprise third place finisher is Newt Gingrich with 14% and Sarah Palin in a disappointing fourth place with 11%.  Heading up the back of the pack with a relatively substantial showing  is Ron Paul with 5%.

Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum and a few others received tepid support but not enough to register in the poll. Barbour and Santorum on the other hand did not receive any support. But these results should no be discouraging to any of the contenders.

In 2008, Mike Huckabee was a dark horse underdog and he took Iowa like a surprise thunderstorm. Additional encouragement can be found for those who did not make the top 5 in this early Iowa poll, is the fact that more people are undecided than anything else. In fact undecided actually wins this poll with 23%. So the truth is, Iowa is providing all the candidates with a “fair” chance in 2012 but it all starts with a trip to the Iowa State Fair.

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