Pence Pounces at Family Research Council’s Values Summit

Mike Pence, member of the United States House ...

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence

Bookmark and ShareThe family Reasearch Councils. annual Values Voters Summit isa gathering of social conservatives dedicated to combating the erosion of family values and this weekend it’s warrior’s have spoken. In a straw taken by the FRC, Values Voters distinguished Indiana Congressman Mike Pencefrom a pack of prominent politicos, even beating out the darling of the group, Mike Huckabee.

Until now Mike Pence has been largely known outside of Indiana mainly forhis fiscal conservatism, but at this year’s Values Voters Summit, he proved that social conservatism and fiscal conservatism are going hand in hand.

In his speech (see video of that speech below)at the summit this past week, Pence pointed out that:

“we must recognize that our current crisis is not only economic and political but moral in nature”

And apparently they ate it up as their straw pollput him ahead of the packwith 24% of the vote, followed by:

  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (22%)
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (13%)
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (10%)
  • Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (7%)
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (5%)
  • Sen. Jim DeMint R-S.C. (5%)
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2%)
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (2%)
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (2%)
  • Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. (2%)
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell – 1 percent
  • Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (1%)
  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (1%A)
  • Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (1%)
  • Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas (1%)
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (less than 1%)

At the front of the pack were the usual suspects, such as Palin, Romney and Gingrich and even theone time favorite of the group, former Governor of Arkansas and Baptist Minsiter , Mike Huckabee.

The results produced two surprises. The first was Huckabee’s second place showing and the second surprise was that Huckabee was edged out not by a more prominent figure like Jim DeMint or Sarah Palin but by a lonely member of the House.

It had previously been pointed out in White House 2012 that on fiscal matters Pence has a loyal Jack Kemp-like following, he is also popular among Christian fundamentalists but now it is clear that Pence has used the times to marry the two together in what can be a most powerful coalition as we move into 2012 and beyond.

Until now, so-called values voters were the key to Mike Huckabee’s success. The loyal Christian fundamentalists whom make up a large part of the Iowa caucus,vote were the ones largely responsible for his underdog victory in 2008. But it would now seem that the support Huckabee received back then was fueled more by a sense of protest against the Republican frontrunners of the time than by great enthusiasm for Huckabee. And now, Huckabee’s support from those same voters has been eclipsed by a Congressman from Indiana,and furthermore will surely be further splintered by a field that will have far more values candidates in 2012 than in ’08. Candidates like Romney will have a better chance to appeal to them and people like Palin, Marco Rubio and Haley Barbour and now evidently Mike Pence, will chip away and splinter that voting bloc.

The results of the Values Voters Summit straw poll does not necessarily prove that Pence is poised to become President in 2012. Far from it, but Mike Pence has been spending the last two years pointedly raising his national profile and it would seemthat it is paying off. And while there is much speculation that Mike Pence is inline for statewideoffice in Indiana, he has made no move to set up a run to replace popular Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and never shown interest in running for the vacancy in the U.S Senate that was created by Evan Bayh‘s retirement. In fact all indications are that he is more interested in national office than state office.

As a result, for what its worth, the Voters Values Summit shows that if Pence could raise substantial enough money to compete against people like Gingrich, Palin, Romney and Barbour, he could be quite viable. And given the fact that Pence has clearly been trying to make sure that he uses his position in Congress to establish more of a national voice for himself than a statewide voice, the possibility of a Pence presidential candidacy is quite likely. But at the moment he is looking more and more like a name that is sure to be found on the eventual Republican presidential nominees short list for Vice President.

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Mike Pence – So Many Choices, So Little Time

Mike Pence, member of the United States House ...

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence

Bookmark and Share    In the 100 member U.S. Senate, it is pretty easy to get noticed but in the 435 member House of Representatives, unless you are involved in the scandal du jour or are the Majority or Minority Leader, it is much more difficult to be distinguished from the rest of the pack. Yet Republican Mike Pence of Indiana is different. He is one of those up and coming politicos who does stand out.

For a Congressman, he has begun to develop a national following that is reminiscent to that of Jack Kemp’s when he began to corner the market on fiscal conservatism and sealed it with the passage of his record breaking Kemp-Roth tax cuts that helped spur America on into record growth and prosperity.

Although Pence still has a long way to go before he can be called a Kemp-like figure, his loyal following continues to grow much the same way Kemp’s did. It is a growing group of fiscal and movement conservatives who are flocking to Mike Pence’s anti-Washington insider, anti-liberal message of limited government, lower tax and conservative social issues.

Part of his strength is the optimism of his conservative message. Pence has described himself as a conservative who is not in a bad mood about it. Yet Pence still never fails to hold liberalism and its practitioners accountable for their acts. That mix of hard core conservative politician and easy going gentleman has helped Pence become an increasingly powerful voice in Conservative circles. Evidence of this has been demonstrated in the increasing demand for him to appear on the campaign stump for other candidates, especially throughout his home state of Indiana. But Pence has also been in demand outside of Indiana and requests for him to speak to new audiences throughout the nation are, like Pence, on the rise.

So far, in September alone, he will be the marquis draw for campaign events and fundraisers for at least 7 different congressional candidates in 4 different states. In addition to that, Pence’s popularity and organizational abilities has allowed him to raise more for the National Republican Congressional Committee than any other single Republican Representative. To date, Pence’s total contribution to the NRCC is in excess of $1 million. Not bad for someone who is also raising money for his own congressional reelection bid.

Pence’s growing influence both politically and financially, has opened up many doors for him. Many are touting him as a future candidate for Governor of Indiana. Some, including myself, see Pence as preparing for an eventual run for Minority Leader or Speaker of the House.

In 2008, Pence ran for the House Republican leadership, challenging Minority Leader John Boehner. He fell short, but with an influx of young guns changing the makeup of Congress in 2010, the fiery Pence, who raised lots of money to help elect those new members, could have a shot at beating Boehner next time around.

But the Governor’s mansion and the Speaker’ Office are not the only two possible future options for Mike Pence. Many people mention him as potential resident of the White House in 2012. While this possibility is alive, to fulfill it, Pence would have to give up his congressional seat and given the incredible crop of talented and well financed potential Republican presidential candidates, that option is just barely alive. Still, if Pence chose to run, he would be a spoiler in early caucuses and primaries because he would be sure to take a handful of votes away from other conservative candidates, an event that would help potential moderate candidates like Tim Pawlenty, pull ahead of a competitive and divided conservative pack.

Like many others though, when it comes to 2012, Pence is more likely someone you will see on the short list for Vice President, not a candidate for President. But in my humble opinion, if Pence is offered the number two spot, he will turn it down and instead pursue the all powerful position of Speaker of the House.

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Marco Rubio Gets the National Spotlight

Bookmark and Share         This past Saturday, Republicans used Marco Rubio to respond to the President’s weekly radio address. The move was one  which took advantage of gaining some earned of “free” media for what is one of the mosthotly contested Senate races in 2010, while at the same time providing the opposing opinion to the one offered by President Obama.

Marco Rubio

The Party that responds to the President’s message normally tries to do whatever they can to make their rebuttal as newsworthy and powerful as possible. This is hard to do since most Americans pay little attention to this weekly tradition. Most of the time, Americans only hear a snippet of the President’s address and the opposing Party’s response, when they contain something controversial enough for the major news outlets to carry. So what is the Parties normally do is incorporate some local color that gives reason for regional and local news carriers to mention the address and response.

In this case, Republicans used Marco Rubio.

The move successfully helped Rubio to capture some brief headlines in the South and Florida specifically. That in and of itself made this week’s Republican response to President Obama, all the more worth while. It earned Rubio some free publicity and helped people get familiar with his name as well as is helped to create an impression of Rubio as a figure of national stature.

But beyond perceptions, were the content of Rubio’s response to the President’s address.

While the address is far from being an example of legendary oratorical skill, it hit the nail on the head when it comes to the catastrophic handling of America’s economy by the current ruling Democrat regime in Washington, D.C..

Rubio’s response to the President spoke of American exceptionalism and the potential for its demise in the face of an Administration and Congress that has turned its back on the free market and relies on selling our children’s futures to make up for the past and get through today.

The address also gave a glimpse into the style and substance of Marco Rubio himself. This is something that is quite important in one of the most closely watched races in the nation and will be an important factor in helping to determine who wins that election in Florida.

Rubio’s senate race has many ramifications. If he can hold on to it for Republicans, it could throw control of the US Senate into Republican hands. If he fails to win it, there is no chance of that happening .

But in addition to that, it is my contention that if Marco Rubio wins his race for the U.S. Senate, he will automatically become a potential candidate for President. Maybe not in 2012. But anytime after that.

Don’t believe me? Well how many of you thought in 2006 that Senator Barack Obama would be President by 2008? The answer to that is, at least, most of you.

In the case of Marco Rubio though, there are many underlying, politically strastegic similarities between him and Barack Obama. Both men are young, energetic, forward thinking and ideological rocks. Both men have compelling personal stories.  And  both men have demonstrated a tendency to grab opportunities when ever they can instead of waiting for them to be offered to them.

While Barack Obama has demonstrated his deep conviction to liberal values, Marco Rubio has shown his deep sense of faith in conservative values. While Barack Obama was the son of an Ethiopian whom abandoned him to his American mother who passed away and left him to be raised by his Hawaiian grandparents, Marco Rubio was raised in a stable family environment but born to Cuban exiles who fled to America to create a better life for their children. And while Barack Obama knocked his opponent off the ballot to get a seat in the state senate and then grabbed a vacant and virtually vacant seat in the U.S. Senate to then oppose the likely candidacy of Hillary Clinton for President, Marco Rubio demonstrated a similar impatience for positions of influence but achieved them through more ethical and traditional means.

Rubio was a member of his local Miami council, then ran for the state assembly and eventually became the Speaker of the Florida State Assembly, the youngest one ever. After being term limited, he soon decided to run for the United States Senate by opposing the popular Governor and establishment’s choice for the Republican nomination. Rubio was running such a great race that the Governor dropped out of the primary race and switched Parties in order to survive till Election Day.

In addition to those similarities, like Obama, Rubio can be an eloquent and powerful speaker and like Obama, Rubio has the ability to attract minority votes, Hispanic votes, the largest growing segment of the population in America.

For all those reason alone, Rubio can easily be seen as a future option for Republicans. But the other reasons for his viability as a contender begin where the similarities between Rubio and Obama end.

Unlike Obama, Rubio is a fiscal conservative who believes in less government and less taxes. Unlike Obama, Rubio does not believe it is America’s place to apologize for our exceptionalism and unlike President Obama, Marco Rubio believes in the free market, has a plan to cut federal spending and the national debt and unlike President Obama, Marco Rubio believes in personal responsibility, not federal control.

In essence Rubio has the perfect mix of similarities with and differences from President Obama…… a mix that could make him the right President at the right time.

Does this mean we will be saying President Rubio anytime soon? Probably not within the next 6 years. But you never know.

If Rubio does win his race for the United States Senate, he certainly could make a realistic run for the Republican Presidential nomination and he could use the Obama model to do so.

He is fresh, young and new. He can’t be tarred with the transgressions of poorly constructed past legislation and he can energize and appeal to a coalition of minority voters that may not otherwise be inclined to support a Republican. Rubio also comes from an important state in President elections. It possesses one of the highest electoral votes in the nation and is often considered a swing state.

All of these factors must be considered when contemplating the viability of possible candidates for President and all of these considerations work in Marco’s favor.

Which brings us to another option……..Vice President.

There is a reason why it is typical for a presidential nomineeto have first a long list and then a short list for Vice President. The long list includes all realistic possibilities in an attempt to insure that no truly good choice is overlooked. The short list is the one that has narrowed down those choices to the ones who best fit all of the following general prerequisites:

  • Competency
  • Level of confidence voters have in candidates abilities
  • Ideology
  • Regional & Electoral College influence
  • Ability to energize your base
  • Appeal to Independents

Of all these considerations, depending on who the presidentially actually is, Marco Rubio has more potential than many others. So much so that I would have to say that Rubio at least makes it to the nominees “short list”.  But it all comes down to the biggest word of all…… “If.”

“If” Marco Rubio is elected to the U.S. Senate November, both his potential presidential candidacy and his potential vice presidential candidacy will become very possible in 2012 and beyond.

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Is John Thune Running for Reelection or the White House?

Official photograph of John Thune, U.S. Senator.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Bookmark and Share  In 2004, John Thune ran for the United States Senate and defeated the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Tom Daschle. It was his second run for the office. In 2002, he graciously conceded that election to incumbent Tim Johnson after Democrats involved themselves in a cash for votes scandal on South Dakota Indian reservations. Out of a total of 337,501 votes cast in that race, the illegally purchased votes helped to account for what was an ever so slight lead for Johnson of 524 votes or 0.15%. But two years later, Thune’s political campaigning turned those results around as he beat the powerful Senate Minority Leader. In that election, with 391,118 votes cast, 53,687 more votes than in 2002, Thune won a decisive plurality, besting Daschle by 4,508 votes or 51% of the vote.

Now, six years later, Thune is up for reelection and his opponent is no one.

After six years in the Senate and a conservative record that often receives a 100% ACU rating, Thune has become an impressive figure. And in a state where voters are far from trending Democrat during these Obama years, Democrats have failed to find anyone who is willing to oppose Thune andhave failed successfully  to urge anyone to even wage a token challenge to Thune,

That  lack of Democrat Party leadership and ideological strength has made it possible for Thune to be one of those rare candidates who can take time campaigning for others in not only his own state, but in other states as well. He most recently spent time in Arkansas campaigning and raising money in Arkansas for Republican senate candidate John Boozman who is running against politically wounded, incumbent Democrat, Blanche Lincoln.

But while John Thune’s own reelection remains uncontested, he is certainly not ignoring his place on the ballot this November. To date he has spent over $4.6 million in his opponentless race for reelection. Given the relatively small population of South Dakota and the fact that there is no real race, this is a pretty significant amount of money to spend, especially when you consider that there is still little more than 2 months to go till Election Day. So far, of the expected turnout, John Thune’s campaign expenditures it amounts to about $13.65 per voter.

Of course, this spending and out of state campaigning could be more for 2012 than 2010.

Thune could be actually trying to kill two birds with one stone as he uses his senate reeelction bid to  prepare for a run at the White House or for the number two spot on a Republican presidential ticket. The only hint that could contradict this conclusion is the level of activity in John Thune’s leadership PAC, the Heartland Values PAC. In this election cycle, the last reported total amount of contributions it has made to other candidates totals $185,500, a number which pales in comparison to other Republican presidential contenders like Palin, Romney and Pawlenty.

In general though, John Thune must be watched. Depending on who runs and the combination of those running in 2012, John Thune could be a very viable candidate for the Republican nomination and he is certainly playing his cards right. With relative youth providing some wind at his back, if he does not go for the nomination in 2012, his potential success at a run for the White House in in 2016 or 2020, could rely heavily on what he does in 2012 and how he handles the race.

 

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