Out With The Old. In With The New.

ImageLast week should have been a wake up call for the GOP.  They received more positive press than they have in a very long time on the heels of Senator Rand Paul’s 13 hour ‘fillibuster’ in which he ranted and raved against the vague policy of the use drones on American soil.

Standing with Senator Paul and lending their assistance to the filibuster were a couple of the newer members of the GOP Senate.  Most notably Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.  Young Senators who seem unafraid to take on the establishment.  The next day the ‘establishment’ was markedly upset and doing what they could to disparage the younger Senators stand against an administration who felt the need to not only not define a very dangerous policy, but who refused to answer simple questions regarding it when asked.  I am of course speaking of Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

What, I asked, would drive 2 influential Senators such as McCain and Graham go on the offensive against members of their own party who had taken a very popular stance and received more positive press for the Republicans than they have had in a couple of years?  Could it be jealousy?  McCain and Graham were both at a dinner with President Obama at the time of the filibuster reportedly trying to iron out a compromise to end sequester spending cuts.  Were the established GOP lead dogs upset that they were upstaged by their younger counterparts?  Whatever the reason for their attacks and name calling the day following the filibuster one thing became clear.  The old dogs need to retire to a shady spot under the porch if the GOP is to ever shed the “Old white man’s party” perception that it has. 

Youth and newness can be a good thing for a party that needs to do some serious reputation rebuilding after years of a war of rhetoric for the public perception that they have been losing and losing badly.  I find it reprehensible for Senators with the clout within the party that McCain and Graham have to try and make illegitimate the best positive polling the party has had in recent memory.  I have to wonder.  Are they dumb, senile or so full of themselves that they feel the need to take shots at their own when the spotlight is shone elsewhere within the party?

Regardless of the reasoning for their name calling outbursts, what happened with the filibuster should serve as notice the the GOP leadership.  There is a youthful movement within the party.  That movement is part constitutionalist, part libertarian, part tea party and part conservative.  If you don’t come to grips with it and learn to embrace what it brings to the table in regards to helping erase the perception of the ‘old white man’s party’ then be prepared to stare at the outside of the White House for a very long time.

Republicans Announce the Theme and Speakers for the Third Night of the Convention

   Bookmark and Share   The third night of the Republican National Convention offer a powerful presentation of the promised path for prosperity that can result from the Romney-Ryan policies that the G.O.P. will lining up behind in November.  Behind the backdrop of the evenings theme……”We Can Change It”, Republican powerhouses such as Condoleezza Rice, Jeb Bush, John Thune, Puerto Rico’s Governor Luis Fortuno, and Florida’s Attorney General Pam Biondi are scheduled to speak on the conventions’ third night and demonstrate exactly how “we can change it”.

According to TNC Chairman Reince Priebus “We want to remind Americans that we don’t have to settle for four more years of high unemployment, low pay and deep debt,” He added  “We will devote Wednesday night to showing the country that Mitt Romney’s ‘Plan for a Stronger Middle Class’ will restore our country as the best place in the world to find a job, start a business or hire a worker.”

Priebus said the Wednesday night program “will show that the Romney approach is both optimistic and achievable.”  The Romney plan will work toward energy independence, ensure that middle-class Americans have the skills to succeed, pursue trade that works for America, cut the deficit and champion small business.

“Having suffered through the longest sustained period of high unemployment since the Great Depression, Americans already know we can do better,” said Republican Convention CEO William Harris.  “Next Wednesday, Republicans will lay out Mitt Romney’s plan to do just that.”

Also speaking on Wednesday night will be Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, and ending the night will Congressman Paul Ryan.

GOPElephantRight.jpg GOP Elephant Right image by kempite Stars01.gif picture by kempiteGOPElephantLeft.jpg GOP Elephant Left image by kempite

Wednesday Convention Schedule

7:30 p.m.: Convention convenes

  • Call to order
  • Introduction of Colors
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • National Anthem
  • Invocation
  • Remarks by Senate Republican Leader and Convention Temporary Chairman Mitch McConnell (KY)
  •  Performance by Beau Davidson
  • Segment to be announced
  • Remarks by Senator John McCain (AZ)
  • Video
  • Remarks by Attorney General Pam Bondi (FL) and Attorney General Sam Olens (GA)
  • Remarks by Senator John Thune (SD)
  • Remarks by Governor Jeb Bush (FL)
  • Remarks by Senator Rob Portman (OH)
  • Remarks by Steve Cohen, Screen Machine
  • Remarks by Governor Luis Fortuño (PR)
  • Remarks by Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN)
  • Remarks by Condoleezza Rice
  • Video
  •  Remarks by vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan
  •  Benediction by Archbishop Demetrios
  • Adjournment

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In 2012 Barack Obama Is Campaigning Against All He Campaigned On In 2008

  Bookmark and Share  In 2008, Barack Obama dismissed  every question about him by calling them distractions.  Each of his speeches were carefully laced with attempts to claim his opponents were trying to distract voters from the issue of the economy.

No matter what the issue, it was a distraction.  To question his  relationship to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers was a distraction.  To question how Senator Obama could have sat in the pews of Rev. Wright’s church for decades and not once hear or denounce the reverend, anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Caucasian, race-baiting  hate speech, was a distraction.   Requesting him to produce his birth certificate was a distraction.  Even questioning whether or not Senator Obama, a young man with no executive or private sector experience had any substantial qualifications to be President of the United States were deemed to be a mean spirited, Republican distraction.  In fact in July of 2008, Senator Obama responded to such a questions by stating;

“When we get distracted by those kinds of questions, I think we do a disservice to the American people.”

This strategy prompted then Senator Obama to include in almost all his speeches, the charge that any question or discussion that did not involve the economy was an example of Republicans trying to avoid the economy as an issue altogether.

For instance, in March of 2008 candidate Obama stated;

“We knew that the closer we got to the change we seek, the more we’d see of the politics we’re trying to end — the attacks and distortions that try to distract us from the issues that matter.”

In April of 2008, it was;

“It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit for tat that consumes our politics.”

In May of 2008 he declared;

” Yes, we know what’s coming. … The same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives by pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy in the hope that the media will play along.”

Then of course there was my favorite Obama distraction accusation which came in October of 2008 when the young, energetic man who was filled with so much hope and change stated;

“Sen. McCain and his operatives are gambling that he can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance. … I’m going to keep talking about the issues that matter — about the economy and health care and education and energy.”

Four years later and the question now is where is all this talk about substance that President Obama promised?

So far President Obama, his surrogates, and his team of political Chicago hitmen have spent most of their time distracting us from the very same issues he claimed to want to discuss in 2008.

While the President goes out on the campaign trail and tries to claim that his endless spending will eventually solve our problems, his strategists are busy trying to insure that the non-issues are being aired on television and radio, and by his surrogates in the Senate and House.  Instead of producing a plan to grow our economy or trying to pass at least one federal budget before his first and probably last term in office is over, the President’s campaign and his supporters have done nothing but dominate the news with false accusations and ludicrous charges against Romney that are designed to specifically distract voters from the issues and the Obama record.

So far the most substantial knocks against Mitt Romney to come out of the Obama campaign have included such charges as his wife never having worked a day in her life, that Romney is a felon, that he hasn’t paid his taxes, and that he was responsible for the death of a woman who had cancer.  And to establish all this, President Obama has officially spent more than any other presidential in history.  And the official campaign which does not really start until both Parties officially nominate their candidate hasn’t even begun yet.

After four years in office President Obama who came to the White House on the promises of “hope” and “change” has delivered on only one of those themes –change.  As for hope, he has cretaed a government run econmy that has turned into despair and although he has delivered on change, it was not the change that many had hoped he intended.

In 2008, then Senator Obama left many voters believing that he would change the partisan atmosphere in Washington, D.C..  They tended to believe him when he promised to unite our nation.   Back then many believed President Obama when he promised to have the most transparent Administration in the nation’s history.  Fast forward four years and here we are a nation that is more polarized than ever before as President Obama tries to exploit the less fortunate in our society with a mean spirited class warfare strategy that suggest to them that the most fortunate in our society are to blame for their lot in life.  Here we are with a President who has declared that Republicans are waging a war on women.  And here we are waiting for that promised transparency in government on things such as the botched Fast & Furious operation that Obama’s Attorney General has been secretive about that he became the first person in his position to be held in contempt of Congress.  Here we are waiting to find out who from the White House has been leaking sensitive national security secrets in order to boost the President’s reelection chances.

The only change the President has delivered exists in the national debt which in the less-than-three-years. President Obama increased by $4.212 trillion–more than the total national debt of about $4.1672 trillion accumulated by all 41 U.S. presidents from George Washington through George H.W. Bush combined.  And that was not a change in the direction we need or can afford.

The presidential candidate that we saw in 2008 is long gone.  He has been taken away from us through a disastrous series of economic policy failures, and a string of constitutionally questionable partisan power grabs.  From appointing dozens of unaccountable czars that were granted extra-constitutional powers without congressional oversight, to hammering together an entirely partisan healthcare bill that puts one third of the American economy under government control, and to the passage of executive orders that granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and created unenforceable regulations, this President has taken any of the possibly promising aspects of his 2008 candidacy and threw them out the door.  And so now today, the Barack Obama that stands before us is  not the Barack Obama who asked us for our votes in 2008.

The Barack Obama before us today is a shell of the man he once was.  And whereas President Obama once stood before us and declared his opponents were about to “distract us from the issues that affect our lives by pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy in the hope that the media will play along”, today he is the one responsible for those distractions and for using those same tactics.  Today we have a President who is campaigning on all that he campaigned against four years ago and who is trying to run away from his record.  So I ask you this.  Can we afford to a reelect a President who if given the chance, would have to campaign against all that he says he stands for now, in another four years?

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The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno

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

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

Today White House 2012 takes a look at  Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno.

Born: October 31, 1960, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Spouse(s): Luca Vela

Children : Mara Luisa, Luis Roberto, Guillermo

Residence : San Juan, Puerto Rico

Alma mater: Colegio Marista, Georgetown University, Univeristy of Virginia School of Law

Profession: Lawyer

Religion: Roman Catholic `

Political Career :

  • 1993 – Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company
  • 1993 – President, Hotel Development Corporation
  • 1994 – Became Puerto Rico’s first Secretary Puerto Rico Economic Development and Commerce
  • 2004 -Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives which in Puerto Rico has the title, Resident Commissioner and is a four year term
  • 2008 – Elected Governor of Puerto Rico

(Click here for Fortuno’s WH2012 presidential contender page)

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Luis Fortuno’s name is not just one of those names , it is undeniably one of the most likely names to come up in the veepstakes, even if just briefly.

Largely unknown to most Americans, Governor Luis Fortuno has been on White House 2012′s radar for over two years now. Many have mocked such talk, ( you should see the comments on his WH2012 page) , but White House 2012 may very well have the last laugh. Take that from a friend of White House 2012, Adam Brickley. Adam recently told WH12 that although it may sound “off the wall”, consideration of Luis Fortuno for VP is very possible. Who is Adam Brickley? Adam is the man who created the Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President effort in 2008. He began the effort before we knew John McCain was going to be the nominee, well before most Americans heard of Sarah Palin, and long before John McCain even considered her for the job. So Adam has a good sense for these things.

As Governor of Puerto Rico, the first remarkable thing about Luis Fortuno was that he got elected. He is the first Republican to be elected Governor of Puerto Rico since 1969 and only the second one since 1949. The second remarkable thing about Fortuno is the way in which he has handled Puerto Rico’s budget. Between Fortuno’s ability to appeal to those beyond the Republican base, his fiscal conservatism, and his Hispanic ethnicity, he could make for an interesting choice for a Republican Party that must appeal to the rapidly growing Hispanic vote in the United States.

And when it comes to the primary issues facing our nation, limited government, less spending, and controlled federal budgets, Adam Brickley describes Fortuno to White House 2012 by saying “It’s like he’s the love child of Chris Christie and Marco Rubio.”

Fortuno trult is a Reagan Republican whose conservative thinking and record will have plenty of traction among Americans of all persuasions. Fortuno states that Reagan was “clear in what he envisioned, a party that is open to ideas, the free flow of ideas and goods and services”, and he has added that he believes “we have to go back to those principles.

As Governor, Luis Fortuno has been practicing those core Republican principles to tackle a record $3.2 billion deficit. He has cut expenses across the board, cut the size of Puerto Rico’s government and reduced its number of employees, while also instituting salary reductions of 30 percent for himself, department heads and political appointments. All this while implementing policies that include cutting taxes and creating new private-sector jobs in the place of government handouts.  Does this not sound like the opposite of what our nation’s President is doing?  And does this not sound like a model roadmap for our federal government?

At the moment, a G.O.P. ticket with Puerto Rico’s Governor Fortuno on it may seem far fetched, but it’s called history folks, and stranger things have made history and have eventually come to be seen as quite natural.

In conclusion, as for those of you who claim a native citizen of Puerto Rico can’t be eligible to be Vice President or President of the United States, it must be understood that all persons born in Puerto Rico between April 11, 1899, and January 12, 1941, are automatically conferred citizenship as of the date that such law was signed by the President on June 27, 1952. Furthemore, all persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, are considered natural-born citizens of the United States.

Pros:

  • Fortuno could help appeal to Hispanic voters better than just about any other Republican in the Party and he could cut in to the Obama-Biden tickets lead among Hispanics in ways so significant that it could cost them several key battleground states
  • The selection of Fortuno as Vice President would have historic value and soften the perception that the G.O.P. is anti-immigration
  • Although Puerto Rico’s economy is by no means quite strong, the mess Fortuno inherited and the measures he took to correct decades of wrongs, helps to starkly contrast the tax and spend policies of the Obama Administration with the Republican philosophy that government is not the solution, it’s the problem, in a way that can define the race in a clearly positive way for Republicans

Cons:

  • It might be viewed as an overly blatant attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters
  • Many voters may be quite uncomfortable with the prospects of what they might perceive as a foreigner being Vice President and a heartbeat away from the presidency
  • Puerto Rico’s high unemployment and struggling economy will provide Democrats with an easy attack line that utilizes the anger of anti-Fortuno factions in Puerto Rico in a very effective way, despite all of Fortuno’s hard and successful work to turn things around there
  • Fortuno’s foreign policy and national security credentials may be questioned endlessly and viewed with skepticism by may voters
  • While Fortuno’s Spanish will help him appeal to Hispanic voters, his heavy accent does not make him the most fluid campaigners that English speaking voters will have ever seen

Assessment:

Selecting Luis Fortuno for Vice President would be one of the boldest moves that mitt Romney could possibly make. It would be a gamble that could yield enormous returns or cost Romney everything and Romney is not a gambling man (despite his desire to bet Rick Perry $10,000 during a debate). So I do not believe that Mitt will go with Fortuno. But it is such a historic and game changing move that seeing Romney pick Fortuno is not out of the question. Is it likely? No. But some of the most unlikely decisions throughout history have produced some of the most beneficial results.

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Recent Key Votes

HR 7321 – Automotive Industry Financing

Legislation (NA)

Dec. 10, 2008 – Requires the President to designate one or more officials (“Car Czars”) to be overseen by the Comptroller General in order to assess auto manufacturers’ recovery …

HR 6867 – Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation

Legislation (NA)

Oct. 3, 2008 – – Allows an individual who has no rights to federal or state regular unemployment compensation, or who has exhausted his or her rights to federal …

HR 1424 – Financial Asset Purchase Authority and Tax Law Amendments

Legislation (NA)

Oct. 3, 2008 – -Establishes the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to allow the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase troubled assets from any financial institution (Div. A, Sec. …

More Key Votes

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Luis Fortuno on The Issues

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

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John McCain Wants the Presidential Candidates to Stop All These Silly Debates

Bookmark and Share   While defending Mitt Romney, his choice for President, in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press,  failed 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain told host David Gregory that he wishes the Republican presidential candidates would stop participating in all the presidential debates that are taking place.

According to McCain, the debates “are driving down our candidates favorable ratings” and are making it harder whoever the nominee is to defeat President Obama in November.

The statement begs the question, is John McCain losing his mind, or has he already lost it?

McCain’s objection to the presidential candidates having as many as 19 debates in the last 8 months is both dumb and a quintessential example of establishment thinking.  Only a true established member of the political class would take issue with politicians having to discuss the issues and defend their records and policies in front of an audience comprised of the American electorate.  The political elite may not like being held accountable in a forum that is not scripted so tightly that it allows for a one way conversation of the candidate telling the voters what they think the voters want to hear, but voters do appreciate having the opportunity to see their potential President have to think on their feet.

Furthermore; even if John McCain is correct in his assertion that all the debates are responsible for driving down the favorability numbers of the G.O.P. candidates, then so be it.  If it is true that the more the candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination talk, the more they less people like them, then we do not deserve to win the presidency in November.  If we as a Party can not find a true leader based upon the realistic expectation that they can effectively articulate our cause and the solutions to our problems, than we deserve to lose.

But what it comes down to is that John McCain can’t actually believe his own words.  He can’t really be suggesting that debates are a bad thing.

What McCain is really suggesting is that Newt Gingrich survived this campaign and surged in it because of he outperformed the man that McCain is supporting……Mitt Romney.  And it is clear to McCain that had there not been 19 debates, Mitt would not have been dominated by Newt on 19 different occasions.    So here is Senator McCain actually calling for fewer debates because they are not helping his hand picked choice for President win voters over.

What it comes down to is this.

McCain’s call for the debates to stop is offensive and counterproductive.  It is typical establishment, inside-the-beltway, thinking that is designed to shelter the political class from those whom they seek to govern and it is quite arrogant and antithetical to democratic process.  It is the type of thinking that could only come out the mouth of a from a person who has spent over thirty years in the bubble that is Washington.  They are certainly not the words or thoughts of a so-called “Maverick”.

I will concede that it is quite unfortunate that Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have resorted to attacking one another with distortions that are absolutely over the top.  I feel it is a shame that Newt Gingrich saw fit to travel down the same low road that Mitt Romney and the establishment led us down and that Mitt Romney finds it impossible to build himself up without first tearing down everyone else down.  However I will not go so far as to say that the answer is to stop the debates and limit the discussion to sanitized forums which do not allow candidates to raise and debate legitimate issues before the American people.

To his credit, Mitt Romney has not taken the same position as his establishment surrogate, Senator John McCain.  So while I will not hold McCain’s ignorant and offensive comments against him, but as someone who can easily support Romney if he is the nominee, I would like to suggest to him that he stop trying to embrace the political establishment so tightly.  Instead of using the Dole’s, McCain’s, and Tom DeLay’s of the political world as a ladder to which he can climb to power with, Mitt Romney should be running away from the establishment and building himself up as a candidate of independent, conservative thought, who brings to the table something that the establishment doesn’t……real life and business experience.

Whether Mitt realizes it or not, the establishment support he is receiving is not helping him among the voters he needs most.  The anti-establishment voters who are far removed from the political class and who are disdainful of Beltway politics.  Another thing that Mitt should realize is that the more the political establishment attacks Newt Gingrich, the more the anti-establishment coalesces around Gingrich.

In other words, Mitt Romney should tell surrogates like McCain to shut the hell up.

While he might think that the public pitches that Washington insiders are making on Romney’s behalf are helping him in places like Florida, he should realize that every time the establishment wins, the voters rally behind the anti-establishment candidates.  So even if Romney does wins Florida, if he does so through a strategy that employs tactics designed at assassinating the character of Newt Gingrich through the political class, then the voting class will lash out against him somewhere else, primarily in Minnesota, Missouri, and Arizona, which hold their nominating contests in late february and early March.

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Is Bachmann’s Immigration Stance Electable?

One of the keys to winning the Social Conservative vote is electability.  Many voters out there aren’t asking which candidate has the best ideas.  They are asking which candidate can beat Barack Obama.  On the Social Conservative side, they are asking which candidate can beat Mitt Romney first.

Bachmann has chosen not only to level questionable attacks against Newt Gingrich for his immigration policy, but she has also taken the hardline stance that as President 11.2 million illegal aliens should be deported no matter how long they have been here, their other legal history, or their family and community ties.  With the intensity that Bachmann has attacked Gingrich, I would be comfortable assuming that this would be a national priority for her.

Mitt Romney tried to come down hard on Gingrich in the debate, but admitted himself that there must be exceptions to the rule for mass deportations.  Bachmann, who has played the role of attack dog against more than one candidate, was far more rigid in her approach.  But can a zero tolerance, deport them all approach to Illegal Immigration win in 2012?

Amnesty was a big loser for Republicans in the past.  McCain’s involvement in a potential bill to grant a path to citizenship for illegal aliens nearly ended his career.  But far too often this complex issue is reduced to a soundbite, or single word (such as “amnesty”).  What would happen in a debate between Michele Bachmann and Barack Obama where Bachmann was asked if she would make deporting 11.2 million illegal aliens a national priority and how she planned on doing that?

This issue is a loser all around for Conservatives.  Not because they are wrong, but because like so many other issues there is no easy solution, but they are willing to try.

So far, Mitt Romney has dodged a huge bullet.  No one seems to have noticed his exception caveat to his immigration hardline.  Bachmann has managed to stay on the attack, but it won’t take the media forever for someone to ask her how she plans on deporting 11.2 million illegal immigrants.  For now though, Gingrich is taking the heat just as he predicted in the debate.  As far as what Conservatives actually want, many want Michele Bachmann’s hardline and may stay home if they see weakness in a candidate on this issue.  Others will see Bachmann’s stance as making her unelectable and will avoid her because of it.  Either way, the best thing for the GOP right now is for this issue to run its course in the media cycle and go away soon.  With Bachmann’s perceived chance at spoiling another rival’s campaign, don’t count on it.

Lack of Suburban Pennsylvania Support for Obama Could Jeopardize His Reelection

Bookmark and Share   The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeremy Roebuck, John Duchneskie, and Dan Hardy recently unearthed a troubling sign for President Obama as he prepares for his reelection.  According to the trio “A wave of support from Philadelphia’s historically moderate suburbs helped push Barack Obama into the White House in 2008. But if the latest fund-raising totals are any indication, his grip on those crucial swing counties may be slipping.”

Through an examination of recent fundraising totals in the Philadelphia’s suburbs, President Obama is nearly tied with his Republican rivals for the presidency.

In 2008, an overwhelming amount of support from Philadelphia, helped Obama to surpass rival John McCain’s vote total in the state.  A significant additional help for then Senator Obama, was also an unusually strong show support for a Democrat candidate in the surrounding subburbs of Philly within Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties.  These areas usually help offset the large plurality of votes that Democrats normally get in Southeast Pennsylvania and if they offset them enough, Republicans have a good chance of winning the swing state.  Such was the case with last years gubernatorial election victory of Republican Tom Corbet.

The fact that President Obama is only $36,000 ahead of of Republicans in fundraising at this point in  time, is a strong indication that he is not positioned for winning Pennsylvania’s electoral votes any where near as well as he was in 2008.

Without Pennsylvania in his column, President Obama’s chances for being reelected are extremely limited.

In fact if you assume President Obama wins the typically blue states and also give him Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois, and keep swing states like Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada in the undecided column, it is virtually impossible for the President to win the 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection. [see map below] Bookmark and Share 

Is Paul Electable? Only As GOP Nominee

He came in behind Michele Bachmann.  And don’t be fooled, Ron Paul was actually trying in Iowa.  So is Ron Paul really a top tier candidate now?  Jon Stewart seems to think so.

Actually, Ron Paul probably would win in a head to head with Barack Obama.  For a second tier candidate, he polls pretty well in head to head matchups with Obama.  The problem is, in his own party primary he comes in a consistent fourth at best.  Add Perry, minus Pawlenty, no change for Ron Paul.  Real Clear Politics has Ron Paul in sixth place right now behind two candidates who aren’t even running.  And I hate to say it, but Guiliani doesn’t have a shot.  Still, he outpolls Paul in the GOP primaries.

Is the lack of media attention really because we are afraid of Ron Paul winning?

Is Paul electable?  Sure.  As the GOP candidate he would make up for lost Republicans he has alienated with independents he appeals to.  Unlike McCain who went after fiscal liberal independents, Paul would go after social and national security liberal dependents.  He would actually take these away from Obama.

Shoot, I’d vote for Ron Paul over Obama.  But I’d also vote for half the Democrats over Obama at this point.

Www.dailypaul.com has suggested that half the Republicans want a third party.  That’s great, throw in half the Democrats and half the Independents, get them to agree on Paul, and you might have a case for a third party Paul run.  As it is, polls show Paul would only play spoiler as a third party candidate.

So is it a big deal that Ron Paul came in second behind Michele Bachmann in Iowa?  I’m going to say no.  Now, if he wins the Iowa Caucus, that might be something to talk about.

Rudy: Fresh Candidate or Romney Clone?

Some are convinced that Rudy is ready to step into the 2012 primary.  But is Rudy going to bring something fresh to this race?  Or will he simply join the race as one more fiscal conservative who will turn off social conservatives and join McCain as one more perfect GOP candidate who goes down to the Left?

Rudy is focusing on New Hampshire and recently used an opportunity in that state to rip Romney for Romneycare as the “inspiration” for Obama’s own unconstitutional healthcare mandate.  The idea for the Rudy camp seems to be that he lost last time because he bet the farm on Florida and was crowded out by Romney and McCain.  Will things be different this time around?

This time, Rudy is betting the farm on New Hampshire and perhaps a game changing late entry.  Even if Rudy Guiliani pulls off an upset in New Hampshire, will that mean he represents the GOP?  Hardly. Rudy will need to contend with the Southern/Midwest social branch of conservatism, and if 2010 is any clue, he may very well lose Florida again.  Both Rick Scott and Marco Rubio captured the swing state on a complete social and fiscal conservative platform.

More likely, Rudy will capture the fiscal conservatives who can’t abide Romney’s weak explanation of his healthcare plan, and Romney will capture fiscal conservatives who are not as socially liberal on issues like abortion as Rudy Guiliani.  Could this provide an opening for a strong social conservative even in New Hampshire?

Why Doesn’t Rush Like Daniels?

Rush Limbaugh has had his finger on the pulse of mainstream conservatism and mainstream media for decades. When the media said only McCain could beat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, Rush was sounding the alarm. So why is Rush now sounding the alarm on Mitch Daniels?

Daniels has received some pretty glowing endorsements, or as glowing as a Republican can get, from the Washington Post and others. He has been described as the candidate in 2012 who has a serious shot at beating Obama. No doubt, Rush is hearing echos of the media love McCain received right up until the end of the 2012 primary.

Best hope of the Right? Or the Left?

In many ways, Daniels has brought this on himself. Instead of going to CPAC and announcing that if a bill cutting off all abortion funding came across his desk he’d sign it, Daniels appealed to fiscal conservatives across the country calling on a truce on social issues so that we could solve our debt crisis. When he did sign the bill banning funding even for Planned Parenthood in Indiana, for the most part it was ignored by the media. When Obama was being praised for killing Osama Bin Laden and Daniels was taking questions on Obama’s foreign policy, Daniels admitted he wasn’t ready to debate Obama on foreign policy.

Remember when McCain said the economy was not his strong suit? Trust me, if Obama has his way the economy will not be a debate topic in 2012. Foreign policy will be. By continuing Bush’s foreign policies, Obama has found something he can campaign successfully on. By wavering on foreign policy, Daniels is certainly not setting himself up as the candidate who can beat Obama.

On the other hand, Daniels has been slowly and methodically implementing his very conservative (both socially and fiscally) agenda in Indiana. After cooling off a showdown with unions in Indiana when Democrats walked out, Daniels has quietly passed many of the same provisions including limiting teacher’s union negotiating to wages and wage related benefits. Compared to the messy protests in Scott Walker’s state over the issues, Daniels is enjoying anonymity in his war on public unions. Indiana has been one of the few fiscally sound states under Mitch Daniels.

Perhaps Daniels would be a great conservative President. It’s difficult to tell at this point if he is a silent leader who could change our country for the better, or if he represents everything that was wrong with McCain, Thompson, Guiliani and the rest of the 2008 Republican class.

And They’re Off

Bookmark and Share Think its too early for Republicans to start campaigning for President? Think again. Around this time in 2007, Hillary Clinton was preparing to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination. Senator Barack Obama was 5 weeks away from making his announcement. On February 13th of 2007, in Dearborn, Michigan, it was Mitt Romney who announced his candidacy at the Ford Museum. It was January 28th when Mike Huckabee announced his campaign intentions on Meet the Press and January 31st, Senator Joe Biden did the same. Earlier in the month of January Democrat Senator Chris Dodd made his official announcement on the 11th, while on the 20th Senator Sam Brownback made his official announcement and on the 25th, Republican Representative Duncan Hunter did so too.

So No, it is not too early to begin covering the moves of the potential candidates for President in 2012. And not just for the Republicans either.

Democrats should be looking out for challengers to President Obama.

After his unusual election night concession speech, soon to be former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold could demonstrate what he meant when he said now its on to 2012 and possibly challenge the troubled President from the left. Then there are Democrats on the right of the President who could come in to play. But the most potentially damaging of all possibilities could come from the self described progressive wing of the Party which Hillary Clinton claims the mantle of.

A challenge to President from his Party still remains unlikely though it is a remote possibility. And if President Obama fails to improve his standing and the economy a late challenge that could embarrass but not defeat him, is very possible.

But for now, the activity is on the Republican side.

As indicated by White House 2012, the potential field for the G.O.P. is a large one. And while there are three very real undeclared candidates campaigning..Romney, Pawlenty, and Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico, a dozen or more others are threatening to make their decisions in the spring. Such a relatively late start is not necessarily a bad thing. While we all knew he was running, John McCain did not make his announcement official until mid April of 2011.

Right now though, many possible candidates are waiting to see if the elephant in the room, or in her case, the Mamma Grizzly in the room, roars with her own decision to run for President. Sarah Palin has the attention of the people and the presence of personality to take away the steam that many other potential candidates would need to be successful. As such, many like John Thune and even Mike Pence are waiting to see what she does.

In all I considers there to be more than 20 very real possible candidates. They include Haley Barbour, Rick Santorum, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson, .Tim Pawlenty, John Thune, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels and the perennial candidate, Ron Paul. Of course not all will make an official run and others may not enter the race till maybe as late as September. In fact if none of the officla candidates get significant traction in the months following their announcement, some candidates not on y list are likely to throw their hats in to the ring. Someone like Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan could be one of those. As the incoming Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he will be one of the most important legislators in D.C. from both major Parties and if he is not hearing any of the right things on the issue of the budget from any of the declared candidates, he may just become one himself. Another name to watch for if he does not like what he is seeing and hearing is Donald Trump.

Trump probably wont go the distance but he could make the difference for people like Mitt Romney and even Tim Pawlenty.

Right now, aside from the given candidacies of both Romney and Pawlenty, the big names to look out for are Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, John Thune, and Mike Pence. Any configuration of these names entering or not entering the race will make a big difference in the end. If Daniels does not run, which is very likely, Barbour, Romeny, and Pence will benefit greatly. If Barbour does not run, Romney and Palin could have the most to gain. If all of them run, well then look for the 2012 primary season to be a long and bloody one. In the meantime, look at who is doing what in the first two months of the new year. That will tell you who is most likely running.

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Early Polling Puts the Pressure on Romney for 2012

Bookmark and Share   Even though most states have not even begun to vote in the 2010 midterm elections, the anticipated Republican tsunami that is at the moment undeniable, has many preparing for the new political landscape that we will be operating in post November 2, 2010. I foresee the G.O.P. taking control of the Senate with 51 seats and winning a whopping 62 seats in the House, a gain that would give Republicans the most seats it has had in the House since 1946.

This Republican rejuvenation has made it hard to contain speculation about 2012 and the presidential election which will begin on November 3rd, 2010.

One entity which is not hiding any early interest in the Republican race for President is Gallup, a veteran polling agency of 70 years.

In their most recent poll of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Gallup selected 12 leading Republicans whom are seriously considering a run for president and in many cases have already stomped in New Hampshire and Iowa, the states with first in the nation presidential primary and caucus.

The question Gallup asked was;

Next I’m going to read a list of people who may be running in the republican primaries for President in the 2012 election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for President in 2012, or if you would support someone else. ( The names were given in random order)

The results were as follows:

  •  
    • Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney                19%
    • Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin                                     16%
    • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee                       12%
    • Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich                        9%
    • Texas Congressman Ron Paul                                                      7%
    • Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty                                           3%
    • Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour                                         3%
    • Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum                       2%
    • South Dakota Senator John Thune                                              2%
    • Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels                                                  2%
    • Indiana Congressman Mike Pence                                               1%
    • Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson                        1%

A total of 11% of respondents had no opinion, 7% stated none of them, 4% gave a mix of different names, 1% said any or all of them, and another 1 % volunteered the name of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Gallup also broke these down reults down even and offered the following interesting analysis;

“Romney and Palin are the top choices of both conservative and moderate or liberal Republicans, and in fact their support is similar among both groups. Of the top five candidates, Huckabee receives support that is most divided along ideological lines; he gets significantly more support among conservative Republicans.”

Support for Top Five Potential 2012 Republican Nomination Candidates, by Political Ideology

“Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, likely fares better among conservative Republicans because the group tends to be more religious. Among Republicans who say religion is important in their lives, Huckabee (14%) is essentially tied with Romney (17%) and Palin (16%).”

Candidates Get More Support in Home Regions

“Typically, support for presidential nomination candidates varies geographically, with candidates generally faring best in their home regions. This appears to be the case with most of the current group of GOP contenders, as Palin’s support is highest in the West, and Huckabee gets somewhat higher support in the South. Romney shows particular strength in both the East, where he was governor of Massachusetts, and the West, where he served as chief executive of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic games.”

Support for Top Five Potential 2012 Republican Nomination Candidates, by Region

These results are only a snapshoyt of current thinking and that  thinking is surely going to change over the course of two years.  But the current picture offers a glimpse of who has the most to lose and who has the most to gain as the primary process unfolds.  Clearly, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin have captured the imaginations of more Republicans than any others, yet Huckabee, Gingrich and Paul have substantial enough support to make Palin’s and Romney’s frontrunner status very flimsy.

Perhaps most telling are Tim Pawlenty’s numbers. 

As a popular Midwest Governor who received national attention when he came close to be John McCain’s pick for Vice President, you would expect him to be much further ahead of the bottom of the pack than he actually is.  This is especially true when you consider that he is openly pursing the GOP nomination much more aggressively than many of the other names on the list.  With only 3% of Republicans uttering his name as their choice, it would seem that Pawlenty probably has a lot more work to do if he expects to catch on, especially as the rest of the field swings into gear.  So far, it would seem that Tim hasn’t been getting as a big a bang for his buck as he should.

But these numbers do not put as much pressure on Pawlenty as they do for Romeny and Palin.  Pawlenty has little room to slide but a lot of room for advancement.  But Palin and Romney are the ones that are faced with insuring that they remain on the top of the hill…………a position that will be tough to hold for long as the rest of the field starts trying to take their place at the top.

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Huckabee’s Record Will Haunt Him in 2012

Mike Huckabee giving a speech following the So...

Mike Huckabee

Bookmark and Share In 2008, like many, I was initially struck by Mike Huckabee’sgood natured, easy going persona and mastery of the issues. As a former two term Governor, he came across as a credible conservative force and his homespun stories and original and witty sayings helped convey the points he wanted to get across in a memorable and often impressive way. But a closer look shows that Mike Huckabee is more like a used car salesman than a reliable conservative.

As Governor of Arkansas, while touting his credentials as a fiscal conservative, the record shows that a liberal Republican like Rudy Giuliani cut taxes far more in New York City as Mayor than Huckabee did as Governor of Arkansas.

On immigration, Mike Huckabee’s tough talk neglects to mention that as Governor he opposed fellow Republicans on a bill that would have required proof of citizenship to vote or in order to receive social services. And as a minister, the former Governor has called illegal immigration God’s payback for slavery.

But it is the issue of crime which truly shuts the door on Huckabee’s conservative credentials.

While in office, Huckabee had a schedule of clemencies that amounted to 1 pardon every four days that he was in office as Governor. The 1,033 sentences that he commuted, far exceeded that of other Governors and some of those pardons proved to be deadly.

Maurice Clemmons Shot Dead
Marice Clemmons
Wayne DuMond

In one case, Huckabee pardoned hardened criminal Wayne DuMond whom after he was released, raped and killed two women. Beyond those preventable tragedies, in 2009 another criminal who was pardoned by Huckabee was Maurice Clemmons, a man who’s criminal history included five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington State. At one point Clemmons went on spree so violent that a judge saw fit to sentence him to 95 years behind bars. Yet despite the objections of prosecutors, Governor Huckabee issued Clemmons clemency and gave him the opportunity that he took to kill 4 police officers in cold blood as they sat in a Lakewood, Washington coffee house.

On the day that Clemmons was found to be the murderer of officers Ronald Owens, Mark Renninger, Greg Richards and Tina Griswold, the prosecuting attorney, Larry Jegley, who handled the Clemmons case in Arkansas’ Pulaski County, made clear his doubts about Huckabee’s numerous pardons by calling it a day he had been “dreading for a long time.”

For his part, when it was learned that one of his pardoned criminals was responsible for the murder of the four police officers, Huckabee avoided any responsibility by dodging the issue in a statement that read;

“Politics is the last thing on my mind. It should be the last thing on anybody’s mind. To me it’s repulsive that people are trying to bring something like that up in the midst of what ought to be a concern for these officer’s families”

Huckabee did however add that that the criminal justice system “was far from perfect and in this case it failed miserably on all sides”, but that little addition still neglected to name himself as being responsible for part of the failure.

That is a point which Mike Huckabee may not be willing to make but in 2012, too many of his opponents will be more than happy to mention it.

Back in 2008 Huckabee was a virtual unknown who shocked the political world after winning Iowa, a caucus state with a high percentage of fundamental Christians who fell for the Hucksters conservative message. In 2012 though, it will be pretty hard for him to make the same case for himself.

This time, the Republican field is ready for him and they are prepared to take him out among an electorate that is more conservative, more motivated and much angrier than they were in ’08, when Huckabee’s record didn’t have time tarnish. Combined with what will be an extremely competitive field that has no clear frontrunner and what you have in Mike Huckabee is very smooth talking and very flawed candidate who is going to have a hard time convincing voters that he is tougher on taxes and crime than someone like Sarah Palin or Haley Barbour or Mike Pence, Mitch Daniels or Bobby Jindal.

All of these factors are making a 2012 run for the presidency by Huckabee quite unlikely and rightly so.

In 2012 values voters are going to have a multitude of good choices. So much so that Huckabee will not have as tight a grip on the evangelical Christian vote, as he did two years ago. And on top of that, now that the ramifications of Huckabee’s record as Governor have now had plenty of time to reveal themselves, they will haunt him every step of the way.

In 2008 Huckabee played the role of spoiler. For voters who were looking for a viable alternative to early frontrunner John McCain, Huckabee siphoned off votes from the one man who had a real shot of taking the nomination from McCain. Mitt Romney. But in 2012 call it payback or karma but Mike Huckabee’s own record will be siphoning votes away from himself. The mere mention of the four cops killed by the man that Huckabee set free will certainly be making people think twice before voting for Mike Huckabee again and for that reason, I think Mike Huckabee is going to have to think twice too, before throwing his hat in the ring anytime soon.

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Mitch Daniels; Getting More Done By ‘Not Doing Anything”

Republican candidate Mitch Daniels

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

 

Bookmark and Share   Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels recently told an Editorial Board of the Courier-Journal, a paper which serves the Southern part of his state and parts of Kentucky, that he was not taking any steps to run for President. As for the speculation about a run for that office,  he stated

“This is nothing I have started, encouraged,”.

But he added

“People have asked, ‘Please don’t absolutely close your mind’ and I have said I’ll think about it.” To which he also added “It’s nothing I’m going to do anything about,”

Daniels said.

“If it’s still an interesting subject in a few months, ask me then.”

The truth is, that Mitch Daniels truly isn’t  openly running for President.  He has not found any excuses to go to Iowa and New Hampshire. He has not found any reason to raise extra campaign money that he could donate to 2010 candidates and make them beholden to endorsing him for President in 2012.

But while he stays the course, he has refused to say that he will not run. And while not closing the door to that option he has he has stated that he is a lot more worried about the condition and direction of the country now than he was a year and a half ago.

Daniel’s is playing his cards just right. Unlike others such as Tim Pawlenty, he is not demonstrating an over eagerness to get his name out their and appear too opportunistic. Unlike Governor Pawlenty, the people of Governor Daniels’ state are not turning their back on him as the people of Minnesota are doing with Pawlenty.

Recent polls of Minnesotans show that the people in the land of a thousand lakes would prefer that their Governor stay home and govern their state before he goes AWOL on that responsibility and tries to take on another one.  That same poll also showed that at the moment, Minnesotans prefer frontrunner and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney over their own Governor by a margin of 13% with 45% wanting Romney for President to 32% preferring Pawlenty.

Daniel’s doesn’t have this problem though. Instead he is governing his state and making it one of the most economically stable ones in the nation. And while Pawlenty is losing support from his home state base as he tries to get the voters in other states interested in him, Mitch Daniels continues to win the favor of his fellow Hoosiers and has other people asking why  he doesn’t run for President.

While Tim Pawlenty and other candidates are out there trying to get votes, others are trying to get Mitch Daniels to  run so that they could vote for him.

One of Daniels’ biggest cheerleaders is Indiana elder statesman, Senator Richard Lugar, whom Daniels once served as Chief of Staff. Lugar calls Daniels someone who would;

“be an outstanding candidate and a great president”, which is why Lugar has been encouraging Mitch to run.

And others are too. That’s  because Indiana is representative of a region whose electoral votes are critical to the election of any Republican. Indiana is normally a Republican leaning state in presidential elections, but Barack Obama changed that. In 2008, although it was close, Obama beat John McCain and Republicans know that they if they again fail to win Mid-West states like Indiana and Ohio in the future, the White House will only slip further and further away from them.

So Mitch Daniels may, as he put it, not “do anything about” a run for President in 2012 at the moment, it could just be that his ‘not doing anything about it’, is a smart way of actually doing a lot about it. Unlike Tim Pawlenty who is trying to force his way into the 2012 presidential race, Mitch Daniels is actually putting himself in the position of being forced into the race by the people. And all while managing his state and staying in the good graces of his hometown voters.

Not bad for a humble and often understated, ol’ country boy from the Midwest and quite a stark contrast form the current occupant of the White House.  

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Waiting in the Wings

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One name that came up often as a running mate for John McCain was Tom Ridge. Last year his name came up to run for the U.S. Senate when Arlen Specter (D-PA) switched parties from Republican to Democrat. He would have had the backing of the party machinery had he taken the offer, but he turned it down rather than face a primary battle with Pat Toomey who had already declared his candidacy. Recently his name has come up as a potential Presidential candidate. Ridge says he has no plans to re-enter politics…unless the party asks him to.

As a pro-choice moderate Republican with ties to the Bush administration, Ridge is positioned in much the same way that John McCain was in 2008.


McCain and Ridge

With many of the leading candidates coming from a more traditional conservative viewpoint, the party members aligned with Bush policies are still looking for a candidate who will champion that philosophy. The War on Terror often overshadows the Bush administration’s other major activities: a massive expansion of the federal government’s role in education through No Child Left Behind, a massive expansion of Medicare through the Prescription Drug Benefit and a series of other big government programs that attempted to steal the Democrats’ issues and control them. Ridge, being more moderate, is more open to those kinds of big government programs than most of the current contenders for the nomination.

Yet all is not smooth between the former Bush administration and Tom Ridge. After Bush was re-elected, Ridge resigned. He later accused the administration of pushing him to raise the terror alert status in 2004 before the election when it was not warranted; basically an accusation that terror concern was being used for political gain. Many of those who championed Bush and McCain are still supportive of Ridge, despite his accusations. In some ways, a man who criticized a President who is still a punching bag isn’t such a bad thing. It makes him look far more different than he really is, a sort of new ‘Maverick’ for 2012.

Ridge does have an attractive resume for consideration. He grew up fairly poor in veterans housing, his father having served in the U.S. Navy. He graduated with honors from Harvard which he was able to afford by working construction jobs in addition to an academic scholarship he’d earned from high school. After his first year of law school, he was drafted and served as a Staff Sergeant in the Vietnam War earning multiple decorations before suffering a ruptured appendix and being discharged from the service. His hearing in one ear was also permanently damaged and he has worn a hearing aid ever since. After returning from Vietnam, he completed his law degree from Dickinson School of Law. After 8 years of private practice, he became an Assistant District Attorney and then two years later was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He served in the House for 12 years before being elected Governor of Pennsylvania. A popular Governor, he was reelected in 1998. He resigned near the end of his second term as Governor to become the first Secretary of Homeland Security. He has never lost an election.

With conservatives split between multiple contenders as they were in 2008, the possibility that the former Bush faction of the party might draft Ridge isn’t unrealistic. With funding and support split across several conservatives, a perceived moderate could easily raise money and rack up some primary victories from a solid group of Republican moderate voters and former Bush supporters. Like McCain in 2008, Ridge could easily become the favorite of the media and thereby gain free exposure while his opponents buy ad time trying to convince conservative voters why one of them is better than the others.

There won’t be any of the usual tell-tale signs of a run. With Ridge sitting things out unless the party ‘drafts’ him, all the work on setting up a Ridge campaign will be done through re-starting the McCain network. Keep an eye on McCain’s donors from 2008. If their money isn’t going to one of the current field of candidates, it could very well mean they are planning to work together on behalf of a single alternate candidate. Ridge tops the list of people to whom they would turn. Keep an eye also on McCain after the 2010 elections and see if he starts re-connecting with his former network. As unlikely as is may sound today, Tom Ridge stands a better than average shot of becoming the 2012 Republican nominee. After all, no one expected McCain to win the nomination either.

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