1 Year Ago Today, Paul Ryan Announced He Would Not Run for President

  Bookmark and Share  What a difference a year makes.

About a year ago the G.O.P. seemed to be in an endless and desperate search for a presidential nominee that had many wondering if Republicans would ever be able to find someone they could enthusiastically get behind.   The political world was still a buzz over Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Ames Straw Poll  which resulted in Tim Pawlenty ending his candidacy and withdrawing from the race.  We were also talking about the potential of Texas Governor Rick Perry who announced his candidthe presidential the day before Pawlenty dropped out of it.

Yet many Republicans were still holding out for someone else to surprise us with their candidacy and win us over.  The media’s talking points were that Bachmann was too nuts, Santorum and Cain were too dangerous,  Romney would not be able to overcome his creation of Romneycare, Newt Gingrich was too extreme and undisciplined, Perry was to closely associated to George W. Bush, and the others were just not known or liked enough to be in serious contention.  So many Republicans were looking for a White Knight.  We had urged people like John  Thune and Mike Pence to run but Thune decided to forego the race and Pence decided to run for Governor of Indiana.   Some were urging names like Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, and Chris Christie to come forward and save the day.  Others, including myself, were urging House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to run.

Then suddenly exactly one year ago today, Congressman Ryan released the following statement;

“I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party’s nomination for President. I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation. I remain grateful to those I serve in Southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress.”

Just days before this announcement, word was out that Ryan had been giving a run for President some serious consideration and many fiscal conservatives were buoyed by the prospects.  In one post entitled ” Heavy Hitters Urge Paul Ryan to Run for President“, White House 2012 detailed the high praise being offered for Paul Ryan’s potential candidacy from such political luminaries as Mitch Daniels,  Jeb Bush, Bill Bennett and Scott Walker.  And in that same post I wrote;

“If Paul Ryan were to be our Republican presidential nominee, he will begin a national dialogue that will consist of tough truths and sellable solutions, not bumper sticker slogans and hapless hyperbole. If Paul Ryan runs, the question will not be is he ready to do the job, the question will be is America ready for Paul Ryan. We already know that the guy who currently has the job was not ready for it. But I know Paul Ryan is.”

On this day a year ago, Paul Ryan released an announcement that put an end to all the speculation.  He would not be a candidate for President.  But a year later even though Ryan is not not running for President, his vice presidential candidacy is doing exactly what I indicated his presidential candidacy would do.  He has changed the narrative of this election by getting us away from the dialogue of distractions perpetuated by the left and President Obama, and thanks to his expertise, and credibility on matters of fiscal responsibility, Paul Ryan has gotten us to talk instead about those sellable solutions on the economy that he is now promoting on the campaign trail quite well.

In just one year the road to the White House has seen more twists and turns than  England’s famous Longleat Hedge Maze.  Names like Huntsman, Gingrich, and Bachman have become faded footnotes of a nomination contest that few remember with great detail.  Few recall the promise of the Perry candidacy that petered out within a moment of his momentary memory lapse.  Faded memories of the derailment of the Cain train over unproven sexual harassment charges have left most Americans asking “Herman who?”  And the past’s surpise surge of Santorum which was rolled back by the consolidation of support for the slow but steady momentum of the Romney campaign has people now wondering if the nomination contest was ever really close.  Now, one year ago to the day that Paul Ryan declared he would not be a candidate for President, Mitt Romney has taken that momentum he had in the primaries and increased its pace by getting Paul Ryan to run for Vice President.

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Three Points and a Poem

Paul’s Talking Points Get Stale

I’ve heard some good three point sermons.  In fact, in my youth I traveled with some pretty good preachers.  Occasionally it would be a preacher who used the same three point sermon at every stop.  Eventually, you know it by heart.  That is how I would describe Ron Paul’s campaign.  We saw it on display last night when a question about sugar subsidies came up.  Paul’s answer basically began with “Well, with all the wars out there, and economic turmoil…”  It reminded me of when he was asked about Medicare Part D.  He fell back to one of his three talking points, the wars, the fed, and smaller government.

Now, I like a lot of Paul’s principles.  But where he is overflowing with principles, he is short on plans.  Paul’s record is one of a loud, dead weight.  His padding bills with pork and then voting against them is really no different than Barack Obama abstaining.  Of course, that is just one of the similarities between Paul and Obama.  Another is an invisible record of legislative accomplishment, masked by the ability to get people to scream, hoot, and yell at political rallies (whether it is his rally or not).

Honestly, the young generation and Ron Paul deserve each other.  I know liberal pro-choicers who are supporting Ron Paul.  He has certainly connected on his talking points and has no problem leading a successful altar call.  Most voters might be satisfied with his answer that we need to focus on ending the wars and then worry about the details of domestic policy, or that he needs to study the issue more which was his second answer on sugar subsidies.  For me, that does not instill confidence.

Dude, where’s Mitt Romney?

Calm, smooth, classy, gracious, these are all words I’ve used in the past to describe Mitt Romney debate performances.  There was none of that in the Tampa debate where Romney stuttered and choked his way through all the attacks he had chided his superpac for running just a week ago.  Romney is full speed ahead on the attack, and in the process losing everything voters like me liked about him for so much of this race.  It’s getting so bad that the establishment is looking for a new candidate, like Mitch Daniels, to dust off and toss back in the ring.  Has it occurred to the establishment that maybe they are  part of the problem?

Romney’s attacks made him sound like a desperate candidate who has run out of ideas.  Honestly, it made him sound like Michele Bachmann.

Iowa Recap

Romney won, Bachmann quit, Santorum is rising, Paul is maintaining his status quo, Newt is struggling, Perry has faith, and Huntsman….who?  Iowa recapped:

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney won in Iowa. Honestly?  No big deal. Romney will gain momentum from winning, but when people look at the numbers they will realize that if Michele Bachmann wasn’t in the race, Santorum would have won comfortably.  If Santorum wasn’t in the race, Newt and Perry probably would have both outpolled Romney.  In Iowa, he got his fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives split the rest.  But it’s not all bad for Romney.  In fact, while Romney may have come to a predictable finish, he won by choosing his opponent.  Gingrich was a shoe in to win Iowa barely more than a week ago.  Instead, Santorum now has the social conservative momentum and Romney should easily win New Hampshire and could win South Carolina.  So Romney’s win is:

Good for: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum      Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman

Rick Santorum

A shocking surprise to some, a mild surprise for others, Santorum has Huckabee’d Iowa.  With a great ground game, time, hard work, and the luck of Newt Gingrich being destroyed by Romney, Inc, Michele Bachmann, and the Republican establishment, Santorum is finally getting his shot at vetting.  Already, he is being called a war monger and “big government conservative”.  But Santorum’s rise may be too late in the game for a vetting process to destroy him.  Many social conservatives have been waiting for a reason to believe that Santorum could win.  From the day he started running the narrative has been that Santorum is simply unelectable on a national scale.  So, Santorum’s second place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney   Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann

Ron Paul

Paul’s third place finish is certainly not what the Paul camp was hoping for.  Ron Paul came very close to breaking free from his libertarian ceiling, but in the end social conservatives showed they would rather take a gamble on the unvetted Rick Santorum instead of giving Ron Paul the ‘turn’ he was starting to experience.  Paul has been passed over as the anti-Romney.  He may be able to turn things around in New Hampshire, but a third or worse finish in New Hampshire should be a clear signal to Paul that the revolution is over.  Paul’s third place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney  Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Even if Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race and split their votes on a pro rata share, Newt would still not have passed Mitt Romney.  The fact is, Romney ran an incredible, strategic dismantling of Newt without even breaking a sweat.  In the meantime, Newt refused to go dishonestly negative, but managed plenty of headlines saying “Newt Goes on the Attack”.  Newt is realizing in time for New Hampshire, he won’t win with a positive campaign.  Can he win with a negative one?  New Hampshire will probably go Romney’s way.  But Newt needs South Carolina.  Without South Carolina, he won’t have the momentum to take Florida and Florida is the key.  So Newt’s dismal fourth place finish is:

Good for: Mitt Romney   Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann

Rick Perry

Perry’s fifth place win got him to re-think his campaign.  But with Michele Bachmann choosing to drop out, perhaps Perry thinks he still has hope.  He should have decided to stay in Texas.  Perry’s placing is:

Bad for: Rick Perry

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann barely registered.  Iowa was her last hope to connect with social and evangelical conservatives and she failed.  Fortunately, this provided the wake up call she needed to see the end of the race.  Bachmann has decided to drop out of the race and return to Minnesota.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, she has not built the cult following that Sarah Palin did.  Hopefully she will continue to be a strong voice for the TEA party.

Good for: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry   Bad for: Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney

As for the other contender, Jon Huntsman’s disrespectful snub of Iowa, especially in light of Romney’s stronger finish in the state and momentum, seals Huntsman’s irrelevancy.

Bachmann’s Presidential TEA Party is Over

  Bookmark and Share    After canceling a planned campaign swing to South Carolina, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann scheduled a press conference in which she announced that she was suspending her campaign.

Bachmann who won the Ames Straw Poll several months ago, lost the state in it’s first in the nation caucus to all of her rivals except for one, Jon Huntsman, the one candidate who did not campaign in Iowa.

Bachmann began the announcement to suspend her campaign by discussing the great responsibility to defend our republic is and explained that she decided to take responsibility by running for President and that her decision was made on the day that Obamacare was passed.  She described Obamacare as one of the greatest threat to the very foundation of our Republic and that its repeal is her greatest goal.

She promised to consider to fight against President Obama’s socialist agenda, as well as capital cronyism, family, life, and religious liberty.

But Bachmann said that on Tuesday, the people of Iowa spoke loudly and as now she will step aside and support the Republican whom we must all unite behind in order to defeat Barack Obama in November.

What Bachmann did not do is throw her support behind any particular candidate yet.  However her departure from the presidential race begins to cut down on a critical factor behind Mitt Romney’s success in the Republican contest.  With her in  the race, Bachmann helped divide the social conservative voting bloc among at least 4 candidates.  That dilution of the vote helped Romney hammer together his frontrunner status.  But now with her out, a candidate like Rick Santorum who essentially tied with Mitt Romney in Iowa, may benefit the most as he begins to become the candidate that social conservatives begin to coalesce around.

While Bachmann may not immediately throw her support behind a single candidate right now, her own future will probably consist of her filing the paperwork that will make her a candidate for reelection to her Minnesota congressional seat.

While a  prospective Republican candidate to replace Bachmann in the House did step forward, Bachmann supporters and the Minnesota G.O.P. have largely been anticipating a Bachmann reelection effort.  According to the deadlines established on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, the filing deadline for Bachmann is May 5, 2012, a date that gave Bachmann plenty of time to pursue her presidential ambitions and still file her candidacy for reelection to Congress if that pursuit failed.  That scenario was predicted by White House 2012 back in October of 2011.

Last night it became clear to Bachmann that her pursuit for the White House did fail, but you can rest assured that Bachmann will not fail the conservative cause as she moves forward.  While her campaign may not have been a been a big success from a strategic standpoint, she performed valiantly and was a ferocious defender of our founding principles who most definitely kept the other candidates on their toes and deserves credit for a job well done.

Bachmann now becomes the second Republican presidential  candidate from Minnesota to fall victim to the voters of neighboring Iowa.  Back in August, when Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s own poor showing led him to end his presidential campaign a day later.

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If It Were Up To Republicans, Ron Paul Would Still Be a Second Tier Candidate

Bookmark and Share   Ron Paul’s recent surge to the front of the pack certainly makes this an exciting time for those who subscribe to his rhetoric and feel that his lack of actual accomplishments makes him an ideal President.  It’s also an exciting time for those who are simply fed up and looking for a way to register a significant protest vote against the system ans politics in general.  But for true conservative Republicans, Paul’s rise in recent Iowa polling is little more than a means of assuring the reelection of President Barack Obama and if left up to them, Ron Paul would still be lumped together with names like Jon Huntsman, Buddy Roemer, and Michele Bachmann in the bottom third of the Republican presidential field.

However, in states like Iowa, and even New Hampshire, the Republican presidential nominee is not chosen just by Republicans.

According to state Party rules governing the Iowa Caucus and several other state nominating contests, only registered Republicans in the state of Iowa can participate in the Republican caucus but individuals registered as Independents or affiliated with other parties, may switch their Party affiliation at the caucus site and cast their vote for the Republican candidate of their choice.  In other words, a non-affiliated voter or a liberal Democrat can walk in out of the snow, change their Party registration,  and vote for Ron Paul.

For some, the opportunity for people of any political affiliation to vote in a partisan primary or caucus is a good thing, and seems logical, but as a proud partisan conservative Republican, I can tell you that it is not.

For the record, while I am an American first and foremost, I must admit that I am a proud and devout, partisan conservative Republican.  My committment to the Party is based on ideology, and I am often not the most politically popular person in the Party because I am often at at odds with many of  its leaders who I believe spend most of their time playing politics and forsaking our conservative based ideology for political expediency.

That stated, I defend my ideological partisanship on the grounds that it is my deep conviction that ultimately, the conservative-Republican ideology is the best thing for America.  So my political partisanship goes hand in hand with my love of country and I do not separate the two.  That’s why I have never supported so-called open primary or caucus contests that allow people of opposing ideologies to choose the nominee that represents  my beliefs and Party.

The way I see it, as a conservative, why should I have the ability to pick the liberal nominee?  If  I had the chance to do that in 2008, I would have done my best to make sure that Dennis Kucinich won the Democratic presidential nomination for President.  Kucinich would have been a sure loser for liberals.

I am of the opinion that if Republicans and Democrats, or for that matter Libertarians, are to nominate the candidate that best represents their beliefs and can be the strongest one to represent their Party, then those who subscribe to the ideologies represented by those parties should be responsible for deciding who represents that Party.  In some ways, these open contests make about as much sense as us opening up the general presidential election to the citizens of other nations.  Which by the way, is not so unfathomable when you consider the lengths to which Democrats are trying to go  in with legislative initiatives designed at specifically making  it possible for illegal immigrants to vote.

Now some of you may be saying that I am blowing this all out of proportion.  Some may even suggest that crediting Ron Paul’s predicted success in Iowa to the opportunity for independents and Democrats to vote in their Caucus is overstated.  To them I must ask…………are you that stupid!!?

One need not look very hard to find that my assertion about the effect of independents and Democrats is true.

A recent American Research Group poll of  Iowa voters makes the case that if left up to Republicans, Ron Paul would not be a real contender.

According to ARG, among Republicans who intend to vote in the Iowa Caucus, Mitt Romney leads with 23% and he is followed by Newt Gingrich who comes in at 19%.

As for Ron Paul, strictly among Republicans, he pulls 12% of the vote which leaves him tied with Rick Santorum.

Among Republicans:

  • Mitt Romney 23%
  • Newt Gingrich 19%
  • Rick Santorum 12%
  • Ron Paul 12%
  • Michele Bachmann 9%
  • Rick Perry 8%
  • Jon Huntsman 6%
  • Buddy Roemer 1%
  • Other 1%
  • Undecided 9%

In the same poll, a deeper look at Iowa Republicans that breaks them down along TEA Party lines finds that Ron Paul does a little better among those voters most focussed on a limited and more constitutional government but not by much.   Ron Paul receives a 16% share of the vote from them,  but that is 9% behind Gingrich and 10% behind Mitt Romney.

Among Tea Party Supporters

  • Mitt Romney 26%
  • Newt Gingrich 25%
  • Ron Paul 16%
  • Michele Bachmann 10%
  • Rick Perry 9%
  • Rick Santorum 7%
  • Jon Huntsman 0%
  • Buddy Roemer 0%
  • Other 0%
  • Undecided 7%

In fact, the only segment of Iowa residents who Ron Paul gets a majority of the vote from in the “Republican” Iowa Caucus are Independents.  Among them, Paul polls 30% of the vote, 8% more than Romney, and 18% more than Newt Gingrich.

Among Independents

  • Ron Paul 30%
  • Mitt Romney 22%
  • Newt Gingrich 12%
  • Rick Perry 11%
  • Michele Bachmann 6%
  • Rick Santorum 6%
  • Jon Huntsman 6%
  • Buddy Roemer 0%
  • Other 1%
  • Undecided 9%

If that is not enough to convince you of the undue influence that non-Republican entities are having on the Republican Caucus in Iowa, maybe you will believe it coming from Ron Paul’s own people?

Back in March of 2011, the hero worshippers behind the propaganda based website entitled The Daily Paul, posted a call to arms entitled “2012 Open Primary States: The key to Ron Paul’s Republican Nomination”.  It basically calls upon Pauliacs to sabotage the Republican nomination process and steal the nomination from the Party by asking Democrats and Independents to flood the primaries and caucuses of the 17 specific states that have open primaries which allow Democrats and Independents to vote without even having to register as a Republican.

The article reads;

“We must organize and put the strongest efforts in these states to encourage Democrats and Independents to vote for Ron Paul and capture all the Delegates of these Open Republican Primary States”

By the count of the author behind the plot, winning those states would give Ron Paul 874 of the 1,212 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination.

Fortunately for rational conservatives though, not only is that a substantial number short of the delegates needed, most of the states do not have election laws that allow for opposing parties to easily and blatantly circumvent the democratic process in the general election by sabotaging a Party’s nomination process and leaving them with a nominee who is the weakest possible candidate they could have representing them.

Additional good fortune is the fact that Iowa is one of the few state’s that Ron Paul is actually doing that well in.  Nationally, Ron Paul’s average standing in the polls is half that of Romney and less than half that of Newt Gingrich.  While national polls do not mean much to a process that is based on the collective results of individual state contests, that national average does accurately reflect most state polls.

In the final analysis, while excitement erupts about Ron Paul rising to the top, the truth is that such excitement is based on a lack of any real depth of truth, and thankfully, it is the G.O.P. which will still determine their own nominee.  Even so, I still think it is about time that state parties and their representatives rethink their willingness to allow the political opposition to influence who our own Party’s nominees are.

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Iowa Last Minute Insanity

Ron Paul Buys Bachmann’s Campaign Chair

Bachmann campaign chair in Iowa, Kent Sorensen, has jumped ship as Bachmann becomes the latest candidate to contract the deadly disease AIDES.  AIDES (former aides to be exact) have already helped bring down Herman Cain’s campaign and have hurt Newt Gingrich’s campaign.  Now, with Sorensen opting for the bigger paycheck at the Paul campaign, Bachmann looks like a jury member on Survivor trying to pontificate about injustice, honor, lies and blindsides.  Welcome to politics.

Huntsman Disses Iowa

“They pick corn in Iowa. They pick presidents in New Hampshire.” Who would say something like that? Obviously a candidate who knows they have no hope of winning the Iowa caucus, and doesn’t seem to really care about Iowa in the general election either.  Huntsman would have done much better for himself to just say “We are focusing our efforts on New Hampshire.” and leave it at that.  Of course, this may help explain why Huntsman, an only slightly more moderate clone of Mitt Romney on most issues, is barely surviving on the crumbs that fall from Romney’s feast in the polls.

Coulter’s Temporary Insanity

Ann Coulter is in love with Mitt Romney.  And she obviously is no fan of Newt Gingrich.  In recent articles, she has accused Newt of being everything from pro-choice to big government, to being behind the bailouts of Freddie Mac.  Of course, all of this is Bachmann style campaign hyperbole and exaggeration at best.  Then Coulter let out a real shocker: she prefers Ron Paul to Newt Gingrich.  What??

Somewhere in a closet, the real Ann Coulter is tied up with duct tape over her mouth mumbling for this evil clone to let her out.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama and the media, who have convinced us that only Mitt Romney can beat Obama in 2012, are laughing all the way to re-election while Republicans fall for the same premise they did in 2008: vote for the candidate you think can win, not the candidate you really want.

What else would explain Coulter’s blanket acceptance and love for a former Massachusetts liberal who ran on a pro-choice platform, gave Massachusetts Romneycare, and voted for Paul Tsongas while she is treating a conservative who reformed welfare, reigned in Bill Clinton, and led Republicans to their first majority in the House in 40 years as a raving liberal.  What is it that the rest of us don’t know about Newt Gingrich?

The Importance or Lack of Importance of Iowa to Each of the Candidates

Bookmark and Share    While readers are free to disagree on this point, it is nonetheless a political reality, that the Iowa Caucuses will bolster or diminish the chances of several candidates but in the end will do little to determine the ultimate Republican nominee.

The fact of the matter is that the lack of an undeniable favorite consensus candidate among Republicans and a higher than average number of undecided voters at this stage in the game will allow for wide swings in popularity for one candidate or another based upon regional idiosyncrasies and local influences in ways that are far more significant than in recent presidential nomination contests.

With the economy still proving to be the issue at the forefront of the election,  Mitt Romney and his succesful background in such things as business and even his incredibly well engineered turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympics, has allowed him to squeak by as one of the most promising figures when it comes to that critical issue.  However; Romneycare and doubts about his committment to social conservatives issues have prevented Romney from capitalizing on his positive economic credentials as much as he could have.  Meanwhile, social conservatives have failed to find a single figure that they can comfortably get 100% behind.

Given these circumstances, Iowa’s results will still leave the field with very inconclusive results that will not begin to get any clearer until South Carolina and Florida hold their primaries. Nevertheless, at this point in time, the stakes are higher for some than others in Iowa.

Do or Die:

For Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum, anything less than a third place showing will leave them struggling for relevance, a position that will only be compounded by the difficulty they face in New Hampshire where Mitt Romney’s victory is a foregone conclusion and which is the only state that longshot candidate Jon Huntsman finds himself to be much of a factor.  This will make South Carolina Bachmann, Perry, and Santorum’s only hope of becoming viable candidates as the nomination contest moves ahead.  So for these three candidate the race is on for third place.  Anything better than that would be considered a surprising finish tha will give them a brief opportunity to take advantage of the spotlight.

Establishing Themselves as the Clear Alternative to Romney:

Newt Gingrich is the candidate who has the best chance of truly establishing himself as the alternative to Mitt Romney, in order to do this he can ill afford anything less than third  a place finish.  Short of that, Newt will have a hard time maintaining momentum as he heads in to South Carolina and Florida.

Saving Face:

There is a low bar for Mitt Romney to meet in Iowa.  He merely needs to avoid being embarrassed with a finish any lower than third place.  But even if he did happen to finish towards the very bottom of the pack, chances are he will still win in New Hampshire and go in to South Carolina with a strong organization and the backing of the state’s popular Tea Party Republican Governor, Nikki Haley.  But on the flip side, a first place showing by Romney will go a long way establishing the type of impression of inevitability that could stymie the momentum that other candidates may be establishing in their plight to become the candidate with the best chance of beating Romney.

Mattering:

Jon Huntsman is considered the top of the bottom tier candidates that consist of Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer. However being slightly ahead of two candidates who nobody really knows is running for President or really cares if they are running for President, does not say much. And Iowa is a state that that Huntsman simply ignored in order to focus on New Hampshire.  For this reason, Jon Huntsman is essentially of no consequence in the Iowa Caucus and just wont matter.  The only way his name will even be mentioned is if he somehow manages to beat anyone else and not come in last place.

Achieving Undeniable Viability:

Ron Paul’s rise in statewide polls of Iowa has now put him in the unenviable position of needing to meet very high expectations.  With such high expectations anything less than second place will generally be seen as a setback and will do little to help Ron Paul to begin turning around his numbers in other states, most of which place him in the middle of the field.  But if Ron Paul does meet current expectations with either a first or second place finish, he will merely remain a significant barrier between Romney and the emergence of a viable alternative to Romney.

A first or second place finish for Paul in Iowa will make him an undeniably significant candidate who can not be ignored, even by me, a die-hard anti-Paul conservative, or as Pauliacs call me, a neo-con.  However; as Newt Gingrich stated, it will be hard to imagine that Ron Paul will fly among mainstream Republicans and “decent Americans”.   While his limited government views are applauded, his isolationist tendencies which he denies having, will ultimately disqualify him in the eyes of voters who understand that the first constitutional responsibility of an American President and our federal government, is our national security and foreign policy.  Ron Paul’s unwillingness to come up with a proper defense and foreign policy, will ultimatelylead to the type of conclusion of Ron Paul that  Newt Gingrich expressed in his Tuesday afternoon interview with Blitzer, when he stated;

“As a potential President, a person who thinks that the United States was responsible for 9/11, a person who believes,…who wrote in his news letter that the World Trade Center bombing in ’93 might have been a C.I.A. plot,  a person who doesn’t believe that it matters if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon, I’d rather just say, you look at Ron Paul’s record of systemic avoidance of reality,”

Ultimately, I believe rational Republicans will come to the same conclusion that Newt believes they will.

The But:

Given the incredible anti-establishment sentiment within the electorate and a deep TEA movement-like desire to send a message to both Republicans and Democrats, and the lack of a singular candidate with very strong support behind them, even I can’t be sure that Ron Paul will fail in his attempt to draw the nomination down to a contest between himself andMitt  Romney.  If there is one thing I know in politics, it is that you never say never and given the volatility and indecision of the Republican electorate, Ron Paul might benefit from a social conservative vote that is deeply divided by far too many candidates, and an unusually high desire by voters to cast a protest vote for Ron Paul and make him the vessel through which they make their anger known.  Realistically, such circumstances will merely help assure Mitt Romney of the nomination in the end but it will still make Ron Paul a far more significant figure in the 2012 election than many other than Paulites, assumed possible.

Key Factors in the Closing Days

In these final days of the Iowa Caucuses, several factors will have a significant effect on the results.

A very large undecided vote can be swayed  in to the camp of one candidate or another by any number of things.  Most powerful of all would be an embarrassing last minute disclosure that could cost the unlucky victim support they already have and the support of those who were leaning towards them.  The other would be a successful pitch that inspires social conservatives to get behind one candidate and that candidate’s ability to coordinate the type of Get Out the Vote operation that delivers that social conservatives support to their caucus locations on Tuesday night.

Organization and momentum will be key and anyone who inspire and channel that momentum in these closing days, could pull off a surprise finish.  The two candidates with the greatest potential in that area are the two Ricks.  Both Perry and Santorum are best situated for such a result.

The final influence over the results in the Iowa Caucus will be something that no campaign can really effect……..the weather.

Bad weather favors Ron Paul.

His supporters are fanatics who will not allow anything to prevent them from voting for him.  If there is 6 feet of snow falling and a windchill factor of 6 below, expect Ron Paul to land a big win.

Others who would benefit from bad weather, but to a lesser degree than Ron Paul, are Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

Their supporters tend to be more deeply committed than are those of Romney, Perry, and Gingrich and they too will show up in significant numbers despite any foul weather.

Good weather favors Romney and Gingrich.

Both these men have established relatively wide support that does not run very deep.  This means with good weather, their large but not highly motivated number of supporters will actually show up to cast their caucus vote for them.  Such would not be the case if  bad weather made getting to their caucus location seem more trouble than that it was worth to them.

At the moment, it looks like the weather in Iowa on the day of the Caucus will be cold but clear.

Bottom Line:

Iowa will will have at best, a minimal effect on the race.  Just as it did in 2008 when the eventaul Republican nominee, John McCain, came in fourth place behind Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson, and just as it did in 1988 when then Vice President George H. W. Bush found himself in third place behind Bob Dole and Christian Broacast Network founder, Rev. Pat Robertson.  And it will probably matter as much in 2012 as it did in 1980 when George H. W. Bush defeated Ronald Reagan in that year’s caucus.

The start of the real race won’t occur until January 21st.  It is then that South Carolina’s primary will set up the race between Mitt Romney and one other candidate as they race moves on to Florida which holds its primary on January 31st.  And it is Florida which will produce the best indication of who the ultimate nominee is likely to be.

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In Bachmann’s Mind

I would think Michele Bachmann would be more gentle with some of her Republican competitors.  She herself has faced everything from the bigotry of the Left against conservative women to the watchfulness of the one-eyed media who has gleefully remarked on her every gaffe while turning the blind eye to the Obama/Biden circus.

Yet, to hear from Bachmann at the Foxnews debate, you would think Newt Gingrich was a pro-choice, pro-partial birth abortion candidate who used to run Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and will be a President to the left of Obama himself.  This is no exaggeration.  However, her characterizations were.

Now, Newt and Bachmann come from different perspectives on the Republican party.  Bachmann would have done well to note that clearly.  Newt is not going to close off the Republican party and say ‘no pro-choicers, homosexuals, immigration reformers, anti-war candidates allowed’.  Bachmann, as a TEA Party activist, seems to lean more towards that hardline stance.  There is definitely a point to be made there.  There are many Republicans who desire party purity to the point of ditching the big top and settling for a camping tent.  Newt is not one of those.  Such a point is sufficient to distinguish Bachmann from Newt.

Newt Gingrich is not pro-choice.  He is not pro-partial birth abortion.  His firm took an average of $225,000 a year from Freddie Mac in consulting fees over  an 8 year period.  That is not a whole lot for high end consulting by a multi-member firm in Washington DC for a multi-billion dollar company.  Think about it.  Freddie Mac represented about 3% of the Gingrich Group’s total revenues.  It was an exclusive group with about 300 clients.  Clients paid on average $200,000 a year for membership.  Newt himself did not do any lobbying for Freddie Mac.

But that isn’t what she said.  Bachmann’s characterization was so outlandish that she lost all credibility.  What could have been an intellectual differentiation turned into a wild and false assault on one of the two best hopes of defeating Obama in 2012.

Bachmann will not win her way back into the hearts and minds of the Republican majority with this sort of outlandish hyperbole.  She certainly won’t win with a kill ’em all attitude towards Republicans who don’t fit her cookie cutter.  For this reason, I will make the same call on Bachmann that I have for Huntsman and Johnson:

Michele, you are not going to win.  You have done too much already on your own to destroy your own campaign.  As far as destroying other candidates campaigns, your attacks are effective only on the ignorant.  Now you are no longer contributing value to this primary.  You are not contributing fresh ideas, you are not drawing new blood into the campaign.  It is time to end your campaign.  Whether or not you realize it, it’s already over.

The Fox News GOP debate analysis

Newt Gingrich entered last night’s Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa, with a political target on his back, as Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates looked to challenge his front-runner status ahead of the Iowa Caucuses. In a week that has seen unacceptable attacks from a bygone era from the likes of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, Gingrich, vowed to stay to stay positive. My big fear before the debate was that the Republican candidates would have done so much damage in their primary campaign that any hopes of beating President Obama would be all but disappeared before 2012 had even begun. 

The moderators were Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and Neil Cavuto and they put forward good strong questions and weren’t afraid to challenge the candidates. I was especially pleased to hear a question on the Fast and the furious being placed, as it is a topic certain to raise its head during the general election.

WINNERS

Newt Gingrich

Speaker Gingrich was definitely looking for a big performance on the night to compliment his new found front runner status. Gingrich did receive some tough questioning especially from Michele Bachmann over his involvement with Freddie Mac. Overall though, Newt as in all the previous debates, was the most substantive on policy and tried his best to stay focussed on the policy aspect on the night. He added humour into his responses saying he didn’t want to be viewed as overly critically, so he was standing there editing before responding to a question about President Obama and the Keystone pipeline, he even poked fun at recent critiques of his “zany” reputation. Gingrich delivered a powerful condemnation of President Obama campaigning instead of passing the approval for the Keystone pipeline. One thing I noticed was that while Bachmann was quick to attack Newt at every opportunity, Bachmann on more then one occasion deferred to Gingrich’s response and threw some additional commentary to attempt to build up her response in some instances. Gingrich demonstrated with ease that he has the solid base of policy and in particular foreign policy, that no other candidate can match. Overall a good, solid, winning performance by former speaker Gingrich and after a week where the GOP party machine and many other Republican Super Pac’s, have been running a hard hitting campaign against him.

The two biggest issues of clarification for me on the night were that he possesses the policies to beat President Obama and the toughness to face the attacks that would come in a general election campaign. Newt is tough and in my view, has demonstrated that he desperately wants people’s votes and to challenge President Obama.

Rick Santorum

Contrary to many media commentators, I believe former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum did himself a world of good during last nights debate. While he wasn’t as outlandishly aggressive like Bachmann, he again highlighted his efforts in Iowa. He emphasised the need to restore American manufacturing jobs and gave a very good answer on the Iranian issue, again clashing with Ron Paul. The one thing I think Santorum managed to do very subtlety last night was position himself as the strong social conservative to the Iowa voters. The conservative voters of Iowa will have noticed his performance to their satisfaction even if, the mass media didn’t pick up on it. I thought it was Santorum’s best debate night without appearing desperate as Bachmann did. Should he get a decent result and surprise a few people in Iowa. An area Santorum will need some stronger selling points on is job creation and the economy, if he is to make an impact in later states.

Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appeared to heed the general consensus before the debate, that he needed to move away from his ill advised and much publicised attacks in particular against Newt Gingrich. I was extremely surprised to hear in the post debate summary on Fox News that Frank Luntz and Hannity, thought he won the debate. I thought to myself, what! I must have been watching a different debate. Romney’s performance was safe; he managed to provide some good substantive answers on the economy and did well in explaining his role with Bain Capital. Romney was presidential in his delivery, but yet again, almost tripped up in the debate on foreign policy. Like Gingrich, Romney focussed his attacks on President Obama to good effect saying, if he is elected president this century will be an American century, not a Chinese century. Romney explained the narrative about working with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature in Massachusetts, which was effective to a watching audience.

In my humble opinion, not his best debate performance but a comfortable one nonetheless. My concern with Romney is that he will look like a Republican, but sound too much like a Democrat in a general election match-up against President Obama. I’m yet to be convinced of his ability to take on the Obama campaign machine and win. Romney is too prickly in my view to take the harsh attacks that will inevitably come in a general election campaign.

Rick Perry

The Texas Governor had a relatively quiet first half of the debate until a question by Neil Cavuto brought him to life on his debating skills. I loved the way he put humour but a level of seriousness into his reply saying he would even turn up early to debate President Obama. He did well attacking Gingrich over his perceived inability to distinguish between a lobbyist and a consultant.” An interesting if somewhat equally confusing statement was when he compared himself to Denver bronco’s Quarterback Tim Tebow. The point he was trying to make essentially was he is now an underdog candidate but can mount a comeback against the odds like Tebow. Perry has restored some credibility to his challenge and his call for a part-time Congress is starting to catch some people’s attention. If Perry can finish in the top four in Iowa and with his recent renewed confidence, he could challenge in South Carolina and Florida in a serious way. Perry is starting to show he is resilient and prepared to fight his way back into contention.

Losers

Michele Bachmann

I’ll give Congresswoman Bachmann credit for her gutsy and aggressive performance last night. She took every opportunity to try and steal the limelight but over cooked her fine start by trying to hit Gingrich again on his record with Planned Parenthood. She sounded like a moaning child in a playground saying she’s serious candidate, the mere fact she used that statement immediately made the point that actually, although she’s a serious politician, her day and chances of winning in Iowa are all but gone. I highlighted how she would default to Gingrich’s answer when it appeared to anyone watching, that the question she was asked, stumped her slightly. My point here is, you cannot attack a candidate constantly and when it suits you for playing it safe purposes, defer to their answer as the authoritative response if you want to be president. I did enjoy her tussle with Ron Paul on his position in Iran. Surprisingly she didn’t use the Newt Romney line which has been so effective in the previous debate. Gingrich was clever mentioning her statements as being often factually incorrect, a simple yet effective rebuttal, as it is a charge she has often been accused of in the past. Overall, I credit her for her effort but she over played her hand somewhat and were noticeably exposed in some of her response. An “A” for effort though, but a case of too little, too late.

Ron Paul

As always Ron Paul supporters packed the auditorium and were their usual vocal selves. Paul was energised, direct and articulate in most of his responses and he is clearly enjoying his moment as serious contender for winning the Iowa caucus. Paul as always was consistent, repeated his commitment to cutting $1 trillion from the budget. He looked and acted like a frontrunner however, his isolationist stance on Iran hurt him badly again last night. Only if Paul could find a way of shifting his position on Iran slightly he would have much greater broad appeal but as we witnessed during Bachmann’s brutal and most powerful attack, his foreign policy makes him frankly unelectable in a general election. Paul will have a good result in Iowa no doubt largely due to his organisation and supporters however; he simply isn’t electable with his stance on Iran. Paul got hit hard in the post-debate conversation with Sean Hannity over his Newsletter and he was visibly rattled and agitated by Hannity. I don’t expect to see him appearing anytime soon on the Hannity show.

Jon Huntsman

I have a simple statement here, would the real Jon Huntsman stand up. If anyone watched the debate between himself and Gingrich earlier in the week they will see he was simply brilliant. Last night it was a train wreck, simple. Huntsman’s attempts at humour and using young language such as “we are getting screwed as Americans” fell flat. He didn’t make an impression with any of his answers and seemed too laid back and without any real sense of passion throughout. A very disappointing performance and ironically, he probably did himself some harm in New Hampshire too, where he was starting to make some recent gains.

Summary

Overall, the lesson from the night was the fact that perhaps it was the first night where the GOP candidates are starting to cause damage to President Obama and gain interest from the larger electorate. A promising night for the party and something to certainly start the Obama campaign machine to stop taking re-election as guaranteed.

Paths to Victory

I have heard recently several conservative commentators marvel about how Newt has risen to the top and stayed there and how Mitt has never gotten over 30%.  It shouldn’t be a surpriseI explained it all months ago.  I’ve said as long ago as this that Mitt is in deep trouble.  He looked pretty good when there were six candidates splitting the other 70% of the vote and 40% were still undecided.  But Romney has always only appealed to fiscal conservatives.  He coasted through the first several months of this election and many in the establishment, now including George Will and Ann Coulter, assumed that his steadiness and assumed front runner status had something to do with him being the best candidate.

So can Romney win?  What about Paul and his recent rise in the polls?  Does he have a shot?  Here is a strategic look at where the candidates stand right now.

Newt Gingrich

Newt has managed to be that candidate who attracts social and fiscal conservatives.  It is his nomination to lose.  So far he has handled attacks perfectly.  Consider Nancy Pelosi’s claim that if he runs she will have a field day spreading every secret from his ethics investigation.  How does he respond?  By stating that out of 84 counts, 83 were dismissed and the 84th was a simple mistake he made and how if Nancy Pelosi is willing to spread secrets from the ethics committee investigation that proves just how corrupt she was in that investigation.  That’s Newt 2, Pelosi 0.  Those type of responses will continue to bolster him.

Next, he has to keep making speeches like he did to the Republican Jewish Coalition.  Newt showed the intelligence and wit that makes conservatives like me giddy about him opposing Obama.  Newt has to keep running on those ideas, setting the record straight, and not going after fellow Republicans who attack him.  I think he slipped up a little when he said Bachmann is factually challenged.  Newt’s message has to stay positive and focused on undoing and being the opposite of Obama.

Mitt Romney

As I said before, Romney’s only prayer in this race is to come out strongly to the social conservative side in a big, public way.  Maybe he needs to go protest in front of an abortion clinic, spend some of his Newt attack ad money on an ad clearly denouncing Obama for making bibles illegal at some military hospitals, or something like that.  Romney will never win this election with only DC establishment backing and fiscal conservatives.  Right now he barely has better electability to run on.  And the attacks from his surrogates are easily being linked back to him.  His smooth Reaganesque style and kindness on the debate trail is getting ugly with people like George Will calling his opponents book selling charlatans and Ann Coulter accusing Newt Gingrich of wanting to do something similar to teaching school kids how to masturbate.  None of this reflects well on Romney.

Romney has to do very well in this next debate at highlighting better ideas, but definitely smaller government ideas.  Newt tends to talk about ideas that he could not do as President but would help the country.  Romney needs to jump on that and be the smaller government alternative.  Romney needs to win the 10th amendment fight in this next debate, while still appearing to be a stronger social conservative than everyone thinks he is.

Ron Paul

Paul’s biggest liability is himself.  His second biggest liability is his supporters.  One of the reasons Ron Paul hasn’t gotten higher in the polls is that people don’t want to support him if they think he is their enemy.  Paul has worked very hard to make himself the enemy of anyone he considers to his left.  In the debates he comes across as abrasive and angry.  His pet issues cloud many great issues that most conservatives would agree with him on.  Hint hint, Ron Paul, constitutionalists want to like you.  But when I sit there and think about my life, I really can’t think of what I did to cause 9/11 or why terrorists can kill Americans because of Jimmy Carter’s foolish foreign policy and what every President has done since then.

Part of Paul’s problem is that his foreign policy approach reflects history, but not reality.  Paul can pontificate all he wants on how we got here, but most conservatives don’t like his solution for how we get home.  In a quick draw, when you drop your gun turn around and walk away, Bin Laden types usually just shoot you in the back.  Who cares if it’s your fault you got in that situation in the first place.  Personally, I don’t want to be shot in the back.

Ron Paul was his best this year when he was talking about domestic policy and when he showed even an ounce of grace in the debates towards his fellow Republicans.  One last thing, Paul will never win over conservatives with his states rights approach to abortion.  No true pro-lifer is going to vote for a guy who is going to ensure that abortion stays legal in most of the states.

Rick Perry

Perry really needs to reassess his chances.  His only shot is a good showing in Iowa, as in 2nd place or better.  He needs to nail every debate going forward.  Perry needs a “My Fair Lady” transformation.  For starters, he can learn how to pronounce Nukuler.

His ideas are not bad.  His tenth amendment stance is very good.  But he has a lot of competition among candidates who are pro-tenth amendment, and his HPV vaccine debacle ruins his credibility on personal freedom.

Jon Huntsman

Huntsman could easily be in the 2012 Presidential race.  All he has to do is switch parties.  I’m being completely serious.  Jon Huntsman could guarantee that Obama does not have another four years by changing to Democrat and running against Obama in the 2012 primary as a moderate.  Of course, he would have to kneel before Pelosi/Reid to get the necessary credibility.

Michele Bachmann

In order for Bachmann to win, two things have to happen.  First, Obama has to get so low in the polls and believe it or not do even more stupid things so that anyone could beat him (even Trump).  Then, Bachmann would have to convince TEA Partiers that she is their candidate more than Newt, Perry or Santorum.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, if absolutely anyone could defeat Obama and electability wasn’t an issue, there is another candidate who would still take the TEA Party vote before she would.

Rick Santorum

If the TEA Party is going to come home to anyone, it would be Rick Santorum.  Get ready, it could happen in Iowa.  Santorum has never been taken seriously because people doubt his electability.  He lost in Pennsylvania.  Of course, that year every Republican in Pennsylvania lost.  Not only that, but some of our best Presidents won after losing senate races.  If you listen to Newt, you know two famous historical names, Lincoln and Douglas.  Did you know Lincoln’s victory was a rematch of their senate race two years before?  Guess who won that senate race.

If one more star is going to rise before this primary is over, it will be Santorum and it will be because the TEA Party takes Bachmann’s advice and says screw electability.  If that happens, Santorum has to be ready for the vetting process with ideas that will knock our socks off and make Romney and Newt look like morons.  Santorum has to not be George Bush II on the war and he has to convince fiscal conservatives that he can get spending under control.  He also has to convince libertarians that he will stay out of their homes.  That’s a tall order for Santorum.

Positively Entertainment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Debunking Newt Mythology

Ok, hold on a minute.  Let’s talk about Newt.

The left has gone all in on Newt.  After three years of seeing that the Democrats have an empty hand with Obama, they have put all their chips on the table and dared us to run Newt.  And as usual, we are folding.  Same thing happened in 2008 when the left and the media scoffed at Mitt Romney and said that the only candidate who could ever beat their guy was John McCain.  Believe it or not, we listened.  For the smarter party, Republicans sure can be stupid.

Now the left is saying it will be a cake walk if we run Gingrich and the only serious candidate who can beat their guy is Romney, or maybe Huntsman, although they seem to have figured out that one is a hard sell.  So why are we listening again?  Ann Coulter came out slamming Newt and endorsing Romney.  George Will has attacked Newt Gingrich.  And what for?

Newt got $1.8 million from Freddie Mac.  Not really, it was actually Newt’s company.  But he did it by lobbying.  Well, again, no.  Newt did not lobby for Freddie Mac, but his company did provide consulting services to Freddie Mac.  Now, I am a businessman and a lot of what I do involves consulting.  Does that mean I can never run for President in case one of my clients does something bad someday despite my advice?  Maybe.

Let’s take it out of the business realm.  Pretend you own a garage and you fix cars.  If George Soros drives up and asks you to change the oil, will you turn him away?  Are you a liberal if you change his oil?  What about Bernie Madoff before he was caught?  Are you part of his illegal pyramid scheme because you changed his tires?

It would be one thing if Newt counseled Freddie Mac on how lose billions of dollars, get bailed out, and pay everyone huge bonuses.  But if you are looking for that smoking gun, you are looking at the wrong person.  Try Franklin Raines, Jamie Gaerlick, etc.  Enough with the guilt by association.  Newt did consulting for large businesses, and they paid his company rates that large, multi-billion dollar businesses pay for high level consulting.

Ok, but Newt sat on a couch with Nancy Pelosi.  Yes, he did.  He also had debates with Cuomo, Kerry and Sharpton.  Newt Gingrich is not going to implement cap and trade to prevent global warming.  That’s about as crazy as saying Mitt Romney is going to support partial birth abortion.  Seriously, you have my word that neither of those will happen.  Newt wasn’t endorsing Nancy Pelosi any more than Al Sharpton was endorsing Pat Robertson.  If Sarah Palin stood next to Michelle Obama and did a PSA saying its good for kids to have a healthy diet, would you suddenly think that Palin supports federal government takeover of school lunches? Newt has fought vigorously against cap and trade.

Well, what about Newt supporting a healthcare mandate?  When Hillary was pushing Hillarycare, which would take responsibility away from people, Newt signed on with the Heritage Foundation’s alternative that included an individual mandate. After researching it, Newt backed off that position.  He never implemented it for an entire state, or for anyone actually.  Newt is not going to implement a healthcare mandate on the entire country.  Guess what, neither is Romney.

In fact, let’s talk Romney for a minute.  Mitt Romney is pro-life.  He opposes gay marriage.  He makes Huntsman look like Hillary.  He supports tax cuts for the middle class and not raising taxes on employers and producers.  As much as Romney has been painted as the liberal in this bunch, he was the most conservative viable candidate in 2008 after Fred Thompson dropped out.  He may not be a card carrying TEA Party member, but he has said himself that he supports the TEA Party and shares all of their goals.  By the way, I never got a card either.  I really don’t think they issue them, even if Bachmann has one.

Why did Romney lose in 2008?  It all came down to two reasons.  Number one, Romney was not moderate enough to get the “independents”.  He was too conservative.  Only John McCain could beat the Democrat in 2008 by reaching across the aisle and not being so extreme.  Reason number two, the infamous time-table for withdrawal charge.  Romney said that when the time came to draw down the troops from Iraq, he supported a time-table for an orderly withdrawal.  His opponents turned that into Democrat style cut and run.  No matter how many times he tried to explain that was not what he believed, that became the mantra.

What about Rick Perry?  Why aren’t we going around saying that Rick Perry is going to implement cap and trade because years ago he was a Democrat working on the campaign of the future Nobel prize winner and global warming snake oil salesman, Al Gore?

The only person we have to actually worry about doing half the crazy stuff he’s been accused of thinking is Ron Paul!

So let’s not let people choose our candidate for us.  Research what you hear about candidates.  Just because George Will thinks you are too dumb to vote doesn’t make it so.  Each of the candidates left have some great ideas, and each one will do a far better job at running this country than the current President.  Did Cain have some foreign policy gaffes?  Shoot, the last three years have been an Obama foreign policy gaffe.

Part of this election cycle that Romney has skipped sofar has been the knife in the back from the right and the dare to run that candidate from the left.  Considering how well Newt is handling this complete onslaught from the right and left, wouldn’t you rather have him going up against Obama than the candidate that no one is vetting?  McCain got plenty of vetting after Romney dropped out in 2008.

This is not an endorsement of Newt.  I will make an endorsement of a candidate after the Jacksonville, Florida debate in January.  But this is a serious question to our party.  Why do we have to self destruct again?

Bachmann’s Gamble

Michele Bachmann believes she is the best candidate for the job.  She should, she’s running.  However, unlike the two front runners, Bachmann has chosen not to differentiate herself based on ideas, but instead to attack the front runners as being more liberal as she is.  Her most recent target is Newt Gingrich, but she can also be traced to the fall of Rick Perry.

The two front runners, and Herman Cain, have done a very good job of not attacking other candidates.  The “attacks” between Romney and Gingrich over the last week have amounted to points scored on differentiation in back ground and complementary assessments of each others abilities with subtle hints as to who is better because of it.

So why does Bachmann think that attacking the other GOP candidates is a winning proposition?  Simply put, she does not believe Barack Obama can win.  In Bachmann’s mind, the GOP candidate could be Tom DeLay and Obama would still lose.  Technically, she should be right.

The administration got the best news it’s had in three years this past week.  Enough people dropped out of the job hunt to join Occupy Wall Street that unemployment (which only measures who is looking for a job) fell to 8.6%.  Now, Obama’s justice department has released a new round of incriminating documents on a Friday night to avoid the media cycle and Obama is skipping town for an extended Christmas/New Years vacation that us working schlubs could only dream of.

But Bachmann’s faith in Republicans’ will to vote for the lesser of two evils is unfounded.  Just look at how quickly Republican supporters are backing off of Cain after the most recent affair allegation.  Sure some of it is fears over electability, some of it is dislike for his 999 plan and foreign policy, but a good portion of it is different standards.  It’s the kinds of standards that make Republicans resign for tapping their toes in the men’s room while Democrats can shove a cigar in their young intern’s….well anyway.

Bachmann’s gamble is that since Obama is going to lose anyway, Republicans need to take this glorious opportunity to choose the best candidate for the job (Michele Bachmann) and not settle for a RINO (Mitt Romney), a crony capitalist (Rick Perry), or a flip flopping environmentalist (Newt Gingrich).  Instead, we should choose the TEA Party image of perfect conservatism, the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan mixed with Sarah Palin: Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann seems to think her negativity will make her be the first candidate to be a front runner, lose it all and end up in 5%ville, and then rise from the ashes a second time.  She needs to be careful that it won’t accomplish that for Obama instead.

How does Team Romney deal with Gingrich “The Comeback Kid?”

Bookmark and Share   Mitt Romney and his team have been caught blind sided by the resurgence of former Speaker Newt Gingrich in recent weeks. Romney and his team have until now, run a fairly steady professional campaign, appearing to see off all challengers from Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and last month, Herman Cain. The only challenger, who appeared likely to threaten Romney and his front runner status seriously, was Rick Perry, who had the finance and organisation to worry Romney before his debate performances tripped him up.

Former Speaker Gingrich was dismissed as a serious potential nominee last summer when political strategists and operatives left his campaign and with it a large debt. It appeared Gingrich would be forced out of the race early however; Gingrich launched a low-key strategy of maximising his resources to keep his ailing campaign going until he could make an impact during the many presidential debates. The debates have changed the electoral picture significantly, in a nation where leadership, ideas and willingness for bi-partisan co-operation seemed all but lost. Gingrich the often ridiculed professor like character, suddenly burst through the efforts of the mainstream media and began sounding like the presidential voice American’s and others have been crying out for. Gingrich not only could answer the questions substantively, he apologised where he made poor decisions in the past, offered creative and visionary solutions to many of the problems America faces and stuck to Ronald Reagan 11th Commandment of not attacking another Republican.

Romney and his team have been preparing for this presidential run for six years. Romney has been polished, smart, and professional, styled himself as the business candidate who could save the economy. He was able to look Commander in Chief like when compared to Herman Cain. He appeared practical and focused on foreign affairs when compared to Ron Paul’s stance on Iran and even when pressed into a clash by Perry, was able to remain composed and calm.

Romney and his team didn’t expect the near perfect rise of former Speaker Gingrich five weeks away from the first primary and caucus race. A Rasmussen Poll released today shows if the election were held today, Gingrich would receive 38% of the vote and Romney now a distant second on 17%.

Gingrich’s rise is due to his ability to cover a range of topics and invoke the patriotic passion and American spirit within the American people. Gingrich didn’t just rely on beating President Obama on his record like Romney, he is selling a vision, a future and able to say to voters, ”Here is what the country looks like after three year of an Obama presidency, can you afford four more?”.

Gingrich rhetorically uses specific examples, as he uncovers the Obama presidency then says, this is what I will do on jobs, education, national security & controversially, immigration. The trick Gingrich has cleverly used when selling himself, is on the notion that while he has a clear vision for America’s future, he is prepared to listen to anybody and above all, he talks about getting both political parties to work together again. He passionately believes the mantra of American togetherness is essential in rebuilding the nation and its fortunes.

Team Romney knows they cannot dismiss Gingrich’s rise like the previous pretenders. Gingrich has vast political and private sector experience; he has an exceptional mind and brilliant ability to offer three of four ideas on an issue, where others struggle to provide one. Team Romney know the stakes are higher then ever before with only five weeks to go before caucuses and faced with a challenger who poses their most substantial and credible threat to a Romney nomination victory.

How will Romney and his campaign team respond? It is already evident; they intend to launch a strong, robust and sustained attack that labels Gingrich as a Washington insider and serial flip-flopper who can’t be trusted. The big strategic question however remains; will Romney engage Gingrich through political advertisements or in the remaining debates?

It is an extremely tricky position Team Romney find themselves in. Any attack against Gingrich could rebound and hurt Romney among GOP supporters and only help to solidify Gingrich’s support more. It is likely they view the Gingrich threat as one which they’ll have to execute steadily and cautiously, by initially focussing on the Romney’s strengths personally and professionally such as his stable family and long marriage, his private sector experience on a whole, indirectly highlighting Gingrich’s Washington ties and former personal flaws.

If Gingrich is still in the lead two weeks away from Iowa, then expect a change in tactics and an all out attack campaign from Team Romney. Gingrich will not be like other challengers, if Romney’s team engage and attack him directly, Gingrich is very capable of putting it into perspective and force attention back on Romney. The late Gingrich challenge appears to have also unsettled Romney personally, he appeared annoyed and angered when questioned on the healthcare issue by an interviewer this week. Romney needs to ensure he doesn’t adopt a prickly personality which could bring on a media tsunami of close scrutiny and pressure at the very time he doesn’t need negative attention.

My own advice to Romney and his campaign team is to remove the protective shackles from and let him demonstrate some real passion and determination to win. Romney needs to convince voters why he would make a great president but more importantly, how much he wants it. Removing some of the protectionism which has surrounded Romney up to now, may in fact be the best strategy of all, to beat Gingrich. To challenge or attack Gingrich directly is a political tight rope for any GOP candidate with the potential for supporter backlash or abandonment.

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Rasmussen Shows Gingrich Over Obama

In what may be a bad sign ultimately for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich has overtaken Barack Obama in a hypothetical poll for the 2012 General Election.  Newt 45, Obama 43 is the Rasmussen headline.

Certainly this is bad news for Barack Obama.  Gingrich has a great deal of distance to cover in order to win over moderates and and establishment Republicans without losing the Social Conservative base.  He has already been attacked by watchdog/attack dog Michele Bachmann for not being conservative enough on illegal immigration.  Mitt Romney is trying to portray Newt as a Washington insider, and liberals like Bruce Bartlett and Paul Krugman are trying to feed a new portrayal of Newt as someone who only sounds smarter than them.  Even Mark Steyn got in on the action while filling in for Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday, saying essentially that Newt only sounds smart because he uses big words.  Yet Newt has accomplished something other flavor of the week Social Conservatives haven’t with this poll.  Falling to Newt this early in a national poll is very bad news for Obama.

So why might it be worse news for Romney?  How about some de ja vu.  Click here for a 2008 New Hampshire poll that might remind you of how the 2008 primary went down. Romney had been the clear choice until polls started showing McCain as being the best candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.  Up until now, Romney has consistently been the best candidate to beat Obama in 2012.

Let’s be honest.  The number one concern of most Republicans when determining who to vote for in this primary is who can beat Barack Obama.  Even though any of the candidates running should be able to beat Obama, many Republicans are basing their vote on that one key: electability.  If Newt continues to beat Obama in the polls, Romney could find himself watching the November results from home for the second time in a row.

A Comparison of the Republican Presidential Candidate’s Economic Plans

Bookmark and Share    As Republicans try to figure out who will be the best candidate to run against President Obama, the economy remains the number one issue affecting voter opinion in the general election for president.  And with projections of unemployment reamining high, long into 2012, combined with a way too slow rate of economic growth, rising prices and debt, low consumer confidence, and a host of other negative economic indicators that offer little hope for a turnaround, it looks like the economy will remain the top issues in 2012. 

As such, White House 2012 has prepared a chart that compares each of the Republican presidential candidate’s econmic plans to one another. 

In the chart you will see exactly where each candidate stands on such things as the personal and corporate rates, repatriation of corporate profits made overseas, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, capital gains and death taxes, spending, and more. 

Hopefully this comparison will serve as a quick and handy summation of the similarities and differences between the candidates.  But no matter how helpful it may be, there is no substitution for knowing exactly what each candidate is proposing.  They say the devil is in the details and that is the truth.  While summaries are nice, knowing precisely what is involved is far better.  That is why in addition to our summary comparison chart, White House 2012 is also providing you with the links to each candidate’s actual economic plan.  Some are more detailed than others and in that area, the most comprehensive plan of all out there is the plan outlined in Mitt Romney’s “Believe in America” proposal. 

While the details that Romney offer are commendable, there is also a commendable trend toward to simplicity that is being offered in the 2012 cycle. Each of the candidates are proposes a flatter” tax code with less brackets, and several are proposing an all out flat tax. Such simplification is welcome but they also involve more than just one single tax for all. So I advise you to take a good look at each candidate’s individual plan. Decide for yourself who has the best command of this most important issue and who has the best plan to deal with it.  Below the chart, you will find links to the most detailed information on their economic plans made available by their campaigns.

Click on the name of each candidate to review the details of their economic plans

Michele Bachmann

Herman Cain

Newt Gingrich

Jon Huntsman

Ron Paul

Rick Perry

Mitt Romney

Rick Santorum

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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.

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