And that’s time

In a short hour and a half, made up of minute responses and thirty second followups, the GOP candidates once again took the stage to answer questions from semi-respectful moderators.  In a debate most looked forward to by Ron Paul fans, Paul received very little time. We have seen pretty much all there is to be seen about candidate style, and many of these questions were repeats.  So here are the winners and losers:

The Good

Mitt Romney won this debate.  His answers were calming, yet clear and determined.  He portrayed the very stature Americans are looking for in a Commander in Chief, and he highlighted American Exceptionalism.  This area is a strong suit for Mitt, and one that does not involve any sort of past flip flops or policy changes.  His answers should give him a bump among social conservatives who are inspired by terms like American Exceptionalism.

Newt at one point had to school the moderators on war versus criminal law.  In some ways this debate seemed frustrating for Newt, but that is an aspect of him his followers often like to see.  Newt brings the fight to the moderators and to the left and usually wins.  Many of his answers were right on, but others were somewhat vague.  One thing that Newt will lose points for is how loosely he called for covert operations in countries like Iran and Syria.  This is something Newt has brought up as a policy in debates and speeches in the past, but is something better left unsaid.

Jon Huntsman did well in the debate.  The question on a tradewar with China is a favorite of most media moderators because it gives them a chance to toss Huntsman an easy softball.    Foreign policy hits many of Huntsman’s strong points without touching many of the issues that conservatives hate him for.  It won’t matter though, Huntsman is done.

The Bad

Santorum did pretty well.  He has the unfortunate bad luck of being a candidate on the back end of two long wars and sharing a policy that sounds eerily like Bush’s.  On the other hand, Santorum seemed to be saying that we need to keep funding Pakistan and being their friend because they have a Nuke.  True or not, Santorum is not going to win American hearts saying implying that we must borrow from China to pay off Pakistan to be our friend.

I have a feeling that media moderators purposefully cut Paul’s debate time short on debates like this to get his supporters riled up.  Get ready, we are going to hear about that for the next week or so.  Paul didn’t do bad for most of the debate, but some of his stances are really not correct.  The idea that the United States must capture a citizen who has declared war on the United States and bring them in to face civilian court, or that non-uniformed terrorists have any sort of rights under US law is wrong and violates precedent.  Gingrich and Perry were absolutely right on those counts.  Paul’s supporters were being their typical selves in the debate as well, to the point where the mods had to admonish them to be respectful.  They are another liability of Paul’s with the overall GOP.

Herman Cain reminded me a lot of Rick Perry in recent debates.  Without 9-9-9 to fall back on, Cain was slow in responses, vague, and seemed as though he would happily defer to a future self, surrounded by knowledgeable generals and advisers.  That’s great, but that is not leadership.  In that respect, Huntsman showed up Cain, and even Gingrich, when he said if a nuke was loose in Pakistan he would secure it.  Cain really did not give a performance that screamed “I am a leader”.  Instead, each response sounded like “How can I answer this without ruining my campaign”.

The Ugly

Michele Bachmann continues to be unimpressive and unmemorable.  She scored some points rebutting Ron Paul, but seemed to spend most of the night trying to get the moderators to let her respond to other candidates.  She also seemed to get less time.  However, I will give her a great deal of credit for her answers on ways to trim military spending without hurting the military.

Rick Perry still doesn’t debate well.  And once again he found himself as the butt of several jokes, made both by the moderators, himself, and Senator Graham.  Perry’s idea of zero based budgeting for foreign aide is a great idea, but the only reason it’s his is because he got to say it first.  Gingrich and Romeny both articulated it better when Perry was done.

But allow me a Newt Gingrich moment to say this.  The real loser was Barack Obama.  The candidates made it clear, once again, that every single one of them would run foreign policy better than Obama.  Several drove home the point that Obama had a range of good choices and bad choices and made all the bad ones and none of the good ones.  The only ambivalent candidate who actually seemed to end up on Obama’s side for some things was Ron Paul.  This is one of the aspects of Newt Gingrich’s leadership because he has focused these debates on defeating Barack Obama, and when Newt sets the tone the other candidates usually follow.

Cain’s Florida Shocker

The value of the Florida straw poll was increased dramatically when Governor Rick Scott suggested that the winner of the Florida straw poll would also be the winner of the Presidency.  Scott’s prediction is not outlandish.  The Orlando event and debate was huge, in an area that represents the swing difference between the conservative north Florida and more liberal areas of the south.  The poll represents the party interests as many GOP and TEA party groups throughout the state made appearances.  And it would be almost impossible to imagine a 2012 candidate in the general election winning the Presidency without carrying Florida.

But who thought Herman Cain would win the Florida straw poll?

Rick Perry was the favorite going into the straw poll.  Perry also stayed behind and continued to work the crowd after the other candidates left.  Perry bought breakfasts and schmoozed.  He understood how crucial this poll was.  But in the end, Cain did twice as well as Perry in the straw poll.  While Romney continues to poll well in many northern states, Cain’s victory will at the very least cause undecided voters to take a second look.

While this may not change the scene too much for Herman Cain, it certainly is a tough blow to Rick Perry.  Perry struggled in the debate, blaming his performance on lack of sleep.  Perry also made a huge blunder by suggesting what amounted to a claim that if you don’t support instate tuition discounts for illegal aliens you don’t have a heart.  Even pro-amnesty Republicans will have a hard time swallowing that one.  So far the debate performances have not had much effect on the perceived standings of the candidates.  This time, Perry is feeling the painful fallout.

Interestingly, Ron Paul did not do well.  Typically his straw poll numbers are inflated, but not in Florida.  Bachmann did terrible and Huntsman barely registered.

A Two Horse Race

Bookmark and ShareWith the 3rd major Republican primary debate in the books there are 2 candidates whom have begun to distance themselves from the pack. Mitt Romney looked and sounded presidential as he took shots from and at the man who has unseated him as the early polling frontrunner, Texas governor Rick Perry. Perry was the self described ‘pinata’ as he wore the target as the newest candidate and he did not disappoint, handling well the shots coming at him as well as throwing some shots towards his main opponent.

There were other candidates on the stage but the debate quickly became the Romney/Perry show.

Rick Santorum didn’t do anything to hurt himself but certainly didn’t help himself either. He looked as if he were either miffed that the debate was becoming about the 2 top candidates or that he had just sucked on a lemon. Newt, always the smartest guy in the room, had some good answers but again went after the record of the media instead of the records of his opponents. Michelle Bachmann didn’t have the opportunity that she did in the first two debates to showcase her TEA party credentials and didn’t do anything to stand out. She has simply been overshadowed by the entrance of Perry. Herman Cain stuck to his buisness leader guns but is quickly fading away as he fails to have the power or ability to shine above the other candidates. Jon Huntsman was doing a good job until he got led into his global warming stance which is a quick turn off for most GOP primary voters. Ron Paul did something he normally shy’s away from and took some shots at fellow Texan Perry but again fell prey to his lack of communication skills and undoubtedly hurt the small amount of momentum he gained in Iowa.

In my opinion Romney looked more presidential, whatever that means, and remained calm and well spoken. Romney deserves the win in the 1st head to head showdown between himself and Rick Perry. Perry handled the expected barrage of shots across his bow from his opponents and came out strong in the beginning. As the debate went on Perry seemed to fade and Romney still stood out. Perry also made some bulletin board comments that his opponents, and especially liberals, will pin up and go after every time he speaks. For that he gets the 2nd place finish. The polls in the next week will be interesting. Will Perry hold onto his entering momentum….or will Romney have gained back the spot he has held since the beginning?

It would be hard pressed for any conservative who is voting Republican to deny that after this debate there are 2 candidates that distanced themselves from the rest. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

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Debate Recap

The commentators in the Iowa debate finally succeeded in getting the Republican candidates to go after one another, and the result was a distinction between the boys, the girl, and the men.  Here is my assessment:

Newt Gingrich

I would name Newt as the winner of this debate.  He presented something the other candidates could not, a clear record on the economy and government with the exact results Americans want today that was left mostly unassailed.  Newt vented his frustration early at Chris Wallace over what came across as unfair questions, but was able to then produce reasonable responses.  Gingrich had a better grasp of history and economics and managed not to contradict himself.  I doubt it will be enough to kickstart his campaign again, but he looked and sounded most like the candidate who could turn our economy around.  Newt said what every American was thinking, the supercommittee part of the debt deal is a stupid idea and Obama should call Congress back to fix it.

Mitt Romney

Romney proved once again how effortless this race has been for him.  When Pawlenty shot across his bow with a jab at how much property he owns, Romney shrugged it off like Michael Jordan would if he wasn’t picked first in a neighborhood game of pickup basketball.  Romney looked and sounded like a professional and did not allow Wallace, Pawlenty or anyone else to shake his demeanor.  In fact, he made almost everyone else look like amateurs, especially Pawlenty and Bachmann.  Romney positioned himself as the successful businessman, accomplished politician, and leader.  In fact, when Cain touted his independent business success, when Pawlenty talked about balancing his budget and cutting spending and taxes, and when Pawlenty and Huntsman talked about leadership, Romney kept coming to mind.  He ignored interparty skirmishes and focused on Obama, which is a key in this race.  His only slip up was trying to discuss the semantics of state versus federal constitutional restrictions.  I think his point was a good one, especially when he asked Wallace what he knew about Massachusetts constitution, but ultimately the point was lost on the other participants.

Ron Paul

Republicans still don’t like Ron Paul, and he is still abrasive.  However, he came in third in this debate because he toned down the abrasiveness and instead mixed in some well earned “told ya so”.  Paul made key points on the Fed, the debt, the debt ceiling deal, the precariousness of our currency, and the costs of war.  These were timely points and made well.  He did not leap into easy traps on military spending that he has fallen into before that come across as disrespect for men and women in uniform.  Paul was also able to better articulate his views on social issues.  In the past he has come across as more liberal than libertarian.  This time he was able to articulate what be actually believes about gay marriage and abortion, stating that our liberties come from our creator, not government.  He may not win over the mainstream religious right, but will win over some more religious libertarians and constitutionalists.

Rick Santorum

Yes, believe it or not, Rick Santorum is fourth on my list.  His performance will most likely not change anything, but as a second tier candidate he exceeded expectations.  He was well prepared, made logical answers to the questions asked, and avoided harmful entanglements with other candidates.  He continues to represent George Bush neo-conservatism and will continue to bring useful balance to the debate.  He still has no chance of winning.

Herman Cain

Cain came across as the most unknowledgeable of the candidates.  He presents a good story of a businessman outsider seeking to change Washington’s business side.  However, Cain does not present a well rounded candidate that voters would trust on issues of foreign policy or domestic social issues.  Until he can get past soundbites to real plans and strategies he will not garner the needed support.   He was the only candidate to drive home the growth aspect of turning our economy around in a real and tangible way.

Jon Huntsman

Who?  His late entry, semi-liberal credentials, and lack of energetic or unique performance make Huntsman an afterthought.  He was like an off-brand candidate.  Aside from cyberwar with China, nothing he said really stood out.  If Huntsman was not at the next debate, I doubt most viewers would even realize it.  For example, remember that candidate from New Mexico, the Ron Paul wannabe?  What was his name again?

Tim Pawlenty

Chris Wallace was able to get under the candidates skin and even inspire direct confrontations between candidates.  Mostly though, the culprit ended up being Tim Pawlenty.  In a role usually occupied by the perennial anti-GOP establishment candidate Ron Paul, Pawlenty went after Bachmann, Romney, and whoever else got in his way.  He came across as a third place candidate trying to remind people why he is in this race, or at least that he is in this race.  I did not enjoy listening to him.  When he wasn’t on the attack, he was apologizing for cigarette taxes or highlighting things he did as governor that both Romney and Huntsman have on their resume.  In a race where the focus needs to be on Barack Obama, Pawlenty allowed himself to fall into the hands of the commentators and make for some great controversial TV.  Personally, I think this primary would come to a much better result without Pawlenty.

Michelle Bachmann

The loser of last night’s debate was Michelle Bachmann.  When Pawlenty attacked her, she fought back and lost.  Pawlenty managed to paint her as more of an ideologue than a successful conservative champion.  Pawlenty highlighted her lack of results, and she let that stick.  I believe she did receive some of the more unfair questions, including the one about submitting to her husband, but instead of recognizing those questions for what they were, she showed why she is not the caliber of Newt or Mitt and engaged the questions as though they were credible concerns.

Honestly though, what earned Bachmann the F was when she failed to return to her podium on time after the commercial break.  She is trying to overcome this idea that she is an unprofessional activist, not a serious contender.  However, her tardiness, fumbling over major points such as combining pro-life and taxes in bills, and engaging Pawlenty in unscripted arguments show why Bachmann’s runner up status has been purely on the substance of her popular TEA party beliefs, not because she is a polished candidate.  Conservatives may like her in the polls, but when they go to vote I think we will see them be more likely to send a quarterback than the mascot in to play.

Huntsman Loses Key Campaign Staffer

Jon Huntsman’s late and slow start took a hit last Thursday when Susan Wiles, his campaign manager, decided to call it quits and return to Ponte Vedra, FL.  Wiles had recently come off a successful campaign for Governor Rick Scott of Florida when Huntsman brought her on.

Wiles stated that there wasn’t any specific event or circumstance that caused her to return to her Florida public relations firm, but simply that she wanted to take some time off of political campaigns.  Wiles manages a public relations firm with former Jacksonville Jaguars football player Tony Boselli.

Wiles comments related to her departure were intended to sound as though she was only there for a phase and that phase was over.  However, she was influential in the decision to move his headquarters to Orlando, FL, and her statements suggest that the decision to leave was a little more sudden.  She said “This morning I said, it’s time to move on.”

Huntsman is unconcerned about his slow start

Huntsman’s campaign has not yet taken hold after he joined the field late.  He also comes across as a Mitt Romney generic and has polled consistently behind front runners like Romney and Bachmann.  Aside from being a political unknown for most voters, Huntsman has made conservatives nervous due to his working for Obama as an ambassador and his acceptance by more centrist political commentators.

For now, Huntsman isn’t worried.

Don’t Quit Your Dayjob

A Dayjob is what Rick Santorum might need to keep his campaign afloat after raising a measly $582,000 in the second quarter.  Though liked by many religious conservatives, Santorum has failed to convince voters that his candidacy is a good investment.

Santorum might do better with a job in the private sector

Part of the reason Santorum has not been able to make a money making splash is through pure attrition.  When the 2012 primary roles around, it will mark six years since Santorum has held a significant share of the GOP spotlight.  And his last stage exit was not flattering.

In addition to his own campaign weakness, Santorum remains a second tier copy of other religious conservatives like Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich.  He certainly has not been as exciting as either, which says a lot considering Newt himself has been more sizzle than flash.

Can Santorum make it back into the spotlight of this campaign?  My prediction is that it would take an act of sheer undeniable brilliance, utter stupidity, or an act of God to get Santorum back in the headlines.

Bachmann, Lincoln Agree: Founders Opposed Slavery

George Stephanopolous probably thinks he’s a pretty smart guy.  At least he didn’t call Michelle Bachmann a flake.  But his attack on her facts about our founders just might backfire against his own credibility.

For most, it really is no secret that many of our founding fathers did oppose slavery.  Even the ones who owned slaves saw it as more of a necessary evil.  To borrow from Hillary Clinton, who said this about abortion, they believed it was “horrible and tragic, but should be safe and legal”.  They understood though, that if they tried to fight the revolutionary war and civil war at the same time, they would lose both.  Still, they did fight to end slavery, even if only laying the groundwork for it’s final elimination.

John McCormack, writing in the Weekly Standard, is now demonstrating that Abraham Lincoln believed the same thing as Michelle Bachmann about our founder’s work to end slavery.  He used that argument in his own speeches against slavery.

From the article:

“The Founders put slavery on the path to ultimate extinction, Abraham Lincoln said. But the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 threatened to bring about slavery’s resurgence by opening up new territories to slaveowning. In 1854, Lincoln made this argument in a series of speeches on behalf of candidates opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. “In these addresses Lincoln set forth the themes that he would carry into the presidency six years later,” writes Princeton’s James M. McPherson in the Battle Cry of Freedom. McPherson summarizes Lincoln’s argument:

The founding fathers, said Lincoln, had opposed slavery. They adopted a Declaration of Independence that pronounced all men created equal. They enacted the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 banning slavery from the vast Northwest Territory. To be sure, many of the founders owned slaves. But they asserted their hostility to slavery in principle while tolerating it temporarily (as they hoped) in practice. That was why they did not mention the words “slave” or “slavery” in the Constitution, but referred only to “persons held to service.” “Thus, the thing is hid away, in the constitution,” said Lincoln, “just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time.” The first step was to prevent the spread of this cancer, which the fathers took with the Northwest Ordinance, the prohibition of the African slave trade in 1807, and the Missouri Compromise restriction of 1820. The second was to begin a process of gradual emancipation, which the generation of the fathers had accomplished in the states north of Maryland.

Here’s what Lincoln said of the Founding Fathers in his 1854 Peoria speech:

The argument of “Necessity” was the only argument they ever admitted in favor of slavery; and so far, and so far only as it carried them, did they ever go. They found the institution existing among us, which they could not help; and they cast blame upon the British King for having permitted its introduction. BEFORE the constitution, they prohibited its introduction into the north-western Territory—-the only country we owned, then free from it. AT the framing and adoption of the constitution, they forbore to so much as mention the word “slave” or “slavery” in the whole instrument. In the provision for the recovery of fugitives, the slave is spoken of as a “PERSON HELD TO SERVICE OR LABOR.” In that prohibiting the abolition of the African slave trade for twenty years, that trade is spoken of as “The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States NOW EXISTING, shall think proper to admit,” &c. These are the only provisions alluding to slavery. Thus, the thing is hid away, in the constitution, just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time. Less than this our fathers COULD not do; and NOW [MORE?] they WOULD not do. Necessity drove them so far, and farther, they would not go. But this is not all. The earliest Congress, under the constitution, took the same view of slavery. They hedged and hemmed it in to the narrowest limits of necessity.

In 1794, they prohibited an out-going slave-trade—-that is, the taking of slaves FROM the United States to sell.

In 1798, they prohibited the bringing of slaves from Africa, INTO the Mississippi Territory—-this territory then comprising what are now the States of Mississippi and Alabama. This was TEN YEARS before they had the authority to do the same thing as to the States existing at the adoption of the constitution.

In 1800 they prohibited AMERICAN CITIZENS from trading in slaves between foreign countries—-as, for instance, from Africa to Brazil.

In 1803 they passed a law in aid of one or two State laws, in restraint of the internal slave trade.

In 1807, in apparent hot haste, they passed the law, nearly a year in advance to take effect the first day of 1808—-the very first day the constitution would permit—-prohibiting the African slave trade by heavy pecuniary and corporal penalties.

In 1820, finding these provisions ineffectual, they declared the trade piracy, and annexed to it, the extreme penalty of death. While all this was passing in the general government, five or six of the original slave States had adopted systems of gradual emancipation; and by which the institution was rapidly becoming extinct within these limits.

Thus we see, the plain unmistakable spirit of that age, towards slavery, was hostility to the PRINCIPLE, and toleration, ONLY BY NECESSITY.

In Lincoln’s famous 1860 Cooper Union speech, he noted that of the 39 framers of the Constitution, 22 had voted on the question of banning slavery in the new territories. Twenty of the 22 voted to ban it, while another one of the Constitution’s framers—George Washington—signed into law legislation enforcing the Northwest Ordinance that banned slavery in the Northwest Territories. At Cooper Union, Lincoln also quoted Thomas Jefferson, who had argued in favor of Virginia emancipation: “It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly….””

 

Romney Inspires Open Wallets

The April-June quarter numbers are in for the Romney, Huntsman, Cain and Pawlenty camps, and if donation figures are any indication, it is clear why Romney is still the front runner.  Romney has raised nearly twice as much as the other three combined.

Romney fundraising solidifies his front runner status

Romney has raised about $18 million.  Huntsman and Pawlenty have each raised about $4 million and Cain comes in with $2.5 million.  Romney is also conserving his funds, having more left in the bank at the end of the quarter than the other three have raised at about $12 million.  Things are looking good for the Romney camp.

Huntsman joined the campaign late, but AP speculates that half the money he has raised came from his own funds.

Bachmann, who has not released her figures yet, saw a big spike in May.  Her April-June contributions may confirm her current runner up status.

 

Update: Ron Paul beat out Pawlenty and Huntsman by raising $4.5 million in the second quarter, while Newt Gingrich raised a measly $2 million and is reportedly deep in debt.  Bachmann and Obama have yet to release their numbers.

Is Cain Trying in Iowa?

No, if you believe his now former Iowa director Tina Goff and Kevin Hall who was in charge of coordinating for the Iowa straw poll in just over a month.  Jim Zeiler has also left the Iowa staff and Cain lost his New Hampshire director earlier this week.  When it comes to managing a campaign, things are not looking good for Cain.

On the other hand, Cain is looking good in the Iowa polls.  Most recently he came in second only to perpetual front runner Mitt Romney and remade Michelle Bachmann.

Will the Guiliani gamble work for Cain?

The problem is that Cain has not done or said anything to differentiate himself from Michelle Bachmann.  Going into this race he had perhaps set himself apart as a more “serious” candidate, and certainly took on early momentum from the TEA Party.  But Bachmann easily out-shined him in the debate and continues to make the right steps even in the face of extreme character assassination.  Bachmann’s successes have made her detractors appear to be less “serious”.

In the meantime, Cain is reducing himself to soundbite worthy quips and small government platitudes while his substance seems to be a foggy mirror of the clarity Bachmann has produced.  The result is that Cain is quietly slipping into the shadows where other candidate copies, like Gary Johnson (generic brand Ron Paul) and Jon Huntsman (Mitt Romney clone only the media is excited about) reside.  Bachmann is quickly taking the TEA Party energy.

In some ways, Cain brought this on himself.  His radio host style speeches leave little substance to hang one’s hat on and his brief handling of gay marriage in the debate has alienated him from the religious section of the TEA Party.  In addition, at times he has seemed clueless on some of the more detailed issues such as right of return for a Palestinian state.  This still puts him miles ahead in knowledge from someone like Joe Biden who wanted a three state solution for Iraq.

Cain does have one demographic that still turns out strongly in support of him, and that is the African American conservatives, moderates, and independents.  Many of these who helped turn Florida blue for Barack Obama and are now disenchanted with his policies are indicating strong support for Cain.  Whereas Iowa is turning out to be a fiscal versus social conservative battle between Romney and Bachmann, all important Florida may end up being a fiscal versus social conservative battle between Romney and Cain. Real Clear Politics shows Cain in second place to Romney in Florida out of current candidates, but large percentages going to Huckabee and Palin.  It will be interesting to see how those Palin and Huckabee supporters break by the time we reach Florida.  It won’t be for Mitt Romney.

If Cain can survive until Florida and then capitalize on it, losing Iowa might not be that big a deal.  Then again, perhaps he should talk to Rudy Guiliani about that strategy.

Mr. President, Are You A Flake?

As Michelle Bachmann approaches the top of the Republican field, she is facing even more intense scrutiny.  In the same week as Obama’s medal of honor gaffe, an unlikely interviewer has proven among the most unfair to Bachmann.  Chris Wallace of Fox News asked her directly: “Are you a flake?”

Is Bachmann a serious candidate? Iowa seems to think so.

Wallace was giving credibility to those who seem to hold this bias against Bachmann, whether he realizes it or not.  But an even more serious question is if Wallace would ask any other candidate that?

Joe Biden could have been living in a cave for the last two and a half years and no one would have known it.  There is a good reason for that.  Biden had more gaffes per month in his campaign than Bachmann has had in a lifetime.  And Obama, the great orator, is not immune either.  From following his teleprompter off a metaphorical cliff on more than one occasion to making his appearances before the British royalty look like something out of a comedy movie, Obama has embarrassed himself over and over again on both national and international stages.

I don’t recall Bush ever having to sit down to have a beer with a cop because he put his foot in his mouth.

Bachmann’s answer was brilliant, giving Chris Wallace her history as a tax attorney, state senator and House representative, her education history and her family history.  Remember the good old days when we got to compare Bush and Kerry’s college transcripts to see who got more Ds?  And Obama, for being a Harvard constitutional law professor really doesn’t seem to know anything about the constitution.

So what is it about conservative women that seems to earn them “flake” status in the media, even as an acknowledged and valid perception?  Is this sexism pure and simple?  Palin and Bachmann seem to be treated interchangeably in the media, especially on the conservative side.  Remember George Will saying Palin was unpresidential because she watched her daughter in Dancing with the Stars?  Funny how Obama is amazingly Presidential when he not only kisses babies, but rocks them to sleep on the campaign trail.

 

FRC Says Santorum Schooled Cain

Herman Cain has been a rising star of the TEA Party social conservative wing of the Republican party, but that rise may have hit a bump in the road.  Cain’s quick answer to the gay marriage issue was in the debate Monday night was that it was a states’ issue.  That answer is not sitting well with the pro-family Christian grass-roots giant The Family Research Council.

In their Wednesday morning update, titled “Debate and Switch”, the FRC scolded Cain and Ron Paul for not supporting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and instead deflecting the issue to the states.

So who does FRC say got that issue right?  Rick Santorum, who explained that a marriage amendment would require 75% of the states to approve.

This leaves the question, will TEA Partiers and social conservatives hold to constitutional principles of the tenth amendment and agree with Cain and Paul on gay marriage?  Or will they see the issue in light of the moral majority and government’s role in promoting the general welfare through promoting the American family?  What do you think?  Leave a comment and let us know which direction you think conservatives will take.

In my opinion, Michelle Bachmann gave a great reply to this that most conservatives can get behind.  Essentially, it is a state issue, unless the courts over rule the people of the states on Federal Constitutional grounds.  Then an amendment is necessary.

Bachmann Makes It Official. She’s Running for President!

Bookmark and Share    Michele Bachmann used the first question she was asked in tonight’s presidential debate to announce that she has filed the papers to run for President and will make an official announcement shortly.

The announcement makes Michele Bachmann the only woman running for the nomination this year and the first Republican woman to ever run for the Republican presidential nomination.

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Bachmann Needs to the Pull the Knife Out of Palin’s Back

Bookmark and Share   After hiring controversial veteran Republican strategist Ed Rollins, it is expected that Minnesota Congresswoman and Congressional TEA Party Caucus Chair Michele Bachmann, will at any time announce her candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. If she does run, while Bachmann could very well prove to be formidable in early nominating contests like Iowa and South Carolina, her plight to become the Republican presidential nominee will be far from easy. Now, thanks to her new loose cannon political operative, Ed Rollins, that plight has just gotten much harder.

On a radio show hosted by Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, Rollins took the opportunity to trash Sarah Palin.

In addition to claiming “Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years,” Rollins stated “She [Palin] got the Vice Presidential thing handed to her, she didn’t go to work in the sense of trying to gain more substance, she gave up her governorship.”

Rollins who was up until recently an operative for Mike Huckabee, claimed that now that Mike Huckabee’s not in the race, in terms of the Republican running for President, Bachmann is “probably the best communicator” He also added “Michele Bachmann and others worked hard, she has been a leader of the Tea Party which is a very important element here, she has been an attorney, she has done important things with family values.”

And Sarah Palin hasn’t?

At 68, perhaps Rollins is losing what good judgment he has left. His claim that Palin “has not been serious” is not only an utterly ludicrous charge, it is a very politically dumb and strategically damaging statement for him to make. Millions ….. “millions”… of Americans take Sarah Palin quite seriously and they take her efforts to elect limited government, family values oriented, fiscal conservatives who have an appreciation for the U.S. Constitution, very seriously.

As for the charge that Palin can’t be taken seriously because she was, as he argues, simply handed the vice presidential

Ed Rollins

nomination in 2008 and then gave up her governorship, perhaps Rollins memory is slipping. I guess he forgets all the legitimate reasons why Palin was picked to run for Vice President. Some of those reasons include her willingness to oppose and defeat a popular sitting Governor from her own Party after rooting out corruption and standing up for justice. Another reason includes her defense and promotion of family values and her ability to govern as a Mayor and a Governor in a way that was fiscally responsible and legislatively efficient.

As for her giving up the governorship, Rollins should really avoid using the propaganda of liberals to promote one conservative and denounce another. As unbelievable as it may seem to Rollins, Palin is not your average politician. She brings to her politics a level of sincerity that is rarely seen in the D.C. beltway that Ed Rollins is familiar with. And it is that sincerity which forced Palin to decide that stepping down was the best thing for the state of Alaska because it would have allowed her very capable Lieutenant Governor to continue the business of the state, unhindered by the ridiculous number of expensive, time consuming, frivolous lawsuits that liberals were relentlessly attacking Palin with.

Ever since she was nominated for Vice President and delivered some energy to the lackluster campaign of John McCain, the left lost all self control and could not give up on trying to tear Palin apart. She embodies everything the left fears in a conservative. And so they undertook an assault on Palin that she believed was not in the best interest of the people Alaska. So instead, she allowed Sean Parnell, the Lieutenant Governor, to take the reigns of power and run with the agenda she set, but to do so unincumbered by the liberal effort to take Palin down. Palin could have easily thought of what might have been best for her personal political career. But she didn’t. Instead she put the people first. And when it was all said and done, what new responsibility did Palin undertake? She set out on a mission to help insure that in 2010, true conservatives got elected to positions as Senator, Congressmen and Governors.

Rollins may not want to see it that way. But it is obvious that he doesn’t want to see the truth. The truth makes Sarah Palin the greatest threat to Michele Bachmann’s popularity and success that there is.  So instead Rollins resorts to trash talk.

But that’s Ed Rollins. For as good as he once was….and he was good, Rollins has also shown a penchant for putting his foot in his mouth.

In 1993, after working on the upset victory of Christine Todd Whitman over New Jersey Governor Jim Florio, Rollins deposited himself right into in the middle of a scandal that involved political campaign payoffs to New Jersey ministers. He told Time Magazine

“We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, ‘Do you have a special project?’ And they said, ‘We’ve already endorsed Florio.’ We said, ‘That’s fine, don’t get up on the Sunday pulpit and preach. We know you’ve endorsed him, but don’t get up there and say it’s your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio.'”

He later tried to backtrack by claiming his original statement was an exaggeration.

This latest gaffe, only enforces the perception that Rollins is losing it.  For someone who was hired to promote Bachmann, in just a few moments of air time, he has hurt her far more than he has helped.  One need to go no further than Michele’s Facebook page to see evidence of that.

In just a matter of hours since Rollins comments came out, hundreds of Face book “Fans” have begun to turn on the Congresswoman. For instance there was this from Allen Pishotta:

“Why have you stabbed Sarah Palin in the back after all she did for you last year? Why have you forsaken the Tea Party Movement in order to become a “stalking horse” for Mitt Romney and yes we all know that you are working for the RINO Romney campaign so it is no secret. What was the political bribe needed to become a “Judas” and sell …conservatives out? I once heavily supported you now I will never give you another dime after this. You nickname is now Michele “Backstabbing” Bachmann because that is what you did.”

And this from Doreen Graney:

“Hey, Michelle, the last time Ed Rollins was part of a winning campaign my oldest son was a newborn baby. Today is his 30th birthday. Hope you’re not paying him much. You won’t be getting any support from me, financial or otherwise.”

Sue Lynn writes:

“Lost my support….Your just another politician…Backstabbing a good friend that helped you get re-elected…So much for that Christian talk you talk about…sure don’t practice it…I will never support you in the future because of your actions to a good friend”

Jolyn Colon demands an apology and states:

“Ed Rollins has a reputation for being a bomb thrower. Did you know that when you hired him? You need to step up personally and 1.) issue an apology to Sarah and 2.) fire this idiot before he steps in it again. Anything else is not good enough.”

And Gary Jackson was particularly mad:

“Michele, Sarah Palin and her millions of supporters have ALWAYS had your back. ALWAYS! Now you go hire one of the biggest scum bags on earth to run your campaign and the first thing he does is trash Sarah Palin.

You realize you have effectively ended any chance you ever had at ever being elected, right?

Good luck winning your House se…at again without any Palinista support and $$$$

What a pathetic loser you are.”

Most offhand comments usually have a short political shelf life. So very often statements like those made by Rollins,  which inspired the type of anymosity seen in the words above, are normally healed by time. But that is not the case here. Unless Michele Bachmann makes some very substantial overtures to Palin  and isnure that not only are Rollins’ remarks are retracted, but that she in no way shares his thinking about Palin, Bachmann will be seriously hurt by this. As Republican red as Palin supporters are, they are also true blue to Palin and quite defensive of her.  After witnessing over two years of endless, unfair, attacks on her and her family, Palin’s supporters have a right to be defensive. And they especially have a right to defend her against one who is suppose to be on their side.

Ed Rollin’s remarks were incredibly stupid, in every way. Politically, he alienated Palin supporters, the very people who could have easily been backers of Bachmann if Palin does not run, and cost Bachmann that potential support .  And there was absolutely no reason for that. Just this past Sunday, when Sarah Palin was asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, if there was room for her and Michele Bachmann in the 2012 Republican presidential race, Palin gave Bachmann credit for having stregths of her own that she would bring to the race, and went on to say that Bachmann would be a welcome addition to the race…. “the more the merrier” said Palin.

Unlike Rollins, who claims that Palin is “not serious”, in that answer, Palin proved to be more politically savvy than Rollins, a so called political expert. Well now it is time for Michele Bachmann to show how politically savvy she is. Does she have the ability to correct the wrong done to her by her own political consultant? Short of firing him, Palin supporters may not ever believe so.

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Michele Bachmann’s Ready To Announce Her Candidacy for President

Bookmark and Share White House 2012 had previously made clear that the month of May, would begin to set the Republican race for President in stone. Most potential candidates had indicated at the latest, a June deadline for their decisions. As such, any of them who were leaning towards announcing their candidacy, would more than likely have to make some preparation that would not go unnoticed by either the media, political insiders, or both. That is now the case with Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

The recent decisions by Donald Trump and most especially Mike Huckabee, seem to have taken her from giving a run some serious consideration, to being sure that she will run.

According to political reporter and analysts Chris Stirewalt, on Monday, on the heels of both Huckabees and Trumps decisions not to run for President, advisors to Congresswoman Bachmann let it be know that she is likely to jump in to the race and that she has begun searching for pollsters, consultants and all the other necessary staff components for a presidential campaign. According to Stirewalt, one D.C. based consultant close to Bachmanns camp said This is now beyond speculation. They are doing this.

I have been leery of Michele Bachmanns intentions to run for President in 2012. This is not based on any disapproval of the Congresswoman. To the contrary, it was based on a hope of for the longevity of her ability to be a maverick political forceon the inside of the system.

Beyond two of the first three nominating contests, I fear that the Congresswomans chances of winning enough primaries and caucuses were out of her reach. Bachmann can and probably will do quite well in the early contests of Iowa and South Carolina. These two states are uniquely ripe for her character and politics. And as is Bachmann, these two states are strongly influenced by evangelical principles and activism. In fact they are dominated by evangelical forces, especially in the case of Republican politics. But once the campaign moves beyond Iowa, and South Carolina, that influence which is a strong suit for the Congresswoman, will become more and more diluted. This is especially true in contests outside of the Southern Bible Belt.

Even New Hampshires primary, which falls in between the Iowa Caucus and the South Carolina Primary election, Bachmann is not likely to do very well. But a loss there would certainly derail her candidacy. New Hampshire id a state closely connected to Mitt Romney and he expected to be the winner there. Besides, if Bachmann could bookend a loss in New Hampshire with wins in Iowa and South Carolina, New Hampshire will be nothing more than a bump in the road.

After South Carolina, Bachmann will still have a fair shot at Florida, another state that has a highly active evangelical Republican structure. But here Bachmann will begin to struggle with a the more diverse electorates of the more heavily populated states in the nation. Ultimately, I believe that while Bachmann will start strong I do not believe that she will finish strong and in the end, not win the Republican presidential nomination. It is for that reason, that I have doubted Bachmanns willingness to run for a nomination that she is less likely to win than lose and give up her seat in the House of Representatives in the process.

Recent events though, shed some light on why Michele Bachmann might be inclined to not seek reelection in the House.

Bachmann knows that in 2012, with president Obama at the top of the ticket, Democrats are going to target her. The Congresswoman is a thorn in the lefts side and so in addition to wanting to try to take enough seats to recapture control of the House, they would love to do so by ridding themselves of Republican firebrands like her. But Bachmann has never shied away from a tough race and she has usually prevailed. This time though, in addition to being targeted by Democrats, Bachmann will be a victim of redistricting. How much her district will be redrawn is not yet established, but no matter how it is drawn, she will have to campaign for reelection among voters that are new to her and those voters will probably not be as conservative as they are in her district as it currently exists.

The combination of the knowledge that Bachmann will be damaged by redistricting and that she will be a top target by Democrats and President Obama himself, may account for Bachmanns willingness to choose a run for President over standing for reelection to Congress. Additionally; there is nothing to say that if the Congresswomans presidential campaign starts to wane early enough, she could always pull out of the race in time to file her papers for reelection to her current House seat.

So Bachmann may not have much to lose by running for President while at the same time, she could have much to gain. Her presidential candidacy will advance the issues that are important to her. It will also raise her visibility and national ID which in turn will elevate her level of influence in conservative circles.

If Bachmann does in fact run, while she may not have the best chance at winning the nomination, her candidacy will certainly have a large effect on who is or isnt the nominee. In many ways, Congresswoman Bachmann could play the same role in the 2012 nomination contest that Mike Huckabee played in the 2008 contests. She could be strong enough to attract enough votes from other candidates like Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and/or Mitch Daniels, to allow Mitt Romney to win.

That is the effect that Mike Huckabee had in 2008. He attracted enough votes away from Mitt Romney, to make it possible for John McCain to ultimately win the nomination. And like Mike Huckabee, now that he is out of the race, Congresswoman Bachmann could easily win the Iowa Caucuses. At the very least, this could all help delay the emergence of a clear frontrunner.

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Is it me?

Donald Trump is on to something. Trump was on the Rush Limbaugh radio show today during Rush’s annual Leukemia Lymphoma fundraiser, and Rush mentioned that the most recent poll has Trump in the lead. That’s when Trump said this: “I don’t know if it’s me or the message…”

The Donald may recognize that many consider him to be about as serious a candidate as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, or Ron Paul. On the other hand, conservatives are eating up Trumps no nonsense, pro-America, anti-Obama message.

It is the same

Do people love Trump? Or what he stands for?

message that brings tens of thousands of people to Palin rallies and has conservatives who don’t take Paul seriously as a Presidential candidate standing and applauding when he speaks and admitting great respect for him. It’s a message of a strong country, low taxes, low spending, limited government, and free markets. But is it electable?

“Mainstream” candidates tend to temper their rhetoric and take veiled jabs at one another while punctuating their sentences with political buzzwords like compromise, bipartisan, together, and of course, both sides are equally to blame.

But besides TEA Party favorite Republicans, there is another candidate in 2012 who has taken a no non-sense, partisan approach to elections. In fact, while giving only minimal lip service to bipartisan togetherness, the Democrat’s sole 2012 candidate has given us such phrases as “if they bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun” and has filled his campaigns and Presidency with partisan rhetoric. Barack Obama, even while being portrayed as a sort of political messiah who would unite our country, took no issue with blaming the nation’s problems on Bush, even as he continued many of Bush’s policies.

We may all wish that the nation was united and that politicians could just magically work together and fix things the right way, but in all honesty there are incredibly clear lines of demarcation between the left and right. This leaves the right with a serious question: do we campaign the way we have been told to and pretend the next President can unite the country? Or do we show the kind of confidence in conservatism that Trump, Palin, Bachmann, Paul, and other popular, not serious candidates are using to draw the masses and win polls?

The Democrat in 2012 has found his confidence in extreme liberalism.

Michele Bachmann; “I Am In for 2012”

Bookmark and Share Speaking this weekend at a meeting of NICHE, the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, Congresswoman Bachmann looked and sounded like a candidate for President as she spoke of broadly articulated themes of independence and American exceptionalism thatwere based on the free power of the people, not the sweeping authority of federal bureaucracy.

She addressed the home schooling audience as one of them, a home schooling parents. The Congresswoman essentially to tied her stump speech into the theme of the event by claiming that just as the sovereignty of parents is being encroached upon by the state, so is the sovereignty of our nation. For the speech in it’s entirety, see below.

Bachmann continues to try to endear herself to Iowans by accentuating her Iowa roots and calling herself an Iowegian, one of the many people in Iowa who are of Norwegian ancestry and have helped turn Iowa in to the breadbasket of the nation.

But it was in her closing statement that she really sounded like a the hopeful owner of a lottery ticket who knows you gotta’ be in it to win it, as she proclaimed;

“This is the indispensable nation. And so I ask you will you consider these words as you look forward to 2012. Whether you are willing to be in, and whether you are willing to lay it on the line. I believe you are. I know that I am. I am in for 2012 to make sure that that torch of liberty is not extinguished on our watch because Lincoln was right. We can’t trust the politicians. We can only trust the politicians.”

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Bachmann Brings Home the Bacon

In this case, I don’t mean pork spending. Michelle Bachmann outraised front runner Mitt Romney in the first quarter of 2011 according to the Politico. The fiery Minnesotan TEA Party favorite has come from the political shadows to the forefront since the 2010 Republican sweep, which heavily favored TEA Party candidates.

Bachmann outraises front-runner Mitt Romney

Bachmann’s greatest challenge sofar for 2012 has been distinguishing herself from Sarah Palin, the other fiery TEA Party activist with a funny northern state accent with the occasional hilarious gaffe on her record.

Still, her message has been clear and unwaivering social and fiscal conservatism. While pundits fear she cannot bring swing state independents to the polls, Bachmann did very well at bringing Republican voters to the polls in her district and others in 2010. She has also done well bringing funds into the party coffers.

For now, Bachmann seems to be stuck in the same spot as many other GOP primary potentials. Republicans agree with almost everything she says, we would vote for her over Obama without hesitation, but no one really thinks she’ll be the one in 2012.

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