Capitalism a Casualty of Campaign

What is happening to the Republican field?  It made some sense when Cain was attacked for being a businessman with no foreign policy experience and no political experience.  That was perhaps a fair shot at an outsider businessman candidate.

Then came the attacks on Newt for having Freddie Mac as a client.  Newt not only had Freddie as a client, but his firm made over a million dollars.  Suddenly, it was like Newt himself had caused the economic collapse.  Reasonable conservatives told me that this was insurmountable.  How could Newt, a high level business consultant, have Freddie Mac as a client?  His fellow candidates tried to make it sound like Newt was on their payroll.  Suddenly populism had overtaken the Republican party.

Then came the attacks on Romney for his time at Bain Capital.  Romney’s company created new businesses, reorganized and saved businesses, and occasionally tried to save businesses and failed.  As with any free American enterprise, Bain Capital sometimes downsized and let people go.  Romney’s opponents have seized on this, especially with the ignorant populist anti-wall street sentiment in the country today, and have tried to use this against Romney.  They have painted him as an out of touch, insanely rich “Mr. Burns” who would go in, take over small companies, and fire everyone just to make a buck.  Here’s an idea, how about a millionaire’s surtax on evil rich people like Romney?  Oops, we just became liberals.

I know, political rhetoric is political rhetoric.  You say whatever it takes to win.  But then came the really disappointing moment.  GOP rivals jumped on Romney’s statement that he likes to be able to fire people.  Romney was not saying that he likes to randomly fire people, or likes to fire employees like Bain Capital did.  Huntsman attacked Romney directly for the comment, while Newt released a video exploiting workers who had been fired as a result of Bain Capital’s work.  Romney was actually talking about the ability to not have to buy insurance, or to drop an insurance company that isn’t serving his needs.  But what does context matter in politics?  Shame on them for this line of attack.  You know it’s bad when you are attacking a moderate Republican, and even Ron Paul is standing up for the moderate.  In fact, my hat is off to Ron Paul for defending Romney against this dishonest line of attack.  Newt also eventually came to Romney’s defense about the misquote.

Newt at this point will likely lose Florida, which means he will lose the primary.  Up until this week, at least he had the opportunity to exit with his head held high.  Up to now he had run a very honest, positive campaign.  When he did go negative, it was with honesty.  His best shot at salvaging the honor in his campaign at this point is a humble apology for attacking Romney for being a capitalist.

One final note, may the best capitalist win.  Since when has populism won over conservatives?  Heck, what’s the point?  If Newt is evil for having Freddie Mac as a paying client and Romney is evil for what he did with Bain Capital, then we need to re-elect Obama.  Imagine if Trump had stayed in the race.

 

Editors note: correction from the originally posted article.  Newt did defend Romney against the attack based on his statement about firing insurance companies.  However Newt has attacked Romney for the jobs lost through Bain Capital.

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Post New Hampshire Debates – The GOP have a problem – Winning!

The two New Hampshire debates and mainstream media coverage of the GOP presidential race has convinced me more than ever of one simple fact, the GOP nominee will face an uphill battle to defeat President Obama come November.

Assessing both debates, the ABC News one was without question, the most disappointing one of the campaign to date. The standard and content of the questions was shameful for a presidential debate, and when a major network avoids asking the president’s rivals questions on Obamacare, debt or entitlement reform, it provides an insight into what the eventual nominee can expect in the general election.

Today’s “MeetThePress” debate was much better however, after a fast paced and engaging start, it seemed to run out of steam for the second part of the debate. In fairness, David Gregory and the two moderators made a much better effort to challenge the candidates, and provide a better standard of questions.

The two debates, as events, were disappointing and one can only hope all networks assess how they went and make a better effort for future debates.

I don’t intend to analyze the second debate here instead; I thought it may be useful to discuss some truths and where the GOP race is at present, and look ahead to the challenge and scenario’s in the coming weeks.

On the interesting side, I think Jon Huntsman did himself a power of good during the second New Hampshire debate, and came across as a real patriot for serving his country in his exchanges with Mitt Romney over China.

If Huntsman can finish in the top three in New Hampshire, he could well be the surprise package as I’ve predicted in the GOP campaign. Huntsman is electable as president make no mistake, yes; conservatives may not exactly love his moderate positions however, in this election cycle they may well have to agree to support a candidate who can beat President Obama over their more traditional GOP candidate.

What we know & who can win the general election

Mitt Romney

The mainstream media clearly want Mitt Romney to win. I think Romney is a good candidate and has a lot of positives on his side especially his business background, no matter what allegations are thrown against him. If someone creates even one job or 10,000 they are making a contribution to the economy and they should be commended not criticised for it.

My concern about Romney is two fold, firstly, he is struggling to ignite the support base despite planning his campaign for four years, having the most money of any Republican candidate and the backing of more establishment colleagues and party elders than any other candidate.Despite all these factors he is struggling to fire up the base.  My second concern comes from observing the last four debates in particular is his grasp of foreign policy. Romney can tell us what President Obama is bad at doing however, he can’t tell us what he would do as president. He also tends to buckle and panic when he comes under pressure. I’ll definitely support Romney if he is the nominee however, do I believe he can ignite the enthusiasm and attract enough support to beat President Obama in the general election? I’m yet to be convinced.

Newt Gingrich & Rick Santorum

The truth is former Speaker Gingrich would make an exceptional president in my opinion. I’m not interested in people’s mistakes over a lifetime, I want someone elected this time with the ability, skills and leadership who can make a difference and deliver on what they say without isolating sections of society. The establishment are firmly Anti-Newt no matter how they use their outlets to spin the argument; it is plain and clear for the average person to see. Speaker Gingrich’s biggest challenge is over coming those odds and Senator Santorum.

Senator Santorum did himself a world of good and achieved a massive credible second place in Iowa. We must be clear, can he at this stage of his career beat President Obama in a general election race, truthfully, no! The reality is that both these men may need to make concessions with each other and my honest belief is they would both best be served by uniting.

If they run on a President and V.P. ticket together and win and go on to perform well, the platform would be there for Santorum to be president in the future. If both men fail to reach a consensus, it is likely that both will lose out to Mitt Romney in the primary race. Together, they could both challenge President Obama and I believe, offer a clear contrast in the general election and win!

Jon Huntsman

Yes, my third pick for winning the general election is Jon Huntsman however, it all hinges on him getting a top three finish in New Hampshire. Make no mistake about it; President Obama would not have picked him for Ambassador to China if he and his team weren’t worried about Huntsman making a run for president this time. Also, they would have vetted Huntsman for the role, so there really can’t be too much hidden baggage to attack Huntsman on in a general election campaign.

I would recommend to anyone questioning my logic here to go to C-Span and take time to watch the Huntsman-Gingrich debate. Huntsman is brilliantly clever and respectfully perhaps the most intelligent and knowledgeable candidate in the GOP field except for Gingrich. He has a great economic plan and has an excellent record as Governor.

If the GOP base can take a second look at Huntsman and he starts gaining some interest and accept that like Romney, he is a moderate on some issues, I believe Huntsman could definitely beat President Obama in the general election race. It all comes down to the result in New Hampshire this Tuesday, democracy will decide.

Ron Paul

I do admire the Texas Congressman for his long and consistent record. I think he has some good ideas on domestic issues however; I cannot warm to his foreign affairs positions. I don’t think Paul could beat President Obama in a general election or frankly come close however, Paul will play a very important role in the GOP primary race. He will potentially decide the outcome of the entire primary race and he will insist on certain policy commitments in return. I expect the Texas Congressman to prove the most influential of all the candidates in the eventual destination of the GOP Nomination and to go out on a high.

Rick Perry

I credit the Texas Governor for entering the race and he has achieved many fine things during his tenure there as governor and has improved considerably, as a candidate, at a national level after some disastrous hiccups. Personally, I would like to see the Governor make a final decision whether to bow out or stay in the race following South Carolina’s primary. I think he can attempt another run in four or eight years time and use the experience this time around to prepare for that. Realistically, he can’t win the primary race or a general election campaign this time round after the earlier mistakes.

I appreciate that many people are passionate about their candidates however; the establishment and GOP supporters need to make a conscious decision on whether they want to win back the White House on November 6, 2012, or leave it resting in the hands of President Obama for another four years

An interesting couple of weeks lie ahead.

The New Hampshire Presidential debates – It could be “live free or die” – for some candidates challenge.

The race for the Republican Party presidential nomination heats up this weekend with a set of weekend debates providing what could be, the last chance for some of the Republican presidential hopefuls to prove, who is the best alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney ahead of next week’s New Hampshire primary.

The six remaining candidates will go head to head in Saturday’s ABC News, Yahoo and WMUR sponsored debate.  Front runner Mitt Romney who has a residence in the state and was governor of neighbouring Massachusetts, appears to have an unassailable lead according to the latest Union Leader poll with 47 percent of New Hampshire GOP primary voters saying they would vote for Romney, compared to 17 percent for Ron Paul and 13 percent for Jon Huntsman.

Saturday’s debate will be followed by another on Sunday in NBC’s – Meet the Press debate, which will be the first time in the campaign that major debates will have been held back to back.

Romney has come under increasing attack since his slim-line victory in Iowa over Rick Santorum and is expected to be very much the candidate under fire in both debates. Romney also suffered a huge blow with the major Newspaper – The Boston Globe coming out in support of Jon Huntsman over Romney, on the eve of the debate.

Romney has the most to lose, not only is he expected to win New Hampshire comfortably, he is expected to win big, so any slip ups in the debates could severely damage his somewhat expectant party nomination. Romney needs to remain on message and appear presidential like as in previous debates. Romney has shown a tendency to be prickly when challenged on his record, and he will need to avoid any reactive snappy comments.

Fresh from his excellent second place finish and injection of campaign cash from donors, it will be an equally big night for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum who will find himself front and center of the attention for the first time in these debates. Santorum has struggled for air-time in all the previous debates, but his good fortune and excellent Iowa finish brings with it a higher level of expectation. Santorum needs to win the conservative battle with friend and fellow challenger former speaker – Newt Gingrich to be the clear alternative to Romney. Santorum is a good debater but some possible chinks in his armour may be his social stances on Gay-Marriage, Gay members serving in the military and earmarks during his time as Senator. Social issues do not have the same level of weight in New Hampshire as they do in Iowa, and policy and position stances are very much more under the scrutiny of voters. Santorum needs to remain composed and focus on his policy stances as far as possible to maintain his excellent momentum.

The two candidates who could prove decisive in the outcome of both debates are Ron Paul & Jon Huntsman.

Ron Paul’s campaign has raised a massive $13 million in the fourth quarter, behind only Romney’s fundraising of more than $20 million. New Hampshire’s primary has a considerable number of independent voters and it is likely, Paul will place well regardless of the debates. Paul’s domestic policies are popular, but with the increasing current tension with Iran have come increasing scrutiny and attention on his foreign policy stance which has drawn a sharp contrast between him and the other candidates. My belief is that Paul will go after Perry and Gingrich in these two debates strategically, hoping to deal their campaigns the all important fatal blow. A three horse race as opposed to a six horse race would suit Paul considerably more in his efforts to be the Romney alternative.

Turning to the dark horse of the race Jon Huntsman, it depends which Jon Huntsman turns up to the debates. Anyone who observed the Huntsman-Gingrich debates in December would’ve realised here is a candidate who is as equally intelligent as Gingrich, he has a very unique perspective on Asia-Pacific matters and an exceptional record as former Governor of the state of Utah.

Huntsman in my opinion has been too quick to play the “I’m your guy next door” routine in previous major debates. He needs to show he is serious on the issues, remain focussed and appear presidential like, all at the same time as challenging front runner Romney. Many believe Huntsman and Romney are from the moderate side of the Republican Party however, Huntsman has bet his entire strategy on doing well in New Hampshire. Perhaps Huntsman’s strategy was to wait until these debates before really showing what he is capable of doing. If so, it will prove an effective strategy, if however, he performs as in previous debates his entire campaign will be over once voting is completed next Tuesday.

Texas Governor Rick Perry appeared to be on the verge of pulling out of the race following Iowa’s result. In Perry’s favour going into these debates is the fact that expectations couldn’t be lower. Perry has become a hit on YouTube due to a series of blunders in his campaign and previous debates however, he has absolutely nothing to lose and his last few debate performances have been encouraging. I believe Perry will have a few key attack moments prepared for tomorrow night and he can choose his moment to go on the offensive. I actually expect Perry to surprise a lot of people for all the right reasons in both debates, and it could provide the boost he needs ahead of his make or break challenge in South Carolina later in the month.

Finally, I’ve saved the best for last, former Speaker Gingrich who many are saying he’ll be “Nasty Newt”. Other then Romney and despite the claims of many in the media and establishment, Newt as it currently stands, is the only other real electable candidate at a national level in the race. Newt was clearly hurt by the attacks from Romney and Paul in Iowa over the last month, and where he has tried to run a positive campaign, he now realises he has to not turn negative, but stand stronger.

Newt has a brilliant mind and like all brilliant people, they sometimes make mistakes but America as a nation needs a president who is prepared to change the course of Washington, has the knowledge and ability to do it and above all, someone who will not be afraid to explore new departures for the benefit of the nation.

Newt has performed extremely well during all the previous debates but must be careful not to be overly eager at attacking Romney tomorrow night. Newt in my opinion needs to focus on his own ideas & policies, if challenged on his record or a mistake must be honest and if necessary, apologetic. Most importantly, he needs to avoid appearing snarly.

Newt should focus on President Obama and not the other candidates unless they attack him. The watching public want to see the alternative to President Obama emerge and he needs to draw a clear contrast between what he’d do as president, compared to the president. This is where Romney attacking Gingrich has been clever, he has forced Gingrich to remain on the defensive and appear local while he strides forward appearing to look presidential and national level like.

Newt needs to play to his strengths and avoid going on the attack however; he needs to be prepared for them. Where Newt can win these debates in by focussing on President Obama and being firm but assertive in his responses to any attacks from the other candidates against him. If he follows these points and remains disciplined, he’ll win both debates comfortably and remind everyone, why he can be the real alternative to President Obama.

One thing is guaranteed from both debates; expect them to be highly negative and vicious in some cases. It is make or break time especially for Huntsman so the stakes are getting higher as the field is getting smaller. I’m hoping whatever the outcome; an alternative to Romney emerges over the next three weeks who can make the primary race a competitive one and not a foregone conclusion as the establishment and some in the media want for Romney.

Haley Barbour Reschedules His First Campaign Swing in New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share After scuttling his first schedule swing through New Hampshire because of difficulty with budget negotiations in his state, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has rescheduled his New Hampshire trip for April 13th and 14th.

In this clip from New Hampshires WMUR News Barbour discusses the importance of such importance campaigning especially among Granite State voters.

As noted in this clip, Governor Barbour is expected to make a decision on a run for President by the end of this month.

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Rule Out a Presidential Run for Bobby Jindal in 2012

In This Photo: Bobby JindalBookmark and ShareOn Wednesday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal found himself having to defend his travel schedule in the face of speculation that he has eyes on the state’s U.S. Senate seat or the even the presidency.

As for his travels, the Governor stated that 90% of his scheduled time during his first three years in office was spent in Louisiana where he visited every parish in the state on a regular basis.

Jindal assured voters that there is no shadow of any doubt regarding his intention to focus on reelection in the fall and seeing a second term in office through fully. “I lost the first time I tried to get it. People suggested I should run for the Senate. … I don’t want to be a senator. I want to be governor.” Said Jindal before adding “I have the job I want.

Jindal has done remarkably well for the state of Louisiana and since his first years in office as Governor, many people have spoken highly of his political future. In 2008 the McCain campaign vetted Jindal for the position of Vice President but Jindal claims to have to turned down the opportunity.

For his part Jindal told reporters that they will not find him in Iowa and that his future will consist of completing eight years in office as Governor and accomplishing many of the goals he has planned for the state. After that he plans on returning to the private sector to, as he put it, pay some bills.

Jindal is in fact most likely off the presidential radar in 2012 but don’t for one minute believe that a future run after 2012,in either of the two slots on the ticket, is out of the question.

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Pence Pits a Sure Thing for Governor, Against a Not So Sure Bid for President

Bookmark and Share In the Washington Whispers section of U.S. News and World Report, columnist Paul Bedard posted a piece entitled GOP Rep. Pence Is Part Reagan, Part Kennedy. In it he uses two statements to establish the title of his post. Growing up, Congressman Pence recalls being inspired by JFK but as an adult Pence believes that Ronald Reagan was the last president in his lifetime who accounts for a truly good model for a traditional American presidency.

Congressman Mike Pence

But more telling than Bedards appealing title, are Mike Pences own words discussing his future.

In the column, Pence claims that many have been encouraging him to run for Governor of Indiana. But he added Weve also gotten more than a little bit of encouragement to consider running for president. It would seem that the Congressman is trying to suggest that there is more of a popular outcry for him to run President, than there is for him to replace Governor Mitch Daniels who is term limited and prohibited from running for reelection in 2012.

It is hard to draw a conclusion about Pences future based on these statements, but a run for the Republican presidential nomination is possible and if youre a fan of Mike Pence, his emphasis on the encouragement he has received to run for President, than you might say this helps leans toward a Pence presidential candidacy being more likely than less likely. However Pence states that he will make his decision in the Spring.

That decision is probably going to be based on who is actually going to be running for President.

Everyone knows that frontrunner Mitt Romney is running, and its pretty apparent that Romney is not one of those whom Pence would base his decision on. The three whom will most likely have the biggest effect on his decision to run for President are Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, and most of all, Sarah Palin.

With these three names out of the picture, Pence will have a good shot at giving people like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and even Mike Huckabee a run for their money. With those three names or any significant combination of them out, Pence could lock up a substantial segment of the social and fiscal conservative base, a base which will be critical in the early contests of Iowa, new Hampshire, South Carolina and even Florida.

But even if Mike Pence had a clear road to locking up the conservative base vote, history is still against him. Not since 1880 and James Garfield, has a Member of the House of Representatives gone straight from the House, to e White House. But to make the hill Pence would have to climb to get to the Oval Office even steeper is another name to consider in the GOP race for President——Mitch Daniels. As the popular two term Governor of Indiana, if Daniels does run for President, he could stymie some of Pences steam, especially in his own home state of Indiana.

All things considered, I believe Mike Pence is more likely to run for Governor of Indiana and replace Daniels, instead of going up against Daniels or figures like Palin, Barbour or Gingrich. With the House of Representatives as his only springboard, competing against those names for money and the Republican base, will make a run for Governor by Pence, a much safer bet. But still, Pence undoubtedly has White House fever which makes me believe that while Pences mind is made up, its the decisions of others which can change his own mind.

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Jindal’s November Book Release Is Timed Just Right

Governor Bobby Jindal and local officials flyover

Governor Jindal Addresses BP Oil Disaster Before the Press

Bookmark and Share    It has become tradition that before you run for President of the United States, you must write a book.  The book usually plots the path that America should take for brighter and more prosperous according to its author, the future presidential candidate. Along the way, the book also often makes biographical references to the life of the future candidate and some of the events that shaped their thinking.

This has essentially become a part of the process, a sort of prerequisite that gets a perspective candidate for a presidential nomination same name ID and a basis of understanding for readers to get know all about the man or woman who will be seeking their vote.

Well it would seem that Louisiana’s first term Governor is following in this tradition.

Originally slated to come out in July, Governor Jindal’s book is now coming out in November. He and the co-author of his collection of concepts, policies, beliefs and biographical history were thrown a bit off schedule due to the Gulf Oil spoil calamity that took place earlier this year..

The timing though couldn’t be better. Soon after November’s midterm elections, once the makeup of the political landscape for the next two years is established, the presidential shuffle will begin. Republicans will begin to maneuver their way through the issues and Party leadership and start to position themselves for a run for the GOP presidential nomination. What better way to have your known thrown into the mix than have your book hit the shelves just at the moment that the discussion about the 2012 presidential election takes place.

Jindal’s presidential fortunes are not exactly as great as others are yet but he does a substantial platform from which an aggressive campaign could allow him to be quite viable in the Republican primaries. In 2008, he was ranked one of the nation’s most popular governors with an approval rating of 77%. Since then, although he took a hit from what was widely characterized as a poor national response President Obama’s 2009 State of the Union Address, Jindal has lost some of his glow, but not much. It is quite hard to maintain a 77% approval rating, a number that is normally reserved for wartime President’s. But Jindal has remained popular and his name has been out there more than most governors.

His handling of wicked hurricanes in the wake of the utterly disgraceful of Katrina by the previous Democrat Administration of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, has helped to show Jindal to be a true leader and confident organizer and steward in times of crisis. This impression was only solidified by his handling of the BP oil gusher that produced the greatest manmade ecological disaster in U.S. history. Jindal’s stand against the Obama Administration’s slow reaction and lack of sufficient action in the wake of the rig explosion, helped to contrast Jindal’s own quick reactions and successful efforts to prevent the oil from polluting his Louisiana shores.

But in addition to proving his competence and leadership during times of crisis, Jindal has also demonstrated a steady hand of management and leadership in other areas such as the economy. As a strong fiscal conservative, Jindal has whipped Louisiana’a budget and fiscal condition into far better shape than any of his recent predecessors. Something which has not been an easy fete for a state whose largest city and greatest tourist attraction, New Orleans, is still recovering from the devastation of Katrina while also having to deal with an Obama led moratorium on offshore oil drilling that is killing jobs and the oil spill which devastated the Louisiana fishing and shrimping industries as well as coastal tourism.

In the midst of all this, is the novelty of Jindal’s personal story. He is currently the youngest Governor in America and the first ands only Indian-American Governor in the United States.

All of this can certainly make for a compelling book but is certainly an interesting story, one that can capture the hearts and imaginations of the American electorate, if told right.

After all not all stories get told properly.   After Nancy Pelosi rose to the position of Speaker of the House and became the most powerful and highest elected woman official in U.S. history, when her story was translated into a book, despite all the hype, it was an embarrassing flop that cost more to produce and promote than were made through its sales.

Whether Jindal’s book goes over big or not, there is no denying that he is making sure that all windows of opportunity remain open to him. The November release of his book is just one indication of that but his record and personal story are the real sellers when it comes to 2012 and if the sales pitch isn’t for President, can you say “Vice President Jinda?”. Northern nominees like Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin sure can.

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