Santorum’s Campaign Against Himself

Bookmark and ShareBeing a political junkie I do spend time checking out the campaigns of any and all candidates I can manage to follow in local, state and federal races. It’s not necessarily the politics I enjoy as much as the campaigns themselves. I enjoy strategizing and predicting where, why and what candidates do or will do in their campaigns. I even follow those from the “D” word persuasion. As they say, know thy enemy.

There are moves that baffle pundits and followers alike in each and every campaign. No candidate is above or beyond making a move or even a gaffe now and then that leave some scratching their heads in disbelief. As the 2012 GOP candidates rumble through what has been a very tough primary process so far there is one candidate that has stood out to me, at least the past couple of weeks, as being stuck in a perpetual ‘WTF?’ moment. That man is former PA Senator Rick Santorum.

The first issue the Senator got caught up in is what I like to refer to as the social issue wheel of doom. If it was intentional on the part of the Obama administration and the Democrats is up in the air (as a campaign junkie I would like to believe it was intentional) but Santorum took the bait hook, line and sinker. Don’t get me wrong, social issues are important to the Republican base. They are especially important to the evangelical portion of that base to which the Senator appears to be the favored candidate. A base that is well aware of the Senator’s stances on all of the social issues they hold dear. It is because of that that I am baffled as to why a candidate with the experience of Rick Santorum would let himself get caught in the social issue whirlpool? He doesn’t have to convince the part of the GOP base that is concerned with social issues that he is their man. There may be a few Newt supporters out there that he can try and turn but if social issues were number one with them they probably have already moved to the Senator’s camp. The only thing getting into a discussion about Rick Santorum’s stance on social issues can do is turn off the independent voter that any nominee will need to beat the President in November.

Again, I state that social issues are important in any GOP primary. But doesn’t the Senator already have that vote locked in? Wouldn’t he be better served to go after the moderate republicans who are more concerned with fiscal issues and the size of government than to be preaching to the choir who has already named him choir leader? Recent Rassmussen polling has him behind Obama by 2 points nationally while rivals Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, yes Ron Paul, were polling up on Obama.

Although I disagree on many things with the Senator he does have some ideas that would 100% be better than the solutions, or lack thereof, being offered by the current Democrat administration. Every candidate in the GOP field would be light years better than what we have now. What I want in the GOP nominee is someone who can go head to head with the machine that will be the Obama campaign come November. In all fairness the Senator has stated that simply because he holds a personal belief, does not mean he will force that belief on the American people if elected President. I believe him. However in the soundbite world in which we live that information will not be stated or considered by the general electorate and most certainly not by his opponent. In an era of bumper sticker campaigns it is probably not a good idea, fair or not, to allow bumper stickers to hold your personal belief on the case of rape and abortion. The “JFK’s separation of church and state speech made Rick Santorum throw up” t-shirt will probably be a good seller at the Democrat convention.

The social issue wheel of doom aside what seemed to get the ire of even the social base Republicans was his Michigan robo calls for the Democrat vote. In watching the Senator’s Facebook pages and posts today he has been catching the normal flack from the Romney, Paul and Gingrich supporters but what surprised me was the blowback that was there from those that seemed to be supporters (or former as some pointed out) of the Senator. Now I am aware that I said he needs to reach out to the moderates to win in November. However, in reaching out to the Democrats he handed Mitt Romney the steering wheel of his campaign. I mean in all honesty when Michael Moore comes out and says he is going to vote for you so Romney doesn’t win…..you just kicked yourself in the proverbial junk. Romney’s people are already printing posters which point out that the Democrats are scared of him. Scared enough to vote for Rick Santorum who they feel will be an easy win for Barack Obama.

And after the social issue wheel of doom I fear they will be right. And Rick Santorum has no one to blame but his campaign against himself.

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Is Washington alive to the Sound of Santorum?

Santorum after his speech walks by WhiteHouse12, will he walk into the White House?

Rick Santorum appeared on stage with his family, introducing them he said they were not the von Trapp family and they weren’t about to sing. However as he set out on his speech to offer sweet music to conservative ears, he seemed to stumble a little, the speakers version of being out of tune.

But, he did get warmed up. He hit a number of high notes:

We must trust in “the conservative vision of bottom up” and show “how Obama policies have failed” America. This is what wins the race, Santorum crooned.

But he struck a bum note when he said we are not going to win this election with the candidate with the most money to beat up his opponent. Who could he possibly mean?

A sweeter note was sounded when he explained how liberals use sentimental ideas of stewardship to advance radical environmental policies.

Then onto a higher set of notes, when he reminded delegates that our rights come from a higher authority than the government. He was as clear as a bell when he chimed in that he is in this race because Obamacare is a game changer.

Rick Santorum was introduced as the only chance of winning in November as a fresh face, but there was little fresh material in this show.

Karen Santorum makes plans to let Rick go to exhibit hall, will she be making plans to change the White House decor?

That said he ended on a high note with “You are blessed to live in a time when America needs you”. He called on delegates to live in honor, ending with “The ‘how’ we are of America is the Constitution, the ‘who’ we are of America is the Declaration.”

To those who support Santorum, this speech will have been music to their ears. Whether he can light up the election with the sound of his brand of music remains to be seen.

 

 

 

A Populist CPAC, but where are the ideas?

Bookmark and Share Meeting Donald Rumsfeld today, the man who knows his knowns from his unknowns, he saw my media badge saying WhiteHouse12 and asked me “You’re from the White House?” I explained I was not, and we are a website covering the election, but I can’t be sure whether he was disappointed or not.

Being an election year, you would expect CPAC 2012 to be a populist fest of election themes, peppered with attacks on the Obama administration, and today’s line-up did not disappoint on that front. The worrying thing is that the slate of speakers, while inspiring the crowd, did not have ideas to inspire the folks with outside the conference hall. The speakers were long on broad principles but short on specifics.

CPAC 2012 Kicked off with a populist energy, but are speakers offering enough?

Marco Rubio got the crowd all whipped up, ready to be severely unwhipped by a windbag speech from Mitch McConnell. The House Senate Majority leader did the math well when he said that if you lose your job in the Obama economy it will take you 40 weeks to find a new one. However, his math failed him when he exceeded his 10 minute slot by some 20 minutes. Some disciplined editing down to 10 minutes would have given him a better speech. When he got a cheer at the end I couldn’t work out whether it was for his message or the fact that he had finished.

The schedule ran 30 minutes late for the rest of the day, and Michele Bachmann followed. Her speech was probably the most detailed of the day, focused on the series of foreign policy failures by the Obama administration. The former candidate launched a sustained attack on the policy failures, and blasted the president for not backing Mubarak, saying “Obama failed to stand by Mubarak and that helped fuel the revolution in Egypt … The president spurned the President of Egypt when he took his first foreign trip to Cairo. In an absolutely shocking move, he invited the Muslim Brotherhood to hear his speech when Mubarak’s policy was to keep the Brotherhood at arm’s length.”

Bachmann attacked the president for not standing by Israel, “Before Obama was elected, no one had ever heard of a United States president saying to the world that the United States is not a judeo-christian nation.  I am here to say we are.” She concluded “The president’s foreign policy does change the history of the world, which is why Barack Obama cannot have a second term as president.”

Rick Perry got the crowd going as well, focusing on the economy he said “Success on Wall Street shouldn’t come at the expense of Main Street.” With the crash on the way, Perry said “Folks on Wall Street who saw it coming, they made millions; folks who didn’t see it coming, they got bailed out.” His parting shot was intended to strike an ominous note, saying “I’m fearful of what the score’s gonna be if we let the president start the second half as a quarterback.”

More populist notes were struck by Herman Cain, who told CPAC “A lot of people thought that after the character assassination that was launched against me that Herman was going to shut up and sit down and go away… Ain’t going to happen.” On his 9-9-9 plan, Cain told conservatives to press candidates for federal office to embrace his flat-tax solution before they are elected. He also invited “Joe The Plumber” Samuel Wurzelbacher, who is running for Congress in Ohio’s 9th District, to take a bow.

None of the main speakers offered endorsement messages for the 2012 GOP nominees, preferring instead to talk more generically about the need to stop a second Obama term. A late addition to the speaker slate was Rand Paul who arguably matched, perhaps exceeded, the rapturous applause received by Cain. Paul asked if the President hated rich people and poor people with jobs, but then went on to state “The president doesn’t really hate all rich people, just those who don’t contribute to his campaign.” He then rallied “If you’re a crony, if you’re a buddy, just stop by the White House.”

Paul rightly reminded attendees of Ronald Regan’s “optimism,” a president who he said “turned a whole generation of Democrats into Republicans.” His parting shot was “Who will be that next Ronald Reagan?” This gets to the heart of what folks are feeling, which ran though this whole first day, feeling the need for inspiration, the need for a positive approach, the need for American exceptionalism.

What was lacking was any real depth to the conservative messages today, and it will take more than the invocation of the name of Ronald Reagan and repeating the wrongs of the incumbent to put a conservative into the White House. Reagan brought more than sunny optimism to the White House, he brought some strong and deep ideas on the economy and foreign policy as well. I didn’t hear the equivalent depth of ideas today.

Tomorrow will see Gingrich, Romney and Santorum take the stage, but will they bring any more than today’s speakers? I may not know the knowns or unknowns of what tomorrow holds, but I know I won’t be holding my breath.

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Is Newt The Comeback Kid?

Bookmark and Share    Newt was focused and seemed to be resonating with the SC Republicans at the last debate. He made Santorum and Perry seem like lesser alternatives for the conservative vote. He’ll have to convince people finally in the debate on Thursday that he is the single conservative candidate to rally around if he hopes to win in South Carolina and hope to stop the Romney coronation. If anyone can do it, it is Newt Gingrich. At the same time, Newt is also the man who will have the hardest time doing it.

His attacks on Romney’s time at Bain were stupid and he now knows it. Many who found his attacks reckless turned to Santorum. They could be wooed back since Santorum was not their first choice and he is a fairly weak candidate. To get them back, Newt has been explaining his attacks and distancing himself from the SuperPAC that launched the worst of them. He doesn’t have much time to heal the wounds, but is making excellent progress. Whether he can pull it off this week without making another mistake remains to be seen. If he can pull it off anywhere, it would be easiest in South Carolina where he has many past supporters.

A victory for Newt in South Carolina can come in two ways: he can beat Romney or he can be at least 10 points ahead of Santorum. With either outcome, he can campaign on the ‘strongest conservative’ strategy fairly successfully and probably win back all those who lost confidence in him outside South Carolina. However if he stays tangled up with Santorum, the two of them will have to get in a room and decide who is going to drop out in order to unite the conservative vote before it is too late to make a difference.

But, let’s say that Gingrich pulls off the win in South Carolina by at least distancing himself from Santorum and Perry. Perry will, if he has any sense for his political future, drop out of the race so as not to split the conservative vote. Santorum should do the same, but would probably try to make one last stand in Florida hoping that Newt would only be strong in SC. All that aside, the question remains: would Newt uniting the conservatives be a good thing?

We have learned that the new Newt is just the old Newt with a couple dozen extra pounds. He is still mercurial and gets sucked into conflicts without seeing the bigger picture. The Bain mistake will likely not be his last and conservatives could find themselves without a candidate if he implodes later in the race. If he manages to hold it together and win the nomination, he is still a hard candidate to sell to the all-important independent voters. No one can question his debate skills, but if he can spin out of control so easily under the pressure of Romney’s attacks it certainly raises doubts that he will be able to battle the vicious lie machine called the Obama campaign.

Can Newt be the Comeback Kid? Would the party benefit if he were? I think he will succeed in being the final conservative standing and challenge Romney. I’d give him a 30% chance of winning the nomination if he pulls that off. I’d then give him a 25% of winning the Presidency if he were the nominee. I, and pretty much every Republican, would end up voting for him because of our intense desire to see Obama out of office. Yet, independents are fickle and can be bought by slick ads and accusations – especially with a complicit media helping at every turn. Newt would only need to make one mistake and he would be beaten over the head with it constantly. While I am entirely convinced he would mop the floor with Obama in a debate, I doubt Obama will give him the opportunity. Sure, Newt says he’s just hound Obama like Lincoln after Douglas. That would work if the media weren’t in the bag for Obama and would report Newt fairly. Since that is not the case, Newt would make a lot of good points no one he needs to reach would hear.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Newt is great. I’d love to see him force Santorum and Perry out of the race and get this nomination process focused between the three wings of the party with one candidate each. I think that the party needs that debate and to pick a direction on issues rather than personal bickering. I just don’t think Newt can pull off the final victory due to the mistakes he’s already made and the likelihood that he’ll make more when the pressure really comes on. In his defense, I think Santorum and Perry stand even less of a chance and if anyone can pull it off for the conservatives – it is Newt.

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Iowa’s Mold Breaker Might Matter

We are discovering the 2012 election cycle dynamic every day.  One thing we have learned already is that things that didn’t matter last week are crucial this week.  The thing we are learning this past week is that money matters, as Mitt Romney surrogates bought waves of negative airtime, Ron Paul bought Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, and Newt suddenly began to realize what a nice thing it would be to have campaign staffs, ground crews, or even counter advertising money.

To Huntsman’s dismay, we may be discovering that Iowa matters.  Let me put it this way.  If Newt Gingrich wins Iowa, it doesn’t really matter.  If Santorum wins Iowa, it will give him some false momentum but Iowa alone won’t matter.  If Bachmann wins Iowa, we will all drop our jaw and then move on with the real race.  If Paul wins Iowa, mainstream Republicans will spend the next few days complaining about how he did his usual ballot stuffing tricks, but then move on.

However, if Mitt Romney wins Iowa, that will be huge.  Iowa has typically stuck to mainstream, evangelical, more conservative than moderate candidates.  Iowa has granted hope to Mike Huckabee in recent years, and Michele Bachmann this year.  Now, with Mitt Romney leading in the polls, it appears that more conservative, evangelical voters are accepting that Romney will win the nomination.  In fact, in this case I wonder what type of dynamic Ron Paul is attributing to Romney’s rise.  Are Iowans viewing Gingrich, Perry and now even Santorum as third party spoilers?

I think with the Iowa dynamic, voters may actually prefer Santorum in the current field.  Instead, it appears that Iowa may end up being about who can beat Barack Obama, or more immediately, who can beat Ron Paul.  At any rate, if Mitt Romney wins, Iowa matters.  As McCain proved in 2008, voting for a candidate primarily because of electability is a tough paradigm to crack once it is set.

One thing is for sure.  If Romney does win in Iowa, Newt is dreaming if he thinks he can turn everything around in New Hampshire.

And the Winner of the Iowa Caucus is……….

Romney and Santorum may surprise all with a first and second place finish, respectively, but South Carolina will be the real winner of the Iowa Caucuses.

Bookmark and Share I am predicting that Mitt Romney will in Iowa and it will go a long way in establishing a sense of inevitability that will help him wrap up the nomination sooner than later.   However; unless Romney racks up a win with 30 or more percent, the results will not matter a great deal and in the end, the real winner will be South Carolina.

Iowa’s caucus history shows that the winners of their nominating contests do not usually go on to become the nominee and President.  More often than not, Iowa caucus voters seem more intent on sending a message to the establishment than sending a nominee to the White House.  This time may be different in the sense that Iowa Republicans may believe that their support for most of the existing candidates will not send any strong message and that Ron Paul, the only candidate for whom a protest vote for would send a clear message, is not in any way a responsible and realistically, viable candidate.   As it is, most Iowa Republicans do not support Ron Paul.  His perceived success in the state so far is due mainly to the Independent and Democrats who are allowed to vote in the caucuses if they change their Party affiliation.

This is something which Paulbots have been planning on taking advantage for a very long time and they are doing a good job at it.

But not good enough.

In the end I believe that between all the back and forth of frontrunner status for one candidate or another, Mitt Romney who has been consistently at the top of the polls in Iowa and who has the strongest organization of all the candidates in the state, will benefit from a social conservative and evangelical vote that is sharply divided between at least four candidates, and from his perceived electability against Barack Obama.  These factors will allow Romney to win the caucus, but unless he wins by an overwhelming amount, it will not do much to help him convince people that he will definitely be the nominee.  That job will be left up to South Carolina, which will actually be the big winner coming out of Iowa.

Everyone knows that Romney will win New Hampshire, so there is little suspense there.  That leaves South Carolina which follows the Live Free or Die State, as the most pivotal of all the early state contests and the greatest beneficiary of the results in Iowa.

It is where Newt Gingrich has been trying to build a firewall and hoping to establish himself as either the frontrunner or the only real viable alternative to Mitt Romney.

South Carolina is also a prelude to the Florida and the momentum provided to the candidate who wins in South Carolina will go a long way in helping that candidate’s chances of winning in the Sunshine State’s primary. 

Even in the unlikely event that Romney blew out all his rivals with a win of  30% or more,  South Carolina will still be an early contest that either solidifies Romney’s lock on the nomination or gives someone else the opportunity to be Romney’s true chief rival as the race moves forward.

These are just simple facts which will not be changed by any result that Iowa produces.  If Senator Rick Santorum happened to pull off a Huckabee-like, 2008, come-from-behind victory, Romney will still dominate in the New Hampshire primary and South Carolina will still host the contest that play a somewhat more decisive role than either New Hampshire or Iowa.

When all is said and done, Iowa will serve one chief purpose.  It will help weed out the field of candidates.  It will help to begin sealing the deal for several of the lower tier candidates, especially Rick Perry.  But even in that capacity, Iowa is not likely to end anyone’s candidacy.  Once again, that mission will be accomplished in South Carolina.

That said, in the tradition of making predictions as one year ends and a new one begins, while I hold true to the belief that Iowa will really only matter if Romney comes in anywhere under third pace, or wins with a large plurality, I also believe that the candidates will finish as follows:

  1. Mitt Romney – 26%
  2. Rick Santorum -21%
  3. Ron Paul – 17%
  4. Newt Gingrich -16%
  5. Rick Perry – 11%
  6. Michele Bachmann – 7%
  7. Jon Huntsman – 2%

I am quite uncertain about those totals, but very confident in the order of each candidate’s placement.

These results will produce several storylines coming out of Iowa.  One will be about whether of not Mitt Romney has a lock on the nomination as he is now on a path to becoming the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to sweep both Iowa and New Hampshire?  The other story will be is Rick Santorum, the new Mike Huckabee and can he translate his strong Iowa showing into a victory elsewhere? 

The other stories that will provide the filler for 24 hour cable news programs, will be can Newt comeback “in South Carolina”? What happened to Ron Paul’s surge? And is this the end for Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann?

The answer to all these questions will be determined by the state which I argue will be the ultimate winner in the Iowa Caucuses…..South Carolina.

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White House 2012: The Herd. The Other Republicans Running for President

Bookmark and Share  Unless you’re in a coma or a teenybopper more concerned with Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber than Lady Liberty and justice, you are aware of at least eight of the Republicans running  for the Republican presidential nomination.  But not everyone knows that there are actually 134 Republicans who have registered their candidacies for President with the Federal Election Commission. 
 
What’s more is that such a proliferation of candidates is not unusual.  Similar numbers have accounted for the entirety of past fields of presidential candidates in both Parties.  This year, with Democrats having an incumbent President running for reelection, as expected, they have far fewer challengers than do Republicans.  Democrats have only 45 registered candidates.  As for other Parties,  combined, there is a long list of candidates that looks as follows:
 
Constitution Party 1, Constitutional Party 1, Green Party 5, Libertarian Party 15, Reform Party 1, American Independent Party 1, American Party 1, Citizens Party 3, Independence Party 1, Objectivist Party 1, Prohibition Party 2, Socialism and Liberation Party 1, Socialist Party USA 2
 
All totaled, that accounts for 230 individual people running for President of the United States.  It is a number that makes you realize that there is much more to the presidential election than we see or hear about.  It also proves that the media does not necessarily live up to its need to truly inform the electorate.  But  knowing that such a large number of people are technically running for President makes it easy to understand why the major televised debates have rules requiring that in order to participate, candidates must have polled at least one or two percent in national polls.  Many have complained that these two hour debates with 7 or 8 candidates do not give the participants enough time to answer questions properly.  Can you imaging another debate with CNN’s Jonathon King moderating a stage full of 134 candidates?  He couldn’t handle the seven he had.
 
So given these facts, it becomes understandable why there are so many rules regarding these debates.  But the electoral process has its own set of rules that also weeds out the large field of candidates.
 
While there may be 134 Republicans running for President, most all of them are not on any primary or caucus ballots. 
 
Ballot access is something that is left up to the individual states and as such, they each have their own requirements and rules.
 
In New Hampshire, all it takes to get on the presidential primary ballot is a filing fee of $1,000.  In South Carolina  there is a filing fee to appear on the presidential primary ballot that costs $25,000 if the candidate pays by May 3, or $35,000 if they pay later than that.  
 
Other states have election laws that essentially give control of the primaries to the establishment of the respective Parties.  In state’s like New York and New Jersey, a large number of signatures from  registered Republicans who meet residency requirements,  is required to get on the ballot.  This usually means that a strong organization is needed and even then, these rules often produce numerous court challenges which try to knock candidates off the ballot due to legal technicalities which may disqualify some signatures from counting towards the total needed.  In New York, the petition process is so arcane that someone can see all their petition signatures disqualified based upon such things as an printing error on the petitions. 
 
Whether this is fair or not is debatable, but the democratic process has never been accused of being easy or clean and in many ways the daunting challenge to get on the ballot do prevent voters from having to go through a national phonebook of names to cast their vote.   In 200o, voters in Palm Beach had a hard enough time trying to vote for President with a ballot that had only three names available to them.  Can you imagine the chaos there would be with 140 or more names on the ballot?
 
In the end, the process does legitimately make it so that only a truly serious candidates run for President.  In order to make it to the ballot, they  must be motivated, organized, and well financed.  And even then it is not easy.  In 2000,  the  high-profile Green Party candidacy of ,Ralph Nader, didn’t make it onto the presidential ballots of  three states. 
 
So registering with the Federal Election Commission does not necessarily make one a serious presidential candidate.  However, as White House 2012 can attest to, despite the odds, many of those who filed with the FEC, are taking their run for the Republican nomination quite seriously.
 
Ever since last August, dozens of candidates have contacted White House 2012 requesting that they be added to the site and given the same treatment as the major candidates, including their own White House 2012 bio page. 
 
Unfortunately, the financial costs, and amount of manpower and time required to make that possible is just not possible

Joe Story

for White House 2012.   However, what we at WH12 are willing to do, is run this series called “The Herd”.  It is an ongoing series about the rest of the Republican field of candidates.  Every other day, we will feature one of these lesser known candidates.  Some of these profiles will include well intentioned people like Joe Story, who by the luck of the draw, will be the first name that appears on the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary ballot.   Other profiles will include colorful characters like Jimmy “The Rent is Too Damn High” McMillan, an outrageous former Democrat candidate for Governor of the Empire State.  Now he is running for President of, we think, the United States, as a Republican.   The series is sure to be, at the very least, quite entertaining.

 
Even though I have tried, White House 2012 still won’t be able to tell you about all 134 Republicans who filed a candidacy with the FEC but that won’t be because we didn’t try.  I reached out to each of the candidates and those who I could reach, were sent a questionnaire which was designed to help us determine whom the most serious candidates are [see the questions here].  Those who did not respond, eliminated themselves from this series. 
 
One such candidate was Samm Tittle .  Ms. Tittle called White House 2012 and left a message stating that she has “been with the FEC as a primary Republican candidate”. 
 
She added;
 
“I take it your a fair man.  I’ve read a lot about you and I’d like you to get me on  to that  list of the candidates, if you please. We’ve already sent to your staff, quite a bit of information and I haven’t gotten any response. So I thought I’d go ahead and call you personally. . I’m out there. I’d like to get the same respect that you’re giving to the rest of the candidates. Thank you very much.”   
 
If Ms. Tittle has sent White House 2012 “quite a bit of information“, I don’t know anything about it.  If she really did, we probably would have covered it.  We have done so with Fred Karger, the openly gay Republican candidate for President who sent us information and even sat down for an interview with us.  But I would like to consider myself a fair man.  So I responded to candidate Tittle.  She on the other hand has not responded back.  So there goes that.
 
Some candidates I could not even get in touch with.  Rest assured that White House 2012 will not bother with them.  Also on that list are those candidates who do not make any contact information readily available.  While I for one believe that modern technology can not replace many aspects of good ole’ fashioned political campaigning, this is not the election of 1796.  Communication with contemporary candidates should not need to be conducted via horse and buggy.
 
But those candidates who are willing to make a decent attempt at getting their message out, will be afforded the opportunity to do so on White House 2012 and that opportunity will be made available to them in “The Herd”.  So stay tuned.  I promise you at least a good slice of human interest  in this series. 
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The GOP Debate Gauntlet – Deciding The Nominee Or Face Time For Media Hounds?

Bookmark and ShareAs GOP primary voters wind down to the last couple of months before the selection process of a nominee begins there has certainly been no shortage of opportunity for the top polling candidates to get their message out.

Is it me or is there a GOP presidential debate every week?

For political junkies it is a fantastic schedule. The candidates squaring off on our tv’s, the trip up’s and slip up’s, the scolding of the media, the embellishing of records and the bickering about who has the biggest…….plan. All kidding aside there have been a few bright moments and some instances where policy has been articulated well to allow the voters to hear and decide who the best candidate would be to put the country back on the right track.

But does the grueling debate schedule also serve another purpose?

Lets be honest here, there are candidates whose funding, message and 15 minutes have dried up during the process but yet they remain there, on the stage, for nothing more than a little self promotion and face time. To steal a quote from ESPN’s weekly blooper segment: “C’Mon Man!”.

Michele Bachmann came out like a lion and is leaving like a lamb. Winning the Iowa straw poll gave her some hope but realistically the big dogs had yet to get on the porch in Iowa at the time. Although she has had some good moments in the debates her chances are slim to none. 28 foster children is admirable but repeating it time after time to people who want to know what you are going to do to help the job market won’t help a withering campaign bank account. Sorry congresswoman but after Iowa it may be time to sit down and pen that book you seem to be promoting. Get off the stage

Rick Santorum has spent a ton of time and money in Iowa. He has spent enough time in Iowa that he may have to file his state tax return in the Hawkeye state. Despite his near residency he is still polling at or near the bottom in the state that kicks off the election cycle. That alone should be enough to tell the former Pennsylvania Senator that it may be time to hang it up. In a socially conservative state, the socially conservative candidate has not been able to gain traction. Not a good sign. He has performed well in the debates don’t get me wrong but if he can’t get off the ground in Iowa he isn’t getting off the ground at all. Especially after all of the effort he has put into it. If he is staying in for VP consideration or to gain viewers for a new Fox News show is unclear but staying in to win is not an option at this point. Your best in Iowa was not good enough. Get off the stage.

Jon Huntsman has also not made any major gaffes in the debate cycle but has yet to make a name for himself in a muddled field. China this, China that. Pointing to his foreign policy experience should be an asset to Huntsman but instead has made him seem like a 1 trick pony. Throw that in with his time in the Obama administration and although it may be unfair, he comes off to the everyday voter as Obama’s China guy and using the words Obama and China in the same sentence doesn’t bode well with GOP voters at the moment. Noting your experience with China every time you get a chance to speak however may land you a spot in the next GOP administration but other than that there is no reason for Huntsman to remain in. Get off the stage.

Ron Paul has been polling well. That is to say better than he has in past presidential primaries. However even his supporters, of which I am one, realize his chances of winning a GOP nomination are almost non-existent. His values are more Libertarian than Republican, everyone knows it and he is unapologetic for it. Some of the ideas he was ostracized for in past primaries have become GOP rallying calls but it still doesn’t hide the fact that he simply is not what GOP voters are looking for. He is still raising enough money and polling well enough to stay in the race but is he going to stay in to win or to gain a national stage for his Libertarian philosophy? I think everyone with an ounce of sense knows it is the latter. He would do much better as a 3rd party candidate and would in the end probably help the GOP nominee by siphoning some of Obama’s more fiscally responsible but socially liberal supporters from the President. It pains me to say it but Dr. Paul – Get off the (GOP) stage.

Rick Perry is a car wreck on the side of the highway. It is very difficult to watch but you can’t help yourself from wanting to take a peek. Gaffe after gaffe has made him the poster boy for SNL skits. Couple that with a very poor decision to pick a fight with Mitt Romney in which he got his rear end handed to him and you have a flash in the pan campaign that started like it was shot out of a cannon and then exploded before it made impact with anything. debates are not Perry’s strong suit. Unfortunately for him there are a bunch of them. Another Fox News gig in the wings? He does have great hair. Governor, Get off the stage.

Hopefully these candidates will see the light after Iowa and bow out gracefully. They have nothing but a prayer of winning the GOP nomination and if they truly wan to show fiscal responsibility will quit wasting their donors money trying to do so. There will probably be a couple that remain in until the coffers run empty simply for self promotion and grandeur, but that’s what we get for scheduling this many debates.

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White House 2012′s Morning Memo: Tuesday’s Election News Briefing for 11/15/11

Bookmark and Share   While you were asleep, the political world kept turning and tried to cast its perpetual spin on reality.  So set the record straight with White House 2012’s Morning Memo as we bring you  Gloria Cain’s interview, Polls that have Newt soaring and Americans doubting Cain, as well as stories about the end of Rick Perry’s campaign, strange emails from the First Lady, the stage being set for the Supreme Courts hearing on Obamacare, the shaping of the 2016 presidential election, notes about the Abuser in Chief, and much more. 

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How The Media Just Might Make Herman Cain President

Bookmark and Share   At a campaign event in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Friday, someone from the audience joked to Herman Cain that Anita Hill was trying to call him [see the video below this post].  Those around the two me broke out in laughter.  So did Cain.  In response to the sarcastic reference to Anita Hill’s false claims of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas decades ago, Herman Cain lightheartedly joked back “Is she gonna endorse me?”

The exchange was actually very innocent and not initiated by Cain.  However the liberal media immediately began to pounce on the episode and turned it in a negative news story that liberals are eating up and trying to make some kind of point with.

Over at the NPR, National Propaganda Radio,  liberal poison pens were running out of ink with comments like this ;

m moore (1900)

m moore (1900) wrote:

Oh my!  Her’Cain surrounded by all white christian people and all laughing at a victim of sexual harassment?
I wonder how much the Koch bros pays Her’Cain for being a minstrel show entertainer.

 

Bruce Foster (bwf27)Bruce Foster (bwf27)wrote:

What Herman Cain has clearly reminded us is that you don’t have to be “white” to be a bigot.

 

 

C Morris (CMorris)

C Morris (CMorris) wrote:

TeaPublican slate = clueless malevolent clowns

 

 
For all the Cainiacs attacking Frank James I ask: is there something in this post that isn’t factual? If so, call it out. Otherwise you are attacking a reporter for the “crime” of reporting the facts and if you can’t handle the facts then the problem lies with you, not Mr. James.
 

World Dweller (worlddweller)

World Dweller (worlddweller) wrote:

Wow, my confidence in Mr Cain’s diplomatic ability only increases with every word that comes out of his mouth. (sarcasm)It seems like every day now he says something that is insulting. At the debates the other night, it was an unfounded ‘Princess Pelosi’. Today it’s lack of sensitivity and laughing about the serious charges against him(or is that every day now?).Despite the insults etc., I would like hime to be the Republican nominee, simply for the entertainment value it would bring to the debates against Obama! 

What do you expect from the brainwashed mocha skim milk,  latte,  vanilla foaming, burnt bean, Stabuck, espresso swillers, who drop $7.00 for a cup of coffee and sip it while they map out their Occupy Wall Street agendas against capitalism?   These are the same people who were hanging George Bush in effigy for the ongoing war in Afghanistan but are today, throwing Molotov cocktails at Oakland police. 

That’s the type of stuff I expect from the hypocritical based left.  But it is not what I expected from Newt Gingrich who in a radio interview with one of my favorite conservative talking heads Laura Ingraham.  When asked about the joke, Newt stated

“He may well be innocent, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable for him to defend himself and for him to make clear who his accusers are, but these are not things, I think, that you joke about.”

That is probably a good point, but one that is particularly good for Newt, a man with his own different set of luggage to carry.  But in the case of Herman Cain, its a different story, and that plot is beginning to unfold in the following way.  Unlike Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain is not a politician.  It is a difference people like.  And part of that attraction is a refreshing bluntness that Cain has.  People find it refreshing to hear honest opinion and not political rhetoric. 

In a Fox News interview about the issue on Friday, Cain explained how a supporter joked that Hill was trying to contact him and went on to say:

“And my response was ‘Is she going to endorse me?”

He added, “I thought it was damn funny and it was”.

“He said it in a humorous way. I gave back a humorous response. It was in no way intended to be an insult toward Anita Hill or anybody else,” Cain said.

That type of honesty is welcomed by many voters.  They appreciate hearing a political figure speak and react in ways that are human, not plastic and Herman Cain is anything but plastic. 

As such, the media’s attempt to make hay out of the episode simply gave Cain another opportunity to prove to voters that he is real, and is one of them……… a person who realizes that government is broke and knows that it will not be fixed by the status quo, establishment in politics.   So in the end, the attempt by the left and its media entities did one thing and one thing only by jumping on Cain for his innocent quip……..they simply gave voters another reason to rally around Herman Cain.  They gave him the opportunity to demonstrate that he is real, not fake.  That he is in tune with them, not Occupy Wall Street. 

Eventually the media and Herman Cain’s opponents are going to realize that people do not hold Cain to the same political standard that they hold Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney to. Whether that is right or wrong, is not in question.  It is just simply is that way and as such, not only can he get a way with things that other politicians can’t, he can use them to his advantage. 

So the moral of this story is, unless the media has a silver bullet to use against Cain, they should keep their fingers off the trigger.  Eventually they will realize that the more they thow at Cain, the larger the rally around Cain gets.

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A Dismal Fight for Relevance

The GOP Presidential debate in Las Vegas highlighted not only some of the candidates’ fight for relevance, but the fight for relevance for many voters in the nation. Nevada joined the growing number of States moving up their primary election. The voters in many States have felt as though their votes did not matter. Key swing States often vote so late that the primary process is basically over and decided before their votes are cast. It has been argued that this has resulted in nominations of candidates that don’t speak to the needs of most Americans, but rather just to the needs of a handful of non-representative States. The power that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have in the nomination process outweighs that of key general election States like Florida and Ohio. The cost of running a campaign is so staggeringly high that a candidate that does not appeal to the voters in Iowa or New Hampshire may be out of the race regardless of how he or she is polling in more critical States. The problem effects both parties and gave the Democrats Barack Obama and the Republicans John McCain, not the first choices of the majority of people in key general election States at the time of the early primaries. Penalties against States in 2008 from the Democrats are being matched this year by many Republican candidates boycotting Nevada either wholly or in part.

Jon Huntsman was absent from the debate in protest. In reality, his ‘protest’ had more to do with courting New Hampshire voters than it did with any principle. He is seeking to knock Romney down in the New Hampshire polls and lift himself by painting himself as their real ‘friend’ and Romney as not really for their needs. Romney, Perry and Paul decided to leave the placement of primaries to the States and stay out of their affairs. All the others didn’t seem sure of what position to take, so they went to the televised debate but skipped other events. That is sort of like going to the all you can eat buffet and ‘making a stand’ by not eating any oyster crackers. It isn’t a position based on any principles and it isn’t particularly meaningful. In the end, it all comes down to Huntsman trying to make himself relevant by playing up the inflated relevance of New Hampshire while Nevada is trying to make the votes of its citizens relevant by moving up its primary.

The rest of the field used the debate to fight for their relevance. Bachmann and Santorum needed to make a big move. Gingrich needed to put on as good a performance in this debate people could actually watch as he did in the minimal audience Bloomberg debate so they would see his relevance. Perry needed to show that he can be an effective candidate without a teleprompter or he might drop further in the polls to total irrelevance. Cain needed to show that he had foreign affairs ideas and not just 9-9-9 so that he can truly challenge Romney. Paul needed to connect with the viewer better after publishing his plan full of popular conservative ideas so that he is no longer viewed as irrelevant to mainstream voters. Lastly Romney needed to put some passion into his performance and show the voters something to be excited about so that he can see his poll numbers break out of their long-time holding pattern.

Unfortunately none of the candidates succeeded. They could have all come out of the debate better off and advanced the larger conservative cause. Instead, rather than any winners, the debate is better measured in who the bigger losers were. In the effort to make themselves look better at the expense of other candidates, Santorum and Perry generally made themselves look like jerks. The only civility in the debate came, once again, from Gingrich and Cain. Romney, who needed to energize the voters and give them a reason to be excited by his campaign, instead decided to engage in attacks on other candidates in a very condescending manner. Bachmann did better on issues than in some previous debates but still came across as a yipping dog.

Now I’m sure that there will plenty of you who think I am being too hard or too mean to these candidates. You may feel that it is disloyal to the party or the movement for a conservative blogger to call out these candidates. You may think your preferred candidate somehow was justified in his or her actions during the debate. You may think they won the debate. As someone who has yet to make a choice on these candidates, I are weighing them all and I was disappointed in their performances this time. I know they could do better. I expect them to be better. We need them to be better.

That being said, there were many good responses and messages put forth in this debate on security. There was not as much consensus on security issues as there had been on economic issues. Some interesting divides emerged. It was surprising that Bachmann, as Tea Party champion, aligned more with neoconservative Santorum on foreign affairs. She was far more a champion of interventionism than any other candidate on the stage aside from Santorum. How that will play with the less interventionist leanings of most Tea Partiers will be seen in the next round of polls. Ron Paul has generally had weak support from most conservatives on foreign affairs, but he did manage to better articulate his positions on those matters. Herman Cain was able to be a more broad candidate and not just Mr. 9-9-9. Rick Perry appeared prepared and engaged for the debate. So, there are some good parts that came from the debate. It is just unfortunate that most of that was buried underneath a mountain of attacks and counterattacks between the candidates.

The conduct of the candidates is translating to the voters. The audience in the debate hall was far more divided than in previous debates. At times they even booed various responses. That is good news for Obama, but not very good news for the GOP. The only person who really seems to get that is Newt Gingrich. If the candidates continue to drive wedges within the party in their fight, they may only make the eventual nominee so weak that the party itself will have to fight for relevance again. We need to be building on the momentum of 2010, but are slowing our own roll and giving Obama everything he needs to destroy any of these candidates in the general.

To all of the candidates (except Speaker Gingrich), I must say that I am disappointed in your actions and while I came into the debate excited about my choices, I am leaving the debate much less so. We need leaders. Attacking your fellows is not leading. Bashing another’s ideas is not having vision. Grow up.

Mackinac Straw Poll Shows Michigan is Still Romney Territory

Bookmark and Share    While the big news of this weekend is Herman Cain’s incredibly strong first place showing in the Florida’s Presidency 5 Straw Poll, a straw poll in Michigan announced Mitt Romney its winner.

Out 681 votes cast from among 1,800 attendees gathered at the 29th Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, Romney garnered 346 votes or 51 percent. The candidate who came closest to Romney was Texas Governor Rick Perry who captured 16.8% with 114 votes.

On Saturday, both Perry and Romney had forgone the opportunity to address the P5 Straw Poll in Orlando, Florida and instead opted to address the Mackinac event.

Perry did speak to P5 participants during a Saturday morning breakfast event. And before voting began in that contest, a pre-recorded video message by him was seen by all.

In the case of Mitt Romney, he has made it a policy to not compete in straw polls this year because he would prefer to invest the large amount of resources they require in the actual election rather than contests that have no bearing on the delegate count needed to win the Republican presidential nomination. In 2007, Mitt Romney spent more than $1 million in the Iowa Straw Poll, which he won. But he went on to lose the Iowa Caucuses to Mike Huckabee. Four years later, Romney does not want to divert the time and money from his 2012 campaign to such beauty contests.

Unlike Herman Cain’s win in Florida, Romney was widely expected to win the Michigan event, just as he is expected to win the Michigan Republican presidential primary in 2012. Romney is a native of Michigan and his father was a popular Governor of the state. Romney also won the Michigan primary in the 2008 election cycle.

Since 1953, Michigan Republicans have gathered for the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference every two years at historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.. The event allows Party activists to discuss ideas, learn how to articulate the Republican message, and to interact with fellow Republicans from across the state—and the country. The Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference has become one of the premier Republican events in the Midwest.

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Mitt Romney Wants Sarah Palin to Run for President

Bookmark and Share    In an interview with USA Today’s Susan Page, Mitt Romney states that he hopes Sarah Palin runs for President.

According to Romney;

“I think it would be a good thing if she did. She would make the race that much more exciting, bring more people to watch the debates, and I hope she gets in.”

Romney is totally correct on those points.

Palin’s entry into the race would have an incredibly positive affect for Republicans in the 2012 election. It will especially take a lot of ink away from President Obama.

However Romney does not mention the real reason why he would like Palin to run.

With Sarah Palin in the nomination contest, candidates like Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, will have their vote totals suppressed by Palin’s candidacy which will absorb much of their support. And while she holds down the vote totals of candidate like Bachmann and Perry, Romney has a good chance to see his establishment conservative vote totals surpass all others and wrap up the nomination earlier rather than later.

Of course, with Palin running, there is also a good chance that Romney will lose…………..to her.

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Romney Picks Up Conservative Support From Congress

Bookmark and Share    Darrell Issa , the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has announced that he endorsing Mitt Romney for President. On the surface, the importance of the endorsement is undeniably significant. Issa is considered by many a leading Republican figure in the G.O.P., particularly among Conservatives. As a candidate in desperate need of conservative credentials, Issa’s support helps. But below the surface are two contradicting factors at play with the Issa endorsement.

While Congressman Issa is appreciated in conservative circles, how convincing his endorsement of Romney will be to many Conservatives is in doubt. What is not doubted though, is that Darrel Issa is viewed as an establishment politician and Mitt Romney is not in dire need of support from the establishment. What he needs is anti-establishment support. Particuarly from the TEA movement, a large, active portion of the electorate that is disenchanted with politicians and politics-as-usual. The Issa endorsement does not help Romney on this front.

On the flipside, Darrell Issa’s endorsement does have a significant numerical, if not ideological benefit.

The 172 delegates that California sends to the national convention make up for a tad over 7% of the entire Republican delegation in the country or over 14% of the number of delegates needed to win the presidential nomination. And with California being a winner-take-all primary, that is a significant accumulation of delegates for the winner. That makes Issa’s influence important in California where he may have sway over a significant number of republican activists and leaders in his California congressional district. This will go a long way in providing volunteers for Romney, and organizing his Get Out the Vote operation.

Ultimately, while Darrell Issa’s endorsement of Romney may not exactly be the catalyst for a surefire Romney win, it will make a difference in California, a delegate rich state that will boost any candidate’s chance at winning the nomination.

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Palin’s Presidential Write-In Candidacy

Bookmark and Share    Sarah Palin had originally indicated that she would make a decision about a run for President in 2012 by the end of September. Yet in a recent interview with Sean Hannity she seemed to indicate that her decision might not come until November. When asked about her intentions and after being reminded by Sean Hannity that crunch time is approaching soon, Governor Palin responded by stating;

“There is still time, Sean, and I think on both sides of the aisle you’re going to see people coming and going from this race,”

According to Palin;

“In the Republican race, in this primary, I think people are still going to be coming and going because there is still time. And I’m still one of those still considering the time factor.”

When Hannity asked she didn’t need to make a decision by November, her response was;

“You do, legally you do, because you have start getting your ducks lined up to have your name on these ballots.”

But probably the most telling comment she made during her interview was;

“This is going to be such an unconventional election cycle. … Mark my word, it is going to be an unconventional type of election process.”

Trying to dissect Palin’s words is probably futile. The former Governor and Vice Presidential nominee is keenly aware that her every word is scrutinized, and from them are extrapolated some wild hypotheses . As such, she quite smartly, and intentionally throws out phrases that keep speculation about her front and center.

But there are several realities that can’t be denied. The most glaring one is that if Governor Palin intends to run, in order to get her name on the ballot in South Carolina and Florida, she must make her candidacy official and file the proper paperwork within the next 5 ½ weeks.

Or does she?

As Palin said in her interview, “Mark my word, it is going to be an unconventional type of election process.”

When it comes to unconventional, Sarah Palin is the quintessential queen of unconvential. No politician is as unconventional as her. And while some suggest that her unpredictable nature makes her an unlikely political leader, it can not be denied that much of Palin’s popularity is based on her unconventional tendencies. It is what makes her the anti-establishment candidate at a time when the popular TEA movement that decided the 2010 midterm elections, is looking for an anti-establishmentarian figure to lead our nation.

So what could Palin have meant when after admitting that by typical legal standards, one would have to make a decision about the presidential election soon, but then suggested that this election is not going to be typical?

It is true that Palin would have to make her candidacy officially within the next several weeks if she intended to have ballot access in the South Carolina and Florida primaries. But it is also true that Palin could still win both those contests without appearing on the ballot. If an aggressive write-in effort were waged, Palin could actually catapult herself into frontrunner status and turn this election on its ear. That would certainly live up to her promise that we are about to enter into “an unconventional type of election process.”

To help make that promise come to fruition, Palin could remain an undeclared presidential candidate and continue to draw thousands to the appearances she she is already making around the country. But with a shifted focus on visits to Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida, and a few additional words, she could be in this race until the Republican national convention concludes.

With all the talk about Republicans not being very confident or excited by any of the existing candidates, Palin can appeal to those dissatisfied Republicans, and TEA movement voters by remaining the anti-establishment Republican. She can simply suggest that if you really want to send a message to Republicans and Democrats alike, we should think outside of the box that the establishment has put us in and do not limit ourselves to the candidates that the two Parties offer. And then all Palin needs to say is……

“Write in the name of the person you want to lead this nation, don’t just mark off one of the names that the Party machine allows you to choose from”.

From then on, a movement will be born, a movement that will make writing Sarah Palin’s name in as a symbol of protest and dissatisfaction with the establishment……of both Parties.

In the end, Governor Palin may not be able to win the nomination solely as a write-in candidate, but it could also be that Governor Palin does not intend to be President. Such an effort could simply be an ingenious way for her to insure that her voice is heard and that she continues to influence politics in the way that she intends to………… by keeping the establishment on their toes and preaching the virtues of limited government and bountiful freedom.

Then again, no one can say that Palin would have to remain simply a protest vote. A strong write-in candidacy could actually provide Palin with enough delegates to significantly influence such things as who the next vice presidential nominee is and numerous planks in the Republican Party’s platform. And if this happens to be a very close nomination contest, she could even garner enough delegates to select who the next presidential nominee is.

But that’s not to say that Palin won’t be the next President herself.

If her promise of an unconventional election bears out to mean a Palin write-in candidacy, a strong showing in Florida or South Carolina as a write-in candidate could create enough waves to propel her ahead of the official candidates. If that were to happen, all bets are off.

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New Poll Shows Perry Has Lots of Work To Do

Bookmark and Share    A new poll of New Hampshire Republicans by Suffolk University has begun to raise doubt about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s electability outside of the South. According to the poll, Romney leads Perry by 33 points. Even more depressing for the Perry camp is that not only is the gap between him and Romney so wide, but he also trails behind Texas Congressman Ron Paul and even former Ambassador and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. According to the results, Romney takes 41 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul garners 14 percent. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman finishes third with 10 percent, followed by Perry with eight percent, Sarah Palin who is not even an official candidate at 6%; Michele Bachmann 5%; Newt Gingrich at 4%; and Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer at or around 1%.

Perry’s fourth place showing in New Hampshire according to one poll which is not among any of the four that are typically used to gauge how a candidate is doing, is certainly not a sign that things are over for Perry, not even in New Hampshire. But it does suggest that Perry has a lot of work to do outside of the delegate rich South.

Between January and April 24th of 2012, 351 delegates are up for grabs from within the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states alone. In that same time period, Midwest and upper-Midwest states will have 238 delegates in play. This means that unless Perry locks up the nomination with substantial early wins in at least South Carolina and Florida, followed by substantial victories in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, and North Dakota which are scheduled to hold their contests on the same day in February, than Mitt Romney can assure Rick Perry a long and drawn out battle that Romney could easily win.

Currently, while Perry’s strength lies in the South, Southwest and possibly even places like Iowa, Romney has a leg up on Perry in the Northeast, upper Midwest and West. For Mitt, states, like Michigan, which he won in 2008, and Wisconsin and Minnesota are strong territory for him. In the Northeast, states like new York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and others, make it the region that is strongest for him.

And then there is of course California, which is a winner-take-all contest that is closed to only registered Republicans. A win there in early February will earn the victor 172 delegates. That is equal to the number of delegates in play in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida combined.

What this means is that Rick Perry will need to quickly show some strength outside of Iowa and the South. New Hampshire would be the perfect place for him to do that. But asking Perry to win New Hampshire over Mitt Romney is like expecting Mitt Romney to defeat Rick Perry in Texas……..it ain’t gonna happen.

Still, coming in behind both Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman is embarrassing for a so-called frontrunner. So Perry is going to have to work at New Hampshire. Even though a Southern strategy that would have him win the early states of South Carolina and then Florida can work, being blown out in New Hampshire will not allow Mitt Romney to stay in the game and survive until the states favorable to him allocate their delegates. At the same time, it must be realized that the earlier we decide who the Republican nominee is, the better it will be for the Party.

Until we have a nominee, the contenders will be beating up on each other. A protracted nomination contest will therefore only help to weaken the nominee up for President Obama to beat on. But a contest that wraps up the nomination decisively and early will allow everyone to focus on beating up on President Obama. As such, having a frontrunner for the Republican nomination blown out in New Hampshire, does not help anyone…..accept for Mitt Romney. Therefore if Perry wants to have any chance of securing the nomination early on in the process, he is going to have to do better in New Hampshire and demonstrate to voters that he can get votes outside of the South.

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Perry Calls Obama “President Zero” and Romney Calls Perry “Governor Sub-Zero” in Response

Bookmark and Share    Ahead of Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in Florida and the second debate appearance for Rick Perry, the Texas Governor has released a new a ad entitled “Rick Perry – Proven Leadership”[see ad below this post]. In it Governor Perry hammers President Obama on his economic record.

With depictions of barren land, boarded up homes, empty factories, and desolate scenes of decrepit urban ruin, Perry’s ad tags Obama as “President Zero”, a reference to his creating “zero“ jobs since he has been in office. But after the first half of the ad, a more optimistic tone is set with images of a happier, more pleasant America that include horses galloping through the surf , sun drenched cities, American flags, the statue of liberty, and happy factory workers shaking Perry’s hands. Perry’s point is driven home as you hear him describe the type of leadership that will lead to a thriving America as opposed to the ailing America that President Obama’s leadership has created.

The ad is somewhat reminiscent of the dramatic, quick cutting imagery, and shaky shots done at angles, with jagged audio cuts, and a booming motion picture-like soundtrack that became a staple of Tim Pawlenty’s web ads that he ran during his short-lived presidential campaign. And that is for good reason. It was produced by Lucas Baiano, a 23-year-old video prodigy who was once the director of visual media and film for The Republican Party.  Baino also did ads for the Republican Governors Association and in 2008 he  cut some spots for Hillary Clinton.

When Tim Pawlenty closed shop, Bainao was scooped up by Perry’s campaign earlier this month.

Lucas Baino

For his part, Mitt Romney, the man who is seen as Perry’s biggest rival (or vise versa depending on which side you’re on) issued a press release entitled “Governor Sub-Zero,”in response to Perry’s “President Zero”. In the release, Romney’s campaign alleges that that while the US economy produced zero net jobs in August, Texas produced even less. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul added

In his campaign’s latest video, Governor Perry criticizes President Obama for an economy that added zero jobs in August, yet Texas added even fewer and has over a million people unemployed,”

While Romney’s distortion is less accurate than the exaggerations of Perry’s ad, attacking Perry’s record right now is a political necessity. Perry’s three terms as Governor of Texas have outshined the accomplishments of Romney’s one term as Governor of Massachusetts. However, the better strategy for Romney might be to play Perry up as the career politician and himself up as a successful entrepreneur who understands how government works, or in most cases, doesn’t work. But in order for such a strategy to fly, Romney needs to exhibit anti-establishment positions and make bold proposals that don’t just tinker with out arcane tax code, but instead scrap it and do things like create a flat tax. In order for Romney.

Meanwhile, Perry’s ad effectively sets a tone and while it says more about President Obama than himself, it is a good indication that Perry’s campaign does know the issue that can get him votes.

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