Romney Outpacing Obama as Conservatives Relent

With Santorum out of the race and Gingrich out of money, social conservatives are beginning to embrace their fate.  The last man standing between us and four more years of the failed Obama administration is Mitt Romney.  Gallup and Rassmussen are giving Romney a lead over Obama, and the Gallup lead is increasing.  This has been an improvement over recent weeks for Romney.

Part of the shift in the polls can be attributed to an administration in a sort of free-fall as they are racked by scandal, gaffe, and misstep.  In recent weeks, Obama was caught on mic telling the Russians his current policies are a charade, a Democrat adviser declared mothers to be out of touch and unaware of economic issues, one of Obama’s biggest donors backed up the idea declaring that Ann Romney never “got her ass out of the house” and to work, Obama’s secret service is hiring hookers, the GSA is throwing extravagant parties, and Obama is joking about finding new spots for the wealthy first family to vacation.  While Democrats criticize Ann Romney for being too wealthy and out of touch to comment on economic issues that women face, Obama is defending his wife’s extravagant vacation spending by saying it’s not his fault they have to travel with secret service.  In the meantime, Obama is tossing out vague populism and praying that something sticks.

On the other hand, Romney is being helped by social conservatives who are less and less offended when the pollster acts like Romney is the only Republican left in the race.  Santorum supporters are less willing to have their heart broken twice and are accepting that Romney is the man.

Here is where Romney has to be careful.  He is making a good move by focusing wholly on Obama, but his quest to funnel independents into his big tent could result in a simple relocation of his big tent leaving conservatives out in the cold like 2006 and 2008.  Romney has recently said he supports eliminating certain tax breaks for more wealthy filers, which quickly blurs the lines in the sand between him and Obama.

Conservatives are not looking to associate their good name with a better candidate.  They are still looking for the best candidate.  If Romney makes himself unworthy of the title, some conservatives will stay home.  He needs them more than he needs wishy washy independents.

Bad News for Romney?

Romney declared today to be a good day for his campaign.  The media easily agreed, following their template that Romney is already the nominee.  However, the good news may end up being all for Gingrich.  The long dead in the water conservative finally has what he has needed for a second resurgence: no competition for the social conservative vote.

In fact, Newt made the point today that he would love to get Santorum’s delegates.  Newt is right, he is far closer to what Santorum’s delegates want than Romney.  While Romney is far away ahead of both candidates on their own, together their delegates number more than 400.

Gingrich’s next hope for a good day won’t come until May 8th, and Romney is sure to sweep the blue states that vote on April 24th.  In fact, nearly certain victories in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island could seal the deal.

On the other hand, Gingrich could start a come back in Indiana and could win North Carolina and West Virginia with some hard work.  In fact, May should favor the remaining social conservative, culminating with the 155 delegates in Texas.  May could be enough to provide Gingrich with the convention floor battle he’s been hoping for.

On the other hand, without a strong ground game, and with limited funds and no media recognition that he even still exists, Newt may never have a chance at realizing the potential the Santorum exit has given him.

Is Mitt Bouyant? Or Santorum Sinking?

The day before Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney is looking good.  It’s looking like he will take the key state of Ohio and could take Tennessee.  Both of these are very close races.  But Romney’s ascendency back to the top is marked by Santorum’s dive in the polls, and Newt’s resurgence again.  Newt will win Georgia, which has the most delegates of any Super Tuesday state.  Newt is also now tied with Santorum and within one point of Romney in Tennessee according to one poll.  Just last week, Santorum was looking good in both Ohio and Tennessee.

If Santorum is suddenly seen as faltering, we may see the polls seesaw back to Newt on fears of unelectability.  However, at this late stage that may serve to only help Romney, unless Santorum loses big time.  If Santorum comes in third in Tennessee or Ohio and Gingrich easily wins Georgia, the shift back to Newt could be significant.

Consider this, if Santorum was not in the race and his voters went to Newt, Newt would sweep Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.  On the other hand, the same could be said for Santorum if Newt dropped out and his votes went to Santorum.  In either case, Romney is the beneficiary of the social conservative split.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul is fleeing from social issues as he descends back into below 10% irrelevancy.

This could be short lived however, as Republicans revisit the myth that social issues are losers in elections.  As I pointed out the other day, a one dimensional economy candidate is going to struggle against Obama.  Republicans are more likely to be inspired to go to the polls for a bold conservative, and Romney is all pastels.  If Santorum falters tomorrow and Newt remains on message, this one could be far from over.

Reality Check

As we head into Michigan and Arizona, the Republican party needs a reality check.  Fortunately, here it is:

Rick Santorum

The media is doing their best to paint Santorum as some sort of radical conservative religious whacko.  Hardly.  Santorum on social issues is saying what most Republicans are thinking.  The thing is, conservatives are scared to death of Obama winning re-election and many will gladly sacrifice what they believe to take the candidate everyone is telling them can win.  But here’s the thing, Obama’s economy has about a 26% approval rating and any Republican looks amazing economically next to Obama.  If Obama wins, it will be because he runs an incredible marketing campaign, race bates, and paints his opponents as somehow more socially radical than he is.  It won’t be because Obama saved the economy, unless moderates and independents are even more gullible and stupid than we thought.

What should keep Republicans up at night about Santorum is his passion on Iran.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon.  I think they will use it on Israel if they do.  But America is not ready to commit to another war.  I think we would have to see another 3,000 US civilians die on one day before the majority of Americans get the stomach for what Santorum has been talking about.  That includes what he has talked about with central America.

Mitt Romney

Romney is uninspiring by design.  His economic plan is a mixture of timid populism.  In the end, what he is running on is his record of creating a great deal of personal wealth and success, as well as his management skills.  But Warren Buffett, another populist, has also made great personal success through good management, and I think he would be a terrible President.  If this election were solely about the economy,the DNC would be looking for a new candidate and Romney would already be the GOP candidate.  The fact is, as long as Romneyites continue to downplay social issues, they will continue to loose the support of the majority of conservatives who actually care about social issues.  Believe it or not, many Americans on both sides of the aisle hold the value of their social and religious issues higher than the economy.   For example, many pro-lifers would sacrifice a great deal of wealth to stop the murder of the unborn.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Mitt Romney is the fact that even his economic plan has been as malleable as his social stances.  What was supposed to be Romney’s conservative strength has instead turned into calls to raise the minimum wage and tax the rich to redistribute to the poor.  In each case, this was a reaction from the Romney campaign to criticism from the left.

Newt Gingrich

Newt is the smartest candidate and he has the best ideas.  It is no secret that I believe this.  But Newt is easily destroyed by opponents and the media.  He has tried to run a cheap campaign with little or no ground game, which makes victory as visionary as a base on the moon.  Part of Newt’s problem is that now his electability is questionable instead of Santorum’s.  Newt isn’t going to win anything until he re-establishes himself as the only electable anti-Romney.  Every time Santorum wins another state, Newt’s chances dim even more.  Get ready for things to start looking real bad as Santorum wins Arizona and maybe Michigan.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Newt Gingrich is how easily he is destroyed by negative campaigning and how weak his campaign structure is.  If Newt can’t beat the unelectable Santorum and uninspiring Romney in every state, how would he propose to beat Obama?

Ron Paul

No one ever thought Ron Paul would win, except maybe his 10% who also think that being obnoxious will win people over.  However, it has been noted that Paul seems to have a cozy relationship with Mitt Romney.  Perhaps Paul also thinks only Romney can beat Obama.  Or, as some have suggested, maybe Paul has a secret deal with Romney to secure a VP slot for him or his son.  Actually, a Romney/Rand Paul ticket would be an incredibly smart idea and might be the only thing that can bring the extremes of the Republican party back together.  The only thing, of course, other than Obama himself.

What keeps Republicans awake at night about Ron Paul is his Iran policy.  Yeah, maybe we aren’t ready to go to war in Iran like we did in Iraq.  But I also don’t think most Americans are ready to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that Iran isn’t a threat.  I think fewer Republicans have an appetite to continue the World America Apology Tour under a different name.

Barack Obama

The real reality check for Republicans should be a refocusing on Barack Obama.  Believe it or not, there are people out there who support him.  After Solyndra, Fast n Furious, reversing Mexico City policy, forcing religious organizations to provide abortion pills, Obamacare, and everything else Obama has done, there are actually cars on the road with Obama 2012 stickers on them.  Somehow, Obama still has a shot in this race.

What should keep Republicans awake at night about Barack Obama is that despite all that he has done to this country and to the rule of law and constitution, there are people who still support him.  The media refuses to vet Obama, even ignoring his radical social positions on abortion.  Meanwhile, in desperation Santorum is releasing economic plans that are going ignored by the party and media.  GOP candidates are doing a great job of getting their message out.  Unfortunately, their message is that each other suck.  Let’s hope that Republicans will find a way to inspire the entire base, and expose Obama on fiscal AND social issues.

From one radical to another?

Just how radical is Rick Santorum?  Yes, it is very frustrating that the media will ask this about Rick when they completely ignored any sign of Obama’s radicalism or the radicalism of many of the Democrats in Congress.  But that is what separates conservatives from liberals.  Conservatives don’t seem to actually want a candidate who appears too radical.  We have this unhealthy fear of independents and moderates.

Not so with Obama.  Obama has no fear of those middle of the road voters as demonstrated by his decision to force religious institutions to to pay for abortions.  In fact, it’s been a long three years so many might not remember that one of the first things Obama did in office was reverse the United States’ Mexico City policy making it so that our tax dollars are going to pay for abortions overseas.  Obama’s latest budget is textbook tax and spend liberalism.  Instead of funding our military, Obama’s budget cuts funding for our troops and adds funding to buy off radical Islamic groups in the middle east.

Is Rick Santorum as radical as advertised in comparison?  There is no question that Santorum is a very conservative Christian.  There is no question about whether he has been paying attention in church for the last 20 years.  Santorum may or may not use contraception, but would he really ban it?  One thing is for sure, he wouldn’t make catholic charities and institutions pay for it.

There is a candid interview circulating liberal circles because of some things Santorum says about his social conservative values.  In the interview he also talks about the limited size of the Federal government, but most liberal bloggers are ignoring that part.  Santorum also talks about moving more funding to the states and decentralizing of the government.

Santorum is not nearly as radical as Obama because Santorum does not believe the government is the answer to everything.  However, Santorum does have an unhealthy view of the government’s role in encouraging the traditional family.  Santorum would do what every politician before him and likely every politician after him would do and would use the tax code to encourage the traditional family and the bully pulpit to keep the national conversation going on the way a family should be.  Basically that puts Santorum in the same class as every politician except Ron Paul and Rand Paul.  But don’t expect a flat tax from Santorum.

Part of Santorum’s problem is that his bully pulpit is easily mistaken for gestapo type policy advocacy where government officials would enter people’s homes and steal their condoms lest they have sex with their spouse for any reason other than procreation.  Let’s get real.  Santorum is not Obama.  I doubt he will have websites where you can report your friends who disagree with him.

Santorum may make it easier for states to ban abortion.  Since when is that not a plus for conservatives?  Oh yeah, since we became scared of the moderates and independents.  Just a refresher for my conservative friends, abortion can be the brutal, torturous death of a human being.  Best case scenario, it is the end of a human life.

I don’t agree with Santorum on some social issues.  The question is, when Santorum talks about what he believes, is he saying what he will do as President or simply what he believes to be true?  Obama doesn’t say what he believes on the campaign trail, then he forces his beliefs on the country.  Santorum needs to be clearer about what he will implement as President.  In this interview he says many things that liberals have jumped on, but at 24:04 Santorum gives a key response to the question of what his ideas about education would look like on the federal level.

“It wouldn’t happen on the federal level.”

He needs to say that more.

 

Conservative Formula Plays Out

Imagine if you single-handedly picked Presidents.  The choice is up to you.  No need to consider electability, lesser of two evils, third parties, spoilers, or anything else.  Your choice is it.  Now, imagine you live in Montana, Minnesota, or Colorado and delegates aren’t rewarded based on your primary vote.  It’s pretty much the same situation.

The result?  Ron Paul got his standard 10-20% of libertarians and conservatives seeking radical constitutionalism, Romney got his standard 30-40% of fiscal conservatives who want a strong businessman, and the social conservatives split the rest.  Except in states where electability, lesser of two evils, third parties, and spoilers don’t matter, Newt Gingrich barely registered.  Instead, Rick Santorum, deemed unelectable from day one, swept bigtime.  It’s like “What’s My Line” where the points don’t matter.

Social Conservatives demonstrated what they really want, and it ain’t Mitt or Newt.  Mitt Romney is striking out with Conservatives, first with support of increasing labor price floors, then with information about his imposing abortion coverage on private companies like Obama is doing now.  Both of these are huge question marks on Romney’s record.

But Newt hasn’t done much better, with most of the country now thinking he was Freddie Mac’s number one lobbyist and had more sex partners than your average Mormon.  Romney has succeeded in dragging Newt down, and Newt hasn’t helped himself.

So does Santorum have a shot?  Probably not, but he does have something Iowa didn’t really give him: momentum.

Now Santorum can face the Romney attack machine for a while.  It started with the Donald saying that since Santorum lost in Pennsylvania he can’t possibly win the Presidency. Of course, that is a pretty funny standard to be judged by when it comes from a multi-billionaire business-owner who has declared bankruptcy four times.  I would think Trump would be able to relate to Santorum’s tenacity.

The problem with Santorum is that he doesn’t have that Presidentiality  that stupid, ignorant, and independent voters look for in a President.  He doesn’t have the hair or the chin.  Oh, and as Scarlett Johannson pointed out, he is unelectable because he wears sweater vests.  What Johannson underestimates is how many people out there who would take a bag of rocks wrapped in a sweater vest over our current President.

I pick on independents, but social conservatives aren’t much better.  When delegates are back on the table, don’t hold your breath for another Santorum sweep.  That would require conservatives looking themselves in the mirror and asking what they actually want in a President, not just who can beat Obama.  Tuesday’s message was loud and clear.

Rasmussen Shows Gingrich Over Obama

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

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

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

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

Ann Coulter Rips Newt, Endorses Romney

In case you wanted to see the laundry list of reasons to stay home in 2012 if Newt gets the nomination, an influential member of the media provided them in a weekly newsletter last night.  No, I am not talking about George Soros.  Believe it or not, Ann Coulter’s signature is on the blade firmly implanted in Newt’s back.  Newt has been anticipating mainstream media attacks since his turn at the top began, and so far he has been handling them beautifully.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t looking over his shoulder.

Coulter, normally a reliable Reaganite, dredged up every non-rightwing conservative thing Newt has done throughout his career, and added her own arrows in the unfair Freddie Mac attack on Newt for consulting work he did over the last decade before the financial collapse.

Coulter stated that “…everyone knows the nominee is going to be Romney.”  While highlighting Newt’s couch moment with Pelosi, Coulter ignored Romney’s liberal past transgressions aside from Romneycare, whose relevance she equated to Romney being a Mormon.  Romney is a great candidate, but to hear it from Coulter, you would think he is the only viable candidate Republicans can find.

Ann, let me take a moment to address  you as one blogger to another.  First of all, if you’ve been reading my blog then you would know that Romney very well may not be the nominee.  Second, if you have been reading the polls, then you know that Romney is not the only person on planet earth that can beat Barack Obama.  Third, if you’ve been reading Obama’s record, then shame on you for even accepting the premise that he is any more electable than even Gary Johnson.  And fourth, if you had been listening to Newt Gingrich, you would know that such unfair attacks like the one you leveled against him in your newsletter will not help to defeat Obama in 2012.

The reason for the rise and fall of Socially Conservative candidates in this race is that the non-establishment wing of the Republican Party wants a Socially Conservative candidate who can beat Barack Obama.  They thought they had it with Bachmann, but it became clear she could not beat Obama.  They thought they had it with Perry, but he turned out to be an embarrassment.  They thought they had it with Cain, but his ideas on taxes and his mishandling of media attacks are threatening his chances.  They have never thought they had that with Romney.  Romney has been the man for the establishment, and he has done very well.  But he is certainly not cleaner than Newt when it comes to his record.

I have a great deal of respect for Ann Coulter.  Most of the time I agree with her.  Today, my advice to Ann Coulter is come back to our side.  If someone is going to attack Newt, let it be the enemy, not those who should be his friends.  And let the American people decide whether they want Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich to take on the worst President in our nation’s history.  If you need some ideas of things to write about, shoot me an email at whitehouse2012blog@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to talk about Solyndra, Jon Corzine, Fast and Furious, Occupy Wall Street’s assassination attempt, Obama thinking Hawaii is in Asia, UNICEF’s US funded war on foreign adoption, the debt super committee, or a whole host of other topics your readers would rather read about than a hit piece on Newt Gingrich.

Cain, Gingrich Make Headlines; Paul’s Missed Opportunity

Cain’s Race Card

I have no respect for candidates who play the race card, and so far Cain hasn’t.  In what is an obvious smear against Herman Cain, the candidate has not resorted to what the left finds so natural.  In fact, Cain traced the allegations back to a former campaign staffer who was hired by Rick Perry as Kempite wrote earlier this week.  This hasn’t stopped Cain’s supporters from making the connection.  After Clarence Thomas and the racism that blacks on the right have experienced, the attacks on Herman Cain for doing some undisclosed thing to some anonymous women is just enough to get any conservative’s blood boiling.

This is especially true when you look at how the media has portrayed the whole thing.  Immediately questions were being asked about if there was a double standard on the right because conservatives were not as upset with Cain for having allegedly done something to someone as they were when it came out that Bill Clinton had an affair with an intern (Monica Lewinsky), possibly raped a woman (Juanita Broderick), sexually harassed a woman (Gennifer Flowers), lied about it under oath (like Scooter Libby, who lost his career and faced jail time), and coached witnesses (obstruction of justice).  Of course, Bill Clinton also kept his job as President.

The attack on Herman Cain is already starting to backfire on both the media and the left.  And finally, Uncle Tom is getting the attention it deserves as an often used racist “codeword”.

Gingrich Keeps Rising

There is plenty to be negative about on the GOP field.  But there is also plenty to be positive about and that is the angle Newt has used to kickstart his second wind in this race.  The Hill questions the wisdom of Gingrich’s refusal to go negative on his fellow candidates.  I think he is making the best decision.  While Mitt Romney gets torn down by the Social Conservatives, and Cain and Perry continue to duel, Gingrich has been slowly sneaking back into the top tier through his focus on Obama and better ideas.

In fact, I gained interesting perspective from my vacation in Connecticut.  No matter where I go, red state or blue state, and who I talk to, I get the same response on Gingrich.  He is the smartest man in the room.  He knows what he is talking about.  He has the best ideas.  We would pay money to see him debate Obama and enjoy every minute of it.  But he has baggage.  In fact, Newt entered this race with the most personal baggage.  But now voters are taking a new look at the man who reigned in Bill Clinton and produced balanced budgets and record growth, two things our country desperately needs.  Depending on how Cain’s unnamed issues with unnamed people turns out, Newt could end up being the cleanest of the top tier candidates.  Every debate makes him look better and better.

Paul Could Be A 3rd Party Winner

I love talking politics with friends and family.  Actually, I just plain love talking politics.  It is always interesting to hear different perspectives, often from where you least expect it.  Well, here’s one for you: Ron Paul could win some electoral votes as a third party candidate by running in blue states.  In many blue states, it is not so much a matter of fiscal liberalism winning out over fiscal conservatism.  In some cases it is a matter of social liberalism overriding fiscal conservatism.

The fear of a Paul third party run has been that he would steal votes from the Republican candidate.  But Paul would actually have a hard time winning any red state in a national election.  On the other hand, put Paul with his limited social conservatism and strong fiscal conservatism and anti-war stance into California, New England, New York and other blue states, and he has a message that would resonate.

Part of Paul’s problem though is missed opportunities.  Ron Paul is like a cult classic movie.  Low budget, but adored to the point of insanity by many.  In 2008, there were Revolution signs strewn across the country in conservative and liberal districts alike.  Somehow Paul supporters manage to stack every conservative straw poll that comes out.  Yet Paul has failed over and over to convert that ravenous support into electoral votes.  Now, put Paul in to states like Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine where a Social Conservative will never win but there is a strong libertarian under current, and Ron Paul could have a huge impact in the general election.  For the Libertarian movement, winning even one state could be a huge victory for their future.

 

Why Doesn’t Rush Like Daniels?

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

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

Best hope of the Right? Or the Left?

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

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

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

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

Mitch Daniels Makes The Right Decision

Update: Indiana is the first state in the union to officially ban funding not only for abortions, but for abortion providers. Recognizing the abortion funding shell game, Daniels signed the Indiana bill even though it did not need his signature to pass. The bill also requires abortion doctors to explain fetal pain to expecting mothers before they go through with the procedure to kill their unborn child.

This was not an easy bill for a politician to sign. I wrote last week about how Daniels had declared a social truce at CPAC leaving doubts as to whether he would sign such a contentious bill. In the end, Daniels decided to leave his mark on the abortion debate and through his actions assured conservatives that he is on our side.

Daniels’ hardline on abortion has received little media play, drowned by Bin Laden’s demise. But in 2012, this decision is sure to make waves. For purposes of the primary, Daniels chances have just drastically improved. While already being a strong fiscal conservative, Daniels has just shown that he can be the candidate of social conservatives too.

Social War Threatens Daniels’ Truce

Governor Mitch Daniels has an opportunity to be a breakout star in the 2012 primary. He is seen by many to be reserved and quiet, but he has done an incredible job in Indiana and has caught the eye of many because of it.

Daniels has also caught the eye of independent groups as he has called for a truce on social issues to focus on the nation’s fiscal problem. This has caused many to see him as someone who can unite the country to face our debt head on. However, Daniels’ truce is about to receive it’s biggest test. In Indiana, state finances and social conservatism are about to collide.

The Indiana house and senate have overwhelmingly passed a bill that would end state funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, ban Medicaid from being used at facilities that provide abortion, and will require doctors to give women information on the abortion process from the fetus perspective before performing the procedure. The bill will save Indiana millions of dollars, but it will also turn social liberals sour on Daniels if he signs it.

Mitch Daniels faces a make or break decision

This is a moment of truth for this potential GOP nominee. The Indiana congress has the votes to override a veto. Mitch Daniels does not need to sign this bill. But whether he signs it or not, this decision will set the tone for a Mitch Daniels presidential candidacy. For someone who recommended a truce on social issues, Mitch Daniels has found himself standing in the center of the battle field with a gun in his hand. Which way will he turn?

This one decision has the potential to win or lose the TEA Party and religious base of the GOP. With that base, and the strong fiscal record he has already developed, Mitch Daniels would be lacking only a shot of charisma to sweep the 2012 primary. Without the TEA Party and religious base, Daniels’ best hope is a vice president spot on the ticket.

Considering his signature is not needed, this choice may seem inconsequential. With 2012 in view, this decision means everything. So far, Daniels has stated that he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether or not to sign the bill.

The Neapolitan Party

Early on in this race, we are starting to see a clear breakdown in the Republican party into three distinct flavors. The question will be whether one candidate can unite the party once the others have melted away.

Can Republicans compromise on one flavor?

The social conservatives are known for their stances on family values, morality, and for some, Christianity. They are the candidates that the Family Research Counsel and American Family Association would love to see win. They are openly supportive of the TEA Party movement and are popular among talk radio listeners and Glenn Beck fans. They are big on national security, small government, and spending cuts, but these stances are drowned out by their social values. They are often controversial and pull no punches in attacking the Left. This flavor includes Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint, Herman Cain, Haley Barbour, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

Then you have the fiscal conservatives. They are proven businessmen. They have cut costs in government, they have balanced budgets, they have produced growth, and many of them have large personal fortunes. They have made the tough, controversial decisions having to do with the size of government, and they have produced incredible results. However, even though many of them are pro-life, pro-family, and generally socially conservative, this does not come out strongly in their campaigns. They are willing to work across the aisle, and sometimes alienate their own party by doing it. Social conservatives don’t trust them, but they enjoy a closet relationship with the TEA Party movement. They are strong on national security and foreign policy. These candidates include Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump.

Finally, there are the libertarians. Although they may live socially conservative lives and oppose things like abortion on a personal and state level, they will die by the principle that such things are beyond the scope of the Federal Government’s regulations. They oppose foreign wars and take a very cynical approach to free trade, the UN, and other foreign entanglements. They oppose the war on drugs and would take a chainsaw to the Federal Government’s authority without hesitation. Secretly, many conservatives love them, but most would not actually vote for them. These include Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

And then there is Newt Gingrich. Newt can be credited with helping bring about one of our nation’s most prosperous times as he worked both across the aisle and strongly against a Clinton administration to balance the budget.

Newt can win the general. Can he win the primary?

Newt also is a dedicated social conservative, who despite his own personal family issues from a decade ago is a strong advocate for socially conservative issues. Newt also advocates for limited government, but certainly not anywhere to the extent that Ron Paul does. Gingrich is smart on foreign policy and thinks outside of the box.

His American Solutions website and conservative crusade starting from when he was considering a presidential run in 2007 have helped to codify and establish the conservative brand going into 2012. He has been a strong TEA Party ally without appearing to be a one dimensional TEA Party candidate.

Could Newt be the candidate who can unite enough of the Republican Neapolitan breakdown to win in 2012? He could certainly defeat Obama in a debate and would have a strong showing in a general election. The question is if he can get enough of the social conservative, fiscal conservative and libertarian Republicans to abandon their favorite in order to unite behind him in the primary.

2012 GOP Contenders Battle For The Christian Vote

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As the clock ticks down to the beginning the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 one thing has become apparent — Iowa has become the number one stop on the list of potential candidates and it’s large base of evangelical conservative voters has become the prize.

History has shown that the Christian wing of the GOP has been an important group for those seeking a primary victory not only in Iowa, but throughout the country. Recent polling has also shown that the early favorites are the candidates that have garnered much of the support of the evangelicals. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won in Iowa in 2008, leads the polling there again largely backed by his Christian following. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican VP candidate, has also polled near the top as of late and also holds a large following of conservatives who identify themselves as evangelicals. Former MA Governor Mitt Romney, although of the Mormon faith, has been at or near the top of almost every poll due in part to voters who see him as a religious candidate.

A few of the lesser known potential candidates have been on the trail giving speeches intended to define their social conservative/religious stances as well. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty recently spoke at a lecture series in Iowa put on by the socially-conservative group Family Leader and referred to himself as a “devout, but approachable, Christian,” in a speech in which he touted his opposition to abortion rights, same-sex marriage and the recent repeal of the military’s DADT policy.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, an avid pro-lifer, has also been traveling frequently to Iowa and is well known for his faith and socially-conservative stances such as opposition to same-sex marriage and pro-family value positions. Santorum recently named a team to head his PAC in Iowa, a signal to some that his announcement is merely a formality.

A recent CNN poll that can be seen in a recent post right here on White House 2012 shows that Mike Huckabee has a small lead over Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney with 21%, 19% and 18% respectively. If Huckabee decides to keep his lucrative media ventures and stay out of the race, the evangelical voters that follow him will be up for grabs. If the CNN poll is anywhere near accurate that could bode well for Palin who should be able to pick up a few of them if she herself decides to give up television and the speech circuit for a presidential bid. If Palin doesn’t run either, with the decision by Mike Pence to sit out already in the bag, the large and powerful Christian wing of the GOP could be up for grabs potentially propelling a lesser known candidate to the forefront in Iowa and the national scene as well.

Time will only tell who is in and who is out but one thing is for certain: The courtship for Iowa’s socially-conservative Christians has begun.

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