Predicted Results of Saturday’s 2011 Iowa Straw Poll in Ames

Bookmark and Share   By Steve Deace

*Please note that these predictions are my analysis and not my preference. I will not be endorsing a candidate before the Iowa Straw Poll, if at all, nor will I vote in the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday.

These predictions are simply based on the best data I’m privy to.

1. Michele Bachmann (21%)

She is clearly the favorite right now, but she faces a real test in Thursday’s pre-Straw Poll debate hosted by Fox News. Barring journalistic malfeasance, she’s going to be asked about signing the controversial FAMiLY LEADER marriage pledge, as well as her husband working to deliver those ensnared by homosexuality via Christian counseling so that they may live the lives God originally created them to live. How she responds to that questioning could very well determine Saturday’s results. If she has a Tim Pawlenty moment of uncertainty, like her fellow Minnesotan had when invited to confront Mitt Romney on Romneycare during the last New Hampshire debate, then the outcome on Saturday will also be uncertain. On the other hand, if she stands her ground then the mystery isn’t whether or not she’ll win, but by how much. By the way, in case you’re wondering where my predicted finish for Bachmann stacks up with past Iowa Straw Poll winners (keep in mind this year’s field is more crowded than past years):

1987—Pat Robertson 34%

1995—Bob Dole & Phil Gramm 24%

1999— George W. Bush 31%

2007—Mitt Romney 32%

2. Ron Paul (18%)

Paul’s support is pretty much locked into the 15-20% range. He has a devoted following that will show up no matter what, but it’s his ability to expand beyond that base that is in question. Nevertheless, if the weather is poor and/or Bachmann bombs the debate on Thursday he may not have to.

3. Tim Pawlenty (15%)

He just never caught on for various reasons, despite being the person who worked Iowa the hardest and the most. There have already been articles pointing fingers at whom or what is to blame for that, which is never a good omen. I believe he has to win the Straw Poll to justify hanging around given the looming entrance of Rick Perry and perhaps Sarah Palin.

4. Rick Santorum (13%)

He is catching some fire as of late, and is the best chance for a Straw Poll surprise. Although this would be far lower than fellow conservative Catholic Sam Brownback finished in the 2007 Straw Poll when he dropped out afterwards, Santorum can actually make the case he is picking up momentum given how low he’s been rated in polls and therefore deserves to stick around. I know people who are predicting he will finish ahead of Pawlenty. I don’t have quite the guts to call that shot, but I definitely see evidence of him picking up late pockets of support.

5. Herman Cain (9%)

I’ll give him a small bump courtesy of his endorsement from the Fair Tax people, who showed up in force at the Straw Poll four years ago, but other than that there’s little doubt his campaign has been done in Iowa quicker than you can say Christian Fong.

6. Mitt Romney (8%)

Romney’s finish is the toughest for me to predict, because there is still a cache of loyal supporters there despite his avoidance of Iowa. However, Iowans typically don’t reward candidates who do avoid them.

7. Rick Perry (7%)

There will be a subtle yet substantive write-in effort on behalf of the Texas governor/presidential candidate in waiting, we just don’t know yet how substantive.

8. Newt Gingrich (4%)

The former Speaker is planning a complete reboot of his presidential bid in September that he’s promising will be bold. We shall see if it’s a case of too little, too late. For now he’s a non-entity in Ames.

9. Sarah Palin (3%)

I think there will be some write-in votes for the former Alaska governor, but not necessarily as part of an organized effort by her fellows. She’ll make her show of force at the Central Iowa Tea Party rally on September 3rd.

9. Thaddeus McCotter (1%)

I think he’ll get a few votes from people who are either contrarians, or they just want to take advantage of the rare opportunity to vote for someone named Thaddeus.

10. Jon Huntsman (1%)

He’s the champion of the self-loathing Iowa Republican who thinks we don’t deserve to have the Iowa Caucuses if the Arlen Specters of the world aren’t welcome here. Thankfully, that’s barely 1% of the Iowa Straw Poll voting demographic, because the rest of them are too busy either working for or funding Terry Branstad’s lifetime appointment to Terrace Hill to take part.

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Governor Chris Christie Hospitalized

Bookmark and Share   New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the man that many national polls show Republicans wish could be their presidential nominee was rushed to Somerset Medical Center by his security detail early on Thursday. While in route to a bill signing ceremony regarding open space legislation, the Governor experienced difficulty breathing. Early reports indicated that the detour to the hospital was simply an intentional “abundance of caution”.

Early reports from Governor Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak suggest that all indications are that “the governor will be OK.” Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Maria Comella, told The Associated Press that the Governor is “fine and in charge.”

Meanwhile Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno is reportedly in her office and Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, is at Christie’s side in the hospital . So far everything on Christie’s schedule for Thursday has been cancelled. This includes his monthly appearance on NJ 101.5 for the “Ask the Governor Show”

Christie, who is 48, overweight, and suffers from asthma for which he uses an inhaler, is said to be undergoing a breathing examination, an EKG to rule out heart problems, as well as blood tests and chest X-rays to look for pneumonia or other infections. There is no word yet on any changes to his Friday schedule.

The Governor, who has been in office for only 18 months, has taken Republican circles by storm with his frank talk and bold leadership on spending cuts, entitlement reforms, and an unusually courageous approach to unions which have historically run the show in New Jersey. While Christie has repeatedly declared that he is not ready to run for the White House, Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney recently went public with his desire to seriously consider Christie as a running mate in 2012.

As for the rest of the Republican presidential field, there has not yet been any reaction to the news of the Governor’s hospitalization, but Texas Governor Rick Perry, a potential candidate for President did offer the following tweet in his Twitter feed:

Our prayers are with Governor Christie.”

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Iowa Caucus Power Rating For Week of July 25th

Bookmark and Share By Steve Deace

Please note these predictions are only my analysis, and not my preference, of what the results of the Iowa Caucuses would be if they occurred today with the field as it currently is and based on what we currently know. I have yet to endorse a candidate, and will not be doing so before the Iowa Straw Poll if at all.

1. Michele Bachmann (30%)

She is in better shape in the caucuses than the Straw Poll, where she is about a month behind in mobilizing her support into a show of force in Ames. If the Straw Poll were after Labor Day she might lap the field, but with the Straw Poll three weeks away she’s in danger of stubbing her toe there unless her campaign does a lot of things right. It will be interesting to see what happens to her prospects if indeed that happens. But for now there is little doubt she is setting the pace.

2. Tim Pawlenty (20%)

There is a sense on the ground from most people I talk to that Bachmann’s campaign is behind in mobilizing for its candidate, but Pawlenty’s campaign is way ahead of their candidate. I can’t foresee a scenario where Tim Pawlenty wins the Iowa Caucuses, because if he way outperforms his polling data in the Straw Poll to win it, the conservative outcry for a rock star like Rick Perry or Sarah Palin will become deafening. A potential Pawlenty victory in the Straw Poll will be perceived more as an indictment of Bachmann’s weakness as a supposed front-runner than a display of strength by Pawlenty. Anything less than a victory in the Straw Poll and it’s difficult for Pawlenty to justify sticking around. He will definitely out-perform his meager polling on August 13th, the only question is to what extent.

3. Ron Paul (16%)

I definitely think Ron Paul can win the Straw Poll. Pawlenty has the best organization, and Bachmann the most supporters, but Paul has the most devoted supporters. And in a fluid situation that might be enough to eke out a Straw Poll win. However, Paul lost a chance in recent weeks to make significant inroads to Iowa’s massive Christian Conservative base, and I don’t believe he can win the Iowa Caucuses without doing so.

4. Mitt Romney (13%)

One little birdie told me based on polling done by his candidate he definitely believes Romney could win the Straw Poll again if he tried. As I have said all along, Romney has a locked-in, almost cult-like base of support that can’t dissuaded no matter what. That percentage is somewhere in the 12-15% range. However, like Paul he has a very low ceiling, and can’t do any better than the 25% he got here four years ago. However, if Perry and Palin are both in the race, Romney’s 2008 total (or slightly less) might be enough to win the Iowa Caucuses in a balkanized field.

5. Rick Santorum (10%)

This is where the second tier begins. I believe Santorum will slightly out-perform his polling data, but he could do even better if he got more aggressive — especially if he tried to whisk away some of Pawlenty’s followers.

6. Newt Gingrich (7%)

I don’t think Gingrich is dead quite yet. He still has a chance to reinvent himself as the outsider — and it’s as the outsider that he’s had his most political success in the past. I also think Gingrich may be “motivated” to keep Perry honest once he gets in the race given what several people now working for Perry did to his campaign.

7. Herman Cain (4%)

A cautionary tale for future rookies: do your homework on your staff and the issues before you run for president.

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Editor’s Note ; The  analysis generously shared with us on White House 2012 by Steve Deace is probably one of the most accurate assessments of the Repubican field in Iowa that there is.  Steve Deace knows how Iowa politics works and how it usually plays out.  For that reason, when it comes to the all  important Iowa Caucuses and where the candidates really stand,  we will be relying on his knowlege, extensive collection of connections, and his proven political instincts.

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Who Can Be the Republican Presidential Nominee?

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Cain Campaign Collapsing?

Bookmark and Share    As many Republican presidential campaigns are just beginning to increase their levels of activity, a string of cancellations seem to indicate that the campaign of  Herman Cain is doing just the opposite. But it is the type of events that he has withdrawn from which force one to wonder if there is not something more behind the cutting back of activity.

For an underdog campaign, earned media events, the type of events that cost hardly anything but afford you great exposure, are as a good as having ownership of a toll booth on the state turnpike, during rush hour.  You just don’t pass such an opportunity up. Yet the Cain campaign has done just that by pulling out of a Thursday evening appearance on the Colbert Report, a speaking engagement at an event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa , and a cancellation of his giving the keynote address at the Fayette County Republican Picnic in Iowa.

What’s more is, that there seems to be no good reasons for these cancellations. A review of the campaign’s schedule does not reveal any schedule conflicts with the three cancelled appearances. In fact the Cain campaign has nothing at all scheduled on the three dates in question. This all leads one to wonder as to why Herman Cain would give up the chance to appear before a national audience on the Colbert Report , and with the Iowa Straw Poll just about two weeks away, why would he pass up two premium speaking engagements in the very state that will conduct that all important symbolic poll?

From the very beginning, Herman Cain’s presidential path was plotted out on a steep incline. Still his ability to articulate a truly conservative message, combined with the appeal of his outsider status, made him a novel candidate that many wanted to hear more from. This was especially the case after the first nationally aired Republican presidential debate that took place on Fox News. Some of his most enthusiastic supporters came from those within the TEA movement. But since that first Fox News debate, something known as the Bachmann campaign entered the picture.

Michele Bachmann’s entry in to the Republican presidential nomination contest sucked much of the air out of Herman Cain’sign campa. But Bachmann alone can not be blamed for the faltering Cain Campaign.   A slew of staff resignations, especially within his Iowa organization, have added to the slowing down of Cain’s momentum.

Still, these factors would not explain why “The Hermanator” cancelled three very valuable, expense free, high profile events that do not conflict with any other “scheduled” campaign activity. Additionally, Cain has only two campaign events scheduled this week and non until at least Friday of next week. Such a slimming down of the schedule leads me to believe that there are one of two things at work here. Herman Cain could be sensing that his campaign’s momentum is not at a pace that is fast enough to catch up to the front of the field of candidates. As a result Cain is therefore just biding his time till the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, in case by some chance he finishes strong enough to give him hope of more forward momentum. Or there could be a more serious and most unfortunate circumstance behind it all.

In 2006, Cain began a battle with stage IV cancer in both his colon and his liver. Those suffering with Stage IV tumors have only a 10 percent survival rate, yet Herman Cain bravely and miraculously beat the odds. Studies have indicated that the chance for recurrence of certain cancers such as Stage IV colorectal cancer is in excess of 41%. While this is purely conjecture, the early treatment for a reoccurrence could explain why Cain has been cancelling events instead of  just folding up the presidential campaign tent. Hopefully, this is not the case, but a lack of any further explanation of a schedule that is light on events and heavy on cancellations, gives one cause to wonder what exactly is behind it all.

The most likely scenario is that Herman Cain is just accepting the writing on the wall regarding his chances of winning the nomination among the existing field of candidates.

For many, it looks like Herman Cain’s campaign reached its peek, the height of which was now many weeks ago. Even in the area of fundraising, while Cain’s most recent quarterly filing with the FEC boasted a haul of $2.46 million, was half the amount that Michele Bachmann raised. Cain’s fundraising was still better than others like Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum who raised a measly $582,348 but when compared to frontrunner Mitt Romney’s second quarter report of $18.25 million, Herman Cain’s 2.46 million in fundraising is a mere drop in the bucket .

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Will Government’s Golden Shackles Ever be Broken?

Bookmark and Share   Most American presidents are remembered for winning and leading. They win their election, and lead the nation. But President William Henry Harrison is probably best known for winning and expiring. Upon taking office on March 4th, of 1841, Harrison delivered an 8,441 word inaugural address that was written by famed American statesman Daniel Webster. The one hour and forty five minute speech took place outside and during a blizzard. Upon completing the longest inaugural address in American history, Harrison caught pneumonia and one month later, on April 4th, 1841, he died, leaving behind the inaugural address that killed him, as the only legacy of his 30 day presidency.

Seeing as how Harrison essentially gave his life for his speech, one would tend to suspect that his speech was a uniquely important one, chock full of memorable lines. But such is not the case.  Ironically, most assessments of the speech conclude that there was nothing very memorable about it. Harrison’s lethal words did however address the times and at the time, America had been enduring its longest depression. So, while much of the address paid homage to constitutional government, he did also offer some insights that, given the extent to which today’s federal government tries to manipulate the economy, are quite pertinent to the times we are in now.

One line unparticular is worth mentioning;

“We have learned, too, from our own as well as the experience of other countries, that golden shackles, by whomsoever or by whatever pretense imposed, are as fatal to liberty as the iron bonds of despotism”.

170 years after those words were spoken, as the United States finds itself with prolonged rising unemployment, record levels of increasing debt, and a debate on increasing our debt ceiling, all weakens confidence in the already weak economy, it would seem that the federal government has yet to grasp Harrison’s words. In addition to not truly accepting the fact that our national debt is a shackle on our future, the federal government is in denial over the fact that the golden shackles of an increasingly larger welfare state are driving us right in to the “iron bonds of despotism”,……an economic despotism. An economic despotism driven by debt and the federal government’s continued need to seize more and more assets of individual Americans in order to feed its overspending habits.

The vicious cycle created by federal intervention and its programs of social and economic engineering are most assuredly “fatal to liberty”. The current economic crisis should be self evident of that conclusion. After record leves of unsustainable governemtn deficit spending, President Obama’s historic stimulus spending plans have done nothing more than dig us deeper into debt and in right to the arms Reuters recently reported “Democrat-friendly Goldman Sachs dropped an economic bomb on President Obama’s chances for reelection” The report was based on Goldman Sach’s finding that recent economic indicators have led many economic experts to predict lower than expected GDP growth and an unemployment rate that as we head into 2013 will be as high as 8.75% .

While 8.75% is lower than the current 9.2%, it is not as sufficient enough of a drop as is required to turn the economy around during the next 17 months.  Furthermore, Sachs warns;

”  growth has slowed to a pace that is typically only seen in recessions.”

Taking those factors into consideration along with Social Security and Medicare programs that if not reformed, are projected to run deficits totaling tens of trillions of dollars, and what we have is a vicious cycle of taxing and spending on deficits that would drive the combined marginal tax rate on labor income to more than 70% by 2035 and 80% by 2050.

Such higher tax rates will do nothing more than lead to a lower overall per capita income that will eviscerate our quality of life and perpetuate the vicious tax and spend cycle. That means that we must put a halt to the current confiscation of earnings and profits while cutting and controlling spending and reforming entitlements. In other words, the proliferation of liberal policies such as Obamacare, federal stimulus packages, increased taxes, and the unwillingness to reform entitlements, must come to an end.

In the case of William Henry Harrison, after spending his only month in office trying to recover from pneumonia and then succumbing to it, there is no evidence proving that his leadership lived up to his words. The best thing that can be said about William Henry Harrison is that unlike many other political leaders, he kept his campaign promise. On the stump he promised not to run for reelection.  He didn’t.  But in the case of the next President, if they fail to promise to control spending and reform taxes and entitlements and then keep those promises, it is liberty which will succumb to the golden shackles of fovernment.

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Rudy Giuliani: A Better Democrat Presidential Candidate Than Republican Presidential Candidate?

Giuliani in drag and the way social conservatives see him

Bookmark and Share  As Rudy Giuliani continues to pretend that he can be a viable candidate for President on the Republican ticket, on Sunday during CNN’s State of the Union, he told Candy Crowley “the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people’s bedrooms and let these things get decided by states”.

While Giuliani claimed that he believes marriage should be between a man and woman, he stated that the libertarian streak of the Republican party should want to avoid “getting involved in people’s sexual lives.”

The former New York City mayor and failed 2008 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination told Republicans to  “Stay out of it,” and added. “I think we’d {Republicans} be a much more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots and our idea of a strong, assertive America that is not embarrassed to be the leader of the world.”

While there is a degree of truth in Giuliani’s remarks, the social conservative base of the G.O.P. will not appreciate hiss lack of defense of what they would consider family values. However during the interview, Giuliani did clarify that in trying to make sure that families stay strong, he believed marriage should be preserved as a union between a man and a woman. He went on to state that he disagreed with New York State’s recent legalization of gay marriage but added that it was based on a democratic vote and can live with it.

While Rudy supports civil unions, he also believes the issue should be left up to each of the fifty states to decide for themselves.

Rudy’s position on the issue is one which highlights what is essentially one of the G.O.P.’s most pressing ideological questions. If Republican conservatism is based largely on liberty and limited government, should a limited government actually make decisions that do not allow those who live in relationships that involve an alternative lifestyle to have those relationships receive equal treatment by the law and under a judicial system that is suppose to be blind to our differences? Or is the primary responsibility of Republican conservatism the mission to defend “traditional” family values regardless of how much government must get involved in attempts to do so?

Sooner or later, the Republican Partyis going to have to make this decision. However, in the case of Rudy Giuliani, it is not likely that he will be able to do much to sway the Party in his direction. Answering that question will likely require the leadership of truly respected conservative leaders who are more trusted by the right than the left. It will also require the generational influences that account for the progression of cultural change that accounts for the societal changes that are constantly evolving.

In the meantime, the G.O.P. as a whole must somehow keep itself forging ahead while trying to reconcile its limited government beliefs with its desire to involve government in legislating family values. All while applying the basic American tenet of creating laws that defend equality. Until this reconciliation is achieved the G.O.P. will risk losing a significant minority of followers and future followers to the libertarian cause.

As for Giuliani, the reality of the current G.O.P. would indicate that he might have a better chance of defeating President Obama in a race for the Democrat presidential nomination, than he has at winning the Republican presidential nomination.

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Back loading and Frontloading Changes Presidential Primary and Caucus Schedule Big Time

Bookmark and Share   The Republican presidential primary and caucus calendar remains up in the air, but White House 2012 has updated the tentative schedule.  It can be found here.

WH12 has established the tentative dates of each primary and caucus through a combination of historical analysis of how the schedule usually works itself out and where each state has so far positioned themselves in the process.

Attempts by Florida to increase the impact of their primary results by holding their primary earlier than allowed by RNC rules, has forced the earliest dates in the new schedule to be in a state of flux. Republican National Committee rules allow Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to hold their nominating contests in February, while all other with states are allowed to vote after March 6.

But Florida’s decision to have its primary on January 31st of 2012, has forced Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to leapfrog the Sunshine State in an attempt to maintain the excitement and influence that comes with their early vote. This situation is exacerbated by New Hampshire state law which requires the Granite State to be the first in the nation presidential primary and Iowa’s state code that mandates that their presidential caucus be held “not later than the fourth Monday in February and at least days prior to any other presidential nominating contest. Because of those legal requirements the jockeying for position by Florida which has forced South Carolina to move its date up will ultimately force New Hampshire to move its primary to Tuesday, January 16th.  That in turn will force Iowa to conduct its presidential caucuses on Monday, January 2nd. Monday the 9th, would seemingly be a better date, but due to the date that New Hampshire will be forced to hold its primary on, Monday the 9th of January would be a day short of the Iowa state mandate requiring it be held 8 days prior to all other presidential nominating contests.

Further evidence of these likely date changes comes from New Hampshire’s Secretary of State William Gardner.  He recently told  the Boston Globe that the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary could be held in January or as early as it must to maintain its prized first-in-the-nation primary. Gardener added that insofar as the likelihood of New Hampshire holding its contest before the originally scheduled February 14th date, “it’s not a close call”

Between those factors and legislative action that has already changed the dates of the presidential nominating contests in other states, White House 2012 has established that So the opening primary and caucus calendar will most likely be as follows:

Monday, January 2nd; –

  • Iowa Caucus – 28 Delegates

Tuesday, January 17th;

  • New Hampshire Primary– 23 Delegates

Saturday, January 28th:

  • South Carolina Primary– 50 Delegates 

Tuesday, January 31st;

  • Florida– Primary -99

Such a frontloaded calendar is not exactly desired, mainly because it forces the height of campaigning in to Iowa to be conducted during the Christmas and New Years holidays, a time when most Americans are far more interested in seeing Santa and the New Year Baby than they are in Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, or Newt Gingrich.  But in 2008, a similar scenario saw Florida push their primary up and that led to a chain reaction which ultimately forced Iowa to hold their caucuses on Monday, January 3rd. So it is my belief that this situation will play itself out in 2012 much the same way that it did in 2008.

In the meantime, while Florida, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida are in a competition of frontloading the Republican presidential nomination process, there has been little or no mention of the fact that many other states are doing just the opposite.

In 2008, New Jersey which has traditionally been one of the very last states to hold its presidential primary, and thereby one of the most inconsequential to the process, moved its primary to March, with states like New York. But the legislative geniuses in the Garden State decided that the $11.2 million that it costs them to hold a primary separate from their traditional primary date for all other elected offices, was not worth the cost.  So in 2012, New Jersey will join Montana, New Mexico , and South Carolina in holding their primaries on June 5th, a date that  precedes only Utah which will hold its contest on June 26th.  By then the question is…..why bother?

As for New York, it too has moved its Primary back, along with Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Together, on Tuesday, April 24th, these states will join with Pennsylvania and hold what is essentially a northern, Mid-Atlantic regional primary that will offer up a total of 231 delegates. These states are traditionally more liberal than much of the rest of the G.O.P. and as such, the strength of their combined vote coming on the same day, could be a big boost to less conservative Republican presidential contenders like Jon Huntsman or if he runs, favorite regional son Rudy Giuliani.

All together, White House 2012’s updated primary and caucus schedule has established date changes for more than a dozen states. And while not every date is set in stone, we are confident that this is one of the most probable presidential primary and caucus calendars out there.

Of course this could all change if Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus adheres to RNC rules and punishes any of those states which are not allowed to hold their nomination contests prior to March.  The penalty for such a transgression of RNC rules requires reducing the number of delegates that the violating states send to the national nominating convention by half. Such a reduction in size would be a significant blow to the influence that large states like Florida which has 99 delegates, would have on the nomination process. This is especially true when it comes to California which has scheduled their primary for February 7th. They would go from 172 delegates to 86 delegates. That’s a loss of more delegates than the combined total of delagates that Iowa, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Rhode Island send to the convention.

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Iowa Caucus Power Rating

Bookmark and Share   By Steve Deace @ stevedeace.com

Note: These projections are done based on if the Iowa Caucuses were today with the field as current constructed. Please note this my analysis not my preference. I have yet to endorse a candidate.

1. Michele Bachmann (36%)

She is surging now, despite the fact she’s still really just now getting off the ground in Iowa, which is a testimony to the overall weakness of the field in the minds of many voters. Barring a complete and total self-inflicted meltdown, I now can’t foresee how she doesn’t win the Iowa Caucuses if this is the field. She’s drawing rock star-like crowds. My friend Wes Enos, who was Mike Huckabee’s political director in 2008 and is with Bachmann now, says he never saw crowds for Huckabee like Bachmann is currently attracting. The key for her will be staying aggressive on the issues to solidify as much of her support as she can in the eventuality that Rick Perry and Sarah Palin enter the race and attempt to syphon off a chunk of her support.

2. Tim Pawlenty (20%)

I don’t say this very often, but I agree with Doug Gross. His comments to Reuters that Pawlenty is trying to appeal to all segments of the Republican Party, and thus ends up appealing to really none of them, are spot on. Passive-aggressive is no way to run for president. Pawlenty doesn’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses as a candidate (other than his somewhat bland persona), but he doesn’t necessarily have anything that blows you away as well. He comes off as the sort of non-threatening, generic conservative the GOP could nominate any year. The problem with that is this isn’t just any year. This is a year that conservatives are looking for the political equivalent of a UFC combatant with charisma. Pawlenty still has time between now and the Straw Poll to reinvent himself, but he needs to pick one issue on the minds of Iowans and be the absolute boldest out there on it. I’d like to see that issue be the issues surrounding the judicial retention election, but it doesn’t have to be.

3. Ron Paul (16%)

I was starting to see some evidence of a Ron Paul boom a few weeks ago, but that has really died down. He just doesn’t seem to be doing much in the state right now. Why doesn’t he have State Rep. Kim Pearson, a pro-life champion in the Iowa House, going 99 counties to talk about his pledge to veto any budget that includes Planned Parenthood funding? Why doesn’t he have his well-liked son, Sen. Rand Paul, essentially turning Iowa into his second home? Why doesn’t he have activists/authors like Thomas Woods holding townhalls and conferences in Iowa about the need to repeal Obamacare? The issue environment is in his favor, but I can’t seem to figure out what his campaign’s gameplan is.

4. Mitt Romney (12%)

Romney has been playing the low-key approach McCain 2008 strategy in Iowa, because he knows he’s damaged goods here. Looking at the latest polling numbers in New Hampshire, he might want to start worrying about losing the state again, too.

5. Rick Santorum (9%)

I think he will slightly out-perform his polling numbers because his overall conservative record is more than acceptable enough to many conservatives, and there remains a bevy of conservatives either uncomfortable with Bachmann’s inexperience or gender who still need a home. Not to mention the fact his high-profile Iowa field director, Nick Ryan, has his reputation on the line as well, so he’ll pull out all the stops. Santorum could do much better than this if he throws caution to the wind and swings for the fences.

6. Herman Cain (6%)

I’m not sure anyone has ever gone supernova in the Iowa Caucuses quicker than Cain has, and it’s pretty clear he’s essentially done as a serious threat when just as recently as six weeks ago he suddenly appeared to be.

7. Thaddeus McCotter (1%)

Most people haven’t heard of him, let alone formed an opinion of him.

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Editor’s Note: Mr. Deace is a guest contributor to White House 2012 who through his site, stevedeace.com, will provide WH12 readers with upclose coverage and insights on the race to win the Iowa Republican Caucuses along with his weekly power rating and candidate weekend wrap-up .

You can folow Steve on Facebook

Special thanks to Jennifer Jacobs, the chief political reporter for the Des Moines Register. Ms. Jacobs  heped match WH12 up with Steve!

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Take the Republican Movie Test

What’s your favorite movie?

Bookmark and Share     Searching for some objective way to understand why people like or dislike something can be quite hard to do. There exist an infinitesimal number of factors that shape individual opinions and tastes But two new studies reveal some astonishing findings when it comes to musical and theatrical taste. In regards to music, in additional to cultural factors it has been proven that harmonic arrangements and rhythm patterns are two critical features that either draw listeners in or drive them away.

But when it comes to visual arts, specifically within the area of motion pictures, a recent study by the newly created, and federally funded U.S. Department of Visual Arts has not found it easty to prove what exactly attracts people to different movies. However researchers at the DVA have stumbled upon a formula that can predict your favorite movie

To prove this, White House 2012 invites you to take the following movie test.  It is almost as quick and easy as President Obama is with federal spending and takes but only a minute………………….

   Follow the simple formula below to discover how accurate it is for yourself .  

Movie Test:

Pick a number from 1 through 9

Multiply it by 3 

Add 3

Multiply by 3 again

 Add the two digits of your answer .

Now click here to be taken the White House 2012 test results page.

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Ted Kennedy Haunts Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share    Politico recently unearthed an unaired television commercial from the 1994 Senate race that pitted Mitt Romney against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts (see the ad below this post). The ad offers a glimpse of just how devastating an effect good opposition research can be in the hands of a well run campaign. The campaign ad claims that upon taking over Bain Capital, Romney laid off thousands and saved the firm only by taking federal bailout money.

At the time the Kennedy campaign deemed it unnecessary to air the commercial because of their strong lead in the polls. But according to Politico a former Kennedy advisor now decided to reveal the spot.  And therein lies what is most interesting here. Why would a Democrat release a damaging ad against Mitt Romney 27 years later? Why was it not released by this Kennedy advisor in 2008 when Romney made his first run for the presidency?

In the world of politics, one of the most accurate axioms is “the friend of my enemy is my friend“. That being said, not only was Romney not as big a threat in ’08 as he is now, the Kennedy ally who disclosed this attack ad, could have been prompted to do so by one of the Republicans challenging Romney for the presidential nomination. But at the same time, any Ted Kennedy advisor is likely to be a devout liberal who hardly wants to see President Obama defeated in 2012. So the two sides, one of Romney’s Republican opponents, and the unnamed Kennedy ally, probably joined forces.

If so, the opposition research team of the challenger who prompted the revelation of this attack piece, without getting blamed for it, was brilliant.

If  it was not prompted by one of Romney’s Republican opponents, than it becomes obvious that Democrats are quite threatened by the prospect of a Romney presidential campaign.

Either way, it is quite obvious that Romney’s opponents on both sides of the aisle do fear that the public perception of Romney having a superior economic credibility is a strength that could marginalize all of them when it comes time to vote, including in the general election.

As for the attack itself, there is a possible disconnect. It is more than likely that the layoffs and federal bailout spoken of in the ad were set in motion prior to Romney’s taking the helm at Bain. Nevertheless, Romney will have to spend time explaining away the charges and controlling the damage that the charges create on his strongest suit…..….jobs and the economy. In addition to his need for perpetual damage control on RomneyCare, even though none of the current declared Republican presidential candidates have been able to unseat Mitt as the frontrunner, the combination of these to issues could allow a yet unannounced candidate to easily run the ball right through the middle.

The only thing really on Romney’s side right now is time.

The decision to reveal this powerful ad now was not really good strategy. To release an ad as potent as this one, this early in race and in the middle of the lazy days of summer when most people are not focused on the presidential election, gives Romney more time to do the damage control that is required.

But can he do enough of it and how long can he continue to defend ground without gaining ground?

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Is Rick Perry and Sarah Palin’s Decision Preventing You from Committing Yourself to One of the Declared Candidates?

Bookmark and Share    There seems to be widspread disatisfaction with the current crop of Republican presidntial contenders. And while Mitt Romney is still the early frontrunner, much of the establishment and even more of those who consider themselves to be conservative Republicans, continue to sit on there hands, waiting to see if someone better jumps in to the race.

For some that is Sarah Palin. For others it’s Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Are you waiting to see if Perry or Palin decalre their candidacies for the G.O.P. presidential nomination? Or are you waiting for someone else?

Where do you stand and what will it take to get you to commit yourself to one of the candidates who are running at this early stage if the game.

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Huntsman’s Hurting

Bookmark and Share    According to a new Public Policy Polling survey of Utah Republican primary voters, despite once having record approval numbers as Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman can now only muster the support of 10% of his state’s Republican vote in the race for the G.O.P.’s presidential nomination.

Furthermore; according to the poll, among Utah Republican primary voters, Huntsman has a 46% disapproval rating and only a 43% approval rating. And when it comes to the Republican base vote in Utah, among those who consider themselves to be very conservative, PPP describes Huntsman as a “pariah” to them. Conservative Republicans give their former Governor a 29% approval rating while 61% give him a negative rating.

In a head-to-head match up of the still evolving Republican presidential field in Utah, PPP finds Mitt Romney with 63% of the Republican vote compared to Huntsman with 10%, Michele Bachmann with 6%, Sarah Palin with 5%, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Ron Paul at 4%, Newt Gingrich at 3%, and Tim Pawlenty at 1%.

While this poll is far from conclusive, it is darn good evidence of just how elusive the Republican nomination is likely be for Jon Huntsman.

Given the influential Mormon demographic of Utah, this particular poll largely reflects how protective Mormons are of Romney. Among LDS members, inactivity within the community is heavily frowned upon. Romney is quite active within the LDS, especially compared to Huntsman who has been in China for two years. The poll also reflects a general lack of appreciation for Jon Huntsman’s willingness to join the Obama Administration. This is especially the problem among conservative Republicans. And therein lies the bulk of the evidence which leads one to conclude that Huntsman might have been better off either remaining the Governor of Utah or staying on as President Obama’s Ambassador to China.

A Republican presidential contender who has a 61% disapproval rating among conservatives, especially in the state they governed, is not likely to win over enough of the Republican base vote in a Republican primary.

The results of this recent PPP poll seem to suggest that Huntsman might have a better shot at winning the liberal, ….. eh….I mean Democrat…… nomination for President than he does the Republican presidential nomination. As for Mitt Romney, this survey proves that he has a lock on the Mormon vote, which is no big deal, but he has yet to prove that he can assure himself the same lock on the conservative base vote that he will need to win the nomination by the time the national convention is held in Tampa. The relatively meteoric rise in the polls of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and the fact that many conservatives are sitting on their hands until Texas Governor Rick Perry makes a decision, is evidence of that doubt about Romney.

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President Obama: a liberal Wolf in conservative Sheep’s clothing

Bookmark and Share     The metaphor works well, and many liberals see it as the perfect strategy, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, there are many concerned liberals who think President Obama is making a conservative-leaning deficit deal, and they are frustrated by what they believe is his conservative-leaning deficit strategy.

The examples they cite are that the White House did not try to tie a debt ceiling vote to the extension of the Bush tax cuts last December, conceded linking any increase in the ceiling to spending cuts, and whenever Republicans dug in their heels President Obama gave ground.

Some liberals are not so worried about this, they think President Obama has a cunning plan, and is giving ground as part of his grand strategy. While Republicans are using the debt ceiling to force bigger spending cuts, President Obama is getting Democrats used to the idea of bigger spending cuts than they would like.

“Cunning, yes?” They say.

They also say, with a more conservative looking deal at the end, President Obama will come out looking good to voters and this will boost his chances of  re-election.

This is Obama, the conservative in sheep’s clothing.

However, inside lurks a Wolf.

On the other side of the 2012 election are the Tax increases much loved by liberals.

The strategy is that President Obama is making concessions because he knows taxes are scheduled to increase when the Bush-era tax rates expire… just after the election.  Whatever deal the Republicans strike by August 2nd will have a sting in the tail.

Are you ready for this?

The New York Times accuses the Republicans of being ideologues, and, of course, President Obama is determined. Why is it that whenever conservatives dig their heels in they are being ideological, but when a liberal does it is a determined effort?

The Republicans need to stand strong on the economy, and it provides a moment for one of the 2012 candidates to come out to champion the economy. Whoever does will have a shot of winning in 2012. However, if the winning candidate has not taken the main chance then in November 2012 they will be conceding to a second term President Obama on the eve of tax hikes they have no control over.

Then we will see who the ideologue is, because President Obama can finally stop campaigning and seek to do what his ideals dictate.

Are you ready for that?

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GOP Candidates: With Friends Like These…..

Bookmark and Share   So, who needs enemies? I said I will look at all the candidates, so today, before I get back to some of the serious contenders let’s look at some of the no-hopers with their hat in the ring. These are candidates who will at best be invisible and at worse do some damage to the credibility of the conservative challenge to Barack Obama.

Listed in alphabetical order, this is the Class List of Fails, so they all get an F.

First to Fred Karger, there is so little to say here. Karger is touted as the first openly gay candidate for the presidency, suggesting in the delusional reinvention of history by the gay community that there have been so many closet candidates up to now. That his orientation means he stands no chance with the vast majority of conservative voters is hardly worth stating, but neither are his economic ideas. He trots out recent orthodoxy, opposing outsourcing and the shift of manufacturing centers out of the country, and says incentives are needed to convince American companies to stay put and invest locally. His slogan on the economy is “Jobs First: We need to keep jobs in America.” He says, “I am a fiscal conservative; I come from a finance background.   I want to work to strengthen our economy.  I believe in the private sector.”  Final soundbite-me, he told Fox News Radio, “Ronald Reagan was the ultimate optimist.  He basically talked us out of the last Recession, and I want to bring that kind of optimism back.”

Teacher’s Report: I’m sorry, but saying you got business experience and paying homage to Ronald Reagan is not going to get you anywhere. It is ideas that are needed, and needed fast!

Next up is Andy Martin, who you may know better as the source of the chain mail and online reports questioning the citizenship of President Obama and the claim that he is a Muslim. He says “Obama plays for keeps. He plays rough, and that’s the only way to beat him, and I’m the only one that is tough enough to do that.” He says he represents “genuine conservative values and a practical, creative approach to solving America’s economic problems.  “Jobs come first; working families are his priority,” he says and he will “stand up FOR Main Street and stand up TO Wall Street.”

Teacher’s Report: Very cute. Sit down Andy, it isn’t going to happen.

Then we have Jimmy McMillan, who is the former mayoral, gubernatorial and senatorial candidate for the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, and formerly a registered Democrat. A Karate expert and Vietnam vet, he tells President Obama, “If you don’t do your job right, I am coming at you!” He also says the rent that is “too damn high” is about to become a national issue.

Teacher’s Report: You can chop him off your list.
Next on the cakewalk is Tom Miller, who advocates a very specific list of economic actions, including not authorizing an increase to the U.S. debt limit, amortizing the estimated $16 trillion deficit over 30 years, and ordering a full audit of the Federal government. He will immediately terminate all bailout and tarp programs and recover the money. Miller believes the National debt is a threat to National security and the status of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency. He believes he will “re-empower, once again, the American people with the freedoms that they need to rebuild our economy back into being a producing Nation.” Miller will terminate the Federal minimum wage and support the free market to determine private sector wages. There are lots of specifics on his website, and actually looks the best of this class, however….

Teacher’s Report: Sorry, but it isn’t Miller time.

With a lot less economic detail on offer, Roy Moore’s major claim to fame is to have gone against a ruling of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals when he refused to take down a display of the Ten Commandments and a monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building. This cost him the state’s chief justice job.

Teacher’s Report: So little information on the economy, he is hardly worth thinking about.

Running on low fuel, Buddy Roemer is the former Louisiana Governor and former Democrat campaigning for finance reforms. He wants to impose a $100 limit on disclosed contributions per individual. At a Tea Party rally, he said the current system is “disastrous, it’s dysfunctional.” Most recently, he served as the founder, CEO, and President of Business First Bank, a small business community bank with approximately $650 million in assets that took no bailout money from the federal government. Two days ago he tweeted “Saturday challenge – Jobs: Stop sending jobs overseas, Small Business Deregulation, energy independence, $100 limit on giving – free to lead.”

Teacher’s Report: Too much former and too little leader, time to bail out Buddy.

Vern Wuensche took tenth place in the 2008 Iowa and New Hampshire primaries by spending only $36,000. In 100 days, he visited over 6,000 local businesses and churches in 242 towns in both states. He believes that business thrive on character. He wants to eliminate the right of public workers to unionize, allow the right to work without being a union member, and, repeal the minimum wage allowing wages to be determined by the free market. He also demands that a cost benefit analysis of any environmental regulation be required.

Teacher’s Report: Vern, you have some sound economic principles, but stop wasting your money.

Somewhat theatrically, Rick Santorum launched his campaign at the Somerset County Courthouse, near the coal mine where his grandfather first worked after arriving in the country from Italy. He contends he embraced Tea Party values before there was a Tea Party. Having sponsored two bills early in his senate career – “Balanced Budget Amendment” and the “Line Item Veto” – to curb the spending of the Federal Government, he says makes him a defender of the tax payer because of his record on the issues. He believes that entitlements are the root of America’s fiscal demise. Santorum says he spearheaded the passage of President Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, believing that reducing the tax burden on businesses and individuals is the key to spurring economic growth.  Santorum is a vocal opponent of the Wall Street bailouts and stimulus programs instituted by both President Bush and President Obama.

Teacher’s Report: Santorum believes a lot of things, but few believe he is anything but a big government Republican beating out a tune he doesn’t know the words to.

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Three Simple Steps to Solve America’s Debt, but one Giant Leap for the Nation’s Politicians

Nostalgia or integral to the future?

Bookmark and Share   There are three simple steps required to get America working at its best again, but they will require a giant leap in faith by politicians. The final space shuttle launch is perhaps a metaphor for where America is today. America has been travelling the European road towards secularism and dependency in recent years. This journey was not embarked upon by President Barack Obama, though he has hastened the journey’s end greatly.

This European road is one where the apparatus of State is the repository of morality, rules and decisions. This leaves its civil dependents free not to care, because the State cares for society’s ills, it is somebody else’s problem. This is the selfishness of liberalism, it leads to abdicating personal responsibility for the community and leaving the State to deal with it and legislate.

Morality becomes defined by what the rules say you can and cannot do. The responsible individual is therefore one who keeps to the rules, which are increasingly defined by a remote governing and law-making process. The liberals who drive these new rules don’t care about the Poor, or Race or all the other things they pontificate on so eloquently. They are only interested in the IDEA of the Poor, Race and other classes who live far from their zip codes. They can have the best of both worlds: live their own nice life free of any conscience because they care about classes.

The outcome of this is moral malaise, economic stagnation and ever growing cost of government. Sound familiar? Look around you, do you see the evidence?

This mentality has to change, and it is a big ask. It is a giant leap. What is needed is not just a change of leader, but a change in attitude in America. This needs to be a mixture of commitment to the faith and enlightenment ideals which founded America, and, a commitment to applying these ideals to making a better tomorrow.

Liberals like to dismiss all the talk of the Constitution and Founding Fathers by the Tea Party and Conservatives as being at best nostalgic and at worse backwards. It is not. It is integral to understanding the solution to America’s current ills.

So, what about the three steps? They are:

Step 1: Repent and Pray, and remember what the American Ideal means

Step 2: Focus on growing the economy

Step 3: Cut Government deep

The first step:

The hubris of government is rooted in the Enlightenment without God, something the Founding Fathers never intended. The negative proposition of the Founding is that we only progress knowing that we are answerable to a higher order, to God the Creator. This is because of the Fallen nature of humanity. The positive proposition of the Founding is that we progress because God fills us with Hope. This is the uniqueness of the American ideal, which is an ideal for all humanity not just Americans.

Hence, we repent because of our weakness and we pray because of the Hope that God inspires within us to innovate, create for ourselves and community, and to help each other: family, friends and community. The obsession with “human rights” is a denial of this combination of weakness and hope, placing confidence in regulation and courts. Instead of court being the outcome of wrongs, it becomes the starting point of establishing “rights.” The starting point should be God and individuals caring for each other, placing confidence in God to guide us.

The second step:

All the talk about cuts, deficits and taxes is placing the emphasis in the all the wrong places. They are of a secondary order, not just in this list of three steps but in the economic approach now needed. The economy thrives on confidence and energy. Both have been sapped in recent years. During the last presidential campaign, candidate Obama talked up the doom and gloom of the economy, resulting in companies taking more drastic actions they would have ordinarily. Had 2008 not been an election year, the economy would still have entered a recessionary cycle but it would not have been as deep as it has been. Of course, the candidate figured that as President he would be the economy’s savior. How wrong he was!

There is a need to cut government, not just to save money but to stop the dependency and return people to a focus on economic growth. This means people being entrepreneurial, realizing the economy is not a fixed pie to be shared out by government. When you’re short of pie, you bake some more! This means people out of work looking for ideas and opportunities, and for those in work they need to innovate their businesses and take the right kind of risks to generate new business. In short, individuals and businesses need to dig deep to solve problems.

This also means a consumption that is not just consumerism and speculation, but also investment in self and family. The disposable society figured we could dispose of responsibility as well. The great lesson of this recession is that far too many people and organizations had built their economic well-being on shifting sands.

The Third Step:

The 2012 candidates have to be prepared to address voters in a call to taking back responsibility from government. When people say “We want our country back” they should be saying they want to take responsibility back. Governments do not fix economies; they only tax entrepreneurial energy and dollars.
Government has an important role as servant of society, but it makes a very poor master.

These are the small steps, but for politicians they are a Giant Leap. These are not popular suggestions, I know. They do not satisfy human selfishness. Adam Smith, that great Scottish enlightenment figure, distinguished between selfishness and self-interest. It is self-interest which is the motor of the economy, and candidates need to take a giant leap to explain and inspire people as to what is in their self-interest and in the self-interest of America.

Only then will this economy grow at the rate it needs to and to sustain America. The nation needs to raise up a leader who can lead from the heart, not just their own heart but the beating heart of America, and this starts by reminding the American voters of the Soul of America.

Let’s start with Step One. Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” This is the campaign slogan America needs right now. The current debate is not about the economy. The economy is not the driver of things to be, that is Socialist philosophy. The economy is the reflection of things that are, and right now the economy is reflecting the struggle for the soul of America.

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All the World’s a Stage: Debt will not exit Left or Right

President Obama: Upstage or Upstaged?

Bookmark and Share    You know you’re in trouble when Warren Buffet comes out of the woodwork to offer a plan. And, you know you’re in bigger trouble when you kind of agree with him. Buffet’s plan is this: “I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that any time there’s a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.” Buffet says he was only half joking, but it may be recorded as one of his more sensible observations.

The reality is that the debt talks are theater pure and simple.

Look at the backdrop: We are in a new presidential election cycle, which complicates matters. Then look at President Obama taking center stage. Maybe a reason why the Leftists are going so negative on Obama here is that even they recognize a guy wanting to keep the lead role, sorry running for election, when they see one.

Entering Stage Left is his most trenchant critic Paul Krugman, writing reviews that he hopes will close this show, but he has difficulty closing a toilet seat at the best of times. He says, “let’s be frank. It’s getting harder and harder to trust Mr. Obama’s motives in the budget fight, given the way his economic rhetoric has veered to the right. In fact, if all you did was listen to his speeches, you might conclude that he basically shares the GOP’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it. And maybe that’s not a false impression; maybe it’s the simple truth.” Yes, Mr. Krugman it is the simple truth.

However, theater is about fantasy so let’s move to the next Scene.

President Obama says “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.” Krugman says this is conservative ideology, since government should not budget like families, and argues businesses aren’t holding back because they lack confidence in government policies; they’re holding back because they don’t have enough customers. There’s a reason for that Mr. Krugman at a time when the economy is actually growing, it’s called confidence and politicians are knocking the stuffing out of the economy in a staged fight.

So let’s go to the next Act, and the dramatic scene featuring the President addressing the audience directly.

Obama says the debt ceiling should not “be used as a gun against the heads” of Americans to retain breaks for corporate jet owners or oil and gas companies, using some of his most direct dialog to date. He wants to reduce the deficit, in part, through new tax revenue raised by closing loopholes and tax subsidies. Beneath the rhetoric to the audience, however, is a soliloquy to the Democrats of good old fashioned class warfare.

So, entering stage Right, the Republicans oppose measures that raise taxes, demanding steep reductions in the US budget deficit as the price of a debt increase. Leftist rag The Nation (I refer you to the earlier point of Krugman closing the toilet seat), says, “Republicans have been negotiating in bad faith, unwilling to compromise even an inch on their extremist and absolutist positions. Some are no longer willing to come to the table at all.” Leftists sing a chorus that the Republican Party is threatening to default on the nation’s debt and this will sabotage the global economy on the basis of narrow ideological goals. A new verse is being added as you read this, namely that the President should invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which says that “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.”

Democrats and Republicans remain “far apart on a wide range of issues,” Obama, said wringing his hands as he adjusted his teleprompter prop. “Everyone acknowledged that we have to get this done before the hard deadline of Aug. 2 to make sure America does not default for the first time on its obligations. And everybody acknowledged that there’s going to be pain involved politically on all sides.”

Meanwhile, the Opening Night of this show, August 2, is fast approaching and the cast are still fluffing their lines over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

At Thursday’s rehearsal, all the lead cast turned up and “All the leaders came here in a spirit of compromise and of wanting to solve problems on behalf of the American people.” So, it will be alright on the night! President Obama hopes Sunday’s dress rehearsal will pave the way for the “hard bargaining” necessary for a deal, because “Everybody acknowledges that there’s going to be pain involved politically on all sides,” he said. And, the chorus joined in with a handful of officials on both sides of the aisle indicating they are ready to give ground.

With all this improvisation, let’s just remind ourselves of the script: •Public debt was $14.3 trillion on 31 May, up from $10.6 trillion when Obama took office in January 2009 •Congress has voted to raise the US debt limit 10 times since 2001 •The largest expenditures of the projected $135 Billion deficit include: $80.9 Billion on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, $72.9 Billion on government agency expenses, $31.7 Billion on Defense, and $29.0 Billion on Interest on Treasury securities.

In the show Chorus Line, the opening song ends with the lines:

Who am I anyway?

 Am I my resume?

 That is a picture of a person I don’t know.

 What does he want from me?

What should I try to be?

So many faces all around, and here we go.

 I need this job, oh God, I need this show.

Yeah, the show must go on Mr. President…it’s time for your close up.

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