You’re the Nominee – “The Donald” endorses Mitt

Dynamic Businessman – Donald Trump turned the Republican presidential race into a scene resembling one of his Apprentice shows by keeping everyone guessing on whom he would endorse for president. The rumours had been back and forth that he would endorse Newt Gingrich, then it was leaked that he would endorse Mitt Romney however, in true Trump fashion, he kept everyone waiting until the end before confirming his support behind Mitt Romney.

The Romney campaign did not release their public schedule until Thursday morning in an unusual move for them and even then their 20:30hrs GMT slot stood vague, offering only: “Romney for President Event. TBD Location. Las Vegas, Nevada.” Mr. Romney will appear with Mr. Trump at his Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Trump have not always enjoyed the strongest of relationships with Romney as recent as December, referring to Trump as a real estate mogul and reality television star and declined an invitation to attend a Republican debate, which “The Donald” had planned to host, but was later cancelled after other candidates pulled out and included a very public spat with Jon Huntsman.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump suggested the Romney camp would be releasing an official statement soon, and in manner typical of Trump showmanship, said, “I strongly suggest you be there no matter what.”

Trump is a controversial figure and the world’s greatest self-promoter however, like him or loath him, he brings considerable media attention where ever he speaks and when he speaks. Trump did toy with the idea of entering the race last year himself and actually led the polls prior to pulling out with catchy sound bites on U.S. trade policy being weak towards China and regarding Iran. Trump has been one of the most vocal critics of President Obama and his economic record as president. He has made no secret of his concern about the direction and future of America under another four year Obama term and has also criticised the president on the polarising approach to his presidency and his failure to unite American’s in a common cause.

Trump promised to “push our president and the country’s policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness.” Following his announcement last May, that he would not be a candidate for the GOP nomination, Trump welcomed other hopefuls to his office at Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for strategy sessions. Romney made the trek, as did former candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Gingrich visited in December when he was topping polls in Iowa and nationally.

Trump’s weeks of will-he-or-won’t-he run last year, stole the media coverage and his decision to question the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate, caused such a news media firestorm that the White House was forced to publicly release the document. A feat even Hillary Clinton her campaign team had failed to achieve during the heated Democratic primary campaign four years ago.

Many will question the impact of a Trump endorsement, I believe it will not have a considerable impact on Republican voters, but most certainly on Independent voters where Romney has an increasing negativity rating in recent weeks, due to his attack ads in Iowa and Florida against Gingrich. Trump will be able to command a media audience and spotlight that no other previous endorser of Romney could hope to deliver. The media love “The Donald” and he equally loves them.

Trump said he made the decision after getting to know Romney after meeting with him several times in the past few months and it was his real honour to endorse Mitt Romney. He said Mitt was tough, his smart and he’s sharp and he’s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to the country. Trump also cited Romney’s performances in presidential debates and his tough stance on China and OPEC as reasons for his support.

It is certain that Trump’s announcement has all but ruled out a third-party run for the White House which he threatened if the wrong GOP candidate was selected to run as the nominee. One would also have to say that with Trump’s ability to command a media audience and great communication ability, Speaker Gingrich’s hopes of winning the nomination appear to be dwindling by the day now. It will come down to his performance in the Lone Star state of Texas on 3 April, 2012. A poor showing by Gingrich in Texas will effectively finish his campaign and hand Romney the nomination.

Positively Entertainment?

Earlier this election season, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain sat down in a one on one debate that displayed Newt’s intellectualism and fast thinking, and Cain’s graciousness.  It’s starting to look like Newt will have a shot at another one on one debate as only he and Rick Santorum have agreed to The Donald’s debate on Ion Television, sponsored by Newsmax. 

Mitt Romney politely declined, Paul said no and Huntsman inferred that the whole thing was about Trump’s ratings.  George Will has also infamously declared that the Trump debate is below Presidential politics.  Perry and Bachmann have not confirmed, although Bachmann said she believes Trump will be biased because he is already leaning towards a candidate.  How that makes this debate different from any MSNBC or CNN debate where the moderators are already in the bag for Obama, I’m not sure.

Who is going to be hurt from backing out of the Trump debate? Trump has already declared his position on many things.  Huntsman and Paul would both find themselves on opposite sides from Trump.  Romney probably won’t be hurt by snubbing Trump.

Will Santorum or Gingrich be hurt by accepting the debate?  For Newt, probably not.  For Santorum, the possibility for damage to his campaign is pretty big.  While he will be getting a great deal of facetime, Santorum will be answering questions from a very strong willed and strongly opinionated Trump while going up against Newt one on one.  It is a very risky move.  The risk will be compounded if Trump then endorses Newt.

Bachmann and Perry’s non-committal stance currently is only making them more irrelevant. It also comes across as indecisive.

Or is it helping to make Trump more irrelevant?  Trump has said that if the candidate he wants doesn’t get in the race, he will run as a third party candidate.  Is it better to cater to the crybaby?  Or ignore him?  And honestly, would Trump get any votes as a third party candidate, when four more years of Obama is on the line?

Trunkline 2012: Sunday Election News Review-12//4/11

Bookmark and Share ****Cain gone, Newt Ahead in Iowa, Coming in second: Ron Paul?? *****

With Cain gone, the field is looking more and more like Gingrich/Romney.  Meanwhile, liberal pundits and even some conservatives seem to be praying that Newt’s rise will be as long lived as Bachmann’s, Perry’s and Cain’s.  Is it really Santorum’s turn?  How about Ron Paul’s?

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Trump Has His Way With Obama

In Obama’s birth certificate speech, where he called on others to not be divisive and then called birthers a bunch of circus barkers, Obama claimed that he was releasing his birth certificate because that story was overshadowing the budget debate. But according to ABC’s Jake Tapper, a Pew Research study showed that the budget still outplayed the birther story in the media even over the past week.

So that leaves us with two very important questions. Why did Obama release his birth certificate yesterday, and of course the big one: why did Obama wait until yesterday to release his birth certificate?

Trump Did It (?)

Trump did not view the birth certificate release as a defeat. Instead, he took credit for it, claiming to be honored that he was able to do what others had not. While this may be Trump’s ego talking, he has a point. Trump gave this story legs and legitimacy that it had not enjoyed before. Trump even got the media to start scratching their heads and wonder why Obama wouldn’t simply release it.

Trump may not end up being a serious candidate for President, but he has a charisma that most deep intellectual GOP candidates lack. Romney, Gingrich, and Pawlenty may know that Obama is dead wrong in his policies, but they haven’t stood up like Chris Rock in Head of State and shouted “That ain’t right!” to a wildly cheering crowd who doesn’t really care if he knows what IS “right”.

The other question is why wait until yesterday? Let me offer this suggestion: the birthers provided Obama with a clear extreme to campaign against. Having that issue outstanding, and the ace up his sleeve, gave Obama the chance to paint the TEA Party and conservatives as lunatic fringe. Between that and the race card, this President and his supporters have already prepared their 2012 answers to the question of “why am I not better off than I was four years ago”. What the “last eight years” did for Obama in 2008, the title racist birther was going to do the same in 2012. Now the birther card is played. One less distraction, as the President himself called it, is laid to rest. We are getting dangerously closer to having to focus on issues in 2012.

Love or hate Trump, and whether this was for his ego’s sake or dumb luck, Donald Trump has done the GOP a huge favor by gambling on the birther issue. And perhaps Trump lost this gamble, but Obama has one less ace up his sleeve.

Is it me?

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

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

It is the same

Do people love Trump? Or what he stands for?

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

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

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

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

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

Trumped

In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Donald Trump ties Mike Huckabee for second place.

Trump has developed an early reputation in this race as a hard hitting, brutally honest, hawk with a plan to restore respect for America on the world stage. He has already promised the ability to whip our enemies, and allies, into shape through tough foreign policy.

Could he be a contender?

There is a grass roots website set up now to recruit supporters for Trump called Should Trump Run. This website has video from the desk of the Donald, along with his interviews with various news organizations. Trump has also found easy access among conservative radio and tv hosts.

With Trump’s outspoken campaign thusfar, many Republicans may be hoping he runs, even if they don’t plan on voting for him themselves. Trump is the only candidate with the clout, confidence, and sufficient lack of political reputation to question Obama’s birth certificate and get away with it.

I view Trump more as a bull in a china shop. They may draw a crowd, and can do a great deal of damage. But in the end, they never actually end up buying anything. My hope is that Trump can keep his focus on Obama and his brutal honesty where it will do conservatism the most good; not sniping at other potential GOP’ers.

And before Trumpites get too excited, Romney still came in a comfortable first in this poll.

Trump Scheduled to Headline Iowa Republican Dinner

Bookmark and Share Two weeks after dispatching a top aide to meet with Iowa State Republican Chairman Matt Strawn, Donald Trump has been invited by Strawn to headline the state’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner as the keynote speaker. Strawn stated that the invitation was extended in order to give Trump the opportunity to introduce himself to the activists within the Party.

It is highly unlikely that the Republican Chairman of the state with the first in the nation caucus would extend such an opportunity to someone who is not leaning towards a run for President.

Trump has himself stated that because of FEC laws, he will wait to make a final decision on a run for President until the season end of The Apprentice, his reality television show. But he has not held back on making it known that he believes the country will be in big if we don’t get the right kind of leadership that it needs. He has also reveals that many people have been wanting him to run for President for years now.

The Trump Factor

If “The Donald” does run, in addition to a degree of comic relief and Palin-like bluntness, he will certainly inject an unmatched level of interest and attention into the Republican presidential race. He will also prove to be a factor that will upend election predictions. Many states have open primaries which allow Independents to vote in their primaries or caucuses. Some even allow Democrats to participate. It is in these states that Donald Trump will confound pollsters and make it harder for the establishment candidates to focus their campaigns on the traditional Republican base alone. Trump will surely attract many independent and even Democrat voters to voting for him in these open primaries. As such, he could easily offset a split vote among the more traditional Republican candidates with a substantial Independent and Democrat vote.

The candidate who will probably be most hurt by a Donald Trump candidacy is Mitt Romney. One of Romney’s most attractive attributes is his private sector experience as a successful businessman. The Trump brand and empire will naturally force a comparison that could dilute Romney’s positive lock on that attribute.

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Is Trump Trustworthy?

We’ve heard it before. In fact, our current President stood before the nation and told us that he believed that marriage was a union between one man and one woman. Since then, Obama has stirred controversy by refusing to defend the current law on the books that defines marriage that way. In fact, before the ink was dry on the administration’s statement that they would no longer defend DOMA in court, prop 8 opponents in California had quotes from the statement prepared in a lengthy legal document requesting a stay in the implementation of Prop 8.

Pandering is the ancient art of politics. John Kerry supported the war before he was against it. Many have accused Mitt Romney of pandering. After all, he ran on a pro-choice platform in Massachusetts and then wrote Romneycare. He may have excuses and explanations, but in the end conservatives will have to decide if they are willing to trust Romney on social issues and healthcare.

Conservatives will have to make the same decision with Donald Trump. Trump recently came out in opposition both of gay marriage and civil union benefits. Already he is getting a lot of flack for the choice. One gay activist called him “an extreme bigot” for his marriage position.

Trump has also changed his stance on abortion, now choosing to go pro-life.

So can social conservatives trust Donald Trump? As noted in previous posts, Trump has supported Democrats like Rahm Emanuel financially. Trump’s daughter was recently seen at a pro-gay marriage reception in New York.

Trump knows whose palms to grease and who to support to be successful in his business. That makes an easy explanation for his history. But it should also be a warning sign to social conservatives. Is Trump truly a social right winger? Or is the social right wing his latest acquisition?

Trump’s move may be genuine, but the 2012 Republican electorate is turning out to be one of the most cynical, untrusting and judgmental crowd the right has seen in a long time. And justly so. George W. Bush’s last couple years in office ruined his conservative legacy, and McCain was no Reagan.

My prediction: Trump is not going to convince the social conservative base of the Republican party.

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.

Trump Talks Politics with Rush

Donald Trump added legitimacy to his conservative Presidential prospects on Tuesday by appearing on the Rush Limbaugh show to defend contributions to Rahm Emmanuel and to discuss what he calls “stupid” foreign policy.

Trump stated that his agent for The Apprentice is Rahm Emmanuel’s brother Ari Emmanuel and there was no Republican running in Rahm’s race, which is why he contributed to him. Trump hinted that friendship and loyalty were very important to him. He also admitted that he liked Rahm Emmanuel as a person.

Trump argued that we need to make foreign allies pay for protection, and that we need to figure out how to compete with the Chinese. Trump made few bi-partisan or nice statements and came on strong against the Chinese and other nations that he said are “ripping off the United States”.

Trump highlighted some examples of how the Chinese are taking US technology, cheating with their currency to outbid US companies, and using US companies to get rich and set themselves up to overtake us as a super power.

Trump’s frustration at the current administration and the international scene came through, matching the talk radio venue that caters to audiences who expect no non-sense talk. He brought up issues that many small and US based international businesses have been whispering about for a while. Trump said “We are rebuilding China…no politician ever says what I am saying.”

Trump offered some solutions to the situation

– We have to get politicians to step up to foreign interest lobbyists

– We have to restore respect and greatness to America

– Tell China, if they don’t straighten up on currency manipulation, tax their products 25%

– Get countries we protect to pay for protection or offer discounts on products we bring in or better trade agreements

Trump highlighted how America is losing respect and shared an anecdote of how he offered to build a $150 million ballroom for the Whitehouse to entertain foreign dignitaries for free, but the Whitehouse never returned his call.

Trump did not discuss domestic or social issues, but hinted at making a return to the Rush Limbaugh show to speak about such things at a future date.

Romney’s best hope: a wide field

After winning the New Hampshire straw poll and coming in first in current polling of 2012 primary hopefuls, someone might think that Mitt Romney is on his way to represent the Republican party in 2012. They could be wrong.

Mitt was a top contender in 2008. His message of fiscal conservatism and business smarts made many Republicans wish the primary had turned out differently towards the later half of 2008 when the economy was in the tank, gas prices were at $4 a gallon, and every other campaign ad had video of John McCain announcing that the economy was not his strong suit.

Now, with the economy in nearly the same condition two years later, Romney’s poll numbers shouldn’t be a shock. In fact, he has led the Republican field for much of 2010 and would beat Obama in 2012 according to more than one 2010 poll.

 

New Hampshire shows Romney has found his niche

So why would I think that Romney might not be the Republican contender in 2012? 24% of Republican support will not win in a narrow primary field. Consider Romney’s closest competition in the recent Rasmussen poll: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich. Even his 35% in New Hampshire is ominous with other placing contenders being libertarian right winger Ron Paul, TEA Partiers Pawlenty and Palin, old school conservative Rick Santorum, TEA Party conservative constitutionalists DeMint, Bachmann, and occasional right wing radio host Herman Cain.

Although the entire field in the New Hampshire straw poll is very promising, the candidate who is perhaps closest to Romney’s brand and image would be The Donald, who got 1% of the vote.

If Family Values conservatives and the TEA Party faithful are able to coalesce around one specific candidate, it will not be Romney. In fact, in the Family Research Council straw poll earlier this year, Mike Pence won with Huckabee coming in second. Romney may have easily won in the northeast, but out in Iowa he is polling just behind Huckabee.

As the former governor of Massachusetts, fair or not, Romney has a history. He wasn’t always pro-life. He had his own version of universal healthcare that passed in Massachusetts. Romney has not helped his conservative credentials by avoiding identification with the TEA Party and keeping a low profile in the 2010 wave of conservative electoral victories.

Romney had a strong showing in New Hampshire. But what will happen in the rest of the country when the field narrows? what about when Mike Huckabee drops out of the race, or Sarah Palin? What about Ron Paul, Jim DeMint, or Mike Pence? Will Romney be the fallback choice of their supporters? Or will it be Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour or some other conservative who has inserted themselves into the current popular right wing movement in this country? 35% will only get him so far.

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