Surprise! Michele Bachmann Announces She is Running for a Fouth Term to Congress

Bookmark and Share   Less than a month after ending her bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Minnesota Congresswoman Michel Bachmann announced that she will  seek a fourth term in Congress.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Bachmann stated;

“I’m looking forward to coming back and bringing a strong, powerful voice to Washington, D.C.,”

The announcement hardly came as a surprise and was anticipated by White House 2012 as far back as October of 2011 when I wrote “while Bachmann may indeed be sincere about her desire to run only for President, she knows very well that she will probably be running for reelection to the House.”

Despite being a little slow, even Ken Martin, chairman of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer Labor Party, who admitted the announcement wasn’t a surprise and he told the Associate Press  that his Party would take advantage of the time that Bachmann spent campaigning for President and attack he attack her for being absent from the district and for missing votes in Washington as she she pursued higher office.

Meanwhile, Bachman’s decision to drop out of the President race and run for reelection to her Minnesota congressional seat also came as little surprise to Minnesota Republicans.  Several likely likely successors had been preparing to replace her as the Republican nominee for her House seat, but none had actually officially declared their candidacies because they all accurately anticipated the set of circumstances which lead to Bachmann’s running for reelection.

As for who Democrats will run against Bachmann, that is still unclear.   While the Congresswoman has proved quite formidable in the past, she did only win by 53% in her last election, but at the same time she raised $13.5 million, a sum larger than that of any of her fellow House colleagues.  Another advantage Bachmann will have in her reelection effort is that her 2010 Democratic opponent, Tarryl Clark, has decided to challenge freshman Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack and will not attempt a rematch with Bachmann.  On the flip side, one disadvantage that Bachmann will have in 2012 is redistricting.  Her current district will have to shrink in size and how that is done through Gerrymandering could make her new district a more liberal one than she currently has.

In the final analysis, I think conservatives will be able to count on Michele Bachmann having their back in the next Congress.  Between her name I.D., fundraising strength, and tenacity as a campaigner, Bachmann should win at least a fourth term.   The question is, will she actually get sworn in, or might she just accept a cabinet position in the next Republican presidential Administration?

Bachmann is not very liked by the establishment Republican leadership in the House and it is quite possible that John Boehner might push the idea of appointing Bachmann to a semi-high position in the next Administration for no other reason than to get her out of their hair and avoid her rocking establishment boat.  It’s the type of thing that happens all the time and which I can easily see President Obama or President Gingrich saying to John Boehner, “alright, but you owe me big time for this one”.

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Mitt Romney Personally Thanks the 8 Voters Who Put Him Over the Top in Iowa

Bookmark and Share   Thanks to Jimmy Fallon for this one

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Groundhog Day Came to Iowa Early and Rick Santorum Saw His Shadow

Bookmark and Share   Iowa proved to be an incredibly dramatic opening contests for the Republican presidential nomination that even included the added suspense of missing and improperly recorded vote totals.  But by 2:30 in the morning, all was resolved and the results gave Mitt Romney a 8 vote victory.  The closeness of the race did not help Mitt Romney but it certainly helped Rick Santorum, the candidate who came from so far behind and so close to defeating Romney, that in the end Iowa really goes down in the books as more of a near loss for Romney than a real win.  And it was the incredible closeness of the race that changed everything, at least in the short term.

Several days prior to the Caucus, I correctly predicted the order in which the candidates would finish.  So the fact that Santorum finished second should not have been a total surprise.  But the fact that he came within 5 votes of winning is what changed everything.  As a result, contrary to other predictions, Iowa wound up mattering more than many expected, including myself. Exactly how much more though is up to Rick Santorum.

In addition to ending Michele Bachmann’s campaign and giving movement conservatives a chance to divide their vote up among fewer candidates, Iowa shifted the focus on to a new contender…..Rick Santorum.  But how much that matters depends upon Rick Santorum’s ability to capitalize on his new found fame.  If he fails to come out of New Hampshire and South Carolina stronger than he was going in to them, then Iowa’s impact on the nomination will prove to have been minimal.

The one thing we do know is that the strong showing they provided Rick Santorum with was a political version of Groundhog Day……not the movie, but the actual holiday.  Santorum, the former Senator from Pennsylvania, emerged from Iowa much like Punxsutawney  Phil, the famed Pennsylvania groundhog who the nation watches as he emerges from his burrow.  If he sees his shadow, it is said  to indicate that winter weather will last longer than we may want.  In Rick Santrorum’s case, his come from behind split decision in Iowa has cast a shadow on the Republican race which means that this nomination contest remains contested and will probably do so far longer than Republicans would like.

That situation was arrived at due to both Romney and Santorum.

In addition to running a strong campaign that was waged on principle, persistence, and elbow grease, Santorum never became the type of target that everyone who surged to the top found themselves to become. This helped him win voters over and keep them in his column.  Had Santorum surged to the top like Newt Gingrich did weeks before voting began, he probably would have fallen victim to the same circumstances of those before him and now he will have a hard time proving that he can withstand such scrutiny.

As for Romney, although he technically won, to really win, he needed to stun Republicans with a strong first place finish with 30 or more percent of the vote.  That would have changed the entire storyline coming out of Iowa.  Instead of Rick Santorum being the main focus of the results, the real headline would have been that Mitt Romney finally exceeded the 25% ceiling of support that has become his greatest hurdle.  And he would have done so in a state where he was hardly considered a favorite.  Instead, not only did Romney almost lose to someone who was in the single digits a week before the caucuses, he actually won with 6 votes less than he received in 2008 when he came in second to Mike Huckabee.  In 2008, Romney received 25.19% of the Iowa Caucus vote, just about the same as he did this time, but the raw total was 30,021 votes.  In yesterday’ s caucus Romney won with 30, 015 votes.

Given that this was Romney’s second time around and he actually lost support, last night was really  not a win for him.  In the end, all that Iowa did for Romney was confirm that Republicans are still not excited about him and would like a better candidate.

So the race goes on and Romney is poised to become the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to ‘technically’ win Iowa and New Hampshire.  The problem is that between the reality of his poor showing in Iowa relative to Rick Santorum’s near defeat of him, and  Romney’s win in new Hampshire being considered a given, those victories may not provide Mitt with the momentum he needs to assure himself of a win in South Carolina where Mitt may find himself either in his last stand or finally on course to winning the nomination.

Newt Gingrich, who currently leads in New Hampshire has been trying to build a firewall in South Carolina in the hope of finally establishing himself as the alternative to Romney.  And Newt is looking for a fight with Mitt and is ready to provide him with some payback for all the negative ads that he believes Romney is behind.

Then there is Rick Perry.

Perry had time to sleep on his fifth place finish in Iowa and while he headed to bed with thoughts of ending his campaign dancing in his head, he woke up ready to fight and even Tweeted a battle cry that declared he is moving on to the Palmetto State.

And not to be Rick-rolled will be the other Rick, Rick Santorum, the new great conservative hope.

If Santorum can run strong enough in South Carolina to prevent Perry and Gingrich from getting out of the single digits or mid teens, at least one of the two will drop out and give Santorum the opportunity to bring their numbers in to his vote totals in the Florida primary which immediately follows South Carolina.

As for Ron Paul, given how far out of the mainstream his national security policies are and given his lack of  legislative accomplishments in almost two decades in Congress, in order for him to have a major impact on future primary nomination contests, he needed a big win in Iowa.  Add to that the buzz about polls which showed him actually in first place over the course of the weekend prior to the Caucus, and what you have is a candidate who failed to live up to expectations, and failed to meet a level of support that would have helped him overcome his perceived electability problems.  Although Ron Paul ran well and his strong showing can not be denied, it was not strong enough to help him gain the type of traction that he needs.   As a result, Ron Paul’s 22% percent in Iowa was probably his high watermark and from here on out, while he will remain a presence in the race, his impact on it will be about as significant as it was in his previous two runs for President.

Meanwhile the immediate effects of Iowa are apparent.

Since last night, interest in Santorum reached such heights that his website crashed and he collected $1 million in donations.   That is a good indication of just how his strong showing in Iowa has indeed provided him with the opportunity to become the real viable alternative to Romney that many have been looking for.

Another good sign for Santorum is that several national evangelical leaders have decided to get together and determine which of the remaining candidates they can all get behind in an attempt to be certain that Romney is denied the Republican nomination.  Given the circumstances, at the moment, Santorum would seem to be the most likely beneficiary of such an alliance.

At the moment I am not sure what will happen.  I have a feeling that while Rick Santorum may now be considered the Great Conservative Hope, he will ultimately be like another great hope……Duane Bobick, the 197o’s boxing star who was jokingly refered to as the “Great White Hope”.   Back in 1977, the biggest sporting event of the year became a much anticipated match between Bobick and future legend Ken Norton.  Bobick had a a 38-0 record with 32 KO’s and when he entered the ring with Norton, millions were anticipating an epic fight between two extraordinary athletes.   Less than 40 seconds in to the first round, Norton landed  an overhand right to Bobick’s throat and after just one minute into the fight Bobick was counted out.  A large part of me believes that this is Romney’s nomination and that Santorum will be the Duane Bobick of presidential politics.

Romney is still best poised to lock up the nomination soon after Florida.  However; if the inevitability of a Romney candidacy becomes so obvious, and triggers the far right base of the G.O.P. to finally unite behind one candidate in an attempt to stop Romney, this could be either a long, drawn out battle or a quick turning of the tables.  My biggest fear is that if conservatives really can not accept Mitt Romney and do not settle on who his one opponent should be, we could just find ourselves with the first brokered convention since 1976.

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Watch One Iowa Caucus Precinct Via Live Stream

Bookmark and Share    Take the time to see the Caucus process live via a live stream feed of  one Iowa Caucus precinct.

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Alan Colmes Teaches Liberals That Dead Baby Jokes Are Neither Funny or Appropriate Political Discourse

Bookmark and Share   Most people probably only know who Alan Colmes is when they are reminded that he was the liberal sidekick to Sean Hannity on what use to be the Fox News program called Hannity and Colmes.

Colmes got sick of being ideologically and personally overshadowed by Hannity and eventually the show became known as “Hannity” and Alan Colmes tried to make a difference on his own.

He didn’t.

But he is still trying.  Which is why today during an interview regarding  the Republican presidential race, Alan Colmes tried to mock Republicans based on the ever changing frontrunner status of their candidates.  Colmes tried to claim that the G.O.P. field is an extremely weak one and everytime the spotlight gets focussed on one of them, they can’t stand up to the scrutiny.

Colmes then claimed that Rick Santorum is the most recent example and added that when people find out that he took home his dead baby and played with it for two hours, they will find that Santorum is too weird for their liking. [ See the actual interview below this post.]

Colmes actual words were;

“Once they get a hold of the crazy things he’s said and done like taking his two-hour old baby who died right after childbirth home and played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real.”

The reference was to the Santorum families painful loss when Rick and his wife Karen were told by their doctor that an ultrasound revealed their unborn baby Gabriel had a fatal defect and was going to die.

But Gabriel was born alive;

Santorum once reflected on the personal, family tragedy by saying;

“For two hours he lived a life that knew only love.”

The same Fox News segment that hosted Colmes during his ugly remarks, also had National Review writer Rich Lowry on and after Colmes made the outrageous statement, Lowry took Colmes to task and stated;

“That’s a cheap shot, Alan. To say it’s crazy, something that’s that personal and hurtful as losing a child and to mock it like that is beyond the pale and beneath you. I even think some of the dastardly characters we have in the main stream media are not going to go as low as you just have Alan.”

Colmes defended his statement during the rest of the interview and stuck to his guns claiming that his remarks were perfectly legitimate commentary.  But by late 8:00 pm, Colmes liberal brain finally caught up with his mouth and he phoned the Santorum’s to make a formal apology and he tweeted the following:

Rick and Karen Santorum may have accepted the apology and ultimately that is all that really matters.  But I have to tell you that I am unfortunately not so easy to forgive.  It is not impossible for me, especially since I know that I myself am in need of forgiveness when I demonstrate my own lack of judgement.  However I am not going to be able to easily forget the tactic that Alan Colmes tried to get away with here.

It was another fine example of just how truly ugly liberals are willing to get in this election.  It is clear to me that with a President  representing them at the top of the ticket, with a record Democrats can not run on and in many instances will have to run away from, they will have no qualms about resorting to some of the most despicable and disgraceful tactics that we have seen in presidential history.  Their tastelessness will not prevent them from doing anything it takes to win, be it mocking ones faith……something that will be of particular importance if Mormon Mitt Romney wins the nomination, to dead baby jokes, nothing will be off limits to the mainstream liberals like Alan Colmes who represent today’s Democratic Party.

Ultimately, if Rick and Karen Santrorum can forgive Alan Colmes for his unbelievably outrageous comments, than we all can.  But like the symbol of our Party, we don’t ever have to forget.

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Gingrich Predicts His Own Loss in Iowa and Bachmann Hopes for a Miracle

Bookmark and Share   After more than six weeks as the candidate with the target on his back and nearly 10 million dollars in negative ads against him, New Gingrich saw his Iowa poll numbers fall from a near 30% to his current standing in the mid teens.

The loss of just about half of his support has led Newt to admit now that he is not likely to win the Iowa Caucus but at the same time, he believes that a likely third or even fourth place showing will still it make him possible for him to remain competitive beyond the Hawkeye State’s nomination contest.

That assessment is actually true, but short of a first or second place showing, Newt’s future viability will rely on two things.  First, he must hope that if Mitt Romney wins, he does not win by very much.  Then Newt must hope for a third place showing.  While a fouth place finish will not derail his candidacy, it will make fundraising and the establishment of momentum quite an uphill battle as he moves ahead.

If Newt can fisinsh third or second and keep Romney from winning by a very large margin, he will remain competetive and may be come the benefiicary of an anti-Romney phenomenom.

If opposition to Romney is as strong among conservatives as many believe, victories in Iowa and New Hampshire could finally force the anti-Romney vote to charge behind one final alternative to Romney.  Newt is in the best position to be that alternative candidate but anything less than a fourth place finish in Iowa will make that impossible.

Meanwhile Michele Bachmann says “We’re believing in a miracle because we know, I know, the one who gives miracles,” .

At Oral Roberts University, Bachmann’s alma mater she told ABC ;

“We’re going to see an astounding result on Tuesday night — miraculous,”

Current polling has apparently forced both Bachmann and Gingrich to be unconditionally honest about the results tomorrow, for under the circumstances, Bachmann does in fact need a miracle to pull off a finish above 6th place.  For Gingrich, given the nearly 41 percent of Iowa caucus goers who remain undecided on the eve of the contest, a better than expected showing is not out of the question and as a Gingrich supporter a biased optimism has me still believing that he could surprise everyone with a third or second place finish.  However, when factoring in current voter trends, Newt’s poorly run campaign and lack of an organization on the ground, along with the undeniable momentum behind Rick Santorum, logic would dictate that Newt is right.  He will not win the caucus tomorrow night.

As for the other candidates, Ron Paul is seeing the helium in his balloon be overwhelmed as the weight of the oxygen in the atmosphere surrounding the reality of his reckless national security views and general unelectability brings his number back to the floor.  In an early afternoon speech to supporters, Paul reminded his fans that the Caucus will involve small numbers of people but the message they send will be a big one and he urged his supporters to stick together and be sure to show up at their proper caucus locations.

Mitt Romney spent most of the day trying to remain focussed on the one person which unites him and his rivals together in their desire to defeat in  November…..Barack Obama.  That focus was designed to play on the perception that he is the one Republican who has the best chance of actually being the one who can defeat Obama.  The hope there is that as Romney solidifies his frontrunner status in Iowa, there is a good chance that the large undecided bloc of voters will break in his favor and provide him not only with a win, but a bigger than expected win that could make it  possible to wrap up the nomination sooner rather than later.

Rick Perry, the wildcard going in to tomorrow night, spent his time on the campaign trail trying to make sure that his supporters don’t jump ship and while trying to also give those caught up in the surge for Rick Santorum  reason to think twice about actually casting their ballots for the wrong Rick.  A new Perry ad attacks Santorum for his willingness to defend pork barrel spending.

Perry goes in to tomorrow night as the spoiler.  Between his heavy ad buy and a good deal of retail political campaigning in Iowa, he remains the one candidate left who could perform better than expected and could benefit from a surge that has gone undetected by the polls.  The strength of such an undetected surge will not be enough to allow Perry to finish in one the top two or three positions, but he could pull the type of numbers that may prevent people like Sanoturm and Gingrich from outpolling Ron Paul.

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Ron Paul’s Newest AD: Don’t Try To Win Over Republicans With Support from Liberals

Bookmark and Share   I am not known for being very kind to the political opposition, but since it is a new year, I thought I would give it a shot by doing a nice thing for Ron Paul and give him some good advice.

On this, the eve of the Iowa Caucuses, I think he should know that he is actually running for President in the Republican Caucuses, not the Democratic Caucus.  That said, I would advise Dr. Paul rethink his latest ad in Iowa.

It consists of several infamous liberals who praise Ron Paul as the best guy running.

Now, the ad might be worthwhile  if the 12 term congressman was challenging President Obama for the Democratic nomination in the Iowa Caucuses, but he isn’t.  So why Ron Paul chooses to run an ad featuring the praise of beloved liberals like Bill Press, and the gnome-like communist sympathizer Jonathon Alter, is more than just bad judgement, it is totally counterproductive to any attempt at winning over Republicans.

Then again, Ron Paul may have just begun to realize that he has a better chance of winning over liberals and Occupy protesters, than real Republicans, hence the pitch from liberal media icons.

The liberal endorsements aside, the ad tries to claim that Ron Paul is the only politician who can be trusted and the only one who has is consistent in his beliefs.  What the ad does not tell you is that Ron Paul is the only politician who has spent nearly two decades in office and failed to accomplish anything.  He has failed to build any working coalitions that could make it possible for him to advance any of his lofty promises to reduce the size of government.  He has failed to ever gain either the public or political support to limit federal spending or any pass any of either his rational or irrational beliefs.

The ad also fails to address the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of Dr. Paul’s political career such as his long record of participation in the pork process that he denounces and his support for term limits for others but not for himself.

But I can understand why a politician like Paul would not want to tell the truth about his record.   And with a record like Ron Paul’s I can also understand why he can only find quotes that come from prominent liberals that he can use to make himself look good.   Yet in my attempt to be kinder and gentler to Ron Paul and his soon to be disappointed kool aid swilling fans, I must advise his campaign that this ad does not help him.

Aside from using music and production backgrounds and cuts that a reminiscent of the New york Times genre ads for their “weekender” subscription package, using people like Press and Alter do not make the case for Paul among conservatives and Republicans, it presents a the start of a great case against his candidacy for anything.

So in 2016, when at age 82, Ron Paul makes his fourth failed attempt for President, maybe he’ll remember to reserve his use of liberal endorsements for the liberal nomination.  In fact let me be a really nice guy and suggest that next time, Ron Paul should just go and run for the Democratic presidential nomination.   It make it much easier for his liberal and Democrat supporters.  They won’t have to temporarily switch their Party registration to that of Republican, only to switch back to their liberal Party of origin six months later.

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Virginia’s Republican Loyalty Pledge Doesn’t Go Far Enough

If Virginia closed their Party nomination primary elections to the registered voters of each Party, there would be no need for a “loyalty pledge”

Bookmark and Share   Virginia recently sparked a mild uproar when it’s state Board of Elections approved a Republican proposal that would require voters who want to participate in the Republican presidential primary, must sign a non-binding pledge to the Republican presidential nominee.

The pledge reads as follows;

“I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.” 

Many have been offended by the required pledge.  Its critics claim the pledge essentially requires primary voters to in some cases, commit to a candidate they’re not yet familiar with and they argue that the pledge is a concept which is far removed from what our nation’s founders intended.

While those points may initially sound good, they fail to actually hold any water.

As far as the concern about being possibly committed to a candidate that a voter may not be familiar with, the pledge simply and clearly states “intend to vote for” the Republican nominee.  By its very meaning, the word ‘intend’, allows for exceptions.  So if all of America lost its mind at the same time and Ron Paul became the Republican presidential nominee, I will have still met the requirements of the pledge because it is in fact my “intention” to vote for the Republican presidential candidate but seeing as how Ron Paul is no Republican and that his foreign and defense policies are extremely dangerous and reckless, I will not be able to carry out my voting intentions.

As for the intentions of our Founding Fathers, the men of that time considered political parties to be factions that were harmful to our national unity.

 In Federalist Paper Number Ten, James Madison denounced political parties by claiming “The public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties”. George Washington also warned against the creation of political parties in his farewell address when referred to political parties as being “baneful,”.
Those statements have a degree of undeniable truth in them.  But not to those who view party affiliation more with ideology that political allegiance.  Some of us out there, are Republican because we believe that the principles which it is based upon are best for the nation, not some political organization.
While I find it hard to argue against our Founding Fathers, I do disagree with the amount of blame that many of them place on the concept of political parties.  If you define political parties as institutions comprised of people adhering to a core set of principles and way of thinking that they believe is best for the nation, then political parties are not the sources of national destruction that many founding father’s warned us of.    And it is by that definition that this Virginia pledge is born. 
The way I see it, it is not the political parties which disregard the public good, it is the party bosses which the public allows to take control of the parties which are responsible for many of our ills.  That view puts the blame back on to the public, not the political parties. 
Most of the pop culture dominated electorate is more concerned with keeping up with the Kardashians than they are with the Democratic or Libertarian Party platforms, and most of the electorate does not take their civic responsibilities as seriously as they should and actually need to.  Few voters are even aware of the fact that they are given the power to elect their local party precinct leaders and that these local leaders elect their county leaders, and they in turn elect the state leaders and state committeemen who go on to elect the party’s national chairmen.
Instead, so many voters are ignorant of this process that the original election ballots which give them the opportunity to vote for sincere minded local Party officials who share their beliefs, go blank.  That then allows the Party bosses to fill the vacancies and they do so with individuals who are committed to follow the lead of those who appoint them.
That is where the positive effect of political parties begins to breakdown. 
But in the case of a primary, when the average voted does have the opportunity to pick from a slate of candidates who want  a Party’s nomination, the average voter is again given the chance to take control of the process.  And that brings us to the Virginia presidential primary.
Virginia is an open primary.  It is a sad and sorry contest that allows liberals to choose the candidate they want to see representing conservatives and vise versa.  This is what led to the creation of this controversial pledge.
The pledge was designed to cut down on the number of people who would prefer to play politics and exploit the opportunity of an open primary contest by trying to crossover and see to it that the weakest candidate represents the Party that they oppose.
In other words, this “loyalty pledge” seeks to make it clear that the democratic voting process is not a joke and that the right to vote is a serious responsibility, not a tool to be used to hijack the opposition with.  The hope is that  if a they have to sign a pledge that specifically commits them to the ideology of the Party they are trying to shape, than maybe it will deter some of those who want to play games with their vote from actually going through with their shallow conduct and deceptive voting practices.
Unfortunately, sincerity in politics is rare, and that goes not only for the politicians who most voters see as unscrupulous game players, but for the voters who also do not take their civic responsibility as seriously as they should and who lack a great degree of conviction.  It is for that reason that I believe this Virginia pledge will not make much of a difference.  Too many do not view their vote as sacrosanct as they should and too few have the sincere desire to make and keep a committment when it comes to politics.
So while I support the intent behind the pledge, I believe the actual pledge falls far short of accomplishing what it is designed to.
Instead, Virginia should look at the problem which created the need for this feeble solution of a pledge and get rid of their useless and senseless open primary system which allows opposing ideologies to select the nominees of the parties they oppose.  That would help avoid the need for asking voters to take a pledge and avoid the added costs of that additional step.  It would also avoid some of the negative influences that pollute the nomination process. 
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Paul’s Little Johnson: Does It Make Sense to Endorse Someone You Want to Run Against?

Bookmark and Share  The question may sound silly but if reports are true, former New Mexico Governor and soon to be former Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson is about to make it a very pertinent question.

In a press conference scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, Gary Johnson is expected to withdraw from the race for the Republican presidential nomination, register as a Libertarian, and declare his intention to seek that Party’s presidential nomination.   Then he is reportedly going to endorse Ron Paul.

Given the lack of attention that Johnson has been able to direct to himself, the move is one driven by the desire to have some relevance in the 2012 election, something which up to now, Johnson has not been able to pull off.  It is an attempt at political survival that in Johnson’s case, is now highly unlikely to work.

Part of the reason Johnson did not gain any attention in the Republican nomination contest is due to his own lack of charisma and inarticulate messaging.  Johnson is about as inspirational as a pallbearer, but if that wasn’t bad enough, he was overshadowed by another very uninspiring figure……..Ron Paul.

As the two most Libertarian candidates in the field, not only are both men out of touch when it comes to their unrealistic and dangerous foreign policy stands that put them out of touch with mainstream America, they also have both tried to compete for the small but increasing Libertarian voting bloc within the G.O.P.  And it is that competition that ruined any glimmer of hope for attention that Johnson may have had because the cult of personality surrounding quadrennial presidential candidate Ron Paul, simply sucked what little oxygen that did exist in  Johnson’s campaign, right out of it.

Given the circumstances, if Johnson wants to continue with any kind of legitimate campaign for President, then seeking the Libertarian Party nomination is the only logical decision for him to make.  It is a decision which he should have made long ago.

But now come reports that Johnson is about to diminish even that small glimmer of political hope by coupling his announcement to seek the Libertarian presidential nomination with an endorsement of Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination.

This leads me to ask, is Johnson going to also endorse Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination too?  Why not come out and also endorse Ralph Nader for the Green Party, Ross Perot for the United We Stand Party, Cynthia McKinney for the Socialist Workers Party, and Lyndon LaRouche for the “Only Other Living Candidate to Run for President as Many Times as Ron Paul Party” nominee?

In a previous post, I offered some praise of Gary Johnson and stated that based on his record of accomplishments as a governor, he was a superior candidate when compared to Ron Paul.  Ron Paul has done little more than preach and participate in acts of political hypocrisy for close to two decades.  But Gary Johnson actually put his Libertarian beliefs to work and applied them to state government.  I continue to stand by that belief.  However, if it is true that Johnson is changing his Party registration from Republican to Libertarian and subsequently announcing his quest for the Libertarian presidential nomination while simultaneously endorsing Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination, than I have only one thing to say to Johnson………… Give it up!

I could respect Johnson for coming to the realization that because of his reckless foreign policy and national security sentiments, he is out of touch with Republicans and will therefore seek the nomination of a Party more in tune with his poor judgement on those issues.  But I cannot respect him if he is actually going to do so while endorsing someone who, if he wins the Libertarian, he will be competing against.  That is just plain stupid and is further evidence of just how poor Johnson’s judgement is.

Of course it is all probably just one big game.  Another round of political BS coming from another holier than thou politician who is too proud to to admit that they are not good enough, but too ambitious to not kiss the rear end of a fellow career politician.

Most of us know that Ron Paul will not be the Republican presidential nominee, regardless of where he finishes in next week’s Iowa Caucuses.  Not being  a stupid man, Gary Johnson probably knows this too.  So his endorsement of Ron Paul is most likely a gesture designed to entice those who are supporting Ron Paul during the Republican presidential nomination process, to turn around and support Johnson for President when Paul is out of the race.  The problem is that Ron Paul may not ever drop out of the race.  When he loses the Republican nomination, he might just turn around and run as an independent candidate or compete against Johnson for the Libertarian nomination.

If Ron Paul does either of the two, Johnson is dead meat.  How can he possibly wage a realistic race against the man he endorsed?

That is why, if these reports are true, and Johnson does announce his Libertarian presidential candidacy while also endorsing Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination, I will be forced to label him a true political clown, because it all comes down to this, either you believe you are the best, most qualified, person for the job of President and believe that you can do a better job than all the others, or you don’t.  And if you don’t think you are the best person for the job, than you have no right wasting our time by seeking the position and whining about how you deserve time in nationally televised debates that already offer precious little time to legitimate candidates.

In many ways, the point is moot.  Gary Johnson did already endorse Ron Paul back in early December, as seen in this clip.  So whether Johnson reiterates this support for Paul during his announcement today, or not, I will congratulate him for finally  realizing that he has a snowball’s chance in hell at becoming the Republican presidential nominee and for deciding to give that campaign up.  But  I suggest that he make another decision too.  He should decide whether he wants to be President or whether he wants Ron Paul to be President. Once he makes that decision, maybe he will finally be able to do a little good for either himself or Ron Paul.  Until then he is just being a fool and playing us for fools.

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See The Entire Segment of Ron Paul with Jay Leno Here

Bookmark and Share    Last Friday, Ron Paul took his campaign to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno where an audience of Pauliacs drank the Kool Aid and tripped over themselves in their standing ovations and raucous spurts of spontaneous applause to every word their messiah spoke.

The interview proved that even though Ron Paul complains that he waits two hours to only get three minute to speak during a debate,  he really doesn’t need more than two minutes to repeat his over-simplified approach to reality and reckless isolationist policies and dangerous anti-defense policies.

During the approximately 20 minute segment Paul, said nothing new and continued to fail to demonstrate how would actually get anything he believes adopted and incorporated in the federal bureaucracy.  His biggest applause came though when Paul defended the right of the individual to use drugs.

The most dramatic part of the debate came when Ron Paul crossed a line and claimed that Michele Bachmann hates Muslims.  For that there was some fallout but as usual, Ron Paul was not held as accountable for his remark than others are.

If you haven’t heard Ron Paul, the video is worth watching.  If you have  heard him before, there is no reason to have to listen to his rhetoric again.

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Is There a Push to Get Jeb Bush to Become a Late Entrant in the Presidential Race?

Bookmark and Share    As an underlying storyline runs about how Republicans are dissatisfied with their choice of presidential candidates, a new telephone poll seems to be trying to taking advantage of that dissatisfaction.

Numerous New Hampshire Republican activists have Facebooked and Tweeted news of a poll that someone commissioned in which one of the questions asked is about whether they would vote for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Jeb Bush in a three way matchup for the Republican presidential nomination.

No one has yet taken credit for commissioning this poll but The Daily Caller reports that a spokesperson for former two term Florida Governor Jeb Bush has denied that he is behind the poll and reiterated that Governor Bush’s will not be a candidate in 2012.

We can speculate about who and what is behind this poll, but the tradition of political mischief making, makes all attempted explanations for it just just that …speculation.

Democrats could be behind this poll for the purpose of trying to perpetuate the perception that even Republicans are dissatisfied with their choices.

It could be someone who is trying to demonstrate that Jeb has enough support to become a succesful late entrant in to the race.

Unfortunately, we may not know who and what is behind this poll until someone comes forward and takes credit for it, or until the results of the poll are released.  By election law, any polling data released to the public or referred to when addressing the public, must be released in full to the media.  What this means is, if we never hear about the results of this poll, someone could be using this data internally, possibly for the purpose of discreetly establishing whether Jeb Bush is someone that the Republican presidential nominee should tap as their running mate.   Coming out with a poll that specifically asks what people think about Jeb as a vice presidential candidate, would be too obvious.    But if a poll  finds that Jeb Bush outpolls, or comes close to either one of the two most likely nominees, than he is probably a good choice for being their running mate and the sponsors of the poll get to find that out without giving away their true intentions.

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Gary Johnson Preparing to Bolt from the G.O.P. and Seek the Libertarian Presidential Nomination

Bookmark and Share  The Independent Political Report recently revealed that former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will be withdrawing from the race for the Republican presidential nomination,  and instead, begin pursuing the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

While this news is dramatic, it is really more personaly dramatic for Gary Johnson than it is for most American voters.  To them the real news is that Gary Johnson was running for President in any Party.

Johnson was one of the first candidates to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, but few ever knew.  His lack of nationalname ID and seeming lack of personality made it quite hard for Gary Johnson to ever really have a chance to catch on with the public.  In addition to scant media coverage of his candidacy, little to no interest in his candidacy gave few media outlets any desire to cover his campaign.  White House 2012 contacted Gary Johnson several times in an attempt to give him the opportunity for such coverage, but apparently, he decided that no coverage was better than any coverage by White House 2012.

Now it would seem that Gary Johnson has come to accept the vicious cycle of political anonymity that he exists in and is ready to to try to become a big fish in the little Libertarian pond, instead of being a Guppy in a big lake.

While news of any aggressive moderate or right of center candidacy can significantly harm Republican chances of defeating President Obama,  Gary Johnson’s third party candidacy will have little effect on the election even if he wins the Libertarian nomination.  Whereas such a campaign by Ron Paul could doom any chance of beating President Obama 2012, the same does not hold true for Johnson,  whose Libertarian bid for the presidency will only prove to generate the same kind of voter attention and enthusiasm that his failed campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has generated.

In many ways, Johnson’s inability to run a campaign that could get his message out is a very sad state of affairs.

As a popular two term Governor, he became one of the few people to actually deliver on limited government and reducing the size of  government.  He is also one of the few elected officials who has actually governed in accordance with the fiscal conservatism that he preaches.  Compared to Ron Paul, Gary Johnson is actually a much better leader.  While Paul preaches, Johnson did what he preached.  While Ron Paul has accomplished little to nothing in his attempts to reform government, Gary Johnson has actually achieved reforms.

Truth be told, if I had the opportunity to elect Johnson governor of my state, I would.  He is a true small government, fiscal conservative.  However, like Ron Paul, he and his policies lack any merit when it comes to what is the federal government’s main constitutional repsonisibility…..foreign affairs and national security.  Sadly, this is a disqualifier.  It is also one of the reasons why no one has taken Gary Johnson seriously as a presidential candidate.

Ultimately, Johnson’s potential third party candidacy is the best thing for him and for the Libertarian Party, he is the next best thing to Ron Paul for them and it is probably what Johnson should have done from the very beginning.

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Trunkline 2012: Monday Mentions from The Republican Presidential Race – 12/12/11

Bookmark and Share  Gingrich and Romney trade barbs, Paul becomes appealing, Santorum raises money with Romney’s bet, and some juice on Marco Rubio and Ben Bernanke.   All of this awaits you in today’s Trunkline 2012.  And don’t forget to take the poll in it.

Between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, which of the two would be a stronger candidate against President Obama?   Vote here, now.

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

Bookmark and Share Sunday’s Trunkline 2012 offers you a picure that is worth more words than Obama stimulus package, a video that summarizes the Obama Adminstration up quite well, the DNC’s attacks oln Newt, Bachmann’s attacks on Newt and Mitt, Perry’s poke at Romney’s deep pockets, Santorum’s telling interview with bloggers, a recap of last night’s debate, and more.  All for your information and consideration here at White House 2012, where being American and believing in American exceptionalism is a good thing.

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After Ron Paul’s Last Hurrah, Where Will His Supporters Go, and What Will They Do?

Bookmark and Share    As Ron Paul embarks upon his last political campaign for either the presidency or Congress, and as the curtain comes down on his over two decade long political career, he promises to go out with a bang.  Instead of exiting the stage on a high note and trying to better articulate and advance his deserving message of liberty, personal responsibility, and a limited, constitutional government, Ron Paul has decided to embark upon a scorched earth campaign that aims its fire at anyone who passes him in the polls.

As he leaves elected politics, he does so in a very ungraceful way that follows the stereotypical negative political path that voters claim they are sick and tired of.

So far, in this his third run for President, instead of being a true leader who demonstrates that their can be a new way forward, and a more positive political path to take us there, Ron Paul has chosen to be a follower who takes his mighty message down the same low road that most politicians have taken.  Instead of building himself up with his message and articulating actual coherent policies that can translate ideological purity into realistic accomplishments, Ron Paul has decided that he must tear others down in order for his message to succeed.  So he was the first to launch highly exaggerated, brutally negative, webads first against Mitt Romney, then Rick Perry, and now Newt Gingrich.

Now Rick, and Mitt, and Newt, are big boys who should be able to defend themselves and with the exception of Newt Gingrich so far , they are not immune from their own negative ads that they have produced against each other.  But Ron Paul is suppose to be a different kind of leader.  He was suppose to be the non-politician, champion of the people, defender of liberty, and defender-in-chief of the U. S. Constitution.  Yet his ads convey more of a very uncharacteristic first blood-like theme that is the total antithesis of his anti-war message and the noble cause he claims to represent.

Some might justify Paul’s highly negative campaign by claiming that he means business, is in this to win it, and will play by the same rules that his opponents will.  That may be so.  But I have yet to see Newt Gingrich produce an attack on the character of any of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.  In fact with Newt, at least so far, it is quite the opposite.  In Newt we see a man who is brave enough to stand behind his own record, his own ideas, and his own message, without resorting to cheap shots and investing his campaign’s money and time in to ads designed to allow him to become some sort of defacto winner because he is the last man, or woman, standing.  Unlike Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich is showing himself to be a leader in this area and blazing the path for a new campaign model that is relying less on polling and polarizing language, and more on solutions, ideas, and vision.

Seeing Ron Paul exit the political stage in such a way is in many ways sad.  Ron Paul deserves much credit for making sure that words and phrases like constitutional and limited government have never been left out of the political debate.  He has done much to make people think twice about what role government is suppose to play in our lives.  While Ron Paul has never quite been able to move his message very far within the legislative process, for the last two decades he has at least been an integral part of insuring that the question of government’s rightful role in our lives is at least an issue given consideration during the legislative process.   For that I give Dr. Paul much credit.  Which is why I would have prefered to see the curtain come down on his years in elected office in a much more dignified way than he has chosen.  But that is Ron Paul’s decision and as he would be the first to tell you, that is his right.

But as Ron Paul does leave elected office, and yes I say leave, because while I may not be sure who the ultimately Republican nominee will be, I am positive that it won’t be him and I see little chance of him being on anyone’s short list for Vice President. So as he “leaves” elected office without seeking reelection to a thirteenth term in Congress, I can’t help but wonder who will take his place.

Who will pick up the Libertarian Party torch and lead the way?

As a political party, Libertarians are a mess.  By their very nature, they are not an agreeable bunch.  In many ways, they are admirably not prone to any kind of groupthink mentality, but also irritatingly unable to consider a differing opinion.  As such, their independence and strong individualism makes them an inherently unruly, impossible to organize bunch.  As one observer put it;

” If you get 10 libertarians into a discussion, you’ll have 10 different opinions on many things, maybe even 11″.

Legendary Libertarian stalwart, Dr. Mary Ruwart  was even quoted as saying;

 “I was at the 1983 convention and it was so spiteful and destructive that I was almost done with the party.”

Responsible for such reactions is the very real Libertarian quality to be disagreeable and independent.  And the fact that Ron Paul was one of the few people that the vast majority of Libertarians could get behind,  simply makes Ron Paul an even more valuable figure and adds to a long list of legitimate credit due him.  Ron Paul is one of the few, if not the only figure that most Libertarians could ever truly unite behind.   Yet at the same time, Ron Paul has not sought out their presidential nomination since 1988, when he first ran for President, and probably for good reason.   While Ron Paul may be a bit, how can I say this…………unconventional.  Yeah.  That’s it,…… unconventional.  While he may be unconventional, he is not stupid.  Even he knows that he can not get elected President with only the Libertarian nomination.  So he runs as a Republican.

So again, with him leaving the spotlight, who else can carry the Libertarian banner with a unified Libertarian following?

Possible popular figures include Wayne Allyn Root, the 2008 Libertarian VP nominee, and Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who has joined Ron Paul in a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, as well as beloved Libertarian candidate, Mary Ruwart.  Yet while these may by leading names within the Party for various reasons, they can hardly be considered figures who can unify the Party and get their message out any more than Ron Paul has been able to.

The way I see it, aside from Ron Paul’s son, freshman Kentucky Senator  Rand Paul, no one has even the slightest chance of doing that.  And even Rand may fall short of being able to fill his father’s shoes among LP members.  While Rand Paul is an apple that has not fallen from the tree, his Libertarian roots are not quite as solid as his fathers.  Many Libertarians might even consider him to be too much of an interventionist for their tastes.

The sad fact is that as a Party, Libertarians are simply dysfunctional and they can barely be considered their own national Party.

As Dr. Walter Block,  a professor of economics at Loyola University, once noted, the Libertarian Party seems to be on the verge of being taken over by conservatives.  Which is part of the reason why the bombastic former conservative Republican Congressman from Georgia, Bob Barr was the Party’s presidential nominee in 2008.

Block writes that in 2008 he was struck by the fact that the Libertarian National Convention  had conservative  Richard Viguerie give what he called a “high profile” and “very well received speech”.  Then he was struck by the designation of conservative Jim Pinkerton as the moderator of the convention’s presidential debate.

All of this has already raised some big questions regarding what is really more of Libertarian movement than a Party.  Will it be taken over by conservatives and their often spoken of “neo-con” nemeses?  Will we see the Libertarian movement dismembered by a division between  conservative-Libertarians or libertarian-Conservatives and old guard Libertarians?  Will we see the rise of Conservatarians?  Or maybe we will see the Libertarian Party consumed by the TEA Party movement?  These questions become even more pertinent now that Ron Paul heads off in to retirement.   Having become the only widely recognized national leader of libertarianism, where do his supporters go after him?    And how will his supporters vote when he fails to win the Republican presidential nomination?  These questions and the lack of an answer to them are probably Ron Paul’s greatest failing as as the perceived father of contemporary, American libertarianism.  His inability to look beyond his own presidential aspirations and to  prepare for the future of his movement, leaves its future in great doubt.   Maybe Ron Paul believes that his son will inherit the libertarian limelight.  If so, the Libertarian Party will soon fade away as a political organization because as a member of the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul’s Party loyalties to the Republican Party are far greater than many may be willing to accept.

Rand Paul could however be a bridge.

He could become a bridge that finally helps lead to what really needs to be done here….the creation of coalition of Libertarians, and Republicans, and Conservatives, together in one great cause to save the principles that founded this great nation.  At least until we have steered ourselves safely away from the shoals of socialism that could run our ship of state aground.

While I have these questions, I do not have the answers.  But what I do know is that our nation is at a very critical juncture in its history.  Our current President has taken a hard left turn that has advanced the cause of socialism in America at a pace faster than I could have ever imagined.  And while Republicans, even prior to President Obama, have not always effectively stood their ground for the principles of limited government, after losing all control of government in 2008 and regaining some of it back in 2010, the hope is that they have learned their lesson.  But even if they have, the non-liberal, anti-socialist voters of America are still leery of the G.O.P.  So much so that in a close election in 2012, a conservative or libertarian oriented third party candidate could easily insure the reelection of President Obama.  This we must avoid.

Quite unfortunately, Ron Paul’s scorched earth campaign strategy is not willing to accept that.  Instead, the way he sees it, if he can’t be the Republican presidential nominee, then no one other Barack Obama can be President in 2012.

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Mark Levin’s Either Or, Bachmann or Santorum Endorsement

Bookmark and Share    While most individual endorsements have only varying degrees of minimal effect on the success or failure of a candidate, the collective endorsements of like-minded leaders can have significant effect on voter’s behaviors.  At the very least, a united front of endorsements from those associated with a particular cause or ideology, can easily force the faithful to look at the candidate behind those endorsements and open the door to their own support for that candidate.

In Republican politics, one group that falls in to this category of influential endorsements are those who share a seat at the table of conservative columnists and radio talk show hosts.

Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Tammy Bruce, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Neal Bootrz, Michael Gallagher, Mark Levin and the King of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, these are just some of the most influential commercial conservative opinion shapers.  As lone voices, they may not be able to swing and election one way or the other, but collectively, if these leading figures, or a vast majority of them were to support a particular candidate, their listeners who comprise an audience of activists Republican who make up the base of the G.O.P. , would not be able to avoid considering their endorsement.  At the very least, such a coordinated effort would force them to at least reconsider their own candidate of preference.

In 2008, most of the conservative talking heads rallied around Mitt Romney.  When the 2008 primary came down to a clear two man race between McCain and Romney, McCain was the candidate that conservatives wanted an alternative to.  Ironically, in 2008, that candidate was Romney.

So far, in the 2012 election, the conservative talking heads have not yet been able to coalesce around a single alternative to Mitt Romney.  But as the first voting in the nomination process approaches, these conservative hosts are beginning to dash to the corners of certain candidates.  However they are doing so based  on a process of elimination that has them picking the candidate they least dislike.  They have written Romney and Huntsman off as too liberal, they wrote Perry off as incapable of campaigning effectively,  Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer as flakes who are not significant enough for them to consider, Ron Paul for not being sane enough,  and now they are writing Newt Gingrich off as a candidate who is too liberal, commercial, and personally flawed.

With Herman Cain now out of the running, that process of elimination would leave them with Bachmann, Santorum.

Evidence of that process was recently demonstrated by Mark Levin who on his radio show, gave listeners an either or endorsement.  Either Michele Bachman or Rick Santorum [listen to the clip in the video provided below this post].

Levin did however state that he is not trying to tell people what to do.  He said that what he thinks doesn’t really matter because the voters will decide for themselves.  But Levin stated that for himself, if the primary was coming up in his state anytime soon, his vote would come down to Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum.  His reasoning behind his preference of them is due to what he described as their history of being consistent conservatives.

Before he offered his personal view, he did also stipulate that he will be supporting whoever is the ultimate Republican nominee.  Levin also added that the first priority is defeating Obama.

I can appreciate Mark Levin’s either or endorsement and what’s more is, I can appreciate the way he did it.

Mark Levin has been careful not to assassinate the character of all of the other candidates.  With the exception of Ron Paul, unlike some, Levin has not tried to hobble any of the other candidates and he has criticized others in his field who have stated and written things about the other candidates which will simply play right in to the hands of President Obama and the liberal establishment.

As Levin himself states, his endorsement is probably not going to effect who the nominee is and he does not intend for it do so.  He states that it is merely his personal decision.  But with the seeming desire to write-off Newt Gingrich by others like Ann Coulter and Michele Malkin, and with the general dislike for Romney from the rest of the conservative talking head circuit, there is a very plausible scenario which could see all these opinion makers slowly follow Levin’s lead and make this nomination come down to a choice between Romney and either Santorum and Bachmann.

They did this in 2008 when they lined up behind Romney.  But it didn’t work.  John  McCain went on to win the nomination and lose the presidency.  And in 2012, if that type of process of elimination were to again play itself out, I believe we will see the similar results for Republicans in the 2012 general election.

Hopefully this can be avoided, but I am only slightly optimistic.

While I have personally chosen to endorse Newt Gingrich, like Mark Levin, I have also chosen not to close the door on any of the other realistic choices for President.  In the end, when all is said is said and done,  I believe that Mitt Romney will be our nominee and unlike some who have painted Romney as a flaming liberal, I have come to accept the fact that the vision that Romney has proposed for our nation is in fact a conservative one and a vast improvement over what we currently have.  Furthermore, in Romney I see a leader with a record of proven success, a man who is a true manager who has shown his ability to take the reigns of a chaotic situation and tame it, as he did with the 2002 Winter Olympics.  That doesn’t mean I that I won’t promote Newt.  But it also doesn’t mean that I will spite myself and the Party if I do not get the pcik of litter.

I  understand that whoever the nominee is, when the dust settles, people’s opinions will change.  Conservatives will find many things to like about the ultimate nominee but by then it may be too late.  When that time comes, if they continue to go on record with their character assignations and the denigration of those who are not their first choice, the Democrats will have been provided all that they need to make it hard for changed minds to achieve their goal of beating Obama.

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White House 2012 December Power Ranking of the Republican Presidential Candidates

Bookmark and Share   With just 30 days to go before the Iowa Caucuses, and as Newt Gingrich becomes the latest candidate to move in to position for frontrunner status, White House 2012 has issued its monthly power ranking of the candidates and for the 10th month in a row, Mitt Romney holds on to the number 1 slot.

The White House 2012 monthly ranking is based on the collective opinions of the staff of White House.  Each contributor has ranked the candidates in the order which they believe they will ultimately placewhen the nomination process is finished.   It is not a prediction of where they will place in Iowa or any other state.  It is an assumption of who will ultimately win the nomination.

This month, with the absence of Herman Cain, White House 2012 has seen most all the remaining candidates move up a slot.  The exceptions to this are Michele Bachmann and Gary Johnson who move up two slots, and Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman who find themselves ranked exactly where they were last month.  The same goes for Mitt Romney who has yet to lose his top position in White House 2012’s monthly ranking.  Former Louisiana Governor and Democrat Buddy Roemer has  reentered the White House 2012 ranking for the first time since May, when he came in 20th place.

It is important to note that Newt came closer to replacing Mitt in the number one spot than anyone has in previous months, so even the combined opinions of the White House 2012 staff see the race tightening up. 

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