Conservative Formula Plays Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A remarkable success by Santorum – a devastating night for Team Romney

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum claimed a remarkable trifecta of wins and massive surge of momentum by sweeping Mitt Romney in all three contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

Santorum’s victories are all the more remarkable considering Romney’s advantage in financing and organization. Tuesday’s results included losses in two states – Colorado and Minnesota – that he won in his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. Minnesota also became the first state where Romney did not end up in first or second place despite having the support of former presidential candidate and State Governor Tim Pawlenty.

The stunning results by Santorum have raised fresh doubts about whether establishment favourite and perceived frontrunner Romney, can in fact win a General election or even the nomination itself after struggling to get support from the party’s conservative base.

Santorum has now finished first in four of the first eight primaries and caucuses, after his narrow victory over Romney in Iowa’s caucuses on January 3.

The former senator said his campaign was already bringing in more donations, an important consideration for a candidate who trails far behind Romney in the fund-raising race.

As he has before, Romney had seemed on track to win the nomination after big wins in Nevada and Florida last week. He had been expected to win easily in Colorado and did little campaigning in Minnesota and Missouri.

In Minnesota’s caucuses, Santorum won with 45 percent of the vote. But the state became the first this year in which Romney did not finish first or second. Congressman Ron Paul was in second place with 27 percent and Romney was third at 17 percent.

Santorum trounced Romney by 30 percentage points in Missouri, 55 percent to 25 percent. That vote was a non-binding primary, but has symbolic value as a measure of support in a big Midwestern state.

The race was closer in Colorado where Santorum won by 5 percentage points over Romney, 40 percent to 35 percent.

Santorum in his victory speech also appeared more presidential then before, setting up a contrast between himself and President Obama as more of the aloof and arrogant policies from a person out of touch with the American people, or a true conservative alternative who will listen to the voice of the people. Santorum essentially positioned himself as the champion of the American people, economic policy, social values, and defender of the constitution and first amendment in particular. It was a passionate and heartfelt speech that connected with the audience.

“I don’t stand here to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama,” Santorum said. On health care, cap and trade and the Wall Street bailout, he charged, “Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama.”

Romney addressing his supporters said, “This was a good night for Rick Santorum. I want to congratulate Senator Santorum and wish him the very best. We’ll keep on campaigning down the road, but I expect to become our nominee with your help.”

I asked the question in a recent article about Mitt Romney – What does he stand for? (worldviewtonight.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/romney-florida-an-expected-success-can-he-stand-up-to-the-obama-machine/)

The reason I asked the question was not out of any dislike for Romney, I admire a lot about Governor Romney and his business success in particular. The reason I asked the question was that Team Romney were very effective at attacking President Obama and Newt Gingrich with his powerful advertising spending however; I honestly didn’t know what his vision for America was and where he stood on the key issues of the day.

Team Romney will need to have a very detailed reassessment of their strategy going forward. The tried and tested approach of going negative on his opponents, and touting his business experience combined with large rallies, has left voters and supporters devoid of enthusiasm for his candidacy.

Romney’s speech last night was almost parrot fashion repetition of his talking points from the last week. He is failing to connect with the ordinary voter and too often has appeared rehearsed and uncomfortable when put in personal one to one interviews. Romney will need to throw off the consultant shackles and be more energetic, more personal and more natural on the campaign trail or face certain defeat.

Ironically, despite his poor showing in contests which he barely contested, Santorum’s victories may also be good news for former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Team Romney will now need to develop a strategy to attack Santorum and need Gingrich to stay in the race. The longer Gingrich stays in the race, the longer it will split the conservative vote. Three weeks out of the cross hairs for Gingrich may enable him to lay the ground work for a series of victories himself on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012.

The Romney strategy was based on spending massive early to knock-out his rivals and claim the nomination early before turning his attention towards President Obama. Last night’s remarkable series of wins by Santorum, now appears to have changed the GOP race into a near certain long drawn out affair, and even if Romney prevails as the nominee, his chances of defeating President Obama in the race for the White House in November have been damaged.

There are three winners from last night’s results. Santorum’s victories give him the momentum he needs going forward and hopefully an injection of much needed financial support. They give President Obama renewed confidence that former Governor Romney is not as strong an opponent as initially believed and the longer the race GOP race on, the more damaged he will become. Finally, it gives Gingrich hope and time to re-organise his campaign and ground work ahead of Super Tuesday to deliver a series of southern victories himself.

A bad night for Romney.

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.

Capitalism a Casualty of Campaign

What is happening to the Republican field?  It made some sense when Cain was attacked for being a businessman with no foreign policy experience and no political experience.  That was perhaps a fair shot at an outsider businessman candidate.

Then came the attacks on Newt for having Freddie Mac as a client.  Newt not only had Freddie as a client, but his firm made over a million dollars.  Suddenly, it was like Newt himself had caused the economic collapse.  Reasonable conservatives told me that this was insurmountable.  How could Newt, a high level business consultant, have Freddie Mac as a client?  His fellow candidates tried to make it sound like Newt was on their payroll.  Suddenly populism had overtaken the Republican party.

Then came the attacks on Romney for his time at Bain Capital.  Romney’s company created new businesses, reorganized and saved businesses, and occasionally tried to save businesses and failed.  As with any free American enterprise, Bain Capital sometimes downsized and let people go.  Romney’s opponents have seized on this, especially with the ignorant populist anti-wall street sentiment in the country today, and have tried to use this against Romney.  They have painted him as an out of touch, insanely rich “Mr. Burns” who would go in, take over small companies, and fire everyone just to make a buck.  Here’s an idea, how about a millionaire’s surtax on evil rich people like Romney?  Oops, we just became liberals.

I know, political rhetoric is political rhetoric.  You say whatever it takes to win.  But then came the really disappointing moment.  GOP rivals jumped on Romney’s statement that he likes to be able to fire people.  Romney was not saying that he likes to randomly fire people, or likes to fire employees like Bain Capital did.  Huntsman attacked Romney directly for the comment, while Newt released a video exploiting workers who had been fired as a result of Bain Capital’s work.  Romney was actually talking about the ability to not have to buy insurance, or to drop an insurance company that isn’t serving his needs.  But what does context matter in politics?  Shame on them for this line of attack.  You know it’s bad when you are attacking a moderate Republican, and even Ron Paul is standing up for the moderate.  In fact, my hat is off to Ron Paul for defending Romney against this dishonest line of attack.  Newt also eventually came to Romney’s defense about the misquote.

Newt at this point will likely lose Florida, which means he will lose the primary.  Up until this week, at least he had the opportunity to exit with his head held high.  Up to now he had run a very honest, positive campaign.  When he did go negative, it was with honesty.  His best shot at salvaging the honor in his campaign at this point is a humble apology for attacking Romney for being a capitalist.

One final note, may the best capitalist win.  Since when has populism won over conservatives?  Heck, what’s the point?  If Newt is evil for having Freddie Mac as a paying client and Romney is evil for what he did with Bain Capital, then we need to re-elect Obama.  Imagine if Trump had stayed in the race.

 

Editors note: correction from the originally posted article.  Newt did defend Romney against the attack based on his statement about firing insurance companies.  However Newt has attacked Romney for the jobs lost through Bain Capital.

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?

Debunking Newt Mythology

Ok, hold on a minute.  Let’s talk about Newt.

The left has gone all in on Newt.  After three years of seeing that the Democrats have an empty hand with Obama, they have put all their chips on the table and dared us to run Newt.  And as usual, we are folding.  Same thing happened in 2008 when the left and the media scoffed at Mitt Romney and said that the only candidate who could ever beat their guy was John McCain.  Believe it or not, we listened.  For the smarter party, Republicans sure can be stupid.

Now the left is saying it will be a cake walk if we run Gingrich and the only serious candidate who can beat their guy is Romney, or maybe Huntsman, although they seem to have figured out that one is a hard sell.  So why are we listening again?  Ann Coulter came out slamming Newt and endorsing Romney.  George Will has attacked Newt Gingrich.  And what for?

Newt got $1.8 million from Freddie Mac.  Not really, it was actually Newt’s company.  But he did it by lobbying.  Well, again, no.  Newt did not lobby for Freddie Mac, but his company did provide consulting services to Freddie Mac.  Now, I am a businessman and a lot of what I do involves consulting.  Does that mean I can never run for President in case one of my clients does something bad someday despite my advice?  Maybe.

Let’s take it out of the business realm.  Pretend you own a garage and you fix cars.  If George Soros drives up and asks you to change the oil, will you turn him away?  Are you a liberal if you change his oil?  What about Bernie Madoff before he was caught?  Are you part of his illegal pyramid scheme because you changed his tires?

It would be one thing if Newt counseled Freddie Mac on how lose billions of dollars, get bailed out, and pay everyone huge bonuses.  But if you are looking for that smoking gun, you are looking at the wrong person.  Try Franklin Raines, Jamie Gaerlick, etc.  Enough with the guilt by association.  Newt did consulting for large businesses, and they paid his company rates that large, multi-billion dollar businesses pay for high level consulting.

Ok, but Newt sat on a couch with Nancy Pelosi.  Yes, he did.  He also had debates with Cuomo, Kerry and Sharpton.  Newt Gingrich is not going to implement cap and trade to prevent global warming.  That’s about as crazy as saying Mitt Romney is going to support partial birth abortion.  Seriously, you have my word that neither of those will happen.  Newt wasn’t endorsing Nancy Pelosi any more than Al Sharpton was endorsing Pat Robertson.  If Sarah Palin stood next to Michelle Obama and did a PSA saying its good for kids to have a healthy diet, would you suddenly think that Palin supports federal government takeover of school lunches? Newt has fought vigorously against cap and trade.

Well, what about Newt supporting a healthcare mandate?  When Hillary was pushing Hillarycare, which would take responsibility away from people, Newt signed on with the Heritage Foundation’s alternative that included an individual mandate. After researching it, Newt backed off that position.  He never implemented it for an entire state, or for anyone actually.  Newt is not going to implement a healthcare mandate on the entire country.  Guess what, neither is Romney.

In fact, let’s talk Romney for a minute.  Mitt Romney is pro-life.  He opposes gay marriage.  He makes Huntsman look like Hillary.  He supports tax cuts for the middle class and not raising taxes on employers and producers.  As much as Romney has been painted as the liberal in this bunch, he was the most conservative viable candidate in 2008 after Fred Thompson dropped out.  He may not be a card carrying TEA Party member, but he has said himself that he supports the TEA Party and shares all of their goals.  By the way, I never got a card either.  I really don’t think they issue them, even if Bachmann has one.

Why did Romney lose in 2008?  It all came down to two reasons.  Number one, Romney was not moderate enough to get the “independents”.  He was too conservative.  Only John McCain could beat the Democrat in 2008 by reaching across the aisle and not being so extreme.  Reason number two, the infamous time-table for withdrawal charge.  Romney said that when the time came to draw down the troops from Iraq, he supported a time-table for an orderly withdrawal.  His opponents turned that into Democrat style cut and run.  No matter how many times he tried to explain that was not what he believed, that became the mantra.

What about Rick Perry?  Why aren’t we going around saying that Rick Perry is going to implement cap and trade because years ago he was a Democrat working on the campaign of the future Nobel prize winner and global warming snake oil salesman, Al Gore?

The only person we have to actually worry about doing half the crazy stuff he’s been accused of thinking is Ron Paul!

So let’s not let people choose our candidate for us.  Research what you hear about candidates.  Just because George Will thinks you are too dumb to vote doesn’t make it so.  Each of the candidates left have some great ideas, and each one will do a far better job at running this country than the current President.  Did Cain have some foreign policy gaffes?  Shoot, the last three years have been an Obama foreign policy gaffe.

Part of this election cycle that Romney has skipped sofar has been the knife in the back from the right and the dare to run that candidate from the left.  Considering how well Newt is handling this complete onslaught from the right and left, wouldn’t you rather have him going up against Obama than the candidate that no one is vetting?  McCain got plenty of vetting after Romney dropped out in 2008.

This is not an endorsement of Newt.  I will make an endorsement of a candidate after the Jacksonville, Florida debate in January.  But this is a serious question to our party.  Why do we have to self destruct again?

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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Donald Trump Fires His Own Presidential Ambitions

Bookmark and Share As promised, the month of May is producing a significant amount of clarity in the developing Republican presidential field. At the beginning of the month, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour announced he would not run for President. This Saturday, former Governor Mike Huckabee declared that he would not be a candidate in 2012, and now we have learned that real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump will not be running for President.

In an early afternoon statement released by the Trump organization, (see the complete press release below this post) The Donald indicated that his real passionand talent is for business and he is not yet willing to give itup for politics.

This announcement has left many ill-advisedTrump enthusiasts at a loss. Trump supporters were looking for a political outsider, with business experience and a say-it-like-is attitude. Now, withTrump definitely out of the running,his supportersjoin with the significant number of Huckabee supporters who have also been left without a candidate. If you believe current polls, Huckabee and Trump accounted for a third of all Republican voters. This third is now up for grabs and as they all look for a corner to run to, the perfect time for a new name to enter the race has been created.

It is fairly obvious that Huckabee and Trump voters are not pleased with any of the existing names in the Republican field. Now that they are unaligned, they are still not likely to be content of these names. However, as they look for a satisfactory alternative, candidates like Pawlenty, Santorum and Herman Cain could begin to appeal to these newly disenfranchised voters and lure them into their camps. That being the case, now is the perfect time for a new name to jump in and scoop up these wayward Huckabee and Trump voters before they align themselves with an another existing candidate.

As for Donald Trump’s decision, it was to be expected. White House 2012 has noted on several occasionsthat while Donald Trump may initiallybe a popular candidate, due to Trump’s nature and character, it would not have translated in to being a popular politician.Hispotential candidacy alsobrought with it an ability to do more harm than good to Republicans. Trump’s antics, unprofessionaluse of vulgarities, and total lack of finesse and diplomacy was arecipefor certain disaster that would have produced a sideshow-like atmosphere within the Republican nominating contests. This side-show would have been a debilitating distraction from the real issues anda from a serious search for a serious presidential candidateto run against President Obama.

In the end,while I have not been very kind to DonaldTrump and his political viability, I must admitthat his decisionnot to run, was a smart one, a smart one for him, for the G.O.P., and the nation.His statement announcing that he wouldnot be a candidate for president in 2012 seemed to be genuine. It reflected Trump’s own acceptance of who he really is and what he is best at.If DonaldTrump is nothing else, he is a personally successful individual. Such personal success does not come by acting impulsively or without an understanding of ones own capabilities. On this decision, Trump demonstratedthat he knows himself well.And while I am sure he truly gave running for president, serious consideration, I firmly believe thathe alsoknows just how serious he can take himself.

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Actual Trump Press Release

For Immediate Release:

New York, New York: May 16, 2011

After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.

I want to personally thank the millions of Americans who have joined the various Trump grassroots movements and written me letters and e-mails encouraging me to run. My gratitude for your faith and trust in me could never be expressed properly in words. So, I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician’s thoughts.

My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country. I will continue 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. Issues, including getting tough on China and other countries that are methodically and systematically taking advantage of the United States, were seldom mentioned before I brought them to the forefront of the country’s conversation.

They are now being debated vigorously. I will also continue to push for job creation, an initiative that should be this country’s top priority and something that I know a lot about. I will not shy away from expressing the opinions that so many of you share yet don’t have a medium through which to articulate.

I look forward to supporting the candidate who is the most qualified to help us tackle our country’s most important issues and am hopeful that, when this person emerges, he or she will have the courage to take on the challenges of the Office and be the agent of change that this country so desperately needs.

Thank you and God Bless America!

Donald J. Trump
Michael Cohen
Executive Vice President and
Special Counsel To Donald J. Trump

Airtime for the backups

Aside from Tim Pawlenty, going into last night’s debate I think most pundits considered these to be second tier candidates. After last night, I will admit that the perception that most of these candidates don’t have a viable shot probably hasn’t changed. However, there were clear winners and clear losers. Here is my take on the debate, which at times will be blunt and harshly honest:

Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty demonstrated why he is a top tier candidate. He was professional, studied, and Presidential. He took clean shots at Obama and did not make missteps. However, his answer to Cap and Trade may come across to the base as a weak answer. Cap and Trade is already widely unpopular with the TEA party and conservative right. It is almost as unpopular as humbling yourself before the media and admitting a mistake. I think it was the best answer Pawlenty could give, but it highlighted that unfortunate decision to initially support Cap and Trade. Pawlenty’s other disadvantage coming into last night was that everyone expected a polished performance. He will be judged at a higher standard. I was pleased to see Pawlenty show some charisma and get the crowd motivated. However, when it came to charisma, Pawlenty was not the candidate who stole the show.

Herman Cain

Cain provided the night with a dose of Donald Trump charisma mixed with Sean Hannity conservatism. Cain was unequivocal and commanded the stage. He was a crowd pleaser who handled each question without a gaffe or misstep. I think Cain’s performance brought many conservatives to believe that he could be the conservative answer to the straightforward, no nonsense approach that Trump had become so popular for. My prediction is that we will begin to see Trump wane in popularity now that the birther issue has run its course and Cain stands to benefit. We will see if Cain can capitalize on his performance.

If Cain’s popularity does grow, he will need to find answers to a lot of questions on issues that have not seen the light of the mainstream media yet. For example, Cain defended his support of the Fairtax by mentioning the concept of a “prebate” paid to every family at the beginning of the month for essentials. But is Cain prepared to face scrutiny on the prebate idea? The IRS paid out billions in fraudulent stimulus checks as a one time deal. Kiplinger says that the IRS estimates that 25% of earned income credit payouts were incorrect and fraudulent. Can the government cut a check to every family in America at the beginning of every month without an Internal Revenue Service, individual tax returns, and massive fraud? Also, getting rid of the IRS sounds nice, but who is going to make sure businesses remit the fairtax and prebates are paid out without a revenue department in the government? Perhaps we will see in the course of this primary if Cain is running on answers or populism.

Rick Santorum

Santorum did a good job as a whole, and will appeal to the same conservatives that Bush appealed to. The question is if Santorum can position himself as more likely to win than Obama. Santorum’s message resonates with social conservatives, and he made it clear last night that his message hasn’t changed. Will conservatives vote for Santorum? While presenting himself as a solid candidate, he did not say anything last night that distinguished himself or rocketed him into the top tier. Santorum’s win for the night was the fact that he showed up, while Gingrich, Huckabee and others did not. But he is still overshadowed by other conservative heavyweights, including Gingrich, Bachmann, Huckabee, and now Cain.

Ron Paul

Paul hasn’t changed since 2008. While he says many things that make sense to conservative constitutionalists and libertarian Republicans, Paul still comes across as the enemy of all things Democrat and Republican. This is great for wooing independents and libertarians, but will not win Paul the Republican primary. For most of the night, I felt myself agreeing with and cheering Paul, but he will once again be the martyr of the protectionist, states rights conservatives. They understand what Paul is saying, they just can’t figure out why non-Paul Republicans don’t. Here’s a hint, Ron Paul still comes across as abrasive, obnoxious, and anti-Republican. This man could be President if he could figure out how to sell himself and explain why what he believes would actually work. I spent a good part of the evening asking myself why Republicans don’t support Ron Paul, but the answer is the same as last time he ran. He is an uncompromising and radical philosopher campaigning in a world of soundbites, and soundbites are not kind to Ron Paul.

Gary Johnson

Picture a more abrasive and whiny version of Ron Paul, but without the name recognition. With Ron Paul in the race, who needs Gary Johnson? He did not distinguish himself, except to come down on the traditionally liberal side of Iraq, Afghanistan (supported it before he was against it), and drugs. His “cost/benefit” approach to drug legalization portrayed a dollars above principles approach to policy. Whether his views on the cost benefit of the war on drugs are right or wrong, such a calloused approach to a moral question will not win him a conservative majority. Johnson only made matters worse by dismissing the conservative majority in the Republican party as unnecessary in the primary and guaranteed to be loyal in the general election. He should ask John McCain if Republicans need social conservatives to defeat Obama.

Johnson’s moment of charisma showed itself in the form of scolding the moderators for not asking him enough questions, a move that screams “I am unpolished, second tier, and everyone knows it but me”. He will find his frustrations at not being taken seriously will continue to grow, mainly because he is not a serious candidate.

Summary

After last night, I think Herman Cain moved up, Santorum, Paul and Pawlenty remained unchanged, and Johnson moved down. Gingrich was probably hurt the most by not showing up, Romney was hurt the least. Gingrich could have used the exposure and chance to showcase his debate skills. Romney sofar has seemed to transcend any primary activity in early polls as an assumed front runner by most whether he shows up or not. Mitch Daniels was probably the most unfairly represented absentee at the debate itself. In the end, the only lasting effects of this debate will be a bump for Herman Cain.

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.

Trump Shrugged: The Donald Addresses South Florida Tea Party

Bookmark and Share On Saturday, sounding like a protagonist hero straight out of Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged, Donald Trump electrified Tea Party enthusiasts at a rally sponsored by the South Florida Tea Party in Boca Raton. (see and hearthe complete speech on video below). Referring to President Obama with phrases like youre fired, and calling him the worst President in history, the reality TV star and real estate magnate drew great ruptures of applause with many one-liners but he spent much of his time boosting his ego and painting himself as the savior of a nation in decline.

Trump told the crowd “I have very high aptitude. I was a great student. I went to the best schools.” and “I’ve come out almost always as the victor, and I have to say that because, you know, I don’t want to be braggadocios, but that’s the kind of a person, whether it’s me or somebody else, the country needs as president.”

As has been the case lately, Trump did not leave out his questioning of President Obamas place of birth. but on policy, Trump did give some positions. He declared himself to be an anti-abortion, anti-gun control, conservative, who can handily win the Republican nomination for President if he decided to run. He described Americas infrastructure as third worldly and in desperate need. Trump also pledged that if he became President, he would not raise taxes, and that he would create “vast numbers of productive jobs” and “get rid of Obamacare”, which he called a total disaster.” At one point the political neophyte stated, “Considering the shape the United States is in right now, we need a competitor and a highly competent person to deal with what’s going on,” He later added: “If I run and win, our country will be respected again.” On foreign policy, Trump offered many criticisms of the U.S. and in a swipe at China he said that the United States should take control of Iraqi oil. He alsoremarked thateven though Japan has been “screwing us for 30 years”, helping them after the earthquake and tsunami was right thing to do and he added that the fact he felt that way demonstrated that he did indeed have a heart.

The crowd ate the entire performance up as Trump spoon fed them all the red meat that they could swallow. And thats fine. So long as somewhere down the road he starts issuing details and not Hollywood scripts. Because methinks Donald Trump is no Dagny Taggert, but his pop culture name recognition and television persona is making many others think that Trump has all the right stuff. Unfortunately for him though, year long political campaigns have a way of changing things and it has yet to be seen if Trumps stuff can withstand the political pressure and invasive public scrutiny that politics brings to the table. You have to remember that while both towns are a bit fake, Hollywood and Washington, D.C. are still worlds apart.

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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.

Trump Stumps in Florida. But How Far Can He Really Go?

Bookmark and Share This Saturday, “The Donald”,will speak in Boca Raton, Florida, at an afternoon rally organized by the South Florida Tea Party.

What Trump will say is sure to fly with the anti-establishment crowed and it will certainly help both his television ratings and poll numbers. A recent Public Policy Polling survey already has Trump leading his closest potential rival for the Republican nomination, Mike Huckabee, by 9%. In that poll, following Huckabee who has 19%, are Mitt Romney, 15%, Newt Gingrich, 11%, Sarah Palin, 8%, and Ron Paul with 5%.

Other recent polls have Trump similarly positioned. The problem is that in the end, I suspect that both Trump and Huckabee will not be running. Trump will probably declare that the foolishness of the media makes it not worth running. As for Huckabee, he will most likely decide that his clemency of criminals who after they were released, raped and killed two women and killed 4 police officers, will be too much to overcome in a hotly contested race for President. And he would be right.

Taking Trump and Huckabee out of these polls, and the race, leaves Mitt Romney in the drivers seat.

While Trump is currently the candidate du jour, I am going out on a limb when I tell you that the light will dim on his star. What people are not realizing is that with a lack of a political record, Donald Trump is a blank canvas that people are projecting their hopes on to. They also do not realize that in the pop culture, reality based T.V., society that we live in more people are familiar with the name Donald Trump, than they are with names like Haley Barbour, Gary Johnson, Mitch Daniels, Buddy Roemer or even Tim Pawlenty. More people watch The Apprentice than they do the State of the Union. More people are aware of Snookies every move, than they are of what it is the recent budget that has been passed in the House. But when the focus changes and the spotlight of details comes into focus, people will see Donald Trump in a different light.

Trump will be emaciated in the Republican primary and caucus process. He will be out organized, out managed and out maneuvered. His bankruptcies will become common knowledge and they will than be summed by saying, if he bankrupted his businesses, what will he do with the American treasury? His donations to liberal Democrats will force people to question his political beliefs, sense of conviction and ideology. His divorces will come in to play and most of all, his mouth will be a factor. Donald Trumps mouth is big. Very big. And big mouths mean big trouble in politics, a field in which your every word is exaggerated and intentionally misinterpreted. It is Trumps mouth which will bog Trumps campaign in a perpetual mode of damage control. His campaign will be spending so much time trying to correct the message, that they will have a hard time getting out his message, whatever it may be.

So Donald Trump should enjoy his ratings and poll numbers now, because pretty soon, he will not like where they are.

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Trump to Make Decision on “The Apprentice”. But He Has a Lot to Learn

Bookmark and Share Real estate magnate and pop culture publicity whore Donald Trump, will be making an announcement about an announcement in regards to his decision to run or n0t to run for President, on the season finale of The Apprentice. That final episode airs on May 22nd.So we have more than a month of Trumpitis to deal with.

Meanwhile, if Donald Trumps eventual decision to run for President is in the affirmative, he may want to take that month and use for one, etiquette lessons,two,a few lessons in humility, and three, some civic lessons.

In an interview with Time, when Trump was asked how many members of Congress there are, instead of giving an answer, he replied;

“Well I don’t want to answer your questions because this isn’t a history class. You people, you know you are trying to do the Sarah Palin stuff.

And anytime somebody asks me a question like who is the leader of Abu Dhabi, I say this isn’t a history class, okay? And I actually know. And I know your answer too, but I refuse to answer it. You know why? Because it’s not a history class. And because it’s an irrelevant question. Because you could get some stiff who knows every one of those answers but is incapable of governing.”

Now of course it was a trick question. Right? I mean after all, one could confuse Congress to mean just the House of Representative. Or, it could refer to what it usually isboth the House of Representatives and the Senate combined. So Trump was not going to fall for that and instead of saying 535. 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate, he went off on a rant which you just know he wanted to end by saying, youre fired.

Forgive me for saying this, but if Trump does run for President, please let him do so as a Democrat challenging President Obama for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Let President Obama have to spend some money before he has a Republican opponent. In my opinion, that is the only wayTrump can really be of help right now.

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Trumpitis. Why Many Have Caught It

Trumpitis [Trumpitis] noun: a political condition affecting people dissatisfied with politics and government, causing a yearning for a magical individual who can answer all their frustrations with politics and the way that government works.

Bookmark and Share Even though it is early in the 2012 game of presidential politics, if there is any single name that can be considered a phenomenon at this point in time, it is Donald Trump. His name has most definitely inspired the most widespread, out of the ordinary, curiosity and excitement of any possible candidate from any particular segment of society. The entry of his name in to the 2012 Republican contest has upended polls. A recent CNN polls found Donald Trump tied with Mike Huckabee at 19%, followed by Sarah Palins 12%, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich at 11%, Ron Paul at 6%, and Michelle Bachman with 5%. Just inside of one month alone, Trump has jumped from 10% to 19%.

Haley Barbour credits the Trump phenomenon to name ID. Others credit the jump to Trumps very public call for proof that President Obama was born an American. Either way, there exists a large base of Trump supporters who have Type A Trumpitus. This group are not just energized by the possibility of a Trump candidacy, they are vehement in their support of Donald Trump and theyre quite loyal to the idea of his potential candidacy.

If you dont believe me, let me give you a random sampling of comments about The Donald that have been made by voters here, on White House 2012.

Beth Avery writes;

Donald Trump needs to run for president, he is the only one that could win this race. He would even have Democrats and Independence besides a strong support from his own party, the Republican Party. He has a no fear policy and knows what we need and will do it.

Robert Conley writes;

It has been many years since I have been excited about a presidential candidate. Mr Trump has the experience needed to run a country in this global business climate that we find ourselves in and the nerve and backbone necessary to accomplish what no president has done since Teddy Roosevelt. That is to show the world that we are a strong and dominant force in the world and not an apologetic scapegoat and third world ATM machine.

Jim Rutkowski send us this message.

TRUMP WILL TELL OBAMA youre fired. I believe Donald Trump has what it takes to defeat Obama in 2012. He even has the Hollywood Star power to win the former Obama MTV Twitter/Facebook generation vote, he is a shoe-in in my view. We must be aggressive and inventive, and Donald Trump is in the In-Crowd right now, a crowd we need SO badly, hes a bit hip, and believe me, WE NEED HIP TO BEAT THESE liberal hipsters. Its a new world now, with a new kind of voter, lets face this election with the power and relative youth we need in an ALREADY popular Republican candidate. Please contact me if Mr Trump decides to run for President, I would like to vigorously campaign for this American winner

Other statements sent in to WH12 include remarks like;

The Republican party should be begging you [Donald Trump] to run and I am supporting you because you will not only have strong support from the Republican party you, will have Democrats and Independents voting for you. Your campaign slogan should be ‘Believe in America!’

There are many gems, just from this website, but in general those who have become diehard supporters of Trump, all profess that Trump can win and that he will tell it like it is and do what needs to be done.

But why exactly are a growing number of voters feeling this way? What accounts for this Trump phenomenon?

Call it Trumpitis.

Trumpitis , by definition, is the only thing that can account for Trumps popularity in politics.

Trumpitis is spreading because of a large number of anti-political contagions. People are steadily unhappy with politics and politicians. This is nothing new. Ancient Romans were often unhappy with their leadership. They just couldnt always do much about it. But this anti-establishment sentiment tends to reach a fevered pitch when the proverbial waste hits the fan and problems, such as our national debt, reach crisis levels. It is also the result of President Obamas famous presidential campaign for hope and change. More than two years after that effort, people do not feel a great deal of hope or see very much change.

Another contagion is the continued existence of broken promises in politics.

Perhaps more than any other President, President Obama has broken more promises than a used car salesman. Instead of ending wars, he gets us into a new one. Instead of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, he fills it. And the list goes on.

Another aspect of Trumpitis is the fact that there is no one single establishment candidate that has a lock on support. With the more than two dozen names circulating, each of them have their own small and limited base of support, be it regional, ideological or issue based. This void allows for the populism of Donald Trump to overshadow the splintered base of all the rest.

But other reasons for Trumpitis include the fact that Donald Trump is a clean political slate. He has no political record for people to hate. As such, people are projecting their hopes on Trump. These hopes are further buoyed by Trumps bluntness. Many people find this refreshing in politics. They are tired of politicians saying what they dont mean or not coming right out and saying what they mean. Trump currently trumps others on that front.

Trumpitis and Donald Trumps seemingly growing political popularity is essentially based on a type of hope and change that President Obama failed to deliver. The American people hope for a President who puts America first. They dont want Americas positions on terrorism moderated because jihadists dont like our no tolerance on terrorism position. Americans hope for a Mideast policy that helps lower the cost of a barrel of oil rather than raise it. And Americans want a process that is changed by political leadership that does what is says, and says what it means.

In a perfect world, Donald Trump fits that build. In a perfect world, saying youre fired solves the problem. But the problem is this is not a perfect world and Donald Trump is not the perfect candidate that Trumpitis infected voters think he is.

For one thing, while the thought of running government like a business is very attractive, government is not a business. If it were, more of us would be involved. The fact is that government needs to be cut. Yet we have not heard where Donald Trump or if Trump intends on cutting government. And if he does begin to articulate such cuts, you can bet that a small percentage of those infected with Trumpitis will be cured of it.

The fact is that there are thousands of positions that we have not yet heard about from Donald Trump but rest assured that as soon as we start hearing them, many people will getting vaccinated for Trumpitis.

So before too many people jump on the Trump bandwagon and place the hope of the GOP and the nation on Donald Trumps shoulders, let us realize he is not Atlas and let us realize that his shoulders are not the issue. The real issue is what will come out of his mouth regarding the issues of the day. Once we start hearing those words of detail, how popular Donald Trump remains, will be like a crapshoot at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Its anyones guess.

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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 in the Hunt in New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share According to a new Public Policy Polling survey, Mitt Romney maintains his wide lead in New Hampshire but if Donald Trump were to be among the candidates he competes he against, Romneys wide lead becomes a small lead. The PPP poll finds that 27% of Granite State voters would support Romney but 21% support Donald Trump.

The polls findings show that Trumps close showing to Romney comes from support that he gets from the 42% of primary voters who do not believe Barack Obama was born in the United States. Trump also gets a big boost from TEA movement members.

With Trump out of the contest, PPP calls the contest as follows:

  • Romney – 31%,
  • Mike Huckabee -15%
  • Newt Gingrich – 13%
  • Sarah Palin -10%
  • Ron Paul -10%
  • Michele Bachmann – 4%
  • Tim Pawlenty – 4%
  • Haley Barbour – 2%.
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