Archives for August 2011

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

We’ve got a shake up in the power rankings this week. With all the polls that have come out in the last week showing Rick Perry really on the way up and Mitt Romney falling back, it doesn’t make much sense keep Romney at the top of the pack. There are different scenarios being talked about now due to the GOP primary calendar still not entirely into place. With that said, a new AP shows that more Republicans are satisfied with the field of candidates and it’s becoming clearer that should Sarah Palin run and win the nomination, that it would be nothing short of a disaster for the GOP.

Rick Perry (up): I hinted last week that it was only a matter of time before Perry overtook Romney in our weekly update. In addition to the Rasmussen poll released nearly two weeks ago showing Perry with a double-digit lead in the race for the GOP nomination, Gallup and Public Policy Polling have released numbers showing similar results. Perry is the frontrunner at this point. If he keeps this momentum and wins Iowa and South Carolina early next year, Perry will be the likely nominee.

George Pataki not running for president

You may have heard that former New York Gov. George Pataki was going to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination tomorrow in Iowa (his campaign website leaked yesterday). It turns out, he’s not:

Pataki, who had been flirting with a White House bid for months, was scheduled to appear this weekend in the key early voting state of Iowa.

Speculation was that the former three-term governor would announce his candidacy Saturday at the Polk County Republican fundraiser.

But the source said that Pataki, who seriously considered running, has decided instead to forgo a run for the GOP nomination.

In a statement released Friday Pataki said, “I remain committed to the advancement of real, politically viable reforms to entitlements and rolling back the size and cost of the federal government. At this time, I will continue to do this as the leader of No American Debt and not as a candidate for president. Throughout the coming months I will remain active in this important discussion and support the candidate who offers the vision, the ideas and the leadership to bring an end to America’s debt crisis.”

Why he would have run is beyond me, unless he wanted to raise his profile.

Building Codes and Zoning Laws Strike Again: “Battle for the California Desert”

I’ve spilled a lot of digital ink over the years writing about national politics and sea changes in public policy. If it wasn’t for some great professors, I probably would’ve never taken an interest in urban development policy — at least not until I acquired some property of my own and attempted to do something with it (I’m not a homeowner).

I argued at The Dangerous Servant earlier this year that


This is a game of concentrated benefits with diffused costs, and it takes the form — in this case — of zoning laws, but it also includes building codes.

City planners use zoning laws to create geospatial distinctions in an urban jurisdiction by restricting the ways in which property owners can use their land or buildings. When regulations help crowd economic activity out of a residential area, home prices rise artificially because the zone becomes less noisy, less polluted, and less congested. As a result, existing homeowners wind up paying a higher amount of property taxes each year the zoning rules are in effect. Any new developments designed to attract new residents to a jurisdiction also take on a disproportionate share of property taxes.

Cops have no reasonable expectation of privacy

Taiwanda Moore was recently aquitted for doing something that most wouldn’t this is a particularly big deal.  She recorded a conversation on her cell phone, potentially to be used as evidence later.  Moore claimed she was the victim of sexual harassment, and felt that the person she was reporting it to wasn’t intending to investigate, so she recorded the conversation.  The fact that it was a cop shouldn’t matter, but it does.

Moore claims that an officer responding to a domestic disturbance call at her boyfriend’s apartment grabbed her breast and slipped her the his phone number.  She was upset, so she contact the police department to make a complaint.

Moore, of Hammond, Ind., was being interviewed at police headquarters about her complaint that a patrol officer had grabbed her breast and given her his phone number when he came to her boyfriend’s South Side apartment on a domestic disturbance call.

On the muffled recording, which was played for the jury Tuesday, Internal Affairs Officer Luis Alejo can be heard explaining to Moore that if she dropped the complaint, they could “almost guarantee” that the harassment would not happen again. He also suggested that going that route might save her the time and aggravation of a full investigation.

Again, this is something that a lot of us wouldn’t count as being a problem.  However, in Illinois, it is.

The Cruise Control Act of 2011

Federal spending has ballooned 28 percent during the Obama Presidency while the government has amassed more debt than it acquired from the first day of George Washington’s administration to the last day of George H. W. Bush’s.

Our nation is racing toward a fiscal cliff. Yet, as Sen. Jim DeMint noted, instead of hitting the brakes, Congress and the President just set the cruise control. “The Budget Control Act of 2011” offers an object lesson in exactly the sort of empty compromise that has gotten our nation into its present mess. Faced with the devastating consequences of unprecedented and unsustainable federal spending, both parties agreed on only one thing: to lock in that spending for at least the next two years. Bypassing the normal legislative process, the deal was written behind closed doors and dumped it into the laps of both houses under the threat that failing to pay the government’s bills would jeopardize the nation’s triple-A credit.

Unfortunately, the deal didn’t just pay our current bills – it gave the most spendthrift administration in history an open credit line to continue its spending spree beyond 2012. Ironically, it ended up costing the United States its triple-A credit rating by failing to rein in spending significantly. Indeed, Standard and Poor’s had explicitly warned for the last two months that $4 trillion had to be cut from the projected ten-year deficit to preserve the nation’s credit. Even if the plan works perfectly, it doesn’t come close.

Yet the same politicians who ignored these warnings were shocked-just-shocked when Standard and Poor’s lowered the boom four days later. Instead, they blamed the “Tea Party” that has been sounding the same alarm for more than two years.

Candidates set for Politico/NBC News debate

The candidates have been set for the debate, sponsored by Politico and NBC News, on September 7th at Ronald Reagan Presidential Liberty in Semi Valley, California. According to the press release from Politico, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have all confirmed for the debate.

Unfortunately, Gary Johnson and Thad McCotter have been excluded; although they did include Jon Huntsman, who is barely registering some polls.

The debate will air live on MSNBC at 8pm on Wednesday, September 7th. We’ll probably be live-blogging it here.

Here is the full press release from Politico.

Candidates Announcement for September 7 Debate


Tommy Thompson bailed out dog tracks?

Just a couple of days after knocking Tommy Thompson on his record - including his support for ObamaCare, the Club for Growth released a web ad calling out the former Wisconsin Governor for bailing out dog tracks:

Another new poll out of Florida shows GOP hopefuls strength against Obama

As noted yesterday, Magellan Strategies, a Republican firm, put out a poll on Wednesday showing Mitt Romney and Rick Perry doing very well against President Barack Obama in Florida. Well, that poll isn’t a fluke. Mason-Dixon, a national non-partisan firm, released numbers from the Sunshine State showing somewhat similar results, with Romney doing the best among the three candidates polled.

Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney

  • Obama: 43%
  • Romney: 51%

Barack Obama v. Rick Perry

  • Obama: 45%
  • Perry: 46%

Barack Obama v. Michele Bachmann

  • Obama: 46%
  • Bachmann: 44%

Magellan’s numbers may have been somewhat inflated, as I acknowledged yesterday, but this about what I expected. We also learned yesterday that Obama is struggling in New Jersey, a traditionally blue state, where 47% of voters say he doesn’t deserve re-election and a majority disapprove of his job performance.

Mason-Dixon also had numbers specific to the Republican primary in Florida, which shows Romney leading Perry but 7 points and Michele Bachmann a distant third:

VIDEO: The Importance of Bars and Taverns in Political Movements

Compare to satirist P.J. O’Rourke’s preface to Republican Party Reptile:

So, what I’d really like is a new label. And I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way. We are the Republican Party Reptiles. We look like Republicans, and think like conservatives, but we drive a lot faster and keep vibrators and baby oil and a video camera behind the stack of sweaters on the bedroom closet shelf. I think our agenda is clear. We are opposed to: government spending, Kennedy kids, seat-belt laws, being a pussy about nuclear power, busing our children anywhere other than Yale, trailer courts near our vacation homes, Gary Hart, tiny Third World countries that don’t have banking secrecy laws, aerobics, the U.N., taxation without tax loopholes, and jewelry on men. We are in favor of: guns, drugs, fast cars, free love (if our wives don’t find out), a sound dollar, a cleaner environment (poor people should cut it out with the graffiti), a strong military with spiffy uniforms, Natassia Kinski, Star Wars (and anything else that scares the Russkis), and a firm stand on the Middle East (raze buildings, burn crops, plow the earth with salt, and sell the population into bondage).

There are thousands of people in America who feel this way, especially after three or four drinks. If all of us would unite and work together, we could give this country… well, a real bad hangover.

Poll: Trouble for Obama in Florida

President Barack Obama, would be a tight race for re-election against three of his potential opponents, is in troubled waters in Florida, a crucial swing state that he carried in 2008. According to a recent poll from Magellan Strategies, Obama is trailing Rick Perry and Mitt Romney and in the margin of error against Michele Bachmann.

Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney

  • Obama: 39%
  • Romney: 49%
  • Undecided: 12%

Barack Obama v. Rick Perry

  • Obama: 39%
  • Perry: 46%
  • Undecided: 15%

Barack Obama v. Michele Bachmann

  • Obama: 42%
  • Bachmann: 43%
  • Undecided: 15%

Magellan is a GOP firm, so take it for what it is, but I can’t see these numbers being too far off. And before you say a conservative like Perry can’t win in Florida, see Marco Rubio’s win last year.

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