Archives for September 2011

MA Senate: Scott Brown leads Democrats

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who won a special election early last year to fill the seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy, is leading all of his potential Democratic opponents (including Elizabeth Warren, who has close ties to President Barack Obama) in prospective general election matchups, according to a poll released by WBUR.

Scott Brown v. Elizabeth Warren

  • Brown: 44%
  • Warren: 35%
  • Other: 2%
  • Undecided: 18%

Scott Brown v. Bob Massie

  • Brown: 45%
  • Massie: 29%
  • Other: 3%
  • Undecided: 22%

Scott Brown v. Setti Warren

  • Brown: 46%
  • Warren: 28%
  • Other: 3%
  • Undecided: 23%

Scott Brown v. Alan Khazei

  • Brown: 45%
  • Khazei: 30%
  • Other: 2%
  • Undecided: 21%

In most cases we’d say an incumbent under 50% in a bid for re-election was in trouble; but we’re talking Massachusetts about here. It’s not exactly fertile ground for Republicans. All in all, this is good news for Brown and Republicans. His favorability rating is at 54% and his unfavorables are very low. But his potential Democratic oppoents have relatively low name ID.

Republicans need to hold on to this seat to take control of the Senate, which they seem to be poised to do. But keep an eye on Elizabeth Warren, she is going to make it an interesting race.

Why isn’t Paul a serious candidate?

Over and over again, I get told that Ron Paul isn’t a serious candidate.  After all, he’s Ron Paul.  However, Jason posted yesterday showing a recent Rasmussen poll of Iowa of voters likely to take part in the Iowa Caucus that clearly shows Paul is among the so-called top tier of candidates:

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of those likely to participate in the Iowa GOP Caucus shows that Perry is the first choice for 29%. Essentially tied for second are Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at 18% and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 17%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 14% of the vote, and nobody else currently reaches the five percent (5%) mark. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

With the margin of error at on +/- 3%, Paul is clearly holding his own against everyone but Rick Perry.  However, historically, front runner status this early isn’t always an indication of later victory.  He wouldn’t be the first candidate to crash and burn later in the race.  A lot of Perry’s polling comes from being the “shiny and new” candidate, though a fair amount also comes from being a very charismatic governor.  While those drawn to his charisma aren’t likely to back down in the near future, the “shiny and new” crowd are likely to jump ship later.

Huntsman compares his jobs record to Romney’s in new ad

You have to hand it to Jon Huntsman, he’s averaging barely over 1% in national polls in his quest for the Republican nomination for president; but he just keeps on truckin’. His team put out a new ad yesterday contrasting his record on jobs to that of Mitt Romney (although he was never named, but video of a baseball glove or a mitt is shown), whose state, Massachusetts, was 47th in the nation during the same time:

Palin is making sense?

I’m not a fan of Sarah Palin.  She lost me about the time she claimed she was an expert on foreign policy because she could see Russia from Alaska.  Like comedian D.L. Hughley said, “I can see the moon from my house, it doesn’t make me an astronaut.”  I agreed.  However, despite her flirtatious attitude towards possibly running for President, she’s earned a little of my respect.  She earned a little more with her speech Sunday night.

From the Wall Street Journal:

When former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addressed a tea party crowd in New Hampshire Sunday night, he again doubled-down on his assertion that “corporations are people,” a line he first used at the Iowa State Fair last month in explaining why he wouldn’t raise taxes on big businesses.

“I said ‘corporations are people,’ and the Democrats said, ‘Oh, he’s in big trouble now saying something like that,’” Mr. Romney said. “Well don’t they understand that we work for corporations?” Mr. Romney made his fortune as co-founder of the private equity firm Bain Capital.

It was a marked contrast from the approach Ms. Palin took during her speech in Indianola, Iowa, Saturday. After repeatedly accusing President Barack Obama of steering government to benefit corporate campaign donors, she turned to her party’s presidential candidates: “To be fair, some GOP candidates, they also raise mammoth amounts of cash,” Ms. Palin said. “What, if anything, do their donors expect for their investments?”

Salem Redux: NYT Christian Witch Hunt

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” ~ The Constitution of the United States of America, Article VI, Clause 3

It is unequivocal fact that the Founding Fathers of our nation were deeply religious men. So important was religion in their view that the protection thereof was codified in the first line of the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, even before freedom of speech and of the press. From Washington to Adams to Madison and on, Christianity and the Judeo-Christian belief system was at the heart of the government which they formed. Even Jefferson, known as a Deist who shunned the organized religions of his day, wrote in an April 1803 letter to Benjamin Rush, “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.”

Strange indeed then that modern liberals live in abject terror of the possibility that any religious influence might accidentally (or more likely, through the nefarious workings of those dreaded, meddling Christians) seep into the philosophy or policies of our secular government.

Michael Moore endorses Jon Huntsman

Ok, it’s not a real endorsement, but the Socialist Weasel had some kind words for Huntsman during a recent interview in Newsweek:

Now he is directing his outrage at President Obama, a man he helped win office in 2008. “I don’t understand why he’s chosen the path he’s chosen, why he did not come in fighting for the working people of this country,” Moore tells Newsweek. “He could have been a great president. He could have pulled us back from the abyss.” Instead, “he came in more as Neville Chamberlain, wanting to appease Republicans.” Moore hasn’t even decided whether he’ll vote for Obama again in 2012; he likes Jon Huntsman on the Republican side, saying “it’s crazy time over there” and Huntsman is the only “sane candidate.” “If the Republicans were smart, they would nominate [him].”

Huntsman unveiled a solid tax reform plan last week, but he has said recently that he “wouldn’t hesitate” to ask the rich to make sacrifices to deal with the deficit. If it’s just means testing entitlements, that’s not a bad idea, but the rhetoric is all too similar to what we hear from President Obama. But at least he doesn’t talk about wealth in collectivist terms like Michael Moore often does.

H/T: AmSpec

How should libertarians handle the drug question?

Having only three years or so of libertarian experience, I sometimes find myself in the midst of a learning opportunity. This may well be one of those, but if it spurs some discussion, I am willing to be a martyr.

In the 2008 Presidential election, I was amazed at the intelligence of Bob Barr. I was constantly impressed at the depth of each subject he was asked about. How much basic sense each answer made even though some answers contained a level of sophistication that may have been over the heads of some.

Well, all except for one question.

In an interview with Sean Hannity fairly close to Election Day, Mr. Barr was put on his heels and frankly never recovered. Hannity’s style of attack, which one might term as that of an angry pit bull, didn’t help. That question of course was about the legalization of drugs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have documented my struggle with this concept, and documented the “light bulb moment” I had - finally understanding that it was part of individual liberty, not to mention the amount of futile spending and creation of powerful underworld figures. It makes sense to me. I agree with it.

However, this question seems to take a serious, if not mortal, toll on all candidates running as small “l” libertarians within the Republican Party. In 2008, it halted what I believe might have been a staggering number of Independents and Republicans willing to vote for the Libertarian Party candidate when the best the Republican Party could offer was John McCain.

My theory is not about this question being asked… it’s going to be asked… but about the available answers. It’s about viable candidates explaining this concept in a thirty second sound bite or a timed answer during a debate that took me weeks, many hours of research and discussion with libertarians, to understand.

Romney unveils economic proposals

Just two days before President Barack Obama is set to give his jobs speech before a joint session of Congress, Mitt Romney laid out his proposals to get the economy moving again. Here is the red meat from Romney’s editorial in USA Today:

Only the individual initiative of entrepreneurs, workers, investors and inventors enables companies, and our economy as a whole, to flourish. We must once again unleash the tremendous economic potential of the American people. The contrast between what the Obama administration has done and what I would do as president could not be starker.

First, President Obama has raised or threatened to raise taxes on both individuals and businesses. I would press hard in the opposite direction. Marginal income tax rates and tax rates on savings and investment must be kept low. Further, taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for middle-income taxpayers should be eliminated. Our corporate tax rate is among the world’s highest. It leaves U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and induces them to park their profits abroad, benefiting the rest of the world at our expense. I will fix these problems with permanent solutions. Ultimately, I will press for a total overhaul of our overly complex and inefficient system of taxation.

Three new national polls in the race for the GOP nomination

As we head into tonight’s debate at the Reagan Library in California, the first since Rick Perry joined the field, we have three polls to go through since so much has come out in the last few days. This is probably too much for one post, but it’s probably best to lay it out all at once instead of three separate posts.

With this also, the only commentary I’ll offer is just to say that the race is now a two-man race between Perry and Romney. That’s not to say that other candidates aren’t deserving of attention or respect, especially since a couple of them will continue to help drive the narrative over the course of the primary. But the numbers don’t lie.

We’ll start with the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which is good news for Perry and bad for Romney; who trials by 15 points:

  • Rick Perry: 38%
  • Mitt Romney: 23%
  • Ron Paul: 9%
  • Michele Bachmann: 8%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Herman Cain: 5%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • None/Not sure: 7%

And while President Barack Obama is taking heat for the economy, he still leads in pospective head-to-head matchups against both Romney and Rick Perry. Here are those numbers:

Barack Obama v. Rick Perry

  • Obama: 47%
  • Perry: 42%
  • Neither/other: 4%
  • Unsure: 5%

Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney

GOP candidates: What they are and what they ain’t

Ronald Reagan was said to have “Redefined the Republican Party”. Where that party is now… well, that’s anybody’s guess.

One reason libertarians are seen as pompous is because they actually have the answers that lead to less government. To reduced spending, and to individual liberty. This fact was illustrated in glaring truth at the Republican debate in Iowa when candidate Rick Santorum pointed to how Islamic countries treat gays as a reason to continue war. Santorum is a staunch Social Conservative and does not support gay marriage.

One has to wonder what exactly the boundaries are in order for someone to be a Republican. Especially those running for office.

Taxes: If there is a consistent issue in the party, I suppose it’s low taxes. Bush 41 famously broke his promise of “No new taxes” though.

Spending: This might have the widest array of stances as any subject. The Republican controlled congress, senate and held presidency of 2000-2006 certainly didn’t seem to cut anything. More recently, the TEA party seems to be hell bent on limited spending – but in almost every direction you look, elected Republicans seem to offer little resistance to any new spending measures.

Gay Marriage: This issue is divided within the party, from the religious base clearly in opposition to small “l” libertarians ranging from non federal intervention to all out support.

Abortion: Another basic non issue, but clearly a divide. Seems like a large majority are pro life, but a few exist in the other direction.

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