Archives for September 2011

Perry not all that?

I’ve never been excited about Rick Perry.  Apparently, more and more Republicans are starting to feel the same way.  Perry’s frontrunner status is tenous, as all front runner status’ are this far out from the general election, and now many Republicans are questioning his strength as a candidate.

Republicans in early voting states, once excited about the Texas governor’s presidential bid, are openly questioning the strength of his candidacy. High expectations have been met by the sudden national scrutiny that comes with the front-runner bull’s-eye.

Perry is leading national polls, but he is also facing intensifying criticism from the right and left. Some Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire are expressing doubts, especially after debates in which rivals raised questions about his record on immigration, public health and Social Security retirement benefits.

The campaign dismisses the criticism. After all, supporters say, he entered the presidential race just six weeks ago.

Things looked rosier then. Perry arrived to great fanfare and seemed poised to steal significant support from his top rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Many influential Republican activists saw Perry, with his executive experience and good jobs record, as an attractive alternative to Romney, who has struggled to win over conservatives who make up a sizeable portion of the party base.

Since then, the Texan has campaigned repeatedly in New Hampshire and Iowa, states that host the nation’s first presidential voting contests in roughly four months.

Bloomberg calls Obama’s tax hike proposal “theatrics”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg knocked President Barack Obama’s proposal to increase taxes on the rich, noting that there has been some dishonesty in the rhetoric used by the White House and Warren Buffett (emphasis mine):

Mayor Michael Bloomberg dismissed President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on people who make more than a million dollars a year.

“The Buffett thing is just theatrics. If Warren Buffett made his money from ordinary income  rather than capital gains, his tax rate would be a lot higher than his secretary’s,” he said.

“I think it’s not fair to say that wealthy people don’t pay their fair share. They pay a much higher percentage of their income, they have a higher rate than people who make less,” Bloomberg added.

That is one of the great myths about higher income earners like Buffett. They don’t make their money the “normal” way. Earnings from investments are double-taxed already, once from the corporate income tax and gain from the capital gains tax; not to mention they wouldn’t bring in much revenue. And again, I’ll point to the great post by Megan McArdle, who noted that Obama’s tax hike proposal wouldn’t hit Buffett (emphasis mine):

Follow Up on the Ron Paul/Gary Johnson Write-up

My write-up from Friday concerning Ron Paul and Gary Johnson created quite a stir. I wanted to take an opportunity to write a follow-up to address some of the questions and concerns of several of the readers. For those who haven’t read the original write-up, please do so here.

I thought that I had made it pretty clear that this wasn’t just some guy commenting on a page. This was the actual page owner posting an update that was going out to the page’s readership. There were several pages on Facebook that posted it. Those pages include Ron Paul 2012 (18,500+ fans), Ron Paul Revolution (20,000+), several state pages (with readerships ranging in the hundreds), and at least a couple of others. Once again, these were the actual pages, not just random people commenting. I would bet money there were many other pages on Facebook as well as countless blogs, forums, and other webpages posting this same line. Regarding the ones on Facebook that I saw, there were hundreds of responses and of those, a majority felt like there was a conspiracy or at least an orchestrated effort to get Johnson in the debate as it might hurt Dr. Paul. So we’re definitely not talking one person. We’re talking hundreds with exposure to thousands. In all fairness, there were several responses on these pages discounting that theory.

Perry hits Romney on health care

Despite not being able to land a punch on health care during the last Republican debate, Rick Perry’s campaign has put out a new web ad hitting Mitt Romney for deleting a phrase indicate his support for bringing RomneyCare to the national stage — later accomplished with the passage of ObamaCare, which is basically the Massachusetts plan.

The ad, which you can watch below, isn’t put together all that well, but it shows very clearly — both in print and Mitt Romney’s own words via audiobook — that the phrase was removed:

And while he has slammed ObamaCare and said that he’d issue waivers for states so they wouldn’t have to worry about compliance, Romney said last year that he wouldn’t support repeal the individual mandate.

CNN poll: Romney slightly closes the gap with Perry

We can begin to assess the damage that Rick Perry has done to himself thanks to CNN releasing the first post-debate numbers. The poll (we’re going with the numbers that exclude Sarah Palin), conducted between September 23-25, shows Perry’s dropping by two points over the last couple of weeks; from 32% to 30%. Mitt Romney only picked up a point, but has narrowed the lead to single-digits.

  • Rick Perry: 30%
  • Mitt Romney: 22%
  • Newt Gingrich: 11%
  • Herman Cain: 9%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Michele Bachmann: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Other: 3%
  • None/No opinion: 8%

Perry’s lead over Romney is slightly narrowed even more — 28% to 21% — if you include Palin. But back to the numbers above. Gingrich sees a four point jump from the last CNN poll, despite done better than 8% since mid-July. Cain gained three points. Ron Paul dropped by six points, which is bad news. Bachmann, as you’ve probably noticed, is now in the bottom tier of GOP candidates; though she is still within the margin of error of Paul and Cain.

The poll also shows President Barack Obama’s approval rating at 45%, while 52% disapprove. Interestingly, 62% of respondents to the poll believe that Romney “has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have.” That’s better than Obama, who grabs 58% of voters on that question. Another 52% disagree with Obama on the issues that matter most to them, 46% agree with that assessment.

Are charter schools the answer?

The public school system is a disaster.  More and more money is being spent, and for what?  The results just aren’t warranting the expense.  However, there are alternate approaches out there.  One that seems to be gaining steam more and more as the years go by is the idea of charter schools.

At Townhall.com, John Stossel who hosts the show Stossel on Fox Business writes a bit about charter schools.

I was surprised to meet kids who said they like school. What? I found school boring. How can it be that these fourth-graders tell me that they look forward to going to school and that math is “rockin’ awesome”?

Those kids attend one of those new charter schools. Charters let them escape the bureaucracy of regular schools, including, often, teachers union rules. These schools compete for kids because parents can always choose another school. That makes them better.

Not every charter school is good, but the beauty of competition is that bad ones go out of business, while good ones expand. Then good schools teach more kids. Choice and competition produce quality. Anyone surprised?

For the record, many teachers unions oppose charter schools.  Because of their nature, they introduce some instability into a teacher’s life.  Charter schools can be shut down easier, and charter schools are often formed in such a way to get rid of bad teachers quickly.  The result?  Kids who want to learn and do it better.

No, the crowd didn’t “boo” a gay soldier

Among the things that stuck in people’s minds from Thursday’s debate were some boos tossed the way of a gay soldier serving in Iraq who asked if Republicans hoping to become president would reinstate the now defunct “don’t ask, don’t tell” (or DADT) policy. As you can imagine, these served as fodder in the liberal blogosphere as they sought to use it to their advantage.

This was an incredibly unforunately incident, but the crowd didn’t erupt into boos at this soldier, who has both bravely served his country and revealed his sexual orientation. Accounts from inside the auditorum indictate that it was maybe a few idiots that sounded louder than they would have due to the acoutics of the room, and they were hushed by others around them (although that is inaudible in the audio). Have a listen for yourself:

Bad news for Democrats in toss-up districts

According to a recently release poll from a Democratic firm, President Barack Obama is, unsurprisingly, bringing down his party’s numbers in competitive congressional districts:

One of the Democratic party’s leading pollsters released a survey of 60 Republican-held battleground districts today painting an ominous picture for Congressional Democrats in 2012. The poll shows Democratic House candidates faring worse than they did in the 2010 midterms, being dragged down by an unpopular president who would lose to both Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
[…]
[T]he numbers - at least right now — are troubling for Democrats, and echoed some of the takeaways from the GOP special election upset in New York City last week. Instead of an overall anti-incumbent sentiment impacting members of both parties, voters are taking more of their anger out on Democrats. When voters were asked whether they’re supporting the Republican incumbent or a Democratic candidate, 50 percent preferred the Republican and just 41 percent backed the Democrat.

Voters in these districts said they were more supportive of Republicans than they were during the 2010 midterms, when 48 percent said they backed the Republican candidate and 42 percent said they backed the Democrat. (Republicans won 55 percent of the overall vote in these 60 battleground districts, while Democrats took 43 percent.) In 2010, Republicans netted 63 House seats - their best showing since 1948.

Respondents were lukewarm about their current Republican representatives - 39 percent approved, while 33 percent disapproved, and 28 percent were undecided. And a near-majority of 49 percent said they “can’t vote to re-elect” the GOP incumbent because “we need new people that will fix Washington” — a jump of four points since March.

SHOCKING NEWS: I agree with Karl Rove on something

Karl Rove and I rarely agree on anything.  We just don’t.  However, a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal is a rare example where we do.  You see, I’ve said for a while that Mitt Romeny’s, and then Rick Perry’s, lead in the polls at this point are fairly meaningless.  Frontrunners at this point usually fizzle and burn out long before the nomination is complete.

On this, Karl Rove not only agrees, but provides the numbers to back us both up.

As Republicans gather in Florida for Thursday’s Fox News-Google presidential debate in Orlando, the contest remains very fluid, raising the stakes (and hopes) for all nine candidates.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Texas Gov. Rick Perry now leading with 28%, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 20%. No other candidate is in double digits.

At this point four years ago, Rudy Giuliani led the GOP field with 28%, trailed by former Sen. Fred Thompson at 23% and John McCain at 15%, with everyone else in single digits. When the dust finally cleared, neither Messrs. Giuliani nor Thompson was a serious contender—and Govs. Romney and Mike Huckabee pressed Mr. McCain hard before he prevailed. All of which means the 2012 Republican sweepstakes is far from over.

Now, I suspect Rove and I have very different candidates in mind to take the nomination.  The fact that his op-ed didn’t even mention Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, but offered advice to Michele Bachmann, clearly shows it.  Like I said earlier, it’s not like Rove and I agree on much.

Perry is right, Romney supported a national individual mandate

During Thursday’s debate, Rick Perry an interesting claim that Mitt Romney removed a line from his book, No Apology, where he said that the Massachusetts health care reform law — the blueprint for ObamaCare — should serve as model for the rest of the country. Romney dismissed the claim, saying:

I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing. What I said, actually — when I put my health care plan together – and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post. He said, “Is this is a plan that if you were president you would put on the whole nation, have a whole nation adopt it?” I said, “Absolutely not.” I said, “This is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan.”

Romney’s argument has been that his health care plan, which has cost Massachusetts some 18,000 jobs and has been a financial burden on the state, was what was right for his state; a poor defense. He has constantly denied ever saying that it serves as a national model. We know Romney backed a national individual mandate, the centerpiece of his plan and ObamaCare, as early as 1994. And it certainly seems as though Perry was right on this specific accusation, according to a report from ABC News:

 


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