Archives for March 2012
Republican voters are being put through the pincers. We are back to 2008. Heaps of strong candidates, but no consensus. Great speeches, but no substance. PAC money spent by the millions, but no conclusive results. GOP candidates are even welcoming Democratic voters, to smear each other, to add to their victories, or to just plainly embitter each other. The Republican race is not going to get any more civil. Once, we see these subterfuges, we can ask the real questions: what will it take to unseat Obama in November, and who can best do this?
In America the conservative movement has been changing. Neo-conservatives, who had for roughly two decades (1980-2000) held the strongarm of the party, are gone with the Bush Administration’s doctrine of “pre-emptive strike” and the PATRIOT ACT. We are in the midst of the dregs. Still trying to find out which direction this country will spill it’s spirit of changelessness.
For all his grandeur, Mitt Romney just has not taken his campaign to the next level. Rick Santorum has peaked, but more likely will not hold his miniscule leads. Newt Gingrinch’s populism and Ron Paul’s constitutionalism, so similar to each other, are self-negating. None is in charge. Marginal candidates can’t win delegates, nor the RNC party’s nomination. Mitt Romney, the ever-chameleon like business mogul, can’t strike a human touch to save his life and political prospects.
If Mitt Romney is the front runner of the wolves, ready to flay Obama; what is his version of the American Dream? How does he see this country, through which prism? Is it a legalistic, rigidly technocratic, institutional approach? It seems, his advantage is not his base, his character, anything as much as his warchest. He won’t run out of steam. Even if the delegate count gets close in Tampa, FL this spring; he’ll be able to resurrect himself, make the necessary promises and sail away with the nomination.
While President Barack Obama is leading his possible Republican competitors in head-to-head matchups in most polls, a new Gallup poll shows that the GOP still has an important advantage in voter enthusiasm:
By 53% to 45%, Republicans, including independents who lean Republican, are slightly more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say they are “more enthusiastic than usual about voting” this year. Republicans have consistently led Democrats in voting enthusiasm since last fall, but to varying degrees.
The 53% of Republicans who feel more enthusiastic about voting today — as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are engaged in a pitched nomination battle — is greater than the 44% found in February 2008 when John McCain and Mike Huckabee were still dueling in the primaries.
This poll really means nothing this early on, but is an indicator that Republicans are motivated to out Obama. And for all of the talk about a brokered convention or supporters of one candidate threatening not to vote for another, I’m willing to bet that this will quiet down the closer we get to the fall as ousting Obama will become a common objective.
I had an interesting discussion with Doug Mataconis and Brian Lehman on Twitter last night about partisanship and polarization in American politics. It was, of course, initiated over the death of Andrew Breitbart, conservative “journalist” extraordinaire, who infuriated many on the left and whose death brought out a number of deplorable comments that were akin to dancing on his grave. As Brian wrote:
@dmataconis It’s stupid.Loving or hating someone based on politics is literally the dumbest reason ever.
— Brian Lehman (@BrainLemon) March 2, 2012
And as Doug Mataconis tweeted later:
— Jeremy Kolassa (@JDKolassa) March 2, 2012
Peter Mains is a blogger, political activist and technology consultant living and working in the Phoenix metro area. In his free time, he enjoys writing music, reading voraciously, and trying exotic food.
Rick Santorum’s comments to George Stephanopoulos about John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Houston Ministerial Association are making the rounds. Apparently, the speech so unnerved Rick, that he wanted to throw up. He thinks you should be just as offended as he is, In the interview, Santorum encouraged people to look the speech up and decide for themselves. Having followed Santorum’s suggestion, I couldn’t disagree more.
The worst part is, I want to root for Rick Santorum. Recent revelations paint Kennedy as something of a moral monster. In contrast, Rick Santorum seems like a good family man. When it comes to religious matters, one might think that Santorum would come out on top. Nevertheless, JFK wipes the floor with Santorum — even from beyond the grave.
The one point where I am ambivalent in regard to Kennedy’s speech is his insistence that government not give any funding to religious institutions whatsoever. Bush’s faith-based initiatives and various voucher programs show that public funds can be redirected to religious institutions without creating a de facto established church or violating freedom of religious exercise. Nevertheless, such issues could be completely avoided if we were to reform education, healthcare and so on such that government gets out of those businesses altogether.
Republicans had hoped that they would not only maintain or build on their majority in the House in 2012, but also take control of the Senate since a number of Democrats are up for re-election this year. While that prospect is still in play since the GOP only needs four seats for a majority in the Senate, it just got a bit tougher.
As you know, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) decided against a bid for re-election. The writing was on the wall for him. Polls showed him down to prospective Republican challengers, thanks to his votes for the stimulus and ObamaCare; not to mention that he is a Democrat in a “red state.” But former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) has talked into running by Senate Democrats after promises were made to him.
Cook Political still has the at “Likely Republican” and no polling has come out since Kerrey announced his candidacy, but he does present a more formible challenge for Republicans.
Republicans were dealt a more serious blow in Maine this week after Sen. Olympia Snowe, who generally viewed as a moderate, announced that she wouldn’t run for re-election. There has been some speculation that Ron Paul supporters booing her when she showed up at the GOP caucus last month may have had something to do with her decision. This is now listed as a “Toss Up” by most observers.
While some Republicans are still looking for another candidate to emerge this late in the ballgame, hoping that a brokered convention can unseat other candidates that they are not so happy with; it looks like Mitt Romney has momentum in his corner. At least for now.
The latest national poll from Rasmussen Reports shows Romney jumping to a 16-point lead over Rick Santorum, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul lagging behind (numbers from the previous Rasmussen poll are off to the side):
- Romney: 40% (+13)
- Santorum: 24% (-15)
- Gingrich: 16% (-1)
- Paul: 10% (-2)
In mid-February, Santorum was crusing at 39%, a 12-point lead over Romney. So you’re looking at a 15-point drop for him and a 13-point gain for Romney. So we’re still seeing a lot of volatility in the race.
But Romney’s momentum could be short-lived if he doesn’t do well on Super Tuesday. Polls out of states that will vote next week show that Santorum and Gingrich will most likely do well, but Romney may be weighed down; and that suggests that Santorum may see another bump.
Santorum has some hurdles facing him; however, at least concerning electability. The focus on social issues, which he wrongly blames on the media, is going to hurt him in a general election. And his reaction to questions about his views on contraception, which apparently includes lashing out at a talk show host, will be used against him; a point that he doesn’t seem to understand:
The Club for Growth, a DC-based free market advocacy group, released its annual scorecard yesterday showing the most taxpayer friendly members of Congress in 2011. The Club scored 59 votes between the two chambers, including the repeal of ObamaCare, cutting market distorting energy subsidies, and a wide range of spending cuts.
While several members in each chamber scored 90% or higher, I’ve listed the top 10 from the Senate and the top 12 from the House. You’ll most likely recognize many of the names, and you’ll also probably wonder where some members fell in the rankings; so I’ve listed some of interest further down the post.
- Tom Coburn (R-OK): 100%
- Jim DeMint (R-SC): 100%
- Ron Johnson (R-WI): 100%
- Mike Lee (R-UT): 100%
- Rand Paul (R-KY): 100%
- James Inhofe (R-OK): 99%
- Orrin Hatch (R-UT): 99%
- Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): 98%
- Pat Toomey (R-PA): 97%
- Marco Rubio (R-FL): 97%
- Justin Amash (R-MI): 100%
- Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): 100%
- Jeff Flake (R-AZ): 100%
- Trent Franks (R-AZ): 100%
- Tom Graves (R-GA): 100%
- Tim Huelskamp (R-KS): 100%
- Jim Jordan (R-OH): 100%
- Raul Labrador (R-ID): 100%
- Doug Lamborn (R-CO): 100%
- Mick Mulvaney (R-SC): 99%
- Scott Garrett (R-NJ): 99%
- Joe Walsh (R-IL): 99%
Members of Interest in the Senate and House
Media-sauvant and Internet fortune-peddler Andrew Breitbart died last night at age 43 in Los Angeles. Breitbart made an ambulance-chasing name for himself, by exposing the rich, powerful and connected.
Scandals that he helped to uncover, included ACORN undercover exposes, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal, Shirley Sherrod’s NAACP racist-rant in front of the USDA, and burning (virtual) wires by taking on most anyone on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit over politics, internationalism, globalism and American society.
Like many of this first decade, he was a contrarian, a (serpent) tongue-split rhetorician full of bombast and verbosity. Remorseless, in his yearning to undo American socialism; he attacked when-, and where-, ever he could.
The first laptop-gonzo, and blackberry-holstering crackpot of the social media age, died abruptly: when he keeled over on an evening walk. According to sources he spent long stretches of his life on the road, reporting and speaking the truth about the powererful through computing and New Media. He is survived by his wife Susannah Bean and four kids.
Much has been made of the supposed alliance between Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Mitt Romney. Some are alleging that Romney has promised something to Paul, either a spot for himself on the ticket or for his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), or a spot on the cabinet.
Paul has dismissed the allegations of an alliance with Romney, going so far to say that it’s a conspiracy theory being advanced by Rick Santorum’s campaign. And if there is a deal in place between he and Romney, Paul’s campaign apparently didn’t get the memo as his team has unveiled a new ad slamming the former Massachusetts Governor as a “flip-flopper”:
As we’ve noted before, the race for the Republican presidential nomination has gotten sidetracked on social issues, thanks to the contraceptive issue thats has come around in the last few weeks.
But with gas prices rising, and congressional Democrats realizing the potential ramifications of inaction, and an unemployment rate that is unlikely to fall much between now and election day, Republicans need to turn their attention back to the economy. Perhaps there is no better reminder that this election needs to be a referendum on that very specific issue than the latest numbers from Gallup showing Americans’ top concern:
Someone may want to let Rick Santorum know that voters aren’t concerned about social issues and tell him to get serious on economic policy, where he is clearly falling short.