Election

Democrats to Oust Obama?

Left-wing discontent with Obama is probably not as high as moderate, right-wing, or libertarian discontent with the man, but it’s getting there. In fact, some, including Matt Stoller of the Roosevelt Institute, are speculating about possibly taking Obama off the top of the Democratic ticket in 2012.

Not that it will ever happen, but hey, I only read Salon for entertainment anyways:

Democrats may soon have to confront an uncomfortable truth, and ask whether Obama is a suitable choice at the top of the ticket in 2012. They may then have to ask themselves if there’s any way they can push him off the top of the ticket.

That these questions have not yet been asked in any serious way shows how weak the Democratic Party is as a political organization. Yet this political weakness is not inevitable, it can be changed through courage and collective action by a few party insiders smart and principled enough to understand the value of a public debate, and by activists who are courageous enough to face the real legacy of the Obama years.

Obama has ruined the Democratic Party. The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you’d have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses. From 2008 to 2010, according to Gallup, the fastest growing demographic party label was former Democrat. Obama took over the party in 2008 with 36 percent of Americans considering themselves Democrats. Within just two years, that number had dropped to 31 percent, which tied a 22-year low.

The Principled Politics of the AFL-CIO: An Open Letter to Richard Trumka

Dear Sir:

Compare your statement of January 21, 2010 (emphasis mine):

 

Today, the Supreme Court further tilted the playing field in favor of business corporations in public elections.  By allowing unlimited corporate treasury expenditures that explicitly support or oppose particular candidates, the Court has increased the already excessive influence that corporations exert in our electoral system.  And we believe the Court wrongly treated corporate expenditures the same as union expenditures, contrary to the arguments we made in our brief in this case.  Unions, unlike businesses, are democratically-controlled, nonprofit membership organizations representing working men and women across the country, and their independent speech should accordingly be given greater protection.

The AFL-CIO supports a system of campaign finance regulation that promotes democratic participation in elections by individuals and their associations; protects legitimate independent speech rights; offers public financing to candidates while firmly regulating contributions to them; and guarantees effective disclosure of who is paying for what.

 

with this story in POLITICO today, August 22, 2011 (emphasis mine):

 

The AFL-CIO is getting ready to pump even more money into elections by forming a super PAC and targeting developments in the states, the Associated Press reported Monday.

What Would USA Today Say about Howard Dean’s Performance in Iowa?

As Jason noted earlier, the results are in — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has handily taken top honors in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, edging out Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and obliterating former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Bachmann became the first woman in history to win the straw poll in the home of America’s first caucus, according to the National Journal.

Aside from the various problems with straw polls in a general sense, and how poorly the Ames Straw Poll serves as an indicator of eventual primary winners (note: the CPAC straw poll has the same problem), what does this really mean? Probably not much at all.

But that hasn’t stopped the editorial board at USA Today from getting their digs in while they can.

They editorialize, opining the attention “fringe candidates” receive in Iowa:

 

Of the candidates actively participating this year, only Pawlenty has any kind of background of centrism, and he has taken a right turn since announcing his candidacy. Much of the attention will be on Bachmann, who has been doing well in recent Iowa polls, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the darling of libertarians.

Oh Jeez, Not This Again

Just when you thought he and his toupee were gone:

Donald Trump’s decision to drop out of the 2012 presidential race may be as ephemeral as NFL quarterback Brett Favre’s decision to throw in the towel in 2008.

Like Mr. Favre, who was back on the gridiron playing for a different team just months after his teary farewell from football three years ago, Mr. Trump also appears to be considering suiting up to get back in the game – only this time as an independent.

“It was not an easy decision for me [to drop out of the Republican primary race in May], but I think that it will be an easy decision [to return to the campaign] if the Republicans choose the wrong candidate and if the economy is bad. I think it will be a really easy decision for me to make,” Trump told the Monitor in an interview in Panama City, shortly after inaugurating the Trump Ocean Club, the first Trump hotel and tower outside the United States.

If “The Donald” feels the time is right to get back in the race, look for him to make the announcement on the next season of his reality TV show The Apprentice – his primetime soapbox.

Ron Paul: “I am the Commander in Chief”

Watching the CNN-hosted New Hampshire debate on Monday evening, it became clear just how much different the 2012 Replican primary race is from 2008 and yet, how it is the same.

Like 2008, the field is littered with so-called conservatives who have been indelibly influenced by the rise of the neoconservatives, which peaked in 2004 and has, unbeknownst to its members, been in free-fall decline ever since.

At around the same point in the race four years ago, Ron Paul was relatively unknown except for a few hard-core followers. He made an impression back then in one of the early debates by repeating something he has said for years, that he would abolish the income tax given the chance.

His famous exchange with Rudy Giuliani at another debate propelled him even further. But because Paul didn’t have nearly the financial backing his opponents had in the early part of the campaign, his showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, two key states,  seemed to doom his attempt to electoral failure. In all other ways, however, he has secured a victory that no other person with whom he’s shared a stage before or since has even remotely approached.

He’s made it possible for people to associate themselves with the Republican party and be proud to do so. As long as they can do so by defining themselves as “Ron Paul Republicans” that is.  So, in this respect, the 2012 cycle is vastly different .

Would any libertarian still support Obama?

That’s the question that entered my head this morning.  Conservatives often accuse libertarians of “supporting” Obama by being critical of Republicans and conservatives.  Obviously, this is nonsense, as no one is obligated to withhold criticism simply because of a person’s party.  Libertarians are by no means required to even support Republicans, much less ignore their glaring deficiencies and attempts to abridge liberty.

What I’m asking is, is there any situation that could arise to cause a libertarian to actually vote for Obama in 2012?  The current crop of GOP hopefuls, with the possible exception of Gary Johnson and perhaps a couple others, looks less than thrilling for libertarians (or really anyone).  It is entirely possible that we will end up with a Huckabee, Romney, or other nominee that one could find impossible, or at least difficult, to support.  Is anyone’s vote then going to Obama?

Personally, I’d argue that any libertarian who would consider this is, well, nuts.  I realize there are some who supported Obama in 2008, most likely because of his supposed anti-war stance.  But as the his actions have shown, especially his amplification of the Afghanistan war and his actions in Libya, Obama is most certainly not anti-war.  Further, his behavior on the domestic front has been, in a word, horrendous.  From ObamaCare to spending levels that would make George Bush blush, he has been anathema to libertarians in nearly every way.

So my question is, are any libertarians even considering voting for him in 2012?  If so, what conditions would need to exist?  And more importantly, why?  I’m honestly curious to see if he retains any support in this segment.  I highly doubt if it is significant after the above-mentioned.  I just want to know if it still exists at all.

CPAC 2011 (So Far…)

It’s been an interesting CPAC this year. Before the conference even started it was embroiled in controversy over the participation of gay conservative group GOProud. Several organizations pulled out of the conference, but few of them were regular participants anyway. The most high profile and only real loss was The Heritage Foundation. Rumors are that their refusal to participate this year was not over GOProud, but due to a financial dispute with the American Conservative Union—the organization behind CPAC. Regardless of the dispute before then conference, GOProud seems to be getting a good reception from attendees.

The big surprise yesterday was Donald Trump. Trump showed up yesterday afternoon to a fairly responsive crowd, but quickly digressed into a fight over Ron Paul with a heckler. Considering the room was stacked with Paulie’s waiting to hear Rand Paul, that was NOT a smart move. No one seems to be taking Trump for President seriously. Rand Paul did a really good job. He seems to have more charisma than his father.

Speaking of presidential candidates, Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, looks like he’s gearing up for a run. Johnson has a booth and professional campaign consultants wandering around. He actually gave a good speech yesterday, but is still considered a long, long, long shot candidate. Johnson’s biggest obstacle is his drug policy (he supports the legalization of marijuana) and he will have a hard time getting traditional Republican primary voters to buy into him because of it.

Mitt Romney spoke earlier today and got a very tepid response from the crowd. The ballroom was only three quarters of the way full, and he largely skipped over the health care issue which did not go unnoticed. The fake Sarah Palin was a bigger hit than Mitt.

GOP Presidential Primary Wide Open

**Note** A good friend pointed out that Gary Johnson the former Governor of New Mexico is also a likely candidate and deserves a mention.  While I think Gary did an excellent job as Governor and know that he is ideologically solid, I don’t think he can win the nomination.  His stance on the legalization of marijuana would prevent him from appealing to a large segment of the Republican base.

Believers in limited government should be worried. Conservatives in general should be worried. The current crop of potential Republican presidential candidates is largely bereft of real leadership and consists mostly of a bevy of recycled candidates from 2008. All of the polls cover the same names you’ve been hearing since the end of the last presidential election—Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee, Pawlenty, et al.

Anyone who could not beat John McCain last time should automatically be disqualified from this primary cycle. If Romney wasn’t already disqualified by his failure to be beat McCain, Romneycare in Massachusetts would definitely disqualify him. Obamacare is one of the top three issues on voters’ minds. 58% of likely voters support a repeal of the 2000+ page health care overhaul. How can we have a Presidential candidate that speaks out against this federal takeover of our health care system when he passed a very similar law in Massachusetts? We can’t. That’s a deficit that Romney cannot overcome.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Term Limits

Since I missed out on the earmarks debate between Jason and Doug this week (I agree with Doug, btw), I figured now would be a good time to “stir the pot” with regard to a subject that seems to be gaining ground among many in the more “conservative” political circles.

The meme among many involved in politics is that because we limit the number of terms for the Presidency, most Governorships, and many municipal officials, we should also limit the terms of those serving in Congress.  The arguments are full of logic and seem to make a LOT of sense, and I think the idea is palatable for most Americans.  The idea that a Senator would only serve two terms or that a Congressman would serve four or six or eight terms, depending on which proposal you read or hear about.  My opposition lies, as do many things I find myself in the minority about, in the details.

It’s Time For An Adult Conversation

By February 2011, now just over four months away, America will know whether the Republican Party that they have returned to power in the House, along with the increased number in the Senate, truly are a new breed of Republicans (or rather, a return to the traditional Republicans of the past…true limited government, low tax conservatives), or whether we have the same mess as before in new packaging.

To be sure, Republicans are unlikely to accomplish much in 2011 and 2012, at least from an administrative standpoint. Even if they regain a majority in the House (very likely) and Senate (an outside possibility requiring all the stars to align), they are still faced with an opposition president wielding veto power, a president who has vowed that there will be “hand-to-hand combat in Washington” if Republicans win. Despite his lofty rhetoric of ushering in an era of true bipartisanship, Obama’s latest comments reveal what most of us already knew. Namely, that “bipartisanship” to Democrats means Republicans must vote for everything that the Democrat majority passes or be labeled as “obstructionist”.

This is the same president who, shortly after taking office in January 2009, and when facing Republican opposition to the stimulus package, repeatedly reminded Republicans that he’d won the election. Therefore, the implication being, America has accepted his goals and his agenda and there will be no compromises. The stimulus package was rammed through with almost no Republican support (a good thing, because now Democrats have to take full responsibility for its failure), as was ObamaCare (passed with NO Republican support, also a good thing).


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