What all the GOP candidates are after, are so-called ‘delegates.’Elected officials that will broker the convention of either party this fall. Officials are parcelled by the amount of votes, the candidates receive in the primary.
During Michigan’s primary recently, for instance, there were 30 official delegates, state-wide. Two were ‘at-large’ candidates, which meant they could be assigned individually to any winning candidate. The other 28 were ‘proportional’ ones, alotted through 14 congressional districts. During the push for the nominations in Michigan last night, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum spent millions of dollars to influence the voting population; with TV ads, pamphlets, media, interviews, rallies, stickers, and much more. Michigan’s grand sum of politcal expenditure was near six million bucks.
Delegates are what really counts at the GOP convention. What looks to be happening, is that no clear winner will come out victorious. There’s a righteous number: 1444 delegates will win any nominee the victory-nod of the Republican National Committee. Nationwide, 2169 delegates are extended for contestation, until the RNC celebration in Tampa, Florida. From the RN Committee, an additional 117 delegates are added into the mix, ostensibly to keep debate lively and clear-up dead locks. So what appears, on first looks, to be a rather hot-headed and fast paced Republican rocket-launch to the RNC, is more like a jammed or misfired pistol in a duel.
Momentarily, Mitt Romney is in the lead, with 167 total delegates. Rick Santorum is second with roughly half, at 87. Newt Gingrich won only one state and has 32, while Ron Paul has 19 carefully collected delegations. The count may reshuffle at any moment, since constitutionalism and populism together, ring alarm-bells in states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
During Ron Paul’s speech at the 2011 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, he closed his speech with a couple of references to Samuel Adams. One that many know, and one more obscure. Dr. Paul said that Sam Adams was known for saying “no long faces”.
“If we wear long faces, others will do so too; if we despair, let us not expect that others will hope; or that they will persevere in a contest, from which their leaders shrink. But let not such feelings, let not such language, be ours.” - Samuel Adams
With the ever-encroaching leviathan comprised of local, state and federal governments and a political class that doesn’t appear to address, much less acknowledge, the concerns of the average person, it is tempting to build a bunker somewhere, crawl into bed and pull the covers up over your head.
Tempting until you take notice of the positive strides made by liberty advocates in the past four years; things which could not have been accomplished had activists focused on the negative or gone into bunkers.
Does Ron Paul actually have a chance at winning the GOP nomination? In all honesty, yes.
There are a lot more positive differences between this and last Presidential election than you might know. Consider the utterances of a few Republican candidates espousing a less interventionist foreign policy. Much of this is merely anti-Obama windmill-tilting but it wouldn’t be occurring at all if it weren’t for widespread support amongst the general public.
The recent news that Osama bin Laden has been killed has itself caused some conservatives to wonder what we’re still doing in Afghanistan. If the main objective has been accomplished, after some 10 trillion dollars and 10 years, shouldn’t we bring the troops home and leave the people of Afghanistan to deal with their own independence?
If a deal hasn’t been reached by the time this is posted (the agreement reached by congressional leaders and the White House over the weekend is pending caucus approval), then tomorrow will be a day of infamy. According to public consensus, our credit rating will be downgraded, our borrowing rates will skyrocket, Social Security checks won’t go out, we’ll have to lay off millions of government workers (oh hyperbole), China will get mad, and our cost of living will sharply increase while the quality of living decreases dramatically. The sky will fall, the world economy will collapse, unemployment will make what we have now look like a cakewalk. It will be Disaster;.
Except it will be none of these things.
August 2nd, if a deal is not reached, will not spell the end of the world. Even if S&P and Moody’s try and downgrade the United States. Why? Three reasons: One, if the markets thought we were going to be screwed, they would have done it before. Second, the credit rating agencies are utterly superfluous and worthless when it come to US debt. Third, even if we hit the debt ceiling, Turbo Tax Geithner will be permitted to prioritize interest payments on the debt and send out Social Security checks, meaning we won’t have a default (and Grandma can still buy the ingredients for her damned fruitcake.)
Taken together, these three things illustrate a picture where August 2nd isn’t the end of the world, and that we should really slow down, take a deep breath, and then have a shot of whiskey. Preferably rye, but that’s just me.
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.
**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.
From Foreign Policy b/w of The Daily Beast comes some really fascinating thought on Ronald Reagan’s approach to foreign affairs:
Was the Gipper as tough as his fans make him out to be? “Today’s conservatives have conjured a mythic Reagan who never compromised with America’s enemies and never shrank from a fight,” Peter Beinart writes in an excerpt of his new book, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris, in Foreign Policy magazine. “But the real Reagan did both those things, often. In fact, they were a big part of his success.” Beinart says Reagan was “terrified of war” and he fought suggestions, from both within and outside his own administration, that he bomb or send troops into Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cuba. Beinart also takes issue with the conservative boast that Reagan “frightened” the Soviet Union into submission. “The problem with this story is that Reagan began abandoning his hard-line anti-Soviet stance in late 1983, 18 months before Gorbachev took power,” Beinart writes.
A critical case in point here would be the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. It killed 241 American servicemen, the most killed in an assault on American troops since World War II. Reading about the attack’s response is illuminating:
Over the past 30 years, America has seen Presidential scandals ranging from Watergate to Iran-Contra to Travel-gate, Whitewater, the Lewinsky scandal, and the Valerie Plame affair. We’ve learned the truth about some of the truly nefarious actions undertaken by some of most beloved Presidents of the 20th Century, including the iconic FDR, JFK, and LBJ. And, yet, despite all of that, Americans still have a reverential view of the President of the United States that borders on the way Englishmen feel about the Queen or Catholic’s feel about the Pope.
How did that happen and what does it mean for America ?
Gene Healy does an excellent job of answering those question in The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power, making it a book that anyone concerned with the direction of the American Republic should read.
As Healy points out, the Presidency that we know today bears almost no resemblance to the institution that the Founding Fathers created when they drafted Article II of the Constitution. In fact, to them, the President’s main job could be summed up in ten words set forth in Section 3 of Article II:
he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,
The President’s other powers consisted of reporting the state of the union to Congress (a far less formal occasion than what we’re used to every January), receiving Ambassadors, and acting as Commander in Chief should Congress declare war. That’s it.
I have a major concern: libertarians will not be represented in the Republican Presidential primaries in 2012.
As Ron Paul has reached an age that makes his battle for the nomination even harder, and Gary Johnson’s lack of exposure makes his nomination unlikely, libertarians are faced with a major dilemma as the 2012 presidential primaries near.
Yes, Obama has done a terrible job by any stretch of the imagination. But libertarians know McCain would have hardly been a better choice. If anything McCain’s election would have made it nearly impossible for a Republican to be elected president for the next two decades because his disastrous policies would have been (wrongly) blamed on free market policies. I for one do not think Obama’s election was as undesirable as McCain’s would have been.
2012 will be a year of tough choices for libertarians. Can we honestly vote for a neo-con who we hardly agree with? Would you cast a ballot for Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, or Mitt Romney? Even Tim Pawlenty’s credentials are questionable with his all-out embrace with the climate change movement.
What will be interesting to see is how “conservatives” react to the growing libertarian voting bloc. Will conservatives understand why we want marijuana legalized? Why we want the Federal Reserve abolished? Why we think our foreign policy is disastrous? When you ask yourself these questions and think about casting a vote for Palin, Huckabee, or Romney, can you stomach that vote?
Racist, Nazi, greedy bastard, angry mob, AstroTurf, brown-shirt, unpatriotic, goon, heathen, liar, rich, skinhead, moron, gun nut, ignorant fool, manipulator. Those are sixteen words and phrases used to describe me, used by the media, in person, on the phone, and on the Internet in response to my opposition to ObamaCare. I think that I should note that these are the ones I can publish due to the tameness of language. Of the sixteen, I find only two to be accurate: angry mob and skinhead (only because I cut my hair REALLY short). Friends and acquaintances who have seen or heard these suggest that I collect them as trophies for my efforts. Needless to say, I have a thick skin when it comes to name-calling, mostly because I know what it really means. It means only one thing: I. Am. Winning.
This past weekend, I took my wife to see the film Valkyrie. Featuring Tom Cruise, Valkyrie is already ranked among the top five films of the season. Valkyrie details the plot of July 20, 1944 devised by German officers to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Cruise played the mastermind of the plot Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.
I make no claim to have a depth of understanding of Hitler’s National Socialism and the details of the War effort. However, I was raised by a father who was a World War II veteran who was present on D-Day and both uncles served in the European theater during that great War.