2012 GOP nomination
If you missed the debate on CNN last night in Arizona, count yourself lucky. It was miserable. I only watched it because I discovered—much to my chagrin—that a recently purchased WiMAX adapter allowed me to stream video directly off the web at a framerate that wouldn’t make my brain explode. (It instead left that job up to the candidates.)
If you were a conservative turning in to your first presidential debate, you may have been surprised. Up on stage was one Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, who in a number of statements said that he voted against spending and was dead set against the big government philosophy of Barack Obama…only to then say that he wanted to use the power of the government to force his own view of family life on people, and that he was for the big government philosophy of Barack Obama.
Just, you know, for his things. Riiight.
If you were still unswayed by the arguments by myself or Kevin or anyone else that Santorum was not a friend to libertarians or even fiscal conservatives, well, Santorum should have swayed you tonight. Let us focus on his whopper of a quote during one of his numerous tirades against Mitt Romney:
[C]ongress has a role of allocating resources when they think the administration has it wrong.
Newsflash, Santorum: Neither Congress nor the administration has the role of allocating resources. We have this thing called the “free market” that does that. Now, one could say that I was misconstruing Santorum’s argument, because he was only talking about resources that were justly appropriated for government use (though that is a whole Pandora’s box right there.) But as Alex Roarty over at the National Journal points out, the whole thing came in over a discussion on earmarks, something that Santorum has defended.
This week will be the busiest that we’ll see in the race for the Republican presidential nomination this month. Coloradans and Minnesotans will be headed to the caucuses today while Missourians will be voting in the nonbinding primary that precedes their March 17 caucuses. We can also expect to see the results of the Maine caucuses this Saturday. After this week, we’ll see only a handful of caucuses and primaries in Guam, Arizona, Michigan, and Washington before Super Tuesday on March 6.
Public Policy Polling shows former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) with a comfortable lead in Colorado with 37%. Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) trails Romney with 27% while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) clock in with 21% and 13% respectively. It looks like we can expect another big win for Romney in the Centennial State.
The race could get a little more interesting in Minnesota, Missouri, and Maine. Santorum leads the field in a tight race for the North Star State, but that race is still very much up in the air with a range of only 13% between Santorum and Paul, who is polling in fourth place. Santorum looks to be headed for a win in the Show-Me State’s nonbinding primary; he leads with 45% to Romney’s 32%. Meanwhile, Politico is calling the race for the Pine Tree State a two man race between Romney and Paul.
If these numbers hold, what could all of this mean for the race going forward?
It’s become pretty clear that Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) isn’t going to win the GOP presidential nomination. Following his fourth place showing in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Paul’s campaign announced that it would concentrate its efforts on the fourteen remaining caucus states. Even in the unlikely event that Paul sweeps the caucus states, he will receive no more than 500 delegates* — far short of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination. The best Paul can hope to accomplish through this strategy is a brokered convention at which he would unquestionably be rejected as the GOP nominee by the party establishment. Even this outcome is unlikely. Like it or not, it’s time to face reality: Ron Paul will not be the Republican candidate for president.
This leaves libertarians with a choice. We can choose to support either former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), or former Governor Gary Johnson (L-N. Mex.).
In case you weren’t able to catch it last night, here is the full video of the Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. You’ll notice that the debate was centered around Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, not surprising since the race is largely between the two of them right now.
While Perry and Romney sparred and the former also took heat for laying the blueprint for ObamaCare, they came out of the debate OK. This was also Jon Huntsman’s best debate performance, to the point that I’d say he was a winner (and I’m not a fan of the guy, though his tax reform plan is very good). And as much I hate to say it, Ron Paul came off very bad last night; not that he is a good debater anyway. Michele Bachmann, who was barely noticed, and everyone else were just window dressing.
You can read a fact-check of the debate here.
The race for the GOP nomination for president has really heated up, but there are rumblings that Rep. Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin may be preparing to jump in, candidacies that would dramatically shake up the field. But at least right now, it seems like this is a three way race for the nomination between Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Polls seem to bear out that conclusion as well, though no one seems to really be the frontrunner.
Here is a look at the current power rankings in the GOP field (and yes, we’ve excluded Thad McCotter on purpose):
Mitt Romney (): If there was ever a question that Romney was on shaky ground as the frontrunner in the GOP field, it has been answered with Rick Perry. That being said, only one poll shows Romney down to Perry; so it’s far too early to say that that Romney has no path to the nomination. Romney still has plenty of arguments for Republicans to get behind him, including that he is the only candidate in the field that really challenges President Obama. However, the worst thing that could happen to Romney would be a Paul Ryan candidacy.
So what do we make of the Republican field after the Ames Straw Poll? It’s a good question, but there are a couple of factors that need to play out; including decisions by Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom could change the face of the race.
I’ve been waiting for Ames to come and go since I anticipated the landscape to change, and it did with Tim Pawlenty’s exit (though I expected Rick Santorum to be out the door first) so I could give some power rankings for the candidates; something I hope to do at least every two weeks from now until the end.
Mitt Romney (even): As far as it goes, Romney is the guy to beat right now. Yes, he is going to have some problems to contend, including continued hits on RomneyCare and frequent position changes. He is, however, the establishment’s candidate. Romney also needs to be careful what he says on the trail, at least limit his points to easily explainable soundbytes. In other words, don’t say “corporations are people,” an accurate statement, but needs explaining to make sense.
Rick Perry (): I’ve already touched on Perry’s campaign today, so I’ll be brief here. Electability in a general election are a question, but there is little doubt that Perry brings a formidable challenge to Romney’s bid for the presidency.
The results are in from the Ames Straw Poll, where several thousand Republicans cast ballots for their favorite GOP candidate. The results may be somewhat surprising given how in the run up to the poll many observers seemed to be writing it off and debating whether it meant anything since Ron Paul seemed to be poised for a strong showing and Mitt Romney had not paid much attention to Iowa.
Well, he had a strong showing, but finished 152 votes behind Michele Bachmann, an Iowa native, in arguably the most important event in the GOP race thus far.
- Michele Bachmann: 28.55% (4823 votes)
- Ron Paul: 27.65% (4671 votes)
- Tim Pawlenty: 13.57% (2293 votes)
- Rick Santorum: 9.81% (1657 votes)
- Herman Cain: 8.62% (1456 votes)
- Rick Perry: 3.62% (718 votes) write-in
- Mitt Romney: 3.36% (567 votes)
- Newt Gingrich: 2.28% (385 votes)
- Jon Huntsman: 0.41% (69 votes)
- Thad McCotter: 0.21% (35 votes)
- Other: 0.96% (162 votes)
The results are obviously good news for Bachmann. Paul’s showing was still very strong, despite finishing second. Pawlenty built off of a better debate performance on Thursday to finish third. Santorum finished ahead of Cain, who is effectively a non-factor in the race at this point.
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.
Dear Republican primary voters and caucusgoers:
Yesterday, some of you in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri delivered stunning victories for former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. You may have thought in caucusing and voting for Santorum that you were dealing a blow to the big government establishment. Unfortunately, you weren’t. Santorum is and has always been a card-carrying member of the Beltway GOP. Santorum’s record in the U.S. Senate reveals consistent opposition to the principles of limited government, fiscal restraint, and individual liberty. That’s why libertarians can’t support him now or in the general election and why you shouldn’t either.
Rick Santorum has consistently voted in favor of big government, budget-busting programs. He has slammed former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) for signing RomneyCare into law, but RomneyCare and ObamaCare are hardly the first examples of big government intervention in the health care market. Another recent example was the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 establishing the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. While libertarians and limited government conservatives were busy arguing for the reduction of government health care entitlements, former President George W. Bush was busy expanding them — and Rick Santorum was happy to vote in favor of Medicare Part D along with other big government establishment Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
Students for Liberty have announced that their president, Alexander McCobin, will be introducing Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) this Thursday evening at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). You may recall McCobin as the young man who praised the American Conservative Union for including the LGBT conservative group GOProud at CPAC 2010. He was followed on stage by Ryan Sorba, then chairman of the California Young Americans for Freedom, who made a total fool of himself speaking out against GOProud’s inclusion. Let’s go to the video: