Club for Growth
Back in January, I mentioned in passing that Rudy Giuliani was considering another bid for the GOP presidential nomination despite performing poorly in 2008. But given the questions surrounding the Republican field, it appears that Giuliani is seriously considering it:
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose presidential campaign fizzled in 2008, is leaning toward another race for the White House, according to a close associate. New York Republican Rep. Peter King, who has known Giuliani for more than 40 years, says the former mayor “is very close to saying he’s going to run.”
“If he were to make the decision today, he would run,” says King.
Speaking at a dinner with reporters in Washington, King, who was an enthusiastic Giuliani supporter in 2008, said the former mayor has been quietly lining up support and exploring strategy. Giuliani has also examined the mistakes his campaign made in ‘08, when he did not seriously compete in a contest until the Florida primary, by which time he was hopelessly behind in the race.
The recent CNN poll out of New Hampshire shows Guiliani tied with Newt Gingrich for third, behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, among Republican primary voters. But there are a lot of factors that Guiliani would need to consider before taking another plunge into electoral politics.
Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. They’ve already looked into Newt Gingrich. The next candidate to go under their microscope is Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor of Minnesota.
The Club notes that Pawlenty was strongly supportive of lower taxes as a state legislator, but that his record on that issue wasn’t entirely clean. As Governor, his record seems to be mixed; he supported maintaining some existing taxes that were supposed to expire. He also backed a corporate tax hike. However, they note that Pawlenty vetoed $7.5 billion in tax increases.
According to the report, Pawlenty did a good job in keeping spending hikes down and his support of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. However, Pawlenty doesn’t get away with accepting stimulus funds or supporting reauthorization of SCHIP.
Pawlenty’s record on free trade and entitlements are mixed; though I should note that he just came out with a Medicare reform proposal. The Club also hit him pretty hard on regulation, noting that he supported increasing the minimum wage and cap-and-trade (a position that he has recanted).
So what’s the bottomline?:
The Club for Growth hasn’t wasted any time in expressing concern over Tommy Thompson’s potential candidacy for US Senate in Wisconsin:
Tommy Thompson raised taxes as Governor, supported ObamaCare, and now he wants to run for the United States Senate? April Fools was weeks ago,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “Wisconsin Republicans should recruit a pro-growth conservative to run, not recall some big-government pro-tax Republican whose time has come and gone. Club members are watching Wisconsin’s Senate race closely.
Thompson, a former Governor of Wisconsin, was Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services when Medicare Part D was passed in 2003. During this time, his department downplayed cost estimates of the new entitlement; going as far as threatening to fire the Medicare Actuary if the true cost estimate were made public.
Admittedly, I’m not too familiar with Thompson. I know more about his brother, libertarian icon Ed Thompson. I do remember watching him in the early presidential debates for the Republican nomination in 2007. I wasn’t too terribly impressed. During a question on spending cuts, Thompson named off some program that no one had ever heard of; while others were talking about eliminating departments or other, more serious cuts.
Hopefully, a real fiscal conseratives will show up in this race.
Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. The first candidate they take a look at for the 2012 cycle is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
In the white paper (which you can read below), the Club for Growth notes Gingrich’s consistent record when it comes to taxes and free trade. However, they also note that he ha supported expansion of entitlements - he supported and lobbied for a multi-trillion dollar expansion of Medicare - and TARP (ironically, he wasn’t even in Congress when those big government measures were passed; yet he still supported them).
What’s the bottom line on Gingrich? (emphasis mine):
As a historical figure, it is undeniable that Newt Gingrich has played leading roles in some of the most important battles on behalf of economic growth and limited government in the last quarter century.
Last week, the Club for Growth slammed Donald Trump hard for his past support of eminent domain - essentially stealing private property for personal gain - laying out a few instances of his support of the tactic, which included an attempt to take the property of an elderly woman to build a parking lot for limos.
Mike Leahy has a great post over at Broadside Books that takes issue with Trump for backing big government over the Little Pink House; also noting that this behavior should rule Trump out as a presidential contender for anyone in the tea party movement:
As a developer, Trump is certainly familiar with the legal principle known as eminent domain, a notorious violation of individual liberty, which allows the state to seize the property of a private individual (usually at below market prices) in order to use that property for what the state determines to be a “public purpose.” Though the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment was intended to prevent the possibility that “ private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” the state in 20th and 21st century America often uses its overwhelming power to define “just compensation” quite differently than the owner of the private property being taken.
The Club for Growth, which has been slamming Donald Trump all week for past statist positions (supporting nationalized health care, higher taxes, limiting trade and supporting and engaging in eminent domain abuse), hit him again yesterday for backing the auto bailout:
The Club for Growth today criticized Donald Trump for saying that the federal government should back the auto industry and that “You cannot lose the auto companies.”:
The Club for Growth is well-known for taking on establishment Republicans who they feel don’t live up to the Club’s “pro-growth” ideals such as “limited government, low taxes and economic freedom.”
In 2010, for example, the Club for Growth ran ads attacking Sen. Robert Bennett for his vote for TARP and his support for “billions in government spending” (R-UT). Bennett ultimately lost the GOP nomination to Mike Lee.
This year, Club for Growth President and former Indiana Republican Rep. Chris Chocola warns longtime Senator and top Tea Party target Dick Lugar (R-IN) that it may be best for him to leave Congress than to stay and face what is shaping up to be a serious primary battle. Chocola told ABC’s “Top Line” this afternoon, that “we do have some concerns about Senator Lugar and his service. We think it would be probably best if he would retire at this point.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), another prime target for a primary challenge, has been reaching out to the tea party movement and fiscal conservatives in hopes to keep away an opponent (Rep. Jason Chaffetz is a frequently mentioned candidate). Lugar, who has $3 million in the bank for his re-election bid, has been largely doing the exact opposite.
A day after slamming Donald Trump, who is apparently considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, as a liberal for supporting nationalized health care and bad trade policies (obviously, he played down the criticism), the Club for Growth hit the real estate mogul and host of The Apprentice for abuse of eminent domain - the taking of private property by government for what was intended to be public use:
“First we find out Donald Trump is a liberal on taxes, health care, and trade. Now we find out he’s an abuser of eminent domain. Eminent domain abuse is an assault on freedom, pure and simple” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “No real conservative would ever use eminent domain in order to take the private property of citizens. I’m shocked and appalled by these revelations. Club members and conservatives ought to know where Donald Trump stands on the issues.”
In 1997, Trump tried to evict an elderly widow to expand an Atlantic City casino: Vera Coking agreed to drop her lawsuit against Donald Trump yesterday and accepted a settlement of $90,000 from Trump’s demolition contractor for damage to the rooming house she has long refused to sell. The settlement does not affect the longstanding battle over ownership of Coking’s house on South Columbia Place, a block from Trump Plaza. Coking is still fighting a court battle to keep her home in the face of a state eminent domain action to assist Trump with the expansion of his casino. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/19/97)
The Club for Growth, an organization that promotes free markets, free trade and less taxes, slammed Donald Trump, who for some reason is being taken seriously as a presidential contender, in a press release yesterday; noting that the economic policies he advocates would bring severe consequences:
The Club for Growth assailed potential presidential candidate Donald Trump today as a tax-hiking liberal whose open flirtation with single-payer health care and warm embrace of protectionism disqualifies him from consideration by conservatives.
“Donald Trump for President? You’ve got to be joking,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “Donald Trump has advocated for massive tax increases that display a stunning lack of knowledge of how to create jobs. His love for a socialist-style universal health care system and his alarming obsession with protectionist policies are automatic disqualifiers among free-market conservatives. This publicity stunt will sputter and disappear just as quickly as the ‘The Apprentice’ is losing viewers.”
Ouch. Hey, but it’s true. Judging by the polls, many Republicans don’t realize that Trump advocated a Canadian-style single-payer health care system. They don’t realize that his push for new tariffs would bring a trade war with China. All this makes for, not only bad economic policy, but bad foreign policy as well.
Honestly, I don’t care how rich Donald Trump is. The man is not fit to be President of the United States.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a freshman elected with the backing of the tea party movement, is backing Rep. Jeff Flake in the GOP primary for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) wants Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to succeed retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R), marking the second time in as many weeks Lee has made an endorsement in a Senate primary outside of Utah.
“Jeff Flake’s record on fiscal conservatism speaks for itself,” Lee said in a statement. “He was offering legislation to cut spending, end earmark abuse, and limit government long before the Tea Party movement became popular. His election to the Senate will extend and build upon the conservative legacy of Senator Kyl.”
Flake also has the backing of the Club for Growth, the powerful free market group that endorsed him within minutes of his campaign announcement. The Club raised $100k for Flake within days of his announcement.