GOP Primary 2012

Ron Paul Could Do It

I really do think that, if he took the nomination, Ron Paul could potentially win the general. He couldn’t have done it in ‘08—he was simply too far out back then—but there is a slim chance that if he got there this year, he could do it. It’s definitely not a 100% possibility; I’m not saying he would, I’m saying he could. Why do I think so? Because of things like this, which I found in National Review Online last week:

On this Monday night, there is already a long line of people winding down an East Village street waiting to be admitted into Webster Hall, which brands itself as “NYC’s largest and longest running nightclub” and boasts that it has hosted Green Day, Prince, and Mick Jagger. There are college students drinking Four Loko out of a plastic water bottle; everyone is carded at the door; the bar in the middle of the venue is hopping; and when I identify myself as a reporter, an event organizer hands me a voucher for a free cocktail.

But this isn’t a concert. This is an event featuring a keynote speech by GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul.

We Need A Campaigning Intervention

Things are really starting to get out of hand with the primary process in America. Now, Florida is apparently going to move it’s GOP primary to Jan. 31st, 2012, as reported by The Washington Examiner:

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, or New Year’s at least, for the start of the presidential primary season.

The primary election calendar, scheduled to start in February, may move up to early January, with candidates campaigning through the holidays if Florida officials on Friday approve moving the Sunshine State’s Republican presidential primary to Jan. 31.

Florida’s anticipated move would mean that Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada would likely move their presidential primaries and caucuses from February to early January because Republican Party rules require those four states to go first.

“We may be watching lots of campaign ads along with ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ during the holiday season,” said University of Florida political science professor Stephen Craig. “Not the sort of thing that’s likely to make already frustrated voters feel more positively about the political process.”

No, it isn’t.

I’m not going to be one to belittle the political process, or say that we put too much emphasis on it. Right now, we have major problems facing our country, and we need to actually wake up, as a people, focus on this, and deal with it. That means we have to elect sensible grown-ups to office, which means we have to emphasize the political process. But there is something known as overkill.

Celebrities for Ron Paul!

When I was a Cato intern, some of us lamented that we really didn’t have any celebrities holding up the libertarian banner, no popular people to bring the message to the masses. John Stossel didn’t really count (apparently), and Drew Carey was left to hold the torch alone. Well, if we go by the rather simplistic (and thus, used by journalists everywhere) metric of Ron Paul = Everything Libertarian, then good news! We have a celebrity endorsement for Mr. Paul!

Vince“Wedding Crashers” star Vince Vaughn introduced Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) Friday night at the Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) in Reno, Nevada.

Vaughn and Paul are “friends,” according to Paul’s campaign. Pictures from the conference posted at Paul’s campaign website show the two chatting along with Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

The Pauls did attend the premiere of Vaughn’s film “Couples Retreat” in 2009.

Vaughn also wrote an endorsement for Paul’s book “End the Fed” in 2009, writing: “Everyone must read this book–Congressmen and college students, Democrats and Republicans–all Americans.”

“Vince [is] not merely interested in Dr. Paul’s philosophy but he also graciously invited Dr. and Mrs. Paul to the premier of his film ‘Couples Retreat,’” according to Paul’s 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton in a statement.

Romney still on top in New Hampshire, Bachmann gaining

Two new polls out of New Hampshire show a tightening race between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is now being seen as the anti-Romney in the race for the GOP nomination.

The tightening that I referenced isn’t seen on the surface in the poll from the University of New Hampshire; however, Bachmann polled at 4% in the Granite State last month, so she is up 8 points. Romney fell off 6 points, from 41% since last month.

  • Mitt Romney: 35%
  • Michele Bachmann: 12%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 7%
  • Rick Perry: 4%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Sarah Palin: 3%
  • Herman Cain: 2%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • Newt Gingrich: 1%
  • Gary Johnson: 1%
  • Other: 2%
  • Undecided: 19%

Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based Democratic polling firm, shows the gap between Romney and Bachmann now down to a single-digits; the closest any GOP competitor has been in the state.

Who is Gary Johnson?

Gary Johnson’s campaign has rolled out a new video highlighting some of his accomplishments as Governor of New Mexico, including his record of cutting taxes, fiscal responsibility, having the most executive experience of any candidate in the race and exercising his veto pen more than any other governor in the country combined.

Bachmann leads in New Mexico, Johnson third overall in home state

Public Policy Polling released a survey out of New Mexico yesterday showing Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann leading the pack of Republican presidential hopefuls, although Romney isn’t far behind. Gary Johnson, who served as Governor of the state from 1995 to 2003, comes in just behind them.

  • Michele Bachmann: 21%
  • Mitt Romney: 18%
  • Gary Johnson: 13%
  • Sarah Palin: 11%
  • Herman Cain: 10%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 6%
  • Ron Paul: 5%
  • Other: 9%

They polled a few different scenarios in the race, including leaving out Palin and Johnson but adding Jon Huntsman into the mix. You can see those here. While Public Policy Polling was at it, they polled the GOP primary for U.S. Senate and found Rep. Heather Wilson significantly ahead of the other likely candidates with 52% of Republican voters backing her.

Thad McCotter to join a crowded Republican field

There had been speculation on this for several weeks, but honestly, no one really seemed to take it seriously. But it appears that Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) will announce his presidential bid over the July 4th weekend:

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich. will launch his presidential campaign on July 2, making him the third sitting member of the House to run for the White House in 2012.

McCotter will make his bid official in his home state of Michigan, according to a knowledgable source in the campaign who declined to be identified.

The five-term congressman has made stops in several of the early primary states and participated in the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans earlier this month. He joined the Iowa Tea Party bus tour this week during a stop in Ottumwa, Iowa.

When I posted Ron Paul’s campaign update a few days ago, I mentioned that he had secured the best booth at the Ames Straw Poll and in the post I linked back to Politco, they noted that McCotter also bought a booth through a lobbyist that refused to indentify what campaign she was working for.

Romney still leads in New Hampshire, Bachmann makes gains

A new poll out of New Hampshire from Suffolk University shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holding steady, though Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has made gains in the Granite State. Texas Rep. Ron Paul finishes in the top three.

  • Mitt Romney: 36%
  • Michele Bachmann: 11%
  • Ron Paul: 8%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 5%
  • Sarah Palin: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 4%
  • Herman Cain: 2%
  • Newt Gingrich: 2%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 2%
  • Rick Perry: 2%
  • George Pataki: 1%
  • Rick Santorum: 1%

The poll notes:

Among those who watched the Republican Presidential debate in Manchester earlier this month, 33 percent said Romney won the debate, while 31 percent gave the win to Bachmann.

New Hampshire Republicans are unconcerned with Romney’s tendency to change positions on issues important to party’s base as 69% say that doesn’t disqualify him from getting their vote.

As the last few polls have shown, New Hampshire is Romney’s to lose.

Romney, Bachmann in statistical tie in Iowa

Mitt Romney’s lead in Iowa appears to have diminished with Iowa-native Michele Bachmann’s entrance into the Republican field of presidential candidates. According to a new poll from the Des Moines Register, the two are in a statistical tie.

  • Mitt Romney: 23%
  • Michele Bachmann: 22%
  • Herman Cain: 10%
  • Newt Gingrich: 7%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%

Bachmann has seen a jump in the polls, not just in Iowa, but nationally as well. The support for Romney, who has decided to skip the Ames Straw Poll in August, remains around the same level in the Des Moines Register poll as it has in other polls conducted in the state. Romney’s team has made New Hampshire their focus.

While the poll is good news for Bachmann, it’s bad news for Pawlenty, who has been spending a signficiant amount of time in Iowa; he’s even running ads in the state (the first candidate to do so). The importance of the state to his presidential ambitions already has some asking how badly he can perform in August’s straw poll and expect to be viewed as a viable candidate.

Gary Johnson: “I didn’t create a single job”

On Wednesday, I noted that Gary Johnson has the best record on jobs of any governor currently seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Gov. Johnson notes that he didn’t create jobs during his time in office:

Presidential candidate Gary Johnson took a slightly unorthodox approach regarding job creation on Thursday. “I didn’t create a single job,” said the former Governor of New Mexico.
[…]
“Don’t get me wrong,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are proud of this distinction. We had a 11.6 percent job growth that occurred during our two terms in office. But the headlines that accompanied that report – referring to governors, including me, as ‘job creators’ – were just wrong.”

“The fact is, I can unequivocally say that I did not create a single job while I was governor,” Johnson added. Instead, “we kept government in check, the budget balanced, and the path to growth clear of unnecessary regulatory obstacles.”

Of course, Johnson is right. A governor or a president or even Congress cannot “create jobs.” As Johnson notes, government can get out of the way or they can create policies that slow the pace of job growth or are economically destructive. It’s an important distinction that should be made, one that I should have noted in my original post. It’s something that Johnson, assuming he isn’t blocked from appearing in future, can elaborate on in future debates with his counterparts.

 


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