On Friday, President Barack Obama hosted a press conference at the White House to discuss the economy. It wasn’t his finest moment. In his remarks, Obama told the media that all is well in the private-sector, rather it is the public-sector that is holding the economy back. Here’s the relevant quote:
The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Often times cuts initiated by, you know, Governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.
It’s hard to convince many people, particularly those that will be voting in the fall, that the private-sector economy is “doing fine.” People see the news reports about tepid job creation, still high unemployment numbers, and incredibly large budget deficit. They’re no doubt wondering what planet Obama has been living on over the last three-plus years.
The press conference really could be taken as an in-kind contribution to Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. They’ve pounced on the opportunity to slam the gaffe-tastic remarks. Playing right into their hands, Obama later issued a statement emphasizing that the economy is, in fact, not doing all that well:
Last night on Hannity came a sign that the Ron Paul campaign may finally be at its end. The Congressman’s son and campaign surrogate, Senator Rand Paul, officially endorsed the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. And predictably, countless tweets and blog posts were written declaring Rand a traitor to liberty.
But anyone who expected otherwise was severely deluded. Rand has never been the devout libertarian that his father is. He is certainly a libertarian-leaning Republican, and while he can often be a good ally to libertarians in the Senate, he is still first and foremost a Republican. And as a Senator he has much less latitude to diverge from the party line and needs other Senators to cooperate with him.
Because of this, the chances of him endorsing Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson were somewhere around one in one billion. While such an endorsement would make many libertarians happy, it would end his life as a Republican. It would mean that he would have no party support whatsoever come re-election time. It would alienate him from the party and mean he would get nothing accomplished in the Senate.
Similarly, all but the most quixotic supporters know that the Ron Paul campaign is over. Ron Paul himself has acknowledged he can’t win and Mitt Romney has secured the necessary delegates. The various party elements have begun coalescing around Romney and if Rand Paul wants a future in the party he needed to as well.
With nearly 100% of the precincts reporting this morning, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has survived the recall challenge, which engineered by Big Labor and state Democrats, against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by a healthy margin.
- Walker (R): 53.2
- Barrett (D): 46.3%
- Trivedi (I): 0.6%
Some are saying that the race, given that Walker won by nearly 7 points, could put the state on the board this fall in the presidential election. There is certainly a measure of optimism for Republicans since this recall had such heavy implications. However, Republicans should be too hopeful since exit polling showed President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by 9 points.
The New York Times notes that, while outside spending was heavy in Wisconsin during the course of the race, nine out of every 10 voters had their minds made up by May 1st. Money is great if its on your side, but at some point voters probably started turning off their televisions because they were tired of seeing the flood of ads.
There have been a lot of silly “scandals” during this election season, which is a usual and normal waste byproduct of the American election process, though this year has been notably intense. Unfortunately, between the “scandals” of Obama having eaten dog while a child in Indonesia, criticism over a flubbed line in Poland, guffaws about him using the word “thingamajig” in a speech, and the resurgent “Birther” nonesense, conservatives and libertarians are losing sight of the real problems with the Obama administration. As I see it, there are two that need to be focused on relentlessly:
- The absolutely dismal economic situation, exacerbated by this president’s misguided and foolhardy policies
- The utterly atrocious record on civil liberties that President Obama has engendered, a holdover from the Bush administration (so much for “Change”)
Everything else can pretty much be secondary to this or just treated as nonsense. These are the real core problems with the Obama administration, and they are all that conservatives need to hammer him with. Forget the memes, forget the social conservatism, just focus on two things: jobs and civil liberties (which does, in case you’re wondering, tie into foreign policy. A bit.)
The economic problem is fairly straightforward: this is the worst recession since World War II, bar none. From the Calculated Risk blog, this chart shows you how badly:
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen Republicans begin to criticize President Barack Obama on various ancillary issues. Some of them are valid. Others not so much. Poll after poll shows that Americans are more concerned about the economy and jobs than other issues that may pop up in the news or the various memes that may arise from either the right or the left.
Here are some of the oft-repeated issues that have come up in recent days that conservatives and Republicans should stay away from if they hope to beat Obama and Democrats in the fall.
Social Issues: We’ve been over this one before thanks to the contraceptive kerfuffle earlier this year. It ended up being a bad issue for Republicans and they took a hit with women in the polls. They were largely right, in that taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund contraceptives and that the mandate was an infringement of the First Amendment on religious organizations that now have to pay for something to which they may have a moral objection.
More recently, however, it looks like they learned their lesson. When President Obama announced his support for gay marriage at the state-level, Republicans in Congress were mostly silent, though they did reinterate their support for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is facing a legal challenge. That doesn’t mean that it won’t come up again during the course of the next several months, as we get close to November.
Polls show that social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, are not on minds of voters, particularly independents. And perhaps even more of important are polls that show a majority of Americans are supportive of gay marriage.
On Twitter, many conservatives and Republicans have been badgering people who are threatening to not vote for Mitt Romney. They have been saying that if you don’t vote for Mitt Romney, you’re voting for Barack Obama. This is silly reasoning at its best. The only way you vote for Barack Obama is by actually voting for Barack Obama. Libertarians and others who love liberty should vote their conscience in November and vote for the candidate who best represents their views.
The Republican Party has not offered very much for libertarians to vote for. The GOP controlled House has failed to lead on reducing the size and scope of government. Mitt Romney has not offered up any serious or substantial cuts. Plus, Mitt Romney supports anti-liberty legislation such as the Federal Marriage Amendment and the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA. Plus, Romney during the primaries supported a hard-line on immigration reform and on foreign policy, generally offers more of the same as Barack Obama. Finally, there is the simple fact that all throughout Mitt Romney’s political career; he has been on just about every side of every issue possible, sometimes simultaneously. Romney, politically, is not a man to be trusted even in a millennium of Sundays.
On the other hand, I don’t need to tell anybody who reads this site how horrendous of a president Barack Obama is. He has been an absolute failure from a libertarian perspective, so I can understand the inclination to replace him, even with someone like Mitt Romney. However consider this, what kind of message would it send to the Republican Party to nominate someone like Romney and have him win?
Ron Paul’s delegate strategy may be the worst kept secret in Republican circles. And while most observers are treating Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee, it looks as though Republicans are getting nervous that they may have a floor fight at their convention in Tampa:
Paul supporters swept this weekend’s state GOP conventions, picking up 21 of 24 RNC delegates in Maine and 22 out of 28 delegates in Nevada. The twin victories come on the heels of Paul’s surprise delegate wins at district caucuses and state conventions in Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, and Louisiana, as well as a Paul-friendly takeover of the Alaska GOP.
Paul supporters have managed to stage these state-level coups despite significant resistance from local Establishment Republicans, many of whom are predictably reluctant to relinquish their power to the insurgents. So far, however, the Paul campaign has attributed most of the Establishment’s “shenanigans” to local animosities.
But there is growing evidence that the Romney camp — and the national GOP — are stepping up their efforts to prevent an embarrassing Ron Paul uprising on the floor of the Republican National Convention.
In Maine, for example, the Romney campaign dispatched its top lawyer, Benjamin Ginsberg, to oversee the state convention proceedings this weekend. (It’s worth noting that Ginsberg is best known for his work for George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount.)
Even if the nomination is not in play, an army of Paul delegates could cause significant problems for the presumptive nominee, who needs a smooth convention to assuage concerns about his ability to unite and energize the Republican base.
Much hash has been made lately of Gary Johnson taking the Libertarian Party nomination. He is probably the highest-profile candidate to run for the party in the past twenty years, thanks to his eight years of executive experience in New Mexico as a Republican, his hard-hitting libertarian principles, and the fact that, well, let’s face it: the guy is just cool.
I mean, scaling Mt. Everest? Vetoing over 750 bills? Saying weed, gay rights, and gun rights are all a-ok? That’s just not something that comes around every four years. And he’s also (relatively) young, which is always a plus. (Sorry, Ron.)
Naturally, though, a lot of people are exhibiting signs of a disease calling “Spoileritis.” A perfect example comes from a comment on Bob Barr’s Daily Caller column about Gary Johnson. Our erudite fan writes
A vote for this party is a vote for Obama. Period. Consider yourselves responsible for the destruction of this country for good!
Except there is zero evidence that this is the case.
Gary Johnson’s calls to slash 43% of military spending, end the Drug War, and most importantly, unabashedly legalize same-sex marriage, none of which are positions held by most Republicans. Instead, those positions are decidedly liberal, more on the side of Obama’s supporters. So when people go to the polls this November, it is likely that he will draw more supporters from Obama’s camp than Romney’s.
Chris Barron, chair of GOProud, the GOP’s gay and lesbian group, said the same thing in an interview with the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis:
So right off the bat, let me just disclose the following: I am a proud Ron Paul supporter. I’ve been aware of Dr. Paul since the turn of the century. I’ve been reading “Texas Straight Talk,” his weekly correspondence, for going on a decade, and have been known, from time to time, to actually call the number that has his weekly, pre-recorded message in order to actually hear the man, in his own words, speak those wonderful words of truth and freedom.
I was involved with the grassroots effort of his 2008 run and donated to that campaign and his congressional campaign as well. Now, four years later, I am currently serving as my county’s coordinator for the Georgia for Ron Paul grassroots group and have made multiple donations to the RP2012 campaign.
Simply put—I’m a fan.
For many out there, the Ron Paul Revolution is all but dead. A minor historical footnote. How wrong these people are. For you see, this thing is still growing. It really is. Despite a virtual, media blackout and more dirty tricks by the GOP establishment than you can shake a stick at, this beautiful, organic phenomenon is still growing.
Let’s start with delegates. FOX News and many other outlets are grossly under-reporting Dr. Paul’s delegate count at around 50; however, CNN, as it has been during this entire cycle, has a more accurate count of 71. But they’re all wrong. We won’t know for sure until all of the district and state conventions wrap up, but Dr. Paul could very well be looking at a count in the several hundreds. It is most likely that the Paul campaign will have a strong majority of delegates in the following states: Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, and several others. Hell, if it goes to a contested convention with multiple ballots, there will be Ron Paul delegates waiting in the wings in the Georgia Delegation. And there are several contests left where Paul could pick up more delegates.
Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee, unless he’s caught with a dead, Muslim, illegal immigrant boy. He will have the difficult task of facing Barack Obama in November. It is no secret that I have my differences with Governor Romney, however for the sake of wanting Barack Obama gone in November, I would like to offer him some free advice.
First thing you need to do Mitt is shut up about the sports team owners you know. We know you’re rich and successful in business, but the problem is, Obama is sending out his class warfare zombies in droves. They will use your success as their best weapon against you. Their goal is to paint you as out of touch with the American people. Also, along those lines, shut up about your dog and his road trip on the roof of your car.
Second piece of advice, be bold on the economy and fiscal policy. Be specific about your proposals and don’t be afraid to defend them. Don’t sugarcoat the fiscal problems we are facing. Propose bold tax reform including a flatter tax with a lot fewer deductions and credits. Eliminate a department or two. Propose real spending cuts and entitlement reform and more importantly, sell it. Outline a free market approach to healthcare as a replacement to Obamacare. Finally, start going after the Federal Reserve by supporting an audit of it.
Third, take a page from the Obama playbook. Set up a version of their “Fight the Smears” web page that they set up in 2008. Eventually Obama and his surrogates will drag the Mormon religion in this race and there needs to be something to address the nonsense they will be putting out.
Fourth, stay out of the social issues trap. The left will try to bring up abortion, gay marriage, birth control, and Lord knows what else to try and change the narrative. Yes, address the issues when they come up but don’t let the media trip up the message. The message needs to be about the economy and jobs first.