We’ve got another round of polling out of Florida showing that Mitt Romney is poised for a big win. Just a week ago it seemed that momentum was in Newt Gingrich’s corner, but two bad debate performances and a couple of gaffes, including one that brought Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) out of his isolation to stick up for Romney, badly hurt him.
Here’s a look at the latest polling going back to those that were released at the beginning of last week. these show the dramatic swing from Gingrich to Romney in just a few days time.
It’s pop quiz time. Which of the following sounds least like the description of a Washington, D.C. establishment candidate?
a) A former one-term state governor never elected to federal office who spent decades prior to running for public office as a businessman in the private sector;
b) A former Speaker of the House who spent just eight years working as a college professor before serving for twenty years in the House of Representatives, who as Speaker was reprimanded and fined for an ethics violation, and who after resigning from Congress spent nine years as a paid consultant for Freddie Mac;
c) A former congressman and senator who spent just four years practicing law before serving for three years in the House of Representatives and another twelve in the Senate, who in 2004 offered a pivotal endorsement to an establishment squish (and later a party switcher) over a more conservative primary opponent, and whose work since leaving office has primarily included media commentary and political consultancy.
If you chose option a, you’re either a Mitt Romney supporter or perhaps simply an honest person. If you chose option b or option c, you’re probably a supporter of either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum who refuses to face reality. Because RomneyCare and stuff. You may also be one of the unfortunate folks who in 2008 voted for either former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.), a big government social conservative, or Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who had at the time spent 25 years in Congress following distinguished military service but no time working in the private sector. Because abortion. And maybe Mormonism, just a little.
Irony. It’s what’s for dinner.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has been under fire since last week’s South Carolina GOP primary debate for calling President Obama a “food stamp president.” Progressive critics have accused Gingrich of pushing hatred and racism to turn voters against Obama. But as a CNNMoney article makes clear, more Americans have been added to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) under Obama than under his recent predecessors and Obama’s stimulus package made it easier to qualify for SNAP. Approximately 14% of Americans — 1 in 7 — were on food stamps last year. We spent $75 billion on food stamps in 2011, an increase of about $40 billion in just three years, and according to Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Robert Rector overall spending on our 70 welfare programs has increased by one-third under Obama. These are facts and they would still be equally true if President Obama were white.
In just a couple of days, Newt Gingrich went from the likely winner of Tuesday’s primary in Florida to the underdog. So what has caused support to swing away from him and back to Mitt Romney? Well, a few things. Many Republicans are coming out to criticize Gingrich for various things, such as his time as Speaker of the House and his criticism of Ronald Reagan. Then there was the bad press he received as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took up for Romney when Gingrich compared him to Charlie Crist.
As you can see in the poll numbers that came out yesterday, a couple of days makes a world of difference in politics.
I’ve been busy settling into a new day job this week (hence my dearth of United Liberty posts) and haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention to the news. But one thing that did appear that caused a firestorm on my Twitter were Newt Gingrich’s comments about the moon, specifically, his plan to build a moon base:
To cheers and applause in an area that has suffered major job loss since the cancellation of the space shuttle, Gingrich said, “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.
“We will have commercial near-Earth activities that include science, tourism and manufacturing, and are designed to create a robust industry precisely on the model of the development of the airlines of the 1930s, because it is in our interest to acquire so much experience in space that we clearly have a capacity that the Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to matching.”
He also said that by the end of 2020, the country would have “the first continuous propulsion system in space” capable of allowing people travel to Mars.
“I am sick of being told we have to be timid and I am sick of being told we have to be limited in technologies that are 50 years old,” the former House speaker told the crowd at a “space round table” he hosted at a Holiday Inn.
As the resident scifi geek/nerd/whatever here on United Liberty, I feel I must write some sort of response to this. It’s precisely the kind of thing that gets me excited and makes me want to jump up and down and say “Hey, let’s make Star Wars a reality, guys!” (Note, I’m referring to the work of science fiction, not the work of political fiction, the 70s, not the 80s.)
During last night’s Florida GOP primary debate, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) blasted former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) for signing RomneyCare’s individual mandate into law in 2006. Apparently Sen. Santorum forgot that he supported individual mandates when he was running for the U.S. Senate in 1994:
Santorum and Watkins both called for a “comprehensive restructuring” of health care. But they differed sharply on what elements should comprise a basic benefits package.
Watkins would include mental health services, long-term care, prescription drug coverage, dental services and preventive care such as immunizations. Santorum would not. Both reject abortion services.
Santorum and Watkins both oppose having businesses provide health care for their employees. Instead, they would require individuals to purchase insurance. Both oppose higher taxes on alcohol or tobacco to help pay for care.
Santorum and Watkins would require individuals to buy health insurance rather than forcing employers to pay for employee benefits. Both oppose abortion services and support limits on malpractice awards. Santorum says non-economic damages should not exceed $250,000, adjusted annually for inflation, and lawyers’ contingency fees should be capped at 25 percent.
Since taking on Charlie Crist in the the Florida Senate race last year, Marco Rubio, who would go on to win the general election, has been regarded as a rock star in the conservative movement. With that comes a lot of influence, particularly among conservatives in his home state given that he could boost his party’s ticket.
So if you’re a candidate running in his state, you’d probably want to stay on his good side; but there is a right and wrong way to go about that. Apparently, Newt Gingrich is learning this lesson the hard way.
Gingrich, who is leading in most polls out of Florida, has been comparing himself to Rubio and Mitt Romney to Crist as a way to further peg his opponent as an anti-conservative. Rubio is apparently unhappy with what he see as an inaccurate comparison, as Jennifer Rubin explains:
As has been noted here, almost exhaustively, Mitt Romney has a problem with conservatives. They don’t trust him. Why they distrust him more than Newt Gingrich, I don’t know. But they don’t, and with reason. And if I were running Romney’s campaign, I wouldn’t want people like Norm Coleman saying things like this when I’m trying to win over conservatives:
Mitt Romney adviser Norm Coleman, a former senator from Minnesota, predicted the GOP won’t repeal the Democrats’ healthcare reform law even if a Republican candidate defeats President Obama this November.
“You will not repeal the act in its entirety, but you will see major changes, particularly if there is a Republican president,” Coleman told BioCentury This Week television in an interview that aired on Sunday. “You can’t whole-cloth throw it out. But you can substantially change what’s been done.”
Coleman’s remarks are remarkable because every Republican candidate — including Romney — has vowed to make repealing the law a priority. Coleman is also the chairman of the American Action Network, which has urged the courts to strike down the law’s individual mandate and its Medicaid expansion.
Romney’s campaign quickly distanced itself from Coleman’s comments.
“With all due respect to Sen. Coleman, he’s wrong,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said via e-mail. “Gov. Romney can and will repeal Obamacare and is committed to doing so.”
We’ve noted Newt Gingrich’s anti-conservative points on multiple occasions, mostly recently my post yesterday on his support of an individual mandate for health insurance coverage. This isn’t the only stain on his record, it’s merely one of them. We could easily point to his support of Medicare expansion or TARP as further evidence. We could also point to Stephen Slivinski’s article here from last month explaining how Gingrich betrayed the revolution that brought Republicans to power.
We all know that Mitt Romney’s heath insurance reform plan, the centerpiece of which was the individual mandate, became the blueprint for ObamaCare. This source of much skepticism from conservatives and the Tea Party movement, and rightfully so.
For all of his faults, Romney isn’t the only Republican running to push for punitive taxes for those who haven’t purchased health insurance coverage.In fact, when Romney introduced the plan in 2005, the Boston Herald noted that Romney was “allying himself with influential conservatives such as former US House speaker Newt Gingrich, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, and the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation.”
The implication here is that Romney was coming to an idea that Gingrich was already backing (note the archived footage from 1993 in the video below). And it’s apparently one that Gingrich still holds. During his ill-fated interview with David Gregory on Meet the Press last May, Gingrich made it clear that he’s “said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you’re going to be held accountable”: