Republican Party

By McCain’s definition, Reagan was an isolationist

In his latest video, Jack Hunter wades into the debate taking place inside the Republican Party over foreign policy. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other neoconservatives would have us believe that those criticizing President Barack Obama’s illegal war in Libya are “isolationists” and that Ronald Reagan would be appalled by some of the candidates running for the GOP presidential nomination that are expressing these views.

Of course, those expressing restraint in foreign policy are non-interventionists, not isolationists; they don’t not believe in cutting the United States off from the world. Also, Reagan wasn’t as hawkish as neoconservatives would have us believe.

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.

Mitt Romney leads Obama, GOP pack in South Carolina

Despite being ripped yesterday by the Club for Growth - and justifiably so, in my opinion - for his many inconsistencies on economic issues, it’s been a good last week or so for Mitt Romney. It seems that Republicans are beginning to come to his candidacy after other establishment candidacies either never came to be (Barbour, Daniels) haven’t gained traction (Gingrich, Huntsman and Pawlenty) and he is beginning to lineup important donors for his quest to the GOP presidential nomination.

What’s more, Romney is now able to boast that he is the only candidate that can beat Barack Obama; at least according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll (emphasis mine):

Romney appears formidable: In a general-election trial heat in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll he runs evenly with Barack Obama among all Americans, and numerically outpoints him, 49-46 percent, among registered voters — not a statistically significant lead, given sampling error, but a clear reflection of Obama’s vulnerability to a well-positioned challenger.

Romney, though, is the only Republican to run that well; Obama leads all other potential opponents tested in this poll — Palin, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman. Palin fares worst, trailing Obama by 17 points among all adults, 15 points among registered voters.

UT Senate: Chaffetz to run against Hatch in the GOP primary?

We may have our first high-profile primary against an incumbent for next year’s election. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican currently serving in his second term, has indicated that he will run against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) next year:

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz has told several Utah political insiders that he plans to run against Sen. Orrin Hatch next year, setting up a major intraparty Republican 2012 battle.

All eyes have been on the second-term congressman for months. But five Utah politicos, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chaffetz has told them directly in recent weeks that he will contend for the Republican nomination.

Chaffetz said Tuesday that he’s not making any official announcement yet, but he is moving toward a Hatch challenge.

“I have an increasing clarity,” Chaffetz said. “Until I walk up to the microphone to make an announcement, it’s not official. But it’s no secret I’ve been thinking about this and I’ve been gravitating in that direction.”

Hatch’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said he has heard that Chaffetz has made some calls to tell people he would get in, but hasn’t heard anything definitive.

While Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who was elected last year with tea party support, has not endorsed Hatch for re-election, the Club for Growth made it very clear yesterday that they would get behind Chaffetz; noting Hatch’s inconsistent record on economic issues:

Jon Huntsman will not be the GOP nominee

Why won’t Jon Huntsman be the Republican nominee in 2012? This video posted by Verum Serum highlights many positions Huntsman has taken, including support for cap-and-trade and the stimulus, that aren’t going to jive well with the Republican base:

Libertarian Purity

Welcome Instapundit readers!

Libertarians are ineffective in politics.  There, I’ve said it.  Of course, I’m not exactly breaking new ground here either.  Everyone who follows politics knows that libertarians are ineffective.  After all, it’s the worst kept secret in politics.  The question is: why?

Yesterday, I saw a video where noted libertarian/classical liberal Virginia Postrel sat down with Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, for a chat.  In it, she mentions in passing that there are libertarians who spend a great deal of time looking for ideological purity and denouncing those that don’t share it.  The idea isn’t new, I’ve heard the criticism before, but it is accurate.

Every ideological stripe has those people.  There are people who argue that Obama isn’t a true progressive because of X, or that so-and-so isn’t a true conservative because of Y.  The difference isn’t in the existence of these people, but the percentages of these people.  Libertarians seem to have a higher percentage than most other groups, and this may be why we are so ineffective.

Ideological purity sounds fine and good, but it also pushes luke-warm libertarians away.  They find themselves in less friendly terrain, often the Republican Party (but not always) where their support is mustered on some issues and ignored on others.  They’re told by libertarians that they aren’t real libertarians, so eventually some believe them.

Most ideologies have a spectrum of beliefs that aren’t necessarily the beliefs of all members of that group.  There are pro-life Democrats, and pro-gay marriage Republicans.  There are anti-gun Republicans and pro-gun Democrats.  They function within their respective groups just fine, but libertarians?  For some, they require absolute obedience to the ideology.

Michael Steele within striking distance of another term?

Despite disapproval of his job performance and significant obstacles to winning another term, RNC Chairman Michael Steele is within striking distance of winning another term:

Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus remains the front-runner for the Republican National Committee chairmanship, which some observers predicted could spell trouble for his bid.

Priebus leads the field with 36 RNC members publicly backing him, according to a count by National Review Online.

Current RNC Chairman Michael Steele is a close second with 27 members backing him.

Priebus’ front-runner status could prove a liability, according to Mike Duncan. The former RNC chairman, who was Steele’s predecessor serving from 2007-2009, recently said the leader typically “loses momentum after the first or second ballot.”

Meanwhile, former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner and Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the Michigan GOP, are tied for third with 14 votes each.

Maria Cino, a former Bush administration official, rounds out the field. Pennsylvania committeewoman Christine Toretti became the latest to back Cino, which brought her number of declared supporters to 12, according to a release and the NRO tally. She also has the support of House Speaker John Boehner, although he is unable to vote in the chairmanship race.

There are still 65 RNC members who haven’t announced their support. A candidate needs 85 votes to win. The chairmanship election is set for Jan. 14.

Democratic party indentification at 22 year low

It goes without saying that Democrats are having problems right now. The fact that 19 House Democrats opted to vote for someone other than their party’s nominee for Speaker speaks volumes. But to emphasize just how bad things are right now, let’s look at new polling numbers from Gallup showing the percentage of Americans that identify as Democrats at a 22 year low:

In 2010, 31% of Americans identified as Democrats, down five percentage points from just two years ago and tied for the lowest annual average Gallup has measured in the last 22 years. While Democrats still outnumber Republicans by two points, the percentage identifying as independents increased to 38%, on the high end of what Gallup has measured in the last two decades.

Gallup concludes that the drop in support is “notable,” but cautions Republicans against taking any real comfort in these numbers since support for the GOP only increased by a point over two years. Independents are still running strong. The best thing Republicans can do is continue to appeal to indpendent voters by keeping on the economy and spending.

Steele is all but done at the RNC

Michael Steel continues to make his case for re-election as chairman of the Republican National Committee, claiming that he revived the organization, despite a bleak outlook on his prospects:

Throughout the 2009-2010 cycle, the Republican National Committee has been singularly focused on winning. By every key measure—fundraising, turnout, and election results—our party was hugely successful. And we were successful because we listened to our grass roots, harnessed their energy and, most of all, affirmed their common-sense conservative ideals. We espoused governing principles that protect freedom and prosperity through free markets and limited government—the polar opposite of our Democrat opponents. In the process, we revived an RNC organization that had failed to compete effectively with the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Falling back into that dispirited and ineffective state is not an option.

Inexplicably, over much of the last decade, our party simply gave up competing for votes in vast regions of the country, and among huge blocks of voters. That failed strategy was worse than an insult to those disenfranchised voters—it was a blunder. The predictable result was political disaster. Even worse, the Republican Party’s political malpractice afflicted the American people with Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, and their job-killing agenda and crippling debt.

Republican Governors slam Michael Steele

Yeah, it looks like Michael Steele has quite the uphill battle in front of him if he decides to stick around as chair of the Republican National Committee:

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele can no longer count on the support of several prominent Republican governors as he searches for support in advance of a possible bid for another term.

Though elected officials had been wary of publicly stating their concerns with the national committee’s finances, now that the midterms are out of the way they are taking their worries to the press.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) told reporters Wednesday he had “concerns” about the RNC’s field operations after the 2010 midterms, citing a memo penned by former RNC political director Gentry Collins that laid out the committee’s shortfalls.

“You have to have a high-functioning, effective ground game. The RNC has to be able to deliver that consistently, every cycle. And it appears, based on this letter, that didn’t happen,” Pawlenty said Wednesday. “I think there’s going to be a very healthy discussion over the next few months about the RNC and the future direction of it.”

Other governors, including Mississippi’s Haley Barbour (R), have voiced public concern with Steele’s chairmanship. Though they held back from calling for Steele’s ouster in the run-up to the midterms, those calls have now begun.

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