Republican Party

Mitt Romney, Evangelicals, and the Mormon Issue

Several times recently I’ve found myself in discussion with some of my Republican friends about Mitt Romney and the Mormon issue. The argument presented is that Romney can’t win the general election because evangelical voters – specifically those in the South – won’t vote for him because he’s a Mormon and that somehow the red states in the South will become possible Obama victories because of Romney’s faith.

I’m not going to get into the differences between the religious beliefs of evangelical voters and Mitt Romney; that’s a conversation for a different place at a different time (with someone much smarter than me). I would, however, like to address this notion about evangelical voters and their assumed behavior at the polls.

There’s a part of this argument that is valid: the part that takes place in the primary elections. It’s fair to assume that Romney is losing votes in the primary election because of his faith. I’d even make the argument that it’s a part of the reason Rick Santorum has been doing so well lately (though why they pick the liberal Catholic over the liberal Mormon is beyond me). The difference comes when we’re talking about a general election instead of a primary election.

In the primary, Romney will take a hit on being a Mormon just like Ron Paul loses votes over his stance on foreign policy. It’s the same way Newt Gingrich will lose votes because he is (or was) a pretentious, two-timing slime ball, and Rick Santorum will lose votes because, well, because he’s Rick Santorum.

But when November comes around, if Mitt Romney’s name is on the ballot, he’ll get the vast majority – if not all – of the evangelical vote. People who insist otherwise are deceiving themselves. Here’s why:

Recapping Super Tuesday

If you’re like me, you went to bed before the Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota results started to tricke in. It wasn’t hard to see at that point that last night was a good night for Mitt Romney, though he didn’t deliver the “knock out” punch to end the race quickly. We’re probably going to see this thing drag out between he and Rick Santorum for at least the rest of this month.

Had Romney won in Tennessee, it would be a different story. However, exit polls showed that socially conservative voters came out pretty strong in that state. Additionally, Romney’s win in Ohio was very close. So while he may get to claim the state and it certainly helps with momentum, it shows that he is still just getting by.

Santorum is going to keep trucking. As he said last night, he won a few states and got “silver medals” in others. His biggest issue is money. While his team says they’re willing to take the race all the way to Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, he may not have the resources to get that far.

Of course, Santorum’s biggest obstacle isn’t Romney, it’s Gingrich. Conventional wisdom says that if Gingrich drops out that Santorum will be the beneficiary. That’s probably true, but only to a certain extent. Gingrich was defiant last night, but the writing is on the wall. He’s not going to win, especially after five last place finishes. Yes, he won Georgia, but he didn’t get the 50% needed to take all of his home state’s delegates.

Ron Paul’s strategy of focusing on caucus states hasn’t panned out the way his campaign had hoped. Granted, Paul was strong in several states last night, but he still doesn’t have a win in either a caucus or a primary. But as we’ve said before, Paul’s support has grown substantially since his run four years ago and he can no longer be ignored by Republicans.

It’s Super Tuesday: Is the end of the race around the corner?

It’s Super Tuesday, and hopefully the beginning of the end of the long and disasterous primary for the Republican Party. No one can deny that this cycle has been interesting process; well, most party primaries are. But this one has been especially painful to watch — especially recently, when the economy is the most pressing issue for voters, but some of the GOP candidates are focused on wedge social issues.

It’s hard to predict what will happen tonight, but observers say that Mitt Romney will have a good night and Newt Gingrich may re-establish himself if he manages to win more delegates that Rick Santorum, which looks like a very real possibility. On the other hand, we’ve seen so many twist and turns in this primary, would anyone be surprised to see a last minute surge for Santorum in Ohio or Gingrich not win Georgia by as substantial of a margin that polls indicate?

These three candidates — Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum — are a collective mess. While Gingrich generally respected amongst GOP voters and manages to gain enough support to remain relevant, national polls show him as toxic against Barack Obama.

Santorum isn’t much different. Polls show him doing decent in head-to-head matchups against Obama, but that’s largely because voters aren’t familiar with him. His socially conservative message isn’t one that will push independents to Republicans, and his numbers would fall even lower.

Hanging with Gary Johnson

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to hangout for a few days with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson while he was visiting Georgia for the state Libertarian Party convention.

As you may know, Gov. Johnson left the Republican Party just after Christmas to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president. During his run for the GOP nod, Gov. Johnson was excluded from all but two debates, and when he did get to participate, he wasn’t treated as a serious candidate.

The treatment of Johnson was certainly odd. He has more executive experience than any of the other candidates seeking the Republican nomination. Moreover, he has a solid resume, including a stellar fiscal record; as evidenced by his scores from the Cato Institute and the fact that he vetoed 750 bills — more than the other 49 governors combined.

In fact, I still don’t quite understand why the Tea Party movement couldn’t get behind Johnson, who was clearly the most fiscally conservative candidate running for the GOP nomination. He was, or should have been, their candidate. A limited government Republican that had a proven record of winning in a two-to-one Democratic state.

I had planned to vote for Gov. Johnson in the March 6th Republican primary. His fiscal record and consistant support for personal liberty made him the best candidate in my eyes. When he dropped out, I planned to vote for Rep. Ron Paul.

Back at the beginning of the month, I accepted the role of state director in Georgia for Gov. Johnson’s campaign, which included preparing for his visit — booking media and events for him to speak at, etc.

Why The Libertarian-Conservative Alliance Can’t Survive Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum, after his recent wins in Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri; appears to be the GOP frontrunner. If you look at Santorum’s record and rhetoric, he would appear to be the best fit for the Republican Party. Indeed, it is almost hard now not to imagine a scenario where Santorum is not the nominee.

However, if the GOP decides to nominates him, it will put an end to the fiction that the GOP is a limited government party. It will also put an end to what is left of the conservative-libertarian alliance.

Santorum is the only candidate running for president who is openly hostile to libertarianism. Santorum’s record is abysmal on fiscal issues. He voted for the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, No Child Left Behind, numerous earmarks and pork barrel projects, voted against NAFTA and is generally opposed to free trade. His proposals on foreign aid have won praise from Bono, the rest of the Third World poverty pimps, and their allied Tranzi NGOs. The Sweater Vest also wants to maintain a tax code that is riddled full of deductions and loopholes rewarding selected constituencies, instead of proposing a simpler system that is fairer to all. Rick Santorum, far from being the next Reagan, appears to be a compassionate conservative in the mold of George W. Bush. Finally, Rick Santorum last summer in a speech declared war on libertarians.

In a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg last summer, Santorum declared, “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”

Ron Paul Could Have a Very Good Weekend

Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) was the big winner last night in Florida. The Sunshine State is a winner-take-all state, which means that Romney took all fifty of Florida’s GOP delegates and is now leading in the delegate count. But as The Christian Science Monitor points out, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) could emerge as another big winner by week’s end:

This week, Ron Paul is likely to win more delegates to the 2012 GOP convention than either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. In fact, he’s likely to win more delegates than Gingrich and Santorum combined.

 

“Hold it”, you’re saying, “How can that be? Rep. Paul’s polling in single digits in Florida. He’s going to finish behind Gingrich and Santorum, as well as Mitt Romney, in Tuesday’s Florida primary. How can that translate into beating any of his rivals at all?”

 

We’ll tell you how – because he’s not winning those delegates in Florida. He’s winning, or will probably win, at least a few delegates in Maine.

Indeed, while the other three remaining Republican candidates have been busy in Florida, Paul has been focusing his time and energy on a strong finish if not a win in the Pine Tree State and in Nevada. Solid performances this weekend could give Paul momentum and energize his supporters headed into the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses next Tuesday.

States Poised to Take a Stand Against the NDAA

Our own Chris Frashure blogged yesterday that Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Va.), a U.S. Senate candidate, has introduced a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would direct the state government to refuse to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act’s indefinite detention provisions. Chris writes:

Virginia Delegate and now U. S. Senate candidate Bob Marshall, author of the famous Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act, has introduced a bill into the General Assembly to address the indefinite detention prevision (sic) of the National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama has signed and codified into law. Specifically, the bill “[p]revents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”

Marshall’s bill is just the latest way that opposition to Section 1021 of the NDAA is being expressed at the state level. As we reported earlier this month, Montanans have launched an effort spearheaded by Oath Keepers founder and president Stewart Rhodes to recall their entire congressional delegation for casting votes in favor of the NDAA. But Montanans don’t have to wait to be rid of Tester and Rehberg. They can reject them both in this year’s U.S. Senate election by drafting a viable GOP primary opponent to Rehberg before the June 5 primaries who can then take the fight to Tester over the NDAA.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

We’re coming down to the final days before Republicans in Florida, at least those that didn’t vote early, head to the polls. As you can see below, the numbers provided by Real Clear Politics show that Gingrich has an advantage, but much can change in a short time.

Mitt Romney Will Have to Work for Libertarian Support

It’s become pretty clear that Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) isn’t going to win the GOP presidential nomination. Following his fourth place showing in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Paul’s campaign announced that it would concentrate its efforts on the fourteen remaining caucus states. Even in the unlikely event that Paul sweeps the caucus states, he will receive no more than 500 delegates* — far short of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination. The best Paul can hope to accomplish through this strategy is a brokered convention at which he would unquestionably be rejected as the GOP nominee by the party establishment. Even this outcome is unlikely. Like it or not, it’s time to face reality: Ron Paul will not be the Republican candidate for president.

This leaves libertarians with a choice. We can choose to support either former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), or former Governor Gary Johnson (L-N. Mex.).

The State of Our Union is Dire

Tonight President Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address, but something that happened yesterday illustrates the true state of our union far better than anything you’ll hear tonight. As we reported yesterday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was detained by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials at the Nashville International Airport. Paul was detained by TSA officials after refusing an invasive full body pat-down following some kind of anomaly in the body scanner’s reading. Some might argue that there’s nothing to get worked up about here. After all, shouldn’t we expect senators to be treated like everyone else? But it is precisely because everyday citizens are subjected to these invasive procedures on a daily basis that Sen. Paul’s detention is so alarming. His high-profile detention by the TSA serves as a reminder that Americans are having their privacy violated every day on their way through the nation’s airports.

You probably won’t hear about Sen. Paul’s detention by the TSA in President Obama’s address tonight. You’re not likely to hear anything about it in the GOP response delivered by Governor Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.), nor even in the Tea Party response offered by businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain (R-Ga.). You probably won’t hear about the National Defense Authorization Act, the Stop Online Piracy Act, or any of the other manifold ways that Washington has undermined the Bill of Rights. But whether our politicians want to raise these issues or not, these are the issues that define the state of our union in the 21st century. And the state of our union is dire.


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