GOP hopefuls will square off tonight for the second time in a week, this time at a debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express in Tampa, Florida. We’re likely to see fireworks similar to what we saw on Thursday. Rick Perry, who is considered to be the frontrunner, will no doubt be a target again by Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Michele Bachmann join the parade. President Barack Obama is sure to take criticism, and rightly so, over his latest stimulus gimmick.
Before we dive into the power rankings, here is a look at the latest polling in the race.
Rick Perry (even): Perry has become a punching bag for other candidates near the front of the race. Romney is knocking him over Social Security, Paul is taking him to task for being a former Democrat that backed Al Gore and supported HillaryCare and a pro-Bachmann group plans to run ads against him over immigration. Polls indicate that he is still the frontrunner, but he needs to improve in debates and hope at the ramp up attacks don’t stick.
Eight of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination will square off tonight at the Reagan Library in California. It’s Rick Perry’s first formal debate since joining the field of candidates. All eyes will be on him as he tries to live up to the hype.
What to watch for:
- Ron Paul and Mitt Romney may try to go after Perry on various issues, including support for Al Gore and HillaryCare. Romney may raise concerns with Perry’s electability and criticize his positions on entitlements and immigration.
- Jon Huntsman, who was invited to the debate despite very low poll numbers, may also try to distinguish with Romney on jobs; as he has done with his new ad.
- We’ll see what Michele Bachmann does to try to reestablish her relevance in the race since Perry has and largely stolen her thunder.
So Senator Mitch McConnell has released a “solution” to the debt ceiling crisis. Jason has already jumped on this topic, but I feel the need to add my own two cents. For me, the crucial portion of this non-solution is that it gives additional power to the White House, and perpetuates a seeming tradition of Congress abdicating responsibility that we’ve seen over the past decade.
The entire deal punts the debt and spending over to the President. Essentially, he decides to raise the debt limit. While Congress can pass a “bill of disapproval” with a two-thirds majority, the President can simply veto, which would then require a 2/3 vote to override. The plan would also require the President to make spending cuts roughly equal to the increase in the debt limit (as I understand it.) Yet there is no enforcement mechanism that I can see to ensure he does so. What would Congress do if he raised the debt limit with no corresponding cut in spending? Stamp their feet? It might be all they can do.
Haven’t we seen enough power consolidated in the Oval Office yet?
I mean, the President can assassinate people with a drone without so much as a whoopsie-daisy; have anyone imprisoned on suspicion of terrorism and interrogated; can have a lovely jaunt off to war and only send Congress a politely-worded letter; formulate budgets and tax policy while merely requesting Congressional approval; through executive agencies and department make and enforce law without a vote; and now we’re going to give him the power to unilaterally raise the debt limit with requirements that are so wishy-washy they make Natty Light look good?
News broke last evening that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will announce the formation of an presidential exploratory committee today as he continues to weigh a second bid for the Republican Party’s nomination:
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he’s going to try a third time.
Sources close to Paul, who is in his 12th term in the House, said he will unveil an exploratory presidential committee, a key step in gearing up for a White House race. He will also unveil the campaign’s leadership team in Iowa, where the first votes of the presidential election will be cast in caucuses next year.
Paul took 10 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and 8 percent in New Hampshire’s primary. He finished second, with 14 percent of the vote, in the Nevada caucuses, and eventually finished fourth in the Republican nominating process with 5.6 percent of the total vote. Paul’s campaign book, The Revolution: A Manifesto also reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list in 2008.
This would seem to be an ideal year for Paul: Since the last election, the Republican Party has moved much closer to his view on deficit reduction, which made him an early tea party favorite. All of the party’s top-tier presidential hopefuls are focusing on lowering debt, government spending, and tax rates, issues Paul has long advocated.
It looks like Paul’s staff is getting better at planning, an aspect of his campaign that was missing sorely in 2008. This news will largely drown out the Gary Johnson’s announcement for president late last week (he is bypassing the exploratory process).
More than a year ago, Pollster Frank Luntz stood before a group of about 40 House Republicans in a cramped conference room in the Longworth building. “I need to tell you something,” he said. “I’ve been looking at polling data from Congressional districts across America for the last three months. I’m convinced that you are going to be in the majority next year.” After a long pause, he added, “This time, please don’t screw it up again.”
I don’t think we will.
The message of the last two elections could not be louder or clearer. Great parties are built upon great principles and they are judged by their devotion to those principles. From its inception, the core principles of the Republican Party have been individual freedom and constitutionally limited government. The closer it has hewn to these principles, the better it has done. The further it has strayed from them…well, my God!
In the aftermath of the Bush debacle, House Republican leaders resolved to restore traditional Republican principles as the policy and political focus of the party and they achieved something no one at the time thought possible: they united House Republicans as a determined voice of opposition to the Left and rallied the American people. Republicans rediscovered why they were Republicans, and Republican leaders rediscovered Reagan’s advice to paint our positions in bold colors and not hide them in pale pastels.
I came across an article with a disturbing title, “Cheney: Execute Terrorists If Cuba Prison Must Close”, published by the conservative-leaning online publication Newsmax.
All of Rush’s dearest dreams are coming true as the leader of the free world is pushing Rush to even greater prominence by insinuating that he’s the voice of the GOP. Personally, I hope this is proven to be untrue. If Rush is truly speaking for the GOP, then I fear that the future for the Republican Party may be a great deal too much like its past.
The GOP chief knows the gig is up:
In a frank and private memo sent today to Republican National Commitee members, the RNC chairman acknowledges that the GOP has grown too addicted to ideology, places politics before policy, and is bereft of ideas — and that it’s imperative that the party shift towards a genuine effort to develop concrete policy solutions to people’s problems in order to rescue itself.
I have a few quick ideas:
In last week’s article titled “Problems of the Republican Party”, I discussed some key policy mistakes the modern day Republican Party has made over the last quarter of a century. The problems are deep and quite fundamental, as I mentioned before, but with some significant reform and a bit of policial realignment it is possible for the Republican Party to regain the prestige it once had. For the voices within the party that stand for reason and liberty, this battle will be very slow and may never be won, but finding and implementing solutions to fix the myriad of problems the party faces is a worthy cause.
The current Grand Old Party is in despair and acknowledging some need for change. Since the end of the Reagan Administration it has slowly become the “Grumpy Old-White-Man’s Party” with little appeal to individuals outside of its traditional coalition, and even within that coalition there is little enthusiasm. So, most acknowledge there are problems; But what are they? How can they be fixed? These are the questions party insiders and loyalists are already attempting to answer.
What are the Problems?
While the mistakes made by George Bush’s Republican Party are so numerous one could probably never compile a completely conclusive book on the matter, most can be traced to fundamental root causes that desperately need to be identified and purged- below are a few of the broad policy mistakes committed by the Party.