Obama, Republicans and the Media Spin Cycle

Following politics as closely as I do, I’ve built up a thick skin of cynicism regarding the presentation of truth by politicians and the media. There is a good reason for that; according to a Gallup poll a few months ago, from 1998-2010, the number of Americans expressing distrust of the mass media outlets has risen from 46% to 57%. Congressional approval ratings remain lower than the average age of a fan at a Justin Beiber concert. And while Americans generally want to think well of their president, (especially a president seen as proof that America is no longer a racist nation), Obama struggles to convince half of Americans he’s doing a good job.

I was thinking about this as I watched and read coverage of the Republican presidential candidates by the mainstream media. If we are to believe them, this assemblage of Republicans is among the most backward, bigoted, heartless and arrogant people ever to walk the earth. Mitt Romney is decried as being rich and out of touch with average Americans. Newt Gingrich is the arrogant, professorial philanderer too volatile to be trusted with the presidency. Rick Santorum is portrayed as the far right theocrat who will be sneaking into the homes of unsuspecting women and arresting them for using birth control. Ron Paul is, well, Ron Paul. They don’t know quite what to make of him.

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.

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.

Gingrich picks up steam in Florida

Coming off a big victory in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich is riding the momentum into Florida. A week ago, polls out of the Sunshine State indicated that Mitt Romney was the runaway favorite, leading by as much as 26 points in mid-month. That has dramatically changed as the “inevitability” of Romney winning the nomination has come into doubt.

The latest two polls out of Florida show Gingrich up, but to give you an idea of the swings in this race, below are the numbers out of the state from Rasmussen, including the poll released yesterday. See if you can follow along as we view the fickle nature of the conservative movement.

Poll Romney Gingrich Santorum Paul Perry
1/22 32% 41% 11% 8%
1/11 41% 19% 15% 9% 2%
11/8 24% 19% 1% 3% 4%

Rasmussen didn’t poll during the big jump in Gingrich’s number in December, but CNN, SurveyUSA, and NBC News polls all showed him eclipsing 40%. But you can see it in the Rasmussen numbers, Gingrich has seen a 22 point swing in 11 days. And Romney has seen his 22 point advantage turn into a 9 point deficit.

Summing up the GOP race to this point

As we approach the South Carolina Primary, one thing has become painfully clear: Mitt Romney is running away with this nomination. Even if he somehow loses South Carolina, it appears he has Florida in the bag, and his debate answer on Monday about Social Security should have closed that door. With this reality upon us, I feel it appropriate to analyze who and what happened to get to this point.

Michele Bachmann

Quick Take: She changed the way people look at white dresses forever.

Post-Mortem: I’ve stated before that Bachmann held a purpose in Congress, that purpose was to call out big spending. Granted, she has not been known for putting bills through that actually make a difference. More to the point, she was consistently getting airtime pointing out needless spending. Her campaign had this consistent message and was especially focused on Obamacare. It was a series of over dramatized answers and a Gardasil gaffe that ultimately sunk her campaign. The combination simply did not appear presidential.

Gary Johnson

Quick Take: Huh, turns out leading with “legalize pot” in the GOP doesn’t work after all.

Post-Mortem: A candidate that I have felt brought the most common sense approach to the issues facing the nation along with a record as Governor of New Mexico that proves his commitment to his stances. Shortly before the Iowa primary, Johnson went LP, a better fit for him in my opinion.

Ultimately, his delivery was ineffective in convincing the GOP base that his ideas were the direction the GOP needed to go. His ideas are already supported within the Libertarian Party which should allow him to concentrate more on the issues and less with convincing social conservatives that liberty is essential.

What to expect tonight in New Hampshire?

Tonight is a big night for Mitt Romney; and even if he “wins” New Hampshire, he may very well “lose.” There is little doubt that he is coming off a victory by winning in Iowa, though by a very small margin, even though he didn’t spend a lot of money. He lost the state four years ago, despite spending millions.

As you can guess, Romney has an advantage in the Granite State since he served for four years as Governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Needless to say, he is expected to perform well there. However, Romney has a threshold he needs to cross, even though he’ll win, for it not to be considered a disappointment.

Polls have showed that Romney has fallen off some in recent days. Last week, for example, Suffolk University’s daily tracking poll showed Romney hitting 44%. But by the weekend, he’d dripped to 33%. Though he maintains a double-digit lead over his closest rivals in the state, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. Today’s Suffolk poll shows Romney at 37%.

Romney needs to receive 40% or more of the vote in order him to walk away from New Hampshire with confidence. If he falls below that mark, expect to hear his rivals and conservative talking about how his nomination isn’t inevitably. And they’re right to a certain extent, this election cycle has taught us that nothing is a certainty.

Also, Huntsman’s future in the race may be determined this evening. If he finishes third or furthers down, he may well exit by the morning. A second place finish would likely keep him in the race until at least Florida.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

With Mitt Romney expected to win tomorrow’s primary in New Hampshire, we’re back to taking a look at the race from a national perspective this week. As far as things go, many Republicans are resigning themselves to Romney winning the nomination as Rick Santorum, who finished a very close second in Iowa, doesn’t have the money to build a strong team in upcoming primary states.

What’s more, the latest polling from Rasmussen out of South Carolina shows Romney with a lead over Santorum and Gingrich, the latter dropping to third in that state. Ron Paul is fourth in the poll.

We’ve included the current delegate totals, per CNN’s projections, for each candidate below. We’ll update them next week after the New Hampshire primary. The number of delegates required to win the Republican nomination is 1,144.

Upcoming Primaries

  • 1/10: New Hampshire
  • 1/24: South Carolina
  • 1/31: Florida
  • 2/4: Nevada and Maine (caucus will last 2/4-11)
  • 2/7: Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri
  • 2/28: Arizona and Michigan

The Rankings

Mitt Romney (): As mentioned above, Romney will win New Hampshire tomorrow, very likely by a double-digit margin. A first or strong second place finish in South Carolina are signs of the inevitable; especially since, as Saturday evening showed, none of his opponents seem willing to really go after him. Super Tuesday is still important depending on who sticks around after South Carolina. Delegates Won: 18

The Importance of Being Ronald Ernest Paul

There will be a lot of disappointed Ron Paul supporters  trying to make sense of the the Iowa Caucuses. Rick Santorum, liberal and warmonger (sorry for being redundant), came from nowhere to take second place after entrance polls showed Ron Paul on his way to a landslide victory in Iowa.

The disappointment is to be expected. Ron Paul supporters are emotionally, financially and physically invested in their candidate. Anything other than a decisive win is a disappointment. However, there is no rational reason to be down in the mouth or fatalistic.

The Iowa caucuses have proven that Ron Paul’s candidacy is one to be reckoned with. In every way, the establishment and old media have tried to tear down the man and his ideas only to be repudiated at every turn.

During caucus result coverage, Fox News trotted out every neoconservative hack available. Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer (does anyone notice he seems to have hired Micheal Jackson’s plastic surgeon?) and Karl Rove were put in front of cameras to explain that Ron Paul, whose campaign is fueled entirely by a grass-roots army, was not a serious candidate and “dangerous” to America.

Ironically, they were correct on one count. Ron Paul is dangerous to the Woodrow Wilson/Leon Trotsky communist wing of the Republican and Democrat establishment. Their attempt to cover up abject terror after considering their political and financial futures should a Ron Paul Presidency occur, was completely transparent.

Mitt Romney takes the Iowa caucus

Shortly before 3am, the Iowa Republican Party declared that Mitt Romney had won the Iowa caucus over Rick Santorum, who appeared out of nowhere to be a serious player, by just eight votes (both had 25% of the vote) in what is the closest race ever in the state. Ron Paul, who was among the frontrunners going into Tuesday, finished in 3rd with 21%.

Here are the full results (numbers are rounded up via CNN):

  • Mitt Romney: 25%
  • Rick Santorum: 25%
  • Ron Paul: 21%
  • Newt Gingrich: 13%
  • Rick Perry: 10%
  • Michele Bachmann: 5%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%

The next week is going to be really interesting. Gingrich seems to be ready to go scorched earth on Romney, which may have long-term implications. Rick Perry stopped short of dropping out last night, but said that he would be heading back to Texas today to determine his next step. Read between the lines here, because Perry is supposed to be in South Carolina today. Surprisingly, Bachmann gave no sign that she is dropping out, but the indication is that she will drop today after cancelling a trip to South Carolina. She’ll hold a press conference in Iowa in about an hour.

We’ll have more on all of this and its implications.

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