Politics is a nasty business. A Really dirty business in which a select few are qualified to engage. Even fewer can do this and retain their own integrity and principles.
Those who watch from the outside tend to romanticise the process. This is probably because those who write about history and current events rarely give the general public a peek into the sordid affairs of politicians that does not involve naked women or bribes. Parliamentary procedures and party rules aren’t that exciting.
A prime example of how the media has, from time immemorial, missed the entire point, can be found in the Republican nomination process. You know, the one where Willard “Mitt” Romney has been named the presumed nominee months before the nominating convention has even been assembled.
But before examining this recent example, let us examine the process of a rag-tag band of colonists who were attempting to shrug off what they considered bonds too tight to bear; bonds which by today’s standards would be laughably inadequate to justify a bloody revolution.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson, as a result of parliamentary procedure and reputation, was commissioned to write a draft list of grievances to be presented King George III; a literary gauntlet to be thrown down in response to a growing, oppressive government which considered its subjects chattel for its own hegemonic designs and even mere protestations, acts of open rebellion.
The draft was to be reviewed and revised by a small body of men who had tenuous grasp on power and credibility as representatives of the 13 colonies’ citizens. A Continental Congress sent to Philadelphia to try reason with the Crown after many trips across the ocean to petition the people’s representatives in London had netted nothing but scoffs, more taxes and bullets for the effort.
Politics is a nasty business.
On Tuesday voters in three more states went to the polls to vote in the presidential primary race. The presidential race took a back seat to the Senate election in Indiana and the marriage vote in North Carolina, but despite what news outlets may tell you, the presidential race still isn’t over.
Last night Mitt Romney picked up the win in all three of these states. The Ron Paul campaign, not even fazed by the results, carries on with its quest of picking up delegates in the various GOP state conventions. Some may be starting to see what’s happening; others still remain clueless.
Take, for example, this map showing the winner of the majority of delegates to the national convention. That’s pretty significant, assuming all of those counts are correct. (The actual delegate count is still a bit of a mystery.)
Some people have told me this doesn’t matter since many of the delegates will have to vote for Romney on the first round of voting at the national convention (because they’re bound to vote according to the official distribution from their state party). If, after the first round, nobody has 1,144 votes, additional rounds of voting will take place, and delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choice.
On the issue of bound delegates, however, there is some interesting information in this Reality Check segment from Ben Swann. There’s some question as to whether or not the delegates can or will be bound in that first round of voting. Honestly, the whole issue of amending convention rules and changing things like that goes way over my head pretty quickly.
Over the weekend, some friends asked my opinion possibilities of an alliance between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, so I thought I’d take the time to detail my thoughts on that idea.
First, it’s not Paul’s goal to help Mitt Romney. His plan is to win the nomination at a brokered convention in Tampa by having the most delegates on the floor of the convention. Any rumored alliance of Paul to Romney assumes Paul doesn’t win the nomination at convention or that Romney wins the nomination outright before convention. Maybe this won’t matter in the end, but it’s worth mentioning that Paul’s goal is not to be Romney’s sidekick.
The next thought I have about this possible alliance is that Paul would have to concede too much, and he’s not much for compromises. Paul’s message, save his stance on foreign policy, resonates well with most Republican voters. Lower taxes, reduce spending, balance the budget…these are all items that will be on Romney’s checklist anyway, so Romney shouldn’t have to concede too much on those points. He would have to get very specific about his plan; vague promises won’t sit well with Dr. Paul.
My bet is that Paul would have to give in on foreign policy – or, at the very least, agree to keep quiet about it. Maybe he can do that as long as the movement to war comes from the legislature instead of the executive branch (like it’s supposed to). That might be enough for Romney, but, like I said, Paul isn’t known for his willingness to compromise.
(The interesting piece to that thought is that if we have a sound fiscal policy, continuing our current foreign policy would be all but impossible. How many people do you know that would support a huge tax hike to fund ongoing war efforts?)
Why would Paul, who is nothing if he’s not consistent, agree to some sort of alliance with Romney if Romney wins the nomination? Here are a few possibilities:
The dust from Super Tuesday is still settling. Some conservatives are trying to downplay Mitt Romney’s wins and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are arguing about who should drop out of the race. But there is one common theme — observers are sensing that the writing is on the wall for anti-Romney candidates.
Despite being the conservative alternative to John McCain just four years ago, Romney has been their boogeyman in 2012. Some of the criticism is justified and understandable, specifically that dealing with RomneyCare and ObamaCare. But in the face of the criticism, Romney now holds a 1.2+ million vote lead in the primary and the delegate math says that he should coast to the nomination.
Of course, Romney path to the nomination may still have a bump in the road. As noted above, Santorum’s “super PAC” has called on Gingrich to drop out. He declined, and there is certainly a case to be made to backup his decision. But that doesn’t mean that Gingrich would deal with reality if he performs poorly next week and if Santorum does well.
There has been a lot of talk recently that we may see a brokered Republican convention this August. Most Republicans, including Karl Rove and Chris Christie, have dismissed the thought almost out of hand. But Roger Stone, a long-time Republican strategist, recently looked at the math and explained why this may be an issue that Republicans may have to face, though he agrees that it’s unlikely.
Stone discussed the prospect further last week on Fox and Friends:
A recently Gallup poll showed that a majority of Republicans don’t want a brokered convention. But with the dissatisfaction among Republicans towards the candidates may be too much for many to deal with come time for delegates to cast their votes in Tampa.
In my brief write-up of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, I noted that many of themes we heard were familiar. It was the same tired campaign speech that he’s been giving since decided to run for his party’s nomination. And the same one he’s been giving since he took office in 2009.
How recycled were the themes? The Republican National Committee put out a smart video shortly after Obama’s address. As you can see, they’re not even trying to put out new ideas anymore. It’s literally the same retread, worn, and failed ideas:
I’m not naive enough to believe that any Republican, outside of Ron Paul, is offering anything real in terms of shaking up the status quo in Washington. But as you can see, Obama doesn’t have anything real to give to Americans to explain his disaster presidency.
Donald Trump has backed out of the December 27th debate, hosted by the conservative magazine, Newsmax, after several Republicans candidates turned down invitations to participate. Why? Well, Trump says it’s because he is still considering an independent bid for president:
Donald Trump has backed out of moderating a Republican debate because, he says, he’s still considering running for president as an independent candidate.
In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said that GOP candidates are “very concerned” that he will announce an independent candidacy after “The Apprentice” ends, and that they won’t agree to a debate with him unless he rules that out. Which he won’t do.
“It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate,” Trump said in his statement. “Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest GOP presidential candidate to decline an invitation to the controversial debate that will be hosted by Donald Trump, saying that “retail campaigning” in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses is his “top priority.”
“Gov. Perry has talked to Donald Trump in recent days and respects him and the folks at Newsmax very much,” said campaign manager Ray Sullivan in a statement. “In the coming weeks, Gov. Perry will be in Iowa almost continually, meeting with real voters, doing town-hall meetings and events and talking American jobs, faith and overhauling Washington, D.C., to Iowa voters.”
The campaign also pointed out that there are two debates in the next seven days.
Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney have already declined invitations. Michele Bachmann backed out yesterday. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has urged candidates not to attend, largely because Trump is still kicking around the idea of running in an independent or third party bid.
The Republican National Committee is reportedly looking at the possibility of selling the television rights, a sign that the RNC is truly embracing free market principles…for the time anyways. From the CNN report:
Washington (CNN) — The Republican National Committee is considering sanctioning the GOP presidential primary debates and then selling the broadcast rights to news outlets, two Republicans with knowledge of the idea tell CNN.
The proposal was mentioned last week during a meeting of top RNC officials and a handful of political operatives representing potential GOP presidential candidates.
In February, the RNC disclosed it was saddled with more than $22 million of debt left over from the 2010 midterm elections. At that time, newly elected Chairman Reince Priebus acknowledged the committee has “a lot of work to do” to pay off its obligations so it can focus on raising money for the 2012 presidential election.
It is unclear if it is legal for the RNC to sell the broadcasting rights or whether it would constitute a prohibited political contribution in the eyes of federal law.
Also unknown is whether news outlets would pay to exclusively air a presidential primary debate. CNN and several other news organizations have already announced plans to hold presidential primary debates in 2011 and 2012.
Read the full piece here.
Personally, I like the play. It shouldn’t count as anything illegal in the eyes of the government, but that doesn’t mean it won’t. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out.
Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.