Mitt Romney has lost. In a purely academic fashion, I can’t help but think about what the Republican Party will get out of last night’s results. After all, there is bound to be some kind of “after action” examination of the Romney campaign, at least by pundits.
Much of the results of those examinations will be that Romney wasn’t “conservative enough.” They figure that the problem wasn’t that he was a horrible candidate, but that he wasn’t far enough to the right.
This ignores the fact that more and more people are supporting issues like gay marriage and ending the War on Drugs. This isn’t indicative of an evangelical conservative stance as many Republicans tend to think most Americans really have. Instead, it seems to indicate a more libertarian stance on social issues. Will the conservative pundits understand that? It’s doubtful, but we will see.
Economics are another issue that played a major role in the election. It’s also one that some conservatives think they should modify their position on if they want to win in 2016. Romney talked a sort-of free market game, and it looks like it cost him because free markets scare a lot of people. Now, he wasn’t as free market as he liked to think he was, but what he put out seemed to scare enough voters in battle ground states that those people opted not to vote for him.
Personally, I can’t help but believe that foreign policy cost him. Obama’s supporters weren’t likely to change their vote on that issue apparently, but the undecided voters may have swung his way had there been more difference than “drone strikes and kill ‘em all” that we’ve seen for the last four years.
Much hash has been made lately of Gary Johnson taking the Libertarian Party nomination. He is probably the highest-profile candidate to run for the party in the past twenty years, thanks to his eight years of executive experience in New Mexico as a Republican, his hard-hitting libertarian principles, and the fact that, well, let’s face it: the guy is just cool.
I mean, scaling Mt. Everest? Vetoing over 750 bills? Saying weed, gay rights, and gun rights are all a-ok? That’s just not something that comes around every four years. And he’s also (relatively) young, which is always a plus. (Sorry, Ron.)
Naturally, though, a lot of people are exhibiting signs of a disease calling “Spoileritis.” A perfect example comes from a comment on Bob Barr’s Daily Caller column about Gary Johnson. Our erudite fan writes
A vote for this party is a vote for Obama. Period. Consider yourselves responsible for the destruction of this country for good!
Except there is zero evidence that this is the case.
Gary Johnson’s calls to slash 43% of military spending, end the Drug War, and most importantly, unabashedly legalize same-sex marriage, none of which are positions held by most Republicans. Instead, those positions are decidedly liberal, more on the side of Obama’s supporters. So when people go to the polls this November, it is likely that he will draw more supporters from Obama’s camp than Romney’s.
Chris Barron, chair of GOProud, the GOP’s gay and lesbian group, said the same thing in an interview with the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis:
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.
For the last several months, conservatives have rebelled against idea of Mitt Romney winning the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. The reasoning various, but the substantive concerns are that he has no core convictions given the frequency in which he changes positions and also that his core legislative achievement, RomneyCare, served as the blueprint for ObamaCare.
During the course of the campaign, several candidates have been driven by conservative and Tea Party support, but have all fallen back to Earth for various reasons, including lack of experience, understanding of policy basics or uninspiring campaigns. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry have all been a vehicle for the anti-Romney vote. However, we’re now in February, four states have gone to the polls, and that trio is longer in the race.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have been vying for conservative support, but neither have been able to win over enough support long enough to do any significant damage. And while Romney doesn’t have the nomination locked up, there is little doubt that he is the frontrunner. That’s not to say his nomination is inevitable, but it certainly seems likely.
For their part, anti-Romney conservatives, a significant chunk of the Republican base, continues to fight back against this in hopes of dragging out the primary process until the summer. However, conservatives are running into a couple of problems that may be a recipe for disaster come November.
In March of last year, I wrote a post on “Libertarian purity”. It was one of the most read posts of 2011, and probably the most read post I’ve personally ever written. As we look onto the 2012 primary season and eventual general election, I figured it might be a good time to revisit that post and how it could apply to this election.
First, we have a unique year this year. An actual libertarian - by most people’s definition anyways - has a legitimate shot and making some headway. Ron Paul’s slow but steady rise in the polls has been something that fills me with a level of joy that is hard to describe. “But Tom,” you might say, “didn’t you come out in support of Gary Johnson?” I would answer yes. I like Johnson more than Paul, but frankly a President Ron Paul wouldn’t exactly be anything close to bad in my book.
Further, Gary Johnson is challenging for the Libertarian Party nomination, so there’s still a good chance that I’ll get to vote for him in the general election.
It’s entirely possible that we’ll have two libertarians on the ticket, but it’s also possible that we won’t have but one. So what do we do about that?
In that post from last year, I said that it was vital that we start winning elections, rather than just debating politics from the outside. So let’s take a look at some of the options and how it relates to that post.
If you listen to the media, Tuesday’s election were a mixed bag nationally and a disaster for Republican the ever crucial swing state of Ohio due to voters overturning limitations placed on collective bargaining rights for public-sector workers, which was passed by the legislature earlier this year.
Democrats and labor unions raised some $30 million trying to defeat the effort. Passage of the referendum is certainly bad news for Ohio taxpayers, who will no doubt be hit with the ever-expanding costs of public-sector salaries and benefits.
What has gone under-reported is that Ohioans voted overwhemling against the individiual mandate, a central piece of ObamaCare, by supporting a separate ballot measure:
Voters in Ohio approved a measure Tuesday night disapproving of President Obama’s healthcare law.
Mitt Romney has been hitting his key opponent, Rick Perry, relentlessly for his decision to allow undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition in Texas. Romney even made the issue into a campaign ad:
The former Massachusetts governor has stated that the educational benefits offered by the state of Texas act as an incentive to draw more undocumented immigrants across the border:
“You put in place a magnet — you talk about magnets — you put in place a magnet to draw illegals into the state, which is giving $100,000 of tuition credit to illegals that come into this country. And then you have states, the big states of illegal immigrants are California and Florida. Over the last 10 years, they’ve had no increase in illegal immigration. Texas has had 60 percent increase in illegal immigrants.”
Now we learn, via the LA Times, that the healthcare reform that Governor Romney ushered in during his tenure in Massachusetts, colloquially referred to as RomneyCare, contained a provision that provided public aid to undocumented immigrants:
The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.
It’s been an interesting last couple of weeks in the race for the Republican nomination for president as this race has seen the two frontrunners go after each other on economic records and other issues, including a debate over Social Security. While Romney has cast himself as a conservative, he has been running to the left of Perry on entitlements, chastizing Perry for his past comments on the issue.
As far as the rankings go, I’ve moved Herman Cain up a spot over Newt Gingrich, but he’s still below Bachmann. But I expect a shake up as soon as next week as fresh polls come out in the race.
In case you weren’t able to catch it last night, here is the full video of the Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. You’ll notice that the debate was centered around Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, not surprising since the race is largely between the two of them right now.
While Perry and Romney sparred and the former also took heat for laying the blueprint for ObamaCare, they came out of the debate OK. This was also Jon Huntsman’s best debate performance, to the point that I’d say he was a winner (and I’m not a fan of the guy, though his tax reform plan is very good). And as much I hate to say it, Ron Paul came off very bad last night; not that he is a good debater anyway. Michele Bachmann, who was barely noticed, and everyone else were just window dressing.
You can read a fact-check of the debate here.
The following was submitted by Nick Nottleman, a reader and concerned American.
The 2000 Presidential Election pitted George W. Bush against then Vice President Al Gore. Ralph Nader from the Green Party received 2.74 % of the popular vote and no other candidate received more than .5% of the popular vote. But the two main characters in this play were George W. Bush and Al Gore. Or were they?
While the Internet bubble was definitely bursting, the country was for the most part in decent shape. The military had been downsized considerably and for the first time in many years, there was a surplus in the Federal Budget. The Story’s villain was “The Clinton” and his sidekick, the “Blue Gobbler.” There to report it all, the likes of Rush Limbaugh and several reporters at Fox News.
In the 2012 election, the same strategy seems to be being deployed. An article at the Daily Caller quotes a Rasmussen poll:
A generic Republican presidential candidate would beat Barack Obama by a five-point margin if the election were held today, according to a poll released Tuesday by Rasmussen.
The as-yet-unnamed Republican candidate leads Obama 47 percent to 42 percent. This is the fourth consecutive week that Rasmussen’s polling has found a generic Republican candidate with a lead.
And Rasmussen is not alone.
Wait a second… you mean to say anyone with an (R) behind their name beats President Obama?
Because the general consensus being built is that any Republican would be a better president. On a semi-sane day, I might actually agree with that premise, but I prefer life out on the fringe. You know, where things like realizing THAT IS EXACTLY HOW WE ENDED UP WITH George W. Bush happens!