President Obama has been playing games over the past week, after Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview that he was “comfortable” with gay marriage and the administration has rushed out to say that he’s not marking a change in government policy or any such thing. There’s even been talk that Biden’s comment was deliberate, an attempt to have one’s cake and eat it too.
Meanwhile, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson had this to say in a press release:
Libertarian nominee for President and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson today called for the Obama Administration to “make up its mind” when it comes to supporting marriage equality for all Americans, citing Vice-President Biden’s weekend comments appearing to support gay marriage and White House efforts since to clarify those comments.
Johnson, who supports gay marriage equality, received the Libertarian Party nomination for President Saturday, and will be on the ballot in all 50 states. “The President is playing cruel, cynical politics with a deeply personal issue for many Americans,” said Johnson. “He should quit trying to have it both ways and take a stand.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Johnson said, “Gay marriage equality is not a trick question, and we shouldn’t be getting trick answers from the President of the United States. Gay Americans deserve better than a President who winks and nods and tries to convince them that he will protect their rights, but refuses to emerge from the closet and support one of the most basic rights – the right to equal access to marriage. And frankly, even opponents of gay marriage deserve the truth from the White House. Is the President for it or against it? Right now, the Administration is trying to have it both ways”
Conservative and Tea Party groups — not to mention, taxpayers — scored a big victory last night in Indiana as Sen. Dick Lugar, who has served in Washington for 35 years, was knocked off in the Republican primary last night by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeated Sen. Dick Lugar in Tuesday’s Republican primary in Indiana, ending the career of the longest-serving Republican senator and putting the seat in play for Democrats in the fall.
NBC News projected Moudock’s victory about 20 minutes after the polls closed. He will face Rep. Joe Donnelly, a centrist Democrat, in the general election.
You can view the full results here.
Lugar ran a terrible campaign. While Mourdock was hammering him for being out of touch on fiscal issues, Lugar was talking about foreign policy and other issues that Indiana voters didn’t seem to care about. Of course, Lugar’s record on fiscal issues has been terrible, so he was in a “lose-lose” situation there. Then there was the residency issue and thousands of dollars in hotel bills that Lugar was forced to pay back to taxpayers.
One of the races you should be watching closely this year is the Indiana Senate race. Longtime Senator Dick Lugar is finally getting what appears to be a worthy challenger in a primary election this time around. Lugar has been despised by conservatives for some time, despite the “R” behind his name.
Among other things, Lugar voted to confirm Sotomayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court, has a history of voting to raise the debt ceiling, and voted in favor of the NDAA (indefinite detention of Americans). He was suspected to be supporting SOPA/PIPA (the Internet censorship bills), but he never committed one way or the other. Lack of a spine on that issue didn’t sit well with conservatives, either.
So now he’s in a primary, and it’s a primary he could very well lose. Some recent polling shows challenger Richard Mourdock is in a statistical tie with Lugar while other polling shows Mourdock has a good lead over Lugar. Mourdock wasn’t favored to beat Lugar, but he’s got some things going in his favor in this election.
Anti-Incumbent Sentiment. People still don’t like incumbents, and for the most part, I don’t blame them. Lugar doesn’t have a good history when it comes to his voting record, and Mourdock isn’t shy about pointing that out.
Support from conservative interest groups. The conservative groups see Lugar as being vulnerable this time around, and they’ve put their support behind Mourdock. FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth are two of the big conservative interest groups in Mourdock’s camp.
This election season I’ve been told by Republican friends more times than I can count that the Independent vote isn’t really important in the 2012 presidential election. They argue that, sure, Republicans would like to have their votes, but they don’t need them to beat Obama in November.
A recent poll from Gallup indicates that these Republican folks may be wrong:
What caught my eye in this is the similarities between the Republicans and Democrats polled. Exactly 90% supported their party’s candidate while 6% supported the opponent and 3% fell into the Neither/Unsure/Refused category. The only difference is the “Other” column where the difference is only about a half of a percent. Republicans and Democrats are literally split 50/50 on the coming presidential election.
The important thing to pull from these results is that it’s another group of people who will determine who wins the election in November. It’s the Independent voter that makes the difference in the end; in this poll, the Independent vote gives the edge to Romney.
But who are these people?
Tea Party people. Since the surge of the Tea Party, more and more people have started identifying as “Independent” when asked their political affiliation. They’ll still vote Republican on a lesser-of-two-evils argument, but calling themselves Independent makes them feel good.
Count me among those that believe Mitt Romney — or any Republican, for that matter — will have a tough time defeating Barack Obama in the fall. It’s not that Romney can’t win, but his lackluster primary campaign doesn’t exactly bode well for his future.
Whether conservatives want to admit it or not, Romney is probably their best hope for beating Obama. The only other candidate that was running close with him was Ron Paul, who never had a real shot at being the nominee. There is little doubt, however, that this election is going to be close, as Gallup’s first tracking poll indicated yesterday:
For all the pessimism, Obama’s number still aren’t that great. The Washington Examiner noted yesterday that his numbers are worse than Gerald Ford’s, who was going up against Jimmy Carter in 1976, at the same point in the campaign. And with a still-slow economy, high unemployment, and a river of red ink still flowing from Washington, Obama is going to throw everything he can at Romney to keep attention of him and his poor number.
Of course, we still have more than six months to go until election day, and anything can and will happen. But for Republicans that believe Romney can’t take down Obama, this should be a bright spot.
The primary between Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Richard Mourdock, who has been backed by prominent conservative groups, has been very interesting. It’s not necessarily a new story. Back in 2010, when the Tea Party movement was at its peak, several conservative challengers in House districts and Senate races across the country managed to beat establishment-backed candidates or incumbents. Many we’re subsequently successful in general elections, some weren’t so lucky.
It’s no secret that conservatives have their issues with Lugar, including many previously mentioned here before. FreedomWorks recently put out a voters guide (PDF) outlining many of the fiscal issues where has fallen short. However, Lugar’s problems haven’t just been limited to his voting record.
Lugar is now faced with the editors of the National Review, an influential conservative magazine, endorsing his more conservative opponent ahead of the May 8th primary:
Last week, Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) squared off against his primary opponent, Richard Mourdock, in the only debate before voters head to the polls on Tuesday, May 8th.
Since the primary is hotly contested with establishment Republicans going to bat for Lugar and conservative and Tea Party groups backing Mourdock, you’d think that the debate would be contentious. But press reports indicate that the debate was relatively mild with Lugar unable to make any headway against Mourdock, who did well against the incumbent Senator.
In case you missed it, you can watch the debate below. You can also checkout some takeaways the debate between Lugar and Mourdock via Politico:
As you know, Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign yesterday, ostensibly handing the nomination over to Mitt Romney, who has been the target of ire from many conservatives during the race. Santorum’s decision doesn’t come with the best of circumstances due to his daughter’s recent hospitalization — and we may disagree with him, we do wish the best for he and his family.
But with his exit, let’s take a look back at some of the issues we had with Santorum, ranging from his statism on economic issues to his candidacy being a last resort for the anti-Romney faction of the GOP electorate.
Not a Fiscal Conservative: This has been a oft-repeated criticism of Santorum at United Liberty. While tried to pass himself off as a fiscal conservative, his record indicated otherwise. Santorum vigoriously defended his earmarks, supported tariff hikes, voted for Medicare Part D, was supportive of labor unions, and voted for every bloated budget passed under George W. Bush.
If you’ve been paying attention to the Republican Senate primary in Indiana, you know that Sen. Dick Lugar has had a rough time lately. Last month, he was declared to be ineligble to vote after not being able to produce proof of a permanent residence inside the state.
But it keeps getting worse for Lugar as he has had to pay $14,000 back to taxpayers for spending on hotels when he visited Indiana:
Sen. Dick Lugar is paying back more than $14,000 to the federal Treasury — three times his earlier estimate — after a closer review of his 35-year career found he owed additional money for hotel stays in the Indianapolis area.
The Indiana Republican said Friday that an investigation by the Senate’s disbursing office initiated at his request found he improperly billed taxpayers for his hotel stays for all but seven years during his time in office, amounting to $14,684.85. He cut a personal check paying that amount on Friday.
“Your office has compiled a comprehensive list documenting cases in which I incurred per diem expenses during trips that included a stop in Indianapolis … during August recess periods and sine die adjournments,” Lugar said in a letter to Christopher Doby, financial clerk of the Senate. “Vouchers for per diem expenses incurred in the Indianapolis area during these periods should not have been submitted or paid, even though they all pertained to official business.”
Lugar suggests he paid more back to the Senate out of caution. Lugar’s admission came after he acknowledged last week that he erroneously billed taxpayers $4,500 for hotel stays after a review by his staff of records dating to 1991. He began the inquiry after POLITICO asked about the matter, and later acknowledged the errors.
There is no denying that Mitt Romney has had a very good March, finally pulling away from the rest of the field. He’s also managed to pick up some endorsements from conservatives, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a Tea Party favorite, and Al Cardenas, president of the American Conservative Union.
But the biggest endorsement Romney has received came on Wednesday from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is a big name in today’s conservative movement and often thought of as possible presidential candidate in 2016:
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican superstar expected to top the vice presidential shortlist, on Wednesday said Mitt Romney has “earned’’ the Republican nomination for president and called a potential floor fight at the convention a “recipe for disaster.’‘
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Rubio didn’t name Romney rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich but said it was clear to him they would not be able to win enough delegates to lock down the nomination before the Republican convention.
“I think we’re at a stage now where at least two of the candidates have openly admitted that the only way they’re going to be able to win the nomination is to have a floor fight in Tampa in August. I don’t think there’s anything good about that,’’ he said. He added, “It’s increasingly clear that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.’‘
Pressed by Hannity whether he was in fact offering his endorsement, Rubio said yes. But he offered something even better: The rising figure in the conservative and tea party movements vouched for Romney’s conservative credentials.