The rise of the so-called “liberty movement,” which sprang out of the early days of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, and of the tea party movement, which was a reaction to the one-party Democrat rule in Washington after the 2008 elections (with Obama’s victory being the likely spark) has forced the Republican Party to wrestle with warring factions in an attempt to establish a winning coalition.
Those in the media love to paint the GOP’s internal struggle as evidence of a party in the throes of extinction; as a party out-of-touch with mainstream America. But I think the “growing pains” the GOP are experiencing could potentially strengthen the Republican Party.
I am of the opinion that we have two political parties in our first-past-the-post electoral system. Few candidates have won major office in recent history under the banner of any party other than the Republican or Democrat parties. There are exceptions, but they’re rare, and those candidates usually win because of their personality, rather than a set of ideals on which a party platform could be constructed. Think Maine’s Angus King or Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman.
It is with that understanding that many within the “liberty movement” in Virginia have begun working within the Republican Party to move it in a more (small-L) libertarian direction. Our reasoning is that political parties do not hold a certain philosophy; they are vessels through which their members advance a set of ideas and beliefs. As the GOP looks for a path forward, it should look to the way the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) has embraced liberty activists.
Back in 2010, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was thought to be the next big conservative star. After Barack Obama carried 6-point in there in 2008, many believed the Commonwealth was slipping away from Republicans. McDonnell, however, was able to restore hope for the GOP in 2009 when he defeated Creigh Deeds in the gubernatorial election.
McDonnell immediately became a key Republican spokesman. He gave the GOP’s response to the State of the Union address in 2010 and signed legislation — the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act — that sought to nullify ObamaCare. Despite taking on President Obama in a purple state, McDonnell managed to maintain a 62% approval rating deep into 2011 and was one of the names most frequently mentioned to run alongside Mitt Romney in the 2012 election cycle.
There has been dissatisfaction with McDonnell from conservatives for some time, though much of this is related to how he has handled social issues. But McDonnell lit a flame under fiscal conservatives last month when he proposed an overhaul to Virginia’s transportation tax.
We’re coming down to the final hours of this electoral cycle. By late Tuesday night or perhaps even Wednesday morning, we’ll know whether voters will trust President Barack Obama with another term in office or if they’ll elect a different direction with Mitt Romney.
National polls are showing an incredibly close race, but those polls mean little when it comes down it. And though there are are many states considered to be part of the electoral battleground, those that will determine the election — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia — were made clear weeks ago. Early voting is considered to be a key part of success either candidate hopes to have in these states. And while it appears that Obama has a lead over Romney in early voting, Molly Ball reports that Republicans are performing better at this aspect of the election than they did four years ago.
I am not a poll truther, indeed when Romney was trailing in the polls and the trendline for him was bad in September, I warned conservatives to take those polls seriously and stop trying to claim that every poll was part of some secret plot to undermine Romney. That having been said, someone needs to explain to me how — according to the new NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac poll — Romney leads among independents in Virginia by 21 points but is somehow losing the state to Obama by 1 point. Is there a single sober person who has a turnout model for Virginia that would allow Obama to overcome a 21-point deficit among independents? I don’t think so. If Romney wins indies by 21 points on election night, he carries VA by 5 points.
In 2008, independents made up 27% of the Virginia electorate and Obama won them by 1 point en route to a 6 point win. NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac says Romney leads by 21 points among independents in Virginia today. Yet, somehow their poll shows Obama actually ahead in Virginia by 1 point. For the sake of argument, lets just pretend 2008 turnout turnout model, a model most analysts believe overstates Obama’s numbers, is the turnout model for Virginia in 2012. Even by the 2008 turnout model Obama simply can not lose independents by 21 points and win the state.
Its not just Virginia, in Ohio the Quinnipiac poll shows Romney ahead among indies by 6 but losing the state by 5 points. Again, if you assume the 2008 turnout model - the most advantageous to Obama as humanly possible - this simply defies logic. Obama won independents in Ohio in 2008 by 8 points, independents made up 30% of the Ohio electorate in 2008. If Romney leads independents in Ohio by 6 points, and even assuming the 2008 Obama super turnout model, how in God’s name is Romney losing by 5 points? Simply put, it is not possible.
It’s been a while since we’ve looked at the Electoral College, which is what really matters in the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Many Republicans keep pointing to national polls showing Romney either gaining on or leading Obama. This may be an important sign, but it’s very important to remember that the popular vote means nothing when looking at the presidential race.
Romney’s strong debate performance on Wednesday has given a boost to his mistake-ridden campaign, but as of now, the presidential race really boils down to four states — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia — representing 69 electoral votes.
According to Real Clear Politics averages, Romney is tied with Obama in Colorado and Florida and less that 1-point down in Virginia. However, Romney still trails by 3 points in Ohio. Say what you want about other swing states, but Romney has to run the table in the four states to win next month.
It’s still far too early in the game to take polls seriously, though it’s hard to ignore them either. Polls really matter around 60 days away from an election. But given how Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for his running mate was supposed to be a political loser from the word “go,” polls are showing that he has received a bit of a bounce.
While Gallup may not show a bounce for Romney in its national tracking poll, other polls aren’t backing that up. Via Hot Air comes numbers from Ohio and Virginia, two very crucial states in the upcoming presidential election, showing good news for Romney. The numbers, however, also show positives for Obama in Colorado and Florida:
Romney has seen the largest gain in Ohio, a state we have seen bounce between the campaigns over the last few months. Today, the GOP ticket leads by 2 points (46% to 44%), compared to July when President Obama led the state 48% to 45%. Romney also gained ground in Virginia – today, he and Paul Ryan hold a 3-point advantage in the race (48% to 45%), while Romney trailed by 2 points in July.
However, President Obama has seen improvements in Colorado and Florida. In Colorado, the Obama-Biden ticket now leads 49% to 46%, an increase from a 1-point lead in July. In Florida, the Democratic ticket trails by just 1 point (48% to 47%), compared to a 3 point deficit in July…
With the USS Wisconsin serving as the backdrop, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney formally introduced Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate this morning in Norfolk, Virginia, a very crucial battleground state.
Ryan will no doubt be a controversial pick. His budget proposals have been endlessly demagogued by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. However, those same budgets have helped put the House GOP’s focus back on fiscal issues more than wedge social issues.
Over the last four years, President Obama has been unable to piece together a budget that could attract enough support to pass Congress. In fact, when Obama’s budget was brought up for a vote in the House, it was shot down unanimously. The Senate followed in May, rejecting Obama’s budget without a single vote in support.
While Obama’s campaign will no doubt be gunning for Romney’s running mate over his budget proposals — the “Roadmap for America’s Future” and the “Path to Prosperity,” don’t expect Ryan to back down. Ryan has taken on Obama before over fiscal policy, making the President’s rhetoric look cheap in the process.
Despite saying last year that the individual mandate is not a tax, the Obama Administration is arguing the opposite as it defends ObamaCare in federal court:
When Congress required most Americans to obtainor pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”
And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce.
Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.
Under the legislation signed byin March, most Americans will have to maintain “minimum essential coverage” starting in 2014. Many people will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay premiums.
In a brief defending the law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.
Here is what President Barack Obama said last year:
Dear Governor McDonnell:
I am writing to express my profound disappointment your decision earlier this month to issue a proclamation designating April to be Confederate History Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Speaking as someone who voted for you last year based on the campaign you ran, this is not the image of the Old Dominion that I want to see spread across the nation, and I think it’s unfortunate that you choose to issue a proclamation that has resulted in just that.
First, it was an egregious mistake to fail to include any reference to the role that the institution of slavery played in the run up to the Civil War and in life in Virginia under the Confederacy. As you said in the amended proclamation that you issued yesterday afternoon “the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights.” While you corrected this mistake yesterday, it is disturbing to me that you, or someone in your office, apparently considered the very reason for the Civil War to be irrelevant to a proclamation about the Civil War.
More important than the omission of slavery, though, is the very idea of having a “Confederate History Month” in the 21st Century. It’s worth noting that in his Cornerstone Speech in March 1861, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens called slavery and the subjugation of an entire race to be the cornerstone upon which the Confederate States of America were founded. Setting aside a day to commemorate such a government, or even just Virginia’s involvement in that government, is not in fitting with the image that Virginia, one of the birth places of the American Revolution and home to some of it’s greatest Presidents, should be projecting to the rest of the United States and the world.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for Governor of the Commonwealth, spoke this morning at CPAC, where he raised some eyebrows by taking on the “tough on crime” approach of conservatives. Red Alert Politics has the story:
Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli attacked his “fellow tough-on-crime conservatives” for getting too ”excited to lock up every convict and throw away the key” in a surprising twist during the first speech of the day at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.“If we really believe that no one is beyond redemption, then we need to stop throwing away that key,” the Virginia Attorney general added.
Cuccinelli, who is running for governor in Virginia, said he wanted to “be a mighty voice for those who have been convicted of a crime but remain in prison because no one is willing to argue their innocence.”
“Conservatives should lead the campaign to changing the culture of corrections in America,” he called out to the crowd of conservatives.
While Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) expressed a similar sentiment yesterday, Cuccinelli’s message is more forceful because he has staked his ground as a social conservative. Various state legislatives have enacted criminal justice reforms promoted by the Right on Crime initiative. These reforms not only lessen criminal penalities and focus on rehabilitation, they also save taxpayers money.