Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 28, 2014, 05:58:52 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
81310 Posts in 2243 Topics by 1046 Members
Latest Member: MikeT
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  2012 Presidential
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 7 8 [9] 10 11 ... 42 Print
Author Topic: 2012 Presidential  (Read 117010 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #400 on: June 13, 2011, 06:48:08 AM »

Herman Cain was interviewd this weekend on the WSJ Editorial Report (or something like that) on FOX.

A VERY strong interview.  The man owns the topic on a level I have not before seen.  Previously I liked Cain because I agreed with most of what he says (winced on his non-position on Afghanistan and his lack of knowledge of the "right of return" wrt Israel though) but this is the first time I got a sense of the level he can operate at.  

As I have mentioned previously, Michelle Bachman continues to draw my attention (see my post the other day of the WSJ piece on her, plus a just read an extensive piece in yesterday's National Post while in Toronto http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/06/11/republican-race-bachmann-viewed-as-a-serious-contender/ ).  

I continue to toy with the idea that a Bachman-Cain ticket would be a very good one.  Due to his beginner level on foreign affairs ultimately IMHO he will not and should not get the presidential nominatiaon, but his executive experience complements an area where Bachman is very weak, while her intellgient and informed hostility to the federael tax code due tax attorney background means that together the two of them could be a powerful team for radical tax reform of the best sort-- and in a way that can appeal across party lines.
=====

Though IMHO Peggy Noonan no longer hits at the level she used to, she remains a writer I follow.  Herewith her thoughts on Romney:

Of course he should resign—or, better, and as a statement, the House should remove him. I speak as a conservative who wishes to conserve. If I were speaking as a Republican I'd say, "By all means keep him, let him taint all your efforts."

But sometimes all of Washington has to put up its hand up like a traffic cop and say no. It has to say: That doesn't go here, it's not acceptable, it's not among the normal human transgressions of back stairs, love affairs and the congressman on the take. This is decadence. It is pornography. We can't let the world, and the young, know it's "politically survivable." Because that will hurt us, not him, and define us, not him. So: enough.

***
In other news, Mitt Romney had his first good week. It was startling. He stepped out from the blur. The other candidates now call him "the front runner." By most standards he was the front runner months ago, but nobody talked about him. He didn't live in the Republican imagination. It was "Will Mitch run?" and "You like Pawlenty?" Only seven minutes into the conversation would you get, "How will Romney do?" He was so '08, that disastrous year.

But this week he got three big boosts. He had a reasonable announcement speech followed by a lot of national interviews. Then the Washington Post poll: Mr. Romney leads President Obama. On top of that, the two most visible Republicans the past 10 days were Sarah Palin, on her magical mystery tour, and him. They got all the coverage, and for a moment it seemed like a two-person race. Meaning a lot of Republicans got to think, "Hmm, Palin or Romney—a trip to Crazytown or the man of sober mien." That did not hurt him.

VThe financial reporting period ends June 30. Mr. Romney's focused like a laser on getting the kind of numbers that will demoralize rivals and impress the media. Money leads to money. At a Manhattan fund raiser this week, an organizer said they raised about $200,000, not bad for an hour at the end of a long day of fund raising. The roughly 70 attendees were mostly men in suits. There was no vibration of "I'd walk on burning coals for this guy." More an air of "This is a sound choice." On the other hand, no one was distractedly checking his BlackBerry in the back of the room, as I saw once at a Giuliani event in 2008. He was talking, they were scrolling. That's what we call "a sign."

Mr. Romney's emergence means a new phase in the primary contest begins. So some quick observations on the front runner. We'll begin with shallowness and try to work our way up.

All candidates for president are network or local. Romney is a network anchorman—sleek, put together, the right hair, a look of dignity. He's like Brian Williams. Some candidates are local anchormen—they're working hard, they're pros, but they lack the patina, the national sense. Reagan, Clinton, Obama—they were network. This has to do not only with persona, but with a perceived broadness of issues and competencies. It's not decisive, and it can change—Harry Truman was local, and became network. But it probably helps Mr. Romney that he's network.

His seamless happiness can be grating. People like to root for the little guy, and he's never been the little guy. His family has never in his lifetime known financial ill fortune, and his personal wealth is of the self-made kind, the most grating because it means you can't even patronize him. He has in him that way of people who are chipper about each day in large part because each day has been very nice to them. This makes some people want to punch him in the nose. I said once he's like an account executive on "Mad Men," stepping from the shower and asking George the valet to bring him the blue shirt with the white collar. But this year he looks slightly older, maybe wiser, maybe a little more frayed than in 2008. Which is good. Since 2008 everyone else is more frayed, too.

In '08, Romney's brand was at odds with his stand. He looked and had the feel of a well-born Eastern moderate Republican. But he positioned and portrayed himself as grass-roots tea party. It was jarring, didn't seem to fit, and contributed to the impression that he was an attractive lump of poll-tested packaging. He's trying to get around this in two ways. First, he's attempting to focus on economic issues, on which he has personal and professional credibility. Second, he's trying to demonstrate authenticity by sticking to some stands unpopular with the base—global warming, health care.

The common wisdom has been that health care is the huge weak spot in his candidacy. Maybe, but maybe not. The base hates ObamaCare, as we know, and Mr. Romney devised a similar plan as governor of Massachusetts. But he can talk earnestly about it on the hustings until voters' eyes glaze over and they plead to change the subject, which he will. And there are a lot of other subjects. If he gets through the primaries, his position on health care will become a plus: The Democrats this year will try to paint the Republican candidate as radical on health spending. It would be harder to do that to Mr. Romney.

Has enough time passed since his famous flip-flops on issues like abortion to make them old news? Four years ago it colored his candidacy. We'll find out if people decide it's yesterday's story, and give him a second look.

The real problem for Romney is: Does he mean it? Is he serious when he takes a stand? Has he thought it through or merely adopted it? And there is of course religion. In a silly and baiting interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, Mr. Romney swatted away an insistence that he delve into Mormonism and, by implication, defend it. It was like seeing some Brit in 1960 trying to make John F. Kennedy explain and defend Catholicism. It's not something we do in America. Because we still have a little class.

When Mr. Romney's father, George, ran for the GOP nomination in 1968, his religion was not an issue. Forty years later, when his son first ran, it was. Has America grown more illiberal? Maybe not. In 1968, evangelical Christians voted in Democratic primaries, because they tended to be Democrats. By 1980, all that was changing: evangelicals went Republican with Reagan and never came back.

Catholics do not tend to take a harsh view of Mormonism, nor do mainstream Protestants. It is evangelical Christians who are most inclined not to approve. In a general election this would not make much difference: Evangelicals will not vote for Obama. But in the GOP primaries it could still hurt Mr. Romney. No one knows, because no one knows what kind of year this is. Maybe evangelicals will have seen enough of him not to mind; maybe the Obama presidency convinced them it's not so important.

My own read is standard Catholic. Mormons have been, on balance, a deeply constructive force in American life, and it is absurd and ignorant not to support a political figure only because you do not prefer or identify with the theology of his church.

Really, grow up. Enough.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 08:29:34 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11823


« Reply #401 on: June 13, 2011, 08:37:34 AM »

Funny how Mormonism is controversial but Rev. Wright's church isn't. Almost like there is a double standard or something.....   rolleyes
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #402 on: June 13, 2011, 09:48:56 AM »

Noonan is right on a couple of those counts.  Romney presents as Presidential. He is more network news anchor than the people who actually have those jobs.  People like Pawlenty as an example are more local in presentation, hence the 6% early support levels.

The Mormon story is old.  What are the deeply held religious beliefs of the current resident at the White House?  Nobody knows and only opponents care.  Romney's challenge is to go from a 23% frontrunner to becoming a candidate who will put the country on the right path and a candidate acceptable to all of the conservative movement. 

Early frontrunners sometimes end up as cabinet members in the new administration.
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2138


« Reply #403 on: June 13, 2011, 10:02:02 AM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/06/13/the_missionary_position
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11823


« Reply #404 on: June 13, 2011, 10:29:07 AM »

"Today, popular culture stereotypes Mormons as teetotalers proud of their enormous families and patriotism. Rumor has it that the CIA and FBI treat the Mormon faith as a de facto background check and recruit more heavily on the campus of Brigham Young University than almost anywhere else."

There are a disproportionate number of mormons in the FBI/Intelligence agencies and military/State Dept. because of the lifestyles that tend to make vetting easy combined with foreign language competency and international experience.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 10:54:17 AM by G M » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #405 on: June 13, 2011, 10:46:14 AM »

And, to top it off, Glenn Beck is a Mormon!
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #406 on: June 13, 2011, 10:59:21 AM »

Responding here to the Herman Cain points from tax policy.  Agreed that he is a great American with a calm center and amazing courage.  I would be very proud to have him as President.  Huckabee I think took the Fair Tax banner out of opportunism and Cain is taking it out of conviction. 

Frankly though, the fair tax works if what we needed was about a 10% tax, not 30% sales tax plus the state tax.  I think he is also implying we get there by moving forward with spending cuts and income tax rate cuts first, and then gradually change hearts and minds.  He is not however charismatic enough to ever get 80% support for repealing all income taxation on the rich. I know hateful, liberal thought way too well for that. We already repealed income taxation on the bottom 50%, so what do they have to gain?

In the context of unattainable, I find the push now in a time of national crisis for what is foreseeably unattainable to be counter-productive.  I would actually like to see these candidates move toward consensus rather than differences on key issues if we hope to unite, win the election, win a mandate and accomplish anything meaningful. MHO  smiley
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #407 on: June 13, 2011, 10:55:54 PM »

GOP Debate Recap
June 13, 2011 Posted by John Hinderacker, Powerlineblog.com

"The New Hampshire debate is winding down, and my general impression is that all of the candidates did pretty well. Mitt Romney was a winner, as he came across like a senior statesman and none of the other candidates attacked him. All apparently were obeying Reagan's 11th commandment. Michele Bachmann shone early, not so much during the second half, but on the whole undoubtedly generated some excitement. Newt Gingrich reminded us how good he can be in this debate format. Rick Santorum and Herman Cain did fine. Ron Paul, whom in general I don't like, was collegial and made several positive contributions. Tim Pawlenty--my favorite, as our readers know--did fine, but in my judgment didn't break out.

The overall impression, I think, was of a united front, determined to make Barack Obama a one-term president. That is a good thing. There was a basic conflict of interest between the candidates and CNN, which hosted the debate. The candidates wanted to talk about the economy. CNN led with 20 minutes or so on the economy, then shifted to the social issues, immigration, foreign policy, etc. One could sense television sets switching off across America as the evening wore on. So I don't think the debate represented a breakthrough for any of the candidates individually, with the possible exception of Michele Bachmann--time will tell--but it was a pretty good night for the cause of conservatism and constitutional government."
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #408 on: June 14, 2011, 12:12:36 PM »

"Some fear that Governor Pawlenty doesn't have the charisma and fireworks rhetoric that they would like to see in a candidate. Charisma and rhetoric are what gave us the current disastrous administration in Washington."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/06/14/is_pawlenty_plenty_110192.html
Is Pawlenty Plenty?
By Thomas Sowell

The Republicans' confused assortment of announced presidential candidates-- as well as unannounced candidates and distant possibilities of candidates-- seems to be clarifying somewhat. The withdrawal of Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee, as well as the withdrawal of much of Newt Gingrich's staff, seems like a much-needed weeding-out process.

Although Mitt Romney has been leading in the polls, his lead over other potential rivals has been slim. Being a "front-runner" this far ahead of next year's nominating convention would not mean much, even if Governor Romney's lead and his support were much bigger than they are.

The albatross around Romney's neck is the RomneyCare medical plan that he signed into law in Massachusetts. His refusal to repudiate RomneyCare means that, as a presidential candidate, he would forfeit one of the strongest argument against Barack Obama, who has ObamaCare as his albatross.

Nor is an about-face on RomneyCare a viable option for Mitt Romney. He has already done too many other about-faces for the voters to be likely to trust him after another. He has painted himself into a corner.

Articulate Newt Gingrich might be the best Republican to go toe-to-toe with Obama in presidential debates-- and a lack of effective articulation has been the Republicans' big weakness for years. Try to name a Republican renowned for his articulation, besides Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

While Newt Gingrich is not at that level, he is definitely a cut above most Republican candidates in talking. He also represents a cherished moment in Republican history, when they took the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, as a result of Gingrich's "contract with America" election strategy.

But that was back in the 1990s, and many younger voters today may have no idea what that was all about. Worse yet, former Speaker Gingrich has shown too many signs of opportunism -- including his wholly unnecessary swipe at Republican Congressman Paul Ryan's attempt to bring some fiscal sanity to Washington-- to be trusted.

His own staff should know him better than the rest of us. Their recent resignations should mark the end of a very promising career that did not live up to all its promises. Even so, Gingrich performed a real service to the country as Speaker of the House of Representatives, which brought federal spending under control and produced what the media chose to call "the Clinton surplus."

Among the other announced Republican presidential candidates, former governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota talks the most sense and shows the most courage. When you tell people in a corn-producing state like Iowa that you want to cut back on Ethanol subsidies, that takes guts, because Iowa will also produce the first results in next year's primary campaign season. And first results, like other first impressions, carry a lot of weight.

But somebody has got to talk sense about our dire economic problems-- and it is painfully clear that Barack Obama will not be that somebody. The fact that Pawlenty has put his neck on the line to do so is a big plus.

Tim Pawlenty cites his track record to back up his statements. That includes reducing Ethanol subsidies when he was governor of Minnesota and cutting the growth of state government spending from just over 20 percent a year to under 2 percent a year.

Governor Pawlenty fought Minnesota's transit unions over runaway pensions and hung tough during a long strike. "Today," he says, "we have a transit system that gives commuters a ride, without taking the taxpayers for a ride."

Some fear that Governor Pawlenty doesn't have the charisma and fireworks rhetoric that they would like to see in a candidate. Charisma and rhetoric are what gave us the current disastrous administration in Washington. Charisma and rhetoric gave people in other countries even bigger disasters, up to and including Hitler.

Politicians and the media may want a candidate with verbal fireworks but the people want jobs. As Tim Pawlenty put it: "Fluffy promises of hope and change don't buy our groceries, make our mortgage payments, put gas in our cars, or pay for our children's clothes."
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2138


« Reply #409 on: June 14, 2011, 02:24:06 PM »

Charisma will also be needed to differentiate himself from the crowded field.  Like it or not, even with a good (or great) economic plan or other, his fate is sealed unless he can appeal to the voters.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #410 on: June 14, 2011, 03:23:14 PM »

I have only seen the first half so far.

I thought Newt answered well last night the perception that he had attacked Ryan's plan by pointing out his words were precise in answer to a precise question about how Pelosi-Reid had rammed through Obamacare.    I thought Newt did well last night, but obviously the loss of his staff on top of the widespread perception that he backstabbed Ryan leave him very vulnerable.

I thought Michelle Bachman did well, and was frustrated by how few questions were sent her way.

I wish Cain had pushed the FAIR tax.  I think he has the potential to do well and look good with it.  He continues to look very weak on foreign affairs.  Given the tectonic shifts going on in the world, to say "Well, I will get together a bunch of experts who will show me the secret intel and then I will decide what to to do" does not cut it in the slightest.

Wuzzhisface, the ex-Senator from PA is a waste of time.  The fact that he is running is proof of profound cluelessness.

Pawlenty did not take the dare to follow up on his Obamney Care quote and I thought Romney came in well-prepared and articulate on it.

More after I watch the whole thing.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11823


« Reply #411 on: June 14, 2011, 04:27:44 PM »

Did anyone take shots at "Obamneycare"?

I guess I should ask exactly how "Obamneycare" was attacked and how candidate-bot 2000 responded.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 04:59:44 PM by G M » Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #412 on: June 14, 2011, 04:39:50 PM »

Very true regarding charisma BD.  It is the growing and lasting type that is needed, drawing people to you and to your ideas and keeping the people with you over a period of years.  Bland is fine with me, but nothing gets accomplished if he/she cannot win or cannot govern.

Romney presents well and no one lately has charmed people like Obama did up through his election and his first shot at setting policy.  That mostly wore off with results.  He no longer can fill a script with platitudes or contradictions.  The rest perhaps are at similar levels of personal appeal. 

My point in following Pawlenty is that he is easily underestimated.  Ordinary guy, but he rose very quickly to minority leader in the MN house, to majority leader (which means you did something right when the bluest state switches parties) to the R. nomination against a strong conservative challenger, to youngest Governer in 30 years, to reelection, to leadership in the Gov's assn, to probably first pick of McCain's staff for VP, to getting well noticed now for the highest office and drawing a mostly favorable/acceptable impression from primary voters.  At 6% Gallup, your point is well taken (but the election will not be held today). 

If a Ronald Reagan or a Churchill steps into the fold, then Pawlenty is the local news guy in comparison (Noonan's analogy). Romney is the one who projects stature but the strength of his convictions are still in question - and he could stumble. 
---------
BD, other than if you and I run, who do you lean toward at this point?
---------

"Pawlenty did not take the dare to follow up on his Obamney Care quote and I thought Romney came in well-prepared and articulate on it."

Pawlenty is taking big heat elsewhere today for not taking the fight to Romney on Obamneycare, but (IMO) why should he?  The astute primary observer doesn't need Pawlenty to repeat or build on that point. He said he would not do that, and if this turns into a food fight this early that hurts all of them. Pawlenty has made his point about Romneycare, he got it repeated/entered into the debate through the question, chose the high road, and moved on.  The failed results of Romneycare are still coming in  from now until the election.  It's the law of the commonwealth.  That question is not going to go away and it doesn't have to be Pawlenty pushing it or bringing down the comradery this early.

Others have said Pawlenty looked too pre-programmed in this debate.  Dick Morris is saying he blew his chance (at the whole election).  In the first debate, other people of significance said he looked Presidential.  After coming out with a pretty controversial economic plan, maybe he is the one who escaped the debate without taking harsh criticism.  The charismatic frontrunner basically embraced Pawlenty's economic approach.

'The adventure continues'.
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2138


« Reply #413 on: June 14, 2011, 06:12:46 PM »

Doug, let me begin by saying that at this point in the game I tend to enjoy the process far more than picking a favorite.  While I am a "lefty" at least by the standards of this forum, let me also say that I am not all that big on President Obama.  I've never voted for him and have had the opportunity thrice.  I don't like Romney much.  I can't explain that, I just a "spider sense" feeling about him.  I know essentially nothing about Huntsman.  I have never liked Newt.  Similar to Weiner, I think that a man needs to be a man (and I don't mean a "typical male").  If you can't be trustworthy toward your wives, you can't get me to trust you.  I am enjoying learning about Pawlenty, Bachmann, and Cain.  Palin has crossed into a weird cult status for me.  It is almost like a Paris Hilton where she is now famous for being famous.  And, if you walk out of your committment to your state's voters midway through a term (and I don't mean for higher office), how can I trust you for a four year term in a different executive seat? 

Am I missing anyone?
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #414 on: June 14, 2011, 10:01:58 PM »

Bigdog, Thanks! I agree with a lot of that.

"Am I missing anyone?"

Besides Huntsman, the last major one in might be Rick Perry who I know very little about.

"I am not all that big on President Obama.  I've never voted for him and have had the opportunity thrice."

I remember seeing an early debate last time around, Dems in Nov 2007. Details there turned out to be wrong, such as that Obama opposing Hillary's individual mandate and Edwards being a great family man.  Takes the fun out of trying to follow it closely.

Any other Dems that would pique your interest, hypothetically, if the incumbent would suddenly drop out or face a challenge?  Anyone from the mix of Hillary, Biden or the former or outgoing Senators like Evan Bayh, Conrad, Dorgan, Webb, Feingold, others?  Any potential independents or third partiers like a Bloomberg?
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2138


« Reply #415 on: June 14, 2011, 10:26:09 PM »

I don't like that Rick Perry called for the succession of Texas.

I like Webb.  He has an interesting cross party affiliation.  He also comes out well in a favorite book of mine called "The Nightingale's Song."

I would love to see a good third party candidate, but Bloomberg isn't that guy.  I like the freedom to own firearms. 
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #416 on: June 15, 2011, 12:42:53 AM »



http://www.theblaze.com/stories/do-you-know-michele-bachmann-a-quick-history-of-her-political-life/
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2138


« Reply #417 on: June 15, 2011, 06:01:14 AM »

This was an interesting article, Guro.  I find the dichotomy of the following two pieces somewhat odd, though.

"Known for piercing and sometimes inaccurate commentary..."

"She’s described as meticulous and worried about the finer details..."
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #418 on: June 15, 2011, 08:18:07 AM »

Well, the writer seems to be thinking of two specific items:  

a) the $200m comment, which does seem to be a moment of poor/reckless fact checking, and

b) the wrong state comment, which personally I file under the same heading as Obama once saying there were 57 states.

Here's Medved's analysis:

The headline for the big GOP debate should read “ROMNEY SOLIDIFIES HIS STATUS AS FRONTRUNNER” but the appropriate sub-head may prove even more significant in the long run: “Bachmann Makes Energetic and Well-Received Debut.” At this point, no one should doubt that the feisty congresswoman from Minnesota will emerge as a major contender—certainly in Iowa (where she was born and raised, and where her evangelical fervor will rally Mike Huckabee’s currently unfocused cadres) and, if she wins there, then most likely in the rest of the country.
Michelle Bachmann greets the audience after the presidential debate at St. Anselms College in Manchester, New Hampshire on June 13, 2011. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton, Reuters / Landov)

For weeks, political analysts have argued that the biggest question about the shape of the Republican race involved identifying the anti-Mitt—the formidable Romney rival who could provide a rallying point for all those who for, whatever reason, found the former Massachusetts governor unacceptable. In recent weeks it looked increasingly likely that Tim Pawlenty would play that role, especially after he unveiled an audacious economic plan that was generally well-received among conservatives. But the New Hampshire debate (carried on CNN) will give rise to feverish speculation that Bachmann may gain momentum as the Mittster’s most fearsome rock-the-establishment challenger.

It’s not that Bachmann delivered a brilliant or masterful or inspiring performance on the stage at St. Anselm College, where she announced her formal candidacy in the midst of the broadcast; it’s just that she so wildly exceeded expectations, especially from all those skeptics who wrote her off long-ago as a whining, unhinged Sarah Palin wannabe, without the moose-hunting exoticism, flirtatious mien or flighty, ditzy voice.

Actually, the main reason that Bachmann helped herself so substantially is that her credibility should destroy the final, forlorn and dwindling chance that the former Alaska governor might still join the race. Tea Party enthusiasts who adore Palin for her fearless, unabashedly conservative positions, girl-next-door sex appeal, impassioned patriotism, and vibrant family life will find a more convincing, less tarnished version of the same virtues in Bachmann. She’s the mother of five (like Palin) and she and her husband raised 23 teenaged foster children (as she told the TV audience three different times), taking kids from troubled inner city backgrounds and guiding them all successfully through high school, with most of them ultimately enrolling in college. Moreover, in the New Hampshire debate Bachmann looked simply smashing—radiant, self-assured, elegantly understated in her tailored, severe black suit with the luminous white blouse, simultaneously formidable and friendly, with her piercing, pale blue eyes igniting for the camera like Bunsen Burners every time she spoke.

One of the common rules for such encounters spells out that the candidate who seems to enjoy himself (or herself) the most, almost always wins the public; that’s why Huckabee, hugely accomplished raconteur and communicator that he is, won every one of last year’s GOP debates and became a major candidate despite lack of money and no prior name recognition. Michele Bachmann, who sparkled and smiled and clearly enjoyed herself more than any of her stiff, often somber male colleagues, has already demonstrated considerable fund-raising prowess (her 2010 congressional campaign broke records) and enjoys semi-celebrity status because of her notorious rants on cable TV.

In this appearance, however, she had obviously abandoned the flame-thrower persona in favor of approach that could actually qualify as… presidential. She looked seasoned and sure-footed most of the night, even though she stumbled through two confusing and contradictory answers to late-in-the-game questions on social issues (about whether she’d accept gay marriage in states like New Hampshire where it’s already operational, and how she felt about Pawlenty’s willingness to permit abortions in instances of rape, incest, and a risk to the mother’s life).

More interesting than these abstruse ruminations were her political instincts at the conclusion of the formal broadcast. CNN kept cameras on the candidates as the network talking-heads delivered voice-over commentary on what had just occurred. Most of the contenders embraced their wives and socialized with one another, milling about on stage. I noticed that Bachmann, on the other hand, plunged into the crowd of spectators, shaking hands, signing autographs, making new friends, flashing that perfect smile with its charmingly imperfect teeth. She is, quite simply, one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met in politics and she gained ground in the debate because some of that natural warmth and ebullience managed to come across.

As for Romney, he also helped himself, showing vast improvement from his robotic debate performances from four years before. Two strengths stood out most conspicuously here: first, his admirable ability to turn any question on any subject into an opportunity to bash Obama, as if they were already fighting it out for the White House, just the two of them. He never let the audience forget that the president represented his true opponent and that any minor disagreements with Pawlenty or Santorum or Gingrich hardly mattered.

Second, it’s obvious that Mitt has now conquered one of the toughest challenges facing any participant in televised debates—listening to your rivals respectfully, without looking smug or supercilious or discomfited or, worst of all, bored. Al Gore famously lost his second debate with George W. Bush in large part because he greeted many of his opponent’s answers with audible, impatient sighs. Romney on the other hand, looked directly at the other debaters when they spoke, smiling sympathetically, suggesting fellowship, courtesy, even open-mindedness. In general, Mitt looked considerably more comfortable and more at ease than he ever did in 2008; assuming he’s received some serious media coaching, it’s safe to say it paid off handsomely.

His only weak moment came on a question suggesting that pro-lifers might distrust him because he formally endorsed abortion rights. His feeble, oddly plaintive answer—that he counted as proudly, unequivocally pro-life because he had campaigned that way four years ago—amounted to a missed opportunity to reassure those who still see in Romney an excess of calculation and a shortage of passion.

The biggest missed opportunity, however, marred Pawlenty’s otherwise capable outing: when asked why he had used the term “Obamaney-care” on Fox News to emphasize the similarity between the health plans of Barack and Mitt, he provided only a lame narrative (which he recited twice) about Obama himself suggesting he had borrowed key ideas from the Massachusetts plan Romney at one time proudly promoted. Pawlenty pointedly refused to engage Romney on his point of greatest vulnerability, even after moderator John King goaded him by saying he had been willing to make snide remarks about Mitt in the safety of a cable news studio, but wouldn’t try it when his rival stood beside him for a live televised event.

In one sense, T-Paw may have displayed admirable instincts to avoid going after his opponent with hammer-and-tong ferocity in their very first joint appearance; it’s probably too early in the process for any sort of nasty confrontation. But he should have at least cited the main similarity between Romney’s health reform and Obama’s bureaucratic nightmare: both schemes rely on an individual mandate, in which government uses its bullying power to require that every citizen purchase health insurance. Pawlenty could have delivered a far more effective but still gracious response by saying, “No, I don’t want to debate the details of Governor Romney’s plan—that’s irrelevant outside of Massachusetts, and I understand that in that very liberal state there are some people who still like it. But I just think it’s the wrong approach when government gives us more orders rather than allowing us more liberty; when government grows and freedom shrinks. Governor Romney and Barack Obama both supported plans that forced people to buy insurance, whether they wanted it or needed it or not. I just think that’s exactly the wrong approach.”

In other answers, particularly on foreign policy and right-to-work laws, Pawlenty delivered crisp, focused, persuasive sound bites that came across with special effectiveness when delivered in his aw-shucks, Mr. Rogers, friendly neighbor demeanor.

Rick Santorum also provided coherent, thoughtful responses to every question he faced and came across like a seasoned, trustworthy, telegenic and impressive conservative. His problem? There’s no segment of the party base ready to rally to his banner. The Tea Party platoons (effusively praised by Santorum) are already somewhat divided between Ron Paul, Herman Cain and now (in much greater numbers, presumably) Michele Bachmann. If Rick Perry of Texas belatedly joins the fray, he’ll also draw substantial Tea Party support. Santorum, with no money and no natural power-base (he lost his last statewide election in Pennsylvania by 18 points) will find it impossible to escape the dreaded “Good Guy/Can’t Win” label—like the Ralph Bellamy role in Golden Age Hollywood movies, with a character who’s upright, admirable, handsome, hard-working and with no chance at all of winning a glamorous leading lady who’s more likely to go for the raffish Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart.

Finally, the three guys who don’t really belong on that stage: Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Ron Paul.

Newt looked less scary than expected, and never conveyed the battered air of a candidate on an epic losing streak whose presidential aspirations had recently exploded in a welter of accusations and embarrassments. On stage in New Hampshire, he provided informed and well-crafted responses, but hardly delivered the brilliant nuggets one might expect from what pundits invariably describe as “the most brilliant, creative mind in the Republican Party.” Newt did well, but no better than Romney, Pawlenty, Santorum or Bachmann. Given the crushing baggage he must lug through all future laps in this long race, the former Speaker did little to jump-start his sputtering campaign.

Among the seven candidates who showed up at St. Anselm, Herman Cain may have hurt himself the most. His line about “bringing the best minds together in a room, getting the right answers, and then forming a new policy” has begun to sound like a dodge and a platitude, not the endearing modesty of a self-advertised non-politician. His other answers (particularly the muddled and ignorant defense of a prior statement about feeling uncomfortable with a Muslim in his cabinet) showed not just every-man naivete but appalling ignorance. It’s now clear that his problem isn’t that he doesn’t read briefing papers; it’s that he doesn’t read newspapers. As a consistently successful businessman, Mr. Cain ought to realize that no big corporation would hire a new CEO who hadn’t thoroughly familiarized himself with the top issues on the agenda, and proposed decisive approaches; it’s not enough to say you’ll count on experts to set you straight.

And speaking of setting the record straight, I now acknowledge that my past insults aimed at Ron Paul (calling him “Dr. Demento,” among other endearments), may have counted as overly generous. Last time he ran, the Mad Doctor inspired a cult following and raised a great deal of money, but won fewer than 30 delegates and consistently modest primary vote totals. This time, he’ll do even worse: his body language (waving his arms and twitching his eyebrows like a pan-handling street corner prophet predicting the end of the world) and not just his words suggest a crank and a crackpot. Even Dennis Kucinich might have been embarrassed by Dr. Paul’s suggestion that halting the bombing of Al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan and Yemen would actually make the United States more secure, or that eliminating “welfare to foreign nations” would allow us to continue current levels of Medicare (that cost more than a hundred times what we spend on all foreign aid programs combined).

At least Dr. Paul rightly ridiculed Herman Cain’s repeated promise to consult experts before reaching decisions. The crotchety 75-year-old promised to bring all the troops home regardless of the advice or insistence of his generals and admirals because, after all “I’m Commander in Chief.”

Those words provided the debate’s single most chilling moment and will encourage any voters who paid attention to this exercise to rush to support the more plausible candidates. Yes, Dr. Paul provides some comic relief and a bit of unpredictability that sometimes enlivens boring televised debates but his presence also undermines the valuable idea that there is such a thing as a consistent GOP message, and that running for the presidency amounts to serious business.

This column appeared originally in The Daily Beast on June 14, 2011.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 08:57:05 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #419 on: June 15, 2011, 09:45:49 AM »

"Known for piercing and sometimes inaccurate commentary..."
"She’s described as meticulous and worried about the finer details..."

The second point, finer details, was followed by: "such as soundtracks played to pump up rally crowds", meaning attention to the wrong details.  Either a worthy rip on her or unfriendly journalism.

As one who has followed her since before she held elective office, it is still hard to say if she is excessively gaffe prone or just a victim of the double standard journalism.  Examples, Obama got away with the 57 state comment, presumably he visited some state more than once, but in particular Biden was loaded with falsehoods in the VP debate and then Palin gets ripped for lack of knowledge/experience.

But that double standard is a fact and conservatives need to have well thought out answers if they want to ban gay marriage in states that already have it, ban abortion when over 0.0% of them come from rape, life of the mother etc.

Michele Bachmann won't be the next President, but she may be settling in for a hell of a brush with fame.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #420 on: June 15, 2011, 04:42:31 PM »



By JAMES TARANTO
Yesterday's column on Tim Pawlenty's feebleness in criticizing Mitt Romney's version of ObamaCare prompted several readers to write with the suggestion that Pawlenty is pursuing the vice presidential nomination. We doubt it. We've met with Pawlenty twice in recent months, and he has a well-considered (if, thus far, not so well-implemented) plan to win the presidential nomination. Further, if he was sucking up to the former Massachusetts governor Monday night with a Romney-Pawlenty ticket in mind, that would represent a one-day change in strategy, since it was only Sunday morning when Pawlenty referred to "ObamneyCare."

Furthermore, if Pawlenty were angling for the subordinate spot on a Romney ticket, blurring the two men's differences would be precisely the wrong way of going about it. Pawlenty on Monday did not display any strengths to compensate for Romney's weaknesses. Other than regional appeal--the Upper Midwest, though lately a Democratic stronghold in presidential elections, is an area where Republicans can reasonably hope to do better--it's hard to see what Pawlenty would bring to the ticket.

Steve Moore says that Rep. Michele Bachmann could win Iowa.

But if we assume Romney is to be the nominee--a big "if," let us emphasize--then another candidate's performance Monday amounted to a very effective audition for the vice presidency: Michele Bachmann.

Whereas the argument for Pawlenty is that he is most things to all people--that few voters have any reason to be against him--Bachmann stirs genuine enthusiasm among two of the Republican factions most wary of Romney: the Tea Party and the religious right. A Romney-Bachmann ticket would be balanced in terms of ideology (he's moderate, she's conservative), governing style (he's technocratic, she's idealistic), religion (he's Mormon, she's evangelical) and, of course, sex.

This column has no brief for Romney, but strictly as political analysis, we'd say a Romney-Bachmann ticket looks more formidable than the McCain-Palin ticket that lost in 2008. Romney, unlike McCain, has executive and private-sector experience. He's in his mid-60s, old enough that his maturity makes for an attractive contrast with Barack Obama, but not so old that anyone will wonder if he's up to the job.

Romney's biggest weakness is the one The Wall Street Journal identified in a hard-hitting editorial last month titled "Obama's Running Mate":

Presidents lead by offering a vision for the country rooted in certain principles, not by promising a technocracy that runs on "data." Mr. Romney's highest principle seems to be faith in his own expertise.
Like another Massachusetts governor who ran for president, Romney would promise "competence, not ideology"--although Michael Dukakis actually was an ideologue of the liberal left. But again, Romney looks better than McCain, who offered a lack of vision but no reason to think he was a competent administrator.

 
Associated Press
 
Mitt campaigns for Michele in 2008.
.As for Bachmann, her biggest advantage over Sarah Palin may be that she is now running for president. That means that if Romney were to name her a year hence, she would be far a more familiar and media-savvy politician than Palin was in 2008. She would be much less vulnerable to both smears from the partisan media and unforced errors like Palin's disastrous interview with Katie Couric, whoever that is. For those who care about such things, the presence of a woman on the ticket might serve as an excuse to vote against re-electing the first black president.

To be sure, Bachmann is running for the presidential nomination, and while no one considers her the favorite, she's surely a shorter shot than she was a few days ago. But a rival who is able to attract significant support in the primaries is likely to bring more to the ticket than one who isn't. What did Joe Biden get Barack Obama other than comic relief?

An interesting aside: A Romney-Bachmann ticket, or a Romney-Pawlenty one for that matter, would combine candidates from the only state Richard Nixon lost in 1972 and the only state Reagan lost in 1984. What's more, of the seven GOP candidates on stage Monday, all but Rick Santorum come from the home state of at least one Democratic presidential nominee since 1960. The four states in question--Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas--have produced a majority of Democratic nominees (8 of 13) during that time.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #421 on: June 15, 2011, 09:38:03 PM »

As I mentioned, I have yet to watch the whole Rep debate.  What is this I hear that Romney called for leaving Afpakia?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #422 on: June 15, 2011, 09:56:35 PM »

Up to now, Rick Perry has had a point in professing no interest in running for the presidency, Why bother? The voluble Texas governor sits atop a state that looks more like one of the boom nations of Southeast Asia than the faltering 49 across America.

The Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas recently estimated that since June 2009, Texas has produced about 37% of the net new jobs in the U.S. At The Journal's offices this week, Gov. Perry said a closer look puts the Texas new-jobs number closer to 48%. Whatever. It's an astounding feat.

What's more, Rick Perry deeply believes the nation's greatness is found within its 50 separate states, not Washington. Why go to the failed city?

View Full Image

Martin Kozlowski
 .A few months ago, it was probably true that Rick Perry wasn't running. His two top political aides left him to join the Gingrich campaign. There is no way these two would have deserted Perryland for Newt's world if the governor were making a presidential run. Since Newt's staff collapsed, both are back with Mr. Perry, who's currently got a presidential announcement wound tighter than the Dallas Mavs' defense.

My guess is he's in. Why? He got clearance from what obviously has become the second-most powerful force in American politics—a candidate's wife. In the governor's telling, his wife, Anita, sat him down and said this was no ordinary presidential election for the country. Rick, you've gotta run.

She's right about the race. There may be lots of reasons not to put oneself through the modern presidential gauntlet, but not this time. Four more years of below-average economic growth and above-trend unemployment and it'll take a generation for the U.S. to climb out. The betting here is that Anita Perry wins this argument. They usually do.

What does Rick Perry bring to what is now a slow dance? Three things: Texas, Texas and the Tenth Amendment.

With Rick Perry, you get a double helping of Texas—the person and the state itself. That leads naturally to the early-stage question: Is Rick Perry more Texas than the nation can handle?

Some say that if you close your eyes, you could swear you're hearing George W. Bush and (to some ears) that awful West Texas accent. I don't. Unlike the former president, Mr. Perry has fine-tuned the sound of Texas (Paint Creek, north of Abilene) into a semi-syrupy drawl. And unlike most pols, he delivers a speech in more than one note.

On Tuesday night in Manhattan (N.Y.), he gave the keynote at the New York Republicans' Lincoln dinner, and when Rick Perry got soft and quiet—I know this will sound nuts—it had the whiff of that comfy Jimmy Stewart drawl in his cowboy movies.

 Perry would give the race three things: himself, Texas and the 10th Amendment.
.Podcast: Listen to the audio of Wonder Land here. .Onstage, the governor gives you passion. He gives you emotion. Compared to the seven GOP contenders at CNN's 30-seconds-only Twitter debate this week, Rick Perry would be the most animated by far—rocking back, his arms tossed out in broad sweeps. Which brings us to the "swagger problem." Can America handle Rick Perry's Texas swagger?

He's given to wearing cowboy boots. He wears starched, high-collar white shirts with big Texas cufflinks. He sports a fat Texas A&M Aggies ring. He's plenty Texas alright. Any other time, it might be fatal. Not now. The 2012 electorate—fraught over the economic future—is going to blow right past personal quirks to laser in on what the candidate says about the Problem. This is going to be a substance election. What of substance does Rick Perry offer?

Texas. Without the details of the Texas economic boom, this is a normal candidacy. But the details are impressive. Texas is a zero income-tax state, and Mr. Perry gives the impression he'd die at the Alamo before allowing one. The state is historically business-friendly. I recall attending the 1992 GOP convention in Houston, visiting from New York, and feeling as if I were in a capitalist utopia. You could argue that many of the state's new companies are mainly fleeing intolerable hells, such as California. But Texas and Mr. Perry keep producing new welcome mats, notably the recent passage of a loser-pays tort-reform bill. Mr. Perry says Haley Barbour told him they'd need turnstiles on the border if that tort bill passed, and indeed the in-migration of doctors to Texas is significant.

What makes a Perry candidacy intriguing is that he has built out the Texas story into a political philosophy, or movement, erected around the Tenth Amendment. In economic terms, Mr. Perry argues that the nation will grow more if we have 50 states competing with each other rather than competing to survive Washington. But it's broader than that. The tea party is mostly about spending. The Perry argument is about the fundamental relationship between the states and Washington. It's about decades of federal encroachment on state prerogatives.

Whether this Lone Star package would fly is anyone's guess. A person who's been governor of Texas awhile has baggage. I-hate-Rick Perry quotes would be a dime a dozen in Texas. Mr. Perry championed a quixotic Trans-Texas Corridor of highways and rail lines. His Enterprise Fund ladles out millions in subsidies to lure corporations. He just pushed through a pre-abortion sonogram requirement. Texas, a large death-penalty state, does a lot of them. A Perry candidacy might not be a slam dunk with independents—unless 9% unemployment trumps everything this election.

Say this—if the Texas governor gets in, you won't see another debate like last Tuesday's GOP flatliner in New Hampshire.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #423 on: June 19, 2011, 06:59:31 AM »

Part of business travel is the reality of time zone changes.  Sometimes I find myself awake for an hour or two during the night.  Naturally, political junkie that I am , , , and so it was that I caught a goodly part of a speech by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to a Republican audience.  Pretty durn good!  The man bears watching , , ,

Then followed some chattering class stuff about "Why aren't the Rep candidates talking about foreign policy very much?"  Although the folks discussing it were morons (and so I wandered on to a Military channel piece on "Hitler's Bodyguards" ) the question IS a very good one and I'd like to put it up for a bit of discussion here.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11823


« Reply #424 on: June 19, 2011, 09:46:21 AM »

Part of business travel is the reality of time zone changes.  Sometimes I find myself awake for an hour or two during the night.  Naturally, political junkie that I am , , , and so it was that I caught a goodly part of a speech by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to a Republican audience.  Pretty durn good!  The man bears watching , , ,

Then followed some chattering class stuff about "Why aren't the Rep candidates talking about foreign policy very much?"  Although the folks discussing it were morons (and so I wandered on to a Military channel piece on "Hitler's Bodyguards" ) the question IS a very good one and I'd like to put it up for a bit of discussion here.

Just a guess, but I'm betting the RNC has invested a lot of money on polling and found that the public, especially swing voters are most concerned about economic issues.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #425 on: June 19, 2011, 10:22:12 AM »

Catching up on a few points.  James Taranto, who I like very much, was very harsh on Pawlenty for not attacking Romney harder, as was the moderator and most observers. I respect Pawlenty's right to set his own tone and strategy... but then he looked weak and confused by attacking the day before and the day after in safety but restraining himself face to face.  He missed an opportunity to do that with tact, insight or humor. That was a moment in a crowded field where people actually wanted to hear what he had to say.  I don't know if that means he is done with one weak outing (and low polling numbers).  Up until recently I thought he was running a very well designed campaign.  Elements of his economic plan went too far, also a partially missed opportunity since he is the only one including Obama to have a plan. 

Dick Morris on Hannity during the week calls this round the quarterfinals, like a tennis tournament.  He says Pawlenty has Romney on his side of the draw and needs to win there to get to the semifinals - the last two Republicans standing.  Bachmann, OTOH, has Herman Cain, Ron Paul? and any other tea party types on her side of the draw.  I don't agree it's that simple but he does make some sense. 

Bigdog brought up the succession point on Rick Perry, so I finally googled, read and viewed what I could on that this morning.  Remember Todd Palin also had ties to people who suggested successionism, and was to be the poison to end it all.  First, I would say my view is different.  Nobody who is serious and patriotic right now wants to break up the union, but at some point in places like Alaska and Texas, if you are ruled for long enough, with a ruling ideology you despise, from a places as far away as Washington DC eastern seaboard and left coast, and they show no interest in even seeking your consent for that governance because they can get the votes they need elsewhere, talk of succession is no less patriotic than what the colonists went through.

Case in point, I think it is the Virginia challenge on Healthcare that has 26 states suing the feds.  That is quite an indicator that the feds have gone beyond consent of the governed, yet the administration ignores that court ruling, a change in congress repealing authorization and proceeds to appeal after a appeal as slow as possible to force a system on the people that most states oppose.  At some point,. enough is enough.  Luckily we have other, easier ways to enact change.

Rick Perry of course did not ever say he favored succession:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/gov-rick-perry-texas-coul_n_187490.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4NZnHDmnu8
http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/04/17/0417gop.html

The video (above) pointed to first through google/youtube search of what he said is notable for the commentary before and after Perry's comments - he is surrounded by 'teabaggers', a particularly vile homosexual derogatory depiction of people who come forward and peacefully argue for a smaller and more constitutionally based government.
-------
Crafty posed: "Why aren't the Rep candidates talking about foreign policy very much?"... the question IS a very good one and I'd like to put it up for a bit of discussion here.

Using Pawlenty as the example, he has tried to be the lead force opposing action in Libya.  Americans are war weary but I don't think that is the central focus in worldview differences between what I might call our side and Obama's.  It would make way more sense (Crafty's point I think) to start laying the large view of what is your view as the next President of America's role in the world today and where we do go from here.  As 4 wars(?) wind down - perhaps, what kind of strength and readiness are we going to maintain, and who is going to invest and hire the people from these forces who do not stay in the military.  That is another question not even addressed by the incumbent.
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #426 on: June 19, 2011, 10:34:46 AM »


Crafty posed: "Why aren't the Rep candidates talking about foreign policy very much?"... the question IS a very good one and I'd like to put it up for a bit of discussion here.

Using Pawlenty as the example, he has tried to be the lead force opposing action in Libya.  Americans are war weary but I don't think that is the central focus in worldview differences between what I might call our side and Obama's.  It would make way more sense (Crafty's point I think) to start laying the large view of what is your view as the next President of America's role in the world today and where we do go from here.  As 4 wars(?) wind down - perhaps, what kind of strength and readiness are we going to maintain, and who is going to invest and hire the people from these forces who do not stay in the military.  That is another question not even addressed by the incumbent.

I'm not sure Crafty's question "IS a very good one" albeit rather interesting.

I think GM hit it on the nail.  "Just a guess, but I'm betting the RNC has invested a lot of money on polling and found that the public, especially swing voters are most concerned about economic issues."

I think at most Americans might be mildly interested in what happens in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or anyplace else in the Middle East or Europe, etc. for that matter. But the key is the economy; nearly everyone I know is VERY interested and talking about the economy.  Further, to date, Obama is weak on this issue.  So it makes sense for the Republicans to focus.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #427 on: June 19, 2011, 04:06:04 PM »

Its all jobs now, like a laser focus, just look at Obama (sarcasm).  We have been wrong several times lately about what the most important issue will be in the next Presidency.  We had no idea we were headed into 9/11 or Iraq when W. Bush was elected.  Regime change in Iraq was national policy, agreed to by both candidates in the 2000 debates, with Gore saying he would go further than Bush with it - and nobody knew. The issues in 2004 were all about war as a 50 consecutive month job growth was breaking out.  By 2006 people took the whole prosperity thing for granted, voted for the politics of economic decline and worldwide surrender.  Got the decline, escalated (surged) the war.  Obama set himself apart by being the most consistent of all in his anti-Iraq war stance, then presided over that war well 2 1/2 years and counting.  Guantanamo, ditto.  But by the time the general election was held the issues were all about economic crisis management.  Who knew.

Crafty is right.  Not ahead of economic growth, but foreign policy as a big part of the job, show us your knowledge, wisdom and competency especially in the sense that most of them are new to it.  If you seriously want to be elected and govern effectively, now is the time to begin laying out how you will do that.  Foreign policy, also judicial appointments are another key area of difference between the incumbent and the challenger. If you are running against a senior lecturer of constitutional law, you had better have your act together.

When the next crisis comes or events turn - in any of these areas, people need to know who to turn to.

McCain set himself apart to win the nomination by promising to lead us in what direction?  Nobody knows.  He is a maverick, whatever that is.  He was supposed to be the wise and steady hand to complete the wars, admitted that he knew little about economics.  Then the collapse hit and he had no more economic wisdom, trust or ideas than Bush, Bernanke or Obama.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #428 on: June 19, 2011, 06:30:37 PM »

I already posted this in the Afpakia thread, but I post this here as well because of its implications for the Presidential campaign.  Note the comments on Romney.
==============================

For those of us who do not know him or may have forgotten, Michael Yon is an ex-SF soldier who became a reader supported journalist in Iraq.  During the worst of the war there due to the respect his SF background afforded him, he went on missions with our troops including into firefights.  He was by far and away the first forceful voice that the Surge was working when candidates Baraq and Shrillery "General Betrayus" Clinton were skittering for the exit. 

What he did in Iraq, he now does in Afpakia.  IMHO whatever this man writes should be taken quite seriously.  He has courage, integrity, and he puts himself in harm's way so he can report to us his search for Truth.

Afghanistan is making undeniable progress, but it could all unravel


 
Next >
19 June 2011
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN

It's time to make big decisions. These decisions will have a huge impact on the future of Afghanistan. The biggest question at hand: How many troops will we keep here and for how long?

The answer to that question must not be dreamed up in political strategy sessions or in focus groups. Buzzwords and abstractions won't do.

This is about real people — our soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines, our allies — and the people of Afghanistan. It's their lives that hang in the balance, and our judgment must respect the challenge they face and the progress they have made.

Let's begin with a few facts. For the strategy we used, we never had enough troops in Afghanistan to defeat our enemies and stand up a civil society. It can be argued that today, we still do not have enough.

Despite this, the coalition and the Afghans appear to finally be turning the tide in our favor, and a great deal of this can be credited to President Obama for deciding to send more troops. Unfortunately, the President has stated that we will begin bringing troops home this year.

This puts him in a bind. To keep his word, the President may have to undermine the very success that he facilitated.

And especially since the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, others can be expected to ratchet up the political pressure on Obama should he not begin the drawdown on schedule. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican frontrunner for the 2012 election, said this last week: "It's time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can, consistent with the word that comes to our generals that we can hand the country over… we've learned some important lessons in our experience in Afghanistan. I want those troops to come home based upon not politics, not based upon economics, but instead based upon the conditions on the ground determined by the generals. But I also think we've learned that our troops shouldn't go off and try and fight a war of independence for another nation. Only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan's independence from the Taliban."

Gen. David Petraeus is the boss here in Afghanistan. He has been tasked with making a recommendation on troop withdrawal. He arrived in Washington last week, where he is recommending a timetable for the drawdown of the 30,000 “surge” troops sent to the country in 2009.

Obama had promised that those troops would start coming home in July, but conditions on the ground always matter more.

On June 5, I asked Petraeus in his Kabul office for insight into his recommendation to the President. He told me he has not yet told anyone what his recommendation will be.

Many people are waiting. Not even his staff knows.

Petraeus, tapped to take over the CIA upon his retirement from this post, has accumulated a long string of unlikely successes in Iraq, and increasingly in Afghanistan. These efforts have been far more than mere war. Our people triumphed in the kinetic fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan years ago; the far greater difficulties have been the second wars fought in both countries during the long nation-building phases.

Any politician who says we are not nation building in Iraq or Afghanistan should be dismissed. Nation building is the course we chose, and nation building is what is occurring. Slowly.

In Iraq, a government was shattered and rebuilt. In Afghanistan, there was no government to shatter. Afghanistan was just an area where a lot of people lived, and today it's being built up from mud and sticks. For instance, there was not a single meter of paved road in Ghor Province.

A country is being built from scratch and nobody has more experience at the messy and difficult job of “shatter and create” than does Petraeus. He knows his business, his profession and his art, and he knows more about the current war than anyone alive. His recommendation will carry significant weight.

But while we do this critical work, our young warriors are still dying and being wounded in large numbers. People at home are asking if Afghanistan is worth the sacrifice. And then there is the economy, still struggling and endangering our country strategically. The war here is very expensive.

Is it worth it? This is a hard question. We made the judgment that this war was worth fighting when we put our warriors into the arena in the first place. We've already jumped and now we are deciding whether to land on our heads, our rears or our feet. We cannot unjump. Our people are fighting as you read this. When we ordered our military to go, we cloaked ourselves in great responsibility to support them and to achieve success.

Our troops have two responsibilities, which are tightly interwoven: Win the war and create Afghanistan. It is not the troops' place to consider the global economy. They are not to consider unfolding debacle in Libya, the long challenges in Iraq or the dark side of the moon.

And so when Petraeus makes his recommendation to the President, his recommendation should not include any consideration of the U.S. economy, the debt or jobs in America. He is the man in the arena. The man in the arena does not collect parking tickets, or work at the concession stand or concern himself with the electric bill for the stadium. He beats his opponent to the ground. Or, in this case, beats some opponents into the ground and builds a country simultaneously. His recommendation to the President should be pure, devoid of outside considerations.

We must be honest about what we can accomplish. This is a century-long process. A little Afghan girl is watching me write this opinion. She appears to be about 4 years old, and she keeps peeking around the door smiling at me while her mother is cleaning the house and her father takes care of the property. The girl follows me around the house. A storm is coming and a lightning bolt just zapped the electricity. I am unarmed but safe in Kabul, and if this little girl is lucky, and we do not abandon Afghanistan, she may one day end up in a university.

Petraeus told me that at its peak, violence in Iraq was four times higher than current violence is here. This seems about right. I can drive around Afghanistan in many places. I've been back in Kabul for almost two weeks and have not heard a single gunshot or explosion, though I did feel an earthquake.

This isn't Baghdad. During peak times in Iraq, you couldn't go 30 minutes in Baghdad without seeing or hearing something. The most dangerous city in Afghanistan is Kandahar, yet I have driven around Kandahar many times, including recently, without a shred of armor. I could never have survived this in Fallujah, Basra, Baghdad, Baquba or Mosul. I have driven this year, without troops, to places in Afghanistan where last year I would have almost certainly  been killed, such as Panjwai. You don't need thick intelligence reports to translate those realities.

Shouting at an oak tree will no not make it grow faster, and ignoring a sapling in this desert will leave it to die. An acorn was planted in 2001, and we mostly ignored it for more than half a decade while our people fought so hard in Iraq. Today, that acorn is a scrawny, 10-year-old oak tree that was so neglected until 2010 that it nearly died. Its skinny branches are still so weak that a sparrow dare not land, and while we focused on Iraq, the enemies here stayed busy nibbling away at anything green. Yet over the past year of extra care, there are clear signs of life and new growth.

Meanwhile, our enemies here are being monkey stomped. The rule of monkey stomping has never changed. Don't stop stomping until the enemy stops breathing. This enemy has earned respect for its courage, resilience and will-not-quit spirit, but there is only so much it can take.

At this rate, the Graveyard of Empires, the Undefeatables, will need a new advertising campaign. Our enemies here are turning out to be the Almost Undefeatables. The many good Afghans want to move forward. They want their kids, boys and girls, to see better days.

The bottom line is that there are unmistakable signs of progress in Afghanistan, and Gen. David Petraeus is about to make a very important recommendation.

His judgment should be trusted.

Major fighting will soon begin in Afghanistan.  I will be there providing coverage as I have done in the past.  Your support is crucial.  If you have enjoyed or benefited from my free dispatches, please consider supporting future work via: Paypal, or my Post Office Box, or other Methods of Support.

Osama bin Laden is dead, but the war rolls on.


Michael Yon
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #429 on: June 21, 2011, 03:38:28 PM »

for Michele Bachman and other signatories of the Pro Life pledge that she and they are using to attack Romney for not signing.  How very silly to pledge not appointing anyone to ANY post who is not pro-Life.  Who cares whether e.g. a Secretary of the Treasury is pro Life or not?  Stupid! and bad politics too!
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11823


« Reply #430 on: June 21, 2011, 09:44:53 PM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wJfsLafye4&feature=player_embedded

Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #431 on: June 21, 2011, 10:14:20 PM »

"We...believe that our economy can and must grow at an average rate of 5% annually...We pledge ourselves to policies that will achieve this goal without inflation."
  - The 1960 Democratic platform stated /JFK  http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29602#axzz1PrtremSU
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #432 on: June 21, 2011, 11:17:35 PM »

Did you read ALL of the Platform?  Line by line?  Amazing stuff....
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11823


« Reply #433 on: June 22, 2011, 12:27:40 AM »

Amazing that once upon a time, dems were anti-communist and strong on defense.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #434 on: June 22, 2011, 11:15:30 AM »



International Obama fan club: "I would like Barack Obama to be re-elected president of the United States maybe more than someone else. If another person becomes U.S. president, then he may have another course. We understand that there are representatives of a rather conservative wing there who are trying to achieve their political goals at the expense of inflaming passions in relation to Russia, among other things. But what use is criticizing them? This is simply a way of achieving political goals." --Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #435 on: June 22, 2011, 11:35:38 AM »

Medvedev, Putin, Chavez, these are endorsements he might prefer in private.
---------------
(JDN) "Did you read ALL of the Platform?  Line by line?  Amazing stuff...."
[1960 Dem Platform]

Yes. National security! Pro-growth economics! Trade: " we shall expand world trade in every responsible way"!  I enjoyed the constant referrals to what bad condition the Eisenhower administration left us in, lol.

Looking at the age of Obama 2006-2012, this is not your father's Democratic party!

Also note that they use the word holocaust at the beginning to describe a large potential human disaster unrelated to Hitler's treatment of Jewish people.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #436 on: June 24, 2011, 01:34:11 PM »

Q: "Who cares whether e.g. a Secretary of the Treasury is pro Life or not?"
A: Michele Bachmann  (- and maybe enough other conservatives to give the nomination to Romney)
---------

Moving on, more famous people caught reading the forum:


Crafty 6/19: "Why aren't the Rep candidates talking about foreign policy very much?"  ... the question IS a very good one and I'd like to put it up for a bit of discussion here.

Tim Pawlenty 6/23:  Pawlenty to Deliver Foreign Policy Speech (Real Clear Politics)
Pawlenty to Deliver Foreign Policy Speech

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will head to New York City next week to deliver what his aides are billing as a major foreign policy address Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"The speech will focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the Arab Spring," a Pawlenty aide said in an emailed statement. "Governor Pawlenty will address President Obama's failed leadership, approach, and philosophy of how to approach the entire Middle East region. He will touch on the need for the Republican Party to continue its support for a strong foreign policy."

As the Republican field has drifted toward advocating a less militarily adventurous foreign policy, Pawlenty has remained more hawkish than many of his opponents.
----------

Doug continued: Pawlenty will be judged on the content.  Perhaps more important to his future, he will be judged on delivery as to whether he looks credible as a world leader, on foreign policy and economic leadership.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #437 on: June 24, 2011, 01:35:48 PM »

The GOP field is sorting itself out, which is to be expected. What's surprising is that so are Republican voters. The early rise of Mitt Romney, the second-place showing of Jon Huntsman (behind Ron Paul) at the recent Republican Leadership Conference, and a Gallup poll last week saying 50% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican favor the candidate with the best chance of beating President Obama, suggests GOP voters on the ground don't want to pick anyone the moderate Democrat down the block wouldn't support.

It's still early, but that makes it even more interesting. It's at this point in a presidential race that obstreperous and passionate movements and candidacies would normally be rising. It's later and with time that a certain soberness, a certain inherent moderation normally take hold. But Republicans at the moment seem prematurely settled, even as they watch, judge and figure out whom to support.

A quick read on a few in the field:

Mitt Romney really is the kind of candidate Republicans imagine centrists would like. He looks the part, sounds the part, has experience in the world and government. Four years ago he was new and controversial. Now he's next in line and kind of old shoe. But the question that dogged him in 2008 hasn't gone away: Does he have philosophical fire inside him, or only personal destiny fire? If the latter, would he do what needs doing as president? Ronald Reagan was mild and attractive as a person and candidate and never claimed to be a radical, but when he got into office at a crucial moment, he did some radical things that turned out to be the right things. He had philosophical fire, which is important.

 Peggy Noonan reports on Jon Huntsman's campaign kick-off.
.Michele Bachmann's got fire, a libertarian conservative who means it. She broke through in New Hampshire because she wasn't Cable Bachmann—skittery, combative—but Candidate Bachmann, sincere and accomplished. Does she have the weight and ballast to see it all the way through? Is she a serious person or just a dramatic one who rouses a portion of the base? Will America be drawn to her brand of conservatism?

Tim Pawlenty is earnest, nice, Midwestern. Interestingly, no one doubts his grounding in political thought, or his accomplishments, and yet he's coming across as weak. Does he want this thing? Is he the right size?

Newt Gingrich? That didn't work. Good thing voters found out early, not late.

Herman Cain always gets applause in GOP debates because everyone likes him. The media suspect the reason is that he's handy evidence Republicans aren't racist. But Republicans like him because they like him.

View Full Image

APIC
 
One imagines him more as secretary of state, like Cordell Hull.
.A number of prominent conservatives are black, and they are admired because they all swam upstream, with no establishment to help them. They weren't born into it, they had to struggle through to it. And when they arrived they were often greeted awkwardly. They were like the old working-class ethnic Democrats who joined the Republican Party in the 1970s and '80s and were greeted by Mrs. Waffington Wafferthird IV: "Your name is Kowalski? We had a plumber named Kowalski at Little Compton, he did wonderful work!" Yeah. Well, glad the pipes work.

It's been a generation or two since the party was like that, and now old Mrs. Wafferthird is likely to introduce herself with theatricality and flair. "Darling, I'm the antique old stereotype we all spoof. I even spoof myself. Have a Ritz cracker." And we all feel protective of her because she's part of a dying wave, a great, three-centuries-long wave.

Anyway Republicans like Mr. Cain because he's plain-spoken and humorous, and he made some money in America. He's the American dream. But is he a president? No, he's a businessman. It's 2011 and he doesn't know his own opinion on Afghanistan.

***
And now Jon Huntsman. The former Utah governor and ambassador to China announced in New Jersey's Liberty State Park on Tuesday. I went to see a Huntsman crowd, to find out who they are and why they support him. But there was no Huntsman crowd, only a hunk of milling media. Interspersed among them were perhaps a hundred individuals who got themselves there to watch and show support. When asked why they were for him, they said words like "balance," "principles" and "expanding the umbrella."

More Peggy Noonan
Read Peggy Noonan's previous columns

Click here to order her book, Patriotic Grace
.Two weeks ago at a Reuters lunch in Manhattan, Mr. Huntsman appeared with Henry Kissinger to talk about the latter's new book, "On China." As Mr. Huntsman talked—when Mr. Kissinger couldn't remember a particular word in Chinese, Mr. Huntsman smoothly supplied it—two journalists at a table to the side came to the same conclusion at almost the same moment: This isn't a president, this is a secretary of state. Huntsman—well-tailored, willowy, gray-haired, cerebral-looking—comes alive when talking about Asia. You imagine him in striped pants and morning coat, like Cordell Hull. Yet he's from Utah, has seven kids, is Mormon, has lowered taxes and balanced budgets. His work in the Obama administration is supposed to be a negative with Republican voters, but it won't be: It's China, the big country now always in the back of the American mind. He speaks two Chinese dialects. That sounds useful.

What part of the GOP base would be Mr. Huntsman's natural constituency? Here political professionals scratch their heads.

Maybe he's going for moderate conservatives and Republicans who have Romney Reluctance, who just can't get to Mitt-land, or not yet. Maybe he's trying to take the vote of conservatives who think deep down Romney doesn't have a deep down. He's saying, "I'm like Romney but I have deep beliefs and a particular expertise: I won two terms as a governor, not one, and was a major ambassador. I'm cool, and my hair is just as presidential."

Mr. Huntsman's call, in his announcement speech, for more civility, was both appropriate and shrewd. Appropriate because there's nothing wrong with adding a bit of grace to the political moment. There's too much hate out there and too many people making a living peddling resentment. Shrewd because it pre-emptively forgives, or retroactively explains, his past friendliness to and support of Mr. Obama. He can flick off criticisms with sad shake of the head: "That's the kind of thing I was talking about when I asked for a higher tone."

His support for gay civil unions is supposedly controversial, but is it? It is a compromise position, and the tea party won't be made unhappy by it: Social issues are not their focus. Mitch Daniels was knocked for calling for a social issues truce some months ago, but only because he put a name on what is happening anyway. There is an informal truce on social issues in the GOP, but no one likes hearing potential leaders mention it, because then the other leaders have to take a side. But almost everyone in the party is focused now on economic issues, in part because a strong economy fosters everything else, including American compassion. Six months ago a profoundly pro-life U.S. senator who now speaks more on economic issues was asked how he explains the shift in emphasis to his pro-life allies. "I tell them unless we turn things around, no one's going to be able to have babies."

« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 02:24:19 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #438 on: June 24, 2011, 02:18:44 PM »

The Noonan take is pretty good on all of them.  It's early and those are the things they are working on.
--------
A couple of good polling pieces on Pawlenty today who is still struggling with very low numbers for someone getting this much attention.  AP  says his favorable are up ten points.  This one is WSJ quoting a home state poll for Pawlenty where most did not want him to run, he is in a dead heat with Obama, the only state Reagan never carried.  This means a number of things. 

First it means that Obama's is receiving internal polling that is running terrible for him in key states.  Obama won Minnesota by 11 points - over the most moderate Republican!  Pawlenty is known here, won twice with less than 50% of the vote, nice guy, non-threatening, respected somewhat for competence and good governance, criticized plenty by right and left.  He is not a local hero, no parks buildings or freeways are being named for him anytime soon.  He is just known, and so is Obama now.  If Pawlenty is competitive here, other Republicans are killing Obama in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, etc etc, states that Obama won.  Gallup has Obama down to 43 and this slow economic summer is just beginning.  Rasmussen Obama index is -16 and RCP average just went negative this week at -0.2%.  When the Gallup-type polls start hitting the high-30s consistently and when internal polls show all swing states out of reach, this guy is going to discover the need to spend more time with family or working on his golf game.  Latest is Obama is down to 38% approval from white women, a good sized liberal constituency.  With numbers like the ones he has coming, key candidates don't come to your events in key swing districts.  He is already seeing that.

If you think the opposite about Obama, think about this.  What is his plan for the next 4 years, why won't he say?  More debt, more spending, more government?  More double-talk? Fight with a Republican congress over the speed of dismantling his programs? Preside over decline?  Wait for the last 2-3 stimuli to kick in?  Nationalize another industry - I can't think of one left that is strategic and still largely private, housing, banking, insurance, autos, energy, transportation, food?

One more note on the SurveyUSA MN registered voter poll, Michele Bachmann polls 14 points lower and she is actually better known here than Pawlenty (explained in previous posts).
---------
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303339904576405761559802364.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_BelowLEFTSecond

Pawlenty's Polls

While his name recognition has been trailing behind other Republican hopefuls, a new poll of registered voters in Minnesota shows he does well against President Obama.

By MATTHEW PAYNE

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is fond of saying he's the candidate who can "unite the whole Republican party . . . and then actually go on and win the election." While his name recognition has been trailing behind other Republican hopefuls in key early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, a new poll of registered voters in Minnesota from SurveyUSA shows he does well against President Obama.

The poll, conducted late last week, put Mr. Pawlenty in a dead heat with President Obama in a head to head matchup. This is the same Minnesota that voted for Obama by a margin of 11 points in 2008. The fact that Mr. Pawlenty polls relatively well among voters who know him may give credence to the notion that if "Mr. Nice" asserted himself more, he would have a chance at winning the nomination, and maybe even the presidency.

We don't discount Mr. Pawlenty's home-state advantage among Minnesota voters, but Republican hopefuls from other deep blue states didn't fare as well in similar measures. The same SurveyUSA poll had Michele Bachman losing by 14 points, while another recent Public Policy Polling survey has Governor Mitt Romney losing by 20 points in his home state of Massachusetts.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 11823


« Reply #439 on: June 24, 2011, 06:52:53 PM »


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvnAE8olUxU&feature=player_embedded
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #440 on: June 26, 2011, 01:02:37 AM »



Bachmann Surging in the Polls Ahead of Campaign Kickoff

Published June 25, 2011

| FoxNews.com


Rep. Michele Bachmann has rolled out her presidential campaign with all the flare and flirtation of a seasoned boxing promoter.

First, she stole her opponents' thunder by using a debate stage earlier this month to announce she filed her 2012 papers. Then, she held off on formally announcing that bid for another two weeks -- the formal kickoff is set for Monday in Iowa. The evening before the announcement, Bachmann is planning an informal meet-and-greet in Waterloo. And the week following the announcement will be spent touring early primary states.

The candidate is no doubt making up for lost time, having given her opponents a wide opening to build their operations in key states by waiting so long to make the presidential plunge. But polling conducted since she revealed her intentions at the debate in mid-June suggest she's doing something right.

After weeks of struggling to break out of the single digits, Bachmann has surged in recent polls. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is still the solid GOP frontrunner, but Bachmann has started to separate herself from the rest of the pack.

A Rasmussen Reports poll taken right after Bachmann's debate performance showed her rising to 19 percent, in second place behind Romney at 33 percent. A subsequent poll in Florida taken June 16-19 by Public Policy Polling also showed Bachmann surging into a tie for second place with Sarah Palin -- who has not announced a presidential bid. Though the poll only questioned Republicans in one state, the results showed Bachmann's support climbing from 7 to 17 percent since March. If Palin were taken out of the mix, PPP found Bachmann picking up the bulk of her support and gliding even closer to Romney.

Meanwhile, an Associated Press-GfK poll released this week showed her favorability rating jumping from 41 percent to 54 percent among Republicans, though one third did not have an opinion of her.

"Given that we have been in this race less than two weeks, we are pleased with the growing momentum of the campaign," campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said in an email to FoxNews.com.

Stewart said that as Bachmann formally enters the race, voters will see her as "their voice for constitutional conservatism." The Tea Party favorite has surged into the spotlight in recent years by opposing government spending, as well as other popular conservative targets like the federal health care overhaul and environmental regulations.

But Bachmann, who will appear on "Fox News Sunday" ahead of her announcement, is just the latest X-factor in the race. Speculation continues to swirl around Texas Gov. Rick Perry, while Palin stays in the spotlight -- from a distance. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is trying in earnest to build his moderate brand after announcing his bid Tuesday.

Some Iowa Republicans have suggested Bachmann missed out on her chance to build a formidable operation in the nation's leadoff caucus state, while others question whether the outspoken Minnesota conservative could ever be more than an also-ran nationally.

The Iowa Democratic Party, which has held counterprogramming events for other Republican candidates, does not plan on holding a news conference to counter Bachmann's announcement Monday. A spokesman for the party told Fox News that while party officials see Bachmann as a contender to win the caucuses, they do not feel she can win the GOP nomination.

But the congresswoman is making a big push to appeal to voters in Iowa despite the late entrance -- and the fact that House members rarely end up as presidential finalists. She's stressing her Iowa roots by holding her announcement in her hometown of Waterloo, and also is looking to return to Iowa after touring South Carolina and New Hampshire. Her social conservative streak is a plus in the leadoff state, and she's trying to develop the other parts of her portfolio.

Though Bachmann in May said the United States needs to "get out" of Afghanistan, she amended her position this past week after President Obama announced his troop withdrawal plan.

In a statement Thursday, she accused the president of "undercutting our security objectives in Afghanistan with ill-advised timelines and accelerated (troop) withdrawals."


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/25/bachmann-surging-in-polls-ahead-campaign-kickoff/#ixzz1QLE3hCWg

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #441 on: June 28, 2011, 10:04:42 AM »

WSJ

By Patrick O'Connor
A former aide welcomed Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann to the White House race on Tuesday with a scathing op-ed in the Des Moines Register.


Associated Press
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.)Ron Carey, one of the six chiefs of staff Ms. Bachmann has had since coming to Congress less than five years ago, penned an article with the headline “Bachmann is so not ready for the presidency, but (former Minnesota Gov. Tim) Pawlenty has the judgment and skills.”

“Having seen the two of them, up close and over a long period of time, it is clear to me that while Tim Pawlenty possesses the judgment, demeanor and the readiness to serve as president, Michele Bachmann decidedly does not,” Mr. Carey wrote.

Mr. Carey, who helped elect Ms. Bachmann to Congress in 2006 and 2008, called her campaign and congressional offices “wildly out of control.” Unopened campaign donations littered her office and thousands of her constituents’ emails and letters went unanswered, he wrote.

“If she is unable, or unwilling, to handle the basic duties of a campaign or congressional office, how could she possibly manage the magnitude of the presidency?” Mr. Carey asks in the op-ed.

“I know Michele Bachmann very well,” Mr. Carey concludes his op-ed. “She is a faithful conservative with great oratory skills, but without any leadership experience or real results from her years in office. She is not prepared to assume the White House in 2013.”

The Bachmann campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the article, but the congresswoman said Tuesday during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show that she expects a barrage of negative stories.

“There will be a media onslaught of attack, but that’s nothing new,” she said, responding to a question about whether she would receive scrutiny similar to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during her run as John McCain’s vice presidential pick. “That is something that goes with the territory. It doesn’t matter who the candidate is, whether they’re male or female, there’s simply attacks that will come.”

Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #442 on: June 28, 2011, 11:15:11 AM »

Hard to read that.  For one thing it sounds like an office in disarray under his watch.  OTOH, depending on his reputation and credibility it shows why we need people with serious executive experience and all that entails to become the chief executive.  We need both a 180 turn in ideology which she certainly represents, but we also need the ability to competently manage a very complex government and get things done.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #443 on: June 28, 2011, 12:32:47 PM »

I've already expressed concern about her lack of executive experience (hence my dalliance with the idea of Cain as her VP candidate) but to have such a high turnover rate of chief of staffs in such a short amount of time with one of them writing a stab-in-the-back hit piece like this certainly does not sound good.

I saw Texas Gov. Terry (Perry?) on Glenn Beck yesterday.  Very impressive!  Excellent articulation of states's overeignty and the concept of federalism.  I will be watching for more on him.

Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #444 on: June 28, 2011, 02:27:19 PM »

When we say executive experience, running a 3-20 person office isn't preparation for Commander in Chief, it is just some first hand small business understanding, more than all of the current cabinet combined -  a sad observation.  Governor of a small medium-sized state isn't good enough alone either, being a one-term or partial-term governor isn't good enough.  Somewhere in there though we pick the best of what is available, as Dems tried to do picking governors of Georgia, Massachusetts and Arkansas, before picking zero experience and winning - if Obama is still considered a win for them.

Agree that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas will be the next one to watch.  Probably a 50/50 he will get in.  Depends on how he and his family think they will hold up to the scrutiny.  He has the oratory ability to project out the big picture of what America means.  On a par of stature with Romney and better in content.  Reagan obviously had it.  Marco Rubio has it, and so few others.  Clinton and Obama have something even greater - the ability to project out that feeling while twisting the principles we all believe in to mean something else.

I recall Freki (I believe) posting that Perry is phony - a typical politician.  Maybe so, but his flaws come in from a totally different part of the political spectrum than Pres. Obama or even Romney, quite a bit more conservative than most, including that other Texas governor.

Question becomes (IMO) who best embraces the ideas of Cain, Bachman, Rubio, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, etc -p and is running and has credible experience and delivery.  Realistically, this race comes down to hiring without experience or choose from a few governors who have taken some path of realistic stepping stones to running the American executive branch.
-------
ps I just saw my first presidential bumper sticker and it wasn't for one of the 3 Minnesotans running.  "Allen West 2012".
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #445 on: June 29, 2011, 12:07:48 PM »

I want to speak plainly this morning about the opportunities and the dangers we face today in the Middle East.  The revolutions now roiling that region offer the promise of a more democratic, more open, and a more prosperous Arab world.  From Morocco to the Arabian Gulf, the escape from the dead hand of oppression is now a real possibility.   

Now is not the time to retreat from freedom’s rise.

Yet at the same time, we know these revolutions can bring to power forces that are neither democratic nor forward-looking.  Just as the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and elsewhere see a chance for a better life of genuine freedom, the leaders of radical Islam see a chance to ride political turmoil into power.

The United States has a vital stake in the future of this region.  We have been presented with a challenge as great as any we have faced in recent decades.  And we must get it right.  The question is, are we up to the challenge? 

My answer is, of course we are.  If we are clear about our interests and guided by our principles, we can help steer events in the right direction.  Our nation has done this in the past -- at the end of World War II, in the last decade of the Cold War, and in the more recent war on terror … and we can do it again.

But President Obama has failed to formulate and carry out an effective and coherent strategy in response to these events.  He has been timid, slow, and too often without a clear understanding of our interests or a clear commitment to our principles.

And parts of the Republican Party now seem to be trying to out-bid the Democrats in appealing to isolationist sentiments.  This is no time for uncertain leadership in either party.  The stakes are simply too high, and the opportunity is simply too great.

No one in this Administration predicted the events of the Arab spring - but the freedom deficit in the Arab world was no secret.  For 60 years, Western nations excused and accommodated the lack of freedom in the Middle East.  That could not last.  The days of comfortable private deals with dictators were coming to an end in the age of Twitter, You Tube, and Facebook.  And history teaches there is no such thing as stable oppression. 

President Obama has ignored that lesson of history.  Instead of promoting democracy – whose fruit we see now ripening across the region – he adopted a murky policy he called “engagement.” 

“Engagement” meant that in 2009, when the Iranian ayatollahs stole an election, and the people of that country rose up in protest, President Obama held his tongue.  His silence validated the mullahs, despite the blood on their hands and the nuclear centrifuges in their tunnels. 

While protesters were killed and tortured, Secretary Clinton said the Administration was “waiting to see the outcome of the internal Iranian processes.”  She and the president waited long enough to see the Green Movement crushed. 

“Engagement” meant that in his first year in office, President Obama cut democracy funding for Egyptian civil society by 74 percent.  As one American democracy organization noted, this was “perceived by Egyptian democracy activists as signaling a lack of support.”  They perceived correctly.  It was a lack of support. 

“Engagement” meant that when crisis erupted in Cairo this year, as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, Secretary Clinton declared, “the Egyptian Government is stable.”  Two weeks later, Mubarak was gone.  When Secretary Clinton visited Cairo after Mubarak’s fall, democratic activist groups refused to meet with her.  And who can blame them?

The forces we now need to succeed in Egypt -- the pro-democracy, secular political parties -- these are the very people President Obama cut off, and Secretary Clinton dismissed. 

The Obama “engagement” policy in Syria led the Administration to call Bashar al Assad a “reformer.”  Even as Assad’s regime was shooting hundreds of protesters dead in the street, President Obama announced his plan to give Assad “an alternative vision of himself.”  Does anyone outside a therapist’s office have any idea what that means?  This is what passes for moral clarity in the Obama Administration. 

By contrast, I called for Assad’s departure on March 29; I call for it again today.  We should recall our ambassador from Damascus; and I call for that again today.  The leader of the United States should never leave those willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause of freedom wondering where America stands.  As President, I will not.

We need a president who fully understands that America never “leads from behind.” 

We cannot underestimate how pivotal this moment is in Middle Eastern history.  We need decisive, clear-eyed leadership that is responsive to this historical moment of change in ways that are consistent with our deepest principles and safeguards our vital interests. 

Opportunity still exists amid the turmoil of the Arab Spring -- and we should seize it.

As I see it, the governments of the Middle East fall into four broad categories, and each requires a different strategic approach.

The first category consists of three countries now at various stages of transition toward democracy – the formerly fake republics in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.  Iraq is also in this category, but is further along on its journey toward democracy. 

For these countries, our goal should be to help promote freedom and democracy. 

Elections that produce anti-democratic regimes undermine both freedom and stability.  We must do more than monitor polling places.  We must redirect foreign aid away from efforts to merely build good will, and toward efforts to build good allies -- genuine democracies governed by free people according to the rule of law.  And we must insist that our international partners get off the sidelines and do the same. 

We should have no illusions about the difficulty of the transitions faced by Libya, Tunisia, and especially Egypt.  Whereas Libya is rich in oil, and Tunisia is small, Egypt is large, populous, and poor.  Among the region’s emerging democracies, it remains the biggest opportunity and the biggest danger for American interests. 

Having ejected the Mubarak regime, too many Egyptians are now rejecting the beginnings of the economic opening engineered in the last decade.  We act out of friendship when we tell Egyptians, and every new democracy, that economic growth and prosperity are the result of free markets and free trade—not subsidies and foreign aid.  If we want these countries to succeed, we must afford them the respect of telling them the truth. 

In Libya, the best help America can provide to these new friends is to stop leading from behind and commit America’s strength to removing Ghadafi, recognizing the TNC as the government of Libya, and unfreezing assets so the TNC can afford security and essential services as it marches toward Tripoli. 

Beyond Libya, America should always promote the universal principles that undergird freedom.  We should press new friends to end discrimination against women, to establish independent courts, and freedom of speech and the press.  We must insist on religious freedoms for all, including the region’s minorities—whether Christian, Shia, Sunni, or Bahai. 

The second category of states is the Arab monarchies.  Some – like Jordan and Morocco – are engaging now in what looks like genuine reform.  This should earn our praise and our assistance.  These kings have understood they must forge a partnership with their own people, leading step by step toward more democratic societies.  These monarchies can smooth the path to constitutional reform and freedom and thereby deepen their own legitimacy.  If they choose this route, they, too, deserve our help. 

But others are resisting reform. While President Obama spoke well about Bahrain in his recent speech, he neglected to utter two important words:  Saudi Arabia. 

US-Saudi relations are at an all-time low—and not primarily because of the Arab Spring.  They were going downhill fast, long before the uprisings began.  The Saudis saw an American Administration yearning to engage Iran—just at the time they saw Iran, correctly, as a mortal enemy. 

We need to tell the Saudis what we think, which will only be effective if we have a position of trust with them.  We will develop that trust by demonstrating that we share their great concern about Iran and that we are committed to doing all that is necessary to defend the region from Iranian aggression.

At the same time, we need to be frank about what the Saudis must do to insure stability in their own country.  Above all, they need to reform and open their society.  Their treatment of Christians and other minorities, and their treatment of women, is indefensible and must change.

We know that reform will come to Saudi Arabia—sooner and more smoothly if the royal family accepts and designs it.  It will come later and with turbulence and even violence if they resist.  The vast wealth of their country should be used to support reforms that fit Saudi history and culture—but not to buy off the people as a substitute for lasting reform.

The third category consists of states that are directly hostile to America.  They include Iran and Syria.  The Arab Spring has already vastly undermined the appeal of Al Qaeda and the killing of Osama Bin Laden has significantly weakened it.

The success of peaceful protests in several Arab countries has shown the world that terror is not only evil, but will eventually be overcome by good.  Peaceful protests may soon bring down the Assad regime in Syria.  The 2009 protests in Iran inspired Arabs to seek their freedom.  Similarly, the Arab protests of this year, and the fall of regime after broken regime, can inspire Iranians to seek their freedom once again. 

We have a clear interest in seeing an end to Assad’s murderous regime.  By sticking to Bashar al Assad so long, the Obama Administration has not only frustrated Syrians who are fighting for freedom—it has demonstrated strategic blindness.  The governments of Iran and Syria are enemies of the United States.  They are not reformers and never will be.  They support each other.  To weaken or replace one, is to weaken or replace the other.   

The fall of the Assad mafia in Damascus would weaken Hamas, which is headquartered there.  It would weaken Hezbollah, which gets its arms from Iran, through Syria.  And it would weaken the Iranian regime itself.   

To take advantage of this moment, we should press every diplomatic and economic channel to bring the Assad reign of terror to an end.  We need more forceful sanctions to persuade Syria’s Sunni business elite that Assad is too expensive to keep backing.  We need to work with Turkey and the Arab nations and the Europeans, to further isolate the regime.  And we need to encourage opponents of the regime by making our own position very clear, right now:  Bashar al-Assad must go. 

When he does, the mullahs of Iran will find themselves isolated and vulnerable.  Syria is Iran’s only Arab ally.  If we peel that away, I believe it will hasten the fall of the mullahs.  And that is the ultimate goal we must pursue.  It’s the singular opportunity offered to the world by the brave men and women of the Arab Spring.

The march of freedom in the Middle East cuts across the region’s diversity of religious, ethnic, and political groups.  But it is born of a particular unity.  It is a united front against stolen elections and stolen liberty, secret police, corruption, and the state-sanctioned violence that is the essence of the Iranian regime’s tyranny. 

So this is a moment to ratchet up pressure and speak with clarity.  More sanctions.  More and better broadcasting into Iran.  More assistance to Iranians to access the Internet and satellite TV and the knowledge and freedom that comes with it.  More efforts to expose the vicious repression inside that country and expose Teheran’s regime for the pariah it is. 

And, very critically, we must have more clarity when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.  In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told AIPAC that he would “always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel.”  This year, he told AIPAC “we remain committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”  So I have to ask: are all the options still on the table or not?  If he’s not clear with us, it’s no wonder that even our closest allies are confused.   

The Administration should enforce all sanctions for which legal authority already exits.  We should enact and then enforce new pending legislation which strengthens sanctions particularly against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who control much of the Iranian economy.

And in the middle of all this, is Israel.

Israel is unique in the region because of what it stands for and what it has accomplished.  And it is unique in the threat it faces—the threat of annihilation.  It has long been a bastion of democracy in a region of tyranny and violence.  And it is by far our closest ally in that part of the world. 

Despite wars and terrorists attacks, Israel offers all its citizens, men and women, Jews, Christians, Muslims and, others including 1.5 million Arabs, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to vote, access to independent courts and all other democratic rights. 

Nowhere has President Obama’s lack of judgment been more stunning than in his dealings with Israel. 

It breaks my heart that President Obama treats Israel, our great friend, as a problem, rather than as an ally.  The President seems to genuinely believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies at the heart of every problem in the Middle East.  He said it Cairo in 2009 and again this year.   

President Obama could not be more wrong. 

The uprisings in Tunis, Cairo, Tripoli and elsewhere are not about Israelis and Palestinians. They’re about oppressed people yearning for freedom and prosperity.  Whether those countries become prosperous and free is not about how many apartments Israel builds in Jerusalem.

Today the president doesn’t really have a policy toward the peace process.  He has an attitude.  And let’s be frank about what that attitude is:  he thinks Israel is the problem.  And he thinks the answer is always more pressure on Israel. 

I reject that anti-Israel attitude.  I reject it because Israel is a close and reliable democratic ally.  And I reject it because I know the people of Israel want peace.

Israeli – Palestinian peace is further away now than the day Barack Obama came to office.  But that does not have to be a permanent situation.

We must recognize that peace will only come if everyone in the region perceives clearly that America stands strongly with Israel. 

I would take a new approach.

First, I would never undermine Israel’s negotiating position, nor pressure it to accept borders which jeopardize security and its ability to defend itself.

Second, I would not pressure Israel to negotiate with Hamas or a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, unless Hamas renounces terror, accepts Israel’s right to exist, and honors the previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. In short, Hamas needs to cease being a terrorist group in both word and deed as a first step towards global legitimacy.

Third, I would ensure our assistance to the Palestinians immediately ends if the teaching of hatred in Palestinian classrooms and airwaves continues. That incitement must end now.

Fourth, I would recommend cultivating and empowering moderate forces in Palestinian society.

When the Palestinians have leaders who are honest and capable, who appreciate the rule of law, who understand that war against Israel has doomed generations of Palestinians to lives of bitterness, violence, and poverty – then peace will come.

The Middle East is changing before our eyes—but our government has not kept up.  It abandoned the promotion of democracy just as Arabs were about to seize it.  It sought to cozy up to dictators just as their own people rose against them.  It downplayed our principles and distanced us from key allies.

All this was wrong, and these policies have failed.  The Administration has abandoned them, and at the price of American leadership.  A region that since World War II has looked to us for security and progress now wonders where we are and what we’re up to.

The next president must do better. Today, in our own Republican Party, some look back and conclude our projection of strength and defense of freedom was a product of different times and different challenges.  While times have changed, the nature of the challenge has not. 

In the 1980s, we were up against a violent, totalitarian ideology bent on subjugating the people and principles of the West.  While others sought to co-exist, President Reagan instead sought victory.  So must we, today.  For America is exceptional, and we have the moral clarity to lead the world.

It is not wrong for Republicans to question the conduct of President Obama’s military leadership in Libya.  There is much to question.  And it is not wrong for Republicans to debate the timing of our military drawdown in Afghanistan— though my belief is that General Petraeus’ voice ought to carry the most weight on that question.   

What is wrong, is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world.  History repeatedly warns us that in the long run, weakness in foreign policy costs us and our children much more than we’ll save in a budget line item. 

America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment, and withdrawal.  It does not need a second one.

Our enemies in the War on Terror, just like our opponents in the Cold War, respect and respond to strength.  Sometimes strength means military intervention.  Sometimes it means diplomatic pressure.  It always means moral clarity in word and deed. 

That is the legacy of Republican foreign policy at its best, and the banner our next Republican President must carry around the world.   

Our ideals of economic and political freedom, of equality and opportunity for all citizens, remain the dream of people in the Middle East and throughout the world.  As America stands for these principles, and stands with our friends and allies, we will help the Middle East transform this moment of turbulence into a firmer, more lasting opportunity for freedom, peace, and progress.  http://www.timpawlenty.com/articles/no-retreat-from-freedoms-rise-gov-tim-pawlentys-remarks-at-council-on-foreign-relations
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 3968


« Reply #446 on: June 29, 2011, 12:26:47 PM »

Doug,

I like Pawlenty.

I am not sure why the DC/MSM (even Fox too)  press keeps writing him off though.

Bachmann is clearly way in over her head.

So was "Brock" though, though he had a lot of savvy people surrounding him who knew the ropes and pushed him through and gave him his script.

Bachmann does not have the same politically wise sheisters surrounding her as she just keeps saying one thing after another (like mixing up John Wayne Gacy with John Wayne).  Who is advising her?   These kinds of mistakes really makes her sound absolutely stupid.  Too bad there is not a conservative movement of Jews like the liberal Jews jornolist, Soros, and the rest who got "Brock" into power doing the same for a Republican. 

As Levin would say - "OK I SAID IT".  Yes liberal Jews got Brock in power!  Dammit!
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 30631


« Reply #447 on: June 29, 2011, 12:30:53 PM »

Thoughtful piece by Pawlenty.  Would you please post in the Foreign Affairs thread as well?  I would like to discuss it there in the context of that thread instead of in the context of the 2012 campaign.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 3968


« Reply #448 on: June 29, 2011, 12:44:47 PM »

Are some liberal fellow Jews awakening that they may really have to give up their capatilistic freedom lifestyle if they keep voting for Brock and the rest of the crat party?   Well their not just giving away Israel.  They are giving away this great country too.  Wake up you fools.

***Some of these traditional Democrats now say, to their own astonishment, that they’ll consider voting for a Republican in 2012.***

WOW!  Although I will have to see this to believe on election day....

***Jewish Dems losing faith in Obama
By: Ben Smith
June 29, 2011 04:32 AM EDT
 
David Ainsman really began to get worried about President Barack Obama’s standing with his fellow Jewish Democrats when a recent dinner with his wife and two other couples — all Obama voters in 2008 — nearly turned into a screaming match.

Ainsman, a prominent Democratic lawyer and Pittsburgh Jewish community leader, was trying to explain that Obama had just been offering Israel a bit of “tough love” in his May 19 speech on the Arab Spring. His friends disagreed — to say the least.

One said he had the sense that Obama “took the opportunity to throw Israel under the bus.” Another, who swore he wasn’t getting his information from the mutually despised Fox News, admitted he’d lost faith in the president.

If several dozen interviews with POLITICO are any indication, a similar conversation is taking place in Jewish communities across the country. Obama’s speech last month seems to have crystallized the doubts many pro-Israel Democrats had about Obama in 2008 in a way that could, on the margins, cost the president votes and money in 2012 and will not be easy to repair. (See also: President Obama's Middle East speech: Details complicate 'simple' message)

“It’s less something specific than that these incidents keep on coming,” said Ainsman.

The immediate controversy sparked by the speech was Obama’s statement that Israel should embrace the country’s 1967 borders, with “land swaps,” as a basis for peace talks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized on the first half of that phrase and the threat of a return to what Israelis sometimes refer to as “Auschwitz borders.” (Related: Obama defends border policy)

Obama’s Jewish allies stressed the second half: that land swaps would — as American negotiators have long contemplated — give Israel security in its narrow middle, and the deal would give the country international legitimacy and normalcy.

But the noisy fray after the speech mirrored any number of smaller controversies. Politically hawkish Jews and groups such as the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Emergency Committee for Israel pounded Obama in news releases. White House surrogates and staffers defended him, as did the plentiful American Jews who have long wanted the White House to lean harder on Israel’s conservative government.

Based on the conversations with POLITICO, it’s hard to resist the conclusion that some kind of tipping point has been reached.

Most of those interviewed were center-left American Jews and Obama supporters — and many of them Democratic donors. On some core issues involving Israel, they’re well to the left of Netanyahu and many Americans: They refer to the “West Bank,” not to “Judea and Samaria,” fervently supported the Oslo peace process and Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and believe in the urgency of creating a Palestinian state.

But they are also fearful for Israel at a moment of turmoil in a hostile region when the moderate Palestinian Authority is joining forces with the militantly anti-Israel Hamas.

“It’s a hot time, because Israel is isolated in the world and, in particular, with the Obama administration putting pressure on Israel,” said Rabbi Neil Cooper, leader of Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Philadelphia’s Main Line suburbs, who recently lectured his large, politically connected congregation on avoiding turning Israel into a partisan issue.

Some of these traditional Democrats now say, to their own astonishment, that they’ll consider voting for a Republican in 2012. And many of those who continue to support Obama said they find themselves constantly on the defensive in conversations with friends.

“I’m hearing a tremendous amount of skittishness from pro-Israel voters who voted for Obama and now are questioning whether they did the right thing or not,” said Betsy Sheerr, the former head of an abortion-rights-supporting, pro-Israel PAC in Philadelphia, who said she continues to support Obama, with only mild reservations. “I’m hearing a lot of ‘Oh, if we’d only elected Hillary instead.’”

Even Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who spoke to POLITICO to combat the story line of Jewish defections, said she’d detected a level of anxiety in a recent visit to a senior center in her South Florida district.

“They wanted some clarity on the president’s view,” she said. “I answered their questions and restored some confidence that maybe was a little shaky, [rebutted] misinformation and the inaccurate reporting about what was said.”

Wasserman Schultz and other top Democrats say the storm will pass. (Related: Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Jewish voters will stick with Obama)

They point out to anyone who will listen that beyond the difficult personal relationship of Obama and Netanyahu, beyond a tense, stalled peace process, there’s a litany of good news for supporters of Israel: Military cooperation is at an all-time high; Obama has supplied Israel with a key missile defense system; the U.S. boycotted an anti-racism conference seen as anti-Israel; and America is set to spend valuable international political capital beating back a Palestinian independence declaration at the United Nations in September.

The qualms that many Jewish Democrats express about Obama date back to his emergence onto the national scene in 2007. Though he had warm relations with Chicago’s Jewish community, he had also been friends with leading Palestinian activists, unusual in the Democratic establishment. And though he seemed to be trying to take a conventionally pro-Israel stand, he was a novice at the complicated politics of the America-Israel relationship, and his sheer inexperience showed at times.

At the 2007 AIPAC Policy Conference, Obama professed his love for Israel but then seemed, - to some who were there for his informal talk - to betray a kind of naivete about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians: “The biggest enemy” he said, using the same rhetoric he applied to American politics, was “not just terrorists, it’s not just Hezbollah, it’s not just Hamas — it’s also cynicism.”

At the next year’s AIPAC conference, he again botched the conflict’s code, committing himself to an “undivided Jerusalem” and then walking it back the next day.

Those doubts and gaffes lingered, even for many of the majority who supported him.

“There’s an inclination in the community to not trust this president’s gut feel on Israel and every time he sets out on a path that’s troubling you do get this ‘ouch’ reaction from the Jewish Community because they’re distrustful of him,” said the president of a major national Jewish organization, who declined to be quoted by name to avoid endangering his ties to the White House.

Many of Obama’s supporters, then and now, said they were unworried about the political allegiance of Jewish voters. Every four years, they say, Republicans claim to be making inroads with American Jews, and every four years, voters and donors go overwhelmingly for the Democrats, voting on a range of issues that include, but aren’t limited to Israel.

But while that pattern has held, Obama certainly didn’t take anything for granted. His 2008 campaign dealt with misgivings with a quiet, intense, and effective round of communal outreach.


“When Obama was running, there was a lot of concern among the guys in my group at shul, who are all late-30s to mid-40s, who I hang out with and daven with and go to dinner with, about Obama,” recalled Scott Matasar, a Cleveland lawyer who’s active in Jewish organizations.

Matasar remembers his friends’ worries over whether Obama was “going to be OK for Israel.” But then Obama met with the community’s leaders during a swing through Cleveland in the primary, and the rabbi at the denominationally conservative synagogue Matasar attends — “a real ardent Zionist and Israel defender” — came back to synagogue convinced.

“That put a lot of my concerns to rest for my friends who are very much Israel hawks but who, like me, aren’t one-issue voters.”

Now Matasar says he’s appalled by Obama’s “rookie mistakes and bumbling” and the reported marginalization of a veteran peace negotiator, Dennis Ross, in favor of aides who back a tougher line on Netanyahu. He’s the most pro-Obama member of his social circle but is finding the president harder to defend.

“He’d been very ham-handed in the way he presented [the 1967 border announcement] and the way he sprung this on Netanyahu,” Matasar said.

A Philadelphia Democrat and pro-Israel activist, Joe Wolfson, recalled a similar progression.

“What got me past Obama in the recent election was Dennis Ross — I heard him speak in Philadelphia and I had many of my concerns allayed,” Wolfson said. “Now, I think I’m like many pro-Israel Democrats now who are looking to see whether we can vote Republican.”

That, perhaps, is the crux of the political question: The pro-Israel Jewish voters and activists who spoke to POLITICO are largely die-hard Democrats, few of whom have ever cast a vote for a Republican to be president. Does the new wave of Jewish angst matter?

One place it might is fundraising. Many of the Clinton-era Democratic mega-donors who make Israel their key issue, the most prominent of whom is the Los Angeles Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban, never really warmed to Obama, though Saban says he will vote for the Democrat and write him a check if asked.

A top-dollar Washington fundraiser aimed at Jewish donors in Miami last week raised more than $1 million from 80 people, and while one prominent Jewish activist said the DNC had to scramble to fill seats, seven-figure fundraisers are hard to sneer at.

Even people writing five-figure checks to Obama, though, appeared in need of a bit of bucking up.

“We were very reassured,” Randi Levine, who attended the event with her husband, Jeffrey, a New York real estate developer, told POLITICO.

Philadelphia Jewish Democrats are among the hosts of another top-dollar event June 30. David Cohen, a Comcast executive and former top aide to former Gov. Ed Rendell, said questions about Obama’s position on Israel have been a regular, if not dominant, feature of his attempts to recruit donors.

“I takes me about five minutes of talking through the president’s position and the president’s speech, and the uniform reaction has been, ‘I guess you’re right, that’s not how I saw it covered,’” he said.

Others involved in the Philadelphia event, however, said they think Jewish doubts are taking a fundraising toll.

“We’re going to raise a ton of money, but I don’t know if we’re going to hit our goals,” said Daniel Berger, a lawyer who is firmly in the “peace camp” and said he blamed the controversy on Netanyahu’s intransigence.
 
 © 2011 POLITICO LLC****
 
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5818


« Reply #449 on: June 29, 2011, 01:43:03 PM »

CCP, Interesting, I agree.  Each of these people have their role to play.  Ours is in the armchair telling them what their role is. smiley The best thing Michele Bachmann can do IMO is hold Republican feet to the fire from inside of congress.  Demint in the senate is doing that also.  Her Presidential run, to the extent that it goes well, increases her power in that role.  When the key primaries hit, people I think are going to look at who has governed and who can win in the general election and that is a challenge all of them have to demonstrate.

Pawlenty I think has gotten excellent attention from punditry and opinion leaders and access to the shows.  He is one who has the experience and has done his homework.  His struggle is to poll as voter's first choice, not just win a mildly favorable reaction.  He needs to win enough support to compete and stay relevant and he needs to raise money.  https://action.timpawlenty.com/contribute   wink  His strengths (consistent, conservative and qualified) will help him more later in the process if he makes it that far.

Over the media, he comes across as the ordinary guy.  Not a chiseled face for Mt Rushmore nor a Barry White voice for network anchor.  Advisers and pundits tell him to come across stronger and be more exciting.  There are limits to that.  He needs to be his best but be himself, not something he isn't.  He needs keep the focus on direction and competence.
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 7 8 [9] 10 11 ... 42 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!