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Author Topic: 2012 Presidential  (Read 135097 times)
DougMacG
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« Reply #1150 on: December 22, 2011, 01:24:47 PM »

(already covered in posts while I typed...)
The points Crafty makes are reason for people like Hannity to attack him as he did this week.  Ron Paul has big money, is weakening other candidates and could do big damage as a third party candidate.  That makes things harder but does not guarantee Obama victory IMHO.  

CNN should be building him up for that but just can't resist the temptation of the only thing racist ever found to be even remotely tied to tea party or Republicans.  

The confusion of the candidates and the public over foreign policy right now is true.  I doubt that the tinder boxes around the world in Nov 2012 will look so safe and stable that the let 'em all have nukes and do what they want approach will win.  That is not the polling or intelligence that the current commander of drones is receiving.

Ron Paul in a 3 way debate would add uncertainty to both sides.  It is one more person to attack and answer the record and statements of the incumbent, not just the Republican.  H.W. Bush was taking the criticisms from two directions, not counting his loss of support from conservatives.

I don't see why you get to run for both the endorsement and lose and then run again against the endorsed candidate with no shame.  Ron Paul would be the first to admit he is Republican in name only.  
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1151 on: December 22, 2011, 02:21:45 PM »

Bringing comments from CCP yesterday over here for comment:

"Some great posts with good insight into Gingrich on this board.  Thanks to all...
This comment, "More damaging to his Presidential candidacy is that Mr. Gingrich doesn't seem to understand why anyone is offended."  couple this  with his statement the other day saying something about America is fed up with "the Washington establishment" is enough for me.  I heard him say that and all I could think of is what a hypocrite - reminds me too much of Clinton hypocrisy and deceit."

  - Yes, the Freddie Mac money can't be shaken off.  It ties into all that is wrong.

(CCP continued:) "It really is astounding to hear so many Republicans come out in full force against him.  Even people who are playing it safe and not speaking negatively publicly, are trashing him by their silence and their patent refusal to endorse him.  I am not clear that any big names on the Repub side are for him.  Has anyone heard a single prominent Repub leader come out and forcefully speak up for him - other than maybe John Bolton (who might be his secretary of state)?

  - The Thomas Sowell piece and the Manchester NH endorsements were exceptions in Newt's favor with limited effects.  People have kept their distance.  

"I am shocked at how disliked he appears to be by anyone and everyone who knows him well.  I for one cannot ignore this.  As long as Romney can keep coming out swinging and show me he is in for the fight of this country's life - he is my man.   I am almost there.  Thoughts anyone?"

   - The facts in the Mark Steyn piece and other National Review thrashings on Newt are all true as are the facts in the Sowell piece and Manchester Union Leader in his support.  Newt gives us a mixed bag.  He wants us to count his achievements from the same period where he wants us to discount his misdeeds.  That is fine but every voter needs to sort that out.

GM summed it up with this!: "Oh look, a shiny orbital mirror!"  It took me a while to get it, Newt gets bored or distracted and moves on.  That isn't the right personality for the job at hand.

Romney poses the risk to conservatives of not being conservative enough on several fronts.  His 59 point plan is missing a couple of things besides marketability, but it is non-threatening and gives him many specifics to work with when the heat for specifics really starts coming his way.  Where his plan does not go far enough, those points can be put into the bills by a congress before they hit his desk -if we get the right congress.  Winning the Presidency, House and Senate which are all possible this coming year and that will require the look of extremely steady and competent hands at the top of the ticket.  Romney had small letdowns along the way but was the steadiest of the bunch.  An unsteady or untrusted candidate at the top will have repercussions in the other races.

A moment ago Newt had all the early states.  Rasmussen now has Romney up in Iowa and New Hampshire.  Not in South Carolina but he landed a prime endorsement there.  From the earliest states it will be a race based on momentum - the perception of the ability to win.

Newt rose one month too early.  From that rise he needed to perform only at his best with no unforced errors while he tried to run out the clock.  Instead he walked right into another big blooper, right on top of Romney's own error - the bet.  Newt's rip on capitalism was a far bigger error than Perry forgetting to close the department of energy which shouldn't be a department anyway.  Besides getting a crucial point dead wrong, Newt violated his own rule against those kinds of attacks.  It clearly exacerbated the effects of all the negative attention that was coming anyway.

I find the WSJ (Paul Gigot?) conclusion compelling.  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2112.msg57780#msg57780

"Our world that's coming is a world of narrowing, not widening, choices. It's a world that suits Mr. Romney's skills and history, his knack for operating within constraints and making choices based on data, data, data...  When ideas are new and unfamiliar, they're not executable. When they're executable we need people who can execute."

Secretly I'm still pulling for Rick Perry ("I will try to make Washington DC as inconsequential in your life as I can."), and if it goes to the convention we all get behind Crafty.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 02:28:21 PM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
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« Reply #1152 on: December 22, 2011, 03:30:58 PM »

GM summed it up with this!: "Oh look, a shiny orbital mirror!"  It took me a while to get it, Newt gets bored or distracted and moves on.

I'm glad at least one person catches these.  grin
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1153 on: December 23, 2011, 09:46:08 AM »

PATRICK O'CONNOR and DANNY YADRON
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich lashed out at rival Ron Paul Thursday, despite a promise to focus his campaign on "positive ideas,'' saying that Mr. Paul wasn't taking foreign threats to the U.S. and Israel seriously.

The former House Speaker's criticism highlighted how Mr. Paul, a Texas congressman, has become a potent force in the Republican contest, overtaking Mr. Gingrich recently in public-opinion surveys of Iowa as the two jockey to become the leading alternative to Mitt Romney.

Mr. Paul has gained ground in part through a barrage of campaign advertising—both positive and negative. In one spot, he accuses Mr. Gingrich of "serial hypocrisy" for earning an estimated $1.6 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac and then later criticizing the company for its role in the housing sector downturn.

The former Georgia congressman fired back at Mr. Paul Thursday in a radio interview with conservative commentator John McCaslin. He described Mr. Paul as "a guy who basically says, if the United States were only nice, it wouldn't have had 9/11."

"He doesn't want to blame the bad guys," Mr. Gingrich said. "He dismisses the danger of [an] Iranian nuclear weapon and seems to be indifferent to the idea that Israel could be wiped out."

Mr. Gingrich went on to say the "key to [Mr. Paul's] volunteer base is people who want to legalize drugs."

In response, Paul spokesman Gary Howard said, "Our campaign's volunteer base is made up of concerned Americans, parents, small business owners, home schoolers, students, veterans and others who believe in Congressman Paul's principled message.

"Mr. Gingrich should spend less time insulting these good people and own up to his base of support, which includes the likes of influence peddlers and Freddie Mac executives," he said.

The exchange came as Mr. Gingrich has been attempting to frame the race for the Republican nomination as a two-man contest between himself and Mr. Romney.

On Thursday, Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, declined Mr. Gingrich's offer to participate in a one-on-one debate. Mr. Romney has been looking beyond his GOP rivals in recent days and refocusing his attention on drawing contrasts with President Barack Obama.

Mr. Romney garnered words of support, though not a formal endorsement, from former President George H.W. Bush, who told the Houston Chronicle that the former Massachusetts governor is "the best choice for us." In an interview posted to the paper's website on Thursday, Mr. Bush said, "I just think he's mature and reasonable—not a bomb thrower."

He noted some sensitivity around his words due to the presence in the nominating contest of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. "I like Perry; he's our governor," Mr. Bush told the newspaper.

Separately Thursday, Mr. Romney said that he didn't intend to release his tax returns, though he suggested that could change if he became his party's nominee.

"Down the road, we'll see what happens if I'm the nominee,'' Mr. Romney told reporters in New Hampshire. "I don't have any immediate plans to reduce—or excuse me—release tax returns, but that may change in the future."

Mr. Romney's fortune is estimated to be worth as much as $250 million. He has fulfilled a requirement applying to candidates that he disclose assets, liabilities and financial transactions, listing their value in broad dollar-amount ranges. A tax return would show other information, such as any use of tax breaks and the tax rate Mr. Romney paid on certain assets.

Democrats said that Mr. Romney would be side-stepping normal protocol if he followed through on withholding his tax records.

"Mitt Romney is defying a practice to which every party nominee, Republican and Democrat, has adhered for decades," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said. "Even his father, George Romney, disclosed his tax returns when he ran for president in 1968."

Nominees of both parties have traditionally disclosed their tax returns, though there is no requirement to do so.

President Barack Obama and his 2008 Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, did so in the last election cycle.

Iowans will get a brief reprieve from the negative ads clogging the airwaves over the Christmas weekend, as campaigns will stick with positive spots over that period.

The Romney campaign will air its latest 30-second spot in which Ann Romney touts her husband's character, and the Paul campaign will air an ad in which U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), the congressman's son, testifies to his father's conservative convictions.

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prentice crawford
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« Reply #1154 on: December 24, 2011, 03:23:08 AM »

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has changed his voter registration in New York state from Republican to unaffiliated.
A spokesman for Trump says the businessman and television host changed his affiliation to preserve his option to seek the presidency in 2012.
Special Counsel Michael Cohen said Friday that Trump could enter the race if Republicans fail to nominate a candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama.
He said Trump probably would use his substantial wealth to even the playing field with Obama's re-election campaign.
Cohen said Trump's commitment to hosting TV's "The Apprentice" will keep him from doing anything until May, when the show's season wraps up.
He said Trump filed his voter registration paperwork Thursday.

                             P.C.
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G M
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« Reply #1155 on: December 24, 2011, 03:53:33 AM »

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has changed his voter registration in New York state from Republican to unaffiliated.
A spokesman for Trump says the businessman and television host changed his affiliation to preserve his option to seek the presidency in 2012.
Special Counsel Michael Cohen said Friday that Trump could enter the race if Republicans fail to nominate a candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama.
He said Trump probably would use his substantial wealth to even the playing field with Obama's re-election campaign.
Cohen said Trump's commitment to hosting TV's "The Apprentice" will keep him from doing anything until May, when the show's season wraps up.
He said Trump filed his voter registration paperwork Thursday.

                             P.C.
It's my understanding that his combover's registration remains unchanged.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #1156 on: December 24, 2011, 04:39:56 AM »

Woof,
 If he runs, it will almost guarantee four more for BO. tongue
                                   P.C.
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G M
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« Reply #1157 on: December 24, 2011, 09:35:40 AM »

Woof,
 If he runs, it will almost guarantee four more for BO. tongue
                                   P.C.

He's not running, just another cycle of endless self-promotion.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1158 on: December 24, 2011, 11:40:56 AM »

Although capable of some pungent incisive commentary, he a prfoundly vain and vapid man.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1159 on: December 24, 2011, 12:44:28 PM »

Trump:  "...profoundly vain and vapid man".  - He touts his book 'Art of the Deal' as the best selling business book of all time.  It is a terrible book, all about him and who he knows and nothing about helping the aspiring business person IMHO.  GM is right, he won't run and expose himself to all the negative scrutiny.
-------------
Romney interviewed by WSJ: I post this just as part of the get to know the candidates series.  My theory on Mitt is that he was always more conservative than he admitted in Massachusetts politics.  He can't ever say that and I have nothing really to support it.  This interview exposes I think an efficiency interest in taxation which could lead to a pretty good policy if followed closely.   (Elsewhere on the internet, George Will writes that Mitt, the safe candidate, has so far in his political career won 5 out of 22 primaries.  The 1962 Mets with the most losses since 1899 had a higher winning percentage.)

On Taxes, 'Modeling,' and the Vision Thing
The GOP front-runner says Iran is 'evil,' Newt Gingrich is wrong on judges, and he might consider a value-added tax. He also explains why his penchant for 'data' and analysis won't limit his ability to lead as president.

By JOSEPH RAGO AND PAUL A. GIGOT

Does Mitt Romney have a governing vision, a dominating set of political principles? It's the big question many voters say they have about the GOP presidential candidate. So when the former Massachusetts governor visited the Journal editorial board this week, we put it to him squarely, if perhaps tendentiously.

Voters see in him a smart man, an experienced executive, plenty of managerial expertise, great family—but they also see someone with the soul of a consultant who has 59 economic proposals because he lacks a larger vision of where he'd take the country. What does he think of that critique?

Mr. Romney has been garrulously genial for an hour, but here he shows a hint of annoyance. "I'm not running for president for 59 ideas," he says. "I'm not running for president because the country needs a management consultant or a manager. I'm not even the world's greatest manager. There are a lot better managers out there.

"People who know me from my years at Bain Capital, Bain and Company, the Olympics and Massachusetts wouldn't say he was successful because he was a great manager. They'd say I was successful because I was a leader, that I had a vision of how to change the enterprise, any one of those three enterprises, to make it greater."

And that vision is? Mr. Romney says he's running "to return America to the principles that we were founded upon." He goes on, expanding on his campaign theme, Believe in America: "We have a choice in America to be remaining a merit-based opportunity society that follows the Constitution, or to follow the path of Europe. And I'm the guy who believes in the former. I believe America got it right. I believe Europe got it wrong. I believe America must remain the leader of the world. . . . I am absolutely committed to an American century. I see this as an American century."

He concludes with even more force, "America doesn't need a manager. America needs a leader. The president is failing not just because he's a poor manager. It's because he doesn't know where to lead."

Voters will have to judge the quality of that vision, and how it compares with President Obama's. But there's no doubt it's a contrast with Mr. Romney's visit to our offices in 2007, which became legendary for its appeal to technocratic virtue.

In that meeting the candidate began by declaring "I love data" and kept on extolling data, even "wallowing in data," as a way to reform both business and government. He said he'd bring in management consultants to turn around the government, mentioning McKinsey, Bain and the Boston Consulting Group. Mr. Romney seemed to elevate the power of positive technocratic thinking to a governing philosophy.

So it is also notable that now Mr. Romney describes the core failure of Mr. Obama's economic agenda as faith in "a wise group of governmental bureaucrats" rather than political and economic freedom. "It is a refrain that we have seen throughout history where smart people are convinced that smart people ought to be able to guide an economy better than hordes of individuals pursuing their self-interest," Mr. Romney says, "the helter-skelter of free people choosing their course in life."

The Republican presidential candidate says he never intended to run for office again after 2008—"I went back and bought a home which was far too expensive and grandiose for the purposes of another campaign," he jokes. He was drawn back into public life amid Mr. Obama's bid to "fundamentally transform" the country, to use the president's own words, into "an entitlement society," to use Mr. Romney's.

"America can continue to lead the world from a values standpoint, from an economic standpoint, and from a military standpoint," Mr. Romney avers. He says the coming election represents "a very simple choice" between Mr. Obama's "European social democrat" vision and "a merit-based opportunity society—an American-style society—where people earn their rewards based upon their education, their work, their willingness to take risks and their dreams."

Yet on that score—risk-taking—Mr. Romney's campaign is sometimes timid, in particular on pro-growth tax reform. His 59-point economic plan, released this autumn, would maintain the Bush tax rates, cut the corporate rate to 25% from 35%, and eliminate the capital gains and dividend tax for those who earn less than $200,000.

But his plan doesn't say what a more efficient, competitive code would look like, only that it would be desirable. Even Mr. Obama's Simpson-Bowles deficit commission was bolder with its recommendations to lower rates across all brackets, including the top marginal rate to 23%, while broadening the tax base and cleaning out the IRS warren of deductions and subsidies.

Mr. Romney says he has "a positive inclination" toward Simpson-Bowles, with some exceptions, though the general framework "is a course that I would intend to pursue if I were to become president." But pressed for specifics, he says that "Partially, I'm burdened by my experience in the private sector. I worked for a number of years as you know in the management consulting field."

Here the technocrat re-emerges. Mr. Romney mentions pricing options for Corning Inc. fiber optics, a case study from his Bain salad days. "We spent six months with a team of people modeling and analyzing something as simple as that to make what we thought was the right decision," he recalls. "I tend to be highly analytical, driven by data, like to gather the input of a lot of people, and then model out the various outcomes that might occur under different scenarios."

When it comes to "something as extensive as the U.S. tax code," Mr. Romney continues, "I simply don't have the team . . . to be able to model out what will happen to all of the different income groups in the country, what will happen to the different sectors of our economy based on dramatic changes."

He notes that "my 59-point modest plan are immediate steps I'll take on Day One and that the steps I will take Day Two include moving toward a Simpson-Bowles-style lower tax rate, a broader base tax system. . . . People say, 'Well, let me see that plan.' It's like, 'That's going to take a lot more analysis and modeling than I have the capacity to do in the confines of a campaign.' But I will campaign for lower tax rates and a broader base of taxation."

What about his reform principles? Mr. Romney talks only in general terms. "Moving to a consumption-based system is something which is very attractive to me philosophically, but I've not been able to sufficiently model it out to jump on board a consumption-based tax. A flat tax, a true flat tax is also attractive to me. What I like—I mean, I like the simplification of a flat tax. I also like removing the distortion in our tax code for certain classes of investment. And the advantage of a flat tax is getting rid of some of those distortions."

Since Mr. Romney mentioned a consumption tax, would he rule out a value-added tax?

He says he doesn't "like the idea" of layering a VAT onto the current income tax system. But he adds that, philosophically speaking, a VAT might work as a replacement for some part of the tax code, "particularly at the corporate level," as Paul Ryan proposed several years ago. What he doesn't do is rule a VAT out.

Amid such generalities, it's hard not to conclude that the candidate is trying to avoid offering any details that might become a political target. And he all but admits as much. "I happen to also recognize," he says, "that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn't been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you're gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election."

That also seems to explain his refusal to propose cuts in individual tax rates, except for people who make less than $200,000, which not coincidentally is also Mr. Obama's threshold for defining "the rich."

"The president will characterize anyone running for office, and me in particular, as just in there to lower taxes for rich people, and that is not my intent," Mr. Romney says. "My intent is to simplify our tax code and create growth, and so I will also look to see whether the top one-half of 1% or one-thousandth of 1% or top 1% are still paying roughly the same share of the total tax burden that they have today. I'm not looking to lower the share paid for by the top, the top earners like myself."

But doesn't that merely concede Mr. Obama's philosophical argument? "No," Mr. Romney responds, clipping his sentences. "I'm just saying that I'm not looking to change the deal. I'm not looking to go after high-income individuals like myself. I'm not looking to differentially favor. I'm looking to provide a system which continues to recognize that people of higher income pay a larger portion of the tax burden and I'm not looking, I'm not running for office trying to find a way to lower the tax burden paid for by the very high, very highest income individuals. What I'm solving for is growth."

The growth point is crucial to a successful campaign, and Mr. Romney is betting that he can win by making a better case than Mr. Obama for how economies grow. But Mr. Romney also seems to think that by not calling for lower tax rates he can avoid a debate over taxes and equality. Mr. Obama won't let that happen. The danger for Mr. Romney—and other Republicans if he is the nominee—is that in trying to dodge the argument Mr. Romney will cede the point to Democrats and end up losing the growth argument too.

Mr. Romney is less equivocal on two other campaign issues—the judiciary and Iran. Asked about Newt Gingrich's proposals for constraining judges, he hits back hard. "The idea of the Congress being able to draw in the judiciary, subpoena . . . and remove courts is in my view a violation of the powers that is part of our constitutional heritage," he says. "I think Speaker Gingrich said that if he disagreed with the Supreme Court on an issue like gay marriage, he might decide not to carry it out. Well, if that's the case for President Gingrich, might not that be the case for President Obama?" He goes on to call the former House speaker's proposals "unusual in the extreme."

As for Iran's nuclear program, Mr. Romney sounds a note of moral certitude reminiscent of, well, George W. Bush and the axis of evil. "I see Iran's leadership as evil. When the president stands up and says that we have shared interests with all the people in the world, I disagree. There are people who are evil. There are people who have as their intent the subjugation and repression of other people; they are evil. America is good.

"I mean if we go back to Truman," he adds, he "was able to draw a line between Communism and freedom, and having drawn that line, America was able to define a foreign policy that has guided us well until this president. I applaud Ronald Reagan's brilliance in identifying the Soviet Union as an evil empire. I see Iran as intent on building, once again, an evil empire based upon the resources of the Middle East."

So what would he do about it? "I do not have a top secret security clearance at this stage to be able to define precisely what kinds of actions we could take." But he adds that "the range includes something of a blockade nature, to something of a surgical strike nature, to something of a decapitate the regime nature, to eliminate the military threat of Iran altogether."

Some experts have told him that "the surgical strike option" would be inadequate because Iran could retaliate against our friends in the region. "And therefore if we were to be serious about going after Iran's nuclear capacity, we would have to be prepared to go in a more aggressive way," he says. The only thing he rules out are "boots on the ground." If Mr. Romney gets the nomination, he seems prepared to make Iran and the bomb a major issue.

Which brings us back to the campaign and why he hasn't broken above 25% in the polls. The former governor seems unconcerned. He compares himself to John McCain, who he says had the same problem in 2008 but won the nomination. He says no other candidate has been able to maintain any higher support, and that his strategy is to steadily build on that "floor" of 25% caucus by primary until he's the nominee.

"Now I happen to believe that if I were to say some truly incendiary things, that there is in our party such, such anger about this president, for good reason, that if you're willing to say some really vehemently, incendiary things that you can get a lot of quick support," he says. But then "you're gonna kill yourself in the general election."

Mr. Romney rarely says incendiary things, which is why many Republicans think he is the most electable candidate. But it is also why he can be less than inspiring. His challenge—both to win the nomination and especially to beat Mr. Obama—is to persuade voters that the data-driven, economic-modeling, analytical manager can also be a leader.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 12:46:47 PM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
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« Reply #1160 on: December 24, 2011, 01:27:33 PM »

**Actually getting things done trumps "big ideas".

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/12/24/gingrich-also-fails-to-qualify-for-virginia-ballot/

Gingrich also fails to qualify for Virginia ballot; Update: Gingrich promises write-in campaign; Update: Are write-ins for primaries illegal in VA?
 

posted at 9:15 am on December 24, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
 





Hey, what’s the big deal?  It’s only, er, the state in which Gingrich currently lives:
 

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has failed to qualify for Virginia’s March 6 Republican primary, a development that complicates his bid to win the GOP presidential nomination.
 
“After verification, RPV has determined that Newt Gingrich did not submit required 10k signatures and has not qualified for the VA primary,” the Republican Party of Virginia announced early Saturday on its Twitter website.
 
This follows the failure of Rick Perry to make the primary ballot, announced earlier last night.  Which is more egregious?  Perry had a lot more money and resources on which to call to get his ducks in a row than Gingrich, but this is Gingrich’s home state now, and has been for the last 12 years.  A basic test in the primaries is whether a candidate can win his home state, so the failure to even qualify for the ballot is an even worse failure.
 
The news couldn’t come at a worse time, either.  Gingrich’s numbers had already been falling in Iowa, but there had been a sense that the slide had been arrested, if not started to reverse itself a little.  This failure calls into question Gingrich’s managerial competence all over again, which has taken a beating throughout this campaign — first when his staff walked out on him, and later when former House colleagues began to recall the circumstances of the rebellion that took place just a couple of years into his speakership.
 
The Virginia GOP can’t be enjoying this, either.  Right now it looks like their early-ish March 6th primary will be an embarrassing flop, offering commonwealth Republicans a choice only between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.  One has to wonder whether the state party will be spending their Christmas holiday looking for loopholes to add the rest of the field to the ballot — and if they do, how they plan to defend themselves against likely court challenges from Romney, Paul, or their supporters.  Right now, the suddenly impermeable ballot of Virginia is making the case for Romney on competence alone.
 
Drink heavily the eggnog this evening and next, my friends.
 
Update: Commenter Cindy Munford asks, “Mr. Morrissey, why didn’t Rep. Bachmann, Sen. Santorum, and Gov. Huntsman even bother to submit petitions? It sure makes it seem like Virginia wasn’t a priority, why is that?”  Er … why are you asking my dad?  Oh — “Mr. Morrissey” is me? Well, OK.  Bachmann and Santorum don’t have the resources to put people on the ground in Virginia; they’re both sinking everything they have into Iowa.  I don’t think anyone expected them to qualify for the Virginia ballot.  Huntsman does have considerable resources, and he should have been able to compete in Virginia, so I’m not sure why he didn’t bother to try.
 
Dad says hello, by the way.
 
Update II: Team Gingrich lays this at the feet of Virginia, and promises “an aggressive write-in campaign”:
 

“Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot.  Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates.  We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice.”
 
Well, the same “failed system” allowed six GOP and six Democratic campaigns to qualify for the ballot in 2008 — including, as Doug Mataconis reminds us, those establishment candidates Alan Keyes [see below, no] and Dennis Kucinich.  I’m pretty sure neither of those campaigns were drowning in cash this time four years ago, either. As for the potential success of a write-in campaign, it’s difficult to see how that will work when Gingrich’s team couldn’t even get enough people on the street to sign their own names to petitions, let alone write his name on a ballot.
 
Update III: Steve Eggleston offers a devastating comment to Team Gingrich’s attempt to accuse Virginia of blocking ballot access:
 

I’d like to know whether he considers Bachmann, Huntsman, or Santorum not a major candidate, or whether he realizes none of those three so much as submitted signatures.
 
Are they paying attention at all?
 
Update IV: Actually, Doug’s wrong [see next upate] — Keyes wasn’t on 2008 GOP primary ballot, but it did have six candidates: Paul, Romney, McCain, Fred Thompson, Huckabee, and Giuliani.  Democrats had six as well: Obama, Kucinich, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Biden, and John Edwards.  And as I recall, the Fred Thompson campaign wasn’t exactly known for its energy and accomplishment.
 
Update V: I’m the one who got Doug’s tweet wrong, not Doug; he said Keyes got on the ballot in 2000, not 2008, which is true and goes directly to the same point.  But even worse, it appears that the pledge to run a write-in campaign in Virginia has one eeensy little obstacle …. it’s illegal:
 

At all elections except primary elections it shall be lawful for any voter to vote for any person other than the listed candidates for the office by writing or hand printing the person’s name on the official ballot…
 
Doug marvels at how a major campaign could get this so wrong:
 

That’s the first sentence of Virginia Code Section 24.2-644(C). Considering that Newt is a resident of the Commonwealth one would think his campaign would be aware of such things. Actually, one would think his campaign would have been on top of this thing months ago.
 
Well … yeah.
 
Update VI: Some are asking if the requirements for petition signatures changed between 2008 and 2010.  They did in 2010, but they appear to have gotten easier to collect, not more difficult.  Instead of requiring a Social Security number for each signature, the law was changed from shall to may, only for the last four digits of the SSN.
 
Update VII: So how long did Perry, Gingrich, and everyone else have to collect their signatures?  Steve Eggleston says more than five months:
 

In case you were in a cave this week, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann failed to turn in any signatures to get on Virginia’s March 6 Presidential primary ballot, while Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich had enough of their under-12,000 signatures (11,911 and 11,050 respectively) signatures invalidated by the Republican Party of Virginia that they too missed the 10,000 (with at least 400 from each of the 11 Congressional districts). …
 
For those of you wondering whether the 10,000 threshhold is so strenuous, nobody but the best-funded candidates can make the grade, do note tha the candidates could start collecting signatures back on July 1, and thus had over 5 1/2 months to get to 10,000. Further, there were 6 candidates on the 2008 Republican and 6 candidates on the 2008 Democrat Virginia primary ballots, including Dennis Kucinich on the Democrat side.
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ccp
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« Reply #1161 on: December 24, 2011, 02:29:05 PM »

GM,

Ironic you posted with the word "trump".

I thought you were going to post that Trump is going to run as an independent.

As that too would qualify for a "ayfkm" titled thread.

Hopefully Paul can get knocked out with this racial stuff.   If he was really a party to this stuff I have no clue how in high heaven he could/should get his name on any ballot.  If any of this is confirmed cannot the Rep party throw him out?

Of course he could run as a third party but the Repubs should do a
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G M
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« Reply #1162 on: December 24, 2011, 02:46:26 PM »

ccp,

Were Ron Paul not in the early stages of dementia, even he would recognize he has no chance and than only his band of cultists like him.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1163 on: December 24, 2011, 07:02:25 PM »

Let us remind ourselves about the good of RP too.

RP is the ONLY candidate who can easily rattle off real big cuts, right away.  He does so fearlessly.

RP has excellent analysis of the Fed, interest rates, and monetary policy.

RP is both sincere and fierce in his passion for the Constitution.

Our foreign policy has been incoherent in many ways, and many of his supporters are simply coming from a place of "Minding your own business is good general policy".  This is not an irrational impulse.  RP applies this to the right of the American people to be left alone by their government.   

All these things are substantial and he has raised the discussion by bringing them to the table.

Unfortunately a chain is no stronger than its weak links and he has links that are genuinely defective.
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G M
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« Reply #1164 on: December 24, 2011, 07:57:48 PM »

Let us remind ourselves about the good of RP too.

RP is the ONLY candidate who can easily rattle off real big cuts, right away.  He does so fearlessly.

**He also does so cluelessly. I'm a fan of big cuts, but they have to be done carefully to avoid unintended consequences. RP being unelectable, pays no such attention to the details.

RP has excellent analysis of the Fed, interest rates, and monetary policy.

RP is both sincere and fierce in his passion for the Constitution.

**For HIS interpretation of the constitution, which is more than a little questionable.

Our foreign policy has been incoherent in many ways, and many of his supporters are simply coming from a place of "Minding your own business is good general policy".  This is not an irrational impulse.  RP applies this to the right of the American people to be left alone by their government.  

**The siren song of isolationism will always be a subcurrent in American thought. On an emotional level, I find it appealing as well, but geopolitics is no place for knee-jerk emotionalism. Cold logic applied to the long term saves American lives.

All these things are substantial and he has raised the discussion by bringing them to the table.

Unfortunately a chain is no stronger than its weak links and he has links that are genuinely defective.

**More defective links than a Mr. T starter kit made by the lowest bidder in China.

« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 08:57:36 PM by G M » Logged
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« Reply #1165 on: December 26, 2011, 10:58:43 AM »

The American Free Press, which markets books like “The Invention of the Jewish People” and “March of the Titans: A History of the White Race,” is urging its subscribers to help it send hundreds of copies of Ron Paul’s collected speeches to voters in New Hampshire. The book, it promises, will “Help Dr. Ron Paul Win the G.O.P. Nomination in 2012!”
Don Black, director of the white nationalist Web site Stormfront, said in an interview that several dozen of his members were volunteering for Mr. Paul’s presidential campaign, and a site forum titled “Why is Ron Paul such a favorite here?” has no fewer than 24 pages of comments. “I understand he wins many fans because his monetary policy would hurt Jews,” read one.
Far-right groups like the Militia of Montana say they are rooting for Mr. Paul as a stalwart against government tyranny.
Mr. Paul’s surprising surge in polls is creating excitement within a part of his political base that has been behind him for decades but overshadowed by his newer fans on college campuses and in some liberal precincts who are taken with his antiwar, anti-drug-laws messages.
The white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied behind his candidacy have not exactly been warmly welcomed. “I wouldn’t be happy with that,” Mr. Paul said in an interview Friday when asked about getting help from volunteers with anti-Jewish or antiblack views.
But he did not disavow their support. “If they want to endorse me, they’re endorsing what I do or say — it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say,” said Mr. Paul, who is now running strong in Iowa for the Republican nomination.
The libertarian movement in American politics has long had two overlapping but distinct strains. One, backed to some degree by wealthy interests, is focused largely on economic freedom and dedicated to reducing taxes and regulation through smaller government. The other is more focused on personal liberty and constraints on government built into the Constitution, which at its extreme has helped fuel militant antigovernment sentiment.
Mr. Paul has operated at the nexus of the two, often espousing positions at odds with most of the Republican Party but assembling a diverse and loyal following attracted by his adherence to libertarian principles.
Mr. Paul’s calls for the end of the Federal Reserve system, a cessation of aid to Israel and all other nations and an overall diminishment of government power have natural appeal among far-right, niche political groups. Aides say that much of the support is unsolicited and that it is unfair to overlook the larger number of mainstream voters now backing him.
But a look at the trajectory of Mr. Paul’s career shows that he and his closest political allies either wittingly or unwittingly courted disaffected white voters with extreme views as they sought to forge a movement from the nether region of American politics, where the far right and the far left sometimes converge.
In May, Mr. Paul reiterated in an interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC that he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing segregation. He said that he supported its intent, but that parts of it violated his longstanding belief that government should not dictate how property owners behave. He has been featured in videos of the John Birch Society, which campaigned against the Civil Rights Act, warning, for instance, that the United Nations threatens American sovereignty.
In the mid-1990s, between his two stints as a Texas congressman, Mr. Paul produced a newsletter called The Ron Paul Survival Report, which only months before the Oklahoma City bombings encouraged militias to seek out and expel federal agents in their midst. That edition was titled “Why Militias Scare the Striped Pants Off Big Government.”
An earlier edition of another newsletter he produced, The Ron Paul Political Report, concluded that the need for citizens to arm themselves was only natural, given carjackings by “urban youth who play whites like pianos.” The report, with no byline but written in the first person, said: “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self-defense. For the animals are coming.”
Mike Holmes, former editor of The American Libertarian, who has known Mr. Paul from libertarian circles since the 1970s, contended that the newsletters did not “rise to the level of hate speech.” He added: “It goes more to the level of social commentary. There was no use of any ‘N’-words. It amounted to the style of foul-mouthed punks trying to get inside the gang of paleoconservatives.”
Those newsletters have drawn new scrutiny through Mr. Paul’s two recent presidential campaigns. The New Republic posted several of them online in 2008 and again recently, including a lament about “The Disappearing White Majority.” The conservative Weekly Standard ran an article highlighting the newsletters last week.
Mr. Paul has long repudiated the newsletters, contending that they were written by the staff of his company, Ron Paul & Associates, while he was tending to his obstetrician’s practice and that he did not see some of them until 10 years later. “I disavow those positions,” he said in the interview. “They’re not my positions, and anybody who knows me, they’ve never heard a word of it.”
But production of the newsletters was partly overseen by Lew Rockwell, a libertarian activist who has been a close political aide and adviser to Mr. Paul over the course of decades. At the same time that he was a director for Mr. Paul’s company, Mr. Rockwell called on libertarians to reach out to “cultural and moral traditionalists,” who “reject not only affirmative action, set-asides and quotas, but the 1964 Civil Rights Act and all subsequent laws that force property owners to act against their will.”
Mr. Rockwell and Mr. Paul came to know each other as followers of the free-market Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. Hayek, who argued against socialism and centralized economic planning, a spokesman for Mr. Paul said. They joined with the libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard in the 1970s and 1980s during the early attempts to forge libertarianism into a national party.
Mr. Rockwell was listed in business filings as a director of Ron Paul & Associates from its founding in 1984 through its dissolution in 2001, and was a paid Paul campaign consultant through at least 2002, according to federal campaign records. He was Mr. Paul’s chief of staff during the congressman’s first period in Congress, which began in the 1970s, and championed his successful bid in 1988 for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.
During that nominating battle, a flier produced by Mr. Paul’s opponents accused him of gay-baiting by reporting in one of his newsletters that the government was “lying” about the threat of AIDS and that the virus could be transmitted through “saliva, tears, sweat.” It said that some “AIDS carriers — perhaps out of a pathological hatred — continue to give blood.”
Mr. Paul said Friday “that was never my view at all,” and again blamed his staff. Still, that same year he was quoted in The Houston Post as saying that schools should be free to bar children with AIDS and that the government should stop financing AIDS research and education.
As the Libertarian standard bearer, Mr. Paul won less than 1 percent of the vote. After the election, as libertarians searched for ways to broaden the appeal of their ideology, Mr. Rockwell and Mr. Rothbard advocated a coalition of libertarians and so-called paleoconservatives, who unlike hawkish “neocons” were socially conservative, noninterventionist and opposed to what they viewed as state-enforced multiculturalism.
In the Rothbard-Rockwell Report they started in 1990, Mr. Rothbard called for a “Right Wing Populism,” suggesting that the campaign for governor of Louisiana by David Duke, the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, was a model for “paleolibertarianism.”
“It is fascinating that there was nothing in Duke’s current program or campaign that could not also be embraced by paleoconservatives or paleolibertarians,” he wrote.
Arguing that too many libertarians were embracing a misplaced egalitarianism, Mr. Rockwell wrote in Liberty magazine: “There is nothing wrong with blacks preferring the ‘black thing.’ But paleolibertarians would say the same about whites preferring the ‘white thing’ or Asians the ‘Asian thing.’ ”
Their thinking was hardly embraced by all libertarians. “It was just something that we found abhorrent, and so there was a huge divide,” said Edward H. Crane, the founder of the Cato Institute, a prominent libertarian research center.
Mr. Crane, a longtime critic of Mr. Rockwell, called Mr. Paul’s close association with him “one of the more perplexing things I’ve ever come across in my 67 years.” He added: “I wish Ron would condemn these fringe things that float around because of Rockwell. I don’t believe he believes any of that stuff.”
Mr. Paul said in the interview that he did not, but he declined to condemn Mr. Rockwell, saying he did not want to get in the middle of a fight. “I could understand that, but I could also understand the Rothbard group saying, Why don’t you quit talking to Cato?” he said.
Mr. Paul described Mr. Rockwell and Mr. Rothbard as political provocateurs. “They enjoyed antagonizing people, to tell you the truth, and trying to split people,” he said. “I thought, we’re so small, why shouldn’t we be talking to everybody and bringing people together?”
Nonetheless, Mr. Paul’s newsletters veered into language that would most likely appeal to Mr. Duke’s followers, including the suggestion in 1994 that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
He said he did not discuss the content of the newsletters with Mr. Rockwell because readers never complained. “I was pretty careless about what was going in my own newsletter — that was my biggest fault,” he said.
Mr. Rockwell did not respond to interview requests. Carol Moore, a libertarian opponent of his at the time, said he and his allies had “all evolved” and moderated their views since.
Still, the newsletters had a lasting appeal with the audience Mr. Rockwell and Mr. Rothbard talked about reaching.
Mr. Black of Stormfront said the newsletters helped make him a Ron Paul supporter. “That was a big part of his constituency, the paleoconservatives who think there are race problems in this country,” Mr. Black said.
“We understand that Paul is not a white nationalist, but most of our people support him because of his stand on issues,” Mr. Black said. “We think our race is being threatened through a form of genocide by assimilation, meaning the allowing in of third-world immigrants into the United States.”
Mr. Black said Mr. Paul was attractive because of his “aggressive position on securing our borders,” his criticism of affirmative action and his goal of eliminating the Federal Reserve, which the Stormfront board considers to be essentially a private bank with no government oversight. “Also, our board recognizes that most of the leaders involved in the Fed and the international banking system are Jews.”
Mr. Paul is not unaware of that strain among his supporters. Mr. Crane of the Cato Institute recalled comparing notes with Mr. Paul in the early 1980s about direct mail solicitations for money. When Mr. Crane said that mailing lists of people with the most extreme views seemed to draw the best response, Mr. Paul responded that he found the same thing with a list of subscribers to the Spotlight, a now-defunct publication founded by the holocaust denier Willis A. Carto.
Mr. Paul said he did not recall that conversation, which was first reported in the libertarian publication Reason, and doubted that he would have known what lists were being used on his behalf. Yet he said he would not have a problem seeking support from such a list.
“I’ll go to anybody who I think I can convert to change their viewpoints — so that would be to me incidental,” he said. “I’m always looking at converting people to look at liberty the way I do.”

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1166 on: December 26, 2011, 11:10:49 AM »

tatement from fmr. Ron Paul staffer on Newsletters, Anti-Semitism
 Written By : Eric Dondero
Fmr. Senior Aide, US Cong. Ron Paul, 1997 – 2003
Campaign Coordinator, Ron Paul for Congress, 1995/96
National Organizer, Draft Ron Paul for President, 1991/92
Travel Aide/Personal Asst. Ron Paul, Libertarian for President
1987/88
I have been asked by various media the last few days for my comments, view of the current situation regarding my former boss Ron Paul, as he runs for the presidency on the Republican ticket.
I’ve noticed in some media that my words have been twisted and used for an agenda from both sides. And I wish to set the record straight with media that I trust and know will get the story right: conservative/libertarian-conservative bloggers.
Is Ron Paul a “racist.” In short, No. I worked for the man for 12 years, pretty consistently. I never heard a racist word expressed towards Blacks or Jews come out of his mouth. Not once. And understand, I was his close personal assistant. It’s safe to say that I was with him on the campaign trail more than any other individual, whether it be traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska or Boston, Massachusetts in the presidential race, or across the congressional district to San Antonio or Corpus Christi, Texas.
He has frequently hired blacks for his office staff, starting as early as 1988 for the Libertarian campaign. He has also hired many Hispanics, including his current District staffer Dianna Gilbert-Kile.
One caveat: He is what I would describe as “out of touch,” with both Hispanic and Black culture. Ron is far from being the hippest guy around. He is completely clueless when it comes to Hispanic and Black culture, particularly Mexican-American culture. And he is most certainly intolerant of Spanish and those who speak strictly Spanish in his presence, (as are a number of Americans, nothing out of the ordinary here.)
Is Ron Paul an Anti-Semite? Absolutely No. As a Jew, (half on my mother’s side), I can categorically say that I never heard anything out of his mouth, in hundreds of speeches I listened too over the years, or in my personal presence that could be called, “Anti-Semite.” No slurs. No derogatory remarks.
He is however, most certainly Anti-Israel, and Anti-Israeli in general. He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.
Again, American Jews, Ron Paul has no problem with. In fact, there were a few Jews in our congressional district, and Ron befriended them with the specific intent of winning their support for our campaign. (One synagogue in Victoria, and tiny one in Wharton headed by a well-known Jewish lawyer).
On the incident that’s being talked about in some blog media about the campaign manager directing me to a press conference of our opponent Lefty Morris in Victoria to push back on Anti-Jewish charges from the Morris campaign, yes, that did happen. The Victoria Advocate described the press conference very accurately. Yes, I was asked (not forced), to attend the conference dressed in a Jewish yarlmuke, and other Jewish adornments.
There was another incident when Ron finally agreed to a meeting with Houston Jewish Young Republicans at the Freeport office. He berated them, and even shouted at one point, over their un-flinching support for Israel. So, much so, that the 6 of them walked out of the office. I was left chasing them down the hallway apologizing for my boss.
Is Ron Paul a homo-phobe? Well, yes and no. He is not all bigoted towards homosexuals. He supports their rights to do whatever they please in their private lives. He is however, personally uncomfortable around homosexuals, no different from a lot of older folks of his era.
There were two incidents that I will cite, for the record. One that involved me directly, and another that involved another congressional staffer or two.
(I am revealing this for the very first time, and I’m sure Jim Peron will be quite surprised to learn this.)
In 1988, Ron had a hardcore Libertarian supporter, Jim Peron, Owner of Laissez Faire Books in San Francisco. Jim set up a magnificent 3-day campaign swing for us in the SF Bay Area. Jim was what you would call very openly Gay. But Ron thought the world of him. For 3 days we had a great time trouncing from one campaign event to another with Jim’s Gay lover. The atmosphere was simply jovial between the four of us. (As an aside we also met former Cong. Pete McCloskey during this campaign trip.) We used Jim’s home/office as a “base.” Ron pulled me aside the first time we went there, and specifically instructed me to find an excuse to excuse him to a local fast food restaurant so that he could use the bathroom. He told me very clearly, that although he liked Jim, he did not wish to use his bathroom facilities. I chided him a bit, but he sternly reacted, as he often did to me, Eric, just do what I say. Perhaps “sternly” is an understatement. Ron looked at me directly, and with a very angry look in his eye, and shouted under his breath: “Just do what I say NOW.”
The second incident involved one or two other staffers many years later at the BBQ in Surfside Beach. I was not in direct presence of the incident. But another top staffer, and I believe one of our secretaries, was witnessed to it. This top staffer adores Ron, but was extremely insulted by his behavior, I would even say flabbergasted to the point of considering resigning from his staff over it.
“Bobby,” a well-known and rather flamboyant and well-liked gay man in Freeport came to the BBQ. Let me stress Ron likes Bobby personally, and Bobby was a hardcore campaign supporter. But after his speech, at the Surfside pavilion Bobby came up to Ron with his hand extended, and according to my fellow staffer, Ron literally swatted his hand away.
Again, let me stress. I would not categorize that as “homo-phobic,” but rather just unsettled by being around gays personally. Ron, like many folks his age, very much supports toleration, but chooses not to be around gays on a personal level. It’s a personal choice. And though, it may seem offensive to some, he has every right in my mind to feel and act that way.
Finally, let me make a couple observations. The liberal media is ferociously attacking Ron this morning, on everything from the Newsletters to his various PACs. I’m amused at how off-base they all are. If they are looking for something that went un-explained after many years, it’s the Nadia Hayes incident from the end of the presidential campaign in 1988. I personally am still a little ticked off by this, and surprised that nobody has ever followed up on it. In brief, Nadia was Ron’s longtime business/campaign manager in the 1980s. On the very last day of the presidential campaign, attorneys, accountants, and even Nassau Bay police dept. investigation officials stormed into our campaign office, sealed everything off, rushed us campaign staffers into the storeroom (literally), and for hours on end ruffled through the entire campaign records, file cabinets, and other papers.
Lew Rockwell and Burton Blumert were there too. We were greatly surprised by this. Nadia was eventually convicted of embezzlement and went to jail for 6 months, plus had to pay $140,000 in restitution to Ron.
There were rumors at the time, and long thereafter, that Lew and Burt had pinned it all on Nadia, and that they had their own reasons for the “coup.” For years afterwards, Rockwell, and Blumert had complete control of Ron’s enterprises through Jean McIver and (former JBS/Jesse Helms fundraiser) David “James” Mertz of northern Virginia.
It was easy to pin it all on Nadia. She lived extravagantly, and her husband who owned a boat repair business in Clear Lake, had recently had some serious financial problems.
Nadia never resurfaced, and was never heard from again.
I will attest, that when campaign consultant Tony Payton died of heart failure, in 2002 I believe, I specifically asked Ron if I could look Nadia up, and contact her to let her know that her longtime friend had died, and he reacted sternly to me, expressing that he did not want me to do that, and if I did, there would be serious consequences. I was shocked. And this was one of the reasons I eventually left his staff.
On one other matter, I’d like to express in the strongest terms possible, that the liberal media are focusing in on entirely the wrong aspects regarding controversies on Ron Paul.
It’s his foreign policy that’s the problem; not so much some stupid and whacky things on race and gays he may have said or written in the past.
Ron Paul is most assuredly an isolationist. He denies this charge vociferously. But I can tell you straight out, I had countless arguments/discussions with him over his personal views. For example, he strenuously does not believe the United States had any business getting involved in fighting Hitler in WWII. He expressed to me countless times, that “saving the Jews,” was absolutely none of our business. When pressed, he often times brings up conspiracy theories like FDR knew about the attacks of Pearl Harbor weeks before hand, or that WWII was just “blowback,” for Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy errors, and such.
I would challenge him, like for example, what about the instances of German U-boats attacking U.S. ships, or even landing on the coast of North Carolina or Long Island, NY. He’d finally concede that that and only that was reason enough to counter-attack against the Nazis, not any humanitarian causes like preventing the Holocaust.
There is much more information I could give you on the sheer lunacy of his foreign policy views. Let me just concentrate on one in specific. And I will state this with absolute certainty:
Ron Paul was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11.
He did not want to vote for the resolution. He immediately stated to us staffers, me in particular, that Bush/Cheney were going to use the attacks as a precursor for “invading” Iraq. He engaged in conspiracy theories including perhaps the attacks were coordinated with the CIA, and that the Bush administration might have known about the attacks ahead of time. He expressed no sympathies whatsoever for those who died on 9/11, and pretty much forbade us staffers from engaging in any sort of memorial expressions, or openly asserting pro-military statements in support of the Bush administration.
On the eve of the vote, Ron Paul was still telling us staffers that he was planning to vote “No,” on the resolution, and to be prepared for a seriously negative reaction in the District. Jackie Gloor and I, along with quiet nods of agreement from the other staffers in the District, declared our intentions to Tom Lizardo, our Chief of Staff, and to each other, that if Ron voted No, we would immediately resign.
Ron was “under the spell” of left-anarchist and Lew Rockwell associate Joe Becker at the time, who was our legislative director. Norm Singleton, another Lew Rockwell fanatic agreed with Joe. All other staffers were against Ron, Joe and Norm on this, including Lizardo. At the very last minute Ron switched his stance and voted “Yay,” much to the great relief of Jackie and I. He never explained why, but I strongly suspected that he realized it would have been political suicide; that staunchly conservative Victoria would revolt, and the Republicans there would ensure that he would not receive the nomination for the seat in 2002. Also, as much as I like to think that it was my yelling and screaming at Ron, that I would publicly resign if he voted “No,” I suspect it had a lot more to do with Jackie’s threat, for she WAS Victoria. And if Jackie bolted, all of the Victoria conservatives would immediately turn on Ron, and it wouldn’t be pretty.
If you take anything from this lengthy statement, I would hope that it is this final story about the Afghanistan vote, that the liberal media chooses to completely ignore, because it doesn’t fit their template, is what you will report.
If Ron Paul should be slammed for anything, it’s not some silly remarks he’s made in the past in his Newsletters. It’s over his simply outrageously horrendous views on foreign policy, Israel, and national security for the United States. His near No vote on Afghanistan. That is the big scandal. And that is what should be given 100 times more attention from the liberal media, than this Newsletter deal.
Eric Dondero, Publisher
LibertarianRepublican.net
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1167 on: December 27, 2011, 09:46:08 AM »

Deep Thoughts with Barbara Walters:  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be Mr. President?

"I deeply regret not having learned a musical instrument."

Perhaps he didn't hear the last part of the question: "...Mr. President"!

Something we agree on.  I wish his career had taken a different turn as well.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/26/obama_one_thing_id_like_to_change_about_myself_is__learn_an_instrument.html
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bigdog
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« Reply #1168 on: December 27, 2011, 11:07:35 AM »

I think you are being overly critical here, Doug.  While I agree that the response may violate the spirit of the question, it isn't like an interviewer is going to address the sitting POTUS by his first name. 

Deep Thoughts with Barbara Walters:  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be Mr. President?

"I deeply regret not having learned a musical instrument."

Perhaps he didn't hear the last part of the question: "...Mr. President"!

Something we agree on.  I wish his career had taken a different turn as well.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/26/obama_one_thing_id_like_to_change_about_myself_is__learn_an_instrument.html
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ccp
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« Reply #1169 on: December 27, 2011, 11:11:19 AM »

BD,
Interesting you noted how Walters addressed Obama.

Is that what Doug was pointing out?

My impression from the post was to first think at how obnoxiously self loving Obama is.

Of all things the only thing he even considers changing about himself is he wishes he took up an instrument.

The narcissism this answer reflects is astounding.  It suggests he thinks he is perfect except he never took up rap.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1170 on: December 27, 2011, 11:18:57 AM »

I took the reference to mean the question was intended as focusing on him as president.  As a matter of respect, addressing the President as "Mr. President" is quite correct.
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bigdog
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« Reply #1171 on: December 27, 2011, 11:20:55 AM »

ccp: Doug said this: "Perhaps he didn't hear the last part of the question: "...Mr. President"!"

And, my response included this: "While I agree that the response may violate the spirit of the question...".

Is there really a problem here?


BD,
Interesting you noted how Walters addressed Obama.

Is that what Doug was pointing out?

My impression from the post was to first think at how obnoxiously self loving Obama is.

Of all things the only thing he even considers changing about himself is he wishes he took up an instrument.

The narcissism this answer reflects is astounding.  It suggests he thinks he is perfect except he never took up rap.
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ccp
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« Reply #1172 on: December 27, 2011, 11:28:22 AM »

BD,
Yes I see what you mean.
I don't see a problem with the way she addressed him.  That is why I thought Doug was implying more along the lines of my interpretation.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1173 on: December 27, 2011, 12:09:24 PM »

I admit to enjoying a cheap shot here - deservedly - at someone who travels at taxpayer expense to tell the nation that anyone who opposes him wants dirtier air, dirtier water, rewards only to the rich, etc.  Of course she was just using proper respect to call him Mr. President and he was perhaps correct to take it as a personal question.  He was smart enough to recognize the flippancy and narcissism in his first answer as he told it and quickly added that he wished he learned to speak fluent Spanish, which besides political advantage would give him better ability to communicate with the American people.

Although he is vacationing with family in paradise, flying on separate schedules without financial consequence, this is a time distinctly marked with an under-performing economy and immense danger in the world.   His first thought he says is that it would be nice to be able to play an instrument.  I don't believe him.  I think he would kill for a decent golf game, but that isn't something he is willing to discuss.

Not likely to be asked by Barbara Walters about his shortcomings, but had she asked me I would maybe have gone the route of wishing he had read at least one book on economics that did not oppose our economic system, wishing he had ANY executive experience at all other than running his campaigns or that he had any foreign policy experience or expertise coming into this most difficult job, none of which are regrets of his. 

He was not about to give up any material to opponents on real shortcomings, and as CCP has mentioned in personality disorder observations, he may not know of any.

"Harry, I have a gift..."  online.wsj.com/article/SB124105013014171063.html
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G M
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« Reply #1174 on: December 27, 2011, 12:12:05 PM »

"Mr. Pwesidwent, if you were a twee, what kind of amwazing twee would you bwee?" -Baba Wawa
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bigdog
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« Reply #1175 on: December 27, 2011, 01:55:22 PM »

I admit to enjoying a cheap shot here - deservedly - at someone who travels at taxpayer expense to tell the nation that anyone who opposes him wants dirtier air, dirtier water, rewards only to the rich, etc. 

How do you feel about the franking privilege?  Or the (until recently) common use among presidential candidates to accept public funding?  Do you take the same offense when GOP candidates use taxpayer funds to get (re)elected?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1176 on: December 27, 2011, 09:46:44 PM »

Thanks bigdog for the followup.  I have mixed feelings about the franking privilege.  Some communication makes sense.  It should not look like a campaign brochure.

I don't oppose the President for traveling on our dime; It's a perk of the job he won in the election.  I criticized him for lying on our dime. 

They are supposed to separate out campaign stops from work.  He denies any of it is campaign because he is unopposed in the primaries.

This speech is partly doing his job, selling his proposal, then it crosses the line.  If he wants to tell his side of the story, that is fine.  When he stops acting Presidential, he can expect a little criticism.  We have a thread for that.  grin   Here he says of Republicans:

"And you got their plan: Let's have dirtier air, dirtier water..."  And the partisan crowd boos.



I can't think of anything equally mean and false that elected Republicans would say about their opponents.  What would you find to be similar?  Thinking of the last 3 Republican Presidents, Reagan took little jabs at his opponents but always acknowledged their good intentions.  Rush Limbaugh has said the economic destruction is intentional, but that is to compare a radio show host with the President of the United States. 

"How do you feel about ... (until recently) common use among presidential candidates to accept public funding? "

I don't like publicly funding campaigns.  I like full disclosure.

"Do you take the same offense when GOP candidates use taxpayer funds to get (re)elected?"

I am even more offended when my own side is guilty of being jackasses in their rhetoric and violate their own principles in their actions.  Earmark scandals come to mind.  I can't understand why Republicans won't try to draw a perfect distinction against their opponents on many points.  (A concept we call RINOs, aka 'elected Republicans'.)

In the speech, where does the President explain the underlying economic principle that is supposed to make his plan work?  Federalizing police and fire?  Without attacking, he has no story, no speech.  What are the odds (1/50?) that he is standing in perhaps the purplest swing state while he makes his attack / hate speech.

What he calls 'dirtier air' is what God put in your exhale. What a deceitful jerk.  The only dispute on water that I know of (besides the Corps of Engineers flooding the heartland) is the recent opposition to fracking, a process that has not contaminated any water supply according to all state regulatory agencies involved.  Is there a point he makes about his own plan or his opponents' plan that is true?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1177 on: December 27, 2011, 11:26:27 PM »

Newt needed some good news.  Romney IMO penalized for not putting specifics into his plan.

Newt Gingrich Endorsed by  Economist Arthur Laffer

by Joy Lin | December 27, 2011

Dyersville, IA - Renowned economist, father of The Laffer Curve and supply-side economics, and architect of the Ronald Reagan economic plan, Arthur Laffer, announced his endorsement Tuesday of Newt Gingrich for President of the United States.

"Newt has the best plan for jobs and economic growth of any candidate in the field," said Laffer.

"Like Ronald Reagan's tax cuts and pro-growth policies, Newt's low individual and corporate tax rates, deregulation and strong dollar monetary policies will create a boom of new investment and economic growth leading to the creation of tens of millions of new jobs over the next decade. Plus, Newt's record of helping Ronald Reagan pass the Kemp Roth tax cuts and enacting the largest capital gains tax cut in history as Speaker of the House shows he can get this plan passed and put it into action."Mr. Laffer will join Newt Gingrich in Storm Lake, IA Thursday for a formal press conference announcing the endorsement.

"Rebuilding the America we love requires returning to job creation and economic growth. We need big changes to fix the economy, and I am ready to stand up to Barack Obama's class warfare rhetoric to make the case that letting the American people keep more of what they earn is the best way to create jobs."

http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/12/27/newt-gingrich-endorsed-architect-reagan-economic-plan-economist-arthur-laffer-0#ixzz1hnql2UR6
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Cranewings
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« Reply #1178 on: December 28, 2011, 03:41:10 AM »

The only dispute on water that I know of (besides the Corps of Engineers flooding the heartland) is the recent opposition to fracking, a process that has not contaminated any water supply according to all state regulatory agencies involved.  Is there a point he makes about his own plan or his opponents' plan that is true?

Theoretically, fracking is dangerous. Environmentalists believe its important to find potential problems and squash them before they become real problems. Personally, I think that the fact that fracking hasn't ever caused the contamination of ground water is just luck. I like my warm house though so I don't raise too much of a fuss about it.
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G M
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« Reply #1179 on: December 28, 2011, 06:27:42 AM »

The only dispute on water that I know of (besides the Corps of Engineers flooding the heartland) is the recent opposition to fracking, a process that has not contaminated any water supply according to all state regulatory agencies involved.  Is there a point he makes about his own plan or his opponents' plan that is true?

Theoretically, fracking is dangerous. Environmentalists believe its important to find potential problems and squash them before they become real problems. Personally, I think that the fact that fracking hasn't ever caused the contamination of ground water is just luck. I like my warm house though so I don't raise too much of a fuss about it.

You mean create hysteria through distortion and propaganda for political power and profit. Al Gore has a pretty nice bunch of mansions, doesn't he?

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/05/how-green-is-al-gores-9-million-montecito-ocean-front-villa/1

How inconvenient is this news? Former vice president Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, bought a gated $8,875,000 ocean-view villa in Montecito, Calif., where Oprah Winfrey also owns a mansion, the Los Angeles Times reports.


Al Gore, a leading voice in the fight against global warming, has been criticized for having a 10,000-square-foot home in Nashville that uses a lot of power. He's since added rooftop solar panels and geothermal wells and says he buys only renewable energy.
author of the best seller An Inconvenient Truth about the dangers of global warming, received much criticism for the high electric use of his 10,000-square-foot historic home in Nashville. He says he's added 33 rooftop solar panels and seven geothermal wells and buys only renewable energy.


Does he plan to green the California villa, which reportedly has more than 6,500 square feet of living space, a swimming pool, spa and fountains?



Gore didn't respond to the Times' requests for comment, so its story is based on "real estate sources" familiar with the deal. The Times first reported the purchase last month, citing the Montecito Journal, but without further confirmation, Green House mentioned it only briefly.

The Huffington Post carries photos of the villa on 1.5 acres with wine cellar, terraces, six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms. It picked them up from the Real Estalker website, which says the Gores actually bought the property last year through their Tennessee-based trust and did not use their own names.

Montecito, located in Santa Barbara County about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, offers stunning hilltop views of the Pacific Ocean. It's one of the wealthiest communities in the United States, and many celebrities have homes there, including actors Michael Douglas and Chritopher Lloyd.


Can Gore make his Italian-style villa there energy efficient enough to stave off criticism? Has he hurt his own cause?


Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on global warming, Monday told students at Cal State Monterey Bay to "learn about" the issue, reports the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The story adds:

Gore urged the young people, who greeted him with enthusiasm and attentiveness, to be "true to their values" as he spoke about his nearly decade-long commitment to fight and educate the public about climate change...

Gore was asked whether because of his work on climate change he's become a vegetarian. No, said Gore, but he has cut back on red meat.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 06:34:29 AM by G M » Logged
bigdog
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« Reply #1180 on: December 28, 2011, 06:57:11 AM »

Thank you for the follow-up, Doug.  We agree more than I thought based on your first post related to the BW interview with President Obama. 
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G M
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« Reply #1181 on: December 28, 2011, 07:51:38 AM »

**To me? NFW.

http://www.politico.com/arena/perm/Ilya_Somin_10F5388A-D210-4745-8EEA-09224D78DC04.html

Do Ron Paul's newsletter explanations hold up?

Ilya Somin Professor of Law, George Mason Law School :


Ron Paul clearly deserves substantial blame for publishing racist and anti-Semitic material in his newsletters in the early 1990s. Although he almost certainly did not write those articles himself, it is difficult to believe that he was completely unaware of their contents. Moreover, there is no disputing the fact that, in the early 1990s, Paul was part of a small group of libertarians led by Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard who sought to forge an alliance with “paleoconservative” elements by adopting a political strategy of appealing to white racial resentment. Rockwell is the probable author of the racist content in Paul’s newsletters.
 
Paul is not a racist himself. But at least for a time, he was clearly willing to get into bed with political allies who sought to exploit racist sentiments. In some ways, Paul’s situation is similar to that of other politicians with dubious past associations. Indeed, there are parallels between Paul today and Barack Obama in 2008, when he was attacked for his past relationships with anti-American and anti-Semitic minister Jeremiah Wright and ex-terrorist and self-described communist Bill Ayers. Paul’s defense is strikingly similar to Obama’s. Just as Obama claims he didn’t know about Wright and Ayers’ despicable views and doesn’t agree with them, Paul claims he didn’t know about the newsletters and doesn’t endorse their content. When the issue became a public controversy, Obama distanced himself from Ayers and Wright, and Paul has similarly denounced the newsletters.
 
Despite their respective efforts at damage control, it is entirely legitimate to hold these past associations against Obama and Paul. While they were not bigots or terrorists themselves, they clearly were willing to ally themselves with people who are. Such errors of moral judgment can and should be held against a candidate. But one can agree with that while still believing that the candidate is sufficiently superior to his opponents on other grounds to outweigh this defect. I am not a Paul supporter myself – both because of the newsletter issue, and because I think he is badly misguided on some other issues. But I can understand why a reasonable person might reach the conclusion that Paul’s strong libertarian stance on a number of issues today outweighs his earlier sins.
 
One of my concerns about Paul’s candidacy is that it could end up tarring libertarianism by association with his past misdeeds. It is important to recognize that the Rothbard-Rockwell strategy was opposed by most libertarian intellectuals and movement organizations when they and Paul pursued it in the early 1990s. That includes the Cato Institute (the most prominent libertarian think tank), Reason (the best-known libertarian magazine),  the Koch brothers, and many others.
 
Rockwell and his associates remain alienated from most other libertarians to this day, in large part because of their willingness to traffic in racism and homophobia. Ron Paul enjoys a better reputation in the movement – but only because he has pursued a very different approach for the last 15 years. Even so, numerous libertarian commentators have denounced Paul’s equivocations about the newsletters during the 2008 campaign and this year. We have neither excused nor ignored his very real flaws. Rothbard and Rockwell’s “paleo” strategy was widely opposed in libertarian circles long before it became a major public controversy during Paul’s most recent presidential campaigns.
 
Paul’s relative success this year shows that the libertarian message has considerable appeal even when the messenger is deeply flawed. It remains to be seen how much the messenger’s sins will tarnish the libertarian cause in the long run.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #1182 on: December 28, 2011, 09:17:41 AM »

For President in 2012, Mitt Romney

December 27, 2011 by John Hinderaker - Powerlineblog.com

It is time for Republicans to get serious. After flirting with just about every candidate in a large presidential field, is is time to come home to the one candidate who has the demonstrated ability to run the largest organization in the United States, the Executive Branch of the federal government; who has never been touched by the slightest taint of scandal; whose success in the private sector makes him the outsider that Republicans say they are looking for; and who has by far the best chance of beating President Obama: Mitt Romney.

The “anybody but Romney” mentality that grips many Republicans is, in my view, illogical. It led them to embrace Rick Perry, who turned out to be unable to articulate a conservative thought; Newt Gingrich, whose record is far more checkered than Romney’s; Ron Paul, whose foreign policy views–indistinguishable from those of the far left–and forays into racial intolerance make him unfit to be president; and Michele Bachmann, whom I like very much, but who is more qualified to be a rabble-rouser than a chief executive.

The knock on Romney is that he is “not a real conservative.” Well, I am sure he is not as conservative as I am. But he has a solid record of conservative accomplishment as governor of Massachusetts, and if you check out his economic plan, you will find it to be entirely Reaganite, updated for the crisis we face today. The “Romney isn’t conservative” meme is, frankly, a little weird: in December 2007, National Review endorsed him for president. Has he somehow gotten more liberal since then?

In electing a president, we are choosing someone to run the Executive Branch. A leader, to be sure, but not a speechmaker, a bomb-thrower, a quipster, a television personality or an exemplar of ideological purity. At this point in our history, the United States desperately needs a leader who understands the economy, the world of business, and, more generally, how the world works. We have had more than enough of a leader who was good at giving speeches and was ideologically pure, but who had no clue how the economy works or how the federal government can be administered without resort to graft and corruption. It is time for a president who knows what he is doing.

Romney was not my first choice in this election cycle–Tim Pawlenty was. But Pawlenty’s campaign failed to catch fire, mostly because GOP voters saw him as an “establishment” candidate; that is, perhaps, someone who won tough elections and governed successfully. Around the time Pawlenty’s campaign ended, John Thune gave serious consideration to jumping into the race. If he had done so, I would have supported him, but he didn’t. [UPDATE: I perhaps should add that I know both Pawlenty and Thune personally, consider them friends and have enormous regard for them. I have met Romney and have spent a little time with him, but not much. My preference for Pawlenty and Thune was largely driven by personal acquaintance; I feel that I know them well enough to have confidence in where they would take the country, as president.] There was no real reason to think that other Republicans like Paul Ryan, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio would get into the race, and they didn’t. You can’t get elected president if you don’t run for the office, and of those who are running, Mitt Romney is the best, by a very wide margin.

If this sounds lukewarm, it isn’t meant to. Let’s itemize Romney’s virtues.

First, he is a tremendously smart, competent and hard-working person. Many people do not realize what it takes to achieve the extraordinary business success to which Romney devoted most of his adult life. We have, currently, a president who is not particularly bright, knows little of business, has no idea how to run an organization–never having done so before 2009–and would rather golf than work. Replacing this cipher with Mitt Romney, one of the most capable men of his generation, would be an almost unimaginable improvement.

Second, Romney has led an exemplary life. He is, by any ordinary measure, an exceptionally good man. Maybe you care about this, maybe you don’t. My own view is that character counts, usually in ways you can’t foresee. Moreover, to put a purely pragmatic spin on it, the Democrats have nothing on him. Sure, they can mount an anti-Mormon whispering campaign, and they will. But it is highly unlikely that bigotry alone can derail a presidential candidate, especially one as upright as Romney.

Third, Romney has exactly the expertise we need for the next four years. Our country faces an enormous economic and fiscal crisis, brought on by years of politically-motivated fecklessness. We desperately need a president who understands why economic growth occurs and how jobs are created. The Democrats know nothing but payoffs and cronyism; who gets to stay the longest aboard a sinking ship. If ever we needed a president with Mitt Romney’s skills and expertise, that time is now.

Fourth, Romney can and will, I think, beat Barack Obama. The purpose of a political party is to win elections. It would be terminally stupid for the Republican Party to nominate a candidate whose weaknesses more or less guarantee defeat when it has, readily at hand, a candidate who can win. Ideological movements are another animal entirely. The purpose of the conservative movement is to advance conservative ideals, not necessarily to win elections for a particular party. Some conservative ideologues may choose to argue for a purer candidate (although I am not sure who that would be) in service of the long-run interests of the movement. But that is not the role of the Republican Party. The goal of the Republican Party is to win in 2012.

So: I endorse Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee for president in 2012. I think he can win, and I think there is a real chance that he could be a great president. Perhaps the man and the hour will meet, as with Churchill in 1940 and Reagan in 1980. But at a bare minimum, Romney can beat Barack Obama, and will be an infinitely better president. The time has come for Republicans to coalesce behind their best candidate.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/12/for-president-in-2012-mitt-romney.php
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ccp
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« Reply #1183 on: December 29, 2011, 05:40:43 PM »

Gingrich wins endorsement from supply-sider Art Laffer
 
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks during a campaign stop in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Eric Gay / Associated Press)
 
By Robin Abcarian
 
December 29, 2011, 1:55 p.m.
Reporting from Storm Lake, Iowa --— It’s an intriguing argument for a futurist like Newt Gingrich: Vote for me and bring back the past.

Gingrich, who has claimed he is the only Republican presidential candidate who can fix the economy because he has already done so twice before—once with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and again as speaker of the House in the 1990s—trotted out one of the architects of “Reaganomics” at a campaign stop Thursday.

Economist Arthur Laffer, the 71-year-old father of supply-side economics, endorsed Gingrich here in this picturesque lakeside town in northwest Iowa, where Sarah Palin ran a half-marathon last August.

“I think if Newt is president, you are going to see economic growth beyond what you have ever seen,” said Laffer, who introduced Gingrich to a crowd of about 100 here in Storm Lake.

“Newt really delivered,” said Laffer, “When he was speaker, he was able to work with Bill Clinton closely and carefully to bring one of the most prosperous periods in American history.”

Laffer, whose theory is also called “trickle down” -- or “voodoo economics,” a derogatory term coined by George H.W. Bush when he vied with Reagan for the GOP nomination -- posits that cutting taxes and regulations stimulates the economy, adds jobs and is more effective at raising revenue than simply raising taxes.

(Those paying attention in the 1980s might recall his “Laffer curve,” an upside-down U that shows a theoretical, optimal tax rate for maximum revenue generation. A government that taxes too little won’t generate enough revenue, the Laffer curve posits, but a government that taxes too much won’t either, because there will be no incentive to earn a lot of money.)

Critics often say that those who lionize Reagan conveniently forget that while Reagan cut taxes in his first term, he later raised taxes many times to help balance the federal budget.

Gingrich has been trying to emulate another aspect of Reagan, a former actor who was meticulous about what the consultants now call the “optics” of campaigning.

On Thursday for the first time, a group of everyday Iowans sat behind him as Gingrich spoke to a crowd of about 100 in a meeting room at King’s Pointe Waterpark. Gingrich’s wife, Callista, stood onstage to his left as she always does, hands clasped, the swoosh of her perfect platinum bob visible to the audience. She looked at him attentively, evoking for those who recall it the famous Nancy Reagan gaze. (And also perhaps to ward off unwanted questions about his troubled marital past, a sticking point for some evangelical Christians here.)

Joanne Samsel, a retired teacher standing behind the couple onstage, complimented  Callista Gingrich.

“She’s elegant, she’s beautiful, she’s everything that we could ever want for the United States,” said Samsel. “So Jackie Kennedy: Enjoy the time that you had, but we have ours coming up.”

Callista took her husband’s microphone: “I appreciate that very, very much,” she said.

Earlier in an impromptu conversation with reporters at his Sioux City headquarters, Gingrich said he is not worried about his plunge in some polls. Others, he noted, have him in second place, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

”Let me just say I think that the strategy of focusing on jobs and economic growth and staying positive… is working,” said Gingrich, who has also been holding daily 30-minute telephone town halls with Iowa voters to counteract the deluge of negative ads by his opponents. So far, he said, he has spoken to more than 30,000 people, though the number is not verifiable.

During the calls, he invites callers to ask any question they wish, sometimes with unanticipated results. Last night, a man accused him of being a polygamist for having three consecutive marriages. Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism before marrying his wife, Callista, replied that he could not be a polygamist since his previous two marriages were annulled. He thanked the man for his “creative question.”

Town halls can be unpredictable, too. Samsel, who had complimented Callista Gingrich, asked the candidate whether it was true that Arizona would not allow President Obama’s name to appear on ballots because he is “not a citizen.”

“I thought you were going to ask whether Donald Trump is a citizen,” he joked before declaring the question “moot.”  “There is every reason to believe he is a citizen of the United States. He is a terrible president, we don’t have to go beyond that.”
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times
*   *   *   *
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1184 on: December 30, 2011, 12:10:16 AM »

http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2011/12/29/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1185 on: December 30, 2011, 09:41:04 AM »

So the first third of the Republican presidential race is ending. The first third is the introduction: "This is who I am, this is what I want to do, this is why you want to choose me."

The campaign is announced, organized, and goes forward in key early states.

The second phase is the long slog through the primary states to the convention next August in Tampa, Fla. The third and final is the election proper, in the autumn of 2012.

***
The first phase was clouded by an overlay of frustration and dissatisfaction: The best weren't in the game. Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, John Thune, Haley Barbour, none of them reporting for duty. But in the past few weeks another mood has begun to dig in: You fight with the army you have. You pick from the possible candidates. You make a choice and back him hard.

Part of this is simple realism. Time is passing, and the contenders have been at least initially inspected. Every four years the potential nominees on either side look smaller than the sitting president who, whether or not you like him, is the president. You're used to him. He's on TV. They play Hail to the Chief when he walks in. The office is big and imparts bigness.

But less so this year than past years. There's a lot of 1980 in the 2012 presidential election, which doesn't mean it will end the same way, but still. The incumbent looks smaller than previous sitting presidents, as did Jimmy Carter. His efforts in the Oval Office have not been generally understood as successful. There's a broad sense it hasn't worked. And Democrats don't like him, as they didn't Jimmy Carter.

This continues as one of the most amazing and underappreciated facts of 2012—the sitting president's own party doesn't like him. The party's constituent pieces will stick with him, having no choice, but with a feeling of dissatisfaction. It is not only the Republicans who have been unhappy this year. All this will have some bearing on the coming year.

***
Debates arrived in a new way, with a new power. Candidates rose and fell depending on how they did in nationally televised forums. The whole primary season this year has been more wholesale than retail, more national than local.

In the past, state issues were important, but now only one issue—the nation's economy—is important. An hour with the Grand Rapids Rotary Club is still nice, but not as nice as an eight-minute, prime-time cable hit. This marks the continuation of a half century-long trend. National trumps local, federal squashes state, the force of national culture washes out local culture. Primaries are fully national now.

The most memorable line of the first phase? There's "9-9-9" and "Oops," but the best came from Mitt Romney when he was asked about the Gingrich campaign's failure to qualify for the Virginia ballot. Mr. Gingrich had compared it to Pearl Harbor, a setback, but we'll recover. Mr. Romney, breezily, to a reporter: "I think it's more like Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory."

It made people laugh. It made them want to repeat it, which is the best free media of all, the line people can't resist saying in the office. And they laughed because it pinged off a truth: Gingrich is ad hoc, disorganized.

The put-down underscored Romney's polite little zinger of a week before, that Mr. Gingrich was "zany." And it was a multi-generationally effective: People who are 70-years-old remember "I Love Lucy," but so do people who are 30 and grew up with its reruns. Mr. Romney's known for being organized but not for being deft. This was deft. It's an old commonplace in politics that if you're explaining you're losing, but it's also true that if they're laughing you're losing. The campaign trail has been pretty much a wit-free zone. It's odd that people who care so much about politics rarely use one of politics' biggest tools, humor. Mr. Romney did and scored. More please, from everyone.

***
Newt Gingrich in the end will likely prove to be a gift to Mitt Romney. He was a heavyweight. This isn't Herman Cain, this is a guy everyone on the ground in every primary state knows and has seen on TV and remembers from the past. But his emergence scared a lot of people—"Not him!'—and made some of them think, 'OK, I guess I better get off the sidelines and make a decision. Compared to Newt, Romney looks pretty reasonable."

Mr. Gingrich took some of the sting out of Romney-as-flip-flopper because he is a flip flopper too. He also, for a few weeks there, made Mr. Romney look like he might be over. He made Mr. Romney fight for it, not against an unknown businessman but against a serious political figure whose face and persona said: "I mean business." In the end it will turn out he was a gift to the Romney campaign, a foe big enough that when you beat him it means something.

***
The worst trend in politics that fully emerged during phase one? People running for president not to be president but as a branding exercise, to sell books and get a cable contract and be a public figure and have people who heretofore hadn't noticed you now stopping you in the airport to get a picture and an autograph. In an endeavor like this you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You're not held back by any sense of realism as to your positions, you don't have to worry about them being used against you down the road because there won't be a down the road. You can say anything. And because you do you seem refreshing. People start to like you—you're not like all the others, who are so careful. You rise, run your mouth for a month and fall.

Maybe this is harmless. But America is in crisis. The world is in crisis. Everywhere you look establishments and old arrangements are falling, toppling to the ground. Does it help, in this context, to lower the standing of the American political process by inserting your buffoonish, unserious self into it? Or does it make things just a little bit worse?

***
The continuing mystery of phase one? The failure of Jon Huntsman to gain traction. It's not precisely a mystery—he didn't run as a successful conservative two-term governor but as a striped pants diplomat—but it is a frustration. Democrats like him, a lot. New Hampshire has an open primary. Democrats can vote for him there. Maybe they will. But will that make him a contender or an oddity?

What seemed true at the start of phase one seems true now. A number of the Republicans on the debate stage could beat Mr. Obama. But if there is a serious third-party challenger the president will likely be reelected.

Predictions? The essential message of phase one was, "I am a credible candidate, and I can win." Phase two will be "I not only can win but my victory will have meaning." Phase three? There will be some "He made it worse." But watch for another argument. "In a second Obama administration he will be operating without any of the constraints that limited his actions in the first. He will never have to face the voters again. Obama unbound, with interest groups to reward. America, you don't want to go there."

« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 10:29:46 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #1186 on: December 30, 2011, 10:24:03 AM »

First one comment that came out of Rove's predictions I think.  Ron Paul will not run as third party spoiler because his son Rand Paul, perhaps an up and coming star in the party, will be screwed in the party for life.

Too early for VP speculation but they do run as a ticket.  One story today notices that Michele Bachmann has ripped every anti-Romney candidate ruthlessly, but not Romney, fishing for VP consideration.  She won't be the pick.  Marco Rubio said he won't.  They all say that but I believe him.

Where better to go for inside GOP scoop than MSNBC interviewing a Politico writer?
------------
Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) Predicted As Romney VP Pick

By Mark Finkelstein | December 30, 2011 | 07:57

With not one Republican primary vote cast yet, we're getting way ahead of ourselves by speculating about whom Mitt Romney might pick as his vice-presidential running mate.  But Willie Geist did invite Politico's Mike Allen to make his "bold predictions" for 2012.  And Allen delivered, prognosticating that Romney would pick Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman as his ticket-mate.

Mark Halperin strongly seconded Allen's assertion.  View the video after the jump.

Watch Allen make the case that the Romney campaign figures it should carry Florida without Marco Rubio on the ticket, whereas Portman could be more of the key to victory by helping to carry his home state of Ohio.

MIKE ALLEN: One of the first big stories in 2012, assuming Mitt Romney becomes the Republican nominee, however long it takes, who will be his vice-presidential pick?  A lot of people are looking at Marco Rubio in Florida; he's definitely on the list. But I think the most likely to be chosen, at the top of Mitt Romney's list, is Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio.  Brings that important state, put it with Michigan, where Mitt Romney could be strong, and you would really have President Obama sweating, there in the industrial Midwest.

WILLIE GEIST: Now, what does Portman give him, Mitt Romney, if it is Mitt Romney, what does he give him over Marco Rubio?

ALLEN: It's a two-fer.  In addition to Ohio, and if Mitt Romney doesn't already have Florida he's already in trouble, so the Romney folks are hoping they're going to have Florida  without Marco Rubio.  Ohio would be a bit tougher call. So Rob Portman would be more helpful there.  Also, it's a governing pick.  He has experience on the Hill, both in the House and the Senate, in the White House as the Budget Director, and so he would bring a lot of gravitas, experience to this administration.   

MARK HALPERIN: I think this is an easy one.  First off, Mitt Romney is going to make a governing pick. He knows from history, the first, second and third obligation, both politically and substantively, is to pick someone ready to be president.  I think Rob Portman is head and shoulders above most of the other people who Mike mentioned on that score. Both the press and the public would look at him and say, yeah, that's responsible, that's somebody who's ready to president.  I think Chris Christie will also be considered. But I think on this one, somebody's going to  have to make a compelling case for me, for someone besides Portman, for me to think it's not headed in that direction, or should be, assuming Romney's the nominee.     
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2011/12/30/morning-joe-portman-predicted-romney-vp-pick
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« Reply #1187 on: December 31, 2011, 09:18:34 AM »



By EDWARD H. CRANE
The controversy surrounding decades-old newsletters to which GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul lent his name is regrettable. First, it is regrettable because the sometimes bigoted, intolerant content of those newsletters is inconsistent with the views of the congressman as understood by those of us who know him. Yet, while Mr. Paul disavows supporting those ideas, he refuses to repudiate his close association with their likely source, Lew Rockwell, head of the Alabama-based Mises Institute.

Second, the New York Times editorialized recently that these unsavory writings "will leave a lasting stain on . . . the libertarian movement." That is wishful thinking on the part of the Times, but it adds to the background noise surrounding Mr. Paul's candidacy, obscuring the real libertarian policy initiatives that have made his candidacy the most remarkable development of the 2012 campaign.

Ron Paul's libertarian campaign has traction because so many Americans respond to his messages:

• Tax and spending. If ever there were sound and fury signifying nothing, it has to be the recent "debate" over the budget. Covered by the media as though it was negotiations on the Treaty of Versailles, the wrestling match between Republicans and Democrats centered on the nearly trivial question of whether the $12 trillion increase in the national debt over the next decade should be reduced by 3% or 2%.

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Ron Paul of Texas
.Mr. Paul would cut the federal budget by $1 trillion immediately. He can't do it, of course, but voters sense he really wants to. As Milton Friedman once explained, the true tax on the American people is the level of spending—the resources taken from the private sector and employed in the public sector. Whether financed from direct taxation, inflation or borrowing, spending is the burden.

• Foreign policy and military spending. As the only candidate other than Jon Huntsman who says it is past time to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, Mr. Paul has tapped into a stirring recognition by limited-government Republicans and independents that an overreaching military presence around the world is inconsistent with small, constitutional government at home.

The massive cost of these interventions, in treasure and blood, highlights what a mistake they are, as sensible people on the left and right recognized from the beginning. Of course we want a strong military capable of defending the United States, but our current expenditures equal what the rest of the world spends, which makes little sense. It is futile to try to be the world's policeman—to try to create an American Empire as so many neoconservatives promote. And we can't afford it.

• Civil liberties. Libertarians often differ with conservatives over issues related to civil liberties. Mr. Paul's huge support among young people is due in large part to his fierce commitment to protecting the individual liberties guaranteed us in the Constitution. He would work to repeal significant parts of the so-called Patriot Act. Its many civil liberties transgressions include the issuance by the executive branch of National Security Letters (a form of administrative subpoena) without a court order, and the forbiddance of American citizens from mentioning that they have received one of these letters at the risk of jail.

The Bush and Obama administrations have claimed the right to incarcerate an American citizen on American soil, without charge, without access to an attorney, for an indefinite period.

President Obama even claims the right to kill American citizens on foreign soil, without due process of law, for suspected terrorist activities. Meanwhile, the Stop Online Piracy Act moving through the House is a clear effort by the federal government to censor the Internet. Mr. Paul stands up against all this, which should and does engender support from limited government advocates in the GOP.

• Austrian economics. Mr. Paul is often criticized for references to what some consider obscure economists of the so-called Austrian School. People should read them before criticizing. Nobel laureate Friedrich von Hayek and his mentor Ludwig von Mises were two of the greatest economists and social scientists ever to live.

Modern Austrian School economists such as Lawrence H. White, now at George Mason University, and Fred Foldvary at Santa Clara University predicted the housing bubble and the recession that followed the massive, multitrillion-dollar malinvestment caused by government redirection of capital into housing. Mr. Paul, like Austrian School economists, understands that we would be better off with a gold standard, competing currencies or a monetary rule than with the arbitrary and discretionary powers of our out-of-control Federal Reserve.

Mr. Paul should be given credit for his efforts to promote these ideas and other libertarian policies, all of which would make America better off. He'd be the first to admit he's not the most erudite candidate to make the case, but surely part of his appeal is his very genuine persona.

Which is not to say that Mr. Paul is always in sync with mainstream libertarians. His seeming indifference to attempts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, his support for a constitutional amendment to deny birthright citizenship to children of illegal aliens, and his opposition to the Nafta and Cafta free trade agreements in the name of doctrinal purity are at odds with most libertarians.

As for the Ron Paul newsletters, the best response was by my colleague David Boaz when the subject was raised publicly in 2008. About them he wrote in the Cato Institute's blog:

"Those words are not libertarian words. Maybe they reflect 'paleoconservative' ideas, though they're not the language of Burke or even Kirk. But libertarianism is a philosophy of individualism, tolerance, and liberty. As Ayn Rand wrote, 'Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism.' Making sweeping, bigoted claims about all blacks, all homosexuals, or any other group is indeed a crudely primitive collectivism. Libertarians should make it clear that the people who wrote those things are not our comrades, not part of our movement, not part of the tradition of John Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick. Shame on them."

Support for dynamic market capitalism (as opposed to crony capitalism), social tolerance, and a healthy skepticism of foreign military adventurism is a combination of views held by a plurality of Americans. It is why the 21st century is likely to be a libertarian century. It is why the focus should be on Ron Paul's philosophy and his policy proposals in 2012.

Mr. Crane is co-founder and president of the Cato Institute.
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« Reply #1188 on: December 31, 2011, 09:29:09 AM »

"Second, the New York Times editorialized recently that these unsavory writings "will leave a lasting stain on . . . the libertarian movement." That is wishful thinking on the part of the Times"

No, it's not. The public at large has never heard of Libertarianism, and the POTH/MSM will use this to damage the brand.

"Mr. Paul's huge support among young people is due in large part to his fierce commitment to protecting the individual liberties guaranteed us in the Constitution legalizing drugs, man." Fixed it.
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« Reply #1189 on: January 03, 2012, 03:47:55 PM »

http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2012/01/03/former-cia-agent-michael-scheuer-endorses-ron-paul/
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« Reply #1190 on: January 03, 2012, 04:04:33 PM »

By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
Clinton, Iowa

Voters aren't convinced by Mitt Romney. They're not certain of his convictions; they wonder if he is the leader for these times; they're not sold on his policies or his personality. Yet voters may be about to make the former Massachusetts governor the Republican nominee for the presidency. Mark this down as the triumph of strategy over inspiration.

As Iowans head to their caucuses Tuesday, Mr. Romney has come from behind to lead in the polls. A victory here—where he was once written off—followed by a coup in New Hampshire could well knit up the nomination. That outcome would be the result of a lot of luck, mistakes by his rivals, and a shrewd—and ruthless—campaign by Mr. Romney himself.

If there has been one threat to the governor, it has been the gaping opening for a candidate to his right. Mr. Romney is hardly an easy fit with the GOP base—from his past flip-flops on issues like abortion, to his weak tax proposals, to his concoction and defense of RomneyCare, the Massachusetts health plan that was the model for ObamaCare. The threat of President Obama and his determination to create an entitlement state, combined with the dismal economy, have voters eager for a bold conservative leader.

The Romney luck was that no such obvious reformer got into the race. Notable Republican governors—Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie—who could have run on executive experience and pro-growth track records took a pass. A younger, ideas generation—Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio—decided it was too soon for a run. This helped clear the field.

Not that the Republicans in the race were without resources. Each had the opportunity to unite a conservative coalition but fell from self-inflicted wounds. Tim Pawlenty—as a conservative governor from Minnesota and with his long planning for a presidential run—ought to have posed the greatest challenge. But his waffling on RomneyCare and his overemphasis on the Iowa straw poll (which he lost to Michele Bachmann) sucked the air out of his campaign. His bigger mistake may have been bowing to these defeats, misjudging the opportunity for a comeback in a muddled GOP field.

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Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 30.
.Rick Perry, also with a state success story to sell, entered the race at a near-perfect time. Yet he failed to do his homework and lost voter confidence with his bumbling debate performances. Ron Paul has inspired the limited-government crowd, even as his refusal to modulate his isolationist views has capped his potential.

Rick Santorum, he of dour countenance, chose a narrowly focused campaign, and until recently it had earned him only a narrow audience. He's now experiencing a surge on the back of evangelical support and a formidable ground organization, which might propel him to a strong Iowa finish. But his slow start, and subsequent poor fund raising, will hamper him in upcoming states.

Mrs. Bachmann made herself unpresidential. Herman Cain, 9-9-9 notwithstanding, forgot the rule about vetting one's own past. Jon Huntsman has failed to lead with his strong suit, namely a strong growth record in Utah.

The man who has lately posed the greatest threat to a Romney victory is the come-from-behind Newt Gingrich, whose snappy debate performances and policy insights touched a conservative chord. His pro-growth message has been a strong final argument but may not be enough to reverse weeks of damaging TV ads. The candidate was initially powerless to rebut the attacks, given his campaign's own major mistake—neglecting its fund raising and organizing.

Which gets us to Mr. Romney's campaign savvy. The governor lost the nomination in 2008 because of his lack of focus and a reputation for conveniently shifting message. Let's just say he learned something.


Throughout this campaign, he's resisted scattershot criticism of rivals, instead carefully pinpointing his biggest threats from the right and homing in on their biggest weaknesses. With Mr. Pawlenty, that job was relatively easy. Mr. Romney stepped back to allow the Minnesotan to implode, his restraint even earning him praise as "presidential."

A greater insight into the Romney machine came with Mr. Perry, whose threat resided in his broad credentials with a conservative audience. Mr. Romney's response was to target a relatively obscure liability—Mr. Perry's modest policy of letting young illegals pay in-state college tuition—and then to elevate it and tear it apart. Romney ads were brutal, comparing Mr. Perry to Barack Obama and Mexican President Vicente Fox on immigration, suggesting that the Texas governor would open the illegal floodgates. It proved a deal killer for many conservatives.

Next up was Mr. Gingrich, whose December surge, particularly among tea party voters, posed a late-game threat. Team Romney was quick to drill into its rival's "tons of baggage," including marital infidelity, the money he accepted from Freddie Mac and, again, the accusation that he supports "amnesty for illegal aliens." Between these and other attack ads, Mr. Gingrich's support was halved in little more than a week.

This is where four years of planning come in handy. Mr. Romney built a campaign war chest and a pro-Romney super PAC. The Romney campaign and the outside organization could spend millions on ads and mailers taking down rivals, allowing the candidate to remain above the fray and concentrate on his more positive message.

That message, by contrast to 2008, has been focused, unwavering, relentless. Mr. Romney has taken positions and stuck with them, even if it has meant defending the likes of RomneyCare. In Iowa, New Hampshire and everywhere else, voters have heard—again, and again, and again—the same two messages: He has the business and management experience to competently turn around the country, and he is the most electable against Mr. Obama.

That has seeped in, especially as voters must now make a selection—voters like 54-year-old Jane Lawler, who came to hear Mr. Romney speak at Homer's Deli here. Mrs. Lawler was leaning toward Mr. Gingrich, but her husband argued that the former House speaker "couldn't gather the troops and get it done." She now agrees. "In the end, I'm looking for someone who can beat Obama," and she notes the need for someone with Mr. Romney's "business acumen."

So while Mr. Romney may not excite them, while he may not be ideal, in light of the other candidate's problems, and given the election stakes, voters are buying his argument that he is, well . . . good enough. Which is why, barring a surprise, or a late entrant, Mr. Good Enough—through good fortune, dogged determination, and the skillful elimination of his rivals—may end up grabbing the conservative ring in this all-important election year.

Then the harder job starts. Mr. Obama may be hobbled by a poor economy and unpopular policies, but he is a first-order campaigner. He will energize his base, and his Republican opponent will have to do the same. It will not be enough for Mr. Romney to argue against Mr. Obama; he will have to inspire Republicans and independents to vote for his own vision.

Mr. Romney offers decent policies, and he's proven himself a hard worker, with growing campaign skills. The question is whether a victory in the primary will give him the confidence to break out, to take some risks, and to excite a nation that wants real change. In a presidential election, good enough might not be enough to win.

Ms. Strassel writes the Journal's Potomac Watch column.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #1191 on: January 03, 2012, 05:00:46 PM »

People say the negative ads on Gingrich in Iowa brought him down but the collapse happened in national polls at the same. 

There is talk of Dems voting Ron Paul in Iowa to screw things up.  Going to a caucus is time consuming and public.  Most precincts in Iowa are not very anonymous; people know their neighbors and discuss issues and candidates.  Going to support someone you don't really support doesn't sound plausible in large numbers.

Dropping out was Pawlenty's second biggest mistake.  The strategies he took in the campaign were the biggest.

Romney wrapping this up early is fine with me.  I have said I think he has a 50% chance of being a great President.  He is smart enough, competent enough and conservative enough to draw a stark contrast in terms of policies, philosophy and direction with the incumbent.  The details of fixing this mess will be partly written in congress anyway.  Amazing skills of persuasion and a mandate will be needed to ever get the 60 votes in the Senate needed to do anything.  Electing a polarizing President would only make that harder.

I would still like to see Rick Perry redeem himself as the most serious alternative, if not Newt.  If both finish behind Santorum and Paul, that leaves a very muddled second string.
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bigdog
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« Reply #1192 on: January 03, 2012, 07:25:32 PM »

Be sure to watch the video.  It's pretty funny.

http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2012/01/02/iowa-nice-made-for-laughs-busting-stereotypes/
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« Reply #1193 on: January 03, 2012, 07:39:03 PM »

Iowa State motto: No, we're not Idaho or Ohio!
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« Reply #1194 on: January 04, 2012, 07:37:45 AM »



Iowa's corner of the electorate cast the first verdict of the 2012 Presidential campaign Tuesday night, and the results look more like an opening skirmish than the coronation for Mitt Romney that much of the media had prepared.

As we went to press Wednesday morning, the polls showed a dead heat between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, with Ron Paul a close third and Newt Gingrich a distant fourth. Mr. Romney retains a huge lead in New Hampshire, which votes January 10, but his failure to win a larger share of the vote than he did in 2008 suggests that GOP voters don't view the former Massachusetts Governor as inevitable.

Many Republicans—especially party elites—have been coalescing around Mr. Romney as the most "electable" candidate, by which they seem to mean the one with the fewest obvious flaws. But electability is a slippery concept, especially 10 months from November. Democrats said the same thing about John Kerry in 2004, while the media were convinced that a right-wing former movie actor was unelectable in 1980. Voters would do better to drop the pundit game theory and choose the best potential President.

On that score, Mr. Romney deserves credit for his doggedness and discipline. However uninspiring, those are useful traits in a candidate or a President. The man who rescued the 2002 winter Olympics has proven he can assemble a team and adapt to the blows of a modern campaign. He has been ruthless in attacking the competitors who were his biggest threats, Rick Perry and Mr. Gingrich, attacking from the right or left if it worked.

Yet Iowa's flirtation with so many "non-Romney" candidates shows that a majority of Republicans still find him less than convincing. The media want to attribute this to anti-Mormon bias. But the polls show that Mr. Romney's Mormonism is a much bigger issue among Democrats than within the GOP.

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum
.The real issue is that Mr. Romney is a cautious, conventional politician in a year when many GOP voters want someone willing to fight for bolder change. On the economy in particular, Mr. Romney is offering the least ambitious plan for growth. Mr. Romney unveiled his 59-point jobs plan in September, and if you can remember two of them you'll win most family trivia contests. His refusal to rule out a value-added-tax is also troubling, especially if Democrats ever won the House during his Presidency.

Mr. Romney's great advantage is that he faces a divided field of conservative competitors, none of whom has been able to consolidate support. That certainly includes Mr. Paul, despite his Iowa showing. The reality is that no candidate with Mr. Paul's super-dovish views on national security can win the Republican nomination. We doubt he could have won it even during the isolationist heyday of the 1930s, but in a world of global terrorism, WMD and Iran, he will not beat Mr. Romney.

Yet Mr. Paul's support has less to do with Mr. Paul himself than with his general antipathy for the political status quo. More than the other candidates, Mr. Paul seems sincere in his desire to chop Washington down to size. He is honest in his constitutionalism even if he often sounds too cranky in expressing it. Tapping the frustration and enthusiasm of Mr. Paul's voters will be crucial to any GOP campaign in 2012, and to successful governing in 2013. The other candidates shouldn't dismiss it.

Mr. Santorum will get the biggest bump out of Iowa, coming from nowhere in the final weeks to finish strong. The former two-term Pennsylvania Senator played the tortoise by visiting all 99 counties and pressing social and moral issues. He has also been impressive in debates, especially on foreign policy.

But to be more than an Iowa flash, he'll need to broaden his message to include economic growth and a jolt of optimism. In his moral fervor Mr. Santorum can sometimes sound like a charter member of the cast-the-first-stone coalition, when most voters prefer a more tolerant traditionalism.

More important, he has rarely talked about his larger economic agenda, other than to stress his desire to "revive manufacturing." The U.S. should make and export everything it competitively can, but manufacturing now accounts for only 11% of the U.S. economy. Mr. Santorum would cut the corporate tax rate to zero for manufacturers but only to 17.5% from 35% for other companies.

The justification for this favoritism seems more political than economic, a play for blue-collar voters who often work in manufacturing. How will Mr. Santorum distinguish this from President Obama's favoritism for Solyndra or electric cars? The Pennsylvanian's overall tax outline is better than this, including a reform that would reduce individual rates to only two, of 10% and 28%, albeit with few details. To beat Mr. Romney, he'll need to broaden his message and make growth a major theme.

As for the rest of the field, Michele Bachmann's sixth place finish means she would have to continue running on willfullness alone. Mr. Perry wants to fight on to South Carolina on January 21, but his weak Iowa finish after spending so much money should give him pause. Jon Huntsman will have to break through in New Hampshire, and his tax reform plan gives him a favorable contrast with Mr. Romney. Mr. Gingrich will also try to revive his candidacy by contrasting his views with those of Mr. Romney, whom he calls a "Massachusetts moderate."

Iowa's caucuses have missed nearly as many future Presidents as they've picked, so Tuesday's vote was hardly the last word. Our sense is that the eventual GOP nominee would benefit from a good, hard slog.

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« Reply #1195 on: January 04, 2012, 07:52:30 AM »

second post of AM

By PETER ROBINSON
Although a lot of Republicans keep wishing otherwise, running the federal government is nothing at all like running a business. Presidents don't hire or fire members of Congress, and only a few thousand of the more than one million civilians that the federal government employs serve at the chief executive's pleasure. An aptitude for reviewing business plans or a talent for wooing investors—useless.

Presidents must instead govern by getting the rest of us to see things they way they see them. They need to interest, move and compel us. In a word, they need to be good speakers.

Which brings us to Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and the rest of the GOP field. As the candidates continue their scramble, a scorecard:

Test One: Does anybody really want to listen to this person?

Some politicians are simply a pleasure to hear. Franklin Roosevelt's fireside chats still hold up. His voice is sonorous. His manner is warm and engaging. Ronald Reagan's delivery proved so enjoyable that once, drafting a speech for him on education, I worked in a long passage from Tom Sawyer purely for the pleasure of listening to the president read Mark Twain.

How many candidates has this campaign produced to whom you would listen just for fun? Only one, Herman Cain, and it may be awhile before we hear from him again.

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 .Mr. Romney? Bland. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul? Either forgettable or grating. Only Mr. Gingrich commands listeners' attention, yet his is the command of the factory whistle. You don't enjoy Mr. Gingrich, exactly. You just can't not listen to him.

Mr. Gingrich gets a C, each of the others, a D. This raises a problem: the need to grade these candidates on a curve.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush possesses a sweet, easy delivery; Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Rep, Paul Ryan both bring zeal and conviction to their every utterance; Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey—but you see the point. None of the GOP's most gifted speakers is running. We must therefore recalibrate. Mr. Gingrich gets an A-minus. Each of the others, a B-plus.

Test Two: Why is that candidate wagging his finger at us?

Ronald Reagan told stories, cracked jokes and limned the values all Americans share. "Vote for me," he in effect argued, "because I'm one of you." Jimmy Carter and Michael Dukakis by contrast sounded like policy wonks, talking less about broad values than about the details of government programs. "Vote for me," each in effect argued, "because I'm smarter than you."

Related

 Rick Santorum's message of the traditional family as a fundamental economic unit played well at a pre-caucus campaign stop at Des Moines Christian School, where supporters included the 21-member Duggar family of TLC fame.
..For their membership in the Carter/Dukakis school of wonkishness, Messrs. Romney and Gingrich both get Cs. They don't always talk down to us. But at moments they can't help themselves.

Jon Huntsman? A grade of D. He hectors. He lectures. He waves his unusually long index finger in the air like everyone's least-favorite professor.

For their membership in the Reagan school, Mrs. Bachmann and Messrs. Santorum and Paul deserve As. They come across as regular people. Ron Paul may lose audiences when he champions isolationism or denounces the Fed, but even then he seems like somebody's excitable uncle, not an intellectual snob.

Rick Perry merits a special word. He's relaxed, appealing, a regular guy, a committed student in the Reagan school . . . and yet. Although President Reagan might intentionally fumble for a moment as he answered a question—Reagan once explained to a friend of mine that he wanted people to be able to see that he was thinking matters through, just as they would do if they were in his position—he never turned in a performance quite like Gov. Perry's debate lapse. The governor of Texas, as you will recall, lost his train of thought for 53 seconds, then blurted "Oops." Appearing normal differs from appearing addled. Mr. Perry's grade: C.

Test Three: Folks, this is serious.

Gravitas. Weight. Substance. Which of the GOP candidates demonstrates that he is equal to the moment? Who shows that in asking his fellow Republicans to place him in a line of succession that includes Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, he understands the fundamental solemnity of the undertaking?

The most important test, this is also the most subjective. After listening to speeches, debates and interviews for lo these many months, I have concluded that just two candidates pass: Messrs. Romney and Gingrich.

Mr. Romney has of course flipped and flopped. While he now refers to himself as "a conservative businessman," he claimed as recently as 2002 that he was instead a "moderate and . . . my views are progressive." Why hasn't he been laughed out of the race for this sort of thing? For one reason: When he speaks about the economy, the issue most on Americans' minds, he conveys depth of knowledge, the sense that he genuinely understands how to promote growth, and the flintiness to take the fight to President Obama.

Mr. Gingrich? Yes, I know. During the last few weeks the Republican establishment has formed a United Front Against Gingrich, insisting that the former House speaker is manic, childish, flighty and unstable. Perhaps on the evidence of Mr. Gingrich's more than three decades as a public figure the establishment has a case. On the evidence of his performance during this campaign, you couldn't prove it.

Mr. Gingrich has popped off a few times, but so have all the others. What has distinguished the former speaker has been his poise, his good humor, his intelligence and, particularly during the debates, his seriousness.

"Down one road," Mr. Gingrich said recently, describing the choice voters will face next year, "is a European . . . system in which politicians and bureaucrats define the future. Down the other road is a proud, solid reaffirmation of American exceptionalism." Vivid, memorable and true. Mr. Gingrich may yet put up a fight.

For gravitas, give Messrs. Romney and Gingrich both As.

The Most Improved Award.

When in 1953 John Kennedy and Barry Goldwater became freshman senators, Goldwater used to recall, Kennedy proved an awkward and hesitant speaker. Eight years later, Kennedy delivered an inaugural address that still rings. Speaking well is a skill. People can get better at it.

Not Messrs. Romney, Gingrich or Paul. At their ages, and with their experience, they are what they are. Mr. Perry's most recent debate performances represented a dramatic improvement over his catastrophic early appearances, however, and if Mr. Huntsman hasn't relaxed, exactly, he certainly has become less stiff.

Honorable mention here goes to Rick Santorum. Early in the race he seemed too tight, too intense and too often testy. In recent days, as he rose in the polls in Iowa, he seemed to gain the self-confidence he needed to relax, suddenly displaying poise and even, from time to time, an almost Reaganesque charm.

Keep your eye on Mr. Santorum. Before this is over, he might not even need to be graded on the curve.

Mr. Robinson, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and an editor of Ricochet.com.

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bigdog
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« Reply #1196 on: January 04, 2012, 10:48:13 AM »

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/202269-bachmann-cancels-sc-events-announces-press-conference
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bigdog
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« Reply #1197 on: January 04, 2012, 10:49:16 AM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57351053-503544/iowas-bad-track-record-for-picking-gop-winners/
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1198 on: January 04, 2012, 12:18:18 PM »

"Iowa is not a GOP kingmaker "

Very true.  For one thing it is a smaller, skewed sample of mostly activists attending a caucus, not simply voting.  It tells us more about who did not resonate.  A better question would be: who won the nomination after winning both Iowa and New Hampshire?

Bachmann is out.  Perry wants a try at South Carolina and Huntsman wants to try New Hampshire.  Iowa is a big loss for Newt.  It was all his to lose, so to speak, a very short time ago.  Even if Santorum had won, he is irrelevant going forward unless he can convert it into momentum elsewhere. Unlikely IMO. The more they stay in and split votes, the more states Romney that will win.

The Republican party and Ron Paul and his supporters will have to figure out to do with that love-hate relationship (mostly hate), but he is the one not likely to ever drop out.
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ccp
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« Reply #1199 on: January 04, 2012, 12:19:43 PM »

I wonder what grade Mr Robinson would give to Brock?

Some were obviously mesmorized by him.   Now I think only the 40% die hard crats can even stand to listen to him.

It has got to be much tougher today than in years past.   With all the media we have today.  

I agree Santorum does sound much better.   I am thinking I could vote for him over Romney.  Yet we all know we have to beat Brock and sadly (to me) Romney the detail man still gets press as being the best one to do that because of the independent swing votders.  angry
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