What’s interesting is our little birdies’ opinions on the race are just as varied as the voters the various candidates are trying to woo. However, there are two areas where each of our little birdies is in agreement—Herman Cain is all but done in Iowa, and Ron Paul won’t win the Caucuses despite what the polls say.
“Cain is at least third right now,” said one little birdie who considers himself a Tea Party sympathizer. “He’s probably lost 10 points in the last two weeks. If anything, I see most of the Tea Party people coalescing behind Newt Gingrich and giving Michele Bachmann another look. They like the solutions Gingrich is offering, especially the stuff on the courts. Plus, they think since he’s already so well-known, warts and all, they won’t get surprised by the vetting process like they did with Cain and they want enough time to find an alternative to Mitt Romney—whom none of them want.
“That’s why (Tea Partiers) aren’t rallying to Rick Santorum, because they’re not sure the vetting process has enough time with him and they don’t want another ‘flavor of the month’ before it’s too late to take out Romney. Bachmann is getting a second look because she’s been so strong on Tea Party issues in Congress, but she has to show the campaign troubles of the past few months are a thing of the past.”
Another very connected little birdie said, “The sex scandal has leveled off Herman Cain’s upward rise, but unfortunately it took his lack of basic foreign policy knowledge to permanently retard his progress.” He added, “The primary benefactor from the sex scandal was Cain. Supporters have foolishly rallied to his support with financial donations, but his foreign policy deficiency has proven to be his downfall.”
Another little birdie who has access to internal polling of Caucus voters said “despite calling hundreds of Republican voters each week the polling never showed Cain having anything close to the support these public surveys were giving him.”
All of our little birdies, staunch conservatives, were shocked and dismayed that Cain made it this far given where he is (or isn’t) on the issues. They also think Paul cannot build a large enough coalition to win the Caucuses.
“He’s got an excellent organization, but while other candidates have floors and ceilings of support Paul has an anchor,” said this little birdie, who has worked on numerous Republican races across the state over the years. “Paul’s support is what it is. It’s not moving, and it’s not going to move because of what he stands for.
Another little birdie agreed.
“His support has a cap, and although his cap has grown in this election cycle as people get sick and tired of our nation’s fiscal policy and nation building, many conservatives aren’t willing to overlook Paul’s lack of commitment to the Christian moral principles our Founding Fathers utilized to build our constitutional republic in the first place.”
Regarding Gingrich, our little birdies were split on whether he’s just the latest “flavor of the month” or has staying power as a frontrunner.
“Right now he’s offering the most substance and ideas, so he absolutely has staying power,” said one little birdie who is uncommitted in the presidential race. “But he’s also got to clearly address the issues in his personal life like he did that silly commercial he did with Nancy Pelosi a few years ago.”
Another little birdie said he thought if the Caucuses were held today Gingrich would win, but other little birdies remain skeptical the Gingrich surge is real.
“Newt’s surge is for real in the sense that he’s become the favorite new toy,” this little birdie said. “But the problem with new toys is that once you’re the new Laser-Tag there’s always a new Tickle-Me-Elmo around the corner.”
So where does Romney stand?
“If the Caucuses were today he would win because no one with an organization on the ground has emerged as a true alternative,” this little birdie said. “If Romney wins Iowa its game over for the nomination. He won’t be stopped, because he’ll follow that up with a massive win in New Hampshire, and then have all the momentum heading into South Carolina. If grassroots conservatives want to stop Romney, they have to stop him here in Iowa, and the only way to stop him is to coalesce behind an alternative with a ground game in Iowa. Right now the only options there are Bachmann and Santorum.”
One little birdie blamed his fellow evangelicals on why Romney is leading the polls in Iowa and elsewhere.
“Christians haven’t done their due diligence in picking their candidate,” this little birdie said. “People need to pick the candidate that has proven themselves in the public light to be a candidate that won’t bend to the political winds, who won’t yield to the establishment Republicans, and who isn’t afraid to not only fight for our economic situation but also for the social issues that will change the moral fabric of our country.”
All of our little birdies thought the most likely options for coalescing evangelical support late in the process were Santorum and Bachmann, but they disagreed on which one of those two candidates it should be.
“This weekend’s forum with The Family Leader could very well be a playoff game between Santorum and Bachmann,” an uncommitted little birdie said. “One of those two needs to step up and out-shine the other in order to clearly make the case they’re the candidate for social conservatives who want to stop Romney and don’t trust Gingrich.”
Finally, what about endorsements? Are there any that could persuade undecided voters down the stretch? Our little birdies said they thought two endorsements would matter, and those two were Congressman Steve King and Bob Vander Plaats of The Family Leader.
“Vander Plaats’ endorsement will have a major impact on the evangelical vote,” one little birdie said. “To retain respect and credibility, however, that endorsement will have to go to either Santorum or Bachmann, both of whom signed their pledge. Santorum may be the harder sell because of his endorsement of partial birth abortion advocate Christine Todd Whitman and anti-life Arlen Specter.
What about King? One little birdie who believes King will endorse Santorum is concerned King is waiting too long.
“He’s making the same mistake he made four years ago with Fred Thompson,” said a little birdie sympathetic to Santorum’s candidacy. “By waiting too long he doesn’t give his organization enough time to really help the candidate.”
Another little birdie sympathetic to Bachmann’s candidacy is concerned King may hurt himself in his re-election battle with former First Lady Christie Vilsack next year.
“He’s supposed to be one of Michele’s best friends, and she’s been saying King is one of the reasons she decided to run,” he said. “Now he’s not going to support her? Throw in his reckless comments about the women accusing Cain, and when you consider King is running against a well-known woman next year, he could have a woman problem in that election.”
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