John McCain Wants the Presidential Candidates to Stop All These Silly Debates

Bookmark and Share   While defending Mitt Romney, his choice for President, in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press,  failed 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain told host David Gregory that he wishes the Republican presidential candidates would stop participating in all the presidential debates that are taking place.

According to McCain, the debates “are driving down our candidates favorable ratings” and are making it harder whoever the nominee is to defeat President Obama in November.

The statement begs the question, is John McCain losing his mind, or has he already lost it?

McCain’s objection to the presidential candidates having as many as 19 debates in the last 8 months is both dumb and a quintessential example of establishment thinking.  Only a true established member of the political class would take issue with politicians having to discuss the issues and defend their records and policies in front of an audience comprised of the American electorate.  The political elite may not like being held accountable in a forum that is not scripted so tightly that it allows for a one way conversation of the candidate telling the voters what they think the voters want to hear, but voters do appreciate having the opportunity to see their potential President have to think on their feet.

Furthermore; even if John McCain is correct in his assertion that all the debates are responsible for driving down the favorability numbers of the G.O.P. candidates, then so be it.  If it is true that the more the candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination talk, the more they less people like them, then we do not deserve to win the presidency in November.  If we as a Party can not find a true leader based upon the realistic expectation that they can effectively articulate our cause and the solutions to our problems, than we deserve to lose.

But what it comes down to is that John McCain can’t actually believe his own words.  He can’t really be suggesting that debates are a bad thing.

What McCain is really suggesting is that Newt Gingrich survived this campaign and surged in it because of he outperformed the man that McCain is supporting……Mitt Romney.  And it is clear to McCain that had there not been 19 debates, Mitt would not have been dominated by Newt on 19 different occasions.    So here is Senator McCain actually calling for fewer debates because they are not helping his hand picked choice for President win voters over.

What it comes down to is this.

McCain’s call for the debates to stop is offensive and counterproductive.  It is typical establishment, inside-the-beltway, thinking that is designed to shelter the political class from those whom they seek to govern and it is quite arrogant and antithetical to democratic process.  It is the type of thinking that could only come out the mouth of a from a person who has spent over thirty years in the bubble that is Washington.  They are certainly not the words or thoughts of a so-called “Maverick”.

I will concede that it is quite unfortunate that Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have resorted to attacking one another with distortions that are absolutely over the top.  I feel it is a shame that Newt Gingrich saw fit to travel down the same low road that Mitt Romney and the establishment led us down and that Mitt Romney finds it impossible to build himself up without first tearing down everyone else down.  However I will not go so far as to say that the answer is to stop the debates and limit the discussion to sanitized forums which do not allow candidates to raise and debate legitimate issues before the American people.

To his credit, Mitt Romney has not taken the same position as his establishment surrogate, Senator John McCain.  So while I will not hold McCain’s ignorant and offensive comments against him, but as someone who can easily support Romney if he is the nominee, I would like to suggest to him that he stop trying to embrace the political establishment so tightly.  Instead of using the Dole’s, McCain’s, and Tom DeLay’s of the political world as a ladder to which he can climb to power with, Mitt Romney should be running away from the establishment and building himself up as a candidate of independent, conservative thought, who brings to the table something that the establishment doesn’t……real life and business experience.

Whether Mitt realizes it or not, the establishment support he is receiving is not helping him among the voters he needs most.  The anti-establishment voters who are far removed from the political class and who are disdainful of Beltway politics.  Another thing that Mitt should realize is that the more the political establishment attacks Newt Gingrich, the more the anti-establishment coalesces around Gingrich.

In other words, Mitt Romney should tell surrogates like McCain to shut the hell up.

While he might think that the public pitches that Washington insiders are making on Romney’s behalf are helping him in places like Florida, he should realize that every time the establishment wins, the voters rally behind the anti-establishment candidates.  So even if Romney does wins Florida, if he does so through a strategy that employs tactics designed at assassinating the character of Newt Gingrich through the political class, then the voting class will lash out against him somewhere else, primarily in Minnesota, Missouri, and Arizona, which hold their nominating contests in late february and early March.

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Cain Changes Endorsement, This Time Makes Sense

I have to admit, I was not very impressed when Herman Cain made an unconventional endorsement by endorsing “the American people”.  I mean, how cliche can you get.  Today, Cain redeemed himself by actually stepping out on a limb and endorsing an actual candidate.  Cain, not too surprisingly, endorsed Newt Gingrich.  This makes Cain the second former candidate to come out supporting Gingrich, the other being Rick Perry.

Newt meanwhile is struggling to cross the finish line in Florida after an up and down week.  What he failed to do Thursday night was seal the deal with one last stellar debate performance.  Instead, Newt seemed stunned for part of the night, and all too willing to tangle with Mitt the other part of the night even though he seemed to know it was a bad idea.  Without that stellar performance, and with a constant barrage of negative advertising against him, Newt is now struggling in Florida polls with no national event to put him back in Florida’s good graces.

 

Santorum Shines, Paul Respected

The only thing worse than endless political ads is political ads being tossed back and forth in a debate format with no fact checker.  Well, almost no fact checker.  Romney himself got caught when he tried to famously disavow any political negativity coming from his side only to discover that he had indeed approved an attack ad against Gingrich.

What was lost in the mix was serious debate.  The average listener might think that Romney and Gingrich’s stance on immigration actually differed.  What we discovered instead is that they really are basically the same, making their attacks on each others immigration policy pretty funny.  In fact, they all seemed to have the same view on illegal immigration except for Ron Paul who seemed to be saying that the problem is we have a bad economy and if we had a good economy we would all want illegal immigrants to come here and take the jobs Americans won’t.

Of course, with Paul sometimes it is difficult to differentiate his “this is what I would do as President” with his “this is the way things ought to be” with his “this is the way things are” rhetoric.  It keeps him safe with both the radical constitutionalists and the ignorant populists in his base.  Of course, I myself am a radical constitutionalist, but most of Paul’s constitutional rhetoric falls under the “this is the way things ought to be” column.  I couldn’t have any alcohol last night because of an early morning medical procedure Friday morning, but if I had a drinking game it would have been how many times Paul redirected a question by making his answer about the war, how bad the fed has made the economy, or how small a constitutional government should be.  The immigration question got both the war and the economy.

Paul did receive a great deal of respect from the other candidates.  It was the sort of respect Romney showed to Bachmann early on in the race.  It was that sort of “you have no shot of winning, but I would really like your supporters to like me down the road so I’ll smile and pat you on the back” respect.

Gingrich fell into a trap that I warned about a few months ago.  He has big ideas, but he has also become more and more of a states rights conservative.  Gingrich’s problem is communication in small soundbites.  I understood that he was speaking about encouraging private ventures to establish a moon colony, but the three candidates up there either willingly or ignorantly seemed to think he was talking about NASA doing it.

Gingrich also dropped the ball on something he has done very well at in previous debates, not taking media bait.  Blitzer played Romney and Gingrich all night long.  In fact, it was Rick Santorum who had to bring the debate back to the issues.  Unlike the early debates where Gingrich ran the show and the other candidates followed his lead, this time it was Santorum who reminded the other candidates what the debates and this whole process is all about.  Because of it, Santorum shined last night.

Mitt Romney has hired Bachmann’s former debate coach and it shows.  He laid down persistent attacks, mostly inaccurate, and was distracted from the issues all night.  Newt attempted to rebut, but his responses were too involved for the average American viewer.  Romney easily turned Gingrich’s responses on their head.  A good example was when Newt brought up Romney’s investments in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  I think Newt’s point was that Romney shouldn’t be attacking him for doing consulting work for Freddie Mac when in fact Romney himself is making money on Freddie Mac stock.  In the end though, both sides lost that debate and viewers were left with a disgusting taste in their mouth.

I said that Jacksonville, Florida would be the most important debate of this election if one candidate could shine like Gingrich has in the past debates.  In the end, Gingrich saw his shadow and this primary will continue far beyond Florida.  And unfortunately, it will continue to get nastier.  The candidates have already said many things about each other that they will not be able to take back in the general election.  So in the end, Santorum won the debate, but the Republican party was the big loser.

 

Does Newt Really Have The Momentum to Keep Winning?

Bookmark and Share  If one were to look at Florida, the answer is yes.

Since his exceptionally strong, first place, landslide victory in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Newt Gingrich has at least temporarily established himself as the only candidate with momentum on his side.

Ron Paul, and his supposed ever growing massive number of supporters doesn’t seem to be quite as massive or as rapidly growing as once thought, since his last place showing in South Carolina, and he has all but conceited the election and admitted that he is just in this thing not win, but to pick up enough delegates to finally become politically relevant.

Rick Santorum, has gone from being the surprise underdog winner of the Iowa Caucus to being the man who many question why he is still running.  And Mitt Romney has seen himself gone from a frontrunner and the inevitable nominee, to being the candidate who many are  beginning to feel that if he hasn’t locked up the nomination yet, he may never do it.

But Newt Gingrich’s recent resurrection, from political death which propelled him to become the winner of the first in the South Primary has clearly set the stage for him to finally hit a stride that will make this a two man race between himself and Mitt Romney.

In less than 24 hours of his winning South Carolina, Newt raised a million dollars and since than he has more than doubled that total. Furthermore; in Florida, Gingrich has opened seven  offices with two more yet to be opened, hired 14 paid staffers and signed up 5,000.  By contrast, Romney’s campaign had just five staffers and three offices in Florida by early this week. And on top of that, when it concerns the polls, Gingrich has gone from 27% last week, to 35% this week, a swing of eight percent which now finds Romney falling two percent and in to second place.  Such dramatic numbers would certainly indicate that Newt has the wind at his back, while Romney and the others are now encountering strong headwinds in Florida.

Normally, even though these are solid signs for Newt, I would not be very confident in his ability to keep this recent turn of events moving in his direction.  In the past Newt’s proclivity for the untraditional has forced him to rely on instincts which motivate him to go with unconventional strategies, strategies which, like his previous attempt to attack Mitt Romney from the left and go off the deep end by distorting Mitt’s record of success in the free market, have hurt him.  However after Monday night’s debate, Newt demonstrated a degree of political maturity which he has not often displayed prior to now.  He carried himself as a humble frontrunner and held back any desire he may have had to respond to Mitt Romney’s own distortions with any exaggerated flare that could have undermined Newt’s credibility.  Instead it was Mitt Romney who appeared to be desperate and stretching to find any fatal flaws in Newt Gingrich’s record.

In addition to that, up to now, Newt has not had the type of financial resources that permitted him to to take proper advantage of media advertising which helps to carry his message beyond the audiences that may sit and watch the debates which he typically excels in.  And at the same time, even though Mitt Romney has already spent upwards of $10.5 million on Florida advertising,  he is losing ground.  This bodes quite well for Newt who with his coffers filling up, and with the aid a $5 million single donation to a Gingrich Super PAC in Florida, can now chip away at the dominance of Romney’s campaign in the Sunshine State.

But that’s not the only reason I remain optimistic for Newt at least in Florida.

In his attempt to stop the newtmentum, Romney seems to be making some of his first strategic stumbles.  In the most recent debate, while hoping to paint Newt as a Washington insider and influence peddler, he brought up the issue of Medicaid Part D and claimed that Newt was paid by health companies that could benefit from a piece of legislation, to lobby Congress Medicaid Part D’s passage.  During Monday’s debate he said to Gingrich;

“If you’re getting paid by health companies, if your  entities are getting paid by, and you then meet with Republican congressmen and  encourage them to support that legislation, you can call it whatever you  like. I call it influence peddling” .

The argument could potentially have legs, but not in Florida, where the nation’s largest population of senior citizens benefitted from the program and where Gingrich successfully dismissed Romney’s claims and accused Mitt of being a serial twister of the truth.   Gingrich countered Mitt’s charge in part by stating

 “I think it’s pretty clear to say that I have never,  ever gone and done any lobbying,”

 He also added that he was  proud of the fact that he publicly, openly advocated the prescription drug program.

That last statement was essentially the punch that ended and won that round for Newt.  It successfully appealed to the very large senior citizen voting bloc in Florida, the voters who when it’s time to cast their ballots, happen to turn out in the largest numbers .

Additionally, Romney seems to be counting on tieing Newt Gingrich to the tide of foreclosures in Florida.

Florida took a hit second only to Nevada in the housing crisis and by claiming Newt made money from Freddie Mac which essentially oversaw the creation and bursting of the housing bubble, he is hoping that Floridians who lost their homes will see Newt Gingrich as the villain who profited from their losses.  The problem is that Republicans are not buying what Mitt is trying to sell in that area of political campaigning.  And another thing to note is that those individuals who lost their homes because they provided mortgages that they were not qualified for in the first place, are not voting for either Newt or Mitt.  So clearly, Mitt Romney is throwing a wildly wrong  pitch and throwing it to the wrong people.

Then there is something else working against Mitt in Florida.

Unlike the previous three contests, Florida is a closed primary.

In a closed primary or caucus, only registered members of a Party may vote in that Party’s primary and Independents, those not registered with either major Party, are not permitted to vote in either major Party’s primary. Democrats who may like Mitt Romney’s moderate image, will not be able to influence who Republicans nominate as their Party’s candidate.  This is the way I believe it should be.  It is also one of the reasons why Ron Paul has written Florida off.  Since his hero worshippers from outside of the G.O.P. and within the sphere of liberal-tarian lunacy, can not sabotage the Republican process, they are picking up their toys and not playing in the Sunshine State.  All of this is good news for Newt, who if he keeps it together, just might be able to extend his good fortune into the forseeable future.

But even if he does hold it together in Florida, he will still forced to confront some very rough seas.

Following Florida will be two contests that Mitt Romney so far looks unbetable in….Nevada and Michigan.  This will provide at least a psychological sense of momentum that swings back towards Mitt  and away from Newt.  When that time comes, Newt will have to confront his challenge, a challenge that will force him to prove he has the staying power to comeback, and put Romney back on the ropes.  So far Newt has proven that he has considerable political stamina, but if he wins Florida, he will have to turn that stamina in to a knockout punch that he can land sometime after Nevada and Michigan.  If he can’t land such a punch, Republicans could very easily end up seeing this race last longer than the 2008 Democrat nomination between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or worse…….maybe even the first brokered convention since 1976 when President Gerald Ford was almost dumped by the Party in exchange for future President Ronald Reagan.

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Gingrich Drops a Knockout Punch Money Bomb, Santorum Goes on the Attack, and Romney Tries to Stay Intact

Bookmark and Share   The three major candidates that will be moving on to compete in the Florida primary on January 31st, are all trying to set a tone that will allow them to come leave South Carolina with the type of momentum and enthusiasm that they will need to do as best as they can in the Sunshine State.

Following his third place showing in South Carolina, Rick Santorum, sent an email out to his supporters that tried to stress how this nomination is anyone’s to win.

According to Santorum’s email;

“For the first time, three different candidates have won the first three contests of the Republican nomination contest.  It’s a clear signal from voters that this race is still wide open. And that’s why we must keep the pressure on.”

Santorum goes a step further and tries to motivate his supporters by getting them angry at Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich while also taking swipes at their electability.  In the case of Mitt Romney, he writes;

“The Romney campaign is now nervous. Just a few weeks ago they were talking about a “clean sweep” in the first three primary states. Now it looks like they are one for three — just like our campaign and Newt’s.

That’s why the former frontrunner’s Boston-based consultants launched a series of misleading robocalls against me in South Carolina. I guess they think that’s the way to win elections.

I’ve got news for them. You can’t fool voters, and when you try, they turn on you. That’s why Romney’s campaign is on the ropes and, frankly, acting desperate.”

In regards to Newt Gingrich, Santorum states;

“Newt, on the other hand, thinks if he puts his ego on display, voters will like it. There’s no doubt Newt talks the talk. Problem is, when you look at his record, he doesn’t walk the walk. Leading Republicans have said nominating Newt would be “a disaster” for the Party. When I point that out, Newt starts attacking my “electability”. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Santorum adds;

Our campaign won’t stand for attacks like these. At the same time, we won’t sink to their level. I intend to continue pushing my positive, values-based campaign without taking cheap shots at my opponents. Voters who hear our message like what we have to say — and I will continue to draw a sharp contrast between our vision for America and that of President Obama’s.

For his part, moments after he delivered his remarks following the release of the Palmetto State primary election results, the now again, former frontrunner for the nomination, Mitt Romney, tried to convey a sense of urgency to his own supporters by trying to make them aware of how important Florida is to his campaign and letting them know this nomination contest is a real fight.  He stated;

“This is a hard fight because there is so much worth fighting for.  Tomorrow we take our fight to Florida — a state that knows too well the failures of President Obama.  A lot is at stake in Florida in 10 days. But we cannot stop there. The road to the White House this November will go through Florida.”

Right before he took to the stage in South Carolina to declare his first primary election victory, Newt’s campaign emailed supporters a message that was intended to insure that they remain motivated by their almost inherent disgust for the mainstream and Washington establishment.

Newt wrote;

“Our success in yesterday’s South Carolina primary is a result of one thing: a national movement of conservative patriots who want to see bold solutions enacted to rebuild the America we love. The political establishment in Washington and their allies in the liberal media have written our campaign off as dead – not once, but twice! But here’s something they couldn’t account for: the American people know that we need a Reagan conservative to debate Obama, to draw stark contrasts with Obama, and to make sure we defeat Obama!”

And in an attempt to undermine Rick Santorum, Newt also tried to establish himself as the one viable conservative alternative to Mitt Romney and uses Sarah Palin and Rick Perry as evidence of the type conservatives who are behind him.  He writes;

“Over the last few days, we’ve seen conservatives in South Carolina – and across the country – unify behind our bold campaign of ideas. With support from great conservatives like Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Michael Reagan, 100 Tea Party leaders, and millions of proud Americans it doesn’t matter how despicable the attacks from the media get, together we will continue to persevere. This election is about fundamentally changing the direction of our nation, and I am honored to represent the ideas of freedom and prosperity for the conservative movement.”

The Gingrich campaign then makes a pitch for some of the much needed money that they will have to raise if they intend to compete effectively against Romney in Florida.  They launch a money bomb called the “Knockout Punch” and Gingrich adds;

“If you want to watch us run circles around Barack Obama in the debates with bold conservative ideas, then please make a donation today as part of our two-day “knockout punch” money bomb! Help us solidify the conservative momentum, join our campaign today!

 Clearly, South Carolina has put the pressure on each of the three most serious   candidates remaining in the race.
Romney must finally try to convince conservatives that he really is one of them.  Rick Santorum must try to remain relevant by avoiding another third place showing.  And Newt Gingrich must try to prove that his landslide victory in South Carolina was not a fluke and that he really is capable of going all the way.
And with each of these three men having won one statewide nomination contest apiece, each of them wants to desperately break that tie.  Right now the money is on Romney in Florida, but if you recall, less than ten days prior to the South Carolina primary, the money was on Romney to win there too and look how that turned out for him.
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A Close Look at Newt Gingrich’s Landlside Victory in South Carolina

Bookmark and Share   Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina was nothing less than astonishing and while it marked Newt’s second return to life during this election cycle, it hardly makes the race for the Republican presidential nomination any clearer than it was after the two previous state contests.  What it did do though was make clear that Mitt Romney has some big problems.  So does Gingrich, but Newt’s problem seems to be more with the general electorate than the Republican electorate.

Final Results for the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary

According to a breakdown of the votes which produced an impressive 12% lead over Mitt Romney, the rival to come closest to him, in addition to so far winning 23 of the 25 delegates from the state, Newt won almost every single Republican demographic in the state.  He defeated all the other candidates among just about every voting bloc.  He took a majority of the vote among women, men, urban voters, suburban voters, voters with high school level educations and college educations, voters of all income brackets, and he even won a majority of votes among those who describe themselves not just as conservative Republicans, but even among those who describe themselves liberal Republicans.  However; Romney did beat Gingrich among self described moderates with 36% of them for Mitt,  to 31% for Newt.

Gingrich not only won a plurality of evangelical Christians, he won Catholics and Protestants, as well as both married and single voters.

The only demographics that Newt did lose were those between the ages of 18 and 29, and  those who said that a candidates religion either mattered very little in their choice of candidate, or not at all.

Ron Paul won the 18 to 29 year old age group with 32% of their vote, to 27% of their vote for Gingrich.  As seen in the table below, that 5% margin between Newt and Ron Paul tightens up in the older half of that age bracket, where 25 to 29 year olds gave Ron Paul 31% of the vote and Newt Gingrich 29% of their vote.

As for those who find little or no importance in a candidate’s sharing similar religious beliefs with them, Mitt Romney beats Gingrich by anywhere from 3 to 10%, as seen below;

The only real significance that can be found within those numbers have less to do with Romney and Gingrich, and more to do with Rick Santorum.

Last week, 150 national evangelical leaders gathered in Texas and decided to endorse Rick Santorum.  Their hope was to essentially unite the evangelical vote behind one of Mitt’s Romney’s rivals in an attempt to deny Romney the ability to win the nomination.  As I predicted at the time, the move did not work.  Clearly, evangelical voters said those 150 religious leaders can do what they want, because they were going to do their own thing.  In this case, they went for Newt, not Santorum.  As I stated at the time, those evangelical leaders did more harm to their cause than good. In addition to looking unorganized, they now look powerless and have diminished the amount of clout that their future endorsements may carry.

Meanwhile, while Ron Paul narrowly defeated Gingrich among the younest voters, who accounted for 9% of the total vote in South Carolina, he quite surprisingly lost two groups that he desperatley needed for a strong showing.

One of those groups were Independents.

South Carolina’s open primary system allows Independents to vote in the Republican primary.  This was the case in  Iowa and New Hampshire too, and in both those states, Independent voters were in fact the main reason Ron Paul did as well as he did in those states.  I have often stated, if left up to Republicans, Ron Paul is nothing but a second tier candidate and exit polls in South Carolina supported that conclusion.  But in addition to receiving the least support from Republicans, Ron Paul also lost the Independent vote. And not just to Newt Gingrich, but to Mitt Romney as well.

Among Independents, Gingrich beat Paul by 7%, and Mitt Romney beat Paul by 1%.

Another big defeat for Ron Paul was his loss of the military vote.

Ron Paul prides himself on a statistic which he uses to claim that he receives more support from our military service members, than any other candidate.  Paul likes to make this claim because he believes that his statistic regarding fundraising from servicemen and women, provides him cover for his reckless and dangerous isolationist foreign and national defense policies.  The suggestion is that if the military supports him more than any other candidate, they must like his defense and foreign policies and therefore, they are good policies.

If such were really the case though, South Carolina would be extremely fertile territory for Ron Paul to pull off an electoral coup in.  With several substantial military installations in the state, South Carolina has one of the largest active duty and veteran populations in the nation.  Between that and the state’s open primary system which allows Independents and even Democrats to vote in the Republican primary, if Ron Paul could win any state, South Carolina is that one.  But in addition to losing the Independent vote, Ron Paul also lost the military vote.  And not just by a little and not just to Newt Gingrich.  He lost to Rick Santorum by 4%, Mitt Romney by 20%, and Newt Gingrich by a whopping 27%.

In general, while the results were incredibly good for Newt in South Carolina, they were actually very embarrassing for Ron Paul.

All in all, these numbers help to establish that Newt Gingrich is most certainly a serious threat to Mitt Romney.

While South Carolina is not a the most accurate example of national consensus, it is a relatively good representative picture of national Republican sentiments and an even better predictor of Republican presidential nominees.  But if nothing else, it is a an excellent indicator of how tough it may be for Romney to survive the Southern primaries.

Florida will be the real test for both Romney and Gingrich though.

If there is any Southern state which Romney has an excellent chance of winning, it is Florida.

Florida, may be very Republican, and very conservative, but it has a significant Jewish population. The largest Jewish population in all the South.  That voting bloc tends to be more moderate and liberal, and therefore perfect prospective supporters of Mitt Romney, the man Newt describes as a “Massachusetts moderate”.   In the general election, this Jewish vote in Florida will be critical to winning the state and the presidency, and if recent history is any indication, they may easily be persuaded to vote Republicans, or at least against President Obama.

Several months ago, in a special election to replace disgraced New York liberal Congressman Anthony Weiner, a Republican won that heavily heavily Jewish congressional seat which crosses New York City’s counties of Brooklyn and Queens.  It is a district which has been in Democrat hands for practically a hundred years, yet thanks to a Jewish vote that is very unhappy with President Obama and his policies with Israel and his horrible treatment of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, Jewish voters elected a relatively conservative, Republican to replace Anthony Weiner.

This all means that the Jewish vote will be quite important and in Florida, it could make the difference between winning and losing in the primary between Mitt and Newt, and winning and losing in the general election between President Obama and whoever the eventual Republican presidential nominee is.

If Newt were smart, he would be headed for Florida right now and direct his campaign operatives to focus in on the Jewish vote and accentuate what is Newt’s very real, very pro-Israel policy record.  As Speaker of the House, Newt accumulated an extremely powerful and very lengthy, positive record on Israel, and that record could provide the margin of victory for Newt over Mitt in Florida.

If Newt can prevent Mitt Romney from winning Florida, he will have a better than 50-50 chance at becoming the Republican nominee. The numbers behind the numbers  in South Carolina, support that.  But in order for Newt to reach those odds, he will have to undermine Romney’s strengths in the Sunshine State.  One of them is money.  Another is organization, and the other is the moderate and liberal element of the Republican Party.  Newt will have the support of conservatives and evangelicals, so long as he does not start attacking from the left again.  All he needs is to win over enough of the moderates to prevent Mitt from getting another Santorum-like 34 vote victory and his uphill battle for the big prize will get a lot less steeper.

For a more comprehensive look at the numbers behind the final election numbers you can visit here .

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Effect of Debates vs. Campaign Fatigue

South Carolina is within reach for Newt.  However, he must now combat something other than superpacs and media.  Newt now has to overcome campaign fatigue.  I’m sure that all of the candidates are tired and have been traveling a lot, but that isn’t what I was referring to.  You probably noticed about a month ago that every time there was a new debate, you were sure to have a friend who commented “Really?? Another one??”

Add to the non-stop debates at least 5 major lead changes among social conservatives, a growing, wearying Ron Paul movement, and the constant drum-beat from the establishment that Romney always was going to be the candidate and it is purely undeniable fate, and Romney gets the advantage among Conservatives who are tired of the infighting and want to get on to the main event.

Romney has flaws.  In fact, as I watch his superpac advertise Newt’s baggage (more than an airliner, according to the ad), I have to wonder why Romneycare, running on a pro-abortion platform, and all that does not count as baggage for Romney.  He has not yet been able to get the social conservatives to give him the unanimous thumbs up.  But one thing he has been flawless at has been this particular campaign.  His biggest missteps seem like manufactured class warfare attacks that only make him stronger among conservatives.  For example, he tried to bet $10k in a debate.  Who cares?  So he has $10k to throw around.  Duh, he’s rich.  Not only that, but only a moron, leftist, or member of the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) would think that Romney was actually trying to get Perry to make a financial wager, not just making a point that Perry was off his rocker.

Romney’s comment that he would like to fire his insurance company led to dishonest attacks from fellow conservatives, and perhaps one of the most boring Saturday Night Live opening sketches in history.  Attacks on Bain capital have left most conservatives scratching their heads, wondering if suddenly supporting small businesses and risk taking is no longer GOP approved.  The funnier thing was Obama attacking Romney’s record at Bain, after Obama used our tax dollars against our will to do the same thing with Chrysler against their will.  At least with Bain they were using investor’s money willingly given to help companies who came to them for help.  I can’t imagine the Chrysler bond-holders were hoping Obama would steal Chrysler, sell it to Italy and give the proceeds to the unions.

A couple days before South Carolina, Gingrich’s biggest advantage in the debates may become his worst liability.  Yes, the New Hampshire debate earned top ratings.  But Romney remains unflappable.  On the other hand, in Huckabee’s South Carolina forum on January 14th, the viewership was not quite so wide but Gingrich’s attack on Bain and the crowd’s booing response can be quickly found on youtube.  Going forward, more average voters are going to start relying more on soundbites and replays than taking time away from the playoffs to watch these debates from start to finish.  Without something to rally behind, Newt will not be able to recover the lost ground.

Romney won Iowa and New Hampshire, continuing to cement his front runner and assumed nominee status.  A South Carolina win will make it nearly impossible for any other candidate to catch up despite the fact that Romney continues to come no where near grabbing a majority of Republicans.  By the time Santorum and Perry drop out, Romney may have enough momentum to convince conservative holdouts to stop fighting him and start fighting with him against Obama.

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