Palin Power Punishes Establishment Again

In an absolutely stunning development, little known state legislator, Deb Fischer, badly beat two GOP rivals in Nebraska’s primary yesterday. She will face Democrat Bob Kerrey in the general with a Senate seat up for grabs. A preliminary poll released by Democrats showed Fischer up by double digits over Kerrey. But that’s a story for later.

In addition to Fischer, the Nebraska GOP primary included the state’s attorney general and establishment-backed Jon Bruning and conservative state treasurer, Don Stenberg, supported by Club for Growth and the Senate Conservative Fund. It is estimated that Stenberg and his supporters spent $1.3 million while Bruning and pals coughed up $1.2 million on the campaign. Amazingly, Fischer’s costs have been estimated at a mere $400,000. As a result, Fischer was left for dead weeks ago. How did Fischer mount a comeback, take a majority of the vote and leave the GOP-establishment scratching their heads?

Well, both Bruning and Stenberg have some baggage to be sure, while Fischer’s personal demon — voting for a gasoline tax hike — was minimized by an otherwise consistently strong state voting record. Bruning and Stenberg, having notable financial support, viewed one another as the true adversary and squared off against each other, ignoring Fischer. The mutual punishment they dished out damaged each of their campaigns while Fischer was left, for the most part, unscathed.

And, of course, there was Palin power.

While GOP big-shots like Jim DeMint, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul endorsed either Stenberg or Bruning as candidates, Sarah Palin was the only “national name” to endorse Fischer. A note of endorsement sent from Palin to Fischer on May 8th was released to the media the following day. In effect, Fischer went from nobody to the GOP primary winner in a week. This is the second time this month Palin has punished the GOP establishment — she endorsed conservative Richard Mourdock before his win over moderate Richard Lugar.

The current political power of Palin is astonishing. Missing some races early during 2010, Palin was mocked and ridiculed by both the GOP establishment and Democrats. But there can be no denying  that her track record of endorsements – Rand Paul, Nikki Haley, Richard Mourdock earlier this month, now Fischer to name a few – has staggered the GOP-establishment like a crisp shot to the chin.

Ultimately, however, the high stakes battle for the right to define the future of the GOP is still unresolved. Karl Rove is a seasoned veteran and he and his beltway boys will not go down easily. Palin, to her credit, has vastly improved her politics and has avoided blunders that the establishment can pounce on to discredit her. She’s also on a hot streak.

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The Republicans’ fading colours – The Spectator Magazine

Link to the original article:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/7648068/web-exclusive-the-republicans-fading-colours.thtml

 

Web exclusive: The Republicans’ fading colours

11 February 2012

CPAC Review essay by White House 2012 writer David Cowan published on The Spectator magazine website

 

Growing up in the 1960s, my primary school in Cambridge had an outdoor roofless boy’s toilets, and we happily enjoyed urinating up the wall. It was a sign we were getting further up the school when one day we were able to urinate over the wall itself — much to the annoyance of people on the other side. This memory came to mind this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington DC over the weekend, the annual gathering of some ten thousand political activists. This year CPAC was a pissing contest to see who was the most conservative.

The three Republican frontrunners, Santorum, Romney and Gingrich, in that order, sought to reach the base and convince activists about their conservative qualities. The themes they all offered were: what’s wrong with the Obama administration; a shopping list of what conservative policies would work better; an appeal to American exceptionalism; and a return to the founding principles of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The three candidates are looking for the right to fight an Obama administration seen as somewhat Carteresque, from failed election promises through to the ideological infighting. Obama, though personally liked (Ann Coulter joked he would make a nice neighbour, unless you’re Chinese, then he’d keep borrowing stuff), is seen as ineffective and evasive.

To reenergise America, the candidates laid claim to the mantle of Ronald Reagan, frequently invoking his name and sunny disposition. Yet herein lies the rub. Reagan defeated Carter with ideas for the economy and foreign policy, successfully combining a conservative vision and charm to appeal to swing voters. At CPAC 1974, Reagan gave his famous ‘bold colours, not pale pastels’ speech, asserting conservative principles. This weekend showed that some of the colours have long since faded.

Things were certainly off-colour last time I was here, back in 2009, as defeated activists sought to pick themselves up after Obama’s coronation. The biggest cheers then were for Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, as they offered succour. Newt entered to his incongruous theme tune ‘Eye of the Tiger’, but instead of entering stage right he walked in through the crowd, parting them Moses-like, shaking hands and hugging supporters.

The danger three years on is, of course, an election that will see CPAC 2013 take place after a second Obama inauguration. Expect then a sinking sense of what might have been. For many American conservatives a Republican failure this year will exacerbate what they fear most: n irreversible dependency culture and Europeanisation. Daniel Hannan flew into DC to warn on just this point, expressing his amazement to rapt delegates that while Europe is driving off the cliff they can see America in their rear-view mirror, overtaking them.

Back in 2009 something else happened at CPAC. Sarah Palin was slated to speak, but failed to appear either in person or via a hastily announced satellite link. This was the signal that Sarah was taking the celebrity high road, rather than the political low road. This year, however, she did appear as closing speaker to offer the benediction — but not the one most people expected. She did not endorse Gingrich, as he himself alluded to in his own speech by quoting her husband Todd. She called for unity, but convoluted as ever, Palin said ‘whoever our nominee is we must work together to get him over the finishing line, and then next year we will have a true conservative in the Oval office’ — only to go on Fox news on Sunday afternoon to say she is still to be convinced Romney that is indeed a conservative.

Despite this, and despite the Santorum surge, Romney will see this conference as mission accomplished — reinforced by the CPAC Straw Poll narrowly backing his candidature. Out of the three candidates it looks seemed that Romney pissed the highest this weekend. And, while still divided, all the delegates would agree about who should be standing on the other side of the wall, on the receiving end.

See Sarah Palin’s Entire CPAC Keynote Address: “You Gotta Hope Things Change”

FROM CPAC: Palin Closes Out CPAC Slamming Obama Economics: “His plan isn’t winning the future, it’s losing the country.” (See the video below this post)

Bookmark and Share Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin unloaded on President Barack Obama and the Washington D.C. establishment during an address that closed out the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Before a jam-packed crowd, with hundreds more watching on monitors in the convention center hallways and overflow rooms, Palin attacked the Obama economic agenda from many angles.

She identified the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a key culprit in destruction of jobs in America. Instead of developing America’s own homegrown resources, the EPA has put the country in a position where it must rely upon dubious foreign sources, she said. And the EPA makes it difficult for businesses trying to expand although, Palin noted wryly, the EPA never seems to block the construction of new government buildings in Washington D.C.

“Instead of calling Washington D.C. a swamp, call it a wetland,” she said. That would be one way to slow the march of government, she suggested.

Palin also took aim at “crony capitalism,” which she said, was growing the size of government at the expense of average Americans.

“The politicians arrive as men and women (in Washington D.C.) and they become plutocrats. And they spread the wealth around to their pals.”

Palin also reminded audience members that CPAC was initiated by conservative activists who were out to remake the Republican Party. Reagan called for “bold colors, not pale pastels,” she said.

There is a certain paradox at work in the current political cycle, Palin said. “The conservative movement has never been stronger or brighter, yet the federal government has never cast a bigger shadow.”

The Tea Party has momentum because “the American people have woken up” to the dangers of big government, she said.

If the country continues on a path where policy makers attempt to tax and spend their way into prosperity, the future of America will look more like the old world rather than the new world.

“That’s the dream of the far Left, not the American dream,” she said.

Never before in American history has there ever been such a division between how the president views the “state of the union” and how average Americans view the “state of the union,” she said.

In history of our republic between how our own president sees Americans see state of union and Americans he’s elected to serve see state of the union, Palin told audience members.

Unlike President Obama, Republicans are looking to free markets and to long-standing constitutional principles, she said.

“His plan isn’t winning the future, it’s losing the country.”

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Video from TheRightScoop.com

CPAC and Sarah Palin mark a turn to unity

 

A vintage fiery performance: Palin told delegates we'll keep our guns, God and Constitution, and Obama can keep the change.

The most remarkable event of today’s CPAC was Sarah Palin endorsing unity. Instead of showing her support for any one candidate, she called for unity, saying that whoever the nominee is the GOP must defeat Obama. Whoever the nominee is conservatives must work together, she told an ecstatic audience, and the nation will have a true conservative in the White House.

The unity message, great!

It followed the announcement that Mitt Romney had narrowly won the CPAC Straw Poll, following his mission to the conference to prove his conservative credentials. It seems it may be mission accomplished. Certainly Romney will be feeling a lot better about his appeal to the conservative base after today.

The other remarkable performance came from the ever-popular Daniel Hannan, British Member for the European Parliament. Warning America not to go down the European road, he was amazed that while Europe is driving off the cliff they can see America in their rear-view mirror and overtaking them!

After his talk, I had a good conversation with him, as we walked through the hotel, including a detour through the kitchens! I asked him if he endorsed any candidates? He, just a little coyly, suggested it was difficult to choose, but stressed it was important for the party to unite behind a candidate and get Obama, who earlier in the day John Bolton called the “first post-American President”, out of the White House.

Daniel Hannan warns America not to follow Europe down a path and off a cliff

Hannan also urged me to write that the GOP must stop having so many debates, as it is only serving to divide the party. He also said Republicans need to focus on the budget, not all the side issues that divide conservatives. With that he headed for the airport, though many didn’t want him to leave and asked if he could be made an honorary American instead.

This has been an important few days for conservatives, and may finally signal the road to unity. Romney should start to pull firmly into the lead, and though Santorum and Gingrich will no doubt continue, they will see their numbers dwindle.

The New York Times carried a report ahead of Sarah Palin’s speech that she didn’t think a brokered RNC would be a problem. This is just a liberal wet dream. The reality is, Sarah Palin has signalled this important moment, and shown that there is less stomach for infighting.

I picked up my media credentials on Thursday at CPAC fearful of a divided party that would succeed only in rolling out the red carpet for President Obama. After three days, I happily left making my way through the handful of sorry-looking OWS protesters feeling that I can see November from here.

Sarah Palin Endorses Newt Gingrich……to Keep the Race Going, Not for President

Bookmark and Share   During a Tuesday night Fox News interview,  Sarah Palin told South Carolinians that if she were voting in their primary this Saturday, she would cast her ballot for Newt Gingrich. [see the interview below this post]

Technically, that is an endorsement, but it was qualified by her desire to see Newt win in South Carolina expressly for the purpose of seeing that Republicans continue to vet the candidates.  According to Palin;

“More debates, more vetting of candidates because we know the mistake made in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted, to the degree that he should have been,”.

She added;

“I want to see that taking place this time because America is on this precipice — it’s that important. We need this process to continue.”

On January 9th, Sarah Palin’s husband Todd, came out and directly endorsed Newt when he released the following statement;

“Newt Gingrich is a true leader, which he has proven not only since the beginning of his campaign, but throughout his career,”

Not long after that, Palin had offered great praise for Rick Santorum and his consistent conservatism.   For a while it looked like she might be leading towards a full-fledged endorsement of Santorum.  But that was not the case.

This recent quasi-endorsement of Gingrich though, is the first time that Sarah Palin has actually suggested that a group of voters come out to vote for a specific Republican presidential candidate.  But it is clear that her call to arms in South Carolina was merely meant to produce a result that would force the Republican nomination to forge ahead and continue testing the candidates.  As a Palinite, I found myself appreciating Palin’s sentiments.  It is one which I myself expressed when early on in the process, I participated as a spectator who was giving all the candidates a chance to woo me over.  While I had my favorites, I did not want to merely give my endorsement away.  I wanted the person I endorse to earn the nomination and prove themselves.  Since then,  I don’t know if any candidate has really earned my endorsement, but based upon the issues and the approach that I have heard each of the candidates claim they would take reagrding those issues, I did endorse Newt Gingrich.  However, I have no problem with him still having to work for the nomination and truly earn it.

Palin is right.  In the end, the tougher this process, the better our candidate will be…..whoever it is.

Meanwhile, the Gingrich campaign did not waste a moment in exploiting the qualified endorsement by Palin.  Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News .

“We think its a pretty darn clear call to arms,”

Newt’s camp believes it is a call to arms directed at conservatives who many believe can derail the nomination hopes of Mitt Romney if only they got behind one of his opponents instead of splitting their support between three alternatives to Romney.  In the case of Gingrich, he believes that he is the conservative that has the best shot to consolidate that conservative support to win the nomination and then defeat President Obama.

Shortly after Palin’s pitch to South Carolina voters, Gingrich posted the following twitter message;

Newt Gingrich

  newtgingrich  Newt Gingrich

Thanks @sarahpalinusa for throwing your support my way in the South Carolina primary. Watch the Video:  http://youtu.be/xNgRHqvY1z0  #withnewt

Over at Conservatives4Palin.com, one of the leading web-based, pro-Palin organizing networks, some Palinistas were not ready to accept that Palin still won’t be running for President herself in 2012 and were quite adamant about the fact that Sarah’s statement was not endorsement of Newt but rather an endorsement of the process continuing.  And some even suggested that she wants it to continue because Palin may still actually  jump in and run;

According to Min Max

“Look, Romney is NOT the right candidate but neither is Newt. Non of them come even close and if you think a debate between Newt and BO would be something to watch, you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.  Sarah will rip him apart with a wink and a smile.   Friends, you absolutely HAVE to hold the line!”

One C4P participant wrote;

“The longer it takes, the longer she can wait to make her move into the race to take the rest of the delegates in the rest of the states. It is a beautiful strategy.”   

Others were realistic and excepted Palin’s statement for what she actually meant.

tjd4life for wrote:

“She is right! This thing has to continue. We don’t need a coronation right now. If you live in SC, the first thing I would tell you to is vote your conscience. Always do that, but if you want your vote to count and you are in the non-Romney camp, you have to vote for Newt. No if’s and’s or but’s.”

Other comments from Palin supporters applauded her positioning of Newt as the candidate to beat Romney with.

friskyness responded to Palin’s move this way;

“Newt is the only one that can beat Obama!  His debates are spectacular! Our goal is to oust Obama. We can’t do it with mushy Romney!”  

What will be quite interesting here, is the speed in which things can change if Newt does actually win South Carolina.

Although Mitt Romney will still be the likely nominee, if Gingrich does upset Mitt in the Palemtto State primary, the political world will most certainly be talking about the Republican nomination contest being a totally new and different race.  And it will be.  But until Newt can capitalize on his support and momentum it will all be for naught.

Right now Newt Gingrich needs a clear message and theme that can connect with voters and allow them to better relate to him.  He needs to show that he is a steady political hand who is not vulnerable to the mistakes of political novices.  Establishing an effective campaign organization that controls the story and message, while raising the money, doing the proper opposition research, and developing rapid response damage control teams, will all help Newt exploit any success that he could have from a surprise win in South Carolina.  However, the former Speaker of the House is still not convinced that the most basic aspects of conventional campaign management apply to him.

As someone who endorsed Newt for President, I hope he is right.   Unfortunately, I just don’t think he is and while Sarah Palin’s praise of him will help, Newt still does not realize how much his lack of discipline is failing to maximize the benefits that Palins’s words afford him.

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Iowa Recap

Romney won, Bachmann quit, Santorum is rising, Paul is maintaining his status quo, Newt is struggling, Perry has faith, and Huntsman….who?  Iowa recapped:

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney won in Iowa. Honestly?  No big deal. Romney will gain momentum from winning, but when people look at the numbers they will realize that if Michele Bachmann wasn’t in the race, Santorum would have won comfortably.  If Santorum wasn’t in the race, Newt and Perry probably would have both outpolled Romney.  In Iowa, he got his fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives split the rest.  But it’s not all bad for Romney.  In fact, while Romney may have come to a predictable finish, he won by choosing his opponent.  Gingrich was a shoe in to win Iowa barely more than a week ago.  Instead, Santorum now has the social conservative momentum and Romney should easily win New Hampshire and could win South Carolina.  So Romney’s win is:

Good for: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum      Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman

Rick Santorum

A shocking surprise to some, a mild surprise for others, Santorum has Huckabee’d Iowa.  With a great ground game, time, hard work, and the luck of Newt Gingrich being destroyed by Romney, Inc, Michele Bachmann, and the Republican establishment, Santorum is finally getting his shot at vetting.  Already, he is being called a war monger and “big government conservative”.  But Santorum’s rise may be too late in the game for a vetting process to destroy him.  Many social conservatives have been waiting for a reason to believe that Santorum could win.  From the day he started running the narrative has been that Santorum is simply unelectable on a national scale.  So, Santorum’s second place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney   Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann

Ron Paul

Paul’s third place finish is certainly not what the Paul camp was hoping for.  Ron Paul came very close to breaking free from his libertarian ceiling, but in the end social conservatives showed they would rather take a gamble on the unvetted Rick Santorum instead of giving Ron Paul the ‘turn’ he was starting to experience.  Paul has been passed over as the anti-Romney.  He may be able to turn things around in New Hampshire, but a third or worse finish in New Hampshire should be a clear signal to Paul that the revolution is over.  Paul’s third place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney  Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Even if Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race and split their votes on a pro rata share, Newt would still not have passed Mitt Romney.  The fact is, Romney ran an incredible, strategic dismantling of Newt without even breaking a sweat.  In the meantime, Newt refused to go dishonestly negative, but managed plenty of headlines saying “Newt Goes on the Attack”.  Newt is realizing in time for New Hampshire, he won’t win with a positive campaign.  Can he win with a negative one?  New Hampshire will probably go Romney’s way.  But Newt needs South Carolina.  Without South Carolina, he won’t have the momentum to take Florida and Florida is the key.  So Newt’s dismal fourth place finish is:

Good for: Mitt Romney   Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann

Rick Perry

Perry’s fifth place win got him to re-think his campaign.  But with Michele Bachmann choosing to drop out, perhaps Perry thinks he still has hope.  He should have decided to stay in Texas.  Perry’s placing is:

Bad for: Rick Perry

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann barely registered.  Iowa was her last hope to connect with social and evangelical conservatives and she failed.  Fortunately, this provided the wake up call she needed to see the end of the race.  Bachmann has decided to drop out of the race and return to Minnesota.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, she has not built the cult following that Sarah Palin did.  Hopefully she will continue to be a strong voice for the TEA party.

Good for: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry   Bad for: Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney

As for the other contender, Jon Huntsman’s disrespectful snub of Iowa, especially in light of Romney’s stronger finish in the state and momentum, seals Huntsman’s irrelevancy.

Sarah Palin Gives Rick Santorum Hope in Iowa

Bookmark and Share  Yesterday, White House 2012 was preparing a post about how in Iowa, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann may throw a monkey wrench in to the plans of any perceived frontrunners. The piece will still soon be posted but before we had the chance to do that, Sarah Palin coincidentally broached the same topic.

Yesterday during an interview with Sean Hannity, Governor Palin pointed to Pennsylvania Rick Santorum as the type of consistent conservative who consistently delivers a conservative message that people will start considering in the next 32 days [see the video below this post] .

Not long after Palin’s remarks, Santorum used her comments as a fundraising tool in an email supporters .

Santorum’s email starts of with a quote about him from Palin during last night’s  interview:

“If voters start shifting gears and deciding they want ideological consistency, then they’re going to start paying attention to say, Rick Santorum.”

The letter goes on to say;

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said that last night on Fox News about me, and I wanted to make sure you heard about it as well.

I am grateful for those kind words from a strong conservative like Governor Palin.  And it’s becoming more clear that other conservatives are starting to rally around our message of passionate conservatism.

Later today, influential Iowa evangelical leader Pastor Cary Gordon will announce his support for me via text message to 788,000 registered voters in Iowa.  Pastor Gordon, a strong supporter of traditional marriage, is pastor of Sioux City, Iowa’s Cornerstone Church and president of PeaceMakers Institute.  This influential endorsement comes on the heels of the endorsement by leading New Hampshire conservative, Karen Testerman.

With just one month to go until the Iowa caucuses, conservatives are coming to the same conclusion:  We need to find a conservative alternative to the current frontrunners, and I have the record and passion to be that alternative. 

Palin’s positive assessment of him is probably one of the greatest breaks that his campaign has received.  In fact it is probably the only break his campaign has been given.  And as such, he would be wise to milk it for all its worth, and in many ways, it’s worth a lot.

With statements about Santorum such as, “He’s been consistent in wanting to protect the most vulnerable and the sanctity of life, he’s been consistent in saying we need to slash the federal income tax,” Sarah Palin, the queen of the TEA movement, just gave a wink and a nod to her supporters that indicated their support for Santorum has her stamp of approval.

Meanwhile, the person probably hurt by Palin’s tapping of Santorum, is Michele Bachmann.

If Palin is the queen of the TEA movement, Bachmann is the heiress to the throne and by overlooking her and pointing to Santorum, Palin essentially shifted the TEA Party’s attention away from Bachmann and put it on Rick. 

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