Libertarian “Golden” Boy/Bachmann Tebow Complex

Ron Paul’s Golden Portfolio

Ron Paul is well known for his pro-gold policies.  He is a little less well known for his golden portfolio.  While most Americans have been watching their retirements quickly shrink, Ron Paul is doing OK.  He might not be as rich as Mitt Romney, but he could buy Tim Pawlenty.

Is Paul ready for the leftwing media meat grinder?

The question is if this will become an issue for Ron Paul down the road.  Unlike half the GOP field this year, Ron Paul had not been considered a threat so no vetting (as the left calls it) or smear (as the right calls it) has taken place yet.  Still, could Paul’s golden investments and golden ambitions of a gold backed currency be viewed by liberal opponents as a conflict of interest?  Already liberal bloggers are pointing out Paul’s use of earmarks, so more “vetting” may be on the way.

One question that had me scratching my head is why Paul would advocate fixing the debt ceiling deal by having the Fed write off the QE1 and QE2 loans it had printed and made to the Treasury.  Of course, this would make the hundreds of billions involved unrestricted cash and could result in inflation. At the same time he voted (contrary to his son Rand) against Cut, Cap and Balance.  Ron Paul’s constant votes against any appropriations bill that doesn’t adhere strictly to the constitution should be viewed as a principled approach to representing the people who sent him to DC.  But it sure hasn’t hurt his portfolio either, as imperfect but more conservative bills fall to more liberal compromises that can pass without him and others who vote like him.  Paul has bet on instability and it has paid off.

By the way, Paul’s holdings don’t include major stockpiles of gold, but are actually all in gold mining companies.

Should Bachmann Be Third String?

Meanwhile, on the mainstream side of the GOP Michele Bachmann is suddenly finding herself where Pawlenty was just a couple weeks ago: a solid third place.

This made me think of Tim Tebow who was recently put at the Broncos’ third string behind Brady Quinn and Kyle

Tebow was local hero as a Gator

Orton.  I love Tim Tebow.  When he gets the ball and runs, or dumps those short touchdown passes over the defensive line’s heads, we all go nuts here in Florida.  Bronco’s preseason makes Floridians happy because we get to see Tebow.  He was a local champion who got everyone on fire for him, and when he went pro his Broncos’ #15 jersey was the number one seller in the whole NFL.

But Tebow is not a polished player.  His faith endears him to Christian NFL fans.  The excitement he brought to the Gators with his competitive and unpredictable playing style built him a huge fan base.  But his accuracy is off.  He is no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.  He might fill the stadium, but he is not the quarterback to bring the Broncos to the Superbowl this year.

Can Bachmann be the GOP starter?

So why does he make me think of Michele Bachmann?  Bachmann has a huge fan base.  She became a national sensation as the darling of the TEA Party.  She fills stadiums and is exciting to watch and listen to.  But she is unpolished.  Her accuracy is off.  She’s no Mitt Romney or Rick Perry.

So for now, like Tebow, Bachmann is going to remain third string until she can prove she’s a starter.

Debate Recap

The commentators in the Iowa debate finally succeeded in getting the Republican candidates to go after one another, and the result was a distinction between the boys, the girl, and the men.  Here is my assessment:

Newt Gingrich

I would name Newt as the winner of this debate.  He presented something the other candidates could not, a clear record on the economy and government with the exact results Americans want today that was left mostly unassailed.  Newt vented his frustration early at Chris Wallace over what came across as unfair questions, but was able to then produce reasonable responses.  Gingrich had a better grasp of history and economics and managed not to contradict himself.  I doubt it will be enough to kickstart his campaign again, but he looked and sounded most like the candidate who could turn our economy around.  Newt said what every American was thinking, the supercommittee part of the debt deal is a stupid idea and Obama should call Congress back to fix it.

Mitt Romney

Romney proved once again how effortless this race has been for him.  When Pawlenty shot across his bow with a jab at how much property he owns, Romney shrugged it off like Michael Jordan would if he wasn’t picked first in a neighborhood game of pickup basketball.  Romney looked and sounded like a professional and did not allow Wallace, Pawlenty or anyone else to shake his demeanor.  In fact, he made almost everyone else look like amateurs, especially Pawlenty and Bachmann.  Romney positioned himself as the successful businessman, accomplished politician, and leader.  In fact, when Cain touted his independent business success, when Pawlenty talked about balancing his budget and cutting spending and taxes, and when Pawlenty and Huntsman talked about leadership, Romney kept coming to mind.  He ignored interparty skirmishes and focused on Obama, which is a key in this race.  His only slip up was trying to discuss the semantics of state versus federal constitutional restrictions.  I think his point was a good one, especially when he asked Wallace what he knew about Massachusetts constitution, but ultimately the point was lost on the other participants.

Ron Paul

Republicans still don’t like Ron Paul, and he is still abrasive.  However, he came in third in this debate because he toned down the abrasiveness and instead mixed in some well earned “told ya so”.  Paul made key points on the Fed, the debt, the debt ceiling deal, the precariousness of our currency, and the costs of war.  These were timely points and made well.  He did not leap into easy traps on military spending that he has fallen into before that come across as disrespect for men and women in uniform.  Paul was also able to better articulate his views on social issues.  In the past he has come across as more liberal than libertarian.  This time he was able to articulate what be actually believes about gay marriage and abortion, stating that our liberties come from our creator, not government.  He may not win over the mainstream religious right, but will win over some more religious libertarians and constitutionalists.

Rick Santorum

Yes, believe it or not, Rick Santorum is fourth on my list.  His performance will most likely not change anything, but as a second tier candidate he exceeded expectations.  He was well prepared, made logical answers to the questions asked, and avoided harmful entanglements with other candidates.  He continues to represent George Bush neo-conservatism and will continue to bring useful balance to the debate.  He still has no chance of winning.

Herman Cain

Cain came across as the most unknowledgeable of the candidates.  He presents a good story of a businessman outsider seeking to change Washington’s business side.  However, Cain does not present a well rounded candidate that voters would trust on issues of foreign policy or domestic social issues.  Until he can get past soundbites to real plans and strategies he will not garner the needed support.   He was the only candidate to drive home the growth aspect of turning our economy around in a real and tangible way.

Jon Huntsman

Who?  His late entry, semi-liberal credentials, and lack of energetic or unique performance make Huntsman an afterthought.  He was like an off-brand candidate.  Aside from cyberwar with China, nothing he said really stood out.  If Huntsman was not at the next debate, I doubt most viewers would even realize it.  For example, remember that candidate from New Mexico, the Ron Paul wannabe?  What was his name again?

Tim Pawlenty

Chris Wallace was able to get under the candidates skin and even inspire direct confrontations between candidates.  Mostly though, the culprit ended up being Tim Pawlenty.  In a role usually occupied by the perennial anti-GOP establishment candidate Ron Paul, Pawlenty went after Bachmann, Romney, and whoever else got in his way.  He came across as a third place candidate trying to remind people why he is in this race, or at least that he is in this race.  I did not enjoy listening to him.  When he wasn’t on the attack, he was apologizing for cigarette taxes or highlighting things he did as governor that both Romney and Huntsman have on their resume.  In a race where the focus needs to be on Barack Obama, Pawlenty allowed himself to fall into the hands of the commentators and make for some great controversial TV.  Personally, I think this primary would come to a much better result without Pawlenty.

Michelle Bachmann

The loser of last night’s debate was Michelle Bachmann.  When Pawlenty attacked her, she fought back and lost.  Pawlenty managed to paint her as more of an ideologue than a successful conservative champion.  Pawlenty highlighted her lack of results, and she let that stick.  I believe she did receive some of the more unfair questions, including the one about submitting to her husband, but instead of recognizing those questions for what they were, she showed why she is not the caliber of Newt or Mitt and engaged the questions as though they were credible concerns.

Honestly though, what earned Bachmann the F was when she failed to return to her podium on time after the commercial break.  She is trying to overcome this idea that she is an unprofessional activist, not a serious contender.  However, her tardiness, fumbling over major points such as combining pro-life and taxes in bills, and engaging Pawlenty in unscripted arguments show why Bachmann’s runner up status has been purely on the substance of her popular TEA party beliefs, not because she is a polished candidate.  Conservatives may like her in the polls, but when they go to vote I think we will see them be more likely to send a quarterback than the mascot in to play.

The Disadvantage of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

Bookmark and ShareThe debt. The deficit. The debt ceiling. Default. Social security checks. Medicare payments. Balanced Budgets. Tax increases. Gang of six. Cut, Cap and Balance. Headlines all in the past week. Headlines that, for the most part, the Republican candidates for President have been able to take a stand on without actually having to take a solid position. That is unless you are Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann, the 2 candidates who are sitting members of the House Of Representatives.

2012 GOP Presidential leader and former MA Governor Mitt Romney has stated that “The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending and to put in place a balanced budget amendment.” “If the president were to do those things, this whole debt issue would disappear.” He has declined to say whether he would support a compromise.

Former MN Governor Tim Pawlenty said in Iowa this week, “Eventually you run out of money, but what you do is you buy yourself a bunch of time to have the debate about real reform.” A vague statement but one that allows him to offer an opinion without having to land solidly behind a plan.

Paul and Bachmann however are forced, through their House seats, to vote for or against the actual plans. They are not afforded the luxury to simply make broad statements without taking a position that the other candidates are. Both Paul and Bachmann were also among the nine House Republicans who voted Tuesday night against the ‘cut, cap and balance’ bill that would reduce 2012 spending by more than $100 billion, cap it over the next decade and prohibit more government borrowing until Congress passes a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Harry Reid has vowed it will not pass the Senate and the President has vowed to veto it if it does.

Ron Paul said it wouldn’t live up to it’s promises, passing the cuts off for years and Bachmann said it didn’t go far enough to cut spending.

So are candidates that hold seats in Congress at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to use the rhetoric on an issue? Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was a top economic policy adviser to Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 but not aligned with any of the contenders this time around stated, “What they would like to have is the issue and that’s the difference between them and the congressional leaders. They need an issue. The congressional leaders need a result.”

We will see in the coming days and months leading up to the Iowa caucus if the other candidates try to pull the votes of Paul and Bachmann into the fray. While the other candidates can rely on rhetoric and easily take the stance that the polls dictate are popular, sitting members of Congress have to take a solid stand on the bills before them. A disadvantage for sure in a large candidate field with a mere 2 current legislators in it’s ranks.

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Pawlenty Urges GOP To Call Obama’s Bluff On The Debt Ceiling

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In an interview with the Wall Street Journal and on Fox News Sunday, Former Minnesota Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty has made his statement about where he will stand in regards to getting the countries fiscal house in order by calling on GOP Congressional leaders to stand up to President Obama and the Democrats assertion that failure to raise the debt ceiling would be a ‘disaster’. White House economists have said it be an inevitable economic disaster to use the debt ceiling as’ a negotiating tool.’ Long-term interest rates remain at historically low levels, indicating no urgent need for dramatic austerity measures, they say, adding that such cuts in the short run would ‘jeopardize the economic recovery.’

The former Minnesota Governor stated that Congress and the White House should pass legislation that would put interest and debt payments ahead of other federal spending and allow the federal government to pay its creditors as tax revenue flows in. With the surge of tax payments that come in between April and June, that would at least buy time to try to cut spending dramatically, he said. “This debate about how we’re going to restructure spending is inevitable. My view is, let’s have it now,” Mr. Pawlenty said, “Let’s call their bluff.”

Joining Pawlenty in his belief that the debt ceiling should not be raised is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who has drawn the national spotlight since taking office for taking dramatic steps to cut New Jersey’s budget gap.

Pawlenty also questioned President Obama’s stance in 2006 as a Illinois Senator against raising the debt ceiling during the George W. Bush administration. A move the President now says that would be ‘reckless’ for Republican’s to make. On the Senate floor in 2006, then Senator Obama stated, “The fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.” A statement to which Pawlenty said, “His positions then and now are wildly inconsistent and reflect hypocrisy.”

If his challenge is taken on by those in his own party, some whom which are in support of raising the debt ceiling, will become a heated topic as it is reached early this spring. It is apparent that Tim Pawlenty however is making his economic stance well known to those who see it as the number one issue leading up to the 2012 primaries. Taking the lead on the debt issue could be the leadership role and topic Pawlenty needs to get his name out and mentioned amongst the Huckabee’s, Palin’s and Romney’s.

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