Congratulations President Obama. So Now What?

Bookmark and Share  As of 11:45 pm, with Ohio called for the Obama-Biden ticket, while the states of Virginia, and Florida remain too close to call, President Obama has received 290 electoral votes and secured himself a second term in the White House.  For myself, as Editor-in-Chief of White House 2012, I am quite humbled and even embarrassed by the wide disparity in the projections which I presented, and the actual results.  And as an American I am disappointed.  I am disappointed by the fact that our nation will be hindered by a spender-in-chief who has done his best to change the American way instead of doing his best to preserve the American way.

Yet despite the disappointment and even the fear over another four years of Barack Obama, I remain cautiously optimistic that not even Barack Obama can destroy what it means to be an American.  This nation is greater than any one person and it is not defined by any one man.  So while I have lost some faith in the political process, I have not lost any faith in our nation.

Now it is up to President Obama to deal with the divisions in our nation… divisions which I firmly believe he has largely been responsible for.  His divide and conquer strategy of class warfare and his attempts to pit Americans against each other in order to win reelection, now puts him in the unenviable position of having to bridge the existing divide.  His inability to do so will make his victory a hollow one and the mission of his next four years as President impossible.

Not only does Barack Obama become the first President reelected with a smaller Electoral College vote than he was elected with, he also faces an an American electorate and Congress that is probably more divided than it has ever been since the Civil War.  After orchestrating one of the most divisive and empty campaigns in recent history, how he will pivot and try to create goodwill will be interesting.  And even more interesting will be how quickly he can do it because he  must work fast.  With a fiscal cliff only weeks away, true leadership is required.  His lack of leadership has brought us to this cliff and so far there is no indication that it will be able to avoid it.   But hope springs eternal.

So tonight I congratulate our President.  His campaign put together a brilliant ground game.  His Party increased its margins in the U.S. Senate.  And except for a loss of seats in the House of Representatives and possibly even the popular vote, he won and there is no denying it.  But did America win?  And what does his victory mean?  Will it mean more of the same that has gotten us into an economic crisis so severe that it is considered a national security threat?

I don’t know the answers to these questions but I do know that President Obama’s win tonight leaves us with more questions than answers and more uncertainty than certainty.

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Romney Holding a Slim Lead in North Carolina: See Live Results

Bookmark and Share  North Carolina should not be this close for Romney but so far with 46 of 100 counties reporting, Romney is holding a 3.4% lead.  With losses in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, it will be tough for Romney to reach 270 electoral votes without North Carolina.  it looks like Romney will win North Carolina but it is way too close for comfort and an sign that Romney is underperforming.

Obama/Biden (DEM) 1,744,768 47.68%
Romney/Ryan (REP) 1,869,393 51.08%
Johnson/Gray (LIB) 35,617 0.97%
Write-in 9,816 0.27%

For updated results of the race in North Carolina click here
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Current Electoral College Totals

1:06 am EST

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Romney’s Rosy But Bumpy Road To Victory

   Bookmark and Share  According to most of the latest data made available to the public through the mainstream media, there is no denying that President Obama holds an upper hand in his reelection effort. In fact, according to most pundits, pollsters, and network political prognosticators, President Obama is almost certain to be reelected.  However, given a number of factors including the depth and duration of our dire economic condition, a proliferation of polls that are based on a 2008 voter turnout model which overestimates the enthusiasm that exists for President Obama in 2012, and a growing trend toward Mitt Romney among the critical independent voting bloc , I am not convinced that this election can be called for President Obama just yet.

It’s The Economy Stupid! Maybe?

As for the economy, now over 5 years since the recession began, over 25 million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed  and despite approximately $800 billion in Obama deficit spending meant to stimulate the economy, the government’s official but undercounted unemployment rate remains above 8.0%  for 43 consecutive months.  And at the same time, all other economic indicators remain so sluggish or stagnant that it is clear that our  job growth and overall economic growth fails to even keep pace with the existing population growth rate.  Yet regardless of these glaring facts, polls would have us believe that a majority of Americans do not hold this worst economy since the Great Depression against President  Obama.  It is a conclusion which I find hard to fathom.  Especially given that if reelected to another term, the only solution President Obama seems to be offering is more of the very same Keynesian, deficit spending mentality which has sustained and prolonged the worst economic recovery in American history.  Still though,  even with history as a guide, I can not state for sure that a majority of Americans will blame the poor economy on the President.  During the Great Depression, voters did not blame FDR for the very slow recovery he commanded over, but in 1980 angry voters did hold Jimmy Carter responsible for inflation, stagflation, unemployment, and the misery index which he presided over.

The optimist in me wants to believe that most Americans do believe that President Obama should be held accountable for his failing economic policies which seem to lack the ability to turn the economy around.  However, the pessimist in me fears that the socialist tendencies promoted for generations through FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society, and now BHO’s blatant focus on the redistribution of wealth, have finally been accepted by a majority of Americans as the new norm… a norm that has a majority of Americans proudly dependent upon government.  It is a mentality demonstrated in the clip below.

If a majority of voters agree with that woman, then Barack Obama will be a two term President.  But I am not yet ready to believe that the views held by the slave to government in that video clip are the views held by most respectable and  learned American voters.

Slanted Polls and the Blatant Media Bias

The second area of doubt that I have regarding the certainty of a successful reelection effort by President Obama is based upon the polls and the interpretations of those polls being offered to voters by the mainstream media.

Now to be clear, I am convinced that most reputable polling outfits want to be accurate in their polls.  Although the current regime in Washington, D.C. finds the free market to be an enemy of the people, the free market still drives entrepreneurs, even the political entrepreneur who wishes to make a buck by gauging the sentiments of voters.  That stated, it behooves pollsters who want to be in demand in the future to get things right in the 2012 election.  So I cannot in good conscience totally discount all the current polls that are out there.  But I can and do disagree with the decision by most pollsters to rely on the 2008 turnout model which tends to overstate the strength of President Obama’s support.

I am of the opinion that in 2012, a more accurate turnout model to base this election on is the turnout seen in 2010.  I see little reason to believe that the massive anti-Obama sentiment which existed in the 2010 midterm elections does not continue to exist in 2012.  In my view even those voters who are not quite excited by Mitt Romney will still be coming out to cast their ballot for Mitt if for no other reason than to vote against President Obama.

Independent Voters

Combine those two factors with the lack of appropriate reporting regarding the fact that the all important independent vote seems to be breaking for Mitt Romney by as much as 14 to 20 percent and I believe that the Romney-Ryan ticket is on the verge of establishing an Election Day lead over  the Obama-Biden ticket.

While an undeniably polarized electorate consisting of the 94% of voters who are firmly planted on one side of the political and ideological spectrum or the other make it certain that states like California and New York will be voting for Obama while states like Missouri and Texas will be going for Romney, the six percent of the undecided independent voters in the middle will make all the difference in the remaining states that are toss-ups… particularly Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hamphire, Nevada, and Virginia.  If this pro-Romney trend among independent voters continues, and I believe it will, each of those states will cast their lot with the Romney-Ryan ticket.

The Results

I cautiously arrive at that conclusion through a combination of factors that include polling, reporting, and my own judgments and political instincts regarding all the available data that could and should be reasonably factored in the electoral equation.  At the moment though, even my own unique formula finds Mitt Romney at a disadvantage.   Using the Real Clear Politics average of polls in six of the seven current toss ups states, as a rule of thumb, I have adjusted for the overestimated Democrat turnout in the polls by giving Mitt Romney the benefit of the average margin of error in the Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Virginia.  In those six states, the average margin of error is 3.7%.   Ohio and North Carolina are also considered to be tossups  however, I believe North Carolina is a reliable state for Romney and that Ohio may be out of Romney’s reach at this point.  Therefore; I have taken both of those states out of the toss-up category.

According to my formula, the adjusted 3.7% margin for Mitt Romney would swing Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia to Romney, giving him a total of 267 electoral votes.  At the moment though, President Obama holds an RCP average lead over Romney in Nevada that stands at 4.%.  That is 0.3% outside of the existing margin of error which I give to Romney.  Unless Romney closes the gap, President Obama would win Nevada and reelection to the presidency with a total of 271 electoral votes… one more than needed.  However, given the closeness of the race in  Nevada and the momentum Mitt Romney has among independent voters, I see the Golden State as being quite winnable for Romney.  If that is the case Romney will defeat President Obama in the race for President with 273 electoral votes to Obama’s 265 electoral votes.

The Problem(s) Produced By a Race That is Too Close For Comfort

As politically divided as Americans are in 2012, a very close election result is fraught with problems that could trigger historic constitutional measures into action and lead to a level of discourse not seen since the Bush v. Gore case in 2000.

Thanks to the already incredibly polarized electorate and the left’s continued desire to exact revenge for the Supreme Court decision that thew the election to George W. Bush in 2000, if the presidential election turns out to be as close as it seems to be, we could easily another case of a Republican winning the White House by losing the popular vote but winning the Electoral College vote.   The ensuing tensions from such a result could reignite a popular backlash that will lead to varying degrees of civil unrest that have the potential to linger on for at the very least, a few months and possibly spark a very real attempt to do away with the Electoral College… a cause that would consume the national agenda for quite some while.

With extraordinarily large pluralities being produced for President Obama in some of the most densely populated states in the nation, i.e.: California and New York, it is quite likely that much smaller pluralities for Romney from less populated states such as Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, and Wyoming, will not be enough for the Romney-Ryan ticket to overcome the total popular vote that the Obama-Biden ticket receives but could easily allow the Romney-Ryan ticket to reach the 270 votes required to win the presidency in the Electoral College.

Making matters worse, is the fact that if the election is actually as close as the above projection indicates, in  addition to Romney losing the popular vote but winning the election in the Electoral College, if each state goes the way I predict but New Hampshire happens to go for Barack Obama instead of Mitt Romney, there would be a 269 to 269 vote tie in the Electoral College and with both candidates 1 elector short of the 270 needed to win the presidency, the election would be forced into the House of Representatives.  In that event, thanks to a likely makeup of each state’s congressional delegation, Republicans would have control in at least 26 states, enough to assure a Romney victory.  A result that will please conservatives like myself but which will send liberals running through the streets screaming.

Those are just some of the situations that could drag this election out if it remains as close as current data indicates.

But there still remains the possibility that this election will not be as close as we are led to believe it is.

With less than five weeks remaining, I contend that Mitt Romney will surprise many with a well coordinated and highly targeted campaign that will have the ability to attract the type of heavy Republican turnout that we saw in 2010.  Of course being a presidential election year, the Democrat turnout will be much higher than it was in 2010 and that will compensate a bit for the wide gap that existed in 2010, it will not be enough to overcome the anti-Obama sentiment that I believe still exists.  So much so that Romney may even be able to actually make a run at winning a state like Wisconsin and possibly also avoid becoming the first Republican to win  the White House without Ohio.  Unfortunately I do not yet see Romney winning either of those states yet though.

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Ohio Made Super Tuesday a Superficial Nail Biter

 Bookmark and Share  While Rick Santorum’s Super Tuesday results were far better than predicted, they did little to make a difference other than in the headlines we will be reading and in the cable news teasers that we will be hearing.

While it is true that the results from the ten state Super Tuesday contest can allow one t0 go so far as to say that Rick Santorum came out a winner,  his clear victories in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and his second place finish in Ohio that was too close for comfort for  Mitt Romney, have undoubtedly established Rick Santorum as the other man in what seems to be a two man race and it will go a long way to energize both Santorum supporters and Romney haters.  However, the psychological perception, as undoubtedly important as it is, does not change the reality that Mitt Romney has created for himself and despite himself.

Although it is too early to establish precise electoral vote counts after yesterday’s returns, the combined results of the nearly 20 states that held binding contests to date, make it clear that Mitt Romney has a much clearer shot at the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination, than do his remaining rivals in the race. On Wednesday, Romney’s campaign chief, Rich Beeson, will make a rare public appearance designed to stress that if one does the math, Mitt is the only candidate left in the race who can realistically collect enough remaining delegates to win the nomination.  While mathematics does make it for possible for Santorum to win the nomination, reality does not because it dictates that Santorum would have to rack up at least 60% of all the remaining delegates.  To perform that well, Mitt Romney would have to be caught in bed with an underage boy and Newt Gingrich would have to be caught cheating on his latest wife, Callista and neither are likely to occur between now and the Republican National Convention in September.

Yet Santorum’s outperforming and Romney’s underperforming in many Super Tuesday states, ends nothing except the unlikely ability for Newt Gingrich to comeback.

For Newt, Tuesday’s win in Georgia, the state which he represented throughout his entire political career, was a gimme and barely enabled him to call himself a regional candidate.  Losing to Santorum and Romney in other Southern, Super Tuesday states, denied Newt even that title.

As for Santorum, he has become the last real hope for those who wish to deny Mitt Romney the G.O.P. nomination.  It will allow Santorum to continue raising decent amounts of money and will provide him with a small degree of momentum as we head in to the next contests of Kansas and Mississippi, two states that should be fertile territory for Santorum.  In between those two states, several American territories will be voting and Romney should easily win them, but Santorum’s anticipated strong showing in Kansas and Mississippi will most likely make Illinois the next major and possibly decisive contest to come up.  If Santorum does as well as expected in the next two states and manages to make Illinois as close as Ohio and Michigan were, or worse yet for Romney, was to defeat him there, the race will remain in flux for weeks to come.  At least until Texas on April 3rd, and ultimately the Mid-Atlantic version of Super Tuesday, on April 24th when Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island vote on the same day.

Still though, all the the numbers are on Mitt Romney’s side.

Santorum may be able to hang on much the same way that Mike Huckabee did in 2008 after Mitt Romney saw the writing on the wall and realized that the numbers were on McCain’s side.  But hanging on and winning are two different things.  Sure Santorum may go for a ride a little longer, but unless the small chance of brokered convention arises, he has no shot at the nomination.  And in a brokered convention, with the establishment clearly behind Romney, Santorum still has no chance at winning the nomination.  Even though the race is competeitve with Santorum doing far better than ever expected or predicted, any perception that the outcome of the nomination is in doubt is a deceptive one.

However; the  problem is that just having the numbers on your side does not mean you can win the one thing that that all this is for.  The presidency.

As I pointed out, Mitt Romney saw that John McCain had the numbers in 2008 and dropped out.  But Barack Obama went on to defeat McCain.  In 1996 after winning only 4 states, even Pat Buchanan saw that he could not defeat Bob Dole for the nomination.  But Bill Clinton defeated Dole.  Those defeats occurred because the eventual nominees won the nomination not because they inspired people, but because they were just more acceptable than the other choices.  A similar scenario exists now with with Mitt Romney.  But in some ways its even worse, because a substantial numbers of conservative oriented voters and anti-establishment types, just refuse to accept Mitt Romney.  At least so far.

Ultimately, Mitt Romney has to begin winning Republicans and Independents over because they like him, not because they don’t like his opponents.  If that is the formula Romney is banking on to beat Barack Obama with in November, then let us all just throw in the towel now because it won’t work.   With a billion dollars to spend, President Obama will have the ability to not only make people briefly like him, he will also have the ability to make people hate Mitt Romney, something which Romney seems to make easy to do.

Meanwhile, regardless of how exciting the results of Super Tuesday seem to be on the surface, below the surface is a reality that dictates a fate which gives the Republican presidential nomination to Mitt Romney.  And while Rick Santorum can tempt fate, no matter how promising he may look after Super Tuesday, he will not be able to change fate and we Republicans can only hope and pray that Mitt Romney eventually gives us more reason to vote him than just the fact that he is not Barack Obama.

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Rick Santorum’s Triumphant Trifecta Turns the Political Tables Yet Again

Bookmark and Share   In what proved to be another stunning turn of events in the ongoing Republican race for President, underdog Rick Santorum pulled off a truly stunning victory in not one, but three separate electoral contests across the nation.  Tuesday’s non-binding primaries and caucuses in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri were essentially beauty contests.  Quirky state Party rules do not allow for these contests to actually award any of each state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention.  That is left to a series of other events in each of the three state’s unique presidential electoral nominating process.

Nevertheless, all three of Tuesday’s election contests do bode well for Santorum’s chances of receiving a sizeable number of delegates when the final stages of the allocation process does take place and in the mean time, his clean sweep of Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri have provided voters with another tremor in the 2012 election cycle.  It certifies this election as one which has broken the traditional mold created by past elections which usually allow Republicans to have a clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination at this stage of the game.  Even more astounding about the results of yesterday’s contests  were a number of factors that also include geography, money, and timing.

After big back to back wins for Mitt Romney in Florida almost two weeks ago, and another big win in Nevada this past Saturday, Romney should have established  a degree of momentum that added to a sense of inevitability regarding his becoming the eventual nominee.  Add to that the undeniably sizeable, professional, and well financed organization that Romney has and you had no reason to believe that Romney could lose one , let alone three, nomination contests that took place hundreds of miles away from one another on the same day.  The mere fact that Romney’s abundant resources provided him with the perfect opportunity to dominate in three different races in three different regions of the country at the same time, should have made it much more difficult for his underfinanced Republican rivals to compete against him in all three states very effectively.  Yet despite being out-organized, out-campaigned, and outspent by Romney, Rick Santorum who has not won a contest since Iowa back in January, not only beat Mitt, in one state, he did so in all three states and even more dramatic than that, he did so by wide margins that would seem to indicate that Romney was not even competitive. That inludes Colorado where Sanotrum won by anywhere from 5 to six percent of the vote.  Technically, a win by more than 5% in any election is considered a landslide.

The results were so stunning and such a boondoggle for Santorum that it left the rest of the field with absolutely no ability to put a positive spin on the results.

Ron Paul:

Aside from a second place showing in Minnesota, Ron Paul underperformed and remains a true non-entity in his plight to capture enough delegates to have some relevance at the Republican National Convention.  Of course I could be forced to eat my words if a very close brokered convention allows Ron Paul’s handful of delegates to adopt some sort of dangerous foreign policy or national security plank in the G.O.P. platform or to even determine who takes both the top spot and second slot on the Republican ticket in September.  Until then though,  Ron Paul has once again become a sidenote in another presidential election and will remain so until he can win a state, something which seems to be totally impossible for him to do.

Newt Gingrich:

Tuesday’s results were nothing but embarrassing for Gingrich.  He went from establishing himself as a comeback king and giant slayer in South Carolina, to being about as successful as the Hindenburg.  Being beaten by Romney would have been bad enough for Newt but to be beaten by Mitt and overtaken by Sanotrum and even losing to Ron Paul in one case, makes it hard for Newt to to try to maintain some staying power as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  It also makes it nearly impossible for Newt to raise the kind of money that he will need to compete effectively during the three weeks leading up to the Michigan and Arizona primaries, not to mention the all important Super Tuesday gaggle of contests that follows soon after that.   Newt’s pathetic performance in Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota  now leaves him in the middle of an electoral desert and while I will not write him off, I will admit that any roadmap out of the desert for Newt must include some major stumbles and wrong turns by his opponents.

Mitt Romney:

There was absolutely no reason for Mitt Romney’s poor showing in all three state’s on Tuesday.  Unless of course voters just don’t like him and unfortunately for him, the evidence would seem to indicate that that is indeed the case.   While Romney had everything working for him in Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota, his rivals had everything working against them.  Yet Mitt Romney failed to move closer to the nomination and ceded valuable ground to what is a very sizeable sector of the Republican electorate that seems to be more interested in denying Romney the nomination than they are in  accepting a clear alternative to Romney.  This now puts Romney closer to his moment truth.  He can either forge ahead by aiming his fully loaded negative guns on Rick Santorum, as he did with Newt Gingrich, in an attempt to win the nomination by default, or he can finally stop trying to play it safe and be a leader who puts forth a number of bold reforms in a concise conservative agenda that addresses the desires of the conservative electorate whose shoulders he wants to be raised to victory upon.  This means no more singing of  the national anthem to waste time that could be used to address the policies that support the meaning behind our anthem.  It means no more platitudes about policies and conservativism, or attempts to impress the nation with his wife and sons standing loyally behind him.  It means now is the time for him to step up and show us exactly why and how he can be the leader we are looking for instead of trying to convince us of why everyone else is not the leader we are looking for.

As for Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator has been given his own Newt Gingrich-like opportunity for a second comeback.  I am not certain if the opportunity was because he has actually been impressing voters with his policies and leadership potential, or if he is simply the beneficiary of a vote that is protesting the perceived inevitability of Romney’s nomination.  Either way, it is most definitely another chance for Santorum to establish the type of momentum that could catapult him to the nomination.

Doing so though will be an uphill battle.  Santorum’s newfound opportunity will be riddled with a barrage of assaults upon his record, a record that can easily be distorted and challenge his image as a consistent conservative.  Romney, Gingrich, and Paul will almost certainly transform Santorum’s prolific return of earmarks to the people or Pennsylvania whom he represented in the United States Senate into the record of big spending, big government liberal.   Santorum’s conservative credentials will also be challenged based upon his one time support for liberal Republican Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in a primary against the more conservative Pat Toomey.

None of this will be impossible for Santorum to overcome, but it will help prevent him from gaining the head of steam that will be required for him to capture any sense of inevitability regarding the nomination for himself.  But at the same time, Santorum’s string of victories make it certain that inevitability still eludes Mitt Romney too.

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Real Time South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Results

Final Election results of the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary

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