Clint Eastwood as Mitt Romney and Lee Van Cleef as Rick Perry

Bookmark and Share  TPM’s Benjy Sarlin comes up with what is probably one of the most creative and accurate metaphors for the strategy being played out by Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.  See for yourself how Eastwood is Romney, Van Cleef is Perry and the others are the Ugly.

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Haley Barbour Says Mitt Romney is “Less Conservative than Most Republicans”

 Bookmark and Share  In a recent forum discussing political strategy for Republicans and President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke about the need for the G.O.P. to make the election a referendum on President Obama’s employment and economic policies, while Democrats will have to try to portray the Republican Party as unacceptable or disqualified. Afterward, he answered questions from John Harris of Politico and the audience.

In one of those questions, Barbour was asked why Republicans seemed to be uninspired by the candidacy of  Mitt Romney despite the fact that he seems to be the most electable candidate in the general election, especially among independent voters.

In his response, Governor Barbour began by stating;

“Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans”

He went on to explain that many Republicans remember Ronald Reagan so, in his words;

“they (Republicans) don’t accept the idea that nominating a moderate is the pathway to victory”

Governor Barbour added that there are a lot of soft Republicans and independents who vote Republican and want a more moderate nominee.  He writes it off as a “process you just have to work through.”

Whether Barbour intended it or not, his opening statement will make for a perfect soundbite in a thirty-second commercial spot for any of Romney’s opponents such as Perry, Cain, Santorum, and Gingrich.  Specifically in the South, where Romney will have some of his toughest primary challenges and where Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi has significant influence.  This is particularly the case in the important early, delegate rich primary state of Florida, where Barbour has significant sway.

Barbour who was himself almost candidate for for President, had been endorsed by Ohio Governor John Kasich, eleven days before Barbour decided not run.  After that decision it was said that Barbour was prepared to join with Chris Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in endorsing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for President.  But Daniels, a close friend of Barbour also declined to run for President.

Who Haley Barbour will endorse for the Republican presidential nomination now, is anyones guess.  For the time being, it would seem that he is remaining neutral.  But is Barbour’s description of Mitt Romney as “less conservative than most Republicans” a sign that Mitt is not on Haley’s short list?

If Mitt Romney hopes to avoid a long, drawn out nomination battle, he will need someone like Haley Barbour behind him.   Barbour’s support could help Romney do well in the South, or at least better than expected.  That is the only way to insure that none of his opponents come out of the Southern contests with enough steam and momentum to compete with Romney in the primaries and caucuses held outside of the South, where Romney should be the strongest.  The question now is, will Haley Barbour be willing to endorse a Republican who “is less conservative than most Republicans” for President?

One thing to consider is this.  If anyone has been listening to the candidates, not just reading the media’s interpretations of the candidates, they will find that Mitt Romney has not taken a single position that would indicate he is less conservative than any of the other candidates running.  It comes down to this  ……….. Is anyone listening and if they are, do they believe what Romney is saying?

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Operation Old TEA Bag: President Obama’s Inevitable Reelection Strategy

Bookmark and Share As the sun came up over Brooklyn on September 13th, 2011, Lewis Fidler received a phone call reminding him to support Democrat David Weprin in the special election taking place in CD-9. 
 The recent special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District did more than just elect a Republican to a seat that hasn’t been in the hands of the G.O.P. since 1923. As evident in Bill Clinton’s get-out-the-vote phone call, it also shed some light on the desperation of Democrats and what direction they will throw the ball in when they try to salvage their 2012 election fortunes with a last minute Hail Mary pass.  It offerred us insight in to the type of campaign that President Obama will resort to once he catches on to the fact that things like his third stimulus plan and his latest spending program to create jobs aren’t working for the country and aren’t being bought by the people.

In the race that pitted liberal incumbent Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin against retired businessman, Republican Bob Turner, Democrats struggled to find the issues that their candidate could run on to win voters over. Initially they did not even do that. At first it was assumed that as always, whichever Democrat they ran, would sail to victory and succeed sex texting addict Anthony Weiner. But then in August, Democrat polling showed something strange. It showed that Democrat Weprin was not getting the amount of support that Democrats usually get. This then suggested to them that they actually had a real and competitive election on their hands.

So they got to work and started to develop the issues they would campaign on.

What they found was that Weprin and Democrats had no positions on the issues that would excite voters and convince them that Weprin was their man. Even in a relatively liberal district like the ninth, there were no issues which Democrats held a popular position on.

There was the issue of gay marriage which Weprin recently supported the passage of in the New York State Assembly. But with a heavy Hassidic Jewish population in the ninth, legalizing marriage between two people of the same sex was far from popular.

There was the issue of our national debt. On that issue, Weprin held a typical Democrat line which supported big government and big government social programs. But even in a left leaning district like the one that spans the working class neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens, voters know that our debt has become a deepening crisis for our nation and as such, they understand that more government spending is not realistic. That left Weprin with the opportunity to use the traditional liberal language of tax increases to pay for all the spending. But in the middleclass communities of NY-9, tax increases, even for those who earn $250,000 or more, doesn’t really go over well. The ninth congressional district is comprised largely of those people in the middle……the ones who get hit from both ends and are not poor enough to benefit from government social programs, but are not wealthy enough to take advantage of the tax loopholes and credits that the political establishment has arranged for. So these people did not want to hear the Obama “make the rich pay their fare share” rhetoric. Many of them are afraid that a liberal definition of “rich” would include them.

There was the issue of immigration. However on that issue, Weprin has a liberal “Dream Act” position that does not solve the illegal immigration issue that impacts on his district’s residents. They do not want their money going to fulfilling the dreams of illegal immigrants. These people, many of which remember seeing the World Trade Center from their windows and worked within its shadows, want our borders secured.

So like many other issues, that was out.

There was Israel. After all, with a population of Jewish voters that is disproportionately larger than in many other districts throughout the nation, as an Orthodox Jew himself, Weprin could certainly and convincingly argue his support for Israel and ride high on the popularity of that point. Unfortunately though, being a Democrat, most voters linked Weprin to President Obama’s unfriendly policies towards Israel. And Weprin’s argument to voters that they should trust him on israel because he would fight for Israel from within, didn’t have wings.

Short of a total condemnation of President Obama by Weprin, the Jewish vote in his district simply viewed Weprin as a congressional rubberstamp for Obama’s polcies.

The further Democrats went down the list of issues important to the middleclass voters of the ninth, the more they realized that there were no issues which allowed them to present a position that they could derrive district-wide support for.

So what is a candidate with a competitive election ahead of him to do?

Why, resort to the liberal playbook, of course!

That meant scare citizens. That meant to try and distort the Republican position to preserve Social Security and Medicare for those on it and those expecting to soon be on them. It meant denying the Republican position to preserve those programs for future generation with reforms that will strengthen Social Security and medicare. It meant do your best to make vulnerable senior citizens believe that if a Republican won, they would deny them the money that many seniors have come to rely upon.

That was a good start but Weprin and his Democrat strategists and Washington puppet masters needed something else to attract some voters outside of the senior citizen demographic. That’s when the orders from Washington came down. And that is when the strategy to run against the TEA Party came into play.

So in early August Operation Old TEA Bag went into effect. That is when Weprin campaign spokesperson Elizabeth Kerr first argued the following:

“Bob Turner’s doing anything he can to distract voters from his plan to end Medicare as we know it, which would cost seniors in Brooklyn and Queens an extra $6,400 every year,” .

And from there, the tactics to scare senior citizens began

Then when the news that Standard & Poor’s had downgraded the country’s credit rating because of fiscal uncertainty came out and dominated the headlines, Weprin’s campaign defined Bob Turner as a TEA Party extremist and charged that because of their “irresponsible demands”, “Republican Tea Party extremists” facilitated the downgrade and the fallout from it.

From that point on, the Democrat campaign for Congress in NY-9 began.

It was a constant barrage of trying to make the TEA Party the enemy that voters had to unite against. It was a never ending campaign to define Bob Turner as the TEA Party candidate. In Between those lines of attack was tossed in the same old scare tactics intended to frighten senior citizens that predate the Reagan Administration.

For his part Bob Turner campaigns argued;

“Career politicians like David Weprin have taxed and spent this country into a crisis. They have jeopardized the entire social safety network by irresponsibly borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend,”

And as one Turner campaign aide put it;

“Businessman Bob Turner is running to protect Social Security and Medicare for every American over 55 years old and to put those essential programs on a sustainable path for everybody younger than that.”

But Bob Turner didn’t just defend himself against Operation Old TEA Bag. He spent most of his time denouncing the Obama policies that even urban, middle-class Democrats have lost faith in. Like the days of Ronald Reagan, Bob Turner found himself addressing a new generation of Reagan Democrats. Democrats who do not appreciate the condition of our nation and do not have faith in the direction their Party is heading in under a liberal President.

Yet as the campaign continued and the polls tightened, D.C. Democrats from the DCCC, DNC, and from the state and local Party apparatus, double-downed on their last hope……Operation Old TEA Bag. Even when only days before the special election was to take and polls showed that Turner turned the tables and was now ahead of Weprin, Democrats found themselves desperately trying to make a success of their fear campaign of senior citizens and their efforts to make the TEA Party the common enemy.

The plan was perfect. It even concluded on a high note…….a recorded phone call from former President Clinton which tied the TEA Party and Medicare together as he stated “and he’ll oppose the TEA Party plan to destroy Medicare” But ultimately, what Democrats thought was the perfect strategy, proved to be as unsustainable and useless as their economic policies.

Like driving a car on empty, it was a last ditch, desperate attempt to run a camping not on any issues, just on fear. The only problem is that in the end, senior citizens were less afraid of distortions about Bob Turner than they were of the truth about the current direction our nation is headed. In the end, the voters of the ninth district decided that the TEA Party was not their problem. Democrats were.

Unless Democrats start singing a different a tune, they will still be the problem in 2012. And just as Operation Old TEA Bag did not work for them in CD-9, it will not work for them in the 2012 elections. With few accompishments of his own to point toand with most Americans wanting to repeal his signature achievement…..Obamacare, President Obama is likely to  do little else but resort to scaring senior citizens and trying to run against the TEA Party.  Operation Old TEA Bag did not end in the streets of Brookjlyn and Queens.  It is really only just starting at Pennsylvania Avenue.

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It’s the Ideology, Stupid

Bookmark and Share The road to winning the White House is paved with many issues and many strategies. Issues are the bricks and strategy is the mortar thatsets them together and provides a winning path. The strategies one uses to put the issues together is essential to building a solid victory. And while unknown winds of unforeseen change will most definitely make construction of a victory a hard task to complete, there are some things that will not be easily changed. Thanks to President Obama, in 2012, one of those things is the average American voters comfort level with the liberal ideology that he has championed and that his Party has expended valuable capitol on as they tried to instill it into every fiber of our federal fabric.

President Obama came to office on a wave of change which he rode his words of hope on. He successfully exploited the freshness of his face on the political stage and once he won the Democratic presidential nomination, he successfully exploited his standing as an historic American figure. But lost in this wave was the liberal undercurrent that he would quickly inject into every aspect of American life, from our personal health care and 17% of the economy, to an unprecedented infusion of czars ..unelected, unaccountable, bureaucrats who circumvent the democratic legislative process, to enforce suffocating regulations which are not ikey to be adopted as legislation.

Under the control of a liberal President and a liberal Congress, Americans saw the federal government cap the salaries of citizens employed in the private sector. They saw General Motors become Government Motors, the Environmental Protection Agency try to tax the air that we breathe in a Cap-and-Trade measure that would have amounted to the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind, and then they saw their healthcare put into the hands of a federal bureaucracy that took 2,700 pages to outline, hired thousands of new government employees to enforce, stripped away the rights of states, will destroy competition and incentive within the medical field, produce a shortage of healthcare workers, and actually drive up premiums rather than lower them.

In the end, President Obama successfully reawakened older generations and alerted new ones to the effects of liberalism. His fervent ideological extremism lurched the country to the left so quickly that it generated a type of ideological whiplash so stinging, that even the most casual of political observers could not help but finally discern the difference between the cost of big government and the value of limited government. The Presidents liberalism was so dramatic and shifted Americas political center so far to the left, that it generated a new appreciation of the United States Constitution and gave birth to a political movement that began to police the constitutional legitimacy of many government actions, and moved the G.OP. further to the right. And in the end, it drove Democrats out of Congress and put Republicans in control of the House.

Now, as President Obama enters the second half of his first term, Americans are facing an economy that is standing on crutches and thanks to record levels of unsustainable federal spending, has created a national debt so unfathomable in its size, that it has become a threat to our nation that has, rightly or wrongly,overshadowed terrorism.

Yet despite these existing circumstances, traditional thinking still gives President Obama favorable odds for getting reelected. This thinking became commonplace even after he took what he called a shellacking, in the 2010 midterm elections. Not long after those elections, a string of events helped stem the Presidents downward spiral. In December, during a lame duck session of Congress, the incoming Republican controlled Congress forced President Obama make a deal on extending a series of tax cuts that were scheduled to end. Then there was the tragedy in Tucson which killed several, wounded many and left a member of Congress with a bullet in her head. A shocked nation stood still for a moment and in time President Obama offered a poignant, non-political speech which allowed him to do what Presidents are suppose to do .. unite the nation and heal its wounds. That was then followed by his State of the Union address. This string of events helped inspire some forward momentum in his favorability among Americans. However; as it turns out, thefebruary up tick in the Presidents approval was merely a temporary, goodwill sentiment that is seemingly short-lived

More than a month out from the late January, early Februarybounce that the President saw, a Rasmussen poll shows that 72% of voters believe the nation is on the wrong track, the highest it has been since he took office. Another extremely significant number is the 10% drop in favorability the President has seen among the crucially important Independent voting bloc. A month ago he had a 47% favorable rating among them. Now it is at 37%. But some of the most important numbers exist among those which suggest how big a role ideology will play in electing a Republican President in 2012.

61% of the voting public believes that President Obama is more liberal than them. In addition to that, 53% of all Democrat voters believe that the congressional Democrats behind President Obama, are out of the mainstream and too extreme. This is all the result of a President who seems to have a tin ear to the desires and concerns of mainstream America and who at times, seems detached from their reality and in some far off land of liberalism that more resembles a European democracy than the American republic we fought to create. In my estimation, these numbers are a result of the ideological whiplash I referred to earlier. And that is why I say..its the ideology, stupid.

For the next Republican presidential nominee, the ability to draw the American people a picture that shows two distinctly differently Americas will be critical to avoiding a second coming of Obama in 2012. Their words will have to conjure up an image of the America made byliberalism and the one created by conservatism offer. The G.O.P. must create a vision of an eagle in a cage made of liberal regulation and legislation, and another of an eagle flying in the free skies of conservatism Then they must ask which eagle they want to be? The one that is caged or the one that can fly freely? The next Republican presidential candidate must demonstrate how liberalism puts government in the business of bureaucracy and how conservatism gets government out of the business of bureaucracy. They will have to show voters that they can cut through the red tape that liberalism ties us up in. Then the final point to get through to voters is, if President Obama was willing to be so extreme in his liberalism during his first term, how extremely liberal do you think hewill be in a second termwhen heneed not concern himself with reelection?

Ideology alone will not win an election. To win the support of voters, along withproving theircontentofcharacter, leadership ability, and experience, our nominee must show an abilty to implement their ideas and most certainly focus on the jobs and the economy. But thanks to President Obamas ideological extremism, he has forced voters to look closer at their political belief system and to reexamine the direction they want to see this nation take. Thats why the next Republican nominee will have to understand that as they try to pave a road to the White House in 2012, they must surround each issue with a strategic mortar of ideology and realize that this time around it isnot just the economy,stupid.

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