FRC Says No Rice Please

In their Monday email, the Family Research Council rained on the Condoleeza Rice parade.  Describing her as a “non-starter”, Tony Perkins said that she is not pro-life, pro-marriage or a strong defender of religious liberty.  Perkins also noted that the Family Research Council would only accept a candidate who was strongly pro-life, not just someone who “checks the ‘pro-life box'”.

Will FRC stop promoting Mitt Romney if he chooses Condoleeza Rice as his VP?  No.  They supported Bush even though Cheney supported gay marriage.  But now is the time to use their leverage as a group representing a large segment of fundamental Christianity and steer Romney towards a more socially conservative choice.

Condi is a great and extremely qualified candidate.  But Romney should carefully consider the promises he has made regarding his VP selection process.  If he is looking to shake the Etch-a-sketch image one of his staffers foolishly gave him, than now is a perfect time to take a principled stand.  On the other hand, Romney may do the calculations and figure he will pick up more independents with Condi than he would lose from his base.

A Dog Eat Dog Campaign

By now, no doubt, you have heard how Mitt Romney is a cruel animal hater who put his dog in a kennel on the roof of their station wagon for a family trip in 1983.  The story has been running since 2007 and has been ramped up in recent weeks by comedians and animal rights groups.  Apparently, “dogs are not luggage” T-shirts are all the rage.

What we did not know until recently is that while Romney has questionable ways of transporting his K-9 friends, Obama apparently has better taste when it comes to dogs.  Literally.

I’ll be honest, at first glance at the various headlines, I thought the story was that Obama ate dog food as a kid.  After all, growing up in private school and a half a million dollar Hawaiian house and eventually going to Harvard can make someone very poor.  And then you have those pesky Republicans out there who seem bent on making people eat dog food by subjecting them to abject poverty.

But no, it turns out Obama actually ate dog.  Not so much as a result of poverty, but more as a traditional food served by his stepfather.  Big deal.  Seriously.  Yes, there will be plenty of jokes and puns, but the only people who should be concerned are the crazy dog lovers who think dogs are equal to people, Muslims and Jews whose laws forbid dog eating, and our friends at PETA.  As of this point, I haven’t heard if PETA has made a statement about Obama’s childhood pet’s unseemly demise.  Of course, obviously it’s not fair to call those dogs family pets, but after all this is politics.  Since when did fairness have anything to do with it.

Once you get over the shock of the “Man Puts Dog On Car Roof” headline and think about things like conditions in any dog humane society where they are kenneled the majority of each day, putting dogs in kennels in Airplane luggage holds, and some of the other things people subject their poor pets to in order to get them where they are going, what Romney did doesn’t seem so bad.  In fact, my wife still tells the stories of when they would put their family dog in a duffel bag in order to sneak her into “No Pets Allowed” hotels on family vacations.

People muzzle dogs, attack electric shock collars to their necks, etc.  Haven’t you heard of choke-chains?  In the grand scheme of things, rigging up a station wagon roof kennel with a wind shield for a family vacation should endear Romney to crazy, inventive US dads across the country.  Eating dogs probably won’t help Obama relate any better to the average American.  At least not any better than pictures of him riding in the back of his limousine with his dog.

Romney Taking Heat Over Position on Auto-Bailout in Michigan

Throughout the media Mitt Romney has taken heat for his position on the auto-industry bailouts.  Voters are noticing, too, as recent polls show that Santorum has taken the lead in the state.  It comes at a particularly bad time as the Michigan primary is just weeks away.

Earlier this week, Mitt Romney penned an op-ed in the Detroit News criticizing the 2009 bailout of Detroit’s Big Three automakers.  In it, he stands by his position at the time of letting the companies go through a managed bankruptcy, which was eventually done by Obama, and touts his Michigan roots as the son of former American Motor Company and Michigan Governor George Romney.  Romney goes on to blast Obama, calling the bailout and subsequent caving to union demands “crony capitalism on a grand scale”. Continue reading

The Myth of the Obama Recovery

Depending on how you read the jobs report, you might think we are well on our way to economic recovery.  At least if you read the headlines.  Well, we should be.  In three short years, this President has increased the debt more than any President in the history of our country combined.

What do we have to show for it?

Think about it.  Think of all that we have accomplished with the last $6.3 trillion in debt.  We won two world wars, at various times brought unemployment down to 4.4% (most recently under the economic policies that supposedly got us into this mess), fought five other major wars, four major undeclared conflicts, and assisted in several other wars, gave hundreds of billions back in tax cuts, sent a man to the moon, maintained a shuttle program, bought over half the land in the country, rebuilt after a civil war, implemented civil rights, built socialistic retirement, healthcare and welfare systems, helped produce 5% and higher GDP growth, built every crumbling and non crumbling bridge in the United States today, and created a massive bureaucratic infrastructure covering roads, education, homeland security, and our entire regulatory system.

So what has Obama done with $6.5 trillion in debt?  He has brought 5.7% unemployment down to 8.3%.  Oops, I meant up to 10% and then down to 8.3%.  We have managed to get GDP just over 2% for a fleeting couple quarters.  We did continue two major conflicts which accounts for almost a trillion of Obama’s $6.5 trillion in debt.  But he didn’t do anything to stop the conflicts, and in fact started another one in Libya.

A lot of that money went in to funding failed green energy projects, such as Solyndra, which were owned by Obama’s supporters.  A lot of money went towards bailing out Wall Street and making the United States a shareholder in failed companies like Citigroup, GM and Chrysler.

One of Obama’s large debt contributions was in the form of extended unemployment benefits to make the victims of his economic policies comfortable enough to not complain.  This year when he runs on a platform of how he cut taxes, be assured that no member of the media will ask him about the taxes he has forced states to collect to fund their own broke unemployment compensation funds, and pay interest on federal loans of unemployment funds, all of which has been passed on to business owners of every size.

The amazing thing is that in his term so far, Obama has spent the equivalent of more than one full year of United States private sector GDP.  Nearly half of that has been in the form of debt.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  And yet, with more debt than every other President combined, Obama is ecstatic with an 8.3% unemployment rate?  There is something seriously wrong with this.

But it gets worse.  There is unemployment and real unemployment.  What’s the difference?  The 8.3% represents only people who are still looking for a job.  If you counted the same number of people who were looking for a job in 2007, the unemployment rate would be at 10.3% and that hasn’t changed  since 2009.

Ezra Klein at the Washington Post notes this disturbing trend which seems to show little variance in the unemployment rate when you consider people who have stopped working.  That means that with $6.5 trillion in new debt, more than all other Presidents combined, Obama hasn’t managed to increase job growth, he has just managed to increase the number of discouraged workers who are willing to settle for his extended unemployment welfare program.

In fact, although Obama will be running on the myth of jobs saved and created, in actuality there are 2.4 million fewer people working today than there were when Obama signed the stimulus in 2009. The number of people who have jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is down to 139 million from 141 million in 2009.

For those keeping score, it was 127 million in 2001.  Do the math.

White House 2012′s Morning Memo: Tuesday’s Election News Briefing for 11/21/11

Bookmark and Share  This brings us a campaign trail filled with everything from Newt’s call to privatize retirement accounts (Social Security), to this past Saturday’s Thanksgiving Family Forum, Mitt’s unfavorability ratings on the rise, Ron Paul still blaming America first, and Rick Santorum addressing the expected failure of the Supercomittee.  And of course more.
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Is President Obama “Nervous”?

Bookmark and Share  I was preparing to write a brief post on how President Obama and his strategists have seemed to resolve themselves to running against Mitt Romney in the general election.  And then the Romney campaign released the following online ad;

The ad does demonstrate that Team Obama certainly does seem to have Romney on their mind.  So much so that you can make the argument that they have been preoccupied with Romney.  But such preoccupation with Romney could be premature.  While Mitt is looking more and more like the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, it is far from definite yet.  And it is not like the Administration has not been wrong about this before.

Four years ago, Obama’s closest advisors deemed Utah Governor Jon Huntsman to be the Republican who could give him the most trouble in 2012.  That is one reason why they appointed him Ambassador to China.  They had hoped that his active participation in his Administration’s first term  would prevent him from challenging the President for a second term.

Well that didn’t work.

As we know,  Huntsman resigned midway through the President’s first term and is now running for President.  But contrary to the original thinking of the White House, Huntsman is far from becoming the greatest threat to Obama’s reelection that Republicans  can produce.

That said, it is still worth it for Romney to highlight the fact that it seems as though President Obama “is nervous” about running against Romney.  At some point, the electability argument will begin to carry more weight than it does right now.  For that reason, it is to Romney’s advantage to create impression of being the Republican with the best chance to defeat the President.  Even if hardcore conservatives are unwilling to be swayed by the “electability” angle at the moment, it will eventually have an impact on some of them and even a subtle, subliminal impression of electability, will help Romney in tight primaries and caucuses.

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Is It Too Late?

Some very wise political analysts wrote that things have changed since 1992 when Bill Clinton got into the race late and managed to win. The need to build a national campaign network, raise money and meet the demands of 24/7 campaigning without making a single mistake are hurdles that put late joiners at a serious disadvantage. Mitt Romney has been raising money, performing in debates, bringing in endorsements and satisfying local political committees necessary for the early primaries. He can do it because he has a network in place to do most of the work for him, leaving him free to focus on interviews, debate prep and meeting with the big donors. Gov. Perry, as a relative late-comer, is floundering by comparison. The overwhelming demands on his time in places he has no network and from people with whom he has no intermediaries have strained his ability to focus on improving his debate abilities. His big lead has slumped and he is at risk of simply fading away. By the time he gets a full national campaign in place, his mistakes may have made him irrelevant. Soon Herman Cain will face the same problems. These were the reasons various pundits said Christie should definitely not get into the race. It was too late, even if he had changed his mind.

But is it too late? Being in early and ahead in the polls is no guarantee of success. The pages of campaign history are littered with the failed campaigns of big names, with national support and early planning. Perhaps the right question is not whether it is too late, but rather is it too soon? It is clearly too late to get into the race and compete against the established campaigns. There is not enough time to get a national campaign up and running effectively between now and the early primaries while simultaneously engaging in frequent televised debates. But, that doesn’t mean it is too late to get into the race at all. It just means it is too early to be a late entrant.

Look at the poll numbers Perry pulled in just due to hype. Christie saw the same, although he ended up not running. Cain made one great debate appearance and his numbers shot up. However, Perry and Cain now have to find a way to sustain that popularity for months before it can translate into votes. Just ask Michele Bachmann how that straw poll victory is treating her now. Frankly, getting in early opens the door to constant attacks by a vengeful media and the inevitable mistake that will get blown out of proportion just to have a news story to report. Romney and Paul are somewhat immune to these problems because they were already attacked in the last election and there just isn’t much new to attack them with. Their names are already out there and they have a base of support in place, so they don’t need the big performance to gain a position in the rankings. They just need to not trip over themselves and wait it out until the primaries get closer and they start spending the piles of money they built up. Everyone else has an uphill battle and has as much to fear from sudden success as from a major mistake.

With so many primaries happening so close together and so early in the year, a late entrant could ride the newcomer media hype to a handful of early victories. Then, by absorbing the staff and network of candidates who are forced to drop out, basically walk into a national campaign with enough time remaining to still effectively raise funds for the general election in November. This would not work for just any random candidate, but there are some big names who stayed out who have the skills, policy knowledge and connections to pull it off if they time it right. A December entry could steal the nomination.

I’m not saying that is what should happen, will happen or would be desirable. It is just that the old logic that there is a time after which a new campaign cannot succeed is very likely no longer valid. Like it or not, the media does manipulate public opinion in elections. Playing the media against itself may be a better strategy than traditional campaigning. After all, then Sen. Obama had nothing to offer on policy or experience, but the media carried him to victory. The media may be generally against conservatives, but they just can’t help themselves from hyping anyone new. Even if the hype is full of negatives, it raises the recognition of that candidate and usually results in a rise in the polls – at least until the hype dies down or the candidate withers under the spotlight.

A well-timed late entrant would face significant challenges, but could play the media hype into a surge in the polls just in time for it to translate into real votes. I’m sure Rick Perry wishes the early primaries had been in August when he was the talk of the town. Had they been, he’d probably be in this against Romney alone instead of falling back into a still crowded pack. The lack of consensus on a candidate and the infighting between them during the debates could be justification enough for one of the big names that decided not to run many months ago (when Obama looked stronger) to reconsider and come in to ‘unify the party against Obama’. While such an entry would never work if it came this month or in November, it could potentially play in December – especially if the field doesn’t slim down between now and then.

Second Thoughts?Who could pull off this last minute capture of the early primaries and the nomination? There are two that immediately come to mind: Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels. Conversely, two names that couldn’t pull it off are Sarah Palin and Chris Christie. They both bowed out too recently to change their minds so soon. Barbour and Daniels could be ‘drafted’ back in if they plan such an effort. They are not the only ones, but the ones with the best name recognition (Daniels) and existing connections (Barbour) to generate the necessary media hype and channel it into sudden victories. With the voters still divided, no real excitement for the ‘inevitable candidate’ and a compressed primary schedule, there may never be a better time than December to capture the race without having to face the withering pressure of public scrutiny of every minor decision they ever made. With so many of the big names that got out early still sitting silently and not endorsing anyone, one has to wonder if they are pondering the same thing I am. But, only one could pull it off. If two jumped in, they would both lose. If Barbour and Daniels go to dinner, Romney should start to worry.

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