Will Isaac Force Republicans To Cancel the Convention?

Bookmark and Share   Odds are that the convention won’t be cancelled but chances for it being severely altered are rising.

As Hurricane Isaac strengthens and plots a potential path of destruction aimed at the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Republican campaign for President finds itself captured in the eye of that storm as the schedule and fate of the Republican National Convention now becomes dictated more by wind speeds,  tidal surges and landfall timing than by the polling, performances and prime time speaking engagements that were suppose to shape the winning trajectory for the Romney/Ryan ticket in November.

On Sunday, as Isaac trekked across the Caribbean and entered the Southern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm, its potential proximity to Tampa, the location of the convention, forced G.O.P. convention organizers to essentially cancel the first day of the four day event.  It was a decision based on the priority of personal safety over  political performances.  And it was the right decision.  With over 50,000 visitors traveling to and from an arena that hangs on the edge of Tampa  bay as winds in excess of 65 mph swirled torrential rains around the heads of delegates and white caps of a tidal surge that was consuming the land convention goers stood upon, the chance of injury and even death is all too real to ignore.  For that reason, the cancellation of the first day’s events at the convention is not just good public policy, it is also good political judgment.

One could see a scenario where a line of 2,000 convention goers waiting to get in to a particular entrance at the Tampa Times Forum became ground zero for a freak accident that saw an electrical power line come down and electrocute those standing in an inch of water while in that line .   Or maybe that same line saw dozens in it struck by a store sign that was shredded off a nearby building by a strong gust of wind that carried it into the line of people filing in to the convention.   Such tragedy would not only have taken the headline away from the event those people were attending, Republicans would rightfully have to explain how they could be expected to safely run the nation when they could not even safely run  their own convention?

So Republicans made the right decision and by putting personal safety first, they also made the right political decision.

But now as the exact track and strength of Isaac continues to develop, even though Tampa and the Republican convention remains on its periphery and largely outside of the storms most violent conditions, it is anticipated to strike areas of the Northwestern Gulf Coast and right about when the prime time coverage of the convention is to begin on Tuesday night.

Isaac currently remains a tropical storm but as it meanders over ocean waters that approach temperatures in excess of 90 degrees and is expected to slow down and continue gaining strength from those temperatures, it is expected to become a hurricane with winds up 95 mph and a tidal surge that could range anywhere from 6 to 12 feet high.  Just as Isaac builds up to that strength its eye is expected to be fast approaching the Gulf Coast somewhere around Louisiana and Mississippi at the same time that Republicans begin to make their case for Mitt Romney.

While the convention itself will be taking place approximately 450 miles from ground zero for the landfall of Isaac’s eye, its participants will not be in any danger by any means but just as people like Ann  Romney are suppose to be praising her husband and pointing to the merits of his becoming their next President, a few million Americans from the coast of East Texas to the western panhandle of Florida will be experiencing the most damaging effects of Hurricane Isaac.  This does not create an appropriate setting for a national political celebration. Putting aside for a moment the paramount concern for life and property that will be in jeopardy, the Republican convention would find itself sharing a split screen that is displaying images of roofs being blown off of homes in New Orleans as a throng of jubilant convention goers waving flags and banners while wearing odd hats as they cheer the hard hitting words of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie offering the G.O.P. keynote address.   The surreal dichotomy between the havoc of Isaac and the hoopla of Christie or other engaging Republican speakers would leave a negative impression on those witnessing the spectacle which could be extraordinarily detrimental to Republicans.

So it is with justifiable caution that Republicans are now prepared to augment their convention even more than they already have by cancelling the first day of its schedule.  it is all contingent upon exactly how powerful Isaac will ultimately be as it hits the Gulf Coast and how damaging its torrential rains will be in the days following landfall as the jet stream sweeps its waterlogged remnants over the Eastern U.S. from the Gulf states to the New England states.

The consideration of additional changes to the convention and even its possible cancellation is based upon worst case scenarios and it is the worst case scenario which plays a significant role in the predictions and public warnings issued regarding Isaac.  Hopefully the worst case scenario will not come to fruition.  But if it does, Republicans will be prepared to deal with it accordingly.   However, as the G.O.P. prepares for all the possible scenarios they know that no matter what, they will share the headlines with Hurricane Isaac.   That will ultimately have at least a minimal impact on the bounce that Republicans get out of their convention but it will not drastically alter the final outcome of the election.

Bookmark and Share

Is Haley Barbour Taking Sides In the Presidential Contest?

Bookmark and Share  Haley Barbour is one of the Republican Party’s most beneficial strategic leaders.  As the Governor of Mississippi, he also proved to be an effective and savvy executive leader.  As for his Party involvement, Barbour has been brilliant.  He led the G.O.P. as its Chairman when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress in 1992, oversaw the successful election of a majority of Republican Governors in 2010 when he was Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is a prolific fundraiser, and has a network of connections in the Party and government that is unparalled.  All of this gives reason for some to still wonder if he might jump in and run for President , even though he opted out of run several monmths ago.

While that is unlikely, who Haley Barbour does support for the Republican presidential nomination will be almost as important as if he ran for President himself.

That is why his recent remarks on the Laura Ingraham Show have many people raising their heads.

Barbour described rising star Herman Cain  by saying,  “He is likable” .

He then went on to say;

“He [Herman Cain], does not give you the impression that he is full of himself, but rather than he is a straight-talkin’ person who, will tell you, he call it like he sees them. He’s not trying to sugar coat anything and at the same time he is not trying to be shrill and a chest beater. He’s a straight talker and I think that makes him very, very attractive to people.”

Barbour then went even further and said of Cain;

 “If Herman Cain is our nominee against Barack Obama, I think he’ll sweep the South.”

At another point he added that if the election wereheld today,  his wife would vote for Herman Cain.

As laid out in this Talking Point Memo by Benjy Sarlin , Barbour’s high praise of Cain is a significant contrast to his less then enthusiastic referrences and descriptions of Mitt Romney and even Rick Perry, two men Barbour worked closely with when he was Chairman of the RGA.  TPM even refers to a White House 2012 post and video in which Barbour states “Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans.”

None of this is good news for Romney, who could really use some help in the South, where Barbour has a great deal of influence, particulary in the state he governms, and nearby Georgia and Florida.  A Barbour endorsement of Romney, would be a hinderance to Rick Perry and give Romney much more of a fighting chance for wins in Southern primaries.  But based upon multiple comments Barbour has made, an endorsement of Romney before the GOP settles on a nominee, is probably not in the forecast.  It could go to Rick Perry, but even that is now questionable.

All of this helps to make it seem that with many Republicans not totally sold on Romney, and with Perry unable to yet get his footing after stumbling in his second debate appearance, even the establishment might be willing to back Herman Cain.  I recently went out on a limb suggesting that a surprise endorsement of Herman Cain from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley could be possible.  If the two Haley’s  (Haley Barbour and Nikki Haley), happen to endorse Cain, it is quite possible that people will be talking about him being the presumptive nominee and not Mitt Romney.

 Bookmark and Share

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?

Bookmark and Share

Republican Morning Memo for Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bookmark and Share

Why Haley Barbour isn’t running

How Haley Barbour’s moves shakes up the 2012 field

Nate Silver, “Schmuck of the Week”. And it’s only Tuesday

Santroum says health law fueled his possible presidential run

With gas prices on the rise, Pawlenty hangs energy policy around Obama’s neck

Surprise! Ron Paul to begin his third campaign for President today in Iowa

President Obama tries to make his campaign seem like the underdog rather than the incumbent

Jim DeMint. Not running for Prez, but headed to New Hampshire to make sure that a Republican President is elected

The potential First Spouses. A look at the spouses of the potential Republican presidential candidates

Bookmark and Share

Haley Barbour Will Not Be a Candidate for President

Haley Barbour

Barbour Out

Bookmark and Share In what is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions to date that has been made in the evolving Republican presidential nomination contest, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has today issued a statement announcing that he will not be a candidate for President in 2012. Barbour credits his decision to an uncertainty about the “fire in the belly” that he has for the job of President. He notes that the job requires a ten year committment “to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else.” He adds that his supporters deserve no less and without complete certainty for such a committment on his, he can not persue it in good conscience. (see complete statement below this post)

The announcement frees up much of the money and support that up to now how his by tied up by the possibility of a Barbour candidacy. As the ultimate political insider, Barbour’s ties to the G.O.P. establishment has helped to keep many from picking sides in the evolving race and fromplacing money behind any of the emerging candidacies.

WhileBarbour’s potential run has done little to keep any wiling Republicansfrom getting in to the race,this announcement will have a profound effect on Mitch Daniels, the popular, term limited Governor of Indiana.

Governors Daniels and Barbour are close personal friends. The two men go way back to the days of the Reagan Administration. With Barbour out, the chances that Daniels is in has increased ten fold.

Daniels has proven himself to be aneffective and exemplary conservative leader but his greatest quality is his prowess with numbers and budgets and conservative economics. He is a budget guru whois the total anti-Obama and a perfect potential Republican nominee. But Daniels has not been eager to declare his own candidacy. Instead he insisted that he is serious considering it and will essentiallymake who is or isn’t running, the determining factor. According to Daniels, if the right leadershipwith the right solutions to the greatest problems facing this nation, do not present themseleves, than he will be inclined to run. With his friend Haley now out of the race and out of the way, Daniels is free to decide that the right leadership has not yet presented itself in the emerging Republican field, and so he will in fact run.

In a recent post, I concluded that even if Haley Barbour runs, Mitch Daniels will too. The fact that Barbour is not running, makes it much more likely that Daniels will. According to Governor Daniels, that decision will come soon after the Indiana concludes its legislative session.

As for exactly why Haley Barbour has decided agaisnt his presidential bid,it is not likely that he doesn’t have the “fire in the belly” when it comes to the presidency. Barbour is a political animal who thrives on politics, both the campaining and the legislative and policy back and forth. Part of the decision has more to do with the lack of traction that his potential candidacy has been gaining. Despite aggressive behind the scenes campaigning especially in South Carolina and Forida, the Governor has not been racking up substantial support and his poll numbers have been unable to break the low single digits. As such, Barbour is most likely telling the truth when he calims he is uncertain about just how committed he is to a campaign. For while Barbour certainly has obsatcles in between him and the White House, they are not insurmountable. But Haley Barbour and his family have probably concluded that they may not have the desire to work as hard as it might require to overcome them.

Haley Barbour’s Statement

“I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.

“Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.

“I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.

“This decision means I will continue my job as Governor of Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.”

Bookmark and Share

Michael Reagan Wishes Jeb Bush Would Get In The Republican Race for President

During a Friday evening New Jersey Reagan Daydinner, keynote speaker Michael Reagan was asked if he had a favorite in the emerging field of Republican candidates for President.

While Reagan did not endorse any candidate and urged that whoever the nominee, Republicans should remember his father’s 80/20 rule. But before he mentioned his call for unity behindnominee in order to insure the defeat of President Obama, he stated;

“I’ll tell you who I would like to see enter the race. We have a dynamic leader in Florida who is a former Governor. Jeb Bush make a great candidate and his ability to appeal to and bring Latinos West of the Mississippi and Hispanics East of the Mississippi, is something which Republicans will need”

Will Haley Barbour’s Proposed Construction of a Civil Rights Museum Be Enough?

Bookmark and Share Being a white, Southern, Republican politician, wrongly but automatically conjures up stereotypes which normally require the need totake a defensive postureon race and civil rights. If Mississippis Governor Haley Barbour does take the plunge and dives into the national pool of candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination, he, probably more than others, will need to address his views and record on these issues. Indeed, the Governors critics recently helped to create doubts about the Governors commitment to civil rights and race relations, after he did interview in which he said that he doesnt remember things being so bad when he was a young man during the height of the civil struggle in the sixties. Barbour specifically meant that in the context of his own hometown in Mississippi, Yazoo City, but the remark led critics to lambaste the Governor and raise questions about how committed he is to civil rights.

If Governor Barbour does in fact run for President, the issue is one which he will certainly have to put to rest, especially since if he wins the Republican nomination, he will be opposing the man embraced as our first African-American President.

One argument that Barbour will be able to use to diffuse any dispute over his stance on civil rights will be his establishment of a commission that was charged with creating the plans for a civil rights museum. The idea had been tossed around by Mississippi legislators for years but in 2007, Barbour took the initiative to get the ball rolling and appointed former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson and former federal judge Charles Pickering to head the commission.

To date, the museum failed to move beyond the planning stage because of a dispute over where it should be built. But now, in his last State of the State address as Governor, Haley Barbour announced that Justice Anderson and former Governor William Winter, recommended a solution that he was proposing to the state legislature. Barbour said;

I’m presenting it tonight because this is the year to get this museum going. It is the 50 th Anniversary of the Freedom Riders and the 150 th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Governor Winter and Justice Anderson recommended we build the Civil Rights Museum adjacent to the proposed Mississippi History Museum at the existing site in downtown Jackson. I urge you to move this museum forward as an appropriate way to do justice to the Civil Rights Movement and to stand as a monument of remembrance and reconciliation.

Barbours proposal and his 2007 initiation of the planning commission to build a civil rights museum, will undoubtedly be viewed by critics as little more than a political ploy. For those who wish to promote civil rights by hypocritically promoting there own stereotypes, its a facts be damned situation for Governor Barbour. No matter what he says or does on the issue, they will do their best to insure that he is painted as a Southern, redneck, Republican racist.

The question is will Barbour be able to avoid phrasing any remarks on the issue in a way that can make them un-twistable by left leaning talking heads, like Rachel Maddow, who did her own hit piece on the Governor several weeks ago? And in addition to that which will be manufactured to question Barbours position on race, are longstanding rumors that date back to 1982 during his failed bid for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Senator John Stennis. According to a Boston Globe report, within earshot of the press, a campaign aide told Barbour that “coons” were going to be among the audience of their next campaign stop at the state fair. In front of reporters, Barbour allegedly warned the aide, that if the aide continued making racist remarks, he would be “reincarnated as a watermelon and placed at the mercy of blacks.” The remark has never quite been proven but be sure to hear it come up in any future Barbour campaign.

No matter what, the issue of racism will be a haunting one for Barbour, especially if he is the Republican nominee for President. But Barbour is not without respect and support from some African-Americans. In response to an article about a potential run for President in the Clarion Ledger, Scott Smith writes I am a black Democrat but I would vote for Mr. Barbour any day. Barbour is also not without his own defense in the face of accusations. Highlighting the construction of a civil rights museum during his last State of the State address will be just one of them.

In the end, the left will accuse any Republican of racism. Being one from the South just makes it easier to fit the stereotype. In recent history, it is the left and African-Americans who are usually the first to play the racecard and I suspect that the same will hold true in 2012.But will the issue have much of an impact on the way African-Americans vote with Barack Obama running for reelection? In 2008, the black vote came out for President Obama in an almost monolithic percentage that approached 97%. Or more. Does anyone expect the percentage of their vote for him to sharply decrease? The total number of black voters may be down, but the percentage of their vote for President Obama won’t be.

If race is going to again play a big role in the 2012 election, the biggest culprit will most likely be reverse racism and the proliferation of hypocritical, stereotypical portrayals of Southerners.

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: