Change? Obama Worse than Bush

The verdict is in, and Barack Obama did not produce the change he promised.  In fact, as he blames all his ills on the last 8 years, it is interesting to compare the Bush years to the Obama years.  Consider the following:

Average Annual Increase in Public Debt (in millions):

Bush: $543,818        Obama: $1,497,601

Total Increase in Public Debt (in millions):

Bush (8 years): $4,217,261   Obama (4 years): $5,990,407

Average Annual Unemployment (Also see here):

Bush: 5.26%                    Obama: 9.2%

Median Household Incomes:

January, 2009: $55,198       August, 2012: $50,678

The Average Annual Price of Gas (not even including 2012):

Bush: $2.14                     Obama: $2.89

Cost of Higher Education (adj. for inflation, not even including 2012):

Bush 2008: $16,661     Obama 2011: $18,497

But isn’t health insurance cheaper now with Obamacare?  No.  In 2012 the amount a family with employer provided coverage pays in annual premiums has increased to about $16,000.  For families with private individual plans, the amount is up to $5,615.  And before you ask why families don’t all just switch to private individual plans, remember that Obamacare taxes medium-large businesses up to $3,000 per employee that they don’t cover.

But we know Obama has handled the economy terribly.  The other thing people elected Obama for was to end the wars.  Obama promised to close Gitmo, which didn’t happen, and to end the war in Iraq.  He ended the war in Iraq by sticking to Bush’s timeline, but that wasn’t the whole story.  Obama intended to continue the war and leave troops in Iraq, but Biden could not negotiate simple immunity for our troops.  Don’t look now, but the Afghanistan war isn’t ending in 2014.  The administration is already negotiating to keep up to 25,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

Let’s look at war by the numbers.

Involvement in Major Foreign Conflicts:

Bush: 2 countries           Obama: 3 countries

Military Spending as % of GDP:

Bush, 2008: 4.4%          Obama, 2011: 4.7%

Average Annual War Spending:

Bush: $99.3 Billion       Obama: $155.1 Billion

Obama boasts of ending the war in Iraq, but how is the peace President doing in Afghanistan?

Average Annual Troop Deaths:

Bush: 606                        Obama: 445

Iraq:  528                         66

Afghanistan: 78              379

But what about Bush’s handling of Katrina?  Surely Obama has done better than that, right?  Former NYC Mayor Guiliani says no.

What about taxes?  Obama boasts about cutting people’s taxes, but most of the tax hikes he passed don’t go into effect until next year.  Obamacare has 20 different tax hikes in it, and many of those affect the poor and the sick.

But Obama saved the auto industry, right?  Actually, the only Detroit major that survived was Ford.  Ford didn’t take Obama’s bailout.  Chrysler did, and is now owned by an Italian company called Fiat.  GM took Obama’s bailout and is now owned by the taxpayers.  This was after Obama spent billions to bailout the unions before letting the two companies go through bankruptcy.  If that’s Obama saving the auto industry, I hope he doesn’t do me any favors.

Add these factors to Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the Black Panther polling case, Solyndra, and the other various scandals and overreaches of the Obama administration, and there is no reason to re-elect Obama.  Except of course if you got an Obama phone and are afraid of losing it.

How Obama Could Still Win:

Several states in play are ties or tossups in the latest polls.  In some, Obama is leading by 3-5%, but 3-5% are either undecided or going third party.  Obama can still win, even with his horrible statistics, if people vote third party or stay home.

I know many out there are voting third party or not voting to protest Romney.  I, like you, am a very libertarian leaning constitutionalist.  I’d love to see us out of the Middle East.  I’d love to see government spending cut in half.  I’d love to see us hold to our 10th amendment.  But Mitt Romney is NOT Barack Obama.

If anything, Mitt Romney is far closer to Reagan.  Despite being hailed as a conservative hero, Reagan is not as conservative as I would have preferred.  In fact, many Ron Paul and Gary Johnson voters would probably not vote for Reagan either.  But Mitt Romney is not the candidate you should be protesting.  You should be protesting Barack Obama.

Consider your goals and which candidate will get us there:

Less involvement in the Middle East: Mitt Romney has a comprehensive energy plan that gets America using its own resources to lower our dependence on OPEC.  Obama spent billions of your tax dollars on green energy companies that went bankrupt, and we are no closer to independence from foreign oil.

Simpler, fairer tax system: Romney’s plan reduces rates in order to remove loopholes and deductions based on the government’s definition of what a good citizen looks like without raising taxes.  Obama’s plan is higher taxes, more redistribution and a more complex tax system designed to pick winners and losers.

Foreign wars: Obama has proven himself to be an interventionalist.  He is not the peace President people hoped for.  He hasn’t closed Gitmo.  He only left Iraq because he was too incompetent to negotiate a way to stay there.  But he is already negotiating to keep 25,000 troops in Afghanistan.  Romney’s approach is to show the kind of strength Reagan did.  What major war did we fight when Reagan was President?  The Cold War, where we sat across the ocean from each other and didn’t pull the trigger for eight years.  Finally, the Soviet Union collapsed under their economic system.

More personal freedom and responsibility: Nothing took us backwards further as a nation than Obamacare.  Obamacare mandates that every American buy private health insurance or pay a tax.  Obamacare takes deciding power away from doctors and patients and gives it to the government.  If you protest Romney, Obamacare is here to stay.  If you vote to protest Obama, we have a shot at repealing this monstrous tax on the sick and the poor.

Does My Vote Count?

If you are thinking of voting third party or not voting because Romney is not as conservative as you’d like, you could be part of the margin that gives Obama four more years to take us down the path towards socialism at hyperspeed.  So where does Romney need your vote the most:

Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Arizona.

But believe it or not, he also needs you in Oregon, Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maine. If nothing else, vote to tell the liberals in your state that they do not have a mandate.  The country is changing and is leaning to the right.  You will never get the conservative, limited government you want if you let the country fall off the socialist cliff because the most conservative candidate who can win is not conservative enough for you.

When you walk into the voting booth, consider what you want America to look like in 2016.  Do you want to move forward the way Obama does?  Do you really want four more years of this?

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Chris Christie’s Republican National Convention Keynote Address

   Bookmark and Share  After officially nominating Mitt Romney for President during the afternoon session of the Republican National Convention, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wrapped up the evening session with a keynote address that electrified the Tampa Times Forum Arena with a  clarion call to all Americans who believe our nation can do better (see video and complete text of the speech below this post).

In his speech, without mentioning any names, Christie masterfully addressed the shortcomings of President Obama and his policies.  At one point he described the President as having a desire to be loved that runs deeper than his desire to take on the tough issues.  “That’s what we need to do now.  Change polls through the power of our principles. Change polls through the strength of our convictions. Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth”, said Christie.He added; “Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice.  Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth”.

Christie’s address was an incredibly strong statement of conservative principles that made it clear that Americans can no longer standby and be satisfied with the status quo of politics-as-usual.  He cited multiple examples of his leadership in New Jersey that demonstrated how by touching the traditional third rails in politics, New Jersey was energized, not burned.

The New Jersey Governor’s well presented case was a little heavy (no pun intended) on himself and light on Mitt Romney.  While he spent most of the speech referring to himself on more than 30 occassions, he mentioned Mitt Romney about seven times.   Atill, Chrsitie helped set a tone for the coming weeks of the election that places Democrats on a losing playing field.

Full Text of Christie’s Speech

The Hon. Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey

Republican National Convention Keynote Address
August 28, 2012
This stage and this moment are very improbable for me. 

A New Jersey Republican delivering the keynote address to our national convention, from a state with 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans. 

A New Jersey Republican stands before you tonight. 

Proud of my party, proud of my state and proud of my country.

I am the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother. 

My Dad, who I am blessed to have with me here tonight, is gregarious, outgoing and loveable. 

My Mom, who I lost 8 years ago, was the enforcer.  She made sure we all knew who set the rules.

In the automobile of life, Dad was just a passenger.  Mom was the driver.

They both lived hard lives.  Dad grew up in poverty.  After returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s.   With that job and the G.I. bill he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree.  Our first family picture was on his graduation day, with Mom beaming next to him, six months pregnant with me.

Mom also came from nothing.  She was raised by a single mother who took three buses to get to work every day.  And mom spent the time she was supposed to be a kid actually raising children – her two younger siblings.  She was tough as nails and didn’t suffer fools at all. The truth was she couldn’t afford to.  She spoke the truth – bluntly, directly and without much varnish. 

I am her son.

I was her son as I listened to “Darkness on the Edge of Town” with my high school friends on the Jersey Shore. 

I was her son as I moved into a studio apartment with Mary Pat to start a marriage that is now 26 years old. 

I was her son as I coached our sons Andrew and Patrick on the fields of Mendham, and as I watched with pride as our daughters Sarah and Bridget marched with their soccer teams in the Labor Day parade. 

And I am still her son today, as Governor, following the rules she taught me: to speak from the heart and to fight for your principles. She never thought you get extra credit for just speaking the truth. 

The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected.  She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting — but that respect could grow into real, lasting love. 

Now, of course, she was talking about women.

But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership.   In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever.

I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved. 

Our founding fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity is fleeting and that this country’s principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times. 

Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say “yes,” rather than to say no when “no” is what’s required.

In recent years, we as a country have too often chosen the same path. 

It’s been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues.  And we’ve stood silently by and let them get away with it.

But tonight, I say enough. 

I say, together, let’s make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.  

We are beginning to do what is right and what is necessary to make our country great again.

We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America.

Tonight, we choose respect over love.

We are not afraid.  We are taking our country back.

We are the great grandchildren of men and women who broke their backs in the name of American ingenuity; the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation; the sons and daughters of immigrants; the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes; the neighbors of entrepreneurs and firefighters, teachers and farmers, veterans and factory workers and everyone in-between who shows up not just on the big days or the good days, but on the bad days and on the hard days.

Each and every day. All 365 of them.

We are the United States of America.

Now we must lead the way our citizens live. To lead as my mother insisted I live, not by avoiding truths, especially the hard ones, but by facing up to them and being the better for it. 

We cannot afford to do anything less.

I know because this was the challenge in New Jersey. 

When I came into office, I could continue on the same path that led to wealth, jobs and people leaving the state or I could do the job the people elected me to do – to do the big things. 

There were those who said it couldn’t be done.  The problems were too big, too politically charged, too broken to fix. But we were on a path we could no longer afford to follow. 

They said it was impossible to cut taxes in a state where taxes were raised 115 times in eight years. That it was impossible to balance a budget at the same time, with an $11 billion deficit.  Three years later, we have three balanced budgets with lower taxes. 

We did it. 

They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics. To take on the public sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefit system that was headed to bankruptcy. 

With bipartisan leadership we saved taxpayers $132 billion over 30 years and saved retirees their pension.

We did it. 

They said it was impossible to speak the truth to the teachers union. They were just too powerful.  Real teacher tenure reform that demands accountability and ends the guarantee of a job for life regardless of performance would never happen.

For the first time in 100 years with bipartisan support, we did it. 

The disciples of yesterday’s politics underestimated the will of the people. They assumed our people were selfish; that when told of the difficult problems, tough choices and complicated solutions, they would simply turn their backs, that they would decide it was every man for himself.

Instead, the people of New Jersey stepped up and shared in the sacrifice. 

They rewarded politicians who led instead of politicians who pandered.

We shouldn’t be surprised. 

We’ve never been a country to shy away from the truth.  History shows that we stand up when it counts and it’s this quality that has defined our character and our significance in the world.

I know this simple truth and I’m not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America. 

Let’s be clear with the American people tonight. Here’s what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats. 

We believe in telling hard working families the truth about our country’s fiscal realities.  Telling them what they already know – the math of federal spending doesn’t add up.

With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of government. 

They believe that the American people don’t want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government. 

They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them. 

We believe in telling seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements. 

We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren. 

Seniors are not selfish.

They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren.  So they prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the cynical purpose of winning the next election. 

Their plan: whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power.

We believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed to put students first so that America can compete.

Teachers don’t teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children. 

We believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what’s best for our nation’s future – demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.

They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense. 

They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children. 

They believe in teacher’s unions.

We believe in teachers. 

We believe that if we tell the people the truth they will act bigger than the pettiness of Washington, D.C.

We believe it’s possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles. 

It’s the power of our ideas, not of our rhetoric, that attracts people to our Party. 

We win when we make it about what needs to be done; we lose when we play along with their game of scaring and dividing. 

For make no mistake, the problems are too big to let the American people lose – the slowest economic recovery in decades,  a spiraling out of control deficit,  an education system that’s failing to compete in the world. 

It doesn’t matter how we got here.  There is enough blame to go around. 

What matters now is what we do. 

I know we can fix our problems. 

When there are people in the room who care more about doing the job they were elected to do than worrying about winning re-election, it’s possible to work together, achieve principled compromise and get results. 

The people have no patience for any other way. 

It’s simple. 

We need politicians to care more about doing something and less about being something.

Believe me, if we can do this in a blue state with a conservative Republican Governor, Washington is out of excuses. 

Leadership delivers. 

Leadership counts. 

Leadership matters. 

We have this leader for America. 

We have a nominee who will tell us the truth and who will lead with conviction.  And now he has a running mate who will do the same. 

We have Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, and we must make them our next President and Vice President. 

Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on the path to growth and create good paying private sector jobs again in America. 

Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the torrent of debt that is compromising our future and burying our economy. 

Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world’s greatest health care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor.

We ended an era of absentee leadership without purpose or principle in New Jersey. 

It’s time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House. 

America needs Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and we need them right now.

There is doubt and fear for our future in every corner of our country.

These feelings are real. 

This moment is real. 

It’s a moment like this where some skeptics wonder if American greatness is over.  

How those who have come before us had the spirit and tenacity to lead America to a new era of greatness in the face of challenge. 

Not to look around and say “not me,” but to say, “YES, ME.”

I have an answer tonight for the skeptics and the naysayers, the dividers and the defenders of the status quo. 

I have faith in us.  

I know we can be the men and women our country calls on us to be.

I believe in America and her history. 

There’s only one thing missing now.  Leadership.  It takes leadership that you don’t get from reading a poll. 

You see, Mr. President – real leaders don’t follow polls. Real leaders change polls. 

That’s what we need to do now.  

Change polls through the power of our principles. 

Change polls through the strength of our convictions. 

Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth.

Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice. Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth. 

I think tonight of the Greatest Generation. 

We look back and marvel at their courage – overcoming the Great Depression, fighting Nazi tyranny, standing up for freedom around the world. 

Now it’s our time to answer history’s call. 

For make no mistake, every generation will be judged and so will we. 

What will our children and grandchildren say of us?  Will they say we buried our heads in the sand, we assuaged ourselves with the creature comforts we’ve acquired, that our problems were too big and we were too small, that someone else should make a difference because we can’t?

Or will they say we stood up and made the tough choices needed to preserve our way of life?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children and grandchildren to have to read in a history book what it was like to live in an American Century. 

I don’t want their only inheritance to be an enormous government that has overtaxed, overspent and over-borrowed a great people into second-class citizenship. 

I want them to live in a second American Century.

A second American Century of strong economic growth where those who are willing to work hard will have good paying jobs to support their families and reach their dreams.

A second American Century where real American exceptionalism is not a political punch line, but is evident to everyone in the world just by watching the way our government conducts its business and everyday Americans live their lives.

A second American Century where our military is strong, our values are sure, our work ethic is unmatched and our Constitution remains a model for anyone in the world struggling for liberty.

Let us choose a path that will be remembered for generations to come. Standing strong for freedom will make the next century as great an American century as the last one. 

This is the American way. 

We have never been victims of destiny. 

We have always been masters of our own. 

I won’t be part of the generation that fails that test and neither will you. 

It’s now time to stand up. There’s no time left to waste.

If you’re willing to stand up with me for America’s future, I will stand up with you. 

If you’re willing to fight with me for Mitt Romney, I will fight with you.

If you’re willing to hear the truth about the hard road ahead, and the rewards for America that truth will bear, I’m here to begin with you this new era of truth-telling. 

Tonight, we choose the path that has always defined our nation’s history.

Tonight, we finally and firmly answer the call that so many generations have had the courage to answer before us. 

Tonight, we stand up for Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States. 

And, together, we stand up once again for American greatness. 

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Unconfirmed Reports Say that Chris Chrisite Will Be the Keynote Speaker at the Republican National Convention

Let the Speculation Begin.

  Bookmark and Share  New Jersey Republican activists can hardly contain their excitement over the fact that their Governor has been selected to give the all important keynote address at the Republican National Convention.  New Jerseyans are bursting with pride over the thought that our Governor will be given the national spotlight and be called upon to articulate the Republican case and cause before the nation and the world.  But the reports have not yet been confirmed by either Governor Christie, Governor Romney or the Republican National Committee.  According to the Washington Post;

“Republicans say that, contrary to media reports, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Neither the Romney campaign nor the Republican National Committee would confirm those reports.

“You”ll have to stay tuned,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon.

Sources with the campaign say Romney is not prepared to announce any speakers yet. The New Jersey State GOP Committee said they knew nothing about it. 

“I’ve gotten no invitation to do anything like that,” Christie told NBC.”

These unconfirmed reports amount to nothing more than speculation but if true, the decision to make Christie the keynote speaker opens the door for additional speculation.  So here goes.

If it is true that Christie is the RNC’s 2012 keynote speaker, it will signal the G.O.P.’s obvious desire to highlight the message of a figure who has established a reputation for being blunt about what needs to be done to get our nation on a track to economic responsibility and prosperity.   It would also signal the G.O.P.’s desire to appeal to fiscally conservative independent voters, a segment of the voting bloc which could be critical to who wins the presidency in November.

Picking Christie to be the keynote speaker could also be a signal of several other things to come such as who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate. There has been a wide range of Republicans who would have liked to see freshman Florida Congressman Allen West deliver the keynote address.  West has proven himself to be a powerfully articulate speaker who inspires the conservative base while also firing up the TEA Party which Romney needs to bolster his standing among.  Christie tends to enjoy similar popularity within those same groups but West brings additional positives that Christie doesn’t.  Unlike Christie who comes from a state that Republicans feel is so hard to win that they have written it off in most of their campaign plans, Rep. West comes from a critical swing state that is well within the reach of Republicans to win.  Additionally, West is African-American, and those two factors would have made West a prime pick for giving the keynote address.  But giving that honor to Christie instead of West could be a sign that Mitt Romney has picked a running mate of color and so the need to highlight ethnic diversity during a high profile, primetime, keynote address may not be as necessary as it once was.  If true, that person of color who Romney may be ready to pick could very well be  former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who many have suggested that Romney is quite enamored with and whom  in national polls,leads all other potential vice presidential choices Romney may have.

But to read too much in to any decision would be wrong.

While Chris Christie is liked for the breath of fresh air that his brutal honesty and bluntness brings to the table, his abrasive nature does not fit well with the more diplomatic, less confrontational approach to politics that Mitt Romney is comfortable with.  The same goes for West who may seem like a good choice for Vice President for Romney but like Christie, neither man can be described as having the “same personality type” as Mitt, a factor that Anne Romney once described as a key consideration in her husbands decison on who he will nominate for Vice President.   Yet there is no denying that Christie’s approach has been popular and as such, there may be no other suitably prominent role for Christie to play in the Romney campaign other than allowing him to be a surrogate speaker and what more suitable platform can there be for such a surrogate than keynote speaker?

This of course does not leave West out in the cold.  Many other primetime slots are still available.  They include the highly coveted opportunity to be tapped as the lucky individual who gets to make the speech that nominates the presidential candidate, a role that West would fit quite well.

All of this is speculation though.  The only thing that is not speculation however is the fact that if it is true that  Christie is the keynote speaker, you can rest assured that he is definitely out of the running to be Romney’s Vice President.

On that front, until now, speculation about who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate has of late been superseded only by the speculation over when he will publicly announce who that person will be.    Today’s Wall Street Journal writes;

“It appears unlikely now that Mr. Romney will name his selection before departing next week for a trip abroad.”

At the same time, The New York Daily News writes;

“Sources close to the Romney campaign told the Daily News the working plan has  been to announce the pick after the Olympic Games, which begin next week and  conclude Aug. 12 — two weeks before the Republican convention in Tampa.”

Yet amid that media speculation comes a Tuesday tweet from National Review political reporter and CNBC contributor Robert Costa in which he writes:

“A Republican strategist close to the Romney campaign tells me veep announcement may come Friday”

Meanwhile, in an interview taped for ABC earlier today, Ann Romney claims that  her husband is “not quite there yet” on a final decision regarding who he will nominate for Vice President.

Not long after that interview, while attending a town-hall event in Bowling Green, Ohio, Mitt Romney answered a a question from the audience regarding who he will pick by confirming that  he has “not chosen the person” who will be his Vice President.

What this all means is anyone’s guess but to confuse matters even more, as noted in a previous White House 2012 post, Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has decided to retool his website, TimPawlenty.com.

Currently TimPawlenty.com has been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”  Normally such an event would not mean very much but at a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal.   In this particular case though, having been a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw’s decision to finally retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit it, appears at the same time that Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Coincidence?  Speculation?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

You’re guess is as good mine.

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Is Mitt Bouyant? Or Santorum Sinking?

The day before Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney is looking good.  It’s looking like he will take the key state of Ohio and could take Tennessee.  Both of these are very close races.  But Romney’s ascendency back to the top is marked by Santorum’s dive in the polls, and Newt’s resurgence again.  Newt will win Georgia, which has the most delegates of any Super Tuesday state.  Newt is also now tied with Santorum and within one point of Romney in Tennessee according to one poll.  Just last week, Santorum was looking good in both Ohio and Tennessee.

If Santorum is suddenly seen as faltering, we may see the polls seesaw back to Newt on fears of unelectability.  However, at this late stage that may serve to only help Romney, unless Santorum loses big time.  If Santorum comes in third in Tennessee or Ohio and Gingrich easily wins Georgia, the shift back to Newt could be significant.

Consider this, if Santorum was not in the race and his voters went to Newt, Newt would sweep Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.  On the other hand, the same could be said for Santorum if Newt dropped out and his votes went to Santorum.  In either case, Romney is the beneficiary of the social conservative split.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul is fleeing from social issues as he descends back into below 10% irrelevancy.

This could be short lived however, as Republicans revisit the myth that social issues are losers in elections.  As I pointed out the other day, a one dimensional economy candidate is going to struggle against Obama.  Republicans are more likely to be inspired to go to the polls for a bold conservative, and Romney is all pastels.  If Santorum falters tomorrow and Newt remains on message, this one could be far from over.

Chris Christie Introduces the Establishment’s Fear of Gingrich In To the Presidential Race

Bookmark and Share   In a Sunday morning interview with NBC’s David Gregory, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed to be doing his best to help establishment Republicans remain in the driving seat.  The interview with Christie consisted of a discussion about the results of South Carolina’s primary, which saw Christie’s prefered choice for President, Mitt Romney,  lose to Newt Gingrich. According to Christie those primary results  will not make that much of difference as the nomination battle rages.  According to the New Jersey Governor, one of the reason for that is because Newt Gingrich has “embarrassed” the Republican Party, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney never has.  He went on to claim that the former speaker just didn’t have the experience needed to be President.

But Christie’s remarks were based less on truth and more on an immediate need for Chris Christie to do his job as a surrogate for Romney and out of need for self-preservation.

Following Romney’s devastating loss to Gingrich in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Christie is apparently grabbing for straws as he searches for anything that he can throw at Newt and make stick.  But why?  What is the real reason behind Christie’s vitriol?

It is a simple fact that the establishment, or status quo,  of any institution naturally tries to preserve itself.  So it is only logical that in politics, the establishment of any Party will try to do the same.  It is the main reason why change, true change, is hard to come by in politics.  In the case of establishment Republicans, Newt Gingrich is the one realistic candidate remaining in the Republican nomination contest, who represents real change and as such, the establishment wing of the Party is not compelled to enthusiastically embrace his candidacy.  Going with Gingrich would cause them to risk losing the traditional perks that the system grants to the political powerbrokers and as an idea based reformer, Newt is a threat to the process, a process which is stacked against change.

But another political reality that the establishment is facing is the bigger electoral picture in 2012.

Establishment Republicans want not only to maintain the status quo of the political process, they want to increase their sphere of influence of that process.  That control comes about by increasing the number of Republicans who are elected to office……all elected offices.

When it comes to Chris Christie, that electoral concern is largely the main reason he came out and endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

While the focus right now is on the presidential race, in the next few months, elections for other offices will quickly consume some of that focus.  In 2012, control of the United States Senate is already beginning shape the presidential race and that is already playing out in New Jersey more than anywhere else in the nation.

Although there is little public interest in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race, the top of the ticket will make all the difference between winning and losing for Republicans.

Incumbent liberal Senator Bob Menendez is up for reelection to his second full term in the Senate.  He was first appointed to fill the vacancy that was created by then Senator Jon Corzine, who in 2005, became Governor.  In 2006, Menendez was subsequently elected to his first full term in the Senate.

Currently, Menendez is in decent political standing among New Jersey voters.  According to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, 45% of state voters believe to be re-elected while 38% believe otherwise.  And he beats a generic, unnamed Republican candidate by as much as 11%.

Typically, incumbents are in trouble if their reelect number are under 50%, but this is New Jersey, a state that brought Frank Lautenberg back to life, out of retirement and back in to the Senate where he does little more than keep his senate seast warm while he nods off in it. However, while the opportunity to pick Menendez off will be an uphill battle, the possibility does exist.  And therein lies Chris Christie’s endorsement of Mitt Romney for President.

In a state as blue as New Jersey, Mitt Romney can do relatively well.  While Newt Gingrich’s description of Romney as a Massachusetts moderate may work against Mitt in Peioria where conservatives can’t find anything too favorable about either Massachusetts or moderates, in Trenton, both are positive things which can only help Mitt among a Republican electorate which is generally slightly to the left of the national Party.   This becomes an even more important factor in New Jersey when it comes to defeating Bob Menendez.

Given Mitt’s perceived moderate image, he is expected to have much longer coattails than the more conservative, abrasive, hard-hitting, Southern Republican that is Newt Gingrich.  That conventional thinking is playing a critical role in New Jersey.

Although it is not official, Republicans are expected to nominate a longtime Republican State Senator by the name of Joe Kyrillos, for Bob Menendez’s Senate seat.  By New Jersey standards, Joe Kyrillos is considered a right of center Republican, but he is also the ultimate political insider.  In 1988 he became one of the state’s youngest members of the Assembly, where he served two consecutive terms and then promptly went to the State Senate where he remained since 1993.  Along the way, Kyrillos also spent some time as the state Party Chairman.

In addition to that, Joe Kyrillos happens to be a good friend of Chris Christie and served as Christie’s 2009  gubernatorial state campaign chairman.  Joe Kyrillos also coincidentally served as Mitt Romney’s presidential state campaign chairman in 2008.

This web of connections is all the evidence one needs to understand why Christie endorsed Romney and why he is now aggressively attacking Newt Gingrich.

But what Americans must begin to accept is that the circumstances which are forcing the establishment to rally around Mitt Romney in New Jersey are the same forces which will be forcing the establishment to rally around Romney and attack Newt Gingrich in many other states.   It is all being driven by self-preservation.  None of it is based on the issues, or reforms, or even beating Barack Obama.  It is based upon the establishment’s hope to maintain the status quo, something which can best be achieved by insuring that Mitt Romney defeats Newt Gingrich.

The good thing is that the establishment is not in good graces with a vast majority of the electorate that has taken on very anti-establishment attitudes.  This is one reason why despite the endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Romney lost to the anti-establishment candidate, Newt Gingrich.  In fact, to a large degree, the more incumbents that endorse Mitt Romney, the more the anti-establishment opposes Mitt Romney and supports  Newt Gingrich.

While those circumstances won’t help Newt Gingrich very much in a state like New Jersey, it will help him and the Republican tickets in a many other critical states.

Unlike Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich has the ability to tap into the anti-esatblishment sentiments that swept Republicans in to power in the House by historic proportions during the 2010 midterm elections.  That anti-establisment energy is minimal in New Jersey, where in 2011, state legislative elections did not produce any gains for New Jersey Republicans.

In 2012, to take control of the U.S. Senate, Republicans need to hold on to the 10 Republican Senate seats that are up for reelection and pick of 4 of the 23 Democrat seats that up for election.  At the moment Republican’s chances for success at taking the majority of senate seats are quite good.  So much so that it is even realistic to consider the chance that Republicans can actually pick up the 13 senate seats that would be required to meet the magic number of a filibuster proof 60 seat majority.

But in order for the G.O.P. to do either, a strong Republican ticket will be required.  The question is who will account for the strongest ticket?

The establishment assumes that a moderate candidate like Romney will do just that.  However; I am of the belief that a more radical, anti-establishment candidate will provide the strongest ticket and in states like Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin, tapping in to the same TEA Party-like energy that accounted for dozens of new Republicans getting elected to the House, will find that the chance to pick up each of the Democrat Senate seats up for grabs in those states will be enhanced by the “say no to the status quo” style of Newt Gingrich, far more than the “go along to get along style” of the “Massachusetts moderate”,  Mitt Romney.

Furthermore, in a state like New Jersey, where Chris Christie is hoping that his friend Joe Kyrillos can unseat Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, I am afraid that such a goal will be impossible regardless of who is at the top of the ticket, at least not with Joe Kyrillos as the standard bearer.

So what it comes down to is this.  Will Republicans be better off defending the status quo, or will they be better off staying the course that increased their numbers in 2010, when opposing the status quo proved to be the key to victory?

I believe I know the answer.  That is why I endorsed Newt Gingrich for President long ago.  Unfortunately Governor Christie does not agree.  Quite disappointingly, he is playing the role of political insider and pursing political self-preservation over proper public policy concerns.  And it is why he has chosen to go after Newt with guns blazing.

In his attempts to disqualify Newt Gingrich, he told NBC’s David Gregory that he thinks;

“Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time“, and explains “whether he’ll do it again in the future, I don’t know. But Gov. Romney never has.” 

Christie added;

“We all know the record. He was run out of the speakership by his own party. He was fined $300,000 for ethic violations. This is a guy who’s had a very difficult political career at times and has been an embarrassment to the Party.”

The saddest thing about those comments is Christie’s blatant attempt to support his political opinion with lies.

While it is true that Newt has never really taken the easy way out by simply  playing the political game in order to hold on to power, Christie is actually lying when he continues to promote the myth that Newt was fined $300, ooo.  The truth is that Newt paid for the investigation into one of 84 false accusation that his political opponents tried to burden Newt with.  In the end, all of the accusations were dismissed, but Newt was still stuck with a bill for the investigation of one charge which found that his lawyers had filed papers erroneously.

But Christie’s attempt to play the role of political hitman causes him to ignore these facts and that is quite disappointing.

Up to now, Chris Christie has been an impressive, hold no punches, play no games leader.  But apparently even he is not immune from the game of politics when it concerns his the interests of the status quo and his insider buddies.

Meanwhile, even though Newt may not be “safe” choice for the republican presidential nomination, he is the bold choice and I am willing to take bold new leadership over insider politics and tired old political games.  I want republicans to win and achieve real change, not to win and simply maintain the system that needs to be reformed.

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Chris Christie Shoring Up His Value as a Vice Presidential Running Mate

Bookmark and Share    In advance of the delivery of his second State of the State address, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie’s team has released a new web ad that credits him for having begun to turn the Garden State around.

It’s the type of stuff, that fits in well with any campaign’s desire to tap in to a similar theme for the nation and its economy, which much like New Jersey, is in desperate need of a comeback.  This is not to say that the ad is meant to establish the groundwork for a Chris Christie vice presidency.  Afterall, regardless of national politics, Chris Christie does need to make sure that his image in New Jersey remains one that will be worthy of reelection come 2013.

Either way, the web ad helps promote an image of Christie that can’t hurt either his chances for being picked as a vice presidential running mate or for eventually being reelected Governor.

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CNBC versus the GOP

Last night the GOP candidates went into hostile Michigan to face a hostile set of moderators who were booed into sticking to economic issues by the crowd after an unfair detour against Herman Cain.  In all, the night turned into somewhat of a circus.  Hopefully, the GOP will shun CNBC in the future, as this was the worst and most unprofessional case of moderation we have seen.    But aside from that, let’s get to the winners and losers.  First up…

It floored me when they tried to ask if companies should be making a profit or growing jobs.  Excuse me, but how the heck do you create jobs if you aren’t making a profit?? Gingrich’s response was beautiful. Watching the moderator rolling her eyes when Gingrich said a 30 second answer on healthcare was ridiculous was fun to watch.  But my favorite answer of Gingrich’s was on education, where he offered a real life example of a real life solution that addresses the issue of education that is getting exponentially expensive with much cheaper results.  As someone who works full-time, is a full-time grad student and has been in college for a decade following various business and religious pursuits, I connected with Gingrich’s answer and could not agree more.  This morning Neil Boortz in a morning phonecall to WOKV implied that Republicans needed to worry about who could beat Obama, not who would be the best President speaking of Newt Gingrich.  Bull.  Gingrich keeps winning debates because he is the smartest man on that stage.  And he made a joke out of those bombastic, rude moderators.

Rick Santorum did well.  This doesn’t mean anything, he still can’t win.  But he did highlight his leadership on things like medical savings accounts and gave viewers no reason to mark him down.  He has struggled in debates, but performed well last night.  Ron Paul also did a good job.  He avoided saying anything outlandish and produced a solid, constitutionalist approach.  Bachmann did well, but was once again forgettable.  Huntsman also did pretty well, though his attempt at “answer this in 30 seconds?” humor sounded like a lame, screwed up retelling of a good joke.

Mitt Romney needs to understand his precarious position.  He is stuck at 30%.  The rest of the GOP voters are looking for not-Mitt-Romney as their candidate.  His smoothness, economic savvy, and gaffe free debate performances have gotten him this far (along with a great deal of establishment money).  He needs to figure out how to get himself the rest of the way.  He has to find a way to make Social Conservatives trust him. Mitt, if you are listening, make a major statement in favor of state personhood amendments.  Consider that step one to breaking into the 40s in the polls.

Herman Cain also has hit a roadblock, but it is a policy roadblock.  I think many viewers were left with the feeling that if nuclear missiles were airborne from China heading for the US, President Cain would be on the phone with the Chinese President telling him how his bold plan, the 9-9-9 plan, could solve their problems by growing China’s economy.  9-9-9 is to Herman Cain what Windex was to Tula’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  This one dimensionalism will leave him open to a Gingrich rise.  On the other hand, Cain did very well defending himself against accusations which are more and more looking like racist smears from the Axelrod/Democrat machine.

Rick, Rick, Rick.  By the way, if you want to see the sexism of the left, just watch how long Perry’s crash and burn stays in the media cycle and blogosphere compared to a Palin or Bachmann gaffe.  Talk about not being ready for primetime.  I think Perry likes to start talking and get rolling, and that’s why he sometimes forgets what he was talking about mid-sentence.  No excuses.  You are running for President of the United States.  Running before you secure the ball is how you lose games.  Running your mouth before you have your answer and grasp on the issues is what makes Presidents say stupid things.  E.g. Barack Obama talking about police officers who arrested his professor friend.

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