The Veiled Message in Clinton’s Endorsement

A highly strategic political game is being played out right before our eyes between the leader of the old-school liberal Democrats and the leader of the new-school socialist Democrats.  When Bill Clinton atoned for his sins in a New York City joint fundraiser with Obama, all I heard was “This Obama guy is no Bill Clinton”.

We got the message…

Don’t misunderstand Clinton when he calls Romney qualified and praises Romney’s business record.  Clinton is not giving up on his party affiliation.  If anything, he is trying to convert his party back to what it was before Obama.  Dick Morris is likely right when he insinuates that Clinton doesn’t want four more years of Obama.  But Clinton doesn’t necessarily want to see his party fail.  Nor does he want to lose the power and influence he has amassed for himself in the DNC.  He just wants to see Obama fail.

That is why Clinton’s endorsement was not a call to support Obama, but a veiled warning to stay home in 2012.  Clinton reminded the crowd that he is the one who gave them four balanced budgets.  Contrast that with Obama who has increased the deficit by a trillion and a half dollars every year in office, and whose wildest dreams of a budget won’t balance even ten years after he leaves office.  Every Obama budget has been voted down bi-partisanly as outlandish to both Republicans and liberal Democrats.  Nothing says “vote for the guy who’s added $6 trillion to the deficit” like an endorsement from someone who’s record is the polar opposite.  Clinton flaunting his budget record in his Obama endorsement was no mistake or gaffe.

Now, Clinton is not a deficit hawk.  He is not pro-austerity, and he certainly is not a conservative.  Anyone who has been alive long enough knows that it was Newt Gingrich who dragged Clinton kicking and screaming into those balanced budgets.  But Clinton’s perception of himself is as a non-socialist compassionate liberal who cut spending and saw it work.

Clinton cannot support Romney.  First, Clinton is not a conservative.  He opposes Romney on social issues.  He doesn’t really agree with Romney on fiscal issues.  Second, Clinton has no higher ambition at this point than to maintain what he has: his life as a Democrat celebrity.  An actual endorsement of Romney would destroy the Clinton dynasty.

But at the same time, Clinton knows what works and what doesn’t.  Even he can look at the Obama record and see what danger our country is in if the new-school socialist Democrats win.  Setting aside Clinton’s personal and racial beef with Obama, he understands what Obama’s out of control spending will do to the Democrat party’s legacy, and by extension his own, if Obama is given another four years to outspend revenues by over a trillion a year.

If Obama is smart, he will find a way to keep Bill Clinton in whatever corner of the country he has kept Joe Biden for the last four years.  However, don’t count old Slick Willy out yet.  Obama may be about to get schooled by the original campaigner-in-chief.

 

Pawlenty’s Demise Focuses Crosshairs on Obama

Tim Pawlenty bowed out of the race  on Sunday morning.  He cited a poor showing in Iowa and no clear path forward.  In his exit statements, Pawlenty offered what had been missing from his campaign.  Pawlenty said:

“I’m doing this because I love this country and I want to defeat Barack Obama because I think he’s got it on the wrong course…but I don’t get my identity or my sense of worth or my values or my faith from politics. I get it from my personal faith in God, and I believe in this country, I love this country, I thought I would have been a great president.”

And with that he summed up what he should have been saying all along in this campaign.

Pawlenty's strategy of attacking frontrunners failed to rocket him to the front

Instead, Pawlenty became memorable for coining the term Obamneycare, attacking Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul for never accomplishing anything, while allowing himself to easily slip into the category of being a copy of another candidate.  Pawlenty was the governor who balanced the budget without increasing taxes beyond a cigarette tax.  But that didn’t separate him from nearly half the other candidates.  In fact, Pawlenty’s biggest differentiation was that he was the sole candidate outside of Ron Paul to go after his GOP rivals in a race that thus far has been mostly focused on Obama and liberal policies.

The loss of Pawlenty and inclusion of Rick Perry will help focus this race more on Obama as each candidate contrasts themselves with him instead of with each other.

Pawlenty was a good candidate with good credentials coming into this race.  However, after his performance in the last Iowa debate I was surprised that he did as well as he did in the Iowa caucus.  Pawlenty is making the right choice by stepping out of this race, and the tone of the race will be better without him.  The key to winning the 2012 GOP primary is becoming more clear.  Candidates need to contrast themselves with Obama and then win on ideas.  In this stage of the game, going after fellow GOP candidates is not yielding much fruit.

Cain’s Gain?

Mike Huckabee made it official over the weekend. He is not running. Huckabee was one of those candidates who was able to corner a specific share of the GOP market and turn them into a cult following. As the 2008 primary dragged on and Huckabee appeared on shows like Saturday Night Live to joke about how his mathematical chance of winning required winning every remaining state, Huckabee continued to campaign and siphon votes away from Mitt Romney in crucial states.

Even coming into 2012, Huckabee has maintained a Ron Paul-like base of support who will chide media outlets for not casting him in a bright enough light or leaving him out of 2012 primary analysis. To be honest though, I wasn’t surprised when Huckabee said no this year. Any Republican candidate is going to have a huge uphill battle facing their own divided party, the media, and then the Obama political machine. Who can blame Huckabee for wanting to sit this one out and make money hand over fist at his TV show?

Can Herman Cain pick up Huckabee's votes?

So who will get those voters who faithfully showed up and voted Huckabee even after his chances of winning evaporated in 2008? Only one candidate sofar has come out firmly for the socially and fiscally conservative platform, including the Fairtax, that Huckabee represented: Herman Cain.

Cain stands to pick up many of your neighbors who have the anti-IRS Fairtax signs in their yard and on their bumper stickers. He also will pick up many of Huckabee’s fans who are also mainstream Conservative media fans. There is a great deal of overlap between Foxnews talk show fans and Conservative radio fans.

Huckabee and Cain share another large support base among TEA Party candidates. Many of these small government conservatives who supported Huckabee in 2008 will look to Cain in 2012 as the most Conservative candidate who is not as radical as Ron Paul on foreign policy.

Will this be what bumps Cain into the top tier? It certainly is an opportunity sitting on the table. If Cain can make the connections in voters’ minds, he stands to be the one to gain.

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