Trunkline 2012: Friday’s Campaign Trail News Wrap-Up from White House 2012 – 12/9/11

Bookmark and Share  Newt has Mitt on the ropes in Michigan, critics scratch their heads regarding Newt, Ron Paul’s chances, Rick Perry trips over his tongue, Democrats ban their Occupy friends from their convention, Buddy Roemer continues to try to win the Republican nomination with those banned Occupy protesters, and FDR tutors Obama in class warfare tactics.  These are just some of them gems found in the wealth of treasure in today’s Trunkline 2012.

“To think that he’s an outsider or a tea partier, that he’s going to go into the White House and change things up when he’s been the constant Washington, D.C., insider doesn’t even survive the falling-off-the-chair-laughing test,”Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

  • Twitter of the Day:
Newt Gingrich   newtgingrich   Newt Gingrich
 
My first day in office, I will move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s chosen place, Jerusalem. Pls watch. http://bit.ly/uSPYO3
 
 
 

 

After Ron Paul’s Last Hurrah, Where Will His Supporters Go, and What Will They Do?

Bookmark and Share    As Ron Paul embarks upon his last political campaign for either the presidency or Congress, and as the curtain comes down on his over two decade long political career, he promises to go out with a bang.  Instead of exiting the stage on a high note and trying to better articulate and advance his deserving message of liberty, personal responsibility, and a limited, constitutional government, Ron Paul has decided to embark upon a scorched earth campaign that aims its fire at anyone who passes him in the polls.

As he leaves elected politics, he does so in a very ungraceful way that follows the stereotypical negative political path that voters claim they are sick and tired of.

So far, in this his third run for President, instead of being a true leader who demonstrates that their can be a new way forward, and a more positive political path to take us there, Ron Paul has chosen to be a follower who takes his mighty message down the same low road that most politicians have taken.  Instead of building himself up with his message and articulating actual coherent policies that can translate ideological purity into realistic accomplishments, Ron Paul has decided that he must tear others down in order for his message to succeed.  So he was the first to launch highly exaggerated, brutally negative, webads first against Mitt Romney, then Rick Perry, and now Newt Gingrich.

Now Rick, and Mitt, and Newt, are big boys who should be able to defend themselves and with the exception of Newt Gingrich so far , they are not immune from their own negative ads that they have produced against each other.  But Ron Paul is suppose to be a different kind of leader.  He was suppose to be the non-politician, champion of the people, defender of liberty, and defender-in-chief of the U. S. Constitution.  Yet his ads convey more of a very uncharacteristic first blood-like theme that is the total antithesis of his anti-war message and the noble cause he claims to represent.

Some might justify Paul’s highly negative campaign by claiming that he means business, is in this to win it, and will play by the same rules that his opponents will.  That may be so.  But I have yet to see Newt Gingrich produce an attack on the character of any of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.  In fact with Newt, at least so far, it is quite the opposite.  In Newt we see a man who is brave enough to stand behind his own record, his own ideas, and his own message, without resorting to cheap shots and investing his campaign’s money and time in to ads designed to allow him to become some sort of defacto winner because he is the last man, or woman, standing.  Unlike Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich is showing himself to be a leader in this area and blazing the path for a new campaign model that is relying less on polling and polarizing language, and more on solutions, ideas, and vision.

Seeing Ron Paul exit the political stage in such a way is in many ways sad.  Ron Paul deserves much credit for making sure that words and phrases like constitutional and limited government have never been left out of the political debate.  He has done much to make people think twice about what role government is suppose to play in our lives.  While Ron Paul has never quite been able to move his message very far within the legislative process, for the last two decades he has at least been an integral part of insuring that the question of government’s rightful role in our lives is at least an issue given consideration during the legislative process.   For that I give Dr. Paul much credit.  Which is why I would have prefered to see the curtain come down on his years in elected office in a much more dignified way than he has chosen.  But that is Ron Paul’s decision and as he would be the first to tell you, that is his right.

But as Ron Paul does leave elected office, and yes I say leave, because while I may not be sure who the ultimately Republican nominee will be, I am positive that it won’t be him and I see little chance of him being on anyone’s short list for Vice President. So as he “leaves” elected office without seeking reelection to a thirteenth term in Congress, I can’t help but wonder who will take his place.

Who will pick up the Libertarian Party torch and lead the way?

As a political party, Libertarians are a mess.  By their very nature, they are not an agreeable bunch.  In many ways, they are admirably not prone to any kind of groupthink mentality, but also irritatingly unable to consider a differing opinion.  As such, their independence and strong individualism makes them an inherently unruly, impossible to organize bunch.  As one observer put it;

” If you get 10 libertarians into a discussion, you’ll have 10 different opinions on many things, maybe even 11″.

Legendary Libertarian stalwart, Dr. Mary Ruwart  was even quoted as saying;

 “I was at the 1983 convention and it was so spiteful and destructive that I was almost done with the party.”

Responsible for such reactions is the very real Libertarian quality to be disagreeable and independent.  And the fact that Ron Paul was one of the few people that the vast majority of Libertarians could get behind,  simply makes Ron Paul an even more valuable figure and adds to a long list of legitimate credit due him.  Ron Paul is one of the few, if not the only figure that most Libertarians could ever truly unite behind.   Yet at the same time, Ron Paul has not sought out their presidential nomination since 1988, when he first ran for President, and probably for good reason.   While Ron Paul may be a bit, how can I say this…………unconventional.  Yeah.  That’s it,…… unconventional.  While he may be unconventional, he is not stupid.  Even he knows that he can not get elected President with only the Libertarian nomination.  So he runs as a Republican.

So again, with him leaving the spotlight, who else can carry the Libertarian banner with a unified Libertarian following?

Possible popular figures include Wayne Allyn Root, the 2008 Libertarian VP nominee, and Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who has joined Ron Paul in a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, as well as beloved Libertarian candidate, Mary Ruwart.  Yet while these may by leading names within the Party for various reasons, they can hardly be considered figures who can unify the Party and get their message out any more than Ron Paul has been able to.

The way I see it, aside from Ron Paul’s son, freshman Kentucky Senator  Rand Paul, no one has even the slightest chance of doing that.  And even Rand may fall short of being able to fill his father’s shoes among LP members.  While Rand Paul is an apple that has not fallen from the tree, his Libertarian roots are not quite as solid as his fathers.  Many Libertarians might even consider him to be too much of an interventionist for their tastes.

The sad fact is that as a Party, Libertarians are simply dysfunctional and they can barely be considered their own national Party.

As Dr. Walter Block,  a professor of economics at Loyola University, once noted, the Libertarian Party seems to be on the verge of being taken over by conservatives.  Which is part of the reason why the bombastic former conservative Republican Congressman from Georgia, Bob Barr was the Party’s presidential nominee in 2008.

Block writes that in 2008 he was struck by the fact that the Libertarian National Convention  had conservative  Richard Viguerie give what he called a “high profile” and “very well received speech”.  Then he was struck by the designation of conservative Jim Pinkerton as the moderator of the convention’s presidential debate.

All of this has already raised some big questions regarding what is really more of Libertarian movement than a Party.  Will it be taken over by conservatives and their often spoken of “neo-con” nemeses?  Will we see the Libertarian movement dismembered by a division between  conservative-Libertarians or libertarian-Conservatives and old guard Libertarians?  Will we see the rise of Conservatarians?  Or maybe we will see the Libertarian Party consumed by the TEA Party movement?  These questions become even more pertinent now that Ron Paul heads off in to retirement.   Having become the only widely recognized national leader of libertarianism, where do his supporters go after him?    And how will his supporters vote when he fails to win the Republican presidential nomination?  These questions and the lack of an answer to them are probably Ron Paul’s greatest failing as as the perceived father of contemporary, American libertarianism.  His inability to look beyond his own presidential aspirations and to  prepare for the future of his movement, leaves its future in great doubt.   Maybe Ron Paul believes that his son will inherit the libertarian limelight.  If so, the Libertarian Party will soon fade away as a political organization because as a member of the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul’s Party loyalties to the Republican Party are far greater than many may be willing to accept.

Rand Paul could however be a bridge.

He could become a bridge that finally helps lead to what really needs to be done here….the creation of coalition of Libertarians, and Republicans, and Conservatives, together in one great cause to save the principles that founded this great nation.  At least until we have steered ourselves safely away from the shoals of socialism that could run our ship of state aground.

While I have these questions, I do not have the answers.  But what I do know is that our nation is at a very critical juncture in its history.  Our current President has taken a hard left turn that has advanced the cause of socialism in America at a pace faster than I could have ever imagined.  And while Republicans, even prior to President Obama, have not always effectively stood their ground for the principles of limited government, after losing all control of government in 2008 and regaining some of it back in 2010, the hope is that they have learned their lesson.  But even if they have, the non-liberal, anti-socialist voters of America are still leery of the G.O.P.  So much so that in a close election in 2012, a conservative or libertarian oriented third party candidate could easily insure the reelection of President Obama.  This we must avoid.

Quite unfortunately, Ron Paul’s scorched earth campaign strategy is not willing to accept that.  Instead, the way he sees it, if he can’t be the Republican presidential nominee, then no one other Barack Obama can be President in 2012.

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Libertarian “Golden” Boy/Bachmann Tebow Complex

Ron Paul’s Golden Portfolio

Ron Paul is well known for his pro-gold policies.  He is a little less well known for his golden portfolio.  While most Americans have been watching their retirements quickly shrink, Ron Paul is doing OK.  He might not be as rich as Mitt Romney, but he could buy Tim Pawlenty.

Is Paul ready for the leftwing media meat grinder?

The question is if this will become an issue for Ron Paul down the road.  Unlike half the GOP field this year, Ron Paul had not been considered a threat so no vetting (as the left calls it) or smear (as the right calls it) has taken place yet.  Still, could Paul’s golden investments and golden ambitions of a gold backed currency be viewed by liberal opponents as a conflict of interest?  Already liberal bloggers are pointing out Paul’s use of earmarks, so more “vetting” may be on the way.

One question that had me scratching my head is why Paul would advocate fixing the debt ceiling deal by having the Fed write off the QE1 and QE2 loans it had printed and made to the Treasury.  Of course, this would make the hundreds of billions involved unrestricted cash and could result in inflation. At the same time he voted (contrary to his son Rand) against Cut, Cap and Balance.  Ron Paul’s constant votes against any appropriations bill that doesn’t adhere strictly to the constitution should be viewed as a principled approach to representing the people who sent him to DC.  But it sure hasn’t hurt his portfolio either, as imperfect but more conservative bills fall to more liberal compromises that can pass without him and others who vote like him.  Paul has bet on instability and it has paid off.

By the way, Paul’s holdings don’t include major stockpiles of gold, but are actually all in gold mining companies.

Should Bachmann Be Third String?

Meanwhile, on the mainstream side of the GOP Michele Bachmann is suddenly finding herself where Pawlenty was just a couple weeks ago: a solid third place.

This made me think of Tim Tebow who was recently put at the Broncos’ third string behind Brady Quinn and Kyle

Tebow was local hero as a Gator

Orton.  I love Tim Tebow.  When he gets the ball and runs, or dumps those short touchdown passes over the defensive line’s heads, we all go nuts here in Florida.  Bronco’s preseason makes Floridians happy because we get to see Tebow.  He was a local champion who got everyone on fire for him, and when he went pro his Broncos’ #15 jersey was the number one seller in the whole NFL.

But Tebow is not a polished player.  His faith endears him to Christian NFL fans.  The excitement he brought to the Gators with his competitive and unpredictable playing style built him a huge fan base.  But his accuracy is off.  He is no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.  He might fill the stadium, but he is not the quarterback to bring the Broncos to the Superbowl this year.

Can Bachmann be the GOP starter?

So why does he make me think of Michele Bachmann?  Bachmann has a huge fan base.  She became a national sensation as the darling of the TEA Party.  She fills stadiums and is exciting to watch and listen to.  But she is unpolished.  Her accuracy is off.  She’s no Mitt Romney or Rick Perry.

So for now, like Tebow, Bachmann is going to remain third string until she can prove she’s a starter.

Ron Paul: Last Hurah? Or Serious Contender?

There is one place Ron Paul is not planning on being in 2012.  Paul has announced that he will not run for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2012.  However, Ron Paul says this announcement does not signal retirement.  It signals that he is ready to go the distance in the Presidential race.

To be honest, I have found the announcement puzzling.  Paul has run for President before, and then focused on his district once the primary was over.  He has done this and won.  So why not this time?  The campaign line is that he wants to focus more on the race, and I think the intentional signal is that he is closer than any of his previous attempts.

Ron Paul has been in this game for a while

Instead, two alternative messages are coming across with this early Congressional retirement announcement.  Message number one is that he is getting old and is ready to hang up his hat after one last primary battle.  I don’t think anyone doubts that Paul could win his district again after this primary.  This raises questions as to how much fight Paul actually has left in him.  Should we elect a President who is actually ready to get out of the business?

The other message, and perhaps a more disconcerting message, is that Paul may be considering a third party run at the Whitehouse if he loses the primary.  If he is not ready to exit the political scene, this option best explains his confidence that he will in fact be in the Presidential race next fall no matter what.

Airtime for the backups

Aside from Tim Pawlenty, going into last night’s debate I think most pundits considered these to be second tier candidates. After last night, I will admit that the perception that most of these candidates don’t have a viable shot probably hasn’t changed. However, there were clear winners and clear losers. Here is my take on the debate, which at times will be blunt and harshly honest:

Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty demonstrated why he is a top tier candidate. He was professional, studied, and Presidential. He took clean shots at Obama and did not make missteps. However, his answer to Cap and Trade may come across to the base as a weak answer. Cap and Trade is already widely unpopular with the TEA party and conservative right. It is almost as unpopular as humbling yourself before the media and admitting a mistake. I think it was the best answer Pawlenty could give, but it highlighted that unfortunate decision to initially support Cap and Trade. Pawlenty’s other disadvantage coming into last night was that everyone expected a polished performance. He will be judged at a higher standard. I was pleased to see Pawlenty show some charisma and get the crowd motivated. However, when it came to charisma, Pawlenty was not the candidate who stole the show.

Herman Cain

Cain provided the night with a dose of Donald Trump charisma mixed with Sean Hannity conservatism. Cain was unequivocal and commanded the stage. He was a crowd pleaser who handled each question without a gaffe or misstep. I think Cain’s performance brought many conservatives to believe that he could be the conservative answer to the straightforward, no nonsense approach that Trump had become so popular for. My prediction is that we will begin to see Trump wane in popularity now that the birther issue has run its course and Cain stands to benefit. We will see if Cain can capitalize on his performance.

If Cain’s popularity does grow, he will need to find answers to a lot of questions on issues that have not seen the light of the mainstream media yet. For example, Cain defended his support of the Fairtax by mentioning the concept of a “prebate” paid to every family at the beginning of the month for essentials. But is Cain prepared to face scrutiny on the prebate idea? The IRS paid out billions in fraudulent stimulus checks as a one time deal. Kiplinger says that the IRS estimates that 25% of earned income credit payouts were incorrect and fraudulent. Can the government cut a check to every family in America at the beginning of every month without an Internal Revenue Service, individual tax returns, and massive fraud? Also, getting rid of the IRS sounds nice, but who is going to make sure businesses remit the fairtax and prebates are paid out without a revenue department in the government? Perhaps we will see in the course of this primary if Cain is running on answers or populism.

Rick Santorum

Santorum did a good job as a whole, and will appeal to the same conservatives that Bush appealed to. The question is if Santorum can position himself as more likely to win than Obama. Santorum’s message resonates with social conservatives, and he made it clear last night that his message hasn’t changed. Will conservatives vote for Santorum? While presenting himself as a solid candidate, he did not say anything last night that distinguished himself or rocketed him into the top tier. Santorum’s win for the night was the fact that he showed up, while Gingrich, Huckabee and others did not. But he is still overshadowed by other conservative heavyweights, including Gingrich, Bachmann, Huckabee, and now Cain.

Ron Paul

Paul hasn’t changed since 2008. While he says many things that make sense to conservative constitutionalists and libertarian Republicans, Paul still comes across as the enemy of all things Democrat and Republican. This is great for wooing independents and libertarians, but will not win Paul the Republican primary. For most of the night, I felt myself agreeing with and cheering Paul, but he will once again be the martyr of the protectionist, states rights conservatives. They understand what Paul is saying, they just can’t figure out why non-Paul Republicans don’t. Here’s a hint, Ron Paul still comes across as abrasive, obnoxious, and anti-Republican. This man could be President if he could figure out how to sell himself and explain why what he believes would actually work. I spent a good part of the evening asking myself why Republicans don’t support Ron Paul, but the answer is the same as last time he ran. He is an uncompromising and radical philosopher campaigning in a world of soundbites, and soundbites are not kind to Ron Paul.

Gary Johnson

Picture a more abrasive and whiny version of Ron Paul, but without the name recognition. With Ron Paul in the race, who needs Gary Johnson? He did not distinguish himself, except to come down on the traditionally liberal side of Iraq, Afghanistan (supported it before he was against it), and drugs. His “cost/benefit” approach to drug legalization portrayed a dollars above principles approach to policy. Whether his views on the cost benefit of the war on drugs are right or wrong, such a calloused approach to a moral question will not win him a conservative majority. Johnson only made matters worse by dismissing the conservative majority in the Republican party as unnecessary in the primary and guaranteed to be loyal in the general election. He should ask John McCain if Republicans need social conservatives to defeat Obama.

Johnson’s moment of charisma showed itself in the form of scolding the moderators for not asking him enough questions, a move that screams “I am unpolished, second tier, and everyone knows it but me”. He will find his frustrations at not being taken seriously will continue to grow, mainly because he is not a serious candidate.

Summary

After last night, I think Herman Cain moved up, Santorum, Paul and Pawlenty remained unchanged, and Johnson moved down. Gingrich was probably hurt the most by not showing up, Romney was hurt the least. Gingrich could have used the exposure and chance to showcase his debate skills. Romney sofar has seemed to transcend any primary activity in early polls as an assumed front runner by most whether he shows up or not. Mitch Daniels was probably the most unfairly represented absentee at the debate itself. In the end, the only lasting effects of this debate will be a bump for Herman Cain.

Draft (fill in name here) for President

Bookmark and ShareAs the Republican presidentialcontest begins to sort out who is running and who isnt running, public anxiety over who can actually be a viable candidate to run against President Obama, mounts. At the moment, there is a great deal of chatter about how the G.O.P. has no one who can mount a credible challenge to President Obama in 2012. Such an assertion is ludicrous, but natural. Without any single name to naturally gravitate towards as the logical leader and face of the opposition to the President, it is easy to believe that misconception. But it is important to remember that recent history shows us that the existence of an undeniably obvious nominee for the Party opposing an incumbent President is rare.

While there are always names that may seem to have the inside track for the nomination, at this early stage in the game, you usually do not have a name that is the clear frontrunner and logical candidate to lineup behind.That’s the case for republicans right now.And it is that sentiment which has forced many who are opposed to a second term for President Obama,to goon the hunt for the perfect candidate. Such pre-primary activity is a natural manifestation of the desire to insure that the incumbent President is not reelected. History has been laced with efforts to draft popular figures to run for the Oval Office.

Perhaps the most famous and one of the only truly successful draft efforts in American electoral history was that of General Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. That effort actually began in 1948 when Democrats believed that President Harry S. Truman had no chance of getting elected. An active duty General, Ike had believed in being non-partisan when it came to politics, so for Democrats, having him carry their mantle was quite possible. And when it seemed as though Republicans might nominate General Douglas MacArthur as their candidate for President, Harry Truman himself offered to run as Eisenhowers vice presidential running mate if he would accept the Democrat Partys nomination.

Four years later Republicans who had not held the White House in twenty years and Democrats who had noincumbent to run for reelection for the first time in 16 years, clamored for a nominee who could easily win the presidency in 1952. Republican standard-bearerThomas Dewy had been the Partys nominee twice and twice he was defeated. As a result, Dewey was not inclined to run for a third time and Republicans were not inclined to let him run as their nominee again. But Governor Dewey and Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge worked to persuade Eisenhower to run for the Republican presidential nomination through an organization called “National Citizens for Eisenhower”. Up till then, the closest name that Republicans had to a frontrunner was Robert Taft.

Senator Robert Taft

Taft was the establishment’s choice, but a schism between isolationist Republicans, represented by Taft, and internationalist Republicans who wanted someone else, gave the draft Eisenhower movement much momentum. At the same time, the spread of Communism was an issue of most importance and it was the one issue most responsible for Eisenhowers willingness to accept a run for the White House.

Ike believed in the use of diplomacy to contain the red menace in Europe. But Taft had a McCarthy-like belief in weeding out subversion at home. Things finally came to a head behind closed doors when Eisenhower told Taft that he would absolutely refuse to run if Taft agreed to collective security of Europe. But Senator Taft refused and so Ike allowed the draft movement to proceed. He also decided that if he would accept any nomination it would be the Republican nomination. This he determined when he realized that he was not in synch with the Democrats big, central government, liberty eroding approach to all the issues facing the nation.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

By early January of 1952, Eisenhower made it clear that if he was offered the Republican presidential nomination, he would accept it. And so without Eisenhower even knowing, Henry Cabot Lodge placed Eisenhowers name on the New Hampshire Republican Primary ballot. But Eisenhower still did not campaign. In fact he told people that he did not believe that support for him was a popular as many tried to claim.

Then in February, a Draft Eisenhower for President rally was held in New Yorks Madison Square Garden. The event was expected to draw a whopping 16,000 people to it. But those projections were wrong. An overwhelming 25,000 people showed up. A month later, General Eisenhower won every single delegate in the New Hampshire primary as he defeated Robert Taft by 50% to 38%. The rest is history.

The next closest example of a draft effort, came in 1964. The effort itself though, actually began in 1961.

With the defeat of Nixon in 1960, the Republican Party began its long, contemporary evolution towards the right. The leaders of the Republican Eastern establishment seemed to have exhausted its hold on to the type of influence it had been wielding. And at the same time a growing number of conservatives were beginning to organize. These numbers first took root within the ranks of the National and State Young Republican organizations. but while all this was happening, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater began serving as the Chairman of the Republican Senate Re-elect Committee. In this position he traveled thousands of miles, spoke before tens of thousands of people and quickly became the most popular face of the growing conservative movement.

By the time 1961 approached, with no clear choice for the 1964 Republican Presidential nomination, Conservatives itching to take the Party over from the liberal establishment, began to organize and think about who their candidate for President would be. Among a small group of political insiders, the consensus was Barry Goldwater. But Goldwater refused to run. He did not believe that he could win and he did not want his family exposed to the rigors of such a national campaign.

Then in June of 1961 Time magazine placed Goldwaters picture on their cover and did a story on his growing national popularity. They wrote;

“Goldwater is the hottest political figure this side of Jack Kennedy…. No Republican is more in demand. Since March, Goldwater’s Washington office has received more than 650 written invitations for the Senator to put in an appearance, plus hundreds of telephone requests. Goldwater’s mail runs to a remarkable 800 pieces a day…[and] visitors crowd around Barry Goldwater’s fourth floor suite in the Old Senate Office Building hoping to earn a passing hand clasp or a hastily scrawled autograph.”

This added to the motivation that a small group of activists already had. F. Clifton White, William A. Rusher, and Ohio Congressman John M. Ashbrook, began a process that combined tens of thousands of conservative contacts and began to organize a process that would get them in to Republican Party leadership positions. The most important of these positions were those of delegates to the 1964 Republican National Convention. This behind the scenes, group of three, eventually became a group of 22 and continued to grow from there. Soon it became known as the Suite 3505 Committee. 3505 being the address number of its New York City office.

Congressman John Ashbrook

After intense networking of Young Republicans, women s groups, and conservative oriented voters of all kinds, the expanded executive committee of this group concluded that Barry Goldwater was their only real choice for President in 64. But Goldwater still rejected the notion. So the committee quickly became an official draft organization that would seek to force Goldwater to run. It expanded and created state committees and between petitions, publicity and aggressive persuasion, Barry Goldwater decided on November 20, 1963 to run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Two days later, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This changed everything. Kennedy was a friend of Goldwater and the two had come to look forward to a sincere campaign that would test their ideologies. Goldwater also knew that with President Johnson now as his opponent, his own Southern base would be undermined. Two weeks after President Kennedy was assassinated, Goldwater announced that he would not be a candidate. However, The draft movement that had been in place never stopped and on December 11th, 1964, with polls showing Goldwater to be the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination, he reentered the race.

Both of these draft movements teach us lessons that are relevant to todays approaching presidential election.

The draft efforts of 1952 and 1964 were both successful in getting the person they intended nominated. But both campaigns involved figures who had some sort ofundeniablyobviouspopularity. For Eisenhower it was popularity among the general population. For Goldwater, it was popularity among a growing movement within the population. Each provided momentum but equally as important, each had a candidate that was at some point in time willing to run. So the question is, can a successful draft effort be waged for the 2012 election?

It is clear that the G.O.P. is not in a position to use 1952 as a model. There is no single figure who is as popular among both Democrats and Republicans as Eisenhower was. But there are some parallels to 2012 that can be drawn from the 1964 draft Goldwater effort. Here we have a comparison that can be made between the emergence of the Conservative wing of the G.O.P. in the 60s, and the rise of the TEA Party movement of the past two years.

But there are two important distinguishing factors that come with this comparison.

The organization of the Conservatives movement in the 1960s involved coordination from within the political establishment, four years before the next presidential election. This allowed for an expedited path to organizing the movements ability to takeover the Party from within and, to elect Party officials and delegates to the National Convention. The TEA Party began on the outside of the establishment and even though it now has a few of its own on the inside, they have much less time to organize than did the effort of 1960. But perhaps the most important of all differences is that unlike the case with Conservatives in 64, the TEA movement has no one person that it is solidly behind. In 64 the Conservative movement had Barry Goldwater as their clear favorite, the consensus candidate. The Taxed Enough Already movement lacks that clear consensus choice. Is it Sarah Palin? Is it Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Allen West, Marco Rubio, or someone else?

Sarah Palin is the one contender with whom a draft movement could possibly be most successful. But even if all the right pieces were to fall into place and a successful 1964-like Barry Goldwater draft effort helped make Sarah Palin the Republican presidential nominee, that draft model failed to win the general election.

Draft efforts that are based only upon movements within a particular segment of society are able to influence the smaller electorate of partisan politics, but they have less of a chance to influence the vast majority of the larger electorate as a whole. This is not to say that the TEA Party movement cant influence the nomination of a Republican candidate that can win the presidential election. They can. But that influence can not come through a draft effort that labels the nominee as the TEA Party candidate. Just as it did not work when Goldwater was labeled the Conservatives candidate. Being a conservative candidate and being the Conservatives candidate create two vastly differently images. The latter is a direct negative connotation implying that one is owned by a particular group. The former indicates ones own sense of conviction. It may be shared with others, but it is not owned by others.

Probably one of the most successful draft campaigns that Republicans could run is one which seeks to make General David Petraeus our nominee. Like Eisenhower he is not seen as particularly partisan, he is not viewed as being owned by any Party or movement, and at a time when our nation is waging one war, possibly getting involved in another, and winding another one down, the choice of a General as our nations leader carries a certain populist logic.

Then again, the sense of the electorate is that our economy and the national budget are our most immediate top priorities. Who would be a natural candidate to draft given that consideration?

If Donald Trump were not such a dangerously fowl mouthed, often irrational and egomaniacal, loose cannon, he could have been a strong draft pick. Were it not for RomneyCare, Mitt Romney with his private sector, managerial, and business experience, would have been another perfect fit for solving economic problems. But we all knew that Romneyhas beenrunning for a long time now, so a draft effort was never even needed for him. In factfor all intents and purposes, he should be the frontrunner without a draft effort.

Governor Mitch Daniels

The person perfectly suited for a successful draft campaign based on the economy would be Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. As a former budget director he earned the nickname The Blade” and his leadership inIndiana, particularly on the state budget, is unmatched. Indiana is one of the most solvent state’s in the nation and its economy has been one of the strongest of all during the current economic malaise. Of course for Mitch Daniels, there is already a very active draft effort underway.

Students For Daniels has aired commercials in Iowa, organized college campuses on state levels, created an active and effective website and maintained a degree of pressure that is all good. But Mitch Daniels seems reluctant to make a decision to run and as such, the draft effort begun by Students for Daniels would need to quickly expand beyond students if it is to achieve its goal. But even then one must ask, could a person like Mitch Daniels attract a crowd of 25,000 to Madison Square Garden as the draft effort for Eisenhower did in 1952? Its unlikely.

Truly successful drafts are rare and at this stage in the game, it is unlikely that such an effort would be very productive. Although there are a handful of names that I believe are worthy of draft efforts and have an ability to generate popular support, many of those names are clearly unwilling to run. Two personal favorites of mine include Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. But with 17 months or so to go, it may not be possible to coordinate the type of effort that could generate the national euphoria for their candidacies that would be necessary for them to accept the nomination. Paul Ryan is quite satisfied with the extraordinary power that he wields as Chairman of the House Budget Committee and while Marco Rubio is a sort of new phenomenon, he clearly intends to pace himself. Rubio does not want to be a flash in the pan.

That is why, all things considered, the Republican Party is probably best left to a process that involves the unforced participation fo candidates. We will be best suited by a contest that allows the eventual nominee to have to earn his or her popularity based on their ability to demonstrate the courage of leadership, their innovative solutions to our problems and the capacity to translateconservatism into the practical application of government. A contest that allows for suchabilities to be publicly tested through a hard fought campaign, can truly make those who currently believe that a viable candidate is not on the horizon, begin to believe that the right person has been right in front of eyes all this time.

Political campaigns have a way of producing heroes. Some quickly fade when the campaign ends, others linger on as trusted elder statesmen. But either way, the winner of those campaigns earn themselves at least a temporarydevout following and the 2012 primary process will be no different.

In the mean time, we the people, still seek that perfect candidate. And that search has produced no lack of current draft efforts. Here are just some that can be found:

2012 Draft Sarah Committee

Draft Jim DeMint for President in 2012

Draft Paul Ryan for President

Chris Christie for President

We Need Michele

Draft Cain 2012

Draft Allen West for President 2012

Jeb Bush 2012

Draft Rudy Giuliani for President

Students for Daniels

Draft Rand Paul for President

Draft General David Petraeus for President

Draft Michael Bloomberg 2012

Draft Lou Dobbs for President

Should Trump Run

Draft Gates 2012

Draft Mike Huckabee for President 2012

Draft Jesse Ventura

Draft Dick Cheney for President

Draft Marco Rubio for President 2012

Judge Andrew Napolitano for President

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Election News: Trunkline 2012 Evening News Summary for April 19, 2011

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Passover: Celebration of Freedom

Santorum Is Middle of the Road on GOP Recognition, Intensity

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Son Invited To Pose For Playgirl

Jeb crushes Obama in Florida

Pol predicts Andrew Cuomo to be VP

Iowa begins to take stock of the GOP field

The Election 2012 Soundtrack

Rand Paul files for re-election to the US Senate

Why President Obama was not born in Kenya

Emerging liberal meme: We gotta stop being so gosh-darned tolerant!

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