Bachmann’s Gamble

Michele Bachmann believes she is the best candidate for the job.  She should, she’s running.  However, unlike the two front runners, Bachmann has chosen not to differentiate herself based on ideas, but instead to attack the front runners as being more liberal as she is.  Her most recent target is Newt Gingrich, but she can also be traced to the fall of Rick Perry.

The two front runners, and Herman Cain, have done a very good job of not attacking other candidates.  The “attacks” between Romney and Gingrich over the last week have amounted to points scored on differentiation in back ground and complementary assessments of each others abilities with subtle hints as to who is better because of it.

So why does Bachmann think that attacking the other GOP candidates is a winning proposition?  Simply put, she does not believe Barack Obama can win.  In Bachmann’s mind, the GOP candidate could be Tom DeLay and Obama would still lose.  Technically, she should be right.

The administration got the best news it’s had in three years this past week.  Enough people dropped out of the job hunt to join Occupy Wall Street that unemployment (which only measures who is looking for a job) fell to 8.6%.  Now, Obama’s justice department has released a new round of incriminating documents on a Friday night to avoid the media cycle and Obama is skipping town for an extended Christmas/New Years vacation that us working schlubs could only dream of.

But Bachmann’s faith in Republicans’ will to vote for the lesser of two evils is unfounded.  Just look at how quickly Republican supporters are backing off of Cain after the most recent affair allegation.  Sure some of it is fears over electability, some of it is dislike for his 999 plan and foreign policy, but a good portion of it is different standards.  It’s the kinds of standards that make Republicans resign for tapping their toes in the men’s room while Democrats can shove a cigar in their young intern’s….well anyway.

Bachmann’s gamble is that since Obama is going to lose anyway, Republicans need to take this glorious opportunity to choose the best candidate for the job (Michele Bachmann) and not settle for a RINO (Mitt Romney), a crony capitalist (Rick Perry), or a flip flopping environmentalist (Newt Gingrich).  Instead, we should choose the TEA Party image of perfect conservatism, the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan mixed with Sarah Palin: Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann seems to think her negativity will make her be the first candidate to be a front runner, lose it all and end up in 5%ville, and then rise from the ashes a second time.  She needs to be careful that it won’t accomplish that for Obama instead.

Cain’s Area 51 Response to Tabloid Reporting

Herman Cain may not be able to salvage his campaign after issuing a notice that he is reconsidering his run.  Nothing says you have skeletons in your closet more than jumping in front of the closet door and shouting “Ok, I’m done!” when people get close to it.  And it’s truly a shame.  Whether or not the accusations are legitimate, so far there is no credible evidence that they are.

Ginger White adds to the list of financially troubled, gold digging, sue happy women from Cain’s corporate past who have been bankrupt, sued their work place for frivolous sexual harassment claims, and of course have failed to provide any evidence of the alleged misconduct.  Her husband said her claims “wouldn’t surprise me, either way”.  If you’ve worked in the corporate world, haven’t you known that person that you decided right away you better leave your office door open when he or she comes in to protect yourself?

The mountain of accusations has come down to one woman, without even a hotel receipt to show for it, claiming that Cain grabbed her crotch in a car while taking her back to her room, one woman who claims Cain dared say she was as tall as his wife, and a woman with no money and several eviction notices who Cain thought was a friend, but who also has had about a month now of hearing why the other accusers might be financially motivated because of book deals.  I mean, imagine how much she could sell her autographed book she got form Cain that says something about friends being friends forever and everything else being bonuses?  We all know what that means.  He might as well have said “had a great time being friends with benefits”.

So suddenly every mainstream newspaper in America is reporting Cain’s affair like the black and white tabloids say that aliens exist.  The only problem is, Cain is getting ready to put electric, barbed wire fences up all around area 51.

Herman Cain has not been impressive in his handling of things like this, but let’s face it.  He is an amateur when it comes to smear politics.  He can’t even do it himself.  The poor guy has been nothing but respectful to most of his opponents, with the one exception being when he rashly called out Rick Perry and his former staffers for kickstarting the story since only they knew those sexual harassment claims existed.  So Cain’s decision to hold off and see if things blow over or not could just be a rank amateurish blunder.

That said, my evaluation is that Herman Cain may choose to continue, but the continuation will be short lived.  He has contributed a lot to this election process, but at this point his blunders have just made him a distraction from the main event.  If I had to predict, I would say that Cain will drop out, and will endorse the person who ends up becoming the GOP candidate.  Shortly after dropping out, the affair stories will quickly evaporate leaving only his most staunchest supporters and detractors wondering if they were ever actually true.

Affair Story Could Change Minds

Herman Cain may not have impressed pundits with his handling of the sexual harassment and assault charges that were leveled at him with no proof, and in some cases no names attached to the victims.  But he has managed to keep many of his loyal supporters from losing faith.  Support from Cain’s wife and his own direct denials turned a potentially ugly situation into a he said/she said where his supporters had a reason to rally around him and his detractors simply had one more negative thing to say about him.

Now, someone who Cain describes as someone he thought was a friend is coming out and alleging a 13 year affair with Cain.  Cain apparently had knowledge ahead of time that she was going to come out and attempted a pre-emptive denial.  The big difference here is that Cain did know her, remembers that he knows her, knew she was going to come out with this allegation, and considered her a friend.  People who you think are your friends don’t usually make up stories about 13 year affairs.

The problem with this story is that if it changes peoples’ minds about Cain’s character, then every other dismissed accusation is back on the table.  If Cain did it and decides to come clean and admit to an affair, he can forget the support and especially the trust of his supporters.  If he continues to deny this affair, he will keep his loyal supporters but may not gain enough support back to regain relevance.

The best thing that could happen for Cain’s campaign at this point is for one of the women who made accusations to come out apologetically admitting that she made the story up.  Either that, or an alibi.

Aides: A Terminal Campaign Disease

In the most recent Aides outbreak, it is difficult to see who will be affected more: Newt Gingrich or Rick Perry.

Rick Perry has two campaign aides who have put together an ebook attacking Newt Gingrich’s wife.  Tom Brevan and Carl Cannon are two former Newt aides who jumped ship and went to Perry’s campaign after Newt decided to take a May cruise with his wife Callista.  At the time, it was seen as the early demise of the Newt campaign.  But Newt recovered from Aides and is now occupying the top seat in the polls.

Now, those former aides are attacking Newt and his family in a new book that is filled with what the Huffington Post describes as “intense…vitriol”.

Will this actually help Perry’s floundering campaign?  Doubtful.  If anything it may give Obama ammunition in the general election, just as Cain’s sexual harassment allegations have.  In fact, Cain at first blamed his former aides who had gone over to Perry’s campaign for the harassment allegations.  This outright attack on Callista Gingrich by former Newt, now current Perry aides throws fuel on that speculative fire.

Overall, this is part of a greater media attack on Newt as the new front runner, that includes trying to tie him in to extravagant spending by Freddie Mac.  However, the AP Headlines don’t tell how long ago Newt consulted for the failed quasi government mortgage giant, or that one of the reasons they failed is because they failed to take his advice.

In the end, this spitball attack on Newt Gingrich will reflect poorly on Rick Perry, who needs find a way to get his Aides under control.

Family To The Rescue

What does Mitt Romney have that Cain and Gingrich don’t?  A clear 40+ year record of unchallenged fidelity to his wife.  On the right, that matters.  It’s something many of us respect Barack Obama for as well.  Cain’s sexual harassment story is one of the major things that can be attributed to his recent decline.  Gingrich is sure to face the same thing regarding his previous marriages.  In fact, Bill Maher has already set the distasteful tone for this line of attack, despite Gingrich’s years of faithful marriage to Callista.

But in Cain and Gingrich’s cases, both are receiving help from just the right place, family.  As reported yesterday, Gloria Cain has surfaced to stand by Herman Cain and refute allegations based on his character and her knowledge of him.  Still, without hard evidence and with such a late showing, it will be interesting to see if this has much effect.

Gingrich got a boost yesterday in a pre-emptive strike against the false message that he delivered divorce papers to his cancerous wife on her death bed.   His daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, wrote an article describing what really happened.  In a divorce that Gingrich’s wife had requested, Newt delivered the papers when he and members of the family drove to the hospital to visit her after she had a benign tumor removed. Gingrich’s daughter writes:

“For years, I have thought about trying to correct the untrue accounts of this hospital visit. After all, I was at the hospital with them, and saw and heard what happened. But I have always hesitated, as it was a private family matter and my mother is a very private person. In addition, for the four people involved, it was one of a million interactions and was not considered a defining event by any of us.”

Cushman also reiterated that her mother is a very private person and will not give media interviews, but that their family has healed and the two daughters have great relationships with both parents.

 

Can Christians Forgive Newt?

Newt is quickly moving up in the polls, which means it is time to re-vet the longtime Washington politician.  That means its time to rehash Newt’s past.  Newt has come out saying that he has reconciled with God and has worked to put his family issues in the past.  The question is if that will be enough for the remnants of the Moral Majority and the Christian Right.

Newt may square up pretty well against Romney and Cain right now.  Cain is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal with three possible outcomes, only one of which can benefit him.  The first outcome, Cain slips up and is proven guilty.  This will end his Presidential ambitions.  Second outcome, there is no clear resolution and the Cain decision comes down to public opinion.  This could hurt Cain’s chances if Newt continues to emerge as a strong contender on ideas.  Third outcome, the facts come out and completely discredit Cain’s accusers.  The mere injustice of the attempt to destroy Cain could easily rocket him to the top of the Republican field as a martyr of the racist left.

Romney’s religious status may not be the nail in his coffin in a matchup with Newt.  While Romney’s Mormonism turns off many conservative Protestants, Newt’s Catholicism will have the same affect on that same small portion of conservative Christian Republicans.  Overall, Mormonism and Catholicism won’t change the score for either of them.  However, Romney’s fidelity and family life is a major point in his favor.

Conservative Christians can be a funny breed.  Morality and grace are a constant tension for Christians.  I John 1:9 says that if Christians confess their sins, Christ is faithful and just to forgive them.  Therefore, if Newt has truly confessed and repented of his infidelity and divorce, he is forgiven.

Can Christians forgive Newt?  Can they overcome his past?  The question Newt has been facing over and over as he rises in the polls is whether character matters.  Newt’s answer is pretty good.  Yes, character matters.  Yes his past has not demonstrated the character he wants to see in a President, but that past is 30 years ago.  Newt’s mention of himself as a grandfather drives home the point that he is much older, and much more mature.

Newt can win, but he has to win over social conservatives first.  This means Newt has to find forgiveness from more than just God.

Cain Falls Back on the “B” Word

In a 5pm news conference on Tuesday, Herman Cain addressed the sexual harassment charges against him by saying there were groups trying to keep him out of the white house for one key reason.  He is a Businessman.  He is not an establishment politician.

Cain once again resisted the temptation to play the race card and accuse his accusers of racism, even though it’s pretty obvious in some cases.  Yesterday Martin Bashir interviewed Truther Toure and Karen Finney on MSNBC who both referenced Herman Cain as a “sexually aggressive” black man towards white blonde women.  They basically warned that GOP’ers should keep their women away from the black man.  Amazingly, these racist comments on MSNBC have not received much replay.

Cain stared America in the face today and said he did not recognize Sharon Bailek.  This is a risky move, since hotel records and other travel records may be dug up to show that she was in Washington at the time, which will just add more doubt for Cain supporters.  However, for now Cain has bolstered his position by addressing the accusations head on and flatly denying them.  Of course, Clinton did the same thing.  But Clinton had the advantages of a compliant mainstream media and compliant witnesses like Monica Lewinsky who he could illegally coach.

Cain did not attempt to downplay true sexual harassment or assault.  He called such things very serious and mentioned that he had dealt with those issues with his employees in past occasions.  Cain also pointed out that Mitt Romney had not agreed with the accusations, but had simply spoken about the nature of the charges which Cain agreed with.  He handled the press conference very well and demonstrated the sort of political competence that many had alleged was missing from his campaign.

What Cain did today was restore “innocent until proven guilty” to his corner.  But if he is proven guilty, the ramifications will extend far beyond his 2012 primary race.  It will hurt his family and his career, but it could also hurt the entire Republican party.

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