Out With The Old. In With The New.

ImageLast week should have been a wake up call for the GOP.  They received more positive press than they have in a very long time on the heels of Senator Rand Paul’s 13 hour ‘fillibuster’ in which he ranted and raved against the vague policy of the use drones on American soil.

Standing with Senator Paul and lending their assistance to the filibuster were a couple of the newer members of the GOP Senate.  Most notably Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.  Young Senators who seem unafraid to take on the establishment.  The next day the ‘establishment’ was markedly upset and doing what they could to disparage the younger Senators stand against an administration who felt the need to not only not define a very dangerous policy, but who refused to answer simple questions regarding it when asked.  I am of course speaking of Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

What, I asked, would drive 2 influential Senators such as McCain and Graham go on the offensive against members of their own party who had taken a very popular stance and received more positive press for the Republicans than they have had in a couple of years?  Could it be jealousy?  McCain and Graham were both at a dinner with President Obama at the time of the filibuster reportedly trying to iron out a compromise to end sequester spending cuts.  Were the established GOP lead dogs upset that they were upstaged by their younger counterparts?  Whatever the reason for their attacks and name calling the day following the filibuster one thing became clear.  The old dogs need to retire to a shady spot under the porch if the GOP is to ever shed the “Old white man’s party” perception that it has. 

Youth and newness can be a good thing for a party that needs to do some serious reputation rebuilding after years of a war of rhetoric for the public perception that they have been losing and losing badly.  I find it reprehensible for Senators with the clout within the party that McCain and Graham have to try and make illegitimate the best positive polling the party has had in recent memory.  I have to wonder.  Are they dumb, senile or so full of themselves that they feel the need to take shots at their own when the spotlight is shone elsewhere within the party?

Regardless of the reasoning for their name calling outbursts, what happened with the filibuster should serve as notice the the GOP leadership.  There is a youthful movement within the party.  That movement is part constitutionalist, part libertarian, part tea party and part conservative.  If you don’t come to grips with it and learn to embrace what it brings to the table in regards to helping erase the perception of the ‘old white man’s party’ then be prepared to stare at the outside of the White House for a very long time.

Trunkline 2012: Monday’s Election News Wrap-Up From the Campaign Trail

Bookmark and Share   Leading the buzz from the campaign trail in today’s Trunkline 2012 news and views wrap-up are stories dealing with Romney’s growing lead among women, Hispanics, and in battleground states and the White House 2012 Electoral College projection, good reasons why gays should be voting for Mitt Romney, how Romney’s $171 million dollar September fundraising haul will shape his final push towards Election Day, unions fining members for not attending a rally for Massachusetts liberal Senate candidate Betsy Warren, a great ad from the T.E.A. movement, and as always… much more;

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TEA Party’s New Mission

John Roberts, what were you thinking.  If this question went through your mind at about 10:30am on June 28th, that puts you in good company.  In fact, the whole ruling on the healthcare law frankly seems odd.  First they ruled that it wasn’t a tax so that they could proceed with deciding if it was constitutional or not.  Then they ruled that it was a tax so that they could say it is constitutional.  Then, in a twist of irony after Obama’s recent decision to stop enforcing immigration laws, the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Government couldn’t penalize states for not implementing Obamacare.  After this whirlwind, what we ended up with is the biggest regressive tax on the middle class in our nation’s history.

And that is when the sleeping giant woke up.  Suddenly we were reminded that we are Taxed Enough Already.

In 2010, Conservative Constitutionalists and TEA Party activists had a reason to live.  Democrat policies were rejected by voters in a massive conservative sweep.  But after two years of being beaten down by mainstream media and the Republican establishment, and the influx of special interest commercialism into the TEA Party, the heartbeat of the movement was faint.  You can feel free to disagree with me, but let’s be honest.  The rallies had turned into book tours and the infighting had handed victory in the primary to Mitt Romney.

Every Republican knows that Romney will do great with the economy.  Shoot, most Democrats know it, but won’t admit it.  Despite this, many conservatives have become purists and would still struggle to pull the lever for Romney.  I suggested a while back that many conservatives will be more willing to open their wallets to conservative PACs than to Romney.  Many conservatives will vote for Romney, but won’t put a Romney bumper sticker on their car.  Many are voting for the candidate named Not Obama.

And then the unthinkable happened.  The chief justice Bush appointed joined the majority and ruled Obamacare constitutional.  Even Justice Kennedy knew better.

Now 2012 has all new meaning.  It is no longer the establishment RINO versus the unpopular liberal.  It has become what it was in 2010, a referendum on Obamacare.  So far, conservatives are up 1-0 when it comes to elections on Obamacare.

Eugene Robinson, in an article suggesting that the Supreme Court decision will heal America, said that the decision was bad for Mitt Romney.  I think we can say with confidence that this sentiment is wishful thinking on the part of the Left.  The election is no longer about Romney.  It is no longer about RINOs or Republicans either.  As of 10:30am on June 28th, this election is about one thing:

 

The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

Does He Have Their Back?

In Barack Obama’s mind, black people listen to gospel music mixed with a sort of 70’s techno-rap.  At least that’s what I got out of his recent ad targeting one part of America based on their skin color.  Obama’s divide and conquer strategy relies on race politics and getting people to vote for him because they share the same color skin.  After all, that’s what worked in North Carolina in 2008 when 95% of blacks voted for him.

But recent polls are showing that Obama’s racial politics may not have the same decisive effect in 2012.  Already his support among black voters in North Carolina has dropped to the mid 70s.  Perhaps it has something to do with minorities questioning if Obama really does have their back. 

Unemployment among blacks has soared to the highest level in 27 years.  In fact, while unemployment among whites has dropped slightly, it continues to rise for blacks.  Guess when the last time the unemployment rate was below 10% for blacks.  During the Bush administration.

Obama wants blacks to have his back. Does he have theirs?

In fact, despite Kanye West’s claim that Bush didn’t care about black people, they certainly fared much better under a Bush administration than they have under Obama.  In fact, from 2002-2007, the number of businesses owned by people who identify themselves as black rose by an unprecedented and historic 60%.  That was more than triple the overall rate of business growth for that period.  Economically, blacks did much better than their white counterparts under a Republican administration.

Aside from economics, Obama has come down on the wrong side of several social issues for blacks as well.  Blacks still oppose gay marriage by a large margin.  In fact, while blacks were helping hand Obama California in 2008, they were also helping California define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to oppose abortion than whites, but there is still an odd disconnect where pro-life blacks are more likely to vote for Democrats.  On the other hand, Obama and Democrats have been intensely pro-abortion.  They have not paused their agenda at the doors of religious institutions, but instead are working to force religious groups to pay for some forms of abortion for their employees.

Democrats have pursued blacks aggressively with identity politics.  But in 2012 the tide may turn.  The key is a little bit of pursuit by Republicans.  In the past, Republicans have written off the black vote as a waste of campaign cash.  This time around, Republicans should take the time and money to win back a segment of America who should be the natural allies of the party of Lincoln.

Part of the issue facing Republicans is that the racist attacks on black GOP members is nearly as intense as the anti-women attacks on female Republicans.  While Democrats accuse Republicans of using racial codewords, such as “cool”, to describe blacks, Democrats have openly used racially offensive language against black GOP members in order to diminish their roles.  How does calling the President too cool compare to calling Allen West an uncle Tom?

If Republicans can deliver on what Obama promised, national unity and healing, then they have a good chance at defeating the identity politics of the left.

Fundraising Apples and Oranges

The media is shocked to see the pronounced dead TEA Party raking in cash.  They shouldn’t be.  At the same time, the media is making hay out of Obama contributions compared to Romney’s.  This is a false comparison.  Romney fundraising compared to Obama fundraising is apples and oranges.  Here’s why:

Romney has not positioned himself as an inspiring political figure.  He hasn’t made the election about himself.  He has made it about Obama’s record.  In fact, it should be no surprise at all at all that TEA Party conservatives who consistently split their vote in the primaries for the non-Romney candidates would rather give to the TEA Party than to Romney.  Have no fear, they will vote non-Obama in November.

Obama on the other hand is one of the few inspiring characters left in the Democrat party.  Don’t expect massive donations to a DNC run by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.  Don’t expect people to be inspired to give when they see Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid’s face.  But when Obama starts flashing Forward and talking about how nobody believed in America but him and how he shot Bin Laden and brought our troops home from Iraq, that sells.  Democrats aren’t going to shell out for DNC 2012 congressional elections or DNC superpacs, but they’ll buy Obama T-shirts and bumper stickers and pay for a one in a million shot at having a dinner with the President.

When political commentators measure campaign cash, really they should compare Obama to generic conservative groups and Romney to DNC pacs and superpacs.  In the end, the people who vote for Obama in 2012 will probably vote “D” down the line, and the people who contribute to the TEA Party and other Republican groups will show up to vote against Obama.

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