Why Obama/Biden are Scared of Romney/Ryan

The morning of the Ryan pick, Obama already had a graphic up from the “truth” team declaring that Ryan was going to raise taxes on 95% of Americans, ban birth control, end Medicare, end green energy, and so on.¬† The only things they left out were shoving Grandma off a cliff in her wheelchair and poisoning us with e.coli.¬† But why go overboard when Mitt Romney can already use cancer to kill people.

On the other hand, word on the street is that Biden had to change his pants after the 60 minutes interview with Romney and Ryan.

It’s not that Obama is the one that cut $700 billion out of Medicare.¬† It’s not that Obama’s green energy initiatives remind everyone of Solyndra.¬† It’s not that Obama is lying when he says Romney/Ryan would raise taxes on 95% of Americans.¬†¬† It’s not that Most Americans don’t want to force pro-lifers to pay for other people’s $5 birth control that destroys after conception.¬† It’s more that Ryan is smarter and more articulate than the other three on the tickets.

Don’t hate me, Palin fans, but Ryan is not a cheerleader.¬† He is a teacher.¬† He turns platitudes into tangible facts that people can hold on to.¬† Obama and the Democrats are running around with the mantra that Ryan will get rid of Medicare.¬† But anyone who is paying attention knows that it was Obama who cut popular programs like Medicare advantage.

Ryan, on the other hand, wants to give seniors the same options for healthcare that Congress has.  He wants to put choices in their hands.  The scary thing about Ryan is that he actually is understandable on these points, and he has the credibility.  No one has worked more on the US budget and solutions to Medicare, Social Security, and healthcare than Paul Ryan.

Democrats aren’t scared that Biden is an inarticulate gaffe machine.¬† They have the media on their side.¬† All Biden has to do is coherently string ten words together in a debate without telling someone in a wheelchair to stand up or make an Indian 7/11 joke and the press will announce he exceeded expectations.

Democrats are scared because the media can only do so much.  Eventually Paul Ryan will be heard, and he speaks a language even independents can understand.

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FRC Says No Rice Please

In their Monday email, the Family Research Council rained on the Condoleeza Rice parade.¬† Describing her as a “non-starter”, Tony Perkins said that she is not pro-life, pro-marriage or a strong defender of religious liberty.¬† Perkins also noted that the Family Research Council would only accept a candidate who was strongly pro-life, not just someone who “checks the ‘pro-life box'”.

Will FRC stop promoting Mitt Romney if he chooses Condoleeza Rice as his VP?  No.  They supported Bush even though Cheney supported gay marriage.  But now is the time to use their leverage as a group representing a large segment of fundamental Christianity and steer Romney towards a more socially conservative choice.

Condi is a great and extremely qualified candidate.  But Romney should carefully consider the promises he has made regarding his VP selection process.  If he is looking to shake the Etch-a-sketch image one of his staffers foolishly gave him, than now is a perfect time to take a principled stand.  On the other hand, Romney may do the calculations and figure he will pick up more independents with Condi than he would lose from his base.

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.

Yes, he can?

In the volatility of the Republican 2012 primary, one thing is for sure.¬† Calling this race now would be like predicting the Superbowl in September.¬† How ’bout them Eagles.¬† Of course, I called the Eagles faltering before the season started.¬† I’m usually pretty good with my football picks.¬† So, allow me to apply some of that prophetic magic here.¬† FYI, this post is not for the faint of heart.¬† I’m just giving it to you straight.

Romney is all set as the Republican establishment candidate.  He has had that spot locked up really since before Mitch Daniels dropped out of the race.  Now the one stable thing in this race is that Romney will get the establishment vote.  He will also get a lot of mainstream Republican votes.  But he is going to run into a real issue, and that is with the anti-establishment movement within the Republican party.  All that is about to blow wide open this week as the NYT releases a story about opinions among establishment Republicans of the TEA party.  The GOP is about to have a civil war on its hands.  Whether they can recover by next November will be huge in determining whether or not Barack Obama is President in 2013.  Mitt Romney absolutely must nail down his conservative support and soon, or he will lose Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.

Cain's 999 plan could be his undoing

I like Herman Cain a lot.¬† I think he would make a great Vice President.¬† I think he would be a star on the campaign trail.¬† I think he would bring a lot of conservatives to the table and would bring the TEA party and anti-establishment wing to the table.¬† Here’s the problem: Herman Cain’s 9 9 9 plan sucks.¬† He would do better to drop that plan completely and advocate a Fairtax, which I also oppose for various reasons you can find here.¬† But even the Fairtax is better than 9 9 9.¬† Cain’s 9 9 9 plan has several Achilles’s heels hidden in its simplicity.¬† Perhaps the worst is the 9% flat tax on corporation’s gross profits minus purchases and dividends.¬† Unless Cain plans to include payroll with purchases, his 9% flat tax could turn into an effective 99% tax, or even higher, on low margin service industries with high labor costs.¬† But simplicity and feel good soundbites are what drives the Cain campaign.¬† Sometimes those soundbites are the common sense we are all thinking, but nobody who represents us is saying.¬† In those times, I love Herman Cain.¬† Other times it’s not much better than the soundbites written on a Wall Street mob sign.¬† Great for riling you up, until you stop and think about it.

Right now, we are watching the French Revolution in the TEA party and anti-establishment wing of the Republican party.¬† And who can blame them?¬† I should say, who can blame us.¬† Our party had the President who initially signed TARP.¬† Now, of course I don’t think Bush ever imagined TARP would be used to give the treasury secretary ultimate powers to steal companies from their bondholders, sell them overseas and give the proceeds to unions.¬† But he should have.¬† Conservative Constitutionalists are praying, quite literally, that we don’t get fooled again.¬† The result has been the rise and fall of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now Herman Cain.¬† Each time, the anti-establishment establishment is looking for that perfect, conservative candidate that we can get behind and support.

Now, suddenly Newt Gingrich is inching back into the top three.¬† In fact, while Cain tops out the very volatile state of Florida, Gingrich has hit double digits.¬† As a matter of fact, Gingrich’s facebook page shows a photo of him on the Drudge Report with a story about how he is still in this.¬† And he definitely is.

The difference between Newt and the other candidates is that Newt’s laundry has been on the line for years now.¬† Everyone knows who Newt Gingrich is.¬† He isn’t going to come out with a plan that sinks his campaign a month from now.¬† No one is going to learn during a debate about him forcing 12 year old girls to get vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases.¬† Everyone knows how imperfect his past is.¬† That’s why he hasn’t been in this race up to now.¬† And that is why he will be very dangerous if Cain falls on 9 9 9.¬† Of course, I mean “dangerous” in the best way possible.¬† Newt versus Mitt with no specter of late arrivals and no more candidates left to shoot up to the top could solidify January’s primaries.

Newt can carry Iowa and South Carolina easily once the other social conservatives lose their votes to him.  Newt was the first in the debates to really highlight how Obama was preventing jobs from coming to South Carolina.  And Iowa will pick the social conservative every time.  In a Newt/Mitt race, it will all be about Florida.

Could the debate in Jacksonville, FL determine the next President of the United States?

On January 26th, Republicans will hold the last GOP debate that matters before the primary.  I know, there will be one in Tampa the night before the primary.  No one is going to change their mind because of the Tampa debate.  It will all come down to January 26th in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mitt Romney versus the TEA party favorite.  The last time the Superbowl was held here, the Patriots won.

Seven Versus One

The debate is over and there is a clear loser.¬† Whether by pact or we just got candidates this good, Obama was the only one with a target on his back last night.¬† Even Pawlenty wouldn’t take the obvious bait to attack front runner Mitt Romney.¬† The result was a debate of seven on one, and the One wasn’t there to defend himself.

The other loser in last night’s debate was CNN’s John King who amidst annoying grunts failed to turn the candidates on one another.¬† Even when he tossed Palin’s name out as an easy target for Republicans seeking to moderate, the response came from Tim Pawlenty and it was perfect.¬† Joe Biden has failed in every aspect as a Vice President, his views on Iraq were completely wrong, and Sarah Palin would be a better president than Biden or Obama.

Can Bachmann break through media created stereotypes?

The candidates handled tough hot button issues amazingly well also.  The shining example here was Michelle Bachmann who deflected an easy gotcha by making it clear that the role of the President and the role of the states in determining the fate of gay marriage is not equal.  She provided a balanced states rights view, while promising to protect the states from the courts if it came to that.  The other good answers on gay marriage were Ron Paul, leave it to the church and get government out, and actually Rick Santorum who explained that a constitutional amendment would require the approval of 75% of the states, something opponents rarely mention.  Cain appeared to struggle the most on the muslim staff question.

While there were no clear winners, I believe this debate showed two classes of candidates.¬† Michelle Bachmann led her class of fired up TEA Party approved candidates fighting for principled social and fiscal conservatism with unmeasured attacks against Obama and willingness to take heat for their views if deemed controversial.¬† Cain is included with this group, although he appears now more as a TEA Party candidate who jumped in feet first and now is searching for substance beyond catchphrases and buzz words.¬† He did not find that moment last night.¬† Ron Paul’s anti-establishment libertarianism may catch up to him this year when all the Revolution liberals realize that he does not support any federal entitlement programs.¬† Santorum failed to set himself apart as anything but a sacrificial lamb for 1st term George W. Bush style conservatism.¬† While they all performed well, Bachmann outshined this group.¬† Given the TEA Party’s success in 2010 and their conservative appeal, I would not write this group off.

The other group becoming apparent are the “intellectual”, restrained conservatives in Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty.¬† Their answers would not pass a soundbite test, but they were clear, well thought out, and flawless.¬† At the same time, these three touted socially conservative views and credentials which should make each one palatable for any Republican voter.¬† Newt was in a tough place and would need to be the only shining candidate last night to pull his campaign out of the rubble.¬† His performance was near flawless and enough to start the rebuilding process, but not good enough to bring him in from the dog house.¬† And while he may be right about ensuring that America is on board with the Paul Ryan plan, he is sure to take more heat for some of his comments last night.

Tim Pawlenty was perhaps the closest thing to a winner last night.¬† He made a great case for his pro-life record, perhaps settled some social conservatives with his call for his stance on homosexuality, connected with union and blue collar America, and magnanimously skipped a golden opportunity to play John King’s game and trash the front runner.¬† While the left-wing media rakes Pawlenty over the coals for his choice, conservatives should take a much closer look at a candidate who knows the enemy.

Mitt Romney will remain the front runner after last night.¬† The campaign has been nearly effortless for him sofar, and he made no mistakes that would cause him to lose his front runner status last night.¬† But he shouldn’t get too comfortable.¬† With Huntsman entering the race and with Rick Perry and Rudy Guiliani mulling Presidential runs of their own, the space Romney and Pawlenty occupy could get real crowded real quick.

In the end, the field last night did what they had to do.  They stayed focused on the economy and Obama.  They did not bite on questions obviously designed to turn them against each other and other Republicans.  They agreed with one another publicly and showed that any one of them is better than and can beat Barack Obama in 2012.

Social War Threatens Daniels’ Truce

Governor Mitch Daniels has an opportunity to be a breakout star in the 2012 primary. He is seen by many to be reserved and quiet, but he has done an incredible job in Indiana and has caught the eye of many because of it.

Daniels has also caught the eye of independent groups as he has called for a truce on social issues to focus on the nation’s fiscal problem. This has caused many to see him as someone who can unite the country to face our debt head on. However, Daniels’ truce is about to receive it’s biggest test. In Indiana, state finances and social conservatism are about to collide.

The Indiana house and senate have overwhelmingly passed a bill that would end state funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, ban Medicaid from being used at facilities that provide abortion, and will require doctors to give women information on the abortion process from the fetus perspective before performing the procedure. The bill will save Indiana millions of dollars, but it will also turn social liberals sour on Daniels if he signs it.

Mitch Daniels faces a make or break decision

This is a moment of truth for this potential GOP nominee. The Indiana congress has the votes to override a veto. Mitch Daniels does not need to sign this bill. But whether he signs it or not, this decision will set the tone for a Mitch Daniels presidential candidacy. For someone who recommended a truce on social issues, Mitch Daniels has found himself standing in the center of the battle field with a gun in his hand. Which way will he turn?

This one decision has the potential to win or lose the TEA Party and religious base of the GOP. With that base, and the strong fiscal record he has already developed, Mitch Daniels would be lacking only a shot of charisma to sweep the 2012 primary. Without the TEA Party and religious base, Daniels’ best hope is a vice president spot on the ticket.

Considering his signature is not needed, this choice may seem inconsequential. With 2012 in view, this decision means everything. So far, Daniels has stated that he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether or not to sign the bill.

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