Trunkline 2012: Wednesday’s Word On the Campaign Trail

Bookmark and Share  Today’s Trunkline 2012 election news wrap-up includes headlines about Paul Ryan’s call to actress Stacey dash, Romney’s benchmark lead over Obama, Fred Thompson’s assessment of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy speech, President Obama’s promise to be nasty, voters trusting Romney on the economy more than the President, an Obama staffer helping Obama voters to vote twice in the election, and much more….

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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.

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.

Perry’s Cut, Cap and Balance Flat Tax Plan is a Winner But Will it Make Him a Winner?

  Bookmark and Share  In advance of his announcement of a flat tax proposal that would be the most dramatic tax reform in the nation’s history, Governor Rick Perry penned a summary of his proposal in this mornings Wall Street Journal .

Calling his proposal “Cut, Balance and Grow”, Perry hopes to balance the federal budget by 2020 and explains that his plan will abolish the death tax and give taxpayers the option to pay their current income tax rate or a new 20% flat tax that “preserves mortgage interest, charitable and state and local tax exemptions for families earning less than $500,000 annually, and  increase the standard deduction to $12,500 for individuals and dependents.”   In addition to a 20% personal income tax, the Perry plan will also adopt a lowers the corporate tax rate to 20% and encourage the swift repatriation of nearly $1.4 trillionthat are currently hidden overseas by temporarily lowering the rate to 5.25%.  The third part of his flat tax proposal includes what he calls a transition to a “territorial tax system”, that will only tax income earned in the United States.

Perry’s plan also calls for the elimination of the tax on Social Security benefits, a change that will supposedly boost the income of 17 million current Social Security recipients.

Governor Perry argues that without significant changes, our nations will go the way of Europe and be mired in a longterm debt crisis that will only get worse than the one we are currently experiencing and to help avoid that in addition to his new flat tax reform he attempts to cut, cap and balance federal spending habits by capping federal spending at 18% of our gross domestic product, banning earmarks and future bailouts, and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Additionally he will freeze federal civilian hiring and salaries until the budget is balanced and enact an immediate moratorium on pending federal regulations while also mandating  a full audit of all regulations passed since 2008 to determine their need, impact and effect on job creation.

In what is a direct nod to his need to shore up those voters who are fearful about Perry’s past remarks about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme and as such, something which he would seek to eliminate, Perry’s plan touches entitle reforms, an issue which needs to be addressed and which Perry’s plan does not address enough. His proposal merely declares that he will preserve benefits for current and near-term Social Security beneficiaries, by permanently prohibiting “politicians from raiding” the Social Security trust fund.

That part of his plan is the most politically shallow aspect of his proposal.  While he addresses that issue under the category of entitlements, he does not really address all of the entitlement reforms that are burdening the budget now and will bust it in the future.  It is also worth mentioning that it is nearly, if not totally impossible for a President to vouch for the permanent inability of Congress to “raid” any fund.  President’s come and go.  The mentality that relies on political expediency among Congress lasts forever.

In general, Perry’s Cut, Cap, and Balance plan is one of the most comprehensive and promising plans to come down the pike in decades.  One of the most, but the not only one.  Others have proposed similiar flat tax based plans and one of the major differences between those other plans and Perry’s plan is that at 20%, Rick Perry sets his flat tax at a rate significanlty higher than most all others.  That high 20% rate is probably the least attractive aspect of Perry’s plan.

Insofar as reform goes, it is much more solid than the light on detail, 9-9-9, hybridized flat tax proposal of Herman Cain and when it comes to the issue of reform, Perry’s proposal outshines even Ronald Reagan’s, Jack Kemp inspired, lower taxation, supply side economics plan of the 80’s.  That plan simply adjusted the existing tax code and while it was in no way insignificant, Perry’s plan admits that the tax code is not worth tinkering with and needs to be scrapped and replaced by something that will allow America to be competitive in the modern global economy.

In a previous post I indicated that if Perry proposes a good flat tax plan and can market it properly and exploit the promise that exists in a flat tax from a politically strategic point of view, than he can reestablish himself as a frontrunner, or at least within reasonable striking distance of such a status.  Now that the relative details of his plan are out, I can honestly say that despite my belief that his 20% rate is too high,  if he can build his campaign around this plan and make it a focal point of the overall Republican nomination contest, than Rick Perry will have many fruitful themes to touch upon and run on.  Now is just a matter of developing an effective campaign strategy and organization that can force the other candidates to run around his promising, conservative based economic plan and reforms. Bookmark and Share

Trunkline 2012: Saturday Political News in Review and Cinema Politico Movie of the Week for 10/8/11


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Brought to you by White house 2012 & Hulu.com, The Good Pope is a poignant retelling of the story of Pope John XXIII.  He was Pope for only 4 years, seven months and six days when he died of stomach cancer on the 3rd June 1963.  His lived during a period of profound change, and a time which produced some of the most significant events of the 20th Century and once he became Pope, he also  produced some of the most significant events in the contemporary history of the Catholic Church.

Bob Hoskins stars as The Good Pope.

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Newt and Palin Focus on Obama

The match seems to be set, Mitt Romney versus Rick Perry.  At least for the media, who thought Huntsman was the sure nominee, these two are it.  Fortunately, other candidates are maintaining their focus on Obama.  As I said from the beginning, the biggest disaster in this campaign would be for second tier and runner up candidates to so badly trash the candidate who ends up being our nominee that Obama will win.  Obama faces no primary challenger, though he is doing plenty of damage to himself.

Palin, who remains undeclared, took a chance to shoot a message directly to union workers.  Over the labor day weekend, Obama was introduced with Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. who now infamously called unions Obama’s “army”, declared them to be in a war on the TEA party and offered to “take those sons of bitches out”.  The President in the meantime, as part of his leading from behind strategy, has accepted Hoffa’s remarks and done nothing to tone down the union thug’s rhetoric.

Palin wrote directly to union members.  It reminded me of when Bush would address the citizens of Iran.  Palin highlighted her past union experience and current relations who are union members.  She then focused on the corruption in union leadership and how they are using union laborers to pad their own pockets and get Obama re-elected.  But, Palin points out, workers are looking for someone with a plan to save America, not just get the union guy re-elected.

Meanwhile, in his weekly e-newsletter, Newt Gingrich went after the administration for their armed assault on the Gibson Guitar factory.  For the second time since Obama’s administration took over, armed federal agents have raided Gibson for perceived violations of the Lacey Act, designed to prevent importing illegal materials.  In both cases, inventory and computers were seized.  Gibson has not been able to recover these materials because the Justice Department has yet to file any charges.  In fact, the owner says that one of the agents told him during the raid that he would have better luck moving his operations overseas.

Newt pulls no punches calling this armed raid on a law abiding American company insanity, especially when good jobs are so hard to find.  Newt also asks the question, why aren’t these armed agents protecting our border?

The media is doing their best to portray some sort of animosity between Perry and Romney, just like they tried to do with Bachmann and Palin a few months ago.  But the success of any GOP primary campaign in 2012 is going to come from having a real plan that Americans can take hold of and focusing any negative energy on Obama, not each other.  If they can’t manage that, they need to take the honorable way out like Pawlenty did.

Trumped

In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Donald Trump ties Mike Huckabee for second place.

Trump has developed an early reputation in this race as a hard hitting, brutally honest, hawk with a plan to restore respect for America on the world stage. He has already promised the ability to whip our enemies, and allies, into shape through tough foreign policy.

Could he be a contender?

There is a grass roots website set up now to recruit supporters for Trump called Should Trump Run. This website has video from the desk of the Donald, along with his interviews with various news organizations. Trump has also found easy access among conservative radio and tv hosts.

With Trump’s outspoken campaign thusfar, many Republicans may be hoping he runs, even if they don’t plan on voting for him themselves. Trump is the only candidate with the clout, confidence, and sufficient lack of political reputation to question Obama’s birth certificate and get away with it.

I view Trump more as a bull in a china shop. They may draw a crowd, and can do a great deal of damage. But in the end, they never actually end up buying anything. My hope is that Trump can keep his focus on Obama and his brutal honesty where it will do conservatism the most good; not sniping at other potential GOP’ers.

And before Trumpites get too excited, Romney still came in a comfortable first in this poll.

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