Chris Christie Delivers a Speech that Shows Why He Should Run for President and Confirms that He is Not Running for President

See the video of Christie’s speech below this post and for a complete transcript of the speech, click here.

Bookmark and Share   On Tuesday evening,  after delivering a keynote address on “Real American exceptionalism” for the Reagan Foundation at the Reagan Library, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie definitively any speculation about his entering 2012 presidential race as a presidential candidate.

The speech Christie gave was a plain-spoken, smooth flowing, hard-hitting, presentation that demonstrated the wealth of endless potential that could be unleashed in America by combining Republican principles with the type of frank and honest leadership that comes only from people of true integrity.  Christie argued his case for the awesome power of the two when combined,  by linking the history of Reagan Republicanism and Reagan’s leadership, to Obama socialism and Obama’s lack of leadership.  He then essentially described how the two means do not lead to the same end.  He made this point further by also contrasting between what is getting done in New Jersey under his management, with what is or isn’t getting done in Washington, DC under President Obama’s mismanagement.

The speech was, to use a phrase that Christie used, “a parable of principle“, which offered a roadmap to true American exceptionalism.   As for the details of the speech, I am intentionally leaving them out.  That is because I wish not to deprive anyone of the opportunity to hear them or read them yourself, in Christie’s own words.  Hence the reason for the video and transcript provided for you within this post.

What I will tell you is that some of the most entertaining and heartfelt moments came during the brief question and answer period once the speech was over.

It was then that Christie laced his honesty with a unique mix of Jersey-style bluntness and endearing humor to stake out some well received positions and make viewers also understand why so many want him to seek the Republican nomination for President.

On that topic, while a Christie candidacy was first foremost on the minds of all who were listening, it was not the first question asked upon completion of  Christie’s keynote address.  The first question was on illegal immigration and his thoughts on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.   In his answer, Christie explained that while he believes that our borders must be secured, he did not believe that states and taxpayers had any responsibility to subsidize illegal immigrants.  And going a step further, the never shy New Jersey Governor took a swipe at Texas Governor Rick Perry.  “And I don’t think that’s heartless.  I think it’s common sense”, said Christie.

The second question  for the Governor came from a man who asked The Governor if he was considering a run for President.  To this Christie joked, that he was disappointed in the audience gathered before him.  He said that for that to be the second question and not the first, showed him that they were not demonstrating America exceptionalism.  He continued by explaining that he was not running and cited a video prepared by Politico.com as the best and most explanatory answer he could offer. The video spliced together a dozen or so different interviews from the past year in which Christie stated that he is not running and why.

But almost immediately following that answer, a questioner from the balcony was given the mic.   This person did not ask a question.  In very heartfelt terms, she instead made a request of the Governor and said “Please reconsider. We can’t wait till 2016.  Your Country needs you”.  To this Christie explained that he understood but he joked that while he is flattered and that while no politician’s ego is so small that they would demand people stop asking them to become the leader of the free world, he must keep answering “no”.  He went on to say ,“I’m just a kid from Jersey who feels like I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity that I have to be the governor of my state.”  He added “That heartfelt message you gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. That reason has to reside inside me.”

Christie’s appearance at the Reagan Library was truly powerful and ironically, he  sounded like  a presidential candidate.  He subtly drew similarities between his leadership as a Governor and Ronald Reagan’s as a President.  He also aggressively, but appropriately tore apart President Obama and successfully used the President’s own words against him.  And he even  took a shot at someone who would be opposing him if he were to run in the Republican primary.  That combined with the sudden public leaks and comments involving what was the most recent flurry of speculation about Christie and the presidency, I have come to believe that history will reveal that in late September of 2011, New Jersey Governor Christopher J. Christie was about to run for President of the United States.  But at the last minute,  [fill in the blank] was the determining factor that caused him to change his mind and not announce his candidacy.  Remember, you heard it here first.

That view may or may not be confirmed but upon the conclusion of Christie’s appearance at the Reagan Library, there are two things we all now know with certainty.  One is that Chris Christie is authentic.  He is the real deal.  Love him or hate him, you can rest assured that you are loving or hating the real Chris Christie.  The other thing that we now know definitively is that Chris Christie is not running for President in 2012.  Vice President is another story that we will begin to write about after we finish the chapter that reveals who the presidential nominee is.  So now, the only big name left available for speculation is Sarah Palin.

On a last note, I would like to make a personal admission.

As a resident of New Jersey who for the last twenty months has been living under the rule of Governor Christie, after listening to him at the Reagan Library last night, I can honestly tell you that for the first time in the fifteen years that this Brooklyn boy has lived the Garden State, I am proud to call it home,  and for the for the first time in my life, I am truly proud to tell people who my Governor is.

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Predicted Results of Saturday’s 2011 Iowa Straw Poll in Ames

Bookmark and Share   By Steve Deace

*Please note that these predictions are my analysis and not my preference. I will not be endorsing a candidate before the Iowa Straw Poll, if at all, nor will I vote in the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday.

These predictions are simply based on the best data I’m privy to.

1. Michele Bachmann (21%)

She is clearly the favorite right now, but she faces a real test in Thursday’s pre-Straw Poll debate hosted by Fox News. Barring journalistic malfeasance, she’s going to be asked about signing the controversial FAMiLY LEADER marriage pledge, as well as her husband working to deliver those ensnared by homosexuality via Christian counseling so that they may live the lives God originally created them to live. How she responds to that questioning could very well determine Saturday’s results. If she has a Tim Pawlenty moment of uncertainty, like her fellow Minnesotan had when invited to confront Mitt Romney on Romneycare during the last New Hampshire debate, then the outcome on Saturday will also be uncertain. On the other hand, if she stands her ground then the mystery isn’t whether or not she’ll win, but by how much. By the way, in case you’re wondering where my predicted finish for Bachmann stacks up with past Iowa Straw Poll winners (keep in mind this year’s field is more crowded than past years):

1987—Pat Robertson 34%

1995—Bob Dole & Phil Gramm 24%

1999— George W. Bush 31%

2007—Mitt Romney 32%

2. Ron Paul (18%)

Paul’s support is pretty much locked into the 15-20% range. He has a devoted following that will show up no matter what, but it’s his ability to expand beyond that base that is in question. Nevertheless, if the weather is poor and/or Bachmann bombs the debate on Thursday he may not have to.

3. Tim Pawlenty (15%)

He just never caught on for various reasons, despite being the person who worked Iowa the hardest and the most. There have already been articles pointing fingers at whom or what is to blame for that, which is never a good omen. I believe he has to win the Straw Poll to justify hanging around given the looming entrance of Rick Perry and perhaps Sarah Palin.

4. Rick Santorum (13%)

He is catching some fire as of late, and is the best chance for a Straw Poll surprise. Although this would be far lower than fellow conservative Catholic Sam Brownback finished in the 2007 Straw Poll when he dropped out afterwards, Santorum can actually make the case he is picking up momentum given how low he’s been rated in polls and therefore deserves to stick around. I know people who are predicting he will finish ahead of Pawlenty. I don’t have quite the guts to call that shot, but I definitely see evidence of him picking up late pockets of support.

5. Herman Cain (9%)

I’ll give him a small bump courtesy of his endorsement from the Fair Tax people, who showed up in force at the Straw Poll four years ago, but other than that there’s little doubt his campaign has been done in Iowa quicker than you can say Christian Fong.

6. Mitt Romney (8%)

Romney’s finish is the toughest for me to predict, because there is still a cache of loyal supporters there despite his avoidance of Iowa. However, Iowans typically don’t reward candidates who do avoid them.

7. Rick Perry (7%)

There will be a subtle yet substantive write-in effort on behalf of the Texas governor/presidential candidate in waiting, we just don’t know yet how substantive.

8. Newt Gingrich (4%)

The former Speaker is planning a complete reboot of his presidential bid in September that he’s promising will be bold. We shall see if it’s a case of too little, too late. For now he’s a non-entity in Ames.

9. Sarah Palin (3%)

I think there will be some write-in votes for the former Alaska governor, but not necessarily as part of an organized effort by her fellows. She’ll make her show of force at the Central Iowa Tea Party rally on September 3rd.

9. Thaddeus McCotter (1%)

I think he’ll get a few votes from people who are either contrarians, or they just want to take advantage of the rare opportunity to vote for someone named Thaddeus.

10. Jon Huntsman (1%)

He’s the champion of the self-loathing Iowa Republican who thinks we don’t deserve to have the Iowa Caucuses if the Arlen Specters of the world aren’t welcome here. Thankfully, that’s barely 1% of the Iowa Straw Poll voting demographic, because the rest of them are too busy either working for or funding Terry Branstad’s lifetime appointment to Terrace Hill to take part.

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Iowa Caucus Power Rating For Week of July 25th

Bookmark and Share By Steve Deace

Please note these predictions are only my analysis, and not my preference, of what the results of the Iowa Caucuses would be if they occurred today with the field as it currently is and based on what we currently know. I have yet to endorse a candidate, and will not be doing so before the Iowa Straw Poll if at all.

1. Michele Bachmann (30%)

She is in better shape in the caucuses than the Straw Poll, where she is about a month behind in mobilizing her support into a show of force in Ames. If the Straw Poll were after Labor Day she might lap the field, but with the Straw Poll three weeks away she’s in danger of stubbing her toe there unless her campaign does a lot of things right. It will be interesting to see what happens to her prospects if indeed that happens. But for now there is little doubt she is setting the pace.

2. Tim Pawlenty (20%)

There is a sense on the ground from most people I talk to that Bachmann’s campaign is behind in mobilizing for its candidate, but Pawlenty’s campaign is way ahead of their candidate. I can’t foresee a scenario where Tim Pawlenty wins the Iowa Caucuses, because if he way outperforms his polling data in the Straw Poll to win it, the conservative outcry for a rock star like Rick Perry or Sarah Palin will become deafening. A potential Pawlenty victory in the Straw Poll will be perceived more as an indictment of Bachmann’s weakness as a supposed front-runner than a display of strength by Pawlenty. Anything less than a victory in the Straw Poll and it’s difficult for Pawlenty to justify sticking around. He will definitely out-perform his meager polling on August 13th, the only question is to what extent.

3. Ron Paul (16%)

I definitely think Ron Paul can win the Straw Poll. Pawlenty has the best organization, and Bachmann the most supporters, but Paul has the most devoted supporters. And in a fluid situation that might be enough to eke out a Straw Poll win. However, Paul lost a chance in recent weeks to make significant inroads to Iowa’s massive Christian Conservative base, and I don’t believe he can win the Iowa Caucuses without doing so.

4. Mitt Romney (13%)

One little birdie told me based on polling done by his candidate he definitely believes Romney could win the Straw Poll again if he tried. As I have said all along, Romney has a locked-in, almost cult-like base of support that can’t dissuaded no matter what. That percentage is somewhere in the 12-15% range. However, like Paul he has a very low ceiling, and can’t do any better than the 25% he got here four years ago. However, if Perry and Palin are both in the race, Romney’s 2008 total (or slightly less) might be enough to win the Iowa Caucuses in a balkanized field.

5. Rick Santorum (10%)

This is where the second tier begins. I believe Santorum will slightly out-perform his polling data, but he could do even better if he got more aggressive — especially if he tried to whisk away some of Pawlenty’s followers.

6. Newt Gingrich (7%)

I don’t think Gingrich is dead quite yet. He still has a chance to reinvent himself as the outsider — and it’s as the outsider that he’s had his most political success in the past. I also think Gingrich may be “motivated” to keep Perry honest once he gets in the race given what several people now working for Perry did to his campaign.

7. Herman Cain (4%)

A cautionary tale for future rookies: do your homework on your staff and the issues before you run for president.

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Editor’s Note ; The  analysis generously shared with us on White House 2012 by Steve Deace is probably one of the most accurate assessments of the Repubican field in Iowa that there is.  Steve Deace knows how Iowa politics works and how it usually plays out.  For that reason, when it comes to the all  important Iowa Caucuses and where the candidates really stand,  we will be relying on his knowlege, extensive collection of connections, and his proven political instincts.

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Hoopla Pits Piers Against Pawlenty

Bookmark and Share In an interview with CNNs Piers Morgan, Tim Pawlenty was asked if in a hypothetical situationwould he run as Donald Trumps Vice President if asked. Palwenty laughed and let slip the phrase“I’m running for president.” Not to be on the number tow spot.

Morgan than jumped on the words and asked if he was correct in in taking his words to be an announcement indicating that Pawlenty is fact running for President. To which the Governor stated “I’ve got an exploratory committee up and running and we’ll have a final or full announcement on that in the coming weeks,” said Pawlenty, who formed an exploratory committee last month. “It won’t be too much longer. But everything is headed in that direction.”

The 9 pm interview was taped earlier in the day and whan the taping was done, CNN and Morgan promoted the segment that was to be aired later in the evening, as one in which Pawlenty makes his presidential campaign official. Unhappy with these promos, and of preview clips off where the Governor states he is running, the Pawlenty camp asked that future promos contain the rest of the dialogue where the Governor clarified his position. But that request fell on deaf ears.

Now we all know this matters only to Tim Palwenty and his campaign. We all know he is running and he knows that we all know he is running. But the issue here is a legal one. Once a campaign moves from the exploratory stage to that of an official presidential candidacy the legal rules change and a new game is played. For that reason, the Pawlenty camp would have preferred that CNN played this straight and not try to makes something out of nothing. In this case, it was not worth it for CNN to intentionally imply what Pawlenty denied. Instead of creating a headline for much needed ratings, what they actually did was make the Pawlenty campaign a little less likely to answer question from CNN or accept future one on one discussions with them,

CNN should remember that while the candidates we scrutinize must undoubtedly prove their sincerity and honesty, so does the media. Especially the mainstream media which has had a hard time trying to prove that they do not operate and act on their own liberal biases instead of o their own journalistic code of honor and integrity.

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Another Republican Ready To Decalre Their Presidential Candidacy

Bookmark and Share On Tuesday, Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson ent out a press release decaring that he will be decaring his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. The announcement will come on Thursday, at 9:00 am, on the steps of the New Hampshire State Capitol Building. (See Press release below).

Governor Johnson is a self described Libertarian-Republican and possibly even more so than Ron Paul hehas the ability to force issues such as the legalization of drugs on to the table. WhileJohnson is himself opposed to recreational drug use, it is his belief that a nanny state which tells adults what they can or cannot use, is not inlline with the Constitution of the United States. In fact, although Johnson does not intend to make this a competition betweenjust him and Ron Paul, he will be indirect competition with Ron Paul and the libertarian mantlethatRon Paul has held for many years now. While the two have many similiar posoitions on the economy drugs and foreign policy, the real competition willl be which one has the ability to turn their beliefs in to the mainstream beliefs of the Republican Party.

Having had the executive leadership of governing a state, Johnson may have the the advantage their. Especially since unlike Ron Paul who promotes his beliefs through proposing and supporting or opposig legislation, Governor Johnson has actually implemented his beleifs and successfully applied his belief system to the everday governance of a state. And he did so by winning two back to back elections to the office of Governor in a state that is not ususally very friendly to Republicans.

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Governor Gary Johnson set to make major announcement in New Hampshire

Former Republican Governor of New Mexico to discuss future plans, 2012 campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sue Winchester
801.303.7924

April 12, 2011, Santa Fe, NM Gary Johnson, former Republican Governor of New Mexico will hold a news conference on Thursday, April 21st at 9:00am EDT at the New Hampshire State Capitol Building in Concord (location: Capitol front steps: 107 North Main Street, Concord), to discuss his plans for the 2012 election.

Governor Johnson, who has been referred to as the most fiscally conservative Governor in the country, believes the highest priority for America is a balanced federal budget. He calls the national debt the greatest threat to our national security.

Since launching the OUR America Initiative in late 2009, Governor Johnson has traveled to 38 states, participated in hundreds of media interviews and addressed a wide range of organizations all across the nation. He is vocal in his opposition to U.S. involvement in Libya, and has called for an end to American military involvement in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He supports marijuana legalization and advocates common-sense immigration reform.

Following the formal news conference, Governor Johnson will be available for media opportunities through Saturday, April 23rd. Details and locations are provided below:

Thursday, April 21

9:00am: Gary Johnson news conference at New Hampshire State Capitol Building in Concord
10:00am 12:00pm: Media availability in Concord
12:00pm 1:00pm: Lunch reception with NH Legislators (location: Barley House downstairs, 132 North Main Street, Concord).
2:00pm 4:00pm: Media availability in Manchester
6:30pm: VIP Reception/Photos with Governor Johnson (location: Executive Court, 1199 South Mammoth Road, Manchester)
7:00pm: Public kick-off event (location: Executive Court, 1199 South Mammoth Road, Manchester)

Friday, April 22

9:00am 6:00pm: Governor Johnson to visit local businesses, meet with residents and various political groups in the Southern New Hampshire/greater Manchester area.

6:00pm: Depart Manchester for North Conway, NH.

Governor Johnson will be available for live TV/Cable segments (throughout the day on Friday, and subject to availability on Thursday) from the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St Anselms College in Manchester. Please schedule in advance if possible.

Saturday, April 23rd

Governor Johnson will be skiing Tuckermans Ravine on Mount Washington. Media are invited to cover the event and/or ski with the Governor. Tuckermans Ravine is an extreme skiing endeavor. Interviews can be conducted at Hermit Lake Shelter (a two hour hike from the trailhead) or at the trailhead following the run. If interested in covering or skiing, please contact Sue Winchester or Lizz Renda at media@ouramericainitiative.com for details and credentials. For more information on Tuckermans Ravine click here.

8:00am: Meet at Pinkham Notch trailhead (location: AMC Pinkham Notch Camp on US Route 16, eighteen miles north of North Conway, NH). Begin 2.5 mile hike to Hermit Lake Shelter
11:30am (approximately): arrive at Hermit Lake Shelter
12:00pm 3:30pm: Ski Tuckermans Ravine
3:30pm 6:00pm: Hike back to Pinkham Notch trailhead
6:30pm: Depart for Manchester

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Trumpitis. Why Many Have Caught It

Trumpitis [Trumpitis] noun: a political condition affecting people dissatisfied with politics and government, causing a yearning for a magical individual who can answer all their frustrations with politics and the way that government works.

Bookmark and Share Even though it is early in the 2012 game of presidential politics, if there is any single name that can be considered a phenomenon at this point in time, it is Donald Trump. His name has most definitely inspired the most widespread, out of the ordinary, curiosity and excitement of any possible candidate from any particular segment of society. The entry of his name in to the 2012 Republican contest has upended polls. A recent CNN polls found Donald Trump tied with Mike Huckabee at 19%, followed by Sarah Palins 12%, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich at 11%, Ron Paul at 6%, and Michelle Bachman with 5%. Just inside of one month alone, Trump has jumped from 10% to 19%.

Haley Barbour credits the Trump phenomenon to name ID. Others credit the jump to Trumps very public call for proof that President Obama was born an American. Either way, there exists a large base of Trump supporters who have Type A Trumpitus. This group are not just energized by the possibility of a Trump candidacy, they are vehement in their support of Donald Trump and theyre quite loyal to the idea of his potential candidacy.

If you dont believe me, let me give you a random sampling of comments about The Donald that have been made by voters here, on White House 2012.

Beth Avery writes;

Donald Trump needs to run for president, he is the only one that could win this race. He would even have Democrats and Independence besides a strong support from his own party, the Republican Party. He has a no fear policy and knows what we need and will do it.

Robert Conley writes;

It has been many years since I have been excited about a presidential candidate. Mr Trump has the experience needed to run a country in this global business climate that we find ourselves in and the nerve and backbone necessary to accomplish what no president has done since Teddy Roosevelt. That is to show the world that we are a strong and dominant force in the world and not an apologetic scapegoat and third world ATM machine.

Jim Rutkowski send us this message.

TRUMP WILL TELL OBAMA youre fired. I believe Donald Trump has what it takes to defeat Obama in 2012. He even has the Hollywood Star power to win the former Obama MTV Twitter/Facebook generation vote, he is a shoe-in in my view. We must be aggressive and inventive, and Donald Trump is in the In-Crowd right now, a crowd we need SO badly, hes a bit hip, and believe me, WE NEED HIP TO BEAT THESE liberal hipsters. Its a new world now, with a new kind of voter, lets face this election with the power and relative youth we need in an ALREADY popular Republican candidate. Please contact me if Mr Trump decides to run for President, I would like to vigorously campaign for this American winner

Other statements sent in to WH12 include remarks like;

The Republican party should be begging you [Donald Trump] to run and I am supporting you because you will not only have strong support from the Republican party you, will have Democrats and Independents voting for you. Your campaign slogan should be ‘Believe in America!’

There are many gems, just from this website, but in general those who have become diehard supporters of Trump, all profess that Trump can win and that he will tell it like it is and do what needs to be done.

But why exactly are a growing number of voters feeling this way? What accounts for this Trump phenomenon?

Call it Trumpitis.

Trumpitis , by definition, is the only thing that can account for Trumps popularity in politics.

Trumpitis is spreading because of a large number of anti-political contagions. People are steadily unhappy with politics and politicians. This is nothing new. Ancient Romans were often unhappy with their leadership. They just couldnt always do much about it. But this anti-establishment sentiment tends to reach a fevered pitch when the proverbial waste hits the fan and problems, such as our national debt, reach crisis levels. It is also the result of President Obamas famous presidential campaign for hope and change. More than two years after that effort, people do not feel a great deal of hope or see very much change.

Another contagion is the continued existence of broken promises in politics.

Perhaps more than any other President, President Obama has broken more promises than a used car salesman. Instead of ending wars, he gets us into a new one. Instead of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, he fills it. And the list goes on.

Another aspect of Trumpitis is the fact that there is no one single establishment candidate that has a lock on support. With the more than two dozen names circulating, each of them have their own small and limited base of support, be it regional, ideological or issue based. This void allows for the populism of Donald Trump to overshadow the splintered base of all the rest.

But other reasons for Trumpitis include the fact that Donald Trump is a clean political slate. He has no political record for people to hate. As such, people are projecting their hopes on Trump. These hopes are further buoyed by Trumps bluntness. Many people find this refreshing in politics. They are tired of politicians saying what they dont mean or not coming right out and saying what they mean. Trump currently trumps others on that front.

Trumpitis and Donald Trumps seemingly growing political popularity is essentially based on a type of hope and change that President Obama failed to deliver. The American people hope for a President who puts America first. They dont want Americas positions on terrorism moderated because jihadists dont like our no tolerance on terrorism position. Americans hope for a Mideast policy that helps lower the cost of a barrel of oil rather than raise it. And Americans want a process that is changed by political leadership that does what is says, and says what it means.

In a perfect world, Donald Trump fits that build. In a perfect world, saying youre fired solves the problem. But the problem is this is not a perfect world and Donald Trump is not the perfect candidate that Trumpitis infected voters think he is.

For one thing, while the thought of running government like a business is very attractive, government is not a business. If it were, more of us would be involved. The fact is that government needs to be cut. Yet we have not heard where Donald Trump or if Trump intends on cutting government. And if he does begin to articulate such cuts, you can bet that a small percentage of those infected with Trumpitis will be cured of it.

The fact is that there are thousands of positions that we have not yet heard about from Donald Trump but rest assured that as soon as we start hearing them, many people will getting vaccinated for Trumpitis.

So before too many people jump on the Trump bandwagon and place the hope of the GOP and the nation on Donald Trumps shoulders, let us realize he is not Atlas and let us realize that his shoulders are not the issue. The real issue is what will come out of his mouth regarding the issues of the day. Once we start hearing those words of detail, how popular Donald Trump remains, will be like a crapshoot at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Its anyones guess.

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Bachmann Headed to South Carolina. But Not To Run for President

Bookmark and SharePolitics is one of those areas where you never say never. In a field where convicted felons can get elected and dead ones can get reelected, anything can happen. In 2006, no one really believed that a young State Senator from Illinois would become President of the United States within two years. And who would have ever imagined that a Saturday Night Live comedian would be able to steal an election to become a United States Senator? So when it comes to the 2012 presidential election , I will not say that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann doesnt have a snowballs chance in Hawaii, a state she just visited on Wednesday to address conservatives in, but I will say that she is not likely to be the Republican nominee for President. Yet Bachmann has embarked upon a tour of America that forces us to ask, if she is not running for President, what is she doing?.

A few weeks ago she gave an address before a conservative tax group in Iowa. This weekend she heads to Montana where she will be the keynote speaker at the Lewis and Clark County Republican Lincoln-Reagan dinner. Now comes word that on the 19th of this month, she will be heading to South Carolina, an early primary state, and one that is seen as a pivotal prelude to the delegate rich Southern primaries that follow it.

Bachmann claims that she merely wants to be a part of the discussion that takes place in 2012. She says that she wants to make sure that all the right issues are addressed in the right way. But for Bachmann to do that, she need not travel thousands of miles to address relatively small crowds of people every week. As a Congresswoman, she has a megaphone big enough for her message to get out. We all know this. That is why after many repeated questions about a run for President, Michele remained coy but admitted that the option is there and that she does not feel rushed to make a decision.

So what is Michele really doing?

Congresswoman Bachmann is trying to play it smart. Thats what shes doing.

No one really knows what the Republican presidential field will look like in 6 months. Aside from Romney, Pawlenty, Santorum and a few other names like Gary Johnson, Herman Cain and Fred Karger, we really cant be sure which way Republican allegiances will fall, because there is no certainty that other names like Gingrich, Daniels, Huntsman, Barbour, Huckabee, DeMint, Perry, Paul, or Palin, are going to be running. Depending upon the combination of candidates that finally do comprise the G.O.P. field, the possibility exists for a new name to enter the field, one that can consolidate the anti-establishment TEA Party movement and bridge it with the conservative base of the Republican Party.

Right now, few if any names are exciting large segments of the TEA Party and conservatives are not gravitating towards any one name yet. Depending on who finally enters the race, Bachmann could actually be that bridge between conservatives and TEA Party activists. Aside from Sarah Palin, few potential candidates other than Herman Cain, fire up that significant segment of the electorate. And Herman Cain really only has a regional base among those voters in the South. Jim DeMint is another very possible bridge between the Republican base and TEA movement members, but the chances of him running, while existent, are not very high. However; in the likelihood that Palin and/or DeMInt do not run who else is there to fill this TEA Party void? Michele Bachmann.

At the same time, we can not underestimate the ability of a well run campaign from some of the likely names running, to hit the right chords and attract both conservatives and the anti-establishment TEA groups. Mitt Romney may actually be able to pitch his Achilles heal, Romney-Care, as an example of states rights and differentiate his plan from Obamacare by demonstrating that the big difference was the right of the state to enact such a program, while at the same time being something that he always knew was inappropriate for a President and the federal government to impose on all the states. And on top of that, Romney does have a pleasing record of private sector experience and conservative credentials that will be attractive to many in the G.O.P..

Then there is Newt Gingrich. Underestimating him will also be a mistake. Newt is a true ideas man and the combination of ideas and a keen ability to articulate the heart and soul of conservatism and American exceptionalism, may astonish a broader spectrum of the electorate than some expect.

Other candidates who have the ability to tap into the overriding sentiments of the electorate are Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and maybe even Tim Pawlenty.

The truth is, the evolving Republican field has the potential to be very crowded and filled with some of the most exceptional leaders the Party has had to offer in generations. In fact it could be so crowded that the conservatives, moderates, and TEA Party activists could be extremely divided and make this one of the closest nomination contests in modern history.

That is where Michele Bachmann comes in.

Bachmann is not going to run for President. She is however going to try to make sure that she selects the next Republican presidential nominee for President.

Regardless of who does or doesnt run, if Bachmann were to run, she would not be able to run for reelection to Congress in 2012 and her congressional seat is her real bully pulpit. However, by simultaneously hitting key primary and caucus states as she tours the country and fires up the forces, Bachmann kills two birds with one stone. She continues to fuel speculation about a presidential bid, a rumor that elevates her stature and solidifies her support from the TEA Party that she has come to represent, and the conservatives that are looking for a hero. This in turn will not only do what Bachmann said and be a part of the discussion, it will also allow her to become a kingmaker.

The Bachmann tour is designed to allow Micheles endorsement to be critical to the likes of a Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels or even a Newt Gingrich. If the G.O.P. presidential field is indeed crowded and if the vote is as divided as it currently looks like could be, Bachmanns fired up conservative and TEA Party forces could make the difference. Especially for someone like Mitt Romney.

To understand some of the motivation behind this, one must realize that Bachmann has found it necessary to make some bold tactical moves that can insure she has a seat at the Washington leadership table. After Republicans took control of the House, Bachmann had hoped to become the House Republican Conference Chair, the fourth highest post in the House. She was ultimately denied this position. Apparently, much of the House Republican leadership was uncomfortable with giving Bachmann the position because many deemed her to be too controversial and believed she participated in too much grandstanding. Imagine that, a politician grandstanding.

While Bachmann put on a happy face and offered her enthusiastic support for the man the leadership did want in the position, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, she was not pleased. Now she is trying to insure that she has a degree of power and influence that even Hensarling wont have..the ability to play kingmaker and determine who the next President may be. Of course in order for to this to work, a few things are required. One; Sarah Palin cant run and two, the field needs to be a crowded one that offers no clear favorite early on.

So despite all the rumors about a Michele Bachmann presidential candidacy in 2012, and regardless of how coy her answers may be when asked if she is running, Bachmann is not running for President but she is running to make sure that she has the ability to pick who the President will be. That said, I must reiterate my early statement……… never say never. In the end, who knows who will be running and exactly where the Republican convention delegates will fall? The Republican presidential nominating contest could be so close that the nominee is determined by Hawaii, where Michele just wrapped up her latest speaking engagement.

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