Monday, December 5, 2011

Donald Trump Gets Trumped

Today, Karl Rove spoke out against Donald Trump saying that Trump should not be allowed to be moderator of a Republican Debate in Iowa at the end of December. Rove raises some good questions against Trump such as "Is it appropriate for someone who is going to endorse a particular candidate to moderate a debate?" And the even better point made by Rove "Can someone who is claiming that he (Trump) might run for president as a third party be allowed to moderate a debate?"

I give kudos to Mr. Rove for speaking out.

I am totally against a Trump moderated debate simply because Trump does not have the proper credentials to be moderator. The most recent moderating performed by "The Donald," was Trump judging the Miss America Pageant. And now he wants to judge a GOP debate? I don't think so. A debate moderated by Trump will create buzz for the network but will ultimately distract from the candidates on the stage and instead people will focus on the "sideshow" of Mr. Trump.

Unfortunately, many of the GOP candidates want Trump's endorsement (or more likely, Trump's millions of dollars deposited in a their Super PAC), so the candidates are reluctant to express their unhappiness with Trump as moderator. It is unfortunate so I am glad Rove took a stand on this issue.

What is funny to me is why the GOP candidates even want Trump's endorsement. Trump was totally discredited as a serious candidate last summer when Trump attacked Obama on "birther" grounds. Trump's false claim that he had people in Hawaii doing research on Obama's birth certificate and "they cannot believe what they are finding" is such a line of BS that when Obama finally released his birth certificate shortly after Osama bin Laden was killed, Trump's poll numbers dropped like a rock.

Trump frequently refers to Ron Paul as a "joke candidate," but the truth is Trump is the joke candidate and he should not be allowed to moderate a Republican debate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Poll: Voters Like Much of Health Care Law — But Not the Individual Mandate

Here is the summary from the WSJ:
Expect campaign strategists to pay close attention to new polling data on the politics of health care out Wednesday from the Kaiser Family Foundation. With health care already a major issue in the 2012 election, the nonpartisan policy group’s latest poll has seven findings message-crafters might find interesting:
1. The law is still unpopular but not as disliked as it was in October. In the latest tracking poll, 44% of voters held an unfavorable opinion of it compared with 51% who said in October that they viewed it unfavorably.
2. Among the 44% who viewed the law unfavorably, more than three quarters said they felt that way at least in part because of their “general feelings about the direction of the country and what’s going on in Washington right now.”
3. Even though there are more voters who don’t like the law than voters who do, some 50% want to keep it, and only 38% definitely know they want to repeal it.
4. Almost every individual element in the package is popular with a majority of the public, especially the requirements that insurers provide easy-to-understand plan summaries (84% like that) and  provide coverage to people regardless of their medical histories (67% like that).  Even increasing the payroll tax on higher-income earners to help fund Medicare is acceptable to more than half of the respondents.
5. A majority of people – 63% — don’t like the requirement that they carry insurance or pay a fine.
6. The poll showed that when respondents were told about specific provisions, the tended to like them, but the often didn’t know they were in the law. That lack of information could hurt Democrats. Much of the law isn’t scheduled to kick in until well after the election — 2014.  But starting this year, insurance companies must cover preventive care  (including contraception) without a copay. Most respondents think that’s great.
7. There’s still some misinformation out there. Some 56% of respondents thought that the overhaul included a new government-run insurance plan to be offered along with private plans. (It didn’t.) And 35% of respondents thought that the law allowed for a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare. (Again, it didn’t.)
The full poll results are here.  It has a margin of error of three percentage points.

For Romney supporters, this is an interesting poll. The public, and especially independents,  definitely like certain parts of the new bill. The parts of the law that people like are:

1) being able to keep kids on their parents insurance till age 26
2) barring insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions
3) barring insurers from having a maximum annual amount of money insurers will pay for catastrophic  or extensive care
4) requiring insurers to provide easy to understand summaries of health care plans
5) increasing payroll taxes on the wealthy to help fund Medicare
6) requiring insurers to cover preventative care without a copay

I think former Senator Bill Frist said it best when he said that about 70% of the new health care law is good. Most conservatives tend to forget that even if the Supreme Court rules ObamaCare as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court will only strike down the elements of the law that are unconstitutional leaving much of the law in place. If much of the law remains in place, who better to deal with the law than a man who has been immersed in a similar law for over six years? Of course Mitt Romney would be the most qualified. 

28 States Now Finished the First Major Threshold in Setting Up Insurance Exchanges

WSJ has the summary that 28 states have now cleared the first phase of implementing a Health Insurance Exchange.

Interestingly, many of the states that are currently suing the federal gov. to overturn the health care law are still implementing the law. Federal law states that if a particular state has not set up an exchange by 2013, then the federal gov. will step in and run the exchange for that state.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mitt Romney's Health Care Consistency

It may come as no surprise to you but the press has gotten a bit lazy. All too often, the press spews out stories about how Romney has "flip-flopped" on an issue without doing their due diligence and actually finding out if the charges against Mitt are true.

Let's talk about health care. Despite what Romney's detractors and rivals would have you think, Romney's health care policies remain the same today as they always have. Romney's health care plan for America can be stated simply and succinctly: Romney wants each state to have the same freedom that he had in Massachusetts to innovate and design their own unique health care policies.

Byron York, chief political correspondent of the Washington Examiner, summarized it best when he said this:

On many, many occasions, Romney said he believes Romneycare is a model for some states to follow but would not be a model for all states and certainly not for a federal plan. 
"I think it's a great plan, but I'm a federalist," Romney said on "Meet the Press" in December 2007. "I don't believe in applying what works in one state to all states if different states have different circumstances." 
In that 2007 interview, Romney pointed out that a relatively small number, 7 percent, of the Massachusetts population was uninsured. "Texas has 25 percent," he said. "Given the kind of differences between states, I'm not somebody who is going to say, 'What I did in Massachusetts I'm going to now tell every state they have to do it the same way.'" 
But as much as he stressed federalism, Romney also stressed that he would be happy to see many states adopt his plan. "I think it's a good model for other states," he continued. "Maybe not every state but most." At the federal level, Romney said he would "give every state the same kind of flexibility we got from the federal government." That's the Romney position, then and now.

Romney wants the same kind of flexibility for other states that "he had" because Romney received special approval from the federal government (the Bush Administration at the time), to bring about the Massachusetts health care reform plan now known as "RomneyCare." The federal government allowed for Massachusetts to spend federal dollars in a totally different way than any other state was allowed to do at the time. Romney got approval to use Medicaid money to not just pay for health care services, but to help the poor buy a health insurance policy from a private insurance company. In order to give each state the same flexibility and freedom that he had, Romney wants to "block grant" all Medicaid funding to the states so that states don't have the excessive rules and regulations that typically come with accepting money from the federal government.

Since the passage of RomneyCare in 2006, Romney has been consistent regarding his plan for other states: States are free to adopt some, all, or none of the MA health care plan.

Here is an interview with Gov. Romney on NPR on April 8, 2006 where he said this:
Q: Stepping back, what impact do you think this will have outside Massachusetts?
A: Around the country, people are watching because they know this is big. Some on the far left don’t like it because it’s not a single-payer universal coverage program. Some on the far right don’t like it because they don’t like government telling people that they need to get insurance. But the great majority of people, both on the left and the right, believe that this is a step forward.
Q: Can this model be used in other states?
A: My guess is a lot of states will choose to adopt one or another of the measures we’ve put in place here. But most will give it a little time and watch to see what our experience is. That’s the great thing about having 50 states and the principle of federalism. Let us experiment ourselves. Let us learn from one another.

Romney believes that states should have the power to experiment and innovate by giving them Medicaid funds without all the regulations. Additionally, states can be encouraged to innovate by offering "innovation grants" to states that come up with the most promising plans on how to lower costs or increase access to health care in their particular state. These innovation grants would help pay for the cost of implementing the new policy.

Here is what Romney says in his book, No Apology:
"My own preference is to let each state fashion its own program to meet the distinct needs of its citizens. States could follow the Massachusetts model if they choose, or they could develop plans of their own. These plans, tested in the state ‘laboratories of democracy,’ could be evaluated, compared, improved upon, and adopted by others."

In summary, Romney's health care policies remain the same today as they have from the beginnning. Romney's health care plan for America is simply to give each state the same freedom that he had in Massachusetts to innovate and design their own unique health care policies by block granting Medicaid funds and providing "innovation grants." From the outset Romney has said that states are free to adopt some, all, or none of the Massachusetts health care law and that the MA health care model would not work in all states. Romney has always emphasized state-level initiatives to improve health care and certainly never advocated a federal plan.

In regard to the press, it's disappointing that the press continues to mindlessly repeat exaggerations and supposed flip-flop stories without doing the research to confirm whether the stories are true, or if a political opponent is behind the exaggerations. As Romney supporters, we can make a difference. If you read an article that falsely claims Romney has flip-flopped or distorted Romney's views, send them an email. Having sent many such emails myself, I can tell you that these emails are often read and considered. For example, there used to be a lot of stories in the press stating how RomneyCare was bankrupting the state of Massachusetts. We don't hear that story being told much anymore because most news organizations now see that it is false. Sending a short email where you back up your claim with links can make a big difference.

To find out more about RomneyCare, including a discussion about individual mandates, be sure to peruse our new "RomneyCare FAQ" page here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New 'RomneyCare FAQ Page' Now Available on Mitt Romney Central!!!

After a lot of work, we here at 'Mitt Romney and Health Care' have teamed up with 'Mitt Romney Central' to produce the internet's first RomneyCare FAQ page!!! It is an exciting moment for us to be able to collaborate with the team at Mitt Romney Central to produce such a thorough and extensive analysis of RomneyCare.

Please take a moment to check out the page here.

Our goal in producing this FAQ page was to provide answers to many of the most common questions and misconceptions people have about RomneyCare. Because health care is such a complicated field, answers to difficult questions can be hard to find. We hope this page will serve as a resource to the public and Romney supporters when looking for answers about RomneyCare.

Of course it is impossible to answer every question, but if you have a burning question that doesn't appear to be answered in the FAQ page, please let us know.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Herman Cain Has an Oops Moment

The New York Times just released this video that portrays a stunning lack of knowledge Herman Cain has about Libya. In the beginning of the video, Herman Cain has to be reminded of what Libya is; he can't even recall what country it is that they are talking about. It is rather stunning.

Check it out here.

Supreme Court To Hear Case Against ObamaCare

The Supreme Court formally announced its decision to hear arguments against President Obama's new health care law. The Supreme Court has devoted a significant amount of time to hearing arguments for and against the health care law, the most time allotted in recent memory.

It is nice to hear that the Supreme Court has finally gotten around to "accepting" the case. I am a little frustrated by the slowness of this process however. The Supreme Court says that it will most likely make a ruling in late July. It is unfortunate that we have to wait 8 months before the ruling. In that 8 months, billions of dollars will be spend by the federal government and the states in order to implement the law.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mark Halperin Discusses Romney's Unique Advantages

Mark Halperin brings up some great points about Romney's unique advantages in the upcoming race. Here are the 10 points that Halperin discusses.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Publishing on Mitt Romney Central

After much work, I have written a summary of RomneyCare for the good folks at Mitt Romney Central. There is a lot of new information about to be published there that I haven't written about on this blog, so be sure to take a look when we finally get the information out.

The information is going to be on a page called "RomneyCare FAQ."

The RomneyCare FAQ page is the kind of thing I wish the Romney campaign had written long ago to address misconceptions about Romney's health care plan. A thorough summary of RomneyCare that answers many of the common misconceptions is something that is badly needed. Because health care is such a complicated topic, misconceptions are extremely common, even pervasive.

I am sure the FAQ page won't answer every question out there that people may have, but it is my hope that it will answer some of the more common questions and help move the ball forward in informing people about the important advances Mitt Romney made to health care. Here's to hoping.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Romney's Medicare Proposal

Here it is in Romney's own words:

Our next president must protect Medicare, improve the program, and keep it sustainable for generations to come. Several principles will guide my efforts.First, Medicare should not change for anyone in the program or soon to be in it. We should honor our commitments to our seniors.Second, as with Social Security, tax hikes are not the solution. We couldn’t tax our way out of unfunded liabilities so large, even if we wanted to.Third, tomorrow’s seniors should have the freedom to choose what their health coverage looks like. Younger Americans today, when they turn 65, should have a choice between traditional Medicare and other private healthcare plans that provide at least the same level of benefits. Competition will lower costs and increase the quality of healthcare for tomorrow’s seniors.The federal government will help seniors pay for the option they choose, with a level of support that ensures all can obtain the coverage they need. Those with lower incomes will receive more generous assistance. Beneficiaries can keep the savings from less expensive options, or they can choose to pay more for a costlier plan.Finally, as with Social Security, the eligibility age should slowly increase to keep pace with increases in longevity.These ideas will give tomorrow’s seniors the same kinds of choices that most Americans have in their healthcare today. The future of Medicare should be marked by competition, choice, and innovation—rather than bureaucracy, stagnation, and bankruptcy. 
A conservative columnist from the New York Times, David Brooks, recently praised the plan:
Romney's Medicare proposal exemplifies the sort of big reformist vision that should be at the center of a serious Republican campaign. 

Brooks goes on to discuss the positives of the plan by saying that it allows for America to experiment with different health care reform options to see which ones are most effective.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ohio Rejects ObamaCare's Individual Mandate

Today Ohio voters rejected ObamaCare's individual mandate that requires all persons to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Even with a large democratic turnout, 66% of Ohio voters rejected the idea of an individual mandate to buy health insurance.

Considering that Ohio is a large swing state, and that there was a heavy democratic turnout, this is a huge victory for the anti-ObamaCare crowd. The vote symbolizes how the individual mandate is unpopular nationwide and should not have been used as a federal plan imposed on all states. As Romney frequently said from the beginning, states should not be forced to use the individual mandate. What worked in Massachusetts may not work in every state, especially if the citizenry are opposed to the mandate approach. Romney always intended that states have an open dialogue discussing different health care reform options and then experiment with health care reform.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

While the World Focuses on Cain, Romney Focuses on Obama

While the national press has been absorbed in the Herman Cain scandal, Romney's campaign remains disciplined and even elegant in its objective of attacking Obama.

It is interesting to watch the Cain scandal unfold and observe Cain's flat-footed and inconsistent response's to the media's constant questioning. Rick Perry also is struggling to regain his footing after a strange speech in New Hampshire where the candidate appeared as though he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

So while other campaigns are struggling just to keep their head above water, Romney's campaign is orchestrating an elaborate attack against Obama where Romney is using a political tactic know as "bracketing" against Obama. Bracketing is where a candidate follows his opponent and speaks at the same venues right after his opponent. Romney has been bracketing Obama in many of Obama's recent media appearances. A smart move for the front-runner that shows not only the Romney campaign's political acumen, but also the decisive edge Romney holds over his rivals. Romney even coined a phrase called "Obama's 4-4-4 plan" which says that Obama's strategy is "in 4 years to increase the national debt by 4 trillion and to have 4 million people out of work." The Obama 4-4-4 plan was so popular that it was even posted on some liberal websites such as Talking Points Memo.

So while Romney's rivals struggle just to keep their heads above water, Romney continues to stay on message and move forward with his goals. It is really quite impressive to witness such a stark contrast.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New York Times: Romney is the Inevitable Nominee

Check out this article in the New York Times stating that Romney is the inevitable GOP nominee. Of course, I hope they are right, but in my opinion I think it is still a little too early to for this kind of prophecy.

My favorite quotes from the article: 

When you have eliminated the impossible, as Sherlock Holmes told Watson, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. This rule holds for presidential contests as well as for whodunits: Romney is improbable, but his rivals are impossible, and so he will be the nominee. 

Romney’s path to the nomination is more wide open than for any nonincumbent in decades. He should win New Hampshire and Nevada, Florida and Michigan. He should dominate the Rust Belt, the Northeast and the Mountain West. And if need be, he can seal the nomination late, with wins in the New York and California primaries.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Herman Cain: Making It Up As He Goes Along

I was amused to hear that Cain has announced a significant change to his 9-9-9 tax plan. After coming under heavy criticism by his rivals saying that Cain's plan would actually raise taxes on the poor and middle class, Cain has decided to give a tax deduction to the poor; a new tax deduction, making his plan a 9-0-9 plan.

Of course Cain is trying to make it appear like this change was part of his plan the whole time, but I just don't buy it. The number of blunders that Cain has made recently underscore the fact that he is a novice who has never held political office.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Romney's Mormonism Takes the Stage

Unfortunately, the Republican race has taken a detour down "Religion Alley" in the last few days. I guess it was bound to happen at some point in the 2012 race, but it is unfortunate just the same.

As a response to the religious discussion that is playing out on all the major news and media outlets, let me draw your attention to the major speech Romney gave about his religion back in 2007 where he attempted to answer many of the same questions that are being asked today.

It is worth re-reading the speech to see where Romney stands on the issue and how he would govern.

Here is the link for Romney's 2007 speech.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ObamaCare to go to Supreme Court

Today the Obama administration announced that it is petitioning the Supreme Court to hear arguments on ObamaCare.

All I have to say is . . . FINALLY! Everyone has known it would come down to the Supreme Court but we have had to take the procedural steps to get to that point, and those steps have taken a year and a half.

Both the Obama administration and the opposing 26 states who are suing the federal government say that they are glad the case will be taken up by the highest court in the land. Both sides put on an air of confidence stating that they were sure their position would be upheld.

One article in USA Today said that a ruling by the Supreme Court would most likely happen before July of next year, putting it just 4 months away from election time. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out with the 2012 elections.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Did Ronald Reagan Support RomneyCare?

OK, OK, Ronald Reagan died two years before the passage of RomneyCare, so Reagan never said anything about RomneyCare. But I recently came across a letter written by Ronald Reagan on Nov. 13, 1979 where Reagan says he is considering a plan very similar to RomneyCare. Take a look and see what you think. (This letter is found in the book, Reagan - A Life in Letters, page 344, compiled by Kiron Skinner).

Background: During the 1980 campaign, Reagan writes to a Russian-American professor and supporter in response to questions on health insurance, Social Security, and the Soviet threat.

November 13, 1979

Dear Professor Nikolaev:

It was good to get your letter and have the benefit of your thinking on some very important subjects. I am most grateful for your generous words about my speech on the 13th.

With regard to the vice presidency, if it should fall to my lot to recommend a vice president, I assure you that it would be someone of my own persuasion.

Regarding national health insurance, you could reassure your student, Miss Lee Catcher, that while I am opposed to socialized medicine, I have always felt that medical care should be available for those who cannot otherwise afford it. I have been looking into a program whereby government might pay the premiums for health insurance for those who cannot afford it and, at the same time, make such premiums for others a tax credit or deduction, preferably credit to encourage more use of private health insurance. There is also the problem of insurance for those catastrophic cases where the medical care goes on for years at a tremendously high cost. I proposed a form of government insurance for that in California when I was governor, but we couldn't get any legislative support for it. I do believe this is a particular problem which must be faced and where the government could have a hand.

Regarding Social Security, I have simply said that the government must do something to resolve the actuarial imbalance which is going to have us finding the well dry down the road a few years. I have, however, always insisted that the first requirement is that those people dependent on Social Security must be assured it will not be denied them or taken from them.

I appreciate very much your views on the world situation and read them with great interest. There can be no question that we must not minimize in any way the threat to the free world by the Soviet Union.

And, last, but certainly not least important, may I thank you very much for your generous contribution to my campaign. I hope you have a very happy holiday season.

Best regards,
Ronald Reagan

I find it most intriguing that Reagan himself was considering a plan where the government pays the premiums for citizens to buy private health insurance. That is RomneyCare at its core; help those who cannot buy insurance by having the government pay all or part of their premiums, thus encouraging people to use private health insurance companies and not government health insurance. I find the two plans remarkably similar. Would Reagan have liked every aspect of RomneyCare? Probably not (and neither did Romney), but the core of RomneyCare, where the government helps citizens buy private insurance by paying for their premiums, is undoubtedly something Reagan would have been very supportive of.

Also, I love Reagan's sentiments of "compassionate conservatism" where he says "I have always felt that medical care should be available for those who cannot otherwise afford it." The GOP today, I fear, has become so concerned with cutting the deficit that they have lost that Reagan compassion to provide medical care for those who need it. We all were watching the last presidential debate in Florida where the moderator, Wolf Blitzer, asked Ron Paul what should be done if a 30 year old person who doesn't have insurance "gets injured or finds himself in a bad way" and needs expensive medical care, but the 30 year old has no way of paying for the care? Blitzer asked, "Should we just let him die?" And the alarming call from the audience was "Yeah!" We can't allow those kinds of sentiments to control our party, but unfortunately, those sentiments are becoming more and more common in the GOP, and it is just not right.

One of the reasons I support Romney is because he is a compassionate conservative, like Reagan, when it comes to health care. Romney has a record of reforming health care and making affordable health care available to everyone. As the Boston Globe calls it, "It was an amazing political feat. Who else on the Republican side had tried to do anything as difficult or ambitious - much less gotten it done?"

Hit or Miss

While the majority of ObamaCare remains unpopular, one provision of the law is quite popular and growing more popular with time. The provision that allows Young Adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents health insurance continues to be popular and is making a big impact on the number of young people covered by medical insurance.

The number of young adults enrolling on their parents insurance plans has grown much faster than expected. It is estimated that nearly one million young adults have acquired medical insurance through their parents in the last year and a half since ObamaCare was passed.

So while some aspect of the law are popular, other aspects of the law remain slow to catch on and even unpopular in some cases. So it appears that the law is Hit or Miss so far.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

State Mandates vs. Federal Mandates

In an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Romney made an interesting argument supporting mandates at the state level versus mandates made at the federal level.

Romney said that even though people may not realize it, the state government has lots of mandates on citizens, mandates that would be unconstitutional for the federal government to do. For example, state governments mandate that all kids go to school. The federal government can't mandate that all kids go to school because the federal constitution doesn't give the federal gov. that power.

I don't think most people realize that each state has its own constitution, and that the federal government also has its constitution. Too often when we talk about "the constitution," we only think of the federal constitution. But it is important to remember that each state has its own constitution as well, and that it is the state constitution that gives the state different powers than the federal government. The powers of the state constitution are much more broad and encompassing because it is meant to fill in the gaps where the federal constitution has been prohibited to go. The founding fathers wanted a limited federal government and as such, they gave it a very limited and narrow set of powers. It is the state governments that fill in the gaps with their own unique constitutions.

Also, state governments mandate that drivers must have auto insurance. The federal government can't do that either. Romney goes on to say that some people counter that auto insurance is only required if you have a car. And Mitt responds to that by saying "Well what state do you live in where you don't need a car?"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tentative Primary Schedule

Thanks to Matt Coulter at Race 42012, we have a good breakdown of the primary calendar at this point.

January 23: Iowa
January 31: New Hampshire
February 4: Nevada
February 14: South Carolina
February 21: Florida
February 28: Arizona, Michigan

Monday, September 12, 2011

Arizona Defies RNC

Arizona throws the first wrench in the primary schedule today. AZ gov. Jan Brewer has shown herself before to be willing to take risks and defy convention. She did that today by announcing that the AZ presidential primary will be held on Feb. 28, 2012, a week before it was supposed to. The announcement is a smack in the face to the RNC who determines the voting schedule of each state.

AZ now becomes the first state to set their voting schedule before the timeframe they were allowed by the RNC.

Currently Florida has its primary scheduled for Jan 31 which is a tentative date but most members of congress in Florida are reluctant to change it to something compatible with what the RNC wants.

Michigan will most likely be next to defy the RNC and schedule an early voting primary.

All of these states are likely to be good states for Romney, so I am fully supportive of the changes. The RNC has a major problem on their hands and hopefully these states will start a dialogue with the RNC in order to develop a more fair primary schedule for all 50 states.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Big 7 Swing States

According to a new analyses by one of the country's prominent electoral college experts, there are seven states that will determine who becomes president in the 2012 election cycle.

Those states are:
Colorado - 9 electoral votes
Florida - 29 electoral votes
Iowa - 6 electoral votes
Nevada - 6 electoral votes
Ohio - 18 electoral votes
Virgia - 13 electoral votes
New Hampshire -4 votes

The big prize is Florida of course with its huge number of electoral votes. However, the Republican candidate is going to have to win almost all of those states in order to win the nomination.

The 2010 census gave more electoral college votes to the GOP by awarding traditionally conservative states more electoral college delegates. That puts more pressure on the Dems to win as many states as possible.

Hispanics will play a huge role in this election. States with large hispanic populations such as FL, NV, CO can expect large efforts to win over the hispanic voting bloc.

A 3rd party candidate could throw a wrench in the balance of power in these seven swing states. If there is a viable third party candidate, the electoral college numbers could be dramatically different. However, not since George Wallace in 1968 has there been a third party appealing to right wing voters. We all remember how Ralph Nader (from the left) caused Al Gore to loose the nomination in 2000 by taking just enough votes in Florida.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Proud to be a Romney Supporter

I just read a great article summarizing the "DeMint Forum" today in South Carolina. I did not have a chance to watch any of the proceedings today so I had to read about it in the news. But I was very impressed with the moderate tone that Romney took today.

While many of the other candidates are constantly trying to outdo one another in how libertarian and far right they can be, Romney refuses to take the same approach. Romney came across as a moderate pragmatist and a problem-solver rather than a divisive ideologue looking for yet another confrontation that will take the country to the brink of crisis yet again.

I think the country is tired of the extreme partisanship in Washington these days and Romney is representing the moderates of the Republican party, the "silent majority" who so often get overlooked.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Can Perry Criticize RomneyCare?

A good article on The Hill describes the difficulty Perry will have in attacking Romney on health care.

#1) Perry leads a state that has the highest uninsured rate in the country. Contrast that with Romney who helped Massachusetts become the state with the lowest uninsured rate in the country.

#2) 10th Amendment - Perry has said that he strongly supports states rights in crafting their own solutions to their own problems. Perry has even stated that MA had every right to do what it did.

#3) A letter Perry wrote to Hillary Clinton is making headlines because in the letter Perry lauds the Ms. Clinton for her efforts to reform healthcare.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Go Arizona and Florida!

For too long, the presidents of our country have been selected by three very small and rather insignificant states; Iowa, New Hamphire and South Carolina. These three states have a monopoly on power when it comes to selecting the next president of the United States, and they are intent on keeping it that way. We must ask ourselves, 'Why these three states?' and 'What makes them so special?' And the answer is NOTHING! 

These states reap huge benefits by being the first in the nation to vote for the president. First, they get tens of millions of dollars in revenue from the massive spending each presidential campaign requires in each state. (Consider the hotels, office space, straw polls, radio and television advertising, etc, that each campaign must do).  Second, the candidates have to modify their policies to fit the unique desires of that state. For example, corn and ethanol subsidies in Iowa are hugely popular in the state, but not in the nation overall. Imagine the power a state possesses when it has the ability to modify a presidential candidate's policies, (especially if that state's needs are contrary to the needs of the nation overall). It is simply not fair that three small states have essentially all the power to select the next president.

But the winds of change are blowing. In 2008, we witnessed several states break ranks and vote earlier than they were "allowed" by the Republican National Committee in order to have greater influence over the presidential selection process. States like Michigan, Florida, and Arizona all "broke" the rules and held voting contests before they were supposed to. It looks like this voting cycle will be no different, and hurray for that!

Traditionally, the West has been left out of the presidential selection process. Recently, however, Nevada was allowed by the RNC to move its primary earlier, and now votes right after New Hampshire which is a step in the right direction, but simply not enough.

Arizona has to decide by this Saturday when it will hold its primary and Gov. Jan Brewer is leaning toward Jan. 31 which is a couple weeks before it is supposed to vote. Florida and Michigan are also considering similar moves.

Romney polls very well in the West and in states like Michigan, Florida and Arizona. I wholeheartedly support these states moving up their primary voting time in order to break the monopoly that IA, NH and SC have traditionally had. Probably the only fair voting schedule is a rotating schedule where each state alternates as one of the first three.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bill Frist: Health care law here to stay

A good article in Politico today quotes Bill Frist as saying that even if the healthcare mandate is declared unconstitutional, the majority of the law will remain intact.

If you listen to candidates on their stump speeches, one might think that "repealing Obamacare" will be an easy thing to do.  In fact, repealing Obamacare is impossible without a republican supermajority in the House and Senate.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ladies and Gentleman, We Have a New Frontrunner

After Rick Perry's big announcement and the massive publicity he received shortly thereafter, Rick Perry is the new national GOP Frontrunner, and by a large margin.

It looks like Rick Perry's post-announcement bounce has been much bigger than many political observers, including myself, ever expected. According to Gallup, Rick Perry is the top choice of 29% of GOP voters nationwide while Romney comes in second at a 17%. Even Michele Bachmann, with her post-announcement bounce, didn't exceed Romney in national polling, and certainly not to the extent that Rick Perry has.

How long will this bounce last is anybody's guess. No doubt Rick Perry will come under greater scrutiny and criticism now that he is the Republican to beat. I personally think that it is Rick Perry's views on Social Security and Medicare that will do greatest damage to his popularity. Perry stated in his most recent book "Fed Up!" that Social Security is unconstitutional and should be abolished and that Medicare should never have been created. These are serious statements that most of the middle age and elderly, including Republicans, simply will not support.

In regard to healthcare, GOP voters will have to make a choice. Do you want to vote for a guy who unintentionally inspired ObamaCare but has vowed to repeal it and still wants to preserve traditional Medicare, or do you want to vote for a guy who would end not just ObamaCare but also Medicare entirely? I think the choice for most middle age and elderly citizens is an easy one.

Romney cares deeply about the healthcare crisis that American is in and wants to fix it. Perry on the other hand, seems to be content with repealing the healthcare of millions of elderly Americans despite their inability to pay for such coverage on the private market and has offered no credible alternative plan to replace Medicare.

It is worth noting that Texas has 22% of its children without medical insurance, while Massachusetts has less than 1%. Based on Perry's decade as governor of TX, does anyone believe that he has a plan to fix our healthcare system and provide healthcare for the children in this country? Not a chance.

Here are a few other facts quoted in a recent article about Perry's health insurance difficulties: "Of all 50 states, Texas has the worst rate of health insurance coverage, and mental health spending, and the second worst rate of low-income people covered by Medicaid and per capita spending on Medicaid. It has the lowest percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care. It ranks 44th in health care expenditures per capita." 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Bachmann is quoted as saying that if she gets elected president, she will bring gasoline prices back down to $2 per gallon. Ridiculous.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Team Romney Sees Cracks in the Armor of Perry

Perry entered the race just three days ago, and much has already emerged about this candidate. Already, cracks in the once formidable armor of Perry have surfaced.

For example, Perry recently created a stir by suggesting that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would commit "treason" if Bernanke instituted a third round of quantitative easing to help boost the economy. That comment, though eyebrow raising, is forgivable. But his other statements, such as stating that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, or that medicare and social security should be abolished, are toxic unforgivable statements in any race. I think Perry's stances on Social Security and Medicare are going to be big trouble for him as the race continues.

Also, in Texas, 22% of children have no medical insurance. Compare that with less than 1% in Massachusetts.

In the beginning it seemed that any negatives of Rick Perry were hard to find, but what a difference three days makes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Trifecta Emerges

After the Iowa straw poll, more clarity has now emerged in the GOP presidential race. TPaw has now bowed out of the race, and I hope a few more will as well like Santorum, Gingrich, and Cain. There now appears to be a solid three candidates who have potential to win some of the early voting states. Romney, Bachmann, and Perry are now the powerful Trifecta in the GOP race. It seems very likely that one of these three, most likely Romney or Perry, will win the GOP nomination.

Splitting the Vote

Interestingly, Bachmann and Perry will have to compete directly with one another for the Tea Party and Social Conservative vote. There is a high possibility that Bachmann and Perry will attack each other in order to solidify support, which will not only damage the reputation of each candidate, but most likely split the Tea Party vote and the religious conservative vote. A divided Tea Party is a good thing for Mitt Romney.

The Long Shot Candidate

I see Bachmann as a long shot candidate so I highly doubt she will win the GOP nomination. However, due to her family history in Iowa, it is very possible that she could win Iowa. I believe that most voters support a candidate for very simple reasons and I think a lot of Iowans will vote for her due to her family history in the state. If it weren't for Bachann's family history in the state, I would say this is a two person race between Romney and Perry.

So what would happen if Bachmann wins Iowa, Romney wins New Hampshire, and Perry wins South Carolina? We would have a long, drawn out nominating process.

Two Things Nobody is Talking About

First, why is nobody talking about how close Ron Paul came to winning the straw poll? Ron Paul had an amazing second place finish, losing to Bachmann by only 150 votes. If you look at how Ron Paul did last time in 2007 and compare it with today, that is an impressive turn of events.

Second, Nevada holds its primary right after New Hampshire. It bothers me that nobody in the press corp is giving Nevada any importance in the nominating process. The press is still stuck in the old days where the only states that matter are Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Nevada is a place that Romney won last time and where he is widely expected to win again so it is quite troubling to me that Nevada is being overlooked and considered insignificant.

How Often the Pundits are Wrong

Now that some clarity is emerging on the GOP field, its worth looking back and holding the political pundits and talking heads accountable for their predictions. After analyzing many pundits predictions, what we realize is that pundits are wrong most of the time. Consider a few examples, Lawrence O'donnell on MSNBC proclaimed many times in the recent months "I think Tim Pawlenty is going to get the GOP nomination." O'donnell's prediction wasn't just wrong, it was colossally wrong when you consider that the candidate he predicted to win wasn't even a competitor. In fact, TPaw was the very first candidate to drop out of the race.

Second, George Will said a few months ago "There are only three people who have a chance of winning the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, or Mitch Daniels. And I think it will be either Pawlenty or Daniels." Wrong again Mr. Will.

Third, Mark Halperin, who I generally like, stated in a recent article in Time magazine that the top three candidates for president are Romney, Pawlenty, and Huntsman. With Pawlenty being the first candidate to drop out and Huntman going nowhere fast, it seems obvious that Halperin's "Big Three" were way off. I guess if you get one out of three right, you deserve to be Time's chief political correspondent.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Georgia Court Rules ObamaCare's Mandate as Unconstitutional

Big news regarding Obamacare came today as a Federal Court in Georgia ruled that Obama's individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The ruling now makes it even more likely that the Supreme Court will take up the case sometime in its next session starting in October.

As far as I am concerned, the Supreme Court ruling can't come soon enough.

Interestingly, one expert noted that Romneycare is definitely constitutional due to the unique powers given to the states, while the federal government has a very defined set of limited authority.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rick Perry Vs. Mitt Romney

Politico had an interesting piece this morning comparing Mitt Romney with Rick Perry. Despite the obvious fact that Rick Perry has great appeal to social/religious conservatives, Perry also has some other strengths on the business conservative side. First, Perry's state of Texas has led the nation in job creation over the last couple years. Definitely a strength in this upcoming election when all people can do is talk about "jobs, jobs, jobs." Perry also worked as a partner with his father on a ranch after he served in the Air Force.

So it appears as though Perry has a little bit of experience in business on his ranch, but not nearly as much, or as thorough, as Romney. So if we are talking about depth of intellect, and depth of experience, Romney wins in a landslide. But there are a lot of farmers out there, and Perry will be able to connect with them in a way that a business CEO like Romney can't.

The other point of course, is that Perry has military experience, something Romney doesn't have. For better or for worse, military connections are a  big benefit to Republican candidates. So in many ways, Perry seems like a pretty well rounded candidate. He has experience with all three legs of the  conservative "stool," including social/values voters, military voters, and economic/fiscal voters.

Rick Perry also has some substantial negatives. His primary negative, at least from my point of view, is that he has spent almost his whole life as a politician. Not a good attribute in many Republican circles. Also, Rick Perry has done no preparation for his presidential run, so his national network is fairly weak right now, just like his knowledge of foreign affairs. The world is complicated and you just can't learn all the details of international affairs in a few months. Late entry candidates, like Fred Thompson in 2007, have a difficult time gaining tractions and acquiring the national network and knowledge needed to run for president.

Lastly, do Americans really want another Texan president? Perry may sound too similar to George W. Bush and that may lead many people to not vote for Perry.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One more hit piece

If you can't tell, I am not a big fan of Michele Bachmann. So here is one last hit piece on Ms. Bachmann and then I promise I will stop. . . . probably.

In the latest news, Michele Bachmann, who can't say enough evil about the stimulus program, actually requested stimulus funds for her district.

There, I said it. Now that is probably enough of the hit pieces on Bachmann. Besides, she is about to be eclipsed by Rick Perry anyway.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stock Market Falls as Debt Ceiling Inches Closer

As the country moves closer and closer to default on Aug.2, Wall Street and other large investors are beginning to get nervous. Just one week ago, the notion that congress would default on its debts was unthinkable. Most investors didn't believe default by the U.S. government was even a remote possibility.

Now, as the prospect of defaulting on its obligations becomes more and more of a possibility, the stock market investors are beginning to react. In the last four days, the stock market has declined 3.3%. That is a pretty significant decline considering that the U.S. Stock market has only gone up about 7.5% for the whole year.

Keep in mind that Wall Street investors are a jittery, cautious bunch. In general, most investors will sell their investment if there is significant reason to believe that their investment is in trouble. And trouble is what we have in Washington right now with the Tea Party making any compromise impossible. That is why the stock market has declined in the last few days. I think we will see an even greater flight away from U.S backed securities as investors turn toward gold as the week goes on.

I hope I am over-analyzing the data and overreacting to the new reality that the U.S. Gov. may actually default. I hope the stock market doesn't continue its plunge and that congress reaches a deal in the next few days. And most of all, I certainly hope that many of the dire predictions regarding the consequence of a U.S. default from economists all across the spectrum are overly catastrophic and that the U.S. will not go into another recession.

John McCain said it right when he said that we as a country can bicker and argue about the role and size of government, but we shouldn't put at risk the credibility of the United States. There are more responsible ways of reducing government spending. This sort of political gridlock needs to stop for the good of this country's citizens and the good of the U.S. reputation abroad.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bach-mania - The Bubble Before the Burst

Bachmann has been a virtual gift to the media and both conservative and liberal talking heads. She has provided a flare of entertainment and intrigue to the 2012 race that no other candidates have accomplished.

However, in my opinion, all that flare and media attention has done more harm than good to Bachman's image. Bachmann is slowly setting herself up, (or perhaps the media is setting her up), to be the next Sarah Palin.

A recent article discusses Bachmann's laundry list of gaffes and mis-steps thus far in her campaign, and believe me there have been some major ones. I am afraid that Bachmann is becoming more of a sideshow rather than a serious candidate.

It is certainly possible that Bachmann will ride this bubble of media attention to a victory in the Ames Straw Poll next month, or perhaps even an Iowa caucus victory. But with Rick Perry poised to enter the race, Bachmann stands to loose much of her base to the Texas Governor. In my view, Rick Perry will swoop in and steal Bachmann's thunder, and in the end, it will be a contest between Romney and Perry. A Romney-Perry ticket sounds pretty good to me these days.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Michele Bachmann Leaves Her Church

The new darling of the religious right, Rep. Michele Bachman, has now left the Lutheran church she attended for over a decade.

Bachmann's move appears to be politically motivated due to the timing of her departure from her church. Ms. Bachmann quit her church one week after announcing that she was running for president. Prior to Bachmann's departure from her church, she had been receiving increased questioning on a controversial doctrine of her church which states that the pope is the anti-christ. This doctrine is, understandably, offensive to many Catholics. And Catholics make up a major voting block of the religious right, a group Ms. Bachmann hopes to win over in her presidential campaign.

Some questions come to my mind after reading this new development from Ms. Bachmann. Can someone become the favorite candidate of the religious right when that candidate just left their own church? One would assume that the religious right prefers someone how is a religious and church-going person.

Another question: The timing of her departure from her church also sends a message that she quit her church for political aspirations. Will the religious right accept Bachmann, or any candidate for that matter, who quits their church for political gain?

Other candidates have downplayed their religious affiliations recently in order to win approval from a skeptical public. Jon Huntsman, when asked about his Mormonism, said "Well, I am not a very religious person," and " I believe in truth from many religions." Newt Gingrich joined the Catholic church not too long ago for reasons we can only speculate.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has not backed away from his religion despite undergoing extensive criticism. Even to the point of delivering a major address during his last campaign about his religious affiliation. Romney's refusal to back away from his religion stands in stark contrast to many of his rivals for the Republican nomination.

A troubling question emerges as we read about the many candidates who seem to be playing games with their spiritual and religious convictions. Will the religious right notice or care if a candidate leaves something that should be sacred to them in order to win approval from the public? Will backing away or quitting one's religion actually be a benefit? Or will the American public appreciate a candidate who adhere's to their religious conviction even when it is not particularly popular to do so?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Michele Bachmann

Since Michele Bachmann came on the scene not that long ago, she has risen in popularity and become a top tier candidate for president. Bachmann's poll numbers have risen rapidly in Iowa as well as the nation overall.

I believe that most of her popularity rise is short-lived and a temporary bounce from her recent announcement that she is getting in the presidential race. However, I must say that i am somewhat alarmed by republican voters' willingness to jump onto the Bachman bandwagon. After all, Bachman has only been on the national scene for 4 1/2 years. Does anyone really believe that 4 1/2 years is adequate preparation to be president of the United States?

As an example of Bachman's inexperience, she has repeatedly argued that there is no need to raise the debt limit. Bachman believes that all the talk about the dangers of not raising the debt limit is just "smoke and mirrors."

I think Bachman is completely in error on this point. Many authoritative sources have projected the dire consequences of not raising the debt limit. Among those sources are National Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the gov. of China, Moody's Rating Agency, S&P Ratings Agency, hundreds of large U.S. companies, AARP, and the list goes on and on. It's obvious to me that not raising the debt limit would be catastrophic.

Ms. Bachman doesn't realize the absolutely fundamental bedrock that the U.S. government bonds play in the business and investing world. One of the first and most basic fundamentals of all investing is that the safest investment in the world is a U.S. bond. The U.S.'s ability to pay its debts is, and should remain, unquestionably sure. To put in question this bedrock of international business and investment, is to shake the foundations of the financial world as we know it.

This is why I believe that electing Michele Bachman, a novice, would not just be a political mistake, it would be a reckless and dangerous mistake. It takes a long time to learn what one needs to know in order to be POTUS, and Michele Bachman simply isn't ready.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The "Huckabee Primary"

An interesting article at Politco this week discusses a phenomenon going on right now called "the Huckabee Primary." The article asserts that many of the candidates for president are trying to capture the "Huckabee voters" by cozying up to evangelical/religious voters and trying to appear as staunchly socially conservative as possible.

It is an interesting contest that we have in American politics where politicians do their best to appeal to voters' religious sensibilities. But the part of the article that I thought was most interesting was how splintered the evangelical voting bloc is this time around.

This election cycle, there are many staunch social conservatives and religious darlings. With so many social conservatives in the race, the possibility of a divided social conservative base is a very real possibility. Last election cycle, there was really only one candidate, Mike Huckabee, who fit the bill. But this time around there is Rick Santorum, Michele Bachman, Tim Pawlenty, and others (perhaps Sarah Palin) who are fighting for the Huckabee voters.

With so many candidates in the race who are trying to appeal to the religious voters, I think that a divided voting bloc among religious voters is the most likely outcome. So just like how a moderate, John McCain, won the nomination last time due to Huckabee and Romney dividing the conservative base, Romney stands to benefit from a divided evangelical/religious base this time around.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mitt's Fundraising Strategy

The response from the press on Romney's fundraising for the last quarter has been lukewarm (despite the fact that Romney raised more money than all his rivals combined). But I believe that the response to Romney's numbers is just the way Romney wants it.

Romney's objective during this portion of the campaign is to lay low, and not attract too much attention to himself. His fundraising numbers fulfill that goal. He had nothing to gain by blowing his competition out of the water by an insane degree. His rivals fundraising numbers were dismal. Romney knew he could save some of his fundraising for the following quarter.

I am surprised that so few in the press are counting the money raised by his Super-Pac, which totals three times the amount of most of his other rivals. I think Romney diverted some of his fundraising to his Super-Pac in order to make his numbers look lower.

There is a danger in coming out too strong, peaking too early, and distancing yourself from the pack too much at this stage in the race. Romney knows this and is taking proper steps to keep as low a profile as possible.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Money Race

The first quarter of fundraising for the GOP presidential candidates has officially ended. And now it is time for the great "reveal" where the candidates release their totals to the public. So far only three candidates have released the total amount of money raised by their campaigns, and it is fair to say that the totals are disappointing. None of these candidates reached their fundraising goals.

Tim Pawlenty - 4.2 million. His goal for the quarter was 5 million.

Jon Huntsman Jr. - 4.1 million. However, 2 million of that money was given by Huntsman himself.

Herman Cain - 2.46 million. Not a lot of money for a presidential candidate.

All of these numbers seem even less impressive when one considers that the Ames Straw Poll this August will cost the candidates about $2 million just to participate. So that leaves very little money left in the bank for other campaign expenses.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Are You A Flake"

An audacious question asked by Fox New Sunday host Chris Wallace, became the talk of the political town last Sunday. After citing numerous gaffes committed by Michele Bachman, Chris Wallace asked Bachman rather bluntly, "Are you a flake?" The question stunned Ms. Bachman, and she wasn't quick to forgive Chris Wallace the next day for asking the question.

However, there seems to be a bit of irony in the question because the very next day, on the same day Bachman announced her candidacy for the presidency, Bachman committed another gaffe that made news. Bachman mistakingly identified her hometown as the birthplace of John Wayne, the actor, but in fact, John Wayne was born in another city in Iowa over 120 miles away. The only John Wayne that made headlines in Ms. Bachman's hometown was a serial killer named John Wayne Gacy. The gaffe is especially funny due to Bachman comparing herself to John Wayne Gacy by saying she had the "same spirit" in her as John Wayne Gacy. Hilarious!

Then the next day, Bachman stated another dubious fact that the founding fathers fought to get rid of slavery, when many of them owned slaves. George Stephanopolous asked her to explain the assertion more fully and she went on to state how John Quincy Adams, even though he was just a boy, fought to rid the US of slavery. The only problem with that claim is that John Quincy Adams wasn't one of the founding fathers.

After these two gaffes, Chris Wallace must feel a bit of justification in asking such an audacious question.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Time Mag: The GOP's New Rules

During the 2008 campaign, one could scarcely find a positive comment written about Mitt Romney by the writers of Time Magazine. However, the folks at Time Magazine during this election cycle appear to be warming to Mitt Romney. Here are a few examples from the most recent issue of Time Magazine entitled "The GOP's New Rules:"

-"The retooled edition of candidate Romney is much improved."

-Romney's answers during a Q&A in NH "seemed thoughtful and interesting-and far more nuanced than the conservative repertoire."

-During the NH debate, "Romney seemed comfortable in his own skin-the most important positive quality a candidate can display-a far cry from his sweaty robot impersonations in 2008."

-In regard to Romney's ads, Klein states positively "They seem the sort of ad that a Democrat might have run in a different cycle and effectively hammered home Romney's theme."

-Joe Klein even goes on to say when referring to Romney "He sort of looks like a Republican President should."

The article goes on to compare Romney with McCain in that they both were not particularly well-liked by the Republican establishment, and how they both authored controversial legislation (Romneycare for Romney and Campaign Finance Reform for McCain). And both believed in global warming, but yet McCain secured the nomination just as Romney stands a strong possibility of doing likewise.

Of course the Time article also had some critical things to say about Romney, but still, it is a large improvement from 2008. Perhaps the media is warming to Romney because they understand him better, or perhaps he is more moderate than many of his rivals. I have to admit that I am surprised by this turn of events, but glad to see it none the less.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mitt Blasts Obama on Troop Withdrawal

Gov. Romney is blasting Obama for going against the advice of the Generals in Afghanistan. It appears that after consulting with his generals, Obama has decided not to take their advice. Obama seems to be motivated more by political arguments rather than American safety and success and Romney is blasting Obama for it.

I think this is a risky move for Obama to go against the advice of his generals. Romney is right to call him out on it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mitt Rolls Out a Ton of Endorsements in Michigan

In a key battleground state, Romney rolled out a long list of endorsements. Romney won Michigan in 2008 and has strong ties to the state.

By any account, that is an impressive list of endorsements this early on in the campaign.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Obama Administration Discontinues Waiver Program

Sensing a political fallout, or at least a political vulnerability, the Obama administration has announced that it will discontinue the waiver program that allows large companies to opt out of Obamacare's burdensome requirements.

The Obama administration will discontinue the waiver program in September, just ahead of the 2012 election cycle.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Debate Roundup

The GOP presidential contenders had their first serious debate last night in NH. Here's my thoughts:

1) Herman Cain lost big time. He had a great showing in the debate a few weeks ago which boosted his national profile considerably. But with good performances comes higher expectations, and Herman Cain didn't deliver last night. He committed a gaffe in his comments about "being uncomfortable" having a Muslim in his cabinet. Overall, he came across sounding like a novice. His inexperience has begun to shine through and I believe that he has peaked in this race.

2)Ron Paul - Dr. Paul's libertarian leanings are to radical for the mainstream public. Every time he is asked a question, he pontificates libertarian talking points about how the government shouldn't be involved in anything in the first place. Do people realize how radical and drastic Rep. Paul's beliefs are? Do people realize how impossible it would be to implement any laws Rep. Paul proposes due to their extreme nature? The Senate and House would never go along with most of his proposals. Ron Paul has had a good run in presidential politics for the last few cycles, but I believe his support has peaked as well.

3) Gov. Romney - Both Time Magazine's Mark Halperin, Politico and National Review Online all stated that Romney was the clear winner of the debate. His opponents didn't attack him on any of his vulnerabilities. Plus, Romney stayed on message about the economy and appeared to have a commanding control of the issues.

The media had hoped last night's debate would be similar to a "steel cage death match" between Romney and Pawlenty, with Pawlenty relentlessly attacking Romney on health care and abortion. But I think it would have been a mistake for Pawlenty and the other rivals to go on the attack so soon. It's early in the campaign process and the candidates don't want to go negative this early.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Health Care Skeletons in the Closet

A good summary of GOP presidential candidates and there past support for health care mandates and Romney's plan in Massachusetts is out today on Politico.

Most of the candidates running for president have expressed support for a mandate in the past.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Matt Drudge Favors Romney?

An interesting, though quite speculative piece, from Politico states that Matt Drudge, founder of The Drudge Report, favors Romney.

The piece notes that Drudge has had a number of positive articles on Romney in the last few months, but a precious few have been for other candidates. Romney's competitors have noticed as well and are quick to express their frustration with the situation. Of course, everyone knows that if the tables were turned, Romney's competitors would be more than happy to be the recipient of such treatment from Drudge.

Truthfully, I don't think Drudge is particularly favoring Romney. I think the reason Romney has gotten some favorable articles is because all other top tier candidates for president haven't been particularly noteworthy. Pawlenty has been "boring," unexciting and unable to gain traction, Huntsman hasn't even announced he is running yet and is very new on the scene, Gingrich' campaign took 29 days after his announcement to implode, Palin hasn't announced that she is running yet nor has she made any strong overtures that she will run. With the exception of Herman Cain, nobody in the race has made any significant strides. There is just not a lot of strong material to work with thus far for the GOP. I think that is real reason why Drudge has been putting up positive articles on Romney lately.

Of course, I am happy that Drudge has been using his incredibly influential blog to help out a great candidate.

I have also noticed recently that USA Today seems to be helping Romney out quite a bit. Just look at todays headline. USA Today is America's most widely read newspaper and a far bigger fish in the media world than Drudge. It appears as though Romney, who struggled in 2008 to get favorable press attention, may have the winds at his back this time.

On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal editorial board seems to have it out for Romney by frequently publishing negative characterizations on Romneycare. So maybe Romney has some friends in the media world, but it is nowhere close to the "slobbering love affair" that Obama had in 2008.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Newt's Campaign Implosion

Could anyone have guessed that Newt, the great architect of the GOP comeback in the '90's, would have such a dismal start to his campaign? It really is astonishing. I mean, the guy has been around politics his whole life. For the last 20 years he has done nothing but study the political process and get paid for speaking to groups who are seeking political insight to the toughest problems of the day. Afterall, he has been considering running for president for more than a decade. And now it looks like not just his campaign is over, but his reputation as a political genius will be severely tarnished.

Let's enumerate all the mis-steps of Newts campaign thus far. Not only did he flub his announcement into the presidential race, but then he says a major gaffe that Paul Ryan's plan is "right wing social engineering," and now almost his entire set of senior advisors quit his campaign en masse because they are sick of him not putting the time and effort into the campaign. Newt's campaign has been a trainwreck from day one. This is slightly reminiscent of Guiliani's joke of a campaign in 2008.

Mitt to Skip Iowa Straw Poll

Today Gov. Romney announced that he will not participate in the Iowa Straw poll. I think this is a smart move. Last time Romney spent loads of money and time in a state just to win the straw poll and then lose the caucuses.

I am glad that Gov. Romney didn't give in to the pressure from Iowans on this one. Iowa is just not the ideal place for Mitt to spend his time and money. Romney is going to focus on states that he has a much higher chance of winning such as NH, NV, FL, MI in order to win the nomination.

Mark Halperin of Time Magazine believes this is all part of Romney's "Possum" strategy of laying low or playing dead in order to preserve his frontrunner status and reduce the likelihood of losing that status. Halperin goes on to say that Romney really has nothing to gain from winning the Ames Straw Poll. If he wins then he remains the frontrunner, but if he loses or even barely wins, then the press would have a field day painting Romney as "loosing steam."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The New Yorker: Mitt Romney, health-care hero

An in-depth article by The New Yorker magazine of Mitt Romney and his healthcare law was released this week. I found the title of the piece very complimentary. The title was "Mitt Romney, health-care hero." I have to admit that I agree with the title whole-heartedly due to the fact that Mitt Romney has been the only person to reform healthcare in any significant way for decades.

The article itself wasn't overly complimentary but did bring up some interesting points that I would like to share.

- By far the most interesting and complimentary statement of the article was "Romney had accomplished a longstanding Democratic goal - universal health insurance - by combining three conservative policies." I like that line because it is easy to forget that Romney beat Democrats at their own goal of achieving universal health insurance. But Romney did it not with a government takeover, but with conservative principles. Romney's healthcare plan was a novel approach to fixing his state's healthcare dilemma.

- The article states, "most conservatives praised Romney's plan" when it was first passed in 2006. Another interesting point that we often forget when listening to the dialogue that goes on in the press these days.

- Robert Moffit, a policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said of Romney's plan back in 2006 "The real trick is to retain what is best in American health care while correcting its deficiencies and expanding upon its indisputable benefits. Massachusetts has done just that."

-"The Bush Administration sent a letter praising the passage of the new law." The fact that the Bush administration was also involved in the creation of Romney's healthcare law is often overlooked. In fact, the article states that "if the healthcare law worked, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush could both take credit for reforming health care by using market-based ideas and without raising taxes." Without the support of the Bush administration, Romney's healthcare law would never have become a reality.

-"Obama ran an ad in which he criticized Clinton's proposal for a health care mandate." Obama performed a major flip-flop on this issue by first being against a health care mandate during his campaign and then making the mandate the centerpiece of his health care reform.

- The article concedes that "in many ways" it is true that Romneycare resulted from the unique circumstances of his state, and was not necessarily meant as a national plan. One of the ways that Romneycare was unique to MA was in the way that it was funded. The funding of Romneycare was done in a unique way without raising taxes, but Obamacare required raising taxes in order to accomplish the same goals. The article goes on to state "It's not entirely unreasonable to praise Mass-care with bashing Obamacare." Obamacare does raise taxes, costs more, and has many additional provisions and regulations which expand government influence much more significantly into the healthcare market.

All of these points are easy to forget. I was glad to see that many of them were discussed at length in the article. Conservatives should keep these points in mind as they consider voting for Romney in the primaries.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shock Poll: Romney Beats Obama

The Drudge Report posted the news that a recent poll from Washington Post-NBC showed that Romney actually beat Obama for the first time. I know I shouldn't get excited about polls at this point due to the early nature of the race, but this is good news for Romney.

The majority of Americans are leaning toward voting for Romney due to his perceived strength on the economy. Most Americans now have a negative view of the direction of this country and the economic prospects for the country in the future.

The most interesting news of all was that Romney significantly beat Obama with independents. Both of the major parties supported their nominee predictably, but it was the independent that shifted their support toward Romney to put him over Obama.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Romney's New Website

Gov. Romney just rolled out a new updated website. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, take a look at

All I want to know is whether or not we will see "Mini Mitt" again this year!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gov. Romney Officially Enters the Race

On a New Hampshire farm, Gov. Romney officially entered the 2012 presidential race. Romney's speech focused primarily on the economy and particularly the unemployment rate. Romney said that President Obama has had his chance to prove whether or not he can handle economic challenges, but now it is clear that Obama has "failed" when it came creating jobs in this country.

Current unemployment is 9.1% and rising once again for the third straight month. Economists project that unemployment rates will not improve significantly between now and election day. Economists project that the unemployment rate on election day will be between 7.8% and 8.5%.

No president since World War II has won reelection when the unemployment rate was above 7.2%, according to the New York Times.

The slow recovery of the economy is creating a huge opening for the Republican nominee to take the White House in 2012.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Economy Still Hounding Obama

Politico reports that the US economy is still problematic for Obama, especially considering that the election is just one year away.

Some key points from the article:

1) The housing market is clearly in a double dip recession.  "weak signals include a much-worse-than-expected 4.2 percent drop in home prices in the first quarter as measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller index. The housing market is now clearly in a “double-dip” decline, back to levels not seen since well before the recession. Pending homes sales dropped 11.6 percent in April, and consumer spending grew a tepid 0.4 percent, the smallest increase in three months."

2) Companies still remain hesitant to hire despite strong corporate profits. Job recovery has been much slower than previous recessions. "Corporate chief executives, meanwhile, appear unwilling to use their run of strong profits to go on significant hiring campaigns until economic signals point in a more positive direction and consumer spending trends suggest more robust demand."

3) Overall growth of the US economy was slower than expected in the most recent quarter and expectations were subsequently downgraded for the upcoming quarter.

4) Consumer confidence is on the decline again.

5) High prices on gas and food continue to slow the recovery.

Obama had hoped that the economy would be strongly rebounding as he entered the campaigning phase of the reelection cycle. It doesn't appear that he will have that benefit.

All these economic numbers, while bad for the American public, are good news for the GOP.  Especially Gov. Romney, who brings economic experience and credibility on economic issues that no other candidate can compare to.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pawlenty Supported a Mandate in 2006

A groundbreaking article at Politico today reveals that TPaw also supported a healthcare mandate back in 2006 when such a policy was en vogue among the GOP.

It now appears that almost every major candidate (including Huntsman, Gingrich, and others) has supported an individual healthcare mandate at one time.

This ought to take some of the heat off of Romney when the debates roll around.

The Rumblings of More Candidates

Rumblings and rumors are being thrown around the last couple of days about more potential candidates for the presidential race. Just as the world was thinking that the GOP presidential field was getting settled, we have three new faces that seem to be making progress toward entering the race.

1) Texas Gov. Rick Perry - today he made a statement where he is now "leaving the door open" to a possible presidential run.

2) Sarah Palin - just started her national bus tour yesterday and bought a million dollar home in Arizona. However, Palin has not cut ties with Fox News yet, which is a definite sign that she is not too interested in running at this point.

3) Michelle Bachman - recently filed three years of tax forms. This move is seen by campaign finance experts as a prelude to entering the presidential race.

So it looks as though we don't have a complete field of candidates just yet.

I have to say that there is a big opening for a social conservative favorite (such as Palin or Bachman) in the race. In my humble opinion, Palin doesn't stand a chance of winning the nomination and she would be crazy to run. She has a good thing going right now with her books and speaking engagements. But Bachman has nothing to loose by running, she should definately get in. If Bachman has aspirations of developing a national profile and being a strong competitor in the future, this is a great opportunity for her.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Prominent Evangelical Throws Support to Romney

Mark DeMoss, a Souther Baptist and media powerhouse, has thrown his support to Mitt Romney.

DeMoss urges other christians to "look at the individual, not the theology" when deciding who to support for president.

DeMoss states that "it's more important for me that a candidate shares my values, than it is for him to share my theology."

DeMoss also believes that many evangelicals will have a change of heart when it comes to supporting a candidate for president who is a Mormon. From his conversations with others while he is out visiting other churches, he feels that many more have gotten over their initial hesitation to support a Mormon.

That is not to say that evangelicals will be more accepting of mormon theology, but simply that they realize, as DeMoss does, that "it's more important to pick a candidate with shared values than with shared theology."

I remember during the last days of the 2008 Romney campaign that opposition to Romney based on his mormon faith seemed to be declining.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Huntsman Was Supportive of an Individual Mandate

According to the Politico and the Huffington Post, it looks like yet another Republican presidential candidate was supportive of a healthcare mandate. Politico and HuffPo report that former UT Gov. John Huntsman Jr. supported an individual mandate in 2004 and as late as 2007.

This is what happens when the Republican party flip-flops on a previous position. The individual mandate was designed by conservatives and used to be considered a fairly conservative solution to healthcare reform. Unfortunately, simply because Obama decided to use it did the GOP decide to oppose it. Its just bad politics plain and simple.

Furthermore, Mitt Romney is the only Republican who can claim authenticity and honesty on this subject. Romney is the only Republican candidate who has stood by his previous position on healthcare mandates by continually supporting the mandate he helped introduce in MA. Romney still affirms that it was a good thing for his state.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ouch! Obama's Got To Be Hurting On New Jobs Report

Wow. In a new jobs report analysis published by USA Today, one of America's most widely read newspapers, it states that "the rate of job recovery after the 2008 recession has been the "slowest since the Great Depression."

That makes Obama's handling of the economy one of the worst in modern American history. This is no overstatement. Recessions happen with some regularity, occurring every 7-9 years. The USA usually recovers all jobs lost in a typical recession within 13 months following the recession. It has already been over two years since the recovery began and still only a fraction of jobs lost have been regained. The USA Today analyses says that Obama has a far worse job creation record than any of the 12 recessions the USA has experienced since the Great Depression in the 1930's. As Romney often says, "it is painful to watch Obama learn on the job."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Did Mitch Daniels Support an Individual Healthcare Mandate?

It appears as though Mitch Daniels once supported an individual healthcare mandate. An interesting article in National Review and Huffington Post both cite an old newpaper article which states: 
The candidate [Mitch Daniels] said he favors a universal health care system that would move away from employee-based health policies and make it mandatory for all Americans to have health insurance.
Daniels envisioned one scenario in which residents could certify their coverage when paying income taxes and receive a tax exemption that would cover the cost.
“We really have to have universal coverage,” Daniels said.
Under his plan, Daniels said, the nation could get away from the inefficient and unfair way in which health care is provided to those who are uninsured, many of whom end up in emergency rooms or “at clinics like this one.”
Perhaps this will let some of the air out of the Mitch Daniels '12 bubble that is developing.

As a Romney supporter, I must say that this is good news. Now it appears that virtually every top tier candidate for POTUS in the GOP supported an individual mandate at one time.  With Romney, Gingrich, and Daniels supporting individual mandates at one time, the criticisms of Romney will be limited.

I guess this is what happens when a party flip-flops on its own healthcare policies. The individual mandate was first created by conservatives, but the GOP went back on that policy to fight against Obama's healthcare overhaul in order to score political points.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Good Article On Romneycare by David French

I recently read a good article on Romneycare by David French from Evangelicals For Mitt Website.

Some of the points I particularly liked:

#1) Romney only enacted Romneycare after he had balanced the Massachusetts budget (unlike Obamacare).

#2) Romneycare was passed in a state where the average income per family was substantially higher than the most other U.S. states. Romneycare was also passed in a state that had relatively low uninsured rates compared to the rest of the country. So what Obamacare did was take a law that was enacted in one of the wealthiest states which also had a very low uninsured rate, and applied it to the whole country.

Obama's policy is completely opposite of the claims he made during the 2008 campaign that he would "take a scalpel to the economy, not a machete." Obama imposed a one-size-fits-all "machete" on the country, and it will be the poorer states with high numbers of uninsured who will pay the price.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Newt Sticks to His Guns, Supports Individual Mandate

Former Speaker, Newt Gingrich, discussed his views on healthcare today. Not only did Newt criticize the GOP's recent attempt to reform Medicare as "too radical" and "right-wing social engineering," but he also stuck with his guns in support of the individual mandate at the state level.

Newt supported the individual mandate back in 1993 and is not backing away from that idea today despite the fact that a healthcare mandate remains very unpopular amongst GOP voters.

Newt stated that the idea of an individual mandate is a fairly conservative way to reform healthcare. Newt challenged republicans to come up with an alternative plan to reform healthcare. Republicans, while strongly condemning most attempts to reform healthcare, have not been able to produce many viable, practical plans themselves. The fact is that the individual mandate has been the best plan produced by conservatives for reforming healthcare in recent decades, but now a majority of the party, in an unfortunate flip-flop, has repudiated the idea.

I gained some respect for Speaker Gingrich after hearing him express these views on healthcare. It takes courage to stick to your guns on a policy when it is well known that such a policy is unpopular.

Gov. Romney and Speaker Gingrich now stand together in supporting the individual mandate at the state level. This should take some of the heat off of Romney when standing on the debate stage this year.