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.