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.