That Rick Perry has emerged in recent weeks as the front-runner in the GOP race is not really surprising. There was a lot of pent-up feelings over the summer about whether he would throw his hat into the ring or not, and when he finally did, it felt like voters were relieved that there was a new face. Which only confirmed my suspicions that conservatives and Republicans weren’t that fond of this particular group of contenders.
With his rise in the polls, and the media lamenting his brash approach to politics, his outspoken demeanor, etc., conservatives began taking to him as the most electable candidate–the one most likely to beat Obama. And so began the inevitable comparisons to Ronald Reagan circa 1980.
I didn’t watch last night’s CNN/Tea Party debate, but I was glad to see that Bachmann landed some jabs at Governor Perry for his Gardasil debacle. If only because someone on the stage of contenders actually addressed the issue.
To conservatives who are embracing Perry with open arms, how do you reconcile his Gardasil law with your conservative values? The chief executive of Texas signed
a law an executive order that mandated teenage girls receive a vaccination, whether they want to or not, whether their parents approve or not, under the penalty of law. That isn’t a conservative trait.
It’s certainly not the conservatism of the Tea Party, but more like a big government conservatism. Republicans have seen this movie before and it doesn’t end well for conservatives, and certainly not for the Republican party.
UPDATE. And just like that, Bachmann took any success she had with her Gardasil attack and flushed it down the toilet.
This is hysterically brutal:
South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian held a brief conference call just now to welcome “ambassador, governor, Democrat, Republican Jon Huntsman” to the 2012 presidential race.
Huntsman is planning a visit to South Carolina this week and has signaled that the state is a crucial stop in his GOP primary map. That’s good news for him, Harpootlian said, because “we always welcome Obama administration officials in South Carolina.”
The quotable trial lawyer mocked Huntsman as a political “schizophrenic” who’s “very similar to Mitt Romney” in his flexibility on issues such as cap and trade.
“Between Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, we have, actually, four candidates rather than two,” said Harpootlian, who also scoffed at the idea that Huntsman can take the “high road” in 2012 and avoid negative campaigning.
That pledge will last “about two seconds” in South Carolina, Harpootlian predicted: “The high road is the road above the fray and you can’t run for political office in South Carolina without getting in the fray.”
The Huntsman campaign is barely 12 hours old, and it’s already seeing turbulence from a key primary state. Worth noting is that Huntsman is the media’s choice to be the GOP’s nominee, the candidate that the party “should” nominate for 2012.
Rule of thumb–when the media picks the candidate for the GOP, find someone else.
Forget T-Paw vs Mittens, or Cain vs whoever. Looks like the fireworks in the GOP 2012 fight are between
Rollins Bachmann and Palin:
Michele Bachmann’s new top consultant, Ed Rollins, began his tenure with scathing criticism of potential Bachmann rival Sarah Palin.
“Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years,” Rollins told Brian Kilmeade on his radio show, Kilmeade and Friends. “She got the Vice Presidential thing handed to her, she didn’t go to work in the sense of trying to gain more substance, she gave up her governorship.”
I understand that this is what campaign consultants do, and Ed Rollins is all about Ed Rollins more than Michelle Bachmann. But but can anyone really disagree with his criticisms of Palin here? Palin fell out of favor with me after she resigned as governor of Alaska. She built some decent political capital, had a decent approval rating, etc. And not for nothing, but she has done a disservice to herself over the past few years and her ugly poll numbers will be tough to overcome.
UPDATE. The story gets a bit more interesting.
Call it ignorance or call it brazen. Either way, you have to call it dumb. Haley Barbour makes his case for his potential candidacy:
But let me just make this very plain. I’m a lobbyist, a politician, and a lawyer. You know, that the trifecta. And I am willing to have my record in front of everybody.
Meanwhile, as a lobbyist, he and his firm pushed for amnesty:
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour made the case Sunday on Fox News that his career as a high-powered federal lobbyist for domestic corporations and foreign governments would be an asset if he ran for President in 2012.
Barbour may be eager to showcase his record, but one of Barbour’s foreign lobbying clients could cause him some troubles in the 2012 Republican primary, if he decides to run. According to a State Department filing by Barbour’s former lobbying firm, The Embassy of Mexico decided to retain Barbour’s services on August 15, 2001, to work on, among other things, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for foreigners living illegally in the United States—what opponents of immigration reform call “amnesty.”
So there you have it. Barbour’s literally sold out on behalf of shamnesty, while admitting that he’s a bona fide lobbyist/politician. Meanwhile he’s trying to win the hearts of conservatives and Republican voters, in the middle of a Tea Party revolt that is shunning career politicians. And he’s also an older, white and portly Mississippi native with a deep Southern accent.
Good luck with that.
UPDATE. Behold a Memeorandum thread!
UPDATE. Robert Stacy McCain on Barbour’s previous endeavors:
That will go over real good with GOP primary voters in Iowa, I’m sure.
Tom Jensen at PPP sizes up the Republican field 22 months out and comes to this conclusion:
My main thought on the Republican Presidential field as 2011 begins is that the party needs someone outside the current top 4 of Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich to come out of the pack and win the nomination.
Huckabee’s the only one of the top Republicans who has the combination of electability and base appeal it’s going to take to beat Barack Obama. Romney has the electability but not the base appeal, Palin has the base appeal but not the electability, and Gingrich sort of falls in the middle on both counts. A lot will change over the course of 2011 but at least based on the information we have so far Huckabee looks like the GOP’s best bet.
Take the pollsters with a grain of salt, of course. But nevertheless, it’s distressing to see this final four as the GOP nominee. No candidate will have the perfect conservative cred, plus the electability. I understand that.
But half of the contenders right now are–Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Wrap your brain around that for a second.
The Tea Party may have dragged the GOP to electoral victory in Congress this past November, and may very well do so again between now and 2012. But the White House? I’m not too sure. Distressing, indeed.
[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]
This is good to see on a beautiful, post-election day Saturday here in New Jersey:
Avowed Tea Party conservatives from Central Jersey gathered two days after Tuesday’s midterm elections to exchange views and look ahead to next year’s election, when all members of the state Legislature will face the voters.
“State elections, the Assembly and state senators,” said Tea Party activist Peter Carroll when asked where the group would likely direct its energy.
Carroll and a dozen others met Thursday night in the Peter Pank Diner on Route 9, where they analyzed the ways they believe they affected Tuesday’s local voting. They also heard from a representative of the group FairTax.org.
During the meeting at the diner Thursday, John Day of Piscataway said he does not believe the movement will become a political party. “I don’t see it as a party,” said the marketing executive who said he is particularly bothered by government debt.
“You have as much responsibility for your governance as you do for your daily obligations – working or raising a family…Debt equals slavery. Your political freedom is dependent on your economic freedom,” he said.
Retired sales executive Bob Letu of Monroe said, “The country is going in the wrong direction and it has to change.”
“We have a trend in this country of rewarding people for doing less and punishing people who produce…We are giving people more and more reasons not to get up in the morning and be productive. Government give-away programs are not going to solve the problem,” Letu added.
It’s great to see regular American citizens use their God-given right to speak up for conservative principles. That’s essentially what the Tea Party was all about.
New Jersey’s state legislature is up for reelection next year. With the grassroots foundation the Tea Party and conservatives have built here in central Jersey over the past year, plus the massive turnover in state legislatures all throughout the country this past Tuesday, the Republican party should be in good shape for 2011. That, and we should be bolstering the support for the 2012 general election and Governor Christie’s reelection in 2013.
More importantly, the buzz from Tuesday’s results should wear off fast. The holidays are coming and there is a natural propensity to kick back and relax. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I can’t overemphasize that the easiest part of these midterms was getting up and voting. A grassroots organization needs to be continually cultivated. The work should continue.
The big news this week was that Bill Clinton had tried to get the Democrat candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida race for US Senate. The idea being that Republican Independent Charlie Crist can save the seat for Democrats.
There’s so much fail there for Democrats (see the Joe Sestak debacle in Pennsylvania), and as Ed Henry reports, there’s more to the Meek story than just that one race:
The real story is how bad the broader electoral map has gotten for Democrats heading into the final weekend of this midterm election: Top Democratic officials privately say they believe they are going to lose the House, but as they survey the country they are getting increasingly worried they will also lose the Senate.
These Democratic officials tell me they’ve reviewed private polling numbers that suggest Sen. Patty Murray of Washington has a razor-thin lead of about two points over Republican Dino Rossi despite all kinds of help from the president and first lady Michelle Obama, among others.
They’re also deeply worried about whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada can beat Republican Sharron Angle, so suddenly the “firewall” out West to keep control of the Senate might be more like a crumbling brick wall.
In fact, I asked top Democratic officials if it’s really worth it to try to push Meek out, even though the whole plan has now been exposed and it appears the congressman will not budge. The consensus was yes, it’s worth it simply because holding on to the Senate is the Democrat’s sole chance of keeping some power on Capitol Hill.
If Democrats are worried about Washington state (!) and Patty Murray, what are they thinking about Ohio? Pennsylvania? Colorado?
Democrats are publicly saying that they are confident of minimizing losses heading into November 2nd. If that’s the case, they’re certainly not acting like it.
I think Republicans learned their lesson. They understood that we were spending too much, government was growing too much,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said this morning at a campaign appearance for Republican House candidate Allen West at the Gun Club Cafe in unincorporated West Palm Beach.
Boehner added: “I think if you’ve watched what we’ve done over the last 22 months you’ll see that Republicans all voted against the stimulus bill, all voted against their budget, almost all voted against cap and trade, and we all voted against health care, which demonstrates that we understand that people want a smaller, less costly and more accountable federal government.”
If Republicans win control of the House, Boehner said, “You’ll see us every single week move bills that will cut spending.”
Boehner promised a House bill to repeal the new health care law, but conceded repeal would likely be vetoed by President Obama. Still, Boehner said, “They’re going to need money from us to hire those 22,000 federal employees we think it’s going to take to run this monstrosity. And I’ll just tell you, they’re not going to get a dime from us.”
This is a start, I guess. I’d be interested to see the House’s take on entitlement reform and defense spending. Will they be on the table?
The NRCC has some money to spend and it looks like they’re going all out:
House Republicans have drafted a go-for-broke blueprint for the final weeks of the midterm campaign that will bring them to $45 million in television ad spending, with spots reserved in 62 congressional districts across the nation.
POLITICO has learned that the National Republican Congressional Committee will take a bank loan of at least $6.5 million — but likely more — to expand its ad buys into seven additional districts beyond the 55 where the committee has already reserved time.
According to an NRCC source familiar with the effort, the newly added targets include five Democrats whose districts, until recently, were thought to be out of reach this year: Reps. Tim Walz of Minnesota, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Phil Hare of Illinois, Zack Space of Ohio and John Salazar of Colorado.
Republican strategists say that the $45 million figure is far more than they expected the committee to have for the fall campaign and represents an effort to take full advantage of the Republican-friendly political environment by investing in as many potentially winnable Democratic districts as possible. The NRCC initially reserved $22 million across 41 districts in August before expanding to $35 million in 55 districts in September.
“When we look up at the scoreboard on Nov. 3rd, we’ll look back and know that we left everything on the field,” said an NRCC source familiar with the effort.
By all means gentlemen–go all out.
I haven’t donated to neither the NRCC nor the NRSC in some time, but I’m glad to see this bit of news.
$45 million is a lot of money. Even so, I’ve read that the Democratic election committees have an edge in their coffers, but are being forced to be much more selective in how they deploy the cash.
Governor Chris Christie, continuing his road trip campaigning for Republican candidates throughout the country, stops in Iowa, with a warning to the GOP rank and file:
Christie said Republicans must deliver on their conservative promises if they gain power during the November elections. If they don’t follow through, he said voters will send the GOP “to the wilderness, and they are going to send us there for a long, long time.”
“As a party, it is put up or shut up time,” he said.
Voters are willing to accept the political pain of deep cuts in government spending as long as they know the pain is being spread equally, Christie argued. It makes sense to shrink government in tough economic times, and politicians seem to be the last to get that message, he said.
“We lost our way a number of years ago, and we became tax and spend light,” he said. “Less spending, smaller government, less regulation, smaller government — we’re going to be all about that again. We have to step up and stand for those principles again.”
It’s refreshing to see a Republican being fearless about his conservatism. The party needs more of this in order to win. Period.