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.
In case you missed it, the WSJ ran a scathing op-ed on Romney’s primary failing as a candidate for the GOP nomination–Romneycare.
Here’s the gist:
For a potential President whose core argument is that he knows how to revive free market economic growth, this amounts to a fatal flaw. Presidents lead by offering a vision for the country rooted in certain principles, not by promising a technocracy that runs on “data.” Mr. Romney’s highest principle seems to be faith in his own expertise.
More immediately for his Republican candidacy, the debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible.
Read the whole thing, it really is a telling piece.
Meanwhile, he has punched back at the Journal.
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.
It’s very simple. If you want our money, you have to espouse our beliefs. I’m not going to part with my dollars so you can direct them to Dede Scozzafava’s campaign in New York. Instead, I’ll drop $20 to a candidate I know needs the money and shares my values.
The establishment Republicans are in trouble and have to change. Until they get that message and make some adjustments, the money is just not going to be there.
This is spot on. Clearly Lester is following the lead of other intelligent, but not so sophisticated, conservative bloggers out there.
In all seriousness, though. Be sure to read Lester’s entire post.
It serves as a reminder that, in this very important mid-term election year, it would serve conservatives well to note how inept and incompetent the RNC really is. Imagine if they really had their act together? Sure the rot began to set in before Michael Steele became chairman, but he hasn’t exactly been a guiding light for conservatives or the party.
The Republican party should not be about the RNC anymore. It should be about the grassroots. We each have the ability to make it so. Observe the field in your local and state elections. Pick the conservative candidate and support them. Plain and simple.
He ditches the Republican party and decides to run as an Independent for Florida’s Senate seat in November.
I’m in complete agreement with Jay Cost. This is a career killer:
Ask people you know in life and they’ll complain about politicians who are only out for themselves, who aren’t looking out for the interests of the people. And now here comes good old Charlie Crist, who just a few weeks ago swore off an Independent run. This is a dishonest and nakedly self-interested move, and voters are fed up with this kind of behavior. The only compelling motivation that Charlie Crist has to run as an Independent is so that Charlie Crist can stay in elective office.
I know why Crist is doing this. He’s not on the ballot for governor this year, and he doesn’t want to lose his seat at the table. Yet this is not going to work. And it will end his political career for good.
The alternative would be to bow out gracefully, heartily endorse Marco Rubio, campaign like the dickens for him in the fall, and wait for the next opening in Florida politics.
Instead, he is about to piss off every Republican in the country, and he’s not going to win over the affections of the Democrats, who clearly sense an opportunity to get one of their own into the seat.
Stupid, stupid move.
I noticed that PPP has added Newt in their polling for the 2012 GOP nomination:
For our look ahead to the 2012 Presidential race in Arizona this week we added Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul to go along with our usual choices of Mitt Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney. And although we’ll certainly need to see polling from more states to confirm a trend, the numbers suggest a Gingrich candidacy could hurt Palin’s prospects.
Palin and Gingrich both have a unique appeal to the most partisan of Republican voters, but it may be that they see Gingrich as a more substantive and ‘Presidential’ candidate. They could end up competing for the same pool of GOP partisans, and if they both run it may prove to be a good thing for Romney.
Prospects for the 2010 are certainly high, but I’m not too confident about the race for the White House in 2012.
I’m increasingly becoming of the opinion that as conservatives, we are better off if Governor Palin wouldn’t run for President in 2012, not so much because I’m not 100% sure that she could win, but her contributions to the cause are better suited for other uses–like at the RNC, for example. Building up the base, lining up donors, etc.
And about Newt. I’m under no misconception that Newt will not make a run for the nomination in 2012. By all means he will. If the climate for Democrats continues as toxic as it is right now, if all of the momentum that we’re seeing from grassroots conservatives keeps up into the end of the year, then you can take it to the bank—Newt will be throwing his hat into the ring.
That won’t be a good thing neither for the Republican party or conservatism.
Americans are not stupid. We’ve seen this movie before. Newt would be bad news. The Republican party needs to move forward and cultivate younger talent, some new faces. Newt is not the way to do that and the Republican party deserves what it gets if it nominates the former Speaker for 2012.
Heckuva job Mike, heckuva job:
[...]Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council last week broke with RNC Chairman Michael Steele by publicly urging conservatives to stop supporting the Republican National Committee.
Now, as Steele and Perkins both prepare to address the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Perkins has a new message for the RNC: Shape up, or risk seeing your supporters ship out and support Tea Party candidates instead.
“I think the Republicans have to realize they’re not operating in a vacuum. Now, while Democrats may be in trouble coming into November’s election, the Republicans are not the only game in town,” Perkins told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today.
“As we see the Tea Party movement taking on a life of its own, the Republicans have some competition, which I think is actually good for the conservative vote. And they’re going to have to be responsible with how they spend their money, they’re going to have to be I think very measured in their message, and that they are embracing a conservative message …. ”
“And they have to I think convince voters that they’re back on the right track,” Perkins said. “And I don’t think what we see coming out of the RNC at present is doing that.”
I’ve never been fond of how Perkins and the FRC have led the GOP around by the nose.These third party threats from various factions of the party are nothing new. I recall Perkins threatening to back a third party in the run-up to the 2008 primaries, when Giuliani seemed to be the apparent nominee. These threats are never good for Republicans, never good for any political party. Those who make them are never the half-loaf types.
That being said, can you blame Perkins at this point? It’s getting to the point now where even asking Steele to step down would be an embarrassing side-show unto itself as the GOP needs to gear up for the midterms, something the GOP definitely does not need.
And I repeat my assertion that I’m still not convinced that November will be as easy a cakewalk as everyone seems to think.
Then again, when it comes to Steele’s tenure as RNC Chairman, maybe it’s best to rip the band-aid off now and get it over with. With any luck, it would be a one week (two week tops) story at most.