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Race To Replace President Obama Is Already Shaping Up With Tim Pawlenty

Bookmark and Share    Freedom First.

It is a true rally cry for America, especially these days. But for one man those two words are the sparks for a fire in his belly that he hopes fuels a drive to make him President.

Freedom First is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s newly organized Political Action Committee and in this case, it is quite obvious what the intended political actions of this committee are for. Given the people Governor Pawlenty has recruited to the staff Freedom First, whether he admits it or not, after declining to run for a third term as Governor, he is getting ready to take the presidential plunge.

Aside from having gotten some of the most experienced and capable advisors in the areas of legal counsel and fundraising, most impressive of all are his internet team. Two members working in that role are Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn. Both of these individuals are extraordinary, not only insofar as there masterful technological skills but also in their political instincts. The combination of their expertise in both of those areas make them and the rest of their tech team a formidable threat to any potential Republican challengers to Pawlenty.

Republican Internet Guru and Strategist Patrick Ruffini

Republican Internet Guru and Strategist Patrick Ruffini

Ruffini is truly a genius. He has a talent and grasp for policy that is in line with right of center Republican thinking and sentiments. At the same time he has a keen sense of what the mood in America is, an instinct as to how to tap into that mood. And to bring it all home, he has unmatched computer technology, design and communication skills that will, without any doubt, put all the other challengers to shame when it comes to their own P.A.C. website and internet outreach.

There are others recruited by Governor Pawlenty who are accomplished in their own areas of expertise. Vin Weber, one of the P.A.C.s co-chairs, is a powerful and influential former Minnesota congressman who has been at the center of government for two decades or more. After providing great legislative success for Republicans during his 6 terms in office, he became a lobbyist and one of the most successful at that. Along the way Weber has done more than draft and pass effective legislation and make a good chunk of money for himself. He has been a key figure in the conservative cause. Along with Jack Kemp and Jeane Kirkpatrick, Weber co-founded Empower America, a conservative policy institute dedicated to promoting economic growth, freedom, and individual responsibility. The Congressman is also a senior fellow of the Progress and Freedom Foundation and active with the Aspen Institute, where he has served as co-director of the domestic policy project, and Humphrey Institute, a policy institute based at the University of Minnesota.

Former Congressman Vin Webber

Former Congressman Vin Webber

One would have to wonder why Vin Weber is himself not running for President, so having him run your own P.A.C. for President is most assuredly a smart move. But still, there will be no more shrewd and fewer important members of the Pawlenty team than Patrick Ruffini.

Not scooping him up was a mistake for other 2012 contenders like Mitt Romney. As it is, Pawlenty scooped Vin Weber away from Romney. In 2008, Weber was part of the Romney team and this shift to Pawlenty’s P.A.C. can not be seen as a positive for the former Massachusetts Governor.

Overall, Tim Pawlenty must be considered a frontrunner for the 2012 Presidential nomination. He has a very strong and successful record as Governor. Had he so desired, he could have easily won reelection to a third term as Governor. Add to that the fact that a Republican who could still be popular in a state so liberal that Al Franken could represent them in the U.S. Senate and you have a candidate who obviously has crossover appeal, something that will be a prerequisite for anyone in 2012 who tries to get some of the votes of those who supported Obama in 2008

The only things working against Pawlenty at the moment are some of the advantages that other possibly candidates for the Republican nomination have.

The clear frontrunner, Mitt Romney, has already established the kind of small but robust and substantial nationwide following that Pawlenty will have to work hard to match. Romney and other potential names also have enthusiastic bases from some core Republican constituencies like social conservatives and Christian fundamentalists. Fund raising is another hill for Pawlenty to climb. One which is not and will not be a problem for Mitt Romney. But none of these current factors are obstacles that can not be overcome with the time and carefully crafted strategies that make the inroads necessary to be a viable top tier candidate in the G.O.P. primaries that earnest campaigning for will likely begin in mid 2011. That is why launching his Freedom First P.A.C. and web site now is a smart and quite frankly, necessary move.

If Pawlenty finishes out his term with a state that continues to be in better shape than we took it over, maintains his high profile and uses his P.A.C. to support the elections of some good candidates in 2010, he will be a man to reckon with. As it stands right now, he lacks any of the criticisms that other potential Republican presidential candidates have and while he does have appeal to conservatives, it is hard to paint Pawlenty as a right wing extremist. That lack of a hard edge is what could even make him the type of candidate who could give President Obama and his liberal extremism a run for his money and make Aplenty a force for Democrats to have to reckon with in 2012 too.

As for me, my mind is open to the prospects. Excluding Mike Huckabee, I look forward to people like Pawlenty, Romney or other favorites of mine such as John Thune, Haley Barbour, Jeb Bush or Sarah Palin, all getting in there and making the best case for who and how we should lead our nation back on to the path of freedom and prosperity.

The only criticism for Pawlenty that I have right now is to drop the Tpaw moniker that I see he uses on his web site. For me it has a real backwoods southern ring to it that just doesn’t sit well. But that’s me. Who knows, maybe it has an appeal that could pick off some diehard Southern Huckabee fans which is something that a Pawlenty presidential plan will badly need to do.

Click here to visit the Freedom First web site at http://www.timpawlenty.com/

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As the GOP recovers from a drubbing at that ballot box that served them with an eviction notice at the White House and a foreclosure on many seats in the house and senate, a reorganization is in order.

Crucial to a successful reorganization is the selection of it’s next national chairman.

Florida Senator mel Martinez

Florida Senator Mel Martinez

After the losses which cost them their majorities in the house and senate during the 2006 midterm elections, the powers that be, hastily installed Florida Senator Mel Martinez as the new chairman. At the same time they also elected Mike Duncan, a veteran political strategist and former Treasurer General Counselor to the RNC, to run the “day to day operations” of the national committee. In other words Duncan was actually the Chairman and Senator Martinez was to be the face of the party.

It was an arrangement that did not last long.

A few months into this arrangement, Senator Martinez stepped down and Mr. Duncan had the title all to himself. Not that it mattered. Whether it was his fault or not Republicans were outspent, out argued , outmaneuvered and voted out.

Outgoing RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

Outgoing RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

I will not blame Mike Duncan for the hemorrhaging of Republicans in this election cycle. That began before he took office, less than a year ago, and it simply continued for the time period that he was in office as chairman. It is more than likely that no individual chairman of the RNC could have prevented the losses Republicans suffered but we do know that the chairman did not help prevent them from happening.

So I do not blame Mike Duncan but I do harbor ill will to the party officials who gave up after 2006 and installed quick replacements to head up the Republican party. It was quite apparent that the party was simply trying to just get through the last two years of President Bush’s term in office. The RNC leadership were more like caretakers than leaders. They did not seek to adopt a leadership that was cutting edge and enthusiastic about revolutionizing the capabilities of the party organization and preparing us for the mother of all elections, the presidency.

It is the same complacency that helped cost Republicans their majorities in congress. Elected officials lost the anti establishment thinking that won them favor back in 1994. After becoming “the establishment” they slowly began to forget that government was there to work for the people not for the people running government.

So here we are saluting a new President-Elect, a new Democrat President-Elect. One who will be partnering with a majority of legislators who are also Democrats.

It might sound depressing to fellow Republicans but the truth is it is that for a number of reasons it is not depressing:

  • Can’t Get Much Worse -We have just about bottomed out. It truly can’t get much worse so the prospects for improving our numbers in the next election are good.


  • Liberals Gone Wild -With Democrats in total control of government, there is little to hold them back and prevent them from showing their true colors. When those true colors come out, Americans will realize that the direction they offer is too sharp a turn to the left for their tastes. The last time they had total control was in 1993 when Bill Clinton was President. After two years of liberals gone wild, Americans gave control, of both the house and senate, to Republicans for the first time in forty years. It was something that Republicans could not achieve on their own. It took the combined left leaning radicalization of today’s Democrat party to bring that about and it is about to happen again. In fact the greatest challenge that the new President will face comes from his own party. He will be struggling against them and fighting them in an effort to lead from the center rather than the left.

  • The War – Although the economy helped push the war off the front burner, the changing tide of the surge in Iraq also made the war less of an issue because violence and combat was down and it was being won. The war in Iraq did not help Republicans in this election cycle but not because it was unnecessary, as democrats claim,  but, as I explain in the link referenced here*, Americans became weary and leery of the war. While the surge was delayed and the administration wavered, violence spiked as a result of a resurgence of radical Islamic terrorists in Iraq. That is when Democrats successfully exploited a declining resolve to continue an effort that people were beginning to think was becoming a quagmire. Since the increased deployment of troops into Iraq, the situation improved and there is light at the end of the tunnel. As a result, despite the cries of candidate Obama to end the war, President Obama will not be withdrawing all of our forces from Iraq anytime soon.  Now that he has seen the national security data that demonstrates the dangers of his misguided promises as a candidate, as a President he will not be so quick to screw things up. Ultimately Republicans will be proven right on the issue.


  • The Economy – Typically our economy goes through cycles of growth and contraction every ten to fifteen years. More accurately, just about every 11 years, we encounter economic turmoil brought on by the cumulative effects of industrial shifts, world events and other related circumstances. That being said, it is how we maneuver through these cycles that determines their severity and the length of time that we endure them. The liberal propensity to raise taxes and redistribute wealth during these times does not help. Those policies simply deepen the crisis and draw out the cycle. If the knee jerk, liberal tendency towards more taxes and an expansion of government does occur, Republicans will be able to stem their losses and start increasing their numbers. The current crisis that we are experiencing is not a result of Republican economic policy. It is a result of their complacency and unwillingness to differentiate themselves from liberals when it came to spending. Our own President had no problem with cutting taxes, a good thing, but he also never cut spending and neither did fellow Republicans in congress.

All of this allows for those Republicans, who are in office, to offer alternatives to the counterproductive liberal agenda that will undoubtedly dominate national policy. To effectively achieve that, Republican members of congress need to reestablish their fiscally conservative roots and inherent sense of an offensive strategy when it comes to national security. The fact that, as Republicans, we choose to eliminate threats rather than tolerate them will be made much clearer with liberals in control and it must not be ignored.

Now that Republicans are not in control we now have the luxury that Democrats had. The luxury of not having to defend our leadership. Democrats will now have the chance to be held accountable for everything that happens. They will have to take blame for the results of increasing taxes, increasing unnecessary regulations and increasing the size and cost of government. With their leadership comes responsibility. With responsibility comes credit as well as blame. After eight years of taking blame for all that is not liked, Republicans can now luxuriate in being able to place blame on Democrats as they have done to Republicans.

But while those Republicans elected to congress do their job by providing alternatives to liberal policies and maintaining their role as the loyal opposition, our political leaders must hit the ground running.

The question now is, who is best suited to reorganize and reinvigorate Republicans? The person needed to rally Republicans must be articulate. But a good speaker is not all that we need. The person who is made the new chairman of the party must have a passionate desire to advance the cause, incredible organizational skills, the ability to delegate responsibilities to the right and most qualified people, endless energy and stamina as well as creativity and resourcefulness and a proven record of success.

The new chairman needs the same type of vision and commitment to conservative principles that the freshmen members of congress who were elected in the 1994 Republican revolution had. The new chairman must have a vision which understands that the best government is the government that gets out of the way and allows freedom to flourish by defending it at home and abroad and by insuring that opportunity is available to all.

Currently, there are seven frontrunners. They include:


Mike Steele

Michael SteeleGOPAC , former Lt. Governor of Maryland and unsuccessful candidate for US Senate in 2006.

Chuck Yob

Chuck Yob

Chuck Yob – Successful Michigan businessman, GOP fundraiser and Michigan National Committeeman

Saul Anuzis

Saul Anuzis

Saul AnuzisChairman of the Michigan Republican State Committee

Alec Pointevint

Alec Pointevint

Alec Poitevint – Georgia’s Republican National Committeeman

Katon Dawson

Katon Dawson

Katon DawsonRepublican Party Chairman of South Carolina , the state that had the best performance for Republicans during this election cycle.

Jim Greer

Jim Greer

Jim Greer – Florida’s Republican party Chairman

Chip Saltsman

Chip Saltsman

Chip Saltsman – A former Chair of Tennessee’s GOP and the former campaign manager of Mike Huckabee’s failed candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee

Speculation has not only Huckabee’s former campaign guru on the list, Mike Huckabee himself is rumored to be a potential contender. So is one of Huckabee’s former opponents for the GOP presidential nod, Mitt Romney.

Of all these names the one person who I believe could do the most for the Republican National Committee is Mitt Romney.


Mitt Romney

Romney has been successful at every job that he has undertaken. He is passionate. He is articulate, savvy and has an eye for recruiting those who are the best at their jobs. Mitt Romney could do wonders for the party. He would be able to provide the GOP’s highly rated, get out the vote, 72 hour program with great improvements and he would create a top notch center for Republican organization, communications, fundraising and creative strategy.

Problem is that I want Mitt Romney to be able to run for President. I am looking forward to either him or Sarah Palin being our 2012 nominee. Becoming the political leader of the party does not help him establish the bipartisan image that a Presidential nominee needs. If he did as a good a job for the party as I think he would, having been the chairman of the party he rebuilds, could help him get the party’s nomination though.

However, I feel that a truly smart RNC chairman would involve Mitt Romney and utilize his expertise. Doing so would keep Romney free to expand his nonpolitical credentials while still allowing for his Midas touch to assist behind the scenes.

As for the other names mentioned, Mike Steele, Katon Dawson and Jim Greer are the only names that really interest me. Each of them have demonstrated ideological superiority to one extent or the other and have achieved outstanding results for Republicans.

Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich

Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich

One name not mentioned but is at the top of my list, is former Maryland Governor Robert Erhlich. After losing reelection in the 2006 GOP sea of change, Bob Ehrlich has not been discussed much. That is a shame because he happens to be one of the best in the newer generation of conservative politics. He was the first Republican to be elected governor of Maryland in almost 60 years. Through it all Ehrlich maintained his principles and conservative ideology. Not once did he try to win favor by acting like a democrat. Instead, he successfully implemented conservative ideology into government application. He also happens to be articulate and effective in his ability to explain and deliver the conservative message.


Sometimes referred to as a Kempite Republican, Bob Erhlich could be just what we need to rekindle our spirit and rally the cause.

Whoever the grand poobahs of the GOP hierarchy install as chairman, it is my greatest hope that they recruit the right people to carry out the mission that is ahead.

Patrick Ruffini

Patrick Ruffini

People like political Internet champion Patrick Ruffini who could incorporate the most cyber savvy organization politics has ever seen and Ralph Reed who is a master at reaching out and organizing the grassroots.

Ralph Reed

Ralph Reed

Being the minority party is not a problem to be feared. Becoming the minority is what we needed to fear and now, we are there.  So the worst is over. Now we have the chance to take advantage of what Democrats took advantage of for a long time, minority status and the ability to place blame on the powers that be that comes with it.

From here we can only come back, and if we take the right steps, we can come back quickly. To do so will require that our first steps be the right steps . In this case that would be done by picking the right person to map out our future and recruit the brightest lights to help illuminate the fast track to the reinvigoration that the party is capable of.



Q: What’s the problem with Barack Obama jokes?

A: His followers don’t think they’re funny and other people don’t think they’re jokes.




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