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Newt Gingrich Proving To Be Surprisingly Strong in New Jersey

 Bookmark and ShareNew Jersey Republicans may be happy with Governor Christie’s job performance but not all of them are in agreement with his first choice for the Republican presidential nomination.  many New Jersey Republicans are throwing their weight behind former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.  Myself included.  While I made sure to give each of the presidential candidates a fair hearing and gave them an all opportunity to earn my vote, back in November I concluded that Newt earned my endorsement and made it public on POLITICS 24/7’s  sister site, White House 2012.

Despite my support for Newt, I have been critical of him.  When mistakes have been made, like Newt Gingrich himself, I see no shame in admitting them, especially if one learns from them and does not repeat them.  And as this campaign progresses, I still believe that Newt Gingrich is the man best suited to do the job we need done in the years ahead.  And so do many New Jerseyans.  This realization has only been reinforced in the weeks since I endorsed him and until recently when I honored to be appointed the Regional Director of Central New Jersey for Newt 2012 .

The position is one that has afforded me the opportunity to get a true sense of how deep support for Newt runs.  Hundreds of volunteers across New Jersey have declared that they too belive that newt Gingrich has a proven record and solid vision for the type of true conservative reforms that our nation needs.  They understand that his he is the anti-establishment candidate and they are proud of it.  Many conservatives like the fact that Newt has always been willing to take on the establishment because he realizes that it is the political establishment that is holding us back with behemoth sized  bureaucracy and the crony capitalism of inside the Beltway political figures who allow bad personal politics to override positive public policy.

Yet today, some are again writing Newt Gingrich off.  Once again, some are trying to claim that this is a two man race that does not include Newt Gingrich.  Well those same people who were wrong before, are wrong again.  Ask people like DeLinda Ridings, who served as a Regional Director for Newt Gingrich in South Carolina.  After two back to back losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, people like DeLinda Ridings help to coordinate the effort and organize the support of Newt Gingrich supporters to pull off an astounding landslide victory that crossed every demographic.

That in and of itself is makes it worthwhile to remember that history does tend to repeat itself.  And if the enthusiasm among Newt Gingrich supporters is any indication, the victory that South Carolinians pulled off for Newt in the Palmetto State can very easily be duplicated in the Garden State and others as well.  That is especially the case given the fact that a few political lifetimes can pass between now and the New Jersey Presidential primary that will take place four months from now in June.

In that time, we are very likely going to see the position of frontrunner change hands numerous times, and while I am confident that Republicans will be united behind our candidate by the time we head to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, I am also confident that each of the candidates are going to to do their best to earn that united support till the bitter end.  In the case of New Jersey, it is one of very last battles in the nomination process and could prove to be quite pivotal in determining who the nominee is.  But as of now, I can tell you that regardless of what any state polls might indicate, the one thing they can not accurately gauge is how strongly voters stand behind their choice for President. And when it comes to the volunteers who are committing themselves to Newt in New Jersey those supporters vary from young to old.  It consists of young college students to older, retired persons.  It includes high powered attorneys to high powered, high energy Moms. school teachers, union workers, small business owners and minimum wage earners.  But regardless of their age or status, they all share at least one favorite quality about Newt.  We know that he is unafraid to challenge the status quo of Washington, D.C. and even fellow conservatives.

Newt supporters know that he will challenge traditional political thinking and force conservatives to make the Republican Party the Party of ideas once again.  We know that Newt is in the mold of great conservative thinkers like Jack Kemp who forced his economic ideas upon the Party and even sold Reaganomics to Ronald Reagan and introduced our nation to the type of Urban Enterprise Zones that revitalized once depressed and dilapidated urban centers.

They know that unlike Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich is the only candidate running for President who understands that we can’t just tinker with the our regressive tax code that is burdening our national economy and depressing every family’s economy and that we must  instead abolish our complex, failing, loophole ridden tax code, with one that offers one rate for one nation and can help grow our economy by leaps and bounds.

New Jersey Republicans understand that our ship of state can’t continue sail the rough seas created by the excessive growth of government and the ever increasing expansion of government involvement in our lives.   They know that to survive the government created tsunami in front of us, we must quickly change course with sharp turns away from the socialist path of so-called moderates and the progressiv-liberal Democrats that have hijacked the Constitution and placed it in the hands of activist judges who have a greater desire to impose on us their personal political agenda than to interpret the intention of our laws.

So I urge all New Jersey voters to remember that this race is not over.  There is a long way yet to go and I ask that you join us in supporting the only conservative reformer in the race for President…..Newt Gingrich, the conservative with a true vision, a vision fitting of our great nation.  A vision that suits the high aspirations of our nation and its people.

To join the effort, you can contact me, Anthony Del Pellegrino, at :

Newt2012CentralNJ@gmail.com

You will be directed to the coordinator of the region you residen in, and we will get you on board with Team Newt!

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Santorum Ad Tells Us What the “DEAL” with Newt Gingrich is

Bookmark and Share Fresh off of his poor third place showing in Florida, Rick Santorum is trying to take advantage of Newt Gingrich’s big 15% second place loss to Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State by reclaiming the title of “conservative alternative” to Mitt Romney, the big winner in Tuesday’s primary contest [see the ad below this post].

The ad entitled “Deal”, is a very powerful condemnation of Gingrich which catches you off guard with opening arguments that would have you think the ad is comparing Santorum to his three Republican rivals, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. It claims that the three politicians in question support legislative policies which are conservative anathema; Cap-and-Trade, amnesty, and the government bailouts. It would be bad enough for Santorum’s Republican rivals to have to wear all three of those issues around their necks, but the surprise comes when it is revealed that three politicians in question are not Romney, Paul, and Gingrich but rather President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Newt Gingrich.

The surprise comparison is twice as debilitating for Gingrich because while you might expect Mitt Romney to be accused of being too liberal, this ad avoids Romney and shockingly puts Newt Gingrich in an entirely differently league, one that puts him directly in the room with iconic liberals Obama and Pelosi.

The ad happens to be one of the most effective of this campaign cycle to date. It is produced well and is quite creative. It also presents Santorum’s case against Newt in a way that avoids being overly outlandish and to the point of being too hard to believe.

Yet while the ad is quite good, it is also indicative of the unfortunate position that Rick Santorum finds himself in. This ad pits him against Newt Gingrich, not frontrunner Mitt Romney, and it signals the fact that Santorum knows he is still competing in a primary within the primary………. the conservative primary within the Republican primary. It demonstrates that Rick Santorum is in a desperate fight to just get in to the race against Mitt Romney.

The good news for Santorum is that it is quite possible that conservatives have not yet ensconced themselves in Newt’s camp and Rick could still possibly win over a majority of them. One most notable conservative to recently go to Santorum’s side is Michele Malkin, a talking head with a considerably large conservative following. But at the same time it is a little late in this race for Santorum to hope his horse places or shows when the only ticket he can cash in on is the one to win.

But hope springs eternal and this ad is has a spin on it that forces me to give Rick Santorum a lot of credit, even though I believe it will help Mitt Romney than it will help Santorum.

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Romney Wins Florida But Newt Makes It Clear That There are “46 More States to Go”

Bookmark and Share As is the norm for Florida, the Sunshine State has again made electoral history. For the first time, the Republican winner of the South Carolina primary, lost the Florida primary. What it means in the long term is uncertain, but what it means in the short term is quite apparent. Nationally, Republicans have no real clear favorite for President yet.

Still, Mitt Romney’s win was significant and he deserve credit for orchestrating it. He spent $17 million to do it, but he did it and in the end, especially with 50 delegates now in his column, that is all that matters. However, while Romney once again becomes the frontrunner for the nomination, you will have to forgive me if do not declare this race over yet.

With little more than 5% of the delegates allocated so far, there is no denying that the race is not over yet, but it was made even more obvious to me after hearing Romney deliver his victory speech, and after Gingrich and Santorum gave their concession speeches.

In his speech, Mitt Romney rose to the occasion and sounded enthusiastic, but humble, and most of all, he sounded presidential. He delivered a speech that allowed people to truly begin to get comfortable with the idea of him being the candidate who can take the fight to President Barack Obama and beat him. He didn’t seal the deal, but his Florida victory speech helped make people more willing to accept the now almost inevitability of his being nominated for president. And now back in the frontrunner position, Romney offered not only a brief glimpse of the potential that exists in his carrying the Republican banner, he even took some steps to put the ugliness of the intraparty battle for the nomination behind him by eloquently making the point that “a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us.”

But in his facing the fact that he came in second place to Romney with at least 15% less of the vote than Romney, Newt Gingrich offered a speech which oozed of defiance and held a true thirst for not just beating Barack Obama, but for bringing about the type of reforms that Americans want, but as of late, have not often come to see in either Republicans or Democrats. He also provided some of the best reasons for his candidacy to date.

While limiting his negative attacks to calling Romney a Massachusetts moderate, Newt introduced what was seemingly a very heartfelt, personal contract with the American people, a spin on the now famous 1994 Contract With America that he spearheaded and guided through Congress.

Newt’s personal contract consists of two parts. The first part is conditional and it requires that the people elect conservatives to Congress. If they do that, Newt promises that before he takes office, he will request that on January 3rd, 2013, the new Congress stays in session and immediately repeals Obamacare, Dodd-Franks, and Sarbanes Oxley, three bills that are being viewed as among the most detrimental legislative initiatives effecting our economy. Gingrich vows that if the American people elect strong conservative majorities to Congress, those three measures can be repealed by Congress and on the day of his inauguration, he will sign the legislation to rid us of those massive government burdens. The problem there is that unless it is veto proof majority, President Obama will have the opportunity to veto it before Gingrich has the opportunity to sign it. So Newt might want to hold back on his request for january 3rd vote on those issues.

The rest of Newt’s personal contract is a promise to promptly enact a series of constitutional executive orders that will consist of immediately abolishing the existence of all White House czars, an immediate order to commence construction of the Keystone Pipeline project, an executive order opening the American embassy in Jerusalem and essentially acknowledging that divided city as Israel’s capital, another executive order which would reinstate the Reagan policy that did not allow federal money to fund any abortions, anywhere in the world, and last but not least, he promised to enact an order that repeals any and all of the anti-religious acts enacted by the Obama Administration in what Newt described as the President’s war on religion.

Newt’s speech was far from a concession speech, but what it did do was offer voters some good reasons for why Newt should not give up. With a room full of supporters waving signs that reminded voters that there are 46 more states which have yet to vote, Newt demonstrated that he still has what it takes to continue contesting this election.

The other speech of note came from third place finisher Senator Rick Santorum.

Even though Santorum placed a very distant third with only 13% of the vote in Florida, his speech actually provided a good rationale for his own continued participation in this race.

Knowing full well that he was not going to have a strong showing in Florida, Santorum elected to make his primary night remarks from Nevada, where he is campaigning in advance of that state’s Caucus which takes place this Saturday.

Taking advantage of the very rarely traveled high road in their primary contest, Santorum exploited the bitter battle between Romney and Gingrich by looking like the adult in the room who had his eye on the real prize…….defeating President Obama.

He stated that he was not going to criticize the personal and public successes achieved by both Gingrich and Romney as they have done to one another. Instead he declared that republicans deserve better, and that he was going to focus on the issues important to the American people. However, Santorum did argue that Newt failed at taking the momentum he had coming out South Carolina and converting it in to establishing himself as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. According to Santorum, Newt proved to make himself the issue and the American people do not need a President who is the issue, but rather a President who can address the issues and solve the problems surrounding them.

All three speeches were actually quite good and they all provided a solid foundation and legitimate reasons for this nomination contest to remain competitive. The problem is that Santorum and Gingrich will still have to find the resources it takes to convince voters that it really isn’t over. If Newt can finally stick to the themes he struck in his speech in Florida, themes based on his being the anti-establishment candidate and a true conservative leader capable of achieving very real and very bold reforms, he can survive long enough to see another victory, but it may not happen for another month or more and the longer he goes without a victory, the harder it will be for him to achieve one.

Right now, the only thing we can be certain of is that Mitt Romney is the one in the catbird seat tonight. The real problem I see here though is that Romney is still the candidate which for numerous reasons, many Republicans seem to be settling for. Such uninspired support makes it quite possible for someone like Newt to turn things around by actually inspiring people and causing voters say, you know what? I don’t have to settle for Mitt. We can do better.”

Until Mitt Romney is willing to stop playing it safe, and proves that he too can be a bold leader, he will remain vulnerable to being overshadowed by the boldness of Newt Gingrich’s vision and red meat agenda. For Mitt it is now a judgement call and a gamble. Does he continue to play it safe and rely on his giant campaign war chest to suppress the amount of support Gingrich and risk the possibility of Newt turning things around again? Or does he step out of his safety zone and make an attempt to prove that he is more than just a wealthy Republican establishment candidate?

My experience with Romney leads me to believe that he will continue to play it safe with the expectation that Newt will be do just the opposite and a loss it all by taking one too many risks.

On a final note, yes I know that I did not mention Ron Paul and that I did not include his concession speech. And no it is not because I am afraid that if I give him any ink, people will flock to his side and elect him President. The reason I did not include Ron Paul is because he has yet to become a significant factor in this election and because he said absolutely nothing new in his speech following his single digit, last place showing in Florida.

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2011 Republican of the Year

Last year, POLITICS 24/7 named Marco Rubio, Republican of the Year. The feeling was that he best embodied all that the G.O.P. needs to be and is the future of the Party.

We were right.

After a year long campaign for the U.S. Senate, underdog Marco Rubio handily won a three way race that pitted him against Florida incumbent Governor, former Republican, Charlie Crist and Democrat Congressman Kendrick Meek. Along the way, Rubio demonstrated the anti-establishmentarian instincts that lie at the heart of Republican success. He also proved to be a true believer in American exceptionalism, fiscal responsibility, conservative values, states rights and a federal government that uses the Constitution of the United States of America as the basis for its legislation and action..

Marco Rubio now goes to Washington, D.C. where he will have to apply these beliefs to the practical application of government and it is with high hopes that we expect him to live up to our expectations and look forward to bigger and better things for him in the years to come.

As for this year’s choice, there were several compelling front runners. Among them were South carolina Senator Jim DeMint, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

Senator DeMint refused to tow the Party leadership line. He proved himself to be more loyal to conservative principles than Republican politics. Early on, he bucked the establishment and supported candidates that his own Senate leadership opposed. In the end, nearly all DeMint backed candidates won their primaries and elections. Legislatively, DeMint led the fight for fiscal responsibility.

As for Chris Christie, in less than one year’s time as Governor of New Jersey, he took the nation by storm with his blunt and decisive leadership style. He closed a $10.7 billion revenue gap (the second largest in nation), addressed the critical problem of entitlements and state pensions, took unions head on, pushed an important state constitutional cap on property tax hikes and did it all without raising taxes. He quickly became one of most popular incumbent office holders on the campaign trail as he campaigned for Republican gubernatorial candidates across the country.

Congressman Paul Ryan distinguished himself in 2010 with his “Roadmap for America’s Future”, a salient plan that proposes dramatic changes in the way government taxes and spends. At age 40, he now enters his seventh term in Congress and he does so as the incoming House Budget Committee Chairman, one of the most powerful Republicans in Washington, D.C..

As for Haley Barbour, in addition to his exceptional governance of Mississippi, as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, he proved to be a masterful political tactician and prolific fundraiser. For his gubernatorial candidates, he raised almost more money than the RNC did for all of it’s targeted House and Senate seats and in the end he helped down ticket candidates as well as the top of state tickets.

There were other notable Republicans too, but in 2010, there was one person who proved to be among the most influential in American society.

That person is Sarah Palin.

2011 Republican of the Year

Throughout 2010, Sarah Palin was in the forefront of politics. Her every word, be it in a brief twitter or a major speech, attracted attention and drew both high praise from the right and sharp criticism from the left. She became the darling of the TEA Party movement and helped lead that movement and many of its candidates to success.

As we look ahead, Palin still remains quite influential and is even shaping the Republican race for President in 2012. As that race unfolds, Sarah’s decision to run or not run,  is influencing the decision of other potential conservative candidates, like John Thune and Mike Pence. No matter what, there is no denying Palin’s impact on politics and when it comes to change, the type of change that most voters wanted, Palin led the way.

In regards to her future, it is wide open. She can make of it, whatever she chooses, but only if she is smart about it. Although she has benefited the G.O.P. and conservatives greatly, her own image is quite a polarizing one. As many people cheer her as jeer her. The problem is, it is harder to make people like you and harder to keep them liking you, then it is for them to dislike you. And if Palin has any plans on running for President in 2012, although she would do well among Republicans, before they embrace her as their presidential nominee,  they will have to see signs that she can win enough Independents and Democrats to win the general election.

In the meantime, Palin is overexposed and there is little she can do without attracting vast amounts of attention. Being in such a position, in order for her to mount a successful campaign for President, she, more than any other possible candidate, will have to control the story. This will require a crackerjack team of professionals, professionals who know how to exploit the media, instead of allowing the media to continue exploiting her. Palin will also have to at some point soon, stop being the cheerleader and start being the statesman. She must elevate her stature to that of a more serious, highbrowed political leader and be able to hold her own against more polished politicians such as Romney and Barbour.

I do not for one minute doubt that she can do it. The only question is when will she start making the transition from cheerleader to leader? Of course she could be content simply advocating the conservative cause as a private citizen and highly popular spokesman.

Either way, Sarah’s impact on 2010 makes her the 2011 Republican of the Year and what she does in 2011 will continue to influence Republican politics into 2012 and possibly beyond.

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Fire Nancy Pelosi Bus Tours Campaigns In New Jersey

Bookmark and Share   With five days remaining in the 2010 election cycle and all the trends and voting patterns set in stone, each side of the political aisle is now focused on only certain races with laser-like precision. Gone are the days where that hope for just a little more money to pull candidates in over the finish line. Gone are the chances for creating new strategies to win voters over and convince people that your guy or gal is the better candidate.

At this point in the campaign, all the cards are on the table. This year, for Democrats, that means, do all you can to cut the losses and focus on saving what competitive seats they still have a chance of maintaining, like long term incumbents Barney Frank of Massachusetts and John Dingel of Michigan. For Republicans it means, nail down those races that are toss ups and produce the gains that will take back the House and possibly even the Senate.

That’s why top Democrats like President Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and even President Obama himself have had to stomp in the states and districts of incumbents and hit the trail for people like Barney Frank, or Virginia’s Tom Periello. These are seats that should be shoo ins, yet voter anger has them even at risk unless they can stop the hemorrhaging. But for Republicans, the story is quite different.

For Republicans, big names like Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and others are out on the campaign trail for people like Sean Bielat, Harold Johnson, Randy Hultgren, Sean Duffy and John Runyan, all virtual unknowns who are about to take down some of the biggest names in Congress.

Most of us live in the 400 or so , so-called “safe” districts where there is little if any race going on. As someone who has spent my life in the blue states of New York and New Jersey , I have usually resided in such safe districts, but this year, the Republican Rejuvenation of these midterm elections is bringing competition even to these states.

Case in point is New Jersey’s 4th congressional district. Incumbent Democrat John Adler is facing a race in an atmosphere that has him swimming  against the tide and Republicans are doing everything possible to insure that the tide beats him.

In those towns within the 4th district that are strongest for John Runyan, the local, state and national G.O.P. has been relentlessly gnawing away at Adler’s support and feeding a relentless cycle of energy that is electrifying the already enthused and exciting those who are normally not even involved in the election process. In just this week alone, popular Governor Chris Christie has attended two jam packed rallies for Runyan, he has taken part in two special teleconferences to address the hundreds of volunteers at different campaign headquarters who are manning the phones and providing the walking sheets for an army of more volunteers whom are going door to door. In fact, as residents of the 4th CD, Governor Christie’s own parents, are manning phones out of a local Mount Holly headquarters, leaving the governor to recently quip that his Dad is working harder for John Runyan’s election than he did for his son.

Today, in an unprecedented event, Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, even stopped by the district to campaign for Runyan.

The event which was part of the RNC‘s “Fire Pelosi” bus tour produced a standing room only crowd and fired up an already energized electorate.

Even I was moved by Chairman Steele’s words, and that says a lot, for although I had liked Mike Steele before he was RNC Chairman, I have found myself disappointed by his job performance as Chairman. Yet his performance today was exemplary.

He entered the Atlantis Ballroom of the Toms River Holiday Inn to thunderous, almost rock star-like applause, and from then on he had the crowd eating up every word with a mix of ideological fervor, commonsense logic, and a degree of humor that even had the reporters covering the event laughing out loud. (I saw you Zach Fink).

Steele’s remarks not only drove home the importance of defeating Democrats in this election, but he assured the crowd that the GOP has learned their lesson. He embraced and thanked the TEA Party movement for reawakening us to the principles we strayed away from, and promised that the Grand Old Party has come to understand that we can no longer compromise on spending or the size of government and that no type of big government is acceptable, not even “big government Republicanism”. He even credited the new class of freshman of Republicans for turning the Grand Old Party into the “Great Opportunity Party.”

Steele also reminded the New Jersey audience that it was they who has started this electoral revolution. He reminded the audience that it was the election of their Governor, Chris Christie, which helped set in motion the trend for the type of less government, less spending leadership that voters all across the nation are demanding this November 2nd.

The event gave a campaign that is already slightly ahead in the polls, an injection of unbridled enthusiasm, the type of enthusiasm that is needed to motivate the forces in the tiring days of a long campaign, the type of energy that Democrats and the forces of John Adler are lacking in their uphill battle.

Gone for the Adler campaign are the appearances by heavy hitters with star power. Gone for Adler is the expectation of making the over half a million contacts that the Republican volunteers for Runyan have made. Gone for Adler is the final injection of money from the Democrat National Campaign Committee for attacks ads against Runyan.

And if today’s rally was not enough, the same area of the district Christie and Steel have campaigned in, will be experiencing a major GOTV rally on Sunday as the TEA Party Express bus stops in Toms River with one of the biggest stars of the 2010 election, Sarah Palin.

As someone who has been assigned to work on targeted races in the past, I can honestly say that I have never quite seen the level of intensity that some of the most hotly contested races, like Runyan in NJ4 are seeing in 2010. It is all the culmination of Democrat leadership which has lurched so far to the left and demonstrated all the aspects which people hate most about politics and the process, that the electorate has become polarized to the point of seeing the choices as not being between the ‘left’ or the ‘right’ but rather between right or wrong.

For these reasons, all over the United States, unknowns like John Runyan will be taking control of Congress this January. The only question now is how much in control will they be in. Three weeks ago POLITICS 24/7 saw the GOP on a trajectory that provided them with 62 seats in the House and 10 or 11 seats in the Senate. On Friday, POLITICS 24/7 will release its final predictions along with an election night schedule that will help you understand what trends some of the earliest results will be pointing to.

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Ron Paul Wins CPAC 2012 Presidential Straw Poll

Bookmark and Share   As the political atmosphere turns its turbulent winds of unrest against the Administration of President Obama, anger and dissatisfaction within the American electorate has forced them to focus and rally for a change from the change that Barack Obama’s promised false hope produced. As a result, the annual Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington, D.C. saw its largest gathering ever.

Amid countless speeches from the likes of Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, J.C. Watts and rising star Marco Rubio to Mike Pence, Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney, countless rally cries for change are echoing from throughout the ballrooms of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel and into the political world.

Along with insightful and inspiring, pep-like speeches to motivate the conservative forces, there are countless workshops and organizational training classes that are aimed at allowing dedicated activists to focus their energies on the development of increasing effective grass development and activism.

Among one of the highlights of the annual conference is the CPAC Presidential Straw Poll. The results of the straw are a clear signal of whom the base of the Republican is most energized by and a hint of who has the base’s momentum as we move closer and closer to the presidential election.

For the last three years, former Governor Mitt Romney has taken that honor. Last year he won the CPAC just a day after he withdrew from the Republican presidential nomination contest that ultimately went to Senator John McCain.

This year the CPAC ballot consisted of eleven names Mitt Romney, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, former Alaska Governor and GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, South Dakota Senator John Thune, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman and perennial presidential candidate Ron Paul, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. A twelfth option was offered on the ballot in the reform of a space for voters to write-in any other preference that they may have.

Just moments ago, in what can only be seen as a surprie upset, the results of the straw poll were released and this is how it turned out:

  1. Ron Paul                     31%
  2. Mitt Romney            22%
  3. Sarah Palin                  7%
  4. Tim Pawlenty             6%
  5. Mike Pence                  5%

Of the 10.000 people in attendance, only 2,400 cast a straw ballot and from the looks of things, the ever dilligent Ron Paul had his very loyal, vocal militant supporters passing out as many ballots as possible.  

So although Congressman Paul can claim this victory, most people, including those in attendance at the CPAC conference, will tell you that no one expects Ron Paul to be the nominee of any major party in 2012. 

Two good signs from this poll though are that even without a corrdinated push for a ballot position thi year, Mitt Romney remains to be a favorite.   The other optimistic sign is Mike Pence’s 5th place showing. 

As a relatively unknown Indiana Congressman, Mike Pence has made quite a name for himself, especially in the area of fiscal conservatism.  Apparently that is beginning to catch the eye of many.

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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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For Republicans Only: Rebuilding and Reinvigorating the Nation and Party-PART II

Bookmark and Share    In the first part of this series we pointed out that the devastating losses of 2006 and 2008 and the loss of the White House produced a severe shortage of prominent Republican figures on the national stage. reprebrand1Without an individual whom can be that face and without the party putting forth cohesive policy paths, on all levels, the G.O.P. is adrift in a turbulent sea of waves created by a torrent of liberal initiatives.

This situation led us to establish a few things.

First we must get everyone on the same page and identify the problems that face the nation and their causes and then paint a picture of those problems that can be depicted in the form of a common enemy. It was determined that we could easily call that enemy “the government” and show it to be the common antagonist in our lives that all Americans can rally with Republicans against.

We also established that we need a figure who without being a threat to any other Republican’s presidential ambitions, can provide the national voice for the message that the G.O.P. needs to get out.

That person was suggested in Part I, but putting aside exactly who is best suited to be the messenger, let us focus on the message.

Under President Obama, and the Democrat led Congress, it is quite apparent that a significant portion of society is finally beginning to question just how much control they want any American federal government to have over their lives.

This thinking is not new. Such sentiments have been eroding at the popularity of both the Republican and Democrat parties. It also accounts for the fairly significant and deep rooted, loyal base, of national support that Dr. Ron Paul, a Texas congressman has. Even though Ron Paul caucuses with Republicans and runs as one, he is at heart, a libertarian and it is to the libertarian party that we have lost many Republicans.

We must get them back and we can do so if we combat the government enemy by stressing less government, less government fiats upon the people that limit their freedoms, more economic and educational opportunities and more ethical political leaders.

As previously mentioned, this approach, as it was under Ronald Reagan, describes government as the enemy……the common enemy that the G.O.P. can inspire the American people to rally behind in the fight against the enemy.

By making it clear that while we are not proposing that there be no government, we must make it understood that as government is creating more problems than it is solving and spends more than it ever takes in, it must be curbed. It must be reduced in size and scope in order to stop costing the American people more than it is worth and to be effective in those areas which it should and could be effective.

With the government now owning financial institutions, car companies and getting more and more into the business of business, people are becoming increasingly skeptical. This encroaching government control is made even more threatening with the liberal passage of such things as Cap-and-Trade and now socialized medicine. Even senior citizens are beginning to oppose the administrations attempt to control their treatment and coverage in the face of aging and declining health.

All of this will not only begin to deteriorate our national quality of life, it will also start costing more. The more control that government has, the more money it needs to implement and maintain those controls

This message must and can be conveyed in many different ways and in regards to just about every issue that comes up. But in our message, as we unite Americans in combating our “common enemy”, we must also produce alternatives. To gain the peoples trust and recapture the majority in Congress, we must offer policy alternatives that flow from principles. Those principles are the same ones found in the Constitution and they are the principles of freedom. They are also the principles which many former Republicans who are now libertarians have come to realize we are drifting away from with increased speed as everyday passes by.

We must demonstrate that the Democrats are trying to play God by creating a centralized government power structure that overrides state’s rights and individual’s rights and has a hand in every single aspect of our lives.

But before Republicans oppose any action of the President or the Democrat controlled congress, they must have their policy alternative to offer at the same time.

This must be done in such a way that everyone from Republican Governors, and state legislative leaders, members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are all on the same page and speaking the same policy message and theme. To coordinate this, our Republican Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell and our leader of the House, Republican Minority Leader John Boehner must work together. Coordination must also be made with the state Republican organizations and the Republican Governors Association and its mayoral counterparts. The RNC would be the perfect entity for such coordination and through them the RGA, NRSC and NRCC could all be on message and pushing for the same policies. Policies that could be a part of what Republicans could call “The American Agenda”.

In shaping that American Agenda the G.O.P must also politically incorporate other objectives into it.

They must rebrand themselves and capitalize on the displeasure with Democrat overreach, and their corporate welfare and dependency politics. This can be done by showing that the new GOP is smarter, younger and more diverse and more in touch with the founding principles that have to date made America great. In addition to having that one trusted, proven and articulate face of the party conveying our national message, allow the Sarah Palins, Eric Cantors, Bobby Jindals, Aaron Schocks, Michelle Bachmann’s, Cathy McMorris Rodgers‘, John Thunes and a host of other vital young Republicans to be in the forefront. Flood the market with fresh faces that have a clean slate and smart, succinct messages. Then deliver the fresh, smart and forward looking message that will be contained in our “American Agenda”.

That agenda should contemplate the adoption of some policy risks and give thought to making some changes that demonstrate our faith in freedom, attracts young voters and changes the national conversation.

Such can be done by crafting our American Agenda with the following directions:

A). – Consider the legalization of certain drugs :

-Demonstrate that we know that freedom means people have a right to do what they like with their bodies whether it is good or bad so long as it does not take the lives of others or infringe on the rights of others.

B). – Support Domestic Unions :

-Shake everything up and get the state out of the marriage business by allowing churches, mosques and temples to marry those they choose. That is the business of their God, not the federal government.  At the same time, do not seek to have government redefine marriage.  Allow the government to preserve the religious sanctity of marriage while also preserving its constitutional civic responsibilities and perform Domestic Unions that ensure that people who unite contractually are treated equally before the law, as the Constitution requires.

Aside from “shaking things up”, we must  address healthcare and present a renewed commitment on some of those issues the party is traditionally strongest on and implement policy solutions that demonstrate our convictions to our nations Constitution.

An approach to the issue of healthcare should be one that is not based on the failed socialist policy initiatives that our nation has shunned and fought against. That would lead us to adopt some of , but not the only, following constitutionally driven approaches into our “American Agenda”.

C). – HealthCare Opportunities :

-Offer the type of “change” in healthcare that we can live with and have the federal government adjust what it can and should change on the issue. For instance (1) .-Tort Reform.   It will have a drastic effect on the rising cost of healthcare in America. (2).- Portability. The current lack of portability prevents people from keeping their coverage when they change jobs or relocate and often they can not continue with the same coverage they have throughout their lives as other changes in their lives occur. Federal action that would allow for the portability of health insurance would solve this problem and help to stabilize insurance markets, reduce costs and ultimately reduce the fluctuating number of uninsured in America.  ( 3). – Enact a policy toolbox of federal initiatives that states could include and federal funding to the states would be linked to success in reaching the goals. With federal legislative guidelines and financial support, state experimentation would produce a myriad of various solutions and in time the best solutions for each state will evolve into better and stronger healthcare availability options for all states. (4).- Incentivise good health and fitness by offering limited tax credits for gym memberships and fitness equipment.

On those issues that the G.O.P has consistently been strong on, the new “American Agenda” must reinforce those strengths with the following items:

D). – Means-test Everything :

-If any federal social programs are to exist, they must be designed to help those whom are truly needy. Government welfare programs like Medicare for the rich are unreasonable and unacceptable ands we need to make that clear. For those who will rightfully point out that constitutional grounds for any “federal social programs”, are at the very least questionable, they must understand the need for compromises that can help begin to change attitudes and minds. This is one such compromise. If we are to have such programs they must not be abused or overextended.

E). – Taxpayer Bill of Rights & Balanced Budget :

-After the current massive expansion and growth of government by Democrats, people will want government to shrink. By creating a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that will lock government revenues in at population plus inflation as measured by acceptable cost of living indices we can assure people that we will be at the very least stop government from growing. Then add limits on national debt that would force cuts and stop passing the national credit card and its bill to future generations.

F). – Environmental Security not Global Warming: “More Obvious Conservation Methods, Not More Taxes” :

-Call it environmental security and dedicate ourselves to protecting and preserving our environment by funding such things as geo-engineering and sequestration technology but not by sucking the finances of the American people during times of economic hardship for an Al Gore hypothesis that can only be conclusively proven through the evidence produced by the passage of another million years. The G.O.P. must highlight the undeniable, rational pro-environment record that we have extending as far back as Theodore Roosevelt and we must get in the forefront of the issue by demonstrating that the historic Cap-and-Trade measure adopted by liberals is more than irrational, it is dangerous, ineffective and another example of overreaching control that taxes us on air while destroying the long-term health of our economy and individual’s economic prosperity.

G). – Enforce Our Fundamental Belief In National Sovereignty and Freedom :

-The administrations “globalization” policy is a threat to us on many levels. It puts our security, sovereignty, economy and national heritage at risk. We must therefore (1). – Implement an Open Arms-Secure Borders Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill that welcomes and protects legal immigrants, secures our borders and eliminates the tolerance for illegal immigrants who weigh heavily on our law enforcement capabilities, emergency services and economic prosperity. (2). – Declare our united support for an English First, Not English Only Bill. (3).- Make it clear that our government will not excuse, or make excuses for, those enemies of freedom who hinder progress in areas of our interests or seek to inflict harm on us or our allies. The electorate must be clear on the fact that Republicans do not buy in to the Democrat approach to foreign policy which leads us to believe that Americans should feel guilty for defending our nation, the cause of freedom or our national sovereignty, heritage or interests. (4).- Seek to curtail the use of Eminent Domain abuses by eliminating federal funding for any state or municipal projects that use eminent domain to acquire land.  It must be made clear that the constitutional right to property cannot be abrdged.

H). – Energy Independence :

-The government must take advantage of all available sound domestic energy sources while promoting the independent study of advanced uses for clean, renewable energy technologies.

I). – Reform How Government Does Business And Limit Election Spending

-Demonstrate that we not only acknowledge the political culture of corruption and shady tactics but that we stand against it with reforms to prevent it. (1).- Eliminate the public financing option for federal elections. Make it clear that we do not want taxpayers spending money for politicians to lie us in attempt to get our vote. (2.) – At the same time, place a spending limit on all elections for all federal offices. (3.)- Adopt the Enumerated Powers Act which forces all legislative initiatives and federal spending to be supported by the clause in the Constitution that proves it to be a proper measure for the federal government to undertake. (4.) – Pass a bill drafting amendment that prohibits spending measures and regulations that are unrelated to that bill from being tacked on to it.

The Republican Party needs to rebuild itself with an agenda that includes of all the above points.

If it can get everyone on the same page, rebrand itself with fresh faces and trustworthy policy directions and a unified message in 2010 then they can at the very least make inroads to a strong eventual comeback.

With the right people, policies and message we can demonstrate that by trying to be like European nations with unfunded liabilities and the bureaucratization of everything we may actually become like them and spend decades enduring 10 percent unemployment rates and trying to maintain our national identity. We must use our policies and messages to capitalize on the dissatisfaction that Democrats are creating and demonstrate that raising taxes and spending other people’s money is not the best way for our country to go.

Now is the time for us to offer up a second revolution that is made up with ideas that puts an end to bureaucratic governmental licentiousness and unleash entrepreneurship all while offering leadership with a view towards freedom, pragmatism and common sense, all of which the left has abandoned.

But as is the case with any good strategy, its success lies in its implementation and the methods and tactics needed to see it through. In the next part of this series we will address those plans and reveal the logistics needed to grow the seeds of a political revolution to restore freedom to the freest people the world has ever known.

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For Republicans The Question Is Who Should It Be? Take the poll and tell us.

Bookmark and Share    Yesterday,  POLITICS 24/7 began a series called “For Republicans Only: A plan for rebuilding the party“. 

PhotobucketIn it was explained that the G.O.P. must begin to reshape their image, create a concise national policy direction and message, put a face on on the problems that the nation faces and turn it into a common enemy to rally behind Republicans against.   It also pointed out the we must find a voice for the party that could convey our message and recruit Americans in a political battle to combat that common enemy.

The article took us through a national audition of Republicans to find the best people who could be that voice and the face of the G.O.P.. 

Naturally such a discussion involved those whom may be running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and although the G.O.P. can not wait until 2012 to start getting back on track, it brings rise to the question, who would you like to see be the nominee?

There is a long way to  go between now and then and much can and will happen to change the opinions that you may have today.  But knowing what those current opinions are helps to establish the direction people are looking for the Republican Party to go in.

Awareness of that direction allows us to build momentum in that direction.  It allows us to shape policies that people want and a message that is in tune with  what people want to hear and are willing to pay attention to.

By knowing whom Republicans are currently leaning towards for President in 2012, we are given an indicationPhotobucket of what they are most concerned with and the type of qualities that Republicans voters feel the nation needs in our next President.

Some potential Republican presidential nominees excel in management or economics or both.  Others are more known for foriegn policy experience and abilities or for their anti-establishment, outside-the-beltway image. 

Whatever the attributes are, each candidate is unique and among voters certain unique qualities are more important than others. 

During times of war, people often have a propensity to favor a figure who brings deft military experience to the table.

During times of economic crisis voters focus on someone with a proven and successful background in in the financial market. 

PhotobucketCurrently our nation is in difficult economic times but America is also currently in the middle of a crisis of faith. A crisis of faith in government.   And although it is not always apparent these days, we are also in the middle of a war.

Under these circumstances, by knowing who Republicans favor for the presidential nomination right now, we are seeing within whom they feel is what we need to deal with all that we face as a nation right now. 

So even though there is much work for Republicans to do, not just for 2012 but before next years midterm elections, let us know which candidate you currently think is the leader America needs right now.

Take a moment ot consider those prospects which are potential candidates and let us establish a sense of what the type of party they wish us to be.
                                                                                              

                                                                                                 

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For Republicans Only:

A plan for rebuilding and reinvigorating a down and out party.

Click the image above to read the first part of For Republicans Only

                                             Click the image above to read the first part of For Republicans Only

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For Republicans Only: A plan for rebuilding and reinvigorating a down and out party.

Bookmark and Share     It may seem a shame or insincere to have to be political and develop political strategies to get anything done in American politics. But when you plunge into the sea of politics you better be willing to swim. This does not mean that repboatayou can’t be sincere about the issues and their effects on the American people but it does mean that if your gonna swim with the sharks you’d be wise to put on your flippers instead of your running shoes. And that is what this article deals with. It is meant to discuss the political reality behind the Republican Party’s ability to get back into the game and the tools and the political strategies it must utilize to lead again.

As we look ahead you do not have to be a rocket scientist to see that the G.O.P. cannot afford a third consecutive election cycle where they lose another 20 or more seats in congress or any more governorships or state legislative chambers. To do so in 2010 will be lethal.

That is when the census takes place and redistricting begins. By losing more congressional seats we will be making it that much harder to reach a majority in 2012. And to lose any more sway in the states will mean that Democrats will have the opportunity to gerrymander Republicans into minority status for a decade or more.

So Republicans can’t wait for the presidential election of 2012 to help them increase their numbers. They must make their gains now and 2010.

In 2009 it looks like Republicans will do well and pick up Governors in New Jersey and Virginia. But for 2010, the G.O.P. needs to get on message and into gear now.

But how do we expect to make a significant run towards majority status when we will be needing it most in 2010?

Sadly, I do not see signs of a national Republican strategy and message shaping up. After supporting Ken Blackwell for

Mike Steele

Mike Steele

 RNC Chairman, I am not privy to the leaderships plans but from the outside I see no movement in the direction that we must take.

We could just sit back and allow the Democrats to get comfortable. That is how the G.O.P. lost control of things in the first place. After the first four years in control of both congress and the White House, complacency and the lack of a need to get the power that they had, allowed many to stop keeping their noses clean and to cease going that extra mile to make our case.

The same fate will eventually come of the current liberal ruling regime in Washington, D.C..

To a degree, Democrats understand this and that is why they are rushing , at a breakneck pace, to consolidate their power immediately by entrenching some of the most expansive and extensive socialized programs we have ever seen into government. They want to do so before the tide turns on them.

But to regain control of congress essentially by default will not make for a meaningful reason for Republicans to be in control or for an enduring leadership role that will last for any significant length of time.

So what are Republicans to do?

For that answer we should look back to a similar time. A time when Republicans were down and out. It was 1980 and much like now, we had a President who on the national stage spoke softly and carried a very small stick. He was a President who also saw government as the solution to all our problems but had policies which essentially drained every dime out of the American economy and made it so that the government and its people could not afford to do anything about anything.

To counter the Democrats and the “days of malaise” that they had us in, the G.O.P. revamped their image in the eyes of the people and became the innovative and anti-establishment, anti-government party. And they did so by presenting easily understood alternative solutions to those being bandied about by the left. They were also able to focus a spotlight on a common enemy that most Americans related to. This common enemy became something to rally against with Republicans.

Common enemies are a very powerful source of unity and support.

President George H.W. Bush spent the first four and a half years of his eight years in office riding a wave of support because terrorists proved themselves to be an undeniably severe threat to Americans and therefore a common enemy to rally against. This was not some political creation. It was a national reality and while terrorists still remain a collective concern, the lack of thousands of Americans falling victim to them again all at once, has made them a less powerful rallying cry these days but hopefully not any less of a concern.

arepleader10In the 80’s, the Reagan Revolution successfully united a majority of Americans by condensing all the problems that we were facing into a different enemy. Reagan successfully defined government as the enemy. And who was in total control of government? The Democrats.

This theme, this rallying cry, allowed Americans to see that government was not the solution, it was the problem. Over time, the approach increased Republican numbers at every level. From city councils, to state legislatures and governors mansions, slowly but surely, Republicans increased in numbers until a clear majority of state houses and state executive offices were dominated by Republican majorities.

But this message was not just meant for the purpose of having majority control. It was also meant to make a beneficial difference. It was meant to use that power to reduce the size and scope of the government enemy. To reduce government’s tax burden on the people. To eliminate the barriers to economic growth, job opportunities and entrepreneurial expansion. It was also used to rebuild our military capabilities and restore America’s role on the international stage. Defeating the communist enemy was another reason.

With Republican control came the change America needed and that is exactly what the G.O.P. must demonstrate to Americans again. We must convince them that we are currently headed down a road that our nation once ran away from. The road that was plotted for our nation under Jimmy Carter whose increased regulations, increased taxation and government interference created both a deficit of personal economic empowerment and of national morale.

That same Carter-like approach to our federal government is taking place today under President Obama. And at a time when we are again experiencing tough economic times, the liberal tax and spend approach is again making things tougher for all of us.

This case must be made to the people but it cannot be effectively made with an algebraic equation or Ross Perot bar graph. It must be made through a concise, everyday translation that everyone can relate to.

In 1980, during one presidential debate, Ronald Reagan discussed the historic and disastrous inflation rate that the Carter administration brought to bear on us. He spoke of a little girl who when shopping with her mother saw a doll that she fell in love with and desperately wanted. She pleaded with her mother to buy it for her but her mother told her that she had to earn it and with her allowance she must save for it. The former Governor and soon to be President continued to explain that the little girl saved her money until finally she had enough to buy it. But when she went back to the store, the price had increased and she did not have enough money after all. So, disappointed, she went back home hoping to save enough money to buy it the following week. When that next week came, she went back to the store with enough to cover the new purchase price only to discover that the price of that same doll went up again. Reagan described how this disappointing cycle repeated itself for a month and he further explained that this was the effect of inflation and the misery index which was created during the Carter years.

He stated that this was the result of the economic condition that we got ourselves into under the Carter administration and that as hard as we tried to keep our heads above water, the rushing tide of rising costs was a never ending cycle that kept on putting everything out of our reach and like that little girl whose so desired doll was always out of reach because of inflation, so too was the American dream becoming out of reach for all individual Americans.

Reagan helped people to relate to our troubles by encapsulating all of our nation’s problems down to the face of an innocent little girl. And in doing so he made Americans believe that he understood them and their problems.

It allowed him to capture the hearts, minds and votes of the American people.

This is the approach that we again need. Republicans must reconnect and demonstrate that they relate to those not in the political class.

But who is to be the messenger and where are the innovative approaches to come from?

Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor

In looking for such a person we can easily see that the House of Representatives is hardly a place where such a face of national stature can be easily be created. The few promising figures in congress who have the innovative minds and anti-establishment mentality that we need must rise to a higher level of prominence before they have a realistic shot at being the right national messenger. Congressmen like Eric Cantor of Ohio, Mike Pence of Indiana and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin are perfect examples of the type of capable, competent leaders we need. But until they are in a position of greater power and prominence like that of a Governor or Senator, there is little chance for them to command the amount of attention that they need to effectively and properly deliver a nationally captivating message

Mike Pence

Mike Pence

For Cantor, Ryan and Pence, the G.O.P. would be wise to start making room for them as Senators or Governors in the coming years. But that still wont fill the void we have right now.

In looking at the United States Senate, prospects there are thin.

Of the forty Republicans remaining, few have the persona, gravitas and ability to capture the nation’s imagination and trust. McCain is over and was over even before he ran for President. The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, lacks any significant attraction in speech or persona and ideas.

Judd Gregg

Judd Gregg

Among the most promising, somewhat conservative figures, whose personalities and abilities can fit the bill, are possibly Bob Corker of Tennessee but more likely Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and John Thune of South Dakota. Both of these men are consistently strong, sound voices that could emerge as potential standard bearers in 2012 and they could start carrying the banner now by coalescing the party together under the type of “get government out the way” policy alternatives that we could make a message out of.

Gregg though seems always prepared to hang up his hat and return to a quiet life of retirement in the hills and mountains of New Hampshire.

So that leaves Senator John Thune.

He is young, the youngest of them all and I have always appreciated him. In his first run for the Senate, he lost by almost 500 votes that were illegally obtained for incumbent Senator Tim Johnson through a Democrat scheme that involved cash for votes and falsified registrations from two South Dakota Indian registrations.

John Thune

John Thune

But two years later, Thune made history when he defeated the Senate’s Democrat leader Tom Daschle.

Since then, Thune has been a relatively strong conservative influence and he has command of the issues, an energetic and confident charisma and clean record.

After sifting through the ranks of federal office holders, the only other obvious place to find the leader we need is from within the ranks of state leadership.

The governors.

It is here where we also find the most innovative and beneficial ideas in government.

The majority of Republican governors are handling things far better than most Democrat governors like those in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania,

Donald Carcierie

Donald Carcieri

 Ohio, Washington and others. But here too, the right captivating figure is hard to find out of the 22 existing Republican governors.

Mark Sanford was a promising option. His potential was not for any command of communication skills, which he lacked, but because of actual strong policy positions and administrative qualities. That was of course all before he ran off to Argentina and abandoned his state and family for a romp with his “soul mate”.

Donald Carcieri happens to be the most unique of all governors.

He is the Republican governor of Rhode Island, one of, if not the most, liberal states in the most liberal region of the nation, New England.

What makes him most unique there is the fact that he is actually a centrist with a propensity towards conservative positions. He is often in opposition to his Democrat dominated state legislature on such things as the obligations of state workers, separation of powers and illegal immigration. He has even vetoed more than 30 pieces of legislation that they have presented to him. Yet he has still been elected twice.

But we are talking Rhode Island here and Carcieri lacks any great innovative leadership qualities and national appeal.

Haley Barbour

Haley Barbour

I would hope to see Carcieri eventually take one of the two Democrat U.S. Senate seats, like Sheldon Whitehouse’s seat, but I hardly expect him to capture the national imagination.

Of those remaining, the brightest gubernatorial lights are those of Louisiana’s Boby Jindal, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, and the best of all of them, Mitch Daniels of Indiana.

Daniels won reelection to a second term as governor by as much as 60% while at the same time, Indiana voters elected Barack Obama for President. In some cases he even got 20% of the African-American vote. That is an unusually high percentage for any Republican anywhere. He clearly has crossover appeal.

He can also be an inspiring speaker who conveys his message with conviction and in a way that makes people trusting of him and confident in him. As a conservative he has refrained from the wholesale selling out of the ideals that many in the G.O.P. have done over the past five or so years. Just one example can be demonstrated by the size of Indiana’s government.

While governments in most other states has increased in size, Mitch Daniels has shrunk both the size and cost of government. Currently the state has about 30,000 public employees. That is the smallest number of state employees since 1983.

Another area of distinction for him is in the area of government budgets.

When first coming into office Indiana had an $800 million deficit but Daniels turned it into a surplus of $1.3 billion. Much of this was helped by his reducing the growth rate of state spending from 5.9 percent to 2.8 percent.

The only problem is that Mitch Daniels has stated that he will not ever run for president. That puts a damper on national hopes for him but they have also been the same words uttered by a few people who are now former presidents

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal

As for Jindal his record in Congress proves him to be an ideally strong conservative. On issues like abortion, immigration, national security, healthcare, energy, education and on just about every other issues he is right where the right wants a leader to be.

As Louisiana‘s Governor he has maintained his conservative credentials and even reigned in Louisiana‘s state budget problems.

On the downside, Jindal has only been in office since 2007 and during that time, his first, and to date, only appearance on the national stage was a response to President Obama’s State of the Union. In it, Governor Jindal put forward the right message but its delivery fell flat and received rapid fire shots aimed at claiming he was done.

Such is not the case but even Bobby Jindal has admitted that he is a little green and needs more seasoning.

That leaves Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty and Mississippi’s Haley Barbour open for discussion.

Tim Paelenty

Tim Paelenty

Both of these men have produced for their states and both of them are more qualified than President Obama was when he was elected President of the United States.

In Pawlenty we have a strong messenger and practitioner of what he himself has termed, Sam’s Club Republicanism, a combination of social conservatism with working family economic appeal.

He has governed well, put spending under control and geared state government more towards that which it should be dealing with such as responsible infrastructure planning, maintenance and construction.

If Pawlenty can raise money and attract some of the top tier consultants which Mitt Romney has already attracted to his camp. And if he can raise enough money to insure that his campaign for the presidential nomination is not under funded, thaen Pawlenty’s record, populist approach and appeal could be quite successful. But to get to that point, he should really start reaching for more national exposure now.

He should start interpreting his alternative policies to the Obama administration and allow himself to become the natural face of the G.O.P.. In him is the ability to not only shape the message that we as a party need to get out but he also has the ability to shape the policies that we can center that message around. If Tim Pawlenty were to take the lead now on issues like healthcare, taxes, the bailout, energy and job growth, many others will line up behind him as they begin to see that Pawlenty is the figure who can part the seas for the rest of them.

The same applies to Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

He has a folksy, “get’er done” way about himself and an appealing record of accomplishment for his state on budgetary control.

Before, during and after the ravaging of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, Barbour effectively prepared his state for it and efficiently dealt with its aftermath. Louisiana was the only state to be hit as hard or harder by Hurricane Katrina and in Louisiana’s case it was prepared for and handled so horrifically that its Governor, Kathleen Blanco was practically forced out of office and ultimately rejected even for consideration to a second term in office.

Both Pawlenty and Barbour have the perfect opportunity to step up and become the leader and messenger that we need. Both of them have the unique ability to convincingly demonstrate to Americans that with the right policy direction, rather than being in our way, government can get out of our way and be an effective tool for insuring opportunity, independence and an enduring quality of life with economic freedom and growth.

Mitch Daniels has the ability to do so too and probably better than any of them………….if he wanted to.

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush

Of course three, now former governor’s have this same ability and opportunity. Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and dare I say it, Jeb Bush of Florida.

Jeb has put off any attempts for the White House for now. After two Bush’s in the Oval Office over the course of sixteen years, the obvious notion that the nation is Bushed out is a pretty safe bet.

As the most conservative member of the Bush family to have served in office, Jeb has been a truly effective leader and one that Floridians would have never let go if they had the chance to reelect.

Palin has promise but after resigning from office early she also now has problems. None of which can’t be overcome. Her chances to be the national face and voice of the party is fifty-fifty, much like her standing among Americans. They either love her or hate her.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Now out of office, Palin must walk a very careful line that seeks to diffuse those that hate her and broaden the numbers of those who love her. She will also have to make sure that she is taken seriously at all times. There will be no room for her to flub on any issue and while using her appealing folksy ways, she must convey a command of the issues and demonstrate a breadth of knowledge and competence that can in no way be denied by anyone who hears her. If she can deliver her small government, Washington outsider, equal opportunity, freedom based policy messages, she could out shop Tim Pawlenty when it comes to being a Sam’s Club Republican.

The largest elephant in the room though is Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

He is definitely running for President and he is by all measures the current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

In addition to being a successful businessman in his own right, Romney is also a managerial genius. He took the once derailed, scandal ridden, over budget and chaotic build up of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and turned it into a smooth running, ethical and profitable display of organizational perfection.

Beyond that credit is Romney’s term as Governor in a liberal state that is called home by such liberal giants as Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, Barney Frank and Ted Kennedy. The liberal bastion of Massachusetts is no place for a conservative Republican to sprout out from but Romney played politics and outmaneuvered his Democrat opponent.

However; in doing so Mitt created a few problems.

A now long past conversion from pro-abortion rights to pro-life has left many right-to-lifers wondering if he is sincere on the issue. Why right-to-lifers find it hard to believe that someone would agree with them after witnessing a personal family struggle with the issue, itself is hard to understand. But so be it.

On gay rights, previous statements made when Mitt ran against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate and in his actions as Governor during Massachusetts first in the nation “Gay Marriage” fight have critics claiming that on that issue, Romney experienced another political conversion.

The two issues together give Romney naysayers the opportunity to call him a flip-flopper.

But that charge only adds height to Mitt’s biggest hurdle. Obamacare.

As Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was a central figure in the creation of a state run healthcare program that made the purchase of health insurance by state residents mandatory. The concept was based on the principle that if everyone was covered, healthcare costs would be less expensive. The problem is that such a law of supply and demand doesn’t reconcile when a government bureaucracy is over seeing it.

It would be easy to suggest that Romney did the best he could with a liberal state and an overwhelmingly liberal dominated state legislature and that is true to an extent. However Mitt’s fingerprints are allover this one and to make matters worse he was the first governor to implement a plan of this type anywhere. The episode does make the case for the federal government to avoid the creation of a socialized healthcare program. It also makes a case for allowing experimentation within each individual state until an efficient model is found and emulated by all the states. But when it comes to Massachusetts, this episode proves that socialized medicine is not the way to go and for Romney the problem now is that it was his plan which demonstrated why it is not the way to go.

There are other factors involved though.

The state legislature and Romney’s successor, Governor Deval Patrick did tinker with the original program. They tinkered with it a lot and many of the healthcare reforms made in the original plan have changed from what Romney had influenced. Nevertheless the issue is Romney’s to defend against and explain. It exposes his Achilles heal in any 2012.

Romney’s best defense against possible Republican opponents who were or are governors would probably be “I tried and it failed and I learn from mistakes, whereas my fellow governors up here never even tried to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.”

This assessments of Republican leadership prospects leaves us with the following conclusion.

As it looks now, the most likely and promising of likely individuals to choose from will be a field that consists of Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour and John Thune.

Others will run and some from the above mentioned group may not. But if the six that I bring up were to be the field of candidates for the Republican nomination, it would indeed be a hotly contested race that will also undoubtedly inject a great many substantial policy models and directions that will help to fuel the conservative movement.

But that isn’t till 2012.

What will become of 2010?

Short of any of the possibly convincing figures discussed being ballsy enough to attempt to become our national voice right now, as it currently stands, there is no one person who can do it while also having the ability to enjoin all of the party leadership including the senate and house in a national strategy.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Someone needs to be able to bring all levels of leadership together and get them all on the same page to push one strategy.

It must be a strategy similar to Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America”.

Critics can malign the “Contract With America” all they want but it worked.

After forty years in the wilderness, Newt Gingrich, along with the help of a faltering Clinton administration, brought Republicans in to the majority in the house. And the new generation that came into power with that “Contract” actually adhered to it, at least for as long as Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House.

As for who can be both the voice of the party and the unifying force for a national Republican strategy, politics being

Mitch Daniels

Mitch Daniels

 what it is will prohibit everyone from getting behind any potential Republican candidate for President. Each camp and their supporters will not permit any one of them to get the attention and credit for bringing us back.

So this role must be played by a neutral party. It must be someone who is not going to run for President in 2012 and who will not put the momentum of the popularity that will come with this role behind any potential nominee until they have won the nomination.

This person must also have the persona we need to effectively be a persuasive point man. They must be respected with a proven record and untarnished by any of the negative stereotypes that the left can easily pin on Republicans.

All of this points to one man. One man who, if he really means what he says, fits all of the qualities that are required for becoming the coalescing figure that wont be a threat to any single Republican’s presidential ambitions or be a threat to any senate or house leaders power over their Republican conference.

That person is Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

If he truly has no desire to run for President, he is the person that can help Republicans deliver a national message which counters the overspending, over controlling liberal government enemy.

With him as the face of the party that delivers a Reagan-like message dealing with the Republican alternatives to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda, the party can rebuild and have a shot at winning more seats instead of losing more seats in 2010.

The stars would be aligned perfectly if Republican National Chairman Mike Steele could get representatives of the Republican Governors Association and of the house and senate together and onboard, hammer out what could be generally be called “The American Agenda” and let Mitch Daniels be the national point man for it.

This would allow for the type of cohesive leadership plan that, with accurate precision, can get Republicans back on message and working together while the message is being delivered loud and clear through what would be a voice from the heartland. A governor’s voice. One with crossover appeal who has been an effective leader with a proven record, cut state budgets, reduced the size and scope of government, practiced a true commitment to both family and conservative values and whom, if he seriously will not run for President himself, is no threat to any other potential candidate. Daniels is the best man for the job and one of the only people who could do that job as well and as convincingly as him.

With whom that messenger should be established, in Part II, we will deal with exactly what that message must be and the Republican organizational plan to deliver and implement it.

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