Posted tagged ‘rick perry’

Primary Dynamics?

May 9, 2015

Have you noticed that the usually outspoken GOP Sunday Talk Show participants have been reserved and many are keeping out of the national spot light? It could be that President Obama has taken his sail out of their wind. Or, it could be that the high pollen count has put each of these candidates off their mark. Or, is it related to primary dynamics and the long odds strategies each must be considering if they really are serious about winning the GOP nomination?

Before the quadrennial primary season, GOP hopefuls like Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, or Rick Perry wanted to attract attention and make the public realize they were “players”. With their advisors, each picked issues and venues where they could be interviewed and make some audacious statement.  Their words were designed to project them as decisive, experienced, and destined for greatness. It mattered less whether their position was actionable or whether real events would produce superior or completely contrary results. The point of these public statements was to create an “impression” and hope that the public would forget the details.

So now the GOP is about to gather over a dozen Presidential hopefuls into a primary process. Strangely the process begins with three totally unrepresentative States (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina). In past times, these States were important despite their lack of resemblance to national demographic…  they were the path to funding.

Win in one or more of these States and your campaign stood a great chance to attract big money. Big money might then help the candidate win States with more convention votes. Hmmm.

In 2015, big money has pretty much already sought out their candidates (preferred and at least one back up). So what might the strategy be for a Ted Cruz, a Carly Fiorina, a Rand Paul, or a Lindsay Graham who aren’t the likely preferred candidates?

This group plus Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and John Kasick must realize that there is almost no chance they can win the nomination. They are still relatively unknown nationally and they lack the really big money.

On the other hand, as long as they stay in the race they allow for the chance that something strange could happen. Leading candidates could go bust or a second coming might pick one of the second tier candidates out of the crowd (less likely).

Most probable is the notion that the longer they last as a candidate, the better the offer they will get from the ultimate GOP nominee, the offer being tied to one of the also rans withdrawing and throwing support to the ultimate winner.

In a strange turn of events, it seems that leaders such as Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and even Marco Rubio find it to their advantage to remain relatively quiet in terms of audacious statements and stick to “chicken in every pot” type promises. “Obama is bad”, “Hillary is an insider”, and “no new taxes” are all safe statements. What the “leaders” do is what the second tier think they should do too.

Sooner or later the gloves will come off. For now, however, standing tall and looking wise is a better strategy than opening one’s mouth and proving otherwise.  Enjoy the relative peace and quiet for a while.

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More Than Ever, Just Think

March 1, 2015

The, every four years, political season is beginning to take shape. While Hillary waits for the “right moment”, the GOP is already busy. There isn’t a deep pocket potential donor who is not being courted. It’s all about money, stupid.

The courtship, however, requires the GOP hopeful to say something catchy. Mr (or Ms) Deep Pockets won’t spring for just anyone. Money seeks candidates who think just like them. What happened to the good old days when being close to a celebrity, regardless of what they thought, was good enough?

Former Governor Rick Perry, sporting his new look dark rimmed (read I’m really intelligent) eye glasses provides a teaching moment early in what will turn out to be a tiring and possibly disgusting campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination.

Speaking at CPAC last week, Governor Perry said, “Here’s the simple truth about our foreign policy: Our allies doubt us and our adversaries are all too willing to test us,” Perry’s target, President Obama, the one safe target most all GOP Deep Pockets could agree to dislike.

More than ever, it is time for all of us to think.

Why should anyone think Perry’s carefully crafted words be true? And even if they were true, what should the United States do to correct them?

Let’s begin with the proposition that Perry’s words are true. Think about our allies, Germany, France, Denmark, Canada, Spain, and so on. Is that who Perry is referring too? Or could it be Israel…?

It should not be hard to understand that traditional “allies” like our European ones have long wished for the US to assume the world policeman role. This has allowed these countries to build their economies on dirt cheap defense budgets. The only doubt that could reasonably be expected to exist in European Government’s minds might be that the US was not going to rush to their economic support and that they were going to have to tax their citizens to conduct military oriented foreign policy. Our European allies must be wondering how they will get their citizens to pay.

Why would a party who wishes to cut US Government spending, want at the same time to increase foreign spending allowing foreign countries to spend little?

With respect to “our enemies” testing us, let’s be specific, which enemies? Does Perry mean Russia and the Ukraine situation? If he does, he should be disqualified immediately since Russia is a fully nuclear capable power and stopping its aggression involves also avoiding a nuclear holocaust.

If Perry sees Iran as our enemy, this is again a situation which begs for a more comprehensive response. Presumably Iran represents (in Perry’s thinking) an immediate risk because Iran is working to become nuclear capable. To be sure this is an undesirable outcome, but does it call for armed intervention again on a sovereign country?

President Obama has been calling for negotiations with Iran as the most practical route to control Iran’s nuclear aspirations. Negotiations are just that and these talks may end up short of what the US may prefer, not to mention they may fail completely. But where does an armed aggression leave one?

Perry’s remarks, we must remember, are written by others far more clever than him. His remarks are aimed at (1) Israel and its friends and (2) those who dislike the President. Perry is not seeking a dialog with wonks interested in how best to deal with nuclear proliferation.

Governor Perry has little to no chance to win the GOP nomination. For the present, however, Governor Perry is in the hunt and attracting some deep pockets is the best way to keep his quest alive.

Rule of Law

August 27, 2014

There are two cases grabbing news headlines that make one wonder. How could a sitting Governor accept extravagant gifts from a private citizen and how could a another sitting Governor threaten another elected official resign or he would veto funding?

The answer in both cases is “because they could”.

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is on trial for having accepted sizable financial gifts from a businessman who stood to gain with appropriate State support. McDonnell claims he never helped the businessman. Hmmm. What about accepting the gifts?

In Texas, Governor Rick Perry has been charged by a grand jury with what amounts to an abuse of power. Perry vetoed funding for the Travis County’s DA’s corruption task force after claiming that DA Rosemary Lehmberg was unfit to serve following a DIA conviction. Hmmm. Seems strange the Governor of the State would interfere in a county matter.

In the Virginia case there is no doubt that the Governor and his wife received substantial gifts from the businessman. The only defense, former Governor McDonnell has raised, is that he did not do any favors for the businessman and most of the gifts were to his wife, not the Governor. Well that certainly makes a difference.

“Abuse of power” seems a very subjective claim. While there is no question that Governor Perry threatened the elected DA, and that the DA was of the opposite party, and that the DA corruption task forces was established to investigate wrong doing within State Government (where Perry lives and is now Republican controlled), whether this is an abuse of power is at question. Hmmm.

From either an ethical or common sense perspective, a sitting Governor who accepts substantial gifts is out of bounds. For a sitting Governor to get trapped in a political war with the opposing party over a job elected by Country residents and whose charter is to investigate corruption in State Government, is dumb if not unethical.

Both McDonnell and Perry stand fair to good chances of being acquitted. Despite what appear to be improper actions, both men may have been operating within the “rules of law”.  Hmmm.

An Anxious Waiting

July 28, 2014

The fall elections cannot come soon enough for 2016 potential Presidential candidates.   There are so many juicy events, both domestically and international, which Presidential demagogues could jaw about but they, for the most part, are resisting the urge to brag the limelight. I wonder why?

Why, for instance, does a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio not wax eloquently (on national TV) contrasting what the Obama Administration is doing (or not doing) with what a Cruz or Rubio Administration would do?

Or, why hasn’t Chris Christie or Rick Perry not sold their children in order to raise funds for Israel in its latest Palestinian clash?

And, although not 2016 candidates, why hasn’t John McCain or Lindsay Graham lectured the President on how he has lost the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?

Why, indeed, when these subjects still make the front page with one headline after another? Are these suddenly mute GOP leaders wasting an opportunity?

It is, of course, summer and vacation time. Accordingly, it could be that relaxing, recharging the batteries, and keeping off the national stage might be a sufficient answer. Hmmm, maybe not.

And it could be that none of these candidates has a better idea (almost assuredly true). Hmmm. I don’t think that excuse has prevented them from “speaking to Americans” in the past.

I would suggest a more basic motive. From poling data, the GOP has a definite chance of capturing both the House and the Senate this fall. Why take a chance by pontificating on one of these issues and un-intendedly turn voters against the party?

All of the issues facing the President these days are complex, thorny, and nuanced.  These issues require careful analysis and mostly require long term strategies for which there is no national consensus. Efforts to build a national consensus does not fit 10 second sound bites. Worse, any serious recommendation ties the candidate to a position which can be later evaluated.  Hmmm.

Latin American immigration, support for Israel, and the Middle East (including Afghanistan) are all issues which are not new. The GOP learned as recently as 2012 what a hard line on immigration reform would bring. And while 2016 will see both parties stand up to say how much a friend of Israel they are, the American public can count and know the difference between 800+ and 2 civilian deaths in the current Gaza crisis. And strangely, most Americans have had a stomach full of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Sunni-Shiite-Taliban craziness.

The 2016 hopefuls could turn their attention to jobs but there is a reasonable chance that after a slow but steady decline in unemployment that the percentage might fall below 6%.  Think about these previous hot button topics… debt, deficit, jobs, tax cuts, and healthcare.  Only healthcare has not had enough time to play out and undermine the conservative position.

There is for sure plenty of room for GOP candidates to offer alternative routes to achieve debt reduction or balancing the budget.  There is plenty of room for creative ideas on job creation and tax code reform.  And there is an ocean of room for how to bring US healthcare into the 21st century.  Among the many thoughtful proposals, however, one would not find “leave it to the States” or “cut taxes and cut social network spending” or “increase defense spending while decreasing any other spending”.

So, come Thanksgiving, I wonder what we will hear from these now silent candidates?

Making A Party Look Bad

January 20, 2012

Long time believers in the GOP must be scratching their heads.  Who should be their Presidential candidate? Loosey, goosey, Newt?  Or, tight pants Mitt?  Or, sanctimonious Rick Santorum, Or, I just forgot Rick Perry, Or the only honest broker Ron Paul?

Paul is a life long libertarian.  He consistently voices these principles which excite some and scare others.  Lower taxes brings cheers from social conservatives but keeping government out of the private lives of citizens does not meet their needs.  Paul’s foreign policy views simply are not compressible into a 15 second sound bite.  Avoiding foreign entanglements, however, is not a brand new philosophy.

Rick Perry is simply a sad case.  He is like a deer caught in the head lights.  His candidacy in hind sight should never have happened.  He had power in the sense that others thought he had great ability.  Once however, he entered the race, his real capabilities became clear.  His power melted. (On Thursday, Perry finally mustered the strength and withdrew from the race.)

Sanctimonious Rick has done much better than most would have predicted.  However, even with this performance, Santorum is a one issue candidate and that one issue will not solve any of the problems facing America.

For most of this campaign, Romney maintained the image of a steady, sound, and right of center candidate.  Mitt maintained he was wide right of center but others disagreed.  As with the other candidates (except Ron Paul), Mitt’s problem is when he goes off script.  All the memorable sound bites we hear from the candidates (except Paul) are well crafted by some alter ego.  Mitt now has stumbled into how much tax he pays and possibly more revealing, how much (like as in any) has he paid in past years?

Like always, as long as Romney has met the tax code requirements, even if that is a very low number, it should be ok.  What should, however, occur to people is “one more time, tell me why job creators should not pay higher taxes”?  His electability disease is called hypocrisy.

Loosey. goosey, Newt Gingrich has created a lot of fun and excitement.  He also has made it crystal clear what a risk he represents if he were somehow to become President.  His decision to use “code words” to energize certain voter segments in poorly vailed  hateful rhetoric, is not what Presidents are made of.  “Food stamp President” seeks to overlook our weak economy impact upon minorities, and blame the increase in food stamps to mainly lazy African Americans.  In fact current law can account for the increase in food stamp recipients due to the current recession.  Oh, and African Americans represent much less than half.  For Gingrich, provocative sounding words are better than accuracy.

In his last debate, however, a new card was played against Gingrich.  His former wife told reporters that Newt asked her to accept him remaining married to her and for him to keep a mistress.  He said, she said?  Maybe, but this type of behavior might fly in France, but I doubt it will in the bible belt.

Who’s the best of this litter?  It still looks like the tight pants kid.   But, he will emerge damaged even if the primary process ends today.

The center and the left are not very happy with President Obama, and were their a viable alternative might cast their votes there.  With these choices, what a dilemma!

What Do Numbers Say?

January 4, 2012

Here is a series; 25-25-21-13-10-5-1.  What does it mean?   Let’s regroup and ask the question, how about; 60-40?

The answer lies in looking at the Iowa caucuses’ results.  One might conclude that 60% voted about how government should be run and 40% voted for god (and hoped for the best after that).  Mitt Romney and Ron Paul (as well as the 13% for Newt Gingrich and the 1% for Jon Huntsman) appealed to those genuinely concerned about an approach to governance.  The rest of the field sought the support of the social values group.  It was sort of like asking them to vote for Sharia Law but just a little different flavor.

Let’s look closer.

The winner, Mitt Romney with 25%, claimed the victory with an 8 vote plurality.  Out of the approximate half million caucus votes, this is not a mandate victory.  It is, however, a clear signal that at least 25% of Republicans think Romney is a credible candidate and have not wavered in their support.  A good base to build upon.

The second place person was Rick Santorum, the Mike Huckabee of 2012.  The “values” voters deserted Newt, Perry, and Bachmann and tossed their futures in with Rick.  To Santorum’s credit, he has never wavered in his positions which would impose his personal conservative religious views on others.

Third place was Ron Paul at 21%.  Paul offers a clear alternative to all the candidates.  His national following rings in around 10%, so his score of 21% is a strong signal that something he is saying is getting through.

Fourth place at 13% was Newt “never to rise again” Gingrich.  Only a few weeks ago, Newt was boasting 30+% numbers.  Since then Iowa has taught the rest of us two big lessons.  First, the faulty wisdom of the 5-4 Supreme Court decision about corporations and their right to unlimited political spending made a mockery of campaign spending limits as well as candidate honesty.  Second, about 20% (of the 30+%) of Gingrich’s earlier support developed buyer’s remorse.  They tipped their real inclinations and jumped to Perry, Bachmann, and mostly to Santorum.

Fifth went Rick Perry’s way.  His 10% was far less than he was looking.  It seems the values proposition was much more authentic from Santorum than from Perry.

Sixth, at 5% was left to Michelle Bachmann.  Bachmann said after the results that she was still in the race possibly hoping for divine intercession.

The next few GOP primaries will take place with different voter preferences but significantly different results is hard to predict.  Consider that Santorum has not received the scrutiny of a leader yet.  The clever money behind Romney will let voters know in most unflattering ways how narrowly right wing Rick Santorum really is.

Ron Paul will continue to receive 10-15% of strong support but his following is too small to make him a contender to dislodge Romney

The only remaining candidate who has the complete package and a potential challenger to Romney is Jon Huntsman.  He is experienced, competent, and energetic enough to make a quality GOP candidate.  He is Mormon and from a small State, yet in comparison to the other contenders, these should not be disqualifiers.

Beneath the Iowa numbers lies the unlikely possibility that the GOP race will ultimately be between two Mormons.

A Real and Clear Choice

January 3, 2012

Republican caucus voters in Iowa have a clear choice amongst the conservative options.  Check out the candidates’ web pages and read their 10 point plans.  Or, recall their multiple Debate statements and consider their positions.  Voters will not lack for information.

The least emphasized choice, but by far, the clearest can be found with the social values voters.  Romney and Gingrich do not fare well with these voters.   These voters have a choice of Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum.  Here the choice is actually the clearest and the most real of all.

All these candidates essentially believe the same about issues such as the family, abortion, and gays/lesbians.  They differ, however, is one significant manner.  Better said, Ron Paul differs from the others in one distinctive way.

While all believe in less government and more States rights, only Paul, as a true libertarian, believes that the government has no right interfering in the personal lives of citizens.  Consenting adults should be off limits to government intrusion.

Said a different way, Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum claim their views of morality, woman’s rights, or conduct between consenting adults should be the standards for others. The Federal government should use its powers to enforce these views.  Paul holds the same views but says the Government should not be involved in such matters.

It is one thing to hold views that women cannot not decide on their own reproductive health, or that homosexuals are in some way lesser people, but it is entirely different to believe your views should prevail upon anyone other than yourself.

A real and clear choice.