Posted tagged ‘rick santorum’

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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Gathering Clouds

April 29, 2014

The world has more than enough hot spots. Most of them, such as Syria, Iran, Egypt, Israel-Palestinian, North Korea, and the Ukraine are complicated and extremely difficult to find a silver bullet that when fired will make everything smooth again.

Each of the situations, however, can be seen with very interesting clarity through the eyes of wealth, and more specifically, wealth accumulation. Either the “haves” want to keep their wealth or the “have nots” want to transfer from the “haves” to themselves. Consequently these situations are very difficult to demagogue for political points in the voting booth.

With domestic situations, the Washington scene is eerily quiet. The GOP has suddenly gone mute on popular conservative issues and in general, toned down their attacks on President Obama (and anything the President has endorsed).

It is an election year and the GOP may just have realized that their losses in the voting booths have largely been the result of extreme stands they have taken on issues they never needed to champion. By keeping quiet and simply letting sophisticated PAC money talk, the GOP has allowed voters to assess domestic issues by whatever measures the voter chooses.

Polls now indicate President Obama’s approval rating is at an all time low.  Hmmm.

Former Senator Rick Santorum is out in public again. He too is thinking about 2016.  In hopes of not being overlooked, Sanotrum has written a book aimed at the “blue collar” electorate. Rick’s public themes are surprise, surprise, lower taxes and more jobs, both designed to appeal to the middle class.

As a general approach (programs aimed at the Middle Class), this could be very fruitful for the GOP. With Santorum, it is not what he is saying now that should worry anyone, it is what he has not re-said about women, gays, and planned parenthood that should worry one.

Between now and the mid-term election this November, this “all quiet on the political front” will most likely prevail. The opportunity to write about clearly wrong headed policies or hypocritical response to domestic issues will be small. Following the mid-terms, however, the GOP will be severely tested on whether it can keep its members extreme views private or whether the GOP will again pander to a small section of its base.

I Wish, I Wish, I Won’t

April 2, 2013

Republican political leaders are undergoing a soul searching time.  Having lost the 2012 Presidential election with demographics that point to a repeat in 2016 unless the GOP changes, these leaders are caught in a conflict between “wishing” and “reality”.  You can almost hear some leaders saying, “I wish, I wish things were different, but I won’t change”.

To the subject of same sex marriage, more and more GOP political heads are coming to realize the inevitability of marriage equality and the penalties of still speaking against it.  To most of these politicians, the issue is about votes.  They may personally oppose marriage equality or they may in fact be neutral.  The overwhelming factor is the same sex couple’s vote.  These leaders will hold their nose, look the other way, and vote in favor.

The evangelical GOP wing are still leading the “I wish, I wish, I won’t” campaign.  Lead by former Governor Mike Huckabee and former Senator Rick Santorum, these two are saying (in so many words) “I wish this issue would go away because I want your votes, but I won’t change my public position that same sex marriage is wrong”.

That type of public position is not so wrong if that is their belief and they use this belief to guide their own private lives.  Two problems arise from their public statements.

  • They apparently miss the point that homosexuality is a natural occurrence and in no way represents a mislead life.  Under our laws and customs, all citizens are to be treated the same.
  • Just as dangerous is the acting out of personal (unscientific) religious views, and hoping to force those views on others.  Again the Constitution is clear that government laws can not establish a state religion.

“I wish, I wish, I won’t” fortunately will lead to political extinction for those who follow it.  For those GOP members who have held in the past these views (for politically expedient purposes), the quandary of what to do with evangelicals just got more difficult.

 

Will Wisconsin Be The Answer?

March 31, 2012

Listening to radio and television coverage of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney’s last minute campaigning in anticipation of the Wisconsin primary, you got the feeling both candidates were tired and just wanted the Presidential candidate selection process to end.  They sounded like they were just going through the motions.

The 2012 GOP process has been expensive and potentially damaging to both the GOP and the candidates.  GOP leaders tell us a tough campaign makes the party stronger.  What else would you expect them to say?

Santorum’s line is that it is too soon to decide.  Republican voters need more time to indicate their support for him.  Romney supporters, just as expected, see things the opposite.  Secretly the Romney team is hoping to end the campaign and conserve some cash.  Campaigns are expensive even with Super PAC money.

Romney has honed the one-two punch.  First his Super Pac trashes his opponent (Gingrich at first, most recently Santorum).  Second he personally campaigns against President Obama citing statistics that are mostly accurate but totally irrelevant.  He is ready for the Convention and fall campaign.

So with the prospect of lunar colonies or no-sex as campaign mottos, I think the GOP mainstream is ready for the “least worst” of four losing hands.  Romney is actually credible and could, under the right circumstances, be a good President.

The differences between Romney and Obama will be seen better in the actual Presidential campaign.  During that campaign the fight will be somewhat fairer.  President Obama (and his Super PACs) will have just as much money as Romney and mud will be matched with mud.

I can almost see the add with Bo riding in the car with the President and another car passing in the opposite direction with a dog riding on top of the car.

 

The Only True Conservative

March 14, 2012

Rick Santorum won the GOP primaries in Alabama and Mississippi yesterday.  A bit of a surprise but not totally unexpected.  Santorum promptly announced that the victory proves voters want the only person who can beat President Obama in November, a true conservative.

There are two issues locked into Santorum’s words, can he or anyone else beat President Obama, and if someone is to beat the President, must that person be a “true conservative”?

Given the voting history of most States, most pundits are looking for a close race. Depending on events between now and November, the President can be beaten.

The second part of the question is the one more in doubt.  Can a true conservative win?

President Obama, despite how Republicans try to characterize him, has governed as a centrists.  Progressives may be disappointed in Obama and may want someone more left leaning but President Obama is who they got and no “true conservative” is going to govern as Progressives would like.  The national math is tilted in President Obama’s favor.

Newt Gingrich will not get the nomination under any conditions.  He is simply too unpredictable to hold the reigns of government.

Rick Santorum is stuck in his “sex is bad” “family is good” ruts, and it is doubtful that approach will sell well in the fall.  If Santorum thinks those messages convery what a true conservative is, his national chances do not look bright.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has no shame.  He can look anyone in the eye and proclaim he is severely conservative (what ever that means).  His history is far more pragmatic.  Romney would have little difficulty in moderating his positions if he becomes the national GOP standard barer.  The question which would linger, as a moderate, would Romney be any more believable?

Lost in the discussions so far has been any real solid ideas on addressing the major issues facing the country.  It is going to be sort of like “walking and chewing gum” at the same time.  How can we get control of the deficit without sending the country into recession?

A $1.2 trillion deficit can only be eliminated by sharp reductions in Medicare and Medicaid expenditures, reductions in general government spending (including a significant reduction in defense spending), and a healthy increase in tax revenues (from both a more vibrant economy and from selected higher tax rates).

Do you think a “true conservative” can fix this?  God and sex have nothing to do with the US fiscal mess.  Special interests do, and so do Congress members who are more interested in retaining their seat than helping fix a systemic problem (without killing the patient in the process).

In November we need to elect the candidate who will govern for all Americans.  I would look more to the center to find such a person.

What Did They Really Say?

March 7, 2012

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet with President Obama.  According to reports they spent 30 minutes alone behind closed doors.  Of course they appeared together in public and took the obligatory pictures.  No social faux pars this time by Bebe.

The question is what did they say in private?

Netanyahu was standing between a rock and a hard place.  He would probably have wanted to do what was necessary to get President Obama replaced with someone as soft and pliable as President George W Bush.  The question which must have haunted him, what could he do to make that happen?

The three amigos, Newt, Rick, and Mitt had all put on their Army helmets days before, and played war in front of the American public.  The problem is that if a war is to break out with Iran or even with Syria and the US gets sucked in, US citizens have an aversion to changing horses midstream.

On the other hand, Netanyahu has his advisors and they read the newspapers too.  They may have concluded that barring some great set back, President Obama is likely to win in November.  If he does, Netanyahu’s leverage goes out the window.  Term limits.

Maybe this is what they said.

President:  Bibi, what do you think about December?

Prime Minister:  It would be better sooner.

President:  Maybe, but this is an election year.

Prime Minister: Do you really mean, for real, December?

President: Yes, but some other things need to happen first.

Prime Minister: Like what?

President: You have to make real progress with the Palestinians.  This is the time since Hamas support is disrupted with the Syrian mess and Egypt is still under control.  Neutralize the Palestinian situation and the rest of the Middle East will look the other way when we take on Iran.

Prime Minister: I have problems with some Israeli groups in granting certain lands back to the Palestinians.  You know our claim for those lands dates back to antiquity. 

President: Bibi, don’t try and fool me.  Make the deal with Abbas and tell me how much money you need to seal it.  I will use my office directly with the Palestinians, if needed, to close the deal.

Prime Minister:  Is that all?

President: No, one more things.  Can you send a few arms and munitions to the Syrian insurgents?  The US, of course, will replace what you send.

Prime Minister:  That’s the end?

President: Yes.  It’s December and no more surprises when you speak to AIPAC.  Now let’s go out and get our pictures taken.

The crystal ball is a bit cloudy but December is not that far off.

Listen Carefully

March 1, 2012

Senator Roy Blunt has offered a bill which would allow any employer to refuse to cover birth control in the health insurance they offer their employees.  All that is required is for that employer to feel a religious or moral conflict.  Sounds pretty considerate, doesn’t it?

Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum jumped on it, and said he was four square behind it.  Mitt Romney first said he was against it and wisely said this was not a subject for the Presidential campaign trail.  Later, he reconsidered and said he fully supported the bill.

Think about this.  The Blunt bill says that any employer, not just a religious organization, can tell a women her reproductive health is not important.  The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that birth control methods should be included in all health care plans with no co-pay.  This enables all working women to choose for themselves whether they will use birth control, or not.  Where does Senator Blunt find the gall to deny women this finding?

It can not be a question of cost.  Most birth control methods are inexpensive compared to a pregnancy and delivery.  And, use of birth control methods will make a serious dent in the frequency of unwanted pregnancies and subsequent abortions.  With respect to religious rights, no one is required to use birth control and there are no legal consequences if one chooses not to use birth control.

To be clear, both leading Republican candidates are saying to all women, we are ready to take you back to the days of our founding fathers.  At that time women did not enjoy the right of property or to vote.  Women had few choices than other than to obey her man.  Welcome to Santorum and Romney’s world.

 

What are these Presidential candidates thinking when there are so many other real issues to discuss?