A political campaign is like a wedding or the launch of a space vehicle in that the planning and activity starts sometimes years in advance, reaches a frenzied pitch in the last days before the event, then it all stops with “I do,” the “The vehicles has cleared the tower,” or, “We’re reassessing.”
We assume, if none of the parties to the marriage are named Kardashian, the happy couple will settle down to years of house holding and child rearing while the florists, caterers, drivers, and bride’s maids go back to their regular lives.
Having handed control of a space launch over to mission control in Houston, the launch planners likewise turn in their three-ring binders and start the count-down clock for the next mission.
A political campaign that ends, often ends suddenly, and completely.
In the case of Rep. Michele Bachmann, there will be a few weeks of winding down; collecting cell phones and matching rental car records to states in which staffers were supposed to have been working but, that will be handled by the back office staff. Continue reading →
The final debate prior to the January 3 Iowa Caucuses was held in Sioux City last night. The race is no less fluid with 19 days to go than it was last summer. Newt Gingrich had jumped out to a huge lead a week ago, but that lead has (depending upon which poll you look at) has either diminished, or evaporated altogether.
After the first 20 minutes of Kumbaya, the questions turned to Gingrich. The second tier candidates were unabashed about piling on.
Here’s how I think the seven candidates did last night.
Newt Gingrich: (26.0% in the RealClearPolitics.com summary of Iowa Polls) Last week we were waiting to see how Newt handled being the front-runner and he handled it pretty darned well. Last night we were waiting to see how he handled watching his support erode in the face of a determined opposition. Continue reading →
The thing about telling you that I watched the GOP debate that took place in Des Moines, Iowa Saturday night is I have to admit I had nothing else to do Saturday night.
— Attend Joint Chiefs of Staff Christmas Party – Pentagon
— Fly to New York to see “Spiderman” – Broadway
— Weekend cruise to friend’s private island – Caribbean
— Feed the cat
— Make a meat loaf
— Watch GOP debate
Here’s the shorthand version of what I think happened.
Newt Gingrich won. No surprise. Gingrich is leading the pack because there have been 217 debates and he’s been great in all of them. Anyone who thought he was going to suddenly collapse under the weight of being the frontrunner simply doesn’t understand the Tao of Newt.
The Twitter-verse exploded when Mitt Romney offered to bet Rick Perry $10,000 on who was right about what was in Romney’s book regarding a national individual mandate for health care. Continue reading →
Yes, I think Herman Cain’s campaign is over but it doesn’t have nearly as much to do with this new charge of adultery as it does his continuing inability to demonstrate any knowledge about just about any issue that might turn out to be important to a high-level official such as President of the United States.
Yes, I think Rick Perry’s saying that (a) the voting age in New Hampshire is 21 (it is 18) ; and (b) Election day next year will be November 12 (it will be November 4) is a big deal. If he wasn’t sure about the voting age or election date, he should have talked around them: “For those of you who will be of voting age next November…” would have served him well.
It is another example of Perry’s absolute inability to think on his feet which might turn out to be an important skill for a high-level official such as President of the United States. Continue reading →
Generally: Every debate starts with more and longer packages, more solemn announcers, and a greater sense of import. Took 13:30 to get to the first question. I was surprised – pleasantly surprised – that for the most part the candidates had a good idea what they were talking about, and had thought through their basic positions. I say “for the most part” because Rick Perry and Herman Cain were clearly out of their depth. Continue reading →
You’ve seen it a thousand times since Wednesday night. Gov. Rick Perry, primed with a talking point about the three Federal Departments he would shut down as President named the Departments of Commerce and Education and then couldn’t remember the name of the third Department.
One of the other contestants suggested the EPA, but that wasn’t it. John Harwood pressed the issue: “You can’t name the third one? Perry repeated the Department of Education, fumbled around for the Department of Commerce, and finally surrendered… “and let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
So, Perry can’t debate. So what?
Here’s his problem: Voters have precious few data points on which to decide for whom they will vote for President. News reports (which they largely don’t trust). Advertisements. Mail. Phone calls. And, for a very, very few in the totality of the popular vote, having seen and/or met the candidate somewhere on the campaign trail. Continue reading →
BY TONY BLANKLEY
Reprinted from The Washington Times
Here’s a thought: The GOP presidential primaries may well prove to be inconclusive, with the nominee actually being chosen at the convention in Tampa, Fla., in the fourth week of August next year.
True, it has been generations since a presidential nominating convention actually made that decision, although, admittedly, this idea pops up every four years. The last contested GOP convention that went beyond the first ballot was 1948, when Thomas Dewey was chosen on the third ballot – and went on to lose to Harry Truman. For the Democrats it was 1952, when Adlai Stevenson was chosen also on the third ballot – and went on to lose to Dwight Eisenhower. The longest was the Democratic convention of 1924 that went on for more than two weeks and took 103 ballots to nominate John Davis, who lost to Calvin Coolidge.
There may be a pattern there. As G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young point out in their insightful Dec. 6, 2007, article “What if the conventions are contested?” “It is no coincidence that brokered conventions ended after networks began to televise them. The 1952 convention is instructive. Actually settled on the first ballot when Dwight Eisenhower beat Robert Taft, the intraparty brawling that preceded the Eisenhower victory appalled thousands who watched it on TV.”
In fact, hotly contentious conventions – whether the GOP in 1912 or the riotous Democratic Chicago convention in 1968 – often augur poorly for the general election. But whether good news or bad, five odd features of this season’s GOP primary process suggest inconclusiveness. Continue reading →
The media made another contribution to the ‘dumbing down’ of American politics this week in their coverage of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas.
If you saw the debate, ask yourself a question. What piece of information conveyed during the debates will be most important to you in making a decision at the polls in 2012? The discussion of Herman Cain’s tax proposal? Foreign aid to Israel? Cutting defense spending? Securing our borders?
Not to Carl Cameron of Fox News or Brian Williams of NBC or Scott Pelley at CBS or the Washington Post or the Washington Times.
The most important piece of information in the debate for the media was the exchange between Gov. Rick Perry and former Gov. Mitt Romney about a meaningless lawn mowing incident four years ago. Apparently, back in 2007, Romney hired a lawn-mowing company that employed an illegal alien. Yep. Romney didn’t hire the worker and when a reporter exposed his employment, Romney ordered the company to fire him. When the company failed to, Romney fired the company. We weren’t told whether Romney had to mow his own lawn. Nothing in the exchange was new. The incident had been thoroughly vetted and reported years ago. Continue reading →
BY RICH GALEN
Reprinted from Mullings.com & Townhall.com
I was in Las Vegas Friday night as the guest of the conservative Citizen Outreach organization. We got to talking about the importance which may be visited upon the Nevada caucuses this year which, on the GOP side of the ledger has never been that big a deal.
A couple of weeks ago Florida decided to move its GOP primary up by about a month to January 31. That set all the other early states into a frenzy trying to figure out when they should hold their caucuses (Iowa and Nevada) or primaries (New Hampshire and South Carolina).
As of this writing the guessing is, Iowa will move its caucuses up to January 3; New Hampshire to January 7; Nevada to the 14th; and, South Carolina to January 21.
That means, the week between Christmas and New Year will be spent in places like Red Oak and Clear Lake, Iowa; and Claremont and Gottstown, New Hampshire.
As Mullfave Ed Rollins pointed out last week, “you can’t live off the land in Florida like you can in the other early states.”
Nevada’s population is centered around Clark County (Las Vegas and its environs) and Washoe County (Reno) so you can organize there pretty easily. South Carolina’s population is more than four million and spread out throughout the state, but SC is geographically the 10th smallest state so driving from point A to point M (or wherever) is not much of a challenge.
For six days the Washington Post conducted what, in the extreme, could be described as a smear campaign against Presidential candidate Rick Perry. At best it was a case of highly prejudicial and irresponsible reporting, editing and ‘ombudsing’.
It was irresponsible, regardless, because it raised the ugly specter of racism without clear reason. It lowered the journalistic bar yet another notch, setting a precedent that will only encourage even less responsible media and partisans along the long, long road to next November.
The campaign began on October 1, with a front-page story about a rock that stood near one of the entrances to a ranch leased, not owned mind you, by the Perry family. On the rock was inscribed the word “Niggerhead”, a grotesquely offensive term apparently once used to describe everything from products to geographic locations.
The Perrys claimed they painted over the name of the rock in 1984. The Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen said she talked with 12 people, seven of whom said they saw the name still on the rock in the 1980’s and/or the 1990’s. One anonymous source claimed the rock wasn’t painted over until a few years ago. Continue reading →
BY JOHN FEEHERY
Reprinted from the FeeheryTheory.com
“And so tonight — to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans — I ask for your support.”
In November of 1969, Richard Nixon uttered this line in a televised address to the nation, explaining his plans in Vietnam.
At the time, the nation was enveloped in social, economic and racial turmoil. Nixon was speaking to the folks in the country who were respectful of authority, preferred order to chaos, disdained the revolutionaries and distrusted the intellectual elite who were attacking the pillars of American society.
The silent majority came to mean the white middle and lower middle class of America, and Nixon’s phrase came to be seen as a way to polarize an already polarized society. Continue reading →
Rick Perry has been in this race for about 12 minutes and has been deemed the frontrunner; the man who has the best chance of knocking Mitt Romney out of his frontrunner status; the guy who will knock / has knocked Michelle Bachmann out of second place; the man who will force (pick one) Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, or Hopalong Cassidy to reconsider their previous decisions not to get into this race.