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Newt Crushed by Coordinated GOP Establishment Assault

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

It was so much more than the last debate before the all-important Florida primary next Tuesday. It was a day-long, incredibly well-choreographed attack from all corners of the Republican “establishment.” It looked like a political version of the Normandy invasion.

Mitt Romney closed the deal with his strongest debate performance to date- turning into the Alpha Male before our very eyes. Either Newt Gingrich was off his game or it turns out he really has only one trick- attack the media- but not much else.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 started out with the Drudge Report in full battle-cry: Get Newt. Headline after screaming headline bashed the former Speaker of the House. In the afternoon, former GOP Presidential candidate, Bob Dole issued a scathing letter that pretty much described Newt’s tenure as leader of the party in the 1980’s as an unmitigated disaster.

On the ground in Florida, pro-Romney supporters, including Congressmen, attended Gingrich rallies and made themselves available to reporters to issue instant counter charges to whatever Newt had just attacked on.

Earlier in the week, Gingrich complained about an NBC debate that enforced a no-cheering rule and he threatened to boycott any debates in which the audience was silenced. Last night, CNN had no such rules but Newt forgot to pack the crowd. Every Romney supporter in three states showed up.

And then brilliantly coached by a new debate prep team, Mitt Romney counter-attacked effectively all night long. He finally got comfortable with his wealth and unapologetically defended his financial success.

Not that other candidates did not have a good night. Rick Santorum was articulate and scored points against both Romney and Gingrich. Ron Paul constantly charmed the audience with his humble humor. But neither Santorum or Paul are seriously contesting Florida. They’ve got little advertising and very few troops in the field.

The coordinated assault on Gingrich was born of fear. Deep concern that the former Speaker just might ruin it all for the GOP this November. Not just lose the White House, but maybe both the House and Senate. South Carolina sounded an alarm that wakened the sleeping giant. This race will go on for a few more months, but the dye is cast. It’s pretty clear Newt Gingrich will not be allowed to win the Republican nomination.

Political Scenarios: The Trouble Iowa Could Stir Up

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment


Polls are one thing; votes, even caucus votes, are another.  The time is rapidly approaching that the first set of winners and losers in the Republican presidential race will be officially decided in Iowa. 

The polls (Public Policy Polling) show Newt up by just a single point over Ron Paul with three weeks to go. For all the press about Newt Gingrich’s sudden inevitability, the up-to-the-minute trends as registered by notoriously unreliable polling in the state is that Newt is on the decline. A barrage of negative advertising against him primarily from the Ron Paul camp appears to be doing damage.  Gingrich’s negatives are going up while his Tea Party support has started eroding quickly.  Meantime, more and more evangelical leaders in the state are endorsing Michele Bachmann who is creeping up on Mitt Romney who is currently third. 

How about this scenario for Iowa?  Ron Paul edges out Newt Gingrich.  Michelle Bachmann finishes third, ahead of Romney who comes in a disappointing 4th.  

Now we come to the New Hampshire primary, where Mitt Romney with home field advantage, edges out Gingrich who is nearly caught by a surging Ron Paul.   Totally plausible scenario that leaves today’s front-runner- Newt Gingrich- winless in the first two important political contests of the season.  

Newt’s poll numbers in the next contests in South Carolina and Florida are strong.  Romney is well ahead in Nevada.  As the early contests conclude, we could very well have a three-way donnybrook verging on a 4-way traffic jam if Michelle Bachmann ends up the recipient of coalesced evangelical and Tea Party support.

This thing could go on awhile as the GOP has restructered its process to include fewer winner-take-all states.  Even 4th place finishers get a few delegates in state after state.  It even leaves open the possibility of the wet dream of all political junkies in America-the brokered convention. 

None of the Republican candidates arrive in Tampa with a majority.  All of them are bruised and battered after months of vicious attacks on each other.  None of them have a lead on Obama in head-to-head general election polls.  Movers and shakers in the G.O.P. establishment meet in a smoke-filled room in a non-smoking hotel to hammer out a solution.

To the shock of the nation and stunning the Obama campaign team- it all becomes a Florida nightmare for the Dems.  The Tampa convention, by acclamation, suddenly nominates former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush who crazily enough, chooses Florida Senator Marco Rubio as his VP.  Months of opposition research and ready-to-go TV ads go down the tubes as shocked Obama operatives read their internal polling.  The Florida path is gone. Bush/Rubio is nailing 40% of the Hispanic vote. The men are gone.  The Catholics are gone.

But come January of 2013, it’s Barack Obama taking his second oath of office, saved by the 3rd and 4th party campaigns of Ron Paul and Donald Trump who take just enough votes from Bush and Rubio to put Obama over the top. He reaches his electoral majority Wednesday morning, November 7th as Hawaii comes through at 6am, ET.

I know, I know.  Reads like a bad novel.  But in a campaign in which reality has already been stranger than fiction….

 

 

The Donald Trump Presidential Debate: Victory for Entertainment

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment


It will have entertainment value. It will be a plus for the ION cable network few people have ever heard of. It’s a real plus for Newsmax, the conservative magazine and web site which is sponsoring the December 27th debate and is now getting lots and lots of media attention. It will, however, feature fewer candidates because at least so far, two of them are appalled at the prospect of Donald Trump moderating a presidential debate.

Here’s what’s odd about the whole thing. Donald Trump has indicated, somewhere down the road, he will be endorsing one of the candidates, making this debate a de facto audition before The Donald. And he’s also said that if he ends up not liking any of them he may run as an independent candidate himself, which would theoretically only hurt the Republican party in a general election. So what we have here in this Trump debate, basically, is a slightly longer version of the decision scenes at the end of Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice shows.

The head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, says he doesn’t have a dog in this fight. “It’s up to the candidates, I mean, I don’t make those decisions.”

Former Bush political advisor and unofficial spokesperson for the “establishment” wing of the GOP, Karl Rove, does have an opinion- a strong opinion expressed on Fox News’ morning show today:

So should a guy who’s going to endorse be the ‘impartial’ moderator of a debate? I think the Republican National chairman ought to step in and say we strongly discourage every candidate from appearing in a debate moderated by somebody who’s going to run for president…

This is no unimportant debate, by the way. Coming on December 27th, it’s the last debate before Iowa voters do their caucus thing on Tuesday, January 3rd.

Ron Paul’s people call the whole thing a circus:

“The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office’s history and dignity.

Former Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman will not participate either. Nor is he partaking in the ritual of candidates flying to Manhattan for an audience with Trump. He tells Fox News:

I’m not going to kiss his ring, and I’m not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy.

And what is the value of a Trump endorsement anyway? Here’s a National Review Online article about a September poll from Fox News that finds that getting the nod from The Donald is akin to getting a kiss from Mafia don just before you go swimming with the fishes:

While 10 percent of Republicans are more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Trump, 18 percent are less likely to do so. (Seventy-one percent don’t care.) But if you poll all voters, 31 percent say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Trump while only 6 percent would be more likely.

You’d think GOP candidates would be staying far, far away from Trump. You’d think. But new Republican frontrunner, Newt Gingrich, heads to the Big Apple today for his Trump photo-op (previous visitors count Rick Perry, Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney). And Newt is the first candidate to confirm participation in the Newsmax/Trump debate. As he puts it:

I would want to go just for the entertainment value.

It’s not like there are any important issues to discuss or contemplate. Let’s get back to some of the tried and true Donald Trump oldies but goodies like the President’s phony birth certificates and college grades, and how we should bomb Iran and steal Libya’s oil. After all, that’s what’s been lacking in the campaign so far: seriousness.

GOP Debate- Who Had the Best Hair?

September 8, 2011 1 comment


The conventional wisdom is that the fight for the Republican nomination is really down to two: Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. And damn, they have great hair. I can see either one in the pantheon of Presidents.

John Huntsman, who, based on the Washington Post’s instant blogging last night, is the one Republican Democrats would most want to vote for, should not be ignored. He was also nicely quaffed.

Michele Bachmann, however, had a very bad hair night. The hairdo was inexplicably gigantic. Big hair. Huge hair. Helmet-like, even. Most analysts seem to have reached consensus that she failed to stand out from the pack and then fell into the second tier of candidates. I think it is possible her standing has fallen, but she absolutely stood out from the pack. Same week Ed Rollins steps down from his role as her campaign manager she has the rotten luck of having a bad hair night. Coincidence?

Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul both sport the grizzled, veteran, white-hair look. Perhaps coincidentally, they both seem a little grumpy to me. Newt’s greatest applause lines come after his hyperbolic attacks on the given debate moderator of the evening. I like that whole scary, white-haired, angry Uncle thing. It works for him.

Ron Paul, we learned, wants to cut off air conditioning for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan- but not to be mean. As I understood it, this would make the entire U.S. military intolerably hot, and they would just pack their bags and go home. I could go with that. Leave it to the crazy white-haired Uncle to find a formula for world peace.

I like Herman Cain. I like his 9-9-9 plan. He hardly has any hair, like me, which is another reason I like him. I can’t recall the details of the 9-9-9 plan, but I do like the symmetry of it and I have always been partial to the number 9. And if it fails for some reason, he can always go to the back-up 9-1-1 plan, in which people come rescue you.

And that leaves Rick Santorum who also has a very nice head of very dark hair, though not quite as spectacular as the Romney/Perry combo, which takes the competition hands-down for the impressive thickness and body. And these guys are no spring chickens either.

Tonight, it’s President Obama’s turn in the national spotlight. He’s got a great smile, if unfortunately, not much to use it for these days. But the hair situation with Obama is getting increasingly predictable and, frankly, a little boring. Grey. More and more grey.
I’m with the critics who are urging the President to come out big and bold tonight. Just For Men. And an earring. Blow their socks off, Mr. President.