Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 GOP Update: Gingrich NH Town Hall Sensation, Hell Freezes Over – Romney Endorsed by NH Tea Party Leader – Rasmussen Gingrich Leads

The Top of the GOP Heap - Gingrich and Romney - image via USA Today

From Politico headlines: “Newt Gingrich in New Hampshire: deafening applause” speaks to the former Speaker of the House more than holding court at a New Hampshire Town Hall. The single most interesting aspect of what is found in this article is the responses from those questioned on their choice of Newt Gingrich – and it is a simple answer: “He answers the questions asked, instead of giving one a story” (paraphrased). It is one thing that is most notable in the debate arena as well; Gingrich answers the questions poised, rather than weave around the question, which sends a clear signal of confidence and competence. This meeting, held is what is considered Mitt Romney’s backyard, is part and parcel of the ludicrous remarks of pundits who automatically give a candidate (regardless of who that candidate may be) the edge, regardless of the fact that the process of any election is fluid. Consider 2008 when Romney lost New Hampshire to John McCain – he was then, as he is now, considered the “shoe in” by pundits. The actual voters may disagree.

Rasmussen polling’s release of a Gingrich/Romney match-up headlined: "Voters See Gingrich Romney as Strongest GOP Opponents for Obama". Behind the headline however, it is the political class that sees Romney as the strongest, with the bulk of the “regular folks” seeing Gingrich in that role – and with a large margin.

“Among Republican voters, however, 49% believe Gingrich would be the strongest general election candidate. Just 24% say the same of Romney.”
(Rasmussen Reports)

Therefore, while popular radio hosts such as Dr. Michael Savage and Glenn Beck with a host of talking heads at Fox News and “name a network”, stand firmly behind Mitt Romney – one has to take a second look at Gingrich due to the nature of those who are defending the former Massachusetts Governor. From outrageous statements by Savage and Beck (which one would anticipate) to the cast of Bush Republican surrogates (and the family itself) backing Romney to the hilt) – Gingrich becomes even more appealing – in an anti-Bush, anti-Government perspective.

Of course, not all conservatives are behind Newt Gingrich; however one shocking endorsement from the Granite State came from the defacto leader of the New Hampshire Tea Party. The Union Leader is reporting that Tom Thompson, long-time anti-tax advocate, has come out to endorse Mitt Romney. Apparently, Thompson neglected to fully vet Mitt Romney, specifically in his role as Governor of Massachusetts, and “king of fees”. Romney did not raise taxes on the good people of Massachusetts; he raised “fees” instead. When is a fee not a tax? That’s the question of the day. If money is paid to a state entity, does it matter what name is attached, as long as that money is going into the state coffers?

That aside, a whole host of Romney legislation or failure to legislate, should drive any honest Tea Party Patriot over the ledge, from his introduction to the nation of the budget eating, Commonwealth Care (which, if one does not participate in any insurance one is fined heavily through the Massachusetts Department of Revenue – to the tune of what one might have paid in premiums – if one were able to afford the premiums in place in Massachusetts.) With the minimum number of carriers now allowed in the Commonwealth, setting insurance rates for those “private payers” is a roulette of constant premium increases that coincide with the mandate heavy program all falling on the backs of those left that have private insurance. It is, besides education, the largest chunk of the Massachusetts budget. There are no opt-outs, there are no safety nets, there is either you’re covered, or you’re paying a “fee” to the Massachusetts Equivalent of the IRS as a penalty. Not to mention the mountains of additional employer regulations and paperwork that is part and parcel of Commonwealth Care - driving up the costs to employers. How the aforementioned can possibly fit the political ideology of any Tea Party member is beyond comprehension.

Additionally, it is not so much that Newt Gingrich, the front-runner, hasn’t got a “liberal” leaning in his closet (or hosts of them from the 1990’s), however, he knows when to admit he was wrong, and sticks to his guns when he feels he did the right thing. In Romney’s case, the Commonwealth’s program is in chaos, yet, he still insists it’s the perfect model.

Will someone please poll Massachusetts!! In a variety of emails from Tea Party’s in the Bay State, one is stricken by who these various groups do not support, and who they do (and right now it is neither of the above), the rank and file voters however, may feel a bit differently about their former Governor and that is not only newsworthy but would give a picture of how those Romney governed feel he performed. The Bay State is known as the “bluest state” for its alleged overwhelming Democrat voting population, which is a fallacy. Although Republican’s are outnumbered by Democrat’s 3 to 1, the biggest majority party in the Bay State is the non-party – or the unenrolled at over 50% of the electorate.
Note to Gingrich: understanding that the NH campaign is important, Massachusetts is a hop, skip and jump away, and all one needs in the Bay State is 15% of the vote in the primary on Super Tuesday to garner a delegate or two.

In closing, neither of these men are strict conservatives, however, one, by virtue of his record, is more conservative than the other, additionally, one must look at the ability to debate, and to stand tall in the face of intense criticism without falling apart (Or going to the “other side” – Kennedy Romney Senate Debate). Although there is a great deal of criticism thrown at the former Speaker, it is surprisingly from the political class, and not a peep from the rank and file, while Romney is embraced and lauded by the same.
In closing, one would anticipate that one of these men would be the standard bearer, not necessarily of the Republican Party, but of the ideology that represents free markets, the ability for the individual to succeed, smaller government, and herein lays the crux, the ability to cross the isle and get things done, without compromising principles to the extent that one’s ideology is no longer of import. One of these men has done a remarkable job in crossing aisles and working towards a conservative agenda, while the other merely crossed aisles. Perhaps it is true, Romany had no choice, given the make-up of the legislature, but that is merely an excuse. Will this race for the Presidency, regardless of who takes the nomination be a cakewalk? Not likely – although statistically the numbers do not favor the incumbent, it is up to the most upbeat and persuasive debater to bring rational back to the nation.

Note on debate video: this was 1994, the Senate Debate between Mitt Romney and Ted Kennedy, it is only a part, a small part – compare and contrast this performance to any of the performances in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 debate arenas.

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