Friday, March 23, 2012

Political Bias in the Classroom – VA Teacher Has Students Work on Obama Campaign - No Discipline – No Surprise There

Virginia Teacher's Marching Orders - any questions? image sayanythingblog

According to several news outlets, a middle school teacher handed his students a rather odd assignment, one which was clearly biased, and timely considering the fact that this is an election year. According to ABC News the students were instructed to break down into four groups, compile opposition research on each Republican Candidate, and then forward that information to the Obama Campaign. The teacher has not been suspended or reprimanded, just instructed not to do it again.

One can bet the house the teacher is a political “progressive”, and has, at the least, lectured on the pro’s and con’s of specific politician’s and or political issues with a bias towards Conservatism. This happens in schools, both public and private, across the country – just ask your children. It is a fact that the teachers are educated in an environment that is Progressive, and that they are sent forth to educate as Progressives, regardless of the grade level. In the words of one of my dearest, but misguided Professors, one must a) protect the masses from knowledge and b) use that knowledge to promote the progressive ideology through the classroom, regardless of subject, and promote one political party only.

In Massachusetts in speaking to young adults about their college experiences, they complain that even in unrelated classes, such as science, they are lectured on the politics of today, rather than on the subject at hand. Although, while in the classroom, or on the campus, they nod in agreement, it is not so much that they agree, rather that they are concerned for their grades if they do not – and their political affiliation? None – but there is a deep rooted apathy about the future, and not a little bit of fear about the government – the biggest surprise, they are refusing to register to vote, or if they have registered , will refuse to exercise their right to vote – the effect, from this, albeit limited research, is not as intended. What makes them most angry? – They feel they are losing an opportunity to actually be educated.

If there weren’t protection for this type of nonsense (or one might consider it a mental illness, in the case of some ideologues), in the form of one of two Teachers Unions – these types of teachers, who are not teaching to a subject, yet in class campaigning, would be fired. Wonder why you’re student might get A’s, yet appears as unprepared intellectually as a rock? – As what the discussion is during the class. If it is a public school, that student may not have a textbook, or homework assigned, even at the secondary level. Yet, one can bet the student knows two things: Progressive Democrats are out to save the world, planet, etc., while Republican’s are the devil incarnate.

One wonders what would happen should a third party evolve in opposition to both Republicans and Democrats. How would this Progressive, who has but one enemy and one goal, be able to cope? They would have to have a college course prepared to teach these pairing teachers, etc. how to denigrate a third party – but would there be time?

This article which some find shocking is part and parcel of the day to day lives of students across the country – ideological and often incompetent teachers, who are deeply imbedded in the school, and if suspended for bad behavior, the union sues, and the city or town pays often exorbitant settlements.

Case in point: a high school social studies teacher in the City of Chicopee, was put on paid leave, after his anti-war hijinks got a tad out of hand. The union went to bat for the teacher who ended up with an award, which the City attempted to appeal and lost. (,

Therefore, this politically ideological left of center “teacher”, who should have been fired for his actions, was rewarded with the aid of the Union, and the Massachusetts Judicial System –paying the bill – the City of Chicopee, or more to the point, the taxpayers who paid this man’s salary in the first place. Is it no wonder, that with teachers of this ilk, (and the aforementioned Virginia teacher), that students in the US are barely educated, by national standards?

Unless and until parents get more involved with their children’s education in the public sector, or lobby hard for school choice, this type of nonsense will continue and your student will fit right at home at a State University or Ivy League college, while they continue to learn less, as you pay more, for an education rooted in Progressive think that is basically – worthless.

This latest shenanigans from the Virginia teacher, will be gone from the headlines by lunch, and as the schools across the nation continue to churn out substandard educations, is there not an argument for, at some point, firing first the union, and secondly those substandard teachers, paying a higher salary to those who deserve it, and raising the status of the educator from that of a blue collar union worker, to a degreed professionally worthy of all the benefits and salary implied.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Romney and the Etch-A-Sketch - The Perception of Flip-Flopping Politicians – The Strategy Santorum Should Adopt Post Haste.

Mitt Romney’s top advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom’s remark on CNN produced a bit of brouhaha – or a joke if one will, regarding the former Massachusetts Governor’s ability to move from position to position in what appears like lightening speed. He’s quickly shrugging it offaccording to CNN, however, in looking at Politician’s, especially from Massachusetts or similar states (Illinois anyone?), one knows there is a pattern that is strictly political, that of taking up one position and quickly changing that position as public opinion, the political climate and geography are considered.

It is a fact of life in a State such as Massachusetts that one can be a conservative on the inside, but in order to get into office, one must swing to the left – or vice versa, this is regardless of political party. Even in Massachusetts, during the aftermath of 9/11 and the rise of George W. Bush’s approval ratings, politician’s doing door-to-door retail politics, (on a local scale) we’re not readily admitting to party affiliation. When asked about party affiliation, one aspiring candidate noted that he was a “conservative”, when pressed as to what that meant, he honestly replied that if he were to say he was a Democrat he might not get the votes he needed (there are pockets of Republican’s even in the Bay State) – that type of honesty got the vote, even in a State where it was assumed a Democrat would win (which he did not), but at the least he was honest. It’s a rarity here, and elsewhere, that a politician stick to a position for very long – and the two most noted for changing position rapidly in Massachusetts are John Kerry (D-MA) and Mitt Romney, referred to as the “Etch-a-Sketch”.

If one sticks to a position, or does not make excuses for their beliefs or background, then it is as if that individual has some sort of flaw – if one stick to the middle, or swings with public opinion then that person appears to win out. The fact that voters have short-term memory can be counted on in every election, in every state of the Union, by these politician’s who one cannot tell if they mean what they say even ten percent of the time.

Case in point is Romney’s gubernatorial campaign against a Democrat rival who was as conservative or more conservative in some area’s than Mitt Romney – Shannon O’Brien and Romney both tried to “out-pro-choice” each other in the final weeks leading up to the election, and O’Brien put her foot in it, watching a 15 point lead evaporate to a deficit by the time votes were cast. The fact that Romney was not clear on his position (pro-choice, pro-life, pro-choice) even had the Massachusetts GOP concerned when acting Governor, Jane Swift, urged Romney to make his stand on abortion clear(Boston Herald). One can imagine that the issue of abortion, especially in Massachusetts is a non-issue, but that is not entirely the case, there are “degrees” of how pro-choice even Catholics can be – using the argument that “I personally would not advise abortion, but who am I to say what someone else can do” – it is Freedom of Choice that is primary in those voters minds, as they go to the voting booth – and depending upon how the argument is framed, the politician either wins or loses – in Romney’s case, he won by standing on both sides of the issues.

Would he have been re-elected? That’s debatable, one can point to a myriad of reasons why not, but the most likely would have been his “Conservative Stance” in Massachusetts on the budget and the cuts that he made to balance the budget, the fees that he raised or instituted that aided in brining in the cash needed to balance the budget – and the Democrat Party in Massachusetts poised to spin or tell the truth, either way – about his “flaws”. Meanwhile, Conservatives in the State were souring on the Governor for his stance on raising fees (taxes), and his Universal Health Care law. One has to understand that there is a streak of independence in Massachusetts whereby even the sane laws are challenged – the seat-belt law, helmet laws - making it difficult for politician’s to appease everyone and keep smiling and in office.

There are exceptions to this rule, however, and one who supports Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, is one of them. Brown does not vote or write legislation to appease the political winds, he does not change his mind in opportune moments, he is who he is, which can confuse the Conservatives and Democrats alike – he is, aside from polls indicating his rival in November, Elizabeth Warren, anywhere close to unpopular – he is a self-described independent, which ends up being a moderate in some people’s minds, a conservative in others. He makes no excuses for who he is, or the positions he takes, and if challenged by his constituents, he explains why – he is the exception to the rule in Massachusetts. Yet, there are those on the right who supported his candidacy, and now feel that he is too far to the left, and there are those on the left who feel he is too far to the right – that make’s Scott Brown the only Senator from Massachusetts who is doing his job - which gives independents, or the majority of voters, exactly what they want.

Rick Santorum is another example, one who does not change his position or make excuses for whom he is, however, he is competing on a national scale, against a chameleon who is practiced at the art of political chicanery and who is counting on voters to have a memory lapse during the general election. There are steps, even at this late date, that Santorum could take to capitalize on the “Etch a Sketch” remark, however, buying the toy, and using it for props (he was not the only one do to so), might have been used as a joke, rather than a serious statement on what everyone who is a political junkie and paying attention at this point, knows – Mitt Romney changes his mind faster than most people change underwear.
Santorum stands steadfast in his religion, as a Catholic, as a Christian (Catholic means Universal), he stands steadfast also in his foreign policy views, his views on the economy – he has some brilliant fixes, and articulates those points in a way that appeals across the broad spectrum of the electorate. He has been, however, dogged by the stigma of “social issues”, and perhaps refuses to take the bait, yet it is costing him. People fear his Religious views, without understanding that he has no intention of pushing his views on others. The problem is he has to ask and answer these questions every time he sets foot in front of a camera. He needs to resolve this issue, similar to what his rival, Mitt Romney did in 2008, when Romney held a press conference on religion, and moved one. Of course, Romney lost that election, but it was not the religions aspect, it was a field that had a GOP pre-conceived nominee in John McCain, and a Mike Huckabee who would quit. Huckabee too was branded “religious”, by virtue of his person, and the fact that he was a Minister. If one is a Christian (Evangelical, Born Again), these types of candidates are like a gift from God, but to the balance of the population, those occasional Catholics, or occasional Christians (pick a denomination), those candidates are frightening. When one hears, via the news, that the candidate is one-sided, and is only interested, in Rick Santorum’s case, in running the country with his Catholic Faith, no matter how false a claim that may be, it instills a fear which translates into a vote for Mr. Etch-a-Sketch. Santorum should, from this point of view, make his case once and for all, and drop the subject, and that includes all social issues – people already know where he stands on those fronts, he is a practicing Catholic in his personal life, he is pro-choice – move on – before it is truly too late. It is not to say Senator Santorum should deny his faith, it is to say that is something the general public, his staff, his potential voters, already know – the media can and should be forced to hear the economic and foreign policy points, the social issues can be left on the sideboard – now and in the general election.

It is going to be a point of fact that the Obama administration has more political intelligence on Mitt Romney than any other candidate, so for the media to marginalize Santorum to this extent, should be sending up alarm bells all the way around – he is the last candidate the Democrats want to see nominated, (because he appeals to their voting bloc when he gets a chance to talk about manufacturing, for instance, and he has a record in the Senate to back up his claims), and the media, might just be happy to see Santorum sunk without ever having to publish or broadcast one bit of his voting record, or policy. Romney on the other hand presents a field day – maybe – he is a corporate/political animal, and a corporate/political understands how to play against similarly positioned opponents. Case in point, the President has changed his mind on several issues, alienating his base at times and making the appearance of being pro-pipeline (for example see his recent trip to Oklahoma), while being over the top devoted to his “Green Jobs’ program (see visit to Green plan that employed 5 people while spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to do so). Should Romney be the nominee, it will, in essence, give voters a choice between two very similar politicians. It is not the ideology that is in question, because it is difficult to pin down exactly what that ideology is, once the ads start running and September is upon us.

The Etch-A-Sketch remark will undoubtedly make it into an Obama for President advertisement, while, perhaps the hypocrisy of the pipeline visit in Oklahoma will end up in a Romney ad – it will be two candidate who are both trying to out-moderate each other – and whoever tries harder may end up losing as the exaggerations of policy are ramped up in the debate over who is more this, or who is more that. Look to history to see a very close race with no clear differences between two candidates.

Rick Santorum would not have it easy, in running against the President, but the difference is his convictions may be more appealing if he were able to get off the pulpit, both real and perceived. That would result in a clear problem for the incumbent, a coal-miners son, who supported legislation in the Senate that put his own Political Part’s panties in a bunch as it was pro-labor, and who also never over promised nor under delivered. Dragging up dirt on Squeaky Clean will be a challenge; therefore, they are marginalizing the candidate now - on both sides of the aisle – to prevent him from getting the nomination and possibly ousting the incumbent, and the other, as they hold a deep seated belief that no Conservative can win a general election. This is how short-term memory works – the GOP has forgotten that the man it most touts as representative of the party is the one man that they wanted out of the race – Ronald Reagan.

One has to understand that when Mitt Romney is endorsed by Jeb Bush, and of all people, Bob Dole, he is the party’s perfect moderate candidate, however if he were to somehow win, it would defy history, and it would be against the odds.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GOP Update: Mitt Romney Wins Big in Illinois – Up 12 Points Over Santorum – Paul Bests Gingrich for Rock Bottom 3rd and 4th Analysis.

Mitt Romney with his Wife Ann Romney celebrate Illinois Victory - image CNN

Mitt Romney, former Governor of the State of Massachusetts won the State of Illinois outright by a 12 Point Margin yesterday – Santorum took second place with 35% of the votes to Romney 46.7%, while Ron Paul placed 3rd at 1.3% and Gingrich came in 4th at 8% (99%% Reporting, NY Times) The Illinois contest validated Romney’s status as front-runner in what has become one of the most interesting GOP primary contests in recent memory. Romney prevailed, with a low voter turnout, and expectations that a split between the population in the Urban/Suburban and Rural areas at 50%, might allow Rick Santorum a stronger showing than expected – however, Romney pulled voters statewide, from all Demographics – which was a first for the man who had been rolled out as the front-runner by the Establishment GOP before the Iowa Caucus. Romney will add 43 of the delegates available to his tally, with Santorum pulling 10 with his second place – Gingrich and Paul did not register a high enough percentage in Illinois to be awarded delegates.

Exit polling in the first round gave Romney the advantage, the race was not immediately called, due to previous primaries where early exit polls proved unreliable, most notably Mississippi where Romney was shown clearly in the lead by early exit polls, yet lost the race to Santorum. The differences in geographic demographics also factored in the Illinois primary, with the Chicago Urban and suburban areas most like those same areas in Massachusetts, making this primary a must win for Romney.

Negative advertising may have played a role in this primary as well with reactions to negative advertising, and the sheer volume (Romney outspent his adversaries 21 to 1 in the Chicago DMA), playing to Romney’s favor, rather than against, as had happened in Mississippi. Public Policy Polling came within 3 points (margin of error) in predicting the win for Romney, also showing Santorum as his closest challenger, with Paul and Gingrich in double digits, but barely. This is now clearly a two man race, with Romney at a significant threshold going forward to what has been termed as the “second half” of the primary.

The question now remains, how much longer will Gingrich and Paul remain in the race, especially if both men continue to pull single digit showings in states that are critical. There is now no clear mathematical or theoretical possibility of either Gingrich or Paul coming in with enough delegates to force a second round at the Convention in Tampa. That said they have run longer in respect to historical odds than in previous races, where the GOP frontrunner is established by Super Tuesday, with one challenger going forward. In 2008, Romney was out of the race, endorsing McCain, with Mike Huckabee a clear number two, who stayed in the race up until May – in a clear attempt to keep the GOP party in the limelight despite the best efforts of the McCain campaign to end the race early and allow McCain to go on to fumble on his own – He was, perhaps the weakest candidate besides Bob Dole to be fielded by the GOP. Both Dole and McCain were considered moderates – as is Mitt Romney.

That said, the Obama Campaign is taking no chances, while in Chicago, they invited the Romney Press Corp to a briefing at the Obama headquarters, this according to Politico. Apparently the Romney Campaign was unaware that press assigned by news organizations to the campaign, was off holding a briefing with the opposition in Chicago. This briefing had left he Romney Campaign unfazed, understanding that the press is not going to show any “love” to Romney should be become the actual nominee (or any GOP nominee for that matter). The question remains, if Romney is the nominee, will he, like McCain disappear from the overall coverage once established as the eventual nominee, or will he make news consistently, to force the press to cover the campaign?

Again, going forward this is now a two-man race, with Santorum polling in Louisiana in similar margins to Romney in Illinois - Santorum should handily win this state. In this Poll Romney is tied with Newt Gingrich, however, Romney does have some momentum going into Louisiana, and may pull out a solid second, moving the margins closer to Santorum. It is doubtful that Gingrich would be able to pull out a win, given the polling data, and the primary history to date.

What this race has boiled down to, once again, is cash flow and the organizational structure of the final two candidates. In Romney’s case, he has continued to use negative advertising as his main weapon against any adversaries, with little else in the way of contrasting his performance with the performance of the aforementioned. The focus of late has been on Rick Santorum, who is the only other viable candidate in the race going forward. The problem with negative advertising is that it does not always work to ones advantage on the ground in each state, as proven by the difference between Mississippi and Illinois, that said, it has forced Santorum and his team to focus on deflecting attacks rather than getting out a message that includes tax reform for manufacturers, as well as strong positions on job creation, foreign and domestic policy. While fending off Romney’s attacks, the media pigeonholed Santorum as the “social issues” candidate, refusing to let go of a moniker, which belies the former Pennsylvania Senator’s record in the Senate. In other words, Santorum holds to his social and religious convictions with no apology, however, he separates the two when authoring legislation and or in his past votes.

Going forward, the Santorum Team must stay on a message that walks a thin line with Social Conservatives, yet pounds home a message of Freedom through a series of proposed initiatives that would reduce the scope of the Federal Government, allow manufacturing to make a rebound (desperately needed) in the US, and foreign policy, which the aforementioned combined are his true bailiwicks. In addition, defecting Romney’s attacks, although a necessity, should not override the message of the candidate, and finally, although Santorum has a stellar grassroots campaign, it is not clear if there are enough veteran campaign staff onboard.

Of note: Illinois was compared to Massachusetts, which is an appropriate comparison, despite the obvious geographical differences in terms of size, the states are simpatico in political make-up, as well as possibly competing for the title of “most corrupt state governments”. The individual voters are definitely more moderate to liberal, with conservatives being in the minority. A case in point is Massachusetts, where the Republican Party barely registers, the Democrats have a larger share (11 % to 35 to 36%), and unenrolled voters run either Tea Party, Conservative or Left of Center, or both (depending on the candidate). In this scenario, Romney walked away with the vote, despite the fact that on the surface it is one of his “home states”- it was more of an ideological and geographical divide, with Western Massachusetts showing more support for Santorum than the Central and Eastern portions of the state (One eastern County did give Santorum more than 15% of the vote. This allowed the more Moderate candidate, Romney to win convincingly in the Bay State.

The final question that arises is Santorum capable of continuing to compete against Romney in states going forward and preventing him from taking the nomination outright by June. That question is clearly not answerable at this point in the game. With upcoming primaries expected to split between Romney and Santorum for the balance of March and April. It is anticipated that Santorum will win Louisiana, however, the April primaries, for the most part, favor Mitt Romney: On April 3rd, contests in Maryland and DC (similar to Massachusetts and Illinois – although Maryland does have an interesting mix, given the upset by Christine O’Donnell over the moderate incumbent in the 2010 primary – if those demographics holds, it may be competitive for Santorum - DC should handily go to Romney. Wisconsin, a cousin to Massachusetts and Illinois, also appears, at this point, in Romney’s column.

April rounds out with a return to the East Coast in big delegate winner take all contests: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware, again, more moderate/Democrat should be – Romney, and New York, with a heavy concentration in the urban and suburban areas that favor Romney with a large upstate population that would shift to Santorum, is at this point a Romney state, and finally the home state of Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania, should break for Santorum. This is based on the geographic trends in this contest to date.

Can Santorum break the mold? - Yes, if he can continue to raise the funds, if he can stay on an message that is top heavy on foreign and domestic issues, while including social issues, but not to the extent that has been played by the media, and finally, if he can contrast without coming off as negative in adverting against Romney, instead shoring up his credentials, specifically his voting record, and moving to the middle without alienating those large bloc of social conservatives who appear to be single issue voters. Play up the fact that he is the candidate polled that can best Obama in a national election would be pivotal, and the focus on contracting himself with Obama, in part, more than with Romney would shore up his campaign going forward.

Highlights of the evening: Romney held a brief and rousing speech, not before purloining Santorum’s latest message on “Freedom”, Romney spoke firsts – Santorum in his speech, opened with the fact that he had congratulated Romney, and that Romney had gone on to adopt his Freedom theme. He then went into an excellent description of the differences between the economic plans proposed and those in place. It was one which includes a nod to protection of religious freedom, but was top heavy on pivotal issues.

Santorum’s reference to not using a teleprompter could have been aimed at President Obama but was more likely aimed at Mitt Romney who also relies on Teleprompters.

Personal note: Although this blogger prefers Santorum personally, due to his economic, foreign policy and domestic policy approach, compared to the former Governor of the Bay State (of which this blogger can speak with some authority regarding the performance of said former Governor). It is imperative that regardless of choice of candidate, one must understand that both of the last men standing can best Obama in the fall – however, one can bet dollars to doughnuts it will not be the meek that prevails, it must be a candidate that stands firm, and that will take on the media, and the Administration based on Constitutional issues. It is this opinion; Santorum would perform better in that position and in the position of contrast when it comes to the debate forum. Perhaps most importantly, those states that have not participated in the process for decades or were not able to impact an election, are now able to do so, and they have two clear and competent choices – between a credentialed Conservative who has voted for the people of his State wile in the Senate, and perhaps not in line with the Party at all times, and a Moderate Republican, who is more apt to change positions more frequently than most, which may appear to be a personal advantage, or one which is politically expedient. Both men have worked across the aisle to move issues forward, however, one more to the left of Conservatism than the other.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Illinois Polls Give Romney the Edge by 14-15 Points. A Test of Turnout and Impact of Negative Advertising – Will ILL be a Repeat of MS for Santorum?

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney - the last men standing (given recent results and current polls in upcoming primary contests) - image

There are two polls taken over the weekend that give GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, a considerable lead over his nearest rival, Rick Santorum – Romney leads in both polls by double digits. The first, a poll by American Research Group has Romney up by 14 points over Rick Santorum with Gingrich at 13% and Paul at 8% - The poll taken between March 17-18 used a random telephone survey method of 600 participants and has a margin of error of plus/minus 4% .

The second, by Public Policy Polling, released yesterday used a random telephone survey, of 506 respondents over a two day period, the focus was mainly on the urban and suburban areas, 20% Urban, 48% suburban and 31% rural. In this poll, Romney has 45 % to Santorum’s 30%, Gingrich at 12% and Ron Paul at 10% - The two polls are rather in concert as to the outcome, given the point difference between the two firms in a random sample of respondents per candidate.

That said, in looking at PPP’s marginals, the question becomes one of geography, in a poll released last week by the Tribune, there was a 6 point difference between the two top tier candidates, with Romney outside the margin of error by one point. In that particular poll, the geography was taken into consideration with 95% of the state outside of Chicago and suburbs, having equal population, with Santorum over performing in the state outside of Chicago, and Romney over performing in the Suburban areas. It will be of interest to see how geography factors into this contest dubbed as the “next critical” state for Romney to win. At this point, taking away the hype, both Santorum and Romney need to win each state going forward, as the game of attrition of delegates is quickly becoming outside the grasp of candidates Gingrich and Paul, as the focus is on the front-runner Mitt Romney and the his potential replacement – Rick Santorum. (This based on voters preference and placement in the second half of the March contests.)

On paper it appears as if this primary should be a “walk in the park” for Romney, and Matt Drudge can be predicted to once again, announce him as the “winner” at approximately 4PM eastern, well before the polls close in ILL. The site did so based on polling on the Mississippi Primary, and had to adjust the message as the votes began to be tallied – the final message of the evening: Rick Santorum wins Mississippi.

It is not that Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report was wrong about the polls, and that Romney was clearly ahead in Mississippi, however, what was taking place on the ground was a two-fold phenomena that clearly favored Santorum – low enthusiasm and voter turnout for Romney and exit polls indicating that voters were clearly turned off by the deluge of negative advertising.

Moving to Illinois, there are difference from state to state, but voter turnout is critical – something that the Romney team has yet to be able to effect with the exception of New Hampshire, Massachusetts (although there were zero signs of a Romney Campaign in MA), and in Puerto Rico. The organization is, from sources, apparent in Illinois, but in the Suburbs focused on Chicago, rather than the 95% of the state which is considered stronger for Santorum – The enthusiasm gap between Santorum supporters and Romney supports has been evidenced in the past as far as the get out the vote effort is concerned. There are several factors in play to consider: Romney has the establishment GOP and those earning 100K or more Republican’s, while Santorum continues to pull blue collar, and those earning less than 100K in each state. Those with more to gain and less to lose generally are more enthusiastic when it comes to getting out the vote. In addition, the constant media hype of Romney as the front-runner and eventual nominee has not helped his campaign rather, it has made his target voter complacent - complacent voters generally vote in absentee or depending on the weather, not at all.

Finally, the negatives advertising which had a huge impact on the upset in Mississippi, may or may not have the same impact moving north to Illinois. In Mississippi exit polls from CNN showed that negative advertising factored 2 to 1 in decisions to vote for Santorum over Romney. As of now, Negative ads run by the campaigns and certain Super PAC’s supporting both candidates (outside of the control of both candidates), are giving Illinois the Mississippi treatment but by a larger margin. According to PoliticoRomeny is outspending Santorum 21 to 1 in Illinois, specifically in the Chicago Market (includes Super PAC’s). Obama Advisor, David Axelrod a big believer is spending on advertising, noted that “Romney will Roll in Illinois” due to what he termed a” Mittzkrieg”. Axelrod is the brains behind the careers of both Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and President Obama – obviously watching this contest closely.

But will negatives work in Illinois? That is the question. Between Apathy, or lack of enthusiasm (The Atlantic) affecting voter turnout and the notion that a vote against Mitt Romney is a vote against Negative Campaign adverting (Chicago Examiner) one has to wait and see how this will play out in when the polls close at 7PM central – 8PM eastern.

If the networks (or the AP) do not call the race within the first 10 minutes, then look for a long night – if Romney begins with a larger lead, and holds it, then the polls play out, however, if it is a repeat of Mississippi (polling similarly had Romney up over Santorum outside of the margin of error) , with lower voter turnout (especially in the suburbs and urban areas), and a distaste for negative ads is a factor, watch for a long night and a possible Santorum upset.

David Axelrod will be watching as well, and looking toward framing the message that the President will use in his reelection campaign going forward.

Where to Watch: CNN – best primary coverage hands-down: Based on: Wolf Blitzer and Jon King and the “map”, with real time results coming from reporters covering counties that are normally critical in elections, giving the avid political junkie, an inside scoop of factors affecting a win in a pivotal county, and exit polls that reflect the trends in diverse sections of a state and by demographics.

Monday, March 19, 2012

GOP Heads to Illinois, McClatchy outlines Problems Faced by Romney in the Land of Lincoln

Romney trouble connecting to moderates? (Shown with Ron Paul) - image Libertarian

From: St. Louis Today: “Several Hurdles Ahead for Romney in Illinois”, a piece by David Lightman, McClatchy Newspapers, speaks to the problems that Mitt Romney faces going forward into Illinois. It is difficult to assess, which of the issues pointed out by the author, is the most difficult for Romney – one that was not mentioned as an issue and perhaps should have been was the opening paragraph noting that Romney’s ads are everywhere – if they are the negative ads run against Santorum in Mississippi and Alabama, one might not hesitate to put that in a negative column. Exit polls in those states showed the excessive negative advertising by the Romney campaign cost him votes, and was a net plus for Santorum. The list of issues highlighted in this piece includes:

His own “persona”, which apparently does not resonate with voters, is number one on the list. This is followed by a related litany “Romney is having trouble erasing doubts that he's too stiff, too politically inept and too insensitive to constituents who confront gasoline prices over $4 a gallon every time they drive down a street.”

The economy has not improved rapidly follows, however, Romney is touted as “Mr. Fix it”, therefore, if this appears to be a problem, he has not sufficiently sold the electorate on his skills (see above)

They are concerned about Santorum, spending millions more on ads, and adding campaign spots (see problem with negatives).

The Romney Camp counts the wins in Michigan and Ohio (slim victories, one with less than 1%) as having given him momentum, and that a loss in Illinois would be damaging.
Santorum is a problem, polling well in the Chicago Suburbs with “evangelicals” , and in the balance of the State – (note: in the poll referred to, Chicago Tribune, Romney was leading in the Chicago Suburbs only (but see population), with Santorum taking a larger lead in 95% (approximate) of the balance of the state).

Those voters seen as potential Romney voters do not appear enthused.

The problem form the perspective of this writer notes that Romney’s attempt at being Conservative has turned off the reliable moderate voter (i.e. Romney voter).

Above all it is his persona, which the article cites as the one reason Romney may not do as well as he potentially should in Illinois: Complete with quotes:

Romney's passion problem stems from two sources. One is his style, which many find wooden and distant.

"One word: Plastic," said Judy Thorne, a Mount Prospect, Ill., retiree.
"I just have this feeling he won't get things done. He's a little bit of a pushover," added Madeline Mainzer, a Niles microbiologist. "He's too influenced by people too much, and doesn't really know what he hopes to do."
Romney's other dilemma involves the economy. Voters routinely quote his recent gaffes about his wife's two Cadillacs or his friendships with NASCAR or professional football team owners.

While the economy has begun to recover in this state, people remain uneasy.
Craig Ochoa, a Hanover Township, Ill., highway commissioner, found that while the economy "may be changing for big manufacturers, for most people things aren't changing as much as they would like.

"That's the issue," he said. "Most people couldn't tell you the difference between a conservative and a liberal."

In fairness to all candidates, which would include President Obama, if they do not appeal to the party base, in the beginning of the campaign stages, and then move to the middle after the nomination process, they stand a chance of going no-where. Obama, however, has a personality that is charismatic, which, when marketed correctly, overcame the dual-messages necessary to get him elected.

Romney, when attempting to appeal to the base, falls flat, and this attempt, although well played, has not garnered the support of the base (going to Santorum and then Gingrich), and at the same time has alienated the moderates – that is the difficulty that all candidates face in the information age 24/7 news cycle, - one can say something in Peoria, and it is news in Idaho Falls. If a candidate can stick to principles, and his person elicits trust, be that candidate a conservative or a liberal, those qualities will bring them to the nomination (most often), and once nominated, the onus is on the candidate to either moderate their message, and move slightly to the center – the most successful in doing so, was Ronald Reagan, who was dismissed as too conservative to take the nomination by the establishment GOP (who preferred he more moderate George H Bush), and the media threw everything in the book at Reagan, from questioning his intellect, to the fact that he was “conservative”. However, he maintained his base, and moved only slightly to the middle – of course, he had Jimmy Carter to run against.

Obama, who is similar in style to Carter, would find a conservative Candidate difficult to best. This may be why a Chicago group of Obama campaign activists headed to the island of Puerto Rico (and Romney does very well in all the territories), to denounce Santorum. It may be the polling that shows Santorum besting Obama in key states - Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, while Obama Bests Romney by 2 points. (Rasmussen). This calls into question which candidate the President would prefer to run against: the one that the media supports, or the one which the media takes every opportunity to maligned.

Mitt Romney Wins Puerto Rico – Notes Republican Party Message Appeals to Latino Voters

Mitt Romney Celebrates Puerto Win - image from: (no kidding)

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 and 2012 GOP Presidential Candidatewon the island territory of Puerto Rico with 83% of the vote yesterday (83% reporting) – Romney amassed 98,000 votes, with the balance of the candidates in single digits (Santorum 9%, Gingrich 2% and Ron Paul 1%). Romney “framed his win in Puerto Rico as the territory's desire for a candidate that "most represents their feelings" -- and especially their desire to nominate some who can bring about a stronger economy and a smaller government.
He also said his party can appeal to Latinos, and win the presidency, with a low-tax, pro-business message.”

The latest territory win for Romney in not included in the delegate count which stands at Romney: 521, Santorum: 253, Gingrich: 136 and Ron Paul: 50, with 1324 Delegates Remaining. (NYTimes – Excellent Graphic) The totals from the AP via NYTimes include Super Delegates, or those elected officials who have pledged their support/endorsed a candidate. Currently, Romney has 32 Super-delegates; Santorum has 2, Gingrich 4 and Ron Paul 1. The state delegate count stands at Romney 438, Santorum 251, Gingrich 132 and Ron Paul 49 – these figures do not include Missouri or Puerto Rico. (NYT).

This is Romney’s second win with over 50% of the vote; Massachusetts gave Romney a 72% lead over his rivals. In 2008 John McCain won the Territory with 90% of the vote, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul received 10 and 8% respectively. (NYTimes)

The contests move to Illinois and Louisiana this week, with polls showing Romney leading Illinois by 9 points (Rasmussen), Santorum holds a slight lead in favorability, (which mirrors the Mississippi polling), with 32% of those polled, like to change their minds, 93% of those polled are certain to vote. Public Policy Polling should release their weekend polling in Illinois today. Both Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are below 15%, Gingrich at 14% and Ron Paul at 7, with Romney at 41, and Santorum. Rasmusen Reports

Illinios is considered a another "must win" for Mitt Romney.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

GOP Riot in Missouri Delegate Caucus – Romney & Paul Supporters Shut Down Caucus – Band Together to take Delegates from Santorum – Drudge Misleads

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul - banding together to grab delegates from Santorum - image Libertarian Peacenick blog

The Missouri Caucus held in February 7th was touted as a beauty contest, especially when at the time “long-shot” Rick Santorum took 55% of the vote: Romney, who did not compete in the state, got a total of 25% and Ron Paul, 12.2% - or in other words, Santorum received over 50% of the votes. or as GOP contests go, enough to award all the delegates to the candidate who has over 50% of the votes. The choosing of the delegates did not take place that day, and was moved to yesterday – when chaos ensued. Apparently, the “Beauty Contest” now is of some import – as both Romney and Paul are looking at every available delegate. Desperation has obviously set in for the Romney Campaign and the Paul campaign (who has 44 delegates) are basically frothing at the mouth. Reports from St. Louis Today, in the heart of the largest county to awarded delegates, broke it down

“Some of Paul’s supporters were also irked by an announced ban on video recording, with organizers asking police to help enforce it.
When the objections reached a fever pitch, the meeting was shut down without any delegates being awarded.
“We started speaking about the Constitution. Where’s our rights? Where are our votes? This is fascism,” said Jim Evans, another Paul supporter.
Buddy Hardin, a Romney leader and longtime behind-the-scenes force in GOP politics in St. Charles County, alleged that Santorum supporters and caucus organizers sought to close the meeting after they realized that Paul and Romney backers had formed an alliance to share the county’s delegates.”

The Santorum spokesperson insisted this was not the case; however, one only needs to look around the state of Missouri to find similar instances where Paul supporters were disruptive to the point where either arrests and or other caucus were shut down.

From the LA times:

“It’s gonna be a bloodbath,” said Jay Zvirgzdins, 32, a fuzzy, blond-bearded, bespectacled Ron Paul fan, before his caucus Saturday morning in a little city called (really) Town and Country, Mo.

He was waving his thermos at the crowd that had assembled to caucus at the Westminster Christian Academy, where Santorum had stopped by to speak to a few dozen fans and a handful of placard-wielding Mitt Romney supporters in this St. Louis suburb.

The caucusing -- in which Missourians picked the delegates who will elect the delegates who will cast their votes for a Republican nominee, the layers of it all a bit like a giant political nesting doll -- went smoothly in some places, and more, um, bloodbath-like in others.

The Kansas City Star reported that in Clay County, “arguments between Paul supporters and others became so intense the caucus chairman threatened to have voters removed by force."

Across the state, some argued that delegates should honor the February vote; others said that the delegates should be proportional.

In St. Charles, political blogger John Combest tweeted that order broke down in the first 10 seconds of the caucus, with Santorum, Romney and Paul groups butting heads in a “mass hysteria” over how to proceed.

Of course, the State GOP, who is in charge of awarding the delegates, had sent a memo out regarding the rules of the selection of delegates, which will not be known until June 2nd well before the caucuses began. Therefore, this was not a do-over by any means, the votes has been cast, the problem for Paul and Romney was that the delegates were binding to Santorum, they were there to change people’s minds, and apparently, when all else failed, the campaigns decided to disrupt the entire caucus.

Mitt Romney’s desperation, most likely stemming from a sudden inability to fill his coffers, colluding with Ron Paul Supporters (which they are extremely passionate about their candidate - and that’s putting it nicely) is showing - as they apparently going to use every possible means to try and attain more delegates going forward - and if they can't, they'll just bust up the primary or caucus.


From the New York Times: it was noted that disruption shut down the caucus before the vote for delegates assigned took place. One Romney supporter, upset that the caucus center was too small to hold all those who wished to attend, but was moved outside, noted the elderly could not find a place to sit in comfort.

These headlines bear no resemblance to the Drudge Report, which links to most of them – Drudge “enhances” the headlines on his site, which are obviously misleading: Example: Elderly Shut out of Caucus, is in reality one Romney supporter complaining about lack of room. The Establishment GOP has not yet given up its insistence that Romney will continue to be the frontrunner. There are approximately 2000 delegates available, Romney has 495, Santorum 250, needed to win 1144 – the math? – Even with Paul and Gig rich in the mix, puts Santorum easily within reach of the 1144, as well as Romney, even with proportional distribution – the last primary is in early June.
See Screen Shot:

Screen Shot from Drudge Report

Today Puerto Rico votes, on Tuesday it is Illinois, where another close battle is shaping up in this going all the way to June, contest.

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