Friday, December 31, 2010

2012 GOP Potential Candidates the Media A-List in Review

2012 GOP Frontrunners (as of December 2010): Romney, Palin and Huckabee: image:
As 2011 is upon the political horizon, the year that those who will run for the office of the President of the United States are either in the process of, or have already made a commitment to run in the GOP 2012 primary. A great deal of speculation has taken place; it seems as if the question of who would run began to take shape as soon as the current occupant at Pennsylvania Avenue was sworn into office.

Every news outlet has its opinion on who is in the “pack” of potential candidates, a selection of network news, online blog, a news magazine and a national newspaper were chosen for this overview to show how the speculation differs, or remains the same, depending upon the medium.

According to ABC News the list of primary contenders includes: Frontrunners: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, they list “Chief Challengers”; Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and John Thune. The last category “Wild Cards” includes Mike Pence, Ron Paul, George Pataki, Rick Santorum and John Bolton. One of the “Wild Cards” is now considering a run for Governor of Indiana, that would be Congressman Mike Pence.
(The Wall Street Journal analysis of Pence as a potential candidate follows the logic of one who has built “stature” within the GOP.)

The conservative National Review online offer no less than 24 possible candidates:

Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John Thune, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, David Petraeus, Ron Paul, Jeb Bush, John Bolton, Bob McDonnell, Jim DeMint, Chris Christie, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Judd Gregg, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry.

The author, Jonah Goldberg, goes on to narrow the field to eleven, “Romney, Gingrich, Palin, Pawlenty, Santorum, Bolton, Daniels, Cain, Johnson, Paul, and Thune.” He further eliminates those who might not have the traction during the primary contest to make the authors top five: “Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Pawlenty, and Daniels”. His reasoning for eliminating Mike Huckabee, generally considered to be the top if not tied at the top contender in all polls: : “there’s growing buzz that Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and a fierce defender of his top-tier contender status, may not run because he’s got a big new contract with Fox News in the works.”

Finally, USA Today follows the money to bring the top five potential GOP frontrunners to the table. vis a vis, money raised through individual PAC’s (Political Action Committees). USA Today employed CQ MoneyLine and the Federal Election Commission data to reach the following Conclusions as to which of the above mentioned (in all articles) will likely rise to the occasion based on the dollar amounts raised by their respective PAC’s as well as monies donated by those PAC’s to GOP candidates and committees. The amounts are based on the 2009-2010 filing/election cycle.

The breakdown:
*Haley Barbour (Governor, MS), Haley’s PAC, $1.1 million, disbursed $233,590 to GOP
*Mike Huckabee (Former Governor of Arkansas), HuckPAC, $1.8 million, disbursed $137,500
*Newt Gingrich (Former House Speaker), American Solutions PAC, $705,279, disbursed: $224,750
*Sarah Palin, (Former Governor of Alaska), SaraPAC, $5.4 Million, disbursed $516,500
*Tim Pawlenty (Minnesota Governor), Freedom First PAC, $3.3 Million, disbursed: $214,111
*Mitt Romney (Former Governor Massachusetts) Free and Strong American PAC, $7.4 Million, disbursed $827,708.

Therefore, if one “follows the money”, and granted these are PAC’s not campaign contributions generated by the individual candidate, however, for the sake of speculation, this scenario places the contenders in the following order: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour and Newt Gingrich. The political capital gained by disbursing funds will also come into play, however, of note: Mike Pence, who is missing from this list, crisscrossed Indiana this year in support of local Republicans, contributing over $84,000 to their campaigns and attending 30 events for state legislative candidates. (Wall Street Journal),. The aforementioned goes to intent as to the office of the Governor rather than that of President.

That said, one must recall the battle of Iowa in 2008, where one Mike Huckabee, with an estimated $80,000 dollars, outspent by Mitt Romney who invested millions, and won the day. It is, therefore, a necessary combination of willingness to take the heat, the ability to inspire a true grass roots following, and the ability to raise enough money to run a successful campaign through the primary to gain the nomination. In that case, Grass Roots would go to both Palin and Huckabee, Palin also will score higher on fundraising, while, Mitt Romney’s strength is in cash alone. (Of course, all analysis is based on the assumption that the aforementioned will run at all, and will end up being in the position of front runner).

Furthermore, should this scenario unfold as likely,(with the three most visible GOP contenders as of this moment), one must look to the obvious: which one of these three would be able to hold enough states necessary to win the primary and then go onto hold those states to win a general election. Romney has proved that he can hold the Northeast (coast), the West (coast), the northern states (MI, WY, UT), but fails in the Midwest and the South. Huckabee, on the other hand, may have trouble in the Northeast (specifically more liberal states and states that Romney calls home), but can handle the South and the Midwest. In looking at states where Huckabee and McCain competed in the 2008 primary, the point differential was minor between the two candidates, and with Romney in the mix, he was normally third. Palin, who is, like the current occupant of the White House, more controversial, yet appealing to the same conservative base as Mike Huckabee, should do well in those very same states.

Should these three be locked in a battle, it would, in this opinion, boil down to two candidates Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. That is if Huckabee, will, as some sources in Arkansas have already indicated, run in 2012.

Of note: both Palin and Huckabee have used the media (specifically Fox and other outlets) in order to maintain a national spotlight.

An excellent bio of all ABC’s potential candidates is available with the article

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gallop: Obama’s Approval Stagnant at 47% Despite Lame-Duck Successes, Mike Huckabee - 2012 Speculation As Challenger to Obama

2012 Hypothetical Race: Huckabee vs. Obama

Gallop released their daily presidential tracking for Dec. 30th with the President’s Approval rating remaining stagnant at 47%. 46% of the nation continues to disapprove of the Presidents job performance. Meanwhile, the 2012 GOP speculation heightens. A recent MSNBC report (video shown below), is tagged with the headline “MSNBC Promotes Huckabee”. The gist of the MSNBC report is a positive/negative look at the potential 2012 presidential candidate, former Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is noted as being a conservative who does not immediately attack Democrats or the President, rather assesses each individual issue, on the other hand, the report begins with the, now typical moniker assigned to Huckabee: Baptist Minister. The “Baptist Minister” citation is a liberal “call to alarm”. The left views Governor Huckabee as “right wing religious nut” rather than his more updated calling as two and one half term Governor of the State of Arkansas. One would think that in a political arena, the fact that Huckabee was a successful Republican Governor in a traditional southern Democrat state might trump the fact that he was, in his lifetime, an ordained minister.

Huckabee, in 2005, was one of Time Magazines “American’s 5 Best Governors":

Huckabee has approached his state’s troubles with energy and innovation, and he has enjoyed some successes. Most notably, he created ARKids First, which offers health insurance to poor children and has helped reduced the percentage of uninsured Arkansans under 18 to 9% in 2003-04, compared with the 12% for the nation and 21% for neighboring Texas. Since he became Governor in July 1996, welfare rolls have declined by nearly half, and last year the state’s economy grew 4.4%, beating the national average of 4.2%.

The attacks on Huckabee during the 2008 GOP General Primaries were based on his fiscal policy – the man who created a budget surplus in Arkansas, raised the level of education, and generally improved almost every aspect of the State’s government (Again winning not one, but two terms as Governor in a heavily Democratic state), actually increased taxes. The New York Times ran the following article on Huckabee and the attacks from a particular right of center fiscal “Club for Growth”:

During Mr. Huckabee’s tenure as governor, he did raise taxes to improve the state’s roads and schools, with the support of both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature. He ended his tenure with an $800 million budget surplus.
Mr. Huckabee lowered some taxes as well. But, on balance, he raised more than he cut and that’s behind the Club’s disdain for Mr. Huckabee.

What was left out of that particular article, as well as advertisements denouncing the Governor, was the fact that several states were forced to raise taxes due to: Federal Mandates increasing State's services.. Additionally, one must also be reminded that America’s best President (blog opinion), Ronald Reagan also raised taxes on more than one occasion.

As conservatives try to out-Reagan one another, the one man that can lay claim to actually having governed like the “Gipper” is that rascally Baptist Preacher and former 2-1/2 term Governor of the State of Arkansas. Should Huckabee actually decide to run, he would do well to counter the naysayers with a bit of historical fact.

As of this moment, however, every prominent Republican is included in the list of possible candidates, and the President may have dodged a primary challenge from the left of the Democrat party (Charles Rangel), however, it remains to be seen if a challenge will be mounted by a more moderate Democrat (Dick Morris via Fox News as well as rampant speculation from the press in general). It is simply, a time to speculate, with no clear idea of who will actually aspire to the nation’s top job in 2011-2012.

Note: Huckabee led Obama in hypothetical match up as of 11/4/2010 in CNN poll,(Politico) The poll referred to on MSNBC is from Quinnipiac Nov. 22nd, in which overall voters would prefer another candidate to Obama: 49-43%


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2012 General Elections Beginning to Take Shape – Democrats and Republicans Alike Early Eyes On Congress and the White House

2012 - The Games Begin - image

For months news of David Axelrod, Obama’s 2008 Campaign Manager and White House Advisor, move to Chicago in early 2011 to start the President’s 2012 election campaign has made headlines. As 2010 closes, CBS News (via Politico) is reporting that Obama will campaign for reelection from Chicago, rather than D.C. or nearby Virginia as his predecessors had done.

On the GOP side, the AP via Boston Globe is reporting on potential Senate Challenges in 2012. With 33 Senate Seats up for reelection as well as the entire Congress, those that are considering challenging incumbents are beginning to come forward.

Polling on the Presidential contest has been taking place for the past year, with hypothetical match-ups against a variety of well-known Republicans versus Obama, with one of the latest a CNN polls showing 2008 Candidate, former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, leading the pack of “hypothetical’s”. Huckabee, a virtual unknown in 2007, went on to win the Iowa caucus in 2008, eventually bowing out to John McCain after all states had a choice in the primary contests. 2008 saw speculation that high-profile Republicans such as Condoleezza Rice, former Bush administration, Secretary of State would seek the nomination, which she did not.

One thing is certain, after the 2010 mid-term Democrat losses in the Congress based on public distaste for runaway government spending, high unemployment, and the health care reform bill, the issues that will surface as challenging for either party in 2012 are, as of this point, unknown. The fact of the matter is that the economy may remain strained for the next two years, as it undergoes recovery, the new Congress, with a good percentage of the members part of the Tea Party movement will, undoubtedly, be more vocal than the average politician, specifically when it comes to spending, however, they must buck a Senate controlled by Republicans and Democrats alike who are less fiscally conservative. Depending on which side of the economic coin the President stands, along with Democrat members of the House and Senate, will either make or break the nations focus on the economy and who is to "blame".

The last hours of the 111th Congress, and the passage of several bills that appeased the Democrats Progressive wing of the party, has, according to NY Congressman, Charles Rangel staved off a primary challenge to Obama from the left. That does not, however, mean there will be no primary challenge to the President, as hopes of his compromises with Republicans on the Bush Tax Cuts would appease those in the middle, has yet to be determined.

As both major American political parties, as well as the independents and minor party hopefuls, begin to play their cards for 2012, it will be, as always, what makes the United States of American one of the most unique and inspiring nations in world history. The fact that any U.S. citizen, regardless of socio-economic, religious or ethnic origins can rise to the occasion, run for political office, and be elected by a majority of the citizens, continues to engage the world.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It Must be Winter – U.S. Consumers begin to feel pinch from Increase in Fuel Prices – OPEC seeks price-setting at $100 Barrel.

OPEC, $100 per Barrel on the table - image Latest News

When the need for fuel increases during the winter (heating) and summer (anticipated vacation bound drivers), the price of fuel appears to increase with demand. As January approaches, the price at the gas pumps has risen to over $3.00 per gallon, or up 7 cents in a week. (Reuters). Meanwhile, OPEC is, once again, asking for an increase in price per barrel, up to $100 Saudi Arabia wants pricing set at approximately $75/per barrel, while Libya, Iran and Venezuela prefer the higher price per barrel. This is causing some anxiety amongst oil importers such as Japan, and, yes, the U.S. (Bloomberg).

OPEC has historically toyed with the vast wealth of oil at its disposal, during the 1970’s, under the Ford, then Carter administrators, Carter, when pressed by rising OPEC prices, fixed prices in the United states, which resulted in an embargo and subsequent gas lines at the pumps. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 1st, 1974). Carter’s response was to offer a tax on U.S. consumers in order to manage consumption which ultimately failed to pass the Congress. (Washington Afro-American). Additionally, always attempting to tax his way out of a problem, Carter, instituted a “Windfall Profit Tax on “Big Oil”, which resulted in a backlash of fewer barrels of oil being refined in the U.S.

With President Obama reading Reagan’s blueprint for a productive nation, perhaps he’ll pick up on the Reagan Plan of drilling both offshore and in Alaska to boost production crippled under Carter. (Merced Sun-Star).

He might want to get a few pointers from the former Governor of Alaska, who trimmed $231 Million from the Alaskan budget, and then went to battle with Oil Companies to boost production

Palin, during her tenure as Governor of Alaska,

1) Created Alaska's Petroleum Systems Integrity Office to oversee maintenance of oil and gas equipment, facilities and infrastructure, and a Climate Change Subcabinet to prepare a climate change strategy for Alaska.
2)Passed major legislation that began a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline and overhauled state ethics laws.
3)Served as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
(National Governors Association)

Palin also served as Chair of the NGA’s Natural Resource Committee

With a new move to the middle by the Leader of the Free World, all things may be possible, but it remains to be seen whether he will follow the lead of Carter or take advantage of a Tea Party Congress and it's hero's and heroines: Reagan and Palin

Monday, December 27, 2010

Speculation: Clinton Returns to Private Sector – Replacement: NM's Bill Richardson – Clinton Presidential Run Still Not Out of the Question

Hillary Clinton 2003 - Life Magazine Profile

The Examinerled with the question: Will outgoing New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson replaces Hillary Clinton as Sectary of State? Richardson, who had been offered positions within the Obama White cabinet in 2008, was one of the key Super-Delegates in Obama’s win at the 2008 Democrat convention However, at the time he was asked to join the Obama cabinet Richardson represented one more “scandal” in Obama’s cabinet choices, and declined the offer until the Indictments were cleared (Google news: Moscow Pullman Democrat, January 1, 2009).

The speculation on Hillary’s “retirement from public life” began with a few quotes from Clinton herself when queried whether or not she would seek the Presidency in 2012 – both were asked and answered on foreign soil, in early December from Bahrain and again from New Zealand, neither the time nor the place to make an announcement of that sort. She then answered the question on Fox News Sunday – once again, a resounding no to the question of a run against Obama in 2012.

Clinton, who had served as a New York State Senator, and ran against Obama for the 2008 Democrat Presidential Nomination, according to recent reports, is stepping aside to spend more time with her family. Clinton has spent the last two years working the globe and holding her own in the Obama administration - considering the vitriol of the campaign trail and the subsequent “Super Delegate” coronation of Obama over Clinton (who had the popular vote) at the Democrat Convention in 2008, her tenure with the association is nothing short of diplomatic acumen on steroids. That said, it could very well be that Hillary Clinton is tired, and wants to spend time with family and friends.

Meanwhile, David Axelrod hints at Obama’s run in 2012, and a “shake-up” at the White House, and Administration Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, denies any major changes will be taking place. Obviously, something is afoot. Axelrod left for Chicago early in order to set up the campaign strategy for Obama’s 2012 bid, and has been the mastermind behind the Obama elections since he first rolled out Massachusetts Govenor Deval Patrick as test case for Obama in 2006. Axelrod used the same Massachusetts strategy for Obama’s 2008 bid, down to the slogan: “yes we can”. On the eve of the November mid-terms, Patrick was, this time, in a battle for the Governor’s office, however, what aided the most unpopular Govenor in Massachusetts in his reelection (by 2 points), was the former Democrat turn Independent Patrick staffer, Timothy Cahill, running as an independent. This move effectively pulled independent voters away from the Republican Challenger, to tip the scales towards Patrick. As of now, Michael Bloomberg, believed to be the national Tim Cahill, has denied he would run, however, watch for an unexpected change of heart from a semi-plausible Democrat turned independent in 2011-2012 with an announced intention to run against Obama and Brand X Republican. This scenario is not out of the question.

Back to Hillary Clinton: According to Republican Strategist, Carl Rove, via the Huffington Post, Hillary will run in 2016. Speculation perhaps that should Obama run again in 2012, regardless of the number of times he invokes the name of Ronald Reagan, he does not have the time to pick up enough of the independents that he lost over the past two years, therefore, a Republican would win the election in 2012. Thereby, the preceding scenario would open the doors to a Clinton run in 2016.

Of course, Hillary Clinton may be finished with politics, for now and she has repeatedly denied an interest in seeking the White House, hasn't she?: from CNN: 2003:

Former first lady Hillary Clinton says she has no plans to launch a bid to become the country's first woman president in the next two elections.
It has often been speculated the former first lady would make a bid for the White House, but in two interviews Sunday, she said she had "no intention" to run for president in 2008 -- and would turn down invitations to run in 2004.
Clinton said she is enjoying her current political role as a senator for New York.

The fact of the matter is that no-one, at the present time, knows who will run in 2012 on either ticket (or in the case of Axelrod’s campaign strategy, who the “straw man”may be). However, with Clinton free of the White House, and the potential candidacy of the likes of Mitt Romney, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and, of course, Sarah Palin, with a Republican controlled Congress and the more than likely 2012 Republican controlled Senate, would the need to run, both for the Democrat Party and for her own vindication, be out of the question? It may be far too early to place any bets, however, one might be tempted to look at Clinton for 2012. She would be a formidable candidate, both during a campaign against Obama (who has the Progressives, but not the overwhelming numbers of Moderate Democrats), and a national campaign against a right of center conservative. This former Goldwater Girl would be able to run directly at the middle. In the aforementioned scenario, the Press would, after a brief period of mourning for their candidate of choice, get behind Clinton in droves, as she would be more representative, at least in part, of the ideologues who are the U.S. press.

Of course, at the present time, it is clearly speculation, but in the opinion of this writer, Clinton would have been the clear choice in 2008 (based on her record in the senate alone), should Hillary Clinton decide to run in 2012, it would be for the love her political Party and her County. What one has to ask, is there anyone else that can match Hillary Clinton on the horizon for 2012, and would one rather have four years of one party rule beginning in 2012? As a nation, we have seen what can happen when one political party is left to its own devices while holding the Executive and the Legislative Branch, (both the Republican and Democrats). It would, to be certain, a sacrifice on Clinton’s part, but will she have the ability to turn her back on her country and the Moderate Democrats? Only time will tell.

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