Friday, January 07, 2011

Breaking: Massachusetts Republican Committee Re-Elects Jennifer Nassour as Chair for 2011-2012 Elections

Jennifer Nassour Elected to 2nd Term as Massachusetts State GOP Chair, image MassGOP

On Thursday evening, at the Mariott in Newton MA, the Massachusetts GOP State Committee members gathered to vote by secret ballot for the office of Chairman. Jennifer Nassour, the current Chair won by a vote of 50 to 16 over Worcester’s, Bill McCarthy, considered the more conservative candidate. McCarthy had challenged Nassour for the Chair citing lack of performance in the last election based on the 2010 mid-term returns. The Mass. GOP picked up seats in the Legislature, doubling its membership in the State Legislature and held all seats for incumbents; there were over 200 candidates for state and federal offices, which was the first time in decades that voters had a choice at the ballot box. However, many, including McCarthy, felt that the loss of the top of the slate of 2010 contenders, from the Governor’s office to all 10 Congressional Seats, should have had a better showing.

Rome is not built in a day.

Although there are extreme differences between members in the Republican Party in Massachusetts, from moderates to Conservatives, the growing Tea Party is playing a large role in supporting candidates from a grass roots level, while the State GOP members, for the most part are often referred to as a “county-club”, or RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only), appearing to support candidates that are more “moderate” in nature, and therefore, logically more “electable” in a state where over 50% of the electorate is registered as “unenrolled”. There are also geographic distinctions between those East and West of Worcester, with the more Conservative activist hailing from the Western Part of the State, with pockets of Conservatives in the South Coast. Members of the Tea Party are also played a part in the past elections, beginning with the January 19th election of Republican Senator Scott Brown. Tea Party members most often align themselves with the Republican Party based on a shared ideology of fiscal conservatism, and there is a crossover in Massachusetts. Additionally, there is RHIO’s in the “types” of Conservatives in Massachusetts, both moderates (Nassour) and remained in the hands of the Democrats.

The fact that Ms. Nassour came to the office of the Chair two years prior to the mid-terms, with only 7 state senators and 15 state legislatures in office, to oversee a mid-terms where the number of Massachusetts GOP state legislatures doubled, a gain that had not happened in 20 years – goes to competency. (Boston Globe).
In reality, a moderately conservative estimate would suggest it may take at least 10 years for a competent Chair to bring the Massachusetts GOP up to snuff, or, should the Tea Party be embraced, as well as the Western Massachusetts Republican members, the next election cycle may cut that estimate substation ally. With now 9 Congressional seats up for election (Massachusetts lost a seat in the U.S. House due to fleeing population.) as well as one Senate seat (Scott Brown), and the office of the President of the U.S., with varied state posts up for election, one can imagine Ms. Nassour will have her hands full and it remains to be seen if she will be able to come to terms with those whose ideology is further right, commonly thought to be an anomaly in Massachusetts.

In a Press Release issues by the Mass GOP, Ms. Nassour thanked the committee for the vote of confidence and reiterated her accomplishments in her short-two year tenure: “"I am honored the Massachusetts Republican State Committee has expressed its strong support for the progress we have made in my first two years as chairman and for my continued leadership as we endeavor to further rebuild and strengthen this Grand Ole Party," Nassour said.

"For the first time in a long time, our party entered the November elections with a strong slate of candidates, and when all was said and done, we elected 25 new Republicans and defeated 12 Democratic incumbents. We turn our focus now to helping Senator Brown defend the People's Seat and restoring greater two-party balance to Beacon Hill," she said.”

Ms. Nassour also has a very aggressive agenda for the next two years including:

Recruiting and re-electing Republican incumbents for state and congressional districts,
A “Get out the Vote Program”, (which would require the cooperation of the individual city and town committees)
Grassroots organization,
Increased cooperation between Republican campaigns,
Increased voter registration,
and lastly, updating the current technology in place, allowing greater efficiency for both the GOP and their candidates.

The aforementioned is a daunting tax, but it is good to set the bar high, considering the following facts regarding the 2010 midterms:
Nine out of ten incumbent Congressional Democrats were challenged, not by well-known politico’s, rather first time candidates, who lost by what would be considered very narrow margins, specifically in the 4th, 10th, and 2nd Congressional Districts. (There were no GOP poll watchers in place or organization which would allow them to counter the Democrats, who will watch the polls, pick up missing voters and get them in to vote. (That will change in 2011.) The Governor’s office was also won by a narrow margin, with the inclusion of a “straw” candidate, Tim Cahill, Democrat turned independent, and who is still working in the Patrick Administration. Even with the third option, the Republican, Charlie Baker, lost by 2 points – not exactly a mandate for the embattled Governor, Deval Patrick.

Therefore, in retrospect, Ms. Nassour, survived what might be viewed by some Conservatives as “Custer’s Last Stand” and walked away with seats at the State level, no mean feat. Granted, one must credit those Conservatives along with the Tea Party and Ms. Nassour in the aforementioned.

Should Ms. Nassour come to terms with and encourage the corporations of the Conservative Republicans as well as the Tea Party members, she just may pull off a miracle in 2011-2012. It is convincing hard-liners that Michael Steele’s “big tent” philosophy is worth embracing, which may be successful, especially with the diversity in the Tea Party.

Not for nothing, but Ms. Nassour, as a strong woman, managed to do what her male predecessors had not accomplished in 20 years. There isn’t an organization standing where members will not play “Monday morning quarterback”. Therefore, kudos to Ms. Nassour on her reelection to the Chair, and the hope that next round of elections in 2011 and 2012 brings the Republican Party in Massachusetts additional gains, including a Federal seat or two. That would be icing on the cake.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Reading of the U.S. Constitution: 10:30 AM January 6, 2011, From the U.S. House Floor – The Law of the Land in it’s Entirety.

Much has been made of the reading of the U.S. Constitution from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as the Republican Party has now taken a majority in that body and has pledged to the American People a leaner, Constitutionally correct government. From the opening words to the last of the amendments, the reading (C-SPAN coverage) might be viewed as symbolic, and by some even highly partisan in nature, the blog calling the Constitution a “weapon” of the GOP. There are those journalist who just don’t understand the document calling it either arcane due to its age and the language used, or a “sacred secular text”, which underscores how deeply the lack of civics classes taught from an early age in the U.S. has given a large majority of the nations citizens, no understanding of the document.

The Constitution, simply put, is the foundation of our government, the document on which all laws of the United States of America are to be based, how our government is to be apportioned and how it operates, and it includes instructions for the three separate bodies (Executive, Judicial and Legislative) on how to conduct their duties. Guidelines, certainly, the law of the land, absolutely, which, the reading from the floor of the House where all laws of the land are generated, makes this reading more necessary than symbolic. The necessity arises from very lack of understanding on the part of the populace, which extends to lawmakers themselves, and certainly to those who hold position in the media who are viewing the reading as a “stunt” of sorts.

In the 1950’s and before, by the time a student was in the 4th grade, they were able to cite the Bill of Rights, and indeed had, in most instances, read the U.S. Constitution as part of the curriculum. Those who are of that generation as well as those who have, out of either curiosity, or alignment with the Tea Party Movement, taken to reading and discussing the intrinsic value of the document as it relates to our daily lives are the millions who have driven the nation to take a long second look at what it is that defines each of us.

The founding fathers, although hardly clairvoyant, were far-seeing in their establishment of a government that would be by and for the people, limiting the powers of the Federal government and deferring to the States more frequently than has been the case in recent years. The Constitution, simply put, is not always convenient in instances where political party aspirations are trumped by a 300 year old document. Historically, the one President who is lauded at once as a hero was also one who “played fast and loose” with that same document: one Abraham Lincoln, and who also, incidentally, was the first Republican President.

For one, the nation should be proud of the Congress, regardless of party affiliation, as they take up the task of reminding both the U.S. citizens, and the world, the reason why our nation has stood for centuries, and will continue to stand by a set of laws that was haggled over by the founding fathers for over a decade before it was finally signed and put into practice. Therefore, today is historical in once sense whereby newly elected Speaker of the House John Boehner, will go where so many before him have failed to go, back to the basics of what made our nation a magnet for those who were seeking relief from oppression. It is perhaps why, those who are desperate for an opportunity to grow within the boundaries of a land that guarantees its citizens rights beyond those found in any other word government, will take any measure, and face any hardship to gain citizenship within the boundaries of the United States.

Therefore, this first generation American extends gratitude and thinks to the members of the 112th Congress for reading the Document and further, for the promise (rather rule) that insists all future Bills before the Congress of the Unites States must cite the proposed laws Constitutional Authority. It is, perhaps, one of the greatest moments in the history of the modern Congress, and for those who don’t’ understand, or politically feel constitutionally challenged (how’s that?), perhaps it is an opportunity to embrace this unique set of laws, and to learn more about this document that holds us, all American’s, regardless of where we come from, or where we stand in society or politically, to a higher standard of protection from the very body (as well as the other two that complete the systems of checks and balances incorporated within) that will read the document.

Suggested reading: The Constitution of the United States
and to understand the making of this document
The Federalist Papers

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Mass. GOP To Elect Chair January 6– Jennifer Nassour Challenged by, William (Bill) McCarthy of Worcester – Will Nassour Hold the Chair?

Jennifer Nassour Mass GOP Chair under Fire - image Boston Herald

The Massachusetts Republican Party will elect a Chairperson on Thursday, January 6th, at the Newton, MA Marriott. The current chair, Jennifer Nassour, will be challenged by William McCarthy, a Republican State Committeeman.. Mr. McCarthy called for the removal of Nassour as Chairperson at a meeting held in November immediately following the mid-term elections. Mr. McCarthy cited the lack of attention and support to the majority of Republican races outside of the Governor’s race by the State GOP as reason for Nassour’s ouster as Chairperson. There was no vote taken at that time. (WBUR).

Ms. Nassour, considered a moderate or “RINO” (Republican in name only) by the more Conservative Republicans in Massachusetts, has held the Chair since 2009. In the past election, there were over 200 Republican candidates for State and Federal offices, with Republicans picking up a gain of12 seats in the State Legislature – period, but a pick-up at the very least.

William McCarthy, hails from the Western (Worcester) section of the Commonwealth, where there is an active and growing Tea Party presence. Those members are extremely focused on grassroots development, and played a large part in the victory of Senator Scott Brown in the January 19th special election, with little or no visible input or support from a variety of local or State GOP Committees until the final week of the elections. It was the energy carried over from the Brown election that the State Party failed to capitalize on, including efforts to recruit new members to the Republican ranks. McCarthy, who sources indicate was part of the Massachusetts Huckabee for President 2008 Committee, would have bucked the State GOP trend to support former Governor Mitt Romney.

Additionally, his willingness to acknowledge and support the growing Tea Party in the Commonwealth will put him in good stead, depending upon the number of delegates who are like-minded this Thursday. One might wonder how the Tea Party fares in Massachusetts, of all States, however a link to a partial list of active Tea Party groups at www.teapartypartriots.orgshows the growing interest in the fiscal conservative movement. It is this movement that has attracted not only disenfranchised Massachusetts Republicans, but Democrats, Libertarians and Unenrolleds as well over the past two years. Many of the Republican Congressional Candidates in 2010 were either members of or affiliated with the Tea Party movement, a fact not lost on those who failed to receive any support from the State GOP.

Playing “Devil’s Advocate” for a moment, Ms. Nassour came to the job of State Chair with a monumental task of attempting to solidify the “country club” Republican City and Town Committee’s (word most often associated: dysfunctional). In addition, with less than a year into her tenure, she was expected to pull off a major win across the board based on “a climate”, yet with no discernable grass roots support outside of the Tea Party movements which felt disenfranchised from the State GOP - the collision of the two schools of thought (Ms. Nassour appears to embrace a more moderate, inclusive philosophy, which makes it difficult for those who are conservative to tell the difference between a moderate Massachusetts Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat.) is at the crux of the challenge. Additionally, the false logic that a Conservative is simply not electable in Massachusetts, while more moderate, specifically socially moderate Republicans stand a chance, is cleanly the issue at hand.

Nevertheless, this Thursday, with almost Machiavellian secrecy, and no news coverage outside of the Boston Herald, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette (Bill McCarthy’s Home Town Paper), and one or two blogs, either Jennifer Nassour will remain as Chair or one Bill McCarthy will be the new Mass GOP Chair. Although there is no mention of the Chair’s election on the official Mass. GOP Website there is a list of local State Committee Persons, who one might contact if one feels they may prefer one candidate over the other. The list is available at This is part of the problem the Mass. GOP (and one could also note the secret society of the Massachusetts Democrats), has in recruitment, which may be why the Commonwealth is overwhelming “unenrolled”.

Regardless of who is elected to the State GOP Chair, that individual continues to face the daunting task of putting a solid grassroots program in place (and possibly working with the Tea Party activists in order to get his accomplished), holding town and city committees accountable for meeting and holding recruitment events, (that do not exclusively involve cocktail parties and golf games), rather get a message out to the many disenfranchised democrats and independents who would be willing converts, and finally, recruiting Republican’s to run, either first time, Tea Party, Log Cabin, or what have you, in order to ensure there is a body for every race in 2012.

One has to ask, is either one of the candidates up to this task? Baby steps are fine, however, the road to success in a politically progressive state is not going to paved with a slew of backyard barbeque's, rather with a loud, rambunctious, in the trenches and in one’s face, fiscally conservative message of less government. In other words, whoever is elected to the Chair should embrace all aspects of the party (Big Tent Theory) in order to move forward with the speed necessary to get the candidates in place for 2012. All Congressional Offices, (9 now) will be up for reelection, there is simply no reason why Massachusetts cannot send a Republican to Congress, and send Scott Brown back to the Senate. The organization needs to be tight, and that requires attention to details right down to the precinct poll watchers who will ensure a get out the vote to rival the 13 hour push by the Democrats in the waning hours of the 2010 midterms, a move that gave them all 10 congressional seats and the Governor’s office. Rome was not built in a day, but the Mass. GOP Chair must be able to accomplish a similar feat, or be challenged for not doing so.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

While New GOP Controlled Congress Abides by Constitution, Democrats and K-Street Lobbyists Hire Lawyers.

The Constitution of the United States - image:

On Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA8), new Democrat Minority Leader, will hand over the Congressional gavel to to Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH8), in a televised ceremony. (Middletown Journal) The Congress, under new GOP leadership, will be adhering to the document that defines the nation – The Constitution of the United States. In fact, the Congress will read the Constitution, a historical first, and all future bills must contain a statement by the bills’ author, citing constitutional authority. The Washington Post refers to the “back to basics” approach to governing as the “tea party-ization of Congress”. The biting commentary vis a vis the Tea Party, contained within a news article may be due to fact that the Post’s staff, notably, Ezra Kline finds that particular document difficult to understand. (The Constitution of the United States is available to read online at, and although some of the language is “old English”, it should not be incomprehensible to an individual who should have, at the least, a few English language courses under one’s belt.)

Boehner, is going the extra mile, having his staff sworn in by Supreme Court, Chief Justice, John Roberts, a move, that is ceremonial, as Congressional aides, sign a “form” that includes the following language: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” (Politico) However, there is a bit more weight carried by reading an oath of defense of the nation laws rather than simply acknowledging their existence by signing a form.

The New Congress is set to work on reducing the budget and reforming the unpopular Health Care Reform Act. Appointments to the various Committees have been made, and incoming Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa (R-CA49), will begin a series of investigations into waste and fraud. Specifically named in an article by the Washington Post is the fiasco over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the government run lending groups closely aligned with the former Chair of the House Finance Committee, Barney Frank (D-MA4). To counteract any investigations, the House Democrats have hired David Rapallo as their attorney Rapallo a Democrat Staffer, will be joined by lobbying firm lawyers who are obviously concerned about Issa’s planned investigations.(Politico)

Apparently, when a group of duly elected Republican (and yes, Tea Party) Representatives of Congress, who intend to focus on the Constitution which regulates their positions and the nations laws (along with all branches of the government), the opposition gets a bit nervous. As well it should - those that feel the Constitution is to be interpreted and/or cast aside if need be, will now be faced with a group within the Congress that intends to abide by the august Document. One might find C-Span’s ratings spike over the next few months.

Side notes: The President has actually been studying up on former President Ronald Reagan in order to cope with the 112th Congress (Bloomberg).

With Obama’s seeming attempt to “move to the middle, an article from Canada’s Star speaks to the difficulties Obama may face as the progressives attempt to block any moves he may make to the middle by running an opposition candidate in 2012. The article goes on to note that those incumbents who faced challengers from within their own parties, specifically Jimmy Carter, (whose actions and policies Obama has appeared to mimic for the past two years), who lost to Ronald Reagan.

From the Star: :

Four years later, Carter was the one in trouble. The inflation rate was even higher — as Americans endured the new phenomenon of “stagflation,” whereby prices rose even as the economy flagged. Carter was a weak leader, urging Americans to adjust to limits. Conservatives hated him for this defeatism. Liberals hated him because they considered him the most conservative Democrat since Grover Cleveland, pushing to deregulate the economy and balance the budget.
Carter’s standing with party regulars and liberals sank so low that the crown prince of the Democratic Party, senator Ted Kennedy, decided to run for the nomination. Kennedy’s candidacy was ill-fated. When a sympathetic interviewer, Roger Mudd, asked why he was running, Kennedy rambled. When radical Islamist students overran the American embassy and held 52 diplomats hostage in November 1979, just as the nomination campaign was starting, Americans initially rallied around their president in an instinctive patriotic reaction.
Eventually, Kennedy found his footing, winning the important New York primary. Kennedy failed to win the Democratic nomination, but at the party’s national convention he upstaged Carter. Kennedy’s passionate endorsement of the welfare state, vowing “the dream shall never die” in a speech that became an instant classic, captured Democratic hearts. At the same time, it helped Carter’s general election opponent, Ronald Reagan, define Carter as yet another liberal to a nation increasingly fed up with liberalism’s failures.

Eerily familiar.

Monday, January 03, 2011

President Obama and Wife – Not Invited to British Royal Wedding - French Prime Minister and Wife Are!

Michelle Obama Greets the Queen: image How to Greet The Queen of England

Via CNN Blog Only: The invitation list for the wedding between Prince William of the United Kingdom and his fiancĂ© Kate Middleton, does not include the President of the United States and his wife, Michelle, this according to the British Press, “The Daily Mail”. The question raised by CNN: Is this a snub?

The Huffington Post is not counting out an invitation to the Royal Affair: “Obama Not Invited to Royal Wedding? Not So Fast!” alluding to the possibility that the Daily Mail may have gotten the story wrong.

However, one has to recall, as most of the Britt’s due, the lack of protocol shown by the Obama’s in their many visits outside of the U.S. and specifically on British Soil – from the gifts, to the gaffes, the Obama’s were tabloid fodder.

One other “royal wedding” that made headlines due to the Obama’s absence: (MSNBC): “Obama not invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding”

One must keep in mind that weddings are for the family and those who are considered close friends and or subjects (as in the case of the U.K.). Therefore, the Obama’s off the guest list, is not totally inappropriate. That said, the guest list is said to most likely include French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni. Indeed, the U.S. is being shown a different level of respect overseas.

Romney Looks at 2012 from Hawaii– Huckabee and Romney As Front Runners – Analysis Taxes and Paroles

Mitt Romney & Wife on vacation an island away from Obama - image

The Sacramento BeeSunday news included a piece on former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, who is, coincidentally, on vacation in Hawaii at the same time as President Obama. Romney, who is touted as the “front-runner” for the GOP nomination in some instances, is a favorite of certain fiscal conservative groups, who “forgive” the former Governor for his Massachusetts Universal Health Care bill that was exported nationwide under Obama. Understanding that Romney’s vision of the Bay States version was not exactly the deficit ridden, mandate heavy, private insurance cost increasing behemoth that evolved once he left the legislation in the hands of a Democrat heavy State Legislator, it belies the fact that Romney, a savvy business man, must have foreseen the mess that would evolve once he left the Governorship to run for President in 2008. That aside, what is most often forgiven is the multiple “fees” imposed under Romney, including the “fee” for not complying with the State Mandated Program.

Although he initially opposed a “tax” for non compliance, he was fine with “fees” assessed on those that failed to comply” (Insurance Journal) . In any other universe a “fee” is a “tax”, unless one is looking for a “businessman” to run the country in 2012. When he first took the office of the Governor in 2003, then Governor Romney, hiked “fees” :

“If you own a gun or a boat, kill termites or teach horseback riding for a living or just want to learn to drive, you may have to pay more for a state permit.
Along with proposed budget cuts and reorganization plans, Gov. Mitt Romney sent the Legislature a four-page list of fees that would be increased to help balance the state budget. In all, the fee hikes would add $60 million in revenue next year. The proposed fee increases come on top of $290 million in fee hikes the governor imposed under emergency budget balancing authority given him by the Legislature in February that would be carried over into next year's budget.
While many of the fees hit businesses and special groups, few in the state would escape paying more for state services.”

The Fees (Tax increases):

“State college tuitions would be raised as much as 15 percent for in-state students
Free parking at many state parks, including Wachusett Mountain Reservation in Princeton, would give way to $2 parking fees, and a 15 cent deposit would be tacked on to juice, wine and other beverages that have escaped bottle deposits in the past.
At the Registry of Motor Vehicles, many fees would be raised.
Commercial license road tests would double to $40; drunken-driving license reinstatement would go from $300 to $500; learning permits would double to $30; a new $50 fee would be charged for emergency light permits; and the state would also bring in $507,000 by charging $2 each for bulk purchase of driver manuals by driving schools.
The Department of Public Health would begin charging a new $50 fee for all tuberculosis tests, to bring in $300,000, and hikes in license fees for hospitals, labs, radiation monitoring firms, and other licensed health-related businesses would bring the state an additional $3 million.

Elevator inspection fee increases would produce $3 million in new revenues, a hike in milk dealer licenses from $5 to $25 would raise $1.3 million.

Firearm registrations would triple to $75; fees for floats, piers and moorings would be increased 80 percent and boat registrations would go from $15 to $30 and $25 to $100. Surcharges on speeding tickets would double to $50 and current surcharges on drunken-driving violations would double to $250. “
(Worcester Telegram and Gazette, fee required for full article)

Which, the aforementioned may be why, those who are opposed to fees in states such as Iowa, the South, the Mid-West and places in between, failed to move then 2008 Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney past Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas, who is often accused of “taxing” those in the State of Arkansas.

Additionally, he can be, of all things, Bi-Partisan! In a recent article by right of center blogger Michelle Malkin, she eviscerates Huckabee in her piece: “Malkin: Big Nannies of the Year”"

“Nanny State Republican Mike Huckabee, who used his bully pulpit position as Arkansas governor to campaign for Big Government-endorsed “healthier living” in public schools and private life, naturally sided with Mrs. Obama — and took a swipe at Sarah Palin last week for criticizing the White House usurpation of parental responsibility and rights. Huckabee scoffed at the idea that the feds are “trying to force the government’s desires on people.” But school bake sales are already under siege, and Mrs. Obama’s childhood obesity task force has already called for new and dramatic controls on the marketing of unhealthy foods. Did Huckabee miss (or does he agree with) Mrs. Obama’s officious rallying cry on child nutrition: “We can’t just leave it up to parents”?
God save us from more busybody bipartisanship in 2011.”

Ms. Malkin is either missing the point, or perhaps making a political point for the “fiscally conservative, fee happy Romney”. Governor Huckabee can be bi-partisan, when and if, it is in the best interest of his constituents, and asked for by his constituents. Apparently, addressing the issue of childhood obesity (health and strength of the nation’s future), is off the radar for certain conservatives, and any interaction with the “enemy” (i.e. a Democrat) is seen as treasonous.

That said, agreeing that parents should be the first point of defense for their children, the fact that many children in today’s society, depending upon the school district, are not offered “healthy choices” for school lunch, rather vending machines, and the like; with parents who may or may not be present and/or know what their children are ingesting must be considered. In the case of Huckabee - is not a question of “big brother”, rather a question of schools, paid for by the taxpayer, offering nutritious food for the students rather than “junk food”. Huckabee offered guidelines, rather than a mandate, including the parents in the process and ultimately changing the menus at schools to include more healthy “snacks” (from article: Star News via AP: “Arkansas Reaches Out to Overweight Kids, Schools help parents with fighting obesity” In addition he did not impose any lunch “fees”.

Of course, the two contenders have only hinted at a run in 2012, and have yet to announce, unless one can count Romney’s “hint” in the LA Times: “Running certainly seems to be on Romney's mind. His annual Christmas card showed a smiling Romney with his wife, Ann, and 14 grandchildren. The caption read: "Guess which grandchild heard that Papa might run again?"

Huckabee, Palin and a crowded field of “those speculated to run”, have repeatedly "coyly" dodged the questions of 2012 presidential runs. That said, as polls continue to show Huckabee gaining strength (CNN Opinion Research), coming in ahead of the entire pack of “contenders”. Not for nothing, the best polling (this opinion) group out there, Public Policy Polling has, in early polling, Huckabee ahead of Romney in the State of Florida.

As it now stands, the battle that may brew between Romney and the “fiscal conservatives” in the beltway, and Mike Huckabee, who is viewed as a more populist candidate, should they both decide to run, make this one very interesting fight in 2011-2012. Of course, this does not address the third front-runner, Sarah Palin, who, although currently “lagging” behind both Romney and Huckabee in a series of polls, should not be discounted. A great deal will depend on which one of the aforementioned has the rank and file, plus the “Tea Party, in full force behind any run at the Presidency.

A few facts:

Romney Pardons: He denied them all, including one for an Iraq War Vet, who when 13 years of age, (juvenile record) shot another boy in the arm, causing a welt, with a bb gun. The man was applying for a job and requested the pardon from Govenor Romney who refused. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service to the nation in Iraq.”(UPI)

Huckabee Pardons: Although credited with pardoning one man by the name of Dumond, who continued to commit murder after his parole, his release and pardon was at the behest of the Parole Board, not Huckabee. The parole board “assumed” that Huckabee would have wanted the man paroled, as he had expressed some sympathy”. (Seattle Post Intelligencer) In fact, Huckabee presided over executions performed under the laws of the State of Arkansas which offers a contradiction of sorts to those who support the Huckabee as “soft on crime” theory CBS News. Or course, Huckabee did pardon, Rolling Stone’s, Keith Richards for a “parking violation” (Pittsburg Post Gazette”)

The point being that both Romney and Huckabee have made decisions as their respective State’s governors, which can either be excused and or not, depending upon one’s ability to face facts and dig a little deeper to look at the men (or women) who may hold the highest office in the land. One can, however, anticipate a colorful battle between these two “potential” candidates – what one cannot anticipate is how either will fare against one Sarah Palin, or should the constant speculation bear fruit, One Democrat Nominee, Hillary Clinton.

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