Friday, December 16, 2011

Victory! Light Bulb Ban No More: Republican's Win Sanity Battle

The Solyndra of the consumer light products now has competition Image from

The battle over the little squiggly, inefficient, yet "politically correct", hazmat hazard lighting devise, scheduled to replace the best invention: the good old fashioned light bulb has been won. Those of you hording the standard Edison bulb can now relax, however, one might wish to go out and stock up on those on sale now, before retail prices increase. Send a huge thank you note to those rascally Republicans in the Congress.

GOP 2012 Iowa Fox News Debate Winners: Gingrich, Romney – Stable, Bachmann Misleading

Paul’s Foreign Policy Issue. Lackluster: Perry, Huntsman, and Santorum

The Frontrunner(s) - image Washington Examiner

The Fox News 2012 Iowa GOP Debate offered very little new in the way of showing differences between the candidates – Both Gingrich and Romney remained polite and did not heed the call to arms from the moderators, specifically Bret Bair (who appears to like a bit of rabble-rousing) – on points and on answering the questions without “dodging”, Gingrich was straightforward, however, appeared off his game and somewhat tired. Romney, true to form, ignored the timer, however, was given the time to do so by the moderators more than any other candidate, he appeared to stand up for himself, however, took less barbs than the current front runner Newt Gingrich.

Those who are running behind Romney and Gingrich in national polling, attempted to compensate and ended up overcompensating, specifically Bachmann, who leveled the most accusations against Gingrich and his record, with increasingly inaccurate and misleading statements. Gingrich, to his credit, remained calm and refuted the false allegations, with the exception of one: Bachmann’s claim that Gingrich favored Partial Birth Abortion and was not pro-life. In that instance, Bachmann went off the charts – refer to articles from: Life “Misleading calls claim Newt Gingrich Not Pro-Life on Abortion. Apparently, an anonymous group in Iowa has been making claims regarding Gingrich since November, and Bachmann has no problem aiding them (according to Poltiico. Bachman also had a difficult time grasping the difference between a lobbyist and a private consultant, consistently harping on Gingrich “taking taxpayer money” for work done for Freddie and Fannie. When called on these allegations by Gingrich as being false, Bachmann immediate cited the St. Petersburg Times (not the most Conservative of Organizations) Politifact as giving her a perfect rating, Politifact immediately put out a statement disputing Bachmann’s claim.

Ron Paul, who, as of yesterday, was neck and neck with Newt Gingrich in Iowa polling, remained true to Paul form, he is an isolationist in the mold of George Washington, however Paul neglects to acknowledge that times have changed since 1786. That said, he is perhaps, the most consistent constitutionalist, with the exception of Gingrich, on the panel. Ron Paul did get into a heat with Bachmann, again, Bachmann overstating the truth on the issue of Iran and its nuclear capabilities as to who said what when. Paul also appeared less energetic in this debate than in the previous debates.

Rick Perry remained Rick Perry, with little opportunity to answer questions, he compared himself to football sensation which is being called a ”Hail Mary Pass” and rightly so. Although acknowledging that he is enjoying the debates (that may be subject to a fact check), Perry’s inability to articulate at a level shown by the other candidates, explains his less than exciting poll performance.

John Huntsman, who is perhaps one of the more underrated candidates, simply has not had the same camera time as the balance of the candidates, and it is unfortunate. His record as Governor of Utah is impeccable (especially when compared to Perry’s and Romney’s – the two other Governors on the stage). Huntsman’s governance in Utah would make a great case study for any of the GOP candidates on that stage – as a tutorial on “what to do right”. His lack of organization, and his soft-spoken demeanor, for now, has held Huntsman back.
Santorum’s performance was solid, however, he had about as much time on questions as Jon Huntsman, and for someone who has spent time in Iowa, more than any other candidate on that stage, the reception belied the effort.

The audience: made of Iowa Republican caucus goers, gave the loudest and lengthiest applause to Newt Gingrich, the other candidates not so much.

One heckler for reform of the Federal Reserve noted their disappointment in the fact that there were no questions poised on that subject – in the last 10 minutes of the debate. It is assumed that this would have been a Ron Paul supporter – the individual who received the second highest applause from the audience.

The television audience: For the very small percentage of the entire electorate that actually turns on debates, Fox News was not quite as solid as the ABC debate held just last week. ABC has, to date, the highest debate viewership at 7.6 Million viewers. In the 2010 elections 81.9 Million votes were cast. Putting that into perspective, calculating a minus 40% for Democrats and 20% for Independent Voters, that leaves: 39.3 million Republican’s available to watch debates. (Note: The Fox News Debate Viewership should be out before Monday)

Therefore, although a certain segment of the electorate (those categorized as “political junkies” (blogger: guilty, or those who seek to really understand the process) do tune into the debates, the balance who don’t rely on advertising and/or the person they see most in the News (if and when they do watch a news segment). This is why, when pollsters fail, and the chips fall in a shocking direction, the pundits are put to shame.

Who will win the Iowa Caucus, at this point in time it is difficult to tell, however, the individual with the best ground and grassroots campaign going may be the surprise candidate. With the individual running the most positive messages either in a tie, or close, this may be why Mitt Romney wisely failed to jump on the front-runner Newt Gingrich, knowing that negative attacks and advertising diminish the candidate espousing the same.
For this blogger the most entertaining segment of this debate was the Fox Post debate review, and one Charles Krauthammer, who appeared to have difficulty weighing in on the performances of the candidates, perhaps he, like Gingrich and Paul, was simply tired, or “off his game” a bit. The Fox Post Debate Team surprisingly gave the debate to points to Michelle Bachmann, for being “aggressive”.

Currently Fox News has not released the full video of the debate, rather Snippets of the candidates question on electability
In closing, one can anticipate swings in the polls on both the national and primary or caucus state level, some of which will bear little resembles to the outcomes, (excluding those taken within the last two weeks prior to the vote). It will be the ground game in both New Hampshire and Iowa that will garner the win, in South Carolina; it will be the individual who comes across with the most sincerity and conservative credentials that are proven. As of today, Gingrich is tied in Iowa with Paul, behind Romney in New Hampshire and South Carolina (said to be the state that is most predictive of the nominee) Gingrich is currently leading by a wide margin.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment to this conservative feminist is one Michelle Bachmann. One cannot take away Ms. Bachmann’s personal record, which is stellar, nor her voting record, again, she voted against Bush as many times as against Obama, however, when it comes to crunch time, instead of playing fast and loose with the facts, in this opinion, standing firm on her convictions and attacking anyone but those candidates on that stage, would have pushed her polling higher. She has the ability to be an effective leader, and the heart to take on the task, but she has a trust factor when it comes to facts. A sticking point from this perspective - one which leads down the slippery slope of intentional deception, one which is not admirable in a woman or a man. Therefore, Congresswoman Bachmann should, calling it quits by Florida at the latest.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

GOP Newt Gingrich Now under Scrutiny for His Catholicism – from the Media: WAPO Headlines: “Catholic Blind Spots” and “Catholic Case for Gingrich”

The GOP Candidates: Branding by Religion: Perry, Romney, Gingrich, Pual and Bachmann - image detroit news

GOP Presidential Newt Gingrich has come under scrutiny for a myriad number of past indiscretions (going back 20 odd years in most cases) by his GOP Rivals and the press once he rose to the top tier, and then became the one to best in the 2012 GOP Nomination Process. It appears with everything thrown at Gingrich but the kitchen sink, including potential personality issues, which would have one believe every pundit and politicians has had a crash course in psychology lately, his ability to work across the aisle (cardinal sin), his “wild” ideas, that are, when taken in context, sound and forward thinking (Promotion of a space program, teaching children to learn the concept of work and reward from a private sector standpoint). With each new “bomb” thrown at Gingrich, regardless of the source, he continues to rise in the polls (among Republicans primary voters – but at close inspection of certain polls, he also appeals to independents and moderate Democrats).

Those elite, those Washington insiders, and those pundits and talking heads (especially the likes of Glenn Beck who is, when one looks at certain predictions he has made in the past, akin to “Chicken Little”) – prefer one candidate in particular, and the rest of the population is considered - less able to make the choice of the right candidate on their own – in simple terms. It is the process that they are attempting to pervert that is prompting the rise of Gingrich, as they did in the past with the rise of anyone but the individual the GOP had pre-ordained as the front-runner, often two years before the first vote had been cast.

They have help of course, from their friends across the aisle – at times it is difficult to tell if one is listening to Ann Coulter or David Axelrod, (of course the later uses crude language and Ann does have superior intellect), regardless – the people who are voting will have the say – and they will have that say if the candidate of choice is Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Michelle Bachmann and yes, even the apparent “chosen one” – Mitt Romney.

However, now the gauntlet has been thrown down in a manner that hasn’t been employed since the 1960’s and the race that brought one John Kennedy to the White House – the fact that Gingrich is a Catholic. Now there are two articles with what appear to be opposing views from the Washington Post the first: Gingrich’s Catholic Blind Spots - speaks to the fact that Puritans set he rule of government when they arrived at Plymouth, and therefore, the Catholic vision of governance is slightly different in that they do not expect their leaders to be “saints”, rather to follow the tenants of the Church, as interpreted by University Professors and a host of “experts” on the subject of Catholicism. It is almost as if to say: Gingrich is not Catholic enough, based on his past.

This article is followed by a second entitled “The Catholic case for Gingrich, for now”. Speaks to the fact that Gig rich basically follows the ten tents of the faith, yet, one must watch over the next few weeks to see if he perhaps sways in any way.

Understanding a President’s faith may be a sticking point (see the rhetoric against John F. Kennedy pre-election hysteria surrounding his Catholicism) or more so a “tool “to frighten one voting bloc against another, the fact of the matter is the Catholic Vote has traditionally gone to one party, with very few inconsistencies- and that party is the Democrats. Of those high profile Catholics who have held, or currently hold office, the familiar names of Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, pick a Kennedy, Richard Neal, the Massachusetts 1st District Representative, and the majority (with the notable exception of Neal) receive high marks, not from the church but form pro-abortion groups such as NARAL.

Yet, when it comes to an election year, one can find them most often in a Church with a full contingent of press in tow. The fact that with few exceptions (again Neal) the legislation that they produce and the votes they cast, run contrary to Catholicism in so many way. There is, however, nary a peep out of the press. These living and deceased Catholic Democrats have been lauded in both the church and the press, regardless of infidelities, multiple marriages or their stance on issues such as abortion.
Catholics, like women, African American’s, Hispanics, “belong to the Democrats”. (Would the Washington Post be Aware of that 70 Million strong voting bloc and attempt to sway the same?)

Newt Gingrich had a lot of nerve converting and therefore, since he’s now receiving (in polls) Catholic support, something must be done to “take him down a peg”.
As this blogger is a Catholic Christian, born a Catholic – yet a questioning Catholic, and a student of History, one finds that the use of religion, especially by those who are convenient “pundits” to apparently challenge the faith of another Catholic, is in a word, abhorrent.

One can see why, as an Historian, the Catholic Faith would appeal to Newt Gingrich, it is stepped in History, with the word “Catholic” literally meaning “universal”, giving one a comforting notion of a faith that has held fast since Christ anointed Peter as the fist Pope, to the tenants of forgiveness of sin, and those many wars throughout the history of Europe that were fought by princes and kings in order to either throw the yoke of Rome off their personal backs (See the beginnings of the English Church), and those that fought to keep the faith pure for political reasons. From this perspective it is the perfect mix of history and theology makes this the most attractive of all Christian Sects.

That said, in the political arena, where does the faith of one candidate over another’s mean a hill of beans in a society based on freedom from a State Sponsored Religion? Would it matter if one candidate were a Baptist, a Jew, a Mormon, a Catholic, a non-denominational Christian, or Muslim? Our nation was founded on the principal of freedom to practice religion, any religion, without being burned at the proverbial stake for not being “Catholic enough” or “Evangelical enough”?

The fact that the former Speaker is now a Catholic, has little to do with a reason to vote or not, for the man = however, the fact that he is a man of faith, does imply a moral compass - one that is necessary in any candidate regardless of brand of religion. The reasons one would support a Gingrich Presidency would be the man’s intellect, his wisdom as a result of intellect and age, and his sense of history, which, one must understand is a blueprint for “what not to do” when it comes to options regarding everything from foreign policy to social programs to yes, taxes. As with all past presidents, their religion was a personal matter, and one finds it difficult to find one President who has led the nation based on a specific brand of religion, however, all Presidents have involved the name of God – we are a nation founded on Christian and Judeo Principals – so to those who nitpick that someone isn’t Catholic enough, or perhaps too Catholic, or too Evangelical or too Baptist, or too pick a brand, are merely attempting to sway one’s vote as one may not be smart enough to make the choice – without the help of Glenn Beck, the DNC, the RNC or pick a pundit. – Therefore these individuals “use” religion to their advantage.

Moreover, the measure of man or woman running for the highest office in the land, should not be based on their choice of religion, rather their competence, past life experience, combined in a resume that qualifies one over another for the position they seek- and it is up to the voters to cast their ballots based on the following: their conscious as Americans, as Citizens of the United States, and to do so, one must look at the candidates and ask: who would lead us in dignity and intellect, safety and on a course that would allow us to be the nation that is known to give the most, offer the most, and deny not one citizen an opportunity to rise and prosper. The fallacious argument that the GOP candidate will not win if they are not “young enough” or “too white” or “too old” or “too much a female” or not “moderate enough” is, in a word, insane.

Those who feel they rare in the position to best advise and lead the public (all in the name of the Beltway) have every right to endorse or champion their favorite candidate, however, to vilify another to the point of picking on their religion, is – in a phrase – “above their pay scale” (Barack Obama’s answer to a question in a faith based debate at Saddleback Church, to Rick Warren in 2008, when asked to define when life began.)
One might not agree with the President Obama’s policies, and therefore, one has choices to make as to whom one would choose as a Replacement. It is not the fact that he President can or cannot be bested in a political contest, it is the fact that we have a process, a process in which, the people, not the pundits, or members of Congress, or the also rans, should shill for one candidate that “party leaders” preordain. It is perhaps, this arrogance that has cost one Mitt Romney, the ability to rise to the nomination for a second time. Would either Gingrich or Romney or Paul, or Perry or Santorum best President Obama? They are all aptly qualified to one degree or another, therefore the answer is yes – as long as the pundits and the national GOP stay on the sidelines and let the people decide who the nominee should be that leads on the ideology of less government, fewer taxes, strong foreign policy and defense of our nation and a respect for the rights of states to determine what is best for their constituents, and if not accepted in general, there is always another election.

Speaking as a Massachusetts Conservative with some Degrees of Moderation and a bit of pragmatism and the ability to actually research legislation written (sponsored), or supported (co-sponsored), the outcomes and the roll-call votes of those in Congress and the Senate (records available on line, this is not a special talent), it is to this mind that Gingrich represents the best choice to lead the nation forward, at a reasonable pace. If one reads through the posts of 2008, one will find that this blogger also has supported Mike Huckabee, and then when the going was tough, and the three remaining choices were Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton – Clinton was the choice, not based on the fact that she was a woman (yes, feminism), but on her voting record and her views at that time. Of the three, she was the strongest on defense, followed by McCain (seriously) and finally a man who had no record to speak of – a one term Senator, and former State Legislator, whose voting pattern culled from Illinois, made this voter a bit uneasy on social issues and issues of limited government.

Therefore, at this moment, in this time, Gingrich Is the choice of this individual who has grown more conservative over the course of the past four years, as one might suspect, so have others that are moderate and independent. The President does not belong to one group or another, but especially the President should not be chosen by a political party, or the press, and should the people prefer a candidate those aforementioned are not supporting – tough. Finally, the polls: as a student of polls, the ability to predict a “winner” depends on the largest possible sample, additionally questions posed are not often as clear, by design, and as pollsters also lean politically to both the right and the left, the outcomes can be “modified” and that “perdition” becomes more of a propaganda piece than an actual useful statistical analysis. Therefore, who dose the voter trust, one would suggest their instincts, as to whom one feels would be the best leader, and then let the chips fall where they may.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GOP 2012 Polling – Gingrich, Romney, Paul – Endorsements This Week - Obama No Idea Economy Was In Tough Shape When He Took Office - Commentary

Now there are three - Romney Paul and Gingrich - image

Every pollster under the sun has been polling the GOP race, both nationally and in Early Voting and Swing States – the results depending upon the pollsters are fairly consistent both in GOP only and then national polls. The GOP only national polling shows both Gingrich and Romney in the same positions with slight changes over the past week: Gallup has Gingrich with a lead of 31% to Romney’s consistent 22% - also consistent are Ron Paul at 8%, Rick Perry at 7%, Michelle Bachmann at 6% with both Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman picking up 1 point respectively and those with No Opinion (or more likely those who will vote for whomever is the nominee) moving up 5 points.

Rasmussen, on nationwide “likeability” has Romney leading with 53% of the electorate having a favorable or somewhat favorable opinion, while Gingrich is seen as favorable or somewhat favorable by 43%, among Republican voters only However, Gingrich holds the edge on the “very favorable” category leading Romney by 31 to 22%, however, both men are tied at an overall “favorable opinion” at 80%, the balance of the field falls below 50% favorability, with candidates such as Huntsman holding low favorability due to lack of exposure nationwide (i.e. Never Head of/No Opinion). Although this poll is more of a “popularity” poll, rather than a “who would one cast their vote for poll”, it is of some import given the fact that those lesser known candidates nationwide may have some time to pick up points, taking away from one of the top tier candidates.

In a second poll on the strength of candidates Rasmussen shows both Gingrich and Romney as those seen as the “strongest GOP opponents for Obama – with Gingrich at 30% and Romney at 29%. This suggests that regardless of the poll or the pollster, the enthusiasm among Republican voters, and determination to nominate someone they see as being best able to unseat the incumbent, President Barack Obama with good cause – given other pollsters weighing in on the national contest.

Gallup shows Romney and Gingrich with a “slight” edge over Obama in twelve key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. These are the states where Obama held an 8 point lead in 2008 over McCain. That said, Gallup shows both Romney and Gingrich (with Romney faring better) losing ground to Obama in the national polling. With Obama at 47 to 46% (Romney) and 50% to 44% (Gingrich). Although the President’s Job Approval Rating according to Gallup shows an historical correlation between the incumbent and former one-term President Jimmy Carter’s.

President Obama's 43% average job approval rating last month ranks as one of the lowest for an elected president in November of his third year in office. Only Jimmy Carter had a lower rating, at 40%. But Carter's rating surged in late November 1979 because of a rally in support after the onset of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and he averaged above 50% in December. All recently elected presidents were at or above 50% in December of their third year in office. (Gallup Polling December 2, 2012)
Note: as of December 10th Obama held an approval rating of 45%/to 48% disapproval. (Gallup Polling Dec. 10th)

As much as one enjoys a poll, however, the polls most likely to be close in predictability are those that are taken three weeks or less out from an election, therefore, at this juncture, national polls, or polls in states with primaries beyond the 1st week of January are much less accurate. As of this point, two states are in the spotlight: Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa, a caucus state, polling plays a smaller roll than in other states, due to the nature of the ground game (the candidate with the most time in on the ground and the largest group of supporters would upend a candidate that may have spent millions on advertising, but had less of a ground game. Ideology also plays a factor in this state where half of the electorate is Conservative Evangelical Voters, with the balance either leaning Moderate or Libertarian. Which would go a long way towards understanding the latest polling reported by The Daily Caller where Public Policy Polling shows Gingrich and Ron Paul within a point at 22 (Gingrich) to 21 (Paul) and Romney at 16%.

The Poll also indicates that Paul is gaining over the past week on Gingrich, while Romney remains the same, and Bachman, Santorum and Huntsman have all gained in the past week. The only candidates remaining stagnant are Perry, Romney and Johnson (The other Libertarian in the race). Again with Iowa, polls taken at the caucus could be wildly unpredictable, but, generally speaking, the candidate (s) three weeks out from the caucus will either place first or second if they lead by ten or more points. A side note on Public Policy Polling, although a decidedly Democrat leaning firm, the level of accuracy in polling close to the race has been extremely consistent.

Finally, the President is on the campaign trail as well with Politico reporting that Obama’s latest “tactic” for holding a second term is to tell the public he simply had no idea of what he was getting into as far as the economy was concerned. The actual quote: "I think we understood that it was bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was,” Obama said in an interview with KIRO in Seattle. "I think I could have prepared the American people for how bad this was going to be, had we had a sense of that." belies the fact that at the stage where an individual is the party’s nominee, they also should be well enough informed of what is taking place, not only with the economy (He did, as an acting Senator, rush to sign the TARP program), but on foreign and domestic policy as well.

One would hope, every single candidate, both GOP, the President representing the DNC, and a host of minor party candidates, all understand the extremely difficult task before them. It will come down to who the voters believe have the best understanding of the situation at hand, and who is most capable of leading the nation forward. In addition, that individual must have a record of working successfully with both sides of the aisle, and sometimes disappointing those members of their own party who would prefer a more “solid conservative” or in the President’s case, a “solid Progressive” that does not bend. Unfortunately, when the President panders to a Political Party, then gridlock ensues. That is a key sticking point for voters in this election – gridlock. Those who are the final nominees (one is a given) will have to not only prove merit to handle the job at hand, but also the record and ability to work with both sides of the aisle, without compromising principles. It is a job that, frankly, for those either crazy enough or brave enough or egotistical enough to apply and hope to get the job done.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

ABC Debate December 10th Draws 7.6 Million Viewers – Poll Dec. 11th Gingrich Now Leads GOP Contenders Nationally by 16% with 8.7% Undecided

The Candidates at the ABC Debate - image: National Journal

ABC News hit the Debate Jackpot in viewership on Saturday night, drawing 7.6 Million viewers, beating out Fox’s 6.11 Million Viewers in September, and CBS’s 5.2 Million in November. Fox has a GOP debate scheduled for this Thursday, November 15th at 9 EST and as interest in the national GOP contest appears high, one can anticipate that at the least Fox will meet or exceed previous viewership. The ABC Debate, billed by some in the media, as “fight night” between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich may have fueled some of that viewership, however Gingrich appears to have gotten the best of the bunch by staying more positive and giving clear and measured answers to each of the opposition candidates who questioned his stance on several issues –specifically, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.

Romney and Paul are those perceived to be closest to Gingrich in the polls and scrambling to put up the numbers necessary to take Iowa, the first in the nation to caucus in January. With both Paul and Romney running negative ads against Gingrich (Romney using Surrogates), it was anticipated that there would be a downturn for Gingrich given the questions about his “conservatism” that were the topic of the ads. In the end however, when Gingrich questioned Paul on a point of historical accuracy, Dr. Paul had to agree with Gingrich. Further, Michelle Bachmann attacked both Gingrich and Romney for having the same political philosophy and not being a “true Conservative “by lumping them together as “Newt-Mitt” (or Mitt-Newt) which drew not a little laughter from the two. Romney replied that “Newt’s a friend of mine, but we’re not clones”, and never directly attacked the former Speaker throughout the debate. Rick Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania, when asked where he found his Conservatism, answered in listening to tapes and reading books by: Newt Gingrich. All in all, December 12th was a good night for Gingrich to be viewed by seven million potential voters, given his stellar performance in the latest polling.

The latest poll coming from Poll Position (Crosstabs here in PDF) has Gingrich leading the pack by 16 points, across the political, age, gender and ethnic demographics. In this particular survey, there were 8.2% “undecided. However, as far as telephone surveys go (This one conducted for Poll Position by marketing firm Majority Opinion Research, shows equal numbers of political ideologies’ which is, in and of itself, interesting. In this case, Gingrich racks 21.4% of the Democrats surveyed, they also have the most “undecideds” at 14.2%, with Republicans at 9.1% and Independents at 5.4%. The closet competitor is Mitt Romney who takes 23.3% overall followed by Ron Paul, at 10.8%.
Compared to Gallup’s National Daily Tracking (from Dec. 8th-10th just prior to the debate), Gingrich led Romney 33 to 23, with Dr. Ron Paul at 9%. Although using the same methodology (phone surveys), but focusing only on the Republican and Republican leading independents in the polls, one sees consistency in the numbers only three weeks out from the Iowa Caucus.

How accurate are polls (state or national) at this point? See historical perspective of polling and analysis here from this blog focus on the 2008 polling and its accuracy in predicting Mike Huckabee’s win in Iowa four weeks from the beginning of the Caucus.

It is this opinion, that polling done within days of any political contest are the most accurate, and a great deal depends on the firm, and whether or not the data is weighted to accurately reflect the electorate. The polls referenced above, give an overview of the electorates choices nationally – it is the latest Iowa Polls that would matter most this close to the election. – this week. That said, at this point and time, with only three weeks to go in Iowa, Gingrich leads with enthusiasm among likely caucus goers by 44% to Ron Paul’s 31%, Mitt Romney at 28%(Des Moines Register.

It appears, at this juncture, with polls in the key early voting states of Iowa, NH and S.C., that Newt Gingrich, should the numbers hold and/or improve, should be well positioned going into Super Tuesday. If this is a repeat of 2008, it would then be a matter of time (March) before Romney exited the campaign. The fact that there is a robust and contentious GOP contest is not out of the ordinary as many in the media would have one believe. Historically, both parties have had their share of contentious general primaries, the most recent, in 2008 between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2012 ABC-Des Moines Register GOP Debate Winner – Gingrich – Steady, Commanding Performance: From ABC News Anchor: “We now know why Newt is Leading”.

The Iowa Debate Winners: Gingrich overall: Paul on the Fed - image

Last Evenings 2012 GOP Iowa Debate was originally billed as a “slugfest” between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney (as well as the other candidates) by the majority of the media. Apparently looking for a way in which to “sell” the GOP debates, which to date, has been entirely unnecessary as all networks running the debates have experienced an influx of viewers at the time of debates (ask CBC). From this perspective Gingrich was under attack not from one candidate, but from all the candidates, looking to better themselves in the eyes of the Iowan voters who will go to the caucuses in 23 days from now.

However, the best laid plans of men and women, did not work out with Gingrich at the podium. He was at once jovial, commanding, straightforward, and answered in a calm and assuring manner, regardless of who innovated the verbal assault. From Romney noting that Gingers was a friend of his during an Bachmann assault (she coined a new phrase: Mitt/Newt), to Ron Paul noting that Gingrich was historically correct in his Palestinian Assertions, to Gingrich’s retort to Romney’s take on the Palestinian issue that “paraphrasing” he was not afraid to tell the truth”, rather than couch things in politically correct terms, Gingrich was most impressive.

Others who scored points - one - Ron Paul, once he went over his criticism of Newt Gingrich, all based on 20 plus hear old alleged “flip-flops” – he was given credit for his constancy in his critic of the federal reserve.

All in all it gave a clear picture of who one would want at that podium facing Barrack Obama if the Republican’ are serious about winning the White House.
See the full video below via: Ron Paul

From this perspective it would be (as of today) surprising to see any one other than either Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul take Iowa. Although, granted Iowa is a state unto it's own, consist ant polling, from an historical stand point gives Gingrich the best odds.

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