March 30, 2012

Reality IS Catching Up with Newt Gingrich — Maybe Santorum Too

  6:41 pm

Yesterday I asked the question, “Is Reality Starting to Catch Up With Newt Gingrich?” Today, we get our answer. Fox news reports:

With his campaign seemingly running on empty, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich acknowledged Friday that rival Mitt Romney is clearly in the lead and likely will get enough delegates to win the party’s nomination.

“I think Mitt Romney is clearly the front-runner,” Gingrich said while campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the Tuesday primary. “I think he will probably get 1,144 (delegates), but I think he has to earn it.”

Newt goes on to say:

“I am comfortable that the day (Romney) gets 1,144 delegates, we will all unify and support him,” Gingrich told WTMJ News Radio. “But he has to finish earning the delegates, and that’s how the process goes.”

I have no argument with any of this. I am not one to count chickens so I refuse to claim that Mitt has this thing won. He hasn’t. “There be many a slip twixt cup and lip”, is an old saying packed full of a lot of wisdom.

At this point I see the odds are very much in favor of Mitt winning all the delegates needed before the convention. I place them close to a hundred to one. Those are very good odds, but the flip side of that is there is still a chance that he might fail.

So should Newt and Rick Santorum just drop out giving him a clear shot? No, I do not support that.

I have no problem with Newt or Rick staying in to make Mitt “earn” it. It is far better to have our nominee fully vetted by fellow Republicans than to wait until the Democrats get a crack at him. By then it will be too late. It also allows the Romney skeptics to have their say and not feel like they’ve had Romney rammed down their throats. As long as Newt and Rick keep their criticisms above the board and on the level, let them fire away. The party will be stronger for it.

Newt appears to have decided that that is the best course of action to follow. He has toned down his anti-Romney rhetoric considerably, even before this past weekend’s “secret meeting” with Romney. Now if Rick Santorum can be convinced to do the same, we will go a long way to uniting this party behind the eventual nominee, no matter whom it turns out to be.

Noises coming out of Santorum’s camp suggest that he might be dialing back his rhetoric, as well. Perhaps that “Vote for Obama” debacle woke him to the dangers of that sort of thing. It might well of sobered him up in a hurry. If it had, him blowing up at that NYT reporter makes a lot more sense. Here he was trying to be “a good boy” and the NYTimes reporter decided to see if he could twist his words into something he didn’t say.

The next few days will be interesting to see if Santorum really has turned over a new leaf. Time will tell.


SQUIRREL! Obama Campaign Asks for Romney’s Tax Returns Back to 1980’s

  5:09 pm

The Wall Street Journal reports:

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign called on Republican front-runner Mitt Romney to release his tax returns dating back to the 1980s, to see if they contain information about an uncommon investment arrangement at his former private-equity firm that may have helped swell his individual retirement account.

“Today’s report raises additional questions about Gov. Romney’s manipulation of the tax laws,” said Ben LaBolt, an Obama spokesman, including whether Mr. Romney “may have engaged in questionable maneuvers to drive up the value of his IRA.”

So these guys want Mitt to release his tax records dating back thirty years. Riiiiiight. Can you say “deflect attention away from Obama’s lousy record”? See this clip:

The National Journal adds to the story:

The Romney campaign pushed back Friday with their own request in an e-mail to National Journal: that Obama release the transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders.

“The Obama campaign is playing politics, just as he’s doing in his conduct of foreign policy,” Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul wrote. “Obama should release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders so the American people can be satisfied that he’s not promising to sell out the country’s interests after the election is over.”

Another thing they could request is Obama release his college transcripts to prove he really did earn that degree. Does Obama really want to go there?

Something tells me that the Romney campaign isn’t going to simply roll over and play dead like the McCain campaign did last time.


Romney’s Wisconsin “Freedom and Opportunity” Speech **Video Link Added

  4:39 pm

A lot of people are praising the speech Mitt Romney gave in Wisconsin today. There is no video yet, but here is the transcript.  A few excerpts:

No one can predict the crisis the next President will confront nor what the world will look like at the end of the next President’s term. In a world in which the economies of Athens, Wisconsin and Athens, Greece are connected, every decision becomes infinitely more complex.

But I believe Americans face a fundamental choice in this election, a decision that is much more important than the candidates or the political parties. We should understand that we are selecting not just who should guide us but a choice between two distinct paths and destinies for our nation.

In the days and months ahead, we should ask ourselves some very fundamental questions about who we are as a nation and who we are becoming. What does it mean to be an American in 2012? What will it mean in 2016 and beyond? Are we keeping faith with the great legacy – and trust – that has been handed to us by previous generations? And what America will we leave the next generation?

President Obama did not cause the recession, but he most certainly failed to lead the recovery. His stimulus protected the government, not the people. It was promised to hold unemployment below eight percent. It did not. Barack Obama’s stimulus was as ineffective as it was expensive.

His Obamacare didn’t help create jobs either. It discouraged small businesses and health companies from hiring new workers. And Dodd-Frank hurt the community banks that provide loans to small businesses.  But the “Too Big To Fail” banks are even bigger today.

He failed to deliver on jobs, but on his goal to raise energy prices, he sure came through.  All in all, President Obama prolonged the recession and slowed the recovery. His economic strategy is a bust.

These troubling facts are President’s Obama’s legacy and now our shared history. As much as we would like to, we can’t undo what has happened these past years. The families who have lost their homes, the factories that have closed, the students who had to drop out of college and those who never could make it in the door, all those missed chances and lost opportunities can’t be regained.

And that’s why it is important to understand one astonishing fact about this election: President Obama thinks he’s doing a good job. No, I’m not kidding. He actually thinks he’s doing a great job. An historically great job. According to the President, only Lincoln, FDR and Lyndon Johnson have accomplished more. And no, he didn’t say that on Saturday Night Live.

But we should also remember that candidate Barack Obama pledged that he wanted to “transform this nation.” And, unfortunately, that is exactly what he has been doing.  And that is one more reason why this election is so critical.

The choice before us could not be more profound.  Barack Obama and I have fundamentally different visions for America.

He has spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new Government-Centered Society.  I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of our Opportunity Society, led by free people and free enterprises.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, the government must do more because the economy is doomed to do less. When you attack business and vilify success, you will have less business and less success. And then, of course the debate becomes about how much to extend unemployment insurance because you have guaranteed there will be millions more unemployed.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, government naturally allocates the rewards. Tax breaks are bestowed not to make us more productive or to grow a stronger economy but to reshape the society into what is currently fashionable and politically correct. Because business is inherently suspect, government regulators who know better must oversee and direct business decision-making.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, tax increases become not only a necessity but also a desired tool for social justice. In that world of shrinking means, there’s a finite amount of money, and as someone once famously said, you need taxes to spread the wealth around.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, government spending will always increase because there’s no reason to stop it. There’s always someone who is entitled to something more, and who will vote for anyone who will give them something more.

In a Government-Centered Society, government dispenses the benefits, borrows what it can’t take, and consumes a greater and greater share of the economy.

One must ask whether we will still be a free enterprise nation and whether we will still have economic freedom. America is on the cusp of having a government-run economy. President Obama is transforming America into something very different than the land of the free and the land of opportunity.

We know where that transformation leads. There are other nations that have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages. Sound familiar?

I don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of economic freedom, opportunity, and small government that have made this nation the leader it is.

Freedom and opportunity have made America the most powerful economy in the world. They are the foundation of a nation with full employment, rising wages, and fiscal stability. The best thing we can do for the economic well-being of the people of America is not to grow government, it is to restore freedom and opportunity. It is opportunity that has always driven America and defined us as Americans.

I’m not naïve enough to believe that free enterprise is the solution to all of our problems – nor am I naïve enough to doubt that it is one of the greatest forces of good this world has ever known.

Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, to make our lives better, than all of the government programs put together.

If we become one of those societies that attacks success, one outcome is certain – there will be a lot less success.

That’s not who we are. The promise of America has always been that if you worked hard, and took some risks, that there was the opportunity to build a better life for your family and for the next generation. It’s not government’s role to guarantee that every one of us will achieve the success we seek.

There is much, more more. It is a 24 minute speech. In it, Mitt throws down the gauntlet and defines exactly what his campaign for President is all about. The Washington Post described this way:

“Seizing the mantle of the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney on Friday sought to frame the general election contest as a battle to restore America’s promise and said the sputtering economy is the legacy of “Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society.”

I agree. This was a general election speech. He is now ignoring his GOP competition and focusing on “the big picture”, the fight against Barack Obama.

*** Here is a link to the video ***

(h/t Massachusetts Conservative)


Poll Watch: St. Norbert College/WPR Wisconsin 2012 Republican Primary Survey

  4:08 pm

St. Norbert College/WPR Wisconsin 2012 GOP Primary Poll

  • Mitt Romney 37%
  • Rick Santorum 32%
  • Ron Paul 8%
  • Newt Gingrich 4%
  • Other 5%
  • Not sure 11%

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Mitt Romney 62% / 29% {+33%}
  • Rick Santorum 58% / 28% {+30%}
  • Ron Paul 40% / 39% {+1%}
  • Newt Gingrich 32% / 55% {-23%}

Survey of 403 likely Wisconsin Republican primary voters was conducted March 24-28, 2012 . The margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal


Poll Watch: Rasmussen Core Four States 2012 Presidential Survey

  3:07 pm

Rasmussen Core Four States 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 47% [47%] {46%} (46%) [44%]
  • Mitt Romney 44% [42%] {42%} (42%) [44%]
  • Barack Obama 49% [49%] {44%} (49%) [46%]
  • Rick Santorum 42% [43%] {48%} (44%) [47%]

Among Independents

  • Barack Obama 42% [44%] {40%} (42%)
  • Mitt Romney 42% [36%] {44%} (40%)
  • Barack Obama 46% [50%] {34%} (46%)
  • Rick Santorum 42% [38%] {56%} (41%)

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president?

  • Strongly approve 28% [24%] {29%} (24%)
  • Somewhat approve 18% [23%] {19%} (24%)
  • Somewhat disapprove 12% [8%] {10%} (13%)
  • Strongly disapprove 40% [44%] {42%} (38%)

Survey of 500 likely voters in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia was conducted March 24-29, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.  Results from the poll conducted March 17-22, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 10-15, 2012 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conductedMarch 3-8, 2012 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conductedFebruary 17-22, 2012 are in square brackets. 

Inside the numbers:

Romney is ahead of Obama by 12 points among male voters, unchanged from last week, but Santorum holds a much narrower four-point lead among men. Female voters favor the president by 16 points over both contenders. Most voters under 40 like the president, while their elders prefer the Republicans in both matchups.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal


Poll Analysis: Rasmussen Wisconsin

  1:42 pm

(Wisconsin) (3/30) (3/23) Change vs. Romney (3/30) vs. Romney (3/23) Change
Romney 44 46 -2
Santorum 34 33 +1 -10 -13 +3
Paul 7 8 -1 -37 -38 +1
Gingrich 7 7 0 -37 -39 +2
Other 2 1 +1 -42 -45 +3
Undecided 6 5 +1 -38 -41 +3
Romney 52 51 +1
Santorum 39 40 -1 -13 -11 -2

In the horserace, everyone did better against Romney than the previous week. Mitt is still ten ppts ahead of his closest rival, though, and there’s only four days to the primary on Tuesday.

Mitt does better in the one-on-one match-up against Santorum. He expands his lead over Rick by 2 ppts.



Poll Analysis: Gallup Daily Tracking Poll

  12:20 pm

Gallup has released their daily tracking poll results for today. Here are the results in graphical form from their site:

(Note: Gallup finally adjusted their chart to show up to 50%.)

Mitt Romney shot up three whole percentage points to once again break the 40% barrier. He is now at 42%, a level he reached 6 days ago.

Rick Santorum fell back one ppt to 27%. He is now 15 ppts behind the frontrunner, and a very challenging Tuesday looms for him next week.

Newt Gingrich didn’t remain in last place for long. He and Ron Paul swapped places today. Newt went up one and Paul went down one. That leaves them both more than thirty ppts behind the leader.



Poll Watch: NBC/Marist Wisconsin

  11:32 am

NBC/Marist has released the results of their latest Wisconsin poll:

Romney 40
Santorum 33
Paul 11
Gingrich 8
Undecided 7

For a two man race:

Romney 46
Santorum 41
Other 1
Undecided 12

Likely voters: n=740, MOE +/- 3.6%


Palin Would Be Winning Now If She Had Run

  11:17 am

Timothy Stanley writes in CNN:

The Republican presidential primary hasn’t exactly overflowed with talent. In December, it was a roll call of the undesirable Right: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Huntsman and Bachmann — a list so long and bizarre that Count Dracula could have slipped in on the end and no one would have noticed. Except, as the citizens of Chicago will tell you, the dead always vote Democrat.

Now, we’re down to a final three, discounting Ron Paul, who, I’m guessing, is only staying in the race to collect air miles. Although the talent pool has shrunk, it has gotten no deeper. As Mitt Romney suffers defeat after defeat at the hands of Rick Santorum, whose chances of winning this thing aren’t high, his negatives mount up, and the president looks stronger by the day. The Republican Party is divided and in danger of becoming out of touch.

It didn’t have to be this way. If Sarah Palin had entered the contest, I’d hypothesize two alternative realities. One, she’d have the nomination sewn up by now. Two, she’d be running even in the polls with the president.

I am quite confident that there are Mike Huckabee fans out there who are convinced that if he had only entered the contest: “…One, [he]’d have the nomination sewn up by now. Two, [he]’d be running even in the polls with the president.”  The same could be said for fans of Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, and any number of other politicians who declined to enter the fray this year.

We engineers have a saying, “Everything works on paper”. Once you actually attempt to bring it into being, however, any number of flaws that you’ve either overlooked or thought sufficiently compensated for will keep it from working in real life.

So it is with the author of the above CNN piece. Sarah has no flaws according to him, or at least none that were not “…well-vetted by the press in 2008 and has nothing left to say or do that would surprise us.” Thus he dismisses with a single wave of his rhetorical hand any and all flaws that might have kept her from winning the nomination. They are sufficiently compensated for, in other words.

Well, maybe. As they say in sports, “That’s why they play the game”. What devotees of Sarah Palin are going to have to come to grips with is the bottom line. Their player never even bothered to suit up. Instead she chose to sit on the sidelines kibitzing about the game.

You can’t win if you don’t play, and Sarah Palin chose not to play. All the “what ifs” in the world are not going to change that fact. It is what it is. Deal with it.


Poll Analysis: Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll

  9:24 am

Rasmussen has released their daily tracking poll results:

(vs. Obama) Obama Candidate Candidate Lead
Romney 46 45 -1
Santorum 47 42 -5
Gingrich n/a n/a n/a
Paul n/a n/a n/a

President Obama recovered the ground he lost yesterday. Mitt Romney dropped 3 ppts leaving him 1 ppt behind the President. Rick Santorum also dropped 3 ppts against Obama leaving him with a 5 ppt deficit against the man in the White House. He pushed against Romney, however. Mitt still does better by 4 ppts then Rick against our Commander-in-chief.


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