There are a number of serious Republicans interested in running for president, at this early point, in two years.
Some of them, such as Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio don’t seem to have a broad enough base that would enable them to win the nomination, but they have motivated and vocal supporters, and if they run, they will be notable factors in the Republican primaries and caucuses.
Others, including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry might be seen as figures of the past, and might not run (although Governor Perry is making serious noises about another run in 2016).
2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Governors Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and John Kasich are frequently mentioned, but have yet to indicate their serious interest in 2016.
The two figures who would probably be frontrunners, Governor Chris Christie and former Governor Jeb Bush, have current political problems to overcome (although it is more likely than not that one of these two men will be the GOP nominee).
On the other hand, if the field is large, the primaries and caucuses very bitter, AND the frontrunners falter, the resulting stalemate might propel forward a name which has not really been mentioned seriously, 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, back into contention.
Romney was perhaps the wrong candidate for 2012 because his persona played into the negative Democratic media campaign that year, and because he did not, at the end, assemble as competitive campaign as did Barack Obama. But 2016 promises a very different political environment. After two terms of Mr. Obama, the voters may be weary of any Democrat (as they were in 2008 of any Republican). We must await the results of the 2014 midterm elections to draw more precise and verified conclusions, but Obamacare almost alone seems to be moving the electorate to the GOP, and threatening to ruin the Democratic Party brand for years to come.
In spite of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, changing our approach to the Middle East by diminishing our long alliance with Israel in a trade-off for (so-far) feckless relationships with other players in the region, and reducing our military and defenses, Mr. Obama’s numbers are very low in polls about his performance in foreign policy. He has been out-dueled so far in his relationship with Russian President Putin. His first term secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016, but, although she will surely try to do so, it might be difficult for her to separate herself from Mr. Obama and her own actions (including her “re-set” with Russia) when working for him. (Remember Hubert Humphrey attempting to do this in 1968?)
Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia and Mr. Putin were a major problem for the U.S., an assertion he made in the 2012 campaign, and subsequently ridiculed by Mr. Obama, looks rather prescient these days. So do many of his views on the domestic issues he ran on in 2012.
Only twice in the past 100 years has a defeated Republican presidential nominee been renominated by his party. Thomas Dewey lost in 1944, and lost again in 1948. Richard Nixon lost in 1960, but won in 1968 (and again in 1972).
In spite of his recent public visibility, there are no indications that Mitt Romney is even thinking about running again in 2016, nor under present circumstances, would he be considered a serious candidate. But in spite of the large number of major GOP candidates, the Republican field is not yet in focus for one of them to win the nomination.
Considering Mr. Romney’s stature, it is not without some curious interest to speculate, and it’s only speculation, that, in certain circumstances, he might resolve a GOP convention stalemate, or even earlier, return to the campaign field.
I’m just saying.
-Copyright (c) by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
Next stop, Iowa?
SAN ANTONIO – After more than a decade of principled conservative leadership that has helped make Texas’ healthy economy a beacon for job creation and the envy of the nation, Gov. Rick Perry today announced he will not seek reelection to a fourth full term in 2014.
“Texas is home to a unique people with limitless inspiration and perseverance, and leading this state for the first part of the 21st century has been nothing less than extraordinary,” Gov. Perry said. “I remain excited about the future and the challenges ahead, and will spend the next 18 months working to create more Texas jobs, opportunity and innovation.”
Since taking office in December 2000, Gov. Perry has worked to create a Texas of unlimited opportunity by focusing on creating jobs and preserving freedom, while investing in our people and our future. The governor’s leadership has made government more efficient and accountable to Texas taxpayers and kept the tax burden on job creators and families low, while making historic investments in infrastructure and education to meet the demands of our state’s fast growing population.
“Our communities are thriving with unlimited potential, arts and culture, and a tremendous quality of life. Today, Texas is better positioned to take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st Century than any other state,” Gov. Perry said. “Thirty percent of the net new jobs created in America over the last decade have been created in Texas. This is a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of Texans. It’s the private sector that creates wealth and jobs. The public sector can only create the right environment to make this possible. In this regard, we have done our best work.”
To prepare Texans to compete in the workforce of tomorrow, Gov. Perry has led the effort to raise educational standards in Texas public schools, and better prepare students to pursue college or enter the workforce. He has also worked to increase accountability, accessibility and affordability in higher education to ensure more Texans have the opportunity to earn a college degree.
Additionally, Gov. Perry has proudly led the fight to protect traditional values in Texas. He remains a strong champion for life, calling lawmakers into a second special session to protect the unborn. He has signed pro-life legislation into law requiring parental consent when their minor daughter seeks an abortion, and that women who seek abortions must first be provided a sonogram to better understand the impact of their life-ending decision. He also championed a constitutional amendment defining marriage in Texas as a union between one man and one woman.
“I make this announcement with the deepest sense of humility and appreciation for the trust the people of this state have given me, and knowing I will truly miss serving in this capacity – the greatest job in modern politics,” Gov. Perry said. “Our responsibility remains to the next generation of Texans, who will inherit a state of our making. We alone are responsible for the kind of Texas that will greet them. It is my hope that tomorrow’s leaders build on our legacy of opportunity so Texans born into any circumstances have a chance to experience the American Dream.”
We remain only in the first year of the second term of Barack Obama’s presidency, and the media specularazzi are already churning in predictions and conclusions. It seems, in recent cycles, it always to go this way with breathless prognostications, meaningless polls, and reports of instant political “nosedives”of frontrunners and other presidential hopefuls.
On the Democratic side, the race has been declared “over” by virtually all the specularazzi, i.e., that Hillary Clinton already has the nomination in her handbag, and thus no more need be said. The fact that the identical conclusion was reached by consensus in 2006, and did not come to pass, seems to be of no import to the specularazzi. Of course, Mrs. Clinton has “total” name recognition, and it has been declared that it’s “her turn”by her old supporters. She will, of course, be nearly 70 years old in 2016, her record as secretary of state now judged to be “controversial” and uneven at best. She is a poor public speaker, and has no distinction as an administrator. Nevertheless, she is “inevitable.” Fast-forwarding is so much fun, is it not?
By the way, I wonder if Andrew Cuomo, Mark Warner, Evan Bayh, Cory Booker, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Ron Wyden and other talented younger Democrats are so willing to throw in the towel this far in advance. Perhaps. Perhaps not.
On the Republican side, there is more debate. Early favorite Senator Marco Rubio has gambled big-time on immigration reform legislation that is very unpopular with many in the GOP grass roots. Likewise, high profile New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been declared to have “crossed the line” with his handling of a U.S. senate vacancy and his “moderate” views. The new darling on the right is first-term Texas Senator Ted Cruz, an outspoken and smart conservative who seems to be filling a temporary political void. Concurrent with the seeming decline of Mr. Rubio, there has been a revival of the only man in recent U.S. history who has been disqualified for the presidency solely because of his surname, i.e., former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a man with genuine accomplishments, proven intelligence and, oh yes, all kinds of Hispanic credentials.
Of course, the Republicans also have a stable of old war horses, including Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, et al, but unlike 2008 and 2012, there are none who might legitimately claim that it’s ”their turn.”
As I see it, Governor Christie, Senator Cruz and former Governor Bush, albeit with differing points of view, are rather talented fellows, and should make the 2016 contest (when we finally get to it) rather interesting.
In 2005, by the way, hardly anyone had heard of the person who swept to election as president only three years later.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
J. R. Dunn discusses Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy over at American Thinker. He entitles his article, “Mitt’s Royal Slam”. You could just as easily call it, “Mitt’s Rope-a-dope”.
What’s the explanation for Mitt Romney’s unparalleled breakout? A few weeks ago, the Romney campaign was regarded as dead in the water. The polls (with the exception of Rasmussen) had the campaign uniformly down, giving Obama up to half a dozen points. Voter interest was phlegmatic at best. A combined Chicago-media offensive appeared to have put Romney on the ropes. The consensus was that Obama would cruise to another victory, one paralleling and perhaps even exceeding his triumph over John McCain four years ago.
Today, little more than an electoral-cycle heartbeat later, the situation is utterly reversed. The big mo belongs to Romney.
This remarkable turnaround is unmatched in recent American political history, and as such, it requires an explanation. Not many have been floated as of yet. The most popular so far holds that Anne and Tagg Romney, acting as Mitt’s consiglieres, pushed aside most the campaign’s professional political operatives in a successful effort to encourage “Mitt to be Mitt.”
Everyone involved denies that anything of the sort occurred, and that may well be the truth. Occam’s razor applies to politics as much as any other field, and the simplest and best explanation in this case is that no large-scale change occurred within the campaign or without — that in fact, things are unfolding pretty much as they were planned to. That it’s happening this way because it was meant to.
A pattern had already begun to emerge in the early months of the primaries. During the “anyone but Romney” phase that the GOP was going through, a new figure on a white charger was offered every couple weeks as the great hope to take down Obama the Usurper. Almost as soon as they popped up, down again they went. Presidential boots proved slightly too large for Rick Perry. Michele Bachmann was felled by a frustrating tendency for her words to outrun her thoughts, and Herman Cain by his purported eye for the ladies.
The two members of this squadron with real potential of taking the nomination were Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Both were similar — figures who appealed to the core conservatives of the GOP by means of images that were largely synthetic. Newt Gingrich was the Cincinnatus willing to leave his beloved historical studies to save the country, while Santorum was Ozzie Nelson. As is often case, these roles were a poor fit to the actual individuals.
That was the key element where Romney was concerned. As a businessman, he’d encountered plenty of figures who were all hat and no cattle, who talked a good game but were never around when it came time to toss some change into the kitty. It was in no way difficult to recognize many of the same traits in his GOP competition. So he treated them the same way he would have treated a hustler back in his investment days. He didn’t fight them, didn’t go blow for blow, didn’t so much as answer them back to any real extent. He let them each go through their schtick, until their essential hollowness was inescapable to all but the most hardcore true believers. He then, in the next debate, presented once again the basic Mitt Romney as the natural opposition figure. Newt and Rick both faded.
What Romney found himself facing in the presidential contest was very much the same thing — to a fault. Obama, the Illinois Redeemer, missionary from the Planet Zong, groveler to sheiks, reincarnation of FDR, and harbinger of the new age, was bogus enough to make Gingrich and Santorum look like avatars of authenticity.
Romney … essentially gave the late summer months to Obama, to the despair of the GOP, sneers from the Dems, and bewilderment from the political pros. Much as he did during the primaries, Romney let Obama take center stage, well aware that he wouldn’t accomplish anything with the time and opportunity he was being given, because he couldn’t.
Obama capered. He took the messiah routine to the point of burlesque. He turned himself into a caricature of Mr. Hope and Change, not grasping the facts that it was no longer 2008 and that no one was looking for a savior anymore. His campaign, the national left, and the kept media carried out relentless attacks on Romney, none of which ever stuck because Romney never did anything to draw attention to them.
By the time the debates rolled around, Obama had used up all his ammo and had become one of those pop items nobody wants to see any more of — last year’s hit sitcom, a burnt-out singer, an actress on her fifth or sixth breakdown. So it goes with messiahs who hang on too long.
It’s a great article. I encourage you to check it out.
From the official release:
“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us. I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us. But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity. On November 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness.”
[Update] Rick Perry issued the following statement:
Anita and I congratulate Mitt Romney on securing the Republican nomination and think it is appropriate that the strongest economic leader and jobs state has put him over the top in an election where President Obama’s failed jobs and economic record will be front and center.
Texas voters again demonstrated their strong commitment to conservative values to keep our state on the fiscally responsible path leading to jobs and opportunity. I’m proud to have supported strong fiscal and social conservatives across Texas who will join me in working to support stricter limits on government spending, opposing tax increases and preserving a strong rainy day fund.
Now, more than ever, we must work to send a proven conservative leader like David Dewhurst to Washington, where he can put the Texas approach to work to overhaul Washington.
Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsed Mitt Romney today, ahead of Newt Gingrich dropping out of the race, which is expected to happen next week.
“Mitt Romney has earned the Republican Presidential nomination through hard-work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration,” said Perry in a statement.
“So today I join the many conservative Republicans across the nation in endorsing Mitt Romney for President and pledge to him, my constituents and the Republican Party,” Perry’s statement said.
So another former opponent who had previously endorsed Gingrich moves over to Romney.
I will always remember the 2012 Rick Perry not for his debate brain freezes (that could happen to anybody), but for his utter lack of preparation. There was little if any study of the issues done. No position papers. No advisory groups. No debate prep. No defenses prepared for his vulnerabilities. Nothing. It was almost as if he thought that all he had to do was show up, talk big in a Texas drawl, strut around in cowboy boots, slam Mitt Romney a few times, and the nomination would be his. That always struck me as a little arrogant on his part. It’s either that or stupidity, and Perry never struck me as stupid.
I do respect the fact that he continued on until his money ran out. His supporters donated x amount of money to spend on becoming the nominee, and he spent it all trying to do just that. Too often unsuccessful candidates drop out with millions of dollars left in their coffers, and they use that money to further their own interests later down the road — not for what their supporters gave them the money for in the first place. Rick didn’t do that. Even when the odds became very long for him to win, he kept at it until his funds ran out in South Carolina. I definitely respect him that.
Memories and Lessons of a Just-Completed Campaign
Now that the primary season has all but officially ended (mercifully and at last), it is time for political analysts to look back at the yearlong trek that got us Nominee Romney and see what conclusions we can draw from this prolonged fight. There are several things that led to Romney’s success this time around:
The Job Interview
At first glance, it may seem the most cogent lesson is the simplest one: the Republicans once again nominated their next-in-line candidate. Just as John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford before him, Romney was widely perceived as “earning his turn,” so to speak. But there is something going on at a deeper level here – why (with the notable exception of George W. Bush) does the modern GOP seem to hand their nomination to the next-in-line? After all, this is a truism, a force, strong enough to revive John McCain from political death a thousand times over in 2008. And it was enough to protect Romney from one of the most anti-establishment, angry conservative electorates in recent memory. How?
It has been said that the Republicans treat their primaries much like a job interview, while Democrats treat theirs like a dating game – a comparative analogy that has some heft behind it to be sure. Democrats get excited about insurgent candidates that send thrills up their legs, whereas Republicans like to sit back and determine whether our candidates have the experience necessary for the job. Looking at the 2008 primaries in an parallel universe, then, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see a Mike Huckabee vs. Hillary Clinton general election matchup – where Huckabee had won the Democratic primary and Hillary the Republican one.
Insurgent candidates are just not built to survive modern Republican primaries. And so Romney perhaps had the huge advantage in this way from the outset: with no Huckabee and no Palin in the mix, he was the only “serious” candidate applying for this job. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum were never going to pass the job interview process. Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry both had a chance based on the resumes they had submitted, but as soon as they were called in for a face to face interview they were both summarily dismissed from contention. And so, after inspecting each of the job applicants in turn, ultimately the Republican Party ended up calling the candidate that looked the most attractive at the beginning of the process and saying, “You’re hired.” It’s a familiar process that makes sense for the “party of business” to follow.
Continue reading for Cycling Seppuku, I Can be Your Friend, Where in the World is Romney Sandiego, and “Establishment” Support…
Rumors have been flying that Newt Gingrich may offer Rick Perry a vice presidential slot if he wins the GOP nomination, but the Texas governor denied Thursday that a Gingrich-Perry ticket is in the works.
Perry, who has endorsed Gingrich for the GOP nomination, said on Fox News’s Fox and Friends that he would not accept a VP nod from Gingrich, adding that he prefers to remain governor of the Lone Star State.
“Texas governor versus VP? The balance on that one isn’t even close,” Perry said. “I would suggest to you that’s deep in the rumor category and I got a better gig where I am, thank you.”
I don’t think I would want to give up being Texas Governor for being Gingrich’s VP candidate either. That assumes, of course, that Gingrich can miraculously come back from the dead and win the nomination.
While it is true that Perry did endorse Gingrich when he bowed out, that was then. This is now. At the time Gingrich was riding high from his win in South Carolina and was either rapidly gaining or leading in all the national polls. Newt’s epic post-Florida meltdown was still in the future. So it made perfect sense back then for Rick to endorse Newt. Now, however, there is no way Rick Perry would want to hitch his wagon to this proven unstable candidate. Rick might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he is not stupid.
Now if Mitt were to ask…
Hat-tip: The Argo Journal
Final vote tally for the Florida Primary with all precincts reporting:
Votes Percentage Romney 771,842 46.4% Gingrich 531,294 31.9% Santorum 222,248 13.4% Paul 116,776 7.0% Perry 6,742 0.4% Huntsman 6,182 0.4% Bachmann 3,947 0.2% Cain 3,481 0.2% Johnson 1,186 0.1% Total 1,663,698 100.0%
Margin of victory for Romney over his three main rivals:
Votes % Total % of Romney Gingrich 240,548 14.6% 31.2% Santorum 549,594 33.5% 71.2% Paul 655,066 39.9% 84.9% Gingrich + Santorum 18,300 1.1% 2.4%
So even if every single Santorum voter had voted for Gingrich, Romney would still have won. And we know from both anecdotal evidence as well as several polls that there was a large percentage of Santorum voters who would voted for Romney over Gingrich.
For reference, here are the results from the 2008 Florida Primary:
John McCain 701,761 36.0% Mitt Romney 604,932 31.0% Rudolph W. Giuliani 286,089 14.7% Mike Huckabee 262,681 13.5% Ron Paul 62,887 3.2% Fred D. Thompson 22,668 1.2% Alan Keyes 4,060 0.2% Duncan Hunter 2,847 0.1% Tom Tancredo 1,573 0.1% Total: 1,949,498 100.0%
So Mitt improved upon McCain’s percentage by 10 points and his own by 15. Mitt has 70,000 more votes than McCain had in 2008 and improved his own total by 166,000 votes.
Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) – Rick Perry is telling supporters that he will drop his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday, two sources familiar with the plans told CNN.
Rick Perry is expected to drop out later this morning at an 11 a.m. press conference and endorse Newt Gingrich, two sources confirmed to POLITICO.
Redstate’s Editor argues that Perry has the chance to play kingmaker. From the Op-Ed:
Barring a miracle, this is Rick Perry’s final act in the 2012 elections. On Saturday, he will come in last in South Carolina. It will be only the third time in a generation Rick Perry has lost an election, with the only other two times being Iowa and New Hampshire this year.
For a generation, Rick Perry was undefeated. Now he will go back to Texas and everyone who ever lost to Rick Perry will seek to settle old scores. It will be a tough, bloody fight. He will have to be ready for it.
Perry, however, has a potential trump card up his sleeve as he rebuilds political capital. It’s simple: he can drop out today, and endorse someone else. Doing so today, before the CNN Debate tomorrow, gives the news time to sink in.
But who to endorse?Mitt Romney makes no sense. To endorse Romney would be to turn Perry’s message throughout the campaign into a joke. It would buy Perry no good will. He would return to Texas a joke.
Rick Santorum makes no sense either. While closer to Perry than Romney on some points, Perry campaigned on reducing the size and scope of Washington, privatizing social security, and fixing entitlements. Endorsing Santorum may leave Perry in good stead with his fellow evangelicals, but it would fly in the face of the limited government principles he outlines both on the campaign trail and in his national bestseller Fed Up!
Then there is the man who wrote the introduction to Fed Up!, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
I’m willing to bet that among activists in Texas, Newt Gingrich is more popular than Romney. His message has been rather consistent to Perry’s, including a man on a mission to gut Washington, D.C. While Gingrich lacks Perry’s limited government bona fides, he is the only other candidate in the race emphasizing that business as usual in Washington is not acceptable if the nation we love is going to survive – as Gingrich wrote in his introduction: “Devolving power out of Washington is critical to our long-term survival.” And that’s the truth.
If Rick Perry stays in the race, conservatives opposed to Mitt Romney will be legitimately able to blame Rick Perry for dragging down either Newt or Santorum. If the person he endorses doesn’t win the nomination, it still doesn’t hurt him as much as staying in to take a few deciding votes.
Read the full piece here.
Rick Perry is losing an early supporter in South Carolina who is facing the reality Perry ignores:
(CNN) – A key Rick Perry supporter, South Carolina state Sen. Larry Grooms, withdrew his support for the Texas governor and urged Perry to drop his presidential bid, the legislator’s office announced Monday.
“I still believe he would be a great national leader, but campaigns are tough and early mistakes and missed opportunities have taken their toll,” the state senator said in a statement. “Now is the time to get out and pass the baton to another leader that can take the message to the next level.”
I think one of the big flaws of our current primary process is how it forces us to take sides and at some point, support for a candidate is as much about ego as it is principle, if not more so. To quote the game show, in this race, Rick Perry is the weakest link.
Today on Fox and Friends, Rudy Giuliani took issue with The Occupy Republicans:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who ran for President in 2008 and dipped a toe in the waters of the 2012 contest, professed himself “shocked” by Newt Gingrich ’s attacks on Mitt Romney ’s private-sector career during a “Fox and Friends” appearance this morning.
Giuliani asked, “What the hell are you doing, Newt? I expect this from Saul Alinsky! This is what Saul Alinsky taught Barack Obama, and what you’re saying is part of the reason we’re in so much trouble right now.”
Giuliani broadened his criticism to include the attacks on Bain Capital launched by both Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry, who he described as “a very close friend of mine.” “I’m shocked at what they’re doing,” said Giuliani. “It’s ignorant and dumb. It’s building something we should be fighting in America, ignorance of the economic system, playing on the dumbest, most ridiculous ideas about how you grow jobs.” He characterized the attacks on Romney’s private sector career as “unfair and bad for the Republican Party.”
Perry endorsed Rudy in ’08.
Heritage Foundation’s the Foundry is reporting that a Virginia Judge has indicated that the requirement for Virginia resident’s to pass out petitions for ballot access may be unconstitutional. If so, that may lead the way for Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum from receiving ballot access in the Virginia primary. Here’s an excerpt:
A very big development in the ballot access lawsuit filed in federal court in Virginia by Texas Governor Rick Perry and joined by Newt Gingrich, Rich Santorum, and Jon Huntsman. Judge John Gibney just filed a five-page order in which he states that “…there is a strong likelihood that the Court will find the residency requirement for petition circulators to be unconstitutional. The authorities make clear that circulating petitions for candidates is a form of protected speech, and that the Commonwealth has a heavy burden to justify the restriction on speech by showing not only that the limitation achieves a valid state interest but also that the limitation is no broader in scope than necessary to achieve that purpose. As in all strict scrutiny cases, the state has a difficult task to demonstrate the propriety of its limitation on protected speech. For this reason, the Court believes that the plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of succeeding on the merits, at least on the issue of the validity of the residency requirement.”
Yesterday, Judge Gibney ordered the Virginia State Board of Elections to notify all local county electoral boards that they are barred “from ordering any ballots” or “from mailing out any absentee ballots” until after the judge holds a hearing on the case on January 13. The judge says in the order that he will make a decision on the merits of the temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction being sought by the candidates on the 13th.
Additionally, the ACLU of Virginia filed an amicus brief today on the side of the Republican presidential candidates, arguing that Virginia’s 10,000-signature requirement for a presidential candidate to appear on the ballot “reduces the quantity of [political] speech available in Virginia, and directly infringes on the First Amendment rights of candidates, voters, petition circulators, and political parties.” The ACLU also argues that Virginia’s residency requirement for petition circulators is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest. In fact, the ACLU says that Virginia has “fail[ed] even to articulate a compelling interest.” It asks the court to grant the plaintiffs’ request for a TRO and a preliminary injunction. Looks like the judge agrees with the ACLU.
So we should know by the end of the day on Friday whether Perry, Gingrich, Huntsman and/or Santorum will be added to the ballot or if the only choices for Virginia voters will be Mitt Romney and Ron Paul in the Republican primary on March 6. With this latest order from the judge, it is highly likely that there will be additional candidates on the ballot.
HT to RightSphere
I want to give a huge thumbs up to my colleague Matthew E Miller for describing exactly how I feel (odd how often that happens) last night in his outstanding piece, “It’s Good to be a Conservative Again.” I, too, have been watching the attacks on Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital with my jaw on the floor. It’s not disbelief in the fact that Romney’s opponents are throwing everything and the kitchen sink at him now. After all, none of them have much of a greater chance than I do at winning the GOP nomination at the moment, and that realization has birthed an intense desperation in them – a desperation which is bearing itself out in the pursuit to bring down Mitt Romney no matter the cost.
I understand that. What I am in disbelief about is what’s inside that kitchen sink they’re hurling in Romney’s direction. Of all the vulnerabilities Mitt has – flip flopping, Romneycare, perceived timidity on foreign policy issues, love of the Department of Education, just to name a few – to make the conscious choice to attack him for his time at Bain shocks me. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich are lifting language directly from the Democratic Party philosophy and playbook as they tilt at windmills and delay the inevitable.
Over at the Campaign Spot this morning Jim Geraghty says with incredulity,
“On MSNBC a moment ago Harold Ford Jr. just asked, ‘Can Romney recover from his association with private equity?’ The demonization of the free market is complete. This is, of course, in the context of a discussion of the Republican primary.”
Emphasis his. All of this wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that Republicans are now complicit in helping to build a negative narrative and define their nominee-to-be before America gets to know him. Gingrich’s and Perry’s speeches and interviews are tailor made for Obama attack ads this summer and fall. I’ve even seen several places where GOP commentators asked something to the effect of, “Do you think Obama went halfsies on those Gingrich and Perry attack ads?”
If there is one positive development from Gingrich and Perry becoming Obama’s attack dogs, it is this: Romney is now the most acceptable candidate to both the moderate and the conservative wing of the Republican Party, according to Gallup:
In fact, as you can see, Romney is the only candidate who is acceptable to both wings of the party. Contrary to the kicking and screaming of a tiny minority, conservatives actually don’t hate Mitt Romney. In fact, they like him the best out of all of the options. And as Perry and Gingrich continue their despicable attacks from the far left, that support is only likely to be strengthened.
Below you can find an article containing all the raw data from the Gallup daily tracking poll. Here, courtesy of Gallup, is the data in graphical form:
Four things are immediately obvious from the above graph:
If Gallup’s numbers can be trusted, it would appear that this has settled down into a four man race: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul. If the trends shown above continue, Gingrich will drop below Paul into fourth place nationally somewhere around Tuesday’s New Hampshire Primary. With his expected poor showing in the Granite State, there is little reason to believe any sudden turnaround in his fortunes is imminent.
Another thing to note about Gingrich is that this is a big slide in his national numbers, not just his Iowan numbers. He cannot blame it on the negative ads ran in Iowa.
Suffolk University has been conducting a series of daily tracking polls on the New Hampshire Primary since the first of the year. Its makes a good metric to show what has been happening in the Granite State since the voters there have become serious about voting for our nominee this year.
Here are the raw data (minus those who have dropped out):
(1/1) (1/2) (1/3) (1/4) (1/6) (1/7) (1/8) Gingrich 11 8 9 9 7 10 9 Huntsman 9 9 10 7 7 9 11 Karger 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 Paul 15 17 16 14 18 17 20 Perry 2 2 2 1 0 1 1 Roemer 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 Romney 41 43 43 43 41 39 35 Santorum 3 3 5 6 8 9 8 Undecided 16 15 13 16 17 15 15
Here are the data for the major candidates in graphical form:
As can been seen in the chart above, not much is happening in the State of New Hampshire. Mitt Romney continues to have a commanding lead. Ron Paul continues to be second between 15 and 20 percent. Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman are having a modicum of drama determining who will end up third at just under 10%. And Rick Perry has last place sewn up at around 1%. He is down there with the minor candidates Roemer and Karger.
There is some movement to report. Mitt appears to be coming down to earth. (The result of Gingrich’s kamikaze attack, perhaps?) Paul is creeping up to 20%, and Rick Santorum has risen from the bottom where he was once contending with Perry for last place. He is now in the next tier up where he is can be seen duking it out with Gingrich and Huntsman in a three way contest for third place.
There are now only two days left before the New Hampshire Primary. Barring any unforeseen meltdown by Mitt Romney, Mitt should still win the state. Three questions remain:
*Update Note:* When I first wrote this article this morning, Suffolk had not yet released their results for today. When they did, it required some serious rewriting of the post. My apologizes to my readers for any inconvenience.
While everyone was watching the debate, PPP released their first post-Iowa poll of South Carolina. I am not going to do a separate post for that poll. Instead, I am going to combine it with the three South Carolinian polls from yesterday to try to get some picture of what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
Rasmussen ARG CNN/Time PPP Average Distance back Romney 27 31 37 30 31.3 Leader Santorum 24 24 19 19 21.5 -10 Gingrich 18 24 18 23 20.8 -11 Paul 11 9 12 9 10.3 -21 Perry 5 2 5 5 4.3 -27 Huntsman 2 2 1 4 2.3 -29
In common with the other polls, PPP shows Romney on top with a comfortable but not overwhelming lead. It differs from the others, however, in that it shows Gingrich second and Santorum third — a swap from what Rasmussen and CNN/TIME show. ARG had them tied.
The combined average of all four polls shows Romney with a double digit lead with exactly two weeks to go before the primary. Santorum and Gingrich are neck and neck fighting for second place. Paul has fourth place all to himself, and Perry and Huntsman are still competing for dead last.
Just to be clear, I do not think much of Rick Perry. He jumped into this race completely unprepared. Apparently he believed the people who told him that all he had to do was show up, send some zingers Romney’s way, swagger around a bit in his cowboy boots, talk big, and the nomination would be handed to him on a silver platter. He swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Strike one.
Then the stories of his far-too-cozy relationship with donors back in Texas proved that if not down-right corrupt, he was at the minimum too stupid to see the danger of the appearance of conflicts of interest. Strike two.
And finally he kept on with his Texas-style campaign long after it should have been obvious that as big as the Lone Star State is, it pales compared to the national stage. He was competing in the big leagues using brush league tactics, and it took him months to figure that out. Strike three.
Having said all of that, I think he is now getting a bum rap from many people who deride his decision to carry on his campaign after Iowa. To me, it makes perfect sense.
When you consider all these things plus other points I haven’t mention, his decision to stay in at least through South Carolina becomes quite defensible.
Now, do I think he has a chance of pulling it off? Not really. He’s down nearly 30 points with only two weeks to go in a state where all the buzz is Romney and Santorum, with a little Kamikaze Newt sideshow mixed in. The odds of him coming back from the dead are very long indeed. But it is worth a shot. It just might work. Stranger things have happened. If Perry can either win South Carolina (an improbable long shot) or come in second after being left for dead by nearly everyone, he could pick up enough momentum to soldier on.
So why shouldn’t he go for it? The worst that could happen is Rick would go back to Texas holding his head up high knowing that he fought this thing right down to the end leaving nothing on the table. He gave it his all. At least he won’t be bothered by those thoughts which likely haunt Pawlenty now about perhaps throwing in his hand too soon.
Three major polling firms released their first polls of South Carolina following the Iowa Caucuses. They were Rasmussen, ARG, and CNN/Time. Here they are side-by-side:
Rasmussen ARG CNN/Time Average Distance back Romney 27 31 37 31.7 Leader Santorum 24 24 19 22.3 -9 Gingrich 18 24 18 20.0 -12 Paul 11 9 12 10.7 -21 Perry 5 2 5 4.0 -28 Huntsman 3 2 1 2.0 -30
Romney starts the race for South Carolina with nearly a double digit lead. Santorum and Gingrich are battling for second place with only three points separating these two. Paul is all alone in fourth place more than twenty points behind. And vying for the Red Lantern is Perry and Huntsman — 28 pts and 30 pts respectively behind the leader.
It’s true that rank-and-file conservatives in the Republican Party are unrepresented or poorly represented by their national leaders on issues such as trade and immigration, and this is because it’s definitely true that the economic interests of a lot of working- and middle-class conservative Republican voters are neglected by the national party. The electoral record also shows that the relative moderate candidate tends to prevail in the presidential nominating contest, and this is happening again as anyone could have seen that it would. As Cost later acknowledges, the relative moderates eke out nomination victories because there are always so many conservative candidates splitting the much larger conservative vote, which is proof that there are often too many conservative candidates in the mix and not that self-styled conservatives don’t control the party.
There is also always a large number of movement conservative activists and pundits more than willing to embrace the relative moderate as a bold conservative leader on the grounds that he is more electable, which is how George W. Bush and Romney acquired their ill-deserved reputations as conservatives in the first place. When a field has seven reasonably competitive conservative or libertarian candidates and arguably just one moderate (counting Romney as the moderate), it’s no wonder that the one moderate comes out ahead, especially when there are more than a few movement conservatives willing to make the case for him.
But neither Cost, nor Larison, get at one of the fundamental reasons there are frequently several relatively conservative candidates: the inability of conservatives to winnow their field. Conservatives aren’t actually over-represented in GOP fields. In this cycle, there were 3 relative moderates (Romney, Pawlenty, and Huntsman), 4 relative conservatives (Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, and Cain) and 2 relative oddballs (Gingrich and Paul). This is a pretty representative sample. But the establishment has skillfully winnowed the “moderate” field down to one contestant, sending Pawlenty packing early, and ignoring Huntsman entirely. Conservatives, however, have jumped for every single conservative and one of the oddballs. Let me suggest 2 ways to explain this phenomenon.
1.) The Effect of the Invisible Primary. This is essentially the race for money and endorsements. Candidates who perform well in the invisble primary tend to have success. So money and endorsements matter, right? Well, yeah, but I think something more complex is going on. Establishment candidates compete in the invisible primary- grassroots candidates don’t. Candidates who compete in the invisible primary, and later stumble, are more likely to be weeded out. Why should be it the case that Tim Pawlenty should drop out immediately after Ames, despite running 4 points ahead of Rick Santorum and 5 points ahead of Herman Cain? Isn’t this a little curious? A little odd? Both Santorum and Cain competed at Ames, and Santorum devoted as much to the straw poll, relative to his resources, as Pawlenty did. Sure, Pawlenty would have had a hard time getting noticed when his money dried up, but Santorum didn’t get noticed until 3 days before the first caucus and had no money at all. And yet it was obvious to an awful lot of people that Pawlenty needed to drop out. The invisible primary seems to function as a winnowing process for establishment candidates and the grassroots has no equivalent.
2.) Viability. Viability does not really matter to the grassroots. This is not an exaggeration. Even now, you can head over to RedState and read a dozen Erick Erickson posts since Christmas which have A.) Called Rick Santorum a pro-life statist and B.) Admitted that Santorum was preferrable to Romney. Presumably, though I don’t follow his every post, Erick Erickson- along with many other grassroots conservatives- is inclined to support Texas Governor Rick Perry. Erick Erickson thinks Perry “can still win” and therefore sees his criticism of Santorum as both a good faith effort to expose someone less than ideal and a way of improving Perry’s odds of winning the nomination. He is, along with many grassroots conservatives, a true believer. The True Believer may have many superior qualities, but strategic thinking is not among them.
Rick Perry has now been at 5% in SC for 4 straight polls. He has not been in double digits in South Carolina in 2 and 1/2 months. The odds of him coming back in the state are objectively quite low and any improvement he makes is bound to come at the expense of Santorum who, the True Believer admits, is preferrable to Romney. An establishment oriented voter would, at this juncture, abandon Perry and Gingrich, go all-in with Santorum, and hope for the best. And indeed, establishment oriented voters have done that all year. There will be no Huntsman surge in NH to mirror the Santorum surge in Iowa. Establishment Republicans, concerned about electability, do not see Huntsman as viable. Therefore Huntsman has been cheerfully ignored. After NH he will have exited the race, while 3 more grassrootsy alternatives continue on fruitlessly. In ’08, the establishment Giuliani, despite leading in national polls by a gazillion points for an age, was all but abandoned after December and led in just one Florida poll after NH. Meanwhile, conservatives seemed entirely unable to choose between Romney, Fred, and Huckabee, even as McCain seemed likely to waltz to the nomination. Establishment candidates are winnowed by the viability test while grassroots candidates are apparently encouraged to stay in forever.
There is no grand establishment conspiracy to consistently foist relatively moderate nominees on the party. The establishment simply does a better job of winnowing out unlikely nominees, thereby allowing one establishment choice to have free roam of the field.
Rasmussen is first out of the gate with South Carolina polling data following the Iowan Caucuses. The full poll will likely be published later, but here is my analysis of the top line data now.
Here are the top lines from Rasmussen’s two polls of the state:
(1/6) (11/2) Romney 27 23 Santorum 24 1 Gingrich 18 15 Paul 11 5 Perry 5 9 Huntsman 2 1 Cain N/A 33 Bachmann N/A 2
The data shows quite clearly the boast the first three finishers got from Iowa. Romney is up 4 and is now in the lead. Paul is up 6 and has broken into double digits. Santorum, wow! He is up a whopping 23 points leaping from one to twenty-four percent to land in a comfortable 2nd place just three points behind the leader, Romney.
The big news the above data does not show directly is the dramatic Gingrich collapse. Rasmussen did not poll South Carolina in December so they missed the big Newt bubble last month. All other polls during that period showed Newt ahead by a comfortable double digit margin in South Carolina. His lead there rivaled Mitt’s lead in New Hampshire in magnitude. That has completely dissipated now. He limps back into South Carolina following Iowa in a distant third place nine points behind the leader.
Perry’s support got clobbered. It has been nearly cut in half. He is now fighting with Huntsman for last place. That makes South Carolina do-or-die for Rick Perry. He has more than twenty points to make up with little more than three weeks to do it. And the current buzz is nearly all about Romney, Santorum, and Paul. It is difficult to see how barring a miracle Perry survives past South Carolina.
Gingrich and Perry’s die hard supporters remain unfazed by what should have been a humbling result in Iowa.
Let me be clear, Rick Perry is done, finished, kaputsky. If I were a gambling man, I’d bet 10:1 against Perry being the Republican nominee. Rick Perry gave a classy speech today to give way to a classless alibing of his poor performance in Iowa. Said Perry:
“This is quirky place and a quirky process to say the least,” Perry said of Iowa and its caucuses. “We’re going to go into places where they have actual primaries and there are going to be real Republicans voting.”
Really? It’s a quirky place and a quirky process? Maybe you could have figured that out before you spent $6 million. I’m going to give Perry the benefit of the doubt of understanding after 4 months of the race that Iowa was a tricky process. To quote the famous political analyst Super Chicken, “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.” You came, you saw, you fell flat. $6 millions in TV ads and weeks of retail politicking and ultimately and Perry finished tied for third among White Evangelical Voters behind Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Among Evangelicals, the Entrance Poll indicates that Perry finished behind the guy who wants to repeal federal laws against cocaine. And in South Carolina, the latest Real Clear Politics polling average puts Perry at a whopping 5 percent and there’s no reason to think that in the two weeks since the last poll with Perry campaigning in that Quirky state that he stands much better.
Newt Gingrich’s case is not quite as severe, but it’s pretty desperate. Not only did Newt do a little better than Perry, he also has superior poll position in New Hampshire. The latest Suffolk tracking poll shows Newt in striking distance of Ron Paul for second and after Paul’s rather disappointing third place finish in Iowa, he may see a loss of momentum. However, the same poll showed Santorum within three of Gingrich and one back of Huntsman, so the next week could be crucial.
That said, Newt’s still a longshot. I wrote at the end of the year, Newt’s rise to prominence was because of his decision to take the high road, campaign against President Obama, and compliment his opponents. It made people think he could unite the Republican Party. Gingrich, in response to Romney has transformed to an aggressive attacker in a way reminiscent of the Incredible Hulk (Newt Smash!). The way Gingrich is running his campaign, he can help Rick Santorum, he can help Jon Huntsman, if his attacks backfire too bad, he can help Mitt Romney, but the one person he won’t be able to help is Newt Gingrich.
This isn’t to say that Perry and Gingrich don’t have a role to play in the race. They have the same role as Fred Thompson did in 2008.
In 2008, I was supporting Fred Thompson. Thompson finished a distant third in Iowa (which gave him a greater claim to legitimacy than either Perry or Gingrich) and he went to South Carolina while other candidates were working New Hampshire and Michigan. He went and he attacked and undercut Mike Huckabee to build up his campaign (as Rick Perry will have to do to stop Rick Santorum among conservatives) and he won 16%, while Huckabee lost the state by 2.3%. Thus Fred Thompson helped John McCain secure the crucial South Carolina Primary and set the stage for John McCain’s nomination. Perry and Gingrich have the exact same chance to go and secure the nomination for Mitt Romney.
Of course, to be fair, it wouldn’t have been possible for Thompson to succeed had it not been for Thompson supporters. I was one of them in 2008. I gave Thompson donations and even when people in the field told me that Thompson’s campaign was not getting the response they needed, I basically refused to believe the obvious evidence that it was over.
Had I and other supporters of Fred Thompson faced reality and realized that campaign was going nowhere and realized what the real choices lay, it’s possible that John McCain wouldn’t have been nominated.
If conservative voters opposed to Romney cleave to sure to lose campaigns, than Romney will be the nominee. These conservatives may find that Romney is not the nominee they want. They may believe he is not the nominee the country needs. But he’ll be the nominee conservatives deserve.
With poll results all over the place in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to see how the pollsters fared in predicting the results. To be fair, a lot changed in the last week, so I’m only including pollsters who released a survey December 27th or later. In terms of average deviation from the actual results, the pollsters rank, from best to worst:
1. Insider Advantage (1/1 – 1/1) – an average deviation of 2.014 points from each candidate’s total
2. CNN/Time (12/21 – 12/27) – 2.186
3 (tie). Rasmussen (12/28 – 12/28) – 2.300
3 (tie). Des Moines Register (12/27 – 12/30) – 2.300
5. NBC/Marist (12/27 – 12/28) – 2.557
6. Public Policy Polling (12/31 – 1/1) – 2.986
7. American Research Group (12/29 – 1/1) – 3.557
What’s interesting about these results is that some of the polls that had the benefit of being taken as close to the caucus day as possible still managed to have the worst predictions (PPP and ARG). Yet, Insider Advantage made use of its last-minute advantage to provide the most accurate pre-caucus snap shot of any pollster. The much vaunted Des Moines Register poll ends up in the middle of the pack, making one wonder why it is worshiped so fervently. CNN seems to have redeemed itself this year, after its embarrassing mistake of predicting a decisive Romney win over Huckabee in 2008.
What’s also interesting is which candidates pollsters had the most trouble predicting. Here’s the list of each candidate, next to the average deviation of the seven above pollsters’s results from the final results:
Most Differed from Polling Expectations
1. Rick Santorum – final vote count had an average deviation of 8.214 points from the pollsters’ predictions
2. Mitt Romney – 2.000
3. Michele Bachmann – 2.000
4. Jon Huntsman – 1.971
5. Rick Perry – 1.386
6. Ron Paul – 1.229
7. Newt Gingrich – 1.1
Least Differed from Polling Expectations
Santorum and Romney (particularly the former) significantly outperformed expectations, while Bachmann and Huntsman underperformed, and Paul, Gingrich, and Perry came in pretty much where pollsters predicted they would. This is undoubtedly due to Bachmann and Huntsman supporters knowing that their candidates didn’t stand a chance and deciding to shift their support to Santorum and Romney (probably mostly from Huntsman to Romney, and from Bachmann to Santorum), combined with a lot of undecideds breaking for a surging Santorum at the last moment. Santorum isn’t going to play nearly as well in New Hampshire as he did in Iowa however, opening up the door for a potential Santorum-like surge from Ron Paul or Jon Huntsman at the last minute in the Granite State. Romney’s final vote tally in New Hampshire will probably be a little more cozy with the polling predictions as well. He is unlikely to get a late break of a lot of undecideds, since he is such a well known quantity in New Hampshire and most people there have made up their minds on him one way or another. Can such a thing happen? Apparently, we ought to keep our eye particularly on Insider Advantage, CNN, and Rasmussen polls in the coming days for the answer.
Looks like Perry’s not out of the running just yet. He posted the following to Twitter:
And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State…Here we come South Carolina!!! http://yfrog.com/odz8ujrj
Sounds to me like he’s in it for the long haul.
US News and World Report queried some “Washington Insiders” as to whom Romney (assuming he’s the nominee) should pick as VP candidate. The “insiders” were defined as “…top GOP strategists…some with the campaigns…”. We aren’t even finished with the Iowa Caucuses yet, and here we have people speculating about whom Mitt should pick as his runningmate. Sheesh!
Anyway, here is the tally that USNews got from them:
I am no “Washington Insider”, but I am really not that impressed with this list. Rice leaves me cold. She’s a brilliant woman to be sure, but she is a Bushie. She was also National Security Adviser and Secretary of State when we got embroiled in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. If our nominee were to choose her, we would end up spending at least three quarters of campaign defending that episode rather than focusing upon the failures of the Obama administration. That and her political skills are highly suspect. She has never ran for any office at all, even dogcatcher. It is not a good idea to throw in a first-timer into the maelstrom that is a Presidential campaign.
The first problem, to a lesser extent, applies to Jeb Bush. We are just too close to the Bush-41 administration to take a chance on Jeb.
I also think that it would be better for our nominee to not choose a sitting Senator. We will need all the Republicans in Senate we can get. So that leaves out Rubio, Thune, and Portman. (Leaving out Rubio hurts, but we really, really need him in the Senate.)
Christie maybe, but do we want to remove an effective GOP governor from a blue state? My inclination is to say no.
That leaves only Santorum in the fourth tier, and Paul Ryan, Rick Perry, and McDonn in fifth. These guys just don’t float my boat, not at all. Surely we can do better than these?
Now whom do I think would be a good running-mate? Well, I don’t wish to mention names lest I jinx it, but if Mitt were to select a certain Indian-American lady governor from South Carolina, I wouldn’t complain too loudly, if you catch my drift.
*wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*