May 16, 2012

How the VP is Vetted

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on how the VP vetting process works. It is written by A.B. Culvahouse who lead the McCain team’s efforts in 2008. While no two vetting processes are the same, it offers some excellent insights on the process from one who has been on both sides of it.

A few excerpts:

A short list of five to 15 leading Americans soon will be notified that the presumptive Republican nominee for president believes they are serious contenders to be his running mate. They will be asked for their agreement to join him on the GOP ticket if chosen, and in the meantime, to submit to a most intrusive and far-reaching vetting by lawyers and advisers working for the campaign. No other candidate, not even the presidential nominee himself, is subjected to the same scrutiny.

In our current presidential election, despite the many political risks and personal indignities involved, I predict that few on Gov. Mitt Romney’s short list will decline the opportunity to be considered. In my experience, when potential VP nominees are asked to submit themselves to the vetting process, their thoughtful reasons to decline—and perhaps their ambitious motives to accept—are overcome by feelings that are more instinctively noble.In the summer of 2008 I asked each person on John McCain’s short list, “Why do you want to be vice president?” The question hardly was a surprise, but after the scripted answer was finished, every potential nominee began to speak from the heart about honor, service and obligation, on occasion with moist eyes. Their successors on the short list this election cycle deserve our respect in the same measure as they will receive our scrutiny.

That last bit is why I am convinced that despite protestations to the contrary, almost every single person who manages to make Romney’s shortlist would serve if asked. That would include Tim Pawlenty who just this week seemed to take himself out of contention.

Mr. Culvahouse also talks about the vetting of Sarah Palin. His final assessment on her? “High risk, high reward.” He stands by that today.


by @ 10:06 am. Filed under Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

April 4, 2012

It’s Just about Over.

Do you remember this scene from the start of Shrek I where a platoon of soldiers came to arrest Shrek?

Captain of Guards: [to Shrek, after finding him and Donkey in the woods] You there! Ogre!

Shrek: Aye?

Captain of Guards: [to both Shrek and Donkey] By the order of Lord Farquaad, I am authorized to place you both under arrest and transport you to a designated resettlement – facility.

Shrek: Oh, really? You and what army?

[the Captain looks behind him and notices that his soldiers have run away, leaving their spears behind. He does the same]

So it would seem with Rick Santorum. Rick imagined himself at the head of a vast group of defiant conservatives ready to take on the evil RINOs and “establishment”. They were all willing to fight to the death, or at least to the convention to place him at the head of the Republican party. But now he is finding himself in front of a rapidly diminishing force.

Sarah Palin, who has long advocated a fight to the convention, stated last night it’s over. Dr. Richard Land, one of the top Southern Baptist leaders in the country, stated yesterday it is time to end this thing. The panel last night on Fox stated it was time to end it. Even Newt Gingrich, the defiant one from just two months ago, has bowed to the inevitable and continues his campaign in name only.

And so it is around the web this morning. On site after site, hard-nosed “True Conservative” after “True Conservative” are all starting to bow to the reality of the situation. It’s over. It’s time to start focusing our attention on Obama. Certainly there will continue to be defiant ones, but they are now in a distinct minority. The party is coalescing behind Mitt Romney.

Will Rick be able to withstand the pressure, now coming from all sides of the Republican coalition? It will be interesting to watch.

by @ 9:15 am. Filed under Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican Party, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin

March 30, 2012

Palin Would Be Winning Now If She Had Run

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.

by @ 11:17 am. Filed under Sarah Palin

January 17, 2012

Palin Says…Newt?

Palin said on Hannity that if she was a South Carolinian, she’d vote for Newt. Here’s the video:

by @ 9:00 pm. Filed under Endorsements, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin

January 9, 2012

Palin Endorses Gingrich…No, Not That Palin, Her Husband

Sarah Palin’s husband, the former First Gentleman of Alaska, has endorsed Newt Gingrich for President. Here’s the piece by ABC News:

Sarah Palin’s husband is endorsing Newt Gingrich for president, Todd Palin told ABC News today.


But Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and John McCain’s 2008 Republican running mate, has yet to decide “who is best able to go up against Barack Obama,” Todd Palin said. Palin said he has not spoken to Gingrich or anyone from the former House speaker’s campaign. But he said he respects Gingrich for what he went through in the 1990s and compared that scrutiny in public life to what Sarah Palin went through during her run for the vice presidency.

Todd Palin said he believes that being in the political trenches and experiencing the highs and lows helps prepare a candidate for the future and the job of president.
He did not criticize any of the other candidates and said his “hat is off to everyone” in the Republican race.

But Todd Palin did point to last summer, when a large portion of Gingrich’s staff resigned and the candidate was left, largely by himself, to run the campaign. Gingrich’s ability to overcome the obstacle and still move up in the polls showed his ability to campaign and survive, according to Todd Palin, who said Gingrich is not one of the typical “beltway types” and that his campaign has “burst out of the political arena and touched many Americans.”

I’m unsure if this helps, hurts, or does nothing at all – but interesting nonetheless.

by @ 12:02 pm. Filed under Endorsements, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin

December 23, 2011

It’s Less Puzzling Now

Remember last week when we were puzzled at why Bob Vander Plaats would endorse Rick Santorum; the candidate who seemed to make the least sense? Well, here is a possible explanation uncovered by ABCNews:

DAVENPORT, Iowa — An Iowa Christian conservative leader who bestowed his highly sought-after endorsement on presidential candidate Rick Santorum this week is now at the center of a controversy over whether he asked for cash in exchange for his public support.

Less than 48-hours after receiving the backing of Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the prominent evangelical group The Family Leader, Santorum disclosed that the prominent Iowan told him he needed money to make the most out of the endorsement.

And sources familiar with talks between the conservative heavyweight and representatives from several of the Republican presidential campaigns went a step further, describing Vander Plaats’ tactics as corrupt.

“Clearly the endorsement was for sale — without a doubt,” one source said.

Essentially the pitch that BVP apparently made to the various campaigns was in order to play his endorsement as big as possible, he was going to need some money to finance it.

BVP’s group is denying it, of course, but even Santorum admits that money was discussed in their endorsement negotiations.

I will end this post with the same comment I made at the close of my previous post on the subject:

Didn’t Sarah Palin refuse to endorse Vander Plaats last year for governor and supported Terry Branstad instead? (So did Mitt as I recall.) I’m beginning to see why.


by @ 3:30 pm. Filed under Endorsements, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin

December 20, 2011

A Puzzle

Suppose for a moment that you are a self-styled leader of the Iowan evangelical-SoCons. You see your niche fractured between three candidates, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum. You want to defeat Romney, Gingrich, and Paul. The way to do that is obviously to coalesce your forces around one of the three candidates.

Do you:

  1. Back Michele Bachmann? She won the Ames Iowa poll. She led the Iowa polling for most of the month of July. She has consistently polled in Iowa around ten percent for the last month.
  2. Back Rick Perry? He led the Iowa polling through August. He has the most monetary resources of the three, has an extensive executive track record, a great jobs record to beat Obama over the head with, and would be the most likely to give Mitt fits for weeks on end.
  3. Back Rick Santorum? He’s never caught on with the voters either in Iowa or nationally. He’s never led once, he’s only broken double digits one time all this year, and both of the other two have nearly always outpolled him.

Well, if you are Bob Vander Plaats, you go with #3. Not being content with doing that, you also call Michele Bachmann on the phone and try to convince her to drop out in favor of the man she has always lead in the polls.

From Politico:

DES MOINES – Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats called Michele Bachmann and urged her to drop out of the race and endorse Rick Santorum, a source with knowledge of the conversation told POLITICO Tuesday.

The phone call took place Saturday, three days before Vander Plaats announced he – but not his organization, the Family Leader – was backing Santorum.

Bachmann declined, the source said, noting to Vander Plaats that she has consistently polled ahead of Santorum in the race and still does.

Didn’t Sarah Palin refuse to endorse Vander Plaats last year for governor and supported Terry Branstad instead? (So did Mitt as I recall.) I’m beginning to see why.

December 7, 2011

No Palin Endorsement Before Iowa

Also, Gov. Palin encourages Mitt Romney and other candidates to reach out to the Tea Party:

Sarah Palin told Fox Business Network today that she will not be endorsing a candidate in the next few weeks.

“Not before Iowa,” Palin said, in an interview set to air at 10 p.m. EST on FBN. “And Iowa’s not the end of the road. It’s the beginning of the road really. Newt Gingrich, I believe, has risen in the polls because he has been a bit more successful than Romney in reaching out to that base of constitutional conservatives who are part of the tea party movement. He hasn’t been afraid of that movement. He has been engaged in that movement most recently in order for them to hear his solutions and there’s been some forgiveness then on the part of Tea Party Patriots for some of the things in Gingrich’s past.”

“Romney and others need to reach out and convince Tea Party Patriots and constitutional conservatives that he truly believes in smaller, smarter government,” she added.

Full story at NRO.

by @ 6:56 pm. Filed under Endorsements, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin

December 2, 2011

Palin Praises Rick Santorum

Palin on Fox News last night, from The Hill:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin praised GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum on Fox News Thursday night.

“If voters start kind of shifting gears and decided they want ideological consistency then they’re going to start paying attention to say, Rick Santorum,” Palin said in an interview with Sean Hannity.

She went on to commend his consistency on being a “hardliner against Iran to help protect Israel,” as well as sticking to his pro-life beliefs and his mantra to cut income tax.

Hannity repeatedly asked about Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the current front-runners of the Republican slate, but Palin said that the other GOP contenders are still very much in the race, specifically pointing to Santorum. She predicted that over the next few weeks, “people will start paying attention to some of these other messages from some of the other messengers like Rick Santorum.”

by @ 11:58 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin

November 15, 2011

Rumor Mill: Palin and/or Trump Endorsement Coming Tonight?

This morning, the rumor mill began working in overdrive when this listing appeared on

The wording at the end of that tease — “Palin reveals her 2012 pick On The Record” — led many to believe Palin will be endorsing a GOP candidate tonight. Others said that she was merely answering the other question in the tease: which Republican candidate has the best chance of beating Barack Obama? And still others said the answer to the two questions were one and the same.

Then this afternoon, Greta Van Susteren revealed on her own website that Donald Trump would also be a guest on tonight’s program — and she teased the show with just one simple question: “Who does Donald support for President?”

So tonight, on On The Record at 10:00 eastern, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump may or may not be endorsing somebody for the GOP nomination. My guess? Since we hadn’t heard anything about this until today, there will not end up being any endorsements offered. Plus, I can’t see either one of these celebrities announcing as big a decision as this during a 10pm time slot. This is most likely just a great way for FOX to get some publicity and get some more viewers tonight. But, I could be wrong. In this wacky primary season, crazier things have happened.

Who do they endorse tonight, if anyone? And the next question, then, is this: what are Palin and Trump’s endorsements worth?

by @ 5:51 pm. Filed under Donald Trump, Endorsements, Rumor Mill, Sarah Palin

November 2, 2011

Rumor of the Day: Sarah Palin Reconsidering Decision to Forego Presidential Race

Via Hot Air. The rumor was floated by Lee Davis during his appearance on Dr. Gina Loudon’s talk radio program today. Most of the juiciest information can be found in the second of the three audio files from Loudon’s show. In sum, the sentiment inside Palin World is that Mitt Romney is going to sail to the nomination, similar to Richard Nixon in 1968. The collapse of Perry and now Cain has left Palin World believing that the former Alaska governor could leap into the race and consolidate the RomNot vote just in time for the voting to begin in January. As such, says Davis, Palin’s inner circle has begun trying to determine whether a run is still possible given that the filing deadlines for many of the most important primary states have already passed.

Whether or not there is a single shred of truth behind this rumor I do not know. What I do suspect, though, is that we’re going to continue to hear rumors like this one throughout the next 8 or 9 months, as even when the GOP nomination is all sewn up, the spectre of a third party candidate, such as Donald Trump, will continue to loom over the Republican field. What rumors like this result from is widespread dissatisfaction with the nation’s choices for president, and the popular sentiment that especially unsettling times like these require a larger-than-life figure to emerge to lead the nation.

by @ 7:40 pm. Filed under Rumor Mill, Sarah Palin

October 25, 2011

Romney Talks “Green Jobs”

Echoing Sarah Palin’s facebook commentary the other day, Mitt Romney goes after the Obama’s record on “green jobs”, and the blatant crony capitalism it has bred (emphasis added):

First, the good news: President Barack Obama has finally created some “green jobs.” Now for the bad news: They are not in the United States, but in Finland.

The creation of environmentally friendly jobs has been at the top of Barack Obama’s policy agenda since coming into office. With the first of his now many jobs plans, the President set out to fulfill his campaign promise of spending $150 billion to create ten million green jobs. Alas, things didn’t quite worked out as planned.

First came Solyndra, the solar-panel maker backed by a major Obama campaign-funds bundler, which President Obama hailed as a “true engine of economic growth.” It turned out to be a true engine of bankruptcy. Even as the administration trumpeted its accomplishments, the firm was careening toward insolvency. Taxpayers were left holding a $500 million bill, and the firm was left facing an FBI investigation. Nonetheless, at least one Solyndra-linked fundraiser is helping to organize Tuesday’s presidential cash call in San Francisco.

Now we may be in for more of the same. The Obama administration has shoveled $1 billion out the door to two California-based electric car manufacturers. Fisker Automotive got a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy; Tesla got $465 million. President Obama has hailed such subsidies as a “historic opportunity to ensure that the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks are made in America.”


by @ 8:17 am. Filed under Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin

October 22, 2011

Palin Takes Aim at Crony Capitalism

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSarah Palin has released another Facebook editorial. Her target this time was Crony Capitalism. Entitled “American Crony Capitalism Brings Jobs to Finland”, she takes dead aim at the Obama administration’s poor record in that regard.

Yesterday, another shoe dropped in the chronicles of the Obama administration’s crony capitalism. A start-up electric car company with ties to Al Gore got a $529 million loan guarantee from Obama’s Department of Energy to build luxury electric cars…in Finland! Leaving aside the fact that to date only two of these $97,000 cars have been sold (one of them to a movie star), we might at least hope that this ridiculous exercise in the government picking winners minus any competitive, transparent process (Al Gore’s venture cap firm) and losers (the taxpayers subsidizing a car no one wants) would produce manufacturing jobs in the United States. Isn’t that the alleged purpose of Obama’s stimulus giveaways?

It’s bad enough that we borrow money from foreign countries to give to foreign countries. Now we borrow from foreign countries to finance jobs in foreign countries. (This kind of reminds me of the $2 billion assistance President Obama provided Brazil for their off-shore energy developments, while shutting down or blocking much of our own off-shore domestic drilling. He’s in favor of energy jobs in Brazil. But in America? Not so much.)

It’s a subject that is dear to her heart. It was, after all, the issue that got her elected Governor of Alaska.

A month ago, she went after Rick Perry for the same thing.

Sarah Palin took a hard swipe against her friend Rick Perry in a post-debate TV appearance, calling him out by name for “crony capitalism” for his effort to mandate an HPV vaccine for girls in Texas.

Asked by Greta Van Susteren about someone in Perry’s office going to work for a drug company that made the vaccine, Palin sought to put a finer point on it: “That someone, as Michele Bachmann pointed out, was Governor Perry’s former chief of staff.”

She went on: “That’s crony capitalism. That’s part of the problem that we have in this country is that people are afraid, even in our own party, to call one another out on that. True reform and fighting the corruption and fighting the crony capitalism is a tough thing to do within your own party. You have to go up against the big guns and they will try to destroy you when you call them out on the mistakes that they have made. Believe me, I know that, I have the bumps and bruises to prove it because that’s what I have been doing for the last 20 years … calling out the corruption in government. Michele Bachmann tried to make that point tonight and she’s going to get potentially crucified.”

Van Susteren asked another question, but Palin wasn’t done: “Let me go back to that issue with Governor Perry,” she said. She pointed out that at the time Perry was boosting the vaccine in Texas, she was opposing it in Alaska, and she thought Perry’s order was strange “because it just didn’t sound like Governor Perry,” who she thought was against big government.

“I knew even at that time something was up with that issue. And now we’re finding out, yeah, something was up with that issue,” she said.

by @ 8:59 am. Filed under Barack Obama, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin

October 13, 2011

An Interesting Question

From the Christian Scientist Monitor (emphasis added):

Watching Rick Perry’s debate performance Tuesday night, [the author] (along with many observers in the press) was struck by how itching-to-get-out-of-there uncomfortable he looked. It was like watching someone’s half-hearted attempt to engage in polite conversation at a dinner party he was only attending as a favor to his wife.

Which has led us today to this fundamental question: Does Rick Perry really want to be president? Or, more specifically, might the Texas governor regret his decision to jump into the race?

Tellingly, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered up his reasons for passing on a White House run, he said he’d tried to imagine himself in a hotel room in Des Moines “and it’s 5:30 in the morning and it’s 15 below, and it’s time for me to get up and go shake hands at the meatpacking plant.”

His point? To subject yourself to the true grind of a presidential campaign – with the loss of privacy, the discipline of having to be always on message, the tedium of giving the same speech over and over, and the out-and-out hard work required behind the scenes – you have to really, really want it.

And almost by definition, a candidate who jumps in only after some arm twisting by supporters – as Perry did and Christie did not – probably doesn’t want it that bad.

Last time around, we had Fred Thompson. There was a great clamor for him to get in the race, too, but anyone watching real close could see that his heart just wasn’t in it. So when he finally did jump in, his campaign just slowly withered on the vine.

Perry simply was not ready. Everyone convinced him that all he had to do was show up, swagger a bit, talk real big, sling a few half-truths about Mitt Romney, and the nomination was his. He was in no way ready. And it has blown up in his face. Now he’s stuck with sinking polls, $15 millions in the bank, and seemingly hating every minute of it. Now what?

We’ve had a number of candidates this time around whose supporters did everything they could to convince them to join the race, but were wise enough to know that it wasn’t for them. First, there was Mike Huckabee. He was leading the polls when he let it be known that he was not running this time. Mitch Daniels was another. And let’s not forget Haley Barbour and Jim DeMint. Both of them had supporters begging them to run. Even Jeb Bush got some action.


October 6, 2011

Jon Huntsman Wins a Poll!

In a bit of news that is sure to warm the cockles of MWS’s* heart, the word is out that Jon Huntsman has won a poll. His total more than doubles Mitt Romney score, who came in second. In fact, his score was better than the next five people combined. That is quite the decisive victory for the former Utah Governor.:

Which ONE of the following people do you think is most qualified to be president?

  • Jon Huntsman — 49
  • Mitt Romney — 22
  • Rudy Giuliani — 10
  • Ron Paul — 9
  • Chris Christie — 3
  • Newt Gingrich — 3
  • Herman Cain — 2
  • Sarah Palin — 1
  • Rick Perry — 1
  • Rick Santorum — 0
  • Michele Bachmann — 0

Where did Huntsman make his breakthrough? It was in the straw poll taken during the “Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011″ put on by the Democracy Corps/The Campaign for America’s Future people this week.


October 5, 2011

BREAKING: Palin Not Running

From ABC:

Wasilla, Alaska
After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.

My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the “fundamental transformation” of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.

From the bottom of my heart I thank those who have supported me and defended my record throughout the years, and encouraged me to run for President. Know that by working together we can bring this country back – and as I’ve always said, one doesn’t need a title to help do it.

I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for President where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen the economy and allow the private sector to create jobs.

Those will be our priorities so Americans can be confident that a smaller, smarter government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people can better serve this most exceptional nation.

In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.

Thank you again for all your support. Let’s unite to restore this country!

God bless America.

– Sarah Palin

by @ 5:19 pm. Filed under Sarah Palin

Palin Insider: Presidential Run “Still a Possibility”

ABC News has the story:

According to a source with knowledge of the inner workings of SarahPAC, inside the Palin world it’s still a possibility that she might run. However, as the deadline approaches not even her staff knows what she will decide.

ABC News has separately learned that the Palin team is well aware of the filing deadlines and are keeping abreast of the changes in the deadline. Politico reported Tuesday that a law firm that employs an attorney representing SarahPAC had been making calls to early states inquiring about presidential filing deadlines. SarahPAC would not confirm the report to ABC News. When reached by ABC News, Mark Braden—the attorney mentioned in the Politico report—would also not comment or confirm the report or that he even works with Palin.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

by @ 10:36 am. Filed under Sarah Palin

October 4, 2011

C4P: Palin Might Run Third Party

A guest editorial on C4P by Nancy Labonete:

A Third Party Run By Sarah Palin May Not Be Far-Fetched

In a blog post “Which Title Doesn’t Gov. Palin Need?” C4P’s Adrienne Ross questioned whether the title Sarah Palin was referring to was that of “President” or simply the “GOP nominee.” She then presented an interesting theory that perhaps the governor was considering a third party run? Ms. Ross’ article created as much of commenters’ reactions as the governor’s remarks. Given her prominent role in politics, her public writings on national policies heavy on details, quick missives on pertinent issues on the social media, her high-profile bus tours and speeches, a much prolonged decision-making process on whether she’d run or not may seem like a sign of hesitancy. But the possibility of an independent run does make sense and to delay the anouncement of her candidacy may simply be part of a bigger plan. Sarah Palin promised this to be a very unconventional election cycle.

Creating a third party fits that narrative.

To what end? Personally, I have too much respect for Sarah to think that she would do this. She would have to know that any third party run by her would siphon votes from the Republican nominee which would guarantee a shoe-in by Obama next year. Does she spite the Republican Party that much? I highly doubt it.

I suspect that this is a Palin supporter who is focusing more upon what they are fantasizing and wanting and less upon what Sarah really wants. Sarah Palin is her own woman, just as Chris Christie is his own man. She is not going to be buffaloed into running a race that she doesn’t want to run. If she doesn’t think she should run, she will not run.

A quick scan through the comments over at C4P shows a rough ratio of three-to-one against. Even the majority of C4Pers recognize the folly in this. Good for them.

by @ 1:05 pm. Filed under Sarah Palin

Romney Explodes on Intrade

I am normally don’t pay that much attention to Intrade. It’s interesting to be sure, but it’s barely a notch above a straw poll in my book. Nevertheless, “WOW, just Wow!”

Romney shot above 50% this morning on the news that Christie is staying out, and he is heading for 60%. As of right now here are the numbers:

  • Romney: 57.9
  • Perry: 20.1
  • Cain: 5.9
  • Palin: 3.9
  • Huntsman: 3.9
  • Paul: 2.4

Everybody else is down in the noise below 1.5%.

As always, take this with a grain of salt. There is still a lot of time between now and the first caucuses and primaries.


by @ 11:22 am. Filed under Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin

September 30, 2011


At the beginning of the month Texas Gov. Rick Perry seemed to be picking up unstoppable momentum on his way to the top of the GOP field.  But after 3 poor debate performances, serious questions over the his previous positions, and charges of crony capitalism have stalled Perry’s rise.  In some states, the governor has even seen a drop in his support, a fact best symbolized by his stunning loss in the Florida P5 straw poll.  Despite his rocky month, Gov. Perry is still on pace for a solid first quarter of fundraising and enjoys considerable strengths among evangelicals, southerners, and Tea Party supporters.

Gov. Perry’s stumbles have allowed Gov. Mitt Romney to regain the top spot in the field, a spot he seemed destined to lose just a few weeks ago.  Romney’s second run for the presidency is easily his better effort.  His team has been extremely disciplined and the candidate has performed better than he ever has in the past.  With uncertainty clouding Perry’s campaign, Romney has once again emerged as the candidate who can claim both competency and electability.  However, a tougher challenge for Romney will be the possible entry of Gov. Chris Christie into the race.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has spent much of the past year denying any interest at all in running for president.  But in the past few weeks Christie’s calculations seemed to have shifted, as scores of GOP leaders and donors have pleaded with the governor to enter the race.  After a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, during which supporters openly begged him to toss his hat in the ring, Christie appears to have reconsidered his long-standing refusal to run.  Should Christie ultimately take the plunge, he will be greeted with a ready-made campaign and a donor rolodex that has been dormant for much of the campaign cycle.  It is easy to see how Christie could become the new frontrunner, however, Romney’s organization and Perry’s evangelical strength combined with an earlier primary calender will make the governor’s path more difficult than some realize.

Sarah Palin has sent several mixed signals lately about a potential run for president.  First, her PAC sent out an email to supports suggesting they gear up for a soon-to-be-announced campaign.  Then the former governor contradicted this notion on Fox News, once again questioning whether she needs ‘a title’ to make a difference.  Palin has also stated that her previous self-imposed deadline of September 30 no longer stands, and that she could take until the end of October to make a decision.  The question becomes how much longer will her supporters tolerate being strung along month to month?

Herman Cain was seemingly near the end of his campaign when he shocked the country with a huge upset win in the Florida P5 straw poll.  Gov. Rick Perry had set his site on the straw poll and committed resources to winning it, only to be blown out by a surging Cain.  Cain has also thrilled the base with his debating style and his catchy 9-9-9 plan.  Tea Partiers dissatisfied with the crashing campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann and the still stumbling Perry seem to be shifting heavily to the Hermanator.

Ron Paul has had another solid quarter of fundraising combined with mixed debate performances.  His followers are out in force and are keeping him within the top 3 or 4 in most polls, though room for growth for Paul is difficult to see.  Gov. Jon Huntsman closed up shop in Florida and moved his floundering campaign to New Hampshire where he will stay camped out for the next several weeks in the hopes of securing a McCain-like upset.  Rick Santorum, along with Mr. Cain, is beginning to pick off supporters of the collapsing Bachmann and the stalling Perry.  He has criticized the rest of the field more forcefully and effectively in the debates than the other contenders and may find an opening in Iowa. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich continues to dazzle in debates with little to show for it.  Aside from his debate performances, Gingrich’s campaign is a flop and is already in debt.  Rep. Thaddeus McCotter was apparently also running for president, but dropped out and endorsed Mitt Romney.  Gary Johnson finally got back into the debates, but likely for the last time now that the benchmarks for qualification will begin to be harder for him to reach.

On to the rankings:

  1. Mitt Romney
  2. Rick Perry
  3. Chris Christie
  4. Herman Cain
  5. Ron Paul
  6. Sarah Palin
  7. Rick Santorum
  8. Jon Huntsman
  9. Michele Bachmann
  10. Newt Gingrich

VP Watch: 1. Marco Rubio  2. Bob McDonnell  3. Rob Portman  4. Paul Ryan  5. Susana Martinez


September 29, 2011

What if Someone Published a Sleazy Palin Book, and Nobody Bought It?

After weeks and months of advanced leaked stories and appearances on shows like “The View”, Joe McGinniss’s exposé on Sarah Palin has finally hit the bookshelves. The response has been a bit underwhelming.

According to industry sales numbers reported today from Nielsen Bookscan, the most reliable tracker for the book industry, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin” by Joe McGinniss sold a total of just 6,034 copies in the first week.

Warehouse sales were also slow for “The Rogue,” with Ingram inventory barely dropping at all the first three days this week. Independent bookstores often order from wholesalers like Ingram and chain bookstores sometimes re-order from wholesalers, so it’s a good gauge of consumer demand.

I wouldn’t mind it one bit if the publisher takes a major hit on this. These slime attacks on Sarah Palin have gone on long enough. It’s time for them to stop.


by @ 7:10 pm. Filed under Sarah Palin

Report: Palin’s Top Iowa Fundraiser Has Not Heard From Her in Weeks

The Hill has the story:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has not spoken to close allies in recent days and is set to break her own self-imposed deadline of the end of September to make a decision on a presidential run.

Becky Beach, Palin’s top fundraiser in Iowa and a close friend who is usually kept in the loop on the former governor’s plans, told The Hill that she had not heard from Palin in weeks about whether or not she would run in 2012.

“I don’t have any idea of her decision or her timing. The only thing I’ve heard her say is that the legal deadlines are the real deadlines, and I share her sentiment,” she said.

The deadline to get on the Utah primary ballot is Oct. 15, while the deadlines for many other states land on Oct. 31. In some states it can take weeks to gather petition signatures and get the paperwork ready to make sure candidates get on the ballot, meaning Palin is running out of time should she decide to run.

Be sure to read the full article here.

by @ 3:00 pm. Filed under Sarah Palin

Intrade State of the Race: Every Cowboy Sings a Sad, Sad Song Edition

We are one week removed from what will potentially go down as the worst debate performance in modern presidential history, and the Intrade investors reacted accordingly:

Name Value Change
Romney 47.5 +9.0
Perry 25.2 -10.8
Christie 5.9 +1.8
Cain 5.0 +4.8
Palin 4.0 -4.0
Huntsman 3.7 -0.8
Paul 2.2 -0.8
Bachmann 1.9 +0.4
Gingrich 1.4 +0.2
Johnson 0.5 -0.3
Santorum 0.5 +0.2
Roemer 0.1 E

Only candidates who have announced an official candidacy or who have greater than a 3% chance at the nomination are included.

As more polls are released showing Mitt Romney retaking the lead from Rick Perry, I would expect the gap between the two to widen further. A note of caution for Romney fans, however: Rick Perry is not going to just disappear from this race. He still remains strong in the south, his key and natural constituency, and he is for all intents and purposes the only candidate who can to raise enough money to compete with Romney. The question is what he can do to regain the immense amount of momentum he lost from his three debate debacles and two straw poll losses. (Perhaps an announcement of endorsements from Giuliani and Palin would provide the necessary spark…)

The investors are hedging their bets on Sarah Palin after her “Would a title be too shackle-ly?” shtick, but at the same time they are hanging on to Chris Christie for dear life – despite a dozen vehement refusals to get in the race from his spokesman, from his brother, and from Christie himself. Eventually folks will work through their denial and move toward acceptance. Heh.

The person I’d watch right now? Actually, it would be Jon Huntsman. He’s into double digits in New Hampshire while playing a McCain 2008 strategy; meanwhile, he is up to 4% in the most recent national poll as well. If he surprises with a strong second place showing in New Hampshire, he may be able to parlay that into a strong showing in South Carolina as well, given his endorsements from some key figures in the state.

by @ 9:32 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Chris Christie, Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin

September 28, 2011

Palin’s Latest Essay

Sarah Palin has an excellent essay on her facebook page. Here are some excerpts:

On Monday, during a fundraiser in California, President Obama declared that Europe’s debt problems and their inability to solve them was “scaring the world.” He went on to explain that Europeans “have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with the challenges that their banking system faced” and that “they’re trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven’t been quite as quick as they need to be.”

One German newspaper denounced the President’s comments as “overbearing, arrogant, and absurd.” Another wrote: “The gloomy state of the economy is putting a damper on Obama’s future prospects. The optimism of the past is gone, replaced by a cheap search for a scapegoat.” And still another wrote: “That’s not how friends talk to each other. That applies particularly to friends who have themselves failed to get a handle on their own, self-made crisis.”

Can we blame them for feeling this way? Keep in mind this was a President who was supposed to make the rest of the world “like” us again.

This is what happens when we have a leader of the free world that refuses to lead. We get a big stinking mess both domestically and internationally. But oh, did he send a tingle up Chris Matthews’ leg. And one “conservative” pundit was blown away by the sharp crease in Obama’s trousers. He just knew he was in the presence of greatness.

January 20th, 2013 can’t come soon enough.

by @ 11:08 pm. Filed under Barack Obama, Sarah Palin

The Hap Shaughnessy of American Politics

My favorite character from the old Red Green Show was Hap Shaughnessy. Whenever he appeared, he would regale us with wild stories full of totally outrageous claims. What made it even funnier is that he would tell them with a completely straight face. Everyone around him knew he was lying through his teeth, yet it never seemed to phase him. It was hilarious.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the character, here is one example:


Since Rick Perry entered the race, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what his style of bombastic bluster reminded me of. His rhetoric is often way over the top, yet he continues to show a surprising lack of intellectual curiosity. It really shows itself during interviews and debates when he has to go off script and talk of things beyond his memorized sound bites.

Rick is quite good at pointing out problems. He’s a past master of criticizing others. Yet he never seems to offer anything really new or make any detailed suggestions on how to get us  out of this mess beyond a handful of conservative platitudes.There is nothing concrete that shows he is thinking deeply about anything beyond trying to win the Presidency.

By way of contrast Romney, Cain, and Huntsman have all published detailed policy analyses that are available for close scrutiny. You might not agree with them, but they are out there. You can know exactly where they stand on these issues.

Even Sarah Palin has gotten in on the act. She writes out long, detailed facebook essays showing that she is thinking carefully about the problems America is facing.

But out of Perry, nothing. We only get Hap Shaughnessy-like over-the-top bluster and bombast that nobody really believes anymore. If the man doesn’t get his act together soon, his campaign will be all over but the shouting.

by @ 2:26 pm. Filed under Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin

Palin Backing Out Slowly?

Here is Sarah Palin last night on Greta:


She was trying to explain that one can accomplish so much more without the confines of an office to hold her.

Quoting from the National Journal:

Acknowledging that “decisions have to be made” quickly, Sarah Palin on Tuesday laid out a case for not running for president in 2012.

Appearing on Fox News’ On the Record, a favorite venue, Palin appeared to be talking herself out of the race in an interview with host Greta Van Susteren.

“Is a campaign too shackling?” she mused. As the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, Palin said she felt encumbered by “handlers.” Running for office “prohibits the freedom one needs to really make a difference,” said the self-described “rogue” politician.

Added Palin: “You don’t need a title to make a difference.”

I predicted clear back in July of 2009 shortly after she had resigned as Governor of Alaska that Sarah was through with elective office, that she loved the freedom of going wherever she wanted and saying whatever she liked without having to worry about the constraints being Governor or President places upon you. It looks like I might have called that one right.


by @ 8:24 am. Filed under Sarah Palin

September 26, 2011

Poll Analysis: First Major Horserace Poll Post Debate

From CNN:

(Sep. 23-25) (Sep. 9-11) (Aug. 24-25) (Aug 5-7) (July 18-20)
Perry 28% 30% 30% 16% 15%
Romney 21% 18% 17% 19% 19%
Gingrich 10% 5% 6% 6% 4%
Cain 7% 5% 3% 4% 6%
Palin 7% 15% 12% 16% 15%
Paul 7% 12% 6% 12% 10%
Bachmann 4% 4% 10% 7% 12%
Santorum 3% 2% 1% 2% 2%
Huntsman 1% 2% 1% 5% 1%
Someone else 3% 2% 6% 6% 5%
None/ No one 4% 4% 6% 5% 9%
No opinion 2% 2% 2% 2% 2%

From 447 Adult Republicans MOE: +/- 4.5

From this poll, it would appear that Perry’s last debate performance was not the killer that everyone assumed. He only fell back two points. Romney only gained three points. That’s only a net gain for Romney of a measly five points. That is hardly earth shattering. Cain, the one that everyone has been buzzing about all weekend only gained two points and remains in mid-single digits.

Palin dropped more than half her support from the last poll. Paul dropped nearly as much. Huntsman is still down in the noise.

The best result has to be for Newt Gingrich who doubled his support to 10%. That is two and a half times the points pickup that Cain had.

The Turn-Around Kid?

As the presidential debate season continues, it is becoming clearer that Governor Rick Perry’s sudden rise in the polls after the Iowa Straw Poll has been a “bubble.” Once again, former Governor Mitt Romney seems about to take the lead in the polls, even as he already leads in many vital state polls. More importantly, he has seemed strong in the debate confrontations with Mr. Perry, and maintained the stage presence of someone in charge. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who herself enjoyed a brief “bubble” rise in the polls lading up to her win of the Iowa Straw Poll, has faded not only in public opinion surveys, but in the public policy arena as well. The departure of Ed Rollins from an active role in her campaign was an ominous sign.

The debates have also produced two other winners. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich continues to be the most impressive GOP debater, producing some of the warmest and most positive responses from debate live audiences. His reputation as the brightest candidate has been reinforced, but his desire to be “the comeback kid of 2012? is hindered by earlier campaign mistakes, weak campaign funding, and a bias (unfounded) that he is either too old or a figure from the past. Herman Cain has injected a vivid personality into the debates, and his business experience has enabled him to make many cogent comments that do not have the usual “political” veneer. But Mr. Cain has a small campaign organization and little money to transform his positive debate persona into a major candidacy.

One more time, we hear rumors of former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska or current Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey entering the contest, but it is late in the game. It might be possible, as I have suggested, for Mr. Christie to become a force in the campaign, provided he had the campaign funds and the time to spend introducing himself to voters nationally, but time is running out as we approach the Iowa caucus early next year, and the end of the most important part of the debate season.

This leaves us with the perception that Mr. Romney is beginning to pull away for the nomination. Of course, until we have actual voter results in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida, any judgment remains speculative. But the fact remains that Mr. Romney has so far seemed to run an almost flawless early campaign. Even in 2008, when he was the runner-up to John McCain, Mr. Romney looked the part, but now in 2011, he more and more sounds the part. He has handled the challenges of Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Perry with self-confidence and aplomb. He is very well-funded, and so far is easily winning the contest of endorsements from Republican officials across the nation. His rivals, when they challenged him in the debates, have found him to be a quick and tough opponent.

So what are the Mr Romney’s real drawbacks at the stage of the nominating campaign? They appear to be the same drawbacks that plagued him in 2008, and at the outset of the 2012 campaign. His seemingly more moderate record as governor of Massachusetts has not excited the increasingly conservative (and Tea Party) Republican base. But that base produced the Bachmann and Perry “bubbles,” and most Republicans of all political stripes seem to place the highest priority in defeating President Obama’s re-election. Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion has often been cited as a political problem, especially in the South, but again, most conservatives are unlikely to vote for Mr. Obama over Mr. Romney. Then there is danger that if Mr. Romney were nominated, a third party conservative would run and dilute his vote. The dilution, in that case, might happen, but the result would be the re-election of Barack Obama, a result few if any conservatives want. Finally, some consider Mr. Romney’s long business experience to be primarily limited to “turnaround ” situations, and not to the general management of government.

This latter criticism could be, however, Mr. Romney’ greatest strength. As the United States economy continue to sink, as unemployment remains high and chronic, as American power and influence continues to wane around the world, it might seem that a “turn-around” expert is just what the country needs.

In January, 1992, Governor Bill Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination seemed stalled. He had been the frontrunner, but many in his party thought he had too many political drawbacks to successfully challenge incumbent President George H.W. Bush. After the New Hampshire primary, however, Mr. Clinton asserted he was the “comeback kid,” and the rest in history.

If indeed Mr. Romney holds off the challenge of Mr. Perry, after doing the same to Mrs. Bachmann’s challenge, he would have made his own comeback. Much would take place between then and election day, and anything can happen, but as matters are going now, there may be a powerful appeal that could be made for a leader in 2012 who would turn America’s problems around.


-Please visit Mr. Casselman’s personal site, The Prairie Editor Blog.

September 25, 2011

Herman Cain’s Moment

The results from Presidency 5 have shocked the political world. Businessman Herman Cain, who was once thought to be on the verge of dropping out of the race, roared back to life with his victory in Orlando. This win will help propel Cain back into the Republican consciousness. And it couldn’t come at a better time for him.

Rick Perry’s recent troubles have been discussed long and often here so I won’t go into them again but suffice to say, it’s been a rough time for the Texas Governor. Conservatives have started to feel that Perry that he’s not the White Knight that they wanted. However, the other candidate thought to be challenging Perry for the right, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, has seen her campaign collapse. Ever since Perry jumped into the race, Bachmann has struggled to regain her momentum. Her flop over the vaccine issue, her lackluster debate performances and her last place showing at the Presidency 5 Straw Poll all appear to show a campaign that is nearing the end of the line.

Which brings us back to Herman Cain. The defeat of Perry and the collapse of Bachmann are creating an opening on the right of the GOP. Conservative unease with Perry and Bachmann is causing many conservative and Tea Party Republicans to look for an alternative. Cain’s oratorical skills, his 9-9-9 plan, and even his lack of a record to attack are making him an appealing choice for many Republicans. To those who dismiss the thought of Cain making an impact in the race, remember that the GOP does have a spot in its heart for non-elected outsiders, and they can become serious, strong contenders (see Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes).

As we wait to see if the last two undecided holdouts of Christie and Palin to make their choice, there is a festering unease on the right. Dissatisfaction with Perry, distrust of Romney, and Bachmann’s fading effort have left an opening for one of the lower-tier candidates to step up and become the anti-Perry, anti-Romney candidate. And if he seizes the opportunity that Florida has provided him, it might be Herman Cain.

September 23, 2011

White Knight Watch

With Gov. Rick Perry’s seeming implosion at last night’s debate, conservatives who desire a Republican nominee not named Mitt Romney seem to be hurting for viable options. To be sure, there are plenty of candidates other than Romney or Perry that remain in the race, but each of these candidates has already been written off by the conventional wisdom as a lower-tier selection that stands no chance of winning the nomination. The best possible outcome for a candidate like, say, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum, is that each will receive a fraction of the Anybody-but-Mitt crowd as it begins to abandon Perry, which will only serve to divide Perry’s supporters so many ways that they cease to be relevant, ensuring an easy Romney nomination. As such, Republicans opposed to Romney as their nominee either need to start practicing saying, “President Mitt,” or need to coax into the race one of the remaining white knights who could consolidate a plurality of Republicans behind his or her fledgling candidacy and snag the nomination.

With the filing deadline for the pivotal Florida primary set for October 31st, any potential white knights must make their intentions known by Halloween should they have any realistic hope of winning the nomination. That means that Gov. Sarah Palin’s recent suggestion that she could put off a decision until as late as November is simply unrealistic, as no Republican presidential candidate is going to win the nomination while skipping Florida. Gov. Palin, to be sure, is one of the few candidates remaining who could qualify as a white knight. Gov. Perry’s collapse would make Gov. Palin the instant Tea Party candidate should she enter the race. And like Ron Paul, Gov. Palin has at her fingertips a grassroots fan base that could quickly and easily be transformed into an army of small donors and volunteers should the ‘Cuda decide to make a late entry into the race.

Another candidate who seems to be unable to escape everyone’s radar is Gov. Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor continues to deny any intention to run, even as establishment wonks and Bush family emissaries attempt to push the larger-than-life Garden State executive into the race. Given the Bush family’s interest in a Christie run, as demonstrated by Michael Gerson’s support for Christie in recent weeks, Christie would likely find himself with an insta-campaign at his fingertips. If Christie entered, he would essentially have the entire “Galactic Empire” of Bushie donors, volunteers, endorsements, and supporters at his command. That reality, combined with Christie’s combative, brusque nature, which is pitch-perfect for an angst-driven election cycle like this one, make Christie a real threat to Mitt Romney and pretty much every other candidate who hopes to win the GOP nomination next year.

If Christie doesn’t run, and if the Bushes continue to fear that their position as the Corleone family of the party is under seige, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may decide to take the plunge. Jeb would likely enter with the same party machinery behind him as would Christie, though he’d have to work hard to shake off the legacy of his brother, who is still viewed suspiciously by the GOP base and by the nation. Jeb is unlikely to run and would probably only enter the field if Gov. Perry somehow makes a comeback, given that, of the potential nominees for president, only a Perry nomination would truly threaten the Bushes’ places at the table.

Finally, there’s always the chance that Rudy Giuliani may decide to make once last try for the nomination. Watching Rudy plop down in New Hampshire and run unapologetically as himself would be interesting if nothing else. But the hurdles are high for Mayor Giuliani after blowing what was essentially his position as frontrunner during the last presidential race.

Ultimately, though, it’s entirely possible that the field is set, and that Mitt Romney will soon establish himself as the probable nominee. We’ll know in a few short weeks whether to expect any further entries to a race that is beginning to look like Romney’s to lose.

by @ 5:40 pm. Filed under Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin

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