Ron Paul can upset Newt but what about the Iowa Caucus?


It only takes one click to “get the picture” of the current state of Rick Perry’s presidential campaign: www.RickPerry.com. Yep, its that bad. Even his own state’s Republican Congressional delegation have failed to endorse him.

On the other hand there’s the owner of Rick Perry.com who happens to be another politician from Texas with the initials RP.  Looking at the latest polling its very possible Ron Paul could upset the Iowa Caucus. Unlike Newt he has a ground game of enthusiastic supporters.  He has thus so far also avoided the rise and fall of the other candidates and surely in no small part because the mainstream media has largely ignored him as a legitimate candidate.

Still a long shot I don’t expect Ron Paul to win the nomination but by the end of the Republican nominating process I think we will see a large opening for a 3rd party candidate in the general election.  Ron Paul hasn’t ruled out the possibility of being that person and neither has Donald Trump (fingers crossed).  One thing is certain- Ron Paul he is always on message and in this case that’s not good for Newt.

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Herman Cain: Teflon Pizza Don or Mr. Magoo of GOP

I have been wanting to move past “politics of the day” to discuss what I think are more relevant issues in the bigger picture but I continue to be fascinated by Herman Cain and what his story means to the 2012 race.

The more media declares his candidacy over the better he does with the Republican base. Fox News and other establishment conservatives have come to his defense in light of sexual harassment allegations and joined his refrain of a “high-tech” lynching. They are comparing his case to Clarence Thomas and contrasting him with Bill Clinton but there is no evidence yet that this was leaked by Democratic opposition  research.

I would think the media would be tired of ‘misunderestimating’ Herman Cain and give him a little credit even his fortunes seemed to be guided by some strange Mr. Magoo-like quality. The same day headlines were supposed to derail his campaign he posted the best fundraising day so far. In addition Gallup published this poll that shows Cain as the only candidate to increase his favorability rating. Will the media learn its lesson or can Cain continue to defy the odds?

There have been major developments this week since I published this. Rick Perry has been accused by the Cain campaign of leaking sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain.

And this video masterpiece..well maybe not masterpiece but I made it before Cain actually accused Perry:

 

Herman Cain Denies Sexual Harassment but can he Dodge the Character Assassination attempt?

Herman Cain has had a long week of plateauing and catching strange looks for his recent campaign ads, but the latest news of possible sexual harassment hush money will be a true test of his campaign’s Teflon coating. I wondered how long it would take for the media, who have been infatuated with the “unexplained” rise of Herman Cain, to finally go after him personally. Some on the left have tried to marginalize him recently by painting him as some kind of Uncle Tom that the Republican Party can get behind, but that would tend to help him in the primary.

Politico reports of the pizza don:

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

These are serious allegations and even if untrue must be immediately addressed properly by his campaign. Originally, the campaigned tried to discredit the accusations but when further pressed they released this statement to the AP fully denying the reports.  Spokesperson JD Gordon tried his best to characterize the story as a just an attack on a successful candidate and even at one point said, “this is just an example of ‘inside the beltway’ media attacks”.  Well, that may be so but even for something that supposedly took place over a decade ago this has campaign ending consequences. So far everything the media has thrown at Herman Cain has had a near oposite effect. Only time will tell if this shakes down like Clarence Thomas or blows up like John Edwards but either way this certainly brings new meaning to an earlier accusation of his “fly by the seat of his pants” campaign.

 

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/67194.html#ixzz1cLBB8xd0

 

Stars and Bars and Battle-scars

It has already been widely reported, but Rick Perry has come out against the Confederate battle flag being placed on Texas license plates stating, “We don’t need to be opening up old wounds.” This is a departure from an earlier statement released by his staff that indicated, “The governor believes this is a decision for the board,” -referring to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Progress Texas has been pushing this issue for months and just last week 19 state Reps. (all Democrat, mostly minority) in Texas signed a petition urging the DMV not to approve the issuance of the specialty plates.

According to Sons of Confederate Veterans the DMV would raise money from the sale of the vanity plates to “educate the public” and create monuments to rebel soldiers. In most cases and in terms of freedom of speech I prefer to know where people stand. If you are willing to proudly display a “battle flag” buy a bumper sticker or where a ball cap. But, our state government which recognizes the legitimacy of the federal government should not be used to support a movement that sought to dismantle it. With immigration issues taking front stage this election its hard to imagine a worse idea, but that whole states rights thing is still as popular as ever right now.

I just had to throw this picture in to the left. This is my friend who posted this on facebook and I thought it was perfect.

Why Herman Cain may be Able even without money

Herman Cain was right when he said Black Walnut is “not the flavor of the week.” In fact everytime Republican primary voters get a taste they come back for more. For the political junkie who is used to watching the Republican party consistantly nominate the establishment candidate there are some very interesting dynamics going on here.

Almost from the get-go Herman Cain was written off as non-contender for the Republican nomination. He was seen as a bit of a novelty and his unthreatening nature to the traditional nomination process earned him kudos from the field for his private-sector experience and his audacity to present an actual plan. The conventional wisdom is that Herman Cain has no money, therefore, has no real chance to compete through the primary season, and I disagree. Having served as a county-wide elections administrator and executive director of a county party I understand the importance of campaign infrastructure. But, in a year of disdain for bailed out banks, corporate and lobby influence on our political system and incumbant politicians it should be no surprise that voters are not looking for the guy who can buy the nomination. Pundits seem oblivious to this possibility, consistently referring to his lack of funds and campaign staff. Even as Cain surges the conventional wisdom continues to be Romney is the man to beat and Perry is his greatest challenge.  The money contest may come down to these two, but Romney’s numbers have been stagnent in the low 20s and Rick Perry has actually lost support in each successive poll.

In an earlier post I suggested that Cain reverse his harsh rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement and adopt a more broad populist approach.  My thoughts were that both OWS and Herman Cain represent the “little guy” or the outsider trying to make an impact against the backdrop of the establishment. At the same time the Tea Party, of which a plurality supports Cain, is trying its darnedest to distance itself from OWS even on the most basic of princliples.  Even still, I find it difficult to believe that the Tea Party supports such statements as, “If you are not rich don’t blame Wall Street, blame yourself”.

At this point when only 3 candidates managing to garner double digit support the field is technically crowded, especially on stage during debates. Even while pundits watch Newt pick up steam from way behind with little money, they all seem to be anticipating the moment when polled voters share their sentiments on Herman Cain. I for one, judging by Cain’s bold naivety of his place in this race do not expect him to pull out until he has actually lost. Its hard to believe this will be an election about cash on hand when an “unpopular president” is expected to raise close to a billion dollars this cycle. If Cain is in fact serious he should be more concerned about how he matches up against Obama and what he must do to increase his mass appeal to general election voters. I have stated before his ability to be dismissive of criticism and stand with his ideas brings a certain charm but the longer this process wears the more groups of supporters will be in the cross hairs of his defense mechanism and his unwillingness to compromise, apologize or meter his tone will likely be the downfall of his candidacy.  There is a fine line between not appearing as a wobbly-kneed politician, which helps him, and seeming unpresidential. Republican primary voters may disagree but I can’t help but think the following ad crosses that line.

And, speaking of lines, isn’t “I am America” Stephen Colbert’s?

Rush Limbaugh said it first.

I could not help but comment on the above headline. It was displayed prominently by Drudge post-debate. What’s interesting is earlier in the day on his radio program Rush Limbaugh  said, “So their objective at CNN is going to be to make every one of these people look like an absolute wacko nutcase fruitcake.”

So Anderson Cooper will be blamed for the “catty” behavior between the candidates. Romney and Santorum got into a shouting match early in the debate and Romney again with Perry on immigration that actually led to him putting his hand on Perry’s shoulder.

Recap of the debate performance:

Mitt Romney –This is still Romney’s to lose and he will probably not see much of a bump from this debate. Republican primary voters know Mitt Romney and right they are “still in the market”. It will be interesting to see what happens when the field starts to thin out. Only then will be know how weak he really is. From the left-leaning room I watch the debate in, it didn’t seem like the wanted Romney to make it to the general election.

Rick Perry – Oh Brother First. he needs to stop referring to Herman Cain as “Brother” which he did twice during the debate. He also attempted to make Romney his target but Mitt was prepared and shot back every time with specific policy results of Perry as Governor. The debate was tough on Perry he needs to go after Obama directly so he can draw that “bright contrast” he mentioned. He must also expand his plan for jobs beyond the energy and oil industry. Even if this is ok in  a Republican primary it doesn’t help his perception as an oil and gas man from Texas.

Herman Cain-Apples and Oranges He is a branding machine, everything that comes out of his mouth sounds like a slogan and so “matter of fact”. Its great to keep it simple but if he wants to be taken seriously Cain needs to be more receptive to criticism. Everyone he disagrees with is not “wrong”. It may work as a CEO but being President will require working well with others.

Newt Gingrich – “Adult in the room”- At least thats what I think his message is. He is trying to play the role of the uniter. I haven’t heard him attack anyone else on stage and that makes me believe he may ne vying for the VP slot.

Michele Bachmann – She has failed to define her role in these debates. She gets a good oneliner per show but its not what she needs to turn her campaign around. She hasn’t raised the money she needs to remain competitive but she may still be banking on Iowa even while her numbers have slipped there since she won the Ames straw poll.

Ron Paul- Same as he ever was Ron Paul is without a doubt the most consistant candidate and regularly draws the most applause. He gets the most donations from service men and woman but dropped a bomb when he said our aid to Israel hurts them and makes them “dependent”.

Rick Santorum-  In the Bachmann camp, he is basically irrelevant at this point. The field is split too many ways for him to get the support he needs unless there were fewer candidates but I don’t think his funds will last that long.

I look forward to the next debate and hope it includes less familiar faces.

Anita Perry: Window to Camp Perry?

Anita Perry could give strong insight into the unpreparedness of Rick Perry’s Presidential campaign.  Recently she spoke in South Carolina in an emotional monologue about the relationship with her husband, their life in small town Texas and answering God’s call to run for President.

She expressed her dismay of the attacks by the media and his GOP rivals on her husband. Her honesty revealed the degree to which it was unexpected. This could be endemic to the Perry campaign. It follows the narrative that Rick Perry was not fully primed for the national stage.

It’s been a rough month. We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today. We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party. So much of that is, I think, they look at him because of his faith. He is the only true conservative – well, there are some true conservatives. And they’re there for good reasons. And they may feel like God called them too. But I truly feel like we are here for that purpose.

More than 70% of Americans identify as Christian and that includes his rivals for President but there is serious risk as the nominee if he is viewed as basing his tough decisions on messages from God.  She insisted that he would have never written “FED Up” if he planned on running for President but that, “he truly felt like he was called to do this”.

Typically spouses are left to their privacy until they start speaking out in public. In most cases its better that they don’t given the emotional and personal nature of politics. Just ask Carl Lewis.

Video of Anita Perry’s entire monologue.

Herman Cain: Cracking the Black Walnut

The takeaway:  Voters are expressing what they want in a candidate more than their actual support for Herman Cain or his 9-9-9 plan.

Talk to a political hack and he is likely to tell you Herman Cain is not a ‘serious’ candidate. Poll Republican primary voters and you get a different answer. Pundits and even the other candidates have overlooked and possibly “mis-underestimated” Herman Cain. His own campaign manager admitted he had a very small window to win the nomination. So how does any of this make since? I have a theory, and if it turns out correct it’ll be dubbed “The Cain Effect”.

Republican primary voters have gotten to know Mitt Romney since he first announced his candidacy back in February of 2007. He’s the guy the parents like because he has all the qualifications but the lady just isn’t in love. He is in a since the back up plan, and just can’t quite get voters to “put a ring on it”. This is where flirts with Christie and flings with Perry, Bachmann, and now Cain come in.

How Herman Cain is Different and Why He is Surging and What could Stop Him

He is not a politician. Herman Cain, unlike the aforementioned has never held public office. Rick Perry’s bonafides come from his tenure as Texas’ longest serving Governor and all other “major” candidates are also current or past office holders.

The “not a real candidate” factor. If Republican primary voters are going to dump Mitt Romney it will be for “the one”. A ‘1st tier’ candidate that will at least narrow the field to two.  After Rick Perry failed to meet that expectation voters chose the only real outsider. Its also impossible to over estimate the benefit Cain receives from being attacked by the mainstream media. This is key to his surging. Voters are expressing what they want in a candidate more than their actual support for Herman Cain or his 9-9-9 plan.  Halley Barbour used this anecdote:

One of my sons, I have grown children, you know, from the first day said ‘Dad, do you know Herman Cain?’ I said sure, I’ve known him since I was Chairman. He said ‘Man, I like him, I like what he says,’ and that is one of his great strengths Laura…He’s a straight talker and I think that makes him very, very attractive to people.

Yes, Ron Paul muttered, “Spoken like a true insider” referring to Cain’s time as Federal Reserve Chairman in Kansas City but for his best efforts Ron Paul still carries far too much political baggage himself. Whether its Godfather’s Pizza or the 9-9-9 plan Herman Cain is about building a brand. In his 2000 presidential bid Cain said,

George W. Bush was the chosen one. He had the campaign DNA that followers look for…I believe that I had a better message and I believe that I was the better messenger.

Precisely. People bought Barack Obama in 2008, not the Democratic Party and right now people are buying “Black Walnut” not and not necessarily Herman Cain.

Straight talk. People like a straight talking guy. Thats why they liked Reagan, George W. Bush, and why they were supposed to like Rick Perry but Herman Cain takes his straight to the edge. It can be amusing like when he told Ron Paul, “You’ve gotta be careful of the stuff you get off the Internet.” or questionable when in the same debate he said, “The problem with your analysis is that it is incorrect,” referring to Bloomberg’s assessment of his 9-9-9 tax plan. His ability to be dismissive of criticism and stand with his ideas brings a certain charm but the longer this process wears the more groups of supporters he will be in the cross hairs of his defense mechanism. Now that he is beginning to be taken seriously he should be prepared to answer tough questions about his past statements. There will be many since he has had his own radio program, syndicated column and written multiple books and with phrases like, “I don’t have the facts to back this up” he better be more careful in what he says, less someone take him serious.

Rick Perry …Not in Texas Anymore

If Rick Perry wants to separate himself from the field and make this a two-man race, his window is closing. He brilliantly crafted the timing of his entry to maximize his own buzz against the “weak” front-runner status of Romney but since stumbling out of the blocks his campaign has been in free fall.

The same scenario that has made him the state’s longest Governor has left him woefully unprepared for the national stage.  Virtually no competition, little media scrutiny and even less high-profile opposition. Even in his most recent primary challenge he was not attacked from the right. This has proven to be the soft underbelly of the man who has to this day never lost an election where his name appeared on the ballot. His policies on immigration regarding in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and his prior support for HPV vaccinations of minor girls have made him a target of the tea party, a group he has been credited with championing early on.

Money will always play a big factor and Perry has demonstrated the ability to raise it. In his 3 elections for Governor Perry has raised over $100 million. On the flip side for his presidential bid he has only raised about $18 million. This is enough to put him just behind Mitt Romney but as Michele Bachmann would say, “the devil is in the details”, as 49% of that also came from Texas.  This reveals serious confidence issues outside the Lone Star State within Republican donors.

Perry is a fighter and he is not out of this one completely. He has funds to out last much of the field, however, time is money and the clock is ticking. The question remains if Perry can struggle through the intense debate schedule that has the candidates meeting almost once every 2 weeks until the February and March primaries. His tough campaign style and knack for retail politics works well in TV ads and Republican pep rallies but when he’s face to face against a formidable opponent his weaknesses become apparent. He needs an economic plan soon or he will be permanently sidelined with other “2nd tier” candidates. He must broaden his working knowledge of the greater American economy beyond the energy industry. His latest effort has been criticized as “over-coached” a symptom of his efforts to overcome critiques of prior debate performances as “unprepared”. He lacked the confident air of a states rights Governor championing the 10th amendment, who believed he truly had “the best job in the world”.

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