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Cain Train Runs Off The Tracks, Is Anyone Surprised?

3:21 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Well there you have it the Herman Cain debacle is now officially semi-complete . But in reality Cain’s hopes to be president are now thoroughly at an end, campaign spin notwithstanding. “Herman Cain Suspending 2012 Campaign For President”;http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/03/herman-cain-suspending-presidential-campaign_n_1126331.html To wit: “Herman Cain announced on Saturday that he is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The news comes in the wake of Cain being accused of having an extramarital affair and sexual harassment charges from more than a decade ago resurfacing.”
 
Now I am wondering how soon it will be before my good friends on the far right trot out that old canard that Cain was undone by the “progressives” who perpetrated a campaign of ”falsehoods” against him. Now really, are the “progressives” that powerful that they can knock off conservative candidates at will? Hardly, because as we all know the guy who killed Cain’s chances is none other than Cain himself. Has anyone who has been supporting Cain asked themselves this question: If Cain were truly without guilt wouldn’t he have stood up to his accusers and called them out to prove their accusations? He wouldn’t be walking away from the 2012 race as easily as this if he knew in his heart of hearts that he was right and his accusers were wrong and that he could prove it, not with all that’s at stake he wouldn’t. If these accusations were truly false the accusers wouldn’t have had a chance of success at prevailing over Cain in the scrutiny that they would receive in trying to substantiate their claims. Cain would have known of their weakness and thus would have prevailed in a showdown over who was in fact telling the truth. The fact that he is bowing out is proof positive, to my mind, that at least one of these women, Ginger White, does in fact have the goods on him and Cain knows it. If its anything other than the aforementioned and Cain knows he’s right but is just too tired of all of the media attention he’s been receiving then he is in fact unfit to be president in the first place. How could he stand up to the threat of a collapsed economy or nuclear war if he can’t stand up to a media that’s got its story wrong and he himself knows that it is he, Herman Cain who is right?   
 
As one political commentator said on Friday night talk radio, the fact that this has happened to Cain shows either a gross underestimation of what kind of scrutiny he would be subject to in the race for president or a naive assumption that his persona and ego could prevail over accusations of sexual harassment and infidelity. Whether or not its the former or the latter matters not, both show the public how patently unqualified Cain was to be president in the first place based on his fundamental errors in judgment as to how his personal life would affect his race for the White House. In the best of light Herman Cain can be sympathetically seen as the accidental candidate for president in 2012, almost as a farcical figure. In the worst of light Cain can be seen as an egotist undone by the hubris of his own life. In either case this is not the sort of person that this country needs in the White house no matter what the overall state of the American union.
 
SJG
12/3/11

6:35 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

William Kristol, editor of the neoconservative organ, The Weekly Standard, recently bemoaned the performance of conservative candidates during the last Republican presidential debate. He claims to be saying out loud what he implies is a widespread but as of yet unarticulated feeling among conservatives, that the 2012 field of Republican contenders is lackluster at best and wholly unsuited to defeating Obama at the very worst. Quoting Kristol: “But no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry. It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him. And Mitt Romney remains, when all is said and done, a technocratic management consultant whose one term as governor produced Romneycare. He could rise to the occasion as president. Or not…none of the candidates really seemed up to the moment, either politically or substantively. In the midst of a crisis, we’re getting politics as usual-and a somewhat subpar version of politics as usual at that.” Kristol went on to lament the fact that neither Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan or Chris Christie would “step up” and enter the fray a development that he feels may assure the reelection of Barack Obama. Moreover Kristol said that seventy percent of the Republican activists attending the September 22nd event in Orlando cast a vote of no confidence in the two front runners.

To what extent is Kristol correct on the current state of affairs within the G.O.P. and to what extent is this merely the griping of a man so thoroughly tied to the fading neoconservative wing of the Republican Party that he can take no other position. Is Kristol’s lamentation representative of others within the conservative ranks who just can’t abide candidates that won’t advocate an aggressive American foreign policy including military intervention? As you know it was the Neoconservatives who took the reality of American exceptionalism and married it to the idea that this country should use its military might to effect regime change around the world. It was the NeoCons within the first Bush administration who prodded the president to war with Iraq, a misadventure that is now widely regarded as one of this country’s most profound foreign policy mistakes. Are William Kristol and his fellow neoconservatives simply men out step with the times or are they really onto something with regard to the quality of the Republican presidential contenders for 2012 or could they be both at the same time?

For starters, the mood in the country has emphatically moved away from military involvement abroad. Polling results show that from mid to late 2010, majorities of respondents have favored withdrawal from the conflict in Afghanistan and have said that the U.S. should no longer be involved there. Likewise polling results show similar findings regarding the War in Iraq except that the opposition to American involvement goes back over a much longer period of time. The results are somewhat different for the situation in Libya which may be affected by the fact that there are no large troop deployments presently there on the ground and thus no nightly casualty count. Beyond the sentiment of public opinion there is the plain and painful fact that military operations abroad are now constrained by fiscal problems at home. It has become increasingly hard to justify large scale military operations overseas when we are faced with crumbling infrastructure and high unemployment here in the United States. A recent conference of U.S. mayors made the case that money spent in Southwest Asia would be better spent in American cities. In his critique of the Republican field, Kristol over emphasizes foreign military factors and underplays the economic problems presently in existence on the home front. He also ignored the fact that the newly changed landscape of American political economy is simply not a favorable environment within which Neoconservative ideas can be sustained. For America in 2011 the current age of expeditionary warfare is coming to a close and the Neoconservatives like William Kristol are being left on the sidelines.

SJG
9/28/11

Sources:

Special Editorial: Yikes; http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/special-editorial-yikes_594095.html

A No Confidence Vote in Orlando; http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/no-confidence-vote-orlando_594181.html

PollingReport.com – Afghanistan; http://www.pollingreport.com/afghan.htm

PollingReport.com – Iraq; http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

PollingReport.com – Libya; http://www.pollingreport.com/libya.htm

Bachmann in Damage Control Mode Once Again?

7:44 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

This evening CNN announced in a “breaking news” announcement that there was yet another shake up in Michelle Bachmann’s presidential campaign. This time Bachmann’s campaign manager Ed Rollins said that he was stepping down for “health reasons.” Rollins had indeed suffered a stroke a year and a half ago, but that was before he had even signed onto assist Bachmann in her presidential bid. That said why is Rollins’ health such an issue now when it wasn’t an issue just a few short months ago when he joined the Bachmann team? Surely being the venerable political operative that he is, Rollins must have had an idea as to the stresses and strains that go hand in hand with the high tempo of presidential politics. Rollins’ decision in and of itself wouldn’t be that big a story if it were not for the fact that Bachmann’s deputy campaign manager David Polyansky wasn’t leaving the campaign as well, a development that suggests that there is more to this than meets the eye.

Quoting Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza, both of the Washington Post: “Polyansky’s departure at the same time, of course, will raise questions about whether this, in fact, represents a strategic shakeup for a campaign that has taken a back seat in the Republican presidential race since Texas Gov. Rick Perry got into the race. Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll three weeks ago but has struggled to build on that win…The staff changes aren’t the first for Bachmann. Hovering over the departures is Bachmann’s reputation. She, more than most members of Congress, is notorious for the amount of staff turnover in her congressional office, going through numerous chiefs of staff, including some who don’t speak highly of the congresswoman these days. Any kind of departures at the highest levels of a campaign is generally seen as a bad thing.” For the record, Bachmann’s spokeswomen Alice Stewart who confirmed the story to The Washington Post said that this was a “restructuring” not a shakeup.”

Thus it would appear that Michelle Bachmann’s trials and tribulations continue unabated. If it isn’t confusing historical facts, its the revolving door of personnel associated with the controversial congresswoman from Minnesota. Add to that the fact that Rick Perry’s entrance into the 2012 race has contributed directly to Bachmann’s fall off in the polls or the fact that Sarah Palin could join the race at any time and it’s not too big a leap of faith to say that we may already be witnessing the beginning of the end of Michelle Bachmann as a serious contender for the presidency in 2012. The residual question is whether or not Bachmann will be a perennial Tea Party hopeful the way Ron Paul is a perennial Libertarian hopeful, based that is on her small but strident following among the far right fringe of the conservative movement.

sjg
9/5/11

Sources:

Rollins steps down in Bachmann campaign shake-up

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/05/rollins-steps-down-in-bachmann-campaign-shakeup/

Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza: Top Bachmann aides stepping aside

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/top-bachmann-aides-stepping-aside/2011/09/05/gIQAFM1D5J_blog.html

Michele Bachmann’s New Normal: Damage Control

http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti/2011/06/28/michele_bachmanns_new_normal_damage_control

Is the Far Right Shooting the G.O.P. in the Foot?

1:30 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Peggy Noonan, columnist for the conservative Wall Street journal and one time primary speechwriter and special assistant to Ronald Reagan said today on ‘Meet the Press” that Rick Perry’s recent comments made her wince. Noonan said that Perry, like other Republicans in the 2012 presidential sweepstakes, read Michele Bachmann and possibly Sarah Palin, presently have a persona problem in that they can’t tone down their rhetoric to the point that moderate voters find them appealing. Judging from the fact that independent voters have decided the last three elections, that’s a real problem for the Republican Party going forward. Financial commentator Maria Bartoromo appearing on the same program pointed out that even on Wall Street, a bastion of conservative sentiment, that people have grown tired of comments such as those made by Rick Perry since he has entered the 2012 race. Likewise Maria Cardonna of CNN opined: “(Perry) announced his candidacy on Saturday and has since campaigned like an angry bull cornered by a Matador. . . . This approach may help win him the nomination, but it also will help lose him the White House. . . . The firebrand technique may endear him to the tea party faithful, but it will alienate him from the critical voting bloc made up of sensible, rational, moderate, mainstream independent and even Republican voters put off by the extreme right-wing factions of their party.” Frank Bruni of the New York Times labeled Perry’s comments “general-election arsenic”: “And thus did a candidate who appeared so fearsome on the horizon — and who, for now, rides high in polls — come to look somewhat frizzier and patchier in the barnyard upon closer inspection. . . . Perry and Michele Bachmann, with their particular evangelical fervor, frighten many Republicans as much as they do Democrats and could be general-election arsenic.”

But it’s not just the pundits on political television that are pointing out the potentially destructive farce and folly of comments like those of Rick Perry. Conservatives with established bona fides like Karl Rove, John Podhoretz, Ed Morrissey, Ron Paul, Michael Gerson and others are pointing out the same thing. To wit; Karl Rove: “You don’t accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor to his country. Of being guilty of treason. . . . And, suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in Texas. You know, that is not, again a presidential statement.” John Podhoretz: “What Perry did was make a thoughtless blunder, an unforced error; we’re now going to spend a couple of days discussing whether he was summoning violence on Ben Bernanke’s head or not, which is of absolutely no use to Perry. … This was a serious rookie mistake on the national stage.” Ed Morrissey: “Perry needs to learn a lesson from this experience. It’s good to offer red meat to the base, but it’s bad to let yourself get caught up in the feeding frenzy.” Ron Paul: “Now they have this other governor, I can’t remember his name . . . . He realizes that talking about the Fed is good, too. But I’ll tell you what, he makes me sound like a moderate. I have never once said Bernanke has committed treason.” Michael Gerson: “I think the unfortunate context here is that that’s the importation of language that’s used on the Internet, used on talk radio, used in book titles. We have titles like “Treason.”… that type of language has been imported in the Republican primary process. I agree that it’s a long-term problem. I don’t think that it’s necessarily a short-term political problem in Iowa and other places.”

The bottom line in all of this is that the Republican Party has got to come to terms with its fatal attraction to the Tea Party. It must decide whether or not it wants to become the party of political extremism or a conservative party that can offer some semblance of an alternative to the Democrats and it must come to this conclusion in short order as the 2012 political season is now underway and gaining steam all the time. What all of this hot rhetoric on the right does is to reframe the 2012 presidential debate from whether or not the “hope and change” of 2008 is to be rejected to whether the fear of electing a right-wing radical is just too great a risk for the American people to take. That fear would thereby make the reelection of Barack Obama the safer course to follow.

S.J. Gulitti
8/21/11

Sources:

Meet the Press; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/

Talking Points: Rick Perry’s political land mine; http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/1041905–rick-perry-s-political-land-mine

Perry Made ‘Rookie Mistake’ With Bernanke Comments; http://www.newser.com/story/125973/perry-made-rookie-mistake-with-bernanke-comments.html

Marcus and Gerson on GOP Candidates’ Language, Presidential Vacations; http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec11/mandg_08-19.html

Why Can’t Libertarians Get Any Respect?

1:28 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Last September I penned an article entitled “Where Have all the Libertarian’s Gone?” In that piece I opined: “In the din and roar surrounding politics in America today much is made of the importance of Libertarian thinking. Some have pointed out its importance to the Tea Party Movement: “More recently, the Libertarian theme of the “tea party” began with Republican Congressman Ron Paul supporters as a fund raising event during the 2008 presidential primaries to emphasize Paul’s fiscal conservatism, which laid the groundwork for the modern-day Tea Party movement.” That said it’s interesting to consider the following two questions: First, if Libertarian ideas are so compelling, how come Libertarians garner such a small portion of actual votes during major electoral campaigns? Secondly, if Libertarians command such low voting totals, how is it that there is such a disproportionate number of Libertarian organizations and who is putting up the money to support them?” I went on to point out that in the 2008 election there was a Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr, the former Republican Congressman of Georgia. Barr garnered a paltry 523,686 votes or 0.4% of the total votes cast in the 2008 presidential election.

Well it goes without saying that questions much the same as these are once again in order in the aftermath of the Iowa straw poll recently conducted in Ames. You see it seems that the supporters of Ron Paul are complaining that the national media didn’t or won’t give Ron Paul the recognition he deserves seeing as he came in a close second, trailing Michele Bachmann by a mere 152 votes. Paul’s supporters are claiming that the “mainstream media” is giving him short shrift. A representative look at these comments is in order:”Richard Timm wrote that “Ron Paul’s 2nd-place finish merited much more attention… Even if you don’t believe he can win the nomination, don’t you think it’s worth giving the only anti-war Republican a little more emphasis?”; “We live in a democratic republic, where the votes of the people deserve to reported by the media, not editorialized into obscurity,” wrote Matthew H. Harder.”; “It’s absolutely horrendous and despicable the lack of media coverage Ron Paul is getting,”; “The story is that Ron Paul clobbered seven candidates and was basically in a statistical dead heat for the win, and the media is trying to ignore that,” said David Fischer, vice chairman of Paul’s Iowa campaign.”

All of this said, the real question is entirely different. That question is as follows: Is Ron Paul not getting covered by the mainstream media because in reality he doesn’t have a chance to win in 2012 so why bother? or Does he not have a chance at winning the presidency in 2012, or any other year for that matter, because he’s not getting adequate coverage from the “mainstream media”? I think a reasoned analysis of these dual questions would lead the rational observer to conclude it’s the former rather than the later.

Ron Paul has run for President numerous times and never been competitive. In the final analysis his Libertarian views are too far off the mark to be appealing to the vast majority of Americans who will show up at the polls in November of 2012. The leadership of the Republican Party knows this as well as do the voters, both inside and outside of the G.O.P. The sentiments of the voters don’t exactly lead anyone to really view Ron Paul as a true presidential prospect. Based on results appearing in PollingReport.com, favorable ratings for Ron Paul run from a high of 39 percent to a low of 11 percent, not exactly the kind of numbers that you’d expect to see from a strong candidate in 2012. Moreover, polling results from the conservative leaning Rasmussen organization shows that among Republican primary voters, Ron Paul still can’t get any traction, polling at a nine percent favorability ranking. Quoting the Gannett Company’s Statesman Journal, “Republican Party officials and experts on presidential politics agreed that Paul’s economic viewpoints have gained traction but said other aspects of his candidacy undermine his appeal to the Republican caucus and primary voters who will choose the next presidential nominee…He does excite and energize people who think like he does, but he takes some positions that would not be consistent with conservative Republicans…I think there is a perception that, one, Paul doesn’t speak for all the values that the Republican Party has, and, two, that he would not be electable in a general election…Paul’s libertarian views open a divide between himself and social conservatives on some issues, while his strict stance against military involvement abroad diverges from current Republican orthodoxy.” Likewise, conservative commentator Michael Gerson has a similar, less than flattering take on Ron Paul’s chances in 2012: “Well, I think he’s not a serious contender for the Republican nomination. He has a floor of very committed supporters and a ceiling that’s not too much higher than the floor, because he has very radical views, which came out in the debates. He seemed very much excusing of Iranian behavior. He’s a libertarian on even the hardest — legalization of the hardest drugs. You know, he has views that are definitely not mainstream views, in my view and in the view of most Republicans. So, I do think that he is a force, but I think that he has a very committed core that’s not likely to expand beyond that group.”

Thus in the final analysis, it’s not the pundits in the “mainstream media” that have put the fix in on Ron Paul, its the Republican establishment reflecting the sentiments of the majority of those rank and file voters who can be expected to show up in November 2012 to vote for the Republican candidate. Should Ron Paul have been given better coverage as a result of his performance in the Ames Straw Poll? Well, I guess that depends on whether or not you take Ron Paul seriously. Apparently not too many people take him seriously at all so in the long run his lack of coverage matters not in the great scheme of things in the 2012 presidential contest.

S.J. Gulitti
8/21/11

Sources:

Where Have all the Libertarian’s Gone?

http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti/2010/09/06/where_have_all_the_libertarians_gone

Ames Straw Poll

http://theiowastrawpoll.org/

Q&A: After near-win in poll, Ron Paul fights for respect

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20110820/OPINION/108200319/Q-After-near-win-poll-Ron-Paul-fights-respect

Paul: He Who Shall Not Be Named

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/ron-paul-he-who-shall-not-be-named/?scp=1&sq=The%20Caucus:%20Ron%20Paul&st=cseRon

The Caucus: Followers of Ron Paul Criticize News Coverage

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/17

Backers: Paul’s runner-up finish getting underplayed

http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_18696468

Paul Takes on Rivals

http://thepage.time.com/2011/08/16/paul-takes-on-rivals/

PollingReport.com – Ron Paul

http://www.pollingreport.com/p.htm#Paul

Marcus and Gerson on GOP Candidates’ Language, Presidential Vacations

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec11/mandg_08-19.html

Rick Perry, Does He Even Understand the Meaning of Treason?

5:06 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

What is it about those Tea Party types, are they genetically programmed to spout out absurdities as a way of getting attention? Does this constitute some sort of political personality disorder? The verbal pratfalls of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell or Sharron Angle are by now all the stuff of political fact if not legend. To this we now add the ridiculous yammering of the latest entry to the 2012 Republican presidential race, Rick Perry. Not that Perry needs all that much of an introduction. He’s already on the record as having said that, under certain circumstances, Texas might leave the Union. However, now only days after entering the 2012 presidential sweepstakes, Perry has gone so far as to suggest that Fed Chairman Ben Bernake might be guilty of treason. In Perry’s own words: “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.”

So what in fact is Perry suggesting? That Ben Bernanke, if he were to engage in further monetary easing and then decided to show up in Texas, should be pursued by a lynch mob or vigilantes so as to be subjected to some old fashioned frontier justice? Really? What would Rick Perry suggest his “Texans” do to Bernanke; hang him till he quit kicking, tar and feather him or hot brand him with the Tea Party logo “DON’T TREAD ON ME”? If this is the mindset of a G.O.P. presidential hopeful in 2012, then perhaps we can create a work release program for any number of convicted Mafia hoods currently doing time who are more than well practiced in the arts of intimidation and extortion, both verbal and physical. That said, the prudent and rational participant in American democracy can only ask the one compelling question that has to be on his mind; Based on this kind of talk, is Rick Perry even remotely qualified to lead the leading nation of the free world into this challenging century and out of the the Great Recession? The answer is, most likely not. Moreover is this latest Perry pratfall the last straw for Michele Bachmann? Will she, as a strategic campaign ploy, now take off the gloves and accuse Rick Perry of anti-American views in the same manner in which she has accused so many liberals and progressives on Capitol Hill?

You know for all of the problems besetting the embattled Barack Obama as he enters the 2012 election season, he and his consort must be thanking God in heaven above for the Bachmann victory in Iowa and the entrance of Rick Perry into the 2102 presidential campaign. They may very well bail Obama out of the predicament within which he is currently embroiled.

Steven J. Gulitti
8/16/11

Sources:

Perry on Bernanke: ‘I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas’

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/08/15/296552/perry-on-bernanke-pretty-ugly-down-in-texas/

Rick Perry Accuses Bernanke of Treason

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2011/08/rick-perry-wants-get-ugly-ben-bernake/41310/

Gov. Perry: Bernanke printing more money would be ‘almost treasonous’

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/176985-perry-bernanke-printing-more-money-would-be-almost-treasonous

3 Points on Rick Perry

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/08/three-points-on-rick-perry/243679/

Ms. Bachmann a Migraine Headache for the G.O.P.?

5:21 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Anyone who has been paying attention to politics and especially the politics of the Tea Party movement remembers how Sarah Palin, back in 2010, claimed that the “sleazy G.O.P. establishment” was out to derail her run for the presidency in 2012. Palin was reacting to an article in Politico that top Republican operatives were “working to stall her momentum in hopes of crippling a potential presidential run.” Now some are suggesting that the same group of “good old boys” within the G.O.P.’s top leadership cadre have the same plans for Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann. That is to say that they in fact have put a political “hit” out on her by making an issue of her migraine headaches. I pointed out in an earlier article that the Republican establishment has little interest in the Tea Party movement aside from the contribution that it makes to voter turnout and its continual assault on Barack Obama’s “Socialist” agenda. Beyond that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have maneuvered towards and away from the congressional Tea Party caucuses depending on what their individual political prerogatives are at any particular moment in time.

Well, as it turns out the perils of Ms. Bachmann seem to have fallen into the laps of two very unlikely champions, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell, both of MSNBC. Schultz last night strongly defended Bachmann from recent “right-wing hit job” on her, and even admitted that he now respects her immensely for not being bullied by the establishment of the Republican Party. The reported allegations that Bachmann “pops pills like candy” and suffers from incapacitating migraines was, according to Schultz, a non-story “so heavy on insinuation and light on specifics.” Schultz laid the responsibility for this “hit” job at the feet of Karl Rove and Tim Pawlenty by way of the following observation: “Rove questions Bachmann’s fitness because he will never support a Tea Party candidate, while Pawlenty is merely a “buzzard circling a carcass” who is too afraid to challenge Mitt Romney.” Lawrence O’Donnell followed up the Schultz report with the observation that “It doesn’t strike me that Rove and company are particularly out to protect Romney, they just want Bachmann out of this race.”

Thus as Michele Bachmann’s standings in the polls rise, the kingmakers and professional political operatives within the Republican Party have apparently, according to Ed Schultz and others, unleashed an attack on Bachmann’s health so as to raise questions about her fitness to serve as president. Is this just the latest episode in the simmering internal conflict within the G.O.P. between the “establishment” and the Tea Party newcomers? That’s not too far fetched an idea based on the experiences of Sarah Palin and the ongoing internal conflicts between the Tea Party and the “establishment” as evidenced by the continuing conflict over spending cuts and revenue increases during deficit reduction negotiations. However, the question left unanswered is: Are the pros within the G.O.P. really that powerful as to derail the Tea Party and its leadership in 2012 or are they just playing for time and hoping beyond hope that the movement will burn itself out and cease to be a force that drives G.O.P. so far to the right that its candidates are virtually unelectable?

SJG

7/21/11

Sources:

Palin: ‘Sleazy’ GOP Establishment Is Out to Get Me

http://www.newser.com/story/104408/sarah-palin-sleazy-gop-establishment-is-out-to-get-me.html

Sarah Palin: GOP establishment ‘sleazy’

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44550.html

From Republican Victory to Republican Civil War?

http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti/2010/11/01/from_republican_victory_to_republican_civil_war

Ed Schultz: My Respect For Bachmann Is ‘Through The Roof’ For Standing Up To ‘Right-Wing Hit Job’

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/ed-schultz-my-respect-for-bachmann-is-through-the-roof-for-standing-up-to-right-wing-hit-job/

Lawrence O’Donnell: The Bachmann Migraine Story Shows How Powerful She’s Become

http://www.businessinsider.com/odonnell-michele-bachmann-migraine-video-2011-7#ixzz1Sn8R5kD9

Is Iowa’s Political Influence on the Wane?

8:55 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

A few recent articles on the subject of the Iowa caucuses, citing the influence of evangelical Christians in the process, suggest that the traditional Iowa caucuses may be losing much of their influence in the presidential selection process. Moreover, their fundamental role may be changing in another important way as well. Quoting Michael Shear of the New York Times: “But there are signs that its influence on the nominating process could be ebbing and that the nature of the voters who tend to turn out for the Republican caucuses — a heavy concentration of evangelical Christians and ideological conservatives overlaid with parochial interests — is discouraging some candidates from competing there… Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, announced Thursday that he would skip the state’s Republican straw poll this summer, saving his resources — and lowering expectations — for the state’s caucuses next year. Earlier in the week, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, conceded that he was likely to skip the Iowa caucuses altogether, noting that his opposition to ethanol subsidies makes him unpopular in a state where support for the corn-based fuel is all but demanded… In addition to his stand on ethanol, Mr. Huntsman, who served in the Obama administration as ambassador to China, says he believes in global warming and has not embraced the Tea Party movement like some of his rivals. And like Mr. Romney, Mr. Huntsman is a Mormon, a religion viewed with wariness by some conservative Christians. At the same time, the implosion of Newt Gingrich‘s campaign this week, with the resignation of his entire Iowa staff, could take Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, out of real contention in the state’s contest.”

Thus the question that arises is to what extent is the penchant for socially conservative issues among the Iowa caucus crowd at variance with the more pressing issues of the economy and fiscal rectitude which have now come to dominate the national discussion? That’s not to say that social issues have faded completely from the political scene, it’s just an acknowledgement that presently they have been relegated to the back burner. An analysis of polling results over the past year on what constitutes the primary concerns of the American people reveals scant evidence that social and moral issues bulk large in the minds of the electorate. None the less, the fixation among Iowa caucus goers with issues of a socially conservative nature appears to have had a net negative effect on the importance of the traditional Iowa caucus process. Doug Gross, a Republican activist and former nominee for governor bemoaned this very development back in March: “We look like Camp Christian out here. If Iowa becomes some extraneous right-wing outpost, you have to question whether it is going to be a good place to vet your presidential candidates.” What also has many Republicans worried is that the controversy arising between fiscal and social conservatives may serve to do nothing more than muddle the G.O.P.’s message as it seeks to defeat Barack Obama.

There is however, an interesting side effect from the potential demise of the Iowa caucuses among conservative front runners and that is that it allows second tier socially conservative candidates like Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann to gain a little breathing room and possibly some much needed momentum in propelling their candidacies forward. However, that windfall of newfound or added momentum will probably only last so long due to the fact that social issues are currently out of vogue having been swamped by issues of economy and fiscal responsibility. Thus the unique nature of Iowa’s socially conservative evangelical Christians within the larger national electorate may have had the net effect of altering the very role that the Iowa caucuses play in the politics of presidential elections.

S.J. Gulitti
6/11/11

Sources:

With Abstentions, Iowa Questions Political Role

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/us/politics/11repubs.html?emc=eta1

Iowa May Turn G.O.P.’s Focus to Social Issues

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/us/politics/27iowa.html?_r=1

PollingReport.com: Problems and Priorities

http://www.pollingreport.com/prioriti.htm

Gingrich’s Presidential Campaign Capsized By the Winds of Folly

5:38 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Back in March of this year in an article on the Gingrich presidential campaign, “Newt Gingrich’s Dream, Driven by the Winds of Folly?”, I posed the question of why Newt Gingrich would even bother to seriously consider a run for the Oval Office.  Now apparently his campaign staff has come to the same conclusion and left Gingrich and his hopes adrift with their en masse departure. Not only are Gingrich’s top operatives leaving him flat, many of his state level operatives have likewise jumped ship.

Bedeviled by conservative criticism for calling Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform plans, “right wing social engineering” and his $250,000 plus jewelry tab at Tiffany’s, it appears that Gingrich’s latest two week vacation to the Greek Isles was enough to convince his staff that this guy just isn’t for real. All of this led MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to opine that Newt Gingrich is simply in the 2012 race for his own self serving publicity and that he was never a serious contender to start with. 

The unfortunate aspect of this for the Republican’s is that in only acts to heighten the farce and buffoonery that has thus far surrounded the formation of the field of G.O.P. presidential hopefuls. Now in addition to the historical gaffes of Bachmann and Palin, Rick Santorum thinks that American troops landing on D-Day were somehow fighting to make a future decision about health care reform. We have Donald Trump, having once dropped out of contention, now saying he may re-enter the race as a third party candidate. Not to be left out of the fray, Rush Limbaugh’s has effectively written off the Romney candidacy with a hearty “bye-bye” due to Romney’s admission that he believes, to some extent, in global warming. Last but by no means least, Herman Cain is saying that any Muslim on his staff would have to swear a loyalty oath if he were elected president. And, as if it really would even matter at this point, Newt Gingrich is saying that he will be launch his campaign anew in Los Angeles this coming Monday.

Surely at a time when Barack Obama is struggling to keep his presidency on course, with his poll numbers wavering back and forth about the fifty percent mark, one would think that the Republicans would be queuing up for a knock out blow. Instead what we are witnessing is a G.O.P., formerly famous for internal discipline, careening towards 2012 in disarray.

SJG

6/9/11

 
Sources:
 
Newt Gingrich’s Dream, Driven by the Winds of Folly?
http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti/2011/03/04/newt_gingrichs_dream_driven_by_the_winds_of_folly_1
 
Gingrich presidential campaign implodes
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/gingrich-senior-aides-resign/2011/06/09/AGN77VNH_blog.html

 Santorum: D-Day Troops Fought For Health Care Freedom;: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/06/santorum-d-day-troops-fought-for-the-ryan-plan.php

Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann Rewriting American History

6:11 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

At some point all one can do is laugh at both Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann when either of them suggest that they might run for president. I mean after all, if you legitimately want to be this nation’s chief executive, you might first want to exhibit a modicum of understanding of the basics of American history. Ironically, for all of the advice that these two shinning lights regularly offer the American people, and their allusions to the founding fathers, their grasp of American history leaves much to be desired.

Quoting Jonathan Martin and Kendra Marr of Politico: “Michele Bachmann’s suggestion that the Revolutionary War began in Concord, N.H., rather than Lexington and Concord, Mass., marks the third time in recent months that the potential GOP presidential hopeful has committed a puzzling gaffe about history and current affairs. Addressing a  crowd of Republicans at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire Bachmann stated that, “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.” Oddly enough, Bachmann made a similar statement just days before the Manchester gaffe, at another fundraiser: “It’s your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world, you are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard.” All of this coming on top of Bachmann’s misunderstanding of the role of the founding fathers as it relates to the problems posed by the existence of slavery at the founding of the republic. Again to the Politico article: “For Bachmann, who leads the House Tea Party caucus and champions a return to the Constitution, to get such basic facts wrong about the country’s birth is revealing.” What it reveals first and foremost is Ms. Bachmann’s complete and total lack of intellectual heft to even aspire to run for the presidency, let alone a seat in Congress.

Not to be outdone by her sister Tea Party darling, Sarah Palin has now chosen to redefine Paul Revere’s midnight ride. To wit: “He warned the British that they weren’t going be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells, and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.” Again the variance with historical facts is just too much to ignore and too comical to overlook. Having been caught in yet another public blunder, Palin tried to talk her way out of her latest self inflicted disaster only to make matters worse: “Here is what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, and they were going to try take our arms and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take it. But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride – and it wasn’t just one ride – he was a courier, he was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have. He did warn the British.” Well perhaps Sarah Palin was just trying to make up for her previous self inflicted fumble, her latest definition of what the Statue of Liberty actually represents, a soliloquy in utter incoherence for anyone who had heard it: “This Statue of Liberty was gifted to us by foreign leaders, really as a warning to us, it was a warning to us to stay unique and to stay exceptional from other countries. Certainly not to go down the path of other countries that adopted socialist policies.” Again, like Bachmann, Palin has done nothing but reaffirm the public’s belief that she just doesn’t have what it takes, intellectually, to aspire to the Oval Office.

So there you have it, two of the Barack Obama’s harshest critics, both of whom have been toying with the idea that perhaps they could do a better job of running the country, yet all the while continuing to exhibit not a lick of basic knowledge as to what their own country is all about. Now if that’s not a ringing endorsement for either of their potential candidacies, then what would be? More to the point, if this is the caliber of leadership that we can expect from two of the Tea Party movement’s biggest stars, how can we ever take the movement seriously as an alternative to politics as usual. Apparently at this moment we can’t.

SJG

6/6/11

Sources:

For Michele Bachmann, a pattern of getting facts wrong: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51179.html#ixzz1OXzpEnxZ

 
Sarah Palin on Paul Revere’s ride: ‘Hey British, we’re coming’
 
Sarah Palin At The Statue of Liberty