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Have Libertarians Forgotten the Republican Primaries?

10:13 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Back in September of 2010 I detailed in an article “Where Have all the Libertarian’s Gone?” how for all of the attention paid to Libertarian ideas there was little in the way of Libertarian electoral success to show for it. To wit: “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…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?”
 
Well when one stops to analyze the 2012 Republican Primaries the results continue to prove out my original premise. That is, for all of the continuing talk about the importance of Libertarian ideas there is precious little to show for it when actual results are examined. To date the have been 27 Republican Primary contests and 1031 delegates awarded. The Libertarian candidate, Ron Paul, has not won a single state and has only accumulated 50 delegates. His take equals 4.8% of the overall number of delegates awarded so far. Thus once again, based on empirical evidence, we can only conclude that Libertarians occupy a space on the American political landscape as nothing more than a sideshow to the big show, if not as an outright political oddity propelled forward by its own inertia. If Libertarians truly commanded a healthy amount of respect and political power they would have something to show for it and clearly they don’t. Some have made the case that Libertarians don’t need to vote for Libertarian candidates to be important within the electorate but if that’s the case then that would suggest that they don’t truly hold to the conviction of their own ideas. If the members of a movement won’t adhere to their core convictions and belief system then how can that movement be seen as viable or effective? Surely a Libertarian voting for any of the candidates other than Ron Paul would have to compromise his principles in so doing based on the political track records of Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, none of whom can be considered even remotely close to being a Libertarian.
 
Some political commentators have said that Ron Paul isn’t a true candidate, he’s a movement. Some have said that his stake in the 2012 Republican Primaries is an attempt to affect his own political rehabilitation or to pave the way for his son’s  political future. Whatever his motives one thing is for sure and that’s that he has made little impact if any in the race to defeat Barack Obama. Ron Paul has often complained that he isn’t getting the media coverage that he and his campaign deserves, but based on his performance thus far and his movement’s historically, he’s getting all the coverage that he deserves. Whatever Ron Paul’s goals one thing is for certain and that is that for all of the money pouring into Libertarian organizations like the Cato Institute via folks like the Koch Brothers, ad infinitum, the Libertarian message still fails to resonate with the Republican electorate in particular and the wider electorate in general. It’s either the aforementioned or America’s Libertarians have failed to notice that there’s a Republican Primary season underway and in full swing.
 
Steven J. Gulitti
3/23/12  
 
Sources:

The Tea Party’s Empty Dance Card

11:27 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Well there you have it, another onetime Tea Party favorite has dropped out of the 2012 race to be America’s president thereby shrinking the field of “viable” candidates that a Tea Party true believer could vote for this coming November. In fact one should even ask the question of whether or not there is a candidate still in the race that a true Tea Party member could legitimately support. Political columnist E.J. Dionne, to some degree, asked a similar question in: “Where are the Republican populists?” Quoting Dionne: “Members of the Tea Party insisted they were turning the GOP into a populist, anti-establishment bastion. Social conservatives have long argued that values and morals matter more than money. Yet in the end, the corporate and economically conservative wing of the Republican Party always seems to win.” That will leave members of the movement with a truly tough choice this November: Is there any candidate left in the race for which a real Tea Party supporter could vote without a compromising of one’s principles? Unless a third party candidate favorable to the Tea Party emerges, not exactly a development that would guarantee victory, the choices available to Tea Party members will be reduced to voting for a moderate Republican in Mitt Romney, not voting, giving up on the presidency and hoping that a rear guard electoral effort will maintain the House Tea Party Caucus or voting for Obama as a protest. The last choice is something the true believers would never do.

Presently it appears that rank and file Tea Party members have already started to compromise their principles. A recent Boston Globe article, “Tea Party’s opposition to Romney weakens” states: “The Tea Party and its dislike of the Massachusetts health care plan and Romney’s moderate record as Bay State governor were considerable impediments to his candidacy throughout 2011. But none of the Tea Party’s darlings – Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, or Gingrich – has been able to sustain a surge, highlighting limitations of a nascent movement that couldn’t extend its 2010 congressional successes onto the presidential stage…The latest polls suggest a good number of Tea Party supporters are getting behind the party’s most likely nominee [Romney], despite qualms about his record, because their overriding goal is removing Obama from the White House.” Likewise, just as the G.O.P.’s 2012 field is unsettled so are members of the Tea Party when it comes to who they currently support: “CBS reports that voters who identify with the Tea Party movement are similarly divided, with 29 percent supporting Romney, 28 percent supporting Gingrich, 18 percent supporting Santorum, and 12 percent supporting Paul.”

The fact that almost one third of the Tea Party members are backing Romney shows just how far principles on the hard right have eroded at this point in time. Likewise real conservatives would take umbrage with Newt Gingrich’s claim that he is the only true conservative in the race. Gingrich has a track record of clashing with conservatives on many issues. He called Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget reform ideas “right-wing social engineering”, has supported health care insurance mandates, been rather liberal in his views on accommodating illegal immigrants, admitted that climate change is real and needs to be addressed and even criticized the far right publicly on the issue of ideological purity saying: “You can have a very, very intense movement at 20 percent. You can’t govern. To govern, you’ve got to get 50 percent plus one after the recount.” And now in what could be a Herman Cain like moment Gingrich’s second wife is going public in her criticism of him in an expose that is hardly flattering and which will do nothing to endear him to social conservatives, particularly women.

Thus for the Tea Partiers we’re down to just two alternatives, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. If Ron Paul is anything it’s unelectable. His isolationist stance on foreign involvement and libertarian views on drug use are an anathema to the Republican establishment and most likely to the majority of the electorate as well. Paul’s libertarian views can be summarized as follows: “Paul believes: Gays should be allowed to marry; America’s foreign policy contributed to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks; U.S. defence spending should be slashed by 15%; Drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine should be decriminalized, and the United States should not come to Israel’s aid if it starts a shooting war with Iran.” With views like these we can effectively dismiss Ron Paul as a serious candidate for president.

That leaves us with Santorum and his acceptability to the Tea Party. One problem Santorum has always had is that he’s been a one trick pony, his overarching theme has been one of social values, something that helped him tremendously in Iowa. “CBS News entrance polling showed that Tea Party conservatives who participated in the caucuses largely supported Santorum. Among those who said they support the Tea Party movement, 29 percent caucused for him, compared with 19 percent for Paul and 19 percent for Mitt Romney.” But Iowa is atypical of the larger political landscape, its whiter, more evangelical, less urban and less affected by the Great Recession due to a strong demand for its agricultural produce. Just how well do the Tea Partiers know Rick Santorum? Since Iowa it’s come out that he was a master at earmarking federal largesse for western Pennsylvania, supported Medicare Part D, was a regular supporter of foreign aid and voted for No Child Left Behind, a federal program that “greatly expanded the federal government’s role in education.” Referencing a Ron Paul advertisement, Santorum is “another serial hypocrite who can’t be trusted.” It targets Santorum for voting five times to raise the debt ceiling, voting in favor of the notorious “bridge to nowhere,” and taking lobbyist cash, among other things.”

A good synopsis of Rick Santorum’s career on Capitol Hill can be found in Sheryl Stolberg’s recent article “Santorum Rose Quickly From Reformer to Insider” Quoting Stolberg: “But a look at the arc of Mr. Santorum’s political career, from his days as a fresh-faced College Republican to his bruising defeat for a third term in 2006, reveals a side of Mr. Santorum beyond that of reformer and abortion foe. He emerges as a savvy operator and sharp tactician, a climber who became a member of the Washington establishment that he had once railed against.” Thus can any true believer in the principles of the Tea Party movement consider Rick Santorum to be a bona fide upholder of the movement’s agenda? Not really. Does Santorum fit the description of a Beltway outsider who can be trusted to champion the agenda of the Tea Party movement? Not in the least, that is, if you want to be honest about whom Santorum is and what his past track record is all about. Once you peel the onion down a few layers past the exterior of standing up for family values what you’re left with is a professional politician and that’s hardly in line with the general tenor of the Tea Party movement.

Conservative columnist David Brooks points out much of what comprises Santorum’s world view is not exactly congruent with Tea Party principles. ”His worldview is not individualistic. His book, “It Takes a Family,” was infused with the conservative wing of Catholic social teaching. It was a broadside against Barry Goldwater-style conservatism in favor of one that emphasized family and social solidarity. While in Congress, he was a leader in nearly every serious piece of antipoverty legislation…He is not a representative of the corporate or financial wing of the party. Santorum certainly wants to reduce government spending. He certainly wants tax reform. But he goes out of his way in his speeches to pick fights with the “supply-siders.” Now many on the far right consider Brooks a “progressive” Republican but few would say the same of Erick Erickson who runs the ultra-conservative political blog RedState and who’s article “What a Big Government Conservative Looks Like” states: “Rick Santorum is a pro-life statist. He is. You will have to deal with it.  He is a big government conservative.  Santorum is right on social issues, but has never let his love of social issues stand in the way of the creeping expansion of the welfare state.  In fact, he has been complicit in the expansion of the welfare state… Santorum is a conservative. He is. But his conservatism is largely defined by his social positions and the ends to which government would be deployed. But he has chosen as the means to those conservative ends bigger government. We see big government conservatives most clearly when they deviate from the tireless efforts of people like Mike Pence and Jim DeMint and the others who were willing to oppose George W. Bush’s expansion of the welfare state. Rick Santorum was not among them.”

So with the abovementioned in mind, am I going out on a limb in pointing out that the Tea Party movement is effectively without a viable candidate for 2012? I don’t thinks so, not if by “viable” you mean a candidate that will put the principles of limiting big government’s influence in our daily lives at the forefront of their policy agenda and who actually has a chance at appealing to that vast raft of independent voters and being elected. If the CBS poll numbers are indicative of anything they show that three quarters of the Tea Party movement’s respondents are supporting a candidate other than one who espouses true Tea Party principles in either positions taken on past policy or personal behavior. Which get us back to E.J. Dionne: “Think about Romney’s rise in light of the overheated political analysis of 2010 that saw a Republican Party as being transformed by the Tea Party legions who, in alliance with an overlapping group of social and religious conservatives, would take the party away from the establishmentarians.

Certainly some of the movement’s failures can be attributed to a flawed set of competitors and the split on the right, especially Paul’s ability to siphon off a significant share of the Tea Party vote. That has made a consolidation of its forces impossible…But there is another possibility: that the GOP never was and never can be a populist party, that the term was always being misapplied, and that enough Republicans are quite comfortable with a Harvard-educated private-equity specialist.” If E.J. Dionne is correct, and I believe he is, then the members of the Tea Party movement have a rendevous with reality in Novemeber that will leave then feeling jilted with regard to having a true candidate in the race and, if a Republican wins the presidency, with having that old sinking feeling of having been used for their votes with little propsect of seeing their agenda advanced by the professional politicians who run the Republican Party.

Steven J. Gulitti

1/20/2012

 Sources:

Perry suspends campaign, endorses Gingrich; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdvje9Fr-uY

What doomed Rick Perry’s campaign; http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/19/politics/perry-rise-fall/index.html

Where are the Republican populists; http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/romneys-rise-puts-the-lie-to-a-populist-gop/2012/01/18/gIQAoPqG9P_story.html

Tea Party’s opposition to Romney weakens; http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/01/19/opposition-from-tea-party-begins-fade-mitt-romney-gains-support-more-conservatives/JrU4fS9Gy5BF44dEfEkQoM/story.html

GOP Race Remains Fractured, Tea Party Supporters Divided: http://www.decodedscience.com/gop-race-remains-fractured-tea-party-supporters-divided/9673

Gingrich Has Record Of Clashing With The Right; http://www.npr.org/2011/11/29/142868567/gingrich-has-record-of-clashing-with-the-right

Newt Gingrich wanted ‘open marriage,’ ex-wife says; http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/19/politics/gingrich-wife/index.html

Paul’s candidacy thrives on the unconventional; http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Paul+candidacy+thrives+unconventional/5776016/story.html

Can Rick Santorum claim the Tea Party mantle?; http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57354522-503544/can-rick-santorum-claim-the-tea-party-mantle/

Santorum Rose Quickly From Reformer to Insider; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/us/politics/santorum-rose-quickly-from-reformer-to-insider.html?_r=1&hp

Workers of the World, Unite! http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/opinion/workers-of-the-world-unite.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

What a Big Government Conservative Looks Like; http://www.redstate.com/erick/2012/01/09/what-a-big-government-conservative-looks-like-2/

Rick Santorum and the Tea Party; http://thepoliticalzealot.com/2012/01/09/rick-santorum-and-the-tea-party/

For the Radical Right, a Defeat in New Hampshire

10:46 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Tonight’s outcome in New Hampshire represents a significant setback for the fortunes of the Tea Party movement along with the rest of the radical right as Republican moderates have captured the bulk of the votes cast in the contest. When you combine Romney’s take with that of Gingrich and Huntsman what you see is that collectively Republican moderates received a total of 65.6% of the total vote count. Conversely those candidates who are popular with the radical right were only able to secure 39.3% of the votes cast. That means that two thirds of the voters voted for a candidate that’s not likely to do anything for a radical conservative agenda or its supporters other than use them for their vote and thereafter bid them farewell a la Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). See the graph from Associated Press below.
 
While nothing is ever cast in stone in the world of American politics, no candidate in modern times who ever won both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary failed to win his party’s nomination. Suffice it to say that the leadership of the Republican establishment can only be much relieved by these results as it suggests that voters may be moving back to the center after having flirted with the Tea Party and the radical right. That Tea Party affinity may have produced dramatic electoral gains in 2010 but it has also created gridlock in Washington, a tarnished image of the Republican Party and electoral defeats in 2011. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Republican establishment, which is well aware of the Congressional G.O.P’s low standing in the eyes of the public, attributes much of that low standing to the impact of the Tea Party caucus on Capitol Hill. Now with Mitt Romney’s fortunes apparently on the rise the Republican leadership can only hope that he can power past right-wing radicals in most of the remaining primaries thereby rendering any prospect of a Tea Party backed candidate moot. With that development the Republican Party can plan a campaign to defeat Barack Obama in November that would have been otherwise futile had a Tea Party backed candidate been the front runner.
 
In a prescient article that appeared before the 2011 elections, Matt Bai interviewed uber-Conservative William Kristol who said a “large number of Republican primary voters, and even more independent general-election voters, will be wary of supporting a Republican candidate in 2012 if the party looks as if it’s in the grip of an infantile form of conservatism.” Bai himself noted the following: “Given such fast-deteriorating conditions, [in the economy] many Republican veterans have come around to the view that they aren’t really going to need the perfect presidential candidate, and perhaps not even a notably good one. With Chris Christie having taken himself out of the running — again — earlier this month, the field of candidates now appears to be pretty much set, and none of them are likely to inspire any reimagining’s of Mount Rushmore. But maybe all the moment requires is someone who can pass as a broadly acceptable alternative — a candidate who doesn’t project the Tea Party extremism of Michele Bachmann or the radical isolationism of Ron Paul. “If we have a Rick Perry versus Mitt Romney battle for the nomination, it’s a little hard to say, ‘Ooh, the party has really gone off the rails,’ ” Kristol told me just after Perry entered the race, a development that essentially ended Bachmann’s brief ascent. Establishment Republicans may prefer Romney to Perry, but their assumption is that either man can be counted on to steer the party back toward the broad center next fall, effectively disarming the Tea Party mutiny.” Well it goes without saying that tonight’s results bring the Republican Party a step closer to the establishment’s goal of a party that appeals to the broad middle of the American electorate, particularly the non aligned independents, while at the same time adding increased downward momentum to the faltering Tea Party movement. Thus it would appear that tonight’s real winners are the old line establishment Republicans and the real losers are the Tea Party crowd, the Ron Paul libertarians and the rest of the radical right.
 
Steven J. Gulitti
1/10/12
 
 
 
Results for New Hampshire Republican Primary (U.S. Presidential Primary)
Jan 10, 2012 (92% of precincts reporting)
Mitt Romney 90,918   39.3%
Ron Paul 52,842  22.9%
Jon Huntsman 38,963  16.9%
Newt Gingrich 21,742     9.4%
Rick Santorum 21,562 9.3%
Rick Perry
1,612
0.7%
Michele Bachmann
 325
0.1%
Other
3,104
1.3%
 
Sources:

A Ceiling, a Crackup and the End of a Dream?

2:12 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

It’s an interesting fact that Mitt Romney, after outspending both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum and the rest of the Republican field by millions of dollars, can’t seem to break out above a ceiling of around a quarter of the conservative base. Pollster John Zogby and others have made this point in the immediate aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses: “This was the percentage of the vote the former governor received in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, a figure he never superseded in pre-caucus polls nor in the actual vote in 2012. It was enough for a close race but it shows some weaknesses in his bid for the White House. For starters, there are currently three co-equal strains in this year’s GOP — the libertarian/anti-statist wing represented by Ron Paul; the Christian Conservative wing that now belongs to Rick Santorum; and the Establishment/moderate conservative wing that favors Romney. Paul’s base is comprised of many young and first-time voters and doesn’t seem likely to support Romney (or perhaps any other Republican). The pro-family Santorumites just don’t like or trust Romney.” So after having run in Iowa during the last presidential election cycle and having had another three years to prepare for 2012, after spending millions more than his rivals and being backed up by a powerful Super Pac, Romney is back were he was after Iowa’s 2008 Caucuses. So what does that mean for Romney going forward? Well according to Zogby: ” after Iowa, an angry and scorned Newt Gingrich is aiming his guns at the whites of Romney’s eyes in South Carolina. Romney could possibly survive the January 21 southern state primary, but it is hard to see how he puts together a severely fractured party. He had a good showing in Iowa, but he ended up having to spend a lot of money, energy, and negative advertising to get to 25%.”
 
And then there’s, among numerous other articles on the topic, this from Rolling Stone: “Call it The Romney Ceiling. And its durability nearly led to an astonishing victory in Iowa by the raging mysogynist, racist, Islamophobe, and gay baiter Santorum — who was last seen on the national stage getting trounced by 18 points in his failed 2006 senate reelection bid in Pennsylvania. Rick Santorum is the bottom of the GOP’s not-Mitt barrel — a C-Lister par excellence. Yet he lost to one of the best funded candidates in the history of politics by a mere eight votes…By all rights, Mitt Romney should be on a glide path to the nomination today. But at this moment, his candidacy seems equally likely to spark a fratricidal war inside the GOP — one that could even spill over into a third-party bid. They say that Democrats fall in love with their candidates, while Republicans fall in line. That narrative is busted in 2012.”
 
What then is the follow on to all of the aforementioned? Lets consider the following: Romney is a Republican progressive by any objective yardstick and the Ron Paul crowd will most likely never support him. Santorum’s supporters are very pro-family and not likely to support Ron Paul’s libertarian views on gays and drugs. Santorum has plenty of his own baggage that has as of yet not been subject to scrutiny by either the liberal media or his political rivals. That scrutiny may do to Santorum what the same scrutiny did to Newt Gingrich just a week or so ago. Mitt Romney has plenty of Super Pac cash to smother Santorum in negative ads going forward just as he did Gingrich in Iowa. Few in the Republican establishment, especially the NeoCons, are likely to buy into Ron Paul’s isolationist or anti-Israel positions. What we may have here is an intra-party crack up in the making with one of two likely outcomes, both of which could herald the end of the much hoped for and stalled conservative revolution.

 
In one scenario the conservative base finally and remorsefully settles on Romney because after all, their only real rallying point is an obsessive hate of Barack Obama and a desire to see him defeated. Alternatively the radical right in the G.O.P. could split off into a third party being unable to abide the prospect of a Romney presidency. Thus we are back to the same place I spoke of in an earlier piece,”Will Iowa’s Conservatives Outsmart Themselves?, one in which conservatives in their pursuit of ideological purity ensure the election of a progressive in 2012, unless of course they compromise their principles and reluctantly support Mitt Romney. That latter development will only amount to a forfeiting of their goal of radically restructuring American government and society. They will be faced with having to ”settle” for Romney or they will gamble on a third party bid which should effectively split the conservative vote thereby giving Barack Obama a plurality and with it a victory and a second term. In either case there is a better than even chance that America will wake up the morning of November 7 with a progressive president from one party or the other and the radical right will wake up to the fact that the ball game is over as even a progressive Republican president won’t be there to further their agenda. If that is the end result, America’s radical conservatives will have suffered a significant defeat that will take a generation or more to recover from, if they can effectively recover from it at all.
 
S.J. Gulitti
1/5/12

“Oops” There Goes My Candidacy and Much More

6:29 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Judging from several pundits on the right, Rick Perry’s candidacy for president is all but finished. Perry’s latest gaffe during Wednesday’s Republican debate, in front of millions of potential voters, may be the proverbial last straw. Summarized by two New York Times reporters: “For any other candidate, the moment may have been quickly forgotten or easily explained. But for Mr. Perry, whose candidacy has been consistently undercut by his debate performances, the seriousness of the moment was not a question, only how deep and enduring the damage would be. It reinforced negative stereotypes about his candidacy, a point that was made clear after the debate when he made a rare trip into an adjoining room to face reporters and try to brush away what had happened.”

But least anyone think that criticism of the Perry campaign is solely a game being played by “progressives” consider the following critiques of Perry’s performance by Republican strategists and commentators:

Mark McKinnon, an aide to former President George W. Bush, describing the moment as the “human equivalent of shuttle Challenger.”

Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist: “I think the biggest question now is whether or not he can raise any more real money…A donor strike will totally cripple what’s left of his campaign.”

Sara Taylor Fagen, Republican strategist: “It was a political death knell. There’s just no recovering from a moment like that when you’ve had such a bad record of debates.”

Steve Schmidt, Republican Strategist who oversaw the reelection “war room” during George W. Bush’s campaign for a second term and who then went on to advise John McCain, speaking of Perry’s performance: “After a series of ruinous debates, this on top of it ends it for him… Since he [Perry] got into the race, he’s not been ready, he’s not ready to be Commander in Chief…Republican primary voters aren’t going to put Perry in front of Barack Obama in a debate.” Schmidt went on to say that Perry’s debate performance will be a videotape highlight for the next thirty years when the topic of poor debate performance is discussed.

Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics labeled Perry’s debate performance as “the worst mistake ever made in a presidential debate.”

At this point in time and with all of the undercurrents swirling around and within the Republican presidential contest there is little reason, short of a miracle, to believe that Rick Perry will be able to pump enough water to keep his hopes from sinking altogether. But there are victims beyond Rick Perry as well, those on the far right who have been hoping beyond hope for a viable anti-Romney to emerge. At this point in time there can only be the utmost desperation within the ranks of the Tea Party movement and others on the radical right when they consider that the may be faced with having to choose between two political progressives for president next November, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. While we all know that the radical right has as its expressed goal, the defeat of Barack Obama, voting for Romney will, in reality, do nothing to further their cause. One only need to recall the Massachusetts Senate race of 2010 when Scott Brown gladly accepted the support of the Bay State’s various Tea Party groups only to part company with them shortly after he took office. His voting record on major issues is hardly in line with the ideology advocated by the Tea Party movement.

So after seeing Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry rise only to quickly fall, and a Palin candidacy fail to materialize, what options are left to the radical right for 2012? Well there’s the perennial Ron Paul who can’t pierce the threshold of single digit favorability and then there’s the recycled Newt Gingrich. Gingrich’s poll numbers have been on the rise of late but how long will he be viable once the voters become reacquainted with his scandalous past and record of serial matrimony? Can Gingrich past muster with the Evangelical element on the far right? I seriously doubt it. Likewise if the allegations of sexual impropriety currently afflicting Herman Cain can not be dealt with effectively by Cain, the Evangelical’s won’t flock to support him either. Thus for the far right the dead end of their hopes for putting one of their own in the White House may be coming clearly into view. That will constitute a major setback for a movement that just a year ago thought it was on the threshold of fundamentally altering the structure and function of American government.

Steven J. Gulitti

Sources:

“Oops” at Debate When Perry Can’t Get to Three;

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11314/1188910-84-0.stm?cmpid=nationworld.xml#ixzz1dLxIcCLT

Perry takes a lengthy pause during debate; http://hardballblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/10/8741648-perry-takes-a-lengthy-pause-during-debate

Fox News Turns the Guns on the Far Right

3:01 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Something happened on the way to the presidential forum in Orlando last week, Roger Ailes the CEO of Fox News decided to change Fox News’ ideological course and turn the guns on conservative candidates themselves. Quoting Howard Kurtz, “It was part political spectacle, part American Idol, part YouTube extravaganza, a pure Roger Ailes production—and the latest sign that the Fox News chairman is quietly repositioning America’s dominant cable-news channel…the real eye-opener was the sight of his anchors grilling the Republican contenders, which pleases the White House but cuts sharply against the network’s conservative image—and risks alienating its most rabid right-wing fans.” While this may come as a surprise to many, this “course correction” has actually been underway for some time. The first piece of baggage pitched overboard was Glenn Beck who’s yammering about Barack Obama being a racist was in Ailes words, “a bit of a branding issue for us”. In other words the loss of advertising revenue due to Glenn Beck’s ranting, raving and crying was all that Ailes needed to seal the fate of Beck on the network. Ailes went on to categorize Beck as a “performer” as opposed to a journalist which of course is spot on. Kurtz writing for the conservative leaning Newsweek said of the changes: ” Fox executives say the entire network took a hard right turn after Obama’s election, but, as the Tea Party’s popularity fades, is edging back toward the mainstream…After the Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting triggered a debate about feverish rhetoric, Ailes ordered his troops to tone things down. It was, in his view, a chance to boost profits by grabbing a more moderate audience.” Kurtz goes on to note that Ailes has grown tired of Sarah Palin and her antics as well.

In a scathing attack on Ailes and Fox’s new tack to a less strident tone, Rush Limbaugh proclaimed that “Fox wants these people to tear each other up, ’cause they want approval from the mainstream media.” Limbaugh may be miffed by being left behind as a result of this new course being set by Fox but in the final analysis Roger Ailes is a businessman who just happens to be a conservative. What he isn’t is a hard line blind faith ideologue that’s going to go down with the sinking Tea Party or to allow a crackpot like Glenn Beck to become an all encompassing “tar baby” that traps and encumbers Fox News to the point of completely destroying whatever credibility the network has left while costing the network millions in lost revenue. Ailes, a consummate businessman, played the Tea Party, Beck and the hot rhetoric of the far right like banjoes when he profited from an association with them and moved away from them as soon as their value to the network came into question. It seems to me that Roger Ailes has astutely read the declining fortunes of the Tea Party, the slump in standing of Congressional Republicans, the sinking campaigns of Perry, Bachmann and Paul as well as the stymied political future of Palin for what they are, harbingers of the end of an extremist right wing surge across the landscape of American politics.

I would bet that Ailes, being concerned about the future of the country, as so many of us are, has come to the conclusion that during desperate times like these it is reckless to engage in a campaign of blindly denigrating the incumbent administration to the point that it might hobble that administration’s ability to govern effectively. Ailes may have finally come to his political as well as business senses in seeing much of what has transpired on the far right since Obama was inaugurated for what it is, borderline sedition and that sort of thing isn’t good for business.

Steven J. Gulitti
9/27/11

Sources:

Roger’s Reality Show; http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/09/25/roger-ailes-repositions-fox-news.html

Roger Ailes: Fox News Is On A ‘Course Correction’ Away From Far Right; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/26/roger-ailes-fox-news-course-correction_n_980850.html?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=092611&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NewsEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief

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

Will Bachmann Now Condemn Right-wing Anti-American Views?

8:08 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Michele Bachmann once condemned Barak Obama for his “anti-American” views and suggested that the media should investigate “anti-American” sentiments in Congress. Ms. Bachmann would later retract what she said about Barack Obama, however she has never retracted her general position that there are those on Capitol Hill who harbor “anti-American” sentiments. Now that Bachmann has jumped into the forefront of the 2012 Republican presidential race will she turn and condemn “anti-American” views on the right?

Rick Perry, who recently threw his hat into the ring had once suggested that Texas could leave the Union. Isn’t that an anti-American sentiment? If you believe that America should remain as it is and that the strength of this country is a function of how it is presently constituted shouldn’t Rick Perry’s comments be seen as anti-American? Didn’t we settle this question with the outcome of the Civil War? Why raise the specter of another Civil War when the country is in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression? Needless to say Texas leaving the Union would cause significant disruption with all of the military bases there, the fact that much of our petrochemical industry is there and a good portion of the through flow of trade with Mexico comes through Texas. Thus wouldn’t Texas leaving the Union directly threaten the well being of the united States? Will Michele Bachmann take Rick Perry to task on this?

Ron Paul, during the Iowa Debates on August 12, suggested that Iran’s attaining of nuclear weapons is not a concern of ours. Isn’t this also an anti-American sentiment? Even though Iran doesn’t currently have the capability to strike U.S. soil, a nuclear Iran could threaten Israel and American allies in Europe and Asia, thereby threatening our foreign policy and larger defense interests. Presently the Iranians have good relations with the Chinese and their acquiring of long range intercontinental ballistic missiles isn’t entirely out of the question. As such Ron Paul’s views here can clearly be seen as contrary to the best interests of American security. Isn’t Ron Paul guilty of anti-American sentiments as his tolerance of a nuclear Iran could ultimately put this very country in danger if and when the Iranians come to possess intercontinental ballistic missiles? Will Michele Bachmann take Ron Paul to task on this?

Well what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If Michele Bachmann is truly concerned about the threat of anti-Americans among us, isn’t she now required to go after those on the far right who harbor sentiments that could clearly be seen as inimical to the greater national security of the country that she now hopes to be elected president?

SJG
8/14/11