Political Gum Hockey

Political Commentary and Humor

PGH Quick Take – Palin Does Dallas (Okay, the North East)

Sarah Palin does what Sarah Palin does, which is attract attention.   And the media do what the media do, which is get attracted to attention.  After many weeks of (thankfully) relative quietude, Sarah Palin took to the road starting this Memorial Day weekend to do, well, no one actually knows what she is doing, but do it she did.

Avid readers of PGH will know that we long ago detailed why Sarah Palin won’t be running for President.  And contrary to the ratings prostitution of the MSM and blogosphere, PGH isn’t falling for her latest little stunt any more than her previous stunts.  This blog had intended to spend time talking about serious candidates for the Republican nomination (the Democratic nominee is pretty much a given), but since there don’t seem to be too many serious candidates for the Republican nomination I guess I’m stuck with the periodic pronouncements of Palin’s partying.

So to save us all some time – no, Sarah Palin isn’t going to run for President.  There, that was easy.  Any questions?

Oh, and the tea party loves Sarah Palin.

‘Nuff said.

May 31, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Sarah Palin, Tea Party | , , , | Leave a comment

PGH Quick Take: Hear Ye, Hear Ye, All those who want to be President – It’s Time!!

Considering that we have about one and a half years before election day, it might seem odd to be saying that time is running out for getting into the 2012 presidential sweepstakes election.  But it is.  And the Republican party is about to finalize its roster of horses candidates for the Belmont nomination.  Within the next few weeks we’ll know who will be making a serious, and not so serious, run for the roses. [Okay, I think I’ve played out the Triple Crown references, so I’ll stop now.]

Next week will see the formal announcements for two contenders who we already knew were in the race – Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  Romney has already pre-announced that he will make the official announcement (didn’t he do this already?) in New Hampshire (hmmm) on June 2nd, with Santorum making his announcement from his home state of Pennsylvania on the 6th.  Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann looks very likely to announce her candidacy for Vice-president in the next week or two as well.

And here’s an interesting development (maybe) – Sarah Palin is starting a bus tour this weekend from Washington DC up I-95 to New England.  All the media pundits are abuzz that this might be the kickoff of her own presidential candidacy.  A propaganda film about Palin is also set to open shortly in, of all places, Iowa.  Hmmm, I wonder why Iowa?  PGH has previously predicted that Sarah Palin won’t be entering the race, so if she does that either means PGH needs a new line of work or is just like every other self-described pundit (i.e., wrong most of the time).   Since PGH hasn’t been wrong yet in his predictions (it’s early), he’s pretty confident hopeful that Palin is just trying to rekindle her recently failing marketing brand.

Notwithstanding what Palin ends up doing, and with the possible entry of Jon Huntsman, the Republican cortege is ready for its death walk run for the White House.  PGH has previously evaluated the potential Republican field, and will continue to give up-to-date occasional expert analysis on key issues, prospects, and who might still be around by the time the triad is completed. [By triad I mean the traditional first states – Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.  That said, this year will be different and there are at least two more states that can be added to the all-important “first out of the gate” states that are “must” wins.]

Stay tuned.  To terribly misquote Bette Davis, this may be a bumpy ride.

May 27, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Republican, Rick Santorum | , , , , , | Leave a comment

PGH Quick Take – Tim is In!!

Tim Pawlenty is in!!  Oh, you knew that already.  Well, now he’s made it official.  Today former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty formally announced that he is running for President. That’s after yesterday releasing a web video saying the same thing…and two days after pre-announcing the pre-video announcement of the official announcement.

Pawlenty made the announcement (the last one) from Iowa, the all important first caucus state.  With Mike Huckabee passing on a run, Pawlenty is hoping to get the social conservative vote, which is, not surprisingly, the very same voters who dominate in Iowa.

In short, Pawlenty pretty much has to win the Iowa caucuses to have a shot at the nomination.  Romney could coast in Iowa and still get nominated, in part because the former Massachusetts Governor is likely to make a strong showing in New Hampshire, hope to hold his own in South Carolina, then shut the door in Nevada.  Pawlenty, on the other hand, could very well be “Win Big in Iowa, or Bust.”

More on Pawlenty’s chances later, but for now check out the Huffington Post’s assessment of Pawlenty’s “truth tour” (named after the repetitious use of the word truth in his announcement today).  Pawlenty’s scorecard, well, to tell you the truth, it was more truthiness than truth.

May 23, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Republican, Tim Pawlenty | , , , | 1 Comment

PGH Quick Take: Mitch Daniels is Out, Is there anyone left in?

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has announced (in the middle of the night, no less) that he will not be running for President in 2012.  While noting that all factors but one seemed to be in alignment for a run, the one – his family – was the most important factor of all.  And so he will not run.  [Calls immediately went out to NJ Governor Chris Christie to beg him to run.]

So with Daniels joining the ranks of the “not gonna run” group of Republicans, which now numbers more than the ranks of the “I’m gonna give it a shot” group, the question has started to become – does any Republican actually want to be President?

Mitt Romney does.  Tim Pawlenty does. Newt Gingrich does.  The Godfather’s pizza guy does.  Ron Paul does.  And a few others that don’t really matter do.  But Daniels and Huckabee don’t, and they had potential support for the nomination.  [Donald Trump didn’t either, but he wasn’t serious to begin with.  And Sarah Palin won’t run, which PGH said even before Roger Ailes (God Emperor of Fox News) let it be leaked that he thinks she is “stupid.” (actually, I believe it was reported the word he used was “an idiot.”)]

So…is the Republican field decreasing because they don’t think they can beat Obama, or because they don’t think they can beat Romney?  Or because, like Gingrich, they can’t stop sticking both feet in their mouths?

And what about the last man standing – Jon Huntsman?  He’s sure been acting like he’s getting ready to announce a candidacy.  Will he?

Or will it be “Romney or Bust?”

May 22, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Republican, Tea Party | , , , | Leave a comment

The Republican Potential Presidential Candidates – Who is in, who is out, and who is going to be standing in the end?

Okay, it’s time for Political Gum Hockey to offer its combined two cents on the Republican presidential field.  And we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s worth both of those cents.

So who’s in and who’s out?  It’s been a busy week, and the next few weeks will be even busier.  But essentially we know who will be in the race for the Republican nomination.

First, those who have already said they are NOT going to run:

Donald Trump – Doesn’t matter, since he was just “in” as a really long and obnoxious ad campaign for his reality show.  The scary part is that the tea party in droves took him seriously.  Which pretty much shows how seriously we should take the tea party.

Haley Barbour – After titillating the GOP establishment by visiting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Barbour surprised everyone by opting out.  He wouldn’t have gotten the nomination anyway, but most thought he would run.  Nope.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee decided his heart wasn’t in it and opted out.  He may have actually had a shot at the nomination (or, maybe not), but we’ll never know if he would be taken seriously or end up an also-ran.

John Thune – A potential rising star and giant killer (he knocked out former minority and majority leader Tom Daschle).  Thune rightly decided his time will come…in the future.  PGH predicts you’ll see more of Thune, eventually.

Mike Pence – Pence wisely realized he has no chance at president, but a heckuva good shot at getting the Governorship of Indiana.  This could be important because President Obama barely squeaked out an electoral win in Indiana and Pence being on the ballot might be enough to swing the state the other way.


Now, those who have not yet said anything but in the end are NOT going to run:

Sarah Palin – Okay, most sentient folks already knew this long ago, but it appears the rest of the tea party and GOP are finally figuring it out.  PGH has written about why she won’t run before, so you can just read it there.

Okay, that was a short list.  Mostly because there are a bunch of people that others are trying to draft into running.  They include Jim DeMint (no, really), John Bolton (no, really), Rick Perry, General David Petraeus, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie.  All have said repeatedly that they aren’t jumping into the race.  The fact that people are still trying to get them into the race tells you something about the people already in the race.


Okay, let’s hop to those who have either officially announced they will run for the Republican nomination or will be doing so within the next few weeks.

Mitt Romney – By far the front runner for the 2012 nomination, and the heir-apparent for the GOP.  As most people know, the Republican party tends to simply anoint the next one in line, and for 2012 that would be Mitt.  Unfortunately for Mitt, 2012 may actually be a bad year for “the anointed” as the GOP seeks someone from the promised land.

Newt Gingrich – Newt has visualized himself in the President’s throne room Oval Office ever since he was speaker.  He thinks that highly of himself, and seems to sometimes forget what is real and what is his own magnificent marketing.  PGH has already given the odds of Gingrich getting the nomination, and the last few days have pretty much borne that out big time.

Tim Pawlenty – Pawlenty has been running for President for at least the last two years, and still his Q-Factor is epitimized by the phrase “Tim who?” Some actually give him a shot, but PGH thinks he might have to eat his words…the ones where he said he was running for President, not Vice-President.  More on Tim in future posts.

Rick Santorum – Who? [Actually, that’s being a bit facetious.  Santorum has some serious conservative cred, but it won’t get him even a minor showing in any of the primaries.]

Ron PaulPGH has written on Paul already.  Paul did well in Iowa last time, but barely registered after that.  He could do better this time with tea party support.  But he won’t.

Gary Johnson – Who? [Okay, I’m not being facetious this time.] Johnson will be out faster than anyone can figure out who he is.

Herman Cain – Former pizza magnate and talk radio host made quite a showing in the first non-debate of five unknowns (including Pawlenty).  If he does well in future debates it means the front runners aren’t connecting with the primary voters, which means big trouble right here in River City (and everywhere else).  Still, he could liven up the place a bit.  Good for ratings.

Michele Bachmann – Talk about good for ratings.  Bachmann is a sought after interview on TV, especially shows that need a bump during sweeps month. Bachmann hasn’t said she’ll run yet, but it’s a pretty good bet she will.  Even she knows that she doesn’t have a shot at President, but I betcha she’ll jump at the chance to take the VP job if offered.  Ironically, if the electorate picks someone more mainstream there is no chance in that really hot place that the eventual nominee will pick another Palinite for VP.  The GOP may be slow, but it ain’t that dumb.

Okay, astute readers will be thinking about now that there are at least a couple of names missing.  I purposely kept these two separate for reasons that will become apparent.  They are the maybe/probably pair, and both could spell big problems for Mitt Romney:

Mitch Daniels – The Republican establishment is desperate for Mitch Daniels to jump into the race.  That should scare Mitt.  Daniel’s will probably run, though it isn’t guaranteed.  If he does, he’s a bit of a wild card.  Will the tea party like him? Is he too moderate?  Can he defund enough social programs in time to get the extremist wing of the Republican party to fall in love with him?  Stay tuned for more PGH analysis.

Jon Huntsman – Huntsman has it all.  He’s good looking, has perfect hair, is Mormon, has executive experience.  Accomplished things that the Obama Administration is touting.  Wait.  Sounds a lot like Mitt Romney?  BTW, did you hear the news that Mitt raised more than $10 million dollars in one night? That wasn’t a coincidence.  Huntsman is even more of a wild card than Daniels.  I suspect PGH will talk more about Huntsman very soon.

Did I forget anyone?

May 17, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Donald Trump, Haley Barbour, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

PGH Quick Take – Trump Says He Isn’t Running for President – No One Cares

Stop the Presses!!!!  Donald Trump says he will not run for President.

Oh right.  We already knew that.

In an announcement that I’m sure will be important to someone (Trump himself), Trump breathlessly exclaimed:

“I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election.  I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”

Whatever.  Seriously, the guy is a parody of himself.  Which proves just how gullible can be a certain brand of voters. [Hint, think beverages served either steaming hot or icy cold, but never trustworthy]

PGH will do a post real soon to set the stage for all of the actual potential Republican candidates for President.  Already the fake candidates have started to fall, along with one potentially very real candidate.  PGH is pretty much ready to start making predictions of the 2012 elections, but here’s a quick recap by one of PGH’s stable of expert pundits with his 2008 presidential election predictions.

May 16, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Donald Trump, Republican, Tea Party | , , , , | 2 Comments

PGH Quick Take – Mike Huckabee to NOT run for President

Political Gum Hockey’s stable of expert pundits has learned that former Arkansas Governor and current Fox commentator Mike Huckabee will NOT run for President in 2012.

Okay, to be perfectly honest PGH doesn’t have a stable of expert pundits (or even ponies) and this is more of a guess than anything we actually “learned,” but since we’ve been thinking Huckabee wasn’t going to run for months and he plans to make “an important announcement” on his show on Saturday, we figured it was a good idea to say it before he did and get accolades for being a perfect prognosticator.   And if we’re wrong we’re no different than thousands of other self-professed pundits who guess wrong most of the time so no harm no foul.

So PGH guarantees that tomorrow, Saturday, May 14th, 2011, Mike Huckabee will announce that he knows he has no shot at winning the election and really really likes making all the money he is making as a media icon.  Okay, maybe he will phrase it differently but that’s pretty much what he’ll mean.

Come back on Sunday to see if I’m patting myself on the back or trying to figure out how to cook crow so that it tastes better when I eat it.

I’m pretty sure I’m on safe ground here though.

[BTW – This is a double header day at PGH, so check out my other post on Ron Paul declaring his candidacy]

May 13, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Mike Huckabee, Republican | , , , | 1 Comment

Ron Paul declares he is running for President on Friday the 13th

In probably the worst timing in the history of announcing a presidential candidacy – Friday the 13th – Ron Paul made it official this morning that he thinks “the time is right.”  The man often known as Dr. No for his opposition to governance is running for the highest position of governance in the land – President of the US of A.  So can Dr. No win?

No.

However, he has proven that he marches to the beat of a different drummer by pooh-poohing the new trend in announcing a candidacy via Twitter tweet and instead going straight to the people by announcing on Good Morning America.  Yes, shocking.  Who knew that GMA was even still on the air?  In any case, Dr. Paul the Elder is likely making his last run at the Presidency in 2012.  After he is effectively a no-show in the primaries he’ll step aside unbeknownst to most of America and in 2016 or beyond we’ll start seeing his son, Rand Paul, run similar candidacies.

To be honest, it’s probably not fair to Dr. Paul to say he will be a no-show in the primaries.  His brand of libertarianism might actually garner significant votes in Iowa, the first state to sort of cast ballots in the Republican primary season (sort of in the sense that Iowa is a caucus state, whereas technically the first public voting primary is New Hamsphire, from whence, like Romney, Paul made his announcement).  And Paul is, as the Washington Post put it, the godfather of the tea party movement.   His views have epitomized much of what the tea party claims to stand for, i.e., getting rid of the IRS, the Department of Education, etc.  He polls high with people who identify themselves as tea party folks.  So with the tea party folks pumped up Paul should be a shoo-in, right?

Well, maybe not.  Paul has fundamental conflicts with the tea party. For one, Paul is an profligate proponent of  pork.  When the Republican party made a fake show of a pork moratorium last year, Paul was adamantly in opposition.  He likes his pork.  Also, unlike many in the tea party/conservative wing of the Republican party, Paul is violently anti-war (pun intended).

So what can we expect from a Ron Paul candidacy?  To begin with, expect a lot of fundraising via the internet to go his way, thus draining the supply of small donors from other desirous candidates.  Paul made a name for himself on these small donors last time, and with him getting a large part of that demographic it leaves the rest of the field to rely on big corporate donors and “Citizens” United like the big corporations and wealthy folks that feed organizations like Karl Rove’s (“we don’t have to disclose our donors”) money machine.  Not sure how that fact will play to the masses.  In addition, Paul will definitely up the entertainment value of the Republican debates, as his straight-talking Texas twang tends to say what he really thinks.  The contrast with the traditional doublespeak of most polished politicians can be stark.  It also can mean things get said that reveal more about what the tea party calls conservative ideals than perhaps is wise.  Not to mention a shock to real conservative ideals.

In any case, Ron Paul is in the race, along with Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, a couple of people no one ever heard of, and a few politicians to be named later.  He won’t even come close to being nominated by the Republican party, but at least he’ll make the early debates more interesting while the GOP tries to decide if it wants a traditional suit with perfect hair or a “maverick” teetotaler.

May 13, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Republican, Ron Paul, Tea Party | , , , , | 7 Comments

An Eye of Newt – Gingrich (Finally) Pre-Announces His Candidacy for President

In not-so-breaking news that will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone at all, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is set (we think) to more or less officially kick off his candidacy for President of the United States.  This comes only a couple of months after sort of doing the same thing before realizing he couldn’t legally do so.  In any case, Gingrich is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday (after yesterday leaking the announcement that his staff would make a pre-announcement today of his announcement tomorrow).  No one should be shocked that Gingrich is choosing to run given that he pretty much has seen himself as “President of all he can see” for years.  And according to the Mayan calendar 2012 presents his only realistic shot at the office (unless you count 2016 when the field will be wide open again).

So can he win?

Well, that depends on the question “win what?” Are you talking the Republican primary or the general election?

Okay, that was a trick question.  The answer to both is no, he cannot win, neither the primary or the general election.  Which is pretty much why he decided to run.  At least he can say he was a contender.

Don’t get me wrong.  Gingrich has a lot going for him.  For one, he is a master organizer and fundraiser.  He is adept at spotting the trend, jumping to the head as the bandwagon forms behind him, and creating whatever new “non-profit” organization is needed to propagandize the issue of the day.  Remember “Drill Baby Drill?”  Gingrich spawned the original soundbite that morphed into the catchphrase made so familiar by VP candidate Sarah Palin in 2008.  Like Palin, Gingrich is good at self-promotion.  He has managed to create an aura of being an “idea man,” in part because of his obvious intellect and his ability to speak like he swallowed a very large dictionary.  [In the words of my ancestors, “he talks real good.”]

Unfortunately for Gingrich, he also has a lot going against him.  I suspect his fellow Republicans, and most certainly the Democratic-leaning advocacy groups, will remind everyone that Gingrich was lying about his 6-year long extramarital affair with a much younger staffer while impeaching former President Clinton for lying about an extramarital affair with a much younger intern.  [For his candidacy Gingrich has euphemistically framed this affair as a “non-traditional start’ to his now 11-year marriage. Notably he hasn’t mentioned that he had cheated on his first wife with his second wife to be, which is the one he cheated on before marrying his third wife to be.  No word on if there was other cheating with women he didn’t end up marrying. ]

Besides this particular looseness Gingrich has also left a trail of hypocrisy on various issues of importance.  While he has a reputation of being analytical, if you really listen he gets a lot more credit than he deserves.  And frankly, his tendency to speak in high falutin’ language often comes off as more than a wee bit elitist and egomaniacal.  His “flip-flopping” has become legendary as his finger-in-the-wind speechifying has put him at odds with himself so much that it is difficult to pin him down exactly on what he believes.

As most will remember – and the Democrats are likely to remind those who don’t – Gingrich was the force behind the 1994 “Contract with America,” which helped propel Gingrich into the Speaker’s chair.  The Contract promised that the House would pass 10 policy bills within 100 days of taking the majority, which it did with grand flourish.  So why would the Democrats be the ones reminding the voters?  In part because only 1 of the 10 bills ever became law (and at least one was found to be un-Constitutional).  In part because majority leader Dick Armey was also very much involved – the same Dick Armey that is now a lobbyist behind FreedomWorks, the lobbying organization behind the tea party.  In fact, the conservative lobbying shop The Heritage Foundation wrote most of the Contract.

Oh, and he almost single-handedly was responsible for shutting down the government.

The Democrats see this as a vast cornucopia of negative history for which to use against Gingrich, though many in the tea party might find his history to have many positives.  We’ll see how that plays out in time.

So bottom line – Gingrich is in.  He is a formidable fundraiser and organizer with an ability to merge his eloquent rhetoric with the winds of whim.  All that should make him a serious candidate.  PGH still predicts he won’t come close to winning.

I’ll explain more in future PGH posts.

Photo Credit: From Wiki entry for Newt Gingrich. Photographer Gage Skidmore

May 10, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Newt Gingrich, Republican | , , , | 1 Comment

With bin Laden Dead – The GOP Gives Credit to …Waterboarding

I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising.  For years Republicans have told anyone who would listen (and who don’t bother to check the facts) that they (the GOP) were all about national security and the Democrats were, well, not.  So when a Democratic President gives the order to take out Osama bin Laden, the natural Republican response is to congratulate…

…themselves.

Okay, so most also gave some credit to President Obama.  At least a little.  And of course they gave credit to the the pains-taking work of the intelligence community who pieced together tidbits of information and found bin Laden after nearly 10 years of looking.  And of course, and most appropriately, most gave credit to the Navy Seal special ops team that risked their lives for the daring mission.

Oh, and waterboarding.

Yep, many in the Republican party are in such agony that killing bin Laden happened on Obama’s watch and not Bush’s that they are actually rallying around the idea of torture.  Which, of course, is illegal.  But hey, they say, we tortured those guys during the Bush/Cheney years and that torture led to the finding of bin Laden and his death several years later.  Woo hoo.  Drag out the waterboards and let’s torture some more folks over some brewskies.

Notwithstanding that there is no evidence that any waterboarding was even involved in the initial gathering of intelligence that eventually, years later, after many thousands of man-hours and renewed focus on gathering and using intelligence, led to bin Laden.  Facts aren’t really important to the GOP.  As long as they get to find a way to avoid giving credit to President Obama, his national security team, and the dedicated men and women who did the hard work of tracking down bin Laden.  Nope.  It was the torture that Bush/Cheney did 7 or 8 years ago to which they want to give credit.

On top of this,  some in the GOP are clamoring for gruesome death photos of bin Laden to be released.  To “prove” bin Laden is dead, of course.  Like all the conspiracy theorists won’t just scream “PhotoShop” (one columnist even started calling these folks “deathers” to reflect the malignant irrationality and hatred shared with the “birthers”).  And like releasing gross photos won’t tick off a few al qaeda just looking for a good reason to avenge bin Laden’s death. [Abu Ghraib lost from memory, perhaps?]  Yep, gotta have some grotesque trophies to hang still bleeding over the mantle.  Just to prove you’re a man.  Or a teenager in a high school locker room.

Luckily, real men don’t have to show photos to prove how  big they are.

May 4, 2011 Posted by | 2012, 9/11, bin Laden, Obama, Republican | , , , | 1 Comment