Political Gum Hockey

Political Commentary and Humor

Dead and Dying in the Iowa Caucuses – Who Survives?

Ooooh, the Iowa caucuses are only a few days away.  What fun.

Unless you’re one of the losers. Which is pretty much everyone but Romney.

I’ll do a post shortly on how Romney played the field and the media to win Iowa, but first let’s make some guesses as to who is still around after Tuesday.

Michele Bachmann: Gone.  It’s ironic that the all-so-(un)important Iowa straw poll in August was won by someone who is desperately trying to save face by not coming in last in the Iowa caucuses.  Last.  Jon Huntsman might even beat here, and he isn’t even competing in Iowa, having openly written them off to focus on the 2016 New Hampshire primary.  Bachmann’s money will complete its evaporation as soon as the Iowa voting is done, and she has already had virtually all of her important staffers jump ship.  Her goal right now is to figure out how to get out of the race with the right rhetoric to keep her in the running for re-election in her Congressional race (unlike Ron Paul, Bachmann decided to run for both President and Congresswoman of Minnesota at the same time…now there is a commitment for you).

Who else is out? Probably everyone but Romney in short shrift.  But for now we’ll likely see Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman stay in until after they all lose in New Hampshire.  Some will bow out after that due to lack of money and interest.  The others will wait until they lose to Mitt in South Carolina.

Oh wait, I’m writing as if Romney will win Iowa.

More on that later.

December 31, 2011 Posted by | Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Rise of Ron Paul – Can He Take Iowa?

As the tea party has lurched from one incomprehensible candidate to another and found itself settling (most recently) on Newt Gingrich in the final days before the January 3rd Iowa voting, one question remains unanswered.

Can Ron Paul finally be taken seriously enough to win the Iowa caucuses?

Notwithstanding the claims by some of the pundits that Paul’s position on Iran* could cause him to lose in Iowa, Paul has actually been gaining ground in the polls.  And Paul would seem to be the natural fit for the tea party crowd (He was “tea party” before the tea party was cool, or even invented by the billionaire Koch brothers).  Okay, maybe not “this” tea party, the whole being against unilateral attacks on countries we don’t like thing is anathema to the tea party, but close enough.  After all, the tea party simply adapts reality to whatever it wants to rationalize that day (call it “The Matrix, Part IV”).

But I digress.

The bottom line is that Ron Paul is actually making a concerted effort to do well in Iowa.  And why not, at 76 it’s really his last shot at the Presidency and his branding is good for this particular year.  Stranger things have happened.  For example, after the tea party cycled through Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain they jumped from these unconventional candidates to the dyed-in-the-wool Washington insider Newt Gingrich.  And could be in a position to vote for “the next guy in line” Mitt Romney, who has been running for President full time for over five years.  So much for unconventional.

But there is still hope.  No, I don’t mean Rick Santorum, whose severe anti-gay attitudes are too extreme even for the tea party (who prefer to wrap their bigotry in anti-Muslim garb these days).  I mean Ron Paul.  After all, he is the only one left in the ABM (Anyone But Mitt) rankings.  And his anti-government views fit in with the tea party desire to remove all impediments to rampant robber baronism, fair opportunity for the lowly 99% of us, and those protections for human health and the environment that just cut into corporate profits and the ability to fund pork projects.

So Ron Paul has decided to go after frontrunner of the week Newt Gingrich.  Besides being more than a little testy at the recent debates, Paul has issued a scathing reminder that Newt Gingrich tends to talk out of both sides of his mouth. Check out Paul’s new campaign ad:

Serial Hypocrisy

The word “serial,” by the way, isn’t a coincidence.  The political marketing guru’s know that it will instantly trigger visions of Gingrich’s serial affairs, marriages, un-marriages, and his hypocrisy of trying to impeach Bill Clinton for having an affair while Newt himself was carrying on his latest affair.

But that is just icing to the cake of the main message – Gingrich is a Washington player who puts his own financial well-being ahead of all else.

So with the Iowa caucuses coming up in just over two weeks, with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays squeezed in between, and with Gingrich’s sudden surge starting to un-surge, Paul is looking to do well and maybe even win in Iowa.

And that would be really really interesting.  If nothing else, a vote for Ron Paul in Iowa is a vote for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.  Which is why Romney is snickering a bit these days.

*P.S. BTW, this is Paul’s explanation of his position on Iran and what the US should, or should not, do regarding the potential for Iran to get nuclear weapons.

December 17, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Iowa caucuses, Republican, Ron Paul | , , , , | 2 Comments

An Ode to Newt Gingrich – The Last Man on Earth

Okay, I don’t do odes, so that part was rhetorical.  As for the “last man on Earth,” that pretty much was what you would hear from political pundits when asked about former Speaker and serial philanderer Newt Gingrich’s chances of becoming President.  As in, “Newt won’t ever be President even if he was the last man on Earth.”

And that was from the Republicans.

These last few days the airwaves have been filled with media pondering the magnificent “back from the dead” resurgence of Newt Gingrich into the lead of many polls.  Which proves that the media all have that disease that won’t remember yesterday (I forget what the disease is called).  Think about it.  The reason that Newt Gingrich is suddenly in the lead for the Republican nomination is pretty obvious.  And it ain’t rocket science folks.

So here is an ancient proverb I just made up: “When all the other boats are sinking, they raise the only boat remaining that doesn’t have a gaping hole in its hull.”  Call it a political version of Archimedes principle. Or something.

In any case, the rise of Gingrich is directly related to the sinking of the other tea party saviors of the week.   It most certainly isn’t due to anything that he has done.  Let’s recap.

In the beginning there was Sarah Palin.  Remember her?  Yep, Palin was the first choice of the tea party and they begged her to run.  Eventually they begged her not to run, but early on she was the “The One.”

While waiting for Sarah Godot Palin the tea party decided to play a Trump card.  Why? Because Trump played the birther card and immediately grabbed the attention of the bigots in the tea party.  And so Trump actually moved to the front, or near the front, of polls.  Donald Trump.  Reality TV “star” and user of other people’s money to enhance the millions that his daddy handed him.   The guy who conveniently went bankrupt just before each of his last two divorces.  The guy who has Chapter 11’d so many casinos that you wonder just how the tea party could look to Donald Trump, self-promoter in chief, to fix the economy.  Yeah, that Donald Trump.

Then there was Michele Bachmann, or Palin-Lite (or Palin-Heavy depending on your viewpoint).  She was the next tea party savior.  They saw her as the best conservative Presidential option.  No, seriously.  The tea party actually thought Bachmann was Oval Office material.  Just as long as no one asked her what the shape of the Oval Office was or the color of the White House.  Bachmann surged to the front of the pack on the strength of her Iowa birtherism and lack of command of pretty much every issue.  She won the Iowa straw poll and her star rose to the lofty heights of the tea party for all of several hours before Rick Perry declared his candidacy the very same day.  Bye bye Michele.

So in comes Perry.  And he surges to the top. And at the top he stayed until the first debate in which he participated.  That didn’t knock him out completely (I mean, he couldn’t be that bad, could he), but the next couple pretty much showed where Perry’s skills were.  And that is hypocrisy (“Secede from the Union” but “send me federal funds for education and disaster relief”).  Oh, and when you have thought through your central policy position so deeply that you have no clue what the third Department you would eliminate could possibly be, well, friends, you’re screwed. [Note on that – anyone can forget a name, especially during a high pressure situation like a debate.  The fact that he couldn’t describe his rationale for getting rid of that forgotten named Department (or the other two) means that he was given this sound bite by his handlers and he simply memorized it without even thinking about it.  That’s not a president, that’s a mynah bird.]

Okay, so Perry sinks to the bottom.  But wait, there’s more!!  Don’t forget Herman Cain.  The Koch-supported guy who was a corporate CEO who made the corporation profitable by closing half of its 900 stores and laying off thousands of people. Yep, therein lies a great job creator.  Then he was head of the regional Fed, and we know how much the tea party likes the Fed.  Oh, and he was the head of a huge lobbying organization.  Perfect.  Just what the tea party was looking for.  Too bad all those women showed up reminding us of the harassment charges they filed against him all those years ago, and that one with the 13-year affair that he denies as he quickly rushes to the exit.  Sorry, Cain is not Able.

You do see a pattern here, right.  There is a whole lot of surging going on by a succession of tea party “saviors.”  One person floats to the top because the tea party thinks he or she is the best thing since sliced bread.  A savior is declared and that person suddenly is rushing up the polls.  Then he or she speaks, and sinks like a stone.  But have no fear, because that person sinking just raises up the next person.  And then the next. And then the next.

And now there is Gingrich.  Perhaps appropriately for a man named after an amphibian, Newt has floated to the top.  He’s basically the only one left.  He tread water while the others drowned themselves (mostly because the debate questions tend to go more to the “frontrunners” so Gingrich didn’t have much chance to shoot himself in the foot yet).  And with all the previous saviors gone, the tea party has turned to the only man standing.

For now.

Gingrich has the twin advantages of having no one else the tea party can turn to, and having not much time left before the Iowa caucuses.  Not that it matters much.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Newt Gingrich, Tea Party | , , , , | 2 Comments

Herman Cain “Suspends” Presidential Campaign – Translating the “Politician-Speak”

As I already said four days ago, Herman Cain has dropped out of the Presidential race.  Needless to say, he dropped out using “politician-speak.”  So let me translate:

The words: “I am suspending my campaign.

The meaning: I’m quitting.

Come on.  Other than the fake suspension of John McCain’s campaign, “suspending” means ending. [Note about McCain. While he used the word suspension, he didn’t actually officially and legally suspend his campaign. He merely used it as a publicity stunt.]

The words: “These false and unproved allegations continue to be spinned in the media and in the court of public opinion so as to create a cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family.”

The meaning: I’m screwed.

While Cain claims that the allegations are false, unproven and “spinned,” the fact is that at least two of the harassment cases resulted in financial settlements by the organization Cain headed.  The fact that there were settlements doesn’t necessarily mean he actually did anything wrong, but it does demonstrate that those women did, in fact, make those allegations at the time and are not simply making stuff up 20 years later.  As for the most recent allegation, i.e., by a woman who claims a 13-year on-and-off casual affair with Cain, the rapidity in which Cain ended his campaign doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that his denials were an accurate reflection of reality.

The words:I have made many mistakes in life, everybody has.

The meaning: I did it.

Think about it. First he denies doing anything wrong, then admits that he has made “mistakes in life.” Obviously he’s not suddenly remembering the time as a child he ate a Cheetos that had fallen into a mud puddle (which is pretty gross, but not something that rises to the level of making “many mistakes in life”).  Bottom line, the guy probably (but not proven) did some things that could have been interpreted by the various women as being what they say he did.

The words: “I’m turning to “Plan B.

The meaning: I still want to sell books and make money off of this deal.

Or from a less capitalistic perspective, Cain is trying to save face.

The words: “I starting a new website so I can continue to be a voice for the people.

The meaning: Given that I officially suspended my campaign, I am no longer legally able to collect money from you folks on my campaign web site.  So I have to set up a new one.

‘Nuff said.

The words: “I am proof that a common man could lead this nation.”

The meaning: I’m delusional.

Seriously.  First off, while he certainly started off in a family of modest means, to refer to himself as a “common man” is to forget that he has spent most of his adult life as a corporate executive, including Chairman and CEO of a pizza corporation (where he closed hundreds of stores and laid off thousands of workers), being Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the regional Federal Reserve Bank (where he got to play with billions of dollars), and President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association (from which he lobbied Congress and, according to those who got settlements, played a bit loose on the harassment laws).  Secondly, Herman Cain had about a zero percent chance of becoming President even before the (unproven) allegations came to light.  The tea party, who were the only ones who seemed to miss the memo that he was just out there trying to sell books, had raised him to a level that apparently made him dizzy (which is why he complained more than once that it was all happening so fast and there were so many things that his handlers stuck in his head that he couldn’t think straight).  Thirdly, “lead the nation?” This from someone who didn’t even lead an organization to campaign in any of the primary and caucus states.  He had essentially no organization whatsoever.  He spent more time in states that won’t even be a part of the nomination decision-making process than he did in the top 5+ early caucus/primary states (but just happened to coincide with where his publisher thought he could sell more books and his campaign advisers could attend a football game on the campaign dime).  The only reason he was getting any attention is because the other tea party nut jobs had already imploded.  And with Cain himself imploding (which, again, had already happened long before the allegations), the tea party has already moved on to their next savior of the week.

So notwithstanding his face-saving and/or delusional “suspension” speech, Cain will quickly follow Sarah Palin down into irrelevancy.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Herman Cain, Tea Party | , , , | 2 Comments

Fearing being ignored, Bachmann Names Names

Michele Bachmann today made a desperate plea for attention.  After surging to the top for several hours one day last summer, Bachmann has since been written off as a political has-been despite constant unserious claims to being a serious candidate.  And today she went for her Hail Mary pass.

Yes, she named her fake short list for possible VP running mates.  They include:

Rick Santorum: The only serious person in the bunch.  Though the whole “hate gays” thing is probably not going to win over too many Independent voters.

Donald Trump: I’m not kidding.  No, seriously, I’m not kidding.  She actually mentioned Donald Trump as a possible VP.  If nothing in the world had convinced voters that Bachmann is a joke, then this pushed them over the edge.

Jim DeMint (South Carolina) and Marco Rubio (Florida): Wow, can you say “pandering” to the tea party?  The same tea party that fell in love with her (see above “several hours one day”) before dumping her on the way to the day that they would set the date for the rehearsal dinner.  The tea party has since jumped to Trump, to Cain, to Perry, to Gingrich, and to new levels of insanity.  So yep, the once tea party darling thinks that picking other once tea party darlings as a running mate is going to get her the nomination?

Wow.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled ignoring of Michele Bachmann, the serious person with 5 natural born children and 23 foster children (for at least hours at a time).

P.S. Yes, the photo is on purpose. You figure it out.

December 1, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Tea Party | , , , , , | Leave a comment