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

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 to Drop Out of Presidential Race

So far he hasn’t said so.  But he will.

I wrote a while back that Herman Cain could “Stick a Pizza Slice in it” because he was done.  That was based on his supreme lack of knowledge on the issues on which he was opining…er…trying to keep straight the talking points his handlers had inserted into his head.  And long before the string of 3 (or is it 4) women claimed Cain had “been inappropriate” with them when he was head of the restaurant lobbying group (and at least 1, or maybe 2, had settlements, which certainly suggests these women weren’t simply making this stuff up).

Oh, and now there is the woman claiming to have had a 13-year affair.

No, Cain was toast long before any of that stuff.  Since the initial revelations (but not including even this last one), Cain’s poll numbers have plummeted.  With the last one, i.e., the 13-year affair, I suspect his poll numbers would evaporate…given the whole holier-than-thou attitude of the tea party that elevated him to this ridiculous idea that he could actually be president.

So now it seems that now Herman Cain is “reassessing” his candidacy.  Huh? “Reassessing?”  No one admits to “reassessing” their candidacy publicly.  They might do it in private, but to admit it in public is like putting on a big sign that says “I’m toast.”

Which, of course, he is.  Even the conservative tea party fanatics that invented the fantasy of his candidacy are abandoning him.

Which could also be bad news for Mitt Romney.  And good news for Newt Gingrich.

November 29, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Implosion of the Republican Candidates for President

The past few weeks have seen a remarkable implosion of the 2012 Republican candidates for President.  And it’s only October, still 3 months before the first (early) ballots are cast.

Not long ago Michele Bachmann was riding high on her win in the Iowa straw polls.  The straw poll, which actually hasn’t been a very good predictor of who wins the Iowa caucuses or the nomination, was for some reason seen as a watershed moment.  Bachmann wins! Bachmann rises to the top of the field!  Bachmann got less votes than she had paid for in tickets! Oh. Since then Bachmann’s fortunes have run down like an unsuspecting sucker at a curbside craps game.  In fact, “since then” was immediate, as in when Rick Perry declared his candidacy the very same day as the Iowa straw poll.  And since then her campaign manager has dumped her (and trashed her), her campaign is racking up debt, and now her New Hampshire campaign team has resigned en masse (or not, depending on who you ask).  Other campaign staffers haven’t been paid in at least a month.  So the tea party backing of Bachmann is back to back-stabbing and backward glances as Bachmann struggles desperately to keep her head above water.

Then there is Rick Perry himself.  He flashed onto the scene and immediately was elevated by the tea party crowd as their newest savior (claiming that he was their first choice all along, well, after all the others who said no).  Then Perry did something he regretted.  He showed up at a Republican debate.  Big mistake.  Perry’s performance was at best uneven.  And it was all downhill from there.  Half the time he seemed to barely there in ensuing debates.  And when he did say something it usually made him sound like he didn’t have the foggiest what he was saying.  Not the kind of performances that inspire the passion of the zealots on whom his candidacy must rely.  And so he sank from the top to somewhere in that middle where former top people go before they disappear into the ooze with the rest of the bottom feeders.  His most recent performance woke up the zealots, but showed that he could counter his lack of knowledge and debating adroitness with arrogance and pettiness.  Good one.

The latest to implode is Herman Cain.  What’s surprising is not that he is imploding but that the tea party had chosen him to inflate beyond all proportion in the first place.  Cain made a name for himself early in the debates by declaring that he is an anti-Muslim bigot.  Since then he has stolen a ridiculous catch-phrase (9-9-9) from a video game and even more ridiculously suggested that it was a serious attempt to fix the tax system.  Which he would do by raising taxes on the working poor and the middle class while virtually eliminating taxes on the very wealthiest.  That is exactly in line with what the tea party has pushed with nearly all of its hostage-taking tactics, so there is no surprise they love it. [It’s also in line with how he made Pizza Hut profitable – by closing half of its stores and laying off thousands of workers.]  Clearly a serious contender for the Presidency can’t have such a complete lack of awareness of his own silliness, but there it is every day.   And now he’s devolved into Palinesque incoherency where, as one conservative commentator and former Republican congressman put it, Cain is just making stuff up as he goes along.  Cain isn’t very able.

Which leaves who?  Mitt Romney, of course, who other than this last debate came off as being one of the few adults in the room (not counting the journalist moderators).  In the “adult” category you can add Jon Huntsman, but he seems way too reasonable for the tea party (not to mention his comedic timing is really really bad).  There is Newt Gingrich, who sort of sounds like an adult because he uses bigger words than the others, but also has a tendency to sound petulant.  There is Rick Santorum…oh, never mind.  There’s those two or three guys who are running that no one knows because they can’t garner enough support to even qualify for the debates (which is pretty sad given that Herman Cain is there and so is Jon Huntsman, who can’t seem to get much more than his immediate family to notice him).  And let’s not forget Ron Paul, who has a loyal following amongst the more libertarian folks who think the American government is some communist plot to steal all of our freedoms.

So we have the tea party running the Republican show these days and latching onto every incompetent nutjob they can find to be – in  succession, – “The One.”  And each and every “The One” sprints to the front of the pack only to be run over by the pack as they flame out and drop into the mud of their own creation.  Then there are the also-rans that run also, but nowhere fast.  And then there are the serious candidates.  Right now the closest thing to a serious candidate the Republican party can muster is “the next guy in line,” Mitt Romney.  And the tea party (rightly) hates him.  Romney epitomizes everything the tea party says they hate about government – the slick establishment politician, the “say anything to get elected” candidate, the “compromiser,” and OMG, he’s not the “right kind” of Christian.

So will the tea party prove themselves to be hypocrites and vote for Romney knowing that Romney would actually not do any of the things the tea party wants him to do?  Or would they “stick to their principles” and make sure Romney doesn’t get the Republican nomination.  After all, Romney is “one of them establishment” politicians and “not one of us.”

October 22, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

With Giuliani declaring he won’t run for President in 2012, who has the best “Giuliani catchphrase” in tonight’s Republican debate?

In breaking news that no one cares about, Rudy Giuliani has announced that he will not run for President in 2012.  Yes, it is a shock.  Who knew that he was even considering it?  Wow.

In any case, I’m sure most remember the Giuli joke of 2008 in which someone notes “There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence — a noun, a verb, and 9/11.”

So who will get this year’s coveted Giuli award for most repeated meaningless phrase?  Let’s take a look at tonight’s Republican debate in New Hampshire for a clue:

Michele Bachmann: “yada, yada, yada…I raised 23 foster children…yada, yada, yada”

Herman Cain: “yada, yada, yada…9-9-9…yada, yada, yada”

Ron Paul: “yada, yada, yada…audit the Fed…yada, yada, yada”

Mitt Romney: “yada, yada, yada…overly slick but generally informed discourse…yada, yada, yada”

Rick Perry: “yada, yada, yada…y’all…yada, yada, yada”

Newt Gingrich: “yada, yada, yada…yada, yada, yada…yada, yada, yada”

Rick Santorum: “yada, yada, yada…family values…yada, yada, yada”

Jon Huntsman: “yada, yada, yada…not quite as slick but still informed discourse…yada, yada, yada”

And the winner of tonight’s debate?

Does it matter?

October 11, 2011 Posted by | 2012, 9/11, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Has the Republican party already picked its nominee?

It’s all over but those pesky primaries and caucuses.  Or it seems that way.  The Republican road to the nomination may actually be much shorter than expected.  The winner?

Mitt Romney, of course.

This really isn’t much of a surprise given that Mitt is clearly “the next one in line” and the Republican party pretty much always nominates “the next one in line.”

But wasn’t this time supposed to be different?  I mean, the tea party is running the show and the tea party hates Mitt Romney.  With a passion.  Much passion.

But the writing is on the wall…the view is clear in the crystal ball…we can all read the tea leaves. [And other spectacularly numbing pundit phrases.]  There really isn’t anyone else that even comes close to being a credible candidate for the Republican nomination.  For those who haven’t been paying attention – or are in deep denial of reality – this weekend will make this fact abundantly clear.  That’s because this weekend, tomorrow in fact, the covers close on the quarterly cash hauls and the candidates have to tell the world how much money they raked in to fund the campaign.  And by all reports the results are not going to be pretty.  Let’s see what those tea leaves are going to tell us.

Mitt Romney: Probably in the vicinity of $10-15 million.  Not bad.  Not as much as last quarter.  But hey, this was summer and people are too busy barbecuing cows in Texas and burning their backs in Hawaii (Hi Newt!!).

Rick Perry: Probably less than $10 million.  Maybe much less. Maybe more.  Bottom line is that he pretty much looked like he thought he could wing it at the last three (or was it four?) Republican debates, as if he thought he was up there with a bunch of junior high school kids.  Rick, Rick, Rick…see that guy with the funny middle (and first) name? This is the second time around for this guy.  It’s now or never for Mitt.  And you looked silly up there.  Which is why all everyone can talk about is how fast you imploded.  Admit it.  Even the Red Sox looked better than you this past month.  And that is not a compliment.

Chris Christie: Wait, he’s not even running.  You got it.  The field of candidates is so inspiring that once again – for the 4th or 5th (or 10th) time – the tea party held Republican caucus is desperately looking for its savior of the week.  When the guy who isn’t running is looking better than the guys (and woman) who are running, then Houston, we have a problem.  Hence the reason why…

Michele Bachmann: Ever been to Disneyland?  They have a ride there that straps you into a seat, suddenly shoots you straight up to the top of a huge pedestal, then just as suddenly drops you like bad pun.  Bachmann’s fantasy league run for the presidency ended when the tea party got their last savior in Rick Perry.  Imagine winning the Ames straw poll and the very same day going from the top of the heap to just a heap.

Jon Huntsman: Not sure how much money he’ll bring in but he’s already laying off people (so much for “job creation”).  Huntsman is going to bet the farm (and at least a half million of his own lettuce) on making a showing in New Hampshire.  You know, that place in the northeast US that Huntsman’s political dopplelganger Mitt Romney owns.  Huntsman’s goal at this point is to seem credible enough to become “the next one in line” for 2016.

Herman Cain: Cain won the recent Florida straw poll.  Yep. Bye Rick.

Newt Gingrich: Yes, he is still running.  I think.  Oh wait, apparently he plans release a new “Contract with America.”  Nothing better to say “new ideas” than to roll out a copy of an almost 20 year old political gimmick. Good one Newt. [How was Hawaii?]

Ron Paul: He won some straw poll. I think.

Rick Santorum: Almost forgot him. ‘Nuf said.

There are some other folks you’ve probably never heard of or seen in a debate because, gee, we already have to give 30 seconds to each person for a response to such mundane questions as “How would you deal with nuclear insecurity in Pakistan?”

So, getting back to the whole “It’s all over but the primaries” thing.  It’s become crystal clear that as Rick Perry flames out like half of his state over the last 9 months, Mitt Romney will be the last man (or woman) standing.  Kind of awe-inspiring to see a man rise to the top purely because he was less dense then all the others as they sank into oblivion.  It’s a shame really, that all those states running the political roller derby for first dibs at casting ballots will have no one to vote for but Mitt.  And all that careful planning to dump the “all or none” delegate counts that allowed the Republican party to anoint a nominee after only getting input from three of the least representative states in the Union will go for naught.

Of course.  I could be wrong.

Next up.  Why the tea party despises Mitt Romney.  For good reason.

September 29, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Republicans Come Together to Debate Obama, Talk About Their Kids, Ignore Each Other

Five children and 23 foster children trumps merely 7 kids.  That seemed to be the theme last night at the first real Republican debate.

Okay, they did talk about other stuff too, but it did seem odd that how many children you have would be used as a qualifier for the nomination of Republican party candidate for president.  But unlike the bizarre “Coke vs Pepsi” questions of moderator John King, this one seemed to set the tone for the debate.

In short, the debate (insert air quotes around that word) was about trying to say the right things to get the tea party vote.  It was an exercise in attacking the sitting President without even seeming to be aware of the differing opinions of the seven Republicans standing on stage.  And the result was as expected – Romney came off looking presidential, Santorum and Paul came off looking irrelevant, Cain came off looking like a backtracking anti-Muslim bigot, and Pawlenty came of looking like a guy who couldn’t figure out how to change his recent attacks against fellow Republicans into somehow being all about Obama.

Which left Michele Bachmann.  As already noted in the last two posts, PGH thinks that Bachmann will win the August straw poll in Iowa, and barring any major faux pas, will likely take either #1 or #2 in the caucuses in early 2012.  Last night she demonstrated that she knows how to play the media better than Palin while coming off smarter and less incoherent.  I know that isn’t a high bar and Bachmann has straddled it before in the past, but last night she managed to be extreme without sounding too crazy.  Perfect for the tea party crowd, which is probably licking its chops right now.

In any case Bachmann “pre-announced” her “official announcement” that she was running for president.  No shocker there, but the fact that she chose the debate to do it shows her ability to manipulate the media with the best of them.  And as PGH accurately predicted yesterday, she also rattled off quite a few sound bites that were red meat to her base – the most extreme tea partiers.  Ever happy to toss out meaningless platitudes like “job killing EPA” (which distracts from the fact that EPA was started by a Republican president to help clean up the mess industry had made of our air [visible] and water [on fire]), she went straight to the far right end of the tea party spectrum.  And they love it.

Bottom line – Bachmann showed she can do well in the debates, which means she could siphon off the tea party votes from less extremist candidates, which means the potentially electable folks will have to shift even more to the right and say things that the Obama team will easily prove are false.  This puts people like Romney, and likely Huntsman, in a position where they will be turning off the very people they need to get elected by pandering to the extremists in the primaries.

This could be an interesting election, from a pundit point of view.

June 14, 2011 Posted by | 2012, debate, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

PGH Quick Take – Previewing the New Hampshire Republican Debate

Tonight is the first (real) Republican debate for the 2012 candidates for the GOP nomination. [There was a previous debate, but given that no one with a chance showed up it doesn’t really count]  In any case, tonight New Hampshire will host the first of what could be many Republican debates.  And all the big names are there:

– Mitt Romney: Barring a Gingrich-esque meltdown, Romney will win the New Hampshire primary in early 2012.  His job tonight is to look and sound like the adult in the room, which really shouldn’t be too much trouble given the rest of the field.

– Tim Pawlenty: Probably the second most adult person in the room, though no one seems to be noticing.  Perhaps because he’s trying too hard to be the conservative alternative to Romney, thus eliminating any chance he’ll have of getting moderates.  Which is ironic.

– Newt Gingrich: He should make the debate interesting.  I actually hope he manages to un-implode his campaign long enough to contribute his flowery rhetoric (which is often contradictory, but always pretty).

– Michele Bachmann: Though technically she hasn’t announced that she is running (ssshhhh, it’s a secret), she should be good for some entertainment.  Likely she will say something that will make the lead sound bite on tomorrow’s news.  In fact, she’ll probably plan on it. [PGH will explain shortly why Bachmann may very well win the Iowa straw poll in August]

– Rick Santorum: Likely he will work hard to violate the Reagan 11th commandment just to get attention.

– Ron Paul: See “Rand Paul,” only older. Paul has a following and usually says something interesting, if not viable.

– Herman Cain: The former Godfather’s pizza magnate “won” the earlier non-debate, which is both a credit to him and a discredit to the other participants.  It will be interesting to see if debate moderator John King will ask Cain to elaborate on his recent anti-Muslim bigotry.  That should be fun.

Not participating in person but likely on the mind of several of the participants (especially Mitt Romney) is Jon Huntsman.  Huntsman hasn’t formally announced his candidacy yet but unlike Bachmann, who just wants to be seen and heard, Huntsman has chosen not to play his hand until he has to.   Huntsman could give Romney a run for his money in the adult department.  Ironically, both Romney and Huntsman face the same hurdles to get the Republican nomination – they are both Mormon, both have perfect hair, both are positively associated with the Obama administration, and both appeal to the same type of campaign funders.  They could conceivably cancel each other out.

So with the tea party actively working against their most likely nominees, the Republican party has to a choice to make.  Do they go more mainstream, or shift so far out to the right wing that they ensure that Obama wins in a landslide next year?

PGH will do a postmortem after the debate.

June 13, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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