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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

The Koch Tea Party Picks the Republican Candidate…Romney Considers Changing Parties

Mark Blumenthal of the Huffington Post has an interesting article out today that compiles several of the recent Republican presidential polls.  You can read all about the polls and Blumenthal’s insights here.  There are two take home messages.

1) Romney has no chance of becoming president, and

2) The tea party believes that God is going to muck our stalls.

The first is the easiest.  Clearly the Republican electorate at this point is largely made up of people who say they are fighting to reduce spending and the debt when in fact everything they have been doing has increased the debt.  That’s really not their fault since it’s pretty clear there is a massive reality disconnect with the tea party.  In any case, the tea party lobbyists founded and funded by the Koch brothers and other Washington lobbyists like Dick Armey have gotten their minions duly whipped up against poor Mitt.  While the tea party has been writing off Jon Huntsman for violating Reagan’s 11th commandment (and the 12th commandment, which appears to be something like “Thou Shall not be Mormon”), the tea party has in itself been attacking Romney every which way, shape, and form.   With all this “anyone but Romney” attitude in the tea party, he only had a chance if the tea party savior (or the week) didn’t get into the race.  Now with Perry around, even if Perry flames out and leaves the party to Romney (the last man with money standing, and heir-apparent when that meant something to the Republican party), he is such damaged goods that all the Democrats would have to do is remind the tea party why they hated him so much.  Case closed.

The God thing is an extension of the fact that, outside of the Koch tea party funding, the tea party is really just this decade’s version of the religious right.  That’s “right” as in “not left,” not to be confused with “right” as in “not wrong.”  In fact, virtually everything the tea party says it believes in is actually not really true…and not what they fight for at all.  A large proportion of the tea party is still made up of bigots who think President Obama was born in Kenya or was somehow unnaturally born.  A large proportion of the tea party still thinks the health care law had “death panels” and was a “government takeover,” neither of which are true.  A large proportion of the tea party thinks that somehow the biggest capitalist economy on the planet suddenly became socialist on January 20, 2009.  A large proportion of the tea party thinks that changing tea bags for TEA bags somehow transforms a faulty understanding of history into being overtaxed (the Boston Tea Party was in protest of tax breaks given to the largest corporation at the time, and we’re actually being taxed less now than at any time in the last several decades…oh, and Obama’s stimulus and budgets have given tax breaks to small businesses and the middle class).  In short, the tea party claims to be fighting for what it is not, and claims as true things that are patently false.

Reality hasn’t taken a kicking like this since Robin Williams did Mrs. Doubtfire (Reality…What a Concept!).

Meanwhile, the tea party continues to claim they are trying to reduce the debt, while actually fighting to increase the debt.  The tea party continues to claim they want lower taxes, while actually meaning they want lower taxes on the richest 1% and the most profitable corporations – and have been fighting to increase the tax burden on the poor and middle class.

Oh, and key Republican/Koch tea party candidates believe that God created the East Coast Earthquake and Hurricane because the government is too big (but apparently God did not create the drought that has left Texas a near dust bowl because that would mean He is angry at Rick Perry, right).  The tea party seems to believe if they deny reality enough God will just fix every mess us humans make of His planet because apparently God has nothing better to do than follow us around with a really big shovel cleaning up our manure.  Frankly, that seems rather an unlikely scenario, i.e., that a Creator would put up with the kind of crap the tea party has been dumping.  But for some reason the tea party feels they can lie and punish those most in need while creating false idols of the richest 1% and God will just sit back like a fearful cuckold.

Someone is in for a mighty big surprise when they knock on the pearly gates.

August 30, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jon Huntsman Breaks Reagan’s 11th Commandment – But Then, So are All the Other Republican Candidates

For the first time since he declared his candidacy, Jon Huntsman is making the news.  Huntsman has decided that being the only sane candidate in the Republican field isn’t enough (since he barely registers in polls of Republican voters).  So he has shifted his campaign into being “assertively sane.”  And to do this he has taken to critiquing his fellow Republicans.  For example, after Gov. Perry joined with fellow tea party extremist Michele Bachmann in declaring that the science of climate change is a hoax, Huntsman countered by tweeting:

”To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming.  Call me crazy.”

OMG…did he really say that?

Okay, that was a bit melodramatic.  But clearly Huntsman is staking out the “I’m the sane one” vote.  Unfortunately for Huntsman there may not be any sane voters in the Republican primaries.

But Huntsman has taken this a step further.   He appeared on ABC’s “This Week” program this morning and, in reference to a question about Gov. Perry’s denial of science statements (both the denial of climate change and the denial of evolution), Huntsman replied he thinks the worsening trend of the Republican party being “the anti-science party” is a “huge problem.”  In fact, he added:

“I can’t remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a – a party that – that was antithetical to science.”

Huntsman’s critique of Rick Perry didn’t stop there.  He also worked in a subtle jibe about Perry’s threats to have Texas secede from the United States.  Notwithstanding the inherent hypocrisy of threatening secession from the US, then running for President of the US, Perry went on to threaten Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (a Bush appointee) with the potential for “treason.”  Such rhetoric is common in politics, especially with the tea party crowd, but Perry even suggested the possibility of bodily harm to Bernanke just because Perry disagrees – “we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” Huntsman, of course, thought that Perry was being rather cowboyish and “not Presidential” in his suggestions that mob rule would be an acceptable method of discussing economic policy.

Huntsman went on to say that he “wouldn’t necessarily trust” any of his opponents to handle the economy.  Ouch.

In fact, Huntsman added:  “I have to say that there was zero leadership on display in terms of my opponents . . . “

Needless to say, Huntsman is getting a bit of flack from those Republicans who hypocritically wave the Reagan idolatry flag while pushing the party so far right that the Gipper himself would be dumped off his own pedestal.  But Huntsman is not alone in critiquing his colleagues (in fact, the whole “don’t critique your colleagues” is a myth anyway since they all do it all the time).  The hubbub the last week has been about how all the Bush people (Karl Rove and the rest of the Bush legacy team) have been trash-talking Rick Perry.  It’s hard to know whether this is due to some childish rivalry between the two Texas Governors or if it is because the Bush team knows a lot more about Perry than the rest of us.  The latter seems probable given that Rove created Perry (I saw an article some where about “Rove creating a monster”).

Frankly, I encourage all that trash talking.  It’s helps bring the candidates out of the talking points they have rehearsed so as to sound unrehearsed when they give them.  And it allows us voters to see the real candidates.  So far for Rick Perry we have seen that he is a major hypocrite, tends toward arrogant and violent methods to achieve his goals, but is quite adept at seducing his crowd of followers.  For Jon Huntsman we find that he is perhaps too cerebral for the Republican party (especially the tea party wing, who may not like him anyway because of that Mormon thing), isn’t flashy enough to get noticed, and at least lately seemingly understanding that he needs to set himself up as the rational alternative to the nutties on the tea party side of the party and the squishiness of the Romney (and ex-Pawlenty) side of the party.

This could get interesting.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Tea Party | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Howard Dean Thinks GW Bush’s people will “Take Perry Out” – Are you kidding me? And what does this have to do with Michele Bachmann?

Former DNC Chair and Vermont Governor Howard Dean has been quoted in a recent article in The Hill as saying:

“The Bush people don’t fool around, as you know,” Dean said Tuesday night on MSNBC. “You can say a lot of things about Bush’s presidency and his failures as president, but one thing nobody should say [anything] bad about [is] his political team. They know what they’re doing, and they are ruthless, and they are going to take Perry out.”

First off, I disagree vociferously with Dean’s terminology. We really need to get away from this violence-tainted rhetoric.

Secondly, I’m not sure how much “Bush’s people” really care about the current election, though I suppose they will if they are supporting a particular candidate.  Rove (who is also quoted in the article) is one of those fake pundit types on Fox who know they must say something flamboyant to keep getting paid, so I usually ignore him.  But for some reason Rove and other “Bush people” have been breaking Reagan’s 11th commandment (i.e., Thou shalt not saying anything bad about fellow Republicans) and criticizing Perry, supposedly in an illustration of “a longstanding rift between the camps of the two Texas politicians.”

In any case, regarding this portion of Dean’s comments at the end of the article:

“He is now in competition with Bachmann and not with Romney. That’s a losing strategy for Perry, because they are going to split the right with the far-right vote, and I think this is great news for Mitt Romney.”

I’m not sure I agree with him on this.  Ultimately Perry is in competition with Romney. On this we can agree.  But Bachmann is a temporary distraction.  It is in Perry’s best interests to push Bachmann off into the “unelectable” category as early in the process as possible.  Once she is marginalized he can gather up the tea party vote while still having a chance of capturing some of the establishment vote (though his recent comments suggest he may end up losing the Independent vote). Then he can focus on Romney alone (this presumes none of the other candidates is a late bloomer).  The tea party hates Mitt Romney.  They will quickly jump to the savior of the week (currently Perry) once it is clear that Bachmann is an also-ran (which is becoming clear already as her Palinesque standoffness contrasts sharply with Perry’s ability to gladhand).  That means Perry.

And Perry knows this.

August 18, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Tea Party | , , , , , | Leave a comment

PGH Quick Take – Tim is Out!

Tim Pawlenty has officially withdrawn from the race for the Republican nomination.  As I noted in my Tim is In! post, Pawlenty had to pretty much win the Iowa straw poll to have a chance.  And he didn’t.  In fact, he came in so far back in third place as to make people forget that Newt Gingrich barely even registered in voter’s minds.

So this morning, Pawlenty announced his withdrawal on the “This Week” program on ABC.  And as the Washington Post notes online this morning, the Democrats were quick to put Pawlenty’s loss in perspective:

Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the Democratic National Committee said, said the poll results were an example of how out of touch the GOP is with the rest of the country.

“A former two-term Governor of a neighboring state, a social conservative, a person who on paper should be everything Republicans should consider in a candidate for president, was run out of the race because he wasn’t extreme enough,” Woodhouse said in a statement.

Woodhouse went further in explaining how extreme the Republican party has become as hostage to the tea party:

“In the past 72 hours we’ve seen all the GOP candidates swear allegiance to the Tea Party in a debate, the national front runner refer to ‘corporations as people,’ the two most extreme candidates in the field – Tea Party favorites – come out on top of the Iowa Straw poll and someone once considered among the leading candidates for the nomination drop out of the race because he was not extreme or vitriolic enough for the Tea Party which now owns and operates the GOP,” Woodhouse said. “But, while protecting tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil while proposing to end Medicare, slash Social Security and pile additional burdens on the middle class might win plaudits with the Tea Party, it’s not remotely what the American people are looking for.”

So with Pawlenty out, the path forward is paved on the choice between three people.  Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate (the “next in line”).  Michele Bachmann is the ultra-right wing tea party candidate (complete with hypocrisy of chastising the stimulus law and chiding government subsidies while begging for stimulus funds and taking government subsidies).  And Rick Perry, who is trying to be both establishment and tea party, and probably ending up being the worst of both.

And we still have 6 months before the first primary voting.  Fun.

August 14, 2011 Posted by | Iowa straw poll, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Winner of the Iowa Debates? – Rick Perry

For those of you living in a hole somewhere without media access (yes, both of you), last night was the Republican debate in Iowa, just two days ahead of the all not-important Iowa Straw Poll.  And the debate winner is…

…Rick Perry.

Yes, I know Rick Perry wasn’t even in Iowa yesterday.  But the Perry campaign showed that he is fully willing to stick a finger in the collective eyes of his fellow Republicans by pre-announcing his announcement for his candidacy for President.  So while Bachmann and Pawlenty played “whose the bigger Obama basher in Minnesota,” interspersed with “you’re an inconsequential Congresswoman vs. you’re a inconsequential meanie,” everyone watching was really sizing up the field against Perry.

And to stick the other finger in the other collective eyes of his fellow Republicans, Perry’s official announcement will take place on Saturday – the very day that Iowans go to their straw polling places to prevaricate over their preferred potential president’s proposed possibilities.   Perry’s purpose, presumably, is to provoke a private uprising of people who will write his name into the straw poll ballot.  Wouldn’t that be a hoot – a guy who is in South Carolina announcing his candidacy, then hopping a plane to New Hampshire to press some palms, actually makes a strong showing in the Iowa straw poll that he isn’t even in.  Thus kicking the presumed winner Michele Bachmann in her private tea party parts.  And possibly stealing some second place points from Mitt Romney, who has cleverly made a public show of not campaigning in Iowa while privately trying to get all his supporters to show up at the polls.

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee, who surprised everyone by winning the 2008 Iowa caucuses, thinks Rick Perry made a “tactical blunder” and showed “bad form” by pre-announcing on the day of the debate his intent to announce on the day of the straw poll.  Apparently the Huck believes Iowans will remember being upstaged on their big days.  PGH disagrees, and would argue that while people in general have short-attention spans, the tea party-type people who dominate the Iowa straw pollers have shown a tendency to hop from one “savior” to another (remember Palin, er, Trump, er, Bachmann, er, Cain, er, Perry, er,?).

In any case, I’ll have more on the debate last night…and preview Saturday’s straw poll…and try to answer the question that Perry-watching pundits are pondering – is he the new front runner, or his he the Fred Thompson of 2012?

August 12, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Republican, Rick Perry, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , | Leave a comment

China Plans to Nuke the USA? Not Tonight, President Bachmann Has a Headache

Okay, I admit I’m not being fair here.  Obviously there is little chance that Michele Bachmann could ever become President of the United States, so the scenario is clearly unreasonable.

Much ado is being made over the revelation that tea party favorite and Republican candidate for president Michele Bachmann gets frequent and severe enough migraine headaches as to adversely affect her job performance as a US Congresswoman from Minnesota (though given her total absence of legislative activity, it’s unclear to me how they decided her job performance was being affected).  The argument is whether she is “fit for office.”  Political pundit Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has an interesting piece today examining that aspect, so I won’t belabor it here.  Bottom line, if her headaches are keeping her from doing her job as a Congresswoman from a mid-population state, she most certainly can’t be trusted to act as leader of the free world.

But isn’t this really a moot point?  Bachmann is strongly supported by the tea party, which is known for backing such stellar non-candidates as Donald Trump, sees no problem supporting Herman Cain’s anti-Muslim bigotry, is a safe haven for birthers, bigots, and bashers, thinks Sarah Palin could run the USA despite her quitting her pretty easy Governor’s job, and in Palin’s apparent absence immediately rushed to Bachmann despite her nearly constant barrage of falsehoods, anti-gay bigotry, and seemingly bizarre statements.  Of course, the tea party is chomping at the bit for someone new (anyone new) and in the event that Rick Perry (or whomever else is named “savior-of-the-week”) gets in the race will drop Bachmann like the stock market crash that will follow the tea party-induced default of the US and world economies.  In short, the tea party has proven itself to be irresponsible and hypocritical at every turn, besting it’s irresponsibility only by its sheer lack of critical thinking and lack of adult behavior.

So if Bachmann ever gets near the White House, look out for China.  They may just decide to wipe out the debt we owe them and start over.

July 20, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Republican, Tea Party | , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas Governor Rick Perry To Run for President (Maybe)

Much of the buzz for the last few weeks has been over whether Texas Governor Rick Perry will take the plunge and run for the Republican nomination for President.

He’s definitely going to run.

Maybe.

Well, PGH doesn’t know any more than anyone else.  But he is definitely looking into the possibility in a serious way.  Perry has been racking up the phone bills (to be paid by Texas taxpayers) trying to find out if joining the race at this point is logistically feasible.  For pretty much anyone else the answer would almost certainly be no.  For Perry….welllllll.

With zero national campaign organization and the Iowa straw poll coming up in only a few weeks, Perry starts with a pretty big disadvantage.  But Perry does have a few things going for him.

Name recognition: At least among the tea party set, the name Rick Perry is one that is familiar.  In fact, the reason why he is seriously considering entering the race is because enough high-powered people who are disgusted with the current 10 or so choices for the Republican nomination have been lobbying Perry to run.  Still, outside of Texas and tea party circles, most of America probably knows nothing about him…or if they do, don’t necessarily like what they know.

RGA: Perry has been a bigwig in the Republican Governors Association for some time and knows how to raise money. With the tea party desperately looking for a messiah (and realizing that Bachmann ain’t gonna be it), they would flock to Perry in a nanosecond.  Off course they flocked to Donald Trump in a nanosecond as well, then Herman Cain, then Michelle Bachmann, and so I guess Perry is up next.

Cred: While Perry obviously would get the vote of everyone in the tea party, he somehow also doesn’t scare off most not-s0-bigoted mainstream Republicans.  Thus he is pretty much the only GOP candidate that could get the vote of both the crazy side and the sane side of the GOP.

So if he jumps in, he might just do well even with this late start.  Of course, if Perry does enter the race, that means the end of the Michelle Bachmann experiment.  Bachmann was all poised to win next month’s Iowa straw poll and would have likely won the February caucuses.  With Perry in the mix, she would fade away.  [And there is no way Perry would pick her as a running mate if he does get the nomination].  A Perry candidacy would also all but eliminate people like Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.  The impact of a Perry candidacy on Mitt Romney is more uncertain, mainly because Romney is the only actual serious person running for the GOP.  That makes Romney the alternative choice if the GOP decides that Perry and the tea party brigade are too dangerous to nominate.

So we wait.  Frankly, Perry jumping in would significantly change the analysis, so I hope he makes his decision soon.  PGH has some politic-crunching to do and it helps if all the nuts are in the bowl before getting started.

July 17, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Republican, Rick Perry, Tea Party | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Today the Campaign Begins – Jon Huntsman Declares His Candidacy

As PGH has alluded to several times over recent months, we expect Jon Huntsman to be a serious candidate for the 2012 presidency.  Today he starts to woo the Republican party.  PGH will have much more in upcoming posts, but today Huntsman makes it official as he makes his kickoff announcement at Liberty State Park in New Jersey.  With a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty and a historical connection to Ronald Reagan, Huntsman seeks to front-and-center his far-right-of-center conservative bona fides.  And he just might succeed.

Unlike most of the Republican candidates for President, Huntsman is no joke.  He is a former Governor and former Ambassador, most recently President Obama’s Ambassador to China.  He has been a Washington insider going back to Reagan (who ironically wouldn’t pass the muster for the tea party extremist wing of the GOP).

In short, Huntsman is Romney without Romneycare.  Like Romney he is Mormon, which may or may not be a problem for the die hard tea partiers who think that the 1st Amendment applies only to “the right kind of Christian” (and no Muslims), with Mormonism (the Church of Latter Day Saints) falling in that ambivalent region at best.  Like Romney, Huntsman is a former Governor.  Like Romney he looks presidential (what is it with the perfect hair).  And like Romney, he will be fighting for the same supporters and donors.  And also like Romney, Huntsman will pretty much ignore the Iowa caucuses in favor of a big showing in New Hampshire (with the hopes of a slingshot effect into South Carolina and Nevada).  In short, Huntsman is a lot like Romney, but, Huntsman hopes, not Romney.

There are other some negatives, one of which is how well he worked with President Obama, which is anathema to the “make no compromises” extremists, birthers, and xenophobes in the tea party.  He has also “adjusted his positions” to be more “tea party friendly,” while ironically claiming on his campaign site that he doesn’t flip flop (a direct dig at Romney).  So like former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Romney, Huntsman will try to be both “centrist” and “far right tea party conservative extremist.”  That will be a delicate balance.  And the further he (they) go to the far right in order to get the tea party vote in the primaries, the harder it will be to credibly tack back to center for the general election.

So today Jon Huntsman begins his campaign, which can be summed up as “I’m not Mitt Romney, but I’m pretty darn close.   So vote for me and you get someone who isn’t a nut job but also didn’t lose in 2008.”

June 21, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Jon Huntsman, Republican, Tea Party | , , , , | 4 Comments

Tea party Supports Republican Candidate Herman Cain’s Anti-Muslim Bigotry

What is it with the tea party candidates in their attempt to hijack the Republican party?  Isn’t dragging the GOP as far to the extreme right as possible enough?  Now the tea party has to strongly back candidates who are anti-Muslim bigots?

Being anti-Muslim isn’t new for the tea party, of course.  Under the guise of  “fear of terrorism” they have gone after the Islamic religion time after time.  I’m sure all remember how an Islamic community center to be built in a dilapidated building a few blocks from the World Trade Center site in New York City suddenly became “the mosque at ground zero.”  Neither a mosque nor at ground zero, and long a non-controversial project, it was turned overnight by the tea party xenophobes into a terrorist plot.  And this was just one example of many.  According to the tea party, if you are Muslim, you are immediately considered guilty of terrorism until proven otherwise.  This is the epitome of bigotry.

Now Herman Cain, one of the favorites of the tea party, is reiterating that he doesn’t trust Muslims.  All Muslims.  Cain initially argued that “Muslims need not apply” for positions in his administration should he be elected President of the United States.  Sorry all you qualified folks that just happen to have chosen Islam as your first amendment-protected religious freedom of expression, Cain and the tea party believe Muslims simply cannot be trusted.   Faced with criticism of his abject bigotry, Cain suggested that he could, well, maybe, allow someone who is Muslim to be in his administration if they took some sort of Islamic-special vow to the Constitution.   Again, in Cain’s mind you need to prove you can be trusted – but only if you are Muslim, all others get the usual presumption of trust.  Now, as Cain tries to “reinterpret” his bigotry into something more palatable to non-bigoted Americans, he merely sticks his foot further in mouth.  He’s just worried about letting terrorists into government, he says.  And, of course, to Cain and the tea party all Muslims are potential terrorists because, well, hey, they are Muslims, aren’t they?  The bottom line – if you are Muslim, Cain and the tea party will presume you are a terrorist until you jump through enough of their bigot hoops to prove otherwise.

Cain and the tea party are a disgrace to America.

June 19, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Herman Cain, Tea Party | , , , , , , | 3 Comments