Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Republican Primary Potpourri

Newt Gingrich’s domination of the South Carolina primary has suddenly turned what most had assumed was a solemn Republican march to a Mitt Romney candidacy into at least for the moment, a serious two man showdown for the nomination. Here are a couple of our thoughts on the matter:

Ross Freiman-Mendel on Why Republicans Like Newt Gingrich:

He’s surprised everyone and proved the Republican establishment wrong on multiple occasions. After a stunning win in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich now leads in Florida and continues to undermine the Romney “inevitability” argument.

Romney exudes technocrat (plutocrat if you’re a liberal or Newt) – a statement on his affect, not policy. At his best, the Massachusetts Governor is uninspiring. Even if you’re inclined to agree with George Will, who finds the former speaker nauseating, Gingrich’s rhetoric makes you think he’s the next Ronald Reagan.

In terms of attracting the average voter, Rush Limbaugh explains Gingrich’s victory best:

I’ve been doing this show for 23 years, and one of my themes from the beginning — from 1988 — has been that the American conservative middle class are the ones playing by the rules, and they’re laughed at, and they’re made fun of, and they are impugned everywhere they look.

The base of the Republican Party, the voters, have been bottling up for 25 years a resentment — an anger, if you will — that their party won’t fight for them. When Newt gets teed up with these [debate] questions . . . and simply says what they’ve been thinking for 25 years, they say, ‘Finally!’

The effects of the debates are apparent, where Newt, “attacks his fellow candidates, the media, and President Obama with a gusto that’s almost joyous.” Ultimately, the reasons for the Newt’s surge are neither profound nor complicated. Romney is a flip-flopping milquetoast, and Newt’s the most palatable alternative.

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And That’s Why We Don’t Gamble

Yesterday’s Iowa Caucus results:
Mitt Romney: 24.6% – 30,015
Rick Santorum: 24.5% – 30,008
Ron Paul: 21.4% – 26,219

As you can see above, our Iowa Caucus predictions were not particularly good. My faith in the powers of same day registration and a passionate following proved unfounded as Ron Paul finished third.

Ross at least guessed a Rick Santorum second place finish, but failed to foresee a Mitt Romney victory in the caucuses, let alone one over Santorum.

Also of note, Michele Bachmann suspended her campaign today, and the status of Rick Perry candidacy is unknown after a recent tweet suggesting he was going to continue on in the race.

– Chip Lebovitz

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The Talk: A Feast of Presidential Jobs Plans

The Talk: A Feast of Presidential Jobs Plans
September 9, 2011

Chip Lebovitz: This week America was treated to a jobs plan trio. GOP president candidates Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney began the week by tossing their plans in the ring, only to be followed up by the actual president outlining his plan in front of a joint session of Congress last night. Which of the three plans did you find to be the most convincing?

Ross Freiman-Mendel: Obviously of the three, Huntsman and Romney have more conservative bents, thus I value their plans over Obama’s. Considering the specifics, Huntsman demonstrates the greatest understanding of what needs to be done. Romney’s plan is too timid and, considering his weak performance in Massachusetts, I put little faith in vague promises of spending cuts.

Chip Lebovitz: You’ve missed the main thrust of these plans, and it’s important to put these plans in context – they are campaign plans. They aren’t suppose to focus on the granular in order to avoid staking out damaging positions that might hurt them in the general election. Do you think that wanting to end the Alternative Minimum Tax, one of the most popular tax breaks, is going to go over well for Huntsman in a general election? Furthermore, you also missed the point of Romney’s plan; it’s more a veritable stew of tax cuts and more oil drilling than spending cuts, only guaranteeing $20 billion a year: no vague promises there.

Ross Freiman-Mendel: Of the two plans, Romney’s is more vague and affords him more wiggle room. On tax reform, for example, he says that he’s in favor of it “in the long run” and outlines only nominally how those reforms would manifest. That’s instructive. In contrast, Huntsman provides Krauthammer-esque specifics (a plus for me)! Regardless of what Romney promises — and citing one specific doesn’t obscure the fact that the plan is generally vague — his record in Massachusetts pales in comparison to Huntsman’s; if he can’t perform the task as Governor, why should I believe he’ll do it as the president?

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Talking Points: August 16, 2011

“I don’t know; they (Congress) have to find this cure all solution to save the United States from coming up with massive debt and downgrades by November. Maybe they could be working on it in the next two weeks instead of vacationing in these posh posh spots like Martha’s Vineyard.”

                   – Ross Freiman-Mendel on the president’s vacation and the congressional recess

Please enjoy this week’s talking points now with 100 percent extra Shakespeare.

Talking Points: August 16, 2011

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Five Good Questions with Christian Heinze and Jonathan Tobin

As covered earlier on this site, the Ames Straw Poll took place this weekend. Beyond just the straw poll vote though, Rick Perry jumped into the Republican nominating contest, reorienting the entire primary landscape and making it a very busy weekend for the GOP. To get more information about the implications of the weekend and the straw poll’s results, Chip talked to Christian Heinze of the Hill and Jonathan Tobin of Commentary Magazine.

Below is an edited transcript of the two interviews

Chip Lebovitz: Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll with over 6,000 votes. How significant is her victory?

Christian Heinze: It’s significant, but I think it’s going to make things better for her and more difficult for her. It’s going to make it tough to the extent that she’s now considered the frontrunner in Iowa, and she has to win Iowa. Now all the pressure sits to her. Before the pressure was on Tim Pawlenty because everyone said he’s got to win the Iowa straw poll, but now things shift to her so she’s going to be under the gun more.

Jonathan Tobin: Well, you know, it’s easy to dismiss it. It’s a straw poll. It’s not an actual caucus or primary. It’s not a big sample. It’s more a test of organizational ability that voter appeal. You know, all this is all true, but she still won it. All the other candidates would have like to have won it. Romney and Perry stayed out of it because they weren’t sure they could win it. So you have to give her credit. If she hadn’t won it, that would have been a disaster for her. If Ron Paul had won it, not only would it have been a disaster for her, it would have been a disaster for the entire Republican Party, because that would diminish the credibility of the whole exercise. You have to give her credit. Its something everyone else wanted; she got it. It gives her step up. There is a top tier. There is no alternative to Bachman, Perry, or Romney. One of those three will be the Republican nominee. She’s part of the trio.

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The Talk: Minnesota Vice

The Talk: Minnesota Vice
August 12, 2011

Ross Freiman-Mendel: Iowa State University was home to the third Republican debate last night. Chip, what struck you the most about last night’s proceedings?

Chip Lebovitz: How much the candidates value a good performance at the Ames Straw Poll this Saturday. Middling candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum had two credible options in the debate to increase their stature — attack Mitt Romney the front runner or attack Michele Bachmann the straw poll leader (Romney is not actively taking part in the straw poll). All the candidates piled onto Bachmann, signifying that they think an Ames victory Saturday is more important then making up ground in the national polls.

Ross Freiman-Mendel: I think that’s a slight oversimplification, but true none the less. The debate last night was politics as performance at its best — Pawlenty played the rich card against Romney and Gingrich cleverly rebuked the Fox panel on more than one occasion. I thought Bachmann’s performance was underwhelming, and at points she seemed an empty metallic grey suit.

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Ames Straw Poll Predictions

The Republican presidential nomination fight heads into its first real event this weekend with the Ames Straw Poll. Although not an actual primary, Ames has a winnowing effect on the Republican field. The straw poll results ended the campaigns of now Kansas Governor Sam Brownback in 2007 and Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander in 1999. Pictured above is supporters from the campaign of 2007 Straw Poll winner Mitt Romney.

ChrossTalk breaks down the straw poll with our predictions of the first and second place finishers. We’ll try to expand this list throughout the day to get more perspectives for you to peruse.

Jeremy Lerman: With respect to its ability to predict campaign success, the Ames Straw Poll shouldn’t be ignored. Of the five Ames polls that have been held, three of the five winners went on to win the Iowa Caucuses.  Two of those three later captured the Republican nomination. I can’t help but be both troubled and amused by the idea that Michele Bachmann could mispronounce “chutzpah” – an egregious offense to even the most casual employer of Yiddish diction – and still be considered a serious contender for the Republican nomination. Luckily for her, Boca Raton is not the bellwether for the Christian conservative base.

Bachmann is the frontrunner. Given Romney’s calculated decision not to pour money into Iowa, Bachmann’s formiddable contender is Ron Paul. Both Paul and Bachmann are associated with the Tea Party. Make no mistake, these are two very different candidates. When Paul advocates for small government, he walks the walk. We’re talking about a guy who refuses to participate in the lucrative congressional pension and healthcare plans because they are “immoral.” Bachmann espouses smaller government while simultaneously wearing her evangelical politics on her sleeve. While the contradiction is clear to many, it will play well for her in Iowa. The evangelical base likes lower taxes and fewer regulations – as long as they are promised that the administration will use the power of the federal government to ban abortions, prevent gay marriage and censor heterodoxical speech.  While Paul is well funded and incredibly well organized, Bachmann’s broader appeal and superior ability to garner media attention gives her the slight edge over Paul at this point.”

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