Tag Archives: Republican Presidential Primary

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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Iowa Caucus Predictions

Hey Everyone,
We’re back and just in time to bring in the New Year with our Iowa Caucus predictions, though sadly not in time for the most recent Des Moines Register Poll that would have made our lives a lot easier. C’est la vie, I guess. Our caucus predictions are below:

Ross Freiman-Mendel: Predicting the winner of Iowa caucuses is a fun exercise, but caucus goers will not deliver the eventual Republican nominee. Ron Paul will win in Iowa on January 3rd, with Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney finishing in second and third, respectively. It’s also noteworthy how these predictions show how irrelevant the Ames Straw Poll was in its predicative powers.

Ron Paul’s latest controversy spurred by his old newsletters underscores the fact that the conservative establishment considers him a real threat. The Texas Congressman will maintain his lead for three reasons: his idealistic, consistent message; the lucky, albeit fickle timing of the scandal during the dead news cycles of Christmas and New Years Eve; and because he’s defter than Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich in his ability to maneuver his own political baggage. Defections from the Bachmann campaign are also telling, in addition to Paul benefiting from unique state rules dictating who can vote in the caucus.

Rick Santorum will surprise all, narrowly inching out Mr. Romney. His persistent yet shortsighted approach to Iowa has and will continue to pay dividends, as he begins to surge at just the right time. In the words of Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Santorum is all moral values all the time.” Unfortunately for Mr. Santorum, Iowans hardly reflect the composition of the Republican electorate, and his deeply Christian campaign has little national appeal.

While Mitt Romney will place a close third, the loss will benefit him immensely. It’s well known that a loss in Iowa can do just as much for a candidate as a win, just look at George H.W. Bush’s third place finish in 1988. The pressure from other candidates has finally enlivened Mr. Romney, who up until now has been boring and uninspiring. Just recently he compared President Obama to Marie Antoinette and Newt Gingrich to Lucille Ball. This heated rhetoric is good omen that the candidate is finally willing to sling some punches. Continue reading

Governor Buddy Roemer on Missing Today’s Debate and Campaign Finance Reform

“My ideas are different. I talk about money, and its corrupting influence in politics. I talk about special interests, which do bank and healthcare reform but don’t talk about nation reform. And I talk about unfair trade, because I don’t think you can create jobs in America in the 21st century unless you get a level playing field. These are my issues and nobody else talks about them. I need a debate to get known what I feel about those things.”

– Former Governor Buddy Roemer on why he should be in tonight’s debate

An edited transcript of our discussion with Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Louisiana, Buddy Roemer is below:

Chip Lebovitz: The guidelines for Wednesday night’s debate are that a candidate must have polled at four percent in a national poll since November 2010. Are those fair? Especially given the fact that candidates like Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich are averaging roughly 2 percent in the polls.

Buddy Roemer: Well it is arbitrary. No doubt about it. You know it; I know it. It could be higher; it could be lower; or it could be another test entirely. It could be activity in the primaries. If a candidate declares, is he active? Does he debate with other candidates? Does he meet in forums? Does he go town-to-town? There could be a determination of the veracity of a campaign. But they’re all arbitrary. I’m not overly anxious about it. I need a debate; there’s no question about it.

My ideas are different. I talk about money, and its corrupting influence in politics. I talk about special interests, which do bank and healthcare reform but don’t talk about nation reform. And I talk about unfair trade, because I don’t think you can create jobs in America in the 21st century unless you get a level playing field. These are my issues and nobody else talks about them. I need a debate to get known what I feel about those things.

Now, they don’t let me in, but I am growing. Depending on the poll, I’m at one percent and occasionally at two. I was once at three, and four weeks ago I was at zero. I am patient. This is marathon. The election is not tomorrow. I see candidates rise and fall weekly – I’m not into that. I’m into issue development, and I’m concentrating in New Hampshire. We’re building a precinct-by-precinct organization; it’s like I were running for Governor of New Hampshire. We have limited funds – One hundred dollars is my limit. We have to spend them wisely and well. We have money in the bank. Last week was my best campaign fundraising week – about 35,000, which is about one ticket to an Obama fundraiser (laughs). The debates are very important to me to get known after being 20 years out of politics. I am irritated (laughs) that I haven’t been asked, but I am patient.

Chip Lebovitz: David Weigel of Slate has argued that you and other similar candidates like Gary Johnson and Thaddeus McCotter suffer from this negative feedback loop. You aren’t in the debates because you don’t have the requisite support but don’t have the support because you lack the name recognition that comes with being in the debates. How do you break out of that cycle, in time for the September 22nd Fox News debate?

Buddy Roemer: I’m 67, so I have some experience at building banks, campaigns, and ideas. The tried-and-true method I’ve always enjoyed is persistence, patience, focus, and it will happen. Anytime I get a crowd, I do well. I went to the Tea Party Express in New Hampshire – I was the only candidate at all three forums, and I had a crowd, and I received such a terrific response. I must be opportunistic, flexible in my approach, but persistent. I work every day at this. I believe it will happen.

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Governor Gary Johnson on Being the Bubble Candidate

“Well that would just be real substance. Do you want to balance the budget? Ok, over what period of time? I would advocate balancing the budget immediately. What would you do when it comes to jobs? I would throw out the entire federal tax system and replace it with the fair tax.”

– Former Governor Gary Johnson on what will be missing from tonight’s debate

An edited transcript of our discussion with Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson is below:

Chip Lebovitz: The guidelines for Wednesday night’s debate are that a candidate must have polled at four percent in a national poll since November 2010. Are those fair? Especially given the fact that you actually received more support than Jon Huntsman in a recent CNN poll.

Gary Johnson: I am getting excluded. I am the guy on the bubble every time they come up with their assessment on what these debates should be about. That is what it is. I’m working hard in New Hampshire. The focus for me is to do well in New Hampshire, hoping that a good showing there would give me an earpiece in other states.

Chip Lebovitz: Do you think you’ll have a better chance at making it into the Spetmeber 22nd debate?

Gary Johnson: I have no reason to believe that I’ll be included. I have no reason to believe. The things that I can control are how many people I get to talk to and meet-and-greet in New Hampshire. In essence, I’m running for President of the United States in New Hampshire.

Chip Lebovitz: Onto the debate itself, what should the candidates be discussing that you think might not be brought up?

Gary Johnson: Well that would just be real substance. Do you want to balance the budget? Ok, over what period of time? I would advocate balancing the budget immediately. What would you do when it comes to jobs? I would throw out the entire federal tax system and replace it with the fair tax.

Chip Lebovitz: One question that is almost guaranteed to be asked is how the candidates plan to reduce our deficit. You along with a majority of the candidates have signed the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan. Given this preponderance of support of the CCB, how do you set your deficit reduction plan apart from the rest of the field?

Gary Johnson: That pledge relative to my (overall deficit reduction) proposal doesn’t go near far enough. The pledge doesn’t really do anything besides moving forward in a positive way. I’m promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013, and I’m promising to veto legislation, in which expenses exceed revenues.

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Ames Straw Poll Results

A quick update to follow up on our Thursday predictions. Michele Bachmann was victorious in the Ames Straw Poll yesterday with Ron Paul coming in a very close second place. The results mean of course that Jeremy Lerman was spot on with his predictions, so we’ll have to turn to his crystal ball in the future.

In other news, Tim Pawlenty announced he’s dropping out of the race this morning after a disappointing third place finish.

– Chip Lebovitz

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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