December 31, 2007

Can Anyone Stop the Man from Neocon?

Posted in '08 Primaries, Fred Thompson, Giuliani, Huckabee, Immigration, Iowa Caucus, John McCain, Neocons, Presidential primaries, Republican Presidential Race, Ron Paul, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:46 am by ducadoonpolitics

Whoever said “trash talk” doesn’t pay?

Obviously, whoever it was never watched Governor Romney as he parlayed the black art of opponent decapitation over the political airwaves in Iowa and NH this past week. Attack ad after unrelenting attack ad–one embarrassing day followed by another. It seemed at times like the Romney attack machine simply couldn’t quench it’s voracious appetite for blood.

Huckabee conservative or McCain independent–you’ve gotta be wondering: Is this really the man the Neocons find so much to cheer about? And what of all those “honesty first” voters still out there who learn almost daily of some new reason to distrust the flip-meister from Massachusetts–errr, I mean Utah, errr, or is it Michigan?

Should they simply ignore all the Romney character questions and “candor gaps” in hopes of “lower taxes” and “fewer regulations” somewhere down the line? After all, unlike the average Neocon who’s quite adept at flip-flopping himself (having leaped from the left to the right with the greatest of ease), Main Street Republicans still believe a person “means what he says”–and vice versa.

Now that Governor Romney’s back in the early primary hunt, it’s time to stop daydreaming about “what could have been” and start asking some hard political questions like . . .

What Happens now in SC and Florida?

Until Romney’s withering TV barrage this past week, the gathering wisdom was that Huckabee wins Iowa and McCain takes NH. Now, with Mitts’ unexpected resurgence, a new scenario has suddenly surfaced–namely Romney wins Iowa or NH or both.

Either outcome leaves only Michigan (on Jan. 15) and then SC and Nevada (on Jan. 19) for Huckabee and McCain to regroup before a final push in late Jan/early Feb.–following what would be back-to-back losses for one or both candidates. (You can throw Mayor Giuliani in the same boat too while you’re at it.)

Now if that isn’t bad enough for you Huckabee and McCain supporters, things just keep getting bleaker from then on. The reason? In two words, “time” and “money.”

Because of all the Primary schedule changes the States made this year, it’s quite likely the Republican nomination will be decided by mid-Feb at the latest, as Florida gathers on Jan. 29, followed by Maine on Feb. 1 and finally, twenty clincher contests on Feb 5– “Super Tuesday“. And who does this newly contracted schedule favor? You got it–the guy with all the money!

Money will Decide Who Wins on Super Tuesday

Despite their other faults, past Primary line-ups shared at least one redeeming feature: they spread out the selection process over time, giving each candidate (including the one with the fewest campaign funds) the opportunity to make his case before the American voter. They also gave him some precious time to replenish his financial coffers and recover from minor mishaps and faux pas.

But that’s not going to happen this time around; there’s just not enough time between Primary A and Primary B. And unless the current scheduling problems are fixed, it won’t be happening again in the foreseeable future either!

Any guess what else is going to happen under the new Primary scheduling system we’ve stumbled ourselves into? That’s right, whoever has the most money to spend on TV ads is going to trump whoever’s got the best character and foresight for leading our great nation!

Can’t happen, you say? Well, just watch and weep as the best-funded campaigns start dominating the vote tallies and evening headlines starting next week!

Who gains most from the new Primary schedule?

And who might that be? According to the U.S. Federal Election Commission’s latest tabulations (as of Dec. 30), Gov. Romney ($61.6m) has amassed the most campaign contributions by far–followed by Giuliani ($46.7m) and then McCain ($31.4m).

Where was Gov. Huckabee, you may be asking? Well, if you’re a Huckabee supporter, you really don’t want to know. Alright, if you insist, Huck was between Tancredo ($3.5m) and Thompson ($1.1m) at barely over $2m.

Now, of course, those figures have changed since the numbers were last tallied. But the basic picture remains the same. And that’s even before you factor in Romney’s considerable personal fortune just waiting to be added to all those contributions from the boys at Goldman Sachs.

Unless something happens to slow Romney’s advance

So what’s left for the other Republican candidates should Mitt steal the show in Iowa and/or NH?

Not much, unfortunately, if you’re a Huckabee supporter. My guess is Pastor Huckabee will be back strumming his bass guitar by Feb 1–unless he can somehow regain his lost momentum in Iowa.

As for McCain, “cactus John” is likely to fare a little better–at least for a while. I say that for two reasons. First, unlike Huckabee, McCain actually has some financial reserves to draw upon. And second, should Huckabee be forced from the race, McCain is the likely benefactor of at least some of the Arkansas Governor’s pro-life support.

Why only “some”, you ask? Because, unlike Huckabee, who’s managed to paper over many of his weaknesses on illegal immigration, the Arizona Senator has nowhere to hide from mainstream conservatives on the issues of “amnesty” and “border security.”

Who’s left?

So who’s left? Well, let’s see. First, there’s Giuliani, who seems more content with getting a good Winter tan in Florida than actually competing for primary votes. Seriously though, the mayor does still sport a respectable warchest.

The real question is “can he pull the trigger” and actually work his way back into the race? It seems clear the former mayor will not gain much from a Huckabee departure. He’s too hopelessly “soft” on mainstream issues (abortion, gay marriage, etc.) dear to social conservatives. But should McCain exit the race before him, it’s conceivable some of McCain’s “national security” supporters will find their way over to “Rudy’s camp”. We’ll just have to wait and see.

That leaves only Fred Thompson and Ron Paul as credible Romney opponents. With Huckabee gone, a case could be made for Thompson as the sole remaining hope for social conservatives. But after Fred’s curious “fire in the belly” comments this past week, it’s unclear what it would take for the Senator’s campaign to get off it’s lethargic arse and get to work.

That said, Thompson’s prospects as a “white horse” candidate obviously improve the less congested the race becomes. The Tennessee Senator has also shown some promise as a fundraiser ($12.7m by FEC numbers), but as with his lackadaisical campaigning style, he needs to pick up the pace there as well.

From a strictly fundraising perspective, Ron Paul would seem to offer Romney his greatest challenge . The blogosphere is electric with news of the massive warchest the Texas Congressman is assembling. And that’s not all there is to fear if you’re a Romney supporter. Of all the candidates (including the Dems), no one has developed a more enthusiastically committed grassroots organization than Dr. Paul.

The real concern for Paul supporters is whether the Congressman can overcome the equally real fears his antiwar rhetoric evokes in a campaign so heavily focused on national security. At this point, at least, my guess is he cannot.

What about possible alliances?

If you’re Mitt Romney, you’ve got to be feeling good at this point. Looking out over the next three weeks, the man from Neocon seems to be ensconced in the proverbial catbird’s seat. Of course, that assumes he’ll be competing with the other candidates one-on-one.

Which brings up the possibility of potential alliances in this already strange and ever-changing Presidential primary campaign.

There was considerable speculation last week about one such possible alliance between the Huckabee and McCain camps. The basic idea there was that Huckabee would keep Romney pinned down in Iowa while McCain worked him over in NH–and visa versa. If a Huckabee-McCain alliance is indeed at hand, my only question is “What happens after NH?”

To remain viable on the eve of Super Tuesday, both Huckabee and McCain desperately need a win in SC. To think each would sacrifice himself in the interest of stopping Romney, seems a bit far-fetched at this point.

Unless, of course, a deal can be struck that puts the two campaigners on the same Presidential ticket. The only question then would be “Who heads that ticket?”–Huckabee or McCain. Stranger things have happened, but a Huckabee-McCain ticket is still a long-shot at this point. In fact, looking down the road a piece, a Romney-McCain ticket probably makes as much if not more sense than a McCain-Huckabee one. Only time will tell.

Politics and strange bedfellows

As the old proverb says, “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”

So don’t be surprised when the candidates start vetting their alliance options once the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries start settling. The pace will quicken as the MI results reveal who’s strong and who’s weak in the rust belt–and who still has a shot to win the top spot on the Republican ticked.

By the time the Republican candidates reach SC and Nevada (Jan. 19), it should be pretty clear who still can win the top spot on the Republican ticket and who might help the frontrunner(s) make it through the grueling Super Tuesday that lies ahead.

Prepare for take-off

So if you’re a Romney Republican, sit back and enjoy the race. If not, I wish there was something I could say to pick up your spirits.

In either case, fasten your seatbelts. It’s looking to be another Grand Old Party!

December 29, 2007

Breaking News on the Republican Candidates

Posted in '08 Primaries, Fred Thompson, Giuliani, Huckabee, John McCain, Republican Nominees, Republican Presidential Race, Romney, Ron Paul tagged , , , , , , , , , at 12:05 am by ducadoonpolitics

Huckabee links Bhutto assassination to Immigration

Huckabee told reporters in Pella Iowa

“we need to understand that violence and terror is significant when it happens in Pakistan. It’s more significant if it could happen in our own cities, and it happens if people can slip across our border and we have no control over it. That’s exactly how it can affect us.”


Romney launches new ad attacking Huckabee

Mitt Romney has a new ad out criticizing Huckabee’s leadership credentials and promoting his own.


Fred Thompson hits Dems on Bhutto reaction

Thompson warned other candidates against calling for Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf to step down, saying a more deliberate approach is needed. (more…)


Ron Paul touts “prolife” credentials in new tv ad

Ron Paul showcases his leadership credentials in a new TV ad airing in Iowa and NH. (more…)


Giuliani leaves Florida; returns to Iowa

Before leaving Florida, Giuliani stressed the importance of police and law enforcement officers in thwarting terrorism. (more…)


Minnesota Gov. to stump for McCain in NH

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty plans to introduce McCain at townhall meetings in New Hampshire this weekend. (more…)

December 27, 2007

Playing the Immigration Game

Posted in '08 Primaries, Fred Thompson, Giuliani, Politics, Republican Nominees, Republican Party, Republican Presidential Race, Romney, Ron Paul tagged , , , , , , , at 4:05 pm by ducadoonpolitics

Getting tired of reading about the Primaries and who’s leading in the latest poll? Well then pull up a chair and let’s play the immigration game.Here are the rules. Simply match the candidate on the left to the quotation on the right. That’s all there is to it. I’ll post the answers tomorrow so you can see how well you did.

If you leave a Comment with your answers, I’ll announce the commenter with the best score when I give you the answers.

Who Said What?

Candidate Quote
1 Rudy Giuliani “The talk must stop. We must secure our borders now. A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked.”
2 Mike Huckabee “My view, you have to secure the border, number one, have an employment verification system, number two, and number three, say to those that are there illegally, get in line with everybody else; you’re not going to have a special doorway, any particular advantage, by having come here illegally, to become a permanent resident.”
3 John McCain “If anybody is here illegally, they should never get to be put ahead of a line of people that are here legally. They should have to pay a penalty, because there should not be amnesty. It’s a civil wrong. Civil wrongs are compensated by paying penalties. They should pay the back taxes. And if you ultimately find a way to make them citizens, then there should be a very, very strong requirement that they speak English, read English, write English, and understand American history.”
4 Ron Paul “We shouldn’t have amnesty where we just say, “Fine, everybody’s good, we’re going to let it go.” We should have a process where people can pay the penalties, step up and accept responsibility for not being here legally.
But here’s the point. The objective is not to be punitive. The objective is to make things right. Right for us. Right for them.”
5 Mitt Romney “You know, if you have the right kind of policies, and you’re not encouraging people to come here and encouraging them to stay once they’re here, they’ll go back, many of them, of their own volition, instead of having to, you know, load up moving vans and rounding people up.”
6 Fred D. Thompson “[W]e need to have a guest worker program.our proposal is basically you can get a tamper-proof visa after your job has been proven that it cannot be filled by an American citizen. Now, what do you do with the 11 million people that are already here?[M]ake them earn citizenship because they have broken our laws My friends, thats not amnesty. Amnesty is forgiveness. Were not forgiving anything.”

December 24, 2007

Huckabee Would Remodel Republican Party

Posted in Huckabee, Republican Party tagged , , , at 12:08 pm by ducadoonpolitics

In case you missed CBS’ “Face the Nation” interview with Mike Huckabee, host Bob Schieffer asked Governor Huckabee his take on today’s Republican Party. In Schieffer’s words, “Are you running to change the Republican Party as well as running for the nomination?”Here is Governor Huckabee’s answer:

I am a Republican. And I am out to change the Republican Party. It needs changing. It needs to be inclusive of all those people across America for whom this party should stand.

And it’s not just the people on Wall Street. It’s the people on Main Street. And there are a lot of people in America that come up and shake my hand. They get out of cabs. They come from behind the skycap counter and they tell me that they appreciate the fact that I understand what it’s like to struggle.

The Republicans are not just a group of people who sit at the top. They’re people who sit around their kitchen table and worry about how they’re going to pay their rent.

I think sometimes there’s this perception that Republicans all belong to the same club. Well, the one club they belong to is loving this country and loving its future and wanting to do the best for their children. I think I represent those folks.

I’m not angry at all the folks at Wall Street. In fact, I think my policies would do more for them, but it wouldn’t just be for them. It would also be for those guys that don’t necessarily have a stock portfolio. It would be also for the people who don’t have a lobbyist in Washington.

When we do the kind of policies that I’d like to see happen in terms of taxes and regulation, a guy could sit down at his kitchen table, sketch out the idea for a small business, and know that the government isn’t his biggest opposition, that he actually might be able to live the American dream. And that’s what Republicans ought to be about, helping not just big business but small business as well.

You can watch the taped interview on the CBS website.

December 23, 2007

Huckabee against the Neocons

Posted in '08 Primaries, Giuliani, Huckabee, Iowa Primary, National Review, President Bush, Romney tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:49 pm by ducadoonpolitics

What do the Neocons have against Mike Huckabee?

First it was National Review (see my blog below); then President Bush; and now Rush Limbaugh.

In case you missed it in my previous blog, National Review (NR) used its December 10 endorsement of Governor Romney to take a swipe at Mike Huckabee, accusing the former Arkansas Governor of “alienating economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives.”

Then just this week, the Bush administration took aim at Huckabee, first in a critical statement by former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer, followed by similar criticisms Friday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

To top it off, conservative icon Rush Limbaugh joined the chorus of criticism Friday, accusing the Huckabee campaign of “trying to dumb down conservatism in order to get it to conform with his record.”

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign has been busy all week parsing and channeling the Huckabee criticism into support for their own candidate.

What’s going on?

So what’s it all mean? As far as the Huckabee campaign is concerned, it’s mostly just “sour grapes”. Ever since their candidate’s unexpected surge in Iowa, campaign officials have been warning supporters to brace for the negative publicity that typically accompanies front-runner status.

The “mainstream” media, on the other hand, repeatedly point to Huckabee’s recent criticisms of President Bush’s foreign policy likening it to an “arrogant bunker mentality.” It’s this Bush-bashing, the press tells us, that’s responsible for the political heat Huckabee’s receiving.

There’s clearly truth in both explanations. Everybody loves the underdog who somehow manages to defy the odds–everyone, of course, but those who end up losing the race. And Huckabee’s harsh language in Foreign Affairs probably couldn’t have been more poorly timed. After all, who needs to make enemies with your party’s political base before a single primary vote has even been cast? Save your Bush-bashing for the general election, any sensible advisor would surely have cautioned the Huckabee campaign.

Another Explanation

But be that as it may, I think there’s another explanation for the current firestorm of criticism threatening to engulf the Huckabee campaign. Go back and read some of the backroom deliberations taking place among Evangelical leaders in early Autumn of this year. As late as Thanksgiving, no consensus had been reached on which Republican candidate Evangelicals should support. Some already leaned toward Huckabee, but just as many seemed to find good reasons to support either Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson. About the only thing all seemed agreed upon was the unacceptability of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.

Then, around Thanksgiving, the same Evangelical leaders began sensing the need to make a choice. Would it be Thompson, who seemed to have the right credentials, but who’s campaign looked uninspired and struggled daily to gain traction? Or would it be Romney, who seemed to embrace the right positions, but left prospective supporters wondering if he could be trusted to deliver on his promises. And finally, Mike Huckabee, who exuded trustworthiness on all key issues, but seemed to lack national organization and essential fund-raising skills.

Of course, we all know the answer now. Mike Huckabee became the evangelical choice by a landslide.

But what’s curious is this. Soon after Huckabee’s initial surge in the polls, counterforces began mobilizing and steadily grew with each new “Hucka-bump” in the polls. Until finally, National Review’s editors let loose with their dismissive characterization of the Arkansas Governor as a hopeless populist in the mold of Pat Buchanan.

Neoconservatives versus Theoconservatives

I believe it’s this neocon/theocon split in the Republican party that’s resurfacing now. Last week’s announcement of Ed Rollins as Huckabee’s new national campaign director seems to have added further fuel to the fire, especially Rollins’ intimation that Huckabee is the rightful heir to former President Reagan’s political legacy.

So what’s to this split between the neoconservatives and their theological rivals on the right? I’ll be addressing that issue in my upcoming blog. For now, just remember this. If I’m right and the conservatives are already splintering along ideological lines, a bitterly-contested convention seems almost certain, especially with Giuliani starting to fade from the race. And if that happens, expect the GOP to lose badly next November.

What’s your take?

You just heard from me. Now I want to hear from you. What’s your view on the issues I’ve covered today? Click “Comment” below and tell me what you think.

December 16, 2007

Mark Your Calendar: The ’08 Primaries are Almost Here!

Posted in '08 Primaries, Democratic Presidential Race, Giuliani, Hillary, Huckabee, Iowa Primary, Obama, Republican Presidential Race, Romney tagged , , , , , , at 4:54 pm by ducadoonpolitics

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Presidential primaries begin in just 18 days. And what a lineup we’ve got. Unlike previous Presidential campaigns, most states this year will be deciding their party’s nominee in January and February. That means almost nonstop fireworks for eight frenetic weeks starting January 3 and ending February 24.

Except for Texas (on March 3), Ohio (on March 4), and Pennsylvania (on April 22), the big delegate states will all be decided before March. Iowa, of course, starts the ball rolling Jan. 3. Two days later, the Republican contest moves to Wyoming and three days after that (on Jan 8) both parties pick their delegates in New Hampshire.

From there, we get a one-week pause in the action before the political festivities resume again, this time in Michigan on Jan. 15 (assuming no Michigan boycott by the Democrats). One week later, on Jan. 26, it’s the Democrats in South Carolina.

Both parties go at it again Jan 29 in Florida (assuming the Democrats do not boycott the state for moving up its primary). From there, the Republicans move to Maine on Feb 1. Then on Feb. 5, all heaven breaks loose as 43 contests occur simultaneously, 23 hosted by the Democrats and 20 by the Republicans.

So there you have it. In just six short weeks, we should know whether Hilliary or Obama will be heading the ’08 Democratic ticket –barring an unlikely surge by John Edwards or an even more unlikely stumble by both front-runners. Things are more fluid on the Republican front with today’s Big 3–Huckabee, Romney and Giuliani–each poised to capture at least one of the early primary states.

Altogether, on the Republican side, we’ve got 7 primaries in January, 32 in February (including delegate-rich California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts), 7 in March, 1 in April, 7 in May, and 2 in June. For the Democrats, we’ve got 6 primaries in January, 32 in February, 6 in March, 1 in April, 7 in May, and 3 in June.

For all you detail junkies, here’s a month-by-month breakdown of the primary season schedule (with the primary dates in parentheses):

January ’08

Rep: IA (3), WY (5), NH (8), MI (15), SC, NV (19), FL (29)

Dem: IA (3), NH (8), MI (15), NV (19), SC (26), FL (29)

February ’08

Rep: ME (1), AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CN, CO, DE, GA, IL, ND, MA, MN, MO, MT, NJ, NY, OK, TN, UT (5), GU, KS, LA (9), DC, MD, VA (12), WA, WI (19), AS, VI (23), PR (24)

Dem: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CN, CO, DE, GA, ID, IL, ND, MA, MN, MO, MT, NJ, NY, OK, TN, UT (5), LA, VI (9), ME (10), DC, MD, VA (12), HI, WA, WI (19)

March ’08

Rep: OH, RI, TX, VT (4), MS (11)

Dem: OH, RI, TX, VT (4), WY (8), MS (11)

April ’08

Rep: PA (22)

Dem: PA (22)

May ’08

Rep: IN, NC (6), NE, WV (13), KY, OR (20), ID (27)

Dem: GU (3), IN, NC (6), NE, WV (13), KY, OR (20)

Jun ’08

Rep: NM, SD (3)

Dem: MT, SD (3)

With all the action upcoming, guess you no longer need to worry about what you’ll be doing during those long cold Christmas holidays before the college football bowl schedule swings into full gear.

—————————
Disclaimer: I really tried, but I can’t promise every fact and figure is spot on. Please let me know if I’ve missed your favorite state or gotten one of the primary dates wrong.

December 15, 2007

Romney’s “Massachusetts Miracle” — All Aboard!

Posted in Health Care, Iowa Caucus, Massachusetts, Republican Nominees, Romney tagged , , , , , at 11:00 pm by ducadoonpolitics

No doubt, you’ve heard by now about Governor Romney’s Health Care Plan in Massachusetts. No specifics yet from his campaign staff, just that he got the plan enacted two years ago when he was the Bay State Governor. (I assume we’ll have to wait until the general election before the Romney campaign starts giving us “specifics” on health care and the other “wedge issues” as the Dems like to call them.)

It always surprises me how little Governor Romney talks about his health care plan on the Iowa campaign trail. Is it just me or does he seem shy to you too about taking credit for this apparent feather in his political cap? Wonder why that might be?

Well, my curiosity finally got the better of me, so I decided to do a little digging, just so we’d all know when to applaud during the Governor’s next televised appearance. Here, forthwith, my findings (with a hearty dose of irreverent humor):

  • The official name of the plan is Massachusetts Health Care Reform Plan (MHCRP);

I guess Romney’s supporters weren’t fooling; there really is a new health care plan in Massachusetts. He sure didn’t “flip-flop” on that one, all you critics! Chalk one up for Jack–I mean Mitt.

  • MHCRP (or what I like to call the “Massachusetts Miracle”) was officially enacted April 12, 2006.

Just imagine; mere days before the IRS filing deadline. As Kramer might say (on the old Seinfeld sitcom), “that’s such strange, isn’t it?”

  • Massachusetts now requires all adults to purchase health insurance by July 1, 2007

It what? Wow, I had to blink three times really fast when I first saw that feature. Government telling citizens what to do and how to do it. Sounds almost Hillary-esque (in fact, word is the “velvet hammer” secretly admires Mitt’s “enlightened” thinking in this area).

Here I used to think government control was a “no-no” for conservatives. Just goes to show how confused we sometimes get about personal freedom and other so-called conservative values. After all, how could a “true conservative” like Governor Romney ever get elected if he wasn’t willing to be flexible (I mean “bipartisan”) when it comes to building a winning campaign resume?

  • The state of Massachusetts raises your taxes if you choose to pay for your medical care out of pocket rather than buy a state-approved insurance policy.

Fortunately, for illegal aliens (there I go again; I meant to say “undocumented workers”), I’m guessing your taxes don’t go up if you’re using someone else’s social security card as taxpayer ID. But I’ll have to check with La Rasa first, just to be sure.

Seriously though, when you think about it, the Massachusetts approach is really the only way to go. To show you what I mean, I used to know this guy named Sam who wanted to make all his own decisions. Sam was so irresponsible, it was really scary. Everybody agreed he was wasting his money on things he didn’t need like fancy cars and expensive wine. Forget that it was his money. Bad choices are bad choices lwherever you find them. I’m sure you too have known “crazy” (err, I mean “mentally challenged”) individualists like Sam.

In fact, can you imagine what this country would be like if it was left to unenlightened nabobs like Sam? Everybody running around making their own ridiculous choices. If only we’d had a sensible Governor like Romney back then. We could have stopped old Sam dead in his tracks by simply raising his taxes whenever he started buying things we didn’t think he needed.

What’s that, I hear you saying, about conservatives standing for “lower taxes?” I used to believe that too, but I now know better. As President Bush and Senator McCain have made abundantly clear to me, that only applies when you’re talking about nonessential government services like border security.

  • The Massachusetts plan requires small businesses (11+ workers) to provide health insurance for each employee.

Another winning feature of the Massachusetts Miracle. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing small businesses whine about how hard they have it, what with government supposedly forcing new taxes and regulatory burdens down their throats. You don’t hear Warren Buffet or George Soros complaining about too much government, do you?

Truth is, as any politician will tell you, there wouldn’t even be any small businesses out there if it wasn’t for the government creating all those new jobs each month. But don’t believe me. Just ask Al Gore, the guy who invented the Internet and won the Nobel prize for single-handedly stopping global warming.

Well, I guess that’s probably enough of my irreverent enthusiasm for Governor Romney’s fine work in Massachusetts. So how’s the Massachusetts plan working out, you’re probably wondering? Well, according to policy experts on the scene, the only real problems with the plan are—

  1. Nobody wants to participate;
  2. Plan expenses are running well above original estimates;
  3. Governor Romney’s successor in the Boston statehouse can’t seem to get Massachusetts taxpayers used to the idea of the additional “sacrifices” they need to make to keep the program afloat.

All in all, looks to me like the folks in Massachusetts are really taking to Governor Romney’s plan. Guess that’s good news for all the conservatives (like National Review magazine) already solidly on-board the Romney bandwagon.

As I see it, the only remaining challenge now is how to get the “Massachusetts miracle” enacted nationwide so we can start reining in Sam and all the other dangerous, backward-looking individualists still out there.

December 12, 2007

Are Huckabee and Giuliani Polarizing the Conservatives?

Posted in Huckabee, National Review, Romney at 12:54 am by ducadoonpolitics

In case you missed it, the big news today on the Republican campaign trail is the endorsement of Mitt Romney by National Review magazine. Brushing aside the endless criticisms of his “sincerity”, NR’s editors proclaim Romney”a natural ally of conservatives” and praise his executive experience and political effectiveness as the CEO of liberal-minded Massachusetts.

Of course, it’s still very early in the campaign season so many of these platitudes remain to be proven in the tough primary fights ahead. I suspect that’s a major reason why National Review has come out so early with their Presidential favorite. Governor Huckabee’s unexpected surge this past week is obviously casting a long shadow across the political landscape.

Be that as it may, NR’s endorsement obviously comes as good news for the beleaguered Romney campaign, which sees their candidate’s popularity dropping almost daily. What’s more, it’s given the Romney website a flashy new banner showing Romney on the cover of National Review Magazine.

Not to rain on Mitt’s parade, but I want to call your attention to a startling claim (at least to me) made by NR’s editors in the same editorial piece. While explaining why Governor Huckagee and Mayor Giuliani both fail to meet their mark, the NR editors dismiss them both as polarizing (my term) influences in the conservative camp. In the editors’ words,

(Giuliani) and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

Now many of you may agree with this assessment, but I dare say it’s going to open a whole new can of worms once the Giuliani and Huckabee campaigns digest this latest slight. I think I understand what NR’s editors are saying here, as National Review sees itself as the voice of American Conservatism and has a long history of shepherding the conservative movement through the rocky shoals of Presidential campaigns.

But I have to ask you, coming at this early point in the campaign, is it really fair of National Review to use its considerable weight to sandbag the two leading Republican contenders before a single voter in this country has had a chance to even register their opinion?

Please click “Comments” below and let me know what you think about this issue!

December 10, 2007

Huck’s New "Secure Borders" TV Ad: How Will It Play in Iowa?

Posted in Huckabee, Iowa Caucus, Republican Presidential Race at 11:00 pm by ducadoonpolitics

The Huckabee campaign announced last night it would air a new TV spot in Iowa today. The theme? Huck’s tough new stand on Border Security, of course. Ever since his ill-advised defense of a “scholarships for illegals” program in the CNN/YouTube debate in Florida, Huck’s been trying to regain his conservative credentials on today’s #1 hot button issue.

To see the ads (if you’re not lucky enough to watch local Iowa TV), check out the Huckabee website. When you’ve finished viewing the ad, I recommend you read some of the comments by the Huckabee faithful. Almost unanimously positive which I guess isn’t too surprising. But don’t get the idea that every conservative is now solidly behind Huckabee (as the constant press coverage of the recent Business Week poll would have you believe). To see what I mean, check out some of the comments appearing below the very same ad on the YouTube site.

If you’re like me, you’ll amaze at the divergent reactions to Huck’s persona on illegal immigration. Something’s obviously going on here–and it isn’t just that all the crazies blog and comment at YouTube these days.

After viewing Huckabee’s “border security” spot, I was surprised by how short it was on specifics. I know, it’s only a sound bite. But still, my sense is it will leave undecided voters, in Iowa as elsewhere, wondering how this new “get tough” rhetoric jibes with Huck’s poorly-received (by conservatives, at least) “scholarship for illegals” defense in the Florida YouTube debate.

Here’s my friendly suggestion to anyone in the Huckabee marketing department who might be reading this post. Why not take the obvious passion from the “border security” ad and build it around 2-3 points from Huck’s new Secure America Plan. At least, that would give voters somewhere to go to find for themselves whether the ad is to be trusted.

My favorite talking points from the Secure America Plan would be (1) Enforce the Law on Employers, (2) Ensure Document Security (esp. Mexico’s infamous “matricula consular” card), and (3) Modernize the Process of Legal Immigration (to soften the ridiculous liberal charges of “racism” and “bigotry” on the issue). By showing the multifaceted nature of the immigration problem and it’s solution(s), Huck would go far to achieve one of his announced campaign goals: educating the American voter on the critical issues of the ’08 elections.

What do you think? Use the Comments link below to let me know whether you agree or disagree with my observations.

December 9, 2007

Huck Gets Tough on Illegal Immigration

Posted in Huckabee, Immigration at 9:20 pm by ducadoonpolitics

The newsways are buzzing today with Governor Huckabee’s new Immigration Enforcement and Border Security plan.

Surprisingly, given his “dovish” statements only last week, the plan would get tough on border security, support local immigration enforcement authorities, and break up the identity theft/revenue enhancement game being played by the IRS, the Social Security Administration, and those who knowingly hire illegals with falsified tax IDs.

In my view, Governor Huckabee’s new plan is both sensible and long overdue. With it, he has taken a decisive step to repair the damage to his credibility from last week’s Florida CNN/YouTube debates.

Where to now, Huck?

In last week’s debates, Governor Huckabee strongly defended his earlier proposal to make children of illegal aliens eligible for Arkansas scholarships. In reaction, many will no doubt question the sincerity behind the Governor’s new immigration plan. To head off the inevitable criticism, Governor Huckabee needs to revisit the now-controversial decisions he supported as Governor of Arkansas and explain to the voters how he can defend those earlier decisions in view of his new “get tough” stand on immigration reform.

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