Who do you think is the best Republican candidate for 2012 presidency race?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

T-Paw or TEA-Paw; Pawlenty the Regular Guy

Tim Pawlenty, 50, former governor of Minnesota has placed himself in the running for the Republican presidential candidate spotlight, and with more candidates dropping out of the race, the focus is even tighter on Pawlenty. The question Americans are asking now is “Who is Tim Pawlenty and is will he generate enough support to get himself on the Republican ticket in 2012?”. Pawlenty enters the race with plenty of experience in politics: he was Speaker of the House when he served as state representative, and then went on to serve two terms as Minnesota's governor.
Tim Pawlenty has certain appeal to Republican voters and TEA party members: he has a strong evangelical Christian background, mid-western roots, and “tough, truth-talking fiscal…” conservatism (Rucker). Pawlenty works to appear as just another all-American guy whose campaign will resemble “a good strong Buick” rather than an expensive import like a “BMW or Mercedes” (Rucker). One of the problems that Pawlenty already faces, even before he’s a household name, are the credibility of his statements. The Associated Press outlined some of the most dubious claims (CBS):
AP selected five statements made by Pawlenty through Campaign announcements and other media sources:
Pawlenty: Supports tax freezes for salaries, benefits, and downsizing the federal base (Campaign).
AP: Two year freeze already in place, except military, Congress, and federal courts.
Pawlenty: Obama’s healthcare plan is unconstitutional (USA Today).
AP: Actually, Obama cut taxes for middle class and business, campaigned for Bush-era tax cuts except for the wealthy.
Pawlenty: Pulled Minnesota out of the top 10 highest-taxes states.
AP: According to the Tax Foundation, Minnesota is still in the top 10 for highest-taxed states.
Pawlenty: Implemented a performance-based pay scale for teachers, the first in the nation.
AP: It’s a voluntary system and only a third of the districts are participating.
Pawlenty: Cato Institute rated him as an A-governor.
AP: That may be, but the objectivity of the Cato is relative since it holds primarily libertarian views.
Rucker, writing for The Washington Post, noted that while Pawlenty has Obama in his sites, he’s making himself look less credible. For example, in an effort to appear more straight-forward with his “simple style” to the American people, he showed Obama using teleprompters to give his “fancy speeches” only to have Rucker notice that he used a teleprompter himself in making his presidential campaign announcement. Whoops.
A certain amount of error is understandable and expected when people are under pressure, but Pawlenty may come off sounding hypocritical and misleading to voters if he isn’t careful. There are still 7 months of speeches, fact checking, and political blunders to get through before the Republican’s announce their choice to run against Obama and it’s sure to be a challenge for all of the candidates.

Fact Check: Not the whole truth in Pawlenty claims; The Associated Press parses the former Minn. governor's statements on the opening-day of his GOP presidential campaign”. CBS News. 24 May 2011. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/24/politics/main20065653.shtml>.

Meet T-Paw; Pawlenty 2012. “Meet T-Paw”. 31 May 2011. http://www.timpawlenty.com/bio

Tim Pawlenty announces presidential bid, offers himself as alternative to Romney”. Washington Post. 31 May 2011.http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tim-pawlenty-announces-presidential-bid/2011/05/23/AFWxol9G_story_1.html.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"There's a strong streak of good in you Superman, but then nobody's perfect. Almost nobody". Lex Luthor

"Waiting for Superman; 
The leading contenders for the nomination are Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman, but many Republicans are concerned over their lack of star quality."
On the cover of The Week, a magazine that gathers various articles, opinions, and stories from a variety of new sources and viewpoints over the period of a week, portray the three men all wearing the iconic “S” under their suit jackets and white collar shirts.
Superman, as most of know, is a well-known super-hero who is the ideal blend of intellectualism, humility, superhuman strength, sex appeal, and unwavering morality (and don't forget that he can also fly with the use of just his arms-neat!); the ideal candidate to run against Obama next year, and a tall order. There's a reason he's a fictional character; such a person doesn't exist. The GOP still has eight months until the first presidential primaries are held, but the time to introduce and sell a candidate is putting pressure on the party and the field of declared candidates are beginning to dwindle and no obvious choice has emerged.
That is not to say that undeclared potential candidates such as Governer of Texas, Rick Perry or Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan are too late, but pressure to declare in increasing. Declared candidate, Michele Bachman seems to be too far outside mainstream Republican ideology to be considered a serious candidate, although she hasn't stepped down. Perhaps the party sees her as a vice presidential running mate to another, more neutral candidate, to draw the TEA party voters into the Republication camp.
The “Supermen”: Pawlenty, Romney, and Huntsman, are all former governors and have had experience running elections and balancing budgets, which will most certainly be a major issue in the next presidential election and gives them each a level of credibility with votes. That being said, they all have their own potential “kriptonite” as well, “Mitt Romney introduced a health-care mandate in Massachusetts that “many consider ObamaCare lite”; Pawlenty has supported cap-and-trade environmental policies in his state; and Huntsman was appointed ambassador to China by Obama himself” (Investor's Business Daily). But just as Superman was able to overcome the effects of kriptonite, these Republican candidates have time to flex their political muscles and prove to voters that they are not only capable of running the country, but are powerful enough to wrangle the presidency from the their nemesis.

"The GOP's search for a presidential candidate." The Week. 3 June 2011: 4.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Six Million Dollar Man

 "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." 
-Thomas Jefferson (ronpaul.house.gov).
Congressman Ron Paul, Republican presidential hopeful from Texas makes his vision for America clear and succinct; small government and a hands-off approach to social reform is what he promises. His political leanings are clearly aligned with Thomas Jefferson's. One needent look hard to find similarities in ideologies, “(Jefferson) strongly supported a federal government with great constraining powers, believing in the rights of the people. His principles advocated a strict interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, calling for state and local governments to protect the rights and property of its citizens. Jeffersonians recognize private and common property, the protection of such is vitally important to them as they were to Jefferson. He wanted small government, and wanted the national government to be a reflection of the state and local governments thus he felt that if the state and local governments could establish small republics and govern therein with its local citizens then the federal government would be constantly kept in check” (jeffersonians.com). With such strong opinions freely voiced, it's no wonder he's considered a long-shot for the presidency, but he has a strong following with deep pockets, and since he's hitting the campaign earlier this presidential election he may surprise his detractors this time.
This will be his third attempt at the presidency, although some say his first, as a Libertarian in 1988, was more about spreading his message of smaller government than actually pursuing the Oval Office. His second attempt, in 2008, got off to a late start but he certainly created a stir with his ability to raise serious campaign funds when he raised 6 million dollars online in one day (Smith). Campaign money isn't the only thing Paul seems be gathering, the anti-government movement is in full swing as political activists calling themselves the “Tea Party” rally behind the call for smaller government.
Not only is Paul popular with the Tea Party and the Jeffersonians, but his reputation in Congress, and his message of “Straight Shooting” has an appeal to politician-weary voters. “He tends to pay little attention to standard political conventions. He is fiercely antiwar at a time when Republicans have typically expressed staunch support for the military efforts overseas. He calls for deep and painful sacrifices by important political constituencies” (Shear).
Americans say they want to reduce their tax bill, but where as a nation do we make those cuts and more importantly, are we willing to live with those cuts? Ron Paul is willing to lead America toward a leaner, more efficient government, but are American's really ready for change?

  • Rights belong to individuals, not groups.
  • Property should be owned by people, not government.
  • All voluntary associations should be permissible -- economic and social.
  • The government's monetary role is to maintain the integrity of the monetary unit, not participate in fraud.
  • Government exists to protect liberty, not to redistribute wealth or to grant special privileges.
  • The lives and actions of people are their own responsibility, not the government's.
Congressman Ron Paul, 14th District of Texas. 24 May 2011.

<http://paul.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1009&Itemid=50>.The Jeffersonians. 24 May 2011. <http://www.thejeffersonians.com/index.html>.

Smith, Robert. 17 Dec 2007. NPR. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17332414>.

Shear, Michael D. “As Ron Paul Weighs Presidential Run, His Issues Are Already Being Debated.” New York Times. 24 May 2011. 26 April 2011 <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/us/politics/27paul.html >.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Newt and Callista Gingrich

I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the United States, because I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity, to full employment, to real security, to an American energy program, to a balanced budget” (Gingrich announcement video. May 11, 2011). There is little doubt that Newt Gingrich has a rich political life and begins his bid for the presidency with an impressive resume', both in Washington and professionally. Gingrich earned a doctorate degree from Tulane University and went on to become a professor of History and Environmental Studies at West Georgia University for eight years before serving in Congress for twenty years, and as the Republican Speaker of the House for four. His background is impressive both in width and breadth as he served on a multitude of committees from national defense to health care. “Under Newt’s leadership, Congress passed the first balanced budget in a generation, leading to the repayment of over $400 billion in debt.  Congress also cut taxes for the first time in sixteen years and reformed welfare, leading to over sixty percent of welfare recipients either getting a job or going to school.  In addition, the Congress restored funding to strengthen our defense and intelligence capabilities, an action later lauded by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission” (newt.org). Newt Gingrich, 67, enters the race with clear name recognition and a reputation as an intellectual and idea guy, but his private life may prove problematic for him as he seeks the presidency.
Newt Gingrich announced his official candidacy for the 2012 presidential race and within days was already doing the back-pedal shuffle due to his tendency to find himself in the center of controversy, yet again. Throughout Gingrich's public life he's been plagued by his own political blunders, in 1997, “after a lengthy investigation, he was fined $300,000 by the House Ethics Committee for violating rules against using a tax-exempt organization for political purposes” (cnn.com), while investigating then President Clinton for the Monica Lewinski scandal, he was involved in keeping his own extra-marital affair secret "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials" (msnbc.com). Gingrich has led a personal life worthy of the most titillating daytime soap-opera; his first marriage to his high school geometry teacher ended with her publicly stating that he brought up his desire for a divorce while she was hospitalized; a claim he disputes. A few months after his divorce he married again only to find himself sorting through the mire of another public divorce a few years later. His third wife, Callista, was a Congressional Aide, 20 years his junior, who he admits that he was involved with while he was still married to his second wife.
What is unknown today is whether or not Gingrich's rocky personal life will sully his reputation or will he see the the same support from the Christian groups that rallied behind George W. Bush, even though his behavior demonstrates his values differ from those on the Christian right . If Gingrich's personal life was the only concern for his electability, he might still be a viable candidate, but within the first week of announcing his run for the presidency, he found that he had alienated himself from some of his own party members when he stated "I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,' he said. 'I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare solution for seniors.' Apparently the GOP establishment doesn't think Ryan's plan is risky. So they pounced on Gingrich, forcing him to furiously backtrack from his initial assessment” (cnn.com). In all fairness to Gingrich, he's found himself like so many politicians, between a rock and a hard place. The public cries out that they want a straight-shooting politician to “say it like it is”, but when a politician does, they are lamb-basted for not saying “the right thing”. The irony to Gingrich's latest stumble seems to be not from stating his beliefs, but for not defending them once he's pressed. Roland Martin, CNN political writer, commented that “he's right. The proposal pledged by Ryan is a radical one, and if you look at the reception it has received at the town hall meetings of Republican members of Congress, you would also conclude the plan is a whole lot to ask of Americans.” Gingrich's intellectual prowess is not the question, he likely has usebful strategies and insights to offer the Republican party, but running as their candidate for presidency is probably not the best that he can offer.
Gingrich may just be best served as a thinker and not a candidate” (Martin)

Martin, Roland S. “Gingrich wrong to back down from GOP critics.” cnn.com. 21 May 2011. Turner Broadcasting Network. 21 May 2011. <http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/05/21/martin.gingrich/>.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two down

This week both Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee pulled out of the GOP nomination pool of presidential candidates. Many political analysts across both sides of the political divide agreed that Trump wasn't a serious contender, however Huckabee's candidacy looked promising. Where Trump was flamboyant and outrageous, Huckabee was likeable and charismatic; Trump was self-promoting; Huckabee was introspective.
Huckabee was leading in the polls so his resignation came as somewhat of a surprise to many. The winning combination of charisma and his strong Christian values were undisputed, To political professionals, that means a candidate who can appeal to social conservatives, mostly in the South. But people who have worked with Huckabee know that it's something more than that, and it's not terribly complicated: A lot of voters are looking for a candidate they can like as much as they liked the former governor of Arkansas” (Washington Examiner). It's his magnetic personality combined with the perception of being the underdog, which American's love to rally behind, that may have contributed to his high poll ratings. But in his statement on his website he attributes his decision to drop out of the race was due to prayerful introspection and his belief that running for the presidency without “God's blessing is unthinkable”.
Trump on the other hand, was under pressure from NBC, the network that carries his reality TV show “Celebrity Apprentice”, to have a decision to them by Monday concerning the upcoming season, the day he announced that he was pulling out of the race. “Even as he bowed out, Trump, 64, retained his trademark braggadocio, insisting he would have won the White House had he run. "Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion, and I am not ready to leave the private sector," he wrote in a long statement (Philadelphia Enquirer)”. "This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country" (PBS). Typical of Trump's bravado and disregard for facts, his standing has actually dropped significantly since last month's polls, “Trump led the field with 26 percent in the April poll but this month is at 8 percent support among Republicans surveyed (Reuters).
The exciting part of this week's announcements mean that that Trump's resignation makes room for serious debate, since reporters won't need to function as barkers at his personal sideshow. There are still a number of candidates who platforms and histories will provide plenty of lively discussion as we come to know them.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Here we go...

The 2012 presidential election is more than eighteen months away and yet every day it seems there’s another story about politicians either considering running or announcing that they’re officially a candidate for the presidency. Whether you consider yourself a Republican or not, understanding the perspective candidates and their agendas will better prepare you for the upcoming debates, from televised formal debates to conversations with fellow Americans in neighborhood coffee shop. Speculations abound as political analysts’ scrutinize the validity of a candidate’s popularity, reputation, and overall electability come November. August 27th, 2012 the Republican Party will announce their candidate to run against the incumbent, Barak Obama in 2012. Obama’s popularity ratings have averaged around 51% throughout his presidency thus far, slightly behind George W. Bush’s 56% overall rating. However, President Obama is only 3% points ahead of an unnamed Republican candidate (gallup.com), which leads me to believe that while Obama is the incumbent president, and the incumbents generally tend to be reelected, Obama and the Democratic Party have some work cut out for them if they want to see their candidate back in the white house for another term. The Democrats have a president currently in office, but the Republicans have many supporters both in and out of the Republican Party.
“The Republican Party boasts 55 million registered voters, the 2nd largest in the century and is known as an advocate of American Conservatism, espousing the role of religion, nationalism, and economics at its core” (republican-candidates.org). The Republican Party convention will be held August 27, 2012, where the Republican Candidate for President and Vice President will be announced. Presently there are about 6 declared candidates vying for the nomination for the 2012 election race and a number undecided. Who that person will be is a hotly debated subject for months to come.
Even the process of choosing a candidate can be tricky for many Americans to understand, “There are significant differences in the way national convention delegates are chosen from state to state…Some states award delegates to candidates on a "winner-take-all" basis… Other states award delegates in proportion to each candidate's share of the primary vote. Another important distinction is whether delegates are "pledged" or "unpledged" to vote for the same candidate the voters in his or her state or district supported in the primary…” (thisnation.org). Just a few days ago, Washington State cancelled their primaries as a way of saving  the 10 million dollars it would have cost taxpayers, and the Republican party endorsed the one-time suspension due to the current budget crisis. The caucuses are tentatively set for Saturday, February 11, 2012. Only declared Republicans are allowed to participate fully in the Republican caucuses.
The next 18 months will help determine the course for America and it’s essential that it’s citizens seriously consider each candidate carefully. Stay tuned, it should prove to be interesting as the Republicans choose their very best to run for the presidency!

http://www.thisnation.com/question/021.html “ThisNation.com is a repository of basic information, resources and historical documents related to American Government and Politics. Our primary goal is to promote more effective participation in the American political system by providing factual, non-partisan information about government and politics in the United States of America.”