Rick Santorum

The Argument For A Midwestern Governor For The Republican Party In 2016 Presidential Race!

There is a growing feeling in the Republican Party, and among prognosticators, that the pool of GOP candidates for President in 2016 is lacking in so many ways.

Chris Christie is in trouble due to the scandal over the George Washington Bridge, and his handling of Hurricane Sandy money.

Scott Walker is in trouble over charges that he was involved in corruption during the 2012 recall campaign in Wisconsin.

Ted Cruz has made enemies every time he opens his mouth, and his push to close down the government in 2013 backfired, and caused division within Republican ranks.

Rand Paul is leading a fight against the “Establishment”, and is unlikely to be able to win support to be the nominee, with his libertarian and isolationist views.

Marco Rubio made enemies with his immigration reform plan, and is seen as having floundered ever since.

Paul Ryan has come across as someone who has no understanding of what middle class people go through, and with little compassion for the poor, and even fellow Catholics are often critical of him.

Bobby Jindal has come across as insincere, uncaring about his own constituents, and has lost whatever luster he once had.

Rick Perry may have gained classy glasses to wear, but he is still a horrible candidate in so many ways.

Rick Santorum is trying to reform his image as well, but he is still a former Senator who lost his seat ten years ago.

Mike Huckabee is an also ran from the 2008 Presidential campaign, and has sounded more looney than ever each month as his Fox News Channel show pushed him much further right than he had been in 2008, when he actually sounded reasonable.

Jeb Bush looks much better by comparison with other Republicans, but he is still a Bush, and has supported immigration reform and the common core education curriculum, both unpopular with his party, and besides, he certainly represents the “Establishment” more than anyone.

Mitt Romney claims not to be interested at all in running again, but yet he is seen by many as the fallback choice, despite his losing the Presidency in 2012.

Jon Huntsman, arguably the best candidate possible, seems to have absolutely no chance to convince the Republican Party that his moderate, practical conservatism is the right path.

The more one thinks about it, it makes sense that the Republican Party should seriously consider finding a candidate, preferably a Governor, from the Midwest, which is the true battleground of the Presidential Election of 2016!

None of the above mentioned candidates for the Presidency are from the Midwest, except for Ryan and Walker, both from Wisconsin, but both have fatal flaws hard to overcome.

But all of the Midwest, except Illinois, is arguably a battleground, although only Indiana and Missouri went Republican in 2012, and only Missouri in 2008!

Ohio and Iowa are true battlegrounds, and Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are potentially up for grabs by either party.

So what seems to make sense is to give a hard look at two Midwestern Republican Governors, both of whom have served in Congress, and understand Washington, DC, but have also governed key states that are good models for preparation for the White House, at least in theory!

These two Governors are:

John Kasich of Ohio

Mike Pence of Indiana.

A lot more attention will be given to these two men as we get closer to the real beginning of the Presidential race at the end of 2014 and going into early 2015!

If Once You Do Not Succeed, Try, Try Again—Republican Mantra For Presidency

Historically, Republicans who have sought the Presidency have discovered that the first try does not work, and that the old saying–”If once you do not succeed, try, try again!”–applies.

Such is the case in the past 50 years with:

Richard Nixon, 1960 and 1968
Ronald Reagan 1968 and 1976, 1980
George H. W. Bush 1980 and 1988
Bob Dole 1980 and 1988, 1996
John McCain 2000 and 2008
Mitt Romney 2008 and 2012

So such potential candidates as Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman all have history on their side, although it is unlikely to be of much help in their favor, except, possibly for Jon Huntsman, the only “mainstream” candidate of the group!

Republican “Retreads” Emerge, Demonstrating The Sad State Of Their Presidential Race For 2016!

The Republican Party has a long list of potential Presidential candidates for 2016, many of them “new,” including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, and even Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, who have never run before for President.

Then, they have the “retreads”, including Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, those three being a sorry lot as alternatives.

All three are way out of the mainstream of American politics, with Rick Perry making a total fool of himself in 2012; Mike Huckabee, once seen as fairly “moderate” in 2008, having converted into a right wing extremist due to his Fox News Channel weekly show; and Rick Santorum, well just a total embarrassment to himself and everyone around him!

The Republican Party is a sorry lot, with lots of candidates on the bench, but none having the slightest chance to become President!

Instead, the GOP looks completely past former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (also former Ambassador to China and Singapore), the only solid, foreign policy experienced, sensible, mainstream candidate, who could attract support across the aisle, and make Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or any other Democratic nominee squirm, as he did for awhile in the Barack Obama campaign in 2012, with them considering Huntsman a real threat.

Huntsman is sitting on the sidelines, and considering an independent run on a “No Labels” campaign, and reminding people that the Republican Party of the pre Ronald Reagan era is the only hope for a revival of GOP fortunes, as the country has passed by the anti immigrant, anti gay, anti women, anti labor, anti environment mentality of the Tea Party Movement, which may be able to win gerrymandered Congressional seats, but cannot win the US Senate majority or the White House anytime soon!

New Reality: Foreign Policy Will Matter More Than ObamaCare In 2016 Presidential Election!

It is becoming clear, as a result of recent events involving Russia and Ukraine, that the foreign policy issue will matter more in the Presidential Election of 2016 than domestic policy, including ObamaCare.

This is NOT what many progressives and liberals would prefer, as there are many domestic problems that need attention on the agenda, and President Barack Obama has been trying to deal with many of these issues, despite obstructionism and stalemate caused by the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

But national security and defense, and the possibility of armed conflict in Europe, related to NATO and the European Union, may force the hand of President Obama and his successor to focus more on foreign policy in the next Presidential term of office.

In a way, it reminds us of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, able to run for a third term, and seen as the only legitimate person to be our President in the midst of an international crisis, the victory of the Axis Powers in Europe and Asia, at that time. Alternative possible candidates, such as Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Vice President John Nance Garner of Texas, and Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana, were all isolationists, the wrong viewpoint at the time. When Wendell Willkie came along as a surprise opponent of FDR, it was clear that on foreign policy, they had an agreement, which was good for the nation as it faced the likelihood of engagement in World War II.

Now, of course, an experienced and wise President in foreign policy, not rushing into conflict, and using his diplomatic skills, is ineligible to be President for another term, so it becomes extremely important that the proper person be elected to succeed Barack Obama.

When one looks at the cast of characters on the Republican side, and the alternatives on the Democratic side, it is clear that ONLY three potential future Presidents meet the need for appropriate foreign policy experience in a delicate and dangerous time, as we may now be entering. Not only is there the threat of war in Europe over Ukraine or other Russian attempt at advancement west, but also the looming threat of Iran and North Korea, as well as the Syrian Civil War and its effect on the entire Middle East, and the growing influence of China.

So reality tells us ONLY Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Jon Huntsman fit the bill to be our Commander in Chief, based on their experiences, expertise, and skills!

There are other Democrats who have positive aspects, but do NOT have the diplomatic experience of Clinton, Biden and Huntsman.

On the GOP side, it is literally horrifying to imagine a Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, or anyone else as Commander in Chief, with many of them purely ignorant, or bullyish, or extreme in their rhetoric, or in the case of Rand Paul, a flaming isolationist! Only Jeb Bush, conceivably, due to his intelligence and connection to his dad, but not his brother, MIGHT be otherwise acceptable, but not with the same sense of confidence in Clinton, Biden and Huntsman!

So the best we can hope for is a Clinton-Huntsman or Biden-Huntsman race for the security and safety of our nation, because we would know that any one of them could perform well as our 45th President, and do the best we can hope for in the area of foreign policy!

CPAC Straw Poll: Great News For Democrats!

The Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC from Thursday to Saturday did Democrats a great favor in the straw poll that was conducted on Saturday.

The winner of this extremist right wing organization’s straw poll was Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky with 31 percent, after winning the poll last year with 25 percent.

In second place was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is certainly simmering under the surface that he ended up a very poor second, with 11 percent.

Third was whacko retired neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson from Maryland with 9 percent, who has demonstrated very quickly how hateful, how nasty, how clueless, how crazy he is, and that he should have stuck to his brilliant neurosurgical career, and stayed out of politics, as he is rapidly losing any respect he had in his medical career.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ended up fourth with 8 percent, but it will do nothing to revive his flagging campaign for President, as he still has a lot to answer to in the New Jersey scandal investigation going on.

So all of the other conservative “stars”, including Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and others of their ilk, all got minimal support.

Looking ahead, there is no better message than Rand Paul, who is certain to be a total disaster for the GOP, if he is the nominee of the party. But if he slips, then Ted Cruz offers an even greater likelihood of a total collapse of the Republican Party.

And were the GOP to decide to pick a notable surgeon who has proved totally ridiculous and, actually, dangerous in his rhetoric, and be able to exploit the fact that he is African American, they will discover that very few African Americans, and very few others, would give Ben Carson the time of day, and even wonder about his hate filled rhetoric and sanity!

So this is good news for Democrats, and the best message to send CPAC and the Republican Party is: “Bring it on for 2016!”

CPAC Convention: The Lunatic Right Displays Itself!

Watching, listening, and reading about the Conservative Political Action Conference makes anyone with a stable mind roll his eyes in wonderment at what conservatism has become!

All the losers of the past were there and ranting and raving their insanity, including Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, and Mike Huckabee. The “newcomers”,” people not yet defeated but soon to be, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie, also appeared, and made fools of themselves. Of course, the ultimate lunatic and embarrassment, Donald Trump, also spewed his sick mind and constant need for attention. And to top it off, Sarah Palin is making an appearance, as if any sane, intelligent person cares! And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, desperately trying to keep his seat, showed up brandishing a rifle, a horrible image for a Senate leader to display just a year after the Sandy Hook Massacre!

Jeb Bush and Scott Walker stayed away, for both a smart move, and Jon Huntsman was also not there, and at least for Bush and Huntsman, who are the most mainstream of this group of characters, it made sense NOT to be there!

Speaker of the House John Boehner was not invited, which should really be seen as a blessing, as he has upset right wingers by being exasperated with the Tea Party Movement, for making his job absolutely impossible in the lower chamber.

It is still reality that ONLY Jeb Bush and Jon Huntsman would have ANY chance to be elected over Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Election of 2016, but not very good odds for either of them. And again, let this author repeat, that the Electoral College strongly favors ANY Democrat to win the White House, and as long as the GOP alienates African Americans, Latinos, women, and many young voters, it will not win the White House. And as long as it fights the idea of national health care coverage for all; acceptance of gay rights and same sex marriage; opposition to immigration reforms; favors the energy industry over the environment; and continues to fight against a living wage for the poor and middle class, it will lose for the long term future! And if it continues to promote religion and theocracy, it will NEVER win the White House ever again, in a nation that believes in separation of church and state!

So those of us who care about our fellow Americans can sit and observe the CPAC Conference, and feel good that the potential candidates and the Republican party are sealing their doom for 2016 and beyond!

The Basic Reality Of Leadership: Character And Public Presence Truly Matter!

As an observer of politicians for the past 50 years, this author is absolutely amazed at how many citizens fail to see that the key issue in supporting and voting for any politician is their character and their public presence.

If one comes across in his or her public role as prejudiced, biased, uncaring, lacking in compassion for those less fortunate through no fault of their own, lacking in empathy, overly aggressive, nasty, belligerent, bullyish, inability to smile, unconcerned about how he or she deals with the media and the citizens he represents, obviously only interested in his own aggrandizement, the question is WHY would anyone support such a person for any public office?

Millions upon millions have voted for and support politicians who fit this description, and this author knows some people who do this! It is absolutely mind boggling why they find such politicians appealing! And it makes me wonder, and has done so, whether knowing these people, and associating with them, really is in the best interests of my own conscience and basic principles!

So, for instance, how anyone could have liked and admired Richard Nixon is beyond this author’s understanding, as it was very clear to me as a young teenager and after, that Nixon was not a man to be trusted.

The same goes for such politicians as Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin; Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina; Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina; Vice President Spiro Agnew of Maryland; Vice President Dick Cheney of Wyoming; and innumerable other Senators, Congressmen, Governors, cabinet officers, Supreme Court Justices, and other public figures of the past half century, while this author has been aware of what goes on in American government!

This is not saying that because someone is charming and personable and pleasant in public, that he or she cannot be corrupt and despicable, as for instance, Senator John Edwards was, regarding his wife and his cheating on her. He is one of a long list of people who appear to be decent in public, of both political persuasions, who can surprise us with their lies and deception. All of us are able to be fooled by a slick politician, no question about that!

But when one sees people now, running for President or planning to, who are similar to the few cases listed above, one wonders why anyone would support such politicians as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, as a few examples. And how could anyone, in recent times support former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Senator Rick Santorum, Texas Governor Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain, and former Florida Congressman Allen West, among others, who have worked to poison our political system in an extremely detrimental manner?

The head of this author is shaking in disbelief as to the blindness of so many people, who fail to see that these and others are phones, charlatans, and everything else described above!

A final thought I wish to make is that there are politicians who I have not agreed with on issues, but still consider them decent people on the basis of the description I have given above, meaning they do not have the negative characteristics that I outlined earlier. A short list would include Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, and George W. Bush, along with Senators Bob Dole of Kansas and John McCain of Arizona. So it is not an issue of agreement, per se, but how politicians come across in their character and public presence!

And a final “final” thought, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is getting his “just desserts”, as his obnoxious, bullying character is proving to be truth, as to his not having the opportunity to serve as our President, thank god!

Jeb Bush: Can He Do What Only Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon, And Ronald Reagan Did?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two Presidents, is again having his name bandied about for President of the United States, despite his mother, Barbara Bush, saying there have been enough Bushes in the White House, and that more than three or four families have talent for the Presidency. While saying that repeatedly, she always adds that her son is best qualified to be President, so it is an odd statement, to say the least!

But Speaker of the House John Boehner went out of his way to suggest Jeb Bush would be a great nominee, and certainly, the “Establishment” Republicans on Wall Street see him as more likely now than ever before, as their front line of defense against the Tea Party Movement and Ted Cruz et al, and the libertarians and Rand Paul.

Both Cruz and Paul, and really EVERY other suggested nominee, has all kinds of issues with their extreme right wing tilt. That is why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed so appealing to many, after his wide victory for a second term. But now the scandals that have erupted have besmirched his reputation, and in any case, Christie would have had great trouble winning in Iowa, South Carolina, and other states as he is from the Northeast, and seen as too much like John McCain and Mitt Romney, failed GOP Presidential candidates, who are disliked by right wing talk show hosts, conservative think tanks, and the Tea Party right wingers.

So who is left for the “Establishment”? Really, only former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who also was Ambassador to China, under President Obama, an excellent, and really the best choice, but with not a chance in hell of being able to compete, because he is too “moderate” by comparison, too smart, too intelligent, too interested in science and world affairs, too independent minded, and even not allowing his Mormon faith to dictate public policy views!

Huntsman would have the best chance to win of any Republican, but the party has a death wish, and he will not be the nominee. More likely, it would be one of a large group of horrible candidates, including, not only Cruz and Paul, but also Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and other “nightmarish” candidates!

So the only place to turn for the “Establishment” is to another Bush, who is comparatively a moderate conservative, who has not come across as a “whacko” in office and in his public statements. He has shown tolerance on immigration issues, as with his brother, President George W. Bush, and he seems to have a comparatively open mind.

But his challenge, beyond overcoming the Bush name, after the damage his brother did in eight years in the Presidency, is that Jeb Bush has been out of public office for ten years by 2016, after eight years served as Governor of Florida. While a few military people, including retired ones, have become President, only three non military people have become President with extended periods out of public office.

Abraham Lincoln had 12 years since his one term in the House of Representatives, until his Presidential triumph in 1860.

Richard Nixon had eight years since his defeat for the Presidency in 1960, until his victory in 1968.

Ronald Reagan had six years since his Governorship of California until his victory in 1980.

Note Nixon and Reagan had a shorter number of years, than Jeb Bush has, and Nixon ran for Governor of California in 1962, and Reagan competed for the Presidential nomination in 1976, both two years after they left public office.

And Lincoln, while twelve years since his last time in public office, ran for and lost the Senate race in Illinois against Senator Stephen Douglas in 1858, ten years after his one term in the House of Representatives, and just two years before he won the Presidency.

So Jeb Bush really has no exact comparison to Nixon and Reagan, and comes closest to Lincoln.

The ultimate question is whether Jeb Bush can copy Lincoln, or even Nixon or Reagan. The betting odds on his nomination are less than 50 percent for now, and far less in a race against any Democrat in 2016, particularly Hillary Clinton!

Des Moines Register Poll On Presidential Race Of 2016

The Des Moines Register, the leading newspaper in Iowa, has started to poll on who is favored in the Iowa Caucuses, the first vote of a presidential election year, always held in January, which can catapult a candidate all the way to the Presidency, as it did for Barack Obama on January 3, 2008.

Of course, polling this early is no real indicator of what will happen in two years, and in fact, being an early leader is a hex, and usually means that someone else will end up winning the Iowa Caucuses and have the edge to be the Presidential nominee of a political party.

But, if for nothing other than political discussion and debate, the poll shows Hillary Clinton in the lead, with only Joe Biden being competitive with her in any fashion. The other names listed, really “dark horses”, are Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and, surprising to some, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, both of whom have shown interest in running, with Schweitzer being much more open about it.

On the Republican side, five have a positive rating of more than 50 percent, including in order, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (VP running mate of Mitt Romney in 2012), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (now a Fox News talk show host), Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and tied for fifth, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Under 50 percent are Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

It is interesting that the front runners are people who have lost their last race, while the also rans are newer people, many of whom have an extremist image, although really, all of the ten listed are extremists on the right, with the exception of Christie and Bush.

And Hillary Clinton has enough support for now that she would seemingly have an edge over any and all Republicans, and remember that Barack Obama carried Iowa twice in a state that, despite its strong right wing evangelical image, votes Democratic for President in recent elections, and is likely to do the same in 2016, whether it is Hillary or Joe Biden or some newer candidate for the Democrats.

Disllusionment With Washington Opens Up Possibility Of State Governors Again Having Advantage For Presidential Race!

Much of the time in American history, there has been disillusionment with the Washington DC establishment, and a desire to have an “outsider” being our President.

Only three Presidents of the past century were elected directly from the Senate—Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama—while a total of six Governors or former Governors were elected to the Presidency—Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush. Additionally, former Governors who were Vice President first, and succeeded during the term—Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge–were also elected to a full term.

So the present anger at Washington and everything it represents opens up new opportunities for sitting or former Governors in both parties, such as follows:

Democrats—Andrew Cuomo of New York, Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts

Republicans-Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jeb Bush of Florida, Jon Huntsman of Utah, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Perry of Texas, Susana Martinez of New Mexico

Having said this, one still has to wonder if the Democratic Governors can overcome Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Mark Warner or Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar or Cory Booker.

And one has to wonder if the Republican Governors can overcome Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and others.