Day: February 27, 2011

Tim Pawlenty Gets A Boost In The GOP Presidential Race

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has been seen as a insignificant factor in the Republican Presidential race, having far less voter recognition than his potential major opponents–Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Rick Santorum.

But several things have occurred which improve his chances of being a serious candidate:

Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana and Senator John Thune of South Dakota, both regional Midwestern potential candidates, decided not to run for President, giving him a boost in Iowa, the first measure of party support on February 6, 2012.

Rumors are flying that Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin may not run for President, due to the lucrative positions they have with Fox News Channel, plus other money making activities for Palin.

All of the other major Presidential possibilities, and even some of the minor ones, have “skeletons in the closet”, major negatives that can hurt them, such as:

Mitt Romney–He is seen as having promoted a health care plan in Massachusetts similar to what President Obama was able to achieve nationally in 2010. Also, he is seen by many as secretly a northeastern liberal in his background, and being a Mormon hurts him with evangelical Christians. Plus he had one go around already and lost to John McCain.

Mike Huckabee–He has had one go around already, is seen as a big spender during his years as Governor of Arkansas, and may not want to give up the lucrative income he has recently enjoyed for the first time in his life. Plus he seems concerned with the costs of running for President against President Obama, who will probably have a billion dollar campaign fund.

Sarah Palin–She has not developed a real set of plans to run, may not want to give up her lucrative income to run, and is actually not running well in many polls, since she is seen as shallow, and more of a cult figure than a serious Presidential possibility.

Newt Gingrich–He has a lot of personal life scandals in his past, has not been in public office for 14 years by 2012, and is very divisive in his rhetoric, making him less appealing to many who think of him as a “flame thrower”.

Haley Barbour–He has made major blunders with his lack of understanding and miscues about the civil rights movement in his home state of Mississippi in the 1960s, plus the question exists whether someone from the deep South can appeal to the nation at large.

Rick Santorum–He has the problem of a massive Senate defeat for reelection in 2006, and his being best remembered for his “man-dog” statement in opposing gay rights and gay marriage. He is not taken very seriously as a Presidential candidate by anyone in top leadership of the GOP.

Other candidates also have major problems if they decide to run.

Jon Huntsman–He has a background as a moderate in the party, which is not a plus. Plus he was Barack Obama’s Ambassador to China, which could be harmful, and being a Mormon, as Romney is, is probably a major minus as well.

Michele Bachmann–The Congresswoman from Minnesota may appeal to the Tea Party and could be a rival of fellow Minnesotan Pawlenty, but it is hard to imagine that her loose mouth and extremist image would give her a serious chance for the nomination. Plus being a Congresswoman is a difficult challenge for the Presidency, as only one Congressman (James Garfield) ever went directly to the Presidency, and he was dead by assassination six months into his term in 1881.

Ron Paul–He has his followers, and has won the CPAC straw poll twice in a row, but to imagine a libertarian in his late 70s who has tried before for the nomination, and been ridiculed by all others in the party who have run for President, to go on to the nomination is a tremendous long shot, hard to conceive.

Donald Trump–The billionaire businessman is pretty obnoxious and a publicity seeker, and were he to run, his anti Chinese rhetoric and basic belligerence on foreign policy issues would make him a dangerous choice for the Presidency, and since he is not a lovable character personally, it is hard to imagine him going all the way to the nomination.

The above analysis does not mean that none of them can be the nominee, but by comparison , Tim Pawlenty has a real chance to emerge, based on the following factors.

He is from the heartland of the Midwest, the battleground for 2012, and with Mike Pence and John Thune out of the race, that is a boost for Pawlenty.

He first gained notice with John McCain’s campaign for President in 2008, and was on the short list for Vice President, but with McCain’s defeat, it actually was better that he did not win the VP nomination.

Pawlenty is a strong evangelical Christian, and has gained a lot of support from social conservatives and the Tea Party as a result.

He has had real executive experience as Governor of Minnesota for two terms and a total of eight years.

He has been promoted as a candidate with fewer problems, issues, and “skeletons in the closet”, by conservative George Will and MSNBC talk show host Lawrence O’Donnell, giving him, therefore, a bit of a boomlet for the Presidency.

Pawlenty comes across well on television, as a photogenic personality and well spoken, and even at times having a good sense of humor, when he said at the CPAC convention that he had no doubts of Barack Obama’s citizenship, but thought what he believed in sometimes might make one think he was from “outer space!”

This is not an endorsement by this author of Pawlenty by any means, as he strongly prefers Barack Obama to win reelection, but simply a statement that Pawlenty may be the surprise of 2012, and should not be ignored.

Having said that, the author still feels that the best candidate that the GOP could run, overall, would be Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman, but again, Tim Pawlenty will probably be an important part of the equation at the end!

The Plight Of Organized Labor From The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Of 1911 To Wisconsin In 2011

One hundred years ago, on March 25, 1911, 146 workers, mostly female, were killed in the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City, spurring the beginning of labor reforms.

Promotion of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and other unions moved ahead after this tragedy, and finally, in the 1930s under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, organized labor finally received recognition as an equal in collective bargaining.

By the 1960s and 1970s, about one third of all workers were in labor unions, and the middle class grew in size and prosperity as never before.

But starting with the 1981 Air Traffic Controllers Strike under President Ronald Reagan, where all the strikers were fired, leaving the nation in a dangerous, reckless situation regarding air safety, unions rapidly declined, and now are as low as 6-9 percent of the population, much of it public workers unions. Many states have become “right to work” states, or states that have worked against unionization, particularly in the South and Mountain West.

Now Scott Walker in Wisconsin, John Kasich in Ohio, Chris Christie in New Jersey, Rick Scott in Florida, and other Republican Governors are declaring war on public service unions, and this may be the turning point where the collective bargaining rights of 1935 are lost in 2011 and beyond, and just on the centennial of the horrible tragedy of the Triangle fire coming up in a few weeks.

Before that complete collapse of labor rights occurs, one can watch a documentary on PBS on Monday night, relating the terrible events of the Triangle Fire, and that event’s centennial should make us reflect on how far we have come and how far backward we seem to be headed!

Have we learned from history, or are we again ignoring history in the name of “bully” Governors who speak for the Koch Brothers and other extremely wealthy corporate interests, who do not give a damn about the rest of America in their mad dash to obscene profits and greed?

The Insanity Of Weapons On College Campuses: How Does It Promote Safety And Security?

Texas and Arizona are leading the charge in promoting the idea of allowing guns on college campuses to prevent against threats to students and professors, as most infamous in the Virginia Tech massacre of 2006, but also present in other circumstances and incidents over the years.

Anyone over the age of 21 could carry a gun on campus under the Arizona proposal. How would one enforce this, when one considers that the majority of college students are under 21? And how does this save professors and students from a crazed gunman?

Does it not in fact promote the danger of any student unhappy with a grade, or angry at his girlfriend because of a dispute, or just anyone depressed and stressed, from opening up on fellow students and professors?

Would not the extreme rarity of a Virginia Tech event be worsened by exchanges of gunfire within a classroom or in a student lounge, as crossfire could lead to more people being harmed than otherwise? Are we not overreacting to a occasional tragic event, which could better be prevented by having strict gun control laws to prevent unstable people from having the ability to purchase a gun at a Walmart or other place similar, as Jared Loughner did in Tucson, Arizona before shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six victims and wounding twelve people?

By this logic being promoted, then all high school students and teachers and administrators should have weapons on their person so as to prevent another high school massacre as at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado!

Utah is the only state to allow guns on all college campuses, but with the likelihood of Texas and Arizona joining them, the reality is that there will be more tragic shootings and deaths, not fewer.

But this is the gun lobby at its most extreme, and the nation is moving toward more violence, not less, in a country already with the highest death rate from guns in the world!