Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

I Get Blogging and Rick Santorum Gets Some Love


So, I drifted past an email from WordPress just the other day and it came to my attention that I haven’t posted anything since November. It’s not like I quit having opinions and I’m always excited to share them. So after an extended hiatus, Independent Kansan is back. It’s good to see you all again. There is much to talk about as Republicans and Democrats bicker away. The President is running for reelection. Republicans are trying to pick his opponent, and I’m just trying to live my life like most of us. So here are some random observations I’ve been having lately.

1) Mitt Romney is more out of touch with the average american than anyone in the world. I swear he has no concept of what it’s like to be an average guy. I’m not saying it’s bad that he’s wealthy. I don’t even mind that he’s running for office because he appears to think its a cool thing to do. When he makes a quip about how he’s not worried about the extremely poor or when he breaks out his stump joke that he understands America because he’s, “unemployed too,” he just  comes across as totally detached. I’m amazed he was ever the front-runner.

2) Rick Santorum is finally getting some of the attention he deserves. Mr. Santorum and I don’t agree about anything but that’s fine. At least there is little in my mind that doubts his conviction. When comes out and says he’s against abortion, even in extreme circumstances, I don’t think he’s saying that for political reasons. I can respect that. When Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich says some of these things I’m pretty sure if I had the right poll numbers they would change their minds pretty quick. I’ve long said I thought Santorum would make a great VP candidate. He may be proving that VP is beneath him.

3)”Class Warfare” should be stricken from the English language. I’m so tired of hearing about how a 1% or 3%  raise in taxes on millionaires is “Class Warfare.” How is it not class warfare that wages for the middle and lower classes haven’t kept pace with inflation. Or that the rich do not pay social security or Medicare taxes on all of their income.  The rich in this country have it as good as they have in decades. After WWII people making over two hundred thousand dollars a year had that income taxed at 91%. We’re worried that currently millionaires might pay 34%, and that’s if most of their income doesn’t come from investments. I hat e to be the crazy liberal here, but taxing these people will not hurt them, and it won’t hurt you and me.

4)Republicans should continue to fight for the rights of the wealthy. They’ve started a trend here and every fight where they push back on unemployment and a tax cut for working people just to prevent 1% on millionaires. They are writing the campaign commercials that will lead to their demise.

Anyway, I’ve been needing to get that out for sometime. I gotta tell you it’s good to be back. I’m not optimistic, but I hope maybe we can have a real conversation in the coming months. To begin with I’m going to write about a series of electoral reforms I think we need in this country to help give democratic power to the people. I hope to see you there.

Republican Playoff Update


With Congress out on the playground this month, there is little in the world of national politics to talk about it would seem. Or is there?  Republican’s seem to still be running for President so let’s take at look at the continuing Republican Presidential Playoffs.

Former Gov. Tim “I’m The Sensible Minnesotan” Pawlenty seems be dropping out due to injury. Sources say the injury is a bruised ego. His 3rd place finish in Ames just wasn’t enough to keep him going. It seems Ames was the straw poll that broke Pawlenty’s back. Herman “Three Page” Cain is sticking in the race but he isn’t generating the buzz he once did. Maybe the memory of former RNC Chair Micheal Steele is to recent for conservatives to put another African-American man out there. Or it could be that they figured out that Cain is just crazy. Let’s face it, you couldn’t put the legislative language to buy the paper for the legislation on three pages.  Rick “Water Is What It Is” Santorum is still hanging on despite lackluster fundraising. Perhaps he hoping being a native Pennsylvanian will help gain him the VP nod. That or he doesn’t realize that no one is going to vote for him. The race “is what it is, it can’t be something else” Rick. You aren’t going to win. Newt “I’m Still Running” Gingrich seems to still think this is 1995 and he is a national figure. After his top campaign staff quit, you would have thought he would too. Instead, Gringrich has continued to run and one of his issues has been “made in America” products. That issue took a detour when he held up a “Newt 2012” shirt that was made in El Salvador at a press conference. Despite a strong 2nd in the Ames poll Rep. Ron “Ignored-By-The-Media” Paul, still can’t seem to get any real press. The only news stories about Paul seem to be about how the news is ignoring him. There has to be some kind of irony ban for something like that. Jon “The Other Mormon” Huntsman is also still chugging along, but in the midst of conservative Anti-Obama fervor, the fact that he was Obama’s ambassador to China seems to be dragging him down.

The media has officially declared the top-tier in the race now. Let’s take a look. Texas Gov. Rick “Jesus Make it Rain” Perry has jumped in the race and is already being called a “top tier candidate.” Perry has some unusual hiccups in his game, however. He allowed the execution of a death row inmate after being shown compelling evidence that the man was innocent, his less than impressive college transcripts made the Huffington Post, and he issued a proclomation asking Texans to pray for rain to help against wildfires as he cut funding for firefighters. He does have a strong ability to tell people how everything is President Obama’s fault so he may be able to overcome his rivals. How he will do in the finals is up in the air.

Mitt “It Wasn’t Just Like Obamacare” Romney is the real used to be a moderate, Mormon former Governor. While Obamacare could prove to be a liability Romeny has shown remarkable fundraising capability. We’ll see if the other two point out that Romney has left his old positions to become more “conservative.” 2012 could prove to be a drastic repeat for Romney.

To round out the “top tier” is this year’s most exciting, unconventional, and probably insane candidate, Rep. Michele “Where’s The Camera” Bachmann. Bachmann has created unbelievable fervor among conservatives. Fresh off a win at the Ames Straw Poll, Bachmann is possibly crowding Sarah Palin out of the picture just because she has actually completed a term in an elected office. While she has at least 3 unforced errors this year. She praised our Founding Father’s “opposition” to slavery, using a 9-year old John Quincy Adams as an example. She talked about sharing a hometown with John Wayne when it was actually serial killer John Wayne Gacy who lived in Waterloo, Iowa. Finally she recently wished Elvis a “Happy Birthday” on the anniversiary of his death. Obviously, her research staff needs a shake-up. Bachmann might do alright with the Republican base but there is no doubt she needs a new coach to get her through this.

It seems no Republican is without their flaws. Some individual strengths have emerged. Which of these will lead to the nomination? Then the question will be; do the playoffs leave the eventual nominee with the stamina for the finals?

Why Do We Take These Polls?


President Obama’s going to lose. It’s all over. I read it right on ABC.com.  They reported that the President is losing to a generic Republican in a recent poll. Specifically, 44 percent said they would vote for the Republican, only 39 percent would vote for the President.

So what does this mean? Well, I suppose we should say, “nothing.” Let’s go over the reasons why this poll is basically useless. First, the election is 18 months away. If we went by a poll like this is 2007 , we’d be talking about President Giuliani today. Secondly, let’s think about the benefits of the generic Republican. He’s the perfect small-government, fiscal conservative. Yes, “he’s” a he, and he has no negative side effects. He didn’t pass a healthcare law similar to the President’s law, he doesn’t support the legalization of drugs,  his entire campaign staff hasn’t resigned, he doesn’t back off of his rhetoric when his opponents are in the room, he isn’t “the pizza guy,” and he isn’t Michele Bachmann. Remember, “he” is a he. Until either party nominates a woman, I won’t change my view on that.

The point is that a generic Republican isn’t representative of anyone who could possibly be the nominee. All the possible candidates have things that make them more or less appealing to conservatives and more or less appealing to moderates and independents. A “generic Republican” a year and a half from the election is useless.

I just don’t understand these polls. They don’t mean anything. A poll about who might be the Republican nominee is useful. We can have polls that track who is winning and losing that race. That’s news, but until we know who the nominee is it isn’t important how a “generic Republican” will do.  For now the President is likely to lag because he has a history and a personality. We know him.  We will see how this race really shapes up when the Republicans have a face, a history, and a personality to represent them. Until then, ABC should quit wasting our  time.

Who Will The Republican Party Pick?


As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, I see the field narrowing very quickly. Let’s start with who’s in and who’s not. Haley Barbour said he isn’t running. Rep. Mike Pence, whose named was tossed about, would rather be governor of Indiana. Personally, I think Pence is making the strategic calculation that Obama’s going to win and the election in 2016 will be much easier with some executive experience under his belt. From what I’ve heard and read, I don’t think Sarah Palin will really get in race. I don’t think Mike Huckabee will either. Donald Trump is obviously making waves, but even if he gets in the race he won’t last long. He’s just playing on the right’s dislike of the President. He hasn’t put forth any real ideas. Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman seems to be in the field, but I don’t see him winning. The “he worked for Obama” argument will kill his campaign. Rick Santorum isn’t an unlikely choice, but his appeal to social conservatives isn’t going to separate him from the pack. I think Santorum could prove to be a valuable running mate for some of the other candidates. While any of these folks might get in the race I don’t think they really have a chance.

This brings me to the four that I think are most interesting Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Herman Cain. I don’t think Bachmann has a real shot at the nomination, but if she runs she could influence who does. She’s very popular with the Tea Party. Appealing to the Tea Party is going to be important to get both votes and money. I think you’re likely to see the support of American’s For Prosperity and similar groups going toward the most Tea Partyish candidates. This is why gaining her endorsement (and Sarah Palin’s) could be important. It might also make her a choice as a running mate, but she comes with baggage. Her Sarah Palinesque style and “slightly off-camera” speech delivery along with the fact that she was a Democrat who volunteered for Jimmy Carter, might make her not worth it.

Mitt Romney is often called the front-runner these days. Romney is charismatic and presidential looking. He’s a decent public speaker. He does have issues though. He is the former governor of not only a blue state, but perhaps the bluest of them all. Massachusetts has only fallen to Republicans four times since 1928. “Romneycare” will be a stumbling block. I believe 2012 will feel a lot like 2008 for Mitt Romney.

Tim Pawlenty is the quintessential Republican candidate. He’s a former Governor which is important. Only three sitting senators (Warren Harding, John Kennedy, and Barack Obama) have been elected president. James Garfield is the only member of the House to be elected president. The others were primarily governors. Americans seem to like the idea that governing a state is much like governing the country.  He’s a devout Christian, has a record of fiscal conservatism, and is one of the few Republicans that will appear on the Daily Show. The fact that he will go into an environment that obviously disagrees with him will help him gain some independents. If Republicans want to defeat President Obama, Pawlenty is their best chance. However, there is one candidate that brings something different to the table.

Herman Cain is an unusual candidate, and I think he may actually put up a fight. He has no political experience. That could work to his advantage as he faces an electorate largely disillusioned with politics. He is a successful businessman, and many people feel that an experienced CEO would make an experienced Executive. On top of that he’s an African-American who has a better chance of connecting to that community. The President enjoyed what would appear to many as an exotic childhood. He was raised in Hawaii and spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. Herman Cain, however, is a black, Christian man from Georgia. He attended Morehouse College, and was the first person in his family to earn a degree. Herman Cain has more in common with many black people than the President. He provides the Republican party with an opportunity to show that they are diverse and represent the interests of all Americans. That paired with the fact that drawing the votes of disillusioned, working class African-Americans who are begging for a reason to believe in the American Dream could spell doom for Democrats.

It is very early to be speculating about the next election. Polls from this far out are almost always wrong, but Republicans are at a crossroads. They can choose to remain the establishment that they have been, or follow a new more conservative path. The best part of this choice is that it will lie with the people who support the party. Establishment Republicans could not be happier if the status quo is maintained. Their constituents may have a different opinion. Interestingly, I hope the status quo is maintained. If I have to choose between the Republican I know, and one who may be far more conservative, my choice is clear.

Bachmann-Trump Overdrive


A quick scan of political news seems to turn up the names of two people these days. One is Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) which is not that surprising. Congressman Ryan is the GOP point man on the budget issue and the major political battles going on right now are all about the budget. You would expect him to be out in front arguing the Republican side. The other person is more surprising. It is common to see him on TV and in the news, but not usually political news. He is Donald Trump, he fires people once a week for a hefty paycheck. The question is, just what the hell is Donald Trump doing on news/political TV. Apparently, he is seriously considering running for President, and his major issue seems to be that the President may not be a citizen. That’s right, Trump has put the “birther” movement back on the table and he’s pushing it hard.

If it were just Trump, I wouldn’t be here typing this. Donald Trump can run around playing presidential candidate and I really don’t care, but it’s not just him. Michele Bachmann mentioned that she would make her birth certificate public if she decided to run. She’s from Minnesota. If you are from Minnesota, North Dakota, or Wisconsin you don’t need a birth certificate. Just talk a little. As long as you don’t say, “aye” after everything we believe you’re American. If it were just Rep. Bachmann, I might not worry too much. Then at CPAC this year I saw a clip of Mitt Romney making a joke about his birth certificate. Mitt Romney is the Republican front-runner. This things got some staying power, and Republicans are trying to ride it to the White House. In fact, a recent poll showed Romney in first with Trump tied for second.

I could go on at length about the birther issue. I could talk about “certificates of live birth” vs. “certifications of live birth,” both of which fit under the umbrella term “birth certificate.” I’m not going to because I firmly believe that people are on one side or the other of this issue and nothing is changing people’s minds.

What’s more important is the rhetoric people are using. If you were to ask Mitt Romney if the President was a citizen he would say yes, but in front of a very conservative crowd he’s willing to fan the flame.  What these people say matters, and they seem willing to push their words to the point of insanity if it will help them win.  Sarah Palin is a master of this, and it’s why she has an ardent group of supporters. They may not be a huge block of people but they are very strong in their support. They are a group that truly buys into the things she says even if they don’t really make sense. It those kind of people who destroyed town hall meetings on healthcare. By dropping terms like “death panels” and “healthcare rationing” politicians like Palin were able to enrage the people who believe anything they say. So rather than having an honest open debate about healthcare, we had angry white people screaming at the President, and the HHS Secretary and so forth.  We have to demand more. We cannot sit back and allow the blatant hyperbole.  When Newt Gingrich goes on TV and says America is headed toward, “a secular nation, perhaps one run by Islamist Fundamentalists,” More people need to call him on that. We are a secular nation. We have no national religion, and what crazy muslim terrorist are you going to find who would run one? That statement probably helped him. It uses all the right terms to appeal to a white, conservative, Christian. Those are people he’s going to need if he wants the Republican nomination. Apparently, he doesn’t care if he sounds insane. Listening to NPR during the labor protests in Wisconsin, I heard a woman describe the protesters as, “willful idiots in the Communist agenda.” What Communist agenda!?!? Twenty years after we won the Cold War, and there are still people out there who think the President is a Communist and he’s renaming Dupont Circle after Stalin. Republicans are using the old standard tactic. If you want to win an election take an issue. Make people afraid of it, and tell them whose to blame for it. So they brought out death panels, terrorists and communists, and it’s all Obama’s fault. Oh and he’s not really a citizen by the way.

I bet that the closer we get to the 2012 election we’re going to start hearing about how important it is. I would put money on the table that we will hear that this election is a fight for America’s future. It’s the most important election of our lifetimes. They will play it up to make people think if Obama wins this election on Jan. 20, 2013 he’s going to pull out the launch codes and shoot nuclear missiles at all the red states. This election isn’t the most important in our lives. I would argue that the election in 2000 was the most important one I’ve lived through. It was one of the few times in American history that the succession of the Presidency was unclear. Also every election is a fight for America’s future. We’re picking the people who run the country. This one will be no different.

What needs to be different is the tone. With all the money going into advertising by special interests the tone is unlikely to change. Politicians have to start really talking about the serious issues. That is the biggest threat to the US in the long term. We cannot continue to allow politicians to push rhetoric to the fringe of reality. We have to expect more. Politicians will always focus on what gets them elected. It is our job to be more engaged in the public debate. We have to hold them accountable for what they say. If we do that they will start saying different things. Hopefully, we could have a more honest and open election. Unfortunately, I, and I’m guessing you also, will believe it when I see it.